Category: Uncategorized


The more you reach back and share with someone else
the greater your success will become

Where has the year escaped to? We are quickly approaching the end-of-year holidays: a time for joy and sharing. So I am going to close out the 2012 series of articles with a reminder that the best way to enjoy your success is to share it with friends and family. 
 
I have been using building your “dream house” as a metaphor for building your perfectly aligned and promoted brand, and I believe it is an apt comparison. After all, your brand should serve as a home where all your professional skills and aspirations reside and draw strength, so that you can go out into the world and compete in today’s ultracompetitive marketplace. 
 
But imagine for a moment that you have invested the time, effort and expense to spend most of the year building your dream home, decorating it exactly the way you want it to look and getting settled in. Now the holidays are coming – don’t you want to have friends and family over for a sumptuous holiday feast, so they can share in the fruits of all your efforts? Why create your dream home if you aren’t willing to share your dreams with those close to you? 
 
Likewise, you need to share your brand success with those close to you – be they relatives, friends, classmates, co-workers, spouses/romantic partners – whoever means something in your life. This doesn’t mean rubbing your success in their faces, but it does mean perhaps picking up the tab for a nice dinner or inviting an old friend to play a round of golf. If you are successful enough to buy a fancy car, boat or other grown-up “toy,” make sure the people you care about get some enjoyment from it, too. The point of building a successful brand is not to become a recluse or miser, but to become someone who gets maximum enjoyment from life and is willing to share some of that enjoyment with others.

How Slammed is Your Door?

Following is a test to help determine whether your door (so to speak) is wide open to sharing your brand success, partially open, or slammed shut. Rate how strongly you agree that each of the following fresh statements applies to you today from 1 to 5, with 1 equaling strongly disagree and 5 equaling strongly agree
 
Scale
5♥ Wait, that’s really, really true about me- Strongly agree
4♥ That would be me- Agree
3♥ 50/50 sometimes, sometimes not- Somewhat agree
2♥ That absolutely has nothing to do with me- Disagree
1♥ Let me take the fifth on this- Strongly disagree
 
1. When I experience success, I see it as an opportunity to help others. 
 
2. I am not foolish with my money, but when I am doing well financially I’m willing to spend some on the people close to me. 
 
3. Success does not prevent me from staying in touch with the people I care about. 
 
4. Success does not lead me to forget about the people who helped me achieve it. 
 
5. I do not use success as an opportunity to engage in “one-upmanship” or pettiness. 
 
6. I do not feel that success makes me superior as a person to others who might be less successful. 
 
6.5 I always remember that in the end, people mean more than money or material goods.

What’s your digits?

Now that you’ve taken the test, let’s analyze how well you are securing your brand image: 
 
If you scored from 7 to 13, your door is slammed shut to sharing your success. Your selfish attitude may provide some shallow, short-term enjoyment, but ultimately it will cause you to become lonely and dissatisfied. 
 
If you scored from 14 to 20, your door is open a crack to sharing your success. You might pick up a check once in a great while, but you’re not really being generous with what you have earned. 
 
If you scored from 21 to 26, your door is open halfway to sharing your success. You remember who your friends are and show some basic goodwill, but still keep a lot of your success to yourself. 
 
If you scored from 27 to 33, your door is open three-quarters to sharing your success. You make some genuine attempts to share your good fortune with others, but still don’t fully put your heart into the effort. 
 
If you scored a 34 or 35, your door is wide open to sharing your success. You do not attempt to show off or buy people’s affection, but you realize the intrinsic value of helping others around you and put people before material items and wealth. You are enjoying the best kind of success – that which nourishes the spirit and mind as well as the body.

GAP – Great Action Plan

I will conclude today’s look at sharing your success with a Great Action Plan. To truly share your success, you must determine exactly what steps you must take to be generous without being careless or boastful. 
 
Now, using the information above, what will you do to close the GAP? What’s your Great Action Plan for nailing a brand that will yield personal, economic and professional success? 
 
