The stories we tell ourselves

Here’s one: “I’m too old to make a difference, take a leap, change the game…” (Sometimes, I hear this from people who are 27 years old).

This is a seductive story, because it lets us off the hook. Obviously, the thinking goes, the deck (whichever deck you want to pick) is stacked against me, so no need to even imagine the failure that effort will bring. Better to just move along and lower my expectations.

Hannes Schwandt has published some interesting research on this.

Regret seems to peak at 50, and then, as people start rationalising that they are not expected to make much of a difference going forward, life satisfaction starts to increase. Of course, this is doubly backwards… we can (and must) contribute as we get older, and freedom is nothing to fear.

Doctor, scientist and speaker Jonathan Sackner-Bernstein wakes us up with this powerful new TEDx talk:

*Adapted from Seth Godin and TEDxBrussels

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Thank You Very Much…

Thank you very much

In 2014, I posted 380 blog posts. My goal for 2014 was to post at least one blog article a day. More than 21000 people across 123 countries read this blog. I would say “unique people,” but that’s redundant. Each of you is as unique as they come.

Every day, I’m grateful for a chance to share an idea, strategy or challenge with you. I appreciate the attention and trust of my blog readers, it would be impossible to do this without you.

Thank you very much to all the fellow revolutionaries (entrepreneurs) who cared enough to stand up and say, “here, I made this, what do you think?”

Most important, thank you very much for living your dreams out loud, bringing generosity, insight and wonder to the work you do.

Thank you very much to all those who read my book: The Start-Up Revolution: Fit In or Stand Out and pass it on to someone you believe it will inspire. I know that if enough of us learn about the Start-Up Revolution and work hard to start that business, we can and will change the world.

And finally, all those who are very close to me and believed in my dream, they know who they are, I love you all.

The revolution will not be televised. The revolution will be lived. — Gil Scott Heron

My wish for you in 2015 is to do work that matters, to do generous work that touches people to be better, not because you expect anything in return but simply because you can.

All the best and God bless.

Maybe next year…

This is next year

The economy will be going big

Your knowledge will reach critical mass

Your boss will give you the go ahead (and agree to take the heat if things don’t work out)

Your family situation will be stable

The competition will stop innovating

Someone else will drive the carpool, freeing up a few hours for you for a week

There won’t be any computer viruses to deal with, and

Your neighbour will return the lawnmower.

Then…

You can implement and deliver, you can launch your project, you can make the impact you have been planning on.

Of course, all of these things above won’t happen. Why not implement and deliver anyway?

[While others were hiding last year, new products were launched, new subscriptions were sold and new companies came into being. While they were laying low, websites got new traffic, start-ups grew, and contracts were signed. While they were stuck, money was being made, star employees were hired and trust was built.

Most of all, innovation and art got created.

That’s okay, though, because it’s all going to happen again in 2015. It’s not too late, just later than it was.

This is next year, why don’t you do it now, start today.

Rising sun

3yetwo

Some day’s are better than others and some days, like today, I just break.

Burst into tears for no reason.

Run a bath so I can’t hear myself cry, sit in the tub with a face cloth over a tear drenched face… “I can’t keep doing this” I tell myself everyday.

“They deserve better” I whisper each day but my heart refuses to listen as my brain reasons against it in your favor.

Most mornings I sit in the train with a piercing pain in my chest that just seems to unlock the water works in my eyes.

I wear my shades even with no sun just so they won’t see the war going on to keep the tears from falling; I plant my face in different books daily and try hard to focus on what I read but my eyes never seem to work with me as they always…

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We Love Loyalty

love-loyalty-nook

Loyalty is what we call when someone refuses a momentarily better option.

If your offering is always better, you don’t have loyal customers, you have smart ones. Don’t brag about how loyal your customers are when you are the cheapest or you have clearly dominated some key element of what the market demands. That is not loyalty. That is something else.

Loyal customers understand that there is almost always something better out there, but they are not so interested in looking.

Loyalty can be rewarded, but loyalty usually comes from within, from a story we like to tell ourselves. We are loyal to sports teams and products (and yes, to people) because being loyal makes us happy. Why else be a fan of a soccer club?

Some customers like being loyal. Those are good customers to have.

Loyalty is not forever. Sometimes, the world changes significantly and even though the loyal partner/customer likes that label, it gets so difficult to stick that he switches.

I think there is no doubt that some brands and teams and politicians and yes, people, attract a greater percentage of loyal fans than others. Not because they are bigger or better, but because they reinforce the good feeling some people get when they are being loyal.

Hint: low price or supermodel good looks are not the tools of choice for attracting people who enjoy being loyal. Rewarding loyalty for loyalty’s sake, not by paying people for sticking it out so the offering ends up being more attractive, is not an obvious path, but it’s a worthwhile one.

Tell a story that appeals to loyalists. Treat different customers differently, and reserve your highest level of respect for those that stand by you.

Dissatisfaction guaranteed

 dissatisfaction guaranteed

Great brands are built on dissatisfaction. After all, if you are satisfied with your Revlon makeup or your Nike sneakers or your iPad, why would you buy another one? Satisfied means done, finished, I don’t need any more.

In fact, most great commercial (and non-profit, and political) brands create a cycle of purchase based on ever-greater dissatisfaction with what we have got.

Satisfaction guaranteed (for now) means dissatisfaction guaranteed in the longer term.

Kaizen is our way of life.

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