Serendestiny - doing what makes you come alive

Chances are you’ve seen this inspiring quote from H. Thurman,  “Don’t ask what the world needs.  Ask what makes you come alive ; then go do that.  Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

What makes you come alive?  What puts the light on in  your eyes?

One of the things that does it for me is … writing.

Tennis player Pete Sampras was asked what it was like winning his first U.S. Open.  He said, “No matter what else happens the rest of my life; I’ll always be a U.S. Open champ.”

That’s one of the many  benefits of writing.  It is so TANGIBLY, ENDURINGLY REWARDING.

Many things are fleeting. Quality books are not.

Yes, writing a quality book is a front-loaded project. 

You pour your heart, mind, soul … and plenty of what Bryce Courtenay called “bum glue” …  into writing a quality book.

But it will still be out in the world,  years later, making a positive difference for others and a propserous living for you.

I am just re-experiencing this glorious phenomenon,

We’ve just released a new e-version of Tongue Fu!® … which was first published (ahem) 16 years ago!  http://www.amazon.com/Tongue-Better-Anytime-Anywhere-ebook/dp/B00APRX4FG/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1357067747&sr=1-1&keywords=tongue+fu+-+get+along+with+anyone%2C+anytime 

How satisfying it is to know this book is still positively influencing people around the globe.  I’ve welcomed this opportunity to update the content and include examples of cyber-bullying, internet gossip and what to do when someone’s texting at dinner.

What’s this mean for you?  It’s the beginning of a new year.  You have a fresh start opportunity to do what makes you come alive. 

If that is writing, then resolve to put pen to paper or fingers to keys today.  It’s time to get your experience, expertise and epiphanies out of your head and into the world.

I promise. You will never regret writing – you will only regreat not writing when you had the chance.

 

Advertisements

  “The best way to corner a niche is to create a niche.  And the best way to create a niche is to … coin your own word.” – Sam Horn

Encountered a couple of early entries for the 2012 POP! Hall of Fame … and thought I’d share them to kick-start your  thinking about what newly-coined  NURDS (New Words) you’d like to submit for this year’s contest.

Previous winners have included:

*  Diabesity:  Dr. Francine Kaufman’s term for the epidemic of Type 2 Diabetes that is triggered by obesity.

*  Snuba:  It’s half snorkel and half scuba … and it’s a new multi-million dollar industry.

*  Freakonomincs:  Are you going to run right out and buy the latest tome on economics?  Probably not.  But authors Dubner and Levy turned their concept into an international brand – movies, media appearances, blogs, 6-figure consulting contracts – by giving it a first-of-its-kind name that appealed to the masses.

*  A.W. Shucks:  What else would you call an oyster bar in Charleston, SC?

*  Yappy Hour:  The Holiday Inn in Alexandria, VA has received millions of dollars of free press due to its innovative Friday night “petworking” opportunities for dogs.

*   YOUmanity:  Aviva came up with the ideal name for their “chain of kindness” philantrhopy campaign

*  Geek2Geek.com:  Think Match.com for pocket protector types.  As one personal ad proclaimed, “Tall, dork and handsome.”

*  SerenDestiny®:  Okay, I admit it, I’m partial to this one because it’s the title of my next book.  And like Tongue Fu!®, I’ve been able to trademark SerenDestiny® which means it can be merchandised and monetized … in perpetuity.

*  Java Jacket:  You can’t build a business around an un-prounounceable name.  So Jay Sorenson gave those “cardboard insulating sleeves” you put around your cup of coffee an easy-to-say-and-remember name.

*  Revenew:  Just met the founder of this start-up in NYC at the WOIS Summit.  You’ve heard of Spell Check?  This is a fantastic example of a POP! technique called Spell Chuck.  Chuck the normal spelling of a word and come up with your own.  Brilliant.

*Tiecoon:  This shop in NYC’s Penn Station – which sells neckties to Wall Street financiers – stopped me in my tracks and motivated me to snap a photo.  Which is the point.  If it’d been named Jack’s ties, I would have walked on by and not even noticed it.   Does your store name have people at hello?

Now, in case you’re thinking, “Okay, these are clever names.  Big whoop.”

Please understand … NURDS aren’t petty; they’re profitable.

