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Seeing The Future (for what it is)

(Disclaimer: This is not “The Truth”. This is a possible view, and it is my view. Though what is presented in my blogs bears true in my experience and is corroborated by modern science, I am presenting it simply as a possible view that may provide you some value in fulfilling on what you’re committed to in your business and life. Take it or leave it.)

 

“The future is bleak.”

“The future is bright.”

 

Which one of these statements best fits your thoughts about your future?

 

Here’s the rub: either way, you’re wrong. There is no future.

 

Well, there’s no future as in a real future. “The future” is but a concept. Or, said another way, the future only exists in our language—our speaking, and our thoughts and mental images. There is no real, fixed future out there waiting for you to enter it; there’s only a predicted future that you’ve created (or that your brain has created), a projection based purely out of your past. Actually even the past that your future is based on is a construct—an assembled pattern of selected and inaccurate memories of distorted and incomplete perceptions, arranged and experienced in a way that the brain thinks best to ensure your continued survival.

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Networking 101 Lesson 2

The underlying reason that networking is effective is that, by making efforts to help your networking partners, you build your relationships. We all prefer to interact with people we know, like, and trust, in business, as well as in all other areas of our lives.

Mistake of the Month: Uncomfortable Introductions

“Hi, I’m Joe. I sell stuff. What do you do?”

People who begin a conversation this way at networking events are uncomfortable and don’t know how to start a conversation. We all feel some pressure to take advantage of the opportunity to meet people. This opener is actually a great opportunity to calm things down and make a good impression. Answer the question if you so choose, but the point is to get to know people, not just what they do. Rather than looking for clients, you are looking for relationships, so change the conversation to something more personal. Take time to get to know them and they will immediately become more relaxed. Try to always remember that, at networking events, you are building relationships, not looking for clients. 

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Networking 101 Lesson 1

(This article is the first in a series of posts, co-written by Douglas Hoffman and long time ALS Client and friend, Lyle Katz. Lyle is a very successful mortgage banker and an expert in the fine art of generating opportunity. Lyle’s experience forms the basis of this series. At the end of each article, there will be an assignment for the next four weeks.)

Let’s start at the beginning with a definition for networking. This is not the usual definition, nor is it “correct” or “definitive.” It is simply the one that we will use for this conversation:

Networking is the deliberate building of a community for sharing information and services among business people. Ultimately, networking is about helping others.

In our experience, many people miss the opportunity allowed by professional and social gatherings.

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The Natural Brand

I’d like to talk about Branding. Not to discuss how to get your brand known, create brand recognition, nor how branding is supported through marketing or advertising. This instead, is the description of the “Natural Brand”.

Business success – lasting, enjoyable, and profitable success – comes from a business or organization knowing who it is, what it is committed to, and what it does best. Business leaders could be tremendously well served by examining this, both personally and organizationally. Ask: What are you passionate about, and what are you great at?

“Branding” has value. But lasting value comes from identifying one’s own “natural brand”. Identify the things you are most passionate about and greatest at, and keep your focus on doing those things. Know yourself and “to thine own self be true.” Let the brand come forth from who you are, and you will likely live up to the expectations you create. Natural Brand is an expression of values. Real Values.

Many companies have a great “Statement of Values”. For example, Enron had the following engraved in stone in their main lobby: “Integrity • Communication • Respect • Excellence.”

But, I am not referring to value statements; I am referring to real values. If you want to see the values of a business, look at their practices, e.g. how they approach their clients, their challenges, their decision making processes, etc. Real values are always realized; in existence, in the present tense.

I highly recommend that people who are interested in long term success read the book Good to Great, by Jim Collins. In it, the discussion of knowing who you are and what you are committed to is discussed with examples of some very successful organizations, world leaders in their time. And if any of you ever want to speak about how to apply these principals to make your business more successful, I would be happy to discuss it with you.

It is my belief that people who love what they do, and do it well, can be well compensated for their work. Further, I suggest that being well compensated for doing what one loves to do and does well is simple to create.

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