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Scenario: "Dude, I'm so tired. But I know being this exhausted means I'm working very hard! Yay!" You know all those business "mottos" telling you:

  • "Work tirelessly!"
  • "If you're not feeling pain, you're not working hard enough!"
  • "Having fun won't get any work done!"
  • Yadda, yadda, yadda.

So, your well-intentioned self might figure: "Hey, work should suck!" Our theory to this whole shenanigan dates back to the 18th century:

  1. Without amazingly awesome business books available, the first established American businesses produced dictatorial bosses.
  2. That spawned others who emulated them.
  3. That vicious cycle of bad bosses continued into the 21st century.
  4. So, trustful managers -- modeling themselves after their predecessors -- now expect effective work as painful, excruciating, and demoralizing.

That's why people dread Mondays. That's how work gets a bad rap. And, that's how you create a workforce that's sluggish, unmotivated, and unproductive. Net Loss: Billions of dollars in productivity every year. If you're seeking super-amazingly-productive-kick-booty work, your work life -- as it turns out -- should resemble heaven. If it doesn't, you know something's wrong.

"So, how do I specifically know when something is wrong?"

It starts with this simple question: "Does my life absolutely, totally, rock at this moment?" If you're feeling tired, exhausted, unmotivated, lacking passion, or feeling tense, that's your body/mind/soul telling you: "Yo! I suck right now." Your negative feelings are sending you signs:

  • "I'm overworking myself."
  • "I'm doing unproductive business work."
  • "I'm procrastinating on my sales report."
  • "I'm debilitating my body."
  • "I'm lacking sufficient exercise."

Use this rule of thumb by renowned performance psychologist Jim Loehr, who studied what distinguished all-world athletes from the sucky ones: The more toxic and unpleasant the energy, the less effectively it serves performance; the more positive and pleasant the energy, the more efficient it is.

"So, what should I do when something is wrong?"

Like in Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, it starts with confronting how you're feeling.

  • If you're feeling tired constantly, that's your body telling you: "Exercise!"
  • If you're feeling burnt out, that's your body telling you: "Relax!"
  • If you're feeling you suck at sales, that's your brain telling you: "Try another sales method!"

Confronting your negative feelings helps you check yourself before you wreck yourself. That gets you in line to answer: "Yes, my life absolutely, totally, does rock at this moment."

"But wait! What about when 'wrong stuff' inevitably happens?"

Say, you just dropped a deal. Or, you received an influx of customer complaints. Or, you missed a sales goal. People typically respond to the 'wrong stuff' in two fashions:

  1. distraught
  2. invigorated

We're taking this number strictly from our behinds, but we'd say 99.9% of people feel the former: "Oooh. Why me? Why? Oooh." Kick-booty business-builders (like your fabulous self) -- on the other hand -- feel invigorated after the 'wrong stuff' happens. 'Wrong stuff' to them and your badass means:

  1. "With every failure, I'm getting closer to success."
  2. "Now, I know where my badass can improve."
  3. "I'm building my supremely awesome resilience every time.

Invigoration. Sexy. And more important, that gets you answering: "Yes, my life absolutely, totally, does rock at this moment." So when you're out rocking the world with your business, recite this sucka as your every-second barometer:

"At this moment, does my life absolutely, totally, positively ROCK higher than a mutha-@^^%^& tapered falcon that has a 42-inch wingspan, weighs 970 grams, swoops in at 180 mph, and comes in at 510 millimeters in size?"


(Trust us.)

Posted on February 12

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Email saves time -- and often if you're a busy person, it's the most efficient form of communication. But what about those sales-meetings/important-discussions/etc.? Your best bet: Use the telephone. Better yet, use the telephone whenever possible. Northwestern's Janice Nadler conducted a study that compared the effects of the telephone and the email: She paired law students from Northwestern and Duke and asked each pair to agree on the purchase of a car.

