FAILURE STORIES EP.08 LES BROWN

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OVERCOMING FEAR OF FAILURE. PART 1

Look at a man the way he is and he only becomes worse, but look at him as if he were what he could be, then he becomes what he should be - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

OVERCOMING FEAR OF FAILURE. PART 1

It’s very important to believe you are the one to do it- Les Brown

He was born in an abandoned building, adopted and labeled as educable mentally retarded early in school. His life is a story of perseverance and hustle to get where he is right now.

 

Label

Shortly after being born on the floor of an abandoned building in poor side of Miami, Les Brown and his twin brother were adopted by Mamie Brown, a kitchen worker and maid. When Les was in 5th grade he was labeled as educable mentally retarded and put back from the 5th grade to 4th grade. Same thing happened again in the 8th grade. Upon graduation, he became a city sanitation worker in Miami Beach. But he had a dream of being a disc jockey. At night, he would take a transistor radio to bed where he listened to the local jive-talking deejays. He created an imaginary radio station in his tiny room with its torn vinyl flooring. A hairbrush served as his microphone as he practiced his patter, introducing records to his imaginary listeners. He was wrapped up in his own world, living a dream.

 

Greatest gift

He didn’t receive any collage training but one particular speech and drama instructor changed his life. His name was Leroy Washington. Mr. Washington gave him a greatest gift anyone can ever give. A different vision of himself. When Les was in his class waiting for a different student, Mr. Washington said “Young man go to board and work this problem out for me”.Oh, Sir I can’t do that” – replied Les.Why not?” - said the teacher.  “I’m not one of your students”.  While looking at him Mr. Washington said: “Go to that board and work the problem out”. With a trembling voice Les mumbled “Sir I can’t do that, because I’m educable mentally retarded. I’m in special education”. The students started laughing and they said: “That’s Lesley. Not Wesley. His DT. Wesley is the smart twin”.  “What is DT stand’s for?” – said Mr. Washington.  Lesly relied with a shame on his face: “I’m the dumb twin, Sir”. As the students laugh at him, Mr. Washington came from behind and looked at him: “Don’t you ever say that again. Someone’s opinion of you does not have to become your reality”. On the one hand Les was humiliated but on the other hand he felt liberated.

 

Worth doing badly

From felling free he looked at his goals and dreams and said to himself How am I going to do that? He went straight from his heart to his mind and he stayed up there for 14 years.  The first time Les stood up to speak publicly his mind set down. He looked at the audience and he panicked. He had to introduce a play but he ran of the stage. Mr. Washington said to him: “If you run now, you will always be running. Anything that’s is worth doing, is worth doing badly until you get it right. Go back out there”. Other students dog him out and he became the laughing-stock of the whole school

 

Breaking the fear

Another event came out Mr. Washington said: Mr Brown you’re up. Les went up and pretty soon when people laughed at him it didn’t even bother him. Later one day he came out and he came to himself. He broke out of that fear and in front of the whole school gave the first of his great speeches.

 

DJ

One day Les boldly went to the local radio station during his lunch break from mowing grass for the city. He got into the station manager’s office and told him he wanted to be a disc jockey. When it turned out that he didn’t have any background in broadcasting, it was the end of the conversation. But young Les was far from being over. His commitment to his goal was remarkable. Les had strong enough reasons, higher purpose than simply wanting to be a disc jockey. He wanted to buy a nicer house for his adoptive mother, whom he loved deeply. This job was just the step on the way.

Patience

And so Les returned to the station every day for a week, asking if there were any job openings. Finally, the station manager gave in and took him as a free intern. Les did whatever was asked of him at the station – and more. While hanging out with the deejays, he studied their movements on the control panel. At night, he practiced and prepared himself for the opportunity that he knew would present itself.

 

Opportunity

One Saturday afternoon it did. Because of his persistence and preparation, Les was ready. He wowed the audience and his general manager. As you pursue your dream, you are becoming stronger and smarter. In one of his speeches he said: There will be times when doors of opportunity open up for you as you walk your path. Stay focused and stay true to your dream, and more doors will open up for you.

 

Mental conditioning

When he watched Dr Norman Vincent Peale speak publicly he thought: I could do that. I would love to talk to people. I can do that. But when he started going back to his car his mental conditioning activated itself and it said: Les Brown you can’t do that. You don’t have a college education. You don’t have the training. You’ve never worked for major corporation. What makes you think you can?

