Category Archives: BUSINESS

BUSINESS, CONTRIBUTORS, LEADERSHIP, PERSONAL GROWTH

Activity rules success

When I began in sales, I sought my own form of certainty as I entered the very uncertain prospects of the world of business – a world that was foreign to me. Sales was an uncharted, vast, and unknown territory. I didn’t have a compass, but I did have a direction. The “North Star” of my future map appeared from the belief that “Activity Rules Success”. No matter the talent level of the artist, actor, or sales agent, the more purposeful, directed activity generated, the more opportunity we can bring to successful fruition.

All life is forward process or it is in decline. Life demands we risk – initiate change or adapt to it when necessary. Change is scary for some, but it is the way forward, through the fields of fear and uncertainty, into the new light of expression.

Business is a living organism comprised, directed and engaged from the minds and hearts of people. The following, from Always Forward! Discover the 7 Secrets of Sales Success, will shorten the distance and lessen the pain from where you are now and where you are determined to go in the future. It is the way through fear, and a “North Star” for increase in life:

1. Think and Do – the shorter the distance between a deliberate thought and a decisive action, the greater the chance of success in the endeavor – the opposite is also true. Some think too long and don’t do, opportunity vanishes, someone else does the taking. Some do without thinking, rush in, and fail. The victory goes to those who think and then do with decisiveness, conviction, and alacrity.

2. Time waits for no one – it is inelastic – we can’t retrieve the minutes, the hours, the days, or years we squander. Stay engaged in the present, don’t live in the past, learn from it and influence your future by applying the lessons from the experience.

3. Find a way or make a way! Resilience is the stuff that overcomes the impediments and obstacles that will appear as a challenge to our forward motion. Think creatively, act decisively, don’t quit, think and apply a new strategy, approach from another plane of the thought, and always move forward!

4. 33-1/3% of people won’t buy us, our persuasive portfolio, our sterling personality, or our product. It’s a rough-hewn law of mine that hedges against the inevitable occurrence of rejection. Rejection is a part of the game – it’s part of the bargain to move forward, but if 33-1/3% of people will never buy from us, for their reasons, that leaves 66-2/3% ripe for the approach, and perhaps open to the message. If 66-2/3% will entertain the messenger, they will listen to the message – the more activity we generate, the bigger our base of 66-2/3%…

5. Walk Away Power – don’t push a bad position, learn to walk away from a negotiation. A bad position is anything that would make you lose your self-respect. Money is often recoupable, it can be bargained away from a bad position, or risked from a bold undertaking. But, giving up your self-respect is a choice only you can make.

6. YCDGBSOYA – You Can’t Do Good Business Sitting On Your A** – you have to get out and engage with people, push away from the plastic keyboard; don’t send an email when an in person visit will tip the balance in your favor. Go with your gut feel! If it feels like you should meet with someone, then “Find a way or make a way” to get in front of them.

Remember, try not to take rejection personally. It’s a numbers game! It’s like politics: Some people will always vote with the Blue States, some with the Red – you need to win the middle and your preferred Blue or Red states. If you generate planned, directed activity consistently, turn thought to action, and find a way or make a way to move your value proposition forward, you can begin to build a forum for success. Learn when to walk away from a bad position and know when to meet with people and create the interpersonal dynamic that makes all the difference from those who win the deal and those who take home the silver or bronze medal.

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Game ChangerBill Wooditch is a keynote speaker and peak-performance business training coach. He is a mentor and advocate for those who actively seek and are determined to make a difference in their lives and the lives of others.

He began his career with $200 to his name, a suitcase, one corduroy suit and two ties. Retreat wasn’t an option; there was only one way – Always Forward! His purpose, energy and conviction fueled his meteoric sales success. In two years, he “found a way and made a way” to become the top salesperson at Liberty Mutual – a company employing over 19,000 people at the time. Ready for the “next challenge”, he was recruited by and joined the 6th largest broker in the world, Corroon & Black (currently the Willis Group), where, for two consecutive years, he earned the distinction as the top producer in the company.

Today, he is the founder, CEO, and president of The Wooditch Group, a privately held risk management and insurance services firm. The Wooditch Group provides client-centric solutions and comprehensive risk management programs for domestic and international clients whose revenues range from $10 million to over $3 billion. He is also the founder of Think Next, Act Now!, a company that trains and mentors tomorrow’s entrepreneur today.

