Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Are You an Inspiration, or an Inspirer?

Exposing the Con of Confidence!


Confidence is KING! Go in STRONG! You have to BELIEVE!

Nowhere is this more important than in the world of sales - though one could argue it is EQUALLY as important in many, even most, areas of life.

If you go into a sales meeting without confidence, your likelihood to actually make a sale goes significantly down. Wow, news to you, right? Of course, if you go in with too much confidence, you can blow the sale just as easily. The real confidence killer is when you go in with just the 'right' amount of confidence, and STILL don't make the sale!

That's the con of confidence - that it assures success. Except when it doesn't, which causes us to incrementally lose confidence, which can be the beginning of a self-fulfilling downward spiral of doubt, tentativeness, and compounded failure.

Where does confidence come from? Often, the first confidence comes when we have little idea what we're getting into - and it's usually when we're young. REALLY young. We try to walk with little evidence that we can. Our confidence is usually bolstered by adults who want us to walk - but then beaten down when those same adults DON'T want us to walk, run, climb, or do anything that inconveniences them (or puts us in dangerous situations).

From that moment, our confidence is mostly managed by others, both in terms of what we're allowed to do, and the results of our confident actions. The most confident student can get a poor grade - especially in situations where grading is subjective. The most confident athlete will finish second, fifth, or even last. The most confident boy or girl can still get turned down for a first date. These outcomes, just like most sales outcomes, are out of our complete control. Other people and external circumstances directly affect our results. The results then affect our confidence.

The expectation remains, however, that WE manage our confidence INTERNALLY. Wait, what?

The truth? Few people care about bolstering your confidence. The less confidence you show, the less others have confidence in you, and the less likely they will be to encourage the confidence you might have. Sounds harsh, but reality is harsh. Beyond your super-supportive Mom or spouse, you are on your own.

Fortunately, the harsh news is also the happy news. While you can't always control the results of your actions, you can control the action of your actions. Without actions, you get no results, and no return on investment, because there's no investment. But as long as you continue to take action, you can ensure a return on your investment, even if the return isn't exactly what you hoped. You at least have something to work with - to build from. To build a solid confidence that is based on experience, not just bravado.

Let your actions, and your assessment of the results, build your confidence. Take confidence from what you learn in failure as readily as you do in success. Define victory for yourself, based not just on what the outside world expects, but the experiences you create. Be open to variations of success - times when you're behind the expectations curve of others, times when you are perceived as a shooting star outpacing your peers.

While your results will always vary, you can control your confidence when you recognize the con - that confidence guarantees success. When your confidence sits separately from your results, but instead securely within the energy of your chosen actions, it truly does become the powerful and steadying tool you thought it was in the first place.

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Excellence. It's Worth Rooting For.


"I'm rooting for Excellence."

Over the past few days, Toastmasters International, a 98 year old non-profit organization focused on building leadership and communication skills, held it's
 World Championship of Public Speaking. I've been a member since 1999, and have competed in this particular contest numerous times, finishing as high as 3rd in the World in 2006, top 10 in 2008, and top 20 in 2002, 2007, and 2009.

As a coach, I've worked with many other contestants over the years, all of whom have reached various levels of success. As a 23 year Toastmaster, I've made friends with 1000s around the world - and many invariably end up competing at the highest levels of the contest.

All this to say this - I routinely get asked "who are you rooting for"?

My answer is always this -
 "I'm rooting for Excellence."

Typically, excellence wins out, but I'm not just rooting for excellence to WIN, but for excellence across the board. Only one can win in a competition like this one, but all can show excellence in their performance, delivery, and/or content.

Rooting for excellence goes beyond Toastmasters, of course. When I can't root for my Iowa Hawkeyes, Colorado Avalanche & Rockies, or Denver Nuggets and beloved Broncos because they're out of contention, I root for excellence. For great games. For legendary performances. If nothing else, I root for outstanding efforts.

Competition which results in only one winner can be brutal. The old saying for those who come in second is that they are the 'first loser' (which makes no sense, because technically they are the LAST loser, but, whatever.) People forget who took second in most competitions. When was the last time you thought about Mondale or Dukakis? Losing in a winner takes all competition puts a beating on self-worth, momentum, and motivation. The focus goes to the result, instead of the journey.

Any journey, regardless of the result, can be excellent. Just ask Bill & Ted.

Your most important journey, fortunately, isn't winner take all. Your LIFE is not a zero-sum game. You aren't competing with anyone else, unless you choose to be competing. Your happiness, your success, your excellence -- doesn't need to be compared to anyone else in the world, as long as YOU are satisfied. Satisfied doesn't mean settling, mind you. No participation trophies here. 

