Why would you think it’s easier to win [insert name of sporting championship here] than to build a successful blog?

The subtitle of this post should read: “Everyone wants to be a winner -but not everyone is willing do to what it takes to BE a winner.”

The Indianapolis Colts have over the past three weeks restored hope for a chance at the playoffs thanks to three back to back wins including yesterday’s defeat of Houston.  (GO COLTS!) I’d love nothing better than to taunt my neighbors (most of whom hail from the land of the Giants, the Jets and the Patriots) this February with a garish display of Hoosier Pride.  I’ve still got everything perfectly preserved from the Colt’s 2006 Super Bowl win, hoping for the chance to bring it all out again.  ( I also had to endure the drunken near rioting of some of my other neighbors when UF won national titles in both football AND basketball!)

Not too long ago, the Phillies won the World Series.  In order to achieve that accomplishment, they had to play 162 games in the regular season just to make it to the post season.  They had to WIN more often than they lost just to make it to the playoffs.  In order to achieve that feat, every member of the team had to work hard – physically AND mentally – to even have the opportunity to play in the World Series.

This is the way the goal setting works.  First you define or set a goal and then you work towards ACHIEVING that goal.  However, if you don’t DEFINE the goal first, it’s almost impossible to put into action a plan to achieve the goal!

I’m not a baseball fan, but my son is.  Twelve years ago, my six year old baby boy would be so excited about playing coaches pitch baseball that he would bounce up and down in left field through the entire game.  Fortunately, no one could hit the ball that far because it’s my observation that bouncing up and down is NOT the preferred stance for outstanding performance in the outfield.

Years passed and my son’s love of baseball continued and fortunately, his skill as well as his concentration improved.   When he was 11, his All-Star team finished 1 game shy of competing in the Little League World Series regional play.   Watching that game was one of the most painful experiences of my life.  You could LITERALLY watch the wheels fall off that wagon as the final game progressed – and the saddest part of all was it seemed to be the COACHES who were determined to make sure their team didn’t advance to regional play!

Tom Volkar writes in Clarity Empowers Progress

The clarity of exactness and preciseness increases the probability of intentional manifestation. Maybe that’s what keeps many from choosing. A couple of participants on a recent group coaching call, supporting our community leveraging experiment, admitted as much.

When we definitely state what we want, in stark specificity, we have chosen, haven’t we? Perhaps that’s why folks choose to remain confused and general because you can’t really commit to a generality, can you?

Try dedicating yourself to excellence in vagueness. Yes you can develop the inspired confidence to move mountains but you’ve got to identify the damn mountains! If you don’t commit then you can’t fail but you can’t succeed either. Without clarity and inspired commitment your only choice is to remain safely frozen in whatever waiting hell you’ve created.

As I read Tom’s entire post (check it out, this is just one golden nugget of many in the post!), I can now see – almost a decade later – what was going on back then.  (Hindsight really is 20/20!)   It hit me like a ton of bricks: those coaches had achieved their goal when they reached the state finals.  Once they achieved that goal, they ran out of gas.  There was no new goal – new vision.  They had already achieved all they thought was possible – and we wereall  forced to remain frozen in the hell of what MIGHT have been that year!

However, this recognition extends beyond ancient history and fading memories of a Little League team that couldn’t – it’s also shined a bright light onto a dark area in the realm of building a business.

One of my biggest frustrations with clients is when they refuse to declare their intentions.  The three words that will keep ANY service professional poor are , “I HELP EVERYONE.”

When you strive to target everyone with your marketing message – in essence, you’re targeting no one!

I love Tom’s choice of words in the paragraph above – “Yes you can develop the inspired confidence to move mountains but you’ve got to identify the damn mountains!”

The Indianapolis Colts have identified the mountain they’d like to move – just as every other team in the NFL is targeting the mountain named “Super Bowl.”  Every game they win or lose is translated into their “chance” for a playoff berth.

Every professional sport has its own mountain.  Every game that is played is played with the goal in mind of getting the opportunity to ultimately move that mountain and claim it as the team’s own.  There is no greater hell than to be a fan of a team that obviously has not defined their season goal as winning the ultimate championship.  (I live in Miami Dolphins territory – believe me, I’ve seen the pain of that dilemma over the past few seasons!)

What mountain are you attempting to climb with your blog?  If you haven’t identified one you’d like to own -you’ve still got a few weeks to make it your 2009 New Year’s Resolution!

Achieve Success While Maintaining a Healthy Work Life Balance

Entrepreneurship is a lot like athletic competition: if you don’t prepare yourself mentally AND physically, you’ll find you don’t have what it takes to play the entire game.  The competition in the business world is grueling and relentless and you have to be able to play until the final buzzer!

This is one of those “Do as I say – not as I do” kind of blog posts for me.  Like Monika Mundell, I too have been suffering the health consequences of living a life that has fallen out of balance.

Success is all about balance.

I love word pictures and here’s one to illustrate my point:  to achieve success in your business, you must stand upon a three legged stool.  The three legs of the stool are:

  • Exercise
  • Eat Right
  • Sleep

Trying to build a business which requires you to work 12 – 16 hours a day without doing those three essential things is a recipe for disaster.

It could be that the purpose of your life is only to serve as a warning to others.

Here is my story of life balance disaster.  Let is serve as a warning to others.

It started 6 months ago when I fell out of the habit of daily exercise.  I believe exercise is an essential ingredient in your quest for success.  Your body was created to move, not to sit in a chair all day.  Daily exercise sharpens not only your body, but your mind as well.

In my case, exercise is the foundation of EVERYTHING healthy and good in my life.

Exercise serves to keep my diet “healthy”.

