Those Who Cannot Learn from History…

A good friend of mine reminded me TODAY is when the Berlin Wall “came down”. For some reason, I thought December was when Gorbachev allowed German people on both sides, people, free access. Perhaps it was because people lamented how wonderful it was for families to be reunited in time for Christmas. What I do remember, quite vividly, was the political electricity in the air. “Could this actually be the end of Communism?” Of course, it was… at least for a while.

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I was an Army Combat Engineer stationed at Fort Knox Kentucky at the time. Once a year, NATO conducted a countrywide exercise in Germany call REFORGER; Return Forces to Germany. Just after final formation, a call came across the barracks PA system asking for volunteers to serve as a representative group of my unit in Europe the following January. My entire squad hoofed it downstairs to the operations NCO to sign up. There was no way I was going to miss out on this!
Tear-Down-this-WallWe all made the list and shipped off for several weeks in Germany. Like I say, the feeling was electric. Though I never saw the actual Wall, the German people were so happy that they might one day get their country back. The Germans I met had nothing but gratitude and appreciation for us Americans. It appeared the “Cold War”, the stop to the spread of state ownership, was about to be over. As a soldier, I wondered if this would be the last of such a military exercise. Communism was defeated, Democracy reigns!
As I state in my workshop, Dealing with Different Generations in the Workplace, Millennials can be the most positive force in human existence… IF they remember the lessons of past generations. I am concerned given what I see on social and public media today. There are politicians promising “free this and free that”. Of course, nothing is free including freedom itself.
But when people with few accomplishments in their lives lash out against those who are successful, in a classic struggle between the haves and the have-nots, it sounds like a compelling argument. That is until you take a closer look at those who have more, simply

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because they or their family worked for it. The free enterprise system is the best form of meritocracy; you have something because you EARNED it.

Look at the pictures within this post. If Communism / Socialism was so great, so fair, so equitable, why were so many people desperate to escape it? Communism is nothing less than organized tyranny. Socialism attempts to do by legislation what Communism does at gunpoint; rob you of your freedom.

Speaking out against Socialism isn’t politically correct today, but then again, I was never PC. Next year, America has decisions to make concerning the direction of the country. Will voters make those decisions based on their feelings alone or will they learn the lessons of a generation ago. Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.  

A Little Encouragement Goes a Long Way

The need to feel unique starts in grade school or even earlier if we have siblings. With so many people in the world, we want to stand out and be noticed for our talents and ideas. That is not something that goes away when we graduate from high school, however.  It carries on to adulthood and in to business, where even if we do not work for praise. it is still nice to be recognized for the effort we put in.

A good manager will have the emotional intelligence to realize a paycheck doesn’t get people to go the extra mile. Even if our leaders miss the mark, any member of the team can increase morale by letting others know they are appreciated. This is where honest, positive reinforcement comes in to play. And many in the American workforce are starving for professional validation.

All human beings need to feel appreciated by others we respect. Simple, sincere words can be inspiring to those who may have no inspiration otherwise;

“I AM PROUD OF YOU!”

This phrase, when sincere, can touch someone at the core of who they are. However, in some work environments, it may be too familiar. A more professional comment may be;

“YOU DID A GREAT JOB!”

Of course, both mean pretty much the same thing. The idea is to recognize those teammates around us who may not get the much needed recognition they deserve or even crave.

Analysis Paralysis

I have taught Realtors and sales forces for almost a decade now. From brand-new rookies to career agents, I know one thing that will never change… change itself! Change will constantly come at us, and no matter how much we think we know, we don’t. There is always the need for additional knowledge and training. Information and experience are vital to the decisions we make on a daily basis. With the knowledge we have, and the benefit of past lessons learned, we can better assess the risk involved with any endeavor that may require an investment of our time, money, or emotions. That being said, we will seldom have an unqualified answer to the question: “Should I stay, or should I go”?

Several years ago, I was training a new twenty-something agent on my sales force when I was with a local RE/Max franchise. One of the first skills I taught this group of “newbies” was how to find prospective clients. This particular agent was attentive, thoughtful, and took copious notes in my Tuesday morning sales meetings. Jeff was what most sales trainers dream of; a clean slate devoid of bad sales habits, someone who was “coachable”. Indeed, he asked a lot of questions every Tuesday morning, and most every other day as well. He asked a lot of good questions, but mostly just A LOT of questions. Initially I didn’t mind. After all, that was part of my job. Although, after a month or more of this, and no clients to show for it, it finally dawned on me where his head was. His lack of confidence in being able to overcome every possible objection, stopped him in his tracks.

One Tuesday morning, after the rest of the team of new agents cleared out of the training room, I said to him; “Jeff, you do realize you will never have all the answers to every challenge that may arise beforehand, don’t you? In other words, you cannot possibly absorb everything from a textbook, or class in an attempt to eliminate a problem before it reveals itself to you”. Jeff looked to the side, back at me, then widened his eyes. This was his moment of Zen. Though I do not consider myself his “guru”, a light had clicked on for him. A switch that for many of us never gets flipped. It’s the realization that in order to pursue success, we must first be willing to fail.

