Remembering How

There are many times that I realize that I need to “clear the fog” and focus. I think this is a component of aiming for excellence and making a competitive edge for yourself. In essence, to succeed, we have a few things that we always need to do and are key components of success. These eight ideas come from and have started to influence me on many levels.

In short, being a digital artist at this moment at Carney means I like making graphics and I needed a way to ‘refocus’ my thought process for success and did that by creating this computer screen background. And, I thought I would offer it out for anyone who wanted it. Hope you enjoy and that it helps you focus for success, a daily activity of clearing the fog.

Click Here to Download

The Hardest Part, Execution

As you watch companies like Facebook or its now underdog MySpace, there seems to be this ‘aw’ and ‘astonishment’ to these brilliant ideas that Mark Zuckenberg and others came up with. I don’t mean to be little their ideas but so often we see the outside finished product and just think that it took a brilliant person to come up with such a grand idea.

Well, I am here to switch that thinking. I am positive that Mark Zuckenberg wasn’t the first person to think of an idea like Facebook. The truth is, we should be truly astonished by the fact that Zuckenberg executed this idea and made it truly happen, even if he wasn’t the first.

In a slow process, I’ve started to learn that the process of coming up with ideas isn’t the only hard part of building a business. Executing these dreams take the time and effort. In essence my personal tag line says “creatively – executing – ideas.” The more I read this tag the more I realize the depth of it. It isn’t simply about ideas but also the execution and creative problem solving that makes a brilliant idea.

It seems that there are three things you have to do to get a brilliant idea into a company that grows and astonishes others. Those simple three steps I think will build companies that are grand in nature for us “internet entrepreneurs”. Simply put:

  1. Lay the Ideas Out
  2. Problem Solve Creatively
  3. Understand how to Execute

Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and LinkedIn, all took time and accomplished this while continuing this mindset throughout the grand growth of their companies. They, in their own business mindsets, creatively executed ideas and brought up the social networking world in a whole new realm that was unreached till they took the time to execute their creative ideas.

Contemplation is Key

Often when it comes to brainstorming, I’ve realized that I don’t contemplate the ideas for a extensive period of time. Simple as that, I don’t sit down and think over a concept after it has come into existence. There are moments on a regular basis that need simple time and contemplation rather then quick decisions.

Normally, I live by a statue of hurry and wait but I am starting to think that in moments of brainstorming and problem solving it revolves around waiting a bit and fully contemplating each idea.

I know for a fact that this is the cause of my father, Dr. Elliott. He has always encouraged me to contemplate specifically my business ideas from Randomly Famous to Living Hope, and now Random Rental.

So to the painless point of this, take time to think and understand. We live rushed lives and yet thinking is the power we control that can be slowed down. And personally, I want to control what I have control over and slow it down to contemplate ideas fully and “creatively – execute – ideas.”

True Discipline

Often I’ve been realizing that the most successful people are those who are truly disciplined. And, after watching myself for the last few weeks and trying to find out more about myself, I found a sad realization… I need to be more disciplined.

It is a simple fact for me but one that so far I’ve taken light heartedly until this morning when I thought about my day thus far. I realized that I pushed the snooze button three times, ate my breakfast quickly, rushed out the door, didn’t accomplish what I had planned for the morning, and now will have to make it up during lunch.

First off, discipline has a few different meanings depending on how you are looking at the word. The three points that I pulled from my glorious Apple Dictionary are below:

  • the controlled behavior resulting from such training
  • activity or experience that provides mental or physical training
  • a system of rules of conduct

So why do I share? This is the question that usually comes up in all of my posts on this blog. To “creatively – execute – ideas” I need to have discipline, a system of rules of conduct for my daily life. And, after talking to a few people I assume that this is something many of us are in need of for the race to success.

I don’t know if there are “seven steps to discipline” or “a four hour discipline regiment” but if there is, I don’t want to read it, I want to hear about it. I want your input, your thoughts, and your area of expertise in this. Two things that I really believe will help me and everyone else perform in a way that “creatively – executes – ideas.”

Plus, lets be honest, if we were to find the key to being disciplined, we would of found the key to success and that is something I am wanting to learn all about.

Continual Ideas

For a little while I’ve tried to figure out why my mind comes up with random ideas on a regular basis. I am not just talking about new entrepreneurial ideas but also business solutions, inventions, systems, and performance styles.

So, how and why does this occur a lot of the time for me? I think it is because my mind is set in a continual circle and debate aligned with the idea of brainstorming. No, I am not saying that my ideas are amazing or the next potential ‘big hit’. I see myself as attempting a million, failing a billion, and succeeding at a few. The ride is the part that I enjoy, the completion and success is what I drive for.

