Becoming a Master In Your Business

Golf is a difficult game to master. Many professional athletes in other sports will tell you that it is number one in difficulty to master.

Creating a beautiful painting, extraordinary photo, or a digital video that makes moves people to cry or laugh or feel is also a province of the masters.

How do you then master these things – assuming you want to?

  1. You get the best coach or teacher you can afford.
  2. You watch and listen to the masters – your role models.
  3. In golf you play with players who are better than you and you learn from them
  4. Creating beautiful images means spending a lot of time in museums listening to what the artist is saying.
  5. You learn what the masters do that nobody else is willing to do.
  6. Then you practice, practice, and practice.

What makes you think that if you want to be the best and create an extraordinary business (or an extraordinary life) that you can do it without following these same rules? What makes you think you can create a website, read the latest on social marketing and some other business books and then call yourself an expert – a master? What makes you think you can be successful when you focus on yourself, how much money you can make, as you feed your ego?

The masters will teach you that by focusing on creating value for others you will be on the path toward mastery – a path with heart.

If you want to be a master then find someone who is already a master – someone who has walked the walk and just doesn’t talk the talk. And, then beg them to teach you. Listen to them with your heart and not just your ears.

Then practice what you’ve been taught and what you’ve observed. What is it that you will do that nobody else will do?

Do these things and one day you will indeed become a master.

Now it will be your turn to help others who want to follow your path with a heart.

The Lizard Brain Can’t Stop You – Unless You Let It

I know. Where have I been. Why have I cut back on the number of weekly posts. I've been getting asked that

There is lots going on. That's not an excuse. Here's what is happening. By cutting back some here, I've been working to develop:

  • A new website for all my stuff.
  • A new blog to replace the one you are reading.
  • A new book that I want to ship by year end.
  • A new monthly newsletter that will be free and have regular contributors you'll love.
  • Some new podcasts.
  • And, some new videos.
  • A new client where we are launching a brand new company.
  • Listen First-Sell Later was chosen as a Book of the Month by a private company and they bought a copy for all 3,500 employees. (Actually, this part didn't take much of my time but I had to tell you.)

And, here I was always told you slow down when you hit your sixties. HA!

I'm having way too much fun to slow down now! Stick around for the next chapter.

And, here is a link to a short animated video from two good friends and co-conspirators. Martin Whitmore and Paul Durban are two of the most creative people I've ever had the pleasure of working with. They put together an animation to explain the Lizard Brain. It ties in with Seth Godin's book – Linchpin.

Click Here to Watch

Why should you watch? Because you might learn something about yourself that could change your life or how you live. Is that reason enough?

You might also get an idea for your own animated video in which case you need to contact Marty and Paul. Go to Blazonfire to see more when you're done.

Seth Godin and I Discuss The Role of the Story

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Seth Godin again today to discuss one of our favorite topics – The Role of the Story in Sales and Marketing. After we finished, I realized that stories and storytelling have a role in our entire lives. It is part of our DNA

I hope you enjoy our discussion and our story about stories. The podcast is about 30 minutes long.

Seth Godin’s Road Trip

My friend, Seth Godin, has a 12-18 month road trip planned where he will put on half and full-day seminars around the country with the goal of changing your perspective on things like:

  • creating work that matters
  • spreading ideas
  • interacting with people online
  • approaching the digital world with generosity
  • realizing that small things have more leverage than ever before

And, you will be surrounded by others on the same path who will inspire you
to do even bigger things.

Here’s an audio recording of Seth and I discussing it.

Sometimes You Want To Just Be

It is okay to just be.

Let me explain. It seems like a good many of my friends and colleagues always need to be doing.

Something. Anything.

Their lives and the lives of their significant others and their children are programmed 24×7. Even when they say they are taking time to relax or sit and talk with others they have to have a plan – an agenda. I find no fault with planning. In fact, my significant other, Joann, would most likely accuse me of over-planning. But, I also allow myself to just be.