So many people want to keep a perfect track record. As though THAT was more important than actually doing the job itself. I have stated several times; “perfection is overrated“. More on that in a later post. But, this concept of never being willing to make a mistake is sadly permeating our society. It’s not just with the young people, either. Those changing career fields, also seem to have a certain aversion to failure. Granted, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to do a job well. That’s admirable, though it shouldn’t stifle our ability to perform at all. In the words of Marcus Lemonis, “Have no fear and be willing to fail.” Most challenges have more than one solution, but none of them will be completely perfect anyway.

Fortunately, it is NOT the job of a Realtor to know everything. It is the job of the Realtor, or sales professional to understand our client’s goals, then find the information that will be pertinent to our clients making an informed decision. Yes, we are compensated for helping others to avoid (or at least properly assess) the risks involved. That’s why we exist! We are the professionals. But, we didn’t become that by never making mistakes or by just asking a bunch of questions. So stop worrying about not knowing everything, and get to work. Your clients need you!

www.MomentumSeminars.com 

The End is Near!

What does the end of 2018 mean? It’s time to start thinking about our ambitions for 2019. (Pssst, it’s just a number). According to a recent article in Forbes Magazine, only 8% of Americans actually achieve their New Year’s resolutions each year. Yikes! Statistically speaking (92% to be exact) I will NOT achieve my 2019 goals. Now what? Well what is a “goal” any way? It’s a dream we write down on a piece of paper to make us feel like we have accomplished something, or that we’re at least on our way. In short, we get a certain short-term satisfaction for having done something positive that day. We believe we are beginning to take charge of our lives! For a little while, we feel as though we are in control. Sadly, reviewing our little wish lists, is not taking action. And what were we doing the REST of the year, anyway?

Of course, you could scrap those goals all together, and simply BECOME the person you want to be, irrespective of the number on the calendar. That’s right, simply take on the disciplines and behaviors of the top sales rep in your company, act as if you were already regional manager, or earned that coveted industry designation.  We can incorporate the aspects of a positive personality TODAY, and that will get us to where we want to be a whole lot faster than a “wish list” on a slip of paper. In order for us to redesign our lives, it’s going to take… wait for it… CHANGE. Perhaps we avoid change not only out of complacency, but more the fact that to change today is to admit we were wrong yesterday. It’s a vicious cycle, but we can break it by becoming, rather than planning.

I’m not suggesting we should not have goals or pursue worth-while accomplishments. But we mustn’t be lulled into believing the goal itself IS the accomplishment. It is not. In order to achieve something new, we must do something different. That means moving out of our comfort zones, no two ways about it.  Fortunately, that’s something we can do that any time of the year, not just January first.

http://MomentumSeminars.com/

Silence is Golden

The Holidays are here, and some of us will spend more time with our extended families than we spent in the first eleven months. Hey, it’s family, what could go wrong, right? Well, you all know the answer to that! Nonetheless, this is the time of glad tidings, and good cheer. So, why not give them the gift that may ultimately reward us in the long run; silence.

If you are in management, education, or sales, you are taught to talk, and talk a lot. Talk every chance you get. We talk to establish who we are, what we do and hopefully build a relationship. But, when grandpa starts describing his latest stomach ailment in graphic detail, or when little sis goes on nonstop about her fifth boyfriend this year, it may be time to pause, and spend some time on the OTHER half of communication; listening. You don’t have to have a degree in psychology to know there may be a greater reason for our loved ones to “dump” all their problems on us.

Perhaps they think WE are the only ones who will actually listen to them. Think about that, just remaining quiet could be very important to those we care about. This is not to say the project should be attempted without a good stiff eggnog, but it is an exercise in your own level of compassion. By remaining quiet, and hearing them out, we remove ourselves as active participants in their latest challenge, dilemma, or scheme. When we are just with them in a nonjudgmental way, we allow them to vent, and remove what they have been carrying around with them all year long. Don’t attack them, defend them, or try to “fix” the problem. Instead, just hold your tongue. They may finally move off the point of their own issues, and ask about you! Nonetheless, they will be convinced, it was one of the best “conversations” they ever had with you. So this year, give the gift that is worth its weight in gold, just be quiet, and LISTEN.

Time for Faith

A local dining favorite is about to close it’s doors in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Peter D’s American Southern Bistro will close it’s doors on 4/18/2018. It’s named for Peter Demos, a prominent businessman in Tennessee.  It was said to be “Upscale, casual dining”. I’m not sure what that means, but the food was pretty good.  My  family and I went there several times since it opened about four years ago. You could find things on the menu there that were  hard to find elsewhere. Things like candied ribs and a quinoa salad. The foodpeter-d-s was good, the service was good and so was the atmosphere.

When you first walked into the restaurant, you could not help but notice the THOUSANDS of copper pennies inlaid into the floor of the foyer. I once asked the owner exactly how many coins there were and he told me. I have since forgotten that number but I was struck that he knew it down to the penny. The interior was rustic with rock walls and bourbon casks. But one thing in the decor that really fascinated me was all the “broken” clocks hanging in the waiting area. It looked like a scene from American Pickers.