Satisfied means you've defined your own victories, and protected them against the expectations of others. Satisfied means taking pleasure in your own progress and production, celebrating it, and using the your personal victories today to push you toward more personal victories tomorrow. Without allowing the outside world to tell you you haven't achieve anything, haven't arrived, and need to just lay low until you reach THEIR definition of success, their mountaintop, their victory.

Who are they to define you? Who are they to determine your effort, your excellence? They only have power when you pass it over to them - be it in open competition, the workplace, a relationship - your success is your choice, unless you let it be their choice

You can choose to WinAnyway, and celebrate today to prepare for continuing tomorrow. Even if you take a step back, even if technically you LOSE, you can find your own victories in your own journey. You can celebrate your moments of excellence.

Cyril Junior Dim is the 2022 World Champion of Public Speaking. The contest started with roughly 30,000 people competing, including me. That makes 29,999 losers. Some lost quickly, some lost eventually, a few lost at the last possible moment. But all had the opportunity to show excellence - and regardless of how it stood up against the excellence of others, or the judgments of those called to sift through the speakers in search of their subjective choice of the best - they each achieved something worth celebrating.

By choosing to WinAnyway, you can focus on excellence, versus competition. Perhaps your excellence will lead to you winning some sort of contest against thousands of others. Cool, if it happens. But your excellence is personal. When you put your excellence in the hands of others, it may be minimized or even invalidated. Which is why you have to protect it. Recognize it. Protect it. Use it for tomorrow.

And always....Root for it.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Thursday, August 11, 2022

SpeakAnyway Speaking Tip #25: Mindset, Pt. I

Skills and content aren't enough if you don't have the right mindset about your speaking. Editors Note: Speaking of tech issues, my computer reset last night (thanks Bill) so my microphone default changed. Hence the echo.)

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Going From Creative Avoidance to Creative Confrontation

 

First heard the term 'creative avoidance' at least 15 years ago. It's a great term to soften the blow when you don't want to face the fact that you're simply procrastinating - putting off the important, the valuable, the HARD tasks, in favor of something that feels productive, is easy to do, and creates a dopamine surge.

That might be something truly worthy - like spending an hour getting an oil change for your car. Or a couple, doing it yourself - then you'll really feel good about yourself. Maybe you suddenly realize the laundry and the dishes need to be done, and, by golly, you'll really feel better in a clean environment. Or, it's getting to that next level, or five, of Candy Crush, or leveling up on Halo. It feels GOOD, doesn't it? You DID something. But, you didn't do what you originally set out to do - finish important paperwork, write a few pages in your book, send out 10 marketing inquiries - whatever it was you knew you should do, but just didn't want to face.

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I'm great at creative avoidance. I literally have it scheduled into my day. Each day I'm supposed to listen to an audible book, read 20 pages in a real book, read my 'Bible in a Year' email, and extend my consecutive day Kindle reading streak. Because, that makes me feel good. Doesn't help me market myself, though. Creates virtually zero money - though I'm learning some good YouTube strategies right now in Brian G. Johnson's YouTube Ritual.

Scheduled creative avoidance isn't all, of course. And I am almost to level 4100 on Candy Crush Soda. I expect a large sum of money soon from King.

What's the solution? Heck if I know. I'm 54 years old and I haven't beaten it yet.

Small victories have come when I work with scheduling time for important work - short bursts of 15 minutes (or 17 Minutes lately, thank to Darren LaCroix's recent book). Sometimes I actually lose track of time and get 30 full minutes of important work done. Other times, I just write another article for LinkedIn.

My biggest successes, though, come when the sh*t hits the fan. I'm great at last minute work. Deadline work. Gotta get the money to pay the rent work. Which, for me at least, is indicative of the real problem. Creative avoidance sends us to pleasure to avoid pain - one of the oldest motivational maxims around. Deadlines force us to the pain, and the only pleasure that moves us away from pain, is actually doing the work.

Which means, perhaps, the best solution is to increase your deadlines. Purposely increase your pain. Go beyond your 'why' - push past it to envision your 'what if I don't'. What's your worst case scenario? Is it bad enough to get you past your creative avoidance? If you don't believe you can truly end up in a worse situation by continuing to do what you're doing, it's easy to just stay where you are. Envisioning lots of money, big houses, private jets - for most people, we just don't really believe it's possible, or even necessary. But if you could lose your house, your spouse, your life - that's real. That can push you forward.

And you might just go from 'creative avoidance' to 'creative confrontation' - and work harder than you thought possible. And end up on that private plane you never thought you needed. Or at least a decent Honda Accord. Then you'll REALLY be living your #WinAnyway Life!







Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Before You Give Up....


