Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
Only a mediocre person is always at his best.
Most people think Santa Claus only works one night a year. Nothing could be further from the truth. Sure, product distribution takes place on one magical night, but Santa’s operation runs year round and is one of the largest manufacturing and distribution operations in the world.
You’ve probably never considered the fact that Santa is the CEO of a large organization that not only distributes a vast assortment of products throughout the world, but does so in a single night with just a sleigh and eight tiny reindeer. Sam Walton would have killed to have Santa’s logistics manual.
Do I believe in Santa? You bet your red longjohns I do. I especially believe in Santa’s entrepreneurial spirit. Just consider all he does from an entrepreneurial point of view and I think you will start to believe, too.
Santa Is His Own Company Spokesperson
Santa is a brilliant marketer and knows that his image is the best marketing tool he has. No other face is as recognizable and no other entrepreneur has inspired so many songs. You’ll never hear “An Ode To Jack Welch” on the radio ten times a day.
Santa’s Customers Love Him
Just say his name around a group of kids and watch their little faces light up like Rudolph’s nose. You will never see Bill Gates get that kind of reaction. Heck, he can’t even make his own kids smile.
Santa Sets The Bar For All Entrepreneurs
When you list the traits of the perfect entrepreneur, Santa gets the highest marks. He has passion for his work. He loves his customers and will go to great lengths to make sure they are happy. He has the ability to spot consumer trends and bring products to market quickly. He can lead a large organization with a wink of his eye. He inspires those around him. He is tireless. He is dedicated. He is loyal. He is persistent. And above all, he is jolly. Name another jolly entrepreneur (other than Dave Thomas of Wendy’s fame). I bet you can’t.
Santa Is A Great Leader
Can you imagine trying to manage a few hundred giddy elves who are shut in year round and spend their off hours drinking spiked hot chocolate and doing who knows what with fairy dust? It would be enough to drive even the best of entrepreneurs to hide out at the North Pole. Somehow Santa manages the task without pulling his whiskers out. I expect he has a management system that promotes from within. The hard working elves get into management. The slackers are stuck cleaning up after the reindeer.
Santa Perfected “Just In Time” Manufacturing
Santa heads up one of the largest, most diverse manufacturing operations in the world. His product lines range from rag dolls to toy trains to rocking horses to baseball gloves for the little kids, to iPods and cellphones and diamond rings for us big kids. Santa’s factory runs year round, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week and never, ever suffers from cost overrun or production shut downs. Santa perfected the “just in time” method of production that is used by many of the world’s largest manufacturers today.
Santa Pioneered Global Product Distribution
Santa is the king of single channel distribution. How else could he deliver millions of presents to good little girls and boys all around the world on a single night? Santa’s distribution process is a closely-guarded secret (elves and reindeer are required to sign iron-clad nondisclosure agreements), but I expect it involves a highly detailed logistics plan and the best CRM software on the planet. You never hear about Santa calling up a kid and telling them a present is backordered until July.
Santa’s Delivery & Tracking Systems Are Second To None
If you think FedEx is number one at tracking packages think again. Santa’s track record is spotless. He has never, ever missed a single delivery or left a box sitting on the porch in the rain. Every package is delivered in perfect shape, right under the tree.
Santa Wrote The Book On Customer Satisfaction
Santa proudly boasts a 100% perfect customer satisfaction rating. You never hear about class action lawsuits and Better Business Bureau complaints against St. NIck. Santa makes sure that his customers are happy and if they aren’t, he’ll come back next year to make things right. If JD Power could find him, I’m sure they would give Santa their Christmas Customer Satisfaction Award.
Santa Claus Is Watching You
Not everyone believes that Santa is the perfect entrepreneur. There are those kids who complain that Santa never brings what they ask for, but we grown ups know that Santa brings the gift that is deserved, not necessarily the gift that is asked for.
Here’s a little Christmas tip: If you get a lump of coal in your stocking this year it’s because you were bad and that’s what you deserved.
It was not because Santa dropped the ball.
To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan, and not quite enough time.
Here are 6 ways you can access your natural creativity and create anything you like.
1. Think Like A Child. As adults we tend to think in a conditioned way aimed at showing how clever we are. Yet, as children, we were simply spontaneous and far more creative in our thinking. To re-capture your childhood curiosity, allow yourself to just wonder at things, to be completely present in the here and now, and to detach yourself from what you thought was real.
2. Make New Connections. To be innovative doesn’t require a university degree; it simply requires making a connection between existing ideas. For instance, did you know that ice cream was invented in 2000 BC yet it took another 3900 years for someone to come up with the idea of a cone? It’s when you take two seemingly unrelated items and use the spark of creativity that genius happens.
3. Be A Little Illogical. It is a human trait to want to tie things up in neat bundles. We prefer solutions to problems, and answers to questions. To be creative, you need to be comfortable with things that don’t fit. As in this problem: what is the sound of one hand clapping?
4. Think Outside Your Limits. Many of the products we take for granted today are the result of people thinking outside their limits. John Lynn recalls attending a computer conference in the 1980′s at a hotel when someone joked that the next thing they’d be thinking of would be computerized doors. When he went back to the same hotel 20 years later, all the doors used computer-programmed key cards.
5. Adopt and Adapt. To be creative doesn’t require blue-sky thinking. You can still be creative by adapting what works elsewhere. An American airline that wanted quicker turnarounds on their flights adopted the techniques of Formula One pit crews.
6. Remember Your Dreams. Dreaming and day-dreaming can create a rich seam of ideas, because that’s when we relax and let the subconscious mind work by itself. Most of my flashes of inspiration come when I’m walking the dog or sitting Archimedes-like in the bath tub.
