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Scenario: "Dude, we can learn leadership skills at business schools!"

  1. You want to be a superstar leader.
  2. You throw out buckets of cash on leadership books.
  3. Your think you're a king leader, so you hire a team.
  4. You suck. No one thrives with you.
  5. You fire them. You restart the cycle.

What would be the smarter approach? Drum-frickin-roll... Practice those leadership skills.

Why Practice Leadership Skills

Tiger Woods didn't become Tiger Woods without decades of practice. Likewise, Yo-Yo Ma, Michael Jordan, Katherine Hepburn, and Salvador Dali didn't rock their crafts without years of intense practice. If you want to be great at X, practice X as much as humanly possible. Similarly, if you want to be a great leader, practice being a great leader as much as freakishly possible.

Where to Practice Leadership Skills

Granted, most of you probably don't lead a work team (yet!). So, how would you practice leadership skills if you don't have the opportunities to do so?

Simple

Exploit any opportunity where you can train your leadership expertise. Some examples include:

  • Coaching youth basketball.
  • Leading an online multiplayer team (e.g. Warcraft!).
  • Leading a ________ club.
  • Setting up some event.

According to a study by IBM, multi-player games such as Warcraft rock leadership skills:

Gamers learn collaboration, self-organization, risk-taking, openness, influence and how to earn incentives when involved in a [multiplayer online role-playing game].

How to Measure Your Effectiveness

You could lead a Warcraft team, and lose every frickin game; that certainly doesn't make you a kick-ass leader. Carly Fiorina led a multi-billion dollar merger managing some of the best players in the industry; but her bottom-line results proved otherwise, and the HP board acted accordingly. So, how do you measure your effectiveness as a leader? Focus on your team's performance.

  • What results did your team achieve?
  • How did your team improve?
  • How was team morale before/after your leadership?

If performance improved: Yay. If performance rocked: High-five. If performance rocked consistently every day/week/month/quarter/year: Youz-a-badass.

Practice.

 

Posted on July 23

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Scenario: "Dude, I suck when I sell my rhinos. !@^^%!"

Why We Continually Suck

Think about doing something you fear. What happens?

  • You unconsciously remember your bad experiences.
  • You relive them -- repeatedly, magnifying your fears even further.

Peep this:

The Scenario

You're about to make that big pitch that scares the mutha-effa out of you. Immediately, your subconcious:

  1. recalls your sucky pitch experiences
  2. revokes the consequences
  3. revives the embarrassments

CEO Jane's in the corner. It's your move:

  • ...to make your perfect pitch to...
  • ...to win the perfect contract that will...
  • ...to perfect your business.

Yet, your recall of bad experiences intensifies your fears -- as you go up to her:

  • You: "Uhh...I...borrow...your...time...?"
  • "No, cuz-yuz-a-biatch," she tells you. "Be gone."

Remembering traumatic experiences makes you vulnerable to future experiences, ensuring you'll mess up repeatedly future. But, there's hope to rid those fears: Consciously ignore bad experiences, and you'll see fears fly far-far-far away.

Why Suppress Bad Experiences

Consider Situation A; Situation A makes your heart tremble.

  • You ignore A once, you fear it less.
  • You ignore A the following day, you fear it even less.
  • You ignore A next week, you fear it even much less.

Gradually, you're tricking cleaning your brain of the icky stuff. Rule of thumb: The more you block your bad experiences from your mind, the less fearful you'll become of similar ones in the future. According to a groundbreaking study by neuroscientists at the University of Colorado, fears dwindle when you consciously ignore the mutha-effas:

By scanning the brains of 16 healthy adults who had been shown gruesome photographs, researchers from the University of Colorado in Boulder discovered subjects' memory circuits slowed when they were instructed to push mental images of the photos from their minds.

So, scream it aloud:

"Be Gone, Itches!"

Sure, learning from bad experiences makes you kick ass; but:

  1. Housing them in your mind too long gets you freakish fearful.
  2. Freakish fearfulness sets you up for more failures.

Boo. So, whenever you feel like reliving them:

  • Sing a song.
  • Dance a little.
  • Jump around.
  • Grub on a carne asada burrito with Cholua hot sauce.

