What you seek is seeking you

Feeling a deep need to predict the future freezes some of us in the mental misery of the “what if” game.

This can apply to many situations.

Maybe the person you loved was self-destructive and hurt you so deeply during a vulnerable period of your life that the experience has left you traumatized and has paralyzed your ability to trust.

Maybe in order to keep growing professionally you will have to disrupt other people’s dependance on you.

The decisions and leaps of faith you make are yours. 

No one on earth can judge you on the way you make a decision unless you allow them.

The world may respond in a way that makes you feel judged but that is only valid so far as you allow it to be.

Your own past can so easily become what you analytically judge the character of others on rather than letting your Emotional intuition preside over your judgment. This, of course, can work in reverse if you are more the intuitive persuasion.

Those with deep emotional intuition allow their heart to make an emotional decision when it comes to the big calls in life.

I won’t debate which method of decision making is better because I can’t.

You are the judge and the jury of what you decide to do.

 

Likely, you will need both your head and your heart to start talking openly about their communication problems.

There is a reason we think and feel with both our heads and our hearts.

 

Full disclosure and pure probability: 

I know that despite how hard we try we all will continue to fail sometime.

Silver lining:

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill

Here is what you may find helpful:

The future is not this far off place we arrive at one day and proclaim “ok here we are in the future”.

The future is today.

Inside every decision you make in the present, you are inside of the future.

There is no predicting the future and there is no arrival date.

What you seek is seeking you.

There is only the doing and the deciding in the right now.

Every now moment is the future.

You are living the future you created out of the decisions you made yesterday.

The future we desire is what we do with today.

All of these actions track to our current state and the current state is the future we have made given every single situation we have been a part of before today.

Food for thought: 

Do not let yourself become sidetracked by secondary activity.

Secondary activity is anything that does not positively influence the day-like worrying.

The definition of worry is experiencing failure and disappointment in advance.

There is no magic wand to tell you how your life will end up.

If you maximize the enjoyment and good you can do in the now and truly be generous at heart- the rest will take care of itself.

You have greatness within you.

Find the thing that allows you to quiet your mind and you will experience a well of energy inside of you that you won’t be able to explain.

Continue moving forward.

Get up when you fall.

Do it with enthusiasm.

#strikeamatch #thoughtsbecomethings #howtodecide

Second gear

Some people stay in first gear for the duration of their lives.
Waiting for someone to tell them when to shift.
Waiting for someone to tell them it is their turn.

The truth: You are the driver.
You control the speed.
Your future is under the hood just like the motor in a car.
Capable.
Just waiting on the gas.

Your ambition be your permission.
Let that be your fuel.

If you want more.
Do more.
Hit the gas…
Go.

#StrikeAmatch

Is your company too big to fail?

It has been said that Rome collapsed under its own weight.

By the third century, Rome suffered from what we would consider a cash flow problem.

When something becomes too big and there is a reduction in the returns on investment, it becomes almost impossible to sustain a massive infrastructure.

It becomes natural that people break away from the status quo and fragment.

Rome had barbarians break away from the Roman army and we have smaller brands being created out a similar scenario.

Summary: By the time something collapses, you can bet that every system that used to function is gone. 

Each large legacy company likely feels similarly to how Rome did prior to year 455-that they will last forever.

Are you a part of a company deemed too big to fail?

Toys R’ Us, True Religion Apparel INC, GYMBOREE, Rue 21, Gander Mountain, and roughly 35 other major retail companies  have gone bankrupt and/or totally restructured since 2017.

Is your company next?

How can this be happening?

Old rules make what is necessary to maintain healthy profit margin in today’s world impossible.

Many existing business structures are now out of the relevant line of sight to their target buyers.

Many legacy companies have been outdated by a newer, faster, better system going on around them.

As a culture, we have changed our purchase behavior.

We are always on the edge of making different decisions.

The primary cause for this shift in behavior?

Time.

Time has become the commodity of exchange.

Not reputation.

Not keeping up with the Joneses.