About the Study

The teams were to bargain entirely through e-mail, but half of them were secretly told to precede the negotiation with a brief getting-to-know chat on the good old telephone.

The results were dramatic.

  • Negotiators who first chatted by phone were more than four times likelier to reach an agreement than those who used only e-mail.
  • Those who never spoke were not only more likely to hit an impasse; they also often felt resentful and angry about the negotiation.

El telefono, y'all.

 

Posted on February 11

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It keeps your badass moving beautifully for those work days. You know you want one. How do you get a healthy heart? Breathe deeper, of course. According to Researcher David Anderson, "shallow breathing (more beats per minute) may delay your body's excretion of salt, a high-blood-pressure trigger." The recommendation? You can lower your blood pressure by taking 10 breaths per minute (instead of the usual 16 to 19) for 15 minutes a day over 2 months, studies show.

Breeathe.

 

Posted on February 10

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Scenario: "Dude, you're the best all-day-everyday. Yeah YOU! Oh-yeah. Yay!" You know the deal: Those "experts" telling you: "Lavish praise and watch them soar!" But what happens when you praise your team 24/7? You create people who are:

  1. afraid of failure
  2. risk-adverse
  3. mediocre baboons

Instead, just be super real with them.

  • When they suck: "Yo! I didn't like how you did this. You're so much better than that."
  • And of course, when they're good: Praise them.

Balance Praise

You want to be well-liked. We all do. (Well, most of us.) So you figure: "Hey, if I criticize them, they'll hate me. Ahh!" When you're lavishing praise on your peeps, you end up destroying their kick-booty abilities even more. You know why child prodigies never fully realize their potential? It started with excessive praise. Then, came the television appearances that showcased their skills. Then, the awards. Then, the idolizations. Then, the yadda, yadda, yadda. Says Stanford's human psychologist, Carol Dweck:

One very common thing is that often very brilliant children stop working because they're praised so often that it's what they want to live as - brilliant - not as someone who ever makes mistakes.

Praise is good; but doing it excessively is (1) corrupts the person's mindset, and (2) dishonest.

How Praise All-the-Time Robs Your People

Say Billy Bobby just designed your information infrastructure. You're unimpressed, but thinking you don't want to hurt his feelings, you let his work go unchecked. What happens next?

  1. Thinking you "loved" his work, he performs as mediocre as last time.
  2. Scared of being imperfect, he avoids risks.
  3. Your firm starts generating shoddy results.

Ouch. You're too much of a badass to let that happen. Start being real with your praises to your peeps. And watch your team soar higher than a you-know-what. (And of course, don't be some whacked-out-dictatorial-nut-job: Too little praise will crush your superstars.) So when you're heading into your weekend, remind your fabulous team:

"I praise for real, b!^ch*s."


Have a great weekend, y'all! We love you.

Posted on February 09

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Scenario: "Dude, we suck. We = give up. Ahh!" Look you anemic, weak, feeble, but kind-hearted baboon: You know what made survivors of Hurricane Katrina, the Indian Ocean tsunami, and the Irish Potato famine become resilient in the cruel face of adversity?

  • a. Ignorance.
  • b. Optimism.
  • c. Hope.

Did-ya answer (c) hope? Ding! Ding! Mutha Ding! You're right, and a badass. Those who saw that beautifully magnificent bright-shining light at the end of the tunnel had a much greater chance at survival. If you're hopeful of some big-awesome success for your business (or your fabulous life), you're automatically boosting your chances of achieving it.

Why Ignorance Sucks

Yeah, you tell yourself: "I'm never ignorant." But, sometimes -- we all are. And, we respond to certain situations with bias/ignorance that destroys us in the long-run. Take pop-star wannabe Popo -- a typical American Idol contestant:

  1. Popo: "I am better than Clay Aiken. Yay!"
  2. American Idol judges: "Dude, you really suck."
  3. Popo: "Uhh...no. I am good. Show some respect to my abilities."
  4. American Idol judges: "Please leave."
  5. Popo: "I will continue shining the world with my music!"

