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Good morning Luckies! It's been a couple weeks and I missed you all. It's great to be back in this room.

So this guy right here grew up Jewish. I went to Hebrew School and I was Bar-Mitzvahed. But the reality - for myself and my family - is that we're way more about the traditions - food, family, guilt - than we are about the religious aspects.

But the mark of the New Year just came, and first of all, whether you celebrated it or not, I want to wish you a Happy and Sweet New Year. Who couldn't use more Happiness and Sweetness in their life, and even their business.

But the holiday got me thinking. It's kind of arbitrary. Whether it's 5779 or 2019, we create this somewhat arbitrary threshold, we cross it, and then we're in a New Year. Now I get that we humans like to track and measure. And it might be a little weird, and possibly cumbersome, to always be in the same year, forever. But consider that along with the seasons, the calendar creates a cycle.

And there's an impact to that cycle. And these days, it seems to be accelerating right? Even before the first leaf hits the ground, Halloween candy is on shelves. And about 5 min after you swallow your last bite of turkey you'll see candy canes in Duane Reade, soon to be chased off the shelves by marshmallow chicks and bunnies.

The point - to which I've taken the long way around to get to - is that we often find ourselves reactive to these cycles. And the same can be seen in business. There are seasonal slow downs and ramp ups. There's the fiscal year, etc.

Today I invite you to take a look at two things. First of all, what are the cycles that occur in your business? And who and what are you reactive to?

And second? I want you to imagine that you're a surfer. And you need to paddle out away from shore in order to position yourself to ride the perfect wave. And these cycles I'm talking about are the waves coming at you on your way out.

What action can you take today, this week, this month, to rise above and cut through in order to position yourself properly?

There will always be cycles - just like there will always be waves. The question is are you getting caught in the white water? Or paddling on purpose to get to where you want to be?

And if this gets the wheels turning but you're not quite sure how to stand up on your board let me know. I'm happy to talk more about it.

Surf's up my friends.

How old are you?

Don't tell me, it is irrelevant.

You may remember that last week my commercial pointed out that Picasso painted well into his 90s. In fact, he sired a child while in his 60s (the dog).

And my hero, Frank Lloyd Wright, finished the Guggenheim while in his 90s as well.

Some other fun facts......

Tina Fey was working at a YMCA and Oprah was fired from a job when they were 23 years old.

J.K.Rowling as a suicidal single parent living on welfare at 28.

Harrison Ford was a carpenter at 30, Julia Child released her first cookbook at 39 and got her TV show at 51.

Morgan Freeman got his first major movie at 52 and Grandma Moses didn't start painting until 76.

Age is irrelevant, or is it?

When is the best time to plant a tree?

50 years ago.

When is the second best time?
TODAY.

What can you start doing today to advance, change or fine tune your career and/or your life?

Now is the time to do it.

If you are in a bad relationship, get out. As Paul Simon wrote, "There must be 50 ways to leave your lover".

If you are at a bad job or want to change it for the better....DO IT!

Don't wait until you're are dead or live in the world of "shoulda done this or coulda done that"

DO IT!

Don't count on starting to paint when you are 90 or starting to act when you are 52, you might not live that long. G-d willing you will, but plant that tree today and watch it bear fruit for many seasons.

And as Robin Williams said in "the Dead Poets' Society"......"Carpe Diem, Lads (and Lassies), Seize the Day!"

Think about this. Running a marathon vs. running a sprint.

They're both interesting experiences, can create cool results, and have a measurable outcome.

But they're two vastly different races.

And the way you train for one, the way you actually run during one, and the way you strategize to win one - Will. Not. Work. in the other paradigm.

So the point is... KNOW YOUR RACE.

What kind of client are you trying to close?

If you're selling widgets in volume, like pens or swag items, then you may be sprinting all over the place.

If you're looking to close an eight-figure real estate deal it's a different animal, right Josh Doyle?

And if you're a high ticket service provider like me or Yotam, it may be a hybrid - sometimes sprinting in a conversation or session but really intending to craft a relationship that brings more significant results over a longer timeline.

