Welcome to the Nice Guy Blog

Viewing entries tagged
self improvement


7 Reasons Why Average is Your Enemy

Photo by piyathep/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by piyathep/iStock / Getty Images

It’s rare that someone or some company aspires to be average, and yet it’s the exception rather than the rule when the average glass ceiling is broken.  While what it takes to go beyond average might be minute, why is it that not many achieve this level of service? As a motivated business owner, I see average as my enemy and something that I must guard myself from becoming. I’ve got to hand it to average, it does a great job of looking so easy, attractive and irresistible. Maybe that’s why organizations everywhere fall into the trap of thinking their customers, clients, shareholders, partners and employees will be ok with average results. I mean, average is good enough, right?

We are faced with a dilemma each and every day we show up. Choice number one (a choice of "HAVE" to do), to go about your tasks, fulfill your obligations, check off items on your to-do list and to arrive at the end of the day having completed it, in an average manner. Choice number two (a choice of "GET" to do),  being excited about the opportunities provided, being a problem solver, looking forward to achieving great things, promoting change for the better. I don’t understand how or why anyone chooses option 1, I see it as letting life happen as opposed to making like happen.

Average affects everything, the relationships in your life, the decisions that you make, the opportunities that are presented to you and the way you live your life. Average holds you back by telling you everything is good enough and that everything is going to be okay. Seriously, would you rather be okay or would you like to thrive and excel? 

Average affects everything, the relationships in your life, the decisions that you make, the opportunities that are presented to you and the way you live your life.

Here are 7 reasons why average is your enemy:

  1. Average doesn’t let you take responsibility. When the buck doesn’t stop with you and you feel the need to blame someone else, you are falling into the category of average. Once you start the blame game, it’s very hard to stop it. Consider for a moment being on the receiving side of a situation where you are not able to find a responsible party, no one is taking responsibility. It’s very frustrating and unsatisfying to not have a resolution. Your calls for help are answered by verbiage like, “Sorry, that’s our policy,” or “That is not our department, I’m not sure why they do it that way.” 
  2. Average provides little opportunity. When you aspire to be average, opportunity will not often come knocking. Unfortunately when it does knock, you usually will not recognize it as opportunity. More often, it will be seen as an inconvenience, too challenging to act upon and if acted upon you will be so deep in average, your climb up may be too much of a burden to get out of average.
  3. Average robs you of your creativity. Average is holding your creative side at bay. Stuck in a routine, not excited about what life has to offer and unable to see your potential? Whether you are a number cruncher, a burger flipper or podcast host, use your creative brain cells and maximize your potential. When average robs you of your creativity, you take a colorful world and make it grey and beige.
  4. Average is extremely contagious, immediately stop spreading it. Ever notice that average people tend to hang out with each other? They clock in at nine and they leave at five. Average often expresses itself in poor diet, poor outlook on life and a woe is me attitude. Average creates a victim and holds you down. Since average is contagious, other people that caught the condition commiserate with you and make you believe, "it is what it is."
  5. Average keeps you from looking at all the possibilities. As your enemy, average tricks you into thinking when you solve a problem satisfactorily you can move onto something else. Instead of stopping here, go beyond satisfactory and move into exemplary. Think back to an experience you had with an company that provided a service in such a way that your expectations were exceeded. Help someone become a raving fan of your work, exceed their expectations and you will be hooked. Destroy your enemy, average, and you will be happy you did.
  6. Average equates to good enough. When good enough becomes enough, it’s time to find something better to do. What I do know about you is this, I know that you were not put on this earth to be good enough.  I welcome the argument from anyone reading this to share with me your story of why good enough is good enough.
  7. Average holds you back from growth and keeps you in your comfort zone. While I admit I do find a measure of relaxation in my comfort zone, I will have to also admit if I graphed the time in my career when I grew the least, it was the same time I found myself in a comfortable routine. I liked the routine, but I hated the lack of growth. Once I started to step outside of my comfort zone and into unfamiliar terrain I usually met temporary setbacks followed by explosive growth. When you are average, things are comfortable, but everything, including the comfort zone, is temporary. Instead of failing via lack of growth, I was determined to step out of my comfort zone, and wait for growth to happen. Working in this pattern, I have always been successful.
Average holds you back by telling you everything is good enough and that everything is going to be okay.

When you start to believe in your heart that good enough isn’t, you start to see your world through an entirely different lens. You become more responsible for your actions and your behavior, you start to make your own opportunities, you develop creativity through-the-roof, your possibilities become limitless and you take risks because you know the rewards far exceed the dangers. You begin to spread your message with purpose and conviction and you step away from average and destroy your enemy. When you first start your journey the flywheel becomes tough to move, but once the flywheel is cranking at full speed, the enemy (average) will never stand a chance.



