Friday, September 30, 2011

How close to the edge will you go?

Here is something that may make you take a little more risk than you would have otherwise. 

What if you viewed the price you pay for the risk in every project as adding to your experience and as an opportunity to discover yourself? Will it then perhaps make you see value in painting close to the fringes?

Do you see risk of failure or chances for success?

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Where are you going next?

Exploring what to do next is an act of creativity. But very often, you may explore too far. To the fringes of your imagination. So far off that it takes light years to get there. In fact, it may even scare you. Inundate you with a million ‘what ifs’.

What if, you explored nearer. Close to the territory you are familiar with? Close enough to see where you came from, far enough to conquer new ground.

Sometimes getting to the next big thing is not launching a rocket. It could just mean walking to the edge of your farm to see what’s beyond.

Are you exploring too far?

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What’s your ROI?

Success of a business is usually measured by how much profit it makes. But what if success is also measured by the social impact it makes. The good it does. Not in some fancy CSR program but in its daily interactions with suppliers, staff and society? A set of ethics it follows and measured based on how much good it has done. Raised standards of living, responsible for actions it takes and rectifies what is wrong?

In addition to return on investment, what about return on (societal) impact?

Do you measure your personal success based on dollars and sense?

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Will you do what you can?

You don’t and you should not pretend to know the future. But what you do know is what you can do now and how you can be creative about your own next small thing. And hopefully it will be come bigger and better.

Will it be the next big thing?  Honestly, I don’t know. But you can do it. When it sees the light of day then it is well worth it versus an idea that sits in the deep recesses of your grey matter. Or trying to figure out what is the next big thing.

What are you working on next?

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Monday, September 26, 2011

How are you balancing?

You feel stress trying to achieve balance because you think balance is an end point. You think it is static.

You are not the fulcrum trying to balance both sides. You are the effort that exists in the system of a balancing act.

Try this. Balance is dynamic. It’s constantly in a flux because your thoughts and your moods are constantly moving and changing. Add to this the stimulation and irritation of everyday life, the only way balance can appear is for you to be in the flow.

That’s when balance is achieved.

Now, is balance static?

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Friday, September 23, 2011

Why are you in the business you are in now?

Business exists solely to deliver profits to investors? Or does business exists solely as a service to the community and that service begets remuneration? The remuneration may result in a loss though. If the service is done well enough and the business managed wisely, then a profit often appears.

Businesses built on a platform to serve have more soul because its strategy is connected to its value. 

The same for your job.

What motivates you to serve? To do the work that you do? It cannot just be money. The option to make money is boundless. Surely there are a lot of jobs out there that can deliver more money to you. So, why this job? 

In the accounting of your life, money doesn’t always have to be the key driver. 

What is beyond profit for you?

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

How much can you spare?

There are a lot of people who talks a lot and nothing productive actually comes out of talking to these people. There are those who talks and not give. And there are those who talks and don’t do. 

They do so for a few reasons:
One, they want to take but don’t want to give. So, they pretend that their input is actually talking. This is usually hidden as advice or priceless opinions. They wait for you to produce and they want a share of the credit. These people forget, the more you give – time, effort, execution - the more you get.

Then there are those who are too afraid of losing face. They keep talking because they are afraid they won’t have the last word. To these people having the last word is winning. 

And those who talks and criticize but cannot do it themselves? They do so because they are too afraid to commit. They rather heckle from the back and they prefer that kind of attention. They do not risk anything by not committing.

See, when you talk and do? You commit with their guts. When you commit with your guts, you risk being eviscerated. But you know that's the price to pay for a worthwhile goal.

Are you uttering nonsense?

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

How do you get things done consistently?

Discipline seems like a very difficult word to practice for many people. It is waking up at 6am to complete your work when you really want to snooze 5 minutes more.

So, some argue it is motivation that gets you up. I believe it is both. It need not be separated. And discipline is not a hard thing to practice. When you know what is right and what should be done to get the life you desire? Then it just happens. Whether you call it motivation or discipline or habit creation is immaterial.

"Discipline does not mean suppression or control, nor is it an adjustment to a pattern or ideology. It means the mind sees “what is” and learns from “what is.” – J. Krishnamurti

Are you forcing discipline to happen?

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

What decisions held you back today?

You make a ton of decisions a day. But how many of them are of any true consequence? Do you truly believe the thickness of the border of the ad will bring in 30 more sales than if you were just to leave it the way it is? Do you hide under “it’s all in the details’? Sure, I believe in it too. But I also believe we should not be hostage to inconsequential details. 

And the wisdom of the manager is to demonstrate that she knows what the details to ignore are.

Perfection is over rated. How do you hold up to your own standards that you impose on others?

If you move a deadline because you say it is not perfect yet? If you burst a budget because you say xx amount more in dollars will make it perfect? If you keep tweaking and changing just so you please yourself rather than your consumers – and it’s always based on your opinions? You may think you are a perfectionist. You are not. You are not striving for perfection; you are striving to satisfy your primal brain. 

Can we move on now?

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Monday, September 19, 2011

Have you learned the system?

When you ask a room full of people to put up their hands which do they believe in? Working hard or working smart? It’s almost certain that a majority will put up their hands for believing in working smart.