 

Floor

It was hard when Les entered the motivational speaking arena in the mid-1980s, he had virtually nothing but one tape of his motivational speeches. He rented an office in Pen Penobscot Building in Detroit, Michigan and he felt on some hard times. He was sleeping on the floor in his office. In one of his great speeches just three years later he said: “I didn't even want a blanket or a pallet on the floor. I wanted it to be hard and cold so it would motivate me to keep striving. I didn't want to get soft." It was hard for him when had to read a letter from bulling management that he cannot sleep in his office. It was hard for him to go through the lobby and get laughed out.

 

Dream

Pursuing your dream, you will face disappointments, defeats and failures. But that’s okay. That’s given. Dreams are supposed to be hard to reach – that’s why they are called dreams. It’s very important (to know) when you hold on to that dream, there are moments when you’re going to doubt yourself. Rough times are gonna come but they have not come to stay. They have come to pass – Less Brown

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FAILURE STORIES EP. 06 JIM CARREY

Posted Leave a commentPosted in 5 minute read, FAILURE STORIES
FAILURE STORIES EP. 06 JIM CARREY

It is better to risk starving to death then surrender. If you give up on your dreams, what's left? – Jim Carey

How many of you know Jim Carrey, either from his stand-up comedy or from his many successful films, including Dumb and Dumber, Mask, Liar Liar, The Truman Show, or A Series of Unfortunate Events? When you think of the elements that played the most vital role in his success you would probably mention talent, hard work, luck, maybe patience. You are hundred percent right but there is one more thing you are missing. Bear with to learn what is the one ingredient 99 percent of us are missing.  

 

Adversity

You might think that anyone as talented as Jim must had a great home background and went to a great school with plenty of money to afford the best of training. Think again.

It’s hard to believe that in his early years at school Jim was quiet and not very sociable. Before he became the Jim we all know he had to fight hard at school around his learning disability and dyslexia. In this struggle, he developed a phenomenal memory which turned out to be vital skill later in his stand up and acting carrier. Although his dad tended to encourage his craziness, his mom was alarmed and often sent him to his room. This just gave him more time to practice in front of the mirror.

 

Discovery

Discovering that he could make friends by simply making people laugh, was his true turning point that would affect his entire future. Although we know how he turned out to be, the results of his discovery back then weren’t all that positive. At home, he thoroughly enjoyed making faces and mimicking in his mirror. In school, he was finishing his work first and then disrupting the rest of the class. That was his way of screaming for attention. So rather than discipline him for disrupting the class, one of his teachers asked him to put together an act and perform it for the class at the end of the school day, on the condition that he would do his work and not disturb the class. He thought this was a great idea and went along with it.

 

Sacrifice

His ambitions and courage were on display when he began to think beyond just entertaining his fellow students. At age ten he sent his resume’ to actress Carol Burnette, hoping to be discovered. As we know it took him another few years to crawl to the top.

Money was another hurdle. His family lived in a rough district with lots of low-rent townhouses. By the tenth grade he was trying to juggle eight-hour night shifts at the factory with school during the day. He was so exhausted that he couldn't understand what his teachers were talking about. At that time, he didn't have any friends at school and he feared that anyone getting close might find out about his embarrassing poverty. Not having enough time to study nor to nurture school friendships he felt that school was not getting him anywhere. He called it quits at 16.

 

Hardships

His family decided that their surroundings were taking them the wrong direction, so they packed up and moved to Canada with no job in sight. His parents and two siblings lived in a beat-up yellow Volkswagen camper van for a full eight months, parking in campgrounds. Feeling intellectually backward, inferior, embarrassed and experiencing hardships of poverty paved the way to his success by making him feel that he had to try harder than others. Lots of his creativity, as well as his remarkable willingness to take risks were born out of those moments desperation.   

 

Check

In 1983, Jim headed west to Hollywood where he starred playing small parts in television movies. He was another struggling young comic trying to make his way in Los Angeles. When he wasn’t doing anything in Hollywood, he was driving his old Toyota up to Mulholland Drive and sitting in his car. While sitting there looking at the city below and dreaming of his future, he wrote himself a check for $10 million, dated it Thanksgiving 1995, added the notation “for acting services rendered” and carried it in his wallet from that day forth. On top of that he was saying to himself “Everyone wants to work with me. I’m a really good actor. I have all kinds of great movie offers.” 

 

Affirmation

He would just repeat these things over and over, literally convincing himself that he had a couple of movies lined up. He’d drive down that hill, ready to take the world on, going, “Movie offers are out there for me, I just don’t hear them yet.” This total affirmation was his own way of dealing with stems from his family background.