Despite common motivational wisdom, and often worldwide pressure, there's nothing wrong with giving up. We've all given up at one time or another, and we will all give up in the future. No, there's no clever turn coming up later in the article where I suggest giving up giving up. All I suggest is that you consider the following questions before you give up. 

Why do you want to give up? Write all the reasons down, whether you think they are good reasons or not. Just get them out, and put them in front of you. Is anyone pushing you to give up? 

How do those outside people and forces factor in? Do they matter as much as you think they do? Will they matter in a year? In 5 years? 

Where were you when you started, vs. where you are now that you want to give up? What have you achieved? What have you learned? What have you lost? 

Consider, one last time, what your vision for success was before you reached the point of giving up. Does it still inspire you? Will not achieving it by choice be worse than the frustration you feel going after it but falling short? 

What ONE circumstance could change that would change your mind about giving up? Are you in control of changing it? If you can, do you want to change it? 

What do you lose by giving up? Are you ready to lose what you'll lose? The goal, the job, the marriage...the vision of who you wanted to be? 

What will OTHER people lose if you give up? Who is invested in your achieving your goal? Who else stands to gain if you don't give up, and reach your goal? 

What will you gain by giving up? Time? Relief? Better health? 

After you give up, what will you do next? Do you have a different goal in mind? A better goal? If you're planning on resting, how long will you rest before you restart, either on the same goal or a new one? 

Do you still want to give up? 

Often, giving up comes at a point of such high frustration, we don't give it full consideration, and often feel like we've thought about it so long, and that is consideration enough. Yet answering the above questions requires a full stop, and a broad sweep of all the factors involved. 

After all due consideration, you might still want to give up, and it might be the best choice. Sometimes we settle for the good we think we want, and it blinds us to the great that we could actually achieve. 

On the other hand, you might decide staying the course is the best option, but now have some new ideas to move forward. Those are important. Giving up is often simply due to a drought of ideas of what to do next

Give up, or don't. But before you do...answer the questions above! Believe it or not, it's all part of living the WinAnyway Life!

Monday, July 18, 2022


This weekend - we watched two movies - both picked by my 21 year old daughter who's staying over in between apartments, and house sitting jobs. I say this because she's at a prime age of figuring out 'who she is, and who she could become', and temporarily couch-surfing with her parents is a part of that journey.  

Saturday, she picked '13 Going on 30' - a 22 year old comedy starring Jennifer Garner. It's a lightweight film about an awkward 13 year old girl who, in the midst of a bad birthday party, makes a wish that she was 'Thirty and Flirty', as described in her favorite magazine. Little does she know, magic glitter happens to fall on her from a gift given by her best friend Matty, who she's just yelled at for, well, being himself, an awkward 13 year old boy. 


Of course, as you might suspect, she wakes up in the body of her 30 year old self, spends the movie discovering that being who she thought she wanted to be wasn't so great, that Matty, who grows up to be a young Mark Ruffalo, is actually pretty awesome, and takes these life lessons back with her following another emotional scene involving magic glitter that returns her to her 13 year old self. A fun movie that my daughter said was 'transformational' when she watched it at 13. Last night, the pick was 

'Everything, Everywhere, All At Once', starring Michelle Yeoh, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Ke Huy Quan (from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Goonies!). This is out in theatres, but also available for 5.99 on Amazon Prime, which is how we consumed it. It's about as different from '13 Going on 30' as you can get, in terms of complexity. Yeoh winds up manically discovering who she is in 100s of multiverses as she chases a villain who appears intent on killing her. She has no idea what's going on, of course, and spends the movie figuring out how to leverage who she is in these universes in order to return to her 'alpha' self, and save her reality as she knows it, by, of course setting it on a new course. 

The movie is a bit of an acid trip, not that I know that feeling first hand, but I feel safe in my assumption. But essentially, it's the same plot: protagonist is unhappy with current life, something happens to allow them to see their life in a different perspective, and they return to the present with a new outlook on life. Heck, it's George Bailey in 'It's a Wonderful Life' all over again. Honestly, you could probably identify this formula in half or more of the movies being made - it's a basic transformational plot. This genre, of something magically (or psuedo-scientifically) moving into a different self simply moves it along faster, and comes with the added bonus of lessons learned being able to apply to the younger self, instead of only being learned as an older self. If only we knew then, what we know now. 

So why am I telling you about these movies? Because we have the magic to do what these characters did right between our ears. The imagination to picture ourselves in the future if we stay on our current path. We don't think that way though, do we. Usually we spend our energy looking backward, often regretting what we've done to get here, and our imagination focusing on what we could have done differently. This can be helpful - and Winning Anyway involves reviewing the past to a degree - so I'm not suggesting it's a negative action, unless you stay in the past too long, or too often. 

