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Hey friends, I want to reach out with some tough love today. I want you to read it, though it will be hard. It will be sarcastic at times, and will pick on several ideas you’ve come to know and believe in success culture, but it will be worth it. You’ll come out ready and willing to do the work to reach your goal with a FREE, lean process or road map to get you there. It’s not rocket science, it doesn’t cost anything, and it’s not complicated. Make your friends read it, you’ll know the ones who should when you’re through. I don’t want to see you get hurt or sucked into a cyclic struggle of motivation, poor attempts, exploitation and failure. I hate seeing my friends get exploited. Bear with me through the sarcasm and tough love. If you hate sarcasm, scroll down to the process I mentioned.

I found a post-it note buried under the desk rubble in my office. It really helped me get focused and get things done. It looks like this:

do the work post it

No this isn’t the free formula I mentioned, we’ll get to that. I must have made this note while reading some success/motivational/blog post that talks about how-to do everything except cultivating discipline to do the necessary work to become successful. These posts often disappoint me – not for myself but for the suffering masses that get stuck on them. Society has built an entire billion dollar industry on selling you ways to trick yourself into pretending to be busy while getting nowhere. And it’s time that the truly successful people reveal the path to true wealth. Are you ready for the secret ingredient? Are you totally psyched? The secret to success, the linchpin to real wealth building is DOING THE WORK. Forgive the sarcasm, but read this and tell me if you identify with it. In return, I will outline a legitimate 6 step practice to ensure progress, growth and real productivity on your path to wealth, success, celebrity and your upcoming reality TV show.

But first…the sarcasm…

1. Are you motivated?

If not there’s a decade of your life and countless books and DVD’s to spend to get you there. Tony Robbins, Zig Ziglar, Crystal Meth…the band… all will get you wired and motivated to get things done. When you’re really amped, proceed to step 2.

2. Sell it back to the masses

If your journey from Step 1, Law of Attraction and power of The Secret, haven’t made you a millionaire yet, try selling all the junk you’ve bought to your friends or becoming a reselling “partner.” And if that doesn’t work, and you ran out of friends and family to alienate, continue to step 3.

#Pro-tip: Multi-task this step with step 1 and save your self 10 years!!!

3. Do you have ideas?

Ideas are like assholes. Everybody has them. They are a commodity. How about ideas related to your success that you yourself can do, right where you are with what you have? Got any of them? If you don’t have any, spend another decade or so exploring the Internet. Just go nuts on Pinterest, Buzz Feed, Facebook, StumbleUpon, Twitter, and jump on Netflix and binge watch The Secret, and What the Bleep Do We Know. And practice your Law of Attraction Mantra some more, until an idea comes. Oh and don’t forget to tell yourself, your friends and loved ones that it’s all part of the process, or you need to put more attractive energy out there or something…

If that doesn’t work go back to step 1, or 2, or both… OR, if you’re ready to stop screwing around, end the sarcasm and cultivate the discipline to actually get things done and succeed, proceed to this simple lean 6 step framework. 

The Super Simple 6 Step Process to Ensure You Get Things Done.

do the work

The process outlined below is based on divergent exploration, convergence on a solution, then refining that solution and expanding upon it. This is a common approach to creative problem solving and business challenges as well. I find it fits for personal goals too and wanted to share that.

1. Gather ideas

Read some books. Watch some TED talks. Pinterest around a bit, but create a time-limit for yourself. Many people get stuck generating ideas to improve their lives without ever proceeding to vet, refine, or explore them in depth. You have a finite amount of time on this planet and it is unknown to you. Get yourself out of the idea rut. Spend 1 final day on an idea binge and then make a list of possible next steps.

2. Narrow down your ideas to those YOU can execute

Cross out anything you can’t do right now, where you are, who you are with, and with what you’ve got. You need to be real with yourself. Too often I see people with big dreams that are dependent on them transforming their lives completely before pursuing them. The excuse that change is difficult and major changes are harder, prevent any change from happening. Be honest and vulnerable with yourself. There are many romantic ideas and paths out there, but many of them require more time and effort than we’re able to give. That is, at least without making major compromises or sweeping changes.

Choosing from a world of infinite possibilities can be tricky – but the secret is to find a baby step. Start small and think like a tortoise.

Find that baby step, something in reach that you can do. I see many people setting yearly goals of losing 100 lbs, or making millions, when they really need to be setting smaller weekly goals, of making hundreds, or losing 2lbs.

