If you like getting what you want, leadership, freedom, and more getting what you want, read on.
There are some places in business where a scenario is a zero-sum game. A zero-sum game is a situation in which one participant’s gains result only from another participant’s equivalent losses. The net change among the participants is zero; there can only be a shift from one to another.
Back in the day, I was this whiz kid computer genius. There were no smart phones or tablets or even PCs then. Individuals couldn’t afford computers, only companies could. So this was before the time that a teenager could sharpen his computing chops from a sequestered back bedroom on a home-built computer with an overclocked motherboard.
Every one of us can harken back to some pivotal event in our past, likely in early childhood, that determined the trajectory of our life. From that moment, everything turned and faced a certain direction, a direction that we have looked in ever since.
It might have been something dramatic, it could have been tragic, or it could have been unnoticeable by all the other participants in the event even as it engraved our path.
These are the cliche (or not so cliche) things people are losing all the time. But business too is full of lost things: lost sales, lost employees, and lost opportunities. This pattern of losing things cascades through business and through life. So let’s examine the fundamentals about finding what is lost and how things get lost in the first place.
TO BE HAPPY
When is the last time you made a shopping list that looks like this:
You have a solution and it is whiz bang. You know the one. You started your business to share it with the world. This solution of yours is valuable and it addresses a big, prevalent, important problem. The world will be a better place with this problem finally eradicated and you know exactly how to make it happen. Let’s call this your target problem and the people who have it your target audience.
But what about a future event?
I had an appointment first thing this morning with a large cable company to install internet service at our new place. It is not first thing this morning any longer and I have seen neither hide nor hair of an installer so far.
I did however have a fascinating conversation with someone in customer service who is making great strides to learn English.
I am getting tired of the relentless whimpering you hear in social media from people. You know the sob story: “Big bad Facebook/Google/PayPal banned me! All I did was violate their selfish, ridiculous rules that stand in the way of my God given right to do whatever pleases me.”
I have a message for all my friends who are “on fire”, “crushing it”, “shipping”, or in any other way taking action and achieving. Let me preface my message by saying that all this active ambition is a very, very good thing. It puts you in the top 5%. But it will never, ever get you to the top 1% no matter how hard you try.
Many of us figure that whatever group we are in, there are rights for us and we are naturally owed them. Marketers are one such group. Here is the Bill of Rights that marketers presume for themselves:
Marketing experts expound that we all should be shouting about the benefits of whatever it is that we offer. The principle behind this is that while we as sellers care about our features, our buyers care about how those features will benefit them. But what happens when a decent rule gets created out of a great principle and then the principle gets forgotten?
Every man is a mystery — and that doesn’t begin to cover it for every woman. Everyone is a mystery even from themselves — unless they actively seek why they do what they do.
“Watch my free video.”
“Join our free webinar.”
“Download for free!”
If you didn’t know better, you would think the whole world got the generosity bug. I have great hopes for this being a reality one day but it’s not here just yet. So what is going on with all this free stuff? Why do we keep going for it and why do we keep offering it ourselves?
I live in a pretty woo woo place. You may too: Taos, Portland, Sedona, Kathmandu, I don’t know, you tell me. Your town might be a bit more concrete and steel but I’ll bet you’ve heard of something that has become all the rage in the touchy-feelie crowd these days: holding space for another.
Back in the day I read every book I could get my hands on about leadership. I wanted to see studies and data. I want formulas and strategies. I trusted all these Ph.D.’s and their teams of undergrads and you know what? They let me down.
Lots of people are ambitious. They want stuff and they want it now. They aren’t lazy so they are willing to expend time, money and effort to get it. In many cases, it works out and they end up with stuff. But stuff by itself lacks something that remains unexamined and undefined, and all that ambition ends up curiously dissatisfying.
In 1995 a novel came out called The Horse Whisperer. Three years later, it was made into a feature film starring Robert Redford. Redford’s character seemed to have a special gift for communicating with horses, thus the moniker.