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Personal Development

I’m Still Getting Better – Part 2

In Part 1 of this post, I shared my son’s thoughts about my continuing to make mistakes.  The focus of Part 2 is recent work at improving my skills.

Last April, as it became clear that COVID was going to be here for a while and I’d have time for deep work, I decided to invest in some training on sales messaging.  I’ve mentioned books by Oren Klaff called Pitch Anything and Flip the Script many times in my What’s Dave Listening To column.  I hadn’t done substantial, deeply focused training in a while, probably because I felt “capable.”  Oren Klaff’s new thinking felt enlightening to me, so I decided that perhaps it was time to dive into it.  I signed up for coaching by Oren’s team, and with their help and I’d estimate about 100 hours of work, I’ve become WAY BETTER and more effective at something I thought I was already pretty good at.

Even with all that work, I still make mistakes, still wish I’d made another edit to a released document (mostly to make it shorter) or had or hadn’t said something.  Overall, I’m encouraged to know that a) I HAVE gotten a LOT better, and b) if I’ve worked this hard to improve, even though I continue to fall short, I’ve gained on “the field.”

 

I’m Still Getting Better – Part 1

Not long ago, I told my older son that I’d thought that by about the time I’d really become an adult, certainly by age 50, I’d be done making big mistakes.  And I really did.  Sure, I knew I’m make small mistakes, overlook things, but when I was in my 20s and 30s, I really thought by the time I was 50 (and more) I’d have figured things out.  My son responded, “Dad, you’re still in the game and the world is still changing.”  Smart, and he’s right.  

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And at the same time I’m still making mistakes, I’m working SMARTER.  Interesting how both can happen concurrently.  Check out what I’m listening to now:  Great at Work, The Hidden Habits of Top Performers, and watch for Part 2 of this post!

Move On To the Next Play

Jason Gay is a sportswriter for the Wall Street Journal.  After the Super Bowl, he wrote, “Brady plays within his limits – he doesn’t try to exert his will on the game; he will take the incomplete pass and simply move on to the next play – and maybe that’s really his secret, not the protein shakes or deep-tissue massages.”   

Simply move on to the next play – what a statement.  It reminds me of my conversation with PROCO360 guest Avrum Emakis of CLMBR.  He said, 

What I think is great about the TRUTH is that it always wins… It’s not about selling – it’s about sharing knowledge with people and letting them make a decision.” 

American football player Tom Brady for the New England Patriots of the National Football League (NFL) takes part in a football training camp in Shanghai, China, 20 June 2017.

I told him his views are sort of like “Zen selling.”  Tom Brady is quoted as saying, “I’m pretty calm all the time,” so maybe Brady’s approach to playing quarterback is “Zen football.”  Most entrepreneurs are going a mile a minute, scrambling like some great quarterbacks do.  In a to-be-released PROCO360 episode with John Street, CEO of Pax8, John says that one way he’s matured in his leadership is that he’s thinking more and listening more.  Sure, it’s fun to watch Patrick Mahomes scramble around and he’s awesome – people love him.  Many entrepreneurs think scrambling is what’s expected and needed to succeed – and for sure, startups often need to scramble – that’s just the reality.  This comparison reminds me that staying thoughtful and focused, at least when on can, is a more mature way to win.   

It takes discipline to say positive

A crazy fixation I have, and judge as negative, is when people attempt to shape the perceptions of others with denials.  President-elect Biden got the coronavirus vaccine and said, “There’s nothing to worry about.”  OK, that’s not so bad.  Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, upon not getting votes needed for re-election as Speaker during a federal corruption probe said, “This isn’t a withdrawal.”  Let’s use that as an example and come back to Biden.  “This isn’t a withdrawal.”  Really?  What is it?  Whatever – you didn’t win and you won’t.  Why deny what everyone knows – you lost.  Now people think that Madigan lost, AND he’s a liar.  What should Madigan have said?  He still got the most votes, even though not enough so maybe, “OK, my caucus is still considering its best path forward.”   

My point: stating your view as a negative is reflexive.   We want to deny – and that’s not as wise as stopping to think about how to reframe to a positive statement.   

Back to the President-elect.  With more thought was there something positive he could have said about getting the vaccine?  How about, “This is great!  I can focus on the business of the people knowing I and those around me will stay healthy.”   

Avoid the easy negative statement and replace it with something that’s truthful, authentic and positive. 

Colorado’s COVID-born neighborhood entrepreneurs

It’s likely that Candice Ferguson (above) made great bread and jams before COVID and that Amanda Murphy was a fabulous cook before March 2020.  They have both have turned their skills, ingredients from their gardens, and extra time at home into micro businesses.  Using Facebook posts, in just a few weeks these women are producing at capacity.

What does that say about who we support and how we buy in Colorado?  What we’ve known – that we love buying authentic products from people we know and trust. During times of stress, we even more joyfully rush to buy from these micro businesses.  I know this isn’t just a Colorado thing.  Still, I love that it’s as strong here as anywhere.

Back to our roots.

I find this gratifying – and I find it a thought-provoking reminder that in the age of multi-billion dollar retailers like Whole Foods who strive to meet all our comfort product needs choose to buy from our neighbors.  This desire hasn’t changed since we lived in tribes – wait – we still do!  This is an amazing reminder of why big brands (and even our own businesses) work so hard to build communities of consumers.

P.S.  Watch for the Fetch markets of Colorado artisans (formerly Denver Flea, a podcast episode in 2018)

 

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