Lovers & Haters

“To escape criticism… do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.”~ Elbert Hubbard

As a creator of any kind of content, the middle-ground is the dead zone.

Getting lovers gets you haters.

For the same reasons that you cause some to “love” you and what you do, you’re necessarily going to cause some to “hate” you and what you do.

This is good. Marketing. Business. Life theology.

This IS what you want…

“If you’re not generating a negative response from someone, you’re probably not fascinating anyone.”~ Sally Hogshead

I say it often: I’m not seeking consensus nor controversy within my work. I’m seeking critical thinking. Dissension gets attention but is often a cruel tool. But recognize that being polarizing at times can be very positive for your purposes. Move away from the middle…

Well-known examples of people who provoke strong love/hate reactions for many just by mentioning their name: Donald Trump, Kanye West, Axl Rose, Howard Stern, Simon Cowell, Russell Brand, Bill O’Reilly, Bill Maher. How about brussel sprouts, black licorice, CNN, Fox News, televangelists, and on and on…?

Understand that the mere presence of haters means you’ve struck a powerful chord. Take this as success, not failure, because you’re now finally on the radar.

Don’t hate the haters. They’re confirmation that what you’re doing has real merit. Their rabid rancor is the result of the compelling communication of your content.

Diplomatic, vanilla-flavored fluff isn’t going to get anyone’s attention anywhere.

“There is no defense against criticism except obscurity.”~ Joseph Addison

I’ll always advocate choosing to overcome critical adversity rather than endure habitual obscurity.

Resist the urge to please the majority.

Instead, persist in the urgency to please your minority… that niche you know digs what you do.

This will win you more fans than foes in the long run.

This may require a shiFt in perspective.

This may also require that you unapologetically grow a pair.

You see, some will love that “ballsy” last line while others will hate it.

But I can’t care because this is how I think, how I talk at times, and who I am. The real me.

So, I love you lovers, and I love you haters.

What about you?

Come one, come some… just come. Perhaps in pairs… 🙂

Stay tuned-in…

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Eighty-Three (83)

From a social psychological perspective, group participation is an interesting thing to watch, or not watch in many cases.

I say not watch, because most people DON’T actually participate in group settings (or participate very little). They don’t engage, or even so much as display appropriate non-verbal communication letting the speaker know they’re with them; that they’re present; that they’re connected and tracking with what the presenter is saying. Even smart, talented, and confident people seem to struggle with this at times. They just do not throw in despite a leader’s urgings while creating an inviting, safe, and comfortable environment to do so.

I’ve never fully understood it because I always participate. Even when I don’t feel like it, I contribute to the conversation in some capacity. I do so because I believe it’s an appropriate and professional obligation to assist the group facilitator to FACILITATE the group. For the betterment of the group as a whole. I feel it’s a common courtesy, and I feel bad if I don’t. I feel like I’m letting the leader and the group down by being a fucking stick in the mud and not helping to move things forward. I’m a professional speaker and presenter myself, so this is likely why and how I frame this sort of thing.

People get weird about “participating” when others are “watching” them. Why? Fear… That’s the answer. It’s fear and ego that drives most human behavior and that drives me nuts. But, I get it. People are fearful of so many things, but the biggest and most pervasive fear is the fear looking bad in front of others… i.e. not being liked. Though many claim they don’t care about being liked, they do. We all do to some extent. The loudest opponents of this psychological phenomenon are those who REQUIRE others’ approval the most, to quiet the voices in their neurotic little heads. Not a judgement; not a personal indictment; just an observation. And an observation with consequences. Negative consequences very often.

A-players participate proactively and lead or co-lead, even in the midst of their own insecurities. It’s truly what separates them from everyone else. The big take-away: either side is highly recognizable to other leaders, players, and movers and shakers. And getting recognized for being an A-player is the most difficult thing of all in today’s attention-deficit society.

Stay tuned-in…

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Feel the Shake

You’ve been there: obsessing about that very important meeting, or event, or opportunity that’s coming up very soon. You’re looking forward to it, but you’re worried about it, and possibly dreading it at the same time. You can feel the tension mounting the more you think about it. You feel all alone in your anxiety. It’s a clusterfuck of competing emotions. As this moment fast approaches, you’re wondering: “Why the hell did I sign-up for this… ?” 

Through my lifelong research and in my personal experience, managing this stuff effectively is what separates the ‘haves’ from the ‘have-nots.’ I’ve always been fascinated by the factors that separate the famously successful from everyone else. I’ve been devouring biographies, watching documentaries, and studying successful musicians, actors, artists, entrepreneurs, and others for years to learn about their journey’s. How they got from here to there, and to uncover what truly sets them apart.

Rob Lowe, one of the original 1980’s “brat-packers,” has had a long, and storied career in both film and television spanning over three decades. To me, he continues to epitomize the tenets of a real-world rock star as an enduring acting icon. His autobiography, Stories I Only Tell My Friends, includes the riviting details about his career-launching, yet arduous audition process for the Francis Ford Coppola flim, The Outsiders in 1982.

“There were days when I would’ve liked to have faced lower expectations and less pressure than learning at what this particular level demanded.” ~ Rob Lowe

This story made clear to me that two things must happen for people to achieve any type of “success” personally or professionally. First, you have to consistently take action and do what most others will not do. And second, you must be able to deliver results in the midst of the inevitable stress, angst, and anxiety that follows.

I’ve heard it said: “Nothing hurts a failure but a try.”