These two "races" have a different level of prep, a different angle of engagement, and a different goal structure.

Rome wasn't built in a day, and either are the long term results of my clients. But it's my commitment that they generate value in every conversation.

On the other hand, while Matt Long may work long and hard on his wood, if he doesn't nail that sand sculpture on the first try, he ain't getting a call back.

Know yourself, the nature of your business, and the way you work most effectively.

Then get to know your clients, their goals, and prep accordingly.

You do that, you'll win every time!

See you at the finish.

I have a ten month old baby in my house right now, amazing experience watching little Gianna develop and grow. We were sitting at dinner and my daughter Meredith said “No” to Gianna, ...she was throwing food on the floor. My wife Katherine turned to her and said “try not to use that word, we don't want it to be the first word she learns…”

Nobody likes to hear no, and as a society we have been programmed to avoid saying “No” which is really funny when you consider we founded this country on the idea of NO more taxation without representation and the like. We like to answer with “maybe” or “I need to get back to you” rather than say no, it's just more comfortable, and the advantageous have learned to interpret a  “maybe” from us as “yes” just to complicate things.

In sales, we know that there are always going to be some “no”s. We don't like to think about it, in fact, getting a “no” often puts people off, especially if they have a sales goal or they just plain old need the money. Even worse, we are willing to accept it when a prospect says “ I need to check with my wife”, or “I’m not sure that's in the budget, I'll need to get back to you”. Why are we willing to accept these kinds of answers which after all are just code words for “no”? Is it that we don't want to be rude? Or is it that we just don't want to hear them actually say the word no?

 It may be one or all of the above. I'm here to tell you that we need to love the word “no” instead of avoid it. When we accept customer code for “no” we are not helping ourselves or our prospects.

A sale is simply an agreement. The decision to agree or not to agree needs to be clear so that there an be new opportunity for both you and the prospect. Living in the land of “maybe” allows us to linger in an agreement that has not happened and probably won't. Our prospects need to be empowered to make a clear decision so that everyone can move on with ease and grace either with the sale or without.

 Why are we afraid of “no”? Since we know it is inevitable that we are going to get “no's” and “yeses”’ what are we so concerned about? If I told you I would give you $ 100  every time we flipped a coin and it came up heads, would you say “OMG what if it comes up tails”? For that matter if it came up tails would you say “I just can’t do this anymore, It's never going to come up heads”. No way, you would be flipping that coin all day and every time it came up tails you would be all “flip it again, it's got to come up heads soon”. In fact, since its a 50/50 shot that you get heads or tails, you would want to get as many tails as possible because that means you would eventually get just as many heads.

  What if we treated sales with the same attitude? Think about it, what if we decided we were going to go out and get 20 “no’s” a day? You would be guaranteed to get some “yeses” in there and it would totally destigmatize getting “no’s”, in fact you might celebrate getting “no’s” just like getting tails when you flip a coin, knowing that a “yes” is on the way.

 Yes and no are two sides of the same coin, Yes lives in the land of No, you cant have one without the other. So start setting a “no” goal for your sales whether it be weekly, monthly or daily and watch the results shift over time.

  


What are you doing right now? How many of us have our phones set to vibrate so that we can respond to an associate at a moments notice? How many of us are looking at our phones right now?

One of the biggest myths of our time is the concept of multitasking. Multitasking is the belief that our brain can give a BNI meeting our full attention, really taking in what is being said, while texting our BFF or checking email for example. None of us do that here so a better example would be writing a report while attending a conference call or zoom meeting.

The fact is It takes time for our brain to reboot every time we switch tasks or even have an interruption like looking to see who is calling while we are engaged in a task. Studies show that people who multitask are actually as much as 40% less efficient than if they were focused on a single task. It is estimated that in today's fast paced work world, the American economy loses 650 Billion dollars a year due to interruptions to workflow. So imagine how much more efficient you could be if you were to carve out some uninterrupted time?

