Friday, May 27, 2011

What Is Holding You Back?

A contribution of mine to the Slight Edge community site could help you look at your own limiting behaviour.

Claire had a problem with mirrors.

Not the seven-years-bad-luck kind. This was more a mirrors-don't-exist problem.

She had a nice feature mirror in her living room; it was there to "open the room". She never consciously stood in front of it and looked - it had as much significance as a department store print.

Then there was the porter's mirror in the hallway, conveniently situated so that Claire needed to wear killer heels to be at eyelevel. Claire wore ballerina pumps.

There was the shaving mirror in the bathroom, but that was for her son's use. Claire didn't need it.

There was no mirror in her bedroom.

Claire didn't even realise she had a problem until she went shopping for a housewarming gift with her daughter. Her daughter selected a beautiful full-length mirror, along with a number of other items. Claire paid for everything, but it wasn't until they got to her daughter's new home that she realised she'd left the mirror behind at the store.

Claire just couldn't pick up the phone to contact the store about it - she gave her daughter sufficient cash to go and buy a new one, went home and stared at her empty bedroom wall.

She hadn't been born like this, or grown up with a needless phobia - like every other teenage girl, she'd sung in front of her wardrobe mirror, hairbrush in hand, diva to the fore, ignoring her mother's comments about her being a show-off.

She knew what had caused this. She'd lied to herself for too long about having moved on. She needed therapy. Unfortunately, she couldn't afford it.

Claire was proud to be a survivor. 22 years ago, she'd left her abusive partner with nothing more than what she stood up in, walked into a lawyer's office and started the fight to regain custody of her children. She learnt patience, tolerance and strategy by reading books in her local library. She worked at two jobs to ensure she could show she had enough money to support her family. She coped with harassment, abuse and a judge who thought she was barely capable of being a decent mum. She did what she needed to do to move forward, whatever it took.

It left her with scars. She wasn't prepared to indulge in self-pity, so pain was hidden away in locked boxes, scattered around the attics of her memory. One of those boxes has a mirror in it.

It was time to unlock the box.

She drove to another store before her courage gave out, and bought a cheap full-length mirror, the sort you stick onto a wardrobe door. Before she fixed it to the door, she got changed into an outfit she knew her daughter thought she looked good in. Then she put up the mirror, stepped back and looked.

She saw the past, heard the words again, felt the anguish and the physical pain. She looked away.

- I am a survivor. Whatever it takes.

She looked at the mirror again and saw herself. A little overweight, scars on her face caused 22 years ago, but slim and hey - her daughter was right - those browns and greens were a good colour combination, they made her eyes greener.

- I am a survivor. Whatever it takes.

Another look, this time imagining her family around her, smiling and happy. It was getting easier, now.

- I am a survivor. I am no longer afraid of my own image.

She turned away. From now on, she was going to work on opening the other boxes, one at a time. And soon, she'd buy a nicer mirror.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Simon Cowell's Reality Check Interview

Simon Cowell is famous for his abrasive and acerbic quotes on wannabe pop stars - who is going to forget the classic, "If you win this competion, we have failed"?

But Simon Cowell providing advice to the network marketing industry? That would be worth listening to; luckily, Eric Worre had the idea first.

Anybody who wants to get on in network marketing really needs to subscribe to Eric Worre's videos. Today's video is a perfect example of the worth he brings to the industry (and no, I'm not an affiliate, etc.)

Monday, May 23, 2011

No Rapture? No Problem!

I feel sorry for Harold Camping and his followers - not only has the Rapture turned into a damp squib with the Grimsvotn volcano the only indication of the Tribulation, but there's a plethora of mugs, T-shirts, mousemats and bumper stickers all poking fun at the whole concept.

The problem is that Camping's pronouncement that the end of the world is nigh was just another "Get Rich Quick" scheme. The holy were going to be instantaneously transported to Heaven, presumably passing GO and collecting their £200 as they went. The rest of us were doomed; we weren't the Chosen Ones. People who should have known better spent their life-savings on advertisements, post-Rapture pet care schemes, etc., just to make sure they were in with a chance to win the ultimate lottery.

What these people forgot is that there's no reward unless you put the hard work in first.

Consider good drivers - they weren't excellent and safe drivers the second they passed their driving test; they didn't become excellent thanks to a lucky dip prize. They built up their skills with hundreds, if not thousands of hours of repetitive practice. Surely the journey to Heaven takes the same repetitive practice, or am I missing something?

Isn't it time that we all stopped buying in to what I refer to as the Queen mentality (that's the band, not Her Majesty)?

"I want it all and I want it now" makes for a good rock lyric, but it's a really bad way to live your life.

