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A Grabbag of Great Advice

Posted on: July 29th, 2012

Potpourri: A Grabbag of Great Advice self-help

I’m a sucker for aphorisms, those nuggets of wisdom to help you grow personally and professionally. One favorite is At least once in life we need to jump off a cliff and build our wings on the way down.

While not all aphorisms, here is a grab bag of insights and observations for you from a variety of sources. I collected these in just one week and want to share them. Perhaps one will inspire you.

Leaders should be storytellers

This one you will have to think about. Stanford Research Institute futurist Watts Wacker told a corporate conference in Virginia that successful companies have a story. He said, “The way to differentiate your business today is through your beliefs. Stating your beliefs is about knowing your story, and helping your customers find themselves in your story.” Watts implies that storytelling is a leadership requirement for the next millennium.

Bury the word can’t

Speaking of storytelling, Greensboro NC business leader Bonnie McElveen-Hunter told an inspirational tale in a business press profile. She said that when she was a little girl, she and her mother held a backyard ceremony. Together they put the word can’t into a shoebox and buried it. She was explaining why she takes risks and is not usually cowed by fear.

Just think what we could accomplish if we could bury the word fear as well.

Say yes

A National Speakers Association audio recommends that speakers improve by learning the art of improvisation. Here is the key. To improvise, you must be willing to say yes to whatever happens. You must accept the unexpected and incorporate it. If you can improvise in the face of the unforeseen then you are no longer restricted by your expectations and self-imposed limits. Saying yes takes guts. Saying no is easy.

Imagine the increased opportunities and the decreased tension if we said yes to unanticipated career and personal challenges, instead of resisting them. We could all improvise better.

How would the person you want to become – do what you are doing today?

Professional speaker/consultant Jim Cathcart told how he once made an off-handed suggestion that motivated a listener to transform his life almost beyond belief. The young man had just heard Jim, and approached afterward for further advice on how to improve his career. On the spot, Jim paused, reflected on his personal philosophies for success, and then adlibbed, “How would the person you want to become – do what you are doing today?” He said it again to let it sink in. “How would the person you want to become do what you are doing today?” Years later, Jim chanced upon the same fellow and found him fabulously wealthy and successful. Jim asked how he did it. The man said he simply followed Jim’s advice. He lived each day as though he were the person he wanted to become. He became that person!

Sometimes the best presentation has no technology

Jim taught another lesson indirectly. At his appearance in Charlotte, he gave a powerful presentation while using a simple flipchart and no handouts. In spite of an audience of about 60 people, Jim did not use multimedia, Power Point, slides, overhead projections, or slick guidebooks. Nevertheless, he was wonderfully educational and entertaining without them. It was an important reminder that technology is no substitute for valuable content and excellent personal presentation.

Even the best need a coach

Jim gave some insight into why he is so effective. He and subsequent presenter Bill Brooks – the late and great sales consultant/speaker – revealed that they hire personal coaches. Each said that they employed experts to improve their presentations and their businesses. That’s quite a lesson for the rest of us when you realize how dynamic and successful Jim and Bill already were.

You can never be too good. You never stop learning.

The ABC’s of becoming a successful speaker or consultant

This advice comes from Bill Brooks. Appearing in Charlotte along with Cathcart, he shared a system for building a profitable consulting or speaking business. He calls it his ABCDEFG formula. Bill recommended that we acquire knowledge in the following order:

A – Art – Learn the art of how to do what you want to do

B – Business – Learn how to convert your art into a business

C – Content – Develop content that customers will want and need

D – Distribution – Develop products that contain what you know and a means to distribute them

E – Equity – Build equity in the business

F – Financial Security – Build sufficient equity to be financially secure

G – Goals – Set new goals for your life beyond

Aphorisms from Jim Cathcart

I began this column by saying that I like aphorisms, so let me conclude by firing off a sequence of them from Jim Cathcart’s presentation. Perhaps one will be important to you:

  • The future you see defines the person you need to be
  • Set goals, put measurable milestones in them, and find a way to link the milestones
  • Feel free to change a goal
  • A goal must be relevant to you
  • Know your nature and align your goals with it
  • Get a life – today is a gift
  • Keep more of your money
  • Work because want to – not have to

I hope this collection of advice is as useful to you as to me.

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