June 15, 2013 | Tom Suddes

Friday At The Farm (1)


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June 15, 2013 | Tom Suddes

Friday At The Farm (2)


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June 13, 2013 | Tom Suddes

“I Must Do The Most Productive Thing Possible At Every Given Moment”

Tommy Hopkins is a prolific author and is recognized as one of the best sales trainers of all times. Many years ago, I attended one of his ‘boot camps’, an almost evangelical revival meeting for his legion of followers.

At the break, I managed to work my way to the front of the line … and then Tommy Hopkins gave me this watch.

Actually, it’s much more accurate to say that I ASKED him for his watch … then he gave it to me. (I also promised to buy thousands of dollars of his books and tapes as the value proposition!) That watch is pretty unique. As the second hand goes around, it says, “I MUST DO THE MOST PRODUCTIVE THING POSSIBLE AT EVERY GIVEN MOMENT.”

Talk about screwing up your life! If you try to live by this mantra (on the watch), it forces you to look at what you’re doing EVERY GIVEN MOMENT .. and trying to determine whether it is truly PRODUCTIVE.

One thing I’ve learned over the years is that being PRODUCTIVE is not just a function of work, career or goals.

Sometimes PRODUCTIVE can be about taking a walk, working out, reading a great book, watching the talent at Cirque DU Soleil, spending time with the family or taking care of the animals at Eagle Creek.

I just found this watch over the weekend, and it seemed to fit well with recent reading of Tim Ferris 4-Hour Workweek.


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June 12, 2013 | Tom Suddes

LIFE DESIGN BY TIM FERRIS

Read a blog on June 1st from somebody (can’t find it) that was lauding Tim Ferris’ 4-Hour Workweek and how much it had changed his life.  I went back to my copy, which Nick gave me on June 30, 2007, almost six years ago. Timing was perfect.

Here’s a summary of the notes I made for myself … and shared with our team at For Impact/The Suddes Group.

Then, decided to share with the 2013 Fellows at Unreasonable Institute, where I’m doing a two-day ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT session next week.

Then, decided to share with the world.

I’ve never met Tim Ferris, but based on his vitae as a serial entrepreneur, ultra vagabond, multi-lingual world record holder in weird stuff … I think we would get along.

Jack Canfield calls the 4HWW, “… a long overdue manifesto for the mobile lifestyle.”

Team, this book is not about working four hours a week!  It’s about a lifestyle.  Here are my notes.

  • Life Design.  I tell people we spend way more time planning a vacation than we do our life.  Tim is all about taking the time to actually design your life.  Family always first.  Health/workouts.  Solo times, etc.

  • His three big lifestyle elements are TIME plus MONEY plus MOBILITY.

    4HWW reinforces that life and success cannot be about money/income alone.  Time and mobility (flexibility, travel, etc.) have to be factored in.

  • To have an uncommon lifestyle … develop the uncommon habit of making decisions for yourself and for others!  (SFP.  WIT.  LEAD.) 

    Ferris says he trained himself to propose solutions (vs. ask for them) … to elicit desired responses (vs. react) … and to be assertive (without burning bridges).

    This is what it means to be a Coach at For Impact | The Suddes Group.

  • The manifesto of a dealmaker is simple:  “Reality is negotiable.”  Ferris goes on to stay that “Outside of science and law (and I would add ethics) … all rules can be bent or broken.”  As you all know, I’ve been using CHANGE (THE) RULES and THERE ARE NO RULES as a way to make this same point.

  • Ferris reinforces Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz regarding OSCILLATION!  Ferris calls them mini-retirements.  He tries to take one month off (relocation) for every two months on a project.

    Whether you want to call this ‘mini-retirement’ or ‘mini-sabbatical’ or simply the energy oscillation model … you need to do it.  Any chance to re-create or re-energize or re-new is a really good thing.

    *Within For Impact | The Suddes Group, I think this is more about one week ‘off’ (no travel, home, etc.) to three weeks ‘on’ (projects, work, ‘road’).

    Note:  I just wrote about this idea … as part of your day … not your year or month!  The concept of ultradian rhythms, not just circadian rhythm.  90 minutes max focus.   Then break.

    Ferris takes this to another level!  As somebody who has taken six weeks ‘off’ every year for the last 30 years to go up to Notre Dame and coach the boxers, I’m a believer!

  • EAP (Everything’s A Project!)  This has been our company mantra for a long time.  Tim reinforces this throughout the book and with his life.  Everything he does is a project.  He focuses on the goal.  He figures out the ‘rules’ and how to get where he wants to go as fast as possible.  Whether that’s a world record holder in tango or a national champion in Chinese kickboxing.

    EVERYTHING’S A PROJECT.  FOCUS. FOCUS.  FOCUS.  SPEED.  FAST.  FASTER.

  • FOCUS ON STRENGTHS!  I’ve been espousing this for 20 years, ever since reading Soar with Your Strengths by Don Clifton (the Gallop Godfather).  As Ferris puts it, focusing on his strengths has had huge 10x multiple, relative results.  Trying to fix weaknesses creates minimal, incremental improvement (kaizen).