This is not wordplay…this is wordcash.

ALL of these names have helped their products, businesses or services STAND OUT and get noticed, remembered … and rich.

Several of these names have generated millions in revenue for their owners.

In fact, as Jay Sorenson, originator of Java Jackets says, “Customers who meant to call my competitors actually end up calling me …because they can’t remember my competitors’ names.”

So, what first-of-its-kind business, book, product, store names have you seen this year?  What intriguing NURD popped out and got your attention?

Submit your entry by email to Sam@IntrigueAgency.com for the 2012 POP! Hall of Fame contest … and send a photo if you’d like. 

We’ll post the best NURDS 0n our blog and on our Facebook page. 

Winning entries who make the final Top 10 Winners in the 2012 POP! Hall of Fame get a free copy of POP!  … or your choice of any of our  books.

“Individuality is fine.  As long as we do it together.” – Frank Burns, M*A*S*H

I had the privilege of living in Hawaii for 17 years.

As much as I loved living in Paradise, I didn’t realize how professionally isolating it was until I moved to the Mainland  – the Wash DC area. 

A colleague Rebecca Morgan, (co-founder of SpeakerNetNews.com) and I roomed together at a convention that year. We stayed up late every night debriefing what we’d learned and swapping best-practice tips.

We decided to continue this rewarding collaboration by inviting 5 carefully selected peers to join us in monthly phone calls and twice-a-year in-person meetings.

At our first meeting, we were “going around the table” updating each other on our priority projects and pinpointing where and how we could use help.

When it was my turn, I said, “I’m thoroughly enjoying this and I’m glad to be part of it. I just can’t think of anything I need help with, so I’ll donate my time back to the group.”

It was quiet for a moment. Then Rebecca (bless her heart) said, “Well, what are you working on right now?”

“I’m re-doing my website.”

“We can help you with that, “Rebecca said confidently.

And she was right. A half hour later, my website was infinitely better because of the group’s suggestions.

My subsequent epiphany was, “It had been so long since I had asked for help, I had forgotten how.”

Since there hadn’t been any other professional speakers on Maui at that time, I didn’t have anyone to “talk shop” with.

The few times I did share my business activities with acquaintances, they simply didn’t have the industry knowledge to be able to give informed advice.

So, I stopped asking. I ended up doing everything myself. And that worked pretty well. As the saying goes, it was what it was.

Six Heads are Better Than One

“It isn’t melodramatic to say your destiny hangs upon the impression you make.” – Barbara Walters

But, after that first experience with the Master Mind group, I realized it isn’t melodramatic to say our success hangs upon the mutually-rewarding strategic relationships we make.

For example, I was discussing an online info-product I was developing and Val asked, “Why are you only offering one pricing option? Why not bundle your CD’s together and offer three different packages so people can buy at their own comfort level?”

Uh, duh. Why wasn’t I doing that? Because it had never occurred to me.

That’s just one of the many advantages gained from having a variety of people bring their objectivity and combined expertise to the table (so to speak.)

As entrepreneurs, we often get so close to our work; we can’t see it clearly anymore.

That’s one of the many advantages of being part of a strategic master-mind.

Peers can often pinpoint our blind-spots and tell exactly what we need to do differently to break through an impasse.

Group brainstorming not only saves us a lot of trial-and-terror learning; it’s the quickest way to dramatically improve and expedite  results.

Are You Trying to Go It Alone?

“Remember, we’re all in this … alone.” – Lily Tomlin

Are you preparing an important communication … all on your own?  Are you writing a book, developing a presentation or polishing a pitch?

Maybe you don’t know anyone who has experience with what you’re pursuing.

Or, you live in an isolated area and you’re going it alone because there doesn’t seem to be any alternative.

Or, somewhere along the way you were taught not to “bother” people by asking for their help, so your default is to be self-sufficient rather than seeking support?

If there’s anything I’ve learned in the past 20 years of helping people create more compelling communications;  it’s that strategically aligning with colleagues how have our band AND our front is a non-negotiable for fast-forwarding our success.

The good news is, we don’t have to be an individual struggling to figure everything out on our own.  We can go it alone  … together.

How?  Just follow the model for the Quaker Square Hotel in Akron, Ohio.