What if...you looked at the many people you could become, instead? Who you might be in a different universe, or who you might be in 17 years, or heck, in 17 days? What choices would you have to make to be the version of yourself you want to be? This may sound like an easy ask - after all, we all have goals we want to achieve. But I'm suggesting we go deeper. Who will you be if those goals ARE achieved - or are NOT? Do you have the right goals? Will you truly be happy? Will you be who you want to be, not just once you've achieved them, but after taking all the actions required TO achieve them? What sacrifices will you have to make - and do you want to make them? 

By imagining FORWARD - you might save yourself time, pain, and even a few obstacles along the way. You can imagine one path - the straight line to the goals you currently have, as young Jenna did in '13 Going on 30', or you can get really intense and picture multiple versions of yourself - good, bad, and all places in between - and come out of it with some ideas that are completely new ways of thinking. 

Looking back has it's place, and while it can inform your future, you still can't change the past. Looking horizontally and/or forward into who you can become? That's a WinAnyway strategy that might just change the game for you in ways you've never imagined. 

Want some help imagining your best message? Then developing and delivering it to the world? Set up a free consult with me on my Calendly (https://calendly.com/rich-hopkins) - we'll take a look at the speech, and the speaker you can be the next time you deliver from stage.

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Monday, July 4, 2022


Every July 4th, the barbecues light up, usually a few hours before the skies light up, as the United States of America celebrates their Declaration of Independence from the UK back in the day.

Independence as a country, and independence as individuals. Well, sorta. I'm not going to get into politics here - though there are no doubt many who would scoff at the idea our country is independent at all.

Let's examine our own independence, instead. Born, and dependent on parents, or other caretakers. We leave home, we're either dependent on our family, our friends, or, eventually, our job. If we go to college and take out a loan - we're dependent on the government.

Truthfully, we're highly dependent on our gov't regardless of our circumstances - since they are responsible for most of the transportation, communication, and fuel infrastructures. And we pay a lot more taxes now than we ever did to the British.

But entrepreneurs - they're independent, right? No longer under the thumb of a boss! Forget the costs of dealing with the government in opening a storefront, right? Just work from home. Except...you're still dependent on your customers. That you get them, and get them to actually pay. Without them, you're back to a J.O.B. (just over broke). And, of course, even successful entrepreneurs are still dependent on the gov't, as much as they ever were.

If you want true independence, maybe buy some land in the mountains - oh, wait, property tax. OK, go squat somewhere in the forest, catch/grow your own food, and stay away from everyone. Sounds fun, doesn't it? Well, to a few of you, I bet it actually does.

For the rest of us, we're dependent. We choose this dependence. We need it to survive. Their is independence within the dependence, of course. We can make choices with what providers we use, what food we buy, where we live and work, who we marry (at least for now), and tens of thousands of other life decisions. It feels good, doesn't it?

Losing what little independence we have within our dependence is a risk. Anytime one group's rights are threatened, your groups right's are closer to being threatened as well. Anytime one person's rights are infringed on, your rights are one step closer to infringement as well.




Our greatest path to independence still exists - voting. Wow, I didn't want to go down the political rabbit hole, but I have. Oh well.

There's nothing wrong with being dependent on others - for the right reasons. Those others need to be people you trust, be they your inner circle, your customer base, your government officials. If not, you have to vote them off the island, fire them, or at least isolate yourself as much as possible.

Being dependent on a trustworthy circle of people is exactly what founded our 'Independence'. Thomas Jefferson, after all, wasn't the only author, or signature, of and on the Declaration of Independence. Just choose those you depend on wisely. And of course, consider inviting them to your BBQ!


Sunday, June 26, 2022

Never Again


If only never again was always our choice. 

When last I wrote about Top Gun: Maverick, I mentioned we saw it in a regular theatre, and the sound was less that stellar. Last night, we remedied that, as our local AMC put it back in IMAX - though it was a 10:30 p.m. showing. The sound was tremendous. Made me realize even more how bad it was the first time. And the movie was still fun the second time around. 

However - I'm never doing that again. 

So tired today. Trouble even staying awake during the movie. Nope - I'll just be a little more patient, or I'll plan better when a movie is first released. It's all my choice. 

But never again isn't always our choice. There's the moment we never again will walk into the office - and not because we quit. There's the moment we never again will run as fast, jump as high, or climb as far as we did in our youth. And of course, there's the moment we realize we will never again speak to a parent, a spouse, a friend - as death has taken them. Sometimes we see those moments coming, sometimes they are unexpectedly thrust upon us. 

I write this simply to acknowledge to you that I do understand that never again is not always our choice. 

But when it is - it can be powerful. 

