always be closing

‘thoughts are great…but action leads to closing’         emailsig


A.B.C.


I must admit it…my house is a mess!  And…I just cleaned up that area.  How does it already look like a storm hit it?  


I have to confess…I’ve started a thousand projects around here, and about 999 of them still seem ‘under construction’.  


I should accept it.  I have a problem.  Actually many, but I’ll start with this one and see if I can find closure with it.

I peg myself as really good at coming up with ideas.  I have journals and sheets and post it notes collected with a bunch of random ideas.  These can be related to business, the house, relationships, professional development, investments, blah blah blah.  Most of my ideas are bad.  However, I believe that while coming up with many poor ideas…and documenting them…I’m bound to come up with a good one here and there.  It’s almost like I come up with 99 bad ideas for every one diamond in the rough.  It’s a low shooting percentage but hey, if you don’t shoot you can’t score.  

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Matilda comes up with the best ideas!


I do feel strongly about documenting by the way.  If you don’t put your thoughts and ideas and goals down on paper, or somewhere digitally, they’ll just float around in your head, and possible float out of your head for good.  Once you put them somewhere, you can make space in your head for developing that idea or adding interest to it…or coming up with another one.  Find yourself a cool journal, even a good expensive one.  It’s investing in your own brain/goals/ideas.  And it will encourage you to put good use to it, and hold value in your own beliefs.  

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Closing the deal


So I’m good with all that stuff.  My interests are many.  I’m quick to jump into things and just try something.  I love learning anything new.  However…I’m not good with following the practice of the phrase, ‘Always Be Closing’.  This phrase is from the 1992 drama film called Glengarry Glen Ross, in which the character played by Alec Baldwin encourages some of the other characters to close deals within their sales work.  Watch out for bad language, but here is a great clip from the movie.  Look…it’s a very shallow message in regards to simply making more money above all else, and disregarding things like being a good dad, or being kind. However, it struck a chord with me in how it can relate to the idea of completing something. And this is what I have trouble with.  As I said, I can start a bunch of projects.  But I never seem to finish many of them.  

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Finishing touches


This weekend, I had a task that I wanted to complete.  The ramps in my landscape trailer have to be lifted in and mounted to the inside walls for transportation.  Well, I’ve always had this crap system of a cheap eye-hook and bungee chords to hold them in place.  Boring I know…bear with me.  This system has bothered me for about 5 years.  I can’t believe that! I’ve spoken about it, wrote down ideas, sworn at it many times…but never really done anything about it.  Well on Saturday night and into Sunday morning, I came up with a plan, went to the hardware store for materials, and put in a new ramp mounting system.  It was actually pretty easy!  On Sunday, I found myself putting all of my tools back in their proper place, sweeping up the garage floor of all debris, and wiping down my workbench with a cleaner and paper towels.  I suddenly thought, ‘Oh my…I’ve actually completed something, and I’m in the very final stage of cleaning up the mess associated with it.  I never do this!’  I’m telling you…it felt so good.   I immediately thought about ‘Always Be Closing’, and the benefits related to that.  I thought about Casey Neistat, and how he has those words tattooed on his arm.  He actually dedicated an entire Vlog to this idea.  Watch it here! 

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harvesting is closing

Neistat says that if you start a bunch of things and don’t finish them, you’re a loser.  That’s me…how sad.  Someone who starts something and always finishes it is a closer.  That’s not me.  My new focus is to become more of a closer.  I must bring my ideas to fruition…see them through to their fullest potential.  I’m on it.  By closing, and completing something, we are able to reap the rewards related to our project.  After dealing with annoyance of the ramp system in my trailer for 5 years, and halfheartedly poking at it here and there with temporary repairs, no wonder I felt so good about putting smart and hard work to it and having it completed.  

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Finished a dance season…proud Dad!



Closing leads to you feeling much more productive.  

Closing frees up space in your head for other, more important ideas. 

Closing encourages intellect and hard work over complaining and hoping.

Closing leads to more appreciation instead of expectation.  

Don’t be a loser…be a closer!

 



Organization


A.B.C. totally relates to keeping our lives organized too.  This is an area that I struggle with, and one that I’ll be putting some more focus into.  When you come home…with a bunch of things in your hands…maybe a bag or two…and pockets full of receipts and change and hair clips (for some reason, I always find myself here)…do you put everything away in it’s designated spot?  What I usually do is pile it onto my dining room table.  It’s flat, easy to access, and I won’t need the table until about 5:30pm.  That’s not closing.  That’s losing!  The worst is when I’ve put together a nice dinner and I go to bring plates to the table for Matilda and I, to find my loser pile in the way.  Worst!


