Sampling the Exceptional or Settling for Mediocrity

“The person who seeks all their applause from outside has their happiness in another’s keeping.”     Dale Carnegie    

I can’t recall a time when so many people have opted for a life of settlement and maintenance that forfeits their right to maximizing the Exceptional.

To me, it makes no sense.  It’s antithetical to the American Dream.   It wasn’t all that long ago people took risks.  We were pathfinders. We journeyed to realms undiscovered.  We sailed upon uncharted waters.  We took flight into the great beyond, all with cautious optimism and utmost respect for the unknown, the uncertain and the unexpected

But, the driving force was the desire for self-fulfillment accompanied by an abundance of wide-eyed anticipation.

Yes, I know this sounds over-the-top romantic and the rantings of someone over the age of 50.  But, in reality, taking initial strides upon virgin terrain can dismantle even the most efficient strategies of preparedness.

When you get right down to it, you never know.  You just hope for the best and go for it.  Shakespeare once said, “It is not in the stars to hold our fate but in ourselves.”  Let’s face it, we hold dominion over our own destiny.  That disqualifies personal judgments linked to resignation, self-imposed limitation and aspirations abandoned.

I’m talking about passion, that inner driving force, that lacerates your very core screaming for birth, implementation and fulfillment.

It becomes your sole purpose for being.

Unfortunately today, there is a prevailing mindset that celebrates complacency, discourages success and consecrates the dogma of mediocrity.

Sameness is a killer.  It is an enervating bitch.  It strangles innovation.  Looking at it from another perspective, it is the vapid celebration for coming in fifth in a four man race.  That is a prescription-in-waiting for nonexistence with the debilitating side effects of cynicism, worthlessness and despair.

Enduring happiness and satisfaction are derived through personal effort and achievement; not by predetermined outcomes and equal distribution.

I am not an anarchist.  I don’t believe in “anything goes” and down-with-order. I believe in structure.

For many years, I worked in Radio and, as talent, worked within format guidelines.  It was incumbent upon me to shine within the confines of the format and be the best that I could be.  The payoff: the better I was, the better the ratings.  The greater the ratings,  the greater my compensation package.

Sure, I took chances.  In retrospect, sometimes I was 2 steps away from sheer brilliance.  Sometimes I was even 2 steps from god-awful.  But, I was out there doing the best I could without the benefit of a safety net.

Safety nets discourage the Exceptional and mute satisfaction derived from effort.

As a Radio personality, there was no place for settlement, maintenance or mediocrity..  It was not an option. It was succeed or being “shown the door”.  And, being placed “in between success” is not something to be relished with any enthusiasm.

If your goal is to be as good as everyone else, congratulations, you are now-one of the many.  You don’t stand out.  You are no longer a “someone.”  You have been relegated to the status of a “some thing.”  Instead of being unique and exceptional, you fall under the classification of inconsequential and invisible. That’s means you are a replaceable commodity.

Today, with modern technology and predictive analysis calculations, it’s all too easy to become disheartened and yielding to the findings of some statistical probability equation.  That could render a negative forecast for your undertaking.  Putting it bluntly, it means the numbers don’t add up.

Albert Einstein has said, “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.”

Don’t get me wrong, experience counts.   And, the capacity to forecast fatal flaws cannot be dismissed as preposterous.

But, if you have done your homework and still believe strongly in you project and yourself, then go for it.

Now, the past is a guideline that cannot be disregarded.  What’s the old saying about those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it. It is true.

However, analysis is based primarily on the past in order to predict future outcomes.  But, the past cannot forecast the future with total certainty.  Sure, history is a guideline.  But, it is only……a Guide Line.

Life is not a rubric cube.  There are permutations.  Life is filled with anomalies that thrust humanity onto some wildly improbable journey.

You can’t ignore the power of unpredictability.  Sometimes things just happen.  In fact, sometimes the best stuff happens by mistake; and that funny little quirk doesn’t compute all that well.

Ever go to the store where they are handing out free product samples?  Are they doing this to be nice?  Is it a way of thanking customers for their patronage by dispensing goodies?

No way.  Many companies understand the power of the soft sell..  Research shows when customers are given the opportunity to sample product without hype and hard-sell, there is a greater likelihood of product purchase and building brand loyalty.

Why?  Because customers come to their purchasing decision voluntarily.