He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology at Purdue University and his Master’s degree in Public Administration at Penn State.

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BUSINESS, SALES

Ali Mirza: The importance of sales training to getting results

Joined in studio today by Ali Mirza, the President of Rose Garden Consulting. We focus on his different approach to sales and sales training, and how they relate to getting results!

Discussion guide from my conversation with Ali Mirza:

Ali Mirza1. “Sales training never ends. Understanding this leads to sales success.”

2. Why is sales training important, and why companies need to invest more into their sales department.

3. What is sales process development?

4. What are the expectations of your sales people, and how do you motivate them properly?

5. Sales Coach vs. Sales Manager.

6. Consultative sales vs. Account reps vs. Business development rep vs. Sales closers!

About Ali Mirza:

Ali is an accomplished Sales Master and Trainer! Starting his career in sales at the tender age of 18, Ali quickly realized that he would have to become better because being terrible at selling was not fun. Ali’s first sales role was in Insurance Sales, spending 3 years going door to door, outselling everyone in the country, Ali grew bored and tired and needed a change. Rose Garden Consulting was born and since then, Ali has personally closed over $100 Million in sales for many companies from small local establishments to large multi-national organizations.

Since 2012, Ali has taken his passion for closing deals to teaching others how to close deals. Ali firmly believes, there is no such thing as a born salesman; the only things born are baby boys and baby girls! Salespeople are taught. Ali currently lives in Atlanta and travels the country helping companies increase their sales.

Ali Mirza

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AUTHORS, BUSINESS, LEADERSHIP, PERSONAL GROWTH

Becki Saltzman: Are you living curiously?

Joined in studio today by Becki Saltzman, Curiosity Consultant with Living Curiously, and the author of LIVING CURIOUSLY: How To Use Curiosity To Be Remarkable And Do Good Stuff!

Discussion guide from my conversation with Becki Saltzman:

Becki Saltzman1. Are most people dissatisfied with their lives and careers because they are NOT curious?

2. “Curiosity is the cure for a lot of things…”

3. The reason most people struggle with sales is because they are not curious.

4. Becki provides the definition of LIVING CURIOUSLY (familiarity + uncertainty).

5. “Don’t be so familiar with something that you are no longer curious…”

6. Can you be too curious? Can you hide behind it?

7. How does living curiously make one remarkable?

8. Becki walks us through the five-step LIVING CURIOUSLY method:
a. Start with what you are not.
b. Dumpster-dive your life.
c. Cross-pollinate.
d. Find uncommon commonalities.
e. BLAST (blunder, learn, accumulate, successes, try again).

9. It’s one thing to be curious, but if you learn nothing as a result of being curious, it is useless.

10. You can affect change in a BIG way, but you can also achieve this through small ripple effects too…

11. Can you learn to be curious? And if so, how do you start?

12. Free-range curiosity verses applied curiosity.

13. You need to arm yourself with three curiosity questions.

14. Why does corporate management seem to be opposed to employing curious people? Or another question: how do you build a “curious” business culture?

15. Determining the “minimum viable question.” For example, “What did your childhood smell like?

16. “In the arena…” Are you even in the game, are you even in the arena if you are NOT curious?

17. The opposite of fear is curiosity, not courage.

Becki IM meme 1000

About Becki Saltzman:

Becki is the author of Living Curiously: How to Use Curiosity to Be Remarkable and Do Good Stuff. She is a curiosity consultant, assumption buster, and idea generator.

Becki holds a masters degree in behavioral science from Washington University in St. Louis, and has spent the last two decades studying curiosity and the role it plays in adventure and insights, problem solving and idea generation, sales, and ideal lifestyle design.

She is also a blogger, columnist, professional speaker, and, in addition to Living Curiously, she’s the author of Arousing the Buy Curious. In her past lives she was a real estate broker and fashion buyer. In her future life she’s the host of the soon-to-launch podcast, What Are You Missing? A Podcast of Living Curiously.

Becki is the founder of the Living Curiously Lifestyle and creator of The Living Curiously Method—a framework and teaching program for using curiosity to accomplish remarkable things in adventure, work, and life. She is the spawn of auctioneers and breeder of boys. When she’s not traveling to speak about curiosity and living curiously, Becki lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband. She loves great travel adventures, crowded dance floors, and brown drinks.

Find Becki Saltzman’s book here:

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AUTHORS, BUSINESS, LEADERSHIP

Kate Sweetman: Are you moving faster than the speed of change?

