After some serious deliberation, I decided that 2017 would be the year of networking for me, so I set out to find some worthwhile networking events I could attend. So far, I’ve been to a few breakfasts, lunches, dinners and evening cocktails, and as I expected – they ranged from some of them being an absolute waste of time, to a few of them being really good. Therefore, in my humble opinion, it’s been time well spent overall.
Part of my planning phase for 2017, was to do what any good coach would advise, which is to get my goals onto paper. After attending the first couple of networking events, I very promptly added one more rule to my time management goal. I decided that I would do all I can to avoid having meetings just for the sake of having them.
Every meeting I attend this year, whether it be online, or face to face will have an agenda that makes some business sense, otherwise I will respectfully decline. The agenda could have just one item and the outcome might be something as simple as “send John Susan’s e-mail address before COB today”. Just as long as the host puts some thought into it and the meeting agenda indicates that it might have some potential value to me.
Why am I emphasising this point?
Well, after attending a few networking events, I found that a number of the attendees began requesting follow up chats over a “quick” cup of coffee. However, most of them had absolutely no real reason for inviting me to coffee, except to say that they thought it might be a great idea to get better acquainted after our initial introduction at the networking event.
Now let me clarify, before anyone becomes too annoyed at me – I’m all for face to face meetings when they have some value to at least one of the parties involved. So, remaining true to my new time management rule, every time someone contacted me for a coffee, I said I’d get back to them and went directly to their LinkedIn profile, website, or wherever else I might be able to gather a little more information about them and/or their organisation.
Based on what I learned from my research, I then returned the calls and asked what I believe to be the all-important question “Would you be okay if we schedule a ten-minute phone call first, so we can both get a clearer idea of whether or not a coffee would be worth your time and mine?”. This was in no way meant as an insult to anyone, because I honestly do not want to be responsible for wasting another person’s valuable time, if it can easily be avoided by spending no more than ten minutes on the phone.
I’m pleased to say that some people actually respected and even appreciated my approach, but there were those who were not even prepared to call me back for that ten-minute conversation – yet they were quite prepared to have me drive my car to the city (at least 45 minutes, including parking and walking to the venue), then spend at least another thirty minutes having coffee, before trekking back to my office (another 45 minutes).
So, besides costing me $12 for parking, unless I was that guy who moved faster than a speeding bullet and leaped over tall buildings, I would use up two hours of my working day (25% of the average 8hour day) to achieve very little more than I could have during that ten-minute phone call I suggested.
So, I ask you this – If someone thinks a ten-minute exploratory phone call is a waste of their time, then why in the name of Superman would they be okay with taking up a massive two hours just to drink a cup of coffee with me? By all means, if after the telephone call, we both agree that a face to face meeting is something worth having as a follow-up, then let’s schedule it and get it done. Otherwise, we can rather wait for the next networking event and see each other there. I’ll even drink coffee.
Now, I have a feeling this article might just create a bit of a storm in a tea cup (excuse the pun) for those of you who disagree with me and that’s okay, because I welcome any and all arguments/debates about what I’ve said. You see – another great belief I have is that we’re never too old to learn something new, so if I’m wrong then please tell me why I’m wrong and teach me a better way of handling it.
Does your doctor sometimes mess with your head ??
What does any normal person do when he has a skin irritation on his face that just won’t go? He goes to his doctor… right? Well that’s exactly what I did, and the guy I went to is renowned for being the hot shot of skin problems around these parts.
So anyway, he takes out his super whammy magnifying glass and proceeds to inspect my face. Thank god I brushed my teeth recently, because he really gets in there. He spends about three minutes checking it out, before moving around to more areas on my face. I’m okay with that, because I know this consultation’s gonna cost me eighty-bucks either way, so he may as well be thorough.
He eventually sits up straight, holding his chin the way you do when you’re thinking deeply about something, and says “yes it’s skin cancer”. Now I’m thinking, what the f#@*!!!, so does my entire face have skin cancer, or just the spot I came in about? And I’ve been hearing that “C” word being thrown around a lot lately – so am I going to die in six weeks, or can we remove my face in time?
Then I see this weird smile on his face (He really does have a weird smile – I’m not making this shit up). Eventually, after writing an entire thesis about what he just saw on my face, and smiling that weird smile the entire time – he looks up at me and says “It’s only a bla bla bla superficial cancer, that I could’ve cut out right here in my consulting room if it wasn’t so close to your tear duct. However, you’ll have to go see my friend who’s a specialist, so he can take this further.
By now I’m sweating bullets, so hearing the good news that I’m going to live, brings my heartrate back down to a thousand beats per minute. But that’s when he says something that just pisses me off completely. “Oh, and by the way – once you’ve had one of these skin cancers, you’ll definitely get more of them”.