No one pushed them.

It’s a variation on the power of unpredictability.

The same is true with Exceptionalism.  Perhaps it’s time to sample the Exceptional you.

What are your assets?  How can you improve upon your strengths and raise them to Exceptional grade?

Sure it takes time.  It does not miraculously occur overnight.  Exceptionalism comes with time and practice.

So, practice the presentation of your Exceptionalism.  If you don’t believe in your own Exceptional ability, you end up singing in the chorus of  Mediocrity.

Years ago, I had lunch with a good friend of mine, Reggie Brooks.  Reggie Brooks is a super-demand Author/Speaker and an expert when it comes to Real Estate Investment.

Being an Author/Speaker was something I had always wanted to pursue.

During our lunch, I mentioned to Reggie that I too had become an Author/Speaker.  But, there was no conviction behind my words.  At the time, It was wishful thinking.  I had not yet paid any dues.  I had no real podium experience. And, my words came across as shallow and theoretical.

Theories are what they are.  Until put to a reality test, they are nothing more than upgraded BS.  And, BS is the nesting place for the theoretical.

This is about Quality over Quantity.  You are NOT one of the many.  You are one in a billion.  So, tell me, what is the upside for settling for Mediocrity?

So aspire to the Exceptional.  Work it.  Work towards the fulfillment and employment of your Exceptionalism.

And, with patience, sheer determination and a bit of good luck, you can be the beneficiary of Mother Nature’s unexpected bounty of good fortune.

Now, this is not happy motivational talk.  Consider this:  Can you explain why meteorologists have such a difficult time predicting the weather more than a few days out on any consistent basis?  They certainly have every technological bell and whistle

If this is so, then tell me who or what apparatus can foretell with total certainty future success or failure?  It can’t be done.

What I am saying is hold on to your dreams, nurture them and bring them to fruition.  Don’t opt for a life of settlement, maintenance that forfeits the right to maximizing the Exceptional you..

What I’m saying is don’t you dare give up on you.

 Because of spam and phishing expeditions I reply back only if contacted at dickheatherton@outlook.com

Getting to the Other Side of Nowhere

   “Our Greatest Glory is not in Never Failing, but in Rising Up Every Time We Fail.”         Ralph Waldo Emerson

All I’m really looking for is Getting to the Other Side of Nowhere.

Sounds like the title of a County song.  Today it’s the clarion call for so many of us over the age of 50.

Let’s get real.  Things just don’t seem right.  Today, we are fed a daily regimen of celebrity absurdity and a torrent of matters inconsequential, all designed for the purpose of diversion and distraction. It’s modern day Bread and Circuses.  But, delusion doesn’t pay the bills nor open many doors. We know in our heart of hearts, things just don’t seem right. The feeling is palpable.

But, we are Entrepreneurs.  We do what we need to do and do it on our own.  We are driven by vision, motivated by passion and guided by experience and intelligence.

It’s very rough out there, but it doesn’t matter.  While others remain on shore waiting for the tides to turn, we take advantage of the lack of competition.

Right now might not be the perfect season for career transition consideration, but that’s a personal decision.  Each of us answers to our own muse.  We understand we must commit to something focused, something concrete.  Wind chimes and marigolds reside in sonnets and do diddly squat in advancing the quest for success.

The same holds true when displaced by circumstance and assigned to the land of  “in-between success”.   Sitting all day in front of a computer hungering for scraps of “opportunity manna “is the personification of aspiration passivity.

Here’s a News Update:  The fortune fairy doesn’t deliver online anymore.

By any calculation, that means acceptance and recognition of the unexceptional and mundane.  That contradicts all aspirations of Getting to the Other Side of Nowhere.

So, turn off the computer, forsake another exciting game of solitaire and get out there and start mixing with humanity.  It is all in the dogged pursuit of reclaiming prosperity and the attendant peace of mind.  Tough times are not virtual. We know that. It’s displacing passive interface with energetic Interaction.  We know it.  We just need a reminder now and then.

At one time or another, most of us have traveled down similar paths and experienced comparable scenarios.

It’s rough out there.  That’s a given.  Being aged 50 Plus only adds to the challenge.

Perhaps this is a time where you find yourself licking wounds from previous ill-fated encounters.  You lose yourself momentarily in reflections of past but brilliant triumphs only to be jolted suddenly back to the cruel reality of life currently filled with unrelenting turn downs.   .