But rather, keeping up with the age of the internet as well as a new generation of incoming brands that are redefining retail — direct-to-consumer e-commerce companies that build, market, sell, and ship their products themselves, without any middlemen.

Those of us studying and tracking what is going on in the retail world can see that these collapses are just the beginning.

If you want to save your brand you will figure out what your brand sounds like and make an Alexa briefing for it.

If you want to save our brand you will reverse engineer what problem your brand can solve and how to bring together your consumers to discuss this thing that you do together and share in their enjoyment of your product or service together.

We have developed speed for consumers, but have not shifted our methods for getting attention.

The technology that is giving us instant connection is leaving us disconnected.

Our resources have given macro decision makers a false sense of true knowledge.

True knowledge comes from the micro movements that are reshaping the behavioral psychology of consumers.

Constant competitiveness has left open a massive vacuum for smaller more agile companies to come in and take consume attention like a thief in the night.

Companies that will ultimately fail could prevent it now with a minimal budget and a specialized startup team.

A back to the basics lesson in human nature hold more of a solution than a implementing a new operational strategy.

As a company you need:

More context and less jargon.

To know the most efficient way to develop people who can lead themselves.

Followers that will buy.

As consumers, we need to be immersed in order to feel a connection to your product or service.

We need to be in the middle of the action and be able to act in that moment.

Enable us.

Quick Tips 

  • Make digital an executive priority.
  • Enhance the physical store experience.
  • Integrate in-store technologies to engage clients.
  • Personalize product or service recommendations based on customer data.
  • Build partnerships. Support and cultivate smaller and more agile brands.
  • Bootstrap robust loyalty & rewards programs.

Your fingers should be on the pulse of the consumer- impacting them directly.

Here is the main problems you will face:

  1. Most large companies are to busy with the status quo, staying afloat for the 90 day financial review cycle everyone historically based decisions on.
  2. It take time and a deep understanding of how to undertake the necessary shifts in your resources and time is running out. 

Where to start:

  • Get advice from those who understand how other brands are successfully navigating their company through these shifts.
  • Have a budget ready for when your advisor tells you who you need to help you. Keep in mind that this budget will likely be what saves your company from collapse.
  • Kill the politics. Yes, you have done things with particular companies for years. This will not foster easy conversations with those partners.
  • Please ask yourself what is more important? Survival or status quo? You will have to pick.

We are one of several companies that work exclusively on managing this shift with you as a trusted advisor. 

Ultimately you have to accept that The Retail Apocalypse is not an isolated threat.

I implore you to do anything you possibly can to not be on this list.

You have to decide that the survival of your company is worth making some isolated changes and get the momentum started.

Yes, you may get push back from your senior leadership team.

No, it may not be in your job title to do something about this. However, know that no matter what you will be historically correct and that alone will put you in a position to be of high value as this movement of change presses forward.

Will you step up?

-Alex

#strikeamatch

 

 

 

 

 

Bed Time Stories Last Forever

 

It’s a shame you can’t remember your earliest moments with the people who loved you first.

If you could, you would remember a time in your life when you could do no wrong and everything you did was wonderful to someone.

Although you can’t remember all the details from then…

You still can use the experience to gain perspective.

Let’s do something…

Let’s pretend.

Pretend like you can remember what it was like to be three years old.

Your imagination is just getting fired up.

Your imagination is what made story time one of your favorite things.

You were naturally in each story as you listened.

You were the center of someone’s universe at that age (hopefully).

The people who read to you as a child may not have known it then but they gave you an incredible ability.

With their verbal guidance, you were able to live inside the stories you were being told.

When you were 3 years old you were a blank slate of possible outcomes.

Everything feeling possible is what made it so easy to place yourself inside of the stories you were read.

Stories about people talking to dragons and fairies were possible because the realities of the world had not overpowered your imagination with the disappointment of facts yet.

More importantly, at three years old people were not telling you sad stories or painful stories like the ones we hear about when we are older.

The ones that separate the non-fiction from fiction.