Joined in studio today by Kate Sweetman, Co-Founder + Chief Client Officer of SweetmanCragun, and author of Reinvention: Accelerating Results in the Age of Disruption…

Discussion guide from my conversation with Kate Sweetman:

Kate Sweetman1. In terms of developing leaders and driving change, is it a different process in the US verses other parts of the world? Or are the principles pretty much the same everywhere?

2. Why did the world need another book on leadership, change, and reinvention?

3. If you are not moving faster than the speed of change, you are falling behind.

4. Embrace that constant change is the new normal.

5. The reinvention agility matrix.

6. One role of a leader is to understand where on this matrix their people are, and move forward accordingly.

7. It’s one thing to say “we need to change.” It’s quite another to actually drive and make that change. That’s the true skill of a leader.

8. “The Reinvention Formula.” Disatisfaction, focus, alignment, execution.

9. It’s not about changing WHEN you have to, it’s about changing BEFORE you have to.

10. Kate defines both “the Age of Disruption” and what is meant by “Reinvention.” Note: being in the age of disruption is a good thing!

11. Change will affect your day. You just have to embrace that, and realize that your current today isn’t the best it could be.

12. “We are actually programmed to learn, grow, and change. We just typically get that beaten out of us as children.”

13. You will ultimately conclude that you will only want to work in an organization that embraces change.

14. This has everything to do with talent: recruitment, development, and retention.

15. Understanding the shift from continuous improvement, to renovation, to reinvention.

16. Why does change fail?

17. People have to clearly understand what WILL happen if change fails.

18. “Leadership development IS a change process.”

19. How do you effectively start a change effort?

About Kate Sweetman:

Kate provides a uniquely valuable international perspective on Leadership and Organizations, having an extensive history researching, facilitating, advising, and publishing on multiple aspects of client work around the globe. Her first-hand experience with world leaders, Fortune 100 organizations, and Asian multi-nationals provides a substantial foundation for insights that extend beyond borders. Kate was listed as a Thinkers50 for her body of work throughout her career. She co-authored the best selling business bookThe Leadership Code.

Find Kate’s book right here:

Kate Sweetman

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BUSINESS, MARKETING, SALES

2 Key Metrics To Monitor With Your Customers – Everything Else Is A Distraction

A client recently bemoaned that she was investing as much as she possibly could in marketing her business, often times at the expense of her drawing a salary. When we asked her how much new business was coming from these marketing campaigns, she shrugged her shoulders.

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” ~ John Wanamaker, Advertising Pioneer

Today we have mounds of data on everything from customer acquisition to customer retention and while this information is designed to create efficiencies and improve the way we do business, it actually only serves to create more confusion. Studies show that having a bunch of information doesn’t necessarily help you solve the problem.

When it comes to getting and keeping customers, there are two key metrics that every business owner should know:

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)

If you have an expense line item for marketing and advertising campaigns, then you should be tracking how much new business is coming in as a result of those campaigns so that you can measure its effectiveness. One client had invested $6,300 over a three year period with a glossy magazine that gets drop shipped into a geo targeted area. The seductive pitch of it landing on the desk and countertops of 30,000 of her ideal customers was too good to pass up.

Since she tracks in her CRM how her new customers find her business, it was a simple matter of pulling a report that revealed it was a wasted investment. She didn’t receive even one new customer from that campaign. Further, when you put it in perspective that if she had acquired, for example, 3 new customers as a result of that campaign, her CAC would have been $2,100 (that’s $2,100 for each new client!). Can you get a new customer for less than that? Absolutely! You can get leads for a few dollars in Facebook all day long.

Every marketing campaign should be measured against your CAC. Simply break apart your marketing line item and understand how much is being allocated for each campaign, query your new customers as to how they found you, monitor the results, make decisions as to whether the results are in alignment with your goals then slash and burn what’s not measuring up.

Customer Lifetime Value (LTV)

Walk into any bookstore, go to the business section and what you’ll find is that the vast majority of them are written about customer acquisition. While acquiring new customers is essential, Gallup estimates that businesses are only doing ⅓ the business they should be doing with their existing customers. That means if you’re doing $1 million in sales, there is a full $2 million in low hanging fruit that is going unpicked. If you want to pull the profit lever in your business, this is the metric to dial down.

The key to increasing profits is to get your existing customers to come more often, buy more and tell others.