    We need to keep this in mind … on every project, with every team member.  We have very complimentary ‘strengths’ within The Suddes Group.  Use them!

  • Ton of stuff on INCOME.  ‘Relative’ income vs. ‘absolute’ income.  The first is a combination of money and time!  The second is simply money.  A dollar is a dollar.  For us, this is about productivity, managing energy, results (not number of days at the client) and much more.  We don’t get paid by the hour.  We get paid to deliver.

  • The ‘Freedom Multiplier’.  Tim says that money is multiplied in practical value depending on the number of W’s you control in your life:  What work you do.  When you do it.  Where you do it.  And with Whom you do it. 

    One of my favorite lines from the book:  “Enough is enough. Lemmings no more.  The blind quest for cash is a fool’s errand.”

  • The New Rich.  I think Ferris coined this term as the “fast growing sub-culture who has abandoned the ‘deferred-life plan’. 

    Great stuff on Pages 22 and 23 regarding the difference between the New Rich and the Deferrers.  Some examples:

    • D: To retire early or young.

      NR:  To distribute recovery periods and adventures (mini-retirements) throughout life on a regular basis and recognize that inactivity is not the goal.  Doing that which excites you is.

    • D: To buy all the things you want to have.

      NR:  To do all the things you want to do and be all the things you want to be.

    • D:  To have more.

      NR:  To have more quality and less clutter.

  • W4W.  Ferris’ shorthand for Work for Work’s Sake.  Our goal is not W4W!  It’s to change the world.

  • It’s all about PRODUCTIVITY!  Every since Tommy Hopkins, the sales trainer, gave me his watch (when I asked), I’ve tried to meet the words on the watch.  I must do the most productive thing possible at every given moment.  (Obviously, failed miserably on the ‘at every given moment’ but worth the effort.) 

    Ferris great line:  “Our culture rewards personal sacrifice … vs. rewarding personal productivity!”  Busy work.  In the office to be in the office.  For our team, you know that’s not the culture.  It’s all about productivity and getting stuff done

  • Low Information Diet!  Ferris has some really great points around “selective ignorance”.  We all waste a ton of time with too much information (whether that’s television or news or internet).

    Amazing what can be done with that extra couple of hours a day.

  • Ferris points out that LIFESTYLE DESIGN is based on MASSIVE ACTION.

    OUTPUT, he calls it.  There is some Tony Robbins here.  Jack Canfield.  Brian Tracy and many more.

    Ferris points out that increased output necessitates decreased input.  His point is that most information is “time-consuming, negative, irrelevant to your goals and outside of your influence.”

Closing Thought:  There’s a lot of really good ‘stuff’ here, in the book.  You don’t have to buy every bit of the thinking to appreciate, at the highest level, the idea of actually DESIGNING YOUR LIFE.

Thanks, Tim.


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June 6, 2013 | Tom Suddes

“Love the Problem You Want to Solve”

“A great idea is never enough. Don’t love your business idea. Love the problem you want to solve.”

This comes compliments of Eric Paley, an entrepreneur and managing partner of Founder Collective, a seed stage venture fund.

For the many entrepreneurs who read this (as well as for any For Impact leader), this is a great mantra: Love the problem you want to solve.

This certainly supports the whole idea of focusing on your IMPACT. (Your SOLUTION)

Here’s a couple of great lines:

  • “The (patent) system vastly overvalues ideas and undervalues execution.”
  • “Great entrepreneurship is in the execution.”
  • “Entrepreneurs solve problems through a tremendous amount of work validating and invalidating early ideas — not from a single spark of inspiration. Great entrepreneurs build their success over time, not in a single moment. Ideas are static. Entrepreneurship is dynamic.

Special Note: I received the first ‘FRIEND OF BATTELLE FOR KIDS’ award the other day from all my ‘friends’ at BFK. I’ve watched Jim Mahoney and Battelle for Kids grow from a handful of people sitting around a kitchen table to hundreds of team members committed to BRINGING CLARITY TO SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT.

As I thanked Jim for the honor, I shared with all of his people that I felt Jim Mahoney/BFK is one of the best social enterprises in the world. The reason I gave was much like Eric Paley’s line re: execution. Anybody can have an idea. Anybody can have a lot of ideas. Even great ideas. They are all worthless … unless ACTED UPON.

Jim and his team ACT every day to help kids … and the teachers that impact the kids.

***Here’s Paul Harvey’s rest of the story … 10 years ago we were trying to help Jim and the BFK team ‘raise some money‘. Today they are generating more than $50M a year from their services and products delivered across the country and around the world.

Now that’s a social enterprise and a For Impact organization!


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June 3, 2013 | Tom Suddes

THINK … BECOME

One of the most consistent pieces of feedback from our amazing session at The Abbey Theatre in Ireland was how many people LOVED Earl Nightingale’s quote:

This comes from Master Thinker Earl’s THE STRANGEST SECRET.

