When I was 16 years old, I went to Catholic school for a year. Interestingly, right in the middle of this drop in Catholic period, I began reading about Buddhism. In the 24 years since then, I have continued to find these teachings helpful.
In Buddhism there is something called the 8 fold path. The components of the path can roughly be described as complete vision, perfected emotion, whole speech, integral action, proper livelihood, full effort, complete awareness, and one-pointedness of mind.
When I read about the eightfold path, something really clicked for me. It was like reading about the path to fulfillment. I had realized at this point that much of my pain was self inflicted and was looking for ways to change how I lived.
The principles of the 8 fold path and similar ones from other religions and philosophies guide my work and my life.
For example, when I am working with my Business Development people, they often ask about different high level, often expensive methods that can be used to grow their businesses. They will feel like they need advanced strategies to be successful.
In response, what I always say to them is, “What ultimately do you want for your business?” You don’t employ top level methods for a 100k a year business. If you do, you will always be spending more money that you make. Not a good business strategy.
This is a very long way to say that things are not useful or not useful; good or bad, it is all about what they are intended for if they are the right fit for the situation.
When we start using a method or anything else for that matter without thinking, we create unintended results. These results are sometimes good and sometimes bad.
So, my question for you today is what are you trying to create? And, is what you are using going to get you there? To me this is related to the “complete vision” step of the 8 fold path. The clearer you are on both of these questions, the faster and farther you will move toward your desired goal.
Will the people in your life always support your decisions? No, they won’t. But you need to remember that life is not about justifying yourself; it’s about creating yourself. Your life is yours alone. Others can try to persuade you, but they can’t decide for you. They can walk with you, but not in your shoes. So make sure the path you decide to walk aligns with your own intuition and desires, and don’t be scared to walk alone and pave your own path when you know it’s the right thing to do.
Make this your lifelong motto: “I respectfully do not care.” Say it to anyone who passes judgment on something you strongly believe in or something that makes you who you are. People will inevitable judge you at some point anyway, and that’s OK. You affected their life; don’t let them affect yours.
And when you need a quick reminder or a dose of encouragement, refer to this list of things you shouldn’t have to justify to anyone else:
Why you’re putting yourself first. – During a 2011 television interview, Michelle Obama was asked if she thought it was at all selfish that she has openly admitted to making herself her first priority, to which the First Lady replied, “No, not at all. It’s practical…. a lot of times we just slip pretty low on our own priority list because we’re so busy caring for everyone else. And one of the things that I want to model for my children is investing in themselves as much as they invest in others.” Spot on advice if you ask me! There are only a few people in this world who will stay 100% true to you, and YOU should be one of them. Prioritize your own needs into your daily to-do’s.
Bottom line: Constantly trying to justify yourself to everyone else forces you to miss out on the beauty of simply being yourself, with your own unique ideas, desires, and life experiences. If you are led through life only doing and being what you’ve come to believe is expected of you, then, in a way, you cease to live… you merely exist.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…
Do more than just exist! We all exist. The question is: Do you live?
reblogged from www.marcandangel.com
More than 15 years after its founding, Google remains a company that inspires profound admiration — and at times, a bit of confusion.
The company is currently investing in self-driving cars, a futuristic idea that some people believe will never be achieved. It’s also rolling out Google Glass, a wearable computing device that’s inspired skepticism and some mockery.
The derision is misplaced. As someone who’s been involved in marketing breakthrough innovations, I’m convinced Google’s approach is the right one. Google is focused on possibility rather than profitability — a mindset that’s necessary to create innovations that transform categories. Many breakthrough innovations I’ve led have suffered when I’ve let the profitability mindset creep in. Google should be admired for first setting out to answer the question: “Is this possible?”
Successful innovations programs create a balance between the probable/profitable short-term programs and the possibility programs that challenge the status quo. Unfortunately, most companies are organized and focused on the probable/profitable short term, and therefore miss the potential of breakthrough innovation that comes from being focused on the possible. This is frequently how well-established category leaders miss opportunities that transform their categories.
Programs that transform take patience. Speed to market, probability of quick return, and profitability mindset have to take a backseat to truly delivering a product that delights the consumer in every aspect. My perspective on this comes from my own experience.
At Keurig, the pod-based coffee company where I worked as president for six years, sales grew at a 61% compound annual rate, propelling Keurig Green Mountain from $500 million to $4.5 billion in net sales from 2008-2013. Keurig machines sit on the counter in more than 18 million households. Most people think that Keurig just recently appeared. But in fact, Keurig was founded more than 15 years ago. The first machines were sold in 2000.
Today, The brewers cost $100 or $150, still a significant premium to the standard drip coffee maker. But what many people forget is that in its early years, Keurig brewers cost $900 apiece. Early K-cups were made by hand. Keurig opted to start out in the office coffee market, not the consumer market. That made the $900 price point competitive and acceptable. The whole approach to the office became a way to commercialize the design quicker and to gain consumer experience as the company drove the brewer down the cost curve. The wider diversity of coffee drinkers in an office (vs. a single consumer household) planted the seeds of the importance of having an eco-system of brands beyond our own. This led to the variety and partnering strategy that has been at the core of Keurig’s success. Today, Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Folgers, Caribou, Peets, and Snapple, to name just a few, participate as partners in the system. It’s the only brand of single serve that offers a wide variety of brands of coffee and roasts, along with other beverages.
If the company’s founders and early leaders had focused on profitability instead of possibility, I’m not sure the system would have been as successful. And they certainly wouldn’t have invited the competition to share in the system to maximize the variety. Variety accelerated the growth. It was the vision of transforming the way consumers make coffee that took them on the decade long journey to success, growth and profitability.
Possibility sharply focuses the scope of the breakthrough innovation. If the only question is “Is it possible to make it?”, then that question defines who you bring onto the team both from a capability standpoint (can this person help us figure it out?) and from a character standpoint. (Specifically: Does this person bring an optimistic or pessimistic perspective?) People who make great leaders of breakthrough innovation programs always ask the “What if” question. It frees you to look for talent and resources beyond your company — who are the partners who will share your vision, who bring incremental talent and cross-category perspectives to make this work?
One of the key ingredients to the possibility mindset is the addition of truly understanding what the consumer wants. The question isn’t just “Is it possible to make it?” but “Is it possible to make exactly what your specific target consumer wants?” In contrast, the profitability mindset shuts down ideas and shortcuts the process. It stifles creativity and likely limits the team to only those ideas, capabilities, business models, and resources already inside the company.
Once the original ‘is it possible’ question has been solved for, the trick is to apply the same optimistic, focused thinking to the commercialization process. Now that we know it is possible to make, is it possible to make smaller, faster, better, and more cost effectively?
The opportunity is to create a win-win: Create something that is right for the consumer and by doing this, transform a category and create a long term sustainable growth opportunity for the company.
Google is looking at “possibility’ with Glass and self-driving cars. Both may seem like strange or silly innovations today, but over time they could turn into true breakthroughs and gain wide acceptance.