Hints:

  • If your idea requires more starting capital than you have or are likely to raise, it’s probably something to shelve for later. Think about an idea or project that you can do now, that will help you grow towards that goal. Look for an iterative business model you can grow into your big dream.
  • If your idea requires a lot of change across many aspects of your life, take heed. Focus on one of the changes and focus on that in the near term. Learning to juggle, while learning to sing, playing the piano, and becoming a lawyer, while exercising more to lose 30lbs, may be pushing it. In fact, for most people, a good starting point is simply getting more sleep, or making it to the gym at all.
  • If your idea requires a lot of learning time, you might want to reign in your goals to something smaller with a more immediate payoff. If you’ve suddenly decided to become a doctor, lawyer, or nurse, try and make your way through a book on the subject. Read a book from a day in the life of, or real stories from your chosen category. If you can’t commit to reading one book prior to spending a fortune on school, you might want to gut check your resolve to pursue the goal in the first place.
  • Feel free to defy the odds and prove me wrong. By all means. However, if you fail, if your wings melt, come back to the ground and consider making a year long commitment to smart, small growth. It’s lower reward, lower risk, but higher return. What I mean by that, is you set yourself up for a higher likelihood of meaningful growth and success without taking on a major financial and psychological risk.

DON’T get attached to ideas that exceed the capabilities of your budget, body, and ability. As you struggle, and if you fail, you’ll likely beat yourself up over and over again, and then likely give up. These kinds of mind games can sabotage your growth for years.

DO pair down your list of ideas to those that you can do right now.  Prioritize that list, by eliminating the stinkers that might be too ambitious as a starting point.

3. Converge on your best idea.

Hint: Your best idea is usually the one that you can execute on your own without a billion dollars of investment or crowd funding.  Write down the things you’ll need to do to make it happen. These may be tasks or projects. Early on it’s difficult to know the difference but its important to keep a road map, printed and visible to keep you on the right path.

Convergence is hard stuff. It requires that you leave a lot of other good and valid ideas on the shelf. 

Converging on one idea or goal is a Good News/Great News Scenario. The good news is you’re on your way to doing more than talk about your latest aspiration. The great news is, if you fail, you’ll have a library or list of other good ideas to come back to and try next. So say goodbye, and shelve the others so you can increase your focus and chances of success. It may not be goodbye forever. You’ll always have Paris.

If you don’t converge on that one idea and commit to it, if that plane leaves the ground and you’re not on it, you’ll regret it. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life.

Tips:

  • Find a guide, mentor or trusted adviser and ask for their perspective. Remember that they have only a perspective and may not have perfect insight into the situation, but they can also help guide you to growth.
  • Be cautious of friends and loved ones who struggle with the thought of your progress. There are many people who don’t consciously wish you harm or suffering, but they don’t want to see you move on, or grow, often out of fear that they will feel less than you or distant from you. Sometimes they don’t make the best advisers.
  • Keep it real. Be cautious of allowing your spirit animal, past lives, alien ancestors, or gods, godesses, or God speak for/through you. Odds are, it’s you consciously or unconsciously BS’ing yourself from underlying fears, or unmet needs.

4. Do the Frickin Work

Yes. It’s to the point where some good willed individual, needs to swear and curse and remind the world that to be successful, one must actually do the work.

The work is elusive. The work is harder than it seemed it would be when planning it. The work often takes longer than you thought. That doesn’t make it any less necessary. Don’t jump to second guessing if the work is necessary or not. It is. So lean in, put on your frog-eatin bib, and hop to it.

What is the work exactly? Well, long ago you wrote down what the necessary jobs were that needed to get done, in order to get you from A to B. Conveniently, that list often disappears and gets buried somewhere. Even more conveniently, in its absence we are now armed with a delightful excuse to avoid doing the work. If you can’t find the work, start by taking your hands off your eyes.

The work is the 20% the 80/20 people are talking about.

It’s the MVP (Most Valuable Part), and the VIP (Very Important Process) on your path to success.

There is no work-around for the work.

