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doug sandler


What is Your Do-Over Moment?


If you could go back in time and rewrite your history for just one moment, precisely just one decision, what would it be? As kids playing games, we'd always yell, "Do-over!" when the desired outcome was not quite up to par or when something unexpected skewed results.  So what is your do-over moment? 

Let's establish a ground rule before the onset of determining your do-over moment. Armed with the outcome and knowledge of future events you cannot alter anything but your decision. Simply put, you can only check or uncheck a yes/no box or a do/don't do decision. For example, you cannot pick the winning lottery numbers, but you can decide to play or not play the lottery. But you could go back and decide not to accept a job offer, a marriage proposal or the keys to a car fated to have an accident.

Understanding your do-over moment can help you write a better future from this moment moving forward.

This is not an exercise in futility. Understanding your do-over moment can help you write a better future from this moment moving forward. It's never too late to take action. While we cannot change the past, understanding the consequences of the decisions we have made helps us build better decision making muscle moving forward. 

This exercise also helps you realize the fragile nature of life. Even small decisions can have enormous impact, and that "what ifs" won't create a life of regret, but rather, just the opposite, it will help us understand our huge potential. Go ahead, what is your do-over moment? Share it in the comments below.



Kick Ball Get Check

Kick Ball Get Check

Kick Ball Get Check

Do you ever get so caught up in being busy, you forget what you are actually striving to accomplish in your career, business and life? Because every day is game day, take a step back before you enter the locker room, go back to the playbook, examine your game plan, develop a winning strategy and stick to it. Be ready to think like a winner on game day, when X's and O's are on the field.

Show up and be ready to play. Training camp, drills, workout regimens and a well balanced diet prepare an elite player for game day, but when it's "GO" time, feet must hit the field. You can't play the game from the bench. Stop getting ready and actually do what you know how to do best. That means if you are a salesperson, get out there and start selling. The business won't just come to you, you have to go and get it. Practice over and over again until you get great. It's hard to make a sale if you never pick up the phone or go and visit a prospective client. Nothing happens until you sell something. 

Make sure players, a ball, and lines are on the field.  Imagine a game of football without a ball. Twenty two un-uniformed players line up on an unmarked field, with no lines or goal posts or a scoreboard. The quarterback yells a few words and both teams power up and into action running feverishly in all directions, with no ball on the field. As silly as that seems, do you have a well defined product for your market, do you know who your market even is and do you know what you are trying to accomplish in your day, week, month or year? 

Run like you know where you are going and mean it. It's very hard to accomplish anything without intention. I have had an opportunity to consult with many organizations, and when under closer examination,  find the weakest link is a group of employees with no real defined set of daily goals, tasks or activities except to be ready to respond to the needs of both management urgencies or customer issues. If your goal is to be reactive instead of proactive you are letting others determine your goals for you.

Treat everyone on the field with respect. Everyone, including your competition, should be respected. You never know who your network will incorporate in the future. Players should treat the referees, opponents, coaches, fans and teammates with honor and respect. You should treat each person you meet with respect, not only because they all have the ability to potentially make or break your business , but because it's the right thing to do (A Nicer World Starting Now).

How do you handle game day prep and what attitude and practices do you bring to the field? I'd love to hear your comments.






Biggest Networking Fails

Networking has its challenges, the biggest of which is probably you. It's okay, personally I feel the same way about networking meetings as I do about my twice annual visits to the dentist (sorry Dr. Ben, you know I love you) -- I know I need to go, but it still makes me nervous, even though I've been many times. And I still sit in my car and feign an excuse to go home. I think the biggest hesitation I have when it comes to networking is my low expectations of what will happen,  is this a waste of time,  and what is it exactly that I am supposed to be doing? And how much will this hurt? A few thoughts about our expectations, actions and solutions when it comes to networking:

We expect too much from networking. Networking meetings are not a time to try and close deals.  Depending on the event, it may not be possible to schedule appointments either. But, it is a great time to start building new contacts and new relationships. Take the pressure off yourself, if you walk out of a networking meeting with one solid new contact, you are winning.

Talk too much. Want to blow it completely, just keep talking. Was your goal to make a new contact or was your goal to puke product? Listen more, talk less. You already know everything you need to know about yourself, give your tongue a break and put your ears to work, you will be glad you did.

Talk to too many. This is not the time to collect a stack of cards, pass out a bunch of cards, rush back to your office and send out a bunch of sell sheets. Find a friendly face in the crowd or pre-plan a meet-up with a networking insider that knows the crowd. The organizers of the meeting probably know many in attendance. Ask them to introduce you to a few of the attendees that potentially would be of interest to you. Do your homework if you want to make the meeting time a good investment of your time.