It takes the human brain 15 minutes of uninterrupted focus to get into a productive flow and than we need at least another 30-45 minutes to complete a task or idea. So where are we going to get that time? Even when we are working on our computers, there are little pop ups when an email comes in which is actually an unrelated thought and in itself an interruption. Even worse, I don't know about the rest of you, but I often want to answer the email and show I'm really on the ball.

Part of the problem is that we are expected to be intensely responsive now that our smartphones are practically a part of our bodies today. We all want to look as responsive as possible, God forbid we should be slow to respond or say no to our phones so that we can really focus on what's happening in the room right now.

I grew up with hard wired phones and though I'm not quite old enough to have experienced a "party line" where one line was shared by several households, I do remember what my life was like without a cell phone. There was no multi tasking, people did not expect instant responses or call backs, everything took hours, sometimes days- not minutes. It was a time of huge blocks of uninterrupted time and in that time you could really get stuff done. I also pioneered cell phones carrying around a phone as large as a small briefcase that cost me more per month than my current phone. I thought it was awesome, because it gave me a competitive edge in a client emergency. I never realized that it was the opening of pandora's box in terms of what I expected my response to be to everyone.

Now I don't ever want to go back to the time of hard wired phones, but I have found that having serious blocks of uninterrupted time as I did back then is the new competitive advantage, it's when I can actually solve a problem or complete a project. In order to get that kind of time you need to practice time blocking. I have a friend who was so desperate for time blocking he flew to Tokyo round trip, got of in Tokyo, got back on the next flight back to NYC all so he could meet a book deadline. This was before wifi on planes of course.

If you want to be truly productive, than practice "Time Blocking".

To Start our, block out a solid hour for whatever key project you are working on, silence or turn off your phone and put it away. If your computer does that pop up thing, go to your settings and tell it no thank you. If you work in an office with other folks let them know that you are doing this, put up a sign on your door, make sure everyone knows that this is your time and you are not to be interrupted unless its an emergency.

Make sure you book the time in your calendar so that it shows as busy. If you work in an open office, book an hour in the conference room with only yourself as the attendee. Make sure you block out the time on your calendar as well, make this time sacrosanct so that you get the really important work done without interruption. You will be amazed at what you can achieve and how much better you will feel with regular, focused project time.

If I asked you what the hardest thing in business was, you would probably say delivering a great website; or delivering great legal representation; or delivering the most exquisite jewelry design; or whatever service that you provide.

And yes, delivering outstanding service is really critical, but there is one thing more important and more difficult, and that's acquiring that next customer, because without that next customer, you won't be in business to deliver the outstanding service you provide.

And yet, a lot of us drop the ball with regard to follow up...even me.

So pay attention to my mistakes and I'll teach you how to make more money with proper follow up.

This past week, I didn't really realize just how critical proper follow up was until I was in desperate need of someone else's services and reached out to 4 possible providers.

In each case, the response was slow in coming ... and as a highly motivated buyer, I was thoroughly annoyed.

And that's when it hit me that my own follow up was lacking in some areas, and that the frustration that I was feeling was the same feeling that I was probably giving to some of my prospects.

Now most of my inbound referrals and contacts happen by email or my website contact form, so I'm normally able to respond within an hour if not immediately, so those prospects were happy.

Where I dropped the ball a little was on my inbound phone calls that had to leave a message with my service.

My normal process for following up with those inbound calls is to email them, and try to schedule a call, and that works most of the time, but I still had a few people that were not responding to scheduling email.

But my recent frustrating experience where I was the prospect, help me see a gap in my follow up.

The people that were placing phone calls were essentially specifying their preferred mode of communication, and because I didn't give 100% effort in trying to get back in touch with them, I now know that I didn't gives these people the best impression of me or my company; and I probably left some money on the table.

So put yourself in the shoes of your prospect and look at your level of responsiveness, and then make improvements to your follow up process, and I guarantee that you will make more money.

So hopefully you'll indulge me if I get just a little bit political. I promise I'm going somewhere with this.

