Archives for May 2021

What is the soundtrack of your life?

Those of you who know me well have to be thinking about me and music, but that is not exactly what I am speaking to today. Instead, I’m asking what are the things you like to do that drive you, bring you joy and keep you centered? For me music is definitely high on the list, as is hiking and travel. I also like to combine these activities with my family and friends. By doing so, I create a flow in my life where I believe I end up in a work hard-play hard existence allowing me to live life to its fullest in each moment.

This doesn’t mean in each moment I feel that I’m living life to its fullest. It’s a combination of all of these things, including the high highs and low lows, which allow it to happen. There a good moments and there are bad moments personally and professionally. Together, they make up the fabric of your day, your month, your year.

During the pandemic many people made significant changes to their life voluntarily or involuntarily. For each person who discovered the ability to live somewhere else while working remotely, someone else lost their job or business. Even when changes are not voluntary, there are silver linings, though they may not always be obvious until you look for them or they find you. The first step is to try to be self-aware enough to understand what gives you your rhythm or roll. The answer(s) to this can help you through difficult times and to embrace the good times.

I’ve had people ask me how to do this. The question is it depends on you. Do you need to meditate and clear your mind to find what’s important to you or drives you? Do you need to sit and think with your favorite music on the background nursing a cup of coffee? Do you need to journal and get your thoughts out in that manner? Part of what’s interesting to me in this process is we all approach it differently with the same opportunity for success.

However you approach defining your soundtrack, it’s an investment in yourself. Given my line of work and the fact that I bill every six minutes of my day long ago taught me the value of time. There is a cost in time to any activity you choose and the choice is not always obvious.

What if I told you at the end of a long day I was deciding between sitting down and playing a video game or going on a hike? Most of you who know me will think my choice would be to hike. What if I reframe the options and they are to sit down and play a video game with my son or hike? Then the choice may be less obvious. In either scenario, I have the ability to choose what is important to me in the moment and move forward accordingly.

I challenge you to, in whatever manner works for you, take the time define the soundtrack of your life. Sometimes the soundtrack is altered by you. Sometimes by others. But once you figure it out it is much easier to get back on track and do the things that make life meaningful to you. And, of course, there are rewards to those who spend time jamming to their soundtrack for even a few short minutes a day instead of blindly stumbling one step after the other. I challenge you to find your soundtrack, your rhythm, and follow the path.

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You need to be able to execute, or find someone to work with who can

Ideas are important. If you have them and don’t act, then ideas don’t matter. The ability to put ideas into action is a separate skill, and one you need to succeed.

This may not be you. Many people are the idea people, but follow through isn’t their strong suit. What can you do if that’s you? The first thing is to work with someone who has complimentary skills, someone who will take action and move ideas forward. If you are that person, but not an idea person, you need to work with an idea person.

The point of teams is to have a group of people work together with complimentary and sometimes overlapping skillsets. It helps if you have self-awareness of your strengths and weaknesses, and can be honest about them. We all can’t do everything well. If you figure out what you do well, you will in turn be figuring out the types of people you need to create a good team.

One way to figure out how well you execute is to think of good ideas you’ve had. Think about whether you’ve taken any action to move an idea forward or is it just that, an idea. Even if you aren’t one who can execute well, you can come up with a list of what needs to be done to implement your idea. This will allow you to think about who you need to help you do so. Any steps forward are better than no steps.

Think about you and your ideas, and take the first step towards executing and moving forward to your future.

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Successful people talk about ideas. Unsuccessful people talk about people.

Many people can’t help but compare themselves to others and judge others. This accomplishes nothing other than maybe making the person doing so feel good, at least for a moment. Talking about people doesn’t breed success or opportunity. Nor does it reflect well on those who do it.

On the other hand, talking about ideas and thoughts leads to learning, growing and success. I can talk about successful attorneys who develop a lot of work or I can talk about ideas to develop business myself and come up with a plan to do so. One has a chance to lead me to success, while the other is hot air leading me nowhere. I know which one is more attractive to me.

In talking about ideas, engage people you think will add to the conversation and tell you the negatives related to your ideas, not just the positives. Having people you trust as sounding boards will help you hone your ideas into action plans. Once you have that, it’s up to you to take the next step.

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The importance of relationships can’t be overstated

People and relationships provide opportunities. Ignoring this in the course of business and life is at your own peril. The saying “everything is who you know” is true. These people make up your world, which is expanded by people one person knows, but another doesn’t. Connecting with your connection’s connections is a learnable skill with the possibility to expand your network, world and possibilities.

Sometimes it works to ask people you know to introduce you to someone they know who has a specific expertise, whether an accountant or a plumber. I regularly ask people I know well who they know who I need to know. That is the start of connecting and the chance to forge a new relationship. By doing this you exponentially increase the reach of your network and opportunity for good connections.

You may be thinking this seems like real life LinkedIn. Of course, LinkedIn is an online technology driven world trying to imitate real life. The difference to me is I have many connections on LinkedIn I haven’t met and don’t actually know. This doesn’t mean LinkedIn has no value, just that it’s different than connecting in person and through people you know.

One year I tried to meet any new local LinkedIn connections for lunch or coffee to see if I could forge any meaningful relationships beneficial to me professionally. I met some nice people, but, for what I do professionally, the time and money spent didn’t result in any work or good connections. Instead, I was offered a lot of insurance products and asked to trust people I just met to invest my money. It was a failed experiment, but resulted in me honing my focus on connection through real human contact and interaction through people know. In the years since, this has proven to be a good path to follow.

Of course, these are what is referred to as “warm connections” because they come through someone you know. There is a more immediate trust when someone who knows two people is willing to introduce them. It doesn’t mean every connection made will bear fruit, but you don’t know if you don’t try. Start today.

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