Friday, January 19, 2018

Rule #6 - Teach people the rules.

In an effort to continue writing down my life rules for success,  I've come to rule #6, "Teach people the rules."  Remember, the rules are in order and build upon each other for a reason.  Get the first 5 rules working in your own life before you try this rule out.

In my experience, when it comes to success, very few things come naturally.  That is where rule #6 comes into play.   "Teach people the rules."   Teaching people the first three rules will have the largest impact, however, it is the most challenging.  Some people simply don't understand the correlation of these first three rules to success.  My advice is, don't waste time with people who don't already follow the first three rules (knowingly or unknowingly).   You can certainly share those rules in the effort to help them understand why they never seem to have success.  However, trying to teach those rules will likely frustrate you and for some they will never see success because of an unwillingness to change.  The best advice with regards to the first three rules is to "show" not "tell" and wait for them to ask.

If you are ready to teach the rules (because your have success while following rules 1 to 5) then here's some additional advice.   Explain the rules in order.  Emphasize the importance of each rule building on the previous rule.  As I said earlier in the description of those first three rules, people can be successful in just doing those three so don't worry if that's all they intend to ever do.  It doesn't limit your success. Anyone who is already demonstrating the first three rules regularly is a good candidate to invest your time and energy into teaching for your benefit of the next rule #7.   One final bit of advice,  the most difficult rule for many successful people is generally rule #5, "Assume command", because for many people it will be outside their comfort zone.  You should have rule #5 down well yourself, before teaching that rule, because drawing on your own experience of seeing success with that rule will be the best way to teach others.

Now, if you're ready, get out there and tell people about these rules!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Rule #5. Assume command

I have been writing down my rules for success.  You can find the first four here: #1#2#3 and #4.

Today is rule #5, "Assume command".  I learned this rule from my grandfather Timothy R. Rice who was a Lt. Colonel in the US Army.   My grandfather was a big part of my early childhood and I spent many hours of my life doing things with him.  He was the kind of man who lived by a personal code of conduct.  He was compassionate, generous and kind to everyone he met but he was also strong, direct, and intolerant of wrong doing.  Everywhere my grandfather went he assumed he was in charge.  This was probably directly related to his military career but obviously in the military that might not always have been true.  It was this very approach to life that is the essence of rule #5, "Assume command".   When you are living rules #1 to #4 then (and only then) can you exercise rule #5.  In fact, if you are truly doing the first four rules most people you work with, and many you associate with, will actually assume you are in charge.   By contrast, failing at the first four rules and trying to do rule #5 will get you into trouble.  "Assuming command" is NOT about actually being in charge.  It is about understanding that a majority of people have no desire to make decisions and be accountable for their decisions.  "Assume command" is about situational authority. You'll find that if you are showing up everyday (rule #1), paying attention (rule #2),  remembering lots of stuff (rule #3) and getting stuff done (rule #4), that living these rules will put you in the situation that most people will simply assume your in charge.   You can leverage this situational authority to accomplish even more than you otherwise could on your own.

Get busy living the first four rules and then step into the world of rule #5,  assume command!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Rule #4. Get stuff done.

I've been writing down my rules for success.  You can find the first three here: #1, #2, #3.  Today is about rule #4.  This rule was inspired and crafted by my good friend Bob Lasch who is an excellent software engineer.  Bob is a "doer", and simply put he gets stuff done.  I've called him "Bob the Builder" (after the cartoon) because he has an outstanding attitude and always works to get stuff done.

Many years back Bob and I were working on a software project together and we started discussing the first three rules.   As Bob so eloquently put it after that discussion, those first three rules are important but don't mean anything if you can't get stuff done.  I happened to agree with him and that's where my rule #4 was birthed.  If you are going to have success, you are going to have to get stuff done.  This rule is entirely context specific intentionally using the words "stuff" and "done". Whatever it is you are doing (selling real estate, programming computers, managing a household, etc.) you must get something to a finished state to have real success.  If you're in the business of selling real estate but you never actually get a sale to go all the way through a closing,  can you be successful?   If you develop software but you never actually ship the software, can you be successful? Success is measured by finishes.  Start finishing things in whatever you've chosen to do and you'll be on the road to success.

Stay tuned for rule #5 coming next week.  It's quite possibly my favorite rule of all because of who taught it to me.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Rule #3. Remember lots of stuff.

