Category Leadership & Management

Working on my own Trust & Loneliness Issues – Getting there!

The awesome Joel de la Cruz done up in Japanese Style.  He is ironically a cool Filipino guy :)

The awesome Joel de la Cruz done up in Japanese Style. He is ironically a cool Filipino guy.

This article I wