I am an admitted political junkie. For most of my life I have lived and breathed politics. I’ve watched and read and thought about the subject to the point that Chuck Todd would say I should take a break, but it’s always fascinated me.
What I love about politics is that it’s a real world demonstration of persuasion, compromise and power. Or at least it used to be. This year, it has turned into professional carnival barking with live commentary and I tapped out.
Instead of devoting my morning coffee time to Morning Joe of MSNBC as my kids get ready for school, I have left the television off and focused on reading. Instead of listening to talk radio as I travel, I’ve played audio books and I have amazed myself at what I’ve accomplished.
At the start of last year, I set the goal to read a book each week. At first it was a struggle but with all of my newfound time, I’ve breezed through 24 books so far in 2016 and I’ve picked up some very valuable lessons. To name just a few:
Write Down Your Goals Every Day.
My favorite book so far this year has been The 10X Rule by Grant Cardone. His entire premise is that we’re all capable of so much more than we’re achieving. One big piece of advice that Mr. Cardone mentions is writing down your goal every morning and every night in order to keep yourself focused on what you want. This has been a simple little trick but I have to say that it’s been very helpful in keeping myself positive and focused.
Start First and Figure the Rest Out Later
Chris Guillebeau has written a beautiful book about work in our new economy called $100 Startup. He mentions case studies from people everywhere that just one day decided to start on their own with no investors, no cash, just an idea and a dream. He offers a lot of helpful advice including a one page business plan but the entire book is centered on the idea of just getting started and figuring out the details as you go. Maybe it was just timing but I really needed the message when I read it.
Create Your Teaser, Your Trailer and Your Pitch
Good in a Room was written by Stephanie Palmer, a former MGM executive that spent years being pitched by screen writers and anyone else with a movie idea. She eventually took everything she learned being pitched to and started her own consulting firm instructing people on the other side of the table how to get attention of decision makers, get appointments and make the pitch. She made the comparison between the way we market our goods and services to the way studios market movies and it’s brilliant. Her idea being that when we meet someone, instead of giving them our “elevator pitch”, we get our audience interested with a teaser trailer, the way we learn about new movies being released. This is a short, 30 second overview of our idea. It doesn’t push or try too hard, it just sows the seeds of interest. Following the teaser, movie studios release their full length trailer that generates even more interest. If the person you’re speaking to was hooked by the teaser, it’s time to release your two minute trailer with more details of your idea, product or service. Both of these ideas would be helpful for salespeople that need to get in the room, and once there, that’s where the pitch happens. It’s really solid read from start to finish that will make you look at marketing yourself differently. The idea being that not everyone is a prospect, just like not everyone is a SciFi fan but with a good enough teaser, they’ll remember you and pass you onto someone that just might be.
In reading 24 books, I’ve learned a lot. Just to get that much reading done, I’ve learned to focus my time, to get better at reading quickly and to keep a list of what I’ll be reading next. I’m still a political junkie and I think there are still lessons to be learned from watching and studying politicians but I think I’ll wait until the circus leaves town to look again.