No follow up. Here's where most people drop the ball. Do yourself a favor, if you plan on skipping the follow up step, don't go to a networking meeting at all. The magic is in the follow up. Handwritten notes work like magic, are rarely sent and will set you apart from others met at the event. As a bonus, mention a few pieces of personal info that you remember from your encounter. I promise they will be impressed.

Elevator speeches don't work. This might be against the grain,  but I hate elevator speeches. Here's my philosophy, I know what I do and probably can describe it in a sentence or two, maybe even a word or two. The pressure of remembering an elevator speech or canned monologue of my body of work seems so nonsensical, forced and static. Plus, I like living an unscripted life. Have I lost a gig or two as a result? Maybe, but I've gotten a gig or two being unscripted as well. And I have nothing to remember. (See "Talk too much" above).

What are your challenges when it comes to networking? I'd love to hear from you.



The Sound of Silence

The sound of silence can be deafening and quite possibly disastrous for your business. Are you listening to what you can't hear?

The numbers are alarming. For every one customer that complains, over 25 customers who have had an unfavorable experience with a brand don't complain. Silence, zilch, crickets, nada, nothing. And these same customers are walking out the door with their money,  heading to the competition.  Complacency, due to a lack of complaints is not a good place to hang out.  Check out these points:

No news is good news.  Think again. Regularly survey your customers, ask questions that evoke emotion. Questions with answers like "satisfied" or "expected" provide no real value.  Survey questions that require your customer to defend your brand, will tell a lot about how your customer feels about you. "Please list the top reason that almost stopped you from using us?" Dig for the negative. 

Silence is golden. Silence is costing you money and can result in lots of red ink, bleeding your business of profits. Once you find out how our customers really feel about your products or services, take action to correct the issues that arise. What good is there in finding out problems, if you are not willing to correct them? Now is not the time to get defensive or for paralysis by analysis. Your customer speaks and their words have value to your business.

If a tree falls in the forest... Your customers want to hear from your brand. When you reach out to them, they are providing free advice to you that has tremendous value to your company. The more vocal your customer is, the more value they are providing. Every level within your organization should participate including management, sales, accounting, operations. This is not just about products and services, it's about people relating to people. 

Actions speak louder than words. Don't just rely on your front line to get information. Your customers would love to hear from the company owner, president or partner. If given an opportunity to discuss your products and services in a non-threatening, open and genuine environment, your customers will tell you how they feel. You just need to ask them.

With your help, the silent customer will become an advocate for your brand, shouting great things about your company from the mountain top, echoing referrals, future sales and profits as they go.




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Teach Your Children Well

The lessons you share with your kids will have a dramatic impact on the lives they live, so teach your children well. Here are a handful or so of ways your teachings prepare your kids for the "real world."

  • Teach them to change a tire. This valuable lesson will not only help your child work well under pressure (nobody expects to get a flat) but it teaches them to rely upon themselves in emergency situations.
  • Teach them to catch a fish. Give your child fish, they have fish sticks, teach them to fish and they will have a lifetime of meals. Your kids need to understand the importance of making a living and providing for themselves. Through fly fishing my father taught me a world of lessons about myself, business and people.
  • Teach them to write a handwritten note. Your child will gravitate towards technology (and that's not a bad thing), however, nothing can replace the personal, unique and genuine feel of a handwritten note. Personal communication will set them apart from the rest of the world and help them build a healthy network of amazing personal connections.
  • Teach them to make their own bed. As they get older your child will understand the importance of having a neat and tidy work area. If taught early in life, your kids will want to stay organized and clean. Productivity and efficiency boom when clutter is eliminated and organization shines.
  • Teach them to brush their teeth daily. While they may not see the benefits of brushing immediately, they will have a beautiful smile while they learn the positive benefits of preventative maintenance. Also, this will teach your child about healthy habits and good hygiene. Positive childhood habits will serve them well in their adult years.
  • Teach them to save pennies now. A glass mason jar is all you need to collect pennies, and they can learn the lesson of accumulating savings. Once the jar gets filled, some of the money can be enjoyed, donated or used to buy a reward. Some should be saved for a better future. Empty the jar and start again. Your child will learn a great lesson about saving, goal setting and sharing.

What life lessons did you teach your children? Please share one with our Nice Guy community in the comments section below.

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