What will you do today? __________________________________
What will you do this week? _________________________________
What will you do this month?_________________________________

Happy Holidays! 
Exponential Happiness, Peace, and Overflow

Knowing your aspirations will help you filter out the stuff/things
that will block your success

Aspiration means having particular ambitions and then setting out to achieve these goals. This is your purpose, to fly high and soar to greater heights! Knowing your aspiration allows you to tailor-build your personal brand; otherwise you run the risk of building a brand that doesn’t help you reach your aspiration. Remember – if you aim at nothing, you’re guaranteed to hit it! 
 
To better visualize aspiration, think about how aspiration applies to building the home of your dreams. What architectural style is this home? How many rooms does it contain? How spacious are the grounds, and are there amenities like a garage, tennis court or swimming pool? On a more detailed level, does your dream home feature hardwood floors or carpeting? What kind of fixtures are in the bathrooms? Is there a standalone kitchen table or an island? 
 
If you don’t know all these answers before you start building your dream home, the project will quickly go off track and you’ll wind up with a poorly designed mishmash of ideas and styles. Or possibly even worse, you will let a contractor tell you what your dreams for your house are, then you’ll wind up with a home that suits someone else’s dreams, but not yours. 
 
The same is true of your brand. Without first realizing your own aspiration, you will have no framework for building your brand, and you will wind up with either a poorly defined brand that does not really tell potential clients and partners anything about who you are or what you do, or a brand that has been defined by someone else.

Realize your aspiration

Aspiration is really a two-part entity: it is something that must be found and then realized. Many people have an aspiration, but relatively few genuinely find an aspiration that truly represents everything in life that they are most passionate about. Even fewer move on to achieve an aspiration once they have found it! The closer your aspiration can align with your passion, the greater the chances for sustainable success! 
 
And not having an aspiration means not knowing what you want, so how do you expect to measure your success without one? If you truly don’t know what you want out of life, make finding out your top priority. Then go back and start building your personal brand. This way you will have a realistic chance of succeeding and a way to measure how well you’re doing!

How Slammed is Your Door?

Keeping with the theme of building a home, let’s measure how slammed (or hopefully open) the door to your aspiration is. Are you open to examining your innermost hopes, dreams and skills to determine what ultimate achievements you aspire to, or have you closed yourself off and decided to “wing it” or follow someone else’s dreams instead? Rate how strongly you agree that each of the following fresh statements applies to you today from 1-5, with 1 equaling strongly disagree and 5 equaling strongly agree: 
 
1. I have identified an aspiration that accurately reflects where I would like to take my career and my life. 
 
2. My most trusted friends, family, colleagues and advisors are aware of my aspiration and I have solicited their feedback. 
 
3. My aspiration aligns with my vision of what my perfect day would be like and there are no significant gaps between the two. 
 
4. I have the passion necessary to achieve my aspiration. 
 
5. I have the skills necessary to achieve my aspiration. 
 
6. I have the determination necessary to achieve my aspiration. 
 
6.5 I have written my aspiration down in more than one place so I am constantly reminded of it.

Now that you’ve taken the test, let’s analyze your score:

If you scored from 7-13, your door is slammed shut. You may have fantasies about having a great career or richly rewarding personal life, but have made no efforts to make them come true or even to see if they really represent what you want in life. 
 
If you scored from 14-20, your door is open a crack. You probably have some firm idea of what you would like to accomplish, but aren’t making a real attempt to go out and do it. 
 
If you scored from 21-26, your door is open halfway. You know what you want and have taken some basic steps to get it. Maybe you earned the right college diploma, or know someone important in the field. You’re probably at the stage where you’re “looking into” achieving your aspiration. And when you’re looking into something, it usually means you have an outside vantage point. 
 
If you scored from 27-33, you door is three-quarters open. You have followed most or all of the 6.5 steps to achieving your aspiration and have a credible shot at making it happen someday. Remember there is a difference between going through the motions and putting your heart into something! 
 