Businesses that focus extending customer engagement beyond the first transaction have a higher probability of creating greater customer loyalty, which equates to higher profits.

The benefits of knowing your LTV:

1. You can increase LTV by extending your product and service offerings.

2. You can put parameters around what you would be willing to invest to recover that customer should things go off the rails

3. You now have an understanding of how much to invest to acquire a new customer. For example, if your LTV is $1,500, you can make an investment decision based on real numbers, not guessing. A good rule of thumb is 5:1 ratio (LTV to CAC).

While it’s easy to get bogged down in the process of getting and keeping customers, keep it simple and focus on the two metrics that tell you the true story of your customers. Manage and monitor your campaigns closely so that you can determine your CAC and make swift decisions if they fail to deliver results. Cautiously enter into long term advertising agreements that don’t give you an exit if it’s not performing to your metrics. Keep your finger on your LTV as it is the True North that will guide your increased profitability.

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Pam-250-x-250Pamela Herrmann & Patty Dominguez are the Co-Founders of CREATE Buzz, committed to helping small businesses get customers and keep customers by taking the overwhelm out of technology, thus creating sustainable thriving businesses that are relevant. They co-host The Morning Would Show bringing the latest in marketing tips and strategies.

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AUTHORS, BUSINESS, MARKETING, SALES

Tim Matthews: How to get from Can’t to Can If…

Joined on the show today by Tim Matthews, the Vice President of Marketing for Incapsula!

Discussion guide from my conversation with Tim Matthews:

Tim Matthews1. Sales vs. marketing.

2. And why there needs to be a healthy tension between the two!

3. Need to get from CAN’t to CAN IF…

4. What’s it like running a marketing team at a high-growth cloud software company? What are the challenges?

5. Give us a sense of what’s really going on these days in Silicon Valley?

6. You write a lot about marketers from the past, in one case from the 1800’s. Why?

7. What’s one marketing development you are really excited about?

8. What drove you to write “The Professional Marketer”? And what’s this I hear it had something to do with your wife’s being a chef?

About Tim Matthews:

Tim Matthews is VP of marketing at cloud service Incapsula and author of The Professional Marketer.

Tim was born in New York City and grew up in a nearby leafy suburb before taking the long route to Silicon Valley through Tokyo. He has worked in high tech for twenty years and managed marketing teams at six companies. When not writing or poring over marketing texts, he golfs, crosswords, and tries to keep up with his wife on a standup paddleboard. He has long wondered which is harder: crossing the chasm or a 200 yard carry over a water hazard.

You can find Tim Matthews’ book here:

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BUSINESS, HUMANITY

Share Your Strength

You don’t know what you don’t know.

Shedding Light

I once spoke at a Women’s Conference called “Business in Heels,” a well-attended one-day event in a beautiful setting. I felt fortunate to be included in their agenda. Not only did I make several new friends, but I learned a bit more about women in business locally and what they are achieving.

The program cover featured slender beautiful legs donned by a pair of hot pink pumps – not exactly my attire, and at the top of my presentation, I told the audience that I hoped next year’s event would be titled “Business in Flip-Flops” – this warranted a low chuckle from the nearly all-female crowd but got me thinking about expectations and how business and life has changed over the last ten to fifteen years. Many women, like myself, and men are fortunate enough to work from home, for a company or running a small business.

Not one morning of my adult, working life have I awakened thinking, “Oh damn, I am a woman, therefore – my day in the world of business will be tougher than if I were a man. How can I fight this injustice?” I simply thought, “Oh damn, the price of Lucky Charms and gas went up again — I need to work even harder so I can afford to be a mom.”  Much of my struggles are no different than other single moms or dads, as well as multiple two-income homes.

Life is expensive, whether or not you have a family.

I Made Choices

Life as a single mom is not easy, but I never had time to dwell on those difficulties. Fifteen years ago, it was normal for me to fall asleep at my computer, writing and working until 1 to 2 am, only to rise by 6 am to get four kids out the door. The end of a couple marriages, surviving a couple controlling relationships that included all kinds of often unspoken abuse, returning to college to get my biz degree, getting a great job then losing my home to foreclosure, being fired from a job I thought was great, unemployment or underemployment for extended periods of time, being drugged but escaping sexual assault while on a business trip, and yet another broken heart….