Ambitious yet weak-willed people avoid the work like politicians avoid commitments. So many people try to work-around the work. It looks something like this:

The Assignment:

A project that involves a report with a visual aide due in two weeks

The Necessary Tasks:

1. Write the report (AKA the meatiest part of the work)

2. Create the visual aide (AKA the fun part)

What Most People Do:

1. Create a shopping list for materials to create the visual aide

2. Start a committee to decide what kind of visual aide to create

3. Research on the web, get lost on Pinterest,  pour some wine and pass out

4. Read books and watch videos related to creativity

5. Argue about which colors and tools to use

6. Read books and watch videos about color theory

7. Get distracted on Facebook and Instagram

8. In an all-nighter attempt, write a half-assed report

9. Celebrate

A few points here:

  • If this sounds like an episode of your childhood, or childish, it is. It’s sad, but amounts for what many consider “hard work,” or a “day’s work.” It’s not that valuable to the purpose or goal, thus, not much of work at all. Furthermore, we live in a global community where others work very hard on the meaningful parts of the work and grow happier, healthier, and wealthier for doing so. Are you putting in a genuine effort with focus on the activities that will determine your success? Or are you getting lost in what most people do? Newsflash: Most people are not successful. Most people do not achieve many of their goals. Most people avoid the work and whine about their circumstances. Don’t sit idlely to count yourself among them
  • Maybe someone tricked you into believing that showing up with a smile and some glitter is enough to create value that the world will crave. The truth is, it may be enough to get you started, or possibly earn you a friend or two who are attracted to sparkly objects. However, it’s not enough to make you a billionaire, and eventually you’ll come face to face with real work
  • People who care about their success know that the most important task is the real work. That is, the activities that are essential to the desired end result. The rest is mostly window dressing and the mental masturbation based on the idea that we can have fun the entire time and “get stuff done.” It’s true, it’s just that much of that “stuff” is not meaningful. In hard economic times, those doing the window dressing activities are the first to get cut from the team. Are you holding yourself accountable to do the real work?

If so, good for you, let’s rock and roll on to step 5.

5.  Review & Refine

The first time you do something all the way to completion, you can probably make a list of 100 things not to do if you had to do it all over again. Make that list. Also, find ways of repeating your efforts. This ensures you can refine them. It’s important to streamline, to make them easier, cheaper, and to make them better. You can come out with a:

  • Better plan or process
  • A list of the right parts/ingredients/elements/people
  • A list of possible, likely better parts/ingredients/elements/people

A smoother ride, a faster finish, a shinier shine, and on and on. There’s always room for improvements and when it comes to you, you’re worth the extra effort.

Success can teach you as much if not more than failure. Even after successful outcomes, I often note things that did not go according to plan, or things that I could do better. I don’t do this to shame or guilt trip myself, but to remember what to do next time. I get a lot of grief from people who mislabel me as cynical in the face of success. Don’t listen to these types. Don’t aim for perfection, but don’t settle for mediocrity either. Aim for precision. Aim small. Miss small.

Life does not hand out trophies for attendance or participation. Those activities simply afford you the opportunity. You must act and perform to truly achieve your goals.

Check Your Expected Time Requirements at the Door

Despite the highlight reel we see in the movies, Tony Stark did not create Iron Man in 4 minutes, not even in his own fictional world. Steve Jobs didn’t light a fart in the garage and suddenly become a billionaire. It took a lot of time, hard work, refinement, a discerning mind, and persistent attitude.

If everything went up in smoke, it’s important to understand what went wrong and pinpoint the failures. Even if you will never do anything like it again, pinpointing the failures will ensure that you hold yourself accountable for the precise things within your control, without taking on the guilt of the factors beyond your control.

6. Repeat

Start again, refine your efforts and repeat them. Maybe they can be applied to the lives of others, maybe to your own, maybe to your job, or adjacent industries. Look for opportunities to leverage your experience and new found success, and keep growing. The commitment to this process will continue to bring you opportunities and increase your momentum.

Why all the Tough Love?

Sometimes, a bucket of cold water is exactly what you need to wake you up. It’s abrupt, rude, angering, but it certainly can do the trick. The ambitious goals most people set for themselves come with heavy price tags of time, effort and attention. They require discipline, discernment, creative grit, tenacity and a love of the game to see you through. Many haven’t cultivated the necessary skills yet. They are exploited for their ambitions by people who pretend they want to help them, but what they really do is sell them anything, promising an easy path, to help them avoid the idea of real work. It’s a coping mechanism for a crappy life. There is an alternative: Do the work, grow, and help others escape the cycle.

Feel free to point out additional areas that I missed, or got wrong, or share your war stories with me. I love to hear them.