If you scored a 34 or 35, your door is wide open. Congratulations! You have fully integrated your aspiration into all aspects of your life and have made it your number one daily priority. If you have not achieved it yet, you are on a clear path and have already passed several key milestones. You understand that goals are there to be met and surpassed, not held as an ideal.

2.5 Keys to Unslamming Your Door

Just because your door may not currently be wide open does not mean it has to stay that way. Even a door that is stuck due to years of staying closed can be pried open with the proper tools. 
 
So to help you unslam your door, or keep it wide open if it’s already that way, I offer the following 2.5 fresh keys to opening even the most stubbornly slammed door so the whole world can come on in. 
 


Key 1: Identify three of the most successful people in the area of branded expertise that you are going to capture 
 
While some people like to attribute the success of others as “luck,” this is really just jealousy talking. True success never occurs through simple luck. Even in the case where someone assumes control of a successful family business or inherits a large sum of money, if that person doesn’t have what it takes to succeed, they will fail. Many a family business or fortune has been quickly squandered when an unqualified heir inherited the reins! 
 
Likewise, a “lucky break” will be of no help to a person who is unwilling or unable to recognize the opportunity, seize it, and then capitalize on it to achieve success. Show biz legend has it that the great leading man Burt Lancaster got his first big Broadway role because a casting director mistook him for another actor. Even if this is true, do you think Lancaster could have parlayed that role into a towering stage and film career if he were a dud in front of the audience and camera? 
 
So now that you’re ready to recognize success is never an accident, identify three of the most successful people in your area of branded expertise. Think big. Don’t restrict yourself to the three most successful people you personally know, or who live in your region. If you want to be a success in real estate and you live in Omaha, Nebraska, you

Key 2: Research what they do to stay fresh 
 
You have identified three major success stories in your area of branded expertise. Great. Now it’s time to do a little homework. We live in the “Information Age,” an age where the whole notion of privacy has changed and personal details of almost anyone’s life can be found. We’ll save the debate about the overall ethics and implications of this situation for another time. Right now, we will use it to our advantage. 
 
Depending on whom you have identified and what field you’re in, researching what they do to stay fresh could be as simple as a trip to your local library or bookstore, or may involve a little more legwork. To stay with the Donald Trump example, he has never been shy about trumpeting the secrets to his success for the world to hear (for a price, of course!) Trump has written numerous books about his business philosophies and strategies, and there has been at least one major biography written about him, as well. 
 


Key 2.5: Make sure that everything about you communicates and exudes freshness 
 
After following the first two steps to freshness, it’s time to take the additional “half-step” of making sure that everything about you communicates and exudes freshness. Like it or not, image and appearance are extremely important, and unless you look and act the role of fresh, you can identify and research how other people have achieved aspirations similar to yours and not get anywhere with that knowledge.

Great Action Plan

I will conclude today’s look at aspiration with a Great Action Plan aimed at helping close the gap between following your aspiration and following someone else’s aspiration or following nothing at all. To find your aspiration, you need to examine your innermost passion and determine what it is you are truly best at. Then align your aspiration with these qualities and you can’t lose! 
 
Now using the information above, what will you do to close the GAP? What’s your Great Action Plan for determining, following and achieving an aspiration that will yield you personal, economic and professional success? 
 

 

 

What will you do today? __________________________________


What will you do this week? _________________________________


What will you do this month?_________________________________

Are you really what you eat?

What do Your Thanksgiving Eating Habits Say
About Your Branding Efforts?

Now that November is here and the ghosts and goblins have gotten their treats, our thoughts turn to Thanksgiving. In many ways Thanksgiving is the most American of holidays, not only because it celebrates the Pilgrims who helped settle several of the original colonies, but because it is totally dedicated to overindulgence. What could be more American than gorging yourself on delicious food in the name of people who devoted themselves to hard work, sacrifice and austere living?