What’s this about the Quaker Hotel?  Quaker Oats executives were planning to demolish several unused grain silos standing next to each other.

Fortunately, one exec asked, “Why tear the silos down? Why not take out the inner walls, connect them and turn them into a one-of-a-kind, historically relevant hotel?”

Voila.   The stunning result is a model of how we can take out inner walls and connect with others, side by side, so we have the best of BOTH worlds by going solo and by going silo.

Form Your Own Strategic Master-Mind 

A reporter asked Bette Midler, “What’s the hardest part of success?” She said, “Finding someone who is genuinely happy for you.”

Forming your own strategic master-mind is a way to surround yourself with people who support you and stand behind you. People who facilitate your success and have your back.

Forming your own strategic master-mind s is a way to surround yourself with people who stretch you and show you the way. People who fast-forward your success and have your front.

Best of all, forming your own strategic master-mind is a way to align with people who have your best interests at heart.

Divvy up the time so everyone has an opportunity to share highlights and lessons-learned – and an opportunity to brainstorm/strategize a priority project.   ASK everyone for input on how they can accelerate and achieve better results for the upcoming year.

It will be “rising tide raising all boats” gathering that benefits all involved.

Everyone will be genuinely happy for your success …  because they helped create it.

“You can’t build on broken.” – Angela Blanchard, http://www.Neighborhood-Centers.org

Wise advice from Angela Blanchard, the visionary leader of the team who turned Houston’s AstroDome into a home-away-from-home in one day following Hurricane Katrina to provide much-needed services to the thousands of refugees arriving on buses from New Orleans.

“Imagine losing your home, job, community and almost all your possessions . . . and not knowing what happened to your family members and friends.

One woman told us, ‘No one came, no one came for days. We thought the world had come to an end. We thought something much worse had happened ‘out there.’

We realized asking questions such as, “What happened? What did you lose or leave behind?’ would only drive these individuals deeper into despair.

We decided instead to focus on what they did have instead of what they didn’t; to build on what’s strong instead of what’s wrong by asking, ‘What skills and knowledge do you have? Who might you know in this area?'”

Angela spoke of the across-the-board decency and dignity of these uprooted Louisiana residents.

“When Neighborhood Centers and other philanthropic organizations filled gyms with donated presents to give at a holiday celebration, many only took 1 or 2 gifts. ‘There are a lot of people worse off than us who need them more than we do,’ they said graciously.”

Angela’s “You can’t build on broken” epiphany is universal and enduring.

Next time you’re facing a challenge, remember, “The best way to move things along is to focus on what’s strong, not what’s wrong.”

P.S. In terms of POP!, why was Angela’s message so intriguing and “sticky?” Why did people continue to come up to her after her 15 minute presentation to thank her for her stirring insights?

One reason is because her conviction was so convincing. We were swept up in her heartfelt passion and vivid story-telling.

Another reason was she crafted her enduring insight – her eBIFany – into an alliterative sound-bite that rhymed.

Alliteration (words that start with the same sound – such as build-broken) gives our mind a hook on which to hang a memory.

Rhyme (wrong-strong) makes our language lyrical and our ideas instantly eloquent.

If you want people to remember and repeat YOUR insight – so they’re thinking about it, talking about it and acting on it days, weeks, months later – craft it into an alliterative sound-bite that rhymes to give it a long tail of influence.

Doing so will scale its impact – and isn’t that the point of communication?

Want more eBIFanies from BIF-7?

This inspiring conference, hosted by Saul Kaplan, showcases visionaries who saw a problem or opportunity and thought, “Somebody should do something about that.”

Then they thought, “I’m as much a somebody as anybody; I’ll do something about it.”

Their stories of how they figured out what to do when they didn’t know what to do show how we set our SerenDestiny® in motion when we care enough about something to do something about it.

E.L. Doctorow was asked what it was like writing a novel.

He thought about it for a moment and said, “It’s kind of like driving a car at night. You can only see to the end of your headlights; but you can make the whole trip that way.”

The innovators featured at BIF-7 weren’t quite clear what their destination was at the outset. They weren’t exactly sure where they were going or how they were going to get there.

They didn’t let that stop them.

