Category Archives: Advice for the Manic Impressive

How to Be Consistent – No Matter What

No Matter WhatThere are only two things I’ve been able to do consistently up until this year: eat sugar and watch television. Manic Impressives are not consistent creatures by nature. We have bursts of activity fueled by imagination, then periods of downtime. But to achieve our dreams, we must learn how to be consistent, no matter what.

We need to build the skills that plodders, people who work from routine and do a little bit each day toward a goal, come by naturally. We are leapers (not lepers, dummy, LEAPERS) and tend to work in bursts, when we are at the top of our manic cycles.

Why We Need To Be Consistent

It’s easy to work with great enthusiasm and energy when we are in the manic phase. Things are easy when we’re inspired or excited. But we still need to perform when these conditions aren’t at play.

We Manics often get distracted from our main purpose. Shiny things and new ideas throw us off track. But this leads to sporadic efforts, which usually means lots of things started and not many finished.

This year I did things differently. I managed to do a little each week because I set a specific goal with regular deadlines. I know, I know, we hate deadlines. We like unfettered freedom to do things our own special way. But without deadlines we end up puttering.

So this year I made a commitment to post to this blog every week. Every Thursday by midnight. This kept me focused and got me to work even when I didn’t feel like it.

51 weeks in a row I fulfilled this promise to myself. If you’re reading this it means I made it to 52. All because of one little phrase: Continue reading How to Be Consistent – No Matter What

Start Planning 2017 Now

Start Planning 2017 Now!No I’m not out of my mind. Yes, like you, I hate that stores display Halloween gear in September, Thanksgiving stuff before Halloween, and Christmas crap before Thanksgiving. Hate it. But I’m not trying to rush things here, so please hear me out. Before you start heading headlong into that final dash towards the holidays, it is time to start planning 2017 now.

You know how it goes. Your best intentions end in a flurry of last-minute impulse buying, sappy holiday movies, and binge-eating sugary baked goods. That’s all okay.

You deserve all that. A nice celebration with family and friends and a break from work. But to get the New Year started like a sprinter out the gate, you need to do your planning and goal setting now.

The next three weeks will be hectic, but it’s important to schedule time to slow down and review the past year. What went well. What you accomplished. What you struggled through. What you learned.

This is a crucial process to your success next year. So we’re going to start now by giving 2016 it’s due. Continue reading Start Planning 2017 Now

Time To Forget Politics And Find Your Magnificent Obsession

Magnificent ObsessionIt’s over. The longest and nastiest presidential election in American history. We’ve all been in a state of anxiety caused by our unhealthy obsession with Trump vs Clinton. But now you know who your next president will be, which party will  control the Senate, and that it’s legal to smoke pot in California. So it’s time for you to stop obsessing over politics and develop a Magnificent Obsession.

What is a Magnificent Obsession?

Google the phrase Magnificent Obsession and you’ll find a bunch of Jesus quotes, a book by Lloyd C. Douglas, a cheesy film made from the book, and some nonsense about waking up everyday at 5 in the morning spouting affirmations.

That’s all great, but I’m not talking about any of that.

I’m talking about an extreme focus on something that’s important to you. Something you’re passionate about that you want to manifest in the world. It’s that thing inside you that wants to leap out and change your life and the world.

You may be afraid or embarrassed to commit to it. But it’s what your deepest, darkest desires say you were put on this earth to do.

It’s time for you to obsess over that thing. Continue reading Time To Forget Politics And Find Your Magnificent Obsession

How To Build Confidence With Foundational Wins

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The Proof of my Foundational Wins

Self confidence is something we all need to compete in the world. One of the best ways to build your confidence is through what I call Foundational Wins. The type of success that lays the foundation for confident feelings throughout your life.

Foundational Wins often come in early school years, when we achieve something in academics, sports or music, and receive accolades from our teachers and peers.

How does this help? Throughout our lives we’re going to face challenges, tough times, tough competition. At these times we need to reach back into our memories and find a time when we were strong. Without this turbo boost of confidence, we’re likely to give in to self-doubt at the worst possible times. When we most need to believe in our abilities. When something’s on the line and we need to perform.

Like in job interviews and auditions. Or when your job interview is an audition.

If you work in training as I do, you often have to audition for a job. I’ve auditioned at least a dozen times, and each time, while I was prepping and just before I went on, I was able to reach back to that reservoir of personal strength that came from Foundational Wins.

My first one came in 4th grade. I was brought up in front of the entire school at an assembly to receive a blue ribbon. My first chess tournament win. Again in 5th grade and 6th grade I stood in front of the entire school and received a blue ribbon. School Chess Champ.

The entire school clapped and cheered for me.

Sure, it was a geeky award. But it was also respect. I was the best. I’d beaten all comers and came out on top. Even the jocks and the cool kids had to admit that in that one little area, I was a badass. Continue reading How To Build Confidence With Foundational Wins

5 Mistakes You Should Make While You’re Young

800px-spruce_trees_covered_in_heavy_snowGeorge and Jacob were successful men looking for a little adventure in retirement. They’d done well in business and decided to relocate their families to sunny California. They packed up their possessions and savings and prepared to head west.

They chose to travel overland, and built themselves the biggest, most luxurious vehicles money could buy. They outfitted them with expensive furnishings, the best gear available, and hired a team of professionals to handle the driving.

They were going to arrive in style and bring their high standard of living with them.

450 miles into the trip, things were going great. George’s wife wrote this to a friend back home:

“The trouble is all in getting started.” 