Different people follow different eating habits on Thanksgiving Day. Believe it or not, how you eat your Thanksgiving feast can say a lot about how you approach your branding effort. Some people start with the appetizers (such as cranberry sauce or rolls), move on to hearty slices of turkey with maybe a little gravy and plentiful sides of stuffing and vegetables, and then save room for a piece of pumpkin pie.

However, some people have a tendency to skip right over the main course to the sugary stuff, rather than work their way through the nutritious part of the meal. Not satisfied simply with the prospect of a enjoying a giant meal with family and friends, many people ignore the turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce etc. and jump right into the pumpkin pie. Some folks will even stuff themselves on candy and nuts before the meal starts (but they probably still have room for dessert even though they are “too full” for the mashed potatoes and green beans).

Which style of Thanksgiving eating best reflects your brand-building efforts? Do you dig in heartily and with joy, without skimping on the meat and potatoes (i.e., networking, skill development, education, taking on extra work, researching your marketplace)? Do you immediately indulge in the sweet stuff that follows (taking a long vacation, buying expensive things, celebrating your success with a night on the town)? Or do you skim through the meat and potatoes of your meal (and your effort) in an attempt to obtain instant gratification that you have not really earned?

Drinking beer and eating fried chicken…

To further illustrate my point, let’s look at the recent collapse of the Boston Red Sox. After a poor start in April, the Red Sox buckled down and went on an impressive run that gave them the best record in baseball for most of the 2011 season. However, when September rolled around, the Red Sox suddenly lost focus, stopped giving their best effort, and quickly faded away, not even reaching the playoffs.

There were numerous reasons for the historic collapse (which are still being deciphered), but one fact that came up was that several members of the Red Sox pitching staff were drinking beer and eating fried chicken during games. Even though these were games they weren’t scheduled to play, this dietary choice clearly shows a lack of preparation and focus on what should have been the players’ main goal: building a brand as a championship-caliber baseball team. Having a cold one and a chicken wing may have provided some short-term instant gratification during games, but in the long term it contributed to poor physical conditioning, mental distraction, low morale and generally bad teamwork.

Don’t be tempted by the “fried chicken and beer” in your daily life! Save them for the occasional treat after a hard day’s work of brand-building is over. Maintain the physical and mental conditioning, morale and teamwork you will need to make it to the top.

So have a Happy Thanksgiving, and remember that pumpkin pie doesn’t count as a vegetable!

http://www.TheMichaelBrown.com

Do you have a game plan that will navigate you to exponential success in 2011?

Imagine you are the captain of a luxury ship suddenly caught in the middle of a fierce and unpredictable storm. Your first concern is most likely to save the ship – but saving the ship alone will not necessarily save you. When the storm begins to settle down, you don’t want to look up and discover that you have shifted way off course.

With a laser-focused and disciplined plan of action, you can survive and prosper in any storm. This ability will give you an edge over your competition and position you to successfully ride through the many storms that will inevitably come your way. Regardless of whatever storm you find yourself heading into, entangled in, or coming out of, stay laser-focused. You don’t want to be blown so far off course that you can’t properly function, prosper, and maximize your personal and professional success.

Don’t jump off the ship

You could simply jump ship, but this is not the best option. Just sitting on the ship is not the answer either, nor is inviting a lot of your negative friends on the ship and throwing a party. The answer is to develop a laser-focused and disciplined navigation plan and move forward at an accelerated pace. This will help you to successfully perform, deliver, and stay on course through any storm or adversity you encounter.

The best “success” navigation plan you can have is to turn yourself into a clear, compelling, and competitive personal brand. As such, you will be seen as someone who can add and deliver value in these turbulent times and the economic tsunami threatening to engulf all of us. This, my friend, puts you on the path to personal and professional success. Becoming a successful brand will work if you are employed, underemployed, an entrepreneur, executive, middle manager, entry-level employee, college student, recent graduate, etc.

Becoming a brand always works for companies and organizations, as well. You have to provide a branded customer experience that your employees can execute and use to attract, retain, and grow your customer base.