 

Not so Dumb after all

His appearances in TV programs led to a main role on the hit comedy In Living Color. After many years, Jim’s optimism, tenacity and conviction eventually paid off. By 1995, after the huge box office success of Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Mask, and Dumb & Dumber, his wage for a picture went up to $20 million.

 

Every day

Jim Carrey used his hard times and set-backs to motivate him to try harder. He channeled his energy to making something special out of his life. But my biggest take from his story is that he was so convinced of his self-worth, he had a very specific goal and was envisioning it on a daily basis. It’s not only about having a plan, goal or dream, it’s even more about engaging with that vision on emotional level and working on it every day. Create a vision for your life but don’t freeze on just hoping it’s magically going to happen. Nothing will ever happen if you won’t start putting it to work.

 

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FAILURE STORIES EP. 06 JIM CARREY

FAILURE STORIES. EP. 05 WALT DISNEY

Posted Leave a commentPosted in 5 minute read, FAILURE STORIES
FAILURE STORIES. EP. 05 WALT DISNEY

All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them – Walt Disney

Entrepreneur, cartoonist, animator, voice actor, and film producer. Before he became the legend, we know, he was fired by the newspaper editor because he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” 

 

Mouse on the screen

Can you imagine anyone being afraid of Mickey Mouse? No? Neither can I but Walt Disney was told that Mickey Mouse would not work since a huge mouse on the screen would terrify women. Well, it seems that women were not scared and this mouse continues to share his story on screens all over the world.

 

You are dismissed

In 1919 while working for a newspaper, Disney was struggling to make ends meet. At one point, he was fired by the newspaper editor because he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas”. In January 1920, Disney formed his first animation company, which was called Laugh-O-Gram Films. He raised $15,000 for the company but following a rough start he was eventually forced to close Laugh-O-Gram, and go to earn money at the Kansas City Film Ad Company. He was soon joined by his partner, who were not able to run their business by himself.

 

City of broken dreams

Sometime later Disney he acquired a successful studio but profits were insufficient to cover the high salaries paid to employees. After studio became loaded with debt it wound up bankrupt. Disney was desperate and out of money.  In July 1923, Walt sold his camera and, with the little money he had, moved to Hollywood. Disney faced even more criticism and failure.

 

Wonderland

He had decided he wanted to be in the motion picture business and envisioned himself as a director, so he set out to look for a job. Every studio in town turned him down. In the face of another failure he had sent his unfinished project Alice’s Wonderland to different distributers. One of them offered him a deal and with his brother Roy and best friend Iwerks they have created Disney Brothers’ Studio.

 

(Not so) Lucky Rabbit

One of his first huge successes in the cartooning business was Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. It was so successful that it was shown in major theatres around the country with first–run films. At that time, Walt was only receiving a 20 percent cut on his films and was ready to negotiate higher share, since he was barely earning anything. But his producer had other plans.  

 

Not Walt

He decided he no longer needed Walt, and by hiring Walt’s animation crew he could produce the cartoon himself. As distributer, he had the rights to do what he liked with the cartoon. It was another devastating lesson for Walt. Most of the people would cave or run home with the tail between their legs. Most of the people but not Walt. He decided then and there that he would now only work on characters to which he owned the rights.

 

Mortimer

Walt desperately needed a brand-new idea. In the back of his mind he had the idea of a mouse – a sympathetic character that had a lot of potential. He called the mouse Mortimer, the name eventually changed to Mickey Mouse thanks to the insistence of his wife.

 

Astounding duo

Mickey had his own live voice–overs, sound–effect people, and an orchestra. Walt’s vison of Mickey’s voice was very specific and unique but he could not find anyone who could replicate the way he imagined it to be. So, it was Walt himself who voiced Mickey. This astounding duo made front–page news.

 

All in

In 1932, Walt discovered the new phenomenon of technicolor and wanted to create a feature–length cartoon about Snow White. People in Hollywood sneered at that idea because no one could even imagine it.  He was told by his banker that he would be risking everything he had on this one film. But Walt believed in his vision for the company, and he believed in this retelling of Snow White enough to go through with it. The film received both critical acclaim and commercial success. Money flowed in, erasing the entire studio debt within 6–months. Walt received an Academy Award for what was yet another risk that had paid off.

 

War

Fantasia was one of Walt’s most unusual and unique projects. His vision was to reproduce the sensation of listening to music in a concert hall accompanied with visual stimulation. He was onto an earlier version of stereo–phonic sound. The total budget of this project, however, was more than $2 million. Just as the Disney Company seemed to be reaching new heights, war broke out. Overseas income ceased funding the construction of the new Burbank studio, and although newly launched animated movies Fantasia and Pinocchio were considered Disney Masterpieces, they did not provide the revenue the company needed.

