I don’t feel like it

Show up
What’s it?

Why do you need to feel like something in order to do the work? They call it work because it’s difficult, not because it’s something you need to feel like.

Very few people wake up in the morning and feel like taking big risks or feel like digging deep for something that has eluded them for some time. People don’t usually feel like pushing themselves harder than they’ve pushed before or having conversations that might be uncomfortable.

Of course, your feelings are irrelevant to whether or not the market expects great work. Do the work. Ignore the feelings part and the work will follow.

You rock

This is deceptive. Its really not entirely true…

You don’t rock all the time. No one does.

No one is a rock star, superstar, world-changing artist all the time. In fact, it’s a self-defeating goal. You can’t do it. Rock starts are rock stars during their performances.

No, but you might rock five minutes a day.

Five minutes to write a blog post that changes everything, or five minutes to deliver an act of generosity that changes someone.

Five minutes to invent a great new feature, or five minutes to teach a groundbreaking skill in a way that no one ever thought of before.

Five minutes to tell the truth (or hear the truth).

Five minutes a day you might do exceptional work, remarkable work, work that matters, generous work.

Five minutes a day you might defeat that fear and to stand up and make a difference.

And five minutes of rocking would be enough, because it would be five minutes more than just about anyone else.

This week just set aside at least five minutes of rocking.

Do it because you matter, do it because you can…

If you don’t start, you can’t fail

It sounds ridiculous when you say it that way.

But of course, it is ridiculous. It’s (quite possibly) the reason you’re postponing starting that business, that project, that course because you don’t want to fail so to be safe you rather not start.

On the other hand, there’s no doubt that, “If you don’t start, you will fail.” Doing nothing is the same as failing. The Startup revolution rewards people who start, hence the terms “start-up.”

Not starting and failing lead to precisely the same outcome, with different names.

The brand is a story about you, not about the brand.

Whats your story

The brand is a story. But it’s a story about you, not about the brand.

Why prefer Coke over Pepsi or iPhone over Samsung or Merc over BMW?

In markets that aren’t natural monopolies or where there are clear, agreed-upon metrics, how do we decide?

Yes, every brand has a story—that’s how it goes from being a logo and a name to a brand. The story includes expectations and history and promises and social cues and emotions. The story makes us say we “love Google” or “love Johannesburg”… but what do we really love?

We love ourselves.

We love the memory we have of how that brand made us feel once. We love that it reminds us of our mom, or growing up, or our first kiss. We support a charity or a soccer team or a perfume because it gives us a chance to love something about ourselves.

We can’t easily explain this, even to ourselves. We can’t easily acknowledge the narcissism and the nostalgia that drives so many of the apparently rational decisions we make every day. But that doesn’t mean that they’re not at work.

More than ever, we express ourselves with what we buy and how we use what we buy. Extensions of our personality, totems of our selves, reminders of who we are or would like to be.

Great entrepreneurs don’t make stuff. They make meaning. Entrepreneurs don’t sell “products,” they sell experiences

The woodcutter and the blunt saw

Cutting Wood
There is a story of a woodcutter whose job is to cut down trees in a forest. He has a certain target to meet. He works very hard, but he is so busy trying to achieve his target that he never takes time to sharpen his saw. Each day it takes him longer and longer to reach his target, and he is exhausted. A passer-by asks him why he does not take the time to sharpen his saw.

The woodcutter replies that the is too busy working to take the time to sharpen it.

What the woodcutter does not realise is that the short time taken to sharpen his saw would save him many more hours of hard work in the future.

This story is often told in the context of time management. For me, there is a far more instructive lesson to be learnt.

The entrepreneur’s tool is his mind. This is where the business is conceived, and without a sharp mind, growth is unlikely.

Entrepreneurs who do not take the time to sharpen their tools will, like the woodcutter, find themselves exhausted and ultimately, working far harder than they need for less reward.

A sharp mind makes the work easier and the entrepreneur more efficient.

As an entrepeneur, the noise in your head can drown out any rational thought. There is relentless pressure that seems to come from all directions. You may feel that you have no resources left. An entrepreneur, without resources, whether physical, spiritual, mental or emotional, is unlikely to succeed.

It is imperative that you give yourself the space and permission to just ‘be’ and allow your mind to wander, without judgement and without critical correction.

In this way, you give yourself an opportunity to tap into your powerful subconscious which, in my experience, always produces results.

We are not living in a movie

We’re not even living in a lousy reality show, or in some TV series with endless seasons.

Entertainment has seduced us into believing that we have a chance to live the life they live in the movies. Even the people in the movies don’t live that life.

It doesn’t take 135 minutes to make a life, it takes almost a century.

Everything doesn’t depend on what happens in the next ninety seconds. Ever.

The people around us don’t live secret lives. Spaceships and evil cowboys and diseases are not going to turn the world upside down tomorrow, either.