Below is a free chapter from our book, The Heroik Power of Headlines. If you like this post, you’ll love our book. If you find this content leaves you with a lot of questions, you’ll also love our book. Read on and enjoy!

You’ve heard it said from every corner of the web and media world, that content is king and that storytelling is essential to drawing the audience and driving engagement. But just how do you go about crafting that content? How do you use storytelling to craft articles and beyond?

There are many formulas to organize and present content, here are 12 of our favorites for persuasive purposes:

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Admiral Thad Allen, USCG (Ret.) has lead the emergency response efforts in extreme situations that present unique problems that are well outside the traditional disaster response models. Most recently, he led the response to the BP / Deepwater Horizon oil spill and previously led the emergency efforts after the Hurricane Katrina disaster. He is accustomed to working outside the box, going off book, departing from protocol and leading in unfamiliar territory. And, although he’s retired, if called upon, he says he’ll go where he’s needed. He is a bonafide, Heroik Bad-Ass.

His definition of leadership: the ability to reconcile opportunity and competency.

It is a standard tactic to position a product, service, or brand, as a transformative problem solver  in order to attract the attention of the masses. However, if a business knowingly creates products, services, or environments that are designed to address only the symptoms and manage the pain points (suffering), it isn’t just a mere lack of brand alignment. Failing to to supply the advertised lasting relief, resolution, or change is disingenuous behavior of the highest order. And it’s becoming a common practice.

Over promise, under deliver doesn’t begin to cover it.  This is a systemic problem that permeates just about every industry you can think of. It’s unhealthy for you, your staff and your business. These models depend on you buying into several toxic lies in order for them to succeed. In this post we’re going to:

  • Share 6 of those lies
  • Explore the problems created by them
  • Identify 3 business opportunities they create
  • Demonstrate how our company takes advantage of those opportunities, (and how you can too)

It’s important to know how these dark arts work so that you can spot them, take appropriate action and if you’re up for it, know how to disrupt their game plan.

Understand The Power of the Dark Side: Snake Oil as a Service (SOaaS)

bad sale

Whether we’re talking about the pharmaceutical industry, marketing services, (Yelp or SEO, anyone?), cosmetics, digital music, coaching, consulting practices, mental health, you name it, there are plenty of businesses using the dark, codependent models that are producing some really crappy results. They are fundamentally out of alignment with their claims and brand promises and seem pleased as punch to operate in duplicity.

It’s a poisonous, codependent model. And in order for it to succeed and persist, they would have you  believe variations of these 6 common lies :

  • We’ve got the treatment. The treatment is all there is. We can keep the dragon at bay. Without us, you will perish
  • The dragon is real. It’s too big for any mortal to face alone. It requires a legendary hero
  • You’re not legendary. Are you? You’re not Heroik. You’re not good enough to solve this problem. You couldn’t possibly solve this problem, on your own or even with anyone else
  • Remember, you’re human, you’re small, and barely know anything. We’re big and have been at this for a long time
  • You need us to hide your shame, and to keep up with the Jones’
  • There is no other way

If you’re like me, these ideas will really piss you off and fire you up. These are the false beliefs proliferated and reinforced by the messaging and underlying support systems around these models. Not only do these models require you to continue to suffer with the problem (hindering your performance as you pay to improve it), they also require that the problem is perceived as too big for you to solve yourself. They must feed the perception of the dragon. In Heroik Culture, we refer to this as painting your dragon (creating a legendary monster from an encounter with a small lizard).

These 6 common lies, keep you in their pipeline, engaged on their terms and under their gun. Are you working with a company like this?

Now, before we get started, let’s establish some ground rules. Here are a few facts:

  • This is the information age where you get a “fire hose” of data pointed at you each and every day
  • Businesses, media, marketers, individuals, family, friends and pets are endlessly fighting for your attention
  • The human brain is much like a computer, but you’re human first, not vulcan, and tend to behave irrationally or “illogically” as Spock would say
  • The toxic lies can be hard to spot and filter out
  • Your ability to see these lies for what they are must be developed

Why These Lies Are So Toxic

free and sell it back feature

Prolonging Pain and Poor Performance as You Pay

The financial success of these models is tied to keeping the pain points or larger problem alive, so they can continue to manage or service it over the longest possible amount of time. Put another way, for them to succeed (even though you or your company pays based on the promise of a solution result) you must not only continue to suffer, but pay throughout the experience to suffer slightly less.

