This is a simple exercise today and yet one that could change the trajectory of your life significantly forever. I mention this all the time, but this is what the ash flash is truly about…one simple piece of information or inspiration on any given day that has the potential to inspire and inform you in some unique way that changes your life and career for the better forever.
Here are the four questions I have for you today. Don’t underestimate their power.
Why not YOU?
Why not Now?
The thing I love about these four simple questions is that you can very likely apply them right now to almost anything you are currently contemplating, holding onto, unwilling to let go of, or otherwise making no meaningful progress on.
STOP everything right now.
Ask yourself these four simple questions, and then spend some time free-writing about them and you will likely discover that the only thing holding you back right now is YOU.
“I’m not trying to be the best DJ. All I want to do is rock the crowd.” -Shaquille O’Neal
I think we can all agree that ‘The Shaq’ is a compelling character. And in fact if you want a glimpse of this on any given day during the NBA season, you can tune in to “Inside the NBA on TNT.”
This happens to be the ONLY sports commentary team anywhere that I’m willing to watch and a lot of that has to do with the unique and compelling character that Shaquille O’Neal has become. It also doesn’t hurt that the Milwaukee Bucks are unstoppable right now 🙂
One of the things I love most about Shaq, is that he can come across as very unassuming and then just at the right moment, deliver the humor, the expertise, the keen and unmatched insight; and the unpredictable in ways that are both completely entertaining and incredibly informative at the same time. He is a true expert. And he is a true character. He makes me feel good.
What I love about the quote above is that in spite of his stardom he makes no attempt to cater to everyone. Not everyone will be a fan, after all. That’s how it works. Instead, he remains true to himself and that which he knows well and that interests him; and that he can elaborate on with a graceful authority that slowly draws you in until you can’t quite explain why you’re there, and then why you can’t seem to get enough.
Stop trying to attract a new crowd and focus on the one you got and get busy rockin’ them with your unique personality and your incredibly useful, valuable and unmatched skills, expertise and talents. Your house list is a great place to start.
When you do this right as a small business owner, the affect is awfully powerful. You have a true opportunity to really help and inspire people, but it’s a whole lot harder when you try and take on the incredible responsibility of trying to be the best instead of just focusing on rocking the crowd every time you perform. I know that on any given day this is easy to forget. Stop selling yourself short.
Who knows, maybe you’ll have your own show one day too.
I’ll be watching for you 🙂
PS Looking for more interesting ways to tell your stories more effectively so that you can reach MORE people? I can show you exactly how to do it for your small business or funeral home.
PPS It is also a very useful exercise to take a very close look at how Shaq uses social media and his website to promote his personal brand. He’s been doing it a long, long time now. I remember when he first started his twitter account probably more than ten years ago…https://twitter.com/SHAQ
This morning I spent some time looking through notable deaths for 2019 inside the New York Times obituary section of the newspaper. I do this kind of thing a lot more now because I’m getting a little older myself, I lost someone very close to me in December of 2019, and I work as a salesman for a fast-growing technology company that serves funeral homes and funeral directors with their software and technology applications.
I’ve heard varying statistics about how often someone dies.
Every three seconds.
Every eight seconds.
Let’s just say it’s every 10 seconds.
On the other side of that hidden reality are all of the babies being born equally as often.
Death is happening almost constantly. Which makes making the list of notable deaths in any given year quite an accomplishment; and quite humbling to an average guy like me.
Thinking about all of this this this morning, especially in light of present circumstances surrounding the covid-19 outbreak, left me pondering the two things I think about a lot more often now.
First, what might I still be able to accomplish in my lifetime that would place me on this list? Make me famous or notable enough to be invited into the notable death club. That feels important to me. I feel like no matter how much time I might have left, much of it would be wasted if I just gave up on my pursuit of such notoriety. Maybe I can get there as a writer…
Second, and a lot more important is that this perspective is important because it cultivates presence, mindfulness, and the love and kindness each of us has the opportunity to multiply in every human and living connection we make each day. These are the moments that matter. The only moments that matter. If you’ve lost someone close, you know exactly what I’m talking about. And in light of everything happening right now, it’s important to be prepared and then to take this thing on one day at a time.
Because when you’re gone, and all you have left is some random photograph, a one-liner about your life, and the age you achieved at your death, there will still be many many people left behind you that you somehow inspired in a way that will remain meaningful and important to them until their own deaths and maybe even beyond.
Take note of that idea today if you would, and see what you might be able to do to put your own life and the connections you foster each day into a more meaningful and inspiring perspective. Someday, you and those you love will be glad you did.
PS Here’s a quote I found this morning during my dive into the abyss of knowledge and wisdom, for which there is no clear end anywhere in sight…something that will remind you how every interaction and human connection in your life counts. Every single one.
“The affect of un-calculated kindness is as deep as the universe. When you feel stuck, stymied, depressed or full of self-loathing, try and remember this universal truth. It might just set you and its recipient free…” –John C Ashworth
I wrote an entire post on this topic that will be published on April 18th, 2020. If we’re not there yet, be sure to subscribe for regular updates so that you don’t miss it. -John
Most forward thinking driven and self-motivated people are harder on themselves than they need to be. Don’t get me wrong, I think this is an important personality trait. Being driven to win and compete and measure-up to your competition and to the goals and aspirations you’ve set for yourself is important. Also important is to be realistic with yourself, especially in the face of your mistakes and shortcomings.
You can’t play perfectly all the time.
Most of us will discover that we are more loved in the weeks after our death, than in the weeks preceding it. As I’ve heard more than one funeral director say, “Everyone becomes a saint once they’re gone.”
To achieve success though, you need to feel you deserve it in spite of your mistakes, shortcomings, and misgivings. And probably more important, especially for those of us who tend to be more assertive, forward-thinking, and more than willing to make a bonfire of our reputation, you MUST stay strong in your belief that you deserve what you have achieved.
Often, this is tough, because in pursuit of constant improvement and growth, we must accept both our praise and the disdain that falls upon us from time to time. The latter often arriving more often than we might expect.
Worthy accomplishment comes from both the clean and dirty work that must be done in order to get there.
This is not to say that you must break the law or defile your colleagues either.
What I’m trying to reinforce here is that in order to grow you have to be uncomfortable first and that discomfort often comes from the negativity pointed toward us from those that don’t like us, don’t like what we’ve done, or how we think, or that we got here first.
Should you let this discomfort stymie your growth and your pursuit of achievement, you might find success somewhat elusive at first.
Keep in mind that when your vision and your mission are true and worthy and worth pursuing, that this is often in stark contrast to what everyone else can see. Most don’t have the vision you do and that reality can get tough at times. Believe me.
Stay on the path and keep going and when things get rough just remember…
“YOU deserve every ounce of success and the wisdom that comes along with it because you have earned it!”