It’s been tough and I have not been shy about writing and sharing these tough times. The best part? Others have let me know that I am not alone – men and women who have have similar experiences have messaged or connected with me to share their own stories. We all have our individual paths paved with thorns. I readily recognize the responsibility I bear when it comes to my lot in life and the cards I have been dealt. Some of my choices have added to my struggle, there is no denying.

I Am Becoming More and More Aware

With the continued fights against racism and bias, as well as other injustices like LGBTQ prejudices, domestic abuse, and un-equal pay, a resounding personal awareness has come to light.

The fight must be fought by ALL,
not just those who suffer from injustice.

No one who hears my story can believe that I was once an abused wife. “You are such a strong woman, how did you ever let that happen?”

It didn’t happen overnight. It was years of conditioning – of guilt, regret, of “this is my lot”, and how could I possibly ever leave? No academic degree and four mouths to feed. I never thought I could leave until a man, actually several men who were family friends, told me I deserved better. None of my women friends told me to leave. Afraid to get involved? Afraid to break up a family, like I was?

The decision to leave became real when I finally realized it wouldn’t change, it wouldn’t get better, and that one of us would soon be dead. That is a frightening realization. One of us would be dead. 

I didn’t want that someone to be me. I needed to be here for my kids. I had more life to live. And I didn’t deserve it, no matter what I had done or not done – I didn’t deserve to be beaten on a regular basis or fear for my life during the next drinking binge. I deserved better.

Sharing the Strength

The strength of those not subjected to abuses, racism, or discrimination must be shared with those who do suffer, undeservedly or not. If you can be a voice, a hand, a lift – please be that voice and that hand. It is not our place, my place, to remain silent when your/my voice or strength can make a difference.

One more thing…

My fire or passion may not burn within you – and that is ok — we are all in the place or getting to the place where we need to be. It is a journey. My journey – my path – is different than yours.

And if I can share anything, please remember:

Just because you do not see or experience injustice
or inequality yourself doesn’t mean it does not exist.

I never had a bruise on my face, but there were plenty on the back of my head and in my heart.  Lift where you can. Shed light where it is dark. You may be saving the heart or life of your best friend, your brother or sister, your child.

You don’t know what you don’t know.

BUSINESS, HUMANITY

A Guy Walks Into a Bar: The Music That Binds

#StandTogether

“Those who have not lived in New Orleans have missed an incredible, glorious, vital city–a place with an energy unlike anywhere else in the world, a majority-African American city where resistance to white supremacy has cultivated and supported a generous, subversive, and unique culture of vivid beauty.
― 
Jordan Flaherty

So this guy walks into a bar, you’ve heard the joke, right? Well, if you haven’t you sure are missing out on, what usually becomes, a bad witticism. This post is not about a bad joke but about what could have been a choice, with truly extreme consequences, that should not be in place in the United States after all these years. This is not a post about recruiting, sourcing, or social media; it’s much more than that. I am penning a #truestory of a night not to be forgotten in a parish outside of New Orleans in a bar that forged an understanding of what racism is and how a genre of music, with the understanding of genuine respect, can bring people together.

So for a little personal history, my Grandfather was from New Orleans before he and his father headed west to San Diego for better fortunes during the Depression. I remember, as a kid, sitting at his feet listening to the stories of his childhood growing up there. He told me of the jazz and the blues music that would fill the streets with passion while the people would dance and sing along. It was a magical place, transformed into a dance hall on the streets at night with people drinking libations, mingling together enjoying the music and food. It all sounded like Nirvana to me, even at the tender age of twelve. I would listen to the music he played on the record player; Robert Johnson (King of the Delta Blues), Lead Belly, B.B. King, Bessie Smith (The Empress of the Blues), Howlin’ Wolf, and of course, Muddy Waters (father of modern Chicago blues). Over time, it became a passion for me to go to music halls, of any kind, to hear and feel the music live and in person. I grew up in the Southwest, and I only had a few opportunities to get to see a genre that I grew up listening to on my Grandad’s old Victrola. When I got the first chance to go to New Orleans, I planned my trip, accordingly, to listen to the music live in a city that was part of my heritage.

#StandTogether

Play That Funky Music White Boy

“And here’s to the blues, the real blues— where there’s a hint of hope in every cry of desperation.”
― 
David Mutti Clark

A friend of mine, Jimmy, was getting married, and we were doing a road trip from Phoenix to Connecticut where the wedding was being held. It was a Bachelor Party on wheels, and one of the destinations was going to be New Orleans. I looked forward to all that was packed into the City of Music and Home to Jazz and, of course, the Blues. The air was wet with perspiration, and you could smell the alcohol sweating out of the tourists walking around The Quarter, taking in the liquid hurricanes and feeling the music blasting from the bars. It was my first time in New Orleans, and this kid was going to take in every sight and sound he could.

