18 Feb 2008

More “Winning” Tips

Terry Dean posted an interesting set of tips that complements yesterday’s post on how to “win”.

While he works with entrepreneurs his nine success principles are applicable to everyone.

If you are struggling with the self belief portion you may want to  check out the recording I made:

3 Questions 3 Steps — Change your State and Change your Life!

How much of what is holding you back is in your head? (Hint: almost all!)

Posted by Wayne Buckhanan at 4:40 PM   No Comments Yet »
17 Feb 2008

Great Nexus, Great Window, Rising Authors! Oh My!

Wow. That’s about all I can say about the newest report circling the net.

MJ has brought together an amazing number of facts and pointed out their significance in creating the Great Nexus we are currently living through. He also points out the Great Window available for Authors to turn print books into respect and recognition (and likely into fame and fortune, if that’s what you’d like).

Even if you are not a writer you still qualify as an Author if you create consumable information or art. Of course the print book thing still requires some amount of writing…

Go find out for yourself what has me blathering in excitement:

Mark Joyner’s Rise of the Author

Stay tuned as I analyze more reasons you want to read and reread this 71 page report now.

Should becoming a best selling author be one of your goals? (MJ thinks so.)

Posted by Wayne Buckhanan at 11:02 PM   No Comments Yet »
17 Feb 2008

How to “Win” in Life

Assume for a moment that life is a game. Like all superb games it is not zero-sum — there is a way for one player to win without another player having to lose. As I mentioned previously the upward spiral of win-win-win is achieved by being valuable and serving others.

So maybe you have identified your value and you headed off to serve people and got stuck in “paralysis by analysis”.

Who should I serve? How do I find them? Which of my valuables will serve them? What if they don’t know they need to be served?

Or better yet, you took the first step and picked somewhere to start from and “failed” to reach your goal (you did set a goal, didn’t you?!). Then once you had “failed” you decided it wasn’t such a good idea any way and you’d be better off sulking in the corner with Eeyore.

For those stuck at the first step some blunt advice (that I give myself often): Get over yourself and get moving. The only reason you haven’t acted yet is that you are afraid of looking like a fool. Or afraid of getting stuck at the next step. Or afraid it might work too well! The first is easy: the only people who matter in your life already know you aren’t perfect and are still with you — now get started!

And what about those sulking with Eeyore for “failing” (or afraid they’ll “fail” so badly that even Eeyore won’t like them). The key here is a little word magic. Richard Bandler was the first person I heard make the distinction between “failing” and feedback. Everything is potential feedback if you are paying attention and doing something with the new information. The only way to fail is to give yourself a time limit or otherwise artificially constrain your resources.

This is not “if at first you don’t succeed, skydiving is not for you!”
This is “if at first you don’t succeed, duh!”

How many things worth doing have you done perfectly the first time and every time? (Or perfectly any time?!) Everyone I know learned by “failing” many, many times before they “succeeded”. (Dr Martin has a nice mind bender that questions “success” if there is no such thing as “failure”.)

Okay, so here is the step by step method:

  1. Identify your value.
  2. Pick a goal.
  3. Do something relevant.
  4. Observe what happens.
  5. Did it get you closer to your goal?
    • Yes! Keep going.
    • No. Go back to #3 and do a different something relevant.
  6. Did you reach your goal?
    • Yes! Go back to #1 and notice your new value, then pick a new goal.
    • No. Go back to #3 and do more of the things that got you closer to your goal.

Notice that there is no way out of this sequence. That is because winning is a process goal not an outcome goal.

I will be the first to admit that I make my life more complicated than this. However, when I stick to this plan (or similar) and choose goals that serve others I consistently “win” all the “prizes” in life. What happens when I do something relevant and that something doesn’t get me nearer to my goal? I pick a new something — any something that is still relevant!

What goals are worthy of your talents and value?
Which something will you start with today?

Posted by Wayne Buckhanan at 6:02 PM   7 Comments »
14 Feb 2008

Sick And Tired (Of Hearing The Same Advice)

The rumors of my death are greatly exaggerated. ‘Tis the flu season and our household has been defending for the most part, or maybe we just exhibit the symptoms less fully than most people. Either way I’m glad to be back here sharing with you.