A little known secret about relationship building

Consider for a moment that relationships are like airplanes moving from takeoff to landing, point A to point B.  Wind, weather and other circumstances both natural and mechanical will determine how efficiently and effectively that airplane travels between these two points. The pilot, a trained professional, has two major responsibilities. First, he must prepare and take precautionary steps, including adjusting the plane’s altitude, speed and mechanical controls, avoiding danger along the route. And second, he must react to the circumstances and conditions presented, keeping the plane and all occupants safe the entire flight. He has no control of the circumstances. He is able to control his actions as they relate to those circumstances. Wind shear, weather patterns, and unexpected mechanical emergencies are outside of his control. However, with proper training and discipline, the pilot will be prepared in the event any issues arise during flight. Even when no adverse circumstances are presented, the pilot, co-pilot and other staff are constantly checking conditions, monitoring variables and making adjustments. These adjustments are needed to keep the plane safe from mechanical danger, allow for a smooth journey for the passengers and to ensure an on-time, safe arrival at their final destination.


Relationships are much the same way. If you get involved with someone, whether it’s personal or business, be aware that relationships are not static. By nature, relationships are dynamic, always changing. Making adjustments along the way is very important, even if you do not necessarily sense a big change in conditions; just like on that airplane.

Little changes made along the way will have a lasting impression in the long run.  The secret? It’s so much easier to make small, almost unnoticeable adjustments along the way than to make big changes to your relationships. As a matter of fact, the small actions you take will be fun, create lasting memories and be easy to institute. Conversely, making big changes could potentially rip the fabric of your sometimes fragile relationships. Even relationships you think are not fragile can be very delicate. And since many people do not like change, it may potentially destroy a relationship you have built.  

Put small, everyday positive actions into your personal relationships and you will find your relationships will flourish.  The effort will be minimal but the impact will be tremendous. Telling your partner, "I love you," leaving small notes on the kitchen counter, a 30 second phone call during a busy day just to say, "Thinking about you." Something as simple as a single flower picked from the garden or purchased at the gas station when filling up. The point is, it doesn't really matter what you do, but the mere action of doing something shows you really care. 

Don’t assume your partner knows how you feel just because you help contribute to the monthly rent payment or that you cleaned up your dishes in the sink. Keep the spark alive and the fire of the relationship burning.  It reminds me of the couple that has been cold to each other for years, not communicating properly or showing affection toward each other. When asked about it, years later in therapy, while trying to salvage their failing marriage, one of the partners says, “I don’t understand what happened. I told her I loved her when we got married. I promised that day if anything changes, I would let her know. Nothing has changed, I’m not sure why she’s so mad all the time. Now that we are in therapy, I bought her a Mercedes and she’s still angry with me.” Show affection before it’s too late and appreciate your partner now and stop taking them for granted.

As it relates to a professional relationship, it’s the little things like sending a handwritten note to say thanks for the business, a text message to say “hello, I appreciate you and your business,” or a well-timed delivery of donuts or goodies that says, “You are awesome!” 

Every relationship requires work, effort, patience and understanding. As your relationship begins, lots of energy is expended getting it moving, just like a plane during takeoff. But once airborne, even small shifts in steering and other instruments, over the long haul, can make dramatic changes to the journey. Make adjustments and take positive action to improve the relationships in your life. The words, just because, will create lasting, positive results. As your relationship develops, your actions, even small ones under the guise of, just because, will help steer the direction of your relationship. So what are you waiting for, send out that text message, pen that handwritten thank you note or hand deliver those cupcakes to someone special in your life. And if asked why, tell them, “It's the little things.”



4 Ways To Get Noticed Starting Right Now!

Photo by Nastco/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by Nastco/iStock / Getty Images

The noise is everywhere, making it more challenging than ever for your message to be heard. With so much noise , how is it possible to get noticed, stay top of mind, or even get your brand off the starting line? The goal isn't to get noisier, that would be the answer if your were looking to be more annoying.  Business will not just find you, you have to go and get it. But how can you get more business and rise to the top, above the noise and get noticed?

It's time to get your head out of the sand and start focusing on the real reason people will do business with you. The answer is NOT about having the lowest price, the best features, the quickest delivery or even by being the best at what you do. Certainly, some of those things are nice, but they are not the universal answers to building business. Building business is about building relationships and that starts with each and every encounter you have. Start getting noticed now, regardless of whether you are developing a relationship online or face to face. Use these 4 tips to start getting noticed beginning right now:

The most rewarding things are the things you do for others. Especially when you’ve done it because you’ve wanted to, not because you’ve had to. @Mark_Sanborn
— Mark Sanborn

Catch people in the act. Getting caught in act is not about finding people doing something wrong. This time, catch them doing something right. People respond well to compliments and businesses respond the same way. If a brand you want to get noticed by does something good, let them know it. Create a "social scene" if they have done something good for their community. Tweet it out. If they have resolved a problem with a customer, let it be known how quickly the issue was brought to resolution. Too often companies are chastised for doing something wrong. Not often enough are they given praise. If a brand you are trying to build a relationship with does something right, catch them in the act, and it will get you noticed. Action item: Write a handwritten "caught in the act" letter to a company you are trying to do business with and watch how quickly they notice you.