Ignorance traps you into thinking you're Superman. "No man, woman, or child can touch me," you tell yourself. Before you know it, the world's slowly-but-surely crushing your dreams into oblivion.

Why Optimism Sucks

Self-help business "experts" tell you to be optimistic. Sure, you gotta to be optimistic about your success -- but at the same time, too much optimism blinds you to the realities of your situation. Ignorant Popo above was optimistic about being the world's greatest pop star -- but, he ignored how horrible of a singer he really was. Take another case: 18-year old, 5-foot-5, 130-pound high school linebacker, Butch.

  1. Butch wants to make it into the NFL.
  2. He's optimistic about the success, the money, the bling that an NFL contract brings.
  3. "I will make it to the NFL someday," he exclaims.
  4. "The haters will bow at my feet!" he screams.

Butch, being the optimistic person that he is, ignores the realities of NFL linebackers: They're 6-2, 240-pound muscular beasts. He's a scrawny toothpick. They'll eat him and his mama. He could be optimistic all he wants, but the odds are viciously stacked against him. Likely, he'll never achieve his dream of playing in the NFL.

Why Hope Rocks

We prefer the term, 'Sexy Hope.' Inspired by Jim Collins's Stockdale Paradox, sexy hope means to: Keep hope alive + Be real with the situation. For instance, think of a maze:

  1. You're hopeful that you'll get out.
  2. At the same time, you're confronting the barriers you have to overcome to get out.

Or, a business scenario:

  1. You're hopeful that you'll build a multi-million dollar business.
  2. At the same time, you know you have to hire sales experience.

For Butch above, we impart on him our wisdom for his superficial wants:

"Butch, you ultimately want 'success, money, and bling.' Keep that hope burning alive. At the same time, don't think the NFL is your only route to get there. Seek other means, son."

Survivors of disasters cling onto hope like it's the last mutha-@^%^ pieces of bread on the planet; simultaneously: they confront what they have to do to survive. The awesome shizzle about sexy hope? It drives you to do anything and everything to achieve what you're seeking.

Hope + Be Real = Ingredients to Overcome Anything and its Mama.

 

Posted on February 08

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Scenario: "Dude, I have so much stuff to do. I can't do anything about that. Ahh!" Oh, you-betcha-can. How do you do it? Do this:

  1. List out everything you have to do today (or this week/month/year/yadda).
  2. Now, like juiced-up bald ostrich going down that list:
    Spend one minute tackling each task.

That is, start chopping bits of wood on every frickin' tree in the frickin' rain-forest. When you start a task, you immediately reduce your workload -- dramatically. How? You drive your subconscious mind to think: "Hey! I don't have that much work after all. Yay!"

How Starting Rocks Your Mind

If you're a stressed-out entrepreneur, or you're doing some big project, or you're having a plethora of things on your plate, you know how it is:

  1. I'm always stressed out with the amount of work I have. Ahh!
  2. I keep thinking about what I still have to do. Ahh!
  3. I continually think about my projects, but I never do anything about it. Ahh!

Don't fret. It happens to all of us. Yet, to be a true productive badass, we'll let you in on a little secret inspired by our favorite productivity gurus: Chop some frickin' wood.

  1. You have a big software project. Spend one minute drawing the schematics.
  2. You have to design a new restaurant menu. Spend one minute sketching the layout.
  3. You have to brand your new company. Spend one minute listing out your company's top 5 personality traits.
  4. You have to: ___________. Spend one minute doing something about it.

What do you soon experience?

  • Hey, this thing isn't so bad after all!
  • Wow, I thought I would have more work. It's actually pretty simple.
  • Gosh dang it! I should've started earlier.
  • This is actually pretty fun. Wow! I want to do more!

Starting something reduces your perceived workload.

How Starting Makes You More Productive

A rule of thumb to keep handy:

  • Avoiding something: shatters your confidence to do any stuff.
  • Doing something: builds your confidence to do even more stuff.

