The Relationship Dilemma (and differentiating yourself from the norm in business and life)

The Relationship Dilemma (and differentiating yourself from the norm in business and life)

“Be interested, not interesting.”

John Costigan


Are your relationships suffering?



Genuine relationships are in danger of extinction.

Seek first to understand, and then be understood.  You have two ears and one mouth for a reason. All of these are  motto’s that mean the same thing.  The simple fact is…IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU. The more you can change your focus to others, the more you will get ahead in this world.  It’s called building relationship capital.

This article is a call to arms. Relationships everywhere are suffering.

I go to my local Starbucks to work quite often.  About 3pm, the junior high kids come stampeding in.  After taking over and ordering their Frappuccino’s, they sit with their friends and start conversing.   Coupled with the verbal back and forth is a constant watch on their smart phone.  Whether its texting, updating Facebook statuses or checking their twitter feed, their attention alternates between their “real” conversations and the one’s in the cloud.

Let me also say this…a mea culpa of sorts.  I also fall prey to this at times.  Fortunately, I’ve taught myself to become aware of it.  In addition, I’m in corporate technology sales, so I’ve seen firsthand the power of building relationships the right way.

I’m concerned about this.  I have two kids, ages two and four.  I believe it’s only going to become harder to build truly authentic relationships.  It’s so hard to focus on the moment with all of these distractions.  Listen, I’m a big believer in the power and value of social media, but it’s a potential black hole if you don’t manage it the right way.

What can we do about it?

We all have a job to do.  Put your phone down when you’re talking to someone.  Encourage your kids to do the same.  As I said, I fall victim to this as well.  I’m sure my wife will tell you that she wished I would throw my iPhone away at times.  I’m one that has a hard time shutting down.  It’s the perfectionist mentality, the constant acceleration that our society portrays as necessary.  While I’ve become a lot better at stepping back and disconnecting, I have a long way to go.

I believe the ability to cultivate relationships will become a big differentiator in years to come.

If you can focus on making yourself stand out.  Simply focusing on being interested and not always thinking about getting your next word in will separate yourself from the crowd.

The next frontier of 1440

My new project is launching in a couple weeks.  One of the primary components is going to be relationships.  Mostly from a business perspective, but I’ll also delve into the personal side.  In addition to writing, I will be launching an online interview show.  I’m excited to do this for two reasons.  One, it will give you guys some great insight into what others are doing out there to kick ass in their chosen field.  And, two, I get to interact one on one and actually see someone face to face.  This is huge.  I talk to a lot of people on the phone all day.  In my sales job, especially, but also with the relationships I’ve built in the blogging/online world.  I can’t tell you how great it is to connect with these people when it’s face to face (via Skype).  It’s so much more real than a phone conversation.  Stay tuned for the launch in February.

And, remember, always focus on giving first. Give your time.  Give your attention.  Just give.  You will receive exponentially in return.



Do You Want to Have a Remarkable 2012?  Seven Keys to Goal Setting (and Live Your Legend’s Must Have Guide)

Do You Want to Have a Remarkable 2012? Seven Keys to Goal Setting (and Live Your Legend’s Must Have Guide)

Most people overestimate what they can do in one day but underestimate what they can do in a year

Scott Dinsmore




Is 2012 set up to be your year? Insert Year X here.  How many times have you said “this is going to be the year”? I know I’ve done that and had minimal success until I started setting goals and following a plan.

You MUST have a plan to accomplish great things in life.

We need to reflect on 2011 and all that we accomplished (and didn’t).  And then, look to 2012 and what CAN be.  It’s easy to look back and see all the things you DIDN’T accomplish, that’s just the way a lot of us think – the perfectionist mentality.  It’s so much more important to think about what you did accomplish – sometimes you have to dig deep.

As you reflect on 2011, it would be great if you had some sort of concrete list you created in early 2011 to compare your results to.  Or, something you created at some point.  If you’re really diligent, you may have a weekly or even monthly goal sheet.  Let’s cut to the chase – the more you review your goals, the more you’re staying accountable and executing on them.  I highly recommend at least a monthly review.

If you don’t have a concrete list for 2011, it’s a fresh year, and a great time to start.

I have a solution for you

Scott Dinsmore, from Live Your Legend, has published his 2012  goal setting guide. It’s a must do.  I say “do” because it will take some work.  Yes, doesn’t anything worth doing take work?  That being said, I promise you’ll build momentum and a systematic approach to actually executing on what you’ve set out to do in 2012. Although I’ve always done some sort of goal setting, I was fortunate enough to get my hands on Scott’s 2011 guide.  It helped tremendously.

Get the guide via the link right here:

Live Your Legend Goal Setting Guide 2012

I set my goals for 2011 and it became a great source of inspiration for me.  I can’t tell you how much this became my compass and really helped me stay on course throughout the year.  Sure, there were some areas that I fell short.  I probably had…no, I know I had TOO MANY goals on my list.  That being said, I know that I wouldn’t have met most of these ambitions without a guide and a plan.

I recently went through this exercise with his 2012 updated guide and it’s really helped me focus in on what I want to accomplish this year.  Here are some keys that have helped me and I believe will help you as well.