The tag line I live by came from this theory, “creatively – executing – ideas”. I come up with creative (not always great) ideas. I try to continually execute each one, even if that means I run them into the ground. And, both of these things occur because of a continuous soup bowl of ideas venturing in and out of my mind.

In simple form, that is how Random Rental came about. I was chatting on the phone with a friend in California who started WebConnect, realized that I wish I could rent out the things I don’t use on a regular basis, wrote it down and left it there. Then, as the day went on I listened to conversations, probed the idea into people’s minds, listened to responses, and heard about hundreds of things that lay around a house wasting away.

Aletheia pointed out many ways that we could use it for our home life from the lawnmower to the rake… The GPS unit to our books. And, my mind continued to go into a realm of brainstorming by labeling the problem I saw, adding in the solution I wanted to see, knowing what I personally wanted to add to the business idea and get out of the venture as a whole.

Random Rental will open its doors in the near future, less then a few months for the best and/or for the worst. Depending on the use we will find out if it is a amazing idea or a failing idea. Though, no matter what I’ve stuck to my tag line of “creatively – executing – ideas”. And, my theory is that everyone comes up with ideas on a regular basis but we don’t stick with them long enough and/or remember them. My solution…

Write down every thought and remember, you may have the next Facebook/ExemplaryPerformance/Apple/Google idea!

I Almost Did

I almost used this as a venting post for my thoughts then realized, what is the purpose and who would care? Everyone has a bad day and this blog isn’t about exploiting it. To be honest, I am not even having a bad day, but my mind is leading me down the road of upset over nothing. I rather use that towards creativity and networking. This thinking made me dig deep into my sub-conscious to find out why I am writing at all and to ask the simple question, why use social media?

It is all about being a creative thought leader who uses his network to execute.

After I read this a few times I realized how much it fell into my mission / tag statement which says “Creatively – Executing – Ideas”. For a few days I thought about my response for why to use social media and still kept with the same idea, it is a way to execute ideas through the network created. Sure, you can see it as a way to market your company, find new employees, become a leader, and/or become a famous individual but all of these things all fall into the realm of networking.

It’s a simple answer for a simple person like me. I truly realized that if we see social media in this way we would represent ourselves, our businesses, our markets a million times better because we would want to reach person not to be simply a number but someone who will help out.

Each individual you meet on the social networking world will be able to help you in one way or another. So, for me it is all about being a creative thought leader who uses his network to execute. Welcome to my life!

Branding for Launch

The long trail of a to do list fills up my whiteboards. Writing ideas, business ventures, networking availability, things to learn, and ideas to execute. Plus, on top of that finding time to do nothing (which is a true exercise for me). With that being said, I recently had a “clear the fog” moment and sat down to find my five projects.

Yes, the number five on the list has a few subcategories that comes in and goes out on a regular basis. None the less, this list will become the way I govern my time on a regular basis.

My full time priority in life is my wife and family. There is no getting around that in any way, shape, or form. So, why do I share this list with you and explain it a little bit? Well, before I limited myself to five projects at a time, I would have upwards of 10-15 which doesn’t allow excellence.

To grab the best out of yourself there needs to be some order to the insanity. No, I am not saying to go out and write a to-do list for your to-do lists. I am merely pointing out that to do things with excellence there needs to be an order.

For me to launch Random Rental fully, I needed to make sure I was branded on my new website as an entrepreneur who executes ideas. I Needed to make sure that site looked decently appealing before I could start seeking out angel investors.

An investor wants order and smart risk takers to be heading up ideas. Being the creative type makes it difficult to pull of the ordered lifestyle though it is a true necessity. For any entrepreneur it all begins with you. Getting money starts with investors believing not just in your idea, but you as a person. And, when you know what your priorities are, you are better off at organizing your life and to be a true brand.

Brand yourself so that you can brand what you do. People will always find themselves back to who and what. Just make sure that picture of you is what you want them to see. Brand yourself for the launch of your career, business, and your life.

Be Nice – It Helps

I don’t know what it is about people who are in airports but there is a constant angry vibe that I’ve seen. This past year I’ve flown over 30 round trips and still can’t believe the lack of kindness in the airports. Believe me, I am not saying that I was a perfect passanger. But when a flight is overbooked, a child is screaming, the security checkpoint line is long, and a line of people trying to find out what is going on, many people have a reason to just mentally snap. And yet, if you are generous with how you treat people, most individuals will be generous back.

