If Winning Means Losing, How Do We Win?

What is the cost of winning?

 

I tried something new today in the car.  Instead of tweeting/texting/emailing, I thought about the things I’ve lost in pursuit of my life goal.   Maybe you can relate?

It’s actually quite startling:

  • I was once the ultimate romantic, using my creativity to surprise my wife with special tokens of my love.  Now I’m an average husband and I sell my creativity to others.
  • When I was a kid, I rode my bike for miles to buy my mom a birthday present. In September, I forgot her birthday.
  • I have seven younger siblings.   I hardly know them anymore.
  • Old friends hear from me once a year, when Facebook tells me it’s their birthday.
  • Years ago I was in peak physical shape. Now I’m overweight and out of breath after playing with my kids.

Even though I have experienced the joy of victory, I lost much to get there.

What have you lost?

 

Why?

Despite all the talk about pushing ourselves, delegating, working harder, smarter, or longer, there remains a limit to what one can do each day.

Successful leaders must make choices. Real choices will always lead to loss. Such is the nature of scarcity.

Focus on business? Lose relationships.
Win a war? Lose lives.
Get fame? Lose privacy.

Sometimes you must lose to win.  It’s your choice.

Losers won’t choose. Winners are losers. Choosing means losing. Isn’t life complicated?

How do we win?

 

We win when we’re aware of what we’re losing, but our goals still matter more.  We win when we sleep soundly at night.

Chase worthy goals tonight,

Aaron@Biebert

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We’re all Minorities Now

I see it in business, politics, race relations, religion, and life.

People are obsessed with the majority.

Sadly, the majority tends to make decisions without much consideration for the other side, resulting in poor long-term results, repression, or even genocide.  Consequently, the majority gets all the blame and the minority spends too much time making excuses, pushing back, or waiting until they become the majority.

Time for a change in thinking.

 

The world is getting smaller and new strategies are needed.

Here’s what I’m seeing:

I’m a married, white, Christian that votes for a major American political party.  Years ago, that would have put me in the majority, yet in every single one of those categories, I am now the minority in most major US cities.  Who would have thought?

On a global level, the change to minority status is even bigger.

My language, dietary preferences, fashion sense, and nationality put me squarely in the minority when dealing with international business.

We’re all minorities now.

 

The world has come to our backyard and now our race, political affiliation, language, religion, and fashion actually put us in the minority.  Are you ready?

When we swim down the stream from our little pond to the big ocean, we find out the truth.  Our traditional majorities are not only meaningless, but they might cause us to lean on the wrong strength for a globalized world.

Most people on Earth don’t speak a certain way, have a certain look, believe a certain thing, or act a certain way.  Not even close.  Anyone living in a majority mindset is living in a fantasy land as the world gets more connected.  We won’t be able to ignore it.

The big world out there is full of our future clients, doctors, suppliers, friends, and business partners.

So now what?

Leaders need to change their understanding of strength and seek out opportunities to collaborate with others.  We need more partners.  We need to build more coalitions and seek more consensus when making decisions.  Common ground will be more valuable than higher ground.

The pride in any “majority” must be replaced with a newfound sense of wonder, awareness, and appreciation for others who are different.

It’s time to focus on common ground and common problems.

Have a good night,

Aaron@Biebert

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Are You Too Stubborn to Let Go?

In the book “Where the Red Fern Grows“, a boy is able to trap racoons by putting a shiny object inside an opening that is too small to pull a paw out if it’s holding anything.

This is similar to having a cookie inside a jar with a small opening.  You can’t fit your hand through unless you leave the cookie in the jar.  In this case, the easy solution is for the raccoon to drop the object and move on.

However, despite the obvious fix, a racoon was always trapped in the hole the next day.  They give up their life holding on to something worthless.

The raccoon was too stubborn to let go.

 

Leaders, are you ever that raccoon?

Is that shiny object really important?  Are you willing to give up everything for it?

Times are changing.  Sometimes it’s okay to let go, to go forward.

Let go tonight,

Aaron@Biebert

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Attribution Error and Why We Need Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving needs it’s own day because it’s a good thing that doesn’t come naturally.

It’s counter-intuitive, but the richer a country or person becomes, the less thankful they become as well.  Modern psychology backs me up on this.  A successful person often attributes their success to what they’ve done.

Human beings tend to take credit for good things and blame external factors for bad things.  That is part of the fundamental attribution error concept.

Even Abraham Lincoln recognized this in the beginning of his original Thanksgiving Proclamation:

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come…

– Thanksgiving Proclamation by Abraham Lincoln

We are forgetful.

Great leaders establish rituals that help remind people of what they ought to do and ingrain it into our culture.  The Thanksgiving holiday is no exception.

Take the reminder.  Shake off the cobwebs.  Remember where the good things in your life came from.

Then, say “Thank You“.

Have a meaningful Thanksgiving,

Aaron@Biebert

PS.  I am thankful for the 8pm Warrior community.  I have learned so much from you, your comments, and your friendship. Thank you!

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10 Different Ways to Say Thank You on Thanksgiving

Regardless of how hard the last year has been, there are still so many things to be thankful for.

Everyone thanks differently, but leaders must thank bigger and never leave doubt of their appreciation.  Take time to do it right.  It’s so important.

Here are 10 different ways to say thank you this Thanksgiving:

1. Walk up and say it

It can be as simple as walking up to a team member and telling them how thankful you are for them.  You can never say it enough.  If you are really thankful, don’t hesitate to say what chokes you up.  Be brave.  Be thankful. Be vocal.