Just saw this quote from Buddha while reading over the weekend:

“WHAT WE THINK, WE BECOME.”

From Buddha to Earl to you. (THINK about it.)

Note: We have re-phrased/paraphrased this quote in a lot of places: YOU ARE WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT.

ARE or BECOME. Point is the same.

*Saw this statute in Moscow at the Pushkin Art Museum on the 12th of April, 1996 (per journal) on Trip Around the World. 50,000 rubles to get in the museum!


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May 30, 2013 | Tom Suddes

Dream Bigger

I’m still processing our trip to Ireland. The country is at a critical crossroads. It can choose to either ‘survive’ the economic disaster … or re-imagine (a great Tom Peters word) the future of the country.

Then, on the way back from Ireland, I was reading ROTMAN MANAGEMENT magazine and came across a great article entitled DREAM BIGGER: THE APPLE VISION. Carmine Gallo is a communications coach and author of a number of great books on Apple and Steve Jobs.

Teaser quote: Vision is everything. A dream attracts evangelists, and no lasting brand can be built without a team of dedicated people who share the vision.”

Then this quote: “Passion fuels the rocket; vision directs the rocket to its ultimate destination.”

I believe this is well worth your time … IF you’re interested in scaling and growing your Impact, funding your vision, defining your purpose and message, and all that other ‘stuff’.

Special, Special Note: This little story alone made the article worthwhile for me.

The Federal Express three-word vision: ABSOLUTELY. POSITIVELY. OVERNIGHT.

Read how ‘Diane’ delivered a bride’s dress overnight … as the only package on a rented Cessna!

We encouraged the leaders and organizations we were with to THINK (much) BIGGER.


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May 30, 2013 | Tom Suddes

Secret Recipes: The Power of Culture

Here’s another great article from Rotman Management, which, by the way, is one of my absolute favorite reading experiences! Roger Martin, the Dean of the Rotman School of Management at University of Toronto, is a Design Thinking Rockstar. The magazine is always full of great articles.

We at For Impact/The Suddes Group spend a ton of time working with and on an organization’s ‘CULTURE’. It didn’t start out this way. The first 20 of our 30-year history we spent raising money … to help people fund their vision and impact.

Now, we also spend time with organizations and social enterprises on their purpose and values, their culture, their teams and more, (which leads to a lot of money).

A really great example of the HUGE advantage of a great CULTURE is the story about Southwest Airlines and Delta’s Song, TED and JetBlue.

Here’s the closing quote: “If there’s a common thread in the success stories, it’s the C-Suite that considers CULTURE (my caps) to be important to merit consistent long-term action.” (!)

“Clear expressions of company purpose and values aren’t measurable advantages in the way that a supply chain or IP portfolio is … yet they may be a company’s most important differentiator in the long run.”

CULTURE may be a bit of a buzz word and ‘soft’ (using a Tom Peter’s word) … but, WOW, it can mean the difference between Quantum Leaps and lemmings following each other off a cliff.


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May 28, 2013 | Tom Suddes

Ultradian Rhythm and Circadian Rhythm

After Ireland last week, my circadian rhythm is definitely out of kilter, so to speak.

Interestingly, this morning I was reading something from Pilar Gerasimo, Editor and Chief of the magazine, Experience Life. She was referencing the ultradian rhythm … the idea of taking breaks a few times a day.

Tony Schwartz, the big-time ‘energy management’ guru, has been talking about this concept for a long time. Here are two really good articles about the crazy way we work … and a much better, scientifically proven methodology for productivity.

The first is the 90-Minute Solution where Tony talks about the “basic rest-activity cycle” and the idea of better bodies operating in a 90-minute rhythm (the ultradian rhythm).

The second is his New York Time’s opinion piece entitled RELAX! YOU’LL BE MORE PRODUCTIVE. Here’s a tease quote:

“Paradoxically, the best way to get more done may be to spend more time doing less.”

He goes on to explain why we can’t increase the working hours in the day, but we can measurably increase our energy.

Again, this is all about PRODUCTIVITY!

If you are really, really, really committed to getting more ‘stuff’ done … being more productive … you need to take 3 minutes and read these two articles!

Note: I’ve had a really productive day so far. I’ve got a lot of Ireland follow-up complete. Wrote a piece on the FOR IMPACT MANIFESTO. Took a bike ride after the first 90 minutes. Thinking about a ‘nap’. (It’s not because of age, but rather Tony’s suggestion!)


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May 23, 2013 | Tom Suddes

For Impact in Ireland

Almost the entire team has been in Ireland this week. It’s been absolutely ‘brilliant‘ (as they say in Ireland).

We presented from The Abbey Theatre stage to 300 ‘nonprofit’ leaders and board members on Monday.

*The Abbey Theatre is one of the most iconic venues in the world! The Abbey Theatre is THE National Theatre of Ireland … and it was started before there was a country!

The Message and Point of View was the same as in the States: BE FOR IMPACT! (The only slight difference was the message was to a COUNTRY.)

Much more to follow.


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