Friday, May 20, 2011

When the Student is Ready, The Teacher Will Appear

Somehow, by following links in one of my RSS feeds, I ended up reading Derek Sivers' blog. Within minutes, I'd added his feed, and was speed reading some of his book reviews. Derek was the brains behind CDBaby and has a wonderfully creative way of building businesses. Any musos and/or code geeks out there definitely need to look at this website of his. I really wish I'd come up with the name Thoughts Limited for an organisation ...

Over and over again, just as I reach a point where I say to myself, "I'm ready to learn, but I don't know where to start", the Universe gives me a very large clue as to what to do next. Does this ever happen to you, and if so, do you recognise it for what it is, or do you only realise after the event?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Slight Edge Community

Jeff Olson, author of The Slight Edge (Revised Edition) - Turning Simple Disciplines Into Massive Success, has created The Slight Edge Community.

It looks like an oasis in the midst of all of the self-promoting, self-serving "communities" that ostensibly claim to support those of us who want to improve our networking skills whilst spamming us with exhortations to buy the latest upgraded membership package.

I truly hope it succeeds where others have failed.

There are some very talented, very open people who have signed up in the early days of this fledgling network that deserve a wider audience. Tobias Sedillos, for example, has done his best to encapsulate his perspective in his first blog post. Karen Miller is a genuinely nice person whose beliefs shine through in whatever she blogs about.

For an idea of the aims of this new networking group, I suggest you read Renee Olson's post. Maybe I'll see you there from time to time?

Monday, May 09, 2011

Why Aren't You Successful?

A newsblog article caught my eye today, prompting some introspection of my own.

If you look at your network marketing business, you can, as I and others do, justify your results due to a number of factors including the time available to you, other demands on that time and so on. If you're focused on justification rather than results, those factors will include the weather, rottweilers, lack of chocolate or whatever your preferred excuse is.

We can play the self-development game and point out we're better than we were, we're reading all the right books, we're really trying hard but ...

We can toy with self-analysis and before you know it we're on this month's sixth 90-day plan.

But when it comes right down to it, there's only one question that we need to ask ourselves each day. There's only one question that deserves our total honesty, regardless of how painful the answer is.

Why am I not successful yet?

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Go With The Flow - A Timely Reminder

It's my experience that the Universe has a tendency to give you a good kick in the ankles every so often, to remind you to stay on the right track.

A bit of background - I spent 4 years as an apprentice, 2 years as a design engineer, cross-trained as a technical author, got promoted to team leader within 12 months of cross-training, got promoted again to project manager (and trained as a PRINCE2 Practitioner), avoided redundancy by cross-training as a software tester, cross-trained again as a database administrator, then got made redundant (along with the other 599 employees in that division).

After several years temping/contracting around young children, I got employed as a Bills of Material engineer, designed a specialist corporate database before leaving for a job paying £6k more, where I sped through the ranks from senior developer to acting technical director, via managing a team of 14 developers as well as managing the outsourced development of certain projects. When the company went into liquidation I did more contracting, including project management, before needing to get enough payslips to justify remortgaging my house to get my ex's name off the mortgage.

Again, in the space of 3 years I'd gone from developer to senior developer to acting IT director, this time via project management of a business intelligence team. Circumstances surrounding the fallout of my divorce then meant I needed to change jobs to work closer to home and I went in as a senior database specialist before moving to a company where, I thought, I would be able to work my way up the corporate pecking order again.

The latest nudge towards my self-employed destiny got delivered via a corporate email, which suggests that, either nobody bothered to read my CV when I applied for this particular post, or they read it and thought I was lying:

Hi Anna

I have had an opportunity to catch up with Mark following his return from annual leave and he has asked me to pass on the following feedback regarding your application for the Project Manager role.

The main reasons that we chose not to progress your application on this occasion was particularly because we were looking for an experienced Project Manager with significant experience of working and leading a Business Intelligence team. As you are no doubt aware the role has significant people management responsibility (15-20 FTE's), managed through 2 direct reports, we are looking for an individual who can demonstrate that they have managed large teams, with significant emphasis on driving excellent performance through delivery of business wide projects.

The role, we believe is not ideal for an individual who is looking for their first project management role, or who is looking to move away from a predominantly technical role into and into a mainstream project management role.

I appreciate that this may have come as a disappoint to you, and I do hope that it will not discourage you from applying for positions in the future.

kind regards

I won't be "applying for positions in the future"; there seems little point when the company I work for can't be bothered to give honest feedback based on actually reading my CV rather than on assumptions based on my current role within the company.

I will be working flat out on building my skills so I can develop an excellent team of productive distributors.

I don't need corporate validation to prove anything to myself. I'm grateful to have a timely reminder about that.