Failing on the Way to Success

 “When you get to the fork in the road, take it.”  Yogi Berra                                           

Every time I see that Berra quote, I have to laugh.  It’s not only funny, it’s true. 

Decisions, decisions, decisions.  It’s like it never ends.  It reminds me of the story about the stressed out executive. Every time he turned around he had to make another decision.  It got so bad, he stopped turning around.

So you have to ask yourself what is it you want to do?  What do you want to accomplish? What is important and what takes priority?

Whatever is on your wish list amounts to nothing without a high level of passion, conviction and action taken.

A few years ago, I interviewed a time management expert.  His name is Peter Tula. Check him out.  Tula is fabulous and what he told me was invaluable and made so much sense.

His advice: Iimagine having 95-one dollar bills in one hand and in the other, you are  holding 5-one hundred dollar bills.  Then, throw all that money up into the air and let the money fall all over the floor.

The next step: You have 10 seconds to pick up all that money.  So, ask yourself, what denomination are you going to reach for first?  Will it be the dollar bills or the five $100 bills?

What great advice!  Of course, we would all go for the bigger bucks.  That’s natural.

But, more important and significant are the choices we make.  What are the $1.00 choices and what ideas or projects do you consider to be $100.00 choices.  When you look at it that way, it really is up to you and what you consider to be of value.  Fabulous advice.

That’s not to say you can’t do everything.  When opportunity strikes, go for it, but prioritize.

I don’t know about you but I love what I’m doing.  Being over the age of 50, life has provided me a wide array of experiences; mostly good and some a lot less than swell.

Sure I’ve made some bad choices along the way but I think I’ve learned from those experiences.

Every once in a while, I’ve been known to brow-beat myself based on some past judgment lapse, but signing up for membership in Masochists Anonymous ain’t no option that’s even open for discussion.

I believe in the Law of Averages. Even when the only luck you’ve got is bad, eventually things do change for the better. That is if you allow it.

We learn from failure.  And, I find most people don’t use failure to further their lives and fortunes.

Now hold on, let me explain.

There is nothing worse than whiling away in splendid ambiguity.  You’ve got to make up your mind.

In life, we make choices.  Sometimes we don’t know what choice to make and then get stymied.  I believe one important reason for that is a mind set where the fear of and expectation of failure exists.

As you know, I’m an Author and a Speaker and now a Coach.

What I see missing in plans of action are failure steps.

Now, I’m not an advocate of the school of thought where if at first you don’t succeed, destroy all evidence that you even tried.

Funny line.  Now that might work in politics, but it doesn’t work here.

What I’m talking about is placing failure steps into a plan of action.  I’m not talking about celebrating failure.  But include some failure as steps needed to be taken on the way to success.

In other words, by failing you are actually succeeding.  You’re succeeding because you’re supposed to fail at a particular stage.  It’s built into your plan action so it doesn’t come as a surprise.  Some failure is expected. 

Look back.  Remember years ago, as you were working your way up the success ladder, it took some time. There were ups and downs. But, now in retrospect, it is pretty easy to overlook all those shortcomings on the way. And, who wants to dwell on that?

We’re human and past disappointments become meaningless.  Sure, they are lessons learned.  But failure is trounced by the number and quality of accomplishments  accumulated over the years.

So failure is not an option, right?

Wrong. And, therein lies the problem.

It is absolutely essential to eventual achievement to recognize and integrate failure steps into any plan of action in order to enhance a greater probability of success.

Consider it insurance.

Business consultant Mark Cofano says it is absolutely essential to include the possibility of failure into an action plan.  He refers to it as the Fatal Flaw Analysis.

Failure to do so gets us stuck, wastes a lot of time, wears us down and gets us nowhere.

And, once again you find yourself whiling away in splendid ambiguity wondering where to go and what to do.

Just the other day, I gave a talk.  Because the event was held a few days prior to a holiday, the audience size was fairly small.

But, it gave me an opportunity to add some new techniques I had learned recently from two expert coaching mavens, June Davidson and Dian Anderson.

First, I listened attentively.  Then I had members of the audience discover their own solutions.  I didn’t provide answers.  I just asked a lot of questions.  If I did anything it was guiding participating audience members to some solution.

Out of the questioning came some keys to resolution.  Needless to say, in the short amount of time we had to do this exercise, it gave the participants some food for thought.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best: “When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.”  And, right now, I’m seeing quite a few heavenly creations that I call opportunities.