Doing simple, small things -- like chopping wood, if you will -- builds your "action" momentum. Think of a ferris wheel.

  1. At first, it's pretty frickin' hard to frickin' push it.
  2. But as you push some more, you being to gain traction. The wheel starts moving a little bit faster.
  3. "Hey, this thing is getting easier to push," you tell yourself.
  4. Then, as you push some more, the wheel starts rotating faster and faster -- until you get to a certain point where the wheel moves practically on its own.

Starting work is akin to pushing that ferris wheel. Once you start working on something (anything!), it becomes easier and oh-so-fabulously-easier to do even more stuff. The key, of course: Start something.

Trizoko Tip: Prioritize Your Tasks

Say you just listed 200 things on your to-do list. You start thinking, "By golly, I cannot start all 200 things!" And, you'd be right. Starting all 200 things distracts your attention from what's super-way-more important. Don't start 200 things. Instead, answer these two:

  1. What things on that list do you have to -- just totally -- do?
  2. What things can you totally chillax on for some time -- and still be okay?

Now, you that you have a good idea on what trees to chop: Start chopping like the badass your were meant to be.

Chop some wood.

 

Posted on February 07

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Scenario: "Dude, I'm going to lead with an iron @^^%^& fist. Yay!" Our main man, Tony Dungy, won his first Superbowl as a coach of the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. All week long and after the game, the media has described his "humble" persona.

  1. His players love him.
  2. He never shouts.
  3. He never points fingers.
  4. (Well, actually he does: at himself when things go wrong.)

And when bad things do happen (like during the opening kickoff at the Super Bowl), he's calm, cool, and collected -- ready for an action plan to right the wrongs. You put him in charge of any Fortune 500 company, and you'll see it soar higher than bald eagle on crack.

The Problem with Iron-Fisted Leaders

Peep this scenario:

  1. Manager Manny thinks he's a badass. He leads by intimidation.
  2. His team thinks he's an @^^-hole.
  3. Of course, for fear of being fired, they won't tell him that.

Leaders who lead by intimidation scare the living shizzle out of their team. Instead of working to 'satisfy the company,' the team starts consciously working to 'satisfy the boss -- but that's it.' And you know what happens then:

  • Stagnant results.
  • Customer complaint cover-ups.
  • Culture corruption.
  • Short-sighted focus.
  • Backstabbings.
  • Yadda. Yadda. Yadda.

Instead of going above and beyond to rock the company and the world, the team starts thinking: "What can I do to ensure the boss doesn't yell at me?" Productivity = drainage. People are most productive when they choose to do something. Intimidating someone to do it will get you pedestrian results. Instead of rallying around you, your team starts undermining you when you're not looking. (That's how the world gets revolutions.)

What Humbleness Does

Leaders displaying humility like Dungy's have one thing going for them: They display the "I still suck" mentality -- even likely though: they're true badasses who already rock the world. Instead of resting on their laurels, they continue finding ways to improve how they manage their team.

  1. I can still inspire my team more effectively.
  2. I can still strengthen teamwork.
  3. I can still optimize my team's results.
  4. I can still improve my team's sales training.
  5. I can still boost team morale even higher.
  6. I can still: __________________.

No matter how successful they become, they know they can still rock their teams even further. Success to them is like a shooting star: They know they'll never fully get there, but they they'll continue chasing it with all their freakish might. Intimidating leaders think they've "arrived," and display the "I-can-do-no-wrong" mentality -- so they continue managing oblivious to the faults. Humble leaders on the other hand:

  • (1) know they're imperfect, and
  • (2) know their team knows they're imperfect.

So, they continue seeking ways to improve so they can boost their team's super-dope results.

What qualities did Jim Collins's six-year study uncover among the best leaders?