I'm writing down my rules for success so I can share them with my friends and family.  Hopefully they are seeing these blog posts.

This is the third rule you need to follow in order to be successful at anything you're doing. This must be paired with rule #1 and rule #2 to be truly effective.  You can see this skill demonstrated by a good server at your favorite restaurant.  That server will have showed up (rule #1) be paying attention (rule #2) enough to notices that your glass is empty but you know they have rule #3 down when they refill your drink with exactly what you originally ordered without having to ask you.  It seems simple right?   It can be if you're following the rules and actually truly paying attention.   Working as a software developer or real estate agent I have to remember lots of things.  Actually remembering everything is impossible.  This rule is really about remembering the right stuff.  The server in your favorite restaurant doesn't need to remember everything about your order,  just those things that are going to resurface.  You don't need to remember everything about the work you do, just focus on remembering things that will get repeated or replayed.   I've learned that it's best to remember where the answers can be found rather than remember the exact answer.

You now have the first three rules for success.  Some people, like to stop here.  I believe you can probably be really successful by knowing and following but these first three rules.  However,  stay tuned,  the road to success does have a few more rules.  Rules 4, 5, 6, and 7 coming your way shortly. Remember that.  :)

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Rule #2. Pay attention

I've adopted some life rules.  I've shared many of them with friends and family over the years.   I'm going to be sharing my seven rules to success over the next several weeks.  They've come from many different sources.  My friends Michael F. Johnson and Bob Lasch, my grandfather,  and my own experiences.

If you missed rule #1 you can find that post here.

Today's rule is rule #2 is "Pay Attention".   It is in the top 3 because of its relationship to having success with anything you are doing. You can see this skill demonstrated by a good server at your favorite restaurant.  That person will pay attention to your table and notice things like empty glasses that need refilled. It is a skill that requires effort in our world full of distractions but it is essential if your going to be successful.  If you don't "pay attention" you really can't be successful.  Take a listen to my good friend Michael F. Johnson talk about "Paying Attention" as only he can describe the rule.  -->  I suspect this will be the best three minutes you spend today if you pay attention.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Rule #1. Show up everyday.

I've adopted some life rules.  I've shared many of them with friends and family over the years.   I'm going to be sharing my seven rules to success over the next several weeks.  They've come from many different sources.  My friends Michael F. Johnson and Bob Lasch, my grandfather,  and my own experiences.  I have taught all my children these rules and many of their friends.  I follow these rules myself. The first three rules I've adopted from my good friend Michael F. Johnson.  Michael writes about these three rules in his book "Kill the First Tiger" under the chapter "The Three Hard Daily Steps To Success".

The rule for today is "Show up everyday".  This rule might seem simple or even common sense.  It might even seem overly obvious. But I can assure you that many people who are not having success fail to follow this very simple rule. To show up everyday isn't necessarily about being physically in some specific location for work but it does mean you can be reached (phone, computer, email, etc.) and you are mentally available.  It means being emotionally, physically, and mentally ready and prepared for whatever it is you do.  It is rule #1 because if you can't do this you're not likely going to be able to do anything else, let alone follow the other success rules.  Even though this is rule #1 I call this my "finishing rule". I use to coach competitive youth soccer and this rule was important to success on game days. I ran team practices requiring players to "Show up" and to train as hard as though they were playing to win a game.   This required them to be thinking and working together to move the ball around the field.  Did you know you can't win the game if you can't put the ball in the net? That's "finishing" in soccer and it requires that your emotionally, physically, and mentally ready to capitalize on an opportunity to shoot and score.  It doesn't matter if you have just run for 80 minutes and you're tired, worn out and the pressure is intense.  If you don't take that shot and find the net you don't win. In real estate, when you're tired from searching and showing homes to find that perfect place they'll call home,  you still need to "Show up" to write up that offer for them and "finish" the sale.

I'm confident you're already thinking of people you work with that break this rule consistently. Those people are the ones that don't seem to have any success.  Likely even blame others for that lack of success. Don't be that person! Be purposeful about showing up everyday!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Using filters to trigger a text message for important emails

I think it's really important for people to choose the most effective way to communicate messages they send.  In this modern world we probably have way too many options and that often leads to messages not being communicated in a timely and effective manner.  For instance, if I have an urgent need, email is probably not the best way to communicate that need. Vice versa, if the need isn't urgent why would I text (or is it txt?) message someone?   Another issue often complicating communications is that the sender of the message might have a different priority on the message then the receiver.  Untimely communications can lead to other problems so I like to avoid it whenever possible.