Apply these 6 creative thinking techniques and make them part of your daily thinking and I guarantee that new solutions to your problems will open up to you with ease and speed.
Most people measure us by our accomplishments — what we’ve done. In my experience, most people compile their track record of accomplishments BY MISTAKE; that is, we don’t have a plan, we simply react to opportunities as they arise. In other words, our accomplishments are externally motivated, not internally driven. What this argues for, of course, is a consciousness of mission — what each of our lives is really about. That’s what this short article will discuss — your Personal Mission Statement. A Personal Mission Statement will help you to organize your entire life — your time, your thoughts, your priorities. Actually, a personal mission statement, conscientiously developed, will change the way you view everything in your life.
Your personal mission statement will force you to constantly re-evaluate who you are, what you’re about, and what you’re doing. As an example, just look at the Constitution of the United States. The essential mission statement there is “…to create a more perfect union.” Where would we be as a nation today if they had not outlined the goals and hopes of a new nation in those terms?
The basics of a mission statement are as follows:
1. Make it short and to the point. Nelson Mandela’s mission statement, developed over his 27 years in prison in South Africa, says just this: “End Apartheid.” Another great mission statement was developed by Abraham Lincoln upon his inauguration as President. “Preserve the Union.” Note that mission statements can change. Perhaps a mission is accomplished. Franklin Roosevelt started his presidency with a mission to “End the Depression.” By the time that was almost done another threat had arisen and the United States had become involved in World War II. Now the mission statement was “End the War.”
2. Keep your mission statement short, to the point, simple. Use direct language. Be sure that a 12-year-old could understand the statement and you’ll be more or less on track.
3. Make it memorable so it can be burned into your consciousness. The rule of thumb here is that if you can’t recite it from memory, it’s too long and too complicated. Remedy: simplify, condense, “laser” your thought process until you’ve said everything you need to say in the fewest and strongest possible words.
4. Eliminate excuses. Before you can write an effective mission statement you must clear away the excuses that prevent most people from writing one in the first place. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that your job IS your mission. It’s only part of it…or not. Either way, remember that a mission is larger than a job. Your job may change, but your mission may not. In fact, there are times that a job MUST change in order that a mission be completed. So don’t lock yourself in a box that says that you ARE your work. You’re far more than that. Another trap…excuse…is “My role is my mission.” If you’re a man you may think of your role as “breadwinner.”
For a woman this might be “wife” or “mother.” The operating principle here is that your role, too, may change. In fact, as your life, evolves your role will almost certainly change. The third excuse — the one most of us don’t want to cop to — is that we may believe that we’re just not important enough to have a mission statement. Sure, it’s fine for a big company to have one, or for a country to have one, but I’m just one of the “little people,” so I don’t DESERVE one. Parenthetically, we almost never say this aloud. What we do say, at least to ourselves, is that we don’t NEED one. WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!! Get rid of all that silly thinking. Focus. You’ll be glad you did.
Finally, clear out influences that have driven you in the past. A mission statement isn’t about what you think you should be doing. It’s about what EXCITES you. So instead of listening to all those voices from the past…the ones that told you you weren’t worth anything, that you’d never succeed, and so forth. Concentrate on your gifts, your dreams.
Everything takes more time than you thought, everything costs more money than you thought, and almost everything turns out not quite as cool as you expected.
Failure, there is no way around it. Thomas Edison tried over ten thousand different experiments before he finally demonstrated the first incandescent light bulb on October 21, 1879. Bill Gates’ first company, Traf-O-Data, was a failure. Michael Jordan was once quoted as saying: “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot; And missed. I’ve failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
In my short stint as an entrepreneur I’ve failed more times than I can count. I have also had my share of success, but it’s not even close to equal. The failures far outweigh the successes, and I’m sure I have a lot more failure ahead of me. I’m OK with that because I know that as soon as I stop failing, I have stopped trying to innovate. It’s the nature of the business of being an entrepreneur, and of success in general.
If it were easy, everyone would do it. It is naive to think that every good idea that you have will result in a successful business venture. I have yet to hear an entrepreneur say “every single idea I come up with seems to work.” More likely, you hear something like “I failed at my first five businesses before this one took off.”
Think about that for a second. Five businesses. Sometimes the number is three, sometimes it’s 20, but the important point is that most entrepreneurs don’t hit a home-run with their first company. It really does amaze me – how many people have the stones to fail five times and still start a sixth business? You have to be supremely confident and treat those previous five times as a learning experience for the sixth. And if number six fails, you have to do the same and move on to number seven.
In my opinion, the most important thing is how you deal with failure. Once you accept that it’s inevitable, you are able to learn from your mistakes and move on. It’s easy to let the failure consume you – not so much because you are pessimistic, but more so because it is hard to see something that you poured your heart and soul into be ignored or rejected. As soon as possible you need to come to the realization that your business is what they are ignoring or rejecting, NOT you. The sooner you do that, the sooner you can objectively analyze why you failed and learn the things necessary for improvement in the future.
Failure isn’t easy and is extremely frustrating, but it’s a necessary part of success.
If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.
The three dumbest guys I can think of: Charles Lindbergh, Steve Jobs, Winston Churchill. Why? Because any smart person who understood how impossibly arduous were the tasks they had set themselves would have pulled the plug before he even began.
Ignorance and arrogance are the artist and entrepreneur’s indispensable allies. She must be clueless enough to have no idea how difficult her enterprise is going to be—and cocky enough to believe she can pull it off anyway. How do we achieve this state of mind? By staying stupid. By not allowing ourselves to think.
How do we achieve this state of mind? By staying stupid. By not allowing ourselves to think. A child has no trouble believing the unbelievable, nor does the genius or the madman. It’s only you and I, with our big brains and our tiny hearts, who doubt and over think and hesitate.
Do the Work