Follow the Example of Successful Sports Franchises

Or to use another metaphor many of you may be familiar with, use the same kind of success navigation plan employed by the most successful professional sports franchises. Even if you are not a sports fan, surely you are aware of certain legendary teams like the New York Yankees in baseball, Dallas Cowboys in football, and Boston Celtics in basketball. All of these franchises have experienced their ups and downs through their many years of existence, but all are noted for winning numerous championships and have a dedicated fan base that extends beyond their geographic area and sticks by them, win or lose.

How do these teams do it? By realizing their brand, first and foremost, is built on winning. Memories of past glories carry them through the difficult seasons, but they are aware that you cannot rest on your laurels. They all take what could be considered a ruthless approach to their players and coaches, replacing even popular personalities when they realize those personalities no longer contribute to the ultimate goal of winning. For example, the Cowboys replaced their legendary coach Tom Landry in the late 1980s after 29 years (and multiple Super Bowl wins), realizing his time had passed and a fresh approach was needed to coaching. The result was the hiring of extremely successful new coach Jimmy Johnson, which led to a phenomenal run of success in the 1990s.

In contrast, the Celtics fell away from this philosophy in the early 1990s and let several aging superstars stay on with the team in a decision that Celtics tradition outweighed winning. The result was a long period of mediocre performance that damaged the Celtics brand. Only when the Celtics engaged in an intense series of major personnel shifts did they produce a long-awaited championship that restored their esteemed brand in the sports world. And the Yankees clearly are willing to spend the money needed to bring in high-profile free agents who help sell tickets and win World Series.

By remaining laser focused on their core brand attribute, winning, and being willing to tinker with other aspects of their brand, such as individual players on the team, these franchises have become leaders in their respective sports who can weather the storms of losing that even the greatest teams inevitably encounter.

You can brand your way to success

I know becoming a brand works because I have been in all of the above positions and used the creation and execution of my competitive brand as my navigation plan to continually achieve exponential personal and professional success.

The economic tsunami that we are experiencing now, where personal and professional success seems to be sinking to anemic levels, doesn’t have to determine the outcome of your life and/or career. Using the techniques described above, I have navigated and survived over 11 corporate restructurings, downsizings, rightsizings, and reorganizations. After each event, I ended up with a promotion or a lateral move that helped me add value to my brand, which in turn positioned me to capture more personal and professional success. I thus prevented myself from graduating into poverty.

More recently, I was able to grow and prosper during the 2010 global recession/downturn/out of control economy. My secret was (and still is) the consistent development and fresh and flawless execution of my personal brand through my trademarked and signature process Fresh Passion (Get a Brand or Die a Generic)®. I have used this process to help thousands of individuals, entrepreneurs , executives, and students achieve exponential personal and professional success.

Over the coming months, I will share the nine phases of the proven Fresh Passion (Get a Brand or Die a Generic)® process with you. It is my hope, strong belief, and personal desire that you, too, can develop and flawlessly execute your powerful and competitive personal brand that will yield consistent and exponential personal and professional success, even in this environment!

So with all hands on deck and overtime on the bridge, we will achieve and experience exponential personal and professional success in 2011!

1,223,993 Jobs cut in 2008

The 2008 recession dealt a hugh blow to the job market. According to outplacement company Challenger, Gray & Christmas layoffs were up 275% in 2008 vs 2007.
Many analyst agree that this economic downturn could continue to wreak havoc on the job market through the first six months of 2009. Any hope of turning the tides is now dependent on the speed and robustness of the economic stimulus package that congress and the President-Elect is considering.
The job losses came from virtually all the major industry and job sectors.
Are you concernd about your job in 2009?
Do you have a back up plan in the event you are laid off?
http://www.TheMichaelDBrown.com

What about my 401(k)?

The Dow has been a roller coaster ride over the last few weeks. Many of us have seen our investment portfolios PLUMMET! I am certain we are all crossing our fingers/toes/arms and rubbing our rabbits’ feet to see if this upward move can sustain for a few days.

