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Archive for March, 2016

Extra Points: Keeping the Faith

March 28, 2016 Leave a comment

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40“Well the good old days weren’t always so good, and tomorrow ain’t as bad as it seems…”

The lyrics from the classic Billy Joel song, Keeping the Faith should ring more true today than ever. Social media platforms – specifically Facebook – are filled with people decrying the state of our politics and government. Intelligent, bright people are hurling their own invective aimed at one side or another. The vanity fair platform is littered with op-eds bemoaning that things have never been this bad; that the country has never been so polarized; and incivility is at an all-time low (or high depending on your definition).

Really? Even I’m old enough to remember Watergate, skyrocketing inflation, and nefarious pictures of a philandering Gary Hart that ultimately doomed his presidential bid. None of us will personally remember the vitriolic 1860 presidential election featuring Stephen Douglas and some oaf named Abraham Lincoln. The debates, dialogue, and political cartoons mocking both men might actually make Donald Trump wince. In fact, it was so acrimonious, that states vowed that they would secede from the union – take their ball and go home – if Lincoln prevailed. He did, and they did.

This country is 240 years old this year. We’ve endured slavery, women’s suffrage, prohibition, mafia battles, and assassinations of our leaders. We’ve had good, bad, and mediocre presidents; leaders that disagreed violently (Washington and Adams virtually hated each other); and global problems that chanced annihilation of countries. Yet, here we are.

The truth is that our country is resilient. We are resilient because regardless of what political party owns the White House or Congress, what individual is Commander in Chief, or who sits on the Supreme Court, we are a people that find a way. The same goes for the good people in Paris and Brussels that are resilient in the wake of unthinkable violence. We as average people are fighters…which makes us more than “ordinary.”

To unleash your potential in life, you can’t allow the world around you to dictate your mindset or create fear. Instead of feeling a sense of dread or blaming others that seemingly are in control, take control yourself. Be opportunistic. Be bold. Be resilient. The alternative stinks. We aren’t much different than the humans who came before us, or who will follow us. The good old days brought with them a lot of violence, discrimination, and enmity. We can control tomorrow and make it better than what it seems…


Quote of the Week:


“All men are equal before fish.”

~ Herbert Hoover

If you’d like to hear more about this concept, listen to my live Periscope broadcast today at 10 am PST. Information below…

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points: Tight Shoelaces

March 21, 2016 Leave a comment

This Week’s Focus Point: Tight ShoelacesDan Weedin Unleashed-40

I love March Madness and the start of this year’s tournament has already been filled with huge upsets and thrilling games. Unfortunately for me, this year was the time I decided to boldly go with just one bracket. Even though I’m competing in several pools, I eschewed hedging my bet and went with one single outcome. That outcome for me fell to pieces on just the second day when my “winner” – Michigan State – went down in flames to 15th seeded Middle Tennessee State. Michigan State was tied with Kansas as the odds on favorite by Las Vegas experts. In the opening round, they showed how you can go from favorite to last in the blink of an eye. The cause of this calamity for the Spartans? Tight shoelaces.

I’ve been a huge fan of Michigan State coach Tom Izzo since I first saw him speak about a dozen years ago. He is a master coach that really prepares his athletes well. However on watching the second half of this game, I noted something very uncharacteristic of a Coach Izzo team. As the Middle Tennessee squad refused to succumb to the higher ranked team by hitting big shots and making the better plays, the Spartans got a case of “tight shoelaces.” This is a basketball axiom that is synonymous with panicking (you may be able to draw other visuals from this metaphor). Middle Tennessee had nothing to lose, so they played fearlessly. Michigan State played with panic. It was evident that they were thinking about the ignominy of being only the 8th #2 seed in the history of the tournament to lose to a #15 seed. This was a talent-filled, veteran group with high hopes and they were self-destructing under the weight of the pressure.

How do you handle pressure? Do you play fearlessly and aggressively as if you have nothing to lose OR do your shoelaces get tight? Panic has nothing to do with courage or skill. Panic is 100% about confidence, or lack of it. When consequences to “losing” align with a drop in confidence, panic sets in. Just like in March Madness, panic is deadly for you as a business professional. What you need to do to avoid it is always keep your perspective, proportion, and absolute belief in your ability and smarts. That way, you’re always in a position to win your game day after day and stay away from those tightening shoelaces.

Quote of the Week:


“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”

~ Oscar Wilde

If you’d like to hear more about this concept, listen to my live Periscope broadcast today at 10 am PST. Information below…

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Feel the Heat

March 17, 2016 2 comments

Bella_HeaterBella is a diva.

