November 25, 2014 | Tom Suddes

Thanks – Giving and Gratitude

This is a special time and an obvious week of Gratitude and Thanksgiving.

Note: Every year I try to share a Thanksgiving message with our Tribe/Community. Some of this ‘re-cycled’ from previous years because of the timeless nature of these thoughts.

Three things to think about this Thanksgiving and in the Holiday Season.

    1. “WEALTH IS AN ABUNDANCE OF THINGS WE VALUE.”
    For the first half of my life (30+ years), my understanding of wealth was the same as all my friends, business associates and the general public. ‘WEALTH’ meant you had a lot of money.
    Then I found this definition… and it allowed me to become one of the ‘WEALTHIEST’ people in the world.
    Here’s a simple test of your ‘WEALTH’. Write down a list of all the things that you truly VALUE. Then, put a ‘COST’ (an actual dollar figure) next to everything on the list.
    Most of you will look at the list and realize that the things that we truly VALUE… end up COSTING NOTHING!
    Bob and Melinda Blanchard, in their wonderful entrepreneurial book LIVE WHAT YOU LOVE, have a great line: “It only matters if it BREATHES.”
    My own VALUE LIST is filled with simple things that are alive … family time, adventures with the grandkids, health, friends, business partners, etc. … and, some that are not … a great book, a good cup of coffee, nature, the sun, the ocean, the mountains, a boxing workout, yoga and a ride on the Harley.
    Here’s the pretty obvious point: ‘WEALTH’, no matter how you define it, is not about ‘money’. Money is just ‘worthless wampum’ in the grand scheme of life.
    Clearly, we need to provide ourselves and family with food, shelter, clothing, etc. But if the accumulation of money, a higher salary or how much you can put in your bank or your portfolio is your measurement for success or happiness … I’m guessing you’ll be doing that ‘camel through the eye of the needle’ thing at the end of your life.
    Robert Allen has a great quote, “If a man with many riches suddenly loses all of his money and then jumps out of a window… then, that man was never truly wealthy.”
    In an old ODE magazine (which has now been renamed the OPTIMIST), there was an entire issue around this idea of ‘money’. One of the best lines was a simple statement: “It’s not about MONEY. It’s what you DO with your money.”
    Special Note: I’m an entrepreneur. I’m all about financial freedom. I want to be able to take care of my family, travel, live on the farm and much more. I just don’t believe that money is the scorecard or measurement of wealth or success.
    The Thanksgiving and holiday season is a great opportunity to think of WEALTH as an ABUNDANCE OF THINGS THAT YOU VALUE… and enjoy your ‘WEALTH’.
    2. GRATITUDE.
    I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately on this whole idea of  ‘Gratitude’.  Mindfulness.  Meaning.  Purpose.  And more.  It is particularly powerful in the mind-body relation, especially keeping some kind of gratitude journal.
    Take a little bit of time each day to remind yourself of the good things and the things for which you are most grateful.
    3. THE MORE YOU GIVE THE MORE YOU GET.” 
    “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” Winston Churchill
    I’ve had the privilege of watching thousands of people experience serious ‘giving‘. I’ve also watched many of these people literally move from success to significance. While I don’t exactly understand how it works, I know that giving brings much more happiness than receiving.
    There’s a great line from a country song:
    “It’s not what you take with you … when you leave the world behind.”
    “It’s what you leave behind you … when you leave this world behind you.”

I believe all of three of these thoughts help us make a life, not a living.

There’s no better time of the year than now to share with others.

Katniss, our miniature Highland cow wants you to eat more turkey. From the rest of us at For Impact and The Suddes Group and Eagle Creek, we wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving and great holiday season.

Special Note: Every year I share these 3 stories that you may want to share with your children or grandchildren or family. THE HAPPY PRINCE is a great story/fable. THE SEVEN WONDERS OF THE WORLD are seen through the eyes of a child. The third is a very powerful parable about giving called the SEA OF GALILEE.


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November 12, 2014 | Tom Suddes

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE

LtSuddes

Yesterday was a special day to honor our military past and present.

Every day should be used to thank veterans for keeping our country free and safe.

My dad was a Marine who fought through all the islands in the Pacific in World War II. My brother Mike flew helicopters for the Marines for five years. (He once got a ticket for landing a helicopter in Yellowstone National Park!)