Their instinctive desire to solve and serve told them, “Just ‘cause you don’t know isn’t an excuse not to go.” They just started driving.

And because they did, http://www.GlobalGiving.org exists. http://www.BigPictureLearning.org exists. http://www.WillowCreek.com exists. http://www.FutureLogic.com exists. http://www.Climb7.com exists. http://www.HealthLeadsUSA.org exists. http://www.Seriosity.com exists. http://www.Intent.com exists.

You’ll hear more about the above organizations (which represent just a few of the brilliant 30 thought-leaders who spoke at http://www.BIF-7.com ) in upcoming blogs.

Subscribe if you’d like to know how they got out of inertia and uncertainty and drove to the end of their headlights when there was no “there” there.

And, be sure to go to http://www.BusinessInnovationFactory.com to check out their BIF-7 highlight videos and @thebif Twitter feed, to join their community of “transformation artists and audacious change-makers,” and to access their blog, book club and video studio that can help you and your colleagues “unleash and accelerate the transformative power of innovation.”

“You’re either breaking out or blending in. And blending in’s for Cuisinarts.” – Sam Horn

Every year I pick the top brand names, taglines, book titles and trends that caught our attention and helped their idea, invention or organization stand out and get noticed . . . for all the right reasons.

The point? If you want to succeed, you need to stand out.

And one of the best ways to stand out is create a catchy phrase that builds buzz by turning everyone who sees it or hears it into a word-of-mouth ambassador who repeats it to others.

All of the phrases below showcase POP! techniques that are included in my book POP! which has been sold around the world (China, Europe, South America, etc.)

POP! Create the Perfect Pitch, Title and Tagline for Anything

Hailed as one of the best business books of the year


If you have a cause, creation or company you care about – buy a copy of POP! and work through the 25 exercises that show how to coin a NURD (New Word) that helps your priority project POP! out of its pack.

1. Random Hacks of Kindness: Kudos to this worldwide gathering of tech types collaborating for the common good, and thanks to Nicholas Skytland of NASA for bringing this to my attention.

2. Stuffocating: This NURD (New Word) was coined by TV station TLC for their one hour special on the stifling impact of w-a-y too much stuff. (Not that I can relate.)

3. MEtailing: I want it and I want it my way. This online trend of letting people customize their own clothes, shoes and other products is a runaway (runway?) success.

4. Jeggings: Part jeans – part leggings. This Half & Half Word helped this product generate $180 million in sales, proving that NURDS are more than word play; they’re bottom line profits.

5. Info-besity: We live in a society stuffed with information yet we’re starving for insights.

6. Refudiate: Republican Sarah Palin’s “malaPOPism” received national media attention in which she was tweaked for her tweet where she mixed up (or did she?) “refute” and “repudiate.”

7. SHEconomy: Smart companies understand the power of the purse and are targeting this multi-billion dollar demographic. Props also to Marilynn Tanner Mobley’s BoomerHer.

8. Snowmageddon: What do you call it when 30 inches of snow are dumped on Washington DC and cause a weather apocalypse? An excellent example of Alphabetizing.

9. You Had Me at Woof: Julie Klam’s book shows how “riffing off” pop culture can provide an unexpected twist to a familiar phrase. The result? A smile and a sale.

10. SerenDestiny: I admit it. I’m partial to this since it’s the title of my next book. It’s based on the premise that leading the life we’re born to live is no accident (serendipity); it’s intentional.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Sam Horn’s POP! Create the Perfect Pitch, Title and Tagline for Anything (Perigee, Penguin ’09) introduces 25 techniques for creating compelling buisness communications and innovative, memorable messaging.

POP! has been featured on MSNBC, BusinessWeek.com and in NY Times and Sam’s presentations on this topic have received raves from Cisco, EO, National Speakers Association, ASAE, etc.

Check the more than fifty 5 Star ratings on Amazon.com from readers who sing its praises and describe how it’s helped them generate trademark-able titles and taglines, profitable business names and winning presentations that have closed deals and catapulted income.

Ink it when you think it.

Why is it important to ink it when we think it?

Did you read Alice in Wonderland? Do you remember this passage?

“The horror of that moment, I shall never, never forget!” – the King.
“You will, though,” the Queen replies, “if you don’t make a memo of it.”

