All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘behavior’

Stop Throwing Money At “It”!

money-picI have a person very close to me who likes to throw money at situations and people.  Let’s name them “Pat”.  Over time I’ve noticed money gets thrown around when Pat  is trying to: 1) avoid a negative/painful situation (“I’ll buy the birthday gift, you go hang out with the birthday gal because I don’t want to see her”) or 2) be more loved (“I’ll buy lunch to apologize for making you come meet me where I want to each lunch”).

So in the famous words of the Beatles, if love is all we need and if money is the root of all evil, then what gives with Pat?

While we all tend to stretch for relief and love in our lives by “solving” things with money, what does it really do to your brand?

First, you must have self-awareness to look at the situation in the first place. If you can’t step back and observe yourself throwing money at others, then you can’t start to see anything differently. 

Throwing money at people and situations in order to get yourself in a better position and your brand better loved does NOT work.  Why?

Even if people end up taking your money, we can all sense your desperation in doing so.  It devalues your brand instead. No one wants to support, much less be around, desperate people.  Think about it: when was the last time you bought any product because you pitied the company? Never, I suspect.

Need more examples? Look at Uber.  Uber and Lyft spent over $8 million in a very few short months in Austin.  They were trying to get voters to shoot down Austin’s proposed fingerprinting rules for drivers.  Uber bombarded voters with phone, text, emails and calls.  Some voters were truly scared and creeped out by the level of intrusion.

In the end, Uber and Lyft lost the fight.  And they lost $8 million.  That’s what happens when you throw money at it. No one was more sad over this result than me.  I used to Uber/Lyft all around Austin on my monthly trips.  Now I’m stuck with yucky cabs or the kindness of colleagues and friends.

What about Uber and Lyft’s brand?

Some would say the companies are so big, it really doesn’t impact their brands.  Ok, so maybe there’s no fiscal impact. However, in the court of public opinion it’s different.  In the informal interviews I’ve done with locals in Austin, there’s very little love for Uber or Lyft.  When you mention either brand name, most people I’ve talked to shrug, squint and reply rather nonchalantly.  That’s what you get when you have enough money to throw at people in order to get your way.

So let’s summarize what we learned in first grade: Money does not get you your way. If you do get your way, you have no respect with it.  Your brand stinks.

What does this mean for you? Stop and consider:

  • When have you strong-armed others with money to get your way?
  • Did it work? Why did you really throw money at it?
  • How can you stop and have self-awareness of when you are throwing money at something?

Why Worry About Others? Keep The Focus On Brand YOU!

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Sprout.So often when we are struggling with ourselves and our business and careers, we tend to shift our focus to others.  I mean, we start to pick on others OR we try to help others master what we secretly can’t master ourselves.

There have been so many times in my life when I was feeling lost and “stuck” in something.  What I thought brought me relief was to start looking around at others- were they doing “it” better or worse? If better, then how? If worse- then yay!  I could judge them and then pretend to “help” them because I was such a caring and giving person.  See the problem, folks?

While the best way to learn something is to teach it, there are limits on this notion.  If you have no idea what you are talking about, you can’t teach anything to anyone with credibility and effectiveness. Even worse, your intentions are key. If you really are not trying to be of service, people can tell.  Your brand fails miserably at that point.

So what’s the key?  I’ve found over time, the best way to refine and work on your brand is to just focus on YOU.  If you want others to follow you, become your client, friend or employer, then just turn inwards and put all your efforts on your own brand development.

Why?  Once your brand is up to speed and you are resonating with others, then others will automatically gravitate towards you.  At that point you just have to stand there with grace and accept them all to you. 

It’s like the flower or plant that shifts and grows towards the sunlight.  That flower or plant can’t help but be attracted to the light.  You and your well developed brand are the light and others will shift, notice, gravitate and follow you- just like the flower. They will grow from your betterment of yourself.

So go out there and focus on your own brand.  It always takes time and patience, but you are up for it.

“When you see what you can offer the world, your world shifts”, – Oprah.

How Relevant Are You?

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Growing up, I always wanted to be of service and help humanity where I could.   Part of this need was wrongly based on the notion that, as an immigrant, maybe I’d be more lovable if I was helpful.

Once I overcame the “immigrant” stumbling block, I realized I still wanted to be of service.  It just felt good and “right”. After all, why else was I here?

Maybe that sounds sappy or maybe you feel the same way.  Regardless, I’ve discovered that part of the human condition is the desire to be relevant- for good (to be of service) or otherwise.  

Merriam-Webster.com defines “relevant” as, “having significant and demonstrable (evident) bearing on the matter at hand”.  Hollywood is full of people competing to be, or to stay, relevant in our eyes as their admiring public.   However, I’m not sure all the Hollywood folks are trying to stay relevant to any particular matter, except fame and fortune.  I could be wrong. There are always exceptions.

Relevant people are those with strong personal brands based on service and a cause greater than themselves.  They don’t need an admiring public or client base- just a cause.