It turned out that a lack of sufficient hydration, while causing that dehydration to increase with alcohol, is not something that an individual used to dry heat, gets used to on their first night in NOLA. Needless to say, my man was down, my pal Jimmy was miserable the next day after our debauchery in The Quarter, bar hopping and being invincible. So, the next night I was left to my own devices, alone to find my next adventure, and I had an appetite for something a little different than wandering The Quarter.

I wanted to hear the Blues, the real Blues, not the kind abridged for tourists but in a REAL Blues bar. You know, the kind in the movies, filled with smoke and bourbon, hope and despair, happiness and hopelessness. I wanted the local experience; I wanted to see my heroes or legends who would find that back alley bar to try out new music with the only people listening already gone in their minds and who use the music to anchor them here one more day because they are just barely holding on.

I caught a cab and asked the driver where the best Blues club was in the city, and I am not talking the French Quarter. I got the most charming, wry smile and chuckle. He asked, “What you want to do that for?mThat’s what the Quarters are all about, blues and jazz for the tourists.” I politely told him I was looking for the real Blues, not the faux stuff, but a place where the locals would go to unwind and listen to the music. He laughed a laugh that only could be best described as Geoffery Holder from the 7-up commercials of the early 80’s commercials. “I know just the place,” he said. I introduced myself to my new friend and he said, “Name’s Cornelius, my man.” Then he told me “When we get there, it will be best that I walk you in, you know, just in case.” I, in fact, did not know what this meant, but I shrugged my shoulders and said, “Sounds good to me, let’s go!”

#StandTogether

A Guy Walks into a Bar and…

“Black, white, Latino, gay, straight – if any one of them came across a bear in the woods, they’d all taste like chicken.” 
― 
Jennifer Lane

We drove out of the city and, well, a little out of my comfort zone. We ended up in what could best be described as a shanty town-like building with yellow light coming through the makeshift windows and cracks in the aluminum siding that were meant for walls. Entering the bar, I was excited, there was a titillation I had not felt before in my life, a newness to the unknown, I guess. Then a sense of reality quickly set in, a slap in the face that so many minorities I am sure to have felt when going to a place that was not where they were used to. I was the only white person in the establishment, and being like an odd 80s teen angst movie from John Hughes, the eight or so patrons all turned and stared at me.

The whole bar was quiet as I sat down on the last stool at the bar, closest to the door, and asked Cornelius, who had just come in and sat one stool over from me what was going on. He said, “This ain’t exactly a white man’s bar, if you get my meaning” I, once again, had no idea what he was talking about, but I was about to find out.

Although Cornelius, was served right away the bartender only looked at me, with a stare and then flipped his bar towel over his shoulder and walked away. I asked Cornelius if this was this normal. He just reiterated his previous comment, then shrugged.  After a few minutes of uncomfortable silence, the bartender came over and leaned in, putting his rather large arms down on the bar, then leaned in even further, slowly and with purpose, to look me directly in the eye and said, “I think you are in the wrong bar, you looks to be more of a quarters type of cat, you understand me?” I was, at this moment, and with the entire bar now staring at me yet again confused, then the epiphany set in. I was white, in the south, in a predominantly African-American area, and I was, in a sense, trespassing. Having never been in a situation like this and not entirely knowing what to do, Cornelius jumped into my defense saying, “Carl, the kid just wants to listen to music, man – he don’t want no trouble, I know, I brought him here.” “You should know better than to bring a white boy into this bar,” said the now obviously annoyed bartender. “They have their bars, we have our bars!”

