One thing and one thing well

Every time I go out to LA, I indulge myself in an obsession I am fortunately not able to partake in here at home.  A few years back I discovered In n Out burgers and pretty much died and went to heaven.  Of course they are a calorie counters nightmare  but oh are they worth it.  I budget my daily intake (yeah right!) so I can indulge at least once before I head back east.  This trip was no exception and was squeezed in just minutes before I had to return the car to the rental lot at the airport.  Thankfully they chose to place a store right in the landing zone of LAX.

As I was waiting for my culinary indulgence to arrive, I thought about the philosophy of the chain and how it worked for them.  See, I love these so much I wrote to the company begging them to open an outlet in the midwest.  And I received a reply to the effect that they won’t be more than a days drive from their farms and suppliers in order to maintain the quality of their product.  The even more interesting thing is the menu.  They have 3 items on the menu besides sodas.  Burgers with or without cheese, fries and shakes.  That’s it.  No breakfast, no chicken, no wraps, no tacos-just burgers, fries and shakes.  They concentrate on doing basically one menu and doing it really, really well.  And from the line that is always to the door when I visit, it’s most definitely working for them.

Which got me to thinking about how thin I sometimes spread myself in my endeavors.  It’s easy to get distracted by a shiny new interest, especially if the old one is no longer exciting or is ending up being more challenging than anticipated.  But the key is to keep plugging away at the core of the activity or business and really work at doing it well.  Find ways to make it new and exciting once again. That’s where the success starts coming in droves.  And pretty soon, you have a line out the door waiting to use your service.

New Attitude

One of the many resources I’ve become familiar with is Seth Godin‘s amazing marketing blog.  The succinctness of his writing is mind boggling.  His ability to put an idea forth clearly and precisely is one I strive to achieve.  I recently read a post of his about the steps in planning any sort of project, task or goal and the emphasis that is placed on the execution instead of the planning.  I know this contradicts my earlier musing about getting started with writing this blog-to quit talking about it and just do it for Pete’s sake- but what he says made complete sense to me.  You see, I’m the type that doesn’t want to waste time reading the how-to-assemble directions, I’ll just figure it out as I go.  I’m smart, I don’t need to memorize that copy, I’ll just wing it.  I don’t need to practice my golf swing, I’m sure it will come back with no problem.  After all I’ve been playing since I was 8. So what if I haven’t shagged a bag of balls in over 2 years, how bad can I get?  So I stumble forth with dreams of supreme success in my eyes and instead I end up either failing or having it take twice as long to get accomplished.  Then I have the audacity to get ticked off when whatever it is I’m trying to do ends up being a complete disaster.

Well thanks to Seth’s blog and Madame LaBelle, I’ve tidied up my point of view.  I’ve got a new attitude.  I recognize that I have to respect what it is I am trying to accomplish.  Within that respect comes the new attitude towards the task at hand and an approach that will help ensure my success.  No longer will I just jump in and expect amazing results.  Establishing the correct attitude and the appropriate approach may not be as sexy to talk about as the execution, but the results that are achieved from this way of thinking will be the payoff.

Go ahead, try to forget that song.  You know you can’t.  So how about a new attitude?

Sexy Siren

Success is a wicked thing.  Experience even the smallest bit of it and suddenly you are in the grasp of it’s siren song.  That happened to me.  I started this blog in absolute obscurity.  No one knew I was posting because quite frankly, I wasn’t sure I would keep up with it.  When I was sure I was going to be disciplined in this endeavor and I had a few posts under my belt, I e-mailed my friend Bob Souer requesting that he add me to his blog roll.  Bob is an incredible aggregator of all things Voiceover and otherwise.  He was kind enough to add me in a post on his blog yesterday and in no time flat I went from invisible to quite a few reads. People commented on what they read.  I even got a ping back, although I’m not quite sure what a ping back is, but I got one.  I was found to be wise, witty and relevant.  What a rush!

The vast majority of people read the post that Bob referenced.  Only 1 other post was read.  I can tell because WordPress is kind enough to provide me with all sorts of statistics.  My immediate thought was the other posts weren’t all that good.  That I needed to write more in the style of the post Bob referenced.  In short order, I was lured by the success of that one post to alter the course I was on and pursue one that would be more popular.  Without a second thought I abandoned that which got me to the point of success and became a slave to getting more success.  She’s a sly one, that siren Success.  Most sirens in Mythology are female.  Thankfully, I too am female and after the fog cleared I was able to let go of the wee bit of glory I’d experienced and refocus on my original path.  I went back to what got me there in the first place.  Fortunately, my siren didn’t come in the form of George Clooney.  Then I’d be telling a far different tale.