I spent two amazing years after Notre Dame in the U.S. Army, Infantry, Airborne and Pathfinder. Phenomenal leadership experience at 22 years old. (I was pretty ‘gungho’, which is a military word for excited to serve.  Thankfully, in restrospect, I was the first class out of Fort Benning to NOT go to Vietnam.)

Note on Gratitude:  We owe a debt of gratitude to all of our veterans and current military.  I have a lot of Notre Dame boxers who have served and are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and the Middle East.  I think of them often.

While it’s a nice gesture to say to our current military, “Thank you for your service” … what really needs to be done is to help them with the TRANSITION from military to a career and family and a new life.

If you are in a position to do so … most are extremely talented, committed leaders … help them to begin their post-military life.

Special Note: Many of these returning vets would make great TALENT in the For Impact world … as executives, teachers, program leaders, sales and development staff and much more.

*Check out Howard Schultz’ new book FOR LOVE OF COUNTRY.  A lot of ‘good stuff’ on why we undervalue the potential and contributions to our communities.


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November 3, 2014 | Tom Suddes

What Matters Most

GOLD

THIS IS YOUR LIFE. DO WHAT YOU LOVE, AND DO IT OFTEN.

In case you haven’t seen the Holstee Manifesto, here it is … and here’s link to their site.
 
holstee1

We have the same kind of thing  on for entrepreneurs (How To Be A Social Entrepreneur) that you also might find interesting.
 
fi_socialentrepreneur_poster_012214


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October 31, 2014 | Tom Suddes

Why Your Brain Loves Good Storytelling

BLUE

A quick follow-up on Nick’s post regarding our commitment to STORY … TALENT … and SALES.

For some reason, this topic is covered by Harvard Business Review.  Just seemed to be more powerful than TMZ or the New York Post.

WHY YOUR BRAIN LOVES GOOD STORYTELLING should give you all the ‘backup’ you need to commit time and focus to your STORY.

Filled with words like oxytocin, neurobiology and transcendent purpose … Paul J. Zak also talks about James Bond, Joseph Campbell and Spartan 300.  Here’s one great line:  BEGIN EVERY PRESENTATION WITH COMPELLING, HUMAN-SKILL STORY.

Note:  I’m extremely proud of how we are able to help organizations and people TELL THEIR STORY.  We’ve learned, after 30+ years, how important that STORY is to SALES and FUNDING.

SHARE THE STORY — PRESENT THE OPPORTUNITY — FUND THE VISION.


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October 30, 2014 | Tom Suddes

The Keys to Happiness

GOLD

*Quick shout out to Shane Parrish at Farnam Street.

The HAPPINESS ADVANTAGE by Shawn Achor talks about THE KEYS TO HAPPINESS.

At 30,000′: Success doesn’t make us happy.  Happiness makes us a success.

“When we are positive, our brains become more engaged, creative, motivated, energetic, resilient, and productive at work.”

Here’s a shorthand of some of Achor’s thoughts on becoming happier.

  • Meditate. “Research shows that regular meditation can permanently re-wire the brain to raise levels of happiness, lower stress and even improve immune function.”
  • Do something nice for someone.
  • Invest in your social relationships.
  • Get outside.
  • Spend money on experiences not stuff.

Check out the article and the book.

 


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October 30, 2014 | Nick Fellers

Top Challenges for Organizations

Small or young organizations (for profit / nonprofit alike) often identify FUNDING as their top challenge – until the organization really figures out a working funding model (or business model).

At that point, a top challenge becomes the RIGHT PEOPLE. The limiting factor to more IMPACT/INCOME is finding the right people!

(Of course, there are many challenges but these are the two constants in our work with hundreds of organizations.)

To those two, I would add a third top-challenge, self-identified by large organizations and that’s COMMUNICATION.

There are some intentional parallels:

Impact
Drives
Income
Communication
People
Funding


The Suddes Group has really focused on helping the sector around these three challenges, developing solutions in these areas:

  • STORY. Hopefully it’s obvious that we’re all about STORY. The organization’s story guides strategy, talent, sales, and much more. Having the right story frames and simplifies communication.
  • TALENT. Helping organizations find the right talent. It’s interesting, we used to stay away from helping with hiring / search, instead focusing on the sales process. But we’ve learned that very few people are really thinking about a sales model and finding the right talent to lead / sell / support. We help organizations find the right people! It’s all about For Impact Talent!
    Note: To that end, we’re going to start posting positions at ForImpact.org.
    To learn more about FI Talent Solutions contact Jessica Gemm.
  • SALES. Helping organizations commit to sales…. the sales process… sales model… sales culture… to build and maximize relationships. We started in 1983 by providing sales-based campaign solutions. We WERE (and in many cases still are) the organization’s sales team. Today, we provide training and coaching to organizations throughout the US and the world in order to build their own (ongoing) sales cultures.

