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Opinion Editorials

Yeah, But … Shut Up

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Tell a Friend

Look who’s back … back again … Dalton’s back … tell a friend …

And he even brought his self-conversation device back with him. (Which will teach people not to tell me that they enjoyed it … my business card reads “beating literary devices to death since 1988.”)

Wow

There was an article on RE/MAX’s Main Street a couple of days ago profiling an agent who sells $30-odd million of real estate annually without advertising, instead “wowing her clients” and living on referrals.

It took little time for the first naysayer to appear. I can’t find the exact quote but it was something along the lines of “yeah, but she works in Toronto and the market’s better there and the houses are more expensive and somebody stole my binky … waaaaaaaaaaaaah”

How often have you listened to a speaker at your franchise’s convention or listened to a speaker or even gazed askew at one of your office’s top sellers and thought, “yeah, they’re doing well but … (insert excuse for their incredible success compared to yours here.)”

I’ve done it. And you know what? It was both pointless and silly.

Yeah, But..

So’s the photograph of Tobey, dude. Couldn’t you find a photo of someone with a pacifier.

Yeah, but … shut up.

Just stop. It’s often easier to tear down those more successful than we are than to try and figure out how to translate what they do into our business. It takes far more innovation to invent something new than to pick apart how it never will succeed. (And where’s the analysis when we’re proven wrong?)

Oh No, I’m Not

When I’ve spoken in my offices past and present about websites and blogging, the inevitable reaction is “yeah, but you’re a tech guy.” Actually, I’m not. Yes, I tried with minimal success to write programs on my Texas Instruments computer in 1985 – you know the one, with the 16K memory and the external cassette drive and the voice modulator. Yeah, baby.

Yeah, I can take care of some basic stuff in my WordPress themes and on my website (a talent borne out of the desire not to have to pay someone else to do it for me.)

But a full-on tech guy? Not really …

Playing with Bionicles

Give it up, dude. You’re one step away from playing with Bionicles.

The point is, you don’t need to be a tech guy to build a web presence. If you can’t do it yourself, spend a little bit of money … but the key is to spend it wisely. In other words, don’t drop $30 a month on some templated website that’s identical to three dozen other sites in town. Find a niche and offer value to the person stopping by. That’s what creates stickiness and keeps them around.

Jay Thompson, Candace Robinson and I were at the Arizona Regional MLS Tech Fair last week on an invite from the folks at Diverse Solutions. It was a never-ending train of “yeah, but …” every time we started to explain how the Internet can be leveraged.

Yippee, You Get It!

At least, until we ran into someone who got it. Who wasn’t a tech person, per se. Who had a rough idea of what they wanted from their site and was willing to invest 15 minutes to learn how they can leverage the available technologies to create a site that perfectly serves a certain niche.

All at a fairly minimal cost. All at a relatively low monetary investment, at least compared to what many agents spend in the fruitless pursuit of business.

What did this person do? They shut up before they got to yeah, but. And “yeah, but” became “oh yeah.”

Oh yeah as in “oh yeah, I can do this.”

It’s Universal

It doesn’t need to be for technology only. It can be any aspect of your business.

Forget the reasons why you can’t do what others do to succeed. Find the ways in which you can take pieces of their success and make them work for you.

And no, the picture doesn’t have anything to do with the post. Just in case you were wondering.

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14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Jayson

    August 28, 2008 at 6:40 pm

    Great post – I find myself making excuses sometimes only to remember the famous quote “Excuses are like a%^holes, everyone’s got one!

    You’re 100% right – shut up and figure out what’s going to work for you considering your skills, budget, motivation, expectations etc..