And, you are burned out on Almost, disheartened by Dead Ends and exhausted by the unconvincing Maybe.

Sound familiar?  But, we are survivors.  Sure, we bitch and moan but adjust to the changing marketplace.  Sometimes, it’s easy to do.  Other times, it is insufferable.

I don’t pretend to have all the answers but let me run a few suggestions by you:

1).  Go out there and FAIL.  Yes, fail!  But, fail on the way to success.  Let me explain:  From now on, apply for everything. Everything!  Not that you are going to accept just anything, but you need practice. Get your act down.  You are not failing.  You are Rehearsing.  This is known as “Show Prep.”  So, when the right scenario comes into focus, you are more than ready.  Be thankful that you have the ability to fail.  By failing, you are succeeding.  Plus mingling with humanity is an energizer.

2).  You are over the age of 50.  You have background.  Having accomplished as much as you have in life, you can paint verbal pictures based on past experience.  You  make these visions come alive because you have lived them.  Your frame of reference allows for the anecdotal, not just hypothetical.    You conjure up past undertakings.

You can relate an anecdote that has relevance with or is similar to the situation at hand. Now, compare this to someone younger than yourself. Lacking experience, their frame of reference is hypothetical and theoretical.  They lack experience and come across as a one trick pony.

One precautionary note: Don’t get too verbose.   Waxing nostalgia labels you as old and out of touch: That projects a retirement vision. Get to the anecdote that advances your response and then move on.

3).  Getting down on yourself when all doors appear shut and opportunity seems non-existent can place even the most optimistic individual’s trajectory into a downward spiral.  Why is it when things degenerate to such an extent, we seem to join the depredation chorus?

That is self-treachery.   It’s taking perverse joy in the celebration of our existing contraction status.   We hurt ourselves.  We isolate in desperation and cocoon in despair.

Believe this or not, research proves this is normal human behavior.  We actually get a temporary lift from masochist demeanor.

Nobody ever said human nature makes sense

In fact, it’s all part of Mazlow’s study on the Stages of Depression:  Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance.

As delusional as it sounds, this behavior is part and parcel of life.  Just don’t allow this fleeting but aberrant demeanor to permanently confiscate your normality.

4).  Isn’t it something!  When we want to escape from “funk”, we feel a strange, illogical deference to it.  It’s like over paying on allegiance to a sentence of self-ruin.  And, until  and until such time, we cannot free ourselves from this self-imposed confinement.

On the surface, this sounds like a load of BS to the 10th degree.  But, it’s not

It makes no sense, but what does making sense have to do with anything?  Now here’s the kicker. Any positive action undertaken to change this mindset is viewed with disdain and regarded as an inferior alternative to the current negative status..

Consider this: Imagine reverting back to toddle-hood right now, with your current intellectual capacity.  Do you realize you would probably convince yourself you couldn’t walk.  At a certain point, toddlers stand up instinctively.  They take a step or 2, fall down and cry.  They do this over and over again until they finally get it right.  They get frustrated but they don’t stop.  We do.

So, be a baby.  Again, fail and fall on your way to success.  Look upon this exercise as a rehearsal.

5).  Be grateful.  Unfortunately today, all too many people venerate victim-hood.  Even Entrepreneurs have been known at times to retreat into the throes of anguish and get caught up in the culpability game.

It is celebrating and reveling in despair. As a victim, none of what happens in life is ever due to personal resolve. It is all the fault of others.  No personal accountability whatsoever.  Now, at one time or another, we have all “done and been done in.”   That’s life.  We learn from all our experiences good and bad.  But, abdicating responsibility means relinquishing control of your life to others.

And that brings to mind the old Golden Rule:  He/She who has the Gold Rules.

So, be grateful. Don’t give up. Never cede your power. Don’t allow control of your life into the hands of others. Their interest in you is, at best, peripheral. Get out there and start failing on the way to Success. Remember, it’s a rehearsal.  Mingle with the masses and the Mighty.

This is no time for passivity.  Solitaire, Land Mines, TMZ and Miley Cyrus will just have to make do without you.

It’s all part of Getting to the Other Side of Nowhere..

Because of spam and viruses, it’s best to contact me at dickheatherton@outlook.com 

Wishes, Goals, Deadlines and Teaming Up

” A Wish is a Goal without a Deadline.”