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October 29, 2014 | Nick Fellers

Impact Drives Income (Video Nugget)

Here’s the For Impact Point of View in 90 seconds.


filmed at a For Impact Boot Camp, Eagle Creek. Summer 2014

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October 22, 2014 | Tom Suddes

Find Your Mission

BLUE GOLD

The idea of ‘synchronicity‘ and ‘flow‘ just seem to get reinforced every day.  Last week, Nick led an unbelievable day around STORY and MEANING and PURPOSE.

FAST COMPANY, November 2014 arrived after that with the cover and primary theme/article on FIND YOUR MISSION.

The article was written Robert Safian who is also editor at Fast Company.  (This really smart guy was also editor at Fortune and Money and now Fast Company.)

I had just written a quick thought/blog on Work-Life Balance vs. Integration and then I read this quote from the Editor, “I’ve tried to provide a philsophy on practical framework for managing your choices.  Life and business can’t be separated anymore (maybe they never really could).  Today we all need to appreciate the layered sophisticated interaction (my bold) between the personal and professional in order to make the most of both.”

The article, Find Your Mission, ends up being about an organization and a person figuring out what really is at the core of their being.

It’s a long article but well worth the read.

***One reason this article resonates so much is that it basically provides tremendous reinforcement of our Controlling Insight:  IMPACT drives INCOMENot the other way around.  He says it this way, “The more companies like Apple and Chipolte focus on something beyond money, the more money they make.”

Oh, yeah.


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October 21, 2014 | Tom Suddes

A Leader’s Job is to Bear Pain … Not Inflict It

RED GOLD

I came across some old notes (1998) on Robert Greenleaf’s seminal book, SERVANT LEADERSHIP. As with many great books, the message is in the title/on the cover.

Greenleaf suggests a domain of leadership grounded in a state of being, not doing. He goes on to say “The first and most important choice a leader makes is the choice to SERVE … and being a leader has to do with the relationship between the leader and the led.”

SERVANT LEADERSHIP is a small pamphlet (only 37 pages long), but powerful.

“The essence of leadership is the desire to serve one another and to serve something beyond ourselves, a higher purpose.” – Robert Greenleaf

Note: Somehow, the idea of a leader’s job being to bear painnot inflict it … came from SERVANT LEADERSHIP and one of my all-time favorite books, ONCE AN EAGLE, by Anton Myrer, an amazing book on ‘leadership’ as seen through the eyes of an army leader who rises from the ranks of Private in WWI to General in Vietnam.

As a leader, a parent or a coach … the idea of ‘servant’ and ‘serving’ seem to be more about bearing pain than inflicting it.


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October 16, 2014 | Tom Suddes

BALANCE vs. INTEGRATION

GOLD

At a company meeting last March 1st (at Notre Dame), I had a chance to talk with the team about the whole Work-Life Balance thing.

To me, it has always been way more about INTEGRATION … rather than BALANCE.

For me, it was always about the entrepreneurial adventure and the integration of family and boxing and travel and good health.

Stew Friedman, who is a Wharton School Professor, has just come out with a new book called LEADING THE LIFE YOU WANT: SKILLS FOR INTEGRATING WORK AND LIFE.

I saw this post at Forbes from Dorie Clark and am just starting the book.

Two great teaser quotes:

“The people who are most successful in terms of having a significant IMPACT on the world are those who embrace others parts of their lives, rather than forsake them.”

“That was the big motivating idea: to cut through the common wisdom that you have to give up everything in order to be successful.”

I fought the work-life balance thing for a long time.  ‘Balance‘ time with family, work, travel, working out, six weeks at Notre Dame, etc.

It finally dawned on me that having family members work with you in business, taking grandkids with you on trips, taking a mini-sabbatical at Notre Dame to coach allowed great time for writing and thinking, etc. or way more about INTEGRATION.  Friedman talks about the term ‘work-life balance’ needs to be overhauled and the implication that we can (or should) appropriately balance our personal and professional lives all the time is faulty.

It’s probably worth ordering the book just to get the thinking behind this pretty big idea.

One last quote:

“The people who are most successful are those who figure out ways of bringing the different pieces together in ways that are mutually reinforcing.”

 


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