Saturday, October 29, 2016

Are You Prepared to Step into the Spooky Unknown?

If you’ve ever watched a scary movie, then you know what happens to the idiot who goes up the creaky stairs that lead to a cobweb-infested bat-filled attic, or down into the cellar that’s cold and full of spiders, rats, and other slithering creepy-crawlies you can’t see hidden in the corners—something very bad. Thankfully, it’s all fake. The spider webs are fake, as are the ghosts, ghouls, and the occasional dismembered arm (or head) that just flew across the screen.
In real life though, there are those of us who spend a fair amount of time looking into the unknown. As entrepreneurs, we regularly find ourselves making decisions that send us traveling down “the road less traveled” rather than following the safety of someone else’s well-worn path. Sometimes it’s exciting, but it can very scary too.
That’s what it can feel like when you’re thinking about writing your first book. Deciding to share your expertise and passions with the world can be like looking down a path you haven’t been down before, and as you peer into that unknown, you feel antsy—sometimes straight up scared—about what might be lurking beyond the first bend in the road. What obstacles are lying in wait?  What will you do if you end up at another bend in the road? How many annoying bends in the road will you have to deal with? Is the risk you’re taking worth it?
Absolutely! You didn’t become an entrepreneur just to be different. You became one because you saw a need, or an opportunity to share something of value with others. And if you’re passionate about what you’re sharing, then the more people you share it with the better.
Writing a book isn’t the solitary scary venture it used to be either. There are dozens of books that talk about “how to write a book” these days. Read a bunch of them and utilize the ideas that resonate with you. Pay attention to the pitfalls and obstacles mentioned and decide how to best arm yourself against them.
Sharing your expertise with the world is very important, so don’t be like the idiot in the movie heading into the unknown without back-up either. Ditch the idea that you have to do it all on your own—no one succeeds in a vacuum. Find a writing coach or an editor you feel comfortable with and let him or her help you get over, through, or around the obstacles you encounter along the way. Needless to say, I’m here to help. 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The End of Average Part 6

The Age of Individuals Continued
Another interesting company that is doing some really ground-breaking stuff according to Rose in his book, The End of Average, is Morning Star. Morning Star has a self-managing philosophy. There are no managers. There is no hierarchy. Morning Star does everything it can to promote the power of the individual. Employees can even modify their own jobs however they want to as long as they can convince employees affected by the change that it’s a good idea.
Believe it or not, this can be the new win-win type of capitalism when individuality is taking seriously instead of the Robber Barons and every employee is transitioned into an independent agent. The new empowered employees are tasked with figuring out the best way of doing his or her job and contributing to the company in a meaningful way rather than being disengaged and having one foot already out the door. Remember, the 2013 Gallup Survey found that 70% of employees disengaged. And Walmart has a turnover rate of about 50% annually. That means that Walmart has to replace about a million people a year. Just think about the enormous costs of doing that…
Western Governors University is breaking out of the traditional Taylorism system of education where high schools and colleges are controlling almost every aspect of their students’ lives and forcing their students to be just like everyone else, but only better. In addition, students are paying more and more for this kind of maltreatment as well. Western Governors University has on-line self-paced classes with competency exams. This University only costs $6,000 for as many classes as one can finish in two semesters.
More than 200 schools are now exploring competency-based forms of evaluating performance. And many are doing away with traditional grades. Even MIT is offering several credentialing programs because it offers more flexible and finer-grained level of certification of one’s skills, abilities and knowledge than the typical four year college diploma. The State of Virginia is also offering credentialing instead of the four year college programs where they have a shortage of qualified candidates.
In short, students should be able to take courses anywhere and stack credentialing from all over, according to Todd Rose. Students should be able to learn the material at their own pace, and even for free if they can figure out a way, like maybe going to the free public library, for some of their education. In addition, with self-determined competency-based credentialing there will be fewer penalties for experimenting in order to discover what one’s true passion really is. This would also create better matches between students and employees because credentials would adjust in real time. Rose doesn’t want to do away with colleges, he just wants them to change to meet the needs of today’s students.
A good fit with our environment, whether it’s a classroom, cockpit or corner office, creates opportunity to show what we are truly capable of as unique individual human beings. But one must remember that equal access is not the same as equal fit. Equal access helped move us forward as a more fair society during the Industrial Age. Today, it’s different. Today, only equal fit creates true equal opportunity.
Back in 1931, James Tuslow Adams coined the term, American Dream in direct response to the growing influence of Taylorism and the efficiency movement, which valued the system, but had no regard for the individuals to whom alone any system could mean anything. The American Dream wasn’t about the white picket fence or being rich. Rather, it was about having the opportunity to live our lives to the fullest, as well as being appreciated for who we really are.
Unfortunately, averagarianism has corrupted the American Dream, and has made it more about economic success than anything else. This corruption of our American Dream has caused the fabric of our society to change, as well as the way we view each other, and view ourselves.
The principles of individuality presents a way to restore the American Dream, and even better, the chance for everyone to attain it in their own unique way. It’s time for all of our institutions, especially our schools, to embrace individuality and to adopt equal fit instead of equal access. We can break free of the tyranny of averagarianism and standardization by choosing to value individuality and get the American Dream back again by being the best we can be and living a life of excellence as we define it by ending the age of average.

