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    January 2008

    Mondays With Mac: Discover The Power of Kindness

    January 28, 2008 2195 Views

    Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "One of the greatest compensations in life is that no person can help another without helping themselves." How true it is!

    Mary Kay Ash was the inspirational founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics. Many years ago I heard her speak to a group of executives, and she told of her first sales job when she was in her early 20's. She had been excited because she was attending her first convention, and was going to get to meet the top sales person of the company. At a reception, she made her way through the crowd, introduced herself, and asked th man to please share some of his secrets to success. And, do you know what he said...nothing. Absolutely nothing! He just walked away.

    Mary Kay said it was a defining moment in her life, and she promised herself that if she ever enjoyed any success in her life, she would share it with others. Once she started her own company, she said, when she walked into a room she would pretend that everyone had a sign around their neck that said...MAKE ME FEEL IMPORTANT.

    We all want to feel important, and one of the simplest acts of kindness, one of the simplest ways to make anyone feel important is to sincerely listen to what they have to say.

    In my opinion, there is no real success, in any life, until they can discover the beauty of simple, random acts of kindness.

    Mondays With Mac: Fail Forward

    January 21, 2008 2171 Views

    It is emblazoned on my brain forever. I simply refer to it as the "fall of '94." From 1990 to 1993 Successories grew over one hundred percent each year. We were mailing more than ten million catalogs annually and had opened more than sixty retail stores. We were on a roll. The simple concept o "decorate your walls with great ideas" had taken off.

    Then Murphy's Law hit us like a ton of bricks. Everything that could go wrong, did. In June, Jim Allison, our CFO, was diagnosed with brain cancer at 47 years old. I was devastated for Jim and his family, and because of Jim's illness, software and fulfillment projects critical to our holiday success were delayed.

    As hard as we tried, we couldn't catch up. The rapid growth had outstripped the company's infrastructure and our ability to manage it. It was every entrepreneur's nightmare, and when the dust settled in February, we discovered that our losses were significant. I must admit that for a guy in the attitude business, mine was pretty lousy for a few weeks.

    Help came from Hall of Fame linebacker Mike Singletary, who had joined our board of directors the previous year. He recognized the problem, walked into my office, and closed the door. He said, "Mac, I want you to listen very carefully to what I'm going to say. This is only a bump in the road, and there is no doubt in my mind that you can fix what's broken. We've grown over one hundred percent each year... and I'll guarantee you one thing- it didn't happen by accident."

    As Mike continued to speak, I could feel the goose bumps. I could feel my spine begin to stiffen. I could feel the belief and the courage returning. It was a pivotal moment in my life.

    What did I learn about Mac Anderson- and my team- from that failure? I decided my strengths were my people skills and my creative abilities, while my weaknesses, like many entrepreneurs, were in the details- accounting and operations that were critical to success. I needed help in those areas. I needed people who had done it already, people who could rebuild our infrastructure to grow the business again.

    It was a painful wake-up call. I had failed greatly...but from that failure came valuable lessons.

    Failure is a big part of life, but it's how we react to failing that will determine our destiny. If we learn from it and move on, it can help to make us all we can be. If you fear it to the extent that you never take risks, you'll never grow.

    Mondays With Mac: Laugh Loud and Often

    January 14, 2008 2274 Views

    Laughter is to the soul what soap is to the body. In fact, researches suggest that we need a minimum of twelve laughs a day just to stay healthy. It can affect our brain chemistry and immune system in very positive ways. It also can be powerful in providing positive energy that can fight off negative thoughts.

    Here's an exercise I want you to try the next time you're in the car alone and feel a little down in the dumps. When you hit an open stretch of road- or you might prefer to pull over and park- start laughing as loud and hard as you can for one solid minute. Not thirty seconds, but a full minute. Once you start it becomes easy to keep going because your brain is thinking...this is one of the nuttiest things I've ever done.

    When you finally stop you will feel like a new person. The frown will have been transformed into a smile and the endorphins in your brain will have kicked in. It works. I guarantee it, because I've done it many times. Now here's a little tip...don't do it at stop lights, because a big, sensitive guy in the car next to you might think you're laughing at him. If that were to happen it could affect your "health" in a negative way.

    Southwest Airlines does a wonderful job of laughing with their team, with their customers, and at themselves. About six months ago I was on a flight when the flight attendant announced over the P.A.system: "Today we have a gentleman on board who's celebrating his 99th birthday, and this is the first time he's ever flown." As you can imagine, the cabin broke out in light applause. Then she said, "Now on the way out, stop by the cockpit and wish him 'happy birthday'." Beautiful! It made my day. Everyone on board roared with laughter.

    Laugh loud and laugh often. It'll keep you happy, keep you healthy, and keep your attitude headed in a positive direction.

    Mondays With Mac: It's Never Too Late

    January 7, 2008 1957 Views

    Our attitude in many ways ties directly to our "inner voice" that forever asks the questions..."Are you moving toward your dream?" If your answer is "yes," then hope breeds contentment. However, if the answer is "no, it's too late," despair may fester within your subconscious. You might not even realize why your life lacks joy.

    I can say this with conviction..."It is never too late to be what you could have been." Dreams are free, and just having them can make your life worth living.

    Ray Kroc is one of my business heroes. He founded McDonald's when he was 52 years old, after trying for over two years and talking to more than one hundred people to raise the money. Fifteen years ago, I had the good fortune of talking to Tom Seay, one of the potential investors whom Ray approached. Tom told me how Ray had come to his office one Friday afternoon with his business plan for this "crazy idea" called McDonald's. For $100,000 he was offering Tom thirty percent of the company. Tom told him that he didn't have time to review it then but that he would take it home over the weekend.

    Monday morning rolled around, and Ray was waiting at the front door when Tom got to his office. Tom invited him in and said, "Ray, I read this plan three times; even shared it with a friend. And we both decided that there's no way in the world you can make money selling hamburgers."

    We all know that Ray thought otherwise; and the rest of course is history.

    Take action this year

    January 2, 2008 2101 Views

    11:59An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves. -Bill Vaughn

    Take action. Get your goals out of the way early this year. Try and accomplish all of your New Year's resolutions in January. Think about it. It's fresh in your mind now. If you wait, things will only get in the way.

    Here's what Mac has to say about it:

    About 7 years ago I was in a Successories store and watched a couple in their early forties stroll through the front door. The husband stopped, looked around for about thirty seconds, then nudged his wife and said, "Honey, these guys stole my idea! Remember when I said to you, 'I'll bet we could start a business selling products with motivational quotes.' Remember that?"

    I smiled and when they left I shared the story with our store manager. She said, "Mr. Anderson, we probably have one person a month come in and say the same thing." Then, out of curiosity, I spoke to some of the other managers and they reported simlar exchanges.

    Hundreds of people had the idea, but only one executed it. This is a great example of the gap between "I should" and "I did."

    Procrastination, in my opinion, is opportunity's natural assassin.

    So what's your New Year's Resolution?

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