#685 Why me?

Posted by frank November - 23 - 2015 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

I remember a Jim Rohn story about a guy who always seemed to get bad breaks.  He approached Jim after losing his job and a lot of money on a bad investment and said, “Mr. Rohn, why do these keep happening to me?”  Jim paused a moment and said, I don’t know.  Best I can figure out is that things like THIS always seem to happen to people like YOU.”
I have always loved that line.  Jim said so much without saying anything.  I heard him say, “Were you careful?  Did you think it through? Did you seek advice? Do you manage your attitude?  Did you manage your self-talk? Did you read? Did you listen to seminars or Ted talks? Did you work on your personal development? Did you pay attention?  Did you give it a full effort?…”
I know successful people who do many of these things and still stumble from time to time so doing none of those things almost guarantees a fall; doesn’t it?
It is late November.  If you are going to have a good motto for 2016 now is a the time to begin thinking about it.  If I can help with this, let me know.
2015 Motto:  Life is choice.  Your very next moment can be different if you choose it to be.

#684 Rules of the Road

Posted by frank November - 16 - 2015 - Monday ADD COMMENTS


  • If it’s so important that you have to tag it as important and write it in CAPS, skip the email and pick up the phone or meet in person.
  • Texting a quick thank you is nice but when someone does you a great favor a handwritten note is better.
  • Make time to meet with people even if it’s only for a few minutes. A doctor in a large clinic once told me that she learned more about the state of her patient’s health from the time she walked the floor than she did from the battery of tests that were administered routinely.
  • I keep this acronym on the top of my to do list as a daily reminder; MBWA, Management By Walking A I learned that from Tom Peters in one of his great books and had it reinforced by watching every great leader and manager I have ever known take specific time to walk around and have quick chats with their teams.

Human beings are programed to take physical cues, verbal intonations and words combined to deliver and receive communications.  Email and text only deliver one out of three.

In every situation, think about the communication methods available to and choose the appropriate one.


2015 Motto: Life is choice.  Your very next moment can be different if you choose it to be.


#683 You don’t know what you don’t know

Posted by frank November - 9 - 2015 - Monday 2 COMMENTS

“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you in trouble.  It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” Mark Twain

I first learned the expression “You don’t know what you don’t know” from Steven Covey in The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People.  I raised my kids on that expression trying to teach them to learn and understand rather than instantly categorize or judge.

This is a difficult concept that, as Twain says, can get you in to trouble.  In 7 Habits, Covey told a story to illustrate this.

Imagine a couple of little kids acting up on a crowded, rush hour subway train.  They’re running and hitting each other, shouting raucously and disturbing everyone around them as their Dad, seemingly unaware, just sits there and makes no effort to discipline them.  The passengers all ‘KNOW” the guy is an over indulgent, weak, parent to just let his kids run wild and bother everyone.  Finally one man approaches him and shouts; “What’s wrong with you?!  Can’t you get your kids under control?  They’re running wild and bothering everyone on the train!”  The man looks up and says.  “I’m sorry.  I will try to gather them in but we’re just coming from their Mom’s funeral and I’m afraid they don’t know how to process that.”

2015 Motto; Life is choice.  Your very next moment can be different if you choose it to be.


#682 How about you cut me a little Slack?

Posted by frank November - 2 - 2015 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

There is the “Nip it in the Bud” school of management that believes that you have to point out every transgression, every time, or each may grow in to a gnarly mistake vine that cannot be cultivated or controlled.

The problem with this is that more often than not, this school ignores the larger percentage of the work that’s good. Great leaders, whether mangers, parents, coaches, teachers, or scout masters, understand that sometimes you have to cut someone a little slack.  They don’t tolerate slipshod work, but they know when NOT to point out a minor error and they know who to compliment good work.

Compliments build confidence and confidence builds competence which, in the long run, negates the need to have to “Nip it in the Bud.”