Applying the definition of “relevant”, if you choose to be of service in order to be significant and have an evident bearing on a cause greater than yourself, you cannot ever fail.  People will see your relevance, purpose and greater cause miles away.  You will always be relevant.  I promise.

The results are: you will attract others (prospects, partners, friends, business) to you with ease and grace.  You just have to be the candle that shines and we’ll follow your light to you.

So what does this mean for you? Stop and consider:

  • What’s your purpose/cause greater than yourself?  Recall the last time you truly took a stand for a cause greater than yourself.  Did you notice how much your brand shined and how relevant you were to your audience?
  • How can you transfer this notion to your profession and/or work so that you can become and stay a relevant brand?

Part III: Deliberate Brand Creation- Are You Quirky?

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The leaves keep changing in deliberate nature this October.  So we, too, continue our Deliberate Brand Creation process this third week of October.  As I’ve written in the past two blog posts, I’m continuing to put my own spin on Oprah’s October 2014, “What I Know For Sure” column in her O Magazine.  I have a lot of appreciation and respect for Oprah’s presence.

This week, let’s explore how your quirks and oddities are the stuff of your deliberate brand.  As Oprah wrote in her column noted above, when she was younger she would go to parties.  She would feel compelled to stay at a party even if she had enough of being there and would rather go home. Why?  In part, Oprah says it was because she considered herself quirky to want to run home and be alone.

Perhaps the biggest “why” question here is why we can’t “own” our quirks? I think the short answer is partly lack of self-awareness and partly fear.

No one wants to be different and stick out.  We all strive to fit in. If I think back to a time when I really tried to fit it, I am taken back to high school.  I hated high school. I was always so different and didn’t really fit in.  It was hard being me.

I stuck out for so many reasons: I had olive complexion when it seemed everyone else had blonde hair and light eyes;  my first and last name was hard to pronounce (it wasn’t like my name rolled off the American tongue like “Jane Smith”); while my parents were very flexible with me and tried to “go with” the culture and mentality of midwestern/Indiana thinking, we still had different customs and rituals; and we lived in the most affluent suburb of Indianapolis, making it harder to be “cool” and fit in.   Most importantly, I always felt quirky because I could never ever understand why all those other high school kids rebelled all the time- drinking, smoking, sex, parties.  Were they suffocating at home, somehow?

Regardless of what I thought and how hard I tried, I was hiding who I really was.  I wasn’t even self-aware enough to know why I was hiding.  Looking back at my list above, I’m now really relishing my olive complexion, my first and last name and my background and nationality. I use it as part of my unique selling proposition and story to stand out and be genuine and different.  It works!  

However why do we, even as adults, try so hard to deny our quirks and eccentricities? What if you decided for just one day to really “own” your quirks, be proud of the eccentricities and not deny any of it?  Would the world stop?  Who cares if someone doesn’t “like” or “accept” you?  Do they matter more in this world than you (and your happiness) do?  I doubt it. 

I get the fear factor. I lived it and live it every day.  However, our personal brand growth is grounded in being self-aware enough to feel the fear and doing “it” anyway- whatever your “it” is.  

So just for one day, I ask you to be self-aware, own your quirks and see what happens. If you love to eat licorice, go for it! If you like to decipher license plates, go for it! If you love the Smurfs, go for it!  Just remember to tell us all about it so we can be your biggest champ, respect you and get to know your real personal brand.

What About You Is Compelling- How To Track Leads With Your Brand

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I have the same conversation at least once a week with a client.  It goes something like this: they tell me they met a wonderful potential client OR they tell me that they got a great new client.  Fantastic, right?!

So I always ask them what they did to get that client, i.e., how did the referral come to them?  Why do I ask them this basic question?  I often find that folks don’t stop and really think and assess how they retained business.  All they care about is that they got new business or met a “hot lead”.  While it may seem to make sense to focus on the final outcome and move on with business, it’s really not ok.

Why?  Because you need to figure out how the client came to be.  You shouldn’t be hoping and praying each time you meet someone who can possibly be a client.  You must have a plan and thus, be in control of the outcome – and your brand.  There is absolutely no sense in recreating the wheel each and every time a new lead or referral pops up in front of you.  When I say ‘have a plan’, I mean a branding plan where you know who you are, what you do and how you can tell them all this about you in a compelling way.

In my world, knowing who you are is key because if you don’t know yourself and your brand well enough, then how can you tie it well into what you do?  If you can’t get that far, there’s no way you can tell a referral or lead all this about yourself and “how” you can be of service to them- at least not in any compelling way for them to remember you and want to get to know you better and then hire you.

So next time you get a client or connect with a great referral, stop and think what about:

  • Who you are is clear and concise?
  • What you do is tied into who you are in a compelling, rational manner?
  • What about your overall brand is communicated well and with emotion to move me to get to know you and hire you?
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First, Know Yourself So You Know What To Market.