Find the AMAZING

One of the “Amazing!” things I was blessed to see this week.

A small lizard I caught while working in the yard. My daughter’s friend was probably more “amazed” that I was letting it bite my finger..
Lizardingarden

 

Apparently, I’m known for saying, “That’s Amazing!” often. Whether it is what I see in nature, in music, in business, with people, etc. There are just a lot of amazing things out there.

The image below is part of a birthday card my youngest daughter made for me several years ago. It depicts me, looking at a sunset over some mountains and exclaiming, “That’s Amazing!” It related to how I see life, people, and my clients. Click on the image to read more about being AMAZED and how it related to the coaching I do.
That's Amazing

You did your best and other lies

Want to achieve more? Want to have greater success? Want to have more confidence?
I did my best and other lies

I’ll assume you are nodding yes. Or struggling not to.

If you want these things, you need to stop lying to yourself.

One of the pet phrases I believe hinders people’s growth is, “You did your best!” Or perhaps you’ve said it to yourself.

“I did my best.”

A variation on this is when I speak about some past failure, a time when I did not reach the goal I’d set, someone is bound to say..

“You did your best at the time.”

I understand the sentiment. People want to build you up. They want you to feel okay – that mistakes or missed goals are a “part of the process.”

Here is the problem with that phrase and sentiment.

In many case, I didn’t do my best. I did far less than my best. I, quite frankly, blew it!

And it doesn’t matter what the reason or excuse is. Perhaps I didn’t have the talent or I was too ambitious/far-reaching given my current resources, or I was lazy. Or I lost interest.

Whatever the case, there are times – many times – that our failures are caused by us failing to do our best or even close to our best.

When we “fail” to recognize this – when we gloss it over with pet-phrases like:

“I did the best I could at the time.”

or, when someone wishes to explain away my failure (or their failure) they offer…

“Everything happens for a reason!”

Yuck!! Yes.. there was a reason. The reason is often that I (and you) DID NOT do our best! Sorry.. you didn’t!

Personally, I hate the pandering comments that people use to try to make me feel better about those times when I did not do my best. It feels so dishonest. I’ve spoken to others who feel the same.

I don’t believe that such comments really help you feel better about yourself. In fact, I am certain of it. I’m certain it feels a sketchy and dishonest. A little bit slimy.

Now, of course,  you might be saying, “Umm.. thanks Matt. I feel lousy about myself or this failure and you don’t want others to encourage me?”

Au contraire my friend. I do want them to encourage you. I want you to encourage yourself. I want this blog to encourage you!

Part of recognizing that you DID NOT do your best when you, in fact, DID NOT do your best means you recognize clearly you could have done better. That you have the capacity to do better. That’s awesome! That means it is just a matter of resetting and executing!

Sometimes the truth is, what we need to hear the most is that we didn’t do our best and need to plan and execute better. The honesty is refreshing! It removes excuses and give a much clearer and honest perspective on what needs to be done!

Below are some steps for when you next blow it; when you next “fail!” at a given endeavor
[....and I can hear someone getting ready to quote Thomas Edison about not failing but finding 1,000 ways to NOT build a lightbulb.. Shhhh.. stop… I get it. But the truth is, he had lightbulbs that clearly failed and he knew it. He then went back, planned, executed, and improved! HE KNEW HE COULD DO BETTER!!!]

What to do when you didn’t do your best:

  1. Recognize it honestly as a sub-par performance

  2. Don’t excuse it.

  3. Determine why (lazy, poor planning, failed execution, etc.)

  4. Reset goal
    don’t disband your goal and do not give up!

  5. Plan for the new goal (quickly – read why action beats analysis)

  6. Execute better and more consistently.

The truth is, you probably still won’t do your best. It’s hard to sustain the energy to do your best every day at every moment. But doing your best occasionally and doing “well-enough”  or “really good” most of the time is probably going to result in great success!!

By the way, this blog entry was not my best on the subject but I did execute and get it done! And I believe it is good enough for human consumption!!

2014 – My Year in Preview

I know.. a lot of people do their year in review around this time. I didn’t. I know what I achieved and what I did not. We can summarize big things quickly:

2013 Rapid Review:

  • New Book – Building Your I.T. Career
    This is a rebirth of sorts for me.

  • New Business – Pulse Infomatics, Inc.
    Much greater focus and a more concrete action-plan.

  • New Relationships
    This will make it into the preview as well.

  • A big move to Los Angeles
    The girl is attending a performing arts school. She was commuting an hour and fifty minutes by train – ONE WAY – high school. Now we are 4 miles from the school. Very exciting!