Consciously ignoring your bad memories crushes obstacles that hold you down -- letting you fearlessly rock the world.

Ignore dem mofos.

 

Posted on July 18

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Scenario: "Dude, we just want people who can fulfill customer transactions at the lowest price possible. Yay!"

You hire distraught dude Bobby for your tea shop.

  1. You attract him $9/hour.
  2. He's one sad, emo mofo.
  3. He's the king of one-time transactions.
  4. His customers rarely get awesome experiences.
  5. Therefore, his customers rarely come back.

Contrast Bobby with gung-ho-happy-chick Vicki.

  1. You attract her with $14/hour.
  2. She's one energetically happy mofo.
  3. She's the queen of making repeat customers.
  4. Her customers frequently get awesome experiences.
  5. Therefore , her customers come back as often as possible.

El Resulto?

You profitably win with Vicki, over-and-over-and-over-and-over. That's a reason why customer-centric companies are so-frickin'-profitable even when they pay ridiculous $$$ -- relative to industry averages -- to attract and retain awesome people for their customer service. Happy employees boost customer satisfaction, which increases repeat visits to your joint -- exponentially increasing company profits.

Happier People Profitably Rock

The happier the employee, the happier your bottom line -- according to a joint study by Bowling Green and Penn State professors:

Patricia Barger and Alicia Grandey followed 173 encounters between customers and employees in coffee shops, scoring the employees' 'smile strength' on a scale from 'absent' to 'maximal' (which features exposed teeth) at various points during the transaction. The researchers then intercepted the customers and asked them about their service experience. Indeed, the bigger the employee's smile, the more likely customers were to view that person as competent and the encounter, averaging just two minutes, as satisfying.

Sure, you could try hiring some crazy-sad dude, and try to convert him into one high-flying happy boy. But, you'll manage your customer service much easier by attracting the already-inherently-happy folks.

Hire the happy.

 

Posted on July 16

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Scenario: "Dude, let's tack another item on our to-do list. We'll finish them someday. High-five!" You know the deal:

  1. You start a to-do list.
  2. You put 908532502 things on the to-do list.
  3. You get overwhelmed.
  4. You start avoiding your to-do list.

Your productivity? Drainage. Though you'll tackle those entries "someday", you'll either:

  1. Procrastinate until some looming threat gets you to do it.
  2. Never do it.

The solution? Shrink your to-do list to bite-sized, manageable entries -- and see your productivity soar like a flying hyena high on chicken wings.

Say NO! to Too Much

Complexity prevents you from working. It's like Bo Schmuck Climber staring at Mount Kilimanjaro -- instead of jumping onto the vicious mountain of tasks, he waits, and waits, and waits for the perfect time (that just never comes). With an enormous to-do list:

  1. You know you'll have to accomplish vicious mountains of tasks.
  2. But the fear of failure scares you from doing anything.
  3. You start avoiding your tasks, waiting for the "perfect time."

Result: Your productivity drains.

Keep Your To-Do Lists Small

Small to-do lists prevents you from overwhelming yourself. (Also, when it gets too big, you know you're spending more time on your to-do list than actually working.) Instead of increasing self-doubts, manageable lists increase your self-confidence:

  • "This is very manageable!"
  • "Simple, I can do this."
  • "No sweat. Piece of cake."
  • "I'm gonna chase down this to-do-list-mutha-*&^%$^, and beat it into submission."

Manageable to-do lists drive you toward action, now.

Eliminate Junk

Twenty-percent of your to-do tasks contains 80% importance. Most tasks dilute what should really get your concentration. Eliminate those suckas. Or, maybe better:

Defer It!

Ba-da-bing! Your main to-do list lets you concentrate on what (1) you can do now, and (2) what's most important. Your deferred list gives you a:

  • "Hmm. Someday, I'd like to get this done -- but not now -- since it ain't so important yet."

You'll start kicking-booty-and-taking-names by filtering out the most important from the less important.

