Tag Archives: success

Dealing with dream killers

Okay, so you have a dream. Maybe you’ve started planning for it, and it’s become a vision. You’re taking decisive action toward it’s fulfillment. Naturally, you’re excited about it, because you believe in it, so you go ahead and share it with those near and dear to you… or maybe you’re already telling anyone who will listen.

However, they don’t believe in it… and they’re not that nice about it. They point out its downsides, find fault with it, ridicule it, try to convince you that you’re not ‘qualified’ to achieve it, or maybe they even point how others are already doing something similar, or how others have tried and failed. Very often, many of us who get this kind of reaction get discouraged and let our dreams die, allowing others to rob us of our potential for success and greatness. We’ve been assassinated by dream killers.

First, we have to understand WHY so many people are dream killers. Not all of them are petty and vicious. Some of them just don’t want to see you fail miserably. In other cases, they’re just projecting their own fear of failure onto you, or because they fear they might ‘lose’ you if you do happen to succeed. In some cases, dream killers are people who secretly resent your ambition, because you’re willing to take chances that they aren’t willing to take. If you succeed, you underscore how they might have succeeded if they had just had the nerve to try.

When I went to Wall Street, I had lots of dream killers around me. I quickly learned how to handle them. Now, you can go hard core and just completely cut them all out of your life, but sometimes that just isn’t practical. In my case, I couldn’t cut off my family members, because at the time I was broke and lived with them. So I limited their access to me, especially whenever I was feeling discouraged or vulnerable.

Keep your discouragements, setbacks, and vulnerabilities private, at least with regard to the dream killers. You may even want to play things close to the chest in the early stages of a business or product launch so that the dream killers around you don’t get a chance to discourage you.

Now, we don’t get to choose our families, but we do have control over who our friends are, and how much time we spend with both. With this in mind, be purposeful in how you use your time with them. Make a habit of reserving more of your times for those who would encourage and help you. Don’t allow those who don’t value your dream to use much of your time!

Another thing I learned was to do my homework with regard to whatever I happened to be working on, so if anyone suddenly took on the role of a dream killer they weren’t going to win a debate with me about my dream. I also started using the ‘feedback’ I got from them to help me determine weaknesses in my plans. Even then, I took what they said with a bag of salt, not just a grain, because I knew that some of what they had to say was based on their own flawed thinking and incomplete knowledge.

I also had to recognize that people who are deeply entrenched in mediocrity will naturally criticize, ridicule or condemn those seeking to rise ‘above’ them. History does not kindly remember the critic. Would you put what the dream killers have to say on your tombstone? Then why listen to them?

Feed your dream. Find ways to encourage and motivate yourself. Many successful people create ‘vision boards,’ where they post pictures of the lifestyle they’re aiming for, or reminders of why they’re pursuing their dream. With every project I’ve ever worked on, I’ve always tried to come up with more reasons why it will work than why it won’t, and I remind myself continually of those reasons. Chances are, if I’m working on something, you won’t win an argument with me about it. Be more thorough in nurturing your dream than anyone else could be in trying to discourage it.

Stay focused. No matter what the dream killers have to say, keep working at your dream, one decision at a time. It’s your dream, not theirs, your life, not theirs.

Life is short. Don’t chase your dreams, hunt them down.

Waiting on the world to change? Change the world!

I haven’t posted in a while, as I’ve not been well. Still feeling the effects of May’s car accident which left me with a severe concussion that I’ve yet to recover from. But enough about my problems! Let’s talk destiny.

One of the many obstacles to achievement and fulfillment is our human tendency to wait for better circumstances in orde to take action.

It’s a natural tendency. First, we don’t like change. Then, there’s the fact that most of us tend toward laziness, or rather toward wanting things to be easier than we perceive them to be. However, that and $2 will buy you a halfway decent cup of cofee. I know it’s popular to say ‘How bad do you want it?’ But the truth is that it’s more important to know WHY you want it, because the ‘why’ is going to be what drives you, what keeps you going when things go wrong, what gets you up an hour or two earlier to work on your vision, and what got you started in the first place.