When we choose to never again smoke a cigarette, or pick up a drink. To never again waste 5 hours bingeing a Netflix series. To never again eat our way to bad health. There a countless 'never agains' that could change our lives, if we choose to create them. Only you know what they are. 

We always talk about what we want to do - you know, the 'gotta starts'. Our lives can get pretty cluttered. Try some 'never agains' - and then replace with those 'gotta starts'. 

Sorry AMC - 10:30 movies? Never again. As for my 'gotta starts' - maybe I'll take about those next time! Share your 'never agains' below - big or small, or somewhere in between!

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

How Authentic is TOO Authentic?

 


"I didn't expect an answer like that from you."

My answer was to a question on a speaking page on Facebook, asking what our biggest challenge is as a speaker. I answered: "Finding people to pay me" - the truth.

The conversation on my answer thread went down an interesting path. My fellow commenter was surprised I would have issues finding paid speaking opportunities. Apparently, my social media makes me look more successful, financially at least, than I am as a speaker.

I replied that I never say I am a high paid speaker. A great speaker? Yes. I'll say that - I'm at least above average! A fun speaker? An inspirational speaker? Yup and yup. I always have a place to speak, as well...in Toastmasters. But getting paid? Nope. Not often. Not yet.

I went on to explain, as I usually end up doing once a month to various people in various circumstances, that I actually hold down a J.O.B. Yep - I sell advertising - newspaper advertising. It's right there on my LinkedIn profile for all to see. In fact, I've sold newspaper or magazine advertising for years in Utah, Washington, and Colorado.

On the SIDE - I'm a presentation consultant. Speaking coach. I help professionals discover, develop, and deliver their best message. Emerging keynoters, entrepreneurs, sales people, or poor Joe whose boss told him this morning he's giving a 45 presentation at their industry conference in two weeks. I've worked with engineers, nutritionists, accountants, politicians, marketers, even ex-convicts to help them build their message for maximum impact on stage. But it's a SIDE job - I don't market it as much as I could or should - and it doesn't regularly pay the bills.

Also on the SIDE - I'm a speaker. But I don't actively seek paid speaking opportunities. Yet. I get them every now and again, but it has not been a focus.

These leaves two WHY questions:

  1. WHY am I NOT a full-time speaker/speaking coach?

  2. WHY would I publicly ADMIT it - isn't that marketing suicide?

Answers:

  1. WHY am I NOT a full-time speaker/speaking coach? I got married before either of these side jobs were even a glimmer. We had two kids from day one from her first marriage, and had four more within seven years. Three of the six had major medical issues, one requiring chemotherapy over a couple of years. The full story is complicated - a roller coaster that would scare the bravest amusement park goer - but to put it simply, financially and logistically, becoming a full-time entrepreneur, being absent as a working speaker, didn't make sense. Now, hindsight is 20/20, and maybe I could have made something work - but we make the best decisions we can at any given time. Today, I still have two kids at home, life is different, and I'm expanding what I allow myself to do - even while continuing to work my day job.

  2. Why ADMIT any of this on social media? Two-fold answer, I suppose. First, I don't go out of my way to explain myself (this article is a rare exception) - but if you piece together my speeches - when I talk about my daughter's tumor, our three kids with Neurofibromatosis, my own below-the-knee amputation, and combine it with various Facebook posts and twitter tweets, you'd have the full story. Because my life is my life, and I don't hide it. I just don't negatively linger on it. Second, I'm always fascinated that people see me as a financially successful person online, despite the fact that I never claim that I am. I'm not curating posts to deceive - no pictures in front of corvettes or private planes, and any travel I've done has been for Toastmasters or, in the case of DisneyWorld - Make-A-Wish. But I don't go out of my way to post about being at the end of my money before the end of the month (as most U.S. residents tend to be, by the way). I don't complain. I stay upbeat, try to avoid public controversy, and usually brush my hair before posting a picture. Usually.

I think I could be accused of being both TOO authentic, and not authentic ENOUGH. I never lie, but I do try to lead with positivity and professionalism. Doesn't always happen - especially on Instagram, Tik Tok, and Twitter - but I am who I am. If that costs me customers, so be it.

Ultimately, you have to decide the level of authenticity you want to put out into the world. What are you comfortable with people knowing about you? Are you determined to put just one side of who you are out into the world, to ensure you get or keep your job? To impress your friends? Hey, no judgment here. The crazy thing is this: no matter who you paint yourself as in the world of social media, people will still form their own opinions based on their own place in the world, and their personal and/or virtual interactions with you. They may be spot-on, or totally wrong, or, more likely, somewhere in-between. Different platforms can lend themselves to different parts of your personality, and you can build different audiences. Whatever you do, be intentional about doing it, and prepared to deal with the consequences, bad or good.

