The Gift

The Gift.

Do you like gifts? Do you feel the same as you did when you were a kid? Do you look at the wrapper with anticipation, knowing that, whatever might be underneath it, even the mystery produces anticipation?

Or has time dulled the excitement? Is a gift just another item that you probably don’t want or need? Are you already trying to figure out how long you have to display it before you can get rid of it, even before you have unwrapped it?

I know you are probably imagining the upcoming Christmas season (October is only days away, and some stores already have Christmas items up), but not all gifts come only during holidays.

The future is a gift. It is covered, there is no way to know what it holds, and it is waiting to be unwrapped. How do you look at the future? Is it like a kid, with excitement and anticipation? Or does a sense of dread surround it?

However you currently look at the future, it is wrapped up. There is a ribbon around it, and a bow on top. But how does your future look? Is it dull, like looking at it in twilight? Or is it bright and shiny, like looking at it on a summer’s day? How does it feel? Is it wrinkled like it was carelessly wrapped? Or is it smooth to the touch? Is the ribbon a bright color? What is written on the wrapping? Are there words of promise and wonder, giving you a sense of excitement at what it holds?

The future is a picture in your mind of what might happen. The past is set in stone, it cannot change. The future whatever you want to make of it. The present is the time to start making those changes so your future can be unwrapped in new, bright, amazing ways.

-Ty Belknap

#brightfuture #thegift #lifecoach

A Virtue That Can Change The World

There is one thing that parents, from generation to generation, are getting worse at teaching their kids. I am guilty of this, and my parents were guilty of this as well. I’m not sure when it started, but it is a trend that needs to stop before it ruins the world.

We are guilty of not teaching our children patience.

But patience is desperately needed. Meaningful relationships cannot be cultivated without patience. Long term job satisfaction cannot be had without patience.

This is something leaders can really run with, if they choose to do so. Teaching other patience is something that can be done at any level.

The people that survived the Great Depression remember when getting a biscuit was a good day. They remember a time when 3 meals a day was a memory. They remember having a set clothes without holes or patches (those were generally the work or looking for work clothes, all other clothes had holes or patches). Can you imagine that? I cannot. I have different dressers for work clothes and “working around the house” clothes, and I’m a guy.

Those people were the “Silent Generation.” They knew a time when the word “luxury” had no meaning. And they determined that their children, the “Baby Boomers” would want for nothing. That their children would never know hunger and strife.

And the Baby Boomers learned this lesson well. This was the first generation where it was common for both parents to work. More income meant more unnecessary items could be purchased. This was also the generation that coined terms such as “latch-key kids” (the parents were not home when the kids got out of school, so the kids had their own key). The children of the Baby Boomers, now called “Gen-X,” wanted for nothing, except time with their parents. The only things these children did not have were the things money could not buy.

I remember living in a house with a big underground pool in the back yard. My parents had motorcycles, my father had a riding lawn mower, we had a pool table in the garage; and I remember my father coming home every night, plopping down in his chair, and being too tired to spend much time with my sister and I.

But the Gen-Xers lik their toys, and learned that toys equaled fun. Life is grand as long as you have enough toys, which is why the average “Millennial,” the children of the Gen-Xers, had a cell phone by the age of 8, and why “Gen-Z,” the children of Millennials, grow up reading and playing games on a tablet.

What we are getting worse at teaching is patience. Children get trophies for showing up. They are told things like “no child left behind;” which does not mean that all children will have the skills to graduate but that they will get a degree whether they deserve it or not.

Patience is more than a virtue. Patience is needed to develop meaningful relationships. It is needed to learn and grow at a job, where showing up does not get you a trophy or a raise. We have children so used to being congratulated for showing up that they are demanding a higher minimum wage because they got to work on time most days. Minimum wage was never meant to be a livable wage; minimum wage was supposed to be a tease, something to show people that, if they worked hard, they could get even more of that fun paper.

This is a generational problem, and one that can be changed, but it will take one thing to change it: Patience. We need to learn more patience. It may take as many generations to change this as it took to start it, but if we don’t change, if we don’t learn to be much more patient, the world as we know it will cease to exist.

Is Smart Business Good Business?

There are times I’ve talked with a person who was so smart it made my head spin. I’ve caught myself thinking “I wish I was that smart” at times.

But does being smart make a good business person?

An Entrepreneur Magazine article states that being smart actually makes for a bad entrepreneur, but at least part of the article is suspect.  The author writes that: “some of the slackers are better suited for entrepreneurship than the “smart” people.” However, some of the smartest people in the world could also be considered some of the biggest slackers. For instance, Rick Rosner is considered one of the “smartest” people in the world, but his resume includes: Roller skate waiter, stripper, and bar bouncer.

It is true that less than 10 people in the Forbes 500 are among the top 500 smartest people in the world, so the best business minds in the world are not necessarily do not necessarily have the highest IQ, but I would not rate any of the top business people as stupid. In fact, I do not know of a single successful business person that is, but it does beg the question: How much of a role does intelligence play in becoming a successful business person or entrepreneur?

Personally, I think a person needs to be intelligent enough to recognize an opportunity and act on said opportunity. Steve Jobs did not make the first Apple computer, Steven Wozniak did. Bill Gates did not create MS-DOS, the software that launched Microsoft. He bought it from another company. Both were smart men, but it was more than intelligence, it was the willingness to use what they had to act on an opportunity.

Tony Hawk was a skateboarder. He loved to skate, and he took that love of skating to not only create a successful business but also a non-profit organization. In fact, there are thousands of people that are not among the top 500, or even the top 1,000 smartest people in the world who have very successful businesses.

There are articles on subjects such as: How to achieve success by being the dumbest person in the room, 50 famous people that failed at first, the 10 stupidest ideas that made millions, and more. What do these articles have in common? They were all about people that saw an opportunity and acted on it, regardless of how “smart” they were.

Of course, I cannot end this article without a major exception to the rule: The co-founder of Microsoft, billionaire Paul Allen, is reported to have an IQ of about 180.

#businessdevelopment #entrepreneurs

Influencing leaders

The best way to influence a leader is to find out what factors are already influencing them.

This sounds difficult on the surface, but it is not as tough as it seems. Here are some strategies:

  1. What is their frame? How are they feeling? What factors are going on that may be influencing how they are thinking and feeling? Could these factors be making them happy, sad, depressed, etc.?
  2. Where is their focus? What are they thinking about now? What is consuming their thoughts? Social media is a great way to determine this. What are they posting about?
  3. What can you do to help them change (or enhance, if their focus is on good things) their frame and focus? Do you have possible solutions for their problems? Is there a way you can be there for them? Can you help them get to the next level?

Influencing a leader is about helping them with their problems and promoting their successes.

There is an old saying: “Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” -Theodore Roosevelt.
Zig Ziglar said that you can get everything you want out of life if you help enough other people get what they want.