WHY is where you find your purpose, your strength, and reasons to go on even when it seems like you’re getting nowhere.

But to get to WHY you’ve got to know WHAT, and that’s a major problem for would-be visionaries.

Want to find your WHAT? Understand that all growth, and all improvment of life and the human condition always come from change. What is it about you that can bring a change that will benefit others enough to make them want to pay you for it, and be glad that they did?

The ABCs of Charisma

James BondNearly all of us want to have at least some charisma. Especially for those of us who are public speakers, who work in sales, strong charisma helps us to engage audiences, build rapport with prospective clients, and create opportunities for personal branding that can greatly enhance our revenue capture. In a word, people with strong charisma tend to have an easier time making money, establishing relationships, and getting what they want out of life in general. On the other hand, almost no one wants to be the guy nobody likes. Most people I run into think I’m very charismatic, yet I was the ‘nice guy’ everybody hated in school. So you won’t be surprised to know I believe charisma can be developed.

What is charisma, then? It comes from an ancient Greek word that meant ‘gift.’ In sacre writings of the Christian faith, it was used to describe spiritual gifts given by God. Today, it’s defined as:

cha·ris·ma
kəˈrizmə/
noun
  1. 1.
    compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others.
    “she enchanted guests with her charisma”
    synonyms: charmpresencepersonality, force of personality, strength of character;More

  2. 2.
    a divinely conferred power or talent.

If you’re not comfortable with the idea of a divinely given gift, that’s okay. Think of it then as personal impact. The truth is that to a great degree everyone has at least some charisma, and we can work to improve on our own particular type of charisma.

Now, most of us tend to think that charisma is an inherent trait, and popular culture tends to reinforce this belief with such expressions as ‘you either have it or you don’t,’ and the extreme charisma of celebrities and historical figures seems to enforce this as a fact. I beg to differ. however, and I’ll tell you why.

To some extent, some people are naturally more charismatic than others, yet charisma itself appears to involve conscious effort. There’s a story about Marilyn Monroe going shopping with a friend of hers, and not being recognized by anyone. Her friend was was puzzled by this, and Marilyn, it’s said, told her, “I’m not on stage.” Marilyn then ‘turned on’ her charisma, and before long, she was being mobbed by fans.

In my own small way, I’ve noticed a difference between how people react to me when I’m on stage, and when I’m just trying to leave the venue. When I spoke at an event at The Hard Rock Cafe here in Toronto recently, some people even noted that I was ‘different’ on stage. Indeed, my public speaking tends to attract far more business than all my other channels for attracting clients. To some extent this is because of the content of my speeches, but a good deal of it is because I’ve learned to ‘turn it on’ when I’m on stage.

All charismatic people, when using their charisma, apply what Andrew Leigh, author of Charisma: The Secrets of Making a Lasting Impression, refers to as the ABCs of charisma:

  • Aim. What you want to achieve. This should be specific. When I’m on stage, my aim is to inspire the audience to believe that they can achieve far more. In personal interactions, I’m usually just aiming to make other people feel free to be themselves, because that helps me to see how I can help them.
  • Behavior. Some will say ‘just be yourself.’ I’d say there are specific behavior traits which can be used to reveal your best, most authentic self.
  • Chemistry. The interactions and relationships which occur with others. Think of this as a continuous feedback loop. If you’re not aware of the personal chemistry between you and others, your charisma will suffer setbacks.

We’re going to examine charisma-enhancing behavior in the next post, but for now I’d like you to begin observing your aim  or objective when you’re interacting with others, as well as your own behavior and the resulting personal chemistry. Don’t be in a hurry. Improving your charisma takes time. Once you’ve made some definite observations of your present use of charisma, you can do the following for an immediate shift in its impact:

Smile. A genuine smile conveys warmth and friendly intent.

Make eye contact. Lack of eye contact will make people think you have something to hide, or that you’re not confident.

Use open body language. To put it simply, this is when no part of the body covers the midway point of the bisected body. Crossed arms, for example, usually indicate resistance, hostility, or skepticism.

Relax. Most people don’t bite. Really.

Speak up. Charismatic people tend to speak clearly and calmly.