#StandTogether

The Moment That Changed it All

My entire life can be described in one sentence: it didn’t go as planned, and that’s ok.
Rachel Wolchin

I was trembling and became reasonably concerned that this could escalate into a very unpleasant evening for me. Luckily, being from a family whose Grandfather sold liquor to bars and ran a few himself, I knew the industry pretty well – so I took a chance. I asked the bartender what was the most popular drink at the bar, “whiskey, of course! What’s wrong which you?” he asked. I pulled out a $50 bill and pushed it toward him and said with the strongest voice I could, “I would like to buy the bar a round then, and I would like a beer chaser with mine, please.” His eyes of steel resolve softened just a bit and he quietly said, “uhhh huhhh!” Cornelius turned slowly and stared at me with the same smile he had when he told me he was bringing me here. I think now he may have meant this trip as learning a lesson for me or possibly the patrons of that shanty bar; I suspect I’ll never know. Frankly, I don’t think I ever want to. The bartender poured a shot for everyone at the bar, even me, and put my change down next to my drink. I told him to keep it, in hopes of making him an ally for the moment. Just as a side note, that was all the money I had for the night, other than the emergency credit card, but it did not bother me, I figured I was done at this point, anyway.

One of the patrons, a regular I later found out, grabbed his glass and came down to where I was sitting and said, “I appreciate the drink an’ all my man, but I like to know who I am drinking with ‘fore I accept such an offering.” I told him of my appreciation of music, how the Blues spoke to me, how it made me feel, for the lack of better word, better. I spoke of how my Grandfather, being from New Orleans, grew up on the music and let me listen to the songs in the background while telling me stories of where the music came from. The greatest seat in the world is at the feet of your elders, and, yep, it always will be and as it should be.

I spoke that I honestly had no idea what I had done to cause the level of angst that was occurring and said, “As soon as I’m done with this shot and beer I’ll be on my way. I meant no disrespect and didn’t want any trouble.” The stranger that had sat down said, “The hell you will! The men in this bar pay their way, paid more than most, and we all will be buying you shots now. Welcome to the bar, son, and thank you for being real, and honest.” Heads shook, glasses were slammed to the bar, and everyone laughed, backs were slapped, and the clear fact that my pants were still waterless was a total win for me. I was escorted to the other end of the bar as I was told the acoustics were better closer to the stage as there were actual concrete walls and egg cartons to hold the music from escaping out into the night. Pretty soon, they were going to be proven right.

#StandTogether

A Guy Walks out of a Bar…

Racism isn’t born, folks, it’s taught. I have a two-year-old son. You know what he hates? Naps! End of list.Dennis Leary

The music and the whiskey flowed that night, and the power of the blues ran through our blood, , because that is what we are all are, human. That night, that very evening, I learned a lesson that, unfortunately, so many go through walking into a new place, any place, where there is a lack of representation of what their race exemplification is. This is sad folks, it is, and we, as humans, all should be ashamed of at this time, this moment, that we allow this in the world. Such a simple gesture of respect, from everyone, made for an unforgettable evening.

Say it out loud with me, WE ALL ARE HUMAN BEINGS!!!

Since that day, and everywhere I go, I take that night with me, not only to new places, but the places I frequent the most. I put out my hand to shake or open my arms to hug; I laugh a boisterous laugh to soften the fear of anyone of any race, creed, or religion to think that they are not wanted or in and unsafe place. You should try, it as well; it is a great feeling, and the people you learn from or the people you can teach spreads the virus of kindness and understanding. I have to tell you it is, now more than ever, needed.

I’ll leave you with this Dr. Kings speech, maybe you have read it, maybe you haven’t, but damn — it speaks the words, don’t it? This is ONE of my favorite passages:

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.

We cannot walk alone.”

Here is a link to the whole speech I would recommend taking a listen or reading: I Have a Dream – Martin Luther King

I wrote this piece a few weeks ago, after a conversation with a number of friends about relations in this country and I told them this very story. They told me I should write it down for my next post and in light of recent events, I have chosen to post this, hoping to help heal and let all of us know, we choose how we are with each other and we need to start making better choices. I have a dream, as well; I am not a very religious man, but I will say that I pray. I pray that we as a society, can, in my lifetime, hold hands and build each other up for the betterment of all, not just because of what we look like but because of who we are, and that is one race, the human race.

#life #truestory

BUSINESS, INCUBATOR

Lori Cheek: The digital dating disruptor

Joined on the show today by Lori Cheek: Architect turned Entrepreneur, Founder and CEO of Cheekd, a hyper-speed mobile dating app that makes missed connections obsolete. Lori, a Shark Tank Veteran, was recently listed as “The Digital Dating Disruptor” and “One of the Top 10 CEOs to Watch.”

Find Cheekd in the app store here!

Discussion guide from my conversation with Lori Cheek:

Lori Cheek1. Ignore the naysayers.

2. “NEVER miss a connection.”