There were other significant events mind you (songs and other writings). But I’m going to stop at those as having the most concrete set points. I can sort of hang my hat on those accomplishments and say, “Well done!”

Now What?

And today, January 1st, 2014 (er.. January 2nd), the question becomes, “Now what?”

I’m not asking this question today. As indicated in my prior post, The Resolution Farce, January 1st is not a day for making resolutions. It is a day to reflect, assess, and refine motion forward. The items I cover in in the preview of 2014 are things I’ve been thinking about and working on for some time.

I’ll break them into personal and professional – although for some things, the lines can get a little bit blurry. For instance, relationships often cross over between personal and professional. My work at learning to draw as well.. it is primarily a personal endeavor but I do, at some point, wish to create a book of sketches and writings.. ala Eric Sloane or Shel Silverstein.

You get the picture… (pun). And to that, here is my 3rd drawing.
A glass jar on my coffee table

Important to note: I have not put the items in either category into order of priority or importance. Also, I reserve the right to alter/adjust this list and perhaps add new items as needed.

Personal Items to Work on/Achieve for 2014

The following is a sort of FILDI manifesto!

Relationships

I don’t often write about my divorces. Yeah.. that’s plural kids.. I’m obviously not very good at this marriage thing. But an interesting thing happens when you married and when you are divorced.. Many of your relationships are part of, or built into, the marriage. Other married couples, etc. And one person in the marriage often runs the social calendar.

Post divorce, I discovered that people take sides or don’t really know what to do with you. Also, I have been out of circulation for a bit of time. I don’t really have people I hang out with.

My youngest daughter asked me why I don’t hang out with friends more often. And then I had a conversation with the older daughter about this as well. She and my friend Mike from high school both said something like, “Invite to be invited.”

So, don’t be surprised if you get invited to something I am doing.

Oh.. and officially, I don’t date so it isn’t that kind of relationship I am talking about. As I like to say, “My daughter is my girl and music is my mistress.”

The other part of this relationship thing is family. My children, my siblings, my parents, cousins, aunts and uncles, etc. I plan to work on these relationships too. It could be an even scarier piece of the puzzle – but I plan to enjoy it.

Drawing

I’ve always wanted to draw. I’ve spent 30 years telling people I cannot draw a straight line. Low and behold, in speaking to some pretty good artist, I’ve discovered that is a bad way to determine if you can draw. Straight lines are no small feat. But in general, I’ve always had an affinity towards pencil or pen drawings.

We were at the bookstore and there were sketchbooks on sale. My daughter wanted one so I bought her one but also bought one for myself. The above image is one of my first sketches. I’ve put it under “personal” items because, at this point, it’s a bit presumptuous to roll it into my professional life. Future goal, however, is a book of writings and sketches. I’ll post occassional sketches on my blog.

Fitness

I went to the doctor back in 2013. When they took my pulse, they took it a second time to be sure. 49 bpm. That’s pretty low for 47 (now 48). And low in a good way – good blood pressure, etc. He said, “You are in pretty good shape for a 30 year old.”  Hee hee. I thought that was pretty funny of him.

I do plan, however, to drop some more weight – mostly through portion control and upping my veggie to protein ratio. I also plan to start doing Yoga. I keep being told I would like it and it would help bring my fitness into a more rounded and emotional space. I am not sure what that means but, sure, we’ll give it a try.

Reading Fiction

I used to read a lot! But the truth is, I haven’t read a complete work of fiction in more than 10 years. As I plan to start on a novel this year (see writing below), it would probably be a good idea to read a couple. I have one sitting on my bedside table that my daughter asked me to read. I started it and am 10 pages into it…. after 3 months. Hmm…. Yeah, more reading is in order.

Professional Items to Work on/Achieve for 2014

Writing (books, articles, blogs)

My heroes have also been authors and now I am one. I sometimes forget this fact although I LOVE bantering around phrases like, “I was talking with my editor and…” It doesn’t matter what comes after that. The “and” is incidental. It is the fact that I used the phrase “my editor” in complete honesty. That means I have “an editor” that I can somehow lay claim to. She’s mine! (hi Mary Beth).

I have some other editors too but she’s my first.. sort of de-virginized me into the publishing world. And your first holds a special place right? She does for me!

I’ve been blessed to be published in book form, articles, essays, and even some poetry. I plan to do more of this for 2014. And across multiple disciplines. In fact, blogging is a big one. I have been negligent and half in/half out, for the most part of 2013. There will be a schedule and there will be blogging.

Finally, I have an official treatment and some notes on a novel idea that has been running around my head for several years. Sort of a Southern lit/John Grisham crossover novel. There is some family history in the story and then some embellishment.. and even a murder or two. I will start that novel this year.