2015 Motto: “Life is choices.  Your very next moment can be different if you choose it to be.”

#681 Self-indulgence vs. Self-control

Posted by frank October - 26 - 2015 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

Self-indulgent vs. Self-controlled

My motto for 2015, as you know is “Life is choice. Your vey next moment can be different if you choose it to be.”  In fact, your very life can be different if you choose it to be.  What I want to emphasize today is that we are faced with lots of little choices  every day and you; your life, is the sum total of all of those choices.  AND what those choices come down, to more often than not, is Self-indulgence vs. Self-control.

The store clerk is rude. Choice:  Slap him (figuratively) or smile and move on.

You’re stuck in traffic. Choice:  Bang the steering wheel and yell and scream and ask the heavens “Why does this “ALWAYS HAPPEN TO ME!” Or put on some good tunes or call your mom (hands free of course) and move on.

I don’t want to be all “Lemonade out of lemons” on you, I just want you to realize that it is a choice. Self-indulgence vs. Self Control.  Think and choose.

“Life is choice. Your very next moment can be different if you choose it to be.”

#680 Attitude is Everything

Posted by frank October - 19 - 2015 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

I went in to a store in midtown last week. The young woman behind the counter wore a cloak of apathy with a shawl of depression draped over her shoulders as she failed to greet me when I approached.

I brought my item to the register, made the most eye contact she would allow, smiled, and cheerfully said, “How’re you doing today?” She looked down and said, “Hanging in”.  “Just hanging in?” I said, “How about going with fantastic!”  She said, “I wish I could.”  As I paid and left I said, “OK have a great rest of the day.”  She said, “I’ll try.”  I think she was lying.

There is so much about this situation I don’t know. Maybe her boss is an ass.  Maybe her co-workers treat her poorly.  Maybe customers are impatient with her and the sheer volume of them overwhelms her.  Maybe her feet hurt or her back aches from standing all day.  There’s a lot I don’t know.  But what I do know is that bosses become bigger asses and coworkers more annoying when your eyes are downcast and your posture is slack.  I know foot and back pain increase, and customers become more caustic when your countenance is lugubrious and your smile is wane.  I know that what goes on inside colors your perception of what’s going on outside and I know that you are in charge of your attitude.

I love the story Maya Angelou tells about her Grandmother. After a complaining person, who bent her grandmother’s ear for a while, finally moved on Grandma turned to little Maya and said, “There are people who went to sleep all over the world last night and they will never wake up again. And those dead folks would give anything; ANYTHING for just five minutes of this weather or ten minutes of that plowing that person was grumbling about. So watch yourself about complaining.  What you’re supposed to do when you don’t like a thing is change it and if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.”


2015 Motto; Life is choice. Your very next moment can be different if you choose it to be.

#679 You need to be a PHD

Posted by frank October - 12 - 2015 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

How did you do in school? Do you have a BA? A BS? Maybe even an MBA? Good for you but don’t apply for a sales job with me. I only hire PHD’s; poor, hungry and driven. I learned that little acronym while reading Ace Greenberg’s great book, Memos from the Chairman which leads me nicely into ,my thought for this week; education. As I said, I want PHD’s and, by the way, that philosophy carries over in any position I hire for from the truck driver, to the receptionist on through the VP of finance. I want to hire heart and train skills. I am not eschewing the value of a good education, on the contrary, I think a college degree is essential but I also think that most of your education takes place after college. I just mentioned Memos from the Chairman, the great Ace Greenberg book about how he ran one of the largest brokerage firms in the country with discipline, compassion and humor. It is one of the hundreds of books I’ve read for business over the years. I subscribe to newsletters and blogs online, get Success Magazine in the mail every month, and order audio programs from Nightingale Conant like I was earning frequent flier miles with each purchase. I’ve gone to seminars and networking events and attended a bunch of webinars and, of course, I listen to Success Hotline with Dr. Rob Gilbert daily (973-743-4690) and I have for over 20 years. Basically, I make sure that I am constantly finding ways to further my education. One good idea from any of these sources makes all of these worthwhile. But hey, I’m preaching to the choir here aren’t I? I mean, after all, you are reading this post, and, presumably, hoping to find a good idea! So here is my final word on education. You can read it all, go to it all, listen to it all, and subscribe to it all, but unless you implement some of it all, you are just an over educated derelict. The saying goes, “The man who can read but doesn’t is no better off than the man who can’t read. Our professional world is changing constantly as is the world around us. Without ongoing education we risk becoming irrelevant. The last thing I want to be is the guy with a quill and an inkwell in a room full of ballpoint pens.

