How To Stop Screwing Yourself Over

I watched a TED talk delivered by Mel Robbins recorded back in 2011 called “How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over”. I really appreciate the straight talk style she brought and it is clear that many other folks do too at over 10 millions views.

Her key message was that anyone can get anything they want. It’s simple. But it is not easy!  Mel goes on to describe how people “settle” so often by saying that they are “fine”.  Fine is a word she won’t accept, calling it feeble and flimsy. Just tell the truth. If you’re day sucks…say so. If you are doing great…say so.  The odds of us being born in today’s era are 1:400,000,000,000 (that’s one in 400 trillion!).

You’re not fine, you’re FANTASTIC!

If you really want something, you are going to have to get out of your comfort zone. The fact is that you are never going to FEEL like it. You’ll need to get off autopilot and do something more/ different to get what you want. Force yourself to be uncomfortable. Get out of your head, get past your feelings and outside your comfort zone.

Here’s a quick tactic to get you to start expanding your comfort zone. From the moment an idea pops into your head, take an action, any action, within 5 seconds of that thought. It could be as simple as writing the idea down, saying hello to someone new, or picking up the phone. If you haven’t married the thought to an action, it simply won’t happen. Doing something is the key.

What If We Asked “What If” More Often?

Between the ages of 2 to 5 years, children asked on average 40,000 questions. What happen’s to us when we get older?  Sony co-founder Masaru Ibuka wanted to be able to listen to operas during his frequent trans-Pacific plane trips. He asked the question, “What if I could listen to music any time, anywhere?” He challenged his engineers and designers to come up with something and the “Walkman” went on the market July 1, 1979.

It was ground breaking and Sony went on to sell more that 400 million units. Side note: I think it’s kinda cool how the recent movie “Guardians of the Galaxy” has popularized the Walkman again!

Ibuka had asked a very simple question that started with “What if…?”

So keep asking questions and then do the work, I am asking you to do the same…ask more questions!


The Power of Other People’s Money

In past editions of Sticks and Stones, I have mentioned the power of using OPM (other peoples money). I thought I would share another twist to this…government funding programs. You can often leverage government programs to achieve more in your business.

This past month I was involved in several successful applications we’ve been working on over the past 6 months. The key is to be clear on what you are asking for and how it fits within the government program mandate. I also suggest looking for other stakeholders, government agencies and/ or partners to endorse the proposal. Ideally this is captured within an email that you can attach or on their letterhead. Another little tip is to put some of your own money into the proposal. It means more when you have your own “skin in the game”.

I’ll look to share more on the various programs we’ll be implementing over the next 12 months as there will be a lot of moving parts for each of them.

How Does A Toilet Work?

How does a toilet work?

“Most of us think we have a pretty good handle on how the world works. But when it comes down to it, it turns out we know very little about a lot of things.” This was the message from Steve Sloman who was being interviewed on CBC Radio this past month. I listened intently as I was driving to my next meeting.

Steve’s thesis is about how our concept of how much we know is inflated.  He cut’s to point by emphasizing that our success in life is because understanding is stored in the “community of knowledge” — that is, because other people know things, we don’t need to know everything and we just assume we do.

Think about this concept for a moment. What are some significant events in your life? I hazard a guess that you were not alone when it happened. Collaboration leads to amazing results. It does not matter what niche you are serving either.

Going back to the toilet question, Steve added, “I think step one is to admit our lack of knowledge and to reduce our hubris,” he says. “To accept the fact that we don’t know everything and to accomplish things we have to make use of the people around us.”

The secret of knowledge, Sloman points out, is knowing what we don’t know. So now that we’ve reaffirmed that we don’t know everything (shhh – no telling my kids), it’s time to focus and assess what information is needed to achieve the next level of success.

How to Conquer No

I was in a conversation with one of my professional colleagues this month. She was expressing her strong dislike for “salesy-talk” with clients and how she hated rejection. I listened carefully and then asked, “have you ever watched the Jackie at Krispy Kreme Doughnuts video?”

Let’s face it, fear of rejection is a genetic hardwire that we all have. It’s the reason why “social media” works – we have a human desire to belong and as a father of two teens, I’m acutely aware of how powerful this is!

So the question is…how can you get over your fear of rejection? Is “no” really that fearful?

Jia Jiang took a very unique approach. He set a goal to get 100 “No’s” to help him get over his own fear of rejection. Enter our Krispy Kreme heroine Jackie. Jackie wouldn’t say No. She truly wanted to solve Jia’s problem….and she did! Jai went on to present the results of his experiment on TED Talks. It’s an impressive message and one that I have shared with many folks over the years. I hope you enjoy it too.  So I’m curious, what have you done to conquer “no” in your life?

95 Million Years of Terror in Tumbler Ridge

I went on a little road trip this last month to Tumbler Ridge, a fascinating community located in the northeast part of BC within the majestic Rocky Mountains. Originally set up as a mining town in the early 1980’s, it’s seen its share of ups and downs.

In 2000, two boys (aged 11 and 8) were tubing down the Flatbed River and jumped off to soak up some sun. When they looked down, they were convinced they were looking at dinosaur tracks. It took them some time to convince their parents to come have a look, as they thought it was simply a matter of over-active minds of the children. Sure enough, they were right and the beginning of another chapter began…95 million years ago, a “terror” (aka herd) of dinosaurs walked this very area!

I was attending a conference for British Columbia Community Forests with a colleague from work and we were fortunate to get a “behind the scenes” tour of the museum and the most recent discoveries. Our guides were the two palaeontologists on staff and it was fantastic to see such passion in them and their work. If you are ever up for an adventure, add Tumbler Ridge to your bucket list – a spectacular location with endless outdoor adventure to be had!

Here’s the group shot of our conference attendee’s…bonus points if you can find me 🙂


What Do People Care About Most?

New Zealand had a problem with introduced species decimating indigenous species. The domestic cat was causing the extinction of numerous bird populations. Biologists felt that something had to be done and launched a Public Awareness campaign to tell people to keep their cats indoors. What was the outcome? Birds continued to disappear at alarming rates and there was no behavioural change from cat owners. Why? The truth is that there was nothing “in it” for cat owners. Human behaviour dictates that we are more apt to change our behaviour when there is a reward involved.  Cat people didn’t benefit. In fact, most continued to deny that their cats even ate birds…really?

So the Government “think tank” went to work. How could they change their behaviour?  What would resonate with Cat Owners?  Well for one…Cats!  Their next move was to hire a Trusted Source to deliver a public message…the local Veterinarian. This time, the Vet went on TV and emphasized the importance of “protecting your cat” when outdoors. Always keep them on a leash to avoid being run over or lost. The result? Immediate turn around in the behaviour. Kitty must be kept safe….and the threatened bird population rebounded.

From a marketing perspective, I love how the new and creative paradigm resonated with the target audience. A classic case of indirect attack to achieve the results they were looking for.  If you too are struggling to get your message out, perhaps there is another way to reach your people? Grow your business by tweaking your message and ask “what does my target audience care most about?”

PS – Full disclosure…I own a cat and no cats were harmed in writing this newsletter