You must be deliberate about putting yourself into uncomfortable and uncertain situations at times. These are the types of situations that have you shaking in your boots, figuratively and literally. Extraordinary outcomes only come from first making choices that most others will not make. These are the difficult decisions, and ensuing actions that have the great potential to expose you to ridicule; and to place you in very vulnerable positions that make you a target for scrutiny and criticism. You’re thinking: “Am I out of my fucking mind?” The answer is… YES, you are out of your mind, and waaay out of your comfort zone. But, this is also the place where most worthwhile happenings, happen…

It’s at this point that the majority of people will opt out; they’ll quit because it’s the softer, easier way. Very often, our natural instincts are to go small; to retreat; to get invisible when faced with challenges or change. Instead, the best go big. They run into, instead of run away. They forge ahead, though often afraid. They then do their damndest to deliver the goods.

At some point, we all find ourselves alone on the “stage.” It’s an inevitability, and it’s exhilarating.

So how do you NOT get so shaken that you cannot perform? Three things:

  1. Feel the shake. Let it be. Don’t run from it, lean into it. You not only have to be willing to face it, but you must also embrace it. Let it help you by allowing it to push you to higher levels of performance. It’s a friend, not your foe.
  2. Focus on what the shake really is. It’s fear. But fear of what? When you boil it down, it’s simply the fear of looking bad or of being seen as not good enough in the eyes of others. That’s it; and that ain’t shit. It means nothing. Once you understand how base and universal these fears really are, they are much easier to manage and overcome. Everybody has them… EVERYBODY. And most people are actually rooting for you, whether you know it or not. Take comfort in knowing this, and let it empower and embolden you.
  3. Finally, let #1 and #2 Fuel your performance. Channel that energy into executing what your hard work and preparation has positioned you to do. Turn it into positive energy, not just negative anxiety. You’ve earned the right to be there, and deserve to be there, because you GOT there in the first place.

Now go kick ass!

Stay tuned-in…

Please share and click HERE for info on my Communichology course.

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Seventy-Eight (78)

Core competencies. Any individual or organization that is not primarily focused on executing their core competencies is suffering significantly. Their effectiveness is compromised. Their productivity is diluted.

We all need to be doing the stuff we’re best at doing, and little else, to maximize personal and professional growth.

We need to do this for ourselves as much as for whatever entity we’re working for, or with. As an organizational leader, I’ve always insisted on hiring and having 1) the right people, and 2) the right people in the right roles. Everyone understands the first part, but the second part is the big differentiator that often gets overlooked.

A lot of time and attention goes into recruiting the right people for jobs and career opportunities. People obviously need to be qualified with the proper education and experience mix to do certain jobs. But often, these good people get shoved into jobs that aren’t in their wheel house so-to-speak. They’re asked to do stuff that isn’t their core competency simply to fill a need quickly. This is a big, common mistake.

Put a person with talent into a role they’re capable of doing, but doesn’t match their core competencies, and you’re simply waiting for their eventual, and costly exit. Often at very inopportune times. But, put a person with talent AND passion for what they do into a role that makes a difference and means something to them personally >> and watch their engagement and productivity soar!

Stay-tuned-in…

Please share and click HERE for info on my Communichology course.

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Seventy-Seven (77)

There’s lots of stuff out there on what leadership IS. Good stuff, but to truly understand sound matters, it’s also important to recognize contrasts.

Here’s what leadership ISN’T:

  • Leadership isn’t management.
  • Leadership isn’t pretending you’re a leader.
  • Leadership isn’t shirking your responsibilities.
  • Leadership isn’t choosing to hide and coast.
  • Leadership isn’t about doing the bare minimum to get by.
  • Leadership isn’t bitching and moaning about the past.
  • Leadership isn’t being a victim.
  • Leadership isn’t placing blame.
  • Leadership isn’t making others feel bad or less than.
  • Leadership isn’t about power, but empowering.
  • Leadership isn’t the easy road.
  • Leadership isn’t always fun, good, and grand.
  • Leadership isn’t being comfortable.
  • Leadership isn’t the majority.

Legitimate leadership will spot all the isn’t in others very quickly and call your ass on it.

Leadership is no joke. And leadership isn’t words. Leadership is action.

Get moving.

Stay tuned-in…

Please share and click HERE for info on my Communichology course.

Get my articles and exclusive content with science-based insights to shiFt your communication from adequate to ass-kicking!


 

Thirty-Five

35

Bitching. Moaning. Whining. Complaining. It’s all some people seem to do. It’s their identity and their attention-seeking mechanism. They’re quick to point out what sucks, what doesn’t work, why it’s never worked, and who’s to blame. They’re easy to spot because their language is laced with self-pity. They’re seemingly incapable of NOT living in the past.

News flash: There’s no nobility in this. There’s no redeeming value in choosing this lifestyle. And make no mistake… it IS a choice. It’s so easy to point fingers. It’s so easy to cry foul. It’s so terribly easy to be a victim… which is why so many do.

As an organizational leader (and I argue that we are ALL leaders of something, somewhere), I’m looking for those who have the courage to go against the grain. Those who have the balls to step-up, and come up with real solutions to real problems. Those who aren’t afraid to be objective about their part in past failures, but who also aren’t afraid to embrace change and to be badass about making things better.

Screw the doom-and-gloomers and the dream-stealers. Be a solution-seeker, or get the hell out of the way. Do it for your sake, and for all of our sakes… for fuck’s sake.

Stay tuned-in…


 

Fourteen

14

I’ve always been taught and believed that in the end, nice wins. My leadership and management style reflects this. I choose to interact with others in deliberate ways that entice them to want to buy-in to the greater goals I’m proposing, instead of forcing them to do so by being a dick.

YES, there’s a time and a place to be direct with people.

YES, it’s appropriate and necessary to set firm expectations and hold people accountable.

YES, hard conversations are inevitable at times, not optional.

But, it’s the HOW this is done and delivered, more so than the WHAT is said, that’s the difference.

Communication skills are king. Get fucking good at them. Better than you think you are.

Always. In all ways…

Stay tuned-in…