I have to admit, I began to panic a little on last week, though I didn’t make any drastic moves. I am surprised at the number of people who decided to withdraw their funds completely-despite the huge penalties and the future damage caused to their long-term investment strategies.

I even considered the withdrawal options, but during my contemplation I reached out to my financial advisor, here was his reply:

With regard to your investment strategy, our firms approach to investing is that of a ‘long-term, buy-and-hold’ strategy, particularly when there are many years between now and retirement.

I have reviewed your holdings and while we have seen significant drops in value consistent with the overall market decline, I do not recommend any changes at this time. History has consistently shown that major market declines and recessions are followed by periods of economic expansion and market growth. Only by staying invested and avoiding market-timing decisions can the real long-term average returns of the market be realized.

Did you make any major changes to your portfolio?

Are you considering more changes?

http://www.TheMichaelDBrown.com

The fire sale at Lehman Brothers has begun.

It didn’t take long for British bank Barclays to step up to the plate after Lehman Brothers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Monday. They are wrapping up talks today to purchase some of Lehman’s U.S. assets (brokerage and asset-management businesses) for about $2 billion dollars, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.

So will this sale protect the 26,000 employees? Well not really, the WSJ reported that about 10,000 would remain if Barclays bought the firm.

The bleeding for the employees will likely continue as this gets sorted out. As if seeing their hard earned wealth dissipate in a matter of days wasn’t enough.

Something needs to be done to help these employees who likely have been very loyal to Lehman and given decades of service.

What do you think?

http://www.TheMichaelDBrown.com
http://www.FreshCustomerService.com

Yes you heard correctly! All 461 Canadian KFC locations will soon offer a “tasty” vegetarian and vegan chicken substitute on their menus. This is fantastic news for those of us who like a little vegetarian option at the fast food joints.

But I am wondering if they just drop the patty in the same oil that they fry the real bird in?
Has anyone experienced the new veggie chicken sandwich?
Would you give it a try?
Do you know if they fry it in the same oil as the real chicken?

http://www.FreshCustomerService.com

Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, said on Wednesday that it would ration the amount of rice each customer can purchase at its Sam’s Club warehouse stores because of recent “supply and demand trends.”

“We are limiting the sale of Jasmine, Basmati and Long Grain White Rices to four bags per member visit,” the company said in a statement. “This is effective immediately in all of our U.S. clubs, where quantity restrictions are allowed by law.”

This was a shock to me, out of all commodities I assumed rice was a staple that was in high supply.

The reason giving for this ration and the alarm bells heard around the world: The price of rice rose to $894 a metric ton, compared to $327.25 a ton average price in the same month last year. In addition the rice harvest have been poor and countries are curbing exports.
With the price of fuel reaching $4 in San Francisco today, a rice shortage and a dollar that’s look more and more like a peso what are consumers to do?

Are you concerned about the implications that this can have on your pocketbook, on your dinner table and your overall welfare?

http://www.freshcustomerservice.com

The CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schultz revealed a laundry list of “saviors” for the struggling coffee giant.

During the annual meeting on Wednesday Howard made it clear that he was not going to go down without a fight.

Here are his suggestions for breathing life into the company:

New espresso machines- They will put in high-tech espresso machines in all U.S. stores. This shorter and faster machine will make the customer experience better.

New coffee ground fresh- The coffee used to make the daily drip coffee will come from fresh ground beans.

Networking site- In an attempt to pull the younger crowd into the doors, they will launch mystarbucksidea.com. This site will be used to get ideas and chat with customers.

Loyalty cards- The Starbucks Rewards Program will initially offer free extras to customers. I am not sure what happens after the “free period”

French-press coffee- A special French press machine will offer individual cups of brew

Green connection- They will do more with Conservation International, including making a financial commitment.

Giving the tough economic situation, do you think the “saviors” will save the coffee giant? Or should they just drop the price of their products?

http://www.FreshCustomerService.com