Consulting & Coaching & Speaking (oh my)

Pulse Infomatics, Inc.

I launched Pulse Infomatics, Inc. this year. I already linked to it above. Basically, once we decided that we were moving into the heart of the beast (downtown Los Angeles), I figured I was near a LOT OF BUSINESS. Burbank, Pasadena, Glendale, and surrounding areas.

I’ve got some aggresssive goals with Pulse and have a new sales director working with me. What we do at Pulse is create custom reporting and document assembly systems. Basically, we consult companies and customize software to pull data from multiple systems into a single, consolidated series of reports. We also do document and contract assembly.

However, much of year 1 will be focused on helping small businesses connect Quickbooks to SQL Server and other databases.

CIO/CTO/I.T. Departmental Coaching

I’ve been asked to coach a couple small I.T. departments on better business communications and more proactive I.T. solutions. This is far less technical and more about business acumen and recognizing how and where they are valuable to the organization. There is also a solution design component that requires the I.T. group to be more aware of (empathetic) to how their users actually work. How the business actually makes money.

This is fun work and there is a lot of self-discovery. There is also some weird push-back from I.T. professionals who feel you sacrifice technical skills to be a better communicator and to better understand the business. I could not disagree more… and that is what makes this fun!

Music / Songwriting

I write some good songs! There! I said it! It’s not arrogance to say that. It’s a realistic self-assessment. In the same way that I knew/know I could write for pay, and did in short order once I started, I know this about my songwriting.

I have some wonderful connections into that community and plan to both record my own songs and also place my songs with younger, prettier, and more talented people. I was asked whether it would bother me if someone else took one of my songs and it went big! I was like, “Yeah.. that would be awful. I would cry with every royalty check deposited.” NOT!!

And lest I forget, I’m starting the Hillside Village House Concerts. This is not so much a professional item for me – I won’t make anything with them.  - In reality is is more a relationship item but it falls under music as well, so that is where I’ve put it.

Video & Audio Podcasting/video updates

I’ve been half-in/half-out of this world for too long. I’ve had a couple well-received podcast and won business through my tech and business update videos. But I have a more lofty and aggressive agenda in this area.

Basic updates and music

I started last year (and even the year prior) at consolidating my online presence. I’ll be updating the MatthewMoranOnline youtube channel more diligently. I’ll also post general updates, rants, technical tutorials, and information about and for songwriters and artist. And if that doesn’t cover enough, anything else that comes to mind.

Documentary style production

I’m going to start small here. But, I’m a HUGE fan of This American Life on NPR. I think it is the most well-produced and interesting radio show ever!!. Ira Glass has some great storytelling resources online. I’m not sure what I’ll produce but some of it will be autobiographical. They say, write and produce what you know.. and I’m getting to know me. Other topics include: dogs, parenting, music, and whatever else catches my eye.

Conclusion

So, there you have it. 2014 neatly bundled and wrapped, ready to be devoured and shared all at the same time.

I would love to hear what your 2014 plans are. Even a single item you are going to put into play! And I mean Play!!! Let me know in the comments below!

The Resolution Farce

I don’t do New Year’s resolutions. I don’t recommend them. I do, however, have no problem with people establishing goals and using some demarcation point – the New Year is fine – as a time of assessment.

NOTE: I have not checked for usage and grammar. If that hangs you up, you probably aren’t going to achieve your goal anyway. Get over it!
- the management

The problem with resolutions is that people make grandiose plans to completely change their life based on this demarcation point. The problem is, they have not developed, nor clearly thought through the discipline, internal integrity, and the skills necessary to implement such a change.

It is because New Year’s Resolutions are a farce and have failure built in to them.

For instance, Diet & Exercise:

This is a big one for the resolution crowd. They’ll decide, sometimes prior to Thanksgiving, that they will eat anything and everything without any governance or temperance as a way to “get it out of their system,” prior to starting their new Diet and Exercise regimen after the New Year.

Armed with a new workout outfit and bag of gear, plus a year’s membership to a nice expensive gym, and a trainer, they determine that January 1st is “their time.”

The problem is, they’ve trained themselves only in compromise and putting it off until some future point. They’ve already determined that “change” isn’t something they really want.. they want the result and they are fine with that change occurring in the future. They are committed to their current lifestyle because they don’t really want to give it up.

They hit the gym – day 1 – excited. They, and the other resolutes, show up and congratulate each other. They workout, they sweat, they meet after at the juice bar and “replenish” with a wheat grass shake.

Day 2 – their sore! Oops. Day 3, their even more sore. And well, you don’t want to injure yourself. Plus, they’ll be back on it by Day 4 or 5.

