First Day Of School

Nothing like the first day of school.

It can be nerve-racking and exciting at the same time.

One thing that its not? Boring.

You don’t have be in school to feel the impact of the first day.  It signifies a changing of the seasons.  Summer to Fall.  Or in business, second quarter to third quarter.

Time to begin again.

It’s been years since I went to school so nowadays I live vicariously through my kids experiences.

As I see them get ready in the morning, it makes me think back to going through similar routine, but more than that I recall those same emotions.

One sticks out more than anything – nervous excitement.  Nervous because its something new and you don’t know what to expect.  Excitement for those same reasons.

Even when you aren’t in school, the first day of school can sharpen your focus on your goals.

First, it can be reinvigorating and help you to push thru and finish the year on a high note.

Second, it can get you thinking ahead and to focus on the goals that you want to achieve in the new year.  The next six months take you into the first couple months of the year so you realize its coming soon.

One thing that never changes – always making sure you look fresh on the first day.

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Shark Tank Rejection

One of my favorite shows is Shark Tank.

As an entrepreneur, I enjoy seeing fellow entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to self-made business people.

But there is one thing that happens every episode that always gets me.

It happens after a Shark says the words “I’m out.”  It means that they are no longer in the running for investing in the company.

Nearly everytime the person pitching will say “Thank you.”

They may say “Thank you for your time,” or “Thank you for listening,” but it always starts with “Thank you” – not the first thing that comes to mind when you get turned down.

Smiling in front of rejection is tough, but it shows character.

It shows the commitment to your idea and that one persons lack of interest isn’t going to get you down.

It shows an ability to move ahead to the next, as there are other “sharks” and potential investors still available.

Even if none of the sharks commit, saying “thank you” shows that you are bigger than the moment.  There will be millions of people watching the show.  It’s best to use the moment as an advertisement instead of revealing disappointment.

It’s the right move to make every time.

 

Unsubscribe

I get at least 100 emails a day.

Oftentimes more.

I’m not alone.  Many people, especially those in business receive over 100 emails a day.

It can be intimidating opening your browser to find hundreds of unread emails.

What makes it worst is when you take a day off.  Suddenly 100 emails turns into 200 which can quickly turn into 300.

When I take a business trip for a couple of days and am away from my computer most of the time it isn’t uncommon for me to amass over 1000 emails.

Are they all important?

Of course not.  Out of that 100 maybe 20 are.  Another 20 are quick responses.  But at least half of them are junk.  Some are blatant junk, others are emails being sent because I am on a list.  Half of the time I don’t know how I got on the list, but I’m on the list.

That’s when I realized a powerful button – unsubscribe.

I began to unsubscribe to these sites that send me emails a few times a week.  They aren’t important, they aren’t urgent.  They are barely relevant.

I like a good deal, but I don’t need Groupon and Buytopia emails in my inbox everyday.  I rarely – if ever – purchase anything from them.

I’ve only started doing this but I’ve already seen a change.  My emails are down each day.  I look forward to hitting the unsubscribe button so that I can lower that amount.

By removing the clutter you can get more done in less time.  And solve (well at least partially) the challenge of staring at the inbox.

 

Meant To Be…

It was twenty minutes before show time and I was setting up the equipment for my show.

The principal walked into the gym and we started talking.

One of the questions I asked her is something I always ask – how did you hear about the show?

She said: “It’s funny, because I received a copy of your brochure in the mail and then the next day a teacher told me she saw your video on facebook.  It was synergy.  See – you were meant to be here!”

Now I’m a positive guy.  After all, I’m a motivational speaker.  I’ve watched The Secret and I’ve read plenty of “success” literature.  On top of that, I’m a spiritual person.

With that said, it always makes me laugh when someone says it was meant to be.

I don’t know if it was as much of a coincidence as it was effective marketing.

There is so much noise out there that you have to use multiple strategies to target your contacts, customers and clients.

One of my most effective ways to reach schools has been sending an email.  It’s direct.  It’s often the preferred method of communication.

But sometimes an email can be overlooked as junk mail.

So I will also send a brochure.  Which can also be overlooked as junk mail or can be flagged and discarded by the gatekeeper – the secretary.

Another marketing tool I use is video.  I created a short video compilation of my school show and posted it on Facebook asking my friends to share.  In this case, a friend of a friend saw it and asked more about the program and then reached out to their principal.

When two or more forms of marketing connect it can be called “synergy” but I like to think of it as  effective marketing because it reminds the potential customer that they should take action.  It develops the story,  provides more information and makes it more likely that they buy.

Marketing using one method is okay.

But chances are, the more methods you use, the more successful you will be, and the more that you will hear the magic words…

It was meant to be.

 

 

I’m Canceling My Gym Membership

I’m heading to the gym today.

I’m going to workout, but I’m also going to cancel my membership.

I’ve been going to this gym for a year.  I chose it because its the closet gym to my house and one of the main barriers/excuses/procrastinations to not working out is when your gym is too far.

I make use of my membership.  I go.  Well, I try to go as much as I can but I’ve been on the road a lot the last few months so I may only go a couple of times a week or ten times a month.

But that’s not the reason why I’m canceling the membership.

I’m doing it because I don’t like the vibe there.

It’s sloppy.

Sure, usually I am greeted with a hello by the person behind the desk as I wave my fob and sign in.

But then I see the management.  Two managers that have not so much as said ‘hi’ let alone give me a head nod and smile.  It’s almost like they purposefully avoid eye contact.

That’s not like how it was supposed to be.  When I joined I met Joe.  He convinced me to sign up, but I didn’t need much convincing.  His energy was infectious.  Why wouldn’t I sign up?