 

Debt

By 1941 the studio was half–a–million dollars in–debt. But this didn’t stop him. Actually, nothing ever did. He did not let a string of failures overcome him, standing strong even through his toughest times. After every storm, there is a rainbow. The next decade was a period of great financial expansion for Disney. It went from of $6 million profit at the start of the decade to $70 million at the end.

 

Failure is necessary

The company that Walt has left behind has reached phenomenal success. It all started from one very innovative and passionate man who demanded the highest quality and wasn’t afraid to experiment and fail with every endeavor.

 

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FAILURE STORIES. EP. 05 WALT DISNEY

POWER OF QUESTIONS? PART 2 ONE QUESTION

Posted Leave a commentPosted in 6 minute read
POWER OF QUESTIONS? PART 2 ONE QUESTION

Knowledge is having the right answer. Intelligence is asking the right question

We have previously learned in Power of Questions? Part 1 why it’s so important to start asking questions to yourself. Question yourself first and then start adding value to your life and other people life. Hopefully after reading this article you will jump with me on this one-day challenge. I am not asking for much. One day. One question. That’s it.

 

Tenacious curiosity

During the curse of our life we face a lot of problems, do you agree? Some people say that there are no problems only opportunities. Of course there are lessons to be learned in every problem, opportunity or failure but we still have to deal with them. There is a great technique to revel the roots of our problem, including inaction. It is the method of 5 Whys. It is a simple interrogative technique to explore the case, that was developed by Sakichi Toyoda and used at first by Toyota Corporation. The method simply comes to asking the question Why? As many times as it takes to raise emotions. In most cases after the 5th Why? you will discover the root cause of the problem. Besides releveling the nature of the case usually the solution will become clear. As I said the idea of this technique is very simple but getting it right is not so easy. You might think it is just asking few question, how hard it could be?

 

Requests for information

Well, this may come as a surprise for you, but as it turns out it’s problematic because we don’t really know how to ask questions. We ask questions without even thinking about them. How was school? How was work? Did you like it? Are we really looking for answers or are we just subconsciously feel obligated to ask them? First thing is that we are not really sure what information we want to get by asking those question? Questions are simply requests for information but we tend to forget about it. If we get to the third question, and most people stop at two, it has nothing to do at all with the first on. Even if we know what information we are looking for, we give up on this quest surprisingly easily. What you need to do to identify the roots of your inactions, is to practice asking questions based on the 5 Whys model.

 

Adding value

Those very simple and basic things will allow you to add a great amount of value to your life. If you’re asking yourself better and more specific questions you are going to discover greater capabilities within yourself. There is a lot in you that you don’t know yet. Don’t you want to uncover that?

 

Influencing

It will also allow you to influence others in a far greater way. I’m not talking about manipulating. I’m talking about helping, leading, motivating and inspiring. Once you are able to help others and ask them better questions, then you are going to be the person everyone always wants at the meeting. You are going to be the person everyone always wants to ask questions. You are going to become the influencer in the group because you’re helping people think of the things they wouldn’t usually do. If you will become that go to person, all the big ideas they have, they are going to want to bounce against you. Benefit from that and let others inspire you on your Journey. 

 

What do you want?

From being miserable at work, to loving it. Being successful means to me to be able to respond and actually anticipate the invitation of an upcoming opportunity. It is always an opportunity to grow, to develop, to become and to progress. But the biggest, the most fulfilling of all successes is making your life what you want it to be. Now the big question is What do you want from life? What do you really want?

 

Dig deeper

We have much more powerful capabilities than most of us think that we have. By asking the right questions you can control your fear. You can get your priories in line and understand what is going on. Questions build your vision, your dreams and your Journey. Don’t go for the first answers. Dig deeper. Go further. Don’t be ashamed to ask 5 follow up questions. Get into the core of the case or a problem. The more you understand something, the more confidence you have in that area. Ignorance and unawareness won’t get you anywhere. Ask more and better questions, learn more about your colleagues, your friends, your business partners, your employees and understand them better. In work and business environment we actually know very little about each other. By asking those question you will get a great connection point, a great start to your next small talk. You will get them more comfortable and get yourself a very powerful leverage of knowledge, trust and personal bond. Our life is long game but not all of us are playing a long game. Treat those question as investment and don’t expect a quick payback. Payback will come but you have to be patient.