[They share] a paradoxical blend of fierce will and personal humility. They are stubborn and ruthless for results. Yet they are humble. They are ambitious for their company, and rarely allow their ego to be an obstacle for the success of their organization.

The Super Side Benefit to Humility

Activity for ya:

  1. Think back to your nicest manager, ever.
  2. Now, think of the polar opposite: the meanest.

Who got more results out from you? Most likely, ^1. It's a psychological phenomena built on reciprocity: "Because you like me, I like you -- so I want to do everything in my power to help you." When people choose to produce results, that's when you're boosting team productivity like a mofo.

Humble pie = deliciously sexy.

 

Posted on February 06

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Our main man, Tony Dungy, won his first Super Bowl as coach of the Indianapolis Colts. (We'll write more about him and humble leaders tomorrow. Stay tuned!) He showed the world what a badass leader is all about:

In face of adversity, resolute faith:

Kept hope alive: Peyton Manning: "I'm proud that Tony Dungy is my head coach. I'm proud to play for him. He's had a lot of good speeches after those playoff losses when guys can hardly say anything, when it's hard to stay positive. He kept believing. It's hard to believe a man when he says that, but you do believe in him." Mistakes schmistakes: "We talked about this last night, that there would be some storms in the game. Nobody was really shocked, nobody was upset, after the opening kickoff. It was just seven points and we felt we could get back in it."

Driven by a set of core values:

Driven by his values: "You want to do things the right way. I'm proud as a Christian coach that I can do it that way. I can honor the Lord. I can coach with no profanity, no violations of the rules, anything like that. And you can still win." Assembling people who 'fit:' "Our goal was to win the Super Bowl but if all we did was win one, it would only be half-fulfilling. We needed to win it with the right kind of guys, with community-oriented guys. To me, that's what it's all about, that you can win professionally and you can win with class."

Humility:

"Certainly not the best:" "The Lord gave me the opportunity, Lovie and I, and we're able to take advantage of it. But we're certainly not the best, certainly not the most-qualified, and I know there's some other guys that could have done it, given the chance." Credit elsewhere"I really have to dedicate this to some guys who came before me. When I came in the league in 1981, Jimmy Raye and Sherman Lewis and Lionel Taylor, those guys were in the league already, great coaches that I know could have done this if they had gotten an opportunity."

Glass-half full mentality:

"I think the disappointments that you have along the way make it feel that much better when you finally do accomplish it. I came in as a player [with the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1970s] and won my second year and really kind of thought that was the way it goes, and that it was easy. With the disappointments, you get to appreciate how hard it is to [succeed]. It means more. We love the guy.
Posted on February 05

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So we hear some Midwestern teams are playing in Super Bowl XLI in Miami. Supposedly, the Super Bowl matches-up the top two teams in the NFL. Unfortunately, someone forgot to tell the Super Bowl officials to invite the greatest franchise in the history of the world. (Records. Schmecords.) So, what else could we do? Well, upstage the game with the greatest tandem & team in the world's history and its mama -- of course:

Steve Young drops back, can't find anyone, looks deep, throws to Rice -- he has Rice downfield! he has Rice downfield! -- Rice catches it deep down the middle! He scampers to the end zone. Touchdown! Touchdown! Oh-Nellie-can-you-believe-it?!

The People's Champion. That's right. Enjoy your Super Bowl Sunday, folks!

Posted on February 04

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Scenario: "Dude, it's all about how you pay them!" If you wanted to make Sally B. happy, would you:
  • a) promote her
  • b) give her more money
You're right if you answer (a). Econ Professor Andrew Oswald surveyed 16,266 workers from around 800 workplaces, finding: Salary minimally influences job happiness.
Yet, when Oswald looked at an employee's worker's position in a company, he found a strong link with job satisfaction. Rank influenced how proud they were with their professional achievements. Rank also increased happiness 50 to 60 percent when compared with bigger paychecks.
To make your stars happy, your best bet is to promote them.

"You've been promoted, badass."


Posted on February 03

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