Manageable To-Do Lists = Krr-aa-zzz-y Sex-aay

 

Posted on July 11

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Scenario: "Dude, just read as many books as you can. Increase knowledge. Yay!" Increase your knowledge by asking as many questions as freakishly possible. You know that hawkish pseudo-consultant who flies in with seemingly all answers for your business -- without asking you any questions to understand your business? Yeah, answers may seem sweet on the surface; but, when you dive deeper, you'll realize the chock-full-o-crap-o information. Seek profound knowledge by habitually starting with the 'Why-why-why-why's'.

The 'Seeking Knowledge' Approaches

Say you want to increase revenues by 5% this month.

The Wrong Approach

Joe Pseudo-Experto Schmoe tell you:

  • "You can increase revenues by targeting the youth market!"

But wait, you tell him: "The youth market won't convert to long-term customers. We'll sacrifice long-term gain for the short-term!"

The Right Approach

Instead of chiming in with the answers, your badass would instead ask questions to determine the realities of your business's vitality:

  • "Can we reduce costs without sacrificing quality?"
  • "Can we upsell our current customers with complementary products?"
  • "Do we have sufficient resources to target a new market?"
  • "How are our top competitors getting customers?"
  • "Would our customers recommend us to their colleagues?"

Result: You get mucho information to get your badass toward increasing revenues by 5%.

Learning Something New

Consider another situation. Say you're learning a new programming language. Instead of jumping in with the books to seek answers, you instead start asking questions:

  • How do I set up the environment on my computer?
  • How is the language different from other languages?"
  • Why is it better?
  • Where can I find a quick overview?
  • Where can I seek help?
  • How do I create a simple 'Hello World' application?
  • How do I set up a database-driven application?

Your inquisitive mind starts googling, and googling, and googling -- searching for those answers to your questions. What happens then? With every question answered, your knowledge magnifies.

Said The Einstein

That physicist dude Albert Einstein once said:

"If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes."

Sweet words from Mr. Big Shot.

The Steps

  1. Ask as many questions as humanly possible.
  2. Get exponentially smarter.
  3. Win.

Why?

 

Posted on July 10

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Scenario: "Dude, just breathe in fully. You'll be smarter and calmer. Yay!"

To be smarter/calmer/wittier to build your business, your brain needs oxygen.

  1. If your brain has insufficient oxygen, you'll remember/comprehend/do less.
  2. So, conventional wisdom might think that "to breathe correctly", you must "breathing in fully!"
  3. But, conventional wisdom sucks.

You could try breathing in fully, but your brain won't use that fresh bulk of oxygen you want.

So, what do you do?

Start exhaling like a mutha-!@^^%.

(You'll subconsciously inhale fully when you consciously exhale fully.)

Why Exhale?

Exhaling removes the bad stuff: carbon dioxide -- from your lungs.

That leaves room for the good stuff -- rich oxygen -- to enter your bloodstream, providing your brain with sexy "smart" fuel.

Think of it this way:

The Analogy

  1. Your breakfast bowl is filled with old/soggy/fugly cereal.
  2. You're hungry, so you buy new cereal.
  3. Now, your bowl can only hold so much cereal.

What do you do?

  1. To enjoy the new cereal, you must empty the obsolete cereal that's already in your bowl.
  2. That will leave you more room for fresher/cooler/awesomer delicious new cereal.

Similarly, to enjoy new richer oxygen during every inhalation, empty the carbon dioxide waste through bold/full/rich exhalations.

"Release mutha-!@^^%!"

Consciously exhale; don't think about inhaling.

When you force yourself to exhale, you free your body to take in fuller oxygen through subconscious inhalations.

You'll soon see yourself taking in rich amounts oxygen to empower your brain.

El Rulo Thumbo

The more fully you exhale, the smarter you become.

That is, the more oxygen your brain gets, the more you boost your brainpower.

So remove that ugly, nasty, fugly air because it's just toxins that's slowly burning your brain juice.

Free yo brain. Exhale.

 

Posted on July 09

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Scenario: "Dude, let's innovate by starting something entirely from scratch. High-five!" Most innovations suck because:

  1. The 'traditionalist' innovators speculate what people want.
  2. Those innovators then start from scratch, trying to play "catch-up" with more equipped companies.
  3. Market conditions change in the middle of long development cycles, destroying the innovation.

Eff that.

Use the "Innovate-As-You-Go" method.

