Once upon a time, a college friend of mine spent a few days with me. He was driving his son to his first job in Washington, DC from Massachusetts, and my house was directly in line. In a very few hours, it became apparent how people grow in different directions. My friend took the athletic route after graduating and is a very fine physical education teacher at his local high school in Massachusetts. He has spent the last 30 years of his life in the gymnasium—working with other people’s children. The morning after he arrived at my house, we no sooner poured our first cup of coffee when he asked if he could see the comics section of my morning newspaper. This section is always free, as I immediately grab the business section in order to get my daily “marketing fix.” My wife starts at the beginning and my son disappears with the sports section. Read the rest of this entry »
I am currently experiencing a little mental discomfort. I thought I would share it with you to see if there was a message buried in my uneasiness that could benefit your immediate future.
The question is, at age 73, am I physically capable of swimming, biking, and running a total of 70.3 miles in less than 8.5 hours? (An Ironman Triathlon) Perhaps more to the point, do I really want to find out? It is not as if I have never accomplished this feat before. I have. In fact, I covered the full Ironman Triathlon distance of 140.6 miles back in 1997… and lived to talk about it.
The question remains. Do I want to prove to myself that the “old man” is not ready for the rocking chair just yet? As I am typing this the smell of Aleve X ointment on my sore shoulder Read the rest of this entry »
I spotted the following in a popular e-zine I like to read.
Word count for this issue: 888
Approximate time to read: Just over 3 minutes
Why bother spelling out the length of an article you ask? There is a very good reason for doing this. It is a small courtesy that supports one of my sales lessons which implies that it is smart to let people know what they are in for.
In this case, 888 words tells me how much effort I need to invest if I decide to read this information Read the rest of this entry »
I recently arrived at (and passed) another milestone in my life. To put it in a way I still have trouble comprehending, I have taken another full lap around the sun. I won’t go into specifics, but I will say I do remember when a five-dollar bill was enough to take a date to the movies and share a coke afterwards. I also remember when a gallon of gas cost around 31 cents.
Recently I find myself reflecting over my accumulated years like two clenched fists… where my entangled fingers represent both successes and failures intermingled and synced exactly like they are supposed to be. But that is not the point of today’s reminder.
I woke today like I usually do. But today was noticeably different. Like always, before swinging my legs off the bed searching for the floor, I ask myself how my back felt Read the rest of this entry »
I love to visit early morning coffee shops when I am away from home. I listen to the locals meet and greet their friends during their daily ritual on their way to work.
It truly is better entertainment for me than today’s TV selections.
A recent visit was to The White Castle on Central Avenue in Clark, N.J. This could very well have been the birthplace of the famous New Jersey “Death Ball”—a greasy hamburger about the size of a quarter. (The coffee is a notch above okay.)
I was nestled in the corner hiding behind my open laptop when a policeman walked in and greeted the grill master. He then started chatting with another regular stool patron as they both propped themselves up against the counter.
I tuned in Read the rest of this entry »
It was 7 pm. As luck would have it, the race was just about to begin when I switched on my TV. I thought I’d missed it since I believed the race was at 5 pm.
There in front of me was a long cage filled with horses with numbers 1-21. I noticed stall #20 was empty and thought to myself that #21 was so far off the rail it was simply a futile attempt. At least the owner, trainer, and jockey could one day say that they were in The Kentucky Derby.
The horse was named Rich Strike and was listed at odds of 80-1. There was no way a horse in that position had a snowball’s chance in hell to win anything. Good luck, Rich Strike. Read the rest of this entry »
Have you ever stopped to consider why multi-millionaire entertainers and business people take the time to appear on late-night talk shows for just a few minutes?
Their pay (if any) for doing so is probably less money than they paid for lunch that day.
So why does every celebrity you can think of try to get themselves booked on talk shows? The reason they want their faces blasted across the airwaves is simple.
They realize that regardless of who they are—and what they may have accomplished to date—if they are out of the public’s sight, they are out of the public’s mind. Read the rest of this entry »
Although nearly two decades ago, I remember like it was yesterday hearing the following words at the home of two Russian immigrants in Chicago. The husband was now an emergency room surgeon, and his wife was a successful travel consultant. Their home was modest, yet beautifully furnished.