It’s a matter of thinking how you can add value. It’s not through what you sell, it’s what else you can bring to the table. @davekerpen
— Dave Kerpen


Add value to your relationships. Don't make it about you.  Spend more time on what you can do for those you want to be noticed by. As an self-help, business book writer, in a field filled with hundreds of other authors I work hard to promote my book, Nice Guys Finish First. Although there are dozens of podcasts that can help promote my book, the field is still very crowded and gaining access to podcasts is not an easy feat. Instead of sending an email describing the benefits of the book to their audiences, I tell them how I will be able to help promoted their show, sharing not just my episode but other episodes as well with my social network and email list. I've been told several times I was selected as a guest because of my willingness to share information with others and that I did not come across as selling. Action item: Write a list of 3 ways that you can add value to a brand you wish to pursue. In other words, what can you offer them and in what ways can you help them to achieve their mission.

Be genuine, authentic and have peoiple in your life that will call you out and hold you accountable. @getjimpalmer
— Jim Palmer


Be unique. Don't be normal. Normal is a setting on your washing machine. Be unique, creative or downright entertaining. That doesn't mean that you have to break into song when you walk into your office or start tap dancing when get into the parking garage. A friend of mine, Ted Rubin is known for wearing crazy socks. Before delivering a keynote, audience members have remarked, "I wonder what socks Ted has on today?" Bowties, eye glasses or cufflinks are great ways to gently show your unique nature.  Maybe fashion isn't your thing, and that's ok. To be unique and add a bit of personality to my emails, I sign almost every email with an "XOXO." I've gotten email responses from people thanking them for the smile and the X's and O's. Action item: Make it your goal today to do something unique to get yourself noticed. If that scares you, start small, but realize your uniqueness will set you apart from the rest of the world. Be uniquely you.

If you think about the relationship first, if you are nice, and treat people well, it will enhance your relationship. @tedrubin
— Ted Rubin


Put yourself out there. In order to get noticed you have to take action, starting today, right now. Open your mouth, let your opinion be known, be remarkable and go big or go home. Putting yourself out there might mean volunteering for a project at work, stepping outside your comfort zone, doing something that you have never done before and taking some risk. Risk does not mean reinvention. You don't have to turn your life upside down if the risk outweighs the potential reward, but push yourself beyond the walls that you have built around yourself for so many years. Stop telling yourself NO and start telling yourself YES. Life comes at you fast, take control of the direction you are heading on the path you are on. Action item: Putting yourself in a position to be noticed is about putting one foot in front of the other and taking baby steps. Sign up for Toastmasters Club or attend a networking meeting and take control of your future today. 

Work hard to eliminate mediocre, average and an attitude of insignificance from anything you do. Each action step you take will help get you noticed. Getting noticed will help grow your existing relationships and will help build new relationships relationships as well. As an added bonus, the more you get noticed, the more confident you will become. Keep in mind, in order to see growth you will need to approach these changes with a genuine desire to improve and help others in the process and that's so much more cost effective (and helpful) than renting out Time Square.

Check out the latest episode of Nice Guys on Business....it pairs quite nicely with today's post.

Member of OPENforBusiness



5 Practices to Wake Up a Winner

Since entering the work force I have experienced approximately 7,920 work days. Excluding some major holidays and a few sick days,  and including my workaholic stretch in the 90's and early in the millennium years,  I have tried just about every trick in the book to optimize sleep, maximize positivity and keep my mind, body and being in good shape. In spite of all the external factors that do their best to work their mojo, I knew it was always in my best interest to start my day off properly. I'm not talking about the obvious things like eating a balanced breakfast, getting the proper amount of rest and staying off the Red Bull and eighth cup of coffee before bedtime. But I am talking about little changes, that if made could have a lasting impact on my health and my productivity during the day.

You will find most of the (best) practices below will take very little effort to accomplish, but will help you wake up and get started on your day as a winner.

One positive thought in the morning can change your whole day.