Are you willing to do your part in finding and obtaining your American Dream?

Dan Blanchard is an award-winning author, speaker and educator. To learn more about Dan please visit his website at: Thanks.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Grit Part 2

        Grittier people are more about stamina than intensity. The most dazzling human achievements are not really overnight magical performances with herculean intensity, but in fact, the aggregate of countless individual elements, each of which, in a sense is nothing more than ordinary. But, with these ordinary small acts done consistently and correctly, and all together over time, it can’t help but produce excellence! Believe it or not, mundanity produces excellence. It’s a hard sell, but it’s true!
            Dr. Duckworth author of, Grit believes that effort is so important in one’s success that it actually factors in twice to the success formula. You see, one cannot have true skill without applying some effort to obtain skill. And at the same time additional effort will make that skill productive. Potential means nothing in the end without a lot of effort to build that skill and then use that skill through effort for however long it takes to win, which by the way, builds even more skill.  In Grit, Dr. Duckworth says that she is finding it more satisfying in sticking with something for as long time in order to become an expert who can see and do what the ordinary cannot than to continuously keep starting over as a newbie with potential.
            In 1940 Harvard University began what is today the longest study ever conducted on human development. George Valliant, continues to this day, to follow up on the men that took his 1940 treadmill test that was designed to physically and mentally punish them regardless of their level of talent of fitness. In the many decades that followed, he found the ones that pushed through the pain the longest ended up being better psychologically adjusted throughout their adulthood than the others who had quit earlier.
            Oh, by the way, modern day mega blockbuster, Hollywood superstar Will Smith says that he is no more talented than anyone else. However, he is willing to die on that treadmill before he’ll let his competition force him off of it. Do you think Will Smith might know a little something about the Harvard treadmill test study that began way back in the 1940s? How about grit?
            You see, in the end, the evidence appears to be overwhelming that consistency of effort over the long run is everything. And sadly, we tend to quit too often and too soon. Let’s try to be a little grittier and let’s stick it out a little bit longer. Who knows what might happen if we do?
            The good thing here is that grit isn’t fixed. We can actually develop grit and develop more grit if we’re already a little gritty. However, in order to develop this grit we need to develop an interest. Not find an interest mind you, but to develop one. Next, we have to use our capacity to practice, then become purposeful, and finally never lose hope. Basically, it all comes down to the fact that if we get knocked down and we stay down, grit loses. If we get back up, grit wins.

            Do you get up time after time?
Dan Blanchard is an award-winning author, speaker and educator. You can learn more about him at: