If They Could See Me Now Reply

Choices 2Who Knew? Who knew that a high school drop out would become an award-winning entrepreneur, college professor, published author and a successful motivational speaker.   Certainly, not me – and likely not most of my friends and family. I was never a very good student. I was the class clown, always going for the laugh. I went to school to play sports, and when they took that away from me because my grades weren’t good enough – I quit – and got a job working retail. It was the sixties, life was easy. I was ok with hanging out in the slow lane, in no particular rush to get anywhere in a hurry. If you asked me back then what I wanted to do with my life I would have told you I wanted to be a musician or truck driver. I still think being a truck driver would be pretty cool.
#WorthRemembering … Your past doesn’t have to dictate your future if you change the here and now
If you aren’t happy with where you are – doing what you are doing – you have the power within you to change it. I truly believe that. For the most part, I am just like you. I don’t have super powers – I don’t have a magic wand to wave. I’m not any smarter than most. The only difference that might set me apart from you, is my desire to succeed at whatever the cost. I’m prepared to do whatever I need to do – to accomplish the goal. I believe that if it is worth doing – it is worth doing to excess. I think I inherited that gene from my Dad. He never did anything half-way.  He never let the lack of a formal education get in the way of achieving what he set out to do.
#WorthRemembering … Think it, Act it, Become it. When you change the habit you’ll change the result
What things are you doing right now that are getting in the way of you doing what you’d rather be doing? What do you need to start doing to get to where you want to be? What are you willing to give up to accomplish what you want to accomplish? If what you’re doing isn’t working for you – then you need to make changes. Wishing and hoping won’t make it so. As Pete Drucker would say “Miracles are great, but they are so hard to come by.” Change is never easy.  Stepping outside your comfort zone is taking a leap of faith. Most people would rather back into the future. Most people aren’t comfortable flying without a net. If you are happy where you are – stay there. If not – it’s time for you to get busy. I guarantee you – you’ll amaze yourself.
Copyright (c) 2017. Brian Smith-PLD. Not to be reproduced with permission.

Another Year Older – Not Necessarily Wiser

birthday-cake-2I gave up celebrating my birthday years ago. Once you reach my age, the thrill of blowing  out a bunch of candles looses its appeal. Besides, I’m so old you can’t get a cake big enough for all of them. I have my parents to thank for my good health because the only pills I take are vitamins. Birthdays for me are a time for reflection. A time to look back on the year that was and think about the lessons learned. I figure if you aren’t learning anything new you are robbing yourself of the opportunity to grow. It’s a time to plan for the year ahead. Life is a planned event. Wishing and hoping won’t make it so. But mostly my birthday is a time to celebrate my accomplishments and think about all those things that I am thankful for.

I am thankful for:

  • A very special someone in my life who loves me – faults and all
  • Musical friends and the love of music.
  • What I get to do for a living
  • My son
  • My grandchild – who I get to hang out with
  • My ex-wife who is one of my closet friends
  • My siblings – Greg, Terry, Jerry, Randy and specially Laurie
  • Golf – playing and watching – but mostly playing
  • Movies
  • Red wine
  • Friday night date nights with my special girl Chloe
  • Quite alone time
  • Coffee
  • Spending time with the love of my life. Nothing in this world beats that
  • NFL football
  • College sports
  • A great italian restaurant
  • French fries with mayo
  • Hamburgers with bacon and cheese
  • Friends and family – too many to mention them all
  • Loving parents who are no longer with me but still watch over me
  • My girls – Minnie and Calley
  • Today
  • Tomorrow
  • Blue skies, green grass and sunshine
  • September weather
  • Four seasons, although I’m not really big on winter.
  • Being another year older – Not Necessarily Wiser

I could go on and on and on. I have a great deal to be thankful for. My life is still a mystery to me. There is no way I would have predicted being where I am at this juncture in my life. It’s been filled with both highs and lows. The lows have made me stronger. I know that there is nothing that I can’t overcome. The highs have taught me to be humble and not to get too full of myself.  Reality has a way of bringing you back down to earth.

What are you thankful for? In spite of all the craziness that is going on in your life, take a moment and make a list of all those things you are thankful for. You’ve got a lot going for you – you just may have forgotten them.

Copyright (c) 2016. Brian Smith – Voted Top 100 Leadership Expert, Management Consultant and Author. specializing in soft-skills training and leadership development. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you and your organization visit. https://briansmithpld.com

Suck It Up Butter Cup and Keep Moving Forward

Loser 1Nothing ever goes exactly the way it’s planned, so get over it. It’s called life – and life is full of surprises. This thing we call life is a work in progress. There will always be mountains to climb, valleys to trudge through and a number of detours to navigate around along the way. You can’t change what was – so there’s no sense wasting your valuable time or energy in trying to do something that can’t be done. If you aren’t happy with the hand you’ve been dealt , then it’s time to suck it up butter cup and keep moving forward. You don’t have to be held hostage by your past if you cut the chains that are you holding you back and chart a new course.