Here’s what I see that I don’t understand. And, the fact I don’t isn’t a negative as far as I’m concerned. The last thing I’d want to have happen is for me to understand other peoples needs to fill every hour with something that they think needs to be done.

My friends say need and should a lot when I ask them why they just don’t take a moment to do nothing – which is really doing something. I often think that many of them don’t want to be alone with themselves. And, others can’t find it in their minds to give themselves permission. To leave the mind and focus on your heart, soul, or essence – whatever you choose to call it – is both powerful and scary. That’s where the real you is located. You’re not your mind.

I like to listen to music and close my eyes – but not all the way. This morning it was Jeff Beck, Jackson Browne, Chet Baker, Keller Williams, and Stevie Ray Vaughan. I find by not closing my eyes all the way I can defocus and look at a light and have my own personal light show. For some reason this lets me meditate and just be. I usually find myself smiling a lot during these times.

When my friends talk about wishing they had more time to do what they want to do I feel badly for them. I know we can’t ALWAYS do what we want. But, we don’t always have to do what we think we should or what we think we need to do either. Recently, I had a friend want me to meet her a few hours away while she was traveling in the area. It sounded like a good idea and I’d enjoy spending time being with her. But, this is a friend who feels the need to fill every moment with doing something that leads to accomplishing something that leads to — well, whatever she thinks it needs to lead to. And, so she felt the need to try and organize meetings and accomplish something. By joining her, I would be joining in her craziness and while maybe it is something she really wants to do – I think it more something she really thinks she should or needs to do.

I have friends who went to southern Spain last year. They programmed every single hour and when they got home they were exhausted in both body and soul. They would have felt and lived more of the soul of the area if they had found a seat in cafe and asked questions and listened.

It always comes back to listening first for me.

And, I’d recommend listening to yourself first too. I’ll give you permission if you need someone to tell you it is okay.

You know. Your real self. Your heart, soul, and essence.

Photo courtesy of mindfulness’ Photostream

Talent Times Two

If you’ve read this blog for any time or my book then you are already familiar with my editor, collaborator, idea generator and great friend, Megan Elizabeth Morris. Funny thing the Internet. Megan and I have never met in person. But, we talk by email or phone every few days and I have to say she is one of the most talented people I know. She’s even a world class opera singer.

Well, it seems talent runs deep in the Morris family. Megan’s little sister, Emily Rose Morris, who will soon be known only as Emii launched a fantastic record this week and a music video.

Just click on the link below and watch and listen. Emii is the real deal. No auto-tune with an amazing smoky voice that she has been honing since she was a little kid – no doubt singing with her big sister.

Watch it here on her site.

World class rocker and world class opera from two of the classiest people you’d ever want to know.

I’m putting my vote in now for a new rock opera.

Good Vibrations

Ever try typing with one of these things on both your hands? I don't recommend it. In case you're wondering why it has been a little quiet here lately, the photo to the right is the reason.

Carpal tunnel troubles have caught up to me.

I felt this coming on for a couple of weeks and ignored it. So, now I'm paying the price and trying to get back to being able to type at more than 10 words a minute. 

Don't expect to find me wearing them in public. I'd rather be caught wearing a kilt.

We went to a new restaurant Saturday night. Well, it's sort of new. The building it is in has housed at least 4 other restaurants in the past ten years. They all failed. I heard this one was doing well and we agreed to meet friends early so I didn't even think about reservations. That could have been a big mistake but we got lucky.

The parking lot was full when we arrived at 6pm. Luckily someone was just pulling out carrying a doggie bag so I know they ate. I mean how early do these people dine around here? Anyway, it was obvious that the "new" restaurant was a hit.

So, what was different that allowed this place to flourish while 4 other people lost their shirts.


They did a total makeover. The place was remodeled from top to bottom. The food was fresh, excellently prepared, well served and priced extremely low compared to comparable places. And, then there is the thing I can't quite describe. Let's call it a new vibe. The place felt good. People were having fun.

You can't buy a vibe. You have to create it. You can have a bad vibe or a good one. Apple has a good vibe. Microsoft not so good.