But in fact, the trouble was just getting started. George and Jacob’s success in business made them overconfident. They failed their due diligence, assumed they knew more than they did, and made rookie mistakes. They packed way too much stuff and put their faith in all the wrong people.

And too late in their lives they made a mistake from which they could not recover. Somewhere in southwestern Wyoming they decided to take a shortcut. This is where all the trouble started for George & Jacob Donner. Continue reading 5 Mistakes You Should Make While You’re Young

Why It’s Better to Fail Outloud

trumpet-2Mrs. Caldwell was my elementary school music teacher. She had the  quintessential look of a spinster school marm. Long black wool skirt, white blouse, black cardigan sweater, long braided hair coiled on top of her head, pinned in place with a sharp pointy thing.

Reading glasses perched at the end of her nose, held by a chain around her neck, Mrs. Caldwell had a stern look and an air of prim authority.  She was intimidating.

Despite all that,  I liked her. She was a great music teacher.

Though I come from a family of musicians and teachers, it was Mrs. Caldwell that taught me to read music. She patiently and clearly explained music theory, how to subdivide measures, to read key signatures, and to play scales. I use what she taught me to this day and I’m a darn good sight-reader because of her.

Sure, I was embarrassed the day she pulled a nail clipper out of her purse and forcibly trimmed my fingernails in front of my classmates. But she was right, my nails were interfering with my violin playing.

So when she told us things I listened. She urged us to work on our tone. To make a pleasing sound with our instruments was the whole point of music.

She often told us this – “Play loudly so I can hear your mistakes. If I can’t hear them,  I can’t help you correct them.”

I took her advice, graduated to trumpet, worked on my tone and developed a good sound. Over time I got pretty good, good enough to win a spot in a college jazz ensemble, then be recruited away to another school.

I arrived  a week before their spring concert. I learned the charts and was ready for my debut. Halfway through that first program it happened. My test of Mrs. Caldwell’s theory on mistakes. Continue reading Why It’s Better to Fail Outloud

3 Things You HATE Yet Desperately Need

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People like us avoid routines. We’re naturally spontaneous and revel in the little surprises we get from not knowing what’s coming next. It’s our makeup to feel life is an adventure and around every corner is a new best friend or an invite to the White House.

This need for freedom comes with serious disadvantages. We know the Grinders in life achieve success with discipline. Tortoises grind it out every day, doing the same things over and over, leading them to wealth and success. We Hares are quick and talented, but prone to napping while Tortoises steadily make their way past us.

We need to leverage our strengths and keep our weaknesses at bay. If we putter or socialize when we should be working, our creativity will never see the light of day. Not in any significant way.

So routines are our friends. Or at least our frenemies. We may not always like them, but we need them. They  keep us from distraction and free up time for what we’re meant to do with our talent.

The more Manic Impressive you are, the more you’ll struggle to build and maintain routines. Here are 3 key areas where you need rigid routines: Continue reading 3 Things You HATE Yet Desperately Need

The Importance of Picking The Right Arena

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Chad Rowan was going to be a basketball star. An All Star high school center and a native Hawaiian, he won a full-ride basketball scholarship to Hawaii Pacific University. Chad and everyone around him had high expectations for his basketball career.

But fortunately for him it did not turn out that way. Chad Rowan flamed out as a collegiate cager. He rode the bench his freshman year then quit the team and dropped out of college. He didn’t even last a year. Though he was 6’8” and very strong, he was competing in the wrong sport.

Five years later, Chad Rowan was crowned the first non-Japanese champion of the sport of Sumo. Under his wrestling name, Akebono, he achieved Yokozuno status, the highest level in the sport, just a few years after his professional debut. From there, Akebono dominated his competition for eight years.

But starting out, Akebono was not expected to succeed in Sumo. His height and slim lower body were considered disadvantages. In a sport where the goal is to knock your opponent down, Akebono was too top-heavy. He would be easy to topple by the shorter, stockier Japanese wrestlers who would have the advantage of leverage. Continue reading The Importance of Picking The Right Arena

How Symbolic Change Can Help You When You’re Stuck

ChangeI want to tell you how, in a Kentucky hotel bathroom in 1982 , I made a symbolic change that completely changed my luck.

Yes, there is a back story here.  Halfway through a 5-week sales trip, I was stuck in a very big way. After getting off to a great start in Illinois, I bottomed out in Kentucky. I couldn’t sell a damn thing. Everything that had worked for me in the Mid West was hurting me in the South. I couldn’t close a door let alone a sale.

My boss had warned me that people where I was headed were conservative compared to folks in California. He urged me to adjust my look and tempo before I left. “Folks won’t trust a slick sounding guy from L.A. with a beard . Shave that thing!”, he said.

I didn’t listen. “Hey, I gotta be me. I got this, don’t worry” I said.

I proved him wrong for two straight weeks in the Mid West. Overcoming obstacles, setting records and crushing my closings. My numbers were great and I was on fire.

Then for two days I bombed. No problem, it happens. I was adjusting, finding my way. But after a third soul-crushing day in Kentucky I was lost. Swagger gone, I was ready to listen. In our nightly call I relayed my numbers to the boss and they stunk. He started in with the ‘I told you so’ speech, and though I was pissed, I let his words sink in.

Thursday got a little better, Friday even more, and by Saturday I was almost back to my usual high-percentage closing ratio.

I went on to North Carolina and Pennsylvania in the last two weeks and finished strong. REAL strong. Big numbers for the company and big dollars for me.

Did I change my presentation? Did I rearrange my feature and benefit statements? Did I drop my price? No. None of these things. Continue reading How Symbolic Change Can Help You When You’re Stuck