  2. Chris Shouse

    August 28, 2008 at 7:06 pm

    I feel some of these peoples pain at my age I am learning something new everyday and have built a small presence on the web. I ask questions I learn from articles, my friend feed and twitter. It is exhausting sometimes. When I can not do something or don’t have time I have paid someone to do it for me. Great post Jonathan

  3. ines

    August 28, 2008 at 8:08 pm

    Wooo Hoooo! I love this! Did you take your “go get them pill” this morning or what!! I totally agree, excuses are for loosers. Look around, you can do it – only if you put your mind and heart into it. I am the least techie person you will meet and I have busted my behind in the last 2 years to learn this blogging/social networking/web2.0 thing and you know what? now my hubbie thinks I am a geek and we are seeing results.

    It applies to everything in life – it’s easier to make an excuse than to actually try – whether it is to sop smoking, stop eating or having a web presence (far fetched I know but it’s true)

  4. Laura Cannon

    August 28, 2008 at 10:57 pm

    Yeah, but this is hardly an original perspective or even a new twist on an established one.

  5. Russell Shaw

    August 28, 2008 at 11:08 pm

    It doesn’t have to be “original” to be wonderful. If a post like this were to show up about once a week (each time, of course, disguised as a “brand new post” it would be a *very* good thing. Just like this post was.

  6. Jim Duncan

    August 29, 2008 at 6:31 am

    Next time, a link to Bionicles would be helpful. 🙂

    It’s not them that impedes our progress, success or innovation, it’s us. This is a simple, yet poignant observation that is worth remembering time and again. Thanks.

  7. Laura Cannon

    August 29, 2008 at 7:19 am

    Russell -my point is this: if you’re going to ask others to strive for excellence and innovation, then you need to strive for excellence and innovation yourself. It is easier to accept a message that is critical of others when that message is itself inspiring. In other words, before you harangue others for their complacency, make sure you’re operating/writing/blogging/speaking at a level that is beyond complacency yourself.

    No offense was intended. And, I know that the comment sounds a little harsh.

  8. Kris Berg

    August 29, 2008 at 7:27 am

    JD, Ab-fab post, dude. The title alone in my feed reader told me it was yours. 🙂 Thank you for starting my morning off on the right track. Excellent message, too.

  9. Jonathan Dalton

    August 29, 2008 at 10:28 am

    Jayson – my tendency to make excuses was the reason for the post. Sometimes it seems easier to talk to others as I talk to myself in case they’re thinking the same thing.

    Chris – the exhaustion seems to be paying off as you’re doing quite well

    Ines – if it’s any comfort, I also think you’re a geek. (We’re now even for the Twitter threat)

    Laura – my apologies for not meeting your expectations (please see the customer assistance counter for a full refund of your investment in my advice) and thanks for reminding me why I left full-time journalism.

    Russell – when are you buying me lunch?

    Kris – my reputation apparently proceeds me. Now I’ll go read your blog to be reminded of how you’re a better writer than I am.

  10. ines

    August 29, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    Jonathan…..just remember THE WAX (that’s all I have to say to that)

  11. Vance Shutes

    August 29, 2008 at 3:30 pm

    Jonathan,

    Yeah, but…those who say it cannot be done should get out of the way of those already getting it done..

    Thanks for the friendly reminder to watch the tone of our own replies.

  12. Missy Caulk

    August 31, 2008 at 7:51 am

    The “yea buts” I know haven’t tried. Blogging………..”Missy, you like to write, but I don’t…. ” blah, blah, blah. Many times, (not all) it is just an excuse. My mama told me, you never know if you will like green peas if you don’t try them. yuck, now I love them.

  13. Vicki Moore

    September 1, 2008 at 1:32 am

    I am a yeah butter. Every time I do I try to bite my tounge, but sometimes it slips out. Thanks for the reminder.

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Opinion Editorials

Strong leaders can use times of crises to improve their company’s future

(EDITORIAL) In the COVID-19 crisis, some leaders fumbled through it, while others quietly safeguarded their company’s future.