After hearing their saga of eventually fleeing to America, arriving in New York City not speaking the language, the good doctor added after passing the rolls at the dinner table, “If you can’t make it in America, you can’t make it. “Those eleven words have stuck with me ever since.
That was over 20 years ago Read the rest of this entry »
Science tells us that water boils at 212 degrees farenheit. This is not an opinion. The boiling point doesn’t change depending on the day of the week or the economy.
Your political persuasion does not affect the exact time that water boils, nor does the price of gas on any particular day. Water boils as expected: 212 degrees. 211 degrees… no boiling. At 212 degrees you can watch the bubbles begin.
Art, on the other hand, shows us details and then allows us to interpret it as we see it. The exact same picture can be interpreted hundreds of ways, depending on hundreds of different variables. With art there are no set answers. There is not one interpretation. Read the rest of this entry »
I am not sure if this can be considered my “signature story,” but it’s true that I have been sharing this particular point for over 30-years in my public speaking business.
It involves a single PowerPoint slide where I ask the audience to count the number of times they spot a particular letter, clearly printed on the slide. It is not a trick. It calls for a single answer.
The result has been the same for over 30 years? I get four different answers to the question where there is just one correct one.
The message then addresses the necessary skill of spotting opportunities when they appear right in front of you. In fact, they are everywhere. In fact, very few spot them. As a result, very few people take advantage of them.
This leads me to today’s message Read the rest of this entry »
Today’s reminder is coming directly to you via my golden-oldies archives. It was written eleven years ago but, for many of you, “the shoe will still fit.” You can be the judge.
Time may continue to pass us by, but the major (business) lesson from this time of year reigns supreme for another twelve months. Everyone, regardless of the color and size of their Easter Basket, is familiar with the good ole Easter Egg Hunt. (Now that I think of it, I did not hear news of the Annual White House Hunt.) Find those little colored babies or not, there is one GIANT reminder we can all benefit from when it comes to this annual free-for-all. Read the rest of this entry »
My dad was a salesman. He regularly left home on two-week missions to sell more of his “stuff,” in order to pay the mortgage for a home large enough to house my mother and their seven children.
I was #2, and I remember those days like it was yesterday. “Mike,” you say, “who cares?” Stay tuned. I am talking to you.
My dad loved to fly, and he loved his work. Based on our comfortable living conditions while growing up in a big house open 24/7 to all shape and size kids and their friends, he was a pretty good salesman.
Flying used to be an exciting proposition. I suspect that another reason he enjoyed traveling so much had a little to do with that Read the rest of this entry »
If positioned properly, losing can become a positive launching point.
It might not have been my first failure, nor should it be considered my greatest failure; but I clearly remember the first time I began feeling like a loser. I was maybe 10 or 11 at the time, playing for a Major League Little League Team. These were the big boys and supposedly very good at our trade. I was a proud member of The Hawks.
When opening day came and went that year, we were 0-1. Nineteen games later, when the last out of the game was recorded at the season’s end, we were 0-20. Putting on a pair of rose-colored glasses, that single feat was almost impossible to duplicate. Very few teams can consistently perform that poorly over Read the rest of this entry »
This could be totally related to age, and there is a good chance many of you reading today’s article will not identify with what I am about to say. I am going to give it a shot anyway.
I am not calling them liars, but when I hear somebody say they have no regrets in their lives, I can’t help but think they are in the minority. I am fast to admit that I have had a memorable ride for the past 72-years, but I still have a boatload of situations where I would have played my cards differently. Full disclosure: I often wake up in the middle of the night asking myself, “what was I thinking!”
The truth of the matter is that the past cannot be undone, and hopefully we have learned something along the way that we would not have learned if Read the rest of this entry »
Rockport, Massachusetts is located about 30 miles northeast of Boston on Cape Ann. It is there where I found myself fantasizing about sailing, and where I decided to start a small business that would eventually finance my very own sailboat. This is just one of my stories that will involve sailing.
At the time, I was flying a small kite off the rocks and was enjoying the breeze, the blue sky, the salty air, and the peacefulness of simply enjoying a Sunday afternoon. That is when the idea hit me. My new company would focus on kites and other toys that flew.
I soon came up with the name “FLYING HIGH,” and I began waiting for a storefront to become vacant. When I saw that the old toy store would soon be closing down, I pounced at the opportunity to secure a lease. I was in business and would soon be the owner of my own “sloop.”