I am continually amazed at how often we “know” things but still need reminders. I keep running into this when using lab equipment. I find myself very carefully following the manual. For a while I was only consulting the manual when I hadn’t used that particular machine for a while. Then I would get over zealous and miss a step. Now I’ve gotten into the habit of running down the list of steps even when I “know” the process.

I also “know” that writing everyday is important for improving the quality and quantity of my writing. And I “know” a number of tips and tricks for staying motivated. And I “know” how to change my mental/physical/emotional state. Yet, somehow, I let myself lapse in posting here and in other daily writing. Some of it I externalized and blamed on feeling under the weather. Some of it I gave myself an out saying “I’ll do it tomorrow morning when I’m fresh.” Some of it I just plain blew off.

What did it take to get me back in the saddle? Hearing it again from someone else. Being reminded of the things I “know” and allowing that little nudge to get me moving. In this case it was a number of small nudges, but I finally took the hint and got moving again. And just like after a lapse in physical exercise I feel so good that I wonder how I managed to convince myself to stop in the first place.

And it’s not just me, is it.
What do you “know” that you need to put into action today?
What small action will you use to start the avalanche of subsequent actions and results?

P.S. It often starts with a small shift in mental/physical/emotional state. For a nudge in that direction check out the 3 Questions 3 Steps technique.

Posted by Wayne Buckhanan at 11:28 PM   No Comments Yet »
05 Feb 2008

Ambiguities – Quick Intro

I was browsing through some videos with my daughter today and came across a unique introduction to ambiguities. Pay attention to all the phonological ambiguities (words that sound the same but have more than one meaning). They snuck a few in there beyond the central noun/verb ambiguities.

Are these the most profound ambiguities? Certainly not.
Can you learn a lot from our feathered friend? Most definitely.

What ambiguities will you notice in your own speech today?

Posted by Wayne Buckhanan at 9:45 PM   No Comments Yet »
02 Feb 2008

Age of Conversation Continues

I recently ran across the call-to-action for an interesting project: Age of Conversation 2.0.

This is a follow up volume to the original Age of Conversation collaborative book. Not only do they tap the brains of dozens of business/marketing bloggers but they give all the proceeds to Variety the Children’s Charity.

Take a look. And if you hurry you can influence the content by submitting your vote for topic and/or by becoming a co-author.

Posted by Wayne Buckhanan at 10:13 PM   No Comments Yet »
28 Jan 2008

Education by the Large vs. the Small

There are several sets of parallel models I could choose for this sort of comparison. Corporation versus individual, university versus tutor, publishing versus software, military versus mercenary, etc. In the context of commerce and teaching we will start with university versus tutor. (Please excuse my personification of the system that is a university. It is purely for convenience.)

The difference is not primarily a matter of what happens nor even just a matter of scale. The difference really lies in the approach and world-view involved.

Within the goal of educating students a university and a private tutor have many similarities.

  1. Both perform this service for something in return — money, recognition, experience, a warm fuzzy feeling, etc. (This is the quid-pro-quo required for commerce.)
  2. Both university and tutor deliver similar content. (Setting aside the way in which they approach the material and the way in which the information is transmitted.)
  3. Both play the numbers game and expose ten, a hundred, a thousand times as many people as they take on as “clients”. This is by way of some form of communication, often advertising such as billboards, magazine ads, word-of-mouth, flyers, etc.

So what are some of the differences?

  1. Overhead – A university maintains facilities, equipment, records, and the staff that supports this infrastructure. All of those resources (people spending time, energy, and money) are secondary to the “money making” activity of teaching and learning. The tutor typically requires students, a location to study, some books, and maybe some papers. Once you have the first (students) you can typically make use of existing resources for the remaining items.
  2. Expected Knowledge – Most people paying for a degree (and the university education leading to that diploma) come with the reasonable expectation that their professors will have extensive knowledge in the field. Generally, the tutor is expected to know more on the subject than the student or at least be able to guide the student through their current problem.
  3. Adaptability – All of the infrastructure also maintains a fair bit of inertia (a body at rest tends to stay at rest, a body in motion tends to stay in motion). Imagine an aircraft carrier (university) attempting to make a sharp turn when it is at cruising speed. The one man fishing boat (tutor) has much better maneuverability. Of course a fishing boat and an aircraft carrier are made for totally different purposes.