678 Be who you are

Posted by frank October - 5 - 2015 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

There is a paradoxical aspect to human nature that I find fascinating. Consumed by a desire to be liked, people can act very unlikeable. It’s mostly rooted in self-confidence but maturity and self-awareness play bit parts as well.

A new employee begins work wanting to make a good impression. She dresses a little over-the-top hoping to impress. Instead they snicker behind her back and form a false impression of who they think she is based on her costume.

Your daughter brings home a boyfriend who, in an effort to impress you, monopolizes the conversation with stories of past feats and current accomplishments that are dubious at best. You can’t imagine what she sees in him.

A new neighbor comes to the block party hoping to fit in and make new friends. To take the edge off and lose some inhibition she gulps her drink down quickly. She then proceeds to talk a little too closely and a little too loudly. People can’t move away from her quickly enough.

Acceptance is something we all crave but sometimes a crisis of confidence makes us believe that this person or that crowd won’t accept us as we are so we make “adjustments.” Some adjustments, like not using a sailor’s language at a church social, are smart and warranted but if you present a false front or stray too far from who you are in any setting it’s likely to backfire and give you the opposite of the outcome you made the adjustment for.

2015 Motto Life is choice. Your very next moment can be different if you choose it to be.

#677 Attitude and Effort

Posted by frank September - 28 - 2015 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

I just finished making my football pool picks for this week.  Picking football is fun, but it’s just entertainment.  It is just as big of a money waster as playing the roulette wheel, Lotto, or the ponies.

All of the prognosticating and predicting amounts to nothing because the best team doesn’t always win.  The team that plays best does.  I’m in the football pool because it helps me to stay interested and current and I love talking with my Dad every week to go over the picks. I understand completely that picking the Packers -6.5 over the Chiefs this week is nothing but a gamble because, again, regardless of the stats, the team who plays best that day will win.

So how does this relate to those of us who aren’t bookies or gamblers?  The principle is the same.  We only have control over two things in life; attitude and effort.  A winning attitude and an all-out effort will often bring a win in sports and in life.

We cannot guaranty outcomes but we can strongly influence them with the right attitude and a 100% effort.  Remember, hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.

2015 Motto:  Life is Choice.  Your very next moment can be different if you choose it to be.”

#676 Andy Lost my Business

Posted by frank September - 21 - 2015 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

Andy lost my business.  I went to an Infinity dealer a few years back to jump on an aggressive lease program they had running.  The sales guy was affable enough and as it turned out we’d had some friends in common so the small talk was fun and the transaction went smoothly.  When my brother in law was looking for a car, a couple of months later, he asked me where I’d gotten mine and if I would recommend the same place/guy.  I did, and he leased his car from Andy too.

I never heard from Andy.  The dealership sent me a $100 service credit for having recommended someone but Andy never called.  I was disappointed but he’d obviously put me in for the credit so I didn’t think any more about it.

Over the next couple of years I brought the car in there for service but never saw or heard from Andy.  How hard would it have been to look at the service books and notice that his customer was coming in and stroll over to service to say hello?  How easy would it have been to pick up the phone and ask how the service was?

Beside those opportunities to connect, there is regular correspondence that should be maintained with a client.  A note about a special, a yearly call to see if the car is still all you’d hoped it would be and, at the very least, a call six months before the end of the term to see about an upgrade is standard fare in sales.


Andy did none of these.  I liked the Infinity well enough and if he’d have called there is a strong chance I’d still be driving one now.  But I’m not.  Another car caught my eye and without any sense of obligation to, or interest from, Andy, I signed a new lease with someone else.

If you’re in business, you’re in sales.  You customers want to know you care and want to hear from you.  If you don’t make an effort to keep them you are making an effort to lose them.  By the way, this isn’t just about customers.  The same rule applies to business associates, family members and friends as well.

2015 Motto:  Life is choice.  You’re very next moment can be different if you choose it to be.”