Instead of innovating something entirely new -- where you're ill-equipped in resources, time, and money -- build on top of your existing successes. Instead of venturing into territory unfamiliar to you, where opposing destructive competitors will destroy you, capitalize on the strengths you've already built. That boosts your odds for a successful innovation.

Example: You + Your Real Estate Company

Say you're running a Real Estate company.

How would you best innovate?

You're using the "innovate-as-you-go" method. You're aiming to build on top of your existing wins, telling yourself:

  • "I have access to new home buyers."
  • "I know what new buyers covet."
  • "I know what sellers need."
  • "I know how to get the best value for my client."

Innovation-Ba-Ba-Bing!

"I know!" you tell your bad-self.

  • "My home sellers can increase their home values by. I'll innovate by offering interior services to my sellers, and make their homes more enticing to their prospective buyers."

Sure, that's hardly a "revolutionizing" invention, but you increase your chances for a successful-innovative offering -- and fattening your bottom line. You do that many-freakish-times-over, and you start raking in the Benjamins like leaves from trees, where you provide value-on-value-on value to your clients.

Exploit Your Advantages

Think of it this way:

  1. You're a 10-year veteran of cross-country racing.
  2. You get a 500-mile head start, and you're racing against somebody who just got his license -- a n00b.

Now, be real:

Who would win?

You-of-course-oh-yeah-high-five. Traditional innovators start something entirely new, and give themselves ridiculous disadvantages against those who already have massive head-starts. The 'innovate-as-you-go' innovators build on top of their existing successes/strengths/wins -- increasing their chances of innovative victories. To get those ridiculous head starts:

Innovate as you go.

 

Posted on July 03

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Scenario: "Dude, we can dress however we feel like it. Yay!" You know the deal:

  • "We're a startup; we can dress as wacked as we want!"
  • "Hey, I'm working at home. My PJs work fine."
  • "It's a waste of time dressing, when we could be working!"

Yet, what you might not know: You increase your chances of doing sloppy/sad/tired work when you dress sloppy/sad/tired. Dressing well 'tricks' your brain to work better by enlivening your subconscious to kick mutha-!@^^%^ ass.

How Dressing Well Rocks

Dressing to impress enforces good symbolisms that make you perform at your best. Think of it this way:

Your PJs + You

  1. You wear your PJs at night when you're watching TV.
  2. You start symbolizing your PJs with relaxation, leisure, unimportance, yadda.
  3. That subconsciously compelling you to experience "relaxation, leisure, unimportance, yadda" when you're in those PJs.

Now, compare what you'd wear on a first date:

Your First Date Clothes + You

  1. Unless you're too-cool-for-skool, you'd likely "dress to impress."
  2. You symbolize those clothes with success, peak performance, and being at your most kick-ass self.
  3. Your "first-date" clothes subconsciously compels you to perform at your best.

El Rule of Thumbo

  • If you dress sloppy, you'll likely do sloppy work.
  • If you dress kick-ass, you'll likely do kick-ass work.

"Why-Oh-Why?"

According to Harvard Medical's Alice Domar:

Although it may seem counterintuitive to slip into the skirt you save for special occasions, it helps to look in the mirror and see an energizing image ' not a deflating one that confirms and reinforces your internal state. Dressing for success will give you a big mental boost every time you catch sight of your reflection throughout the day.

"But, What If I Hate Suits?!"

"Dressing well" doesn't just mean suits and ties. It's whatever makes you perform at your best. In other words, instead of thinking what will impress others, start thinking:

  • "What clothes impress me?"

Once you start loving what you wear, you'll increase your confidence to perform.

Kick ass and take names by dressing to impress yo-self.

 

Posted on July 02

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Scenario: "Dude, I'm just going to work some more. I'll be oh-so productive. Yay!" Imagine those days before that last big vacation you had with your family.

  • You worked tirelessly to finish what needed done.
  • You returned various emails, phone calls, etc.
  • You fulfilled bills, sent out invoices.
  • You resolved all customer inquiries.
  • You ensured employees could do work sufficiently.
  • Yadda, yadda, yadda.

You were one productive mofo because you wanted stress-free, fun-filled vacation:

  1. "My work's not going to prevent me from having fun!"
  2. "I'm going to kick its ass before it does so."
  3. "Done. Next. Done. Next. Done!"

