Monday, December 22, 2014

Celebrating Success

Assuming everyone has an ulterior motive is a toxic way to live.

Sure, some people do. Others, however, truly want to see what's best for you happen. They often want to contribute to your success out of a belief that a rising tide raises all ships.

If the people in your life seem to only get excited when others fail, then find and surround yourself with people who not only celebrate others' success but help work to make it happen.

More importantly, be that person.

Originally published July 2014

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Splendid Sundays Volume 161

A handful of splendid finds from around the worldwide web:

Same-sex marriage is now legal in Scotland. "Scotland’s same-sex marriage legislation is widely considered to be one of the most progressive equal marriage laws in the world." [Equality Network]

Rent the Runway raised $60 million in venture capital. The company "shipped more volume in 2014 than in the previous four years combined." [The New York Times]

Kimpton Hotels is being acquired by InterContinental Hotel Groupcreating "over 200 open and pipeline hotels across 19 countries." [IHG]

Normcore: how a spoof marketing term grew into a fashion phenomenon. "The other thing this all taught me is that the media is incredibly thirsty. For anything." [The Guardian]

Friday, December 19, 2014

On Shortcuts and Being An Overnight Success

If you want to be an overnight success, you do the work day in and day out. You do the work that everyone else gives up on. You do the work that everyone else has mistakenly labeled a waste of time. You do the work even when you're convinced that everyone on Twitter and Instagram has figured out some foolproof system that they haven't clued you in on. You do the work even when it is boring. You do the work even when you don't feel like it and would rather curl up under a blanket on the couch with a cup of tea and Netflix.

Then one day, out of nowhere, you will be labeled an overnight success. A door will open to a new hallway with new doors bearing new opportunities. You will still have to do the work to open these doors, but they will swing a little more freely.

Everyone will want to know how exactly you got so lucky. How you found the shortcut to that hallway with those doors. And you will smile because you know the answer isn't one they want to hear.

The shortcut is doing the work.

Originally published January 2013

Thursday, December 18, 2014

On Brand Confusion and Competition

When speaking with entrepreneurs, I almost always ask who they consider to be their competitors. After hearing their list, which is usually off base, I'll ask, "What about Company X?"

"No, no, no," comes the reply. "We do not compete at all. We were first/we have a different service or product/we are better."

Sorry, but you don't get to decide whether or not you compete with Company X. The marketplace does. And the market often does not take into consideration the differences you are citing. This is especially true in the wedding industry where repeat clients are low and the typical client only pays attention to bridal marketing for about 9-18 months. If potential clients think you offer the same thing that another company does, that is all that matters.

If you want the world to see that you offer something head and shoulders above the rest, then you need to be honest about when and where brand confusion is happening. Sticking your head in the sand and pretending it's not is a losing game.

This is harder than it seems: too often, when companies realize they are being lumped together with someone else, they tend to get louder, flashier and more gimmicky. Focus on being unique, not on being different. Being somewhat similar is not the sin of competition. Not being true to your core is.

Originally published November 2011

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

On the Bigger Picture

photo

While the late Fall and Winter holiday season is focused on gratitude, joy and generosity, it's also typically the most stressful time of year for many people. They're also known for being mentally and emotionally tough for many as well.

I took the above photo with my phone on a flight into Chicago in 2010. While the sky above the clouds was blue and vast, the people in the Windy City below were experiencing a gloomy, grey, stormy morning. I love that the photo is a reminder that grey skies aren't the whole picture.

Originally published November 2010