There are variations on the theme but by about mid-January, most have missed 2-3 workouts. Because workouts are NOT how they view life. They’ve also been dipping into those sweets and pies and other stuff left-over from the holidays. Can’t let that shit spoil!

Diet and exercise are impositions on the life they’ve trained for. In fact, they went into a hardcore boot camp through the holidays. Eat whatever, whenever, to get it “out of their system.” Remember?

And by February, they’ve “failed” at the resolution. Once you’ve failed at the resolution – because the resolution is always a “future” item, it is easy to now point to some other future point – the beginning of February. President’s day! The start of spring. June 1st. The end of summer.

Soon –  because the future is always soon – we are starting November where it is pretty easy to see New Year’s around the corner. They can they say, “Okay.. after the holidays I am gonna do it!” Lather – Rinse – Repeat!

The resolute life

I have no problem with resolutions per se – but trust me, if the resolution is in the form of, “after the holidays” or “after this pack of cigarettes is gone” or “after this week I’ll get serious about my business” – you are simply NOT ready to make the change. There is no “after…” in a resolute life.

There is only the next resolved action.

This is helpful because you will fail and/or slip up repeatedly – particularly as you change the way you live and think.

Diet and Exercise in a resolute life:

Again, using this because it is a common one but the concept applies across business, finance, relationships, etc. It is ultimately about creating repeatable patterns – and avoiding destructive patterns – or at least avoiding patterns that do not fit your resolute life.. your goals.

“I’m taking a walk today and I’m going to eat a little less and a little better today. “

And then you do it. It leads to two things.. 1 – a small success, 2 – you are hungry.

Pre-determined actions/patterns

This is where patterns and pre-determined actions come in.

You see, if any tells you, you can lose weight without ever feeling anything like hunger, they are lying to you. I repeat, they are lying to you! If they tell you, you can “intend” to lose weight or that there is a magical pill – lying again.

They key to making a change in anything and avoiding failure as much as possible, is to pre-determine actions that break destructive or unwanted actions or patterns.

What is not intentional is usually accidental

Here is the thing about breaking patterns. You cannot just identify the new pattern or habit, you need to have a pre-determined way to address the old habit. If not, it will just happen.

So, let’s visit diet again. I don’t believe there is anything wrong with having ice cream or chocolate. I love those things. I’m particularly fond of vanilla ice cream or rocky road. I can eat a LOT of it. Multiple large servings.

So.. for me, I keep it to a single small scoop or a small cone 1 time a week. This is NOT a cheat day! It isn’t even a reward. It is simply the pattern for my diet. I do NOT buy a half-gallon of ice cream. I buy a small cone – and tell whoever is making it to make it 1/3rd the size they normally make it. Or I buy one of those small cups of Haagen Daaz at the store.

I allow myself 1 per week but I’ll be honest, I probably eat 1 per month. It just doesn’t figure into my day to day that often.

On the other hand, if I have 2 in a week, that’s okay too.. but my pattern is pretty much established.

If you are going to a friend’s house and you know there will be pie, cake, etc. eat it! That’s all good. Just have MUCH smaller portions and NO seconds.

Filling your plate for dinner.. fill it and then remove 2/3rds of it. That’s probably enough.

And have your snacks.. just not chocolate. Don’t have it around and lie to yourself and say you won’t eat it. Instead, buy celery, cut green peppers, etc. – without ranch dressing. Just don’t have the option available to you.

Soda’s? Just don’t! Juice either.. you don’t need it around the house.

If you pre-determine key actions, they won’t surprise you. You know what is coming up in your day!

If you do not predetermine (get intentional) with easily identifiable patterns and actions, you will “accidentally” repeat the same old pattern.

In Summary

Resolutions that have a future start date – specifically one that provides allowance for continuing bad, destructive or unwanted patterns, indicate a lack of readiness to make the change. The future date won’t help you. It will only reinforce that you can always “do it in the future.”

Like the song says, “Someday Never Comes.”

Instead of working on your New Year’s Resolutions, work on your resolve and create your resolute life!

Some simple steps for goals and their achievement

  1. Determine the desired goal

  2. Determine daily actions that get you there

  3. Identify patterns that derail you or work against you

  4. Create pre-determined actions that circumvent or do not allow for those patterns
    (intentional versus accidental)

  5. Put your first small action in play today/immediately.

  6. Resolve to reset daily if there is a set back (and there will be)

  7. Lather – Rinse – Repeat

What are your thoughts?

 

Wishes, Wants, and Needs

I was going through some old photos and found this picture that my older daughter took one day while we were on walk near my house.
I want more than 9 to 5

I love the sentiment. I’m not a big fan of graffiti, although, it is on a dumpster and is NOT gang related, so… I’m okay with it. Plus it gave me a blog topic. WIN!