For example, if I try to eat my favorite food of all time – Pop-Tarts [cue angelic singing] – and exercise, I’ll find that I struggle to finish my workout.  If however, breakfast is a bowl of steel cut oats or an omelet, I’ll have enough energy to exercise and then jump into working.  If I don’t eat healthy, I see the effects when I exercise.

Exercise also helps you get a good night’s sleep.

When I’m exercising, the quality and quantity of my sleep is GREATLY improved.  When I don’t exercise, well – I begin to become acquainted with the various mattress companies infomercials which run during the wee hours of the morning.

So for more than 3 years, my day would begin by putting on my walking shoes, putting a leash on my dog and walking a mile or more every morning.   If 7:00 AM rolled around and I didn’t have on my walking shoes, my dog would begin barking relentlessly until I started our pre-walk ritual.  If I didn’t know better, I’d swear that silly dog could tell time!

Then, I came down with the flu.  I guess the dog knew something was up because instead of launching his full scale high decibel barking assault, he just whimpered and whined outside my bedroom door.

Well, the habit was broken with the dog after a week – and when the daily exercise stopped, everything else went to hell in a hand basket.

So at this point in time, I’m not walking, I’m busy working and  my family is subsisting on Pop-Tarts, frozen pizzas and fast food.  It should come as no surprise that I began having trouble sleeping about this time.

Fast forward just a few months.  I feel like crap and my twisted, nutrition deprived mind decides the problem lies in a partially impacted wisdom tooth that has recently emerged.

It’s not my junk food diet that is making me feel like crap.  It’s not my lack of exercise that is making me feel like crap.  It’s not the fact that I’m only sleeping 4 hours a night that I feel like crap-  it’s my tooth that is the root of all evil.

In a nutshell, my idiot dentist prescribes an antibiotic to which I have a reaction which the leaflet says could be fatal.  When I call the office, the woman says, “Don’t worry about it.  We’ll see you next Tuesday.”  The idiot dentist pulls the infected tooth and  the infection rages out of control.  A month later,a doctor is telling me, ” This is really serious.  You could die.”  I walk out with a referral to an ENT and enough prescriptions to start my own pharmacy.

After CAT scans, blood tests, specialists and way too many hours sitting in doctor’s waiting rooms, I’m really regretting NOT paying attention to maintaining a healthy life balance.

Oh, I’m so back on the “wagon” when it comes to diet and exercise – the sleep thing just follows naturally when I’m doing the first two.

It could be that the purpose of your life is only to serve as a warning to others.

Don’t wait until you’re making the rounds of various doctor’s offices to pay attention to the “basics” you need to achieve success.  Trust me, productivity takes a NOSE DIVE when you’re spending your days in a doctor’s waiting room!

If the three legged stool is in balance – exercise, eat right and adequate sleep – then you have a firm foundation upon which to operate your business.   If you think you can “cheat” the system – think again.   It’s true – an ounce of prevention is really worth a pound of cure!

I thought I was invincible – and I discovered I’m human.    I guess that discovery is just another part of the aging process!

This blog post is part of Stacey Hoffer Weckstein’s “Life Balance Group Writing Project“.

Is it egotistical and arrogant, or confident and self assured?

Last week, I had a startling “dress down” via email. I have to admit… I was shocked! I mean, I’m a cuddly, lovable ball of fluff filled with marshmallow goodness! Yet when I put forth this self-description to friends and family… they dissolved into a puddle of hysterical giggles. Then I see where Catherine Lawson wrote about “Do you think you know it all“… oops…. maybe I do.

She links to James’ article “The Classic Entrepreneur” over at Men with Pens.

An entrepreneur is more than just a person who strikes up a business. There are specific personality traits and quirks that make up the classic profile of an entrepreneur – and they’re not very flattering.

His post continues…bull headed, control freaks are terms that appear at headers. Other unflattering terms such as “egotistical” appear under these headers.

OUCH! It appears that I am suffering from the classic symptoms of entrepreneur-itis which is pronounced by some people as “bossy, know it all jerk”.

However, I’ve been candy coating those descriptive terms. Instead of “egostical” I prefer “confident”. “Bull headed” is labeled with the much more flattering term “self confident”.  Am I being sef delusional?

I’m not alone in my struggle. IttyBiz offers a tongue in cheek “quiz” with the post Getting More Jobs: Are You Cocky Or Do You Have Balls?. The next post references the backlash unleashed as a result.

I admit, I thrashed about the evening following my stern dressing down. I thrashed… while Naomi found pay dirt with “Entrepreneurship: What To Do When You’re Scared Sh*tless

She’s right.  It all boils down to fear.  It makes sense that the emotion I was battling was fear.  She was right… as soon as I labeled that monster, I was able to process it effectively.

When I began this “self employment” journey a decade ago, I came from a position where I was PAID because people liked me. The more people who “liked” me, the more money I made. That’s the way the ad game is played. I sold my agency’s services to business owners who were successful enough to have built a business big enough to hire an agency. None of us had a functioning accurate crystal ball. They signed because we “clicked”. When they signed, I heard “Ka-ching!”

Talk above Pavlov and his experiments…. they like me, I make money. They don’t and not only do I not get rewarded with a nice big check, but my actions are reviewed and I get to meet with the agency owner to “improve” my process.

So it makes sense that my fear would be based upon some well founded experience.  They like me… I make money.  They don’t like me… my kids don’t eat.

Customers can’t measure quality… they can however decide whether they like me.

So I’ll work on making sure “confident” doesn’t escalate into “egotistical” … because really, isn’t egotistical just a matter of “confidence on steroids”.

One thing about it…. my blog and it’s readers will certainly let me know when I stray into “egotistical” land.