Compare what you said at three years old to what people will permissibly allow you to tell them now.

At three, a parent or grandparent reads a bedtime story to an anxious child, leading them permissibly into a world of perfect pretend.

Once you were lead into the story you could imagine anything you wanted of the details in that world.

Now, as an adult the same methods work for connecting and working with the people around you.

The easier it is for people to place themselves in the stories you tell them, the easier your life will be.

Because you have importance and relevance to the agenda of the other person when you tell them a story they can see themselves in.

Yes, our agendas change with age and responsibility.

What doesn’t change is our basic need to be able to visualize ourselves in the possible outcomes as they are presented to us.

As adults it becomes our turn to read to children and though natural instinct, our agendas are secondary in those moments.

The child understanding and enjoying the story comes first.

Maybe we enjoy reading to children because we understand their ability to enjoy their own imagination.

Everything takes care of itself in the child mind as you read.

All you have to do is read the story.

The child fills in the blanks.

Adult life is not much different.

Let the stories you tell people connect with them, let them fill in the blanks and your agenda will take care of itself.

Tell stories in your adult life and see how much easier you job becomes.

#strikeamatch

 

Let’s Talk Mind Reading

If we developed the technology to read thoughts, would that be fundamentally good or bad?
Currently, the Internet is has everyone’s finger pointing at it as the main cause for good people gaining a sudden bad reputation.
I disagree with this rational because it is not rational.
The Internet is neither good nor bad.
The internet simply connects and directs.
The content of the internet is 100% a human output.
People are just being exposed for who they are when they are in the laundry room.
We all have a laundry room us that comes out when we are outside of the laundry room.
For some people they are always the same person who is on their laundry room.
This is why the internet is not fundamentally bad. The internet just opening the door of total visibility to what people used to be able to keep in the laundry room?
Whoever that person is has gained visibility with the internet-good or bad.
So if we feel that way about the Internet how will we feel if artificial intelligence exposed every thought, feeling, and emotion experienced by everyone?
Would that make you comfortable?
The path this hypothetical scenario for me ends at one main fundamentally human characteristic:
As people we blame things outside of ourselves for causing perceived bad outcomes.
As people we attribute good outcomes with things that are mostly within ourselves.
This judgment and causal relationship is a survival instinct.
We would have not made it far as humanoids if we didn’t want to be thought highly by ourselves and society.
The species depends on loving ourselves and others.
For some, this means they have to hide their true nature so they live this picture they have portrayed in their stories that now live online.
For others, the sheer fact that we live in a world where they can live their stories in front of the world will lift them up immediately to the highest respect.
The catalyst is us.
You and me.
Who we are when no one is looking.
That person that is offline in the laundry room
That it you.
The internet can show who you are if whoever you are in the laundry room comes outside with you.
The way to no caring about hiding is to not hide.
The way to virtue is to be virtuous.
The way to show love is to show love and not just think it.
It is binary.
More than ever before-you should be who you are in the shower or another place where you are just being.
More than ever it is time to look ourselves in the mirror and just embrace our true character and own it.
Cowards hide.
…and you are not a coward.
I promise if you are human there is another human that will understand.
#strikeamatch
#thoughtsbecomethings
-Alex G

Wave After Wave

IMG_8722

If you have ever seen someone surf a 30 foot wave…

You will probably ask yourself the same question I did.

“How did you do that?”

How does a person get to the point where they are confident enough to try that?

It is terrifying to watch.

What makes it so terrifying is our human ability to picture ourselves in the same position.

Of course when we insert us into the scene we are picturing a person who has likely never surfed a 30 foot wave.

When the surfer drags her board out of the ocean I had to ask…

Our conversation:

Me: that was incredible! When did you get to the point where you one day said ok…I am ready for a 30 footer tomorrow?

Surfer: I never had to ask myself that, it just naturally happened.

Me: So… one day you casually just woke up, grabbed the board and said today is the day?

Surfer: Not really… even the day I did it I did not make a conscious decision to try it… I just did it.

