Why Baking Powder May Be Bad For Biz

I like to cook. In fact, during my dozen years as a single dad raising three young boys on my own, I got pretty good in the kitchen. By necessity. But… I was never great at winging it. That is, I’m not an improvisational cook. I need a recipe.

In business too.

The Early Years

When I first started my law firm nearly 30 years ago, I was winging it. I had no clue. I had no clue how to advertise or market or have sales conversations. I had no idea how to do business development or land clients… let alone how to actually do the work! I had no clue as to what actually yielded results and what didn’t.

I was good at throwing money at stuff… but pretty randomly. I’d chase the latest Yellow Page promotional schemes (that’s dating myself I know), and then later lead generation gigs, and then Internet pay per click advertisements. SEO and SEM and S & M… just checking to see if you’re still reading… .

I was successful. But by accident; not by design. And not without wasting a lot of time and money. And not without a lot of stress. Because the success wasn’t linear. There were these huge ups and downs. The entrepreneurial roller coaster as Darren Hardy might say. No predictability that I could rely on. Up and down. Feast or famine.

Because I had no system; no recipe.

The Pivot

That’s, of course, how I stumbled into my coaching and consulting biz. Haphazardly. Without a plan. Without a system. Without a recipe. And when you do (or don’t do!) the same thing, you tend to get the same results. Haphazard. Inconsistent. Unreliable.

But, at that juncture, I couldn’t afford haphazard. Too much was at stake. I had a lawyer’s income that I relied on, that my family relied on. There were mortgages and bills and overhead and infrastructure. I didn’t have the luxury of ‘doing what I loved’ hoping that the money would follow. (Hope is not a strategy as I tell my clients.) I didn’t want the risk. I couldn’t have the risk.

So after stumbling around in the darkness… and experiencing way too much uncertainty (you may read this as way too many really lean months with bills that were late, and credit card companies that were calling, and college tuitions that were due), I sought out a system. And found one.

The Recipe

Book Yourself Solid®. The fastest, easiest, most reliable system to get more clients than I can you can handle even if you hate marketing and selling… so the pitch went. I looked at it closely… and it made a lot of sense. I bought the book. And then I invested a shitload of money in mentorship.

From time to time, I got tempted to go rogue… to try out my own entrepreneurial ideas. And then I stopped myself short. Somebody… this dude Michael Port… took the time to engineer this system… to write out the recipe. I better follow the recipe, I thought. And I did.

And it worked. Together with my beautiful business partner (and life partner) Ann Sheybani, I created a way to do the work I cared about deeply… serving talented entrepreneurs and business professionals all around the world… coaching, collaborating, creating…writing, speaking, sharing… with the freedom to travel and adventure all around the globe… with the ability to spend much of our year on a beautiful hillside overlooking the North Atlantic in County Cork, Ireland, with a prosperity and joy we could once only dimly hope for.

Because I followed a recipe. Screenshot 2016-03-29 17.59.05

Book Yourself Solid® is not the only business building recipe. I happen to think it’s a damn good one. And I am now privileged to be an Elite Level Certified Book Yourself Solid® Coach. But my teaching point here is that, while some of you may be good at winging it, most of us (like me) are better served by following a recipe.

Sometimes when I’m coaching a client just starting out in  business, I’ll see them trying to deviate from the recipe… wanting to go off piste like I once did… wanting to do it their own way. Of course it usually doesn’t yield the results they imagine.

Early in my cooking excursions, I learned (the hard way) that substituting baking powder for baking soda didn’t work out very well… I didn’t get the rise the recipe called for.

If you’re building a biz, find a find a system, a reliable system. A recipe. Then follow it.

No substitutions. Avoid the baking powder.

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93% of those who follow the Book Yourself Solid® recipe see a 40% increase in revenue in the first year. I have coached folks right from the start, beginning from zero, to a healthy 6-figure business in a year’s time. If you’d like a recipe like this, then we need to talk. Email me at: walt@walthampton.com

Oh… and by the way… we’re teaching this program LIVE in IRELAND in September… you just MIGHT want to check it out. Go HERE now!

