A wasted conversation with Lauren

Phone rings

Me - It's a great day, Danny Smith.

Caller - Danny, my name is Lauren. I'm a financial planner and Chris suggested I give you a call and set an appointment to come by and see you.

Me - Lauren, I'm backed up on some things for the next two weeks. Can you call me then and we'll set a time.

Lauren - thanks Danny, I'll do that.

Two weeks to the day later 

Phone rings

Me - It's a great day, Danny Smith

Caller - Hi Danny, this is Lauren. I called two weeks ago to get an appointment and you suggested I call back today.

Me - Hi Lauren. I remember, when's a good time for you.

This is a normal routine I use. I am usually backed up a bit, but normally, the caller doesn't call back.

Lauren and I set an appointment, we met at my office, she was extremely personable, professional and knowledgeable. I told her I didn't have a need for her services at-that-time but we had a great conversation and I mentioned I might have a couple of people I'd introduce her to at a later date.

She thanked me for my time left me, gave me a few of her business cards and parted.....



Normally, I'd send an email 2 or 3 days later thanking her for coming by, but I didn't in this case.

Now, weeks later........nothing.

Nor did she reach out to me between calls mentioned about. Nor did she make a point of letting me see she looked at my profiles anywhere online.

Lauren wasted our time. She wasted the handshake.

Surely the calls, the effort.........I guess she was only interested in making a sale......right then.

Obviously a very short-term thinker and doer. Commission Breath at its worst!

22 Roadblocks/Blind-Spots to Successful Sales and Marketing

Not in any particular order......
  1. Thinking "I don't have any Roadblocks or Blind-Spots" (or...not knowing what they are!)
  2. Lack of understanding of the differences between marketing and sales
  3. Trying to sell to everyone
  4. Failure to have a proper sales conversation that extends past the "what do you do" and lasts for weeks, months and years until the lead either needs your product/service or knows someone that does - difficulty staying engage
  5. Commission Breath

"Culture eats vision for lunch"

From "The Heart of John Maxwell" series.....

Culture eats vision for lunch. It's more important than mission, vision or strategy. When people ask me if there is a secret to developing a really good company, my answer is always the same: "Yes, develop a good culture." How the people in your organization behave is your culture, and it reflects the company's values. If you have created an environment conductive to personal growth, wherein people understand how they connect, how each person makes a different in the life of another, well then, you are accomplishing more than a mission, vision or strategy every could" - John C. Maxwell

Who are your Roys?

I love hearing from old friends and one showed up in my inbox a few months ago. Roy Whitlock replied to my blog post about roadblocks and blindspots where I wrote about  “Perfectionism / Getting ready-to-get-ready and anything worth doing was worth doing poorly until you learned to do it right."

Now, to begin with, I can see Roy walking into my office and asking what he wrote in his email -  “I understand getting past roadblocks - but how does one find one's own blind spots? For example, your point #10 - how do you determine the point where "Getting Ready" becomes "Getting Ready to Get Ready"? And if something is worth doing, isn't it worth doing well? Won't doing it poorly start to reflect on your service delivery?” And on he went.....

Roy and I used to have some really good conversations. LOL……As to his plethora of questions (he rarely had just one)….here’s my response  -

Getting ready should be short and sweet. "When opportunities come up, it's too late to prepare."

Alert and oriented times........?

I wrote recently about “failing faster” and mentioned a John Eldridge quote. Here’s the whole thing about

“Most people go through life alert and oriented times 2 or 3.”

When a Coast Guard jumper goes into the water he (or she) is miked-up and upon securing the person being rescued, will radio back up to the crew the condition of the person being rescued.

He'll say “Alert and Oriented times 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5.” 

If someone is not alive, literally dead, the message will be “alert and oriented times ONE, I repeat, alert and oriented times ONE.”

Times TWO is – alive but unconscious.

Times THREE is – conscious but no awareness.

Times FOUR is – conscious, in and out of awareness.

Times FIVE is – FULLY AWARE, ALIVE AND FULLY AWARE.

John Eldridge in his fabulous read “Waking the Dead” claims most people go through life…

……Alert and Oriented times TWO or THREE.

To that end ….

be alert and oriented today TIMES FIVE. Be ALIVE.

Be FULLY AWARE.

Failing Faster



" I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."
Thomas A. Edison

(thanks to Mark Petticord for reminder
about this quote)

Have you ever really considered how much failing helps? 

Used with permission - www.blairballphotography.com
Not that anyone likes failing, BUT, we’re all going to fail. Right? If we aren’t failing we aren’t trying. Right?

I gave a talk on Monday that started with a quote from John Eldridge –  

“Most people go through life alert and oriented times 2 or 3.”   