The same place, person or product vibe can be 180 degrees different depending upon who is receiving the vibrations. For example, I love New York City's vibe. But, you have to drag me to visit LA. Yet, I have plenty of west coast friends who feel just the opposite and Pittsburgh friends who don't have much good to say about either place.

What kind of vibe are you creating for your company, products and yourself? If you're not tuning your vibe to your type of customers you're missing an opportunity. Trying to have one that appeals to everyone comes off as out-of-tune and off key. It doesn't feel like it was meant for anyone.

Are you clients picking up good vibrations? Are you giving them excitations?

A Tsunami 60 Years In The Making

Back sometime about ten years before the new millennium, a very talented young graphic designer by the name of Rege worked for me in Pittsburgh. Rege not only created great art but he also enjoyed buying things that particularly appealed to his eclectic tastes. One day he showed up with a very large piece that had me confused at first. It was Asian and the art was really two pieces painted side-by-side. On the left was a very large tidal wave – a tsunami – painted in great detail with towering waves, foam and tremendous power that looked like it was about to crash ashore. On the right side was the same exact image except for one major difference. It was rendered digitally in pixels.

It took me a few minutes to understand what the artist was saying and then I got it. A tsunami was about to hit us. The age of digital technology was about to smash ashore and our lives would never be the same again.

Another tsunami is hitting us right now and it has been 60 years in the making. In 2006, the first of the generation born between 1946 and 1964 started turning sixty-years-old. They call us Boomers because there were 78 million of us born in post war US. Ever since then we have influenced the world around us like no generation ever has before and maybe ever will. As Dan Pink and I discussed in his interview a few weeks back, every 13 minutes another 100 Boomers turn 60 and ask themselves the same questions I asked myself last year.

First question is "How the hell did I get to be 60?" And, the next question is "What can I do to make a difference in the world with the years I have left?"

Imagine the potential of 78 million people having that kind of self-conversation. It's going on right now and I don't care what your age, this is a tsunami that will – not can- will change your life. It is happening all around us. I go more than a day or two without either entering a discussion or reading about it.

For example, The New York Times ran a story in Sunday's edition called "Ready for Life's Encore Performances." Boomers just aren't volunteering – they are starting new businesses, mentoring non-profits, and inventing new products. They know the last 25 years went by pretty darn fast and they aren't going to let the final chapter play out with unrealized dreams. They have wisdom to pass on and experience to share and they want to lead, teach, and make a difference. 

Millions of boomers are already acting and not just thinking about what they can do or waiting for you to find them. People like Ed Speedling, who became an advocate for the homeless after a career as a health care executive, or Beverly Ryder, who brought her years of corporate experience to a new role in public education. You can read about them and more at Encore Careers.

People of all ages read this blog. Most all of you are in the business world with the rest being in education, research and non-profits. This is an opportunity that really is going to happen only once in our lifetime. Wouldn't it be awesome if we could facilitate all this sense of purpose that is available? What about a clearing house based on locality or specialty? How could young people take advantage of this pool of talent? Do you think they would be willing. If you're a boomer and thinking about a new career or have already made one, please let me know.

Let's talk about this.

Cleaning House

I want to do a little housekeeping today. Does this happen to you? You get so busy with so many projects you wake up one morning and think, "Oh, wow, I forgot to let people know about that!" Some of this post falls into the "personal information I share with readers category." And, some of it, I hope, will be of value to you in your life.