Even the Queen knew to jot thoughts when they’re hot.

I’ll always be grateful to former National Geographic photographer Dewitt Jones for showing me why it’s every writer’s job to ink it when we think it.

National Geographic photpgrapher Dewitt Jones


Hall of Fame speaker Dewitt, (who lives part-time in Hawaii and can be found online at www.DewittJones.com), and I were enjoying a walk/talk along a Maui beach discussing the topic of intuition.

What is intuition? Where does it come from? Why are those intuitive nudges never wrong? How can we capitalize on them?

Dewitt was doing something that puzzled me. We’d go about 100 yards and Dewitt would stop, whip out a little notebook and pen from his pocket and write something down. We’d go another couple hundred yards and Dewitt would stop and scribble something else down. He kept doing this until I finally asked, “Dewitt, what are you doing?”

He said, “Sam, I used to get ideas and think, ‘That’d be an interesting tidbit for my next column,’ or ‘I’ve got to include that in my keynote tomorrow,’ but then I’d get caught up in other things and forget all about it.

“I realized I make my living from my mind and I was throwing away these golden insights that were being gifted to me. I promised myself I’d start writing down ideas the moment they occurred to me so I wouldn’t lose them. Now, it’s become a habit.”

How many times have you gotten an intuitive flash—a whisper of an idea—and then gone about your day and forgotten it?

If there’s anything I’ve learned in 20 years of writing and speaking about the fascinating topics of innovation and creativity, it’s that THIS is how our best thoughts occur. They POP! into our mind. And if we don’t write them down in the moment, they disappear or get drowned out by other things competing for our attention.

From now on, realize that if you want to make your living from your mind, you need to record those flashes of brilliance in a notebook you carry with you everywhere so you can explore their potential later.

Carry a digital recorder, call yourself on your cell phone and leave a message, DO SOMETHING to capture those ideas before they fade away. Remember, they don’t call ‘em fleeting thoughts for nothing.

Authors know if we’re fortunate enough to be gifted with a revelation, it’s our responsibility to write it down. We may not know where this idea, thought seed or phrase fits into our work. We just trust that it will.

Our greatest minds, from Einstein to Mozart, have understood and honored the power of the “muse.” As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Learn to watch the gleams of light which flash across the mind from within.”

I call this, “Muse it or lose it.”

When you take the time to record ideas as they occur to you, they will be there waiting for you days, months, years later when you’re ready for them. You will have captured those gleams of insight and will be in a position to capitalize on them (and set up SerenDestiny in the process.)

As Saul Bellow said, “I never had to change a word of what I got up in the middle of the night to write.”

From now on, INK those thoughts when you THINK ’em so you MUSE ’em instead of LOSE ’em.

A friend gave me a card recently that read, “A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.”

I believe this is the ultimate power of books, blogs and presentations – and spending time with a compatible friend.

The best communicators introduce ideas that result in an epiphany – either of something we once knew and have forgotten or of something that crystallizes in front of us and we SEE a truth for the first time.

That was my experience of re-connecting with Jane Pollack, author of the insightful and moving book Soul Proprietor. http://janepollack.com/

I had the privilege of keynoting the Speaker U event sponsored by NSA – NE recently. I walked into the lobby of the conference center and there was Jane. We had met years before at Book Expo. What a treat it was to see her again.

We found a quiet corner and played “hookie” so we could get caught up. Jane’s found her life purpose which is coaching people who want to make their art their work; their passion their profession.

If that sounds good to you; be sure to get a copy of Jane’s book Soul Proprietor which has been described as an “an artist’s odyssey from remote crafts fairs to an invitation to the White House and appearances on NBC’s Today Show.

Soul Proprietor is one of those books you can dip into on any page and find something thought-provoking. It features one hundred 1-2 page lessons including:

Lesson 12: Don’t quit before the miracle.

Lesson 44: Keep calling.

Lesson 74: Stay productive (not busy).

Lesson 87: Enjoy the ride, but don’t let the ride drive you.

Lesson 98: What you do for pleasure is your passion.

Intrigued? If you want to love your work and life, check out Jane’s blog for her wise observations about how to lead a remarkable life now, not someday . . . http://janepollakblog.com/