#Worth Remembering … Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful. – Joshua J. Marine

The only person getting in your way, of you truly being happy and leading the kind of life you envisioned for yourself – is you. Once you decide to make a change in your life, you’re already half way there. Once you decide you want more out of life – you will find a way. You already have what it takes to be the champion of your life. Motivation is inside out – never outside in. You don’t need any other stimulus to help you accomplish your goals. All you need is to believe in yourself, that you are capable of doing what ever you set out to do. All you have to do is believe.

#Worth Remembering … Don’t let the concept of change scare you as much as the prospect of remaining unhappy. – Timber Hawkeye

Take a moment and write down three (3) things you’d like to change. Three things that you believe would make you truly happy. Take a look at the three things you’ve written down and decide which one is most important to you. Which one will give you the most satisfaction? I want you to write it out in big bold letters and post it on your bathroom mirror. I want you to read it out loud every morning while you are getting ready to take on the day. Do something every day, no matter how small, that will help you reach that goal. You will stumble – everyone does. You will get down on yourself because things aren’t moving as quickly as you hoped. That’s life’s way of testing you, to make sure it’s what you really want to do. Hang in there. Be patient and just keep plodding along. You will eventually make the kinds of changes necessary to live the life you envisioned for yourself.

Copyright (c) 2016. Brian Smith – #Reformed Control Freak. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you and your organization visit https://briansmithpld.com

Do You Have What It Takes?

entrepreneurshipAre you thinking of taking the big plunge and going into business for yourself? Do you think you have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur? I was recently contacted by a first year business student who had to go out and interview three entrepreneurs as part of a class assignment. He had to ask them three questions. If you are looking to go into business for yourself I thought you might be interested in my answers. I have had the good fortune of being self-employed since 1998. Starting and running your own small business is not for the faint of heart. Matter of fact – in a recent Industry Canada study conducted by Eileen Fisher, Schulich School of Business, York University and Rebecca Reuber, Rothman School of Management, University of Toronto, concluded that thirty percent of all new small businesses won’t survive longer than two years, and only half make it to year five. Some of the reasons for those failures are out of your control, but most are because of the bad decisions you will make. Lack of management or financial skills are in the top five.

Here are my answers to his three questions. I hope it will give you some valuable insight into what it will take to be a successful entrepreneur.

1 – What made you decide to own your own small business? I had managed other people’s businesses for a number of years, with the idea that I wanted to own and operate my own small business some day. Being my own boss appealed to me. It proved to be a great training ground for me. I got to learn what to do, and more importantly, what not to do. The best part was I got to make those mistakes on someone else’s dime. I recommend that to anyone looking to start their own small business. Work for someone else until you’ve learned enough to start your own.

2 – What are five key characteristics that you feel are important to have to be a successful entrepreneur? I believe there are a number of key characteristics you need to be successful. Some you will do well, others you will need to learn. Here are my top five. I’ve listed them here in no particular order.

  • Time Management: Be able to manage your time well. Learn to prioritize what needs to be done so that you do the most important things first. Sometimes that will mean doing things you don’t like to do. We tend to spend our time on things that we enjoy doing or that we are good at. Be disciplined enough to complete your “A” item before you work on your “B” or “C”.
  • Open Mindedness: You only know what you know – you don’t know what you don’t know – and it’s what you don’t know that could hurt you. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice – and be smart enough to take it. That’s how we learn.
  • Empathetic: Be able to see things from another person’s point of view. People make mistakes. The important thing is how you react to them.
  • Communicate: You must be able to communicate in a way that others will understand. If you can’t communicate both by the written word and verbally, then you stand little chance of being understood.
  • Goal Setting: Being successful is a planned event. Put a plan together to accomplish your goals. Great plans start with the end in mind. Have a clear vision of what you want to achieve and then put a plan together to get there. However, you need to be flexible enough to change or adjust your plan, if it isn’t going to help you achieve your goal.

3 –  If you could start your business over again, what one thing would you do differently? That’s a tough question because struggles are part of the learning process. If you aren’t making mistakes you aren’t learning anything new. There are some valuable lessons to be learned from the mistakes you make. The one thing I would do over again is to be more disciplined in managing the money side of the business. That old saying “it takes money to make money” is true. But you have to make the money before you spend the money. I would put together a realistic budget and then stick to it. Projections are just that – projections. They are a best guess. However, projections don’t pay the bills or more importantly, they don’t pay you.

Copyright 2016 (c) Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Not to be reproduced without permission. Brian is a former Professor at Algonquin College’s School of Business, Top 100 Leadership Expert, Author and Speaker. To find out more about Brian and what you can do for you and your organization visit https://briansmithpld.com