You’re all probably quite familiar with Captain Jack. well, we have another – not quite so well known but as eccentric – Jack Russell terrier that fancies herself the queen of the castle. It’s still a little chilled outside which makes the house colder than I care for. Bella, too. As I sat down during lunch to watch a little of the NCAA basketball tournament, I turned on the heat to remove the chill. Turns out the heat was sucked up by one body…. Bella.

It’s normal practice for Bella to hog a heater vent that’s turned on. I’m not so sure she really cares that she is keeping any other body in the house from getting warmed up. I think it’s just her taking full advantage of the vent.

Bella has figured out that in order to maximize her heat intake, she needs to use the entire vent. Being 10 feet away doesn’t do it. Neither does being off to either side of the vent. In order to maximize her heat input, she’s got to own the space. (To add to it, she’s been known to issue a stern bark at anyone that dares turn off the heat.)

That’s how it is with your career and life.

You want to squeeze every bit out of your career – be it entrepreneur, executive, or employee? Then you can’t be on the outskirts trying to catch whatever “heat” is left over. There will be too much room to make up and you will be left with very little and little control over event hat. You can try to get closer, but even the edges don’t give you the full effect. In order to take up the entire vent, you need to take risks, be bold, be confident in your ability, have the courage of your talent, fight off fear, and dream big. There’s no room for the timid next to the heater. You need to scare yourself a little every day.

[Accelerate the heat in your professional life, career, and company]

The same can be said for your life. I’ve met too many people that are reticent to be bold becasue they are frightened to death of getting burned. Fear of failure; fear of rejection, and fear of being “found out” hold many of you back in your professional and personal life. I’m convinced that many people go to their graves carrying a lifetime full of left over and now useless “poker chips.” They couldn’t drag themselves to take on the full brunt of the heater. The same suggestions I listed above are applicable personally, too. The difference is that you may well have people that are very important to you counting on you being everything you can be. You’d do well not to let them – or yourself- down.

Be  more like Bella. Don’t take a chance of letting one degree of heat get by you. You never want to end a game with extra “chips” in your hand.

[Check out Unleashed Universe to transform your business and life in 90 days. Feel the heat…]

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

 

Forever Billy

March 15, 2016 Leave a comment

I lost a childhood friend yesterday after a 3 -year battle with ALS. One of the ways I mourn loss is to write about it. I hope you’ll indulge me the opportunity to share about my friend…

Forever Billy

An Open-Letter Tribute from Dan Weedin

 Billy.

That was your name when we first met in grade school at Olympic View Elementary. My earliest recollections of you were in 2nd or 3rd grade, but the first time we were actual classmates was in Mr. Algier’s class. You were one of the tallest guys in school and with the big, blond wild hair flying all over the place, you were a little intimidating!

Somewhere around that time, we discovered a similar passion for playing basketball. We’d play with all the other kids on the 8-foot baskets at school and soon you’d start finding your way over to my house to shoot at my hoop. As it would turn out, we’d be teammates for the next 8 years – 2 years as Olympic View Intruders; 3 years as North Whidbey Junior High Cougars; 2 years as Oak Harbor Wildcats; and then finally after coming to the stark realization our high school careers had hit it’s ceiling, we formed our intramural team as seniors on The Supreme Court. There’s one thing I know from years of playing and coaching sports, there’s a tremendous bond when teammates experience victory and defeat; joy and sadness; and going to battle every day together. In our 8 years as teammates, you and I shared an undefeated team, playing “jam ball” years later on those 8-foot baskets, and our “retirement” together.

Do you remember we went to our very first R-rated movie together in 7th grade? Your dad took us to the old theater in Oak Harbor to watch Animal House. I think he even bought me some Junior Mints. Both my mom and dad passed away without me ever telling them! Even when Mom had dementia, I didn’t have the guts to tell her! One of our childhood “secrets,” which may not be so secret anymore.

I remember the day in junior high that your father died in the Anacortes oil refinery explosion. We were in 8th grade and I had no idea what to say. What was poignant to me was that you kept on going during the day. In the face of pain, you were resilient. This certainly would be a necessary characteristic for you later in life.

One of my most fun memories of our friendship was our love of Spanish. I think we must have tracked our learning from Ms. Walters at NW all the way though Señora Ingram at OHHS. We both got pretty good. Do you remember that we would be playing Monopoly at my house with Alex V. and speak only in Spanish to tick him off because he didn’t speak it. He would get so angry and threaten to leave if we didn’t stop. We eventually did – and then re-started over and over again!