That’s on a scale of 1-5; 2 is alive-unconscious, 3 is conscious-unaware...5 is FULLY ALIVE

My talk ended with “Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly until you can do it well." That’s mine, or at least I claim it......I have no doubt I heard someone say it or I distorted something someone said to make it fit my philosophy!

Either way, I really want to live life alert and oriented times FIVE (fully aware) when I’m being creative, thinking about better ways to do things, following someone who has succeeded before me…trying to figure our HOW to do what they’re doing….

Jim Collins, in Good-to-Great, likened this to THE HEDGEHOG CONCEPT. Maybe I should say, this practice is my interpretation of the hedgehog concept.

Back to failing….there's a big difference between failing and being a failure.

It’s through failing, we grow, we become more. We can have more. Everything you've ever accomplished in your life, from what you're barely competent at to what you've mastered, it's all been accomplished by the process of failing.

As a baby, you learned to walk because you were persistent in failing at it. You learned to ride a bicycle because, because, you were persistent in failing at it.

I bet you’ve never accomplished anything of value without failing at it first. No one in history has…..no inventor, no discoveries, no medical cures,
NOTHING.

But you were NEVER a failure because of it. On the contrary, by being persistent in your failing at those activities…

…you became a master of them.

 What is it you want to do or do better?

Mastery comes to those who are willing to persistently fail. And yet the willingness to fail is one of the most difficult things for people to do.

To that end….be sure you do something today you don’t know how to do and fail at it.

And then fail it again, only faster. And again, faster and faster and faster.

Dressing up for a pity party, and the animal level of awareness



I heard something this morning that I really needed to hear. Paul Martinelli reminded me that….

“there’s a difference between being aware and judging.”

Pondering the last few days, looking at what I’ve done, not done and the causes of those effects, I thought “my time management sucks.” Later, out on a walk with Bubba and listening to a call I missed last week, Paul, in his answer to someone’s question said “there’s a difference between being aware and judging.”

I really needed to hear that because I’d been judging myself. I’d been thinking “what the heck, why didn’t I come right back to the office Wednesday morning after that appointment?” What’s the deal with not going to the hospital to see John between appointments yesterday? That was stupid.” There were a few other choice phrases as I thought back through my calendar.

But, I needed to be aware. Right? I need to recognize the problem. Right?

Right, and right.

But I can be aware without judging myself.

Hopefully, I’ve been through this enough that a discipline would have eventually kicked in and I would have recognized the pity party I was dressing myself up for. You see, I’d slipped into an Animal Level of Awareness; Level #1, the lowest level of awareness. This is where we operate on instinct, blaming circumstances, existing conditions, others and our environment…anything to keep from thinking and acting on change. We even blame ourselves.

Everyone expresses this level of awareness at times, but it’s only healthy, it only serves us well when we’re conscious of acting in this way. As an example, when you watch, read or hear the news…….how much do your react? Where do you allow those opinions influence your decisions? Does it depress you, tick you off, you want to react and rant?......or do you simply get the information, see what’s happening in the world and move on?

How are you feeling about what you’re reading right now?

How about your week? As you evaluate and correct (step 8), how have you done? What was good, what was bad, what was better?

My time management does suck, but I don’t suck. That part of my behavior needs improvement.

Be aware, think into what you want, but don’t judge yourself.

Move forward, be purposeful, knowingly.

To that end….

My #1 robber is called "I don't feel like it"



I suspect procrastination robs most of us of more than we’ll ever know. My number 1 robber is called “I don’t feel like it.” 

How much is procrastination robbing you and what’s their names?

Take this assessment and find out -


Indicate the degree to which YOU agree with the statement by entering the number that best describes you;        

3 = Usually     2 = Sometimes    1 = Rarely

_____ I work best when I am under pressure because of a tight deadline.


_____ I tend to put off starting a task which seems complex 


_____ I can't get done what I need due to distractions.

“I work out every day Danny, I just miss some days.”



“I work out every day Danny, I just miss some days.”

That’s what my friend Brian Wood told me when I asked him how often he worked out.
Me too. And I meet people and follow-up with people every day, I just miss some days. I get out-of-sync with my days and things I should be doing. A LOT. The here kitty kitty thing drives me nuts, but it’s the way I am I guess and I’ve learned to just RE-START as often as I need to.

There are things I have on my Daily Work Stuff list. Things I MUST do at this point in my life. 

Here they are, the daily stuff, not weekly or monthly, but just DAILY –

- Read
 - Write
 - Listen (training input)
 - Meet new people (more than 1)
 - Call someone that barely knows me
- Follow-Up with people
- Have a sales conversation with 1 person

I don’t get that done every day but I do keep trying to put more and more of the days together in a row where I have done all of these Dailies.

What are your DAILIES?