 

One Question

Now I dare you to ask one extra question to each person you interact with at work. One question. Tomorrow. It could be interactions by the coffee machine, at the meeting, training session, by your desk, wherever. Make this question a little bit private. Don’t ask about weather. Make it positive and light. If you are asking How was your weekend? Try to go a little bit deeper. Look for good in others. Be creative. Be playful. Ask this one question, enrich your everyday interaction and relationship. One question. How hard it can be?  

 

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POWER OF QUESTIONS? PART 1 START FROM YOURSELF

Posted Leave a commentPosted in 6 minute read
OVERCOMING FEAR OF FAILURE. PART 1

Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple – Dr. Seuss

I have an impression that many of us have lost the ability to ask question. Did we ever have it? Sure we did. Let’s go back to the times when you were a little kid. You were asking so many questions that I bet that there was moment when your parents could stand it anymore. But they did. You were a little broken record and you did it totally on purpose. Surprised? Let me tell you what you were doing. You were asking the same question 20 or 30 times looking for a different answer. Until you found one that satisfied you, you wouldn’t stop asking. Try to think how annoying that was. We need to be annoying again. We have let it vanish too easily.  

 

Question yourself

 The first person you need to ask questions is yourself. Ask yourself the same question 20 times? I bet you are going to come up with better answers. When was the last time when you asked yourself a question What do I want? What’s my outcome? What’s my true KPI? What’s the result I am after? Not what should you do. Activity may change but stick to your outcome. Focus on your result. The clearer you are about your goal the faster you will achieve it. Think about the outcomes, not activities.  You will find that you can eliminate some of your activities because they are not getting you closer to achieving your desired outcome.

 

Going into details

In order to see clearly what you are truly after you need to constantly ask yourself those question.  What are my most important outcomes for this week? What do I want to accomplish today? Be as clear and specific as possible. What are the outcomes for this meeting? Do we want our company to be focused on the outcomes or activities? What do you want to change in your life? What are you really missing in life? What do you want to accomplish? What is your goal? Do you even know it? How can you hit target you cannot see? How can you reach a goal you do not have?

 

Why?

Are you going to work, train or grind tomorrow because that’s what you did yesterday?  If that’s your reason, you will not get any closer to the vision you do not have.  We have all the means to stop it. Break this pattern We live in. The first step to do is to know your WHY. You really need to know Why. Why do you want to do all those things? What do you expect when you reach that goal? What it is going to change?

 

Lord of your own fire

We all have or used to have fire inside of us. You need to light that fire again. To re-fire your desire first you need to ask certain questions.  What burns in your heart? What is your motive for action? What drives your life?

Those are a few very important questions you need to ask yourself in the beginning. Without knowing that you might achieve your goals and still be unhappy with the result because you didn’t know Why exactly did you wanted this. Does it make any sense thus far?

 

Get your priorities in order

The simplest as well as one of the most effective ways to evaluate and decide on your priorities, is to ask yourself a question: How this will affect you a week from now, a month from now, a year from now? Will this action cause a significant change? Does this get you closer to your vision?  There will always be something to clean at the house, something you need to do, some friends you haven’t seen for months. There will always be something. Don’t kid yourself.

 

Experts in other people

You probably think that it sounds easier, then it actually is. How do I add value to my life and to the life of others? First, you need to know yourself. Simple, right? Yes, it’s simple but most of us don’t know ourselves too well. We tend to study, discover, learn and get to know our friends, colleagues, our boss, but not ourselves. We look at them, we assess them, quite often judge their actions and behaviors, and in the end we evaluate their results. We have become experts at Them. Especially with our friends and bosses. He should act like that. He should say it in more convincing matter. She is such a week leader. She has got no skills. What about you? How well do you know yourself? How much attention do you pay to your thoughts, your behaviors, your results? Is that enough? Do you think you should know yourself better? I know I should.

 

Right questions add value

Ok, how to do? Start from asking yourself better questions and you will understand yourself a lot better.  Ask yourself 4 questions that will allow you to get to know you better:

  1. Your goals and dreams. What are your goals, your dreams, your vision? What do you want to achieve? What’s your expected outcome?
  2. People. Who are you trying to impact? Who and how needs to be involved in this endeavor? What do they want? Who would be affected by your actions? Who would be influenced?  Try to understand the Who of any given situation.
  3. Do you know how to do it? Do you have skills, knowledge and resources? What you can do and what you cannot do? What do you need to learn? Where do you need to grow?
  4. Measurement. How things are going to be measured? How do you know if you’ve reached your goal? How do you know if you are progressing? What is your Key Performance Indicator? How are you going to check that?  How does success look like for you?

 

I know that’s a lot of questions to ask yourself but believe me it’s totally worth it. Be persistent, be specific and invest in yourself.

 

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