If you’re really struggling with your charisma, I’d recommend  Andrew Leigh’s book for an in-depth approach. In my next post, I’ll go into detail on how to improve your use of charisma to hep unleash your vision on the world.

Keep the faith!

-Sam

The power of your words

“Death and Life are in the power of the tongue. They that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” – Proverbs 18:21

This ancient proverbs reveals a great truth about our words. Words have tremendous power, and in this particular proverb, death is mentioned first. I suspect this was intended as a warning, since for most of us its so easy to slip into negativity, both in our conversations and our self-talk.  There’s good reason that ‘Bad news travels fast’ is an old saying. For some reason, we all have a bit of the naughty little kid in us who just can’t wait to share the latest bit of bad news, especially when it’s particularly ‘juicy.’

To make matters worse, we tend to do this to ourselves. I teach my clients to break this habit, because even when we don’t mean what we say, our subconscious mind receives the negative signal and, unfortunately begins to work against us. Now, experts from scientists to internet marketers have tried to understand how it works. It remains mysterious, but there are some things we do understand about the subconscious mind that can help us, especially with regard to our words and thoughts.

We know that he subconscious mind is not rational or logical. It doesn’t necessarily think in linear terms. It seems to behave more like a parallel processor, and therefore can process much more information than the conscious mind. It’s believed that that the subconscious mind can process as much as 40 billion bits of information per second, versus the 70-20 bits that the conscious mind can process. So it seems possible that the subconscious mind can process and assimilate most, or maybe even all, of what we see, hear, smell, taste, and so on… including what we say.

When we are negative in our words, we can actually influence our subconscious mind to work against us, while our conscious mind begins to believe what we’re saying. There was once a skinny little teenager who wanted to become really strong despite his small size, many people told him in many ways that he’d never be able to bench press whatever number of pounds seemed like a good number to them. He, however, was undaunted. and continued to tell himself that he would reach his goal on the bench press. Soon enough, He began to believe that he could do it, and that belief caused him to research how muscles worked, and what actually made people get stronger. In the end, he bench pressed 270 pounds at a body weight of 117, and years later could bench press more than 300 pounds at a body weight of just 143 pounds!

Had he been negative, sooner or later he would have convinced himself that it was impossible, and his level of effort and dedication would have dropped to match those words. This happens to most of us. Some might even say this is how we talk ourselves out of pursuing our dreams. Do whatever you have to do to stop this habit. Now, I’m not saying you should be positive about things that don’t make any sense. You won’t see me trying out for the Toronto Raptors anytime soon.

Words can hurt feelings, offend sensibilities, start bar fights, end marriages and make enemies. At the same time, they can restore relationships, inspire people to strive for excellence, resolve conflict and make friends. Choose your words wisely, and use them kindly as often as you can.

What I am  saying that you should speak good things over your own life. Encourage yourself if you have to! What I typically have my clients do is a simple exercise in which they write down goals, or things they’d like to change, and then write down two or three encouraging statements about those things. They then read these aloud to themselves as often as they need to until they begin to believe it, and while they’re doing this, they’re already taking action toward achieving those goals.

Try this out for a week and see what happens. You’ll be glad you did.

The Power of a Genuine Smile


 

 

Business magnate Charles Schwabb, who decades ago amassed a fortune worth more than $400M, attributed his success mainly to his smile. While I’m sure there was more to him than his smile, the fact that someone of that magnitude would consider a smile that important speaks volumes of what your smile means to the release of your vision…

A smile communicates warmth, trust, good will, and so much more that it can often create opportunities to connect with people who will become a vital part of your journey. Don’t just smile with your mouth… though some people say smile with your eyes, I say smile with your whole body. Most communication is no-verbal, and since people really can’t see your heart, your smile gives you a chance to express your good will, openness, and friendliness. Your most powerful position in business is that of safe strength. People want to know you can get the job done, so to speak, but they also want to know that you are ‘safe.’ While a smile doesn’t tell your whole story, it can position you to be able to tell it yourself!

Let your smile be your chance to communicate the very best of you to the world around you, and watch your journey’s direction change for the better.