I Wish, I Want! I Need, I Got!

I heard this phrase years ago from a motivational speaker. The idea is that if we “wish” we had something or could do something (I wish I was a writer.), we’ll always want it. On the other hand, if we make that “wish” a need (I need to be a writer), we’ll make it happen.

I don’t agree. That is far too simple!

There are all sorts of things people “need” that they do NOT go after with the focus necessary to achieve them. And there are plenty of “wants” we make happen that are clearly not needs.

I know many people who want things… wanna be I.T. professionals I’ve met through my book, wanna be performing musicians, wanna-be consultants and wanna be authors. But they are not those things.

The difference between the “wanna-be’s” and the “be’s” is sort of simple.. It’s the “being”. It’s the work.

There are a LOT of people who want more than 9-5. – but are not willing to put in the work needed. Incidentally, if you want more than 9-5, you are going to “be” more than 9-5. What I mean is that it is going to require more than 9-5 to get more than 9-5.

Especially initially. Unless you are a trust fund baby (if you are, contact me please, I have  wants too), you are likely going to have to work – sort of like a regular Joe – an everyday job to pay the bills, while simultaneously and in your “extra” time, putting the things into place that allow you to get that want or be that thing.

For instance, if you want to be a writer – you are going to have your regular job, paying your bills, and then, mornings/evenings, you are going to write.

As I wrote many years ago in my blog entry – A writer defined, “The Noun is wrapped up In the verb.” In order to be the thing (the noun), you must do the thing (the verb) that the thing (the noun) does.

  • Writers write!
  • Performing songwriters write songs and perform them!
  • Consultants consult!
  • I.T. Professionals learn and put technology into place!
  • People who want more than 9-5, put in more than 9-5.

What is stopping you?

I’ll give you a short-list of things I see that stop people from doing the work that turns “wanna-be” into “be.”

T.V.

This one always gets me. “I don’t have enough time in my day.” And then, in speaking to them, they’ve watched an entire season of “Breaking Bad” or “The Sopranos” or “The Dome” or whatever! Football, baseball, hockey, dancing with the stars, etc. Hey, I like Justified! I’ve seen most of season #1 and some of season #2… some.

Sports teams/fantasy football, etc.

I’m talking playing on a team or spending hours each week on your fantasy football. Hey, I get it. But I don’t really. At least not until you’ve done enough time-slicing and allocation of effort to put things into place. Don’t tell me, for instance, about your great book/story idea that you just cannot get to because you are too busy – and then tell me about your various sporting activities – watching or playing.

Time-sucking friends

There are friends who are more than willing to steal your time. They will even tell you that you can do whatever it is later. Stop hanging out with them. The real friend is going to say, “Why don’t we get together at the end of the week AFTER you’ve done X work towards what you want to be.”

If they say, “You can do that later. Come out with us tonight.”BEWARE!!!! Or don’t complain that your “wanna be” is still just that..

This image was posted on Facebook recently. I re-posted it because it made me laugh. It’s true not just for writers but for anyone who wants to turn their wanna-be’s into be’s.
the muse writers really need

Inspiration is NOT your problem. Perspiration is… ie: DO THE WORK!!

The noun is wrapped up in the verb!

Action Beats Analysis Every Time

I’ve been meaning to get to this topic for a few weeks now. My schedule hasn’t permitted it. I know that oft-quoted phrase comes to mind.. “Want something done, ask a busy person.”

In my case, however, I exceeded my bandwidth (bandwidth: a fancy term for how much work I can get done in the time allotted) over the past couple of weeks. However, I think that is probably a good thing. I’ve had to take a look at what I am working on and evaluate my commitments and focus.

Why you should act quicker and spend less time “thinking”

This blog post is largely written for a friend. They know who they are… but it applies to a lot of people I know in the midst of trying to grow their career, their business, or embark on any journey that involves accomplishing something.

It is based on the following truism. Something I repeat often.

MOST PEOPLE UNDER-ACT AND OVER-THINK!

Or as my father told me,
“DO SOMETHING! MOST PEOPLE DON’T!”

My friend has introduced me to a number of ideas that he/she has for business. At this point, I’ve become mostly numb to the ideas. Not because they aren’t good ideas, I think many/most of them are. I’ve simply taken to asking the following question.

“What is your next step?”

It is at this point, the conversation moves into a need to run numbers and analyze the market and… and… and…

“Cool! Let me know when that’s done.”

In the past 6 or 7 years, it is never done.

On many occasions I’ve told them they need to act – get something/anything moving and then adjust it from there. Their concern/concept is that spending a little more time analyzing and planning will provide a greater chance of success.