                                                               Pat Croce

Ever hear the song, “When you wish upon a Star.”  It’s a very lovely ballad and the musical signature to all things Disney.  It holds out the promise that petitioning the heavens converts illusion to authenticity.

Nice work if you can get it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for hopes and dreams.  But, I’m not hearing of palm trees now sprouting in Lapland nor am I holding out any likelihood of Kate Upton knocking on my door next Thursday.

But, let me ask you, what is it you really want to do?  What are you trying to get across?

Let’s face it, talk is cheap and most times requires only a bare minimum of critical thought.  Don’t get me wrong, not every pronouncement needs to be a communication jewel but it certainly helps to refine as much as possible.

You’ve got to have something behind the desire of what you want.  And, that calls for a plan, a blueprint.  That’s grit with no BS.  This is a contract you are making with yourself.   Otherwise, it’s back to the Disney songbook.

My point is today you have to be more specific than ever before in what you want and what you present.  It’s essential that your message, your proposal break through all the clutter.

Recent findings show that the average person is exposed to more than 3300 messages everyday.  We see and hear them on the Internet (Face Book/YouTube, etc), It is what is heard on Radio, seen on TV, Cable, Billboards and Print..

You get the idea.  So, if you are not making a stellar presentation, the end result, most likely, is a byproduct of wishful thinking.

You’ve got to work those brain cells.  You must update and get specific.  Relying solely on the success of past performance is a sign of cranial cavity neglect.  You are going through the motions and just wasting time..

I am also a Media Trainer.  I’ve found that most people are very sincere in their belief structure.  However, they lack the skills to frame properly their positions in any convincing manner. They know what they want.  They just don’t know how to say it correctly and get caught in clutter.

They are not lacking the intelligence and the know-how.  They just don’t know how to articulate their point of view.   That takes time, additional time.

Framing and Articulation are the icing on the cake.  Cake is good but it’s the icing that sells it and creates demand..  It’s that extra time, effort and ingredients that separate good from great.

It’s time to get real.  You are over the age of 50.  You have traipsed across Terra Firma and have dealt with more than your fair share of yuks and woes

Here’s the problem:  Compared to most people half your age, you have forgotten more than they will ever know. And, to a point, that’s true.. Unfortunately that self-aggrandizing mindset creates an open invitation of choosing the seductive path of least resistance.

Welcome back to BS land, cue the orchestra and chorus, “When you wish upon a Star.”

I’m Exhibit A.

Recently, I was asked to put together a written presentation.  Even if I say so, It was a damn good one and made me proud of what I sent back to this company. They called and asked me to come on in.

That was a good sign.

When I got to my appointment for what I thought would be a meet, greet, sign agreement followed by hand shakes and good bye, they decided upon a change in plans. They wanted an oral presentation.

Now, I’m a speaker by trade, so that should not be too big a problem, right?

It was a problem.

I had worked so hard on the written presentation that I overlooked the possibility of a “just in case” scenario. It was embarrassing. Although I knew what I was talking about, I hemmed and hawed which took away from the presentation and diminished my credibility.  It was good but not great and they weren’t buying good.  So, no cigar.

Moral: Never assume..

No excuse.  I was not as prepared as I should have been.  Start the Disney music.

Bette Middler once said the best adlibs are planned adlibs.  And, she’s right.

Always be prepared and expect the unexpected.  It is really just a matter of covering all the bases.

Get specific.  Tailor your presentation.  If it means teaming up with someone else, do it.  It’s to your benefit.  You help them, they help you.

Not too long ago, I interviewed best selling Author/Speaker Harvey Mackay.  What a great guy.  No airs at all.  We talked about how “Practice makes Perfect.”  And he told me in no uncertain terms, that’s wrong.

Mackay said Vince Lombardi, the legendary Green Bay Packers football coach, told him that it’s “Perfect Practice makes Perfect.”

Now, if that’s good enough for Harvey Mackay and Vince Lombardi, then that’s more than good enough for me as it should be for you..

And, that underscores the necessity of team work.

You see today, it is all Show Business.  Don’t misconstrue what I am saying.

Today, more than ever before, you must Show that you mean Business otherwise all you’re doing is singing “When you wish upon a Star.”

dickheatherton@outlook.com