He just went from the soft spoken, nice guy with the weird smile, to a monkey in a lab coat. How in the name of Doctor Phil can you sit there and tell me what my body is definitely going to do? This is a guy with about twenty-five years of experience, and the prestigious title of Doctor in his name, yet it seems he knows as much about the brain and human mind as I do about performing heart surgery.
I’ve been in sales for almost thirty years, and one of the first things I was taught, was when to shut up, because just an extra few words could turn a win into a loss very quickly. The guy had already impressed me by diagnosing the problem within a few minutes, and then remembering how to pronounce the name of that particular form of cancer was pretty awesome. All he had to do was shut up after that, but NO… he just had to say just one more thing, so he could plant the seed of doubt into my mind. “I will definitely get more cancer!!”.
Someone needs to think about including an additional module into the medical school for doctors to complete. They really should get a better understanding of how our brains and minds function, because they’re screwing up in a big way. Fortunately, during the consultation, he mentioned I’d have to wait about three months to see his specialist buddy, because that’s how busy he is. “Holy crap, how many people are getting skin cancer?” I thought to myself.
Now I say fortunately, because he’d also mentioned a cream I could try in the interim – just to keep it in check. I decided to go for the cream, and cut the specialist out of the equation completely. The cream worked perfectly, but unfortunately I got two more bloody cancer spots over the following year, and had to use the cream again. I just want to find a general practitioner who has enough savvy about the mind, so he knows when to shut up, because the mind is an easy thing to mess with, and we’d all do well to remember that.
If this doesn’t make you start thinking about your thoughts – Nothing will !!
Anyone who knows me – knows when I see something that takes my brain more than a minute or so to wrap itself around… I start searching for evidence and explanations. So, when I watched the movie called “What the bleep”, and saw Dr. Masaru Emoto’s theory about the consciousness of water… My brain just went WTF, and although I loved the movie, and in many ways it changed my way of thinking forever – I just could not truly have faith in the water story, even though I really wanted to.
But as I said, when that happens to me I start searching for evidence, and ways to experiment. Have you ever heard the saying “There are none so blind as those who will not see”? Well, I can tell you it’s true, because it took me until about a year ago before I heard about the “Rice” experiments people were doing. Why the hell did I not see them before, when they’ve been going on for years?
The way it works is like this:
- Cook up some white rice & Scoop even amounts of the cooked rice into three jars. (Ensure that all three have lids that seal them well)
- Stick a note on the side of the one that has horrible words on. I used “Hate & War”
- Stick a note on the side of the one that has kind words on. I used “Love & Peace”
- Leave the third one blank (We’ll call that one the “neutral” rice)
- Twice each day, for about 3 minutes, hold the “good” jar in your hand and send all the loving vibes you can to that rice.
- Twice each day, for about 3 minutes, hold the “bad” jar up and send the worst vibes possible to it. I mean you should really hate that rice as much as you can.
- You need to just ignore the third jar, and give it the “silent treatment”.
The first time I tried it my entire family thought I’d lost the plot. That original experiment took about four weeks to complete, because things were just happening so damned slowly. Fortunately, after the third week, I had to go on a business trip and my loving wife agreed, after much persuasion, to continue the experiment while I was away for a few days. I say fortunately because she must have been in a foul mood that entire week, and she gave that poor bad rice hell. I know she’s good at giving the silent treatment, so I had no doubt the neutral rice would suffer severely.
Recently, I decided to do the experiment again, and this time I took some photos. I have no idea how or why, but this time it took only seven days to complete this time. What really astounded me both times I conducted the experiment, was the effect on the neutral rice after being ignored. You take a look at the images and decide for yourself. Then take a little time and conduct you own experiment. It turns out the good doctor from Japan wasn’t smoking his socks after all. Water is conscious. Which in effect means that our thoughts and emotions have a direct effect on ours, as well on other people’s bodies. And considering the fact that our bodies consist of over 60% water – Well, it’s not rocket science after that, now is it.
I don’t think sceptics are so sceptical, and I’ll tell you why:
Your parents will tell you how you need to have a more positive attitude toward your studies, and you’ll do better. Or your sales manager will tell you how he achieves his goals because he has them written down, & reads over them regularly.
And what about that loud, angry football coach with too much testosterone. Why does he keep preaching that same old mantra to his team every single practice session? “You boys need to begin having more faith in your ability to win”. If young Jonny tells the coach he’s making a vision-board for the team so they can use it for five minutes before beginning practice every day – what do you think he’s going to say?
My guess is Jonny’s going to end up with a football firmly rammed up his #@*, and wearing the team mascot outfit for the rest of the season. You see, the coach knows they’re supposed to think positive, and have more faith in themselves – He just has absolutely no idea why!
