Thin. Successful. Why most of us aren’t…

Employees, Marketing, Uncategorized

“Eat less and move more” that’s the magic formula if you want to be smaller, thinner, tighter, etc. It’s repeated ad nauseum by the Jillian’s of this world and for good reason. It’s true. If you want to be slim, burn more than you consume.

“Work hard and ask for it” I wouldn’t say this is the magic formula for success but it’s something that I’ve seen more and more often in the entrepreneurial space. There are variations on the theme of course but it comes down to consistency and balls, in the end…

So if the answers are SO obvious, why aren’t more of us successful and thin? (or both)

Because there is always an exception to the rule and being the self-focused beings that we are, we want to be the exception too. Rather than eat less 7 days a week and exercise 5, we spend hundreds on diet pills, magic diets and DVDs. Rather than work your butt off (whether it’s creating content, editing, connecting or updating) we prefer to post inanities on an almost criminal level (okay so maybe I’m talking about me here.)

Now, I am sure you didn’t come here to read about being thin. Check here for more tips on that. But being successful? Maybe I can help, a little.

1. Conquer your fear of conceptual failure. My husband is not afraid of anything physically. He jumps on snowboards with no training, grabs juggling balls and masters it in a few minutes, routinely races the much younger boys and teens in the neighborhood and rides his bike like a maniac through city traffic. He’s taught himself how to ride motorcycles, jetskis, snorkel and mastered the oft vaunted P90X. But when it comes to conceptual things (i.e. things his ox like strength cannot help him with) he shrinks back. Make no mistake, he’s brilliant and funny and knows at least three languages but conceptual fear holds him back. The old maxim holds true: You cannot master what you never try! So let me save you some heartache:

-Yes, some people will hang up on you.

-For sure, some companies will not hire you.

-Not everyone will fund your startup.

-Someone might steal your idea or WORSE, say it’s stupid.

There, now you know. The flip side of each of those is rather obvious. Some folks will take your call, some companies will be thrilled to have you on their team, maybe someone will provide investment capital, and you might just get that idea off the ground and running. But you HAVE TO TRY.

2. If you can’t hire it out, learn it. I’ve been told on multiple occasions that I am no good for corporate life (I disagree but that’s not what this post is about). Why? Because when something cannot be done (no money, no skills, no people, no time) I get down in there and learn it. What’s the point of designing sales documents that shine, if there’s no one to seal the deal? How much money can an undeveloped product really make you? (the answer is none). My resume might say Marketing but in any given day, at any given company, I might write strategy, handle workforce planning, work on a little programming, write a press release, make cold calls, manage community, handle email testing and create a logo. Chances are you can too. Can I do all of these things perfectly? Probably not, but with practice and process (I’m big on process for training’s sake and efficiency) I do get better and the bottom line is, things get done.

(Not so little known fact, in certain corporate environments, people who “move up the ladder” tend to learn to exploit delegate to people like me. It’s easier and faster for them and it gets things done. So learn how to document the things you do and get at least SOME of the credit for your work.)

3. Ask for it. And then stand behind it for yourself because NO ONE else will. I’ll never forget the first time I negotiated my salary. Prior to a friend talking me through the process, I honestly didn’t know you could ask for more compensation than was being offered. I was nervous, sweaty and convinced that the sheer audacity of the act would get me thrown out on my ear. Later, my boss told me that before I fought for more than double the pay, he thought I was the best candidate. After I told him what I planned on making in his company and developed a plan by which I would be making it within two quarters…? Then he KNEW I was the best candidate.

4. Shout it out. A lot of people think they get this, but they really don’t. Because when they discuss their achievements, it’s with their contemporaries on social media channels or in private conversations. But who do you WANT to know it? The person (to go back to the above analogies)

– picking up the phone

– sorting through the proposals

– writing the checks

– handling the performance review

– getting ready to hire the candidate

I’ve talked to lots of people who do great work yet are incapable of talking about their achievements. Sure they rattle around on Twitter and Facebook and tell their friends about their latest idea and backslapping abounds, but what about this trusted network of ours? What about sending a letter to the man or woman in charge? How about getting the gumption to put some presentation behind your idea and see what sticks? You don’t need to tell your 9,000 twitter followers, you need to tell the five people who CARE. It’s akin to sending out a demo tape and lots of folks need to start thinking this way.

In other news, my kid is adorable…

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