3. Hyper-local engagement.

4. Real-time veres virtual time.

5. How is Lori building a user base.

6. We talk technology and her development team.

7. Lessons learned from her appearance on Shark Tank.

8. Advice on how to successfully bootstrap a startup.

9. How Lori deals with customer feedback.

10. Advice for new and current startup founders.

11. Taking the leap a faith, and how to deal with that fear.

More about Cheekd, from their website:

Cheekd reimagines online dating with a new app that makes missed connections obsolete. Cheekd uses a cross-platform low energy Bluetooth technology, which fosters hyper local engagement. The app connects people in real time, versus virtual time. Connections begin in person; Cheekd helps you take the next step and continue the conversation online.

Cheekd ensures you ‘Never Miss a Connection’; thanks to this new Bluetooth technology, the app works on the train; on a plane…anywhere—You’ll get a notification if someone who meets your criteria is within 30 feet of you. If you’re near a potential spark, Cheekd makes sure you know about it.

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AUTHORS, BUSINESS, LEADERSHIP, PERSONAL GROWTH

Game Changer 06: Winning the game of business and life

Welcome to Episode 06 of Be A Game Changer: Winning the game of business and life! A series about taking action and playing this game to win, and play it well. A series that provides the light, the path, and your map to a better future!

Discussion guide from Episode 06: Winning the game of business and life:

1. First, Bill reminds us what it means to be a game changer.

2. Why is it so important to look at business and life as a game?

3. Why are we afraid of having fun doing business and living life?

4. Vitality is the key!

5. Business is a subset of life, and for game changers, they are intertwined, and their work fuels and inspires them.

Winning the game of business and life6. When you see business and life as a game, you can make your own rules, and change them as necessary. Someone else’s rules, scripts, and formula might not work for you. Change it!

7. “Game changers resist the status quo because they want to have fun doing it their own way.”

8. What to do when you are afraid to challenge the company rules and policy?

9. This is NOT a zero-sum game. Just because there are winners, there does not have to be losers of the game.

10. Game changers thrive on the pressure that comes with playing a game. This is where legends are indeed made. And when you feel pressure, that’s a sign that something amazing could happen!

11. Game changers want to play, they want the ball. They don’t sit on the sidelines.

12. Most people are observers, not active participants.

13. “You might think you are playing the game, but you are probably not. You might be a piece on the board, but someone else is moving you around.”

14. If the game is easy, you need to play a tougher game.

15. You might also realize that you are playing the wrong game. And when you are the CEO of your own life, you can decide to play a different game.

16. The game should never end. The game should continue to challenge you. The game should be moving always forward.

About the co-host, Bill Wooditch:

Game ChangerBill is a keynote speaker and peak-performance business training coach. He is a mentor and advocate for those who actively seek and are determined to make a difference in their lives and the lives of others.

He began his career with $200 to his name, a suitcase, one corduroy suit and two ties. Retreat wasn’t an option; there was only one way – Always Forward! His purpose, energy and conviction fueled his meteoric sales success. In two years, he “found a way and made a way” to become the top salesperson at Liberty Mutual – a company employing over 19,000 people at the time. Ready for the “next challenge”, he was recruited by and joined the 6th largest broker in the world, Corroon & Black (currently the Willis Group), where, for two consecutive years, he earned the distinction as the top producer in the company.

Today, he is the founder, CEO, and president of The Wooditch Group, a privately held risk management and insurance services firm. The Wooditch Group provides client-centric solutions and comprehensive risk management programs for domestic and international clients whose revenues range from $10 million to over $3 billion. He is also the founder of Think Next, Act Now!, a company that trains and mentors tomorrow’s entrepreneur today.

He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology at Purdue University and his Master’s degree in Public Administration at Penn State.

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You can find Bill’s book here:

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This series is made possible by:

stamped logo“Think Next, Act Now” is an entrepreneurial movement. It is a teaching platform, a coaching forum that emphasizes action, and the link between thought and action makes a difference in the outcome you determine or the result that is determined for you.

When you see, seize, and create opportunity for yourself, you take a BIG step toward becoming recession proof, and changing your life.

If you are determined to make a change in your life — “Think Next, Act Now” will provide the essential toolkit to move your life forward!

Only realized potential cashes the check of reality! Now is the time to realize your potential – Think Next, Act Now and go “Always Forward!”

To learn more, go to BillWooditch.com!

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