Yesterday, it occurred to me that it's been a little while since the last large scale gun related tragedy. And, unfortunately, if things continue on as they have, it's simply a matter of time before the next heartbreaking headline.

Now don't get me wrong, if there are responsible gun owners in here, or even gun lovers, my intention is not to offend. Or even to debate the issue.

It's just that guns always seem to be so destructive. They don't really CREATE anything. They're designed to destroy.

But it goes without saying that they are very powerful.

So today I want to flip the script for once and use a gun as a metaphor for something powerful, yet positive. Something creative in nature.

Let's take a look at the three words in the well known phrase: Ready, Aim, Fire.

When we're building our businesses, and even our lives, it's these three elements that are so crucial to our success.

First, we need to be Ready. And this is in multiple forms. We need to make sure that our well being is intact. That we're eating well, getting good sleep - in the number of hours as well as the quality - and some regular physical fitness or movement. These will keep us healthy, and able to function at the levels we need to in order to be successful.

We also need to be prepared - to know our businesses inside and out. We need to know our work, our company, the position, and the material - even how it's going throughout the profession. We need to know about our ideal clients, who and where they are, what kind of money they make, what they're looking for.

Being *ready* means not missing out on deals and opportunities.

Second, we need to take Aim. Consider that there's attention and intention. Attention is essentially interest or awareness. Intention is the determination to take particular action.

So you go to a networking event. The attention is all about growing your business or getting more clients. The intention would be, for example, to make sure you're meeting at least four quality people every hour.

Once we're ready, and take aim, it's time to Fire.

This is the sending of the email, pitch, or offering, making the phone call, taking that lunch meeting to close the deal. It's setting up the 121, or meeting the prospect or potential referral partner. It's giving the demo or doing the session or treatment.

And it's also about follow-up. Closed business - especially in BNI - is all about relationship building. It's making deposits into the "accounts" of others, before you make a withdrawal.

Take action and make an impact.

To recap, in order to create thriving businesses we need preparation, focus, and action.

Ready, Aim, Fire.

Show of hands, how many people have kids? Great. Ok, keep your hands up. And now raise your hand and add to the group if you are in a significant relationship. Got it. Keep em up. Now add your hand if you own your own business. Ok, and how about if you work regularly and productively for someone else. Great, I think we got everyone.

If you raised your hand for any of these reasons - let alone qualifying for multiple categories - then you are a "builder." You're in a building phase of your life. This is certainly not a surprise if you're a member of this chapter. And if you're a visitor, the same is probably true. Showing up this early on a Wed isn't merely for the bacon. Though Amy will tell you - that bacon is pretty damn good.

The thing about being an entrepreneur, or a parent, or really any kind of "builder," is that we're constantly channeling our resources with a specific intention. We're looking to create a certain kind of output, a particular result or set of results. But sometimes, the universe seems to have different plans.

We can find ourselves in the impact of various circumstances.

Now life is essentially one evolving list of circumstances - we move past today and find new one's tomorrow. But sometimes (and for some it's quite a bit more often than just sometimes), they can all add up. And when that happens, we experience overwhelm or being "up against it."

In just the past few weeks, in addition to the seemingly normal stuff, I've been in the impact of Joana breaking her foot and not being able to drive, little eleven month old Jakey having an extended fever involving visits to the doctor and at least one hospital, pulling my back out badly - which is why I was out last week, various issues with the new house, and all the while trying to coordinate schedules in order to look at sleep-away camps for next year, and also dotting I's and crossing T's to support a team of twenty-three new coaches to graduate their year long program this weekend!

I say this not to complain - I have a beautiful life. But rather to normalize the organic nature of the human experience. And, as I've heard it said, "If we all put our problems in the center of the room, we'd probably take back our own!"

So, we all have stuff.

Today I want to offer you five things you can do when you find yourself, "up against it."

Own It - Don't hide or cover it up or pretend like it's not happening. And I'm not saying show everything to everyone. But make sure you are clear - especially with yourself - about what is actually happening in your world. "Fake it til you make it," applies in a lot of places. Here, just be mindful. There is a way to take ownership on purpose without presenting it like a justification or excuse. Happy to share more about that - just ask.