I disagree. I believe that such analysis precludes the acquisition of true knowledge and analysis; knowledge and analysis gained only through action.

So I’ll explain the numbers and provide a graphic that represents my thinking on the idea.

We’re smarter than we think

I believe we get about 70-90% of the way to an idea and the necessary action almost immediately.

The net add by taking twice as much time to analyze an idea or opportunity does not result in doubling our knowledge or accuracy about what action we should take. In fact, I would, unscientifically, gauge the increase in knowledge to be less than 10% more.

The real learning occurs during the implementation

The problem with over-analysis is that regardless of all the analysis and models we might create, the real learning about our ideas and their implementation, come during the implementation.

In fact, entire business plans, ideas, marketing direction, and focus comes not from the pre-action analysis but in seeing our plans put into play in the market. For example, we discover that while we were focusing on providing clients “X” service that what they ended up wanting was “Y” and we adjust accordingly.

Businesses and produces have been redefined in this way. I would suggest that while our initial brainstorming of ideas gets us 70-90% of the way to as good an action plan as we are going to get, that the analysis that comes during initial implementation will actually result in another 70-90% leap in knowledge. By putting off action for extended analysis, we end up pushing back our real learning – a doubling or more of our knowledge for a 5% gain of mostly theoretic knowledge.

Truth is, I feel those numbers are conservative. I believe action results in the true idea and that the initial analysis was a guess.

Faster action begets faster action

I also believe that faster analysis to action is a trait or skill that develops as you do it more. Meaning, if you have never really acted on an idea quickly, it is likely that your initial idea is only 70% developed as opposed to 80-90% developed. People who frequently analyze and act quickly are more likely to be better at rapid analysis – creating better/more complete plans.

But in the end, it DOES NOT MATTER!

If someone only takes their idea to 70% readiness before acting and then acts, learns, and adjust – taking their idea 70% further down the road, they are still better off than spending double the time analyzing the idea to take it to 80% of readiness. Because, as I’ve suggested above, the 70% or 80% is mostly meaningless. Their real learning, the validity and adjustments to the idea, are going to occur during that initial implementation.

To represent this in timeframe, let’s say that an initial idea is developed over a 4 week period. And let’s say the idea is at somewhere around 70% readiness. Taking another 4 weeks of analysis and action might get it to 75-80% readiness.

Then, upon action, the real learning begins. As ideas are implemented, the idea changes nearly 70% in the first 4 weeks of action.

This 70% change/growth of knowledge would have occurred in the 4 weeks following the initial idea; that the additional 5-10% gained in the 2nd four weeks of analysis provided little to no true value.

All it did was hinder the growth of ideas that occurred during the actual implementation. The extra analysis time was, in fact, a hindrance to the idea moving forward.

The truth is much worse

But here is the real kicker. From what I’ve seen of those who spend more time in analysis than action, the numbers are far worse.

Typically, the idea for a business is created in a 2-4 week period of time. The after/extra analysis occurs over a 2-6 month period of time – without any true action. And I believe that net knowledge gained over that 2-6 months is probably less than 10% greater than the knowledge they had after 2-4 weeks.

Furthermore, it is meaningless knowledge because within 2-4 weeks of implementing an idea, they will have developed 70-90% of new and adjusted knowledge. Knowledge and analysis that CAN NEVER be discovered with analysis alone.

The analysis done during action – during implementation – is the real analysis that proves and develops the idea.

A visual representation of action over analysis

The following two graphics show the development of knowledge during action versus simply analysis and planning alone.

This is my experience and is what I see and have read about as the experience of other entrepreneurs.

Graphic 1 shows a longer time of analysis, the knowledge gained, and then what occurs during action.
action-beats-analysis-01

Graphic 2 shows a shorter time of analysis and much greater knowledge gained due to a more rapid start of action.
action-beats-analysis-02

Again.. I’m not pointing to some scientific study of this.. this is what I’ve experienced and it is the experience of those entrepreneurs and careerist I’ve seen make the greatest strides forward in their professional life… or their hobby for  that matter.

Change “Look at Me” to “Learn From Me”

Look at me! Look at me!Everyone is trying to win in the social networking marketing space. But while they do so, I watch them use their social networks primarily to say…. No SHOUT, “LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME!”.

Unfortunately, in the crowded, and often loud world, of social media marketing, this amounts to annoying static. It rarely results helping the shouter grow their business in any significant way. In fact, it turns people off.

Become a teacher and say, “Learn from me.”

Instead of a social media marketing plan, you need an education plan. You need to change what you are saying from “Look at me” to “Learn from me.”