When you snooze, you lose - Hitting the snooze button might make you think you are getting more sleep, but you are doing more harm than good. As your sleep becomes fragmented your body becomes even more sluggish. Those extra few minutes of sleep may be sending your body into deeper sleep stages, making you feel even more tired. Instead of hitting "snooze" several times in the morning, set your alarm later and wake up on the alarm's first call. Experiment with your biological clock to find out what your best length of sleep really is and do your best to stick to it.

Start from the inside out - Many people use their smart phones as their alarm clock. If you fall into that category, once you turn your alarm off, put your phone down. As your body gently shifts from asleep to awake, don't shock it into reality quite yet with Facebook, Twitter, email and your news feed. Instead, take that same time you were dedicating to see what others are up to and invest it on the wonderful simplicity of your breath in and out.  Five minutes of watching your thoughts pass by, focusing on nothing other than your breathing in and out will have a surprisingly wonderful lasting impression on the rest of your day. As an added bonus, end your day the same way.

Some days you have to make your own sunshine.

Counting counts - My daughter Rachel told me about a breathing exercise called 4-7-8 and I have been using it for months now with amazing results. Start with a full exhale. Then, breathe in through your nose to the count of four. Hold to the count of seven. Exhale through your mouth to the count of eight. Repeat a total of four times. This practice is useful first thing in the morning, before going to bed, when anxiety makes its way into your day or when tense moments occur anytime. It's also a great way to deal with a problem BEFORE you react.

Dance like no one is watching - Okay, so maybe dancing isn't your thing, but get your heart rate up even if only for a few minutes. If you have stairs in your house, try going up and down them five to ten times to get your heart rate up. Working out in the morning starts your internal "fire" earlier and will help you burn more calories than the same workout in the evening. The point is, get moving and start your day feeling motivated and feeling good about yourself with a bit of extra blood flow and cardio in the morning.

If you want to make your dreams come true, you first have to wake up.

The big bad mama jama - Among the huge list of things you should accomplish during your day, set your goal for the one bad mama jama that MUST get accomplished.  This "must do" is non negotiable and is the most important task on your list. If all else fails, this one must get taken off the list by the end of the day. Not only should you write this daily goal down, when you cross it off the list, do a small victory dance. Well done.

Side effects include (the fine print): Making these small changes will not just effect you, but will have a ripple effect on those around you.  You will feel better and be ready for all the day has to deliver. Each day you work from the above list,  you will be happier and more relaxed. You will get caught in a spiral of positivity as you begin your day properly. You deserve to wake up as a winner. 



1 Comment

Let Your Moral Compass Lead the Way

Where is your moral compass taking you?

Where is your moral compass taking you?

I was raking leaves in my front yard this past Sunday, getting lost in the Zen-like action of pulling the rake through the brown, yellow and red leaves, uncovering the still green color of the grass below. I have not experienced this task for many years, having lived in a condo for several years and prior to that, living in a house with only one token tree in the front yard. Just like Charlie Brown loved his Christmas tree, we loved our tree since it belonged to us. It just wasn't the same experience as having a mighty oak or two or several maple trees shedding their leaves in autumn. As is often the case, when left on my own, without supervision, my mind started to wander. And since it was Sunday, thoughts of the upcoming week were pulling strong at me. As I mentally started a check-list of to-do items, I quickly stopped myself and  redirected my firing synapses.

What if, I thought, instead of a list of tasks, I completed a list of intentions, a focus on big picture actions instead of daily minutia. I'm a big list maker. I know if it somehow manages to get on my list, my goal is to accomplish the task and get it off my list. This week, however, I wanted to try something different. What if, instead of just doing the little things, I wrote down a list of the really big picture things that I wanted to do. I know I can't make the world a better place by making one big decision or by taking one action step in the right direction. I could however, make the world a better place if EVERY decision I make and every action I take is guided by my moral compass. Without a doubt, we all have a moral compass. The question is, do we follow it  as we make our way through life? 

I can make the world a better place if EVERY decision I make and every action I take is guided by my moral compass.

I can't answer any of these moral compass questions for you, but I challenge you to write them at the top of your task lists you write this week. I also challenge you to let the answers to these questions help guide you as you make decisions, take action and follow through with others you come in contact with this week.

  1. Did I bring good to the world and did I make the world better through my actions today?
  2. Did I treat others with respect and did I treat them fairly?
  3. Am I staying true to my beliefs and to myself?
  4. Am I being compassionate, empathetic and caring?
  5. Did I do the right thing, even when the right thing was hard to do?

I am confident there are many other questions you can ask yourself to help guide you, direct you and carry you along your journey. If my questions don't put wind in your sails,  come up with a list of your own questions. Your moral compass may not point to the same place as mine (and that's ok), but, keeping your set of questions in mind,  I am pretty sure wherever it takes you, you will feel a huge level of satisfaction when you turn around and recount the journey you just traveled.

1 Comment