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strong leaders

Anthony J. Algmin is the Founder and CEO of Algmin Data Leadership, a company helping business and technology leaders transform their future with data, and author of a new book on data leadership. We asked for his insights on how strong leaders can see their teams, their companies, and their people through this global pandemic (and other crises in the future). The following are his own words:

Managers sometimes forget that the people we lead have lives outside of the office. This is true always but is amplified when a crisis occurs. We need to remember that our job is to serve their teams, to help them be as aligned and productive as possible in the short and long terms.

Crises are exactly when we need to think about what they might be going through, and realize that the partnership we have with our employees is more than a transaction. If we’ve ever asked our people to make sacrifices, like working over a weekend without extra pay, we should be thinking first about how we can support them through the tough times. When we do right by people when they really need it, they will run through walls again for our organizations when things return to normal.

Let them know it’s okay to breathe and talk about it. In a situation like COVID-19 where everything was disrupted and people are adjusting to things like working from home, it is naturally going to be difficult and frustrating.

The best advice is to encourage people to turn off the TV and stop frequently checking the news websites. As fast as news is happening, it will not make a difference in what we can control ourselves. Right now most of us know what our day will look like, and nothing that comes out in the news is going to materially change it. If we avoid the noisy inputs, we’ll be much better able to focus and get our brains to stop spinning on things we can’t control.

And this may be the only time I would advocate for more meetings. If you don’t have at least a daily standup with your team, you should. And encourage everyone to have a video-enabled setup if at all possible. We may not be able to be in the same room, but the sense of engagement with video is much greater than audio-only calls.

We also risk spiraling if we think too much about how our companies are struggling, or if our teams cannot achieve what our organizations need to be successful. It’s like the difference in sports between practice and the big game. Normal times are when leaders game plan, strategize, and work on our fundamentals. Crises are the time to focus and leave it all on the field.

That said, do not fail to observe and note what works well and where you struggle. If you had problems with data quality or inefficient processes before the crisis, you are not fixing them now. Pull out the duct tape and find a way through it. But later, when the crisis subsides, learn from the experience and get better for next time.

Find a hobby. Anything you can do to clear your head and separate work from the other considerations in your life. We may feel like the weight of the world is on our shoulders, and without a pressure release we will not be able to sustain this level of stress and remain as productive as our teams, businesses, and families need us.

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Opinion Editorials

7 sure-fire ways to carve out alone time when you’re working from home

(EDITORIAL) It can be easy to forget about self-care when you’re working from home, but it’s critical for your mental health, and your work quality.

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Woman in hijab sitting on couch, working from home on a laptop

We are all familiar with the syndrome, getting caught up in work, chores, taking care of others, and neglecting to take care of ourselves in the meantime. This has always been the case, but now, with more people working from home and a seemingly endless lineup of chores, thanks to the pandemic. There is simply so much to do.

The line is thinly drawn between personal and professional time already, with emails, cell phones, and devices relentlessly reaching out around the clock, pulling at us like zombie arms reaching up from the grave. Working from home makes this tendency to always be “on” worse, as living and working take place in such close proximity. We have to turn it off, though.

Our brains and bodies need downtime, me-time, and self-care. Carving out this time is one of the kindest and most important things you can do for yourself. If we can begin to honor ourselves like this, the outcome with not only our mental and physical health but also our productivity at work will be beneficial. When we make the time to do things we love, our mind’s gears slow down that constant grinding. Burnout behooves nobody.

Our work will also benefit. Healthier, happier, more well-rested, and well-treated minds and bodies can work wonders! Our immune systems also need this, and we need our immune systems to be at their peak performance this intense season.

I wanted to write this article because I have such a struggle with this in my own life. I need to print it out and put it in my workspace. Last week, I posted something on my social media pages that so many people shared. It is clear we all need these reminders, so I am paying it forward here. The graphic was a quote from Devyn W.

“If you are reading this, release your shoulders away from your ears, unclench your jaw, and drop your tongue from the roof of your mouth.”

