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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6 Reasons Why “Conflicted” is Good for Your Life and Organization

If you want to do great things in life, being conflicted is good.

My last blog post and the one before it had a lot of generous people asking to help me because I seem conflicted.  It’s true that I’m conflicted sometimes, but here are six reasons why that’s a good thing.

1)  Conflicted means you don’t trust yourself

If you’re internally conflicted, it means you’ve realized you’re not always right.  That’s smart.  I’ve made many mistakes and the day I stop watching myself with a leery eye is the day I accept failure.  Anyone who trusts themselves completely is on their way to disaster.

Whether it’s personally or as a team, it’s important to regularly question your practices, ideas, and policies in a changing world.  The day you stop questioning is the day you fall behind.

2)  Conflicted people are moving.

By nature, a “conflicted” person is in a state of unrest and is more likely to be moving. Somewhere.  Once you stop, it’s hard to start again (inertia) and so successful people learn to keep moving.

3)  Peace is not always a good thing

Peace in an organization is not great for advancement.  In peace, there is groupthink, complacency, and a lack of creativity.  People ask, “Why change a good thing?”

Change is good.

Observe the accomplishments and discoveries that happen when governments or companies are conflicted internally or externally.  Look at the discoveries that NASA made while racing the USSR to space.  Look at the technologies developed while defending our country in World War II.  In conflict, people are forced to be at their best.  It pushes us further.

The same goes for individuals.

4)  Conflicted means you’re learning

Conflicted people or organizations are usually hunting for a resolution.  The act of searching for answers keeps us learning, sharp and educated along the way.

5)  Conflicted is good communication

The world is full of conflicts on the inside and outside.  If you seem conflicted to outsiders, you are doing a good job of communicating reality.  Various studies and my own research show we’re in an age of increased transparency and people prefer to work with people, leaders, and companies that are transparent, vulnerable, and humanized.  If you seem conflicted, you also seem more real, approachable, and trustworthy as long as you keep your emotions in check.

6)  Conflicted means you don’t settle for your first impulse

I think people should change their minds.  Even though your first choice might be right currently, it  may not be correct in 5 days or 5 years.  Settling isn’t a good thing.

 

I realize that this may seem ludicrous to some (peace is bad, conflict is good business, etc.), so I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts on the issue.  Good or bad, let’s have a discussion about this topic.

Have a great night,

Aaron@Biebert

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Entrepreneurs: It’s a War Out There!

We are warriors because we’re in a war.

Even though I’ve had people laugh at the idea and tell me it’s too much, I stand by my view of the 8pm Warrior world.

I know self employed warriors suffering from serious health conditions because they have no health insurance.  Some are losing their homes to foreclosure.   Others have lost their families, their friends, or the business they spent their whole life building.

Some have died.

All were chasing their dreams and holding on to their passion for a better world, a better life. It’s in their blood.  It’s what they do.

For those still limping along in this economy while wondering, praying, hoping, and dreaming…I get it.

It’s a war out there.

I salute you.

Have a great night.

Aaron@Biebert

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5 Reasons to “Go Big or Go Home” When Setting Goals

If you haven’t read my post about creating an ultimate goal in life, please do that first.  It may help explain where I’m going with this.

Before I share my own ultimate goal in life, let me explain my “Go Big or Go Home” goal setting logic.

Small, vague goals don’t work for me.  I’ve watched what happens when organizations or people set specific goals that are bold and it does something special to them. When JFK declared to the world that we would land a man on the moon, it captured the attention and imagination of billions of people.

With focus, pride, and hope, a nation poured its passion into a project that just a few years before would have been seemingly impossible.  In doing so, we not only inspired generations of young children, but also invented many things we use today.

By setting the bar so high, we became better for it.  It defined us as leaders, inventors, and pioneers.

When challenging NASA to land a person on Mars, President Obama called the moon landing “…an endeavor that pushed the boundaries of our knowledge, of our technological prowess, of our very capacity as human beings to solve problems.”

I only get one life, so for my one goal, I needed to choose something big…something that would inspire me, push my boundaries, and lift me up to be a better person.

Here goes nothing…

My ultimate goal in life is to give away a billion dollars.

I have this deep desire to use my life to make a big difference for other people and I think a billion dollars put towards some amazing causes ought to do it.

Some of my closest advisers think I’m losing it.  They gently remind me that a billion dollars is a LOT of money since I started from nothing and just took a beating in this economy.  It’s hard to disagree with them, but after wrestling with this one I just can’t shoot any lower or I’ll lose my inspiration.

Since I hear some snickers from the back of the room, let me explain.  Here are five reasons why I choose the “Go Big or Go Home” goal setting approach and this goal in particular:

1)  It explains who I am

My ultimate goal serves as a personal brand promise.  It says that I believe in something bigger than myself and that I like an epic challenge (also that I’m a little nuts).

It’s clear that I like to dream big dreams and chase them down.  When partnering with me, I’d like people to know that I’m chasing something bigger than myself.

I’m not driven out of selfish ambition.  I’m giving my life for others.

2)  It’s big enough to capture my imagination and dedicate my entire life to it

I need a big enough challenge to keep my attention and drive me forward.  This goal will most likely be the thing I chase until my last breath, giving me plenty of time to focus, strategize, and build towards it.  No changing gears, message, or personal brand.  This goal keeps it simple and focused.  This is it.  My whole life is on the line.

Will I fail?

Possibly, but…

3)  If I fail, I will still make a difference

I believe that life is about the journey, not just the destination.  If I’m going on a journey, I want to be traveling towards something amazing.  It makes the hard parts easier.