I do have all of the designated places for things.  I have a file cabinet with nicely labeled folders, a piggy bank in the living room, a cup in the bathroom for Matilda’s hair clips.  I just don’t follow that step of putting things directly into their proper place.  And this is key.  If you hired someone to come ‘organize your house’ or your life, a main thread would be to immediately place things into their position.  Put them in their home.  Look at your computer desk, your kitchen counters, the desktop on your computer…even your email inbox.  Are you organized?  I’ve started trying to get to a totally empty email inbox as often as possible.  This entails creating simple folders, unsubscribing from all of the crap, deleting as soon as possible, and once a day, taking care of pertinent messages.  It relieves so much stress for me to have a clean slate.  But I need to work on the more ‘physical’ areas of my life…and organize those.  I want to finish more projects on my to do list…not just start them.  I don’t want to be a loser anymore…I want to be a closer!  Please comment if you’ve found effective ways of ‘closing’ in your own life.   

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thoughts are great…but action leads to closing!


Music:  Blind Pilot is an Oregon based band.  They use interesting instruments like a mountain dulcimer, vibraphone, and a harmonium.  Here’s a great one called New York.




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i’m no different than you

just my thoughts man – right or wrong…just what I was feeling at the time’ – Jay Z

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We cannot really judge one another, or blame one another for our thoughts and opinions.  It is honestly best to forgive someone for ideas you disagree with.  Best to appreciate their perspective.  Taking this approach broadens your own perspective, and allows you to employ a broader scope…a wider lens.

 

I once heard a line related to this, and it’s surfaced often when thinking about others…and our differences.  It basically says that ‘you would do exactly what any other  person does…behave in the same exact manner…had you been born to their parents, in the place they were raised, and brought up the same way’.  I’m not sure where I heard this.  Maybe it just came to me.  Actually, I’ll just go ahead and claim it as mine right now!  However simple it may be, it has provided me with a moral integrity in which I believe we’re all on the same level playing field.  

Here is a healthy practice for you to try:  think of a child living in a very different situation and place than what you have…preferably a child in a different culture, different socio-economic situation…something almost ‘opposite’ of you.  Then consider the fact that this child could have been you!  What if you were born there?  Had to walk in those shoes?  In that climate?  This consideration has helped me develop a better understanding of others, and has led to less judgement.  It’s allowed me to listen more effectively.  It’s let me submit to others, and forgive, and appreciate.

This can sound like a weak position.  Always submitting to others, and forgiving when people hurt me, or bring adversity to my life?  Won’t that just lead to people steam rolling over me and using me as a doormat?  No.  Believe it or not, giving up control and judgement has given me a stronger sense of who I am.  Instead of wasting so much energy on trying to control others, and situations, to no avail…I maintain a positive mindset, and often frame a response in my mind with the phrase ‘Is that so?’  This provides a position where almost nothing can knock me off course, regardless of the strength of the tides.  I acknowledge the potential storm.  I maintain the secure and reliable mast, and calmly set the main sail.  Then I begin wayfinding through the tempest.  I feel like Maui…with Moana at my side!  

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i am moanaaaaaaaaaa!
I once feared different ideas and opinions, opposite of my own.  I was once intimidated by others who stood for values other than mine.  This fear is what I believe to be one of the obstacles between groups not seeing eye to eye.  And considering how many of us often fear the unknown, it may not even be a conscious wall we’re constructing within our minds.  A natural cascading and compounding of negative or fear-filled thoughts can build, without us being aware.  It’s as if within our typical day, during our tasks, we mindlessly grab a brick and place it on an arbitrary line.  When the day is done, we’ve put up a faulty facade…a sloppy screen between ourselves and others.  It gives you a false sense of security, and you may be proud of where you stand and what you’ve built.  But the wall was constructed on careless judgement, weak mortar mix, an uneven foundation…not deliberate decisions, mindful masonry, on a level, compacted cornerstone.   


I’ve already blogged some about being aware of our own thoughts, and the benefits of thinking positive.  Here is a post related to that.  This awareness will help to clean up your rubble if you have some, and strengthen your position and security without the need of a wall.  What’s the best way to find that awareness?  Start meditating.  And start being mindful of your thoughts and reactions to different subjects.  It takes practice like anything else.  But with a little training, you’ll find yourself on a journey filled with happiness and contentment. Your shoulder may soften with the chip removed, allowing others a better landing to lean on.  

One final thought that I think of often is ‘how do i make other people feel?’  At the end of our short time in this place, this question may be central to how successful our time was actually invested.  This is of course difficult to know, as we can’t totally understand how others feel about us.  And it’s less about what others ‘think’ of us…more about the kindness, support, generosity, and acceptance that we provide…hopefully leading to a comfort and security felt by the people around us.  I believe a good, healthy self check-in is to ask yourself ‘how am I making other people feel?’