The cocky sales manager heard about the importance of writing goals down, and then reviewing them on a regular basis. It was during that awesome seminar in Thailand last year. He’s never bothered researching the reasons why it would actually improve his sales. He just knows that the company paid big money for him to attend the seminar, and the guy presenting all that cool stuff sounded really smart.
Besides, His boss also gave him the best customers to service, and he works 60+ hours a week. I reckon achieving that big sales target’s not that amazing after all, when you put it that way. And of course the boss loves him, because he went on that same seminar two years ago – just before he had the triple bypass, and bought that shiny new Mercedes. The reason the boss had the triple bypass was because Mary brought a vision-board into the boardroom during his monthly sales meeting. What in the name of Oprah Winfrey was she thinking!!
I’ll say it again – I don’t think sceptics are so sceptical. I think their egos are just too big for them to admit there’s something larger than them. Yes, they love hearing how they are the masters of their own destinies – but they also hate hearing that they’re the only one’s responsible for their screw-ups. It’s just way too scary to imagine that they can’t blame the economy, the slump in their industry, or perhaps even their parents.
So I say to all you sceptics out there. Think carefully next time you say something like “I’m just not on the same wavelength as that guy. He gives me bad vibes”. Because you’re only one small book away from becoming a crazy hippie like the rest of us believers.
This is a story about a guy named Dave, who wanted a new kitchen. Actually that’s not true – His wife wanted a new kitchen, so he only thought he also wanted one:
Now Dave considers himself a pretty sharp guy, so when he walked into IKEA, he was like a soldier on a mission. He already knew the dimensions of the kitchen, because he took the time to measure everything before leaving home. Well done Dave! He also knew the colours, textures and other basic features he needed, right down to those tiny little white plastic screw covers.
He’s made sure it all blends with the rest of the house in general, and it fits his budget. If Dave’s married, and as smart as he thinks he is, all he did was take the measurements – For all the rest of the information, he asked his wife. Fantastic, Dave’s on his way to owning the kitchen his wife has been dreaming about. In-fact, he even had his wife double-check the measurements, because he loves her, and being a good husband, he’s also a little afraid of her.
So, Dave knows what he wants… A new kitchen
And he knows why he wants it…His wife said so!
There’s a perfectly good reason for the old one disappearing, and I’ll get there…
Okay, so no project can succeed without a deadline…When does he want it completed?
For the sake of including some drama for effect here, let’s just assume you’re Dave in our little story (I apologise if you’re female, but please have some fun with this and try using a little imagination. It should be fun). Your mother is coming to stay with you and your wife for a few weeks. You can stop freaking out now. Remember, you’re not really Dave, and this is only a story, so your mother is not actually coming to stay.
So anyway, the last time your mother stayed over, your wife was convinced that she’d insinuated the kitchen was only suitable for a wife whose greatest culinary skill is making toast. She may not have actually said those exact words, but by God it had to be what she was insinuating when she asked for toast every single morning without fail.
This time when your mother arrives, your wife’s going to show her exactly how well her little boy’s been eating since he got married. And to do that she absolutely has to have her new state of the art kitchen by the time “that bloody woman” arrives.
Well there you have it, your deadline has been given to you, and you know precisely by WHEN it has to be done. You’re still wondering how the hell a simple slice of toast could have caused all of this. According to you, the original kitchen was perfect, and now here you are, standing at the IKEA checkout counter, looking like a deer caught in the headlights, with about fifty other frightened husbands all looking just the same, and mumbling something about their mothers coming to visit.
“Fortune Favours the Brave”
-Publius Teretius Afer-
If you’ve been absolutely honest with yourself, and you’re truly brave enough to believe you spent enough time measuring all the work-areas correctly, you should have no doubt the units you’ve selected will fit perfectly into the available kitchen space, and therefore you should also have no problem handing over your credit card to pay for it all. Go ahead then – take a deep breath and pay the nice lady, all the other good husbands are doing it.
Everything’s gone so smoothly up to this point, and you cannot wait to get started, because you really want to make your wife proud. Of course you’re also sick of eating take-out food since your wife had those four fat guys come in and demolish the “old” kitchen while you were at the office.
More importantly, you’ve seen what the finished product is going to look like in the brochures they handed you in IKEA, and both you and your wife smiled lovingly when you saw the beautiful couple on the cover of the brochure, standing in their super-duper awesome new kitchen. The man, dressed in designer jeans and a tight white t-shirt, drinking a cappuccino, and his perfect wife standing behind him with her arms lovingly wrapped around his muscular torso, smiling from ear-to-ear, her teeth so white that Mr. Six-pack is even wearing sunglasses indoors just to avoid going blind.