I’d see him when I was working out and we’d talk.  Not a long talk – we were working out, but the quick just-the-right-time-in-between-sets kind of talk that makes you push thru the next set.

The other problem is the promotions.

There are posters on the wall offering deals if you sign up by March 31st.  It’s June 27th as I write this.

Sloppy.

Then there are the weights.  There is a sign that says “If you aren’t strong enough to put back your weights after you are done, please ask one of the ladies and they will assist you.”  The first time I read that I laughed a little.  Maybe a little inappropriate, but they were making their point.  But then I didn’t see people put their weights back, more so than any other gym I’d been to.

When the members, and the staff don’t value keeping it organized – how can I?

Maybe the final straw was when I asked the manager about the personal training program.

I was interested in a personal training package that could give me a new workout plan.

He took down my name and number.  Didn’t get a call.

I followed up on it, still never heard from anyone.

Strange.

So I’m cancelling my membership.

It doesn’t mean I’ll stop working out.

I have a suitable home gym.  I like to jog outdoors.  I like my P90X and T25 videos.

I may have watched them countless times, but one thing never changes:

They always are hype and full of positive energy.

One thing that I’ve learned is that for me – being surrounded by hype people that are full of energy is one of the top qualities of a gym.

Harder to give it your best when you aren’t surrounded by good energy.

 

Bring This Guy Back, He’s So…

Bring this guy back he’s so…

Prepared.

I was doing a show at a highschool and arrived at 7:45.  An early time to be preparing to rap, but also an early start time for a highschool that was beginning at 8:15 am.

I couldn’t imagine starting school at 8:15 as a highschool student.  I remember how tired I was in the morning.

Of course my day didn’t begin at 7:45.

I was on the road at 6:45 and punched the address into my phone.  I know it should take between 40-45 minutes but its the morning, its Toronto traffic, and I was set to be on three busy highways.

My alternative was taking the 407 – the toll highway.  My Iphone showed that the 407 wasn’t going to save me time.  It was 40 minutes on both routes.  As I jumped on the first highway, I noticed the traffic was getting heavier.  I could trust the Iphone but what happened if things changed half way through my journey?

So I jumped on the 407 and ensured that I’d arrive on time.  And I did.

I walked into the schools gym and they were setting up.

The main equipment that I need is a projector – which I cleared that the school had prior to my arrival.  I let them know that I use a sound system and if they had one that would be great.  They did – but it was on the same cart as the projector and looked like a small system that was better set for plugging in a video game system for playing in the living room rather than for rapping and speaking in front of a few hundred students.

But the vice principal assured me it should be okay and that the microphone was being plugged into the main system.  I went over to the teacher that was setting it up.  He passed me the lapel mic that I could clip on.  “Do you have a handheld?” I said.  As a rapper, I always prefer having a microphone in my hand.

He said they did, but then remembered that it had been misplaced so he connected a corded mic while he went to look for it.

After seeing that he hadn’t returned for a few minutes, I took out my own mic and replaced it with the corded one.

When the teacher came back in he was about to apologize that he couldn’t find the cordless when he smiled and said “Wow, you are really prepared.”

He didn’t even know about the sound system that was in my trunk, just in case this one wasn’t sufficient.

The vice principal came back.  She asked the teacher if he had his Macbook here because the presenter working in a separate room forgot his power cord.

I reached in my bag and pulled one out.  I had purchased a new computer a couple months ago but still bring my old one out to shows… Just in case.

That’s when the teacher said “You’ve got to bring this guy back.  He’s so prepared.”

I could have just relied on their equipment.  I used to do that.  Most times it would go well.  I’d say 95% of the time it would be fine.  But that’s also when I was just getting started.  Not a rookie, but less than 100 shows under my belt.  Now I have over one thousand.

I remember the times when the corded mic was connected to an antiquated PA system and it was scratchy and nearly inaudible.   I remember how the “sound system” was a small boombox equivalent to what I had in my bedroom as a teenager.  I remember how I didn’t regulate crowd size and now there was six hundred students listening to me and how I could hear that I didn’t have full command due to the sound limitations and felt powerless to do anything about it.

That’s why I also remember how buying the sound system was one of the best purchases I’ve made.

I’ve had it for over eight years now.  There is duck tape around it from dropping a couple times.  Sometimes I have to adjust the cord a little to make sure one of the channels works.  But other than that its fine.  And if it ever becomes a problem I won’t hesitate to buy another.

But back to the show.

Since I was prepared I had time to chill before the show started.  I was talking to the teacher and vice principal and surprised how I was only speaking in front of one grade.  They had two other speakers in to talk to other grades.

It’s something they did every year.

That’s when the bell went off.

My preparation could lead to coming back next year… and maybe the year after that.

I’m prepared for that email.

 

 

 

Superheroes

Loved this part of the interview that Quake Matthews did for Fiona Blooms Efficacy series.

He talks about how when he was growing up he looked up to rappers as if they were superheroes.

I can relate.  I thought the same way.  For me – Snoop Doggy Dogg, LL Cool J and Nas were larger than life.

I don’t look at it the same anymore.  Maybe because I’m older.  Maybe because I’m a rapper myself.  Maybe because the game has changed, but I don’t feel like musicians have the same mystique.

I think its more the last reason I pointed out – how the game has changed.

No more trips to the store to buy the new CD.

Social media brings you closer to an artist, but it also has helped lose the mystique.

Makes me wonder – would Michael Jackson be on Snapchat and post pictures on the Gram’?