Also, I don’t like to fail, but if I only give away $700 Million there will still be lots to celebrate.   One cannot have a focused ultimate life goal like this and not have other achievements along the way.  When people are pushed to be their best, good things happen well before the final goal is reached.

4) It is motivating

I used to be the development director of an inner city school in Milwaukee and we were able to raise about $2 Million and build a school that changed the world for hundreds of kids.  Some of those kids are headed to college now.  That experience changed me.  It feels good to give, and it feels great to make a difference in the lives of others.  It gives profit a new meaning.

5) I’m able to include others

I cannot do it alone.  I will need others to join me, so I’m going to start a foundation and gifts from others will count towards my goal.  My wife, kids, family, friends, and others who care about this goal will be able to take part in changing tens of thousands of lives.  If I achieve my goal, it means others have too.  I’ve always believed in teamwork and I can’t wait to travel down this road with others.

It begins now.

Let me know if you have any suggestions. I’m going to need all the help I can get.

Have a great night,

Aaron@Biebert

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An Ultimate Goal in Life – What’s Yours?

Have a family?

Buy a home?

Retire someday?

Like you, I work too hard to be satisfied with common achievements.  I’ve always set big goals, but struggled to figure out my ultimate goal in life.  I just told myself to keep planning, working, pushing, and winning and I’ll end up somewhere great.

Unfortunately, the “just keep trending upward” strategy doesn’t work well when facing multiple losses.  There were times I couldn’t tell where I was headed.

I know I’m not the only one, so let’s look to the future, set one ultimate goal for our lives, and “accelerate through the corner” as the economy improves.

The pains many of us feel will go away and the time will come when we look back and smile fondly on the day we decided to restart, relearn, or relaunch ourselves into the world.

Maybe that day is today.

Last week I finally figured out my ultimate goal in life and I’m going to share it tomorrow with five reasons I believe in the “Go Big or Go Home” goal setting approach.

Sometimes people define their goals, other times goals define their people.

I’m ready to be defined.

Have a great night,

Aaron@Biebert

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One Size Fits…You!

Each one of us is unique. No two 8pm Warriors are the exact same size.

I’ve worn a one-size-fits-all hospital gown in the past and it wasn’t a great fit.  Probably not the first choice of apparel for many people…

Many other “free” things only come in one size too:

  • Grocery bags
  • Baseball cap giveaways
  • Drink trays at the theater or drive thru
  • And many others

However, I have yet to find a “one size fits all” life.

The problem with “one size fits all” is that it usually means “this size fits no one”.  In the end, no one really wants it.  It doesn’t fit.

The same goes for life.

So then why do so many people base their happiness on how well their life compares to others?  Why do some parents drag their children down the same path?  Why do some children strive to be just like others?  It doesn’t work.

No matter what anyone says, you must follow your own heart, do what you love, chase your dreams, and find the one life that fits you.

We only get one, so it better fit right.

Have a great night!

Aaron@Biebert

PS. The same goes for business….make something that fits. It’s what people crave.  In this era, there’s no excuse.

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The Rain is Coming!

Right now my wife and I are watching the DVD of  “Nature’s Most Amazing Events” (I highly recommend it) and we just finished the section about the annual Pacific Salmon run.  It makes for an interesting allegory for the current business environment.

Here it is:

Salmon are drawn by instinct to swim against the current, jump huge waterfalls, and avoid massive bears, just to achieve their mission.  Only four out of every thousand salmon make the round trip from their birth place to the ocean and back again.

It’s the challenge of a lifetime! (Sound like your life?)

However, as if that wasn’t hard enough, sometimes the water levels are too low for the fish to even get to the bears, waterfalls, or heavy currents.  They get stuck before the battle even begins.

Then the rain comes.

Just as many of the fish are starting to lose energy (and hope?), the rainy season begins and allows the fish to resume their life’s struggle against all odds.  They can finally begin the fight they were designed for.

Sound familiar?

Many of my fellow 8pm Warriors are on their way to following their dreams.  We all signed up for the challenges of developing new products and services, avoiding competitors, and challenging the status quo and swimming against the current.

What we didn’t sign up for was the lack of water.

This economy has dried up many opportunities, and left many 8pm Warriors wondering, hurting, and weak.  Today I urge you to hold on.

The Rain is Coming!

The challenges we seek will be here soon enough and the days of funding issues and weak demand will be replaced with the challenges of finding the right people, products, and strategies.

Keep your chin up.

Aaron@Biebert

The Need to Lead

In a world of so many choices and distractions, it’s not enough anymore to just want success in your life, career, or latest venture.

There must be a need.

When the going gets tough (success rarely comes without extreme pain, suffering, and challenge), people may quit on things they want.  However, they never quit on something they absolutely need.

It’s human instinct.

  • If you need food, you find it...even if you have to beg, borrow, or steal for it.
  • If you need sleep, you get it…even if you pass out in your car, at your desk, or on your way to bed.
  • If you need freedom, you break free…even if you lose your home, your wealth, or your life.  It’s called revolution.

Everyone has instincts that push them and they always find a way to get what they need, or they die trying.

It’s the same with success.

For those who need to do certain work, they will find a way to have success at it…even if it takes them years and countless nights of learning, pushing, and planning.

And so it is that talented 8pm Warriors will be most successful when they do work that inspires them to go harder, go further, go faster.

The work that they NEED to do.

When I look at myself, I can see that I need to lead teams and chase goals.  I’m not saying I’m always good at it, but it is clear to me what sort of work I need (love) to do and I plan on doing it the rest of my life.  I will be successful at it or will die trying.

Either way, at least I’m doing work that I love.

Tonight I passionately urge you to put aside any distractions for a minute and ask yourself:  “What do I need to do?”

Then get to it.

Have a great night,

Aaron@Biebert

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