Please… Just Get Out of the Way

Seth Godin is the author of ten books that have been best sellers around the world and translated into more than 20 languages.  He is a marketing guru, keynote speaker, international thought leader, and writes the most popular marketing blog in the world.  I read his blog every day!  Seth is a creative, successful entrepreneur, having sold one of his companies in 1998 for 30 million.  His ideas have been said to have single-handedly changed today’s marketing landscape with such concepts as purple cows, permission marketing and idea viruses.

In a recent interview Seth was asked, “When times get tough for you Seth, is there a favorite story of someone who has overcome failure that inspires you to get you through those tough times?”  Seth responded saying that over a period of years, “I listened to Zig Ziglar’s tapes perhaps 150 times each!”  For 8 years Seth was one paycheck away from having to fold his company.  He never had more than $5,000 in the bank for 8 years in a row.  Seth continued, “What I found from Zig and some other people is that if you can regularly feed your head with positive stories… it works!”

Seth continued, “And to the people who are critical of that… all I can say is just get out of the way!  You have no right to tell people that this isn’t a good idea.  What we need is more reminders that persistence pays off.”

Unfortunately, we all know people who are critical, sometime overtly and openly critical of those who spend quality time regularly feeding their brain with positive stories and information.  The critics are usually motivated by a number of mostly self-inflicted issues including ignorance, laziness, insecurity, jealousy, lack of discipline, lack of direction and no plan for the future.

We all become what we think about and what we consistently allow to enter and to retain precious space in our brain.  Look no farther than the crowded jails and prisons throughout the world for absolute proof and confirmation!  We all become like those with whom we spend significant amounts of time.  Look no farther than the children of parents or the friends of teens for absolute proof and confirmation!  Yet there are millions of ignorant, insecure, jealous, undisciplined, wondering and mostly lost people who consistently criticize people who make a high priority of spending quality time feeding their brain with positive stories, concepts, strategies, information… and experiences.

Sometimes very good people with good intentions have an unintentional negative impact on someone who, as a result of correctly feeding her brain, is endeavoring to step up, step out and go at risk to accomplish something that seems too aggressive or unachievable.  Even with the best of intentions, we all need to be sure we are consistent encouragers, not critics.

Here is a true and positive story.  I know of a hospital CEO who consistently worked at feeding his mind with positive stories, information and experiences.  As a result of encouragement by a national consulting company, the CEO went to his board to seek permission to conduct 5 one day seminars each year on the topic of medical staff recruitment and development.  The CEO explained that the teacher virtually always learns more than the students and that as a result of marketing, preparing for and facilitating these seminars each year in Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago, Atlanta and Arlington, Virginia, the CEO would bring back incredibly valuable information and best practices that could be implemented at the local hospital.  At first the board was more concerned with the breadth and depth, and to some extent the audacity of this “big positive idea,” and the financial risk to this relatively unknown and young CEO.  The board nearly convinced the CEO to give up his vision and not to try or risk it.  Thankfully, following additional consideration and discussion of the potential benefits for all concerned, and the fact that there was no financial or other risk to the hospital, the board approved the CEO’s request.

Long story short… the seminars were very successful and were conducted in each city for a number of years.  The hospital and the community benefited in many ways and for many years.  The CEO benefited in many ways, including the realization of a whole new series of personal and professional opportunities and “successes” in serving and speaking on a national, rather than just a local level.  How do I know this story is true?  I was that CEO… more than 30 years ago.  As Seth Godin says, “It works!”

If critics, whoever they are and for whatever reason are causing you to hold back and not spend quality, consistent time intentionally feeding your brain positive stories, strategies, information and experiences… politely but firmly ask them… or if necessary diplomatically demand that they… Please, just get out of the way.

If friends, colleagues, circumstances or the organizations you serve are causing you to hold back and not take appropriate risks to achieve your dreams and vision, politely but firmly ask them… or if necessary diplomatically demand that they… Please, just get out of the way.

Seth Godin is right!  “If you can regularly feed your head with positive stories… it works!  And to the people who are critical of that… all I can say is just get out of the way!  You have no right to tell people that this isn’t a good idea.  What we need is more reminders that persistence pays off.”


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I am a leader, speaker, and author who is passionate about Leadership Excellence and Achieiving Greater Success. I am the author of the books Be An Inspirational Leader(2016) and Presidential Leadership (2013), and deliver keynote presentations on those topics and several others.

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