Promoting a Culture of Emasculation



under the boot
These lies are so toxic because they promote a culture of emasculation that is already thriving today. These lies leverage your doubts and insecurities, so that you’ll roll over, play victim and pay a hero to save you. Only the white knight can slay the dragon. Only a “true” hero can save the day. Right? In effect, they need to emasculate you, devaluing you, praying upon your insecurities in an effort to make you feel powerless to solve the problem.

Using the Market to Further Devalue You

biz in bottle

They’ll also leverage the natural psychological behaviors of a market system. Value is subjective. So the lower the perceived value of an individual, product, service or company, the lower the cost. It’s in the competitive market’s interest to suppress costs and thus devalue people or whatever is adding to costs. The corollary to this is also true, the lower you feel your worth, the higher you’ll perceive the worth of others. So you’ll pay more for solutions that are perceived as more valuable than you or your current position in the market.

Crowdsourcing Collusion

get chased

It is a social norm and extension of our market mentality to shame people who see more than “fair” market value in themselves, their brands and products. We devalue and commodotize wherever it serves us to lower costs and elevate our own perceived value. The lesson here is don’t cave in to social pressure simply because others do.

Step By Step Here’s how it works:

  1. Society’s perception believes that heroes are mythological (special) people, akin to the gods.
  2. The company positions itself as the hero, the special, experienced, the chosen one, the solution provider and only one who can help.
  3. That position is reinforced by painting the big audacious challenge (or problem they claim to solve) often overhyping the problem and the impact of their solution.
  4. The moment you begin to think you can improve your circumstances without them, the company simply poses or implies these questions to you first; Do you believe you’re a “real” hero? What makes you special? What makes you believe you’re capable of solving this problem on your own?
  5. If that doesn’t trigger your insecurities individually or collectively as an organization, then they extend the question to the larger community to get collusion.

“They think they’re special. They think they are different. They think they can do it themselves. Are they different? Are they better than you?”

The masses in turn (triggered by their own insecurities) try to pull you back down to the ground, put some sense into you, and get you to accept the vendor/outsider as the hero and pony up.

They try to trick you and reinforce the false belief that you are not Heroik, and not capable of great things. They would have you believe that great endeavors, transformation, relief, grace and compassion belong to them; not to yourself and others. They want you to use an app (read, their app) for that. They want you to buy stuff to hide your shame and fears that you’re not good enough.

Locking The Relationship From Fear of Loss

held hostage

These dark models go further to introduce more problems. When companies knowingly operate with little to no integrity, it instills fear, scarcity and paranoia. So whatever customers they get, they work to lock in that relationship. They use all kinds of tools at their disposal: technology, contractual obligations, etc. Disingenuous businesses breed cultures of insecurity and fear (which in turn, kills trust) forcing them to seek out ways to muzzle employees and shackle disgruntled customers. Again, all of this has unfortunately bcome a more common practice. When your offering is sincere and in alignment with the needs of your market, people don’t need a cage to keep customers around. It’s no easy task to scale and preserve integrity in a large business, let alone extend it to customer experience as well. However, it’s not impossible either.

The arguments we’ve heard defending these practices:

  • This is how business works
  • This structure is required to develop real solutions, legitimate fixes, cures, and better stuff
  • Only a few bad eggs are operating this way

The dark arts and codependent business dynamics lead to business tactics that restrict or hinder freedom and prolong the pain points and suffering (hindering performance and growth). Don’t buy in. This isn’t a few bad eggs. This is a systemic societal problem. The exploitation of businesses is akin to human trafficking (more so if you consider corporations as people).

escape2

4 Disruptive Business Opportunities

We see these clunky, underperforming business models, lumbering along with their toxic culture, waiting to be disrupted by better solutions. There are plenty of opportunities for disruptive transformative service providers and problem solving organizations.

  1. Escaping from these lies and bad business practices – This alone will stop waste, abuse, and increase your opportunities.
  2. Detoxing toxic cultures – show them better practices and help them transition and gain a competitive edge.
  3. Fill the need by actually providing working solutions and transformative services. If there’s a systemic problem of the rubber failing to meet the road, there’s a huge opportunity in making that happen across any number of industries. Help businesses grow, versus renting the perception of business growth.
  4. Disrupt and Liberate – There’s opportunity in liberating people and businesses from dependencies, addictions, and codependent relationships to vendors.