Not only were we teammates on the basketball court, but also teammates in our Catholic faith. We went through over a decade of CCD, First Communion, and then Confirmation together. This bond and commitment to our faith would continue on long after Billy turned to Bill and into adulthood. I remember for a time you contemplated the priesthood. I think I fully “supported” you by telling you that you were crazy! In your normal style, you smiled and laughed.

Maybe the most lasting of my memories of our friendship was the summer before our junior year. You were a cross-country athlete and I wanted to start preparing for basketball season. I thought running with you would help me improve my overall fitness level and put me in a position to be more competitive. I also toyed with the thought of going our for cross-country and used you as a benchmark.

We would start our 9-10 mile run at my house. We did that because I think you were holding me accountable knowing that if we started from your house, I might not show up! We would always start off running together, which gave us a chance to talk about sports, school, and girls. That’s how I originally thought the run would go, until you started “separating.” Your smooth and long strides and desire to push your level of training began to stretch out your distance from me. I’m sure you did it to push me, too.

I remember vividly turning the remaining 8-9 miles into a game. My goal was to always keep you in “birds eye” view. In those days, there was no iPhone music with ear buds sticking in my ears. The only words in my head were mine and those words exhorted me to keep you in sight. While there were some long stretches of road, I always seemed challenged when you made that turn and I had to speed up. Eventually, you’d make it back to my house well before me, and always greeted me with encouragement and a smile.

Well Billy, now you’ve raced ahead again.

What you leave me behind thinking of now are the flood of memories we shared together growing up as kids in Oak Harbor. While we remained friends as adults, we just never were able to see each other as much as we wanted. Thank goodness Facebook allowed us to stay in more contact the last few years. With that in mind, I know that although I called you “Bill” for half of our lives, you will always be Billy to me. Just like that summer in 1981, you sped ahead and got to the destination before me. I know at some point in time, somewhere down the line, I will come straggling home and once again you will be there to greet me with a smile and encouragement. Until that time…

Gracias por tu amistad. Va a ser para siempre a Billy a mí. Te quiero mucho amigo.

Your friend,

Danny

FullSizeRender

Billy was #42 and I am #12 on the undefeated 12-o North Whidbey JH Cougars in 1980

Categories: Uncategorized

Benchmarking You

March 14, 2016 Leave a comment

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40There is well-known research showing that an inordinately large number of Americans never read a book after high school. This is only one symptom of a much larger problem in our society when it comes to self-improvement.

Sadly, we as a people aren’t utilizing the rapid advancement in technology for as much good as we can take from it. No other time in history has offered so much availability of knowledge and ways to use it. I remember the “old days” when encyclopedias were the rage for helping children become smarter about their world. The problem was they became badly outdated the minute they were printed. Today, access to anything you want in real-time is available. However I suspect there are more people posting gibberish on Facebook than actually finding a way to improve themselves.

How do you benchmark yourself when it comes to developing not just your level of education, but also your level of being an object of interest?

For me, I use pretty simple metrics. So far this year, I’ve attended one professional development conference, am on book number 3, and subscribe to bi-monthly educational video series. Now don’t get me wrong; I love watching TV and have been known to post a few things on Facebook. However the priority I set on improving my brain is at the top of the list, so I commit and implement. The only way to check my progress is the benchmark improvement.

I encourage you to do the same. Read more books. Watch all sorts of movies. Take part in educational workshops and use technology to leverage your time and investment. Keep track of what you do and seek to sustain it. No matter what your career, you will be better off both professionally and personally because of it.

Quote of the Week:


“To win without risk is to triumph without glory.”

~ Pierre Corneille, famous French dramatist

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Entrepreneurial Myths & Monsters

March 9, 2016 Leave a comment

600x923_ID-BadgeFrom my March column for the Kitsap Sun

One of the hallmarks of the “American dream” is for that opportunity to build your own business from a passion and have it form your lifestyle and security for generations. Entrepreneurship is a noble avocation. Many of you reading this are entrepreneurs holding the title of Founder, President, CEO, or just Boss.

Small business enterprise drives the economy of our country and is responsible for employing millions of people. That being said, entrepreneurship requires more than courage, guile, and persistence. To attain both success and significance, entrepreneurs must disabuse themselves of the myths and avoid the monsters that threaten their great achievements.

I’ve identified 5 Myths with accompanying Monsters that must be debunked by savvy entrepreneurs to maximize their impact on customers, clients, employees, and community. Sparing no expense with a fancy headline, allow me to present and offer solutions to Dan Weedin’s 5 Myths & Monsters:

Myth #1: You must work harder and longer hours than anyone else. The subsequent Monster is fatigue and health issues caused by forcing your nose to the grindstone. Just because you’re the boss doesn’t mean you have to work longer hours and perform labor that is more effectively hired or delegated out. You’re the boss for a reason. That position has much more to do with your “smarts.”

