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
Usually, by this point in the year, most have abandoned their new years resolutions.
Ideas are the easy part.
Most people don’t understand that in order to make changes that last, YOU also have to shake yourself out of the bad habits too.
This effort takes a combination of mental, emotional, and physical ACTIONS committed to and adhered to for as long as it takes.
If you’re faltering or you’ve already lost your mojo, the real question is whether or not you were on the right track in the first place. If the answer is no, then it’s time to re-configure your goals and aspirations for the year.
If you’re on the right track and simply stuck, it’s time to find out why.
The only way forward is to be present with yourself long enough and consistently enough to discover the answers so that you can take the right action and keep moving forward. You can’t do that when you’re too busy being busy.
Stop. Reflect. Write down your thoughts long-hand and then commit yourself to getting back to work. When it comes to your own personal success there is no such thing as ‘auto-pilot.
Earlier this year, Gloria Vanderbilt died, and as I’ve committed myself to do, I read at least one really good article about the deceased and their unique story. Every single time, I am rewarded with inspiring stories, ideas, legacies and sometimes just a few words that have a profound affect on my daily life.
Of course, you could spend the entire year reading about each individual and diving deep into their histories and the legacies they have left behind for us, but that’s just not possible, so I stick with my one article commitment and read about those individuals that are intriguing to me in some way or another.
There is one simple idea that Gloria Venerbilt left with us and that resonated with me completely. It is this…
“Every single person you meet is fighting a great battle. So, be kind.”
On the surface, this seems a simple idea. One that should be easy to implement.
We so often get busy with our own ideas. Our own agendas. Our own belief systems and positions. We get so busy moving forward that we forget to stop, breathe, reflect, and just be present. Be kind.
More importantly, we forget that every human connection we make on a daily basis is beautiful in its own way. Even the tough ones that make you silly with sarcasm and sardonic behavior.
In the midst of all this we forget completely the battles others face, because we ourselves are fighting so hard to keep from falling apart.
Stop yourself and listen.
Pay close attention to those with whom you come in contact each day. Plug-in to the universal truth that we are all connected in some way. The more present you can be with that idea, the more connected and powerful we become.
You will grow personally and professionally a lot faster by helping others grow along with you. In fact, this is one of the best ways to grow your small business and your career. This is also a big part of my mission here on The Ash Flash and in the work I do as a business to business salesman.
When you help others grow. Inspire them. Educate them. Make them feel good about doing business with you and work to really connect with them, both you and your customers win.
The problem is that most businesses get far too caught-up in their day to day struggles and their dire need to make sales right now, and then quickly lose sight of this idea. This opportunity to truly serve.
There are two keys to this….
First, and most important, no matter the context or the topic is this…
If your marketing stinks and you have lead-generation problems, the realities you face as a result of this problem will always limit your ability to truly connect with your customers in the way I’m describing here, because you will always be struggling to find the next one. You will find yourself constantly looking outward instead of also looking inward and cultivating the moment. Cultivating your best customers so that they ascend the ladder of your products and services, spend more money with you, praise your good work publicly and refer more customers more often.
As a side note, referrals don’t happen automatically either. You have to train your customers to do this for you. Generally, it won’t happen automatically. You need systems in your business for everything.
So, how do you foster a business and career culture that promotes cultivation of your customers and all your best relationships?
Stop hedging. Be authentic. Be smart about not overextending yourself, and be strategic in how you go about growing your business. Yes. Those are generalities, but the idea is that if you have a great product that solves a pressing problem for a specific group of individuals, you need to stay focused on that process and on that process alone and expand slowly, quietly, and carefully so as not to disturb the flow of your work, so that you can truly connect with those you serve, and be completely present for the next big idea when it arrives.
In order to make all this happen you have to go all in. You have to give this work and your process everything you possibly have to give and at all times. I won’t kid you. It’s not easy and it’s not always fun.
If you can live a life where the people and the customers you serve who know you the best, like you the most, you will have achieved this careful combination of grit and growth. You will have achieved the ability to be yourself and be successful. Still, it will likely take you longer than you think it should to get there.
The problem is that we all have a constant tendency to hedge, and offer concessions that don’t necessarily jive with our true selves, but that get us by in the moment because when we do this, we can avoid the emotional pain that is often the direct result of sticking to our beliefs.
Here on The Ash Flash it is my goal to be as honest with you as I possibly can, while also providing you important and insightful perspectives that will challenge you to adopt this kind of belief system and this kind of approach to running your small business and running your life. If you are interested in being a part of this community, I encourage you to subscribe to the email list as a first step. Once you are officially a part of the tribe, you will begin to receive additional information and communications from me that may just help you achieve far more than you ever thought possible.
PS Interested in having a conversation about just how you might implement this idea in a strategic way?
Send an email to: johncashworth(at)gmail.com and we’ll start a conversation. It is very likely that right at this moment there are many things I can help you achieve. That’s the magic Johnny Renaissance and my passion for life and true and lasting authenticity.