Here’s how Heroik is Taking Advantage of Those Opportunities

cutting chains

It comes down to a more mindful approach – If you’re providing freedom, you’re providing relief. This creates a path to transformation and increased performance and real growth.

  • Offer liberation and identify the common codependent players that merely treat symptoms and service problems. Then, reverse engineer their efforts, roundup available alternatives (provide innovative solutions) and disruptive technical solutions that work
  • Lead by example and encourage organizations to SWIPE from our culture.  S.W.I.P.E. (Steal With Integrity and Pride Everyday). We’re that confident in our practices and integrity
  • Instill confidence by refining brands, leaders, teams, cultures and organizations across disciplines
  • Provide Freedom as a product – Removing codependence and swapping it out for interdependence and collaboration. We position on preserving independence and ensure our clients can grow forth with or without us. What happens? We have stronger relationships with clients based on deep trust, and equal commitment to practicing with integrity
  • Rely on operational integrity, provide flexibility and open space to explore and to build trust
  • Focus R&D on disrupting codependent models for 3 reasons:
    • Alignment with Heroik culture
    • Competitors are addicted to these bad business practices
    • There are very few, true competitors solving problems or providing growth engines. How many Heroik firms do you know?

This is what Heroik is all about. We’re building a movement; an inspirational brand and a socially conscious business based on reminding individuals, leaders, teams, organizations, brands and the world, that they can be Heroik if they choose. Many of the cost centers, problems, and pain points can be resolved, solved and/or transformed into larger opportunities, revenue streams, insights and growth engines. We encourage you to pull from our playbook and leverage these opportunities in your organization as well.

Meeting someone once or twice is pretty easy. Creating a robust professional relationship requires work and TLC. You can run into the same person at a mixer or 3. Connecting in meaningful ways, or even reconnecting, proves to be an elusive skill for most. If you’re looking to reconnect with contacts you’ve met once or twice, or colleagues you know but don’t see often due to your schedule or theirs – look no further. Here’s a sure fire, 8 step, simple formula to get back on their radar. The trick involves sending an email  from your account, adding personal context, an invitation for them to share with you, and give visual bullets of what you’re interested in sharing with them. This doesn’t work if you are trying to spam all of your contacts. However, this  can be very effective if you’re sincerely trying to reconnect and maintain or grow a healthy, professional relationship. Read on!

Everyone has something important they need to remember but, often our memories fade and decay over time. The likelihood of remembering a single piece of information decreases after each minute that passes. This is exacerbated by the fact that in the digital age, we’re constantly bombarded with “important” content. Information is presented to us like a gushing hose from all angles. This flood of data makes what we really want to remember difficult. A new app and web service, Studyhive promises to help make remembering easy.

On a quest to cut down on the noise in our lives, and focus on the things that really serve us, let’s start with the 800 inch Gorilla in the room. Don’t worry. We’re not purists either. We’re not going to recommend that you give up TV altogether. We are going to talk about the nitty gritty of becoming more aware of the cost to benefit ratio and return on investment of that TV time.

The average person watches 5.5 hours a day. A day. Most people don’t even pay that amount of attention time to their work day.

First of all, is this really something you want written on your tombstone? Competitive Couch Surfer, Absentee Parent, Friend and Spouse? Or are there other things you want to be known for? How about your kids?

tv habit

Don’t be a statistic. Sitting on your rump for so long puts you at greater risk for all sorts of disease, and the result is an appearance that no-one is proud of. So consider cutting back on your screen time.

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6 Quick Fixes

1) Unsubscribe & Switch: Consider pulling the plug on cable and trading it for a platform that offers more control and independence like Netflix and Hulu plus. This will take your TV bill down to around $20 a month. You’ll find yourself watching more documentaries and Discovery Channel shows (after binge watching some of your favorites of course) and thus begin a healthier path. This habit shift can help you be more interesting too.

What’s on TV is a major source of casual conversation and ice breakers.

Here’s how to leverage your new Netflix habit in your social and work life:

  • At networking events, parties and mixers, having interesting stories and facts from the Honey Badger documentary will be more memorable than sports statistics.
  • Relive the glory days of TV’s favorite and classic series. This can help your intergenerational skills, and make it easily relate to older or younger generations. Some people watched shows when they were new, some when they were daytime re-runs, but chances are, you can watch Friends, Cosby, Cheers, Wings, and connect with someone on a happy memory.