You have the task of being strategic and visionary. You should transfer your skills to others through mentoring, training, and coaching. You should allow yourself the time to think about growing your company, providing jobs and value, and seeking new opportunities. Many entrepreneurs founded a business to leave a boss, only to get a much worse one. Don’t be that boss. Be a leader that models efficiency and productivity.

Myth #2: You have no control. The Monster is discouragement, and this murders innovation and talent. A popular misconception is that most entrepreneurs are control freaks. In my experience, many believe they have little to no control over the economy, their employees, their customers, and local politics, to name a few. This mindset will often lead to bitterness and anger, and can be transferred to the culture of the company.

You have more control than you think. You can control the products and services you offer. You control your pricing. You control whom you employ and for how long. You control with whom and where you do business. You control short and long term strategies. You control how long you want to work. Finally, you control your own attitude. Those that feel powerless will look into the future with dread and anxiety. Those who seize control are opportunistic in any economy or situation. Be the latter.

Myth #3: The future is scary. The Monster is paralysis by fear. I’ve talked to people that fear technology, competition, and the zombies charging the hill. There is a reticence to change or try new things.

Smart and sophisticated business leaders are innovative. They brainstorm; they ask “what if:” and they boldly take risks. I have a standing calendar event where every Friday I invest time in thinking up new intellectual property – both in products and services. It doesn’t matter whether I discover something every week or not. What matters is that I am thinking (there’s that word again).

Don’t stand still. Find a path to the cutting edge in your industry. Create programs, invent processes and products, and step out of the box with vigor. Try to put yourself “in harm’s way” every day. The result will be an invigorated resilience where innovation rules. That will make the future exciting, not scary.

Myth #4: You’re not deserving. The Monster is loss of confidence. There is a malady called the CEO Effect that postulates that many chief executives are worried that one day they will be found out and thrown bodily from the building.

We all have great value that is demonstrated and shared through our skills and talents. This myth is based on low self-esteem, which seems contradictory to the position of a business leader. Let’s remember that we are all human and battle past experiences and current challenges, among other things. It happens more often than you think where loss of confidence is a thief of self-worth.

You are deserving. Accept failures as lessons. Define yourself by who you are, not what you do. Ask for help when you need it, but always remember that you are where you are for a reason. That reason is you, so be proud of it.

Myth #5: You’re alone. The Monster is a combination of loneliness and self-imposed exclusion. This is the old Lone Wolf adage. Many entrepreneurs arrive at that point through years of thinking they are the “only one” that can do, fix, sell, perform, or clean up anything. They become isolated through their own doing.

If you’ve fallen victim to this myth, remember that dogs are pack animals. “Lone wolves” don’t really exist except in our minds. There are many avenues to be part of a pack – executive groups, service/civic organizations, trade associations, coaches/mentors, and charitable organizations are a good place to start looking.

If you operate from a singular point of view mindset, you end up breathing your own exhaust. We know what happens next. If you choose to find yourself a pack of kindred “dogs,” you’ll open yourself up to new ideas, enhanced perspective, and even a place to just vent!

All of that is good for the entrepreneurial (and personal) spirit!

Are you an entrepreneur? Learn how to boost your revenue and build your business wealth

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

 

The Ultimate Goal: Thriving Through Life

March 8, 2016 Leave a comment

AlansBirthday

Retirement is an ancient and irrelevant artifact. To deliberately stop contributing, creating, and providing value to others is unthinkable (and a slippery slope to irrelevancy and decline).

In the grand scheme of things, life is blazingly short. We condemn suicide, yet we seem to think nothing about throwing life away in part and piecemeal, a little at a time, through inaction and self-doubt. Liberate yourself each morning, like my dogs, charge into the yard and find out what’s new and potentially rewarding for you!

~ Alan Weiss

Last Saturday, I had the tremendous honor of sharing in the birthday celebration for my business mentor, Alan Weiss.I love his recent quote on “retirement” and want to share with you. I tell people all the time that I have no plans to retire. Did George Burns or Bob Hope ever “retire” and stop working?

Find your passion, do what you love, and then have great patience and perspective. The bad things that happen are rarely calamitous. They are most often just minor speed bumps. Speed on.

[ Accelerate your speed to building your business and unleashing your potential ]

Final thought. I work with clients all the time that have built (or are building) a business to then fund their “retirement.” I absolutely endorse that and am helping them accomplish it. The difference is, once they’ve funded the rest of their lives, there is no reason to “retire;” just to discover that next adventure to contribute, create and provide value.

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved