There are two continuum’s in human beings: The continuum of I’m comfortable and things are going well and that to me is the risk of being a rut. I like the definition as a rut is a casket with the ends kicked out so there’s a risk there. And there’s a continuum of complete breakdown, where you are paralyzed and not able to move like a stunned deer and that’s equally a problem.
My interest and my passion is how do we get ourselves so we’re leaning into life and we have a sense of urgency with life. I think for most of us life is most fulfilling when it’s more like a roller coaster than when we’re enjoying a beautiful boat ride with lily pads and relaxing.
I want to share a story from years ago when I went to Japan. I was very interested in zen and meditation. I have studied all the known religions. When I was in Japan, I wanted to learn about the culture. I got a tour of the zen monasteries and I said why are there stacks and stacks of barrels of sake at the monasteries? I mean, imagine going in an American church and seeing barrels of beer waiting to be opened, you would ask questions wouldn’t you? The tourist guide said that it is for our semiannual or twice a year celebrations. So I said what you’re saying is the monks meditate about six months up in the mountains eating very simple food and living very simple life, then you have a rip roaring party with barrels of sake and run through town with giant torches almost burning the place down, completely plastered and then come back and meditate for another six months. She said yes basically.
It is eye opening because we have this idea that life is all about this perfect balance. Well, life doesn’t come at us in perfect balance. The key of it is life is more like a roller coaster and the truth is those who enjoy the roller coaster see it as an adventure. It doesn’t mean there aren’t times when it’s really scary, but if we can refrain from that fear and start yelling with joy and excitement then things can start picking up.
When the market collapsed years ago, I asked Linda Craft – I asked what are you going to do? Linda said the same thing I did in 2001 and she lists four or five things when it looked like the world was ending. There were events in her career that had occurred and I said what’s that, she goes I’m gonna ask the question how do we succeed now and how do we make money now?
The risk of a disaster occurring can be just as dangerous as the risk of us being so comfortable. We can become complacent and I think that’s a a tragedy in life. We have to watch both out for both of them not just what do we do in these times, but when we get comfortable enough where we’re complacent, what do we do to keep ourselves at an edge that keeps life invigorating and exciting.
In a talk, I gave them bunch of quotes and said which one grabbed you the most. Well, 2/3 of the class said one of my quotes grabbed their attention the most and the quote was ‘if your life is boring, it’s because you are boring’.
Life begins outside your comfort zone, so it’s very important we always keep something active in our life that pushes us outside our comfort zone like when I first started to learn how to shoot from you, that was outside my comfort zone. I was even afraid of letting anyone know. What is important is that you do to keep yourself on edge. What do you do to push yourself outside your comfort zone?
Pick up something that you love to do that you actually think you can’t do and then prove yourself wrong by taking it on and give it a time period. It’s okay to fail. Tragically a lot of younger people whose parents are our age didn’t give them enough opportunities to fail to have any confidence and that’s really sad because failure in getting up again. That ritual is the doorway to real confidence. If you win all the time, you won’t trust anything. You won’t know where your boundaries are, where your wins are or where your gift in the world is.
The person who doesn’t succeed asks the question am I going to make it and the person that succeeds ask what does it take to make it? They may choose to stop at some poin, but they stay in that question.
In coaching people, the interesting thing to me over the years of doing it is how many times the main stopping of ones success is within their reach and within themselve. It’s often their biggest obstacle to becoming successful.
The first step is start challenging your beliefs that you can’t do things. Now, if you think you can jump off a mountain without a parachute, you need to pay attention to the laws of physics. If you want to leave your job on faith but you have a special needs child that needs insurance you get from the job, you need to be mindful of that. This still has to have a grounded in reality component, but the biggest thing is to start asking what would you love to do, what would you really like to do then start testing out what would it take to get there?
What will often happen is it may morph into something else or it may morph into the side that’s fulfillment, but it may not be the primary job. Starting the process of learning to stand in what’s possible while keeping your feet on the ground is a very important discipline to create and so you begin working on it step by step.
When I was back in IBM, I was getting the co-op students and taking them under my wing to help them out because no one really wanted the new guys from school to work with. I was practicing coaching with them and one of them said do all co-op students have to do all of this life planning coaching and stuff along with the job? I said, “I don’t know but this is how I do it.”
One of the co-op students was Stanford and he wanted to have this own radio station. I checked back in with him years later. I said, “You didn’t get the station you want, we did a lot of planning on it, it didn’t happen.” He said no actually what happened is from our coaching I realized I really want to have my own business and a more fun and accessible business was security support and computers. If he had not gone for the other, he would not have seen that one.
I’d like to share one more story on a gentleman named Tyler. He played the guitar, but I did not know anything about music at the time. I said, “Tyler would you work with me, I’m building my coaching skills.” So on a whiteboard, we massively mapped out his whole dream of having a studio where small bands could come. It was designed like many studios, so they could practice. Sadly, Tyler died of a motorcycle accident. When I was at his funeral, they described his accomplishments. What I saw is what we mapped on that board that day. He actually accomplished all of those things.
For most of us, the biggest thing that’s holding us back are excuses. Are you going to transform your excuses or be enslaved by them?
My main focus is the success coaching and it infuses all aspects of my speaking, my training and my social media management. All of that comes from the fact of what I do to help people to have meaningful lives, so that on their own deathbed they’ll be moved to tears by the life they lived. That’s core to my mission. It infuses everything I do. It may manifest itself as a social media management certificate program, as sales success coach, as helping a doctor be able to be more likeable in his practice so his ratings go up or a sales professional exceeding quota so he can do more with his family.
You will never go wrong by starting with being grateful for what you already have no matter how little it looks. Start with it, being grateful is a great place to start. Even if you feel like you have nothing, there’s always something.
Martin Brossman Bio
Martin Brossman is a leading authority on social selling, LinkedIn and online marketing with more than 20,000 followers on social media platforms.
He is a business coach, consultant, and a dynamic trainer known for his insight and humor. A member of the National Speakers Association, Martin is a popular speaker on social media marketing and professional development topics. He is a presenter at North Carolina community college Small Business Centers and Chamber of Commerce venues. Martin also provides customized coaching and training for individuals and groups, integrating social media, social networking, and reputation management.
His 20 years of professional experience includes 7 years with IBM, where he received the “IBM Means Service” top customer service award, and 13 years developing and operating small businesses. Coaching since 1995, he developed a certification / mentoring program for Coaches in 2003.
Corporate clients and organizations Martin has worked with include: IBM, SAS, GlaxoSmithKline, Environmental Protection Agency, Association of Proposal Management Professionals, Women Business Owners Network, The Triangle American Marketing Association, Decorating Den Interiors, Professional Photographers-NC, North Carolina Florists Association, NCPMI, NCACPA, Triangle BNI, and NC State University.
Martin teaches a Social Media Management certification program through NC State University’s Technology Training Solutions. He holds a BS in Math / Computer Science from St. Andrews College in Laurinburg, N.C. He and his wife currently reside in Raleigh, NC.