Slow Down (Don't Speed Up) - What's predictable is that the reactive part of you - whose head is spinning - will want to do the exact same automatic thing you know to do only faster, bigger, stronger. Consider that the first step in finding your way out of a hole, is not to dig faster but to actually put down the shovel.

Ask (Clearly and Directly) For What You Need - It may be for a break, or for support. And support may look differently depending on the situation. Go to the sources you know you can rely on - or try to create partnership from new ones. And sometimes all we need is to be heard, understood, connected with. Once we realize we're not alone, we may have enough to get back to the tasks at hand.

Self Care and Foundational Structures - Speaking of what we need, when we find ourselves in overwhelm, sometimes it's simply that the ground we're standing on is not set up to hold the towers we're building. How's your sleeping? Your eating? Your fitness or physical movement? How are your relationships going with self, others, spirit? Something might be out. If you find that gap, fill it on purpose. If you don't, either it will remain empty or it may get filled through a back door. At best that could be a distraction. At worst, harmful.

We Don't Need to Reinvent the Wheel - Contrary to that part of us whispering that we shouldn't be where we are - we should be further, better, more together, etc. - we do not have a monopoly on gaps, mistakes, breakdowns, lagging timelines, etc. Look around. Chances are you know other entrepreneurs, parents, and "builders" just like you. You can always make your own choices, but again, don't be afraid to reach out and learn from the experience of others. It not only serves you - it serves them too!

Life is going to throw curveballs. And sometimes it will seem like too many balls to swing at at once. While the volume of circumstances and To Do's may increase, and that can lead to an experience of heightened pressure, remember that you're not alone and you have a choice.

Slow down, ask for what you need, get supported and keep going.

Oh, and it never hurts to take a short break from the highlight reels of social media. Just until you're re-centered and the drama shrinks back down to size.

Do you know that the greatest source of untapped business are your former clients

They already know you, like you and trust you, so why wouldn't they do business with you again?

Here's a simple case study:

Carey sold a medical practice a few months ago, and the buyer was really happy.

That medical practice needed a website, so I got an introduction.

But the time wasn't right to start that project, since they were very busy during the transition period, so I made a note to have Carey follow up in three months to check in and see if they were ready to start the project at that point.

When he followed up he got a nice surprise, when he heard that they had a change in direction and now wanted to sell the practice.

If Carey had not followed up at that particular moment, the sale of the practice may have gone to another broker; not because they didn't like Carey, but just because he wasn't top of mind.

So make a plan to regularly contact your previous clients and see what they are up to, and a strange thing will happen: you will definitely make more money.

We come here every week. Today, I'd like to tell your more about the history of Union Square.

On this ground George Washington rallied troops...Lincoln's funeral procession made it's NY stop .. both Presidents have statues in the park...so does Gandhi

Not all times were friendly for people to visit. In the early 1970s our park was widely considered to so unsafe it was too dangerous even during the day!

Do you know who saved Union Square? The Farmers.

Because in1976, the Union Square Greenmarket began .. Residents flocked back to the side of the park and demanded a clean up behind the fence.

Why is Union Square ...a Square and why is it named Union?

Well, it's not named for the Federal Union of the United States, nor to celebrate Labor Unions.

It's named for the intersection or UNION of what were Manhattans busiest and most important streets!

Bloomingdale Road now Broadway and the former Bowery Road – now Fourth Avenue.

In a city of logical grids these major roads intersected at a weird angle...and the spaghetti mess is still there.

Leave to the real estate sphere of 1830 to figure out to put a square above the strangely angled streets and attract high-end retailers, artists and residents.

It worked so well that decades later when the subway was planned Union Sq became a critical and convenient commercial crossroads. Could Lucky's 62 success be in part traced to our location?

Learning the history or background of a prospect before a meeting isn't just trivia- it's valuable information, which connects and can differentiate us against the competition. Try it!

Let's have a 1 x1 ...right upstairs by Andy Warhol's old factory.