Of course, the authenticity question isn't new with social media. People have always had their split personalities - there's the family you, the work you, the dating you, the church you - all different, whether you admit it or not. Now there's the online you - which is more all-encompassing, more complex, more risky, and more public. Which is why I'd rather err on the side of TOO authentic - without giving out my social security number, at least.

If people think I'm wildly successful, wealthy, and the owner of six-pack abs, so be it. Someday, maybe all of that will be as authentic as what I'm authentic about: Husband. Father. Speaker. Coach. Consultant. Author. Super-hero fan. #WinAnyway

Want to set up a free 30 min presentation consult with me? Message me, and we'll make that happen - and start you on your way to delivering your best message.


Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Are You Paying Focused Attention?


I was off course.

I'd bought two tickets to Top Gun: Maverick for my wife and me for Saturday. I was disappointed, however, that no where in the area were any theatres showing it in IMAX or Dolby, as the newest Jurassic World movie had supplanted Tom Cruise after just two weeks!

On the AMC site, you can choose different theatres in the chain, but my search was fruitless - only small or semi-small theatres were available, and even those were filling up fast. I picked the biggest small theatre I could, got ideal back row seats, and went to bed knowing I had at least gotten us safely into the movie.

Next day, Kristi, who used to manage the theatre we were headed to, asked which screen I got us tickets for (it's a 24 screen theater) - so I went to double check. Turns out I had bought us tickets for the AMC 20 minutes away, instead of our local location, just five minutes down the street. I was so irritated, so distracted...after my fruitless search of other theatres, I forgot to switch back to our default location, and bought the right tickets at the wrong place.

End of the world? No. Canceled the tickets, found suitable seats at a similar time at the close theater, and off we went. Mission accomplished.

BUT - if she hadn't asked, I might not have noticed it until we were already at the wrong place, without time to get to the right one, and the inconvenience would have been far more frustrating to all involved. She told me this situation was a top three customer service complaint she used to deal with before she changed careers.

Bottom line - I wasn't paying attention - focused or otherwise.

Our lives are filled with distractions. Distractions that cost us our focus, eat up our time, and often have a direct effect on our bottom line - be that financial, emotional, or familial. We often justify our distractions - even brag about multi-tasking. But studies show we can only focus on one task at a time - so multi-tasking isn't doing a lot of different tasks simultaneously, but doing a lot of tasks in short, interrupted bursts. Thinking of it that way reveals the obvious potential downfalls - forgotten steps, taking extra time to reset, and even losing track of the end goal.

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Even writing this article, I've been bombarded with beeps, buzzes, and screen blips on my second monitor. That doesn't even account for the distractions of the brain, as I let thoughts about the rest of my day slip in (gotta pick up drycleaning, want to update my gym membership, have a networking meeting tonight, need to get the kids to do laundry and vacuum) - and it sends me away from my actual task at hand. Which was.....

Right - the article. Are you paying attention? Focused attention? Try it. Set a task timer - 5, 10, 15 minutes, and just do one task. (Yes, this is the Pomodoro technique). It's not easy, but it IS effective. Certainly more effective than letting ourselves get completely overwhelmed by everything we have to think about.

Pay attention - and stay out of the Danger Zone - unless it's playing in the right theatre, at the right time!


 

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Just Because You've Arrived Doesn't Mean It's Your Last Stop.

Have you arrived?

As in, have you reached a point in your life where you're completely happy? Ready to just put yourself in park and watch the world go by?

I'm betting not, or you wouldn't be reading this. I know these people must exist. Right? Or is it simply a function of being human to never be completely happy?

What about those folks who meditate and claim to be in a complete Zen state? Or Great Grandfather who watches ME TV in his rocking chair all day, reliving the glory days of Maverick and The Rifleman? I would suggest even they are attempting to put themselves INTO a state of complete happiness, vs. being in one by default.

Life is a long series of iterations. We change from one day to the next. Sometimes we move forward, sometimes we move back. This happens not just day to day, but often hour to hour, or even minute to minute.

This week, I converted my latest book, Go Ahead & Laugh Vol II (an iteration by definition!) to Kindle. As I did so, I ran across numerous typos I now need to go and fix in the paper version. I swear I went through that original manuscript with a fine tooth comb – and yet....

When you realize you're off course with your diet, with your relationship, with your career, you try to course correct. Sometimes it's something small, other times, you take giant steps in a new direction.

There does come a time when you and I just have to, as Seth Godin puts it, 'ship it'. Publish the book. Marry the one you love. Buy the house. But even these seemingly permanent decisions are no longer as permanent as they once were.