Currently, I’m helping raise $15 million for an environmental project.  I’m assisting a friend in selling lighting by getting him to the right people.  I’ve got my Radio show on Talkers.com.  I’m studying Coaching and working with a Radio syndication firm selling programs to stations.

Will I fail?  Of course I will.  I have included failure steps in my plan while I’m on my way to success.  Will any of these projects flop?  I don’t know but I’m a persistent SOB and there’s enough on my plate where if one thing doesn’t happen, I’ll just throw the cards up in the air and pick another $100 idea.

The best part of all this activity is the energy it gives me. I am not bored.  In fact, I can’t get bored. I don’t have the time.  These are all “hands-on” opportunities.

Believe it or not, I am not overloading myself.  Just as with the time management expert, I have my order of priorities. I’m just making sure that they are of the $100 variety.

I’m sticking with it so I don’t go on overload.

All of this activity gives me more information, information that I’ll add to my platform presentations and my second book.

Speaking of which, it is now half way to completion and should be out in a few months.  The book is called “The Upside to Down Times.”

One undertaking powers my interest in other areas.  Plus, it’s surprising how often all these projects are similar in nature and seem, at some point, to actually intersect with each other.

What I’m saying is that once getting beyond the initial stages of mechanics and basic understanding of each area of interest, I found out that there’s surprisingly so many similarities to everything else.

It proves to me that there really is nothing new under the sun.

Do I know anything about the science behind environmental projects?  Nope.  When it comes to lighting, the only thing I know how to do is throw a mean electrical switch on and off.  Radio is in my blood so that takes care of the show and syndication.

And I’ve been writing now continually for the past few years, and my composing is actually improving; not award winning but…improving.  Most important, I’m now comfortable with the notion that writing is really all about re-writing and re-writing with the hopes of expressing myself with greater clarity.

I’m certainly no genius.  If I can do it, I know you can too,  in your own way.

The hard part is just getting started.  Don’t worry about starting at the beginning.  Just start anywhere. If you give it time, whatever project you’re involved with will disclose its own form and reveal its own beginning, middle and an end.  Remember you are failing on your way to success.

Otherwise, what’s the alternative?  Let me tell you: wiling away in splendid ambiguity is a tough way to live.  So, make up your mind what you want, be specific and allow for some failure in your plan of action otherwise you become a featured player in the story of your life.

Isn’t it time you do what you want to do?  Failure is just a stepping stone on your way to eventual success.

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The Polar Bear Club, Risk Taking and Dr. Joe Vitale

“It’s better to be in charge of Change than to have to React to Change”

Roger Ailes

Thank God, 2013 is a memory and a horrendous one at that. It was the kind of year that seemed like it would never end. And, to make sure it would not reanimate, in a “just in case scenario:, I was ready, willing and waiting in the wings to beat it with a big stick. Yes, perhaps I take “The Walking Dead” episodes much too seriously.

I don’t know about you but 2013 seemed like every time I turned around there was something going terribly wrong.  It got so bad, I stopped turning around.

So, on Day 1, 2014, I decided to take charge, and not just talk change-that’s for theorists-but undertake some serious transformations.

As silly as it sounds, I had a brainstorm of an idea while watching the news.  There was a piece about the local Polar Bear Club.  For those of you unfamiliar with the organization, the purpose of the club is for members, thrill seekers and dunderheads to gather at a lake, river or ocean and throw caution to the on shore winds and a run into shiver-causing waters every January 1.

I don’t know what got into me but I made up my mind to join in.

Hey, it was the first day of the new year. It’s best to begin somewhere so, why not start at the beginning, right?  Charge!

OK, cut to the chase:  I drove to the beach where the Polar Bear event was held and joined 500 of my newest, closest friends that had assembled at the water’s edge.

It was a beautiful Chamber of Commerce Southern California day with a predicted high of 70 degrees-Downtown. That mild forecast did not apply to beach temperature realities; that called for a high somewhere in the 50’s.

OK, not relatively frigid or bone chilling, but cold nonetheless.

While waiting for the starting signal, I was beginning to get second thoughts about this experience and thinking it was all wet; which it was.

Those on-shore winds put in a guest appearance.  That made the 50+degrees temperatures feel even colder.  Let me put it this way I was beginning to freeze my butt off.