A few weekends past, my wife and I had the opportunity to fly to Newark for a wedding. It wasn’t your average run of the mill wedding instead it was sensational. I wasn’t even in the wedding and yet had the opportunity to wear a tux. But, that was a side note. After the wedding was finished Aletheia and I went back to the hotel and packed for our flight the following morning.

Low and behold, after we got to the airport we found that the flight was overbooked. For me, this means adventure but to many others, including my wife, it meant a negative change of plans. I watched the interactions of a father who was irate reaming out the women who was trying to help him while his own kids cried. The father finally walked away expressing his disgust and I was the lucky guest after him. I went up, smiled, and asked if my wife and I could be volunteers (vouchers were going to be given out). Low and behold, they took us.

My wife and I were put on the next flight out, in an hour, with $400 dollars of vouchers each with a free lunch. But the women at the counter took it the next step and advised us that the other flight may be overbooked as well. With this pre knowledge Aletheia and I figured out if we would take advantage of this situation too. No, we weren’t under a time crunch to get back to Indiana but we also had a goal of getting vouchers and being simply nice.

It could be a good faith gesture but after we grabbed our lunch we heard over the speaker some words we were waiting to hear “The flight to Indianapolis is overbooked and we need two volunteers.” I quickly jumped up and went to the desk again. And in this moment the ‘reward’ was $500 voucher each.

But yet, we were still stuck and I decided to ask an interesting question. Was there any way that we could fly to Boston that afternoon and return to Indianapolis from there? The women looked at me, a moment passed, and said something that made me write this. She shared, “You are a nice guy so let me see what I can do.”

Thirty minutes later she had landed us a flight out to Boston, a hotel room at the Marriott overlooking downtown Boston, free vouchers for dinner and breakfast, and an encouraging word.

The funny part about this was the fact that we were nice and got what we asked for instead of them offering a ‘taxi.’ We flew to Boston, had a surprising little vacation with a dinner at the oldest Italian Restaurant in the North End of Boston, $1,800 in flight vouchers with no black out dates, and a reason to truly smile.

I personally understand that not everyone can do this and there are time crunches and ‘not so great benefits’. I personally have been in them continually and watched my father go through them. But at the same time when we treat people with respect, they truly try to help and move forward the situation in a generous way. Being nice encourages others to be helpful and kind back.

The three pointers to take are simple: smile, kindly ask, and say thank you during the process (even in the moments they aren’t working nicely with you). These things can make the world of differences in your service, travel, business, and networking ability.

Mile Hike

I never thought that I would be able to say to my future children that I walked a mile in the rain, cold, and snow. And yet, I will be able to share that face and that I walked up hill both ways.

But this day wasn’t in the rain, cold, or snow… The walk simply consisted of me racing three people I had never met with the greatness of competition pushing us through the cold, leaves, and the intersections that said “Don’t Walk”. The three of us should of gone into a full out run at the speed we were walking. Our clothes flew in the air as the wind hit us.

The black-coated women kept passing the red backpacked man and I. But every moment that we got to an intersection he and I would get through with no scratches, to the other side of the cross walk, take a breath, and see the black-coated women creeping up on us.

Competition seemed to be reining us all into a race that wasn’t even there. The three of us strived “to gain or win something by defeating or establishing superiority over others who are trying to do the same,” (Apple Dictionary).

In some manner, without an original goal, we all were competing for the same goal during the entire mile hike. I started questioning the reasoning and purpose behind this and finally asked myself a question. “What is good competition?”

Everyplace has competition from your work force, school, sports team, and family. There seems to be a goal for every individual to be superior even if it is superior at failing. The problem is when we take the competition to a different level that involves risk and devastation.

Risk and devastation keep us as competing individuals on our toes but at the same time we need to be wise with how we handle circumstances. One reason that I didn’t take a job at Booz Allen was for the mere reason that I felt a high level of risk and competition. It seemed that the only way to go up in the company was if the individual in the cubical next to you failed.

I did not go to work at Booz so I have only my own perception, not what might be truly happening but needless to say, there are thousands of companies that use this idea of risk and competition as their force behind getting good work. Is that qualified as good business? Is the mile hike that I took a wise use of my energy for a competition that was unsaid?

The point that I received from this little speed walk laid the foundation of my understanding concerning competition. If I am willing to walk quickly down the side walk to win the race against the black-coated women, I will want to watch out that I don’t do the same for my fellow team members.

I may not be the most competitive individual when it comes to these things but my nature made me competitive in this moment, and losing wasn’t my end goal though it did occor.

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