Let's get started:

  • Joann and I are going to be grandparents again. My son, Ryan and his wife Sue, are expecting in mid-July. Meanwhile, their daughter Rylie is celebrating her 1st. Birthday tomorrow. I bet I can find a photo of Rylie to share with you.
  • I'm now doing a syndicated podcast. It is called, "Around the Water Cooler." So far, I have conducted three interviews with best selling authors Seth Godin, Dan Pink and Tim Brownson. You can find them and subscribe on iTunes by searching for Bob Poole or Around the Water Cooler. Also, you can go directly to the podcast website. Here is a link to get you there. The subject of the podcasts will be stories and tips about sales, marketing and leadership as well as interviews with authors and business owners and entrepreneurs. If you'd like to be on podcast with me to discuss your business or anything related to sales, marketing, leadership or creativity – please drop me an email at [email protected] and let me know.
  • What have you done that is extraordinary this week? Send me an email to tell me and I'll send you a book or audio book. Make sure you send your mailing address too.
  • My friend, Gail Bower, says "I've seen your book title not as title, but as an expression quite a bit lately. I think your title is surfacing because of raised consciousness. We've been working with the same car salesman-like sales tactics for years. Social media has changed a lot about transparency, openness, etc., at the same time self-awareness generally has increased and thus people's "crap detectors" have become more acute. Evolution!" If you see Listen First Sell Later being used as an expression, please send me a clip or photo. We'll see if we can compile enough for a collage.
  • I bought an iPhone this week. It was my first Apple product purchase since 1994. First, the packaging had me drooling. The box arrived looking like it held jewels instead of a phone. It was gorgeous. The inside packaging and instructions all continued the theme of beautiful design and a feeling of this is something special. When I plugged it into iTunes it began to sync with my computer. In a couple of minutes it had totally synchronized Outlook, all my email accounts and passwords and I was downloading email and making calls. And, that was just the beginning. You'd have to pry this from my hands to get it from me now. And, I'm seriously considering making the Apple leap the next time a PC starts crashing (or maybe when I have to upgrade from XP to Windows 7).
  • My speaking schedule is picking up and we're booking for the fall and early winter already. I think that is a good sign for both the economy and the fact people want to learn about how to sell and market in a world with unlimited choices.
  • Want to change people's lives? Start with your own first. We're always quick to want to change things and people around us before we give some real thought to our own life. Listen to yourself first – then decide what change your want and what change you can influence.
  • Peter Keady is a fine photographer. He's an even finer human being. He made a change from being a professional photographer to becoming an ordained minister and youth pastor. Now he is using his photographic skills to help kids who are in danger of being sucked into drugs and gangs. That's changing people's lives after changing yourself first.
  • If you are wondering when I'm doing my next video, it is coming soon. I wanted to do a series on Customer Styles to help you communicate and sell. Then I got the idea to hire a couple of actors and take them on location and make an entire series. That has proven to be a challenge for a number of reasons. So, I'm going to do both! I'll start the YouTube type videos soon and I'll talk about styles and then we're also continuing our search for a way to produce a more comprehensive video without breaking the bank. Unless, of course, we turn it into a product which might happen. Stay tuned and look for the new video link soon.
  • Over the last three years, I am proud to say, we have brought together an amazing team of people to help with your sales and marketing needs and solutions. These people really rock and I would never have found 90% of them if it were not for social media marketing and finding a tribe. I deliver some of these services and a team of over a dozen people deliver the rest from their offices all over the country. We can manage the process for you or turn it over to you for direction and management. We're flexible and fun to work with. We now can offer you the following services:
  1. Sales and Marketing Workshops, Seminars and Keynote Presentations
  2. Sales and Marketing Strategy and Coaching
  3. Web, print, animation and film design
  4. Videography and photography   
  5. Idea creation and design
  6. Copy writing   
  7. Database design and implementation
  8. Website security and IT services for small businesses  
  • And, last, from the I'm Afraid It Is True files comes a story from Rahway, NY. It seems a family decided to have fun with all the snow so instead of making the usual snowman in their yard, they decided to sculpt their own version of Venus de Milo. Rahway police told the family they had to put clothes on the offending piece despite their own reservations that it looked much better without the bra and towel. Rumor has it John Ashcroft is a frequent visitor.  I'll let you decide.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Learn How to Recognize and Sell to the Four Personality Types

People do business with people that they know, like, and trust. Since we can’t pick or choose the “type” of person we are most likely to trust and like right away, we need to learn how to effectively with everyone’s personality style.” Learn how in this report and start increasing your sales right away!

Selling To The Four Personality Types