“This must be the simplest kitchen in the world to assemble”, you think to yourself. I mean, this guy still has his tool belt on his hip, and he hasn’t even got a single dirty mark on his whiter than white t-shirt. Not to mention his skinny jeans that are so tight, there’s absolutely no way he even had to bend over once during the entire project. Even the Labrador standing in the picture, with its wagging tail and shiny fur coat seemed to be proud of him. I can almost swear the dog was smiling.
The big moment arrives, and you now have a bunch of different size boxes standing in the middle of your gutted kitchen, ready to be opened so you can transform that cold empty shell into a fairy-tale fantasy cooking land. Or as your wife refers to it “the place where your interfering, toast eating mother will eat her words”.
Like a small child on Christmas morning, you rush around opening all the boxes so can see what’s inside them. By now, your wife has convinced you how important it is to have this new kitchen, and you’re on-board. You even have your white t-shirt on, but you decided skinny jeans weren’t the best idea, especially since the ones you have are ten years old and must have shrunk in the wash, because you’ll need a crowbar to put them on now.
And then it hits you – Oh crap, you’ve opened all the boxes, spread all the parts around the kitchen floor, in what you thought seemed to be the perfect order. However, the instructions have all been jumbled up, and the dozens of packets containing screws, bolts, and all the other weird little twiddly bits lay in a heap in one corner. What now? There’s that deer in the headlights again, and you literally feel the enthusiasm drain out of you.
“Failing to Prepare is preparing to Fail”
Nobody mentioned the importance of proper planning. The twelve-year-old IKEA salesman wearing braces and a Batman pocket-protector never mentioned that you should open just one box at a time, and then actually use those pathetic instructions. You’ve never undertaken such a massive DIY project on your own before, so how the hell were you to know how challenging it can be to put all the pieces together. Sure, even if all the correct instructions had been given to you anyway, it would still be a big challenge, but now it’s going to be almost impossible.
It’s about now that you’re wishing you had just been honest with your wife when was trying to convince you that just because Bob next door built his wife that amazing set of cabinets, without even using an IKEA DIY kit, you could at least do this. You’re also suddenly remembering that handiwork is one of Bob’s great passions, and he has an entire handyman workshop set up in his garage. “I bet he still also looks great in his frikken skinny jeans, even though he’s already sixty-five”, you think to yourself. “Stupid Bob, with his stupid passion for stupid DIY projects”.
There are a few good lessons to learn from Dave’s melt down
Admittedly, unlike Dave, I’ve never personally undertaken a project quite as large as an entire kitchen using IKEA’s DIY technology, or anyone else’s for that matter, but I have had the pleasure of bringing at least a dozen pieces of DIY furniture home over the years. I attempted to build them, while remaining calm, and trying to enjoy the task at hand, and almost every single time was a nightmare. I hated following those ridiculous instructions. I’m not an idiot, it’s a few planks and some screws. What could possibly go wrong? Well something usually went wrong. I really don’t enjoy building DIY furniture, and should leave it to those who do.
My wife on the other hand, loves it. She can bring home something that looks like it’s going to require three mechanical engineers, a rocket scientist, and a brain surgeon to assemble, and within half the time it takes me to build the simple six-piece toy box for my child, she has completed her NASA space project. She’s even had enough time to make lunch for the family, chat to a few friends on Facebook, and wash her hair so she looks gorgeous for her victory dance. She’s as bad as that impossibly handsome skinny-jeans dude in the IKEA brochure. They both make me sick!
Worst of all, she’s sitting back after doing victory dance around the living room, with a glass of champagne, admiring her handiwork, and she has that look of achievement in her eyes (You married guys out there know the look I’m talking about), while my son’s super hero dad is still sitting on the floor in a pool of sweat, trying to figure out how I could have a fully assembled toy box in front of me, when I still have five screws and two bolts in one hand, plus one seemingly important plank in the other. Not a good sign.
So what can we learn from these two pretty silly DIY stories?
Discovering your own personal passion, and constructing the life you’ve always wanted, may be a more complex project than assembling a DIY kitchen, but the basic fundamentals are very much the same. In this particular case, Dave was not anywhere near passionate enough about the idea of a new kitchen. He only did it to satisfy his wife’s revenge on his mother, and the results spoke for themselves. This does not mean we should try avoid doing anything we don’t have an absolute passion for.
There’s no problem compromising on small things, like who should drop the children at soccer practice, or which movie to go see. Even compromising on where to spend your summer vacation is just fine. But when it’s something that could have a significant impact on your life, you absolutely must be honest with yourself – and get Bob next-door to do it.