Be distinct or be extinct

“Be distinct or be extinct.”

—Kevin Noland, CEO of A.D.A.M.

Poster proclaiming "So What?"

With ever increasing competition and transparency in the business world, buyers of products and services seem to have the upper hand. We are all just a few clicks away from having reasonable, accurate, and objective information on just about anything and anyone.

Have you ever heard of the “So What Test”? If not, imagine going to a networking event in which you are given 30 or 60 seconds to introduce yourself, your service, and perhaps your product. Now imagine if the person you are speaking with actually was rude enough to say, “So What?” aloud, instead of keeping this thought to themselves.

EXERCISE:

What is truly unique, special, and distinctive about you, your product, or service?

What could you share about what you have to offer that would raise a few more eyebrows?

What are the reasons people may be saying Yes to your competition and No to you more often than you would like?

Solitude is where I place my chaos

“Solitude is where I place my chaos to rest and awaken my inner peace.”

—Nikki Rowe, American Author

Image of woman sitting on a mountaintop

Image from Unsplash by Caleb Frith

In the book QUIET: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, Susan Cain indicates that about one half of the population fits into this group.

For a wide variety of reasons, introverts prefer, and often function better, when the volume of life is low.

It appears that all people – not just introverts – need to withdraw into periods of solitude and quiet, to rest and awaken their inner peace. Without such moments, we all wear out and burn out, and that isn’t good for anyone.

EXERCISE:

In what way can and will you start carving out more moments of solitude and quiet to discover greater calm, balance, and peace in your life?

You can preach a better sermon with your life than with your lips

“You can preach a better sermon with your life than with your lips.”

—Oliver Goldsmith, 18th Century Irish Poet

Over the past few years I have gained a great interest in history, with a particular emphasis on the lives of remarkable people who have shared our world.

In his book, The Road to Character, author David Brooks focuses on the deeper values that inform the lives of numerous pivotal figures. I had no knowledge of many of them before reading this book.

Introducing the terms “resumé virtues” and “eulogy virtues,” Brooks points to the external achievement of wealth, fame, and status, comparing them to qualities that lie at the core of our being, such as kindness, bravery, honesty, and faithfulness. How we balance the two types of virtues along our life journey represents the road to character we can choose to navigate and explore.

EXERCISE:

Who are the leaders and special individuals – today, and from the past – that helped you become the person you are today?

What examples did they set through their daily efforts as well as their words?

What sermons are you delivering each day in your personal and professional communities?

Friday Review of Adaptation

FRIDAY REVIEW: ADAPTATION

How easily do you adapt to changing circumstances? Here are a few adaptation-related posts you may have missed. Click on the Quote to read the full message:

 

“Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday.”

 

 

 

 

“You will not stop a steamroller by standing in front of it, but by letting it run out of steam.”

 

 

 

“Nobody in the history of the world has ever washed their rental car.”

 

 

 

 

Not all storms come to disrupt your life

“Not all storms come to disrupt your life. Some come to clear your path.”

—Author Unknown

Image of a dark purple sky with lots of lightning

Image from Unsplash by Jeremy Thomas

Ever since I was a young boy, I’ve loved listening to the rain. I recall vividly the storms at summer camp – particularly at night, after a long day of playing, which was my job at the time.

In the morning, the air seemed extra fresh and clean, clearing the way for the start of a new day filled with adventures and new opportunities to explore.

Just as a storm during the day disrupted outdoor activities, so can the storms that enter our professional and personal worlds stop or detour us from our desired intentions.

EXERCISE:

How can you relate and interpret more of the storms in your life as moments to pause and reflect on how they may actually be clearing new paths for you to explore and pursue?

Experience and enthusiasm

“Experience and enthusiasm are two fine business attributes seldom found in one individual.”

—William Feather, 19th Century American Publisher

Image of a man leaping for joy on a mountain top

Image from Unsplash by Peter Conlan

How much experience do you have in your current profession?

How enthusiastic do you feel each morning as you head off to work?

If you are among the fortunate few, you would score high on each measure.

If, however you are like many people, you often begin your work efforts or new job with considerable enthusiasm, and only minimal or modest experience.

As time moves on and experience increases, many find their excitement and enthusiasm beginning to fade, sometimes to the point of reaching a dead end.

EXERCISE:

What strategies and approaches can and will you take on to maintain or – better yet – increase your current levels of enthusiasm? How might this help you gain greater experience and mastery in your chosen profession?

The thought is father to the deed

“The thought is father to the deed.”

—Sigmund Freud, 20th Century Austrian founder of psychoanalysis

Image of Sigmund Freud

Image from wisdomtoinspire.com

Sigmund Freud, who lived between 1856 and 1939, was the founder of psychoanalysis, a method used for treating mental illness, and a theory which explains human behavior.

Among his various contributions, he developed a topographical model of the mind. He proposed that the mind was analogous to an iceberg, with the conscious, subconscious, and unconscious minds representing different levels of awareness.

I suggest a bit of editing in today’s quote. Consider replacing the word “father” with “mother,” or at least adding it, given what is required for the conception and eventual birth of an idea, a person, and of course, their deeds.

EXERCISE:

How can you examine and explore your thinking on all levels to more fully conceive and give birth to your most meaningful and inspired actions, to better your world?

All rising to great place is by a winding stair

“All rising to great place is by a winding stair.”

—Sir Francis Bacon, 16th Century Lord Chancellor of England

Image of a winding staircase

Image from MTM

When I was a young boy, my family took a trip to New York City to see some sights and take in a show at Radio City Music Hall. We also had a fancy meal that included chocolate mousse in an edible chocolate shell. This was a very big deal even though we lived nearby in Philadelphia.

A highlight of our visit was walking up the winding staircase to the crown of the Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island, to view the harbor and the New York City skyline.

I distinctly remember the aching and burning in my legs as we climbed to this extraordinary vantage point.

EXERCISE:

What current or future staircases are you climbing – or will you climb – to reach the great places you intend to go? What will make the considerable effort worth the winding journey?

Friday Review of Character

FRIDAY REVIEW: CHARACTER

How would people describe your character?  Here are a few character-related posts you may have missed. Click on the links to read the full message.

 

“Be the kind of person you want in your life.”

 

 

 

 

 

“Out of your vulnerabilities will come your strength.”

 

 

 

 

“The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.”

 

 

 

In the arena of human life the honors

“In the arena of human life the honors and rewards fall to those who show their good qualities in action.”

—Aristotle, ancient Greek philosopher and scientist

Image of Aristotle

Image from classicalwisdom.com

Take out a piece of paper and list your very best qualities. Ask yourself what others in your personal and professional worlds would add to this list given your modest and humble nature.

Create a second list of qualities you most admire in those around you that may not have made it onto your first list.

Rate yourself on the level of action you demonstrate regarding those qualities, on a 1-10 scale.

EXERCISE:

What would be the value and benefit to you and those around you if you upgraded or shared even more of your best qualities with your various communities?

What action will you take today to realize the difference you intend to make?