As if believing in working smart makes them smarter. 

I believe in this – to work smart you first have to work hard. Work hard in knowing the system that you work in. That takes time and effort. So, to get to working smart you need to first work hard. Otherwise, working smart can’t exist. 

Working smart also means you need to create your own system. To create your own system, you need to put in effort and time (that sounds like hard work to me). That will eventually save you more time and effort later. But that does not negate working hard – especially when you are creating that system.

Working smarter does not make you a better worker. To be fair neither does working harder. But if you work heart – meaning work with your heart and soul and every action is effortful – then you are the better worker. One that can make a difference in a company.

And usually companies rewards these people more.

How smart is your work?

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

How far can you go?

If you can,
Wake up half an hour earlier every day?
Sleep an hour earlier every day?
Start saying ‘no’ to an impolite request?
Learn to say ‘yes’ to an inconvenient request?
Read just one book every month?
Clear your mental junk for 30 minutes every week?
Stop stealing time in the office as if no one knows?

You can go on to add to the list, small things that makes a big difference in your life. Stop blaming the rest. Stop creating excuses.

When will you take responsibility?

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Why are you resisting?

When you have reached a dead end? When the stress seems insurmountable? One way of finding a way is to accept. 

Accept whatever comes as phenomenon that will happen anyway. Do not resist.

Accepting makes your work easier. Accepting a failure for what it is. Accepting criticisms as a way to learn or reflect. Accepting mistakes as just a part of living. Accepting that to want ‘face’ is just an attachment to your ego.

What gifts did your detractors bring today?

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What does your Petri dish look like?

Marketers can be great experimenters but most refuse to be. They choose instead to be safe-netters. 

Some confuse experimenting with gambling. There is a big difference between the two. Of course, there are risks involved in both of them. But one has a written methodology and plan. Set objectives and variables to be tested. While chance is involved, the reliance on it is far less. You of course, already know. You are just too afraid of the extraneous variables. 

Find out what works then keep going. There is a world of discovery out there. How about the idea of a marketer as a social scientist? 

When’s your research grant coming?

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Monday, September 12, 2011

Do you want to know a secret?

Closer. Do you promise not to tell?

Whispering is more powerful than yelling. But you must gain trust before you can whisper into someone ears. Where will all the yelling take the relationship?

How are you furthering that trust?

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Friday, September 9, 2011

What work do you do?

Heart work is hard work.

Every time I speak about hard work people cringe. As if I am asking them to carry a pile of rocks. But carrying a pile of rocks is the easy part. Anyone can do it.

Most people think working hard is old school. Working hard is not old school. It’s classic school. As in ‘a standard’, ‘highest quality’, ‘having class’.

It started since the first caveman said, “Let’s just figure out a way to cross this rapids and get to the other side where there are more bisons for us to hunt.” And as soon as he finished the sentence, goes about getting his idea to work. That is heart work.

No one asked him to. He just figured he has to. When you put pride, passion and belief in it to see a plan through? That is heart work. And heart work is hard work. Because you risk your reputation, you have to prioritize and you have to sacrifice all the nice things in life.

How’s your heart working?

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

How do you do what you do?

Today while your boss and colleagues are not watching? Take notes, I mean really write down how much time you spend on personal emails, FB, and whatever else you do that is not work related.

Now, how much time did you waste? So, it’s not that you do not have time to do the work. It’s that you waste too much time at work. 

You are not working hard. You are hardly working.

What excuses are you brewing today?

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Are you ready for take-off yet?

Here’s your regular 10,000km check.

Are you always seeking permission from others except yourself? Are you more often than not submissive? What has been your truest admission to yourself in your dark corner of the world?

Your failures to move beyond these are the reasons why you have not started on your mission.

What’s your personal mission?

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Would a dash suffice?

Conversations, discussions or even the way your organization operates needs your little something. That little speck or sprinkle of yours to make it taste good. Like salt or spice or soy sauce? Too much will spoil the taste.

How often do you see someone trying to dominate an idea? A discussion or the way something is run? Seek to contribute to make something better. Not to dominate to proof whatever you are trying to proof.

Know what you can contribute and if your contribution will make the most difference. Not your domination. Know what the dish is and what you bring to the kitchen.

By all means, if you are prik kee noo we will need a lot of you if we are cooking tom yum gung. Even then, you should not dominate the sourness we want from the tamarind.

Contribution not domination.

What do you taste like?

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Monday, September 5, 2011

How nervous are you about failure?

Best way to deal with it? Ask if the goal is worthwhile. If it’s not? Dump it. Nervousness gone. No anxiety. Easy.

It’s worthwhile? Embrace it. Jump like it’s going to save your life from a burning airplane. 

When you wait, the anxiety eats you up. You learn to feed on excuses. The habit of devouring excuses drags your life to the 18th level of hell. Climbing out will be difficult. Before long you will be too old to do it.

They will call you the “Excuses ATM”.

How far down are you now?

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Friday, September 2, 2011

When are you making a decision?

Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what makes you consistently do. I would add commitment is what turns motivation into a habit. 

Painful words for many. It spells hard work. It spells long spells of sweat. Compromising on work-life balance.

The thing is, when you are on a project? Either you are on the team or you are not. You do or you don’t.

Are you coming along or not?

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