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Archive for the ‘manifesto’ Category

The Last Year.

What if 2012 were your last year, your last chance at leaving your mark or doing something great or crossing out every item on your bucket list?

This has nothing to do with the Mayan calendar or the financial crisis, mind you. It’s just a simple what if question.

What if you went another year without writing that book you’ve been thinking about for a decade? What if you went another year without taking that trip to Paris or Moscow or Sydney you’ve been dreaming about your whole life? What if you went another year waiting to launch your startup?

What if you only had 365 days left and that’s it?

Here’s what I’ve learned in the last few years: There’s no such thing as the right time. All we really ever have is now. Now is the right time. Tomorrow is bullshit. Tomorrow turns into next year and then someday and finally never. Tomorrow and next year will be too late. Whatever needs doing, do it now. Today.

Early in my career, I wasted years – precious years – doing what I was told, trying to fit in and often playing it safe when every instinct in my body told me not to. You have no idea how much I now regret having thrown those years away. I lost so much time waiting for opportunities and “the right time” to do something, it makes me ill just thinking about it. Never again.

So the lesson here is simply this: Ask her out. Book that flight. Graduate. Take the job. Write the damn book. Get your funding. Finish that triathlon. Launch your startup. Carpe Diem isn’t a slogan on a T-shirt. It isn’t an abstract philosophy. It means get off your ass and do the thing that needs doing. Today. If it fails, it fails. If it works, it works. So what? Either way, the sooner the better.

That’s it. You have 365 days. Show me what you’ve got.

*           *           *

And if that wasn’t enough, there’s also this:

Success is blocked by concentrating on it and planning for it… Success is shy – it won’t come out while you’re watching.
Tennessee Williams

“If you want to achieve things in life, you’ve just got to do them.”
Juliana Hatfield

“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me’.”
Erma Bombeck

“Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.”
M. Scott Peck

“Most people give up just when they’re about to achieve success. They quit on the one yard line. They give up at the last minute of the game one foot from a winning touchdown.”
Ross Perot

“The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether it is the same problem you had last year.”
John Foster Dulles

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.”
Steve Jobs

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Today, I would like to share some great advice with you, courtesy of Dave Armano’s Updated Manifesto:

Ask.

Ask questions. Lots of them. Ask the silly ones. The ones that no one else wants to ask. Ask about the bigger idea. Ask about the details. Ask why—but also ask yourself why you are asking the questions.

Believe.

Do you believe in what you do? Would you rather be doing something else? Believe in what you do. Or find a new career.

Be Someone’s Hero.

Everybody needs a hero. We just don’t want to admit it. Find someone who needs a hero. Not your boss—but the person looking for guidance—a word of encouragement or inspiration. Be that hero even if your own heroes don’t exist for you.

Stop Talking.

Talk is cheap as the cliché goes—what have you produced lately? Make it a point to end your week with at least one tangible piece of something that can be saved, printed, shared, or produced. If you can’t do it in your job—do something on your own.

Be The Change Agent.

There are two types of people. Those that dream of change and those that make change happen. But we all start out as dreamers—the difference in going from Dreamer to Agent includes taking ACTION. Build bridges. Get out of your discipline. Infect others with ideas. Don’t be satisfied with “OK”. Change Agents are not Rogue Agents—if you are really interested in change, you’ll do whatever it takes to make it happen.


Play In Someone Else’s Sandbox.

Traditional people don’t like it when you get up all in their space. They’ll become possessive, protective and territorial. All the more reason to get in their sandbox. Invite them to play—even if they don’t want to. One day, they may change their mind.


Let Go.

People are more informed and empowered than ever. And there are no signs of this slowing down. By handing over control to customers, you’ll be sending this message: “we trust you”. After all, a brand lives in the hearts and minds of the customer—and as many are discovering, an “open source” brand helps generate delight, demand and authentic loyalty. Give your customers the tools they want and the experiences they crave. Then get out of the way and see what happens.


Be Experienced.

The brand is the experience and the experience is the brand. That said—you can’t generate a successful brand experience if you haven’t experienced some things for yourself. Do you know what it’s like to schlep a mini-van full of rowdy children from location to location? Have you wired up a home theatre? Take extreme measures to relate to your customers. Be them for a day. And if you can’t—spend some time with them. It’s the fastest way to go from theory to reality. Being experienced equals better experiences.


Think Rational. Be Emotional.

People are both unpredictable and predictable in the same breath. We all act upon logic at times and emotion at others. It’s the Human Condition. So how do we satisfy our fickle, unpredictable selves? Meet people’s rational needs—and do this exceptionally well. Then, surprise and delight them on an emotional level. It’s common sense thinking—yet difficult to pull off. If it weren’t, every experience would be as satisfying as an iPod, RAZR, Google or Harley-Davidson.


Tear Down The Wall.

Corporations thrive by having distinct departments and teams.
Collaboration is encouraged—but authentic collaboration rarely happens. Why? Because it’s messy business. People are born with egos. Egos need to be un-learned. Replace your natural born ego with intense curiosity. Do this and you’ll be able to break down barriers, and do great things. When Harley-Davidson wanted to design their first high-performance motorcycle (the V-Rod), they went to Porsche for help. That’s checking ego at the door.


Get Real.

Few people know that the hugely successful Motorola RAZR was nearly scrapped before it ever had a chance. Why? Because some manager thought it was too much form over function. Rather than request further research, the designer simply had the concept prototyped. Once the phone was made real—it quickly gained internal momentum. The rest of the story is history. Make something real—and people will decide for themselves.


Be Both Evangelist and Agnostic.

Do you believe in something? Be an advocate for it. Others will see your passion and know that you have a vested interest in what you do. But when it comes to using creativity to solve real-world business challenges—be an agnostic. Throw pre-conceived notions out the window. Don’t make assumptions and do your best to avoid personal bias. Innovation comes from seeing the world through the eyes of a child.


Make Sponge Bob Your Hero.

Sponges soak up the world around them. When squeezed, they give some of it back. Do your best to learn from others—soak up the everyday knowledge and expertise that others have to offer. Then, when it’s your turn—give something back.


Just Do It.

The best theory is the one that gets practiced. Thinking is great. Thinking without doing is not.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

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