And I don’t mean, learn about my products or my services.. that’s just a disguised form of “Look at me.”

Often, when I try to direct some clients or peers on using a “Learn from me” model, what I find is they end up with something that looks like/sounds like:

  • Here is the best ways to use our product.
  • Here is how our services can best serve you.
  • Here are 10 unique ways that our customers use our products.
  • Let us educate you on how our services differ.

Again, another form of “Look at me!” It’s awful to watch – embarrassing really.

Give information away so that, if they are capable, they can do it without you! In fact, educate yourself out of a job! I promise it works.

A lesson from the consulting world

Several years ago, when I had my first consulting company, I used to give a lot of free workshops. I’d cover network scripting, office automation, web applications, group security concepts, and other technical know-how.

When I gave these presentations, I provided the real knowledge – behind the scenes / under the hood – what you should be doing. I gave my presentations away with samples. I didn’t hold information back for the “real workshop” – the $299 but get it today for $199 bait and switch. I hate those seminars! You do too.

The result is that I can track our 4 largest clients over 2.5 years as having come directly from one of these free workshops. Additionally, we won several smaller clients as well. These, in turn, became referrals to other clients.

Learn from me by the numbers

Let’s examine the numbers. Now, this is largely by memory, so it is not a scientific analysis of the effectiveness of this method of “marketing.” And make no mistake, it is marketing. I’ll explain the psychology of the effective workshop below.

I knew that if 20 people attended my workshop and I covered a specific technical discipline, that between 3-8 of them could run with my information and start using the technology immediately. They didn’t need me. In fact, some of those people became resources – stretching the technology more than I had in a short period of time. That’s great! I’m glad to have been of assistance and they were grateful I’d shared the knowledge.

Another few would never hire me either. They simply didn’t have the need or the money. Again, that’s okay. At a minimum, those people knew I had knowledge and that I shared that knowledge. That doesn’t suck for sure!

But, out of our theoretical 20 people, there were 8-14 that were very interested in having me speak to them. Between 2-5 of them were ready to do something right away. And even if they had the in-house talent, they didn’t have the available time to allocate to the project. These became clients.

They didn’t just become clients for that technology, however. Because, once we were in the door, we found other places we could help. We started with logon scripts using kixtart for one client and ended up doing more than $150,000 in additional projects in our first 6 months. That’s pretty good pay for a 1 hour free workshop.

The Podium Imparts Credibility/ The psychology of the educator

Let me explain why being a teacher/ workshop leader/ educator is a great marketing strategy.

People buy on trust and in knowing that you can make their problem go away.. or something like that. I’m talking services but there is a reasonable equivalent with products.

I work with a number of entrepreneurs and executives on their presentation skills. Some are nervous that they won’t share some dramatic new information with their audience. They are afraid that most of the audience will know a good deal about their topic – and there are times this is true.

However, I explain that the “podium imparts credibility.” If you give a decent, high-energy, presentation and you are telling the bulk of your audience things they already knew, you are considered pretty smart. Because, well, your attendee knows he is pretty smart and you reinforced what he knew… therefore, you are an expert.

And you are bound to share one small piece of information, either hard knowledge or a perspective that is new to many of those attending. The combination of this small bit of new knowledge and those ideas you reinforced that they already knew, establishes you as a bona fide expert.

You almost cannot lose!

Don’t be boring

Al Gore learned this – you can too. I won’t discuss in detail but whether a public presentation or content for your blog, website, or social network, boring is a kiss of death!

Go forth and educate

You want a powerful social media presence? You want people to return to you again and again?

Give them true knowledge. Enough knowledge that they won’t need you..

When you do that, they’ll need you!

My book gets some reviews.. both bad and good, plus other stuff

There is a danger in reading book reviews…. well.. specifically, my own book’s review.

In this video I talk about a bad review, a good review, my content schedule, and some t-shirts for my song, This Star-Spangled Life of Mine.

Per the video.. my content schedule is (for now):

  • Monday: Video update (what’s coming up this week plus anything else)
  • Tuesday: Tech Tip Tuesday or Tech & Tips Tuesday
    I might cover more than simply technology.. but something useful.
  • Wednesday: The I.T. Career Toolkit Podcast
  • Friday: Friday Recap
    Things I’ve seen, read, done, or thought about this week.

Keynotes and workshops for career & professional development, I.T. departments, business innovation & creativity, and more…

keynotes and workshops with Matthew MoranWith the upcoming release of my book, I’ve updated the presentations and topics I speak on. The list will continue to evolve but if you are looking for a keynote speaker or workshop for your organization, I would love to speak with you.