 

 

 

When Wrong Is Right

Mistakes, wrong turns, blind alleys: they are part of the adventure.

I thought about this as I paddled on into the driving rain…and darkening sky.

Hours earlier we had ventured out onto the Killarney Lakes in kayaks. Even with a map in hand, the exit from one lake to another – the route to our pick-up destination – was ‘discreet’ and difficult to find. Two or three times we missed it… paddling windward into blind cul-de-sacs, only to turn around and try again…and again.

What started out as lighthearted fun turned into a bit of an epic… as adventures sometimes do. But it was difficult to feel too sorry for ourselves wandering around as we were in the magnificence of the National Park, surrounded by mossy forests and dramatic hillsides. We were beat for sure by the time we were done. But the wrong turns had allowed us to see more and experience more and enjoy more of this incomparable beauty.

Would that we could take this perspective into other areas of our lives! We (you can read this as ‘I’ or ‘you’ or ‘someone else not me’) often get pissed off when we make mistakes that take us off our intended course, that require extra time, that take us down paths that don’t appear to lead us to our destinations straightaway. They seem to ‘cost’ us; they appear unnecessary; we consider them ‘wasteful.’

But maybe they’re just part of the adventure. Maybe they allow us a fuller experience of this wondrous journey of our lives. Maybe we might discover something new along the way… if only we might see it differently.

‘Mistakes,’ ‘and wrong turns’ led to the discovery of penicillin, the invention of the pacemaker, and the ubiquitous post-it note… to name just a few life-altering ‘ah-has’ down what might have appeared to be blind alleys. DSC_0640

Maybe the delay at the airport will lead to a chance meeting with your next business partner or boss. Maybe the wrong turn will lead you to the site of your new home. Maybe getting stuck in traffic will give you that rare chance to connect with your daughter, listen to a beautiful piece of music, or just be still.

Maybe these things that look like errors or wastes are really opportunities.

Yes, let’s go with that frame this week.

If I Call, Don’t Answer

During a job interview, a client of mine received a phone call. She answered.

A realtor friend told me that his broker expected him to answer every phone call he received regardless of what he was doing; and, in no event, should he ever take more than 9 minutes to return a call.

The general manager at the hotel we stayed at took a phone call in the middle of a conversation we were having about my reservation.

We were at one of our favorite restaurants. Five women came in and sat down at the table next to us. Every one of them pulled out their smartphones and began to talk or text.

It is the paradox of connection: that the more our technology allows us to connect, the more disconnected and fragmented we become.

Research in the field of interruption science shows that, following an interruption like a phone call, it takes us (physiologically) 25 minutes to refocus. On average, most of us experience interruptions every 11 minutes in the day. Which means that, not only do we feel like we can never catch up, we never really can.dontanswer

On top of the stress and overwhelm caused living in a state of continuous partial attention, there is a huge relational cost. (You know how you feel when someone you’re with answers the phone or sneaks a look at a text.)

The young interviewee (of course) didn’t get the job. When my realtor friend takes a phone call while showing a property to a client, he dishonors both relationships. The general manager at the hotel couldn’t possibly take care of two guests at once. And the women at the table next to ours missed out on the opportunity to connect with one another.

So consider these ideas as possible ways to reconnect with yourself and those around you:

  • Voice mail exists for a reason. Use it
  • Turn your phone off when you are otherwise engaged
  • Don’t slap your phone down on the table at the restaurant; it tells your colleagues you’re already distracted
  • Don’t sleep with your phone; it’s toxic and depleting
  • Have a smartphone free dinner (or weekend!)

When you’re in a conversation with a client, be in that conversation. When you’re on the phone, be on the phone. When you’re with your friends and family, be with your friends and family.

Relationships fuel our businesses (and our lives). Our real presence, our complete attention: these are the most powerful gifts of our humanity.