The problem was, I was still holding down a full-time job nearly five hours Read the rest of this entry »
Last week I reminded you of how important first impressions can be. We left the Theta Chi House at The University of Colorado in Boulder and began flying to the gold coast. We ended up in Fresno and, in particular, Fresno State University. Reread last week’s story to be brought up to speed. We made an interim stop in Salt Lake City before continuing our journey to Fresno, CA.
We knew where the inexpensive beds would be from our stay in Boulder. We began hunting for the Theta Chi Fraternity house. Before long we found the familiar OX sign above the front door, only to find the house was locked up tighter than a drum. No problem.
Foolishly believing that this was “our” house regardless of the location, I was boosted up to the second floor where I gained entry through an unlocked window Read the rest of this entry »
One of the more bazaar self-induced challenges I experienced in my life came during the summer of 1970. I had just completed my sophomore year. I was home from the University of Massachusetts, jobless and growing more restless by the minute. That’s when I decided to test my survival instincts by grabbing a crisp $100 bill and began heading west in my pale blue Chevy Malibu sedan.
At the last minute, I decided to “swing by” the Boston area and talk my college football teammate into joining me. He gave a 24-hour notice to his job at 7-11 and grabbed a C-note of his own. I have since looked unfavorably at such expeditious job notices. (That was the exact moment his mother began to dislike me and the influence I had on her son.)
My Malibu 287 4-speed had plenty of rubber at the time and enough power to get us to Read the rest of this entry »
Here is another major lesson stemming from my days working with Maritz, while pursuing the Ricoh Copier account. This lesson involves a separate division of Ricoh, but I also consider this to be another life lesson.
After months of trying to schedule an appointment with Ricoh’s sales trainer, I managed to set a day and time to finally meet. Due to the importance of this meeting, my boss thought it best if he joined me for this ice-breaking introductory session.
We arrived on time and were escorted to a meeting room where we were to wait for Dan Piccoli. There was a large cake in the middle of the conference table surrounded by a full bouquet of colorful balloons. Our first thought was a birthday was being celebrated, or perhaps a promotion for one of Ricoh’s long-time employees. I remember thinking, “This is our lucky day. Everybody will be in a good mood, and we are about to enjoy a piece of cake.”
We soon learned that we were wrong in both assumptions Read the rest of this entry »
A common mistake rookies and amateurs make when it comes to competitive sales is arriving at the “last straw.” I remember all too clearly when I first fell victim to this fatal error.
I was working for Maritz Motivation at the time. My division of this highly respected motivation company sold supportive meeting services. What we referred to as “deliverables” often sold for six digits (often over $300,000).
One of my target accounts was Ricoh Copiers, and I worked for months trying to schedule an introductory meeting with the key decision-maker. You name it… I tried it. Regardless of the time, day, month, weather, position of the stars or phase of the moon, the end result of my persistence was always the same… no meeting… no sale.
I remember becoming exasperated before reaching for a computer to draft my final salvo. I can’t remember my exact phrasing, but it must have sounded something like this Read the rest of this entry »
I guess you could safely say that flying was embedded in my DNA. My grandfather was the President of Republic Aviation and was responsible for building the P47 Thunderbolt. My dad flew in World War II, and my Uncle Al also flew single-engine airplanes. It only seemed natural to earn my private pilot’s license back in 1983.
Today’s story involves a near land-based catastrophe. It was colder than expected the morning when my Uncle Al and I were going to satisfy our urge to take to the skies over Morristown, New Jersey. The sun was shining brightly when we arrived at the airport but the overnight cool air lingered, which made it difficult to start the single-engine.
Rather than jeopardize the remaining juice in the battery, Uncle Al Read the rest of this entry »
They say you learn more from your mistakes than you do from your successes. If this is true, and I believe it is, I should be one smart desperado. One of these painful lessons comes to mind back when I was trying to decide which university I would bless with my football talents. (I was one cocky dude back then not knowing I would soon be receiving a sobering lesson of a lifetime.)
Although Maryland is an easy drive from New Jersey, I wanted to know what it felt like to be flown to a meeting with a college coach. I was picked up at the airport and transported to the athletic department of The Maryland Terps. I eventually found out that a terp is a turtle; not exactly the most intimidating mascot if you ask me.
I was called into the head football coach’s office and managed through the introduction stages of the meeting, without Read the rest of this entry »