Heck, marriage is hardly permanent - it hasn't been for years, and unless you're iterating your way through it every day, it likely won't last very long. Few people buy a home and live there the rest of their lives, and even if they do, you can bet they upgrade the carpet, the windows, or the kitchen. Even books come out with expanded, revised, and updated editions with 'bonus content'.

Nothing is truly permanent, and ultimately, that creates an active, ever-changing world. On a grand scale, a local scale, and on your personal scale.

Does that create unrest within you? Do you suddenly feel the urge to go back and make sure your last project is truly complete? That's OK. But it doesn't mean you have to go backward. Maybe your next iteration is a completely new project, a new goal. A new YOU.

Ultimately, life is an iterative process. If it's not, you're probably not really living. Or you're really completely happy with the status quo - and should write a book or start a coaching program - except that would require iteration.

It's up to you to direct your iterations – to know when to ship, to know when to revisit, to know when to move on to something new. Even 'knowing when' is an iterative process. The process to #WinAnyway is iterative - Review, Celebrate, Redesign, Act - it's a process of moving forward with strength and momentum.

Even if you've arrived - it doesn't have to be your last stop. #IterateAnyway.


 

Monday, May 30, 2022

Is Memorial Day a Win Anyway Day?


Memorial Day is a Win Anyway day. Winning rarely comes without cost. Winning freedom never comes without cost. The higher the stakes, the higher the cost.

For those that lost their lives - I would never dare say they 'Won Anyway'. Neither would I say that about their friends and family who lost their sons and daughter, brothers and sisters, parents and grandparents. Even those who say 'it's not what happens to you, but what you do with it' have to stop short when a life is taken.

So today, we honor those who lost, who paid the cost, so we could win. My prayer is that somehow, some way, you are aware of what your sacrifice meant to the world, and that you know you are never forgotten.

To those who are remembering those you've lost, even the most positive among us know a loss is a loss. No matter how far away you get from that moment, no matter what you do with it going forward, what accomplishments, successes and victories that spring forth from that moment, that moment is always...a moment of loss. As you embrace it, we embrace you.

Be well today, and be seen. Your Win Anyway journey isn't easy - your victory may simply be getting out of bed, breathing in and out, and making it through the day. The pace of your journey might be months or years, but it's a journey worth taking. A journey those you've lost likely would want you to take.

When you're ready.



Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Do Motivation and Reality Mix?


If you can dream it, you can DO it! - Disney

Leap and the net will appear! - John Burroughs

Nothing in Life is impossible. The word itself says "I'm possible". - Audrey Hepburn

These, and a thousand more blindly positive platitudes float through our culture from well-meaning parents, teachers, preachers, speakers, and tacky posters in the hallways of companies around the world.

I'm guilty of repeating these quotes over the years - mostly to myself, in an effort to get myself going. My problem? I'm a realist. Pragmatist perhaps. Even a cynic, those close to me would say. My bigger problem? I'm a motivational speaker. Or, for those that hate that term (me among them - but it's the most general, recognizable term for the world), you can go with 'inspirational speaker' (but that offends non-spiritualists), or 'transformational speaker' (whatever that means), or even 'GIMP speaker' (which you might think is a crass term for disabled speakers like me, but actually stands for 'Great Inspirational & Motivational Presenters', or so my coach Tom told me after he came up with it).

But I digress.

I have a love/hate relationship with 'motivation'. Even though it's fairly well accepted that no one can motivate someone else, because motivation is an intrinsic force (finding a source for this is a bit of a wild google chase, but no matter), people in general tend to A. Believe they CAN motivate others, B. have a desire to be externally motivated, C. believe they aren't getting the right motivation from others, and therefore blame them for not being motivated, and/or D. complain that motivation doesn't last (which reminds me of a favorite Ziglar quote - “People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing – that's why we recommend it daily.”)

People WANT motivation. NEED motivation. SEEK OUT motivation from books and music and speakers, and depending on our psychological makeup up, from exercise, food, and even sex.

Here's the problem - the motivation so many people think they want isn't motivation at all. It's a dopamine hit. A rush of energy that we are able to harness for varying lengths of time to help us work. That's not motivation. It's a drug hit.

But, perhaps I digress again.

The question you might be asking, and that I have asked myself many times, is "If you don't believe people can be motivated by others, why do you do what you do? What is 'WinAnyway' if not a motivational message?"

Fair question.

WinAnyway, and me as the "WinAnyway Guy", is all about realistic motivation - encouragement aimed at giving my audiences the means to realistically and consistently find the motivation within themselves. I can't motivate you, but I can guide you to regularly accessing your intrinsic motivation.