1 – Make them as concrete as possible – This is really important.  I recommend writing them as if you’ve achieved them already.  For example, I’d love to get my body fat under 10%.  So, a good way to write it is something like this – “I am at or under 9.9% by April 30th, 2012.”  Then, break this down even more.  A good weekly goal for me is to workout at least 4 days.  Plan your work, then work your plan.  You will see in the LYL guide how to go about this.

2 – Understand your Why – Crucial, crucial step.  A must do here….you have to think about this.  This is where your motivation lies.  Ok, so for me – BF under 10%.  Sure, it’s to look good, but more important, it’s to feel good.  On top of that – it will make me a better father, husband, performer at work, writer, etc.  This makes these types of goals stick.  Side note – I never used to think like this.  Thanks to reading and learning about this type of stuff, I now get it.  It’s one of those things you know, but until you really drill down, you don’t get.

4 – Keep it Simple – The old adage, “less is more”, rings true here.  Setting 50 goals for the year is pretty ambitious and you’re probably setting yourself up for failure.  Scott’s guide does a great job of narrowing down your areas of focus (in the wheel house for GTD fans out there) and then drilling down on each – setting 1-3 goals for each area (i.e. Health/Vitality, Financial, Work/Career)

5– Setup a consistent review (on your calendar) – I know for me it helps immensely if I don’t have to think about it.  I’m a big believer in putting reminders/milestones on the calendar.  So, each Friday, I have a goals review time set aside.  Stay as disciplined as possible with this.  I set aside an hour, but you be the judge on how much time you need.

6 – Be willing to change course – You’re not going to accomplish everything you set out to accomplish.  It’s just the way it is.  I guarantee you’ll be a hell of a lot closer to execution though  because you formalize this stuff.  Be nimble.  If something needs to change, don’t be afraid to.  If something needs taken off, take it off.  Add when necessary as well.  Remember, less is more. If you’re adding too many, you’re asking for trouble.

7 – Find a partner – I’m a big believer in partnering.  Find someone you can work with on this.  Send someone this guide and do it together.  Maybe it’s a friend, partner, co-worker….doesn’t matter.  Go through this process, and send them your goals sheet/document.  Then, make sure you meet consistently.

As most of you know, I initially started 1440 in 2009 based on my experience with Getting Things Done.  As I’ve utilized the GTD methodology over the years, I’ve realized my shortcomings with the higher levels.  This includes the goal setting, vision and purpose areas.  This may be the ultimate trap with GTD.  You risk becoming caught in the daily grind of managing actions that you forget to look at the bigger picture.  It takes discipline to step back and make sure you’re focused.

So….as you’re experiencing the excitement of a new year, take advantage of this energy.  Look back on what went well (and not so well) in 2011.  Use that leverage to look ahead at 2012.

It’s a new year with new possibilities.  In the words of Steve Jobs, “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish.” Don’t hold anything back when thinking about what you can become.

Best of luck and I’m really looking forward to a great 2012 interacting with all of you.

Again, here’s the link to the guide.  Feel free to pass it on.  Scott has UN-copyrighted it!

Live Your Legend Goal Setting Guide 2012

Don’t forget to Follow me on Twitter


Engage in Physical Activity and Gain “The Edge”

It’s funny how you forget what it’s like to have an invigorating workout. I recently joined a gym that specializes in CrossFit, which is a functional based training method. It focuses on full body movements and a more competitive routine. Lots of challenges for times and reps. I’ve been going to a normal gym ever since I graduated from college, where I played soccer. After growing up playing a sport at a fairly high level and training or playing six days a week, you get used to the daily challenge and routine. It’s been 12 years since my playing days and this has been a struggle when it comes to finding a training method that works, is challenging and, best of all, rewarding.

It’s totally random how I found this gym. I was at one of those bouncy places over the weekend for a friend of my 2-year old’s birthday party. My wife and I were talking to the mom of the birthday girl about a contest I’m in at work (12 weeks to see who can lose the most Body Fat % and Weight) and she introduced me to a dad of another child that was there. Turns out, this guy owns this gym about 2 miles from my house and he proceeded to tell me about the CrossFit method. I was hooked even before he finished.

They make you go through four sessions with a trainer to make sure you have the form down for various exercises (squats, pull ups, etc). I’m learning that the other purpose of this is to take you through their WOD’s (Workout of the Day) and see if you can hack it. No joke, these have been the hardest workouts of my life. One was 10 minutes (as many sets as you can get – 10 air squats, 8 situps, 6 kettle bells, 4 pushups, 2 burpees). I thought I was going to pass out after about 3 minutes. Not sure how I finished. Little did I know the next day I’d have to be pushing a tire over and over (yep, kind of like the strongest man contests you see on ESPN!). I can’t stress how hard this was (especially after doing other exercises). The concept is essentially pushing yourself to your limit and then teaching your body to push through, all the while giving you a full body workout.

So, what’s my point. We all know that physical activity is important, both for physical and mental reasons (I tend to think the psychological is a greater benefit). The challenge is that it’s very hard to stay disciplined and to push yourself to workout consistently. I believe working out is the most important ritual you can do each day that will permeate throughout all of your other dealings. From work, to energy, to family engagement, to providing an incentive to eat well. I like to call it “The Edge.” It doesn’t matter what kind of method you use, just break a sweat and do it consistently. I guarantee you will see the benefits in all facets of life.

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. What works for you? How has working out consistently helped you achieve your goals? Anyone out there tried CrossFit?

Be well,