Brand U

Since this is still a relatively new endeavor for me, I’m not quite sure the direction it will be taking.  Self produced content?  Aggregator?  Pu Pu Platter of all of the above?  I subscribe to many e-blasts and newsletters.  One which I’ve read for a very long time is Cynopsis by Cynthia Turner which is broadcast media based publisher of several daily newsletters.  This one came from their Cynopsis Classified edition which is edited by John Cox and is reprinted with permission.

“Success used to come from self improvement, now it comes from self-packaging.”

Snide? Yes. False? Not entirely.

The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines branding as “name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers.” Personal branding goes one step further – having your target audience see you not only as the best person to manage their needs, but as the only reasonable choice to solve their needs.

  • Determine your strength, what is it that you do better than anyone. This can include any number of skills.
  • Be proficient enough at your chosen skill to be seen as a leader within your community. Answer questions, look to help others, offer your wisdom freely.
  • Write, write, and then write some more. Submit your writings everywhere. Set up your own website and blog as often as possible.
  • Get on panels and offer to make speeches at industry gatherings. One really good, original idea/speech can serve many occasions.
  • Syndicate your ideas in a unique manner. You can’t say the same things in the same ways as others and get noticed.
  • Your ideas should be seen by as many people as possible. Social Media – Facebook has 45 million daily users. Set up a business-centric account that allows all to read but set up privacy so no one can tag you in an image. Twitter often and follow many. Become an expert in LinkedIn and answer as many questions as possible. This will also enhance being perceived as a leader.
  • Present a consistent image of yourself. Use the same photo in all social media, blogging, business card etc.
  • Be approachable. Do all interviews, answer all questions, return all emails.
  • Be visible. Go to trade shows, conventions, any industry gatherings. Talk to as many industry leaders as you can, but more importantly, listen to them.
  • Be patient. This process is not a quick one. It can take months to see results.
  • You must have a positive public persona. Your public persona will be tied to the ideas you are expressing. If you are a hothead, you and your ideas will lose credibility.

Dark clouds

I’m a bit of weather geek and proud of it.  So is my sister.  We inherited this from our Dad who used to sit on the front porch watching the approaching storms.  I often joined him on the porch.  Daddy is always brought to mind when I see the clouds organizing into something interesting.  We grew up in the Midwest where approaching storms can be seen for miles, especially if it contained any sort of lightening.  One of our favorite channels is the Weather Channel which my brother-in-law calls the “worry channel” because of the oohs and aahs that are emitted when we watch the radar.

One thing I’ve noticed over years of storm watching, is how dark it gets as the storm gets closer.  The tension rises in anticipation.  You know it’s coming, you just don’t know how bad it will be or how long it will last.  It just keeps getting darker and darker.  When it finally starts to rain, you feel a release for a moment.  No more anticipation, it’s here.  But then it doesn’t stop, the wind and the rain just keep coming, sometimes for hours, sometimes for days.  Eventually it dies out or moves on, the sun peaks out, the damage is surveyed and we realize we’re just fine, we’ve gotten through the worst of it.  There will be others, just not today.

And so it happens with many endeavors.  You keep trying and trying but can’t seem to get any traction.  Success remains elusive.  The effort fruitless.  The clouds just get darker.  This is where courage, persistence and faith become your umbrella.  Keeping you moving toward your goal until the watershed is over and the sun comes out.  Because the sun will come out.  It always does.  Just keep moving through the storm.

Eating an Elephant

I’ve started running.  And if you know me at all, you know that I HATE running.  I will walk to the end of the earth but please oh please, do not make me run.  So why am I running?  Like so many other people I am trying to lose those last 5…er 15…ok 20 pounds.  And from what I am reading, those pounds won’t come off of me walking even if I did make it to the end of the earth.  So I am pushing myself to run at least parts of my daily 5 mile walk.

I’m not having much success.  I start out pretty good, with few walks in between my runs but soon I falter, get winded, a stitch or a pain in my legs and the endeavor becomes a walk.  A brisk walk mind you, but a walk nonetheless.  I gave up for a while but after a few weeks started up again.  Same issue.  Which got me to thinking as I saw all these people running with no problems around me.  What were they doing that I wasn’t and vice versa?

The AHA! moment came yesterday when I realized I was trying to RUN, not jog.  I was running as if I was a seasoned athlete who’d done this for quite a while.  I realized I was such a fast walker naturally that in order for me to feel as if I was stepping things up, I was going at too high a pace and level for me to sustain any sort of distance.  In the process I was short circuiting my success.  If I could just slow my pace down a bit to compensate, I’d have greater success.  It’s too soon to tell if this will work but I think I’m on to something.  You don’t eat the elephant one limb at a time, but one bite at a time, consistently, steadily, persistently.