Life is actually far much better than it is in the movies. And it even takes longer.

“One of us is wrong…

and it’s not me.”

That’s the way every single conflict begins. Of course it does, because if it didn’t, it wouldn’t be a conflict, would it?

So, given that the other person is sure you’re wrong, what are you going to do about it? Pointing out that they’re wrong doesn’t help, because now you’ve said the second thing in a row that your partner/customer/prospect/adversary doesn’t believe is true.

The thing that’s worth addressing has nothing much to do with the matter at hand, and everything to do with building credibility, attention and respect. Only then do you have a chance to educate and eventually persuade.

We cure disagreements by building a bridge of mutual respect first, a bridge that permits education or dialogue or learning. When you burn that bridge, you’ve ensured nothing but conflict.

Be Remarkable and Let Others Be Average

This is how to be remarkable. (Worth making a remark about):

1. Understand the urgency of the situation. Half-measures simply won’t do. The only way to grow is to abandon your strategy of doing what you did yesterday, but better. Commit.

2. Remarkable doesn’t mean remarkable to you. It means remarkable to me. Am I going to make a remark about it? Is it worth making a remark about? If not, then you’re average, and average is for losers.

3. Being noticed is not the same as being remarkable. Running down the street naked will get you noticed, but it won’t accomplish much. It’s easy to pull off a stunt, but not useful.

4. Extremism in the pursuit of remarkability is no sin. In fact, it’s practically a requirement. People in first place, those considered the best in the world, these are the people that get what they want. Rock stars have groupies because they’re stars, not because they’re good looking.

5. Remarkability lies in the edges. The biggest, fastest, slowest, richest, easiest, most difficult. It doesn’t always matter which edge, more that you’re at (or beyond) the edge.

6. Not everyone appreciates your efforts to be remarkable. In fact, most people don’t. So what? Most people are ostriches, heads in the sand, unable to help you anyway. Your goal isn’t to please everyone. Your goal is to please those that actually speak up, spread the word, buy new things or hire the talented.

7. If it’s in a manual, its not remarkable. If it’s the accepted wisdom, if you can find it in a Dummies guide, then guess what? It’s boring, not remarkable. Part of what it takes to do something remarkable is to do something best.

8. It’s not really as frightening as it seems. They keep the masses in line by threatening them (us) with all manner of horrible outcomes if we dare to step out of line. But who loses their jobs at the mass retrechment? Who has trouble finding a new job? Not the remarkable minority, that’s for sure. Its the majority that are average that gets retrenched and struggles to get a job.

9. If you put it on a T-shirt, would people wear it? No use being remarkable at something that people don’t care about. Not ALL people, mind you, just a few. A few people insanely focused on what you do is far far better than thousands of people who might be mildly interested, right?

10. What’s fashionable soon becomes unfashionable. While you might be remarkable for a time, if you don’t reinvest and reinvent, you won’t be for long. Instead of resting on your laurels, you must commit to being remarkable again quite soon.

Is The Customer Always Right? Here Is The Answer

When in doubt, re-read rule one

Rule one has two parts:

a. the customer is always right

b. if that’s not true, it’s unlikely that this person will remain your customer.

If you need to explain to a customer that he’s wrong, that everyone else has no problem, that you have tons of happy customers who were able to successfully read the instructions, that he’s not smart enough or persistent enough or handsome enough to be your customer, you might be right. But if you are, part b kicks in and you’ve lost him.

If you find yourself litigating, debating, arguing and most of all, proving your point, you’ve forgotten something vital: people have a choice, and they rarely choose to do business with someone who insists that they are wrong.

By all means, fire the customers who aren’t worth the time and the trouble.

But understand that the moment you insist the customer is wrong, you’ve just started the firing process.

PS here’s a great way around this problem:

Make sure that the instruction manual, the website and the tech support are so clear, so patient and so generous that customers don’t find themselves being wrong.

~ Seth Godin

As an entrepreneur, the customer is always right question is similar to the question: Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?

All our successes are the same


All our successes are the same;

All our failures, too;

We succeed when we do something remarkable;

We fail when we give up too soon;

We succeed when we are the best in the world at what we do;

We fail when we get distracted by tasks we don’t have the guts to quit.

~ Seth Godin

Sold or bought?

Buy or Sell
Some things are bought, like bottled water, airplane tickets and chewing gum. The entrepreneur sets up shop and then waits, patiently, for someone to come along and decide to buy from them.

Other things are sold, like cars, placement of advertising in magazines and life insurance. If no salesperson is present, if no pitch is made, nothing happens.

Both are important. Both require a budget and a schedule and a commitment.

Confusion sets in when you’re not sure if your product or service is bought or sold, or worse, if you are a salesperson just waiting for people to buy from instead of you selling to them.

It’s important to know what business you are in: Are you sold or bought?