The first time we visited, I didn’t ask about the odd timepieces as I was just taking it all in. When we went back, curiosity got the better of me. When I finally asked the hostess; “What’s with the clocks”, I was expecting to get some philosophical response about how time is money, the mortality of man or even the restaurants hours of operation. What I got instead was a little card that explained the meaning of each and every clock. The “times” correspond to a different bible reference.

The first clock was set to 6:33. This represented Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” I thought this was pretty bold, especially in a day and age when it is not politically correct to be a Christian, let alone a Christian business. 3:05 was Proverbs 3:5, Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”  I was amazed to see such a witness in a time when there are those who grossly misinterpret the United States Constitution to read as a separation of church and… well, EVERYTHING.

Peter Ds ClocksYeah, this guy is a radical alright. In fact he even went so far as to remain closed on Sundays, so the employees could go to church that day.  A couple of years ago, I heard Mr. Demos’ testimony one Good Friday at a function sponsored by another public speaker in town, Coach Micheal Burt. He related how difficult it was to open this particular restaurant though he had been a restaurateur for decades. Nonetheless, God showed him the way. A way which would ultimately bring glory to the Lord if for no other reason than to share his story. That’s appropriate as it is a part of the restaurants purpose statement.

According to the Daily News Journal, which shot the main photo of this post, the Demos’ received an offer from a national deli chain to lease the property which was too good to turn down. The Peter D’s name will go on as the family’s catering business. Already, Peter has his sights on his next venture this Summer in Nashville. I’m sure my family and I will visit one of his many establishments for years to come, but I will personally remember how bold the Demos family is in their faith.

Blaine Little

http://MomentumSeminars.com

For the entire DNJ article, visit; https://www.dnj.com/story/money/business/2018/04/14/peter-ds-closing-murfreesboro-demos-restaurant/517178002/

Where Are Your New Year’s Resolutions?

Well, how have you done so far? We are well into the year. Are you well into  your goals? Do you even remember what they were? Be honest. No, my intention is not to pour salt into an open wound, but merely to pose a very simple question; Where are your New Years resolutions? We put a lot of stock in our dreams, and we give a lot of significance to the plans we make for achieving them, but do those plans actually move us closer to where we want to be in life.

According to a recent article in Forbes Magazine, only 8% of Americans actually achieve their resolutions. Yikes! Statistically, speaking (92% to be exact) I will NOT achieve my year-end goals. Now what? Anything but admit defeat! I know… I can “kick start” my goals anew. Re-energize my vision. Re-discover my purpose. Re-align my chakras. Maybe get in touch with my inner child?

What is a “goal” anyway? It’s a dream we write down on a piece of paper to make us feel like we have accomplished something, or that we’re at least on our way. It’s something we can tangibly hold in our hands in lieu of the actual situation. And as soon as that ink on paper becomes a reality, we’ll be happy. We post it on our bathroom mirror to remind us of it every morning, or better yet place it in our purse or wallets so we can review it a few times a day.  In short, we get a certain short-term satisfaction for having done something positive that day. We begin to take charge of our lives! Sadly, reviewing our little wish lists, is NOT taking action.

A world-famous motivational speaker once said “set the type of goals that excite you to get out of the bed in the morning”.  Of course, you could scrap those goals all together, and simply BECOME the person you want to be. That’s right, simply take on the disciplines and behaviors of the top sales rep in your company, act as if you were already regional manager, or someone who has already lost 50 pounds. We can incorporate the aspects of a positive personality TODAY, and that will get us to where we want to be a whole lot faster than a slip of paper. In order for us to redesign our lives, it’s going to take… wait for it… CHANGE. If we’re being honest with ourselves, the average human, not coming out of some sort of traumatic experience, simply does not want to change. There’s too much work involved, and we have to look at the not so positive habits currently in our lives. I think we avoid change not only out of complacency, but more the fact that change today is to admit we were WRONG yesterday.

Thomas Edison didn’t create hundreds of inventions because he ran on a treadmill, made solid hedge fund investments, nor because he got out of bed any earlier. In fact, he was well known for taking naps. He made the world a brighter place simply because he was, well, Thomas Edison. He accomplished all he wanted not by wishing on a star, or waiting for his ship to come in, or win it big in the lottery. He just did what the inventor of the light bulb WOULD do to achieve success. He failed hundreds of times just on this one endeavor, but he continued to change, alter, and modify the process. He was flexible, and not afraid to admit he failed along the way. There was a passion inside who he was that he would never find on a sticky note.

Where are your new years resolutions? If they are nowhere in sight, don’t worry, you can essentially achieve them today. You just have to become a little better version of yourself and do things outside of your comfort zone, that includes admitting failures along the way.  If you’re in the magic 8%, far be it from me to pour cold water on your endeavors. Go get ’em!  But you better hurry, it will soon be October, and I will ask you the same question again.

MomentumSeminars.com

BlaineSpeaks@gmail.com