“Silicon Valley Knowledge with a Jimmy Buffett Attitude!”
Bob Groom -

Download my speaker and keynote information sheet that provides some background information. You can also download an information sheet for my new book, Building Your I.T. Career.

The IT Career Builder's Toolkit has become Building Your I.T. Career

If you have any questions or comments, you can contact me or leave them in the comments section below.

 

Professional musicians, entrepreneurship, primadonna singers, and why you are stuck in your career

baby crying

stop whining about your career NOT progressing and do something about it!

Admittedly, this is, at least in part a RANT driven by frustrating conversations over the past 3 years. However, there is an underlying message here that you shouldn’t miss. It applies as much to musicians and artists as it does to new and experienced I.T. professionals..

Heck.. it applies to anyone who hopes to move their career forward.

Premise: Your fastest way to earn more money in a given professional area is to do it for FREE!!!!

There are those who disagree and I respect their right to have an opinion. I don’t respect the opinion because they are just wrong! DO NOT LISTEN TO THEM!!!

Scenario: The “I must be paid to perform because I am a professional” artist

Several years ago, I was referred to a vocal coach and performer who was frustrated with their personal career and wanted to move it forward. They have some talent. They had also spent a great deal of money recording a CD – with hired musicians, a producer, and professional mixing. They have nearly 3,000 copies of said CD.

These CD’s were mostly in boxes in her garage, collecting dust. I suggested she needed to get them and herself in front of people. Her response was that she was a “professional singer” and therefore needed to be paid for any engagement.

My thought was that the word “professional” had somehow changed definition to “foolishly stubborn”.

As we spoke about the situation more, it was revealed that, other than her vocal coaching, she had performed 2 times in the prior year as a paid performer. Twice!

I have to explain something.. if you are a professional eye doctor (insert any profession) and you do 2 eye exams over the course of the year, you are failing at your profession.

She is clearly not a “professional” singer.. she is a hobbyist who is sometimes paid to sing.

Later I approached her when my band was looking for a backing and shared lead vocalist. She said she could not refer any of her students because members of my band are not paid for every gig. She told me, her students want to be professionals. Ummm… you mean, like her – perform two times a year and have 3,000 drink coaster..er. CD’s in boxes?

It is true that those who perform with my band are “members.” ie: they are looking to build something and grow it – and reap a reward for doing so. This means, they are not paid unless we make money. Fair! Yes!

And they are professional – in demeanor, skill, and approach to music.

You see, until you are in enough demand, have grown your base, have proven your worth in the open market, whether computer professional, accountant, consultant, or building contractor, you will work for free or pennies. With the subjective nature of the arts, even more so.

I’ve coached many computer professional to go find an internship – pay is not the issue – opportunity is. You must trade pay for opportunity!

Being highly trained is not what makes you a professional.. being professional, intelligent, and proactive makes you a professional. Pay follows the functional application, it does not precede it.

If you wish to be a writer, write for FREE!

I get the same response from some writers who refuse to write for free. Foolish children, listen closely.. and this is NOT new. If you wish to write professionally, write for free, intelligently, and with a specific outcome in mind – ie: growing your platform and public awareness of your work.

I know many “writers” who got their degree in journalism or some other writing specific degree. They believe they should now be paid as writers. On the other hand, I’ve coached two WRITERS (truly writers because they wrote stuff) this year. Both got published and both have gotten paid for their work.

Imagine that.. While the “professionally trained” writers languish and complain about the lack of opportunity, the “entrepreneurial-minded,” proactive, write-for-free writers will get paid for their work.

Opportunity is NOT being taken advantage of!

I’ve gladly provided free and/or low-cost services in order to be given a project of my liking! I don’t consider it being taken advantage of by those who allow me the privilege of learning a new skill in a truly applied professional setting. I do so because I believe I can leverage that talent, experience, and those connections down the road.

Once, I was looking for an intern and got some strange responses. While I found a few, intelligent and proactive people to take on the work, I received “hate” email for taking advantage of people and not paying them.

Note to whoever believes free interning is taking advantage of people:

You are foolish beyond belief!

Interning is the fastest, most effective way, to open up doors, build your professional network, and create a portfolio of what you are capable of. Plus, I give those who intern with me, amazing knowledge and opportunity to learn new things – to apply what they’ve learned in theory (in school) and put it into actual practice. Quite frankly, and I am being sincere, I should be paid for the time and knowledge I give them.

Oh wait.. I am! They provide something of value – time and fledgling but developing talent. I provide opportunity and knowledge.

If you want to be a professional and move your career forward – singer, musician, artist, programmer, writer, actor, accountant, etc, – make sure the word “professional” is NOT a synonym for, “foolishly stubborn.”

Look for opportunity!

Agree? Disagree? Let me know.