Do one thing; and then the next. And if I call, you don’t need to answer.

I Don’t Care How You Feel

I had just finished speaking to a university audience on leadership and goal achievement, and had stayed on afterwards to chat with the students. lagwagon-let-s-talk-about-feelings-cd

“I know exactly what I want,” my young listener proclaimed.

Looking earnest, he furled his brow. “It’s just that I don’t always feel very motivated.”

“I don’t really give a fuck what you feel,” I replied with an equal amount of furling and earnestness.

“If you know exactly what you want… and you want it badly enough, then you’ll show up every day and do what needs to be done whether you feel like it or not.

He flinched, only slightly, as I jabbed my finger in the air for extra dramatic import: “Motivation is vastly overrated.

And it is.

I rarely feel motivated to run, or go the the gym, or put on over mitts to go out into the arctic cold to climb. There’s not a whole lot of motivation going on when I think about driving three hours to a ski area or hoisting the kayaks onto the roof of a car. I almost never feel motivated to write. In fact, I’ve put off writing this blog until the very last moment possible, perhaps just to dramatically punctuate my own perpetual lack of motivation!

You see, motivation is flighty. It’s not dependable. It comes… and it goes. Sometimes it shows up; more often than not, it doesn’t. Even when it comes to stuff we like or want.

What’s important is the knowing. Knowing what you want. Knowing what you like. Knowing where it is you want to go. And why.

When you’re clear about your destination, when you know your outcome, then all you need to do is act. You’re pulled forward by the vision of what you will achieve. How you feel from moment to moment is irrelevant. In fact, your transitory ‘feelings’ usually just end up getting in the way.

I know how much I value my fitness and vitality over time when I run. And so I run. Whether I feel like it or not.

I know how much I love the creative process of writing and the sense of satisfaction I have when the words I have written have an impact on someone I have never even met. So I write. Whether I feel like it or not.

Get clear on what you really, really want.

Then get going. And stay at it.

In the meantime, it doesn’t really much matter how you feel.

 

 

It Happened At The Urinal

It was just an ordinary visit to the men’s room. For a very ordinary reason. It was a pretty nice restaurant. But I didn’t really expect that moment, that transformational experience.

There I stood at the urinal. Looking at the wall, as one does. And there on the wall… on the wall that so often contains crude drawings and classic limericks reminiscent of days gone by…was a TV monitor. Streaming one of those talk news programs. With the volume turned up. Screenshot 2016-02-26 16.46.51

And in that moment I realized that nearly every place of silence and solitude in our world has disappeared. Gone even from one of the most hallowed of our spaces of refuge… the bathroom.

As I went from place to place, I began to notice: televisions in grocery store lines, at convenience stores, in dining areas… even ‘upscale’ ones. Televisions everywhere.

iPads too… bolted to the middle of your table… so that you have no choice but to engage in the device rather than the person sitting on the other side from you.

Input. Constant stimulation. Everywhere. In every moment. With no means of escape. So that we are compelled to live out our existence in a state of continuous partial attention.

And in that state, we lose touch with the most precious of resources: Silence.

In the silence there is the space to think, the space to reflect, the space to create; the space to consider the core essential questions of our lives: who we want to be, how we want to serve, what we want our legacies to be.

The constant input, the overload of information, our cultural cacophony, has put in jeopardy our capacity to sit still and be still and know the beauty and the grandeur of the here and the now.

Indeed when we walk away from the input, often it induces anxiety… fear… a fear of missing out… a fear of what it might mean to be alone… alone with ourselves.

When I go home to my hillside in Ireland overlooking the sea, the silence in arresting: For a moment I wonder if my ears are broken. Then I soak in the silence. And renew. And revel in what is possible without the noise.

Seek silence. Seek the grace of solitude.

For in the silence is your power.

It was just an ordinary urinal. But an extraordinary moment.

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If you’d like strategies on how to beat the overwhelm, check out my book, The Power Principles of Time Mastery: Do Less, Make More, Have Fun. Click HERE.