Now Southern California January cold is laughable and wimpy compared to the frigid climates of New York, Chicago or Seattle; No argument there. But, at that moment, I could have cared less about New York, Chicago or Seattle’s chill. I was dealing with my own immediate meteorological concerns and I was freaking cold.

The signal came.  It was Showtime! With some hesitation, I joined the hundreds of-what appeared to be-fearless aquatics drive, dive and dunk themselves into the cold Pacific waters.  Immediately, my feet went numb, a wave hit me.  And then, and then……it wasn’t all that bad.  It was cool but I could handle it.

Now, I did not stick around for a lengthy swim. There was nothing more to prove and it was definitely not the time for “macho.”   60 seconds of in and out followed by towel dry, hot chocolate, picking up an official Polar Bear Certificate suitable for bragging and framing and then heading on home do not score macho points.

The experience was a learning lesson.  But, it was not what I had expected. Sure, I did it but, in the grand scheme of things, it was really no big deal.

Hitting the waters was a bit of a shock. That’s a given.  But the anticipation of cold water exposure was so much worse.  And, it made me realize how the mind to magnifies things in preconception to the actual event. Most occurrences are nowhere as catastrophic as imagined.

When you think of it, we are reluctant risk takers. It is simply amazing that we accomplish as much as we do.  If only there were a device to disable angst and dread, we’d all be masters of the universe!

We all go through times of uncertainty.  Putting aside religion and spirituality, most of us look for solutions to improve our lot. Some look for THE ANSWER.  Unfortunately it’s never that simple.  There are so many components to an answer.

Being 50 Plus, life experience has taught us there is not all that much that is really all that simple.

And, life can be very stressful.  Unless you’re a masochist in good standing, who likes discomfort?  So, it’s natural to be pain-averse especially during these challenging times.

Earlier this week, I gave a talk. The presentation was tailored to job seekers whose current status fell in the “in between success” category. That’s not meant to be patronizing.  Unemployment is a growing and festering reality.  It is also a state of mind and a negative one.  In between success denotes hope, discovery, aspiration and expectations of light at the end of the tunnel.  This is not word play. Attitude is everything. It is “taking charge.”

A woman in the audience in her 20’s who was “in between success” and had been for about 6 months asked me how to get another job.  What specific step would secure her a job?

Sometimes you just can’t help.  She was too young to understand.  She didn’t have enough experience to take charge of needed changes in her life. There is no “one answer.” There is no “secret handshake.” or :password”  that open the door to opportunity.  But, so many people, young and old, spend so much wasted time pursuing the “one size fits all” holy grail.  It does not exist and never will.  All it does is waste time and stifle advancement..

It takes experience, practice, rejection, timing, perseverance, chemistry, luck and so many other factors.

It’s similar to a car.  Just because you own one does not mean it runs.  Cars need an engine, gas, grease, oil, steering wheel, tires, brakes, battery, etc.  We know that. And from experience, we have learned there are many components working together for a car to be operational.   In other words, out of complexity comes simplicity

As many of you know, Dr. Joe Vitale is my mentor.  Years before he became a leading online marketer, best selling author, in-demand speaker, singer/song writer and now movie star, he found himself broke and homeless.

At the time, he could not get arrested even if he tried.  As he told me, things were so bad that when people asked what was it like living in a car he would laugh at that image and reveal that living in a car would have been a luxury.

His ambition was becoming a writer.  However, the scribes he admired were down, depressed and/or suicidal. Talk about inspiration.  That got him nowhere.

It took time, experience and being slapped silly by reality to finally come to grips with the notion that those he lionized did not serve him well.  What he needed was a course correction. Eventually,  he learned to emulate the lives and writings of more positive role models.  The rest is a history of success.

He took charge of his change.

Joe really is an inspiration.  If he can make it, so can you.  By the way, do yourself a favor and check out his new book, “At Zero” available at your local bricks and mortar, online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble or by going to www.http://atzerobook.com.  You will thank me.

Let’s face it, take charge of your change.  You need to start someplace.  There is no one answer, no one way.  That Simplicity mindset will soon reveal its deceit.  You got to just go for it and dive in.

And, know this: Reality is not nearly as bad as the anticipation of it.. Don’t be afraid to fail.  In fact, your mission is to fail as you are on your way to success.  That’s building experience.

Go for it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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