This topic of effective communications has recently been on my mind regarding real estate sales.   I've just recently started selling real estate in Virginia and West Virginia and in my current situation I simply don't have very many leads.  Without leads I'm not going to make any sales so it's really important for me to place a priority on receiving these leads and acting quickly.  The best source of leads for me at this time is my broker and so I consider any communication from him as urgent.  Unfortunately, sometimes the communication comes in the form of email.  I do regularly check my email throughout the day but not really at the frequency I need to if the email contains a sales lead from from my broker.   I needed a solution to this problem and I have found one.   I have a way to convert emails to txt messages and I can do it in a selective fashion so that only emails from certain people are converted to a text message.  Since I check txt message relatively quickly throughout the day it will be more effective for me to receive all emails from my broker as text messages.   Using Gmail filters and the text message gateway of my cell phone service I can convert these urgent emails into a text message when the email arrives in my inbox.  How can I do that you ask?   You can follow these general steps to do the same thing:
  • First, determine your phone numbers email address.  This is a good article describing how to send a text message via email.   It also describes some limitations you might encounter and the difference between SMS vs. MMS.   For example, SMS has a 160 character limitation on the message.  MMS doesn't have that limitation by if your plan doesn't include MMS messaging (many / most probably do) then you won't receive the message.
  • After you know your own number try sending yourself an email to that number to confirm it works for you.  You should test out both the SMS and MMS gateways.   Since I'm using AT&T my phone's email addresses were (MYcellNUMBER) (for SMS) and (MYcellNUMBER) where the (MYcellNUMBER) was replaced with my actual cell phone number, only digits and no parens. 
  • Since you're going to forward emails using this cell phone email address you will likely have a more readable text message if you are using your cell phones MMS address.  
NOTE: From here forward assumes you are using Gmail.  If you have a different email application you probably have some filtering and forwarding capability but you'll have to figure out how to set that up. 
  • Now that you have confirmed you received a text message from an email you just sent to your cell phone you can move on to setting up a "filter" to forward specific emails to your phone.  To forward emails with Gmail you need to setup the forwarding address.  Follow these steps:
  1.  Login to your Gmail account
  2. Click on the settings "gear" in the upper right hand corner and choose "Settings" from the drop down menu.
  3. Click the link near the top labeled "Forwarding and POP/IMAP"
  4. The first section on this page "should" be "Forwarding".  Click the button "Add a forwarding address".  Use the SMS or MMS cell phone number email address you determined from above. Click the OK button on the dialog confirming you want to send the confirmation code.
  5. Gmail will require you to confirm the request by sending you the "text" email to your phone.  Somewhere near the top of the text message you'll find the confirmation code.  You can enter this
  6. Find the confirmation code and enter it into the "confirmation code" prompt that appeared below the "Add a forwarding address button, then click the "Verify" button.
  7. After you have saved the forwarding address you can move on to setup a filter to actually forward emails.
  • Now you can setup a filter to forward specific emails.  Click the "Filters and Blocked Addresses" link to the left of the "Fowarding and POP/IMAP" link you previous clicked in the instructions above.
  • Find and click the "Create a new filter" link near the middle of the page.
  • Setup criteria for the specific emails you want to forward.  In the from prompt I used specific email addresses separated by the word "OR" to specifically select emails from my broker. After you enter criteria you think will select just the emails you want to forward then click the "Create filter with this search >>" link near the bottom of the dialog.
  • NOTE: The emails you see behind the dialog, after you click the link, should reflect those you would want to forward in the future.
  • Now click the check box labeled "Forward it to:" and in the drop down labeled "Choose an address" select your newly added cell phone forwarding email you added above.
  • Finally, click the blue "Create filter" button near the left hand bottom of this dialog.
At this point you have now setup a filter that will forward your incoming email to your cell phone.  If you're like me this means you'll be seeing those broker emails as text messages on your phone.

Hope this helps you follow up on your sales leads quickly!

Rule #6 - Teach people the rules.

In an effort to continue writing down my life rules for success,  I've come to rule #6, "Teach people the rules."  Remember, t...