You feel me?



Music:  Here is an oldie but a goodie from The Lumineers.  The band leader’s wife told him he was like the Dead Sea…that she’ll never sink when he’s with her…and he wrote a song including this sentiment.  How romantic. 

emailsig

go be it

‘The chains of  habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken’ – Warren Buffett

Music:  Click here to listen to one of my favorite all around bands…Dawes.  They’re from California, and have been described as having a Laurel Canyon sound.  The singer/guitar player has an awesome 1960’s telecaster…for all you guitar buffs out there.  His brother plays drums in the band…and they have a special harmony when they sing together.  Griffin, the drummer, takes hipster to a whole new level.  I secretly want to be this guy for a week.  Enjoy!   

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What inspires you?  What get’s your juices flowing?  Is it sports, politics, family, education, music?  We all have certain experiences when we feel engaged and intrigued.  And we are all so different as to what flicks that switch for us.  


More and more, I’ve been trying to live closer to those things that are inspirational for me.  I wonder if all of us do this enough.  I know for me, for a long time…I didn’t.  Whether out of fear, insecurities, self-doubt, or many other reasons, we often don’t try new things or pursue avenues we are unsure of.  And that is surely something to regret.  I remember reading something a while back (can’t remember the source) in which older people that were near the end of their lives…basically gave advice on how to live.  Most of the regrets had to do with things they hadn’t done or tried.  And the best advice was to live with passion, don’t care what others think, take more risks, and worry less.  Living this way enriches our lives and creates happiness for ourselves and those around us.  


Last summer, the band Dawes that I introduced above, was playing in Portsmouth, NH at Prescott Park.  I found out about it last minute and asked a couple friends to go.  But it was the morning of the show and no one was able to.  I had really just started listening to them.  I was inspired and had to see them.  But I wasn’t too psyched about going alone, parking would be tough, the place would probably be packed, wouldn’t be able to find a good seat, might be too cold.  These are the negative thoughts that immediately ran through my head.  Something I’ve done a lot of in the past, and something I’m always working on reversing.  Anyway, I showed up to a beautiful setting on the water.  The place wasn’t packed at all, and I was able to sit on the grass on the right side of the stage.  I was right next to that hipster drummer, and had an incredible view of everything.  I felt like I had a backstage pass or something.  As they played, the sun set, creating a golden glow over the park, and I knew…this was one of those inspirational moments for me.  Families were dancing. The decades old guitar…ancient and full of scratches, rust, and wear, was still somehow sending out smooth and well-tuned notes.  And I noticed how much effort the band was putting in to creating each song, staying in time with one another, reading cues, and making this feel like their only show…not one of many on their tour. 


That experience, along with many others, has inspired me to be more ‘musical’.  And I’ve created some habits to make sure that happens…because for me, it creates happiness, and it brings me closer to that passionate way of living.  It’s actually really simple.  Why not try to do more of the things we like doing?


Having Matilda around has totally brought light to this.  The kid is always living in the moment, and as the innocence and naivety of childhood provides, simply doing the things she really wants to be doing.  It’s of course a balance for us parents to allow as much of that as possible, while also showing boundaries and limitations.  This seems to be a conversation I’m having everyday now.   And I absolutely love it!


I feel strongly though that in order to harness your passion…to secure it and hold it for future access…you must act immediately, or soon after your inspirational experience.  We have so many thoughts.  So many distractions.  You need to make sure to somehow follow through on your experience.  This could be as simple as going home and writing a journal entry about your thoughts and feelings, and tying that in to your goals.  It could be setting up another date with that person.  Maybe it’s buying your first guitar.  Starting to exercise more.  Or starting a business!  Whatever it is, use your passion as a catalyst.  It will help propel you to happiness and an inspirational life that is actually tailor fit for you!  It’s like being your own life coach.  


Do you ever say, ‘that would be fun’, or ‘I should do that’, but then find that you have reasons or excuses or distractions that get in the way?  Just the simple awareness of your thoughts surrounding this will prove to be very helpful.  And I’ve said this before…mindfulness and meditation are amazing tools…especially when it comes to self-awareness.  Once you are aware, you can start creating everyday habits that are directly linked to what you truly want.  I believe in using routines and habits to instill these values…especially if you’re an old dog learning new tricks.  I’ll share some of the routines that help me in another post.  


The next time you feel emotional, passionate, truly inspired…go be it!


What does inspire you…and how do you find it in your every day?  Don’t let it slip away!