2. Write a handwritten note

I hate writing handwritten notes, so if you ever get one from me you know I am thankful.  I doubt that I’m unique in that way.  In a computerized world, handwritten notes will stand out.

3. Record a video

If you’d like to thank one person (YouTube example) or a whole group (Facebook example), video is a personal way to say thank you when you can’t be with them in person.

4. Give your time

Giving someone your time is giving them nearly the ultimate gift.

Time is money.  Time is precious.  Say thank you by giving them your time and attention.  Share a bottle of wine, write them a Linkedin recommendation, help them move furniture, introduce them to someone who can help them, or just listen.

Whatever you do, make sure it isn’t distracted time.  Put the cell phones, text messages, or emails on hold.  Your attention will show how thankful you are.

5. Share their creation with the world

In a digital world, sharing is caring.  Thank someone who writes, records, or builds something by tweeting, sharing, or blogging about their creations.

6. Give a personal token of your appreciation

I hate gifts that are boring, thoughtless, or sterile.  Giving someone a considerate gift says you actually thought about them.  It says you are really thankful.

7. Blog about your thankfulness

Although it was general in nature, last Thanksgiving I wrote a “Thank You Notes” blog post and emailed it to the people I was thinking about when writing it.  It gave me a chance to demonstrate how strongly I felt, without making it into a public circus.  Not everyone is a fan of the limelight.

8. Make them something

If you have any particular skill at crafting nice things, don’t hesitate to bake, build, write, or paint them something as a thank you.  Just make sure it’s actually nice.

9. Share a meal

Take them out to lunch or dinner.  Breaking bread is a great bonding experience and a wonderful way to say thank you.  Some of my best memories are great meals or a bottle of good wine.

10. Pay it forward

The movie “Pay it Forward” was interesting and helped showcase what might be possible if people paid good deeds forward multiple times.  If you are thankful to someone you can’t contact, pay it forward.

 

In a changing world, there is little certainty for what the future holds.  What should leaders invest in?  Invest in relationships.

Say thank you.

Have a thankful night,

Aaron@Biebert

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Bred in Captivity, Can Generation Y Survive in the Wild?

Zookeepers breed endangered species in captivity to save them from extinction.  However, something bad usually happens.

When they release them into the wild, the animals that were bred in captivity often do not avoid predators and are not able to find ample food or shelter for themselves. They die as a result.

We are breeding humans in captivity.

 

In an effort to protect children from the dangers of failure or setback, some have made them unfit for the wild world they’ll be living in. For years, I’ve watched parents and teachers lie to their children.

In the name of self esteem, they comfortably praise children for everything they do, even when they fail to do anything special, smart, or strong.

You tried?  Here’s a trophy or ribbon!

Unfortunately, this isn’t real life. Now that Generation Y is out in “The Wild”, they are surprised when the company they applied to doesn’t think they’re special, the words they write aren’t smart, or their strongest performance isn’t enough.  They learn that anything but first place may not be good enough.

Confused, these young people move in with their parents, go back for more school, or join the Occupy Wall Street protests.

They were bred in captivity.

 

If we want our children or team members to know how to hunt or protect themselves, then we must teach them how at an early age.  No longer should people be praised because they participated.  It is lazy and easy to praise everyone for everything.  Far more difficult and important, is to find the specific gifts that each person has, encourage them to use the gifts, and then support them as they fail, learn, and grow.

We must teach them to fish, not give them fish.  We must show them the real world, not hide them from it.

We must let them fail.

The school of hard knocks teaches real life lessons.  Losers will become learners. Failing may be the best thing that can happen to a young person.

Let them grow up in the wild.

Have a wild night,

Aaron@Biebert

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The Tunnel is Dark, but the Future is Bright

Are optimists crazy people in times like these?

I am an optimist.  Even as I walk through tough, dark times, I can see a bright future ahead.

It keeps me going.

Though many 8pm Warriors are walking through dark hours in their business or career, I still believe the future is bright for those who invest in their future…especially now.

On Wall Street, we said “Buy when there’s blood in the streets”.

The man who is credited with that saying, an 18th century British nobleman named Baron Rothschild, made a fortune buying stocks during the financial crisis after the Battle of Waterloo.  Many of those stocks were of his own companies.

His original quote is believed to be “Buy when there’s blood in the streets, even if the blood is your own.

The blood in the streets is our own.

 

I see it every day.  Small business leaders struggling, talented folks doubting, so many wondering, “when will things get better?”

I get sad when I see those who stop before they get there, the leaders who quit on themselves, or the suicides of desperate warriors.

If you believe that you’re working towards something special, don’t give up hope. Don’t quit now.  Invest in yourself.

The future you fight for is forward.

 

Keep moving.

Have a bright night,

Aaron@Biebert

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Your Team is Looking for a Good Fight

Organizations will either come together in a fight for a common goal, or turn inward and fight each other.

Look at any club, family, church, department, nation, or business you are a part of. When does the most infighting take place? Is it during a fight for its life? When pushing towards a common mission?

Nope.

Big, slow moving companies like Microsoft know what I’m talking about. So does the PTA at an already successful school. They’ve lost purpose. They lose focus.

When there is nothing big to fight, they find stupid little things to focus on and whine about. In the end up, they fight each other.

Whether they admit it or not, most people are warriors.

They’re looking for a good fight. They need a mission.

Leaders with a vision can keep people focused on a common goal. They rally their troops and get them fighting together, not against each other.

We need to embrace our team of warriors and give them something to fight for.

All warriors need a mission.



Lead a mission tonight,

Aaron@Biebert

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