#MindHack: This is a mind hack too because we experience the shows as if we were in them. We remember and emotionally attach to the shows, ups, downs, and simple times. This alone should inspire you to be more mindful of what you watch, but it can also be used to win friends and influence people.

Hulu plus offers you the latest episodes of your current favorites with less and/or limited commercials. Also, these put you in the driver’s seat with the ability to pause, mute, fast-forward, switch to other programs around your schedule not theirs. You also create your own playlist of sorts which gives you the opportunity to check-in with how you feel after consuming a show and killing time. This tiny bit of gained awareness is a great step to a path of further filtering out noise and things that don’t serve you.

Also you can watch a horrible but popular show fast-forwarding through the worst, and getting the conversational gist, in no-time. Bascially, fast-forward your way through your own highlight reel.  This lowers the cost of your time, energy and emotional investment (TEE) in garbage TV, giving you a competitive edge.

That might sound crazy but consider this: the fast forward habit is on the rise. As our experience with common plot lines and fillers (time spam) increases, so does our connection to that FF button on the remote. In fact there are now several apps that help people share life’s moments in Fast Forward including Instagram’s Hyperlapse and Microsoft’s much smoother, 3d composing software. (See the difference between the two here)

2) Mute – Enjoy Mute Mania - Maybe you’re struggling to turn the TV off altogether. A good transitional step is to get trigger happy with the mute button. Without the sounds, you can allow the TV to become an animated background and begin doing other things while it’s still on. Just like your dogs responding to a doorbell on the TV, your ears and eyes perk up based on all sorts of sounds. That’s why the voice over narrators, and stars on commercials sound so excited. It gets you to pay attention. A muted TV, has less of a pull on your attention and you’re not as much of a moth to the flame. If you glance at the screen and occasionally see a headline catching your attention, you can unmute it and listen in. This can get you started on a mindful, noise filtering practice.

#RelationshipSaver – Spend the extra money on date night and go to a restaurant without TV’s. This will make it much easier to be attentive to the conversation with your loved one.

3) Create a Playlist - We all have our guilty pleasure shows. Try sprinkling a different show in between favorites in that may stir you into activity. For example, perhaps for every 2 episodes of your favorite show, you’ll watch a documentary, nature program, 20 minute exercise tape. It doesn’t mean you have to move to it but the boredom, discomfort, or lack of interest may stir you to disengage from the TV and do something more productive, or it may stir you to play along, learn something new or participate and exercise. Take advantage of any of those feelings and move to do something better.

4) Make half your TV time, multitasking time – Catch up on your honey-do’s. Do laundry. Do dishes. Do push-ups. Do something that involves more physical activity than a typing a keyboard, thumbing at your phone or touching a tablet. Grab a cheap case for your iPad and some velcro adhesive strips, and a attach them to that treadmill you may currently be using to hang your clothes. Walk or jog while you watch – and you’ll be on your way to a healthy return on time invested in TV.

tv get up

5) Block out your TV Time on your calendar - This will help you visualize how much time you’re spending drooling on your couch as you catch up on your favorites, fume at the newsman, or channel surf. This will also allow you to enjoy the time you do set aside to enjoy some television since you are doing so mindfully with awareness of time.

6) Set Reminders - Old habits die hard. One hour or episode leads to another, and before you know it you’re binging on TV. Set a timer to remind yourself to break away and do something else. Use your calendar reminders on your phone. Schedule a next activity after your TV time. Make sure that it’s important. Consider something that will take you outside, like a simple 10 minute walk with your dog, your thoughts or a friend. This will also help increase your awareness of your TV time, and make it easy to appreciate and build healthier habits.

My consumptive TV credentials for those interested – Next to video games, Mountain Dew and Milky Ways, when I was a teenager, I was addicted to TV. I was also 260lbs! I ditched the Mountain Dew and Milky Way’s lost 100lbs, and was still addicted to TV. That’s how addicting it is. I loved it. I still love it but I am much more discerning and critical of what I watch and discerning to identify what content serves me, my goals, priorities, family and environment I want to cultivate. So take it from a former TV zombie, cutting back, switching services and getting picky has really changed my life for the better. I read more. I listen more. I participate more. And when I watch, I watch way more interesting stuff.