There now, isn’t that remarkable? It is a great first step. Let go of the tension in your body, and check out these ways to make yourself some healing me-time while working from home.

  1. Set aside strict no-work times. This could be any time of day, but set the times and adhere to them strictly. This may look like taking a full hour for lunch, not checking email after a certain hour, or committing to spending that time outdoors, reading, exercising, or enjoying the company of your loved ones. Make this a daily routine, because we need these boundaries. Every. Single. Day.
  2. Remember not to apologize to anyone for taking this me-time. Mentally and physically you need this, and everyone will be better off if you do. It is nothing to apologize for! Building these work-free hours into your daily schedule will feel more normal as time goes on. This giving of time and space to your joy, health, and even basic human needs is what should be the norm, not the other way around.
  3. Give yourself a device-free hour or two every day, especially before bedtime. The pinging, dinging, and blinging keep us on edge. Restful sleep is one of the wonderful ways our bodies and brains heal and putting devices away before bedtime is one of the quick tips for getting better sleep.
  4. Of course, make time for the things you absolutely love. If this is a hot bath, getting a massage, reading books, working out, cooking or eating an extravagant meal, or talking and laughing with a loved one, you have to find a way to get this serotonin boost!
  5. Use the sunshine shortcut. It isn’t a cure-all, but sunlight and Vitamin D are mood boosters. At least when it’s not 107 degrees, like in a Texas summer. But as a general rule, taking in at least a good 10-15 minutes of that sweet, sweet Vitamin D provided by the sun is good for us.
  6. Spend time with animals! Walk your dog, shake that feathery thing at your cat, or snuggle either one. Whatever animals make you smile, spend time with them. If you don’t have pets of your own, you could volunteer to walk them at a local shelter or even watch a cute animal video online. They are shown to reduce stress. Best case scenario is in person if you are able, but thankfully the internet is bursting with adorable animal videos, as a backup.
  7. Give in to a bit of planning or daydreaming about a big future trip. Spending time looking at all the places you will go in the future and even plotting out an itinerary are usually excellent mood-boosters.

I hope we can all improve our lives while working from home by making time for regenerating, healing, and having fun! Gotta run—the sun is out, and my dog is begging for a walk.

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Opinion Editorials

The one easy job interview question that often trips up applicants

(EDITORIAL) The easiest interview questions can be the hardest to answer, don’t let this one trip you up – come prepared!

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Women sitting nervously representing waiting for a remote job interview.

A job interview is tough, and preparing for them can seem impossible. There are some questions you can expect: what is your experience in this position? How would you handle this situation? And so on.

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But what about this question: what makes you happy? Though it may seem straightforward, getting to the right answer is not such an easy path.

Work engagement

According to research, less and less employees feel like they are truly engaged at work. Some blame the work environment but truth be told, it is not a company’s responsibility to make you happy.

Without a passion for what you are doing, you will never enjoy the job.

It is the best case for everyone. More engaged workers are more productive in addition to feeling like they serve a purpose.

Do your due diligence

So before finding yourself in an interview where you have to take an awkward pause before answering this question, the best thing is to do some research. It all starts with the job search.

When looking for a job it is easy to get caught up in high profile company names and perks.

For instance, although “Social Media Coordinator” may not be your thing, the position is open at the cool advertising agency downtown. Or perhaps the company offers flexible hours and free lunch Fridays. The problem is that these perks aren’t worth it in the long run. Working for a cool company can be exciting at first, but it is not sustainable without passion for the position.

It’s important to pay attention to is the position you are applying for.

Is this work that you are passionate about? Take a look at the job responsibilities and functions. Besides figuring out if those are things that you can do, ask yourself if they are things that you want to do. Is this an opportunity that will match your strengths and give you purpose?

Let your passion protrude

With all things considered, when asked “what makes you happy” at the next interview, you will be able to answer honestly. Your passion will be apparent without having to put on an act.

Even if they don’t ask that question, there is no downside to knowing what makes you happy.

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