The fun part is that this is an entirely artificial comparison — both tutor and university provide complementary services. What I find most interesting is the space between a single tutor and a degree granting university, especially when coupled with the potential embodied in delivering lessons digitally. More on that soon.

What topics do you know well enough to “tutor” others?
How much of the space between ignorance and mastery can you cover?

Posted by Wayne Buckhanan at 10:51 PM   No Comments Yet »
23 Jan 2008

Communication and Play

I used to think that I communicated well. Then I learned NLP.

The funny part is that now my awareness is much more attuned to the ambiguity in those sort of sentences. I hear when language patterns are being used less than effectively. I notice my sentences are more and more in terms of what I do want rather than what I don’t want. I am aware of when I have good rapport with someone and when I do not.

The entertaining part is that I have a good knowledge of all these patterns. I know many techniques for change. And I also know when to use which pattern or technique.

The useful part is the behavior that goes with the awareness and knowledge. Actually applying the patterns and techniques makes a huge difference. And of course I play with the ideas, techniques, and procedures. There is valuable behavioral flexibility that comes with a playing mindset.

Where are you in need of more entertaining knowledge, amusing awareness, and useful behavior?
What will be different once you’ve got “improved” knowledge, awareness, and behavior?

Posted by Wayne Buckhanan at 11:16 PM   1 Comment »
21 Jan 2008

Content Revisited

Unfortunately I have not been able to come up with another pair of “C” words that fit this model. That means we only get five Cs instead of sailing the seven Cs. Bad puns aside, these five Cs provide a great model for teaching. Unsurprisingly they also provide a great model for marketing information.

Oh, wait, information marketing is generally done by teaching content! And the bonus is that almost anyone can communicate some content to clients then make the commerce explicit and continually improve. Without the vernacular that means anyone with something to teach can market that information. The wonder of digital technology makes this easier than ever.

Every successful information based business I know of has been based on education or entertainment (or both). The content can be delivered online or offline via text (email, PDF or print book), audio (MP3 or CD), or video (Flash or DVD). Sometimes that content is delivered by someone else (affiliate marketing, advertising). However it is delivered, it started with someone communicating content to “clients” — which means teaching.

Just in case you missed it: I am a huge fan of exchanging value by teaching from your passions.

What excuses have you used for not teaching yet?
What value will you exchange when you begin teaching?

Posted by Wayne Buckhanan at 10:20 PM   No Comments Yet »
20 Jan 2008

CANI in Teaching

I ran across the term CANI while learning about kaizen. CANI stands for Continuous And Never-ending Improvement, which is the same idea embodied in the Japanese word kaizen. Deming is the father-figure of the modern quality movement and brought the term kaizen back from Japan. Supposedly Tony Robbins decided to rebrand the idea with an American moniker and came up with CANI. Whatever it’s source, the concept of continuous improvement sets an interesting direction.

During my time teaching at the college level I discovered an aspect of teaching that is generally hidden from students. I felt like Dorothy skipping along singing “Rubrics, evaluations, and professional development! Oh my!”And like Dorothy I found that rather than being scary they became quite helpful in getting me further down the yellow brick road.

For those unfamiliar with these ideas here is a quick synopsis.

  • Rubrics are comparable to goal setting in a personal development setting. They are the criteria for how grades are assigned, which hopefully reflects a student’s mastery of the material. Good rubrics go beyond homeworks and tests. In fact a really well done rubric will make it clear what homework and tests are most appropriate for measuring understanding.
  • Teacher/course evaluations are filled out by the students as a form of feedback on how the teacher is doing. Because they are anonymous and administered near the end of the course the seriousness of responses vary widely. Those students who take the evaluations seriously can help a teacher “see the forest for the trees” but often they just nit-pick about the homeworks or tests — validly if the assignments are arbitrary instead of being outcome driven.
  • Professional development consists of activities intended to improve teaching abilities. Taking short courses, workshops, or other continuing education can all contribute to an improved learning experience for the students.

Here are a few key aspects needed for continuous improvement: you must know what your goal is, how well you are doing now, and how you will determine how well you are doing in the future. This is similar to planning a road trip — where are we going, where are we now, and how will we know when we are going the right direction?

Do you know where you are going? Where are you starting from?
How will you determine when you are getting closer to your goals?

Posted by Wayne Buckhanan at 11:24 PM   No Comments Yet »