Me: I don’t think I could ever just do something that dangerous with out preparing myself. You are brave.

Surfer: Not really. I have been practicing so long that this is just what I do. Everything I do prepares you for everything we do. You could have done the 30 foot wave a year before you actually did it… but the wave was not there then. Or at least, you were not out here at the right time to see it. Now we see them all the time so we ride them all the time. It’s just what you do now.

Me: …we? me? I do not surf.

Surfer: You do now…

It was a dream.

One of those dreams where you realize you are in a dream at the very end.
Right before you wake up.

I think sleeping me was right.

If we keep taking small actions and learn from each, we are constantly preparing ourselves for the next thing.

Small actions broken down.

One wave at a time.

Repeated and perfected in our way.

Then finally, when our muscle memory tells our real memory we can do more..
We do.

Wave after wave.

Until the size of the wave is no longer relevant.

To try another wave takes grit.

Grit is mostly deciding to keep taking action.

Action is the enemy of fear.

Go…

The Check Mate Glitch: A Closer Look.

When I see a story like this, I have three different perspectives that digest the information.
1. Spending my whole life in Chapel Hill, I am a North Carolina resident.
2. Going to NC State and UNCG, I am a former student of our Public higher education system.
3. As a partner at CDM Think Tank, I am also an entrepreneur.
As a NC resident (aside from my other perspectives), when I read articles on this story – all I see is “$250K for a logo.”  We don’t see the consulting, we don’t see the branding and marketing strategy…the only tangible product we see is a logo.  When I see the logo that took a year and outsourcing team to create, I am left unimpressed.  The logo looks nothing more than what you would see on Etsy or a gift shop – a common NC state outline with “NC” and a star.
I am also left wondering why they outsourced $200k to an Ohio-based company…we have plenty of creative arts/marketing businesses right here in our own state. When your mission statement is “The University of North Carolina is a public, multi-campus university dedicated to the service of North Carolina and its people. It encompasses the 17 diverse constituent institutions and other educational, research, and public service organizations. Each shares in the overall mission of the University. That mission is to discover, create, transmit, and apply knowledge to address the needs of individuals and society. This mission is accomplished through instruction, which communicates the knowledge and values and imparts the skills necessary for individuals to lead responsible, productive, and personally satisfying lives; through research, scholarship, and creative activities, which advance knowledge and enhance the educational process; and through public service, which contributes to the solution of societal problems and enriches the quality of life in the State. In the fulfillment of this mission, the University shall seek an efficient use of available resources to ensure the highest quality in its service to the citizens of the State…”  would a better PR campaign not have been to reach out to the schools in your own system, perhaps someone obtaining a masters in marketing/communication or graphic design?  Perhaps run a contest for NC Public School System students to submit their ideas and design?  Invest in your own people and schools?
As a former student of the UNC Public School System (that paid for my own education) – this story reenforces my frustration with the rising costs of obtaining a college degree.  The current system of higher education is perceived more as a profit-hungry business rather than a public service aimed to improve the quality of educated minds in this country.  A story like this does nothing to negate that feeling.
As an entrepreneur, I wish we could set a better example for our students and residents.  $250,000 is no small amount of money – a hefty investment for any business.  I ask myself what could be accomplished with a quarter million dollars? When your admitted business goal is to overcome perceptions such as, “I think people are often rightly skeptical about higher education including public higher education…They see prices go up. They see debt levels high. They wonder about the value proposition and that’s why it’s important that we do a much better job at telling our story,” did your PR/Branding/Marketing team not advise on the impact of headlines across media that focus on a massive dollar amount and a very average logo?  The story across media outlets is consistently “$250,000 spent on logo” that’s what residents and consumers see.
Ultimately, I would expect more efficient use of taxpayer money, more pride in leveraging in-state resources, and overall better business decisions and strategic investments.  The story, the result of this initiative, does not support the overall strategic goal and misses the mark.  Frankly, I believe the result is a 180 from the direction they intended to set forth on.
Written by: Joshua Collins CSO,  CDM Think Tank