To quote productivity guru David Allen:

Isn't it interesting that people feel best about themselves right before they go on vacation? They've cleared up all of their to-do piles, closed up transactions, renewed old promises with themselves. My most basic suggestion is that people should do that more than just once a year.

The Big Tip

Scheduling fun once a day -- after your normal working schedule. Then see how much of a kick-asser you become to fulfill all necessary gibberish, to keep your fun time chillaxin', relaxin', stress-free, fun-filled experience. To be that productive badass:

Schedule daily fun.

 

Posted on June 29

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Scenario: "Dude, I'm already the expert in my industry. I've learned everything. Now, it's time to make some $$$. High-five!" When some crazy dude goes up to you telling you how to run your business -- acting like he's some juiced-up entrepreneurial expert with degrees off the heezy, you know he's lying. Why? The greatest experts in the world think they're still stoopid:

  • "We're light years away from learning everything."
  • "We're just getting started. There's so much more."
  • "We'll continually perfect our craft everyday."

What distinguishes experts from poseurs?

  1. One group thinks they've learned everything.
  2. One group thinks they're still stoopid.

And yet, the latter group continually kicks the former's mutha-!@^^%^ ass all-day-everyday . By realizing that you don't know every minute detail about your craft, you prime yourself for grand performance.

"Me?! Can I really be an expert?!"

Some good and bad news for you:

  • The good news: Yes, you can you sexy biatch.
  • The bad news: It'll take decades until you're long-gone.

People mistake "experts" as those born with unique talents. They think:

  • "Tiger Woods was meant to play golf."
  • "Michael Jordan was born to play basketball."
  • "Albert Einstein was meant to be a genius."
  • "Abraham Lincoln was born to be a great leader."

Boo-frickin-hoo! Those rock stars, if they hadn't (1) worked on their craft, (2) perfected their craft, and (3) continually improved their craft each-day-all-day-everyday, they would've been ordinary Schmoes selling rims to used Pintos. You, amigo/a, can be a rock star in what you do, too.

Wanna Be An Expert at Your Craft?

The ingredients:

1. Expertise takes decades.

Compare (1) an entrepreneur who built 9058029532 companies, and told you that he'd make billions in each one, and (2) someone who built one company, and stuck with it. The latter probably kicked the former's ass; Superior performance takes empowering your expertise over the long-term. According to recent research by three researchers Ericsson, Prietula, and Cokely:

The journey to truly superior performance is neither for the faint of heart nor for the impatient. The development of genuine expertise requires struggle, sacrifice, and honest, often painful self-assessment. There are no shortcuts. It will take you at least a decade to achieve expertise.

2. Expertise takes improving your expertise, daily.

Push, strain, blast yourself into learning something new that improves your expertise. According to the research study:

You will need to invest that time wisely, by engaging in 'deliberate' practice'practice that focuses on tasks beyond your current level of competence and comfort.

If you're gunning to be a fantastic Italian cook, don't be afraid to pick up a psychology book to learn how people perceive experiences. The secret to those experts: They dramatically boost their expertise by integrating external contexts to their own.

3. Expertise takes self-guidance.

"Experts continually analyzed what they did wrong, adjusted their techniques, and worked arduously to correct their errors."

You're the master of your own domain. You know your motivations, passions, weaknesses, and strengths better than your beautiful mama. Being your own coach drives you to seek consistent feedback to soar like the big-bad-flying-mutha-!@^^% eagle that you were meant to be.

Expertise takes surrounding yourself with smarter peeps.

You might think you're hot sh!t, but an outside expert will tell you differently. We're all biased into how great we think we are, that we blind ourselves from the realities of how much we suck. An expert feedback dude/tte will keep yourself in check before you wreck yourself.

"Where does the road end?"

It's a big-giant-freakish path that takes decades until that dirt nap. Drucker, Einstein, Edison, Gandhi, Ford, Disney, and Hewlett continually perfected their crafts until the end. Tiger's still perfecting his golf swing. Mariah's still hitting the studios. Steve's still innovating with the iPhone. Spielberg's still dreaming.

Be. Sexy. Learn. Forever.

 

Posted on June 28

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