When you’re fishing for a vendor or a good addition to your team, you’re on the lookout for leadership skills. Some Heroik Leadership attributes we believe are worth sharing and looking for include:

  • A dedication to growth and cultivating an adaptable skillset
  • Humility that conveys sensibility and builds trust
  • Leaning into the discomfort of the unknown
  • Embracing allies and advisors who can help on the journey
  • A level of confidence and bravery to face the unknown while being held accountable for results

All that said, there are many false gurus out there in the market place. I once ran into a brand guru who was working with a major enterprise client of ours who said he could look into my soul and pull out things I never knew were there. He was very serious. I don’t mind a little qualitative hocus pocus but he didn’t have an approach reconciled with anything resembling business strategy. The rubber never meets the road. And people hire false gurus everyday – B.S. is a billion dollar industry. Below are some examples of faux leader types.

HP’s Sprout PC brings together multiple technologies to bring computer interaction to into the real world. It’s an innovative step that demonstrates a convergence of technologies from 3D scanning, augmented reality, and user interface design. All of which make it easier than ever to express a creative voice on the web. Check out the video to see some use cases in action.

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Stop Using Bit.ly Now: Google and Firefox marking Bit.ly links as Malware

It has come to our attention that Google went ahead and marked one of the world’s most popular link shortening services Bit.ly as malicious. Thus making every shortened link malicious, including every link we’ve been sharing through buffer. We’ve switched services and recommend you do the same and take steps to repair your reputation in the interim.

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About one third of global crops depend on the cross-pollinating power of bees. More than $15 Billion dollars of crops per year are pollinated by bees in the United States alone. And those bees are in trouble.

To provide an analogy of what this problem is like in the business world, you first have to understand the role of honey bees in the agricultural industry. Honey bees are like the engineers and product managers in much of the agricultural world. Without them, much of the agricultural products (read food) would not exist and would never make it to market.

As leaders and ambitious professionals, we all want to cultivate the practices, habits, and culture that truly serve us. And we want to hit the eject button on all the garbage that does not serve us. The things that don’t serve us, act as roadblocks, keeping us from growth, performance, and success. So how do we identify those things that don’t serve us?

Your inbox and social feeds are probably regularly bombarded with zillions of tips and tricks of what you should do to succeed. How much of that has helped you confront the things that are currently getting in your way? Are you ready to try something different? So why don’t we Heroikly go where few have gone before? Let’s get a step closer to becoming Mission Ready For Life. First, let’s get clear about the things that benefit us and the garbage that hinders, damages, and holds us back.

What does it mean when we say something is serving you?

At the core of Heroik Culture is our mantra: Mission Ready For Life. This is an attitude and dedication to both personal and professional growth, and it has many implications. One of the key practices boils down to this: cultivate that which serves you, and proudly hit the eject button on that which does not.  Bruce Lee, the Martial Arts legend, said “Empty your cup so that it may be filled; become devoid to gain totality.”

empty your cup

So, want to make like the lord of kung-fu, empty your cup, and get trigger happy with the eject button? Read on!

It’s amazing to me, how many ambitious upstarts have the passion for new endeavor, yet hate to read and learn to reach their goals. If reading is a barrier to improvement for you, perhaps because you find it slow-paced, difficult or uninteresting, then you’re in luck. With the help of some new technology, you can speed read your way at 2-4x your current speed. This is a real time saver.

How Speed Reading Works

Email has been a great tool, revolutionary even, but times have changed and so have our expectations for modern communication and collaboration. After considering a wide market of new options to traditional email dependence, does good ol’ email measure up anymore?  Is email the right tool for collaboration? Is it the best? At the very least, the leaner and more efficient our inbox, the more productive your team can be. So read on and discover new ways to cut down on the pile.

Here are the 4 email obstacles that are keeping you from getting things done: 

Reflecting on the decades we’ve worked in the Heroik Innovation Lab and countless new media projects for clients across many different industries, there are a few tools that stand out and make work and life easier and more enjoyable. And when we think of groups or industries who can benefit the most from these simple and lean tools, nonprofits and startups are at the top of that list. Nonprofits and startups need great tools that are free, cheap, and amazingly effective (don’t we all?). We’ve put together a list that fits the bill. Here it goes:

There are many books out there disguised as how-to’s, prompting you to tell your story through social media, and to use it as a platform to build a more authentic brand. But let’s be real, most of these books are far removed of specifics with watered down recommendations to use social media to tell your story. Some of the better books on the subject show you how to sell-out your brand for mass appeal. These don’t pass the sniff test of building an authentic brand with great content. That’s where this book comes in.

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