It's a simple process - Review, Celebrate, Redesign, & Act. Whether you've attempted a task and failed, attempted a task and succeeded, or are simply at a resting point figuring out where to go from here - motivating yourself to move forward again takes self-examination.

Review: Where were you? How far have you come? Whether you look back years, days, or even a few hours, remembering where you started is important. Even if you've taken steps backward. Every journey comes with setbacks and victories - big and small. We have been trained to ignore the small victories if we don't experience a large one, and conversely, even if we don't suffer a large setback, we often magnify the smallest of mistakes along the way. Taking time to review and take inventory of the reality of what has happened along the way puts you in a position of clarity and strength moving forward.

Celebrate: What did you learn? What progress did you make? What have you survived? The answers to these all give you reason to celebrate, even if the world may tell you you should only celebrate your final victory. This doesn't mean you need to spend a ton of money on some extravagant event or trip - though, if that's the level of celebration your life allows, I'm the last one to stop you. My celebrations are simple, and more geared toward respite and recharging - maybe a movie, or a night out with family (or alone!), or buying that book you've put off buying because, well, you didn't really NEED that faux leather bound copy of Huckleberry Finn, but it sure would look nice on that bookshelf. These rewards preserve your self-esteem, protect you from focusing on outside negative judgments that can quickly fester as internal negative judgments, and help you build internal emotional energy (read: motivation) to move to the next step.

Redesign: After celebration, it's time to turn your attention back to your journey - back to your goal. What changes can you make in your approach? Is it simply a matter of starting over, or do you need to start differently? What resources and allies can you bring in that will help you over obstacles you've yet to overcome? Here's a big question many don't want to ask: is this still a goal you want to pursue?

The Redesign stage offers options - and one of those options is to quit. QUIT? OMG! The world hates a quitter! Still, quitting can yield bigger and better results if done with intention and thoughtfulness. Maybe you've grown beyond the goal you've been trying to reach. Perhaps you see a different goal altogether that is just as valid, or even more valuable, than what you been trying to achieve. Oftentimes, we see other options open up even as the doors to our original goal repeatedly slam shut. Quitting doesn't have to mean giving up - and really, it shouldn't. But if you quit in order to shift, you may just find your next journey goes smoother and faster - and farther.

Finally - Act. No good motivational formula is complete without a call to take action. Maybe massive action, as Tony Robbins likes to say. Maybe just a step further than you've gone before. But you've got to do something now that you have a newly designed plan, and maybe even a newly determined outcome.

The WinAnyway life isn't about false platitudes. Yes, dream. Yes, take chances and leap - after at least taking a peek. Yes, more is possible for us than we often believe. Maybe even just go all in the first time - and if you achieve your goal - GREAT. For the vast majority of the you, however, you will face failure. Unexpected challenges that stop you in your tracks. Partial success that leaves you wanting. You'll feel like a loser, and the outside world will affirm that belief.

WinAnyway was built off one question: Are you who you want to be, or who the world has let you become? Use it to build off the knowledge of where you've been, to create self-esteem through celebration, and renew your energy by redesigning your plan - and your internal motivation will be replenished and ready for your to draw upon - regardless of what the world is throwing at you. Motivation and Reality CAN mix, and you can define your OWN success...and put yourself in position to Win...Anyway.

Bring the WinAnyway message to your organization - contact Rich at Rich@RichHopkins.com,
or call 303-345-8487.



Sunday, May 15, 2022

I'm Reading in 2022

  


Finished 2 more books this week: Tools of the Titans, by Tim Ferriss, and All Business is Still Show Business by Scott McKain. 

Tools was a 'real book' - bought for me for Christmas several years ago, and left on my shelf as I contemplated reading 676 pages. The way it's laid out, profile after profile, with a few valuable essays interspersed, is very reader friendly, and it reads more like a 400 pager. Great interviews, some really cool ideas - on health, wealth, and wisdom (deliberately broken out this way). Instead of putting it back on the shelf, I'm keeping it down to reference again when I'm in need of inspiration. 

All Business I bought on Kindle when it came out, and just flew through it. Easy enough because there wasn't really anything in there that I didn't completely agree with - it was a great 'Oh yeah - I know that - why aren't I doing that book', with some wonderful personal stories and business case studies. McKain is conversational and authentic, and I've watched him enough on video to hear his voice as I read - which is always a plus. 

2022 Totals: 

2 Real Books: 1028 pages 
8 Kindle Books: 1723 pages 
19 Audible Books: 121 Hours, 17 min

I'll continue to update, as well as go back through the year with reviews of earlier readings. 

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Speak Anyway Speaking Tip #13 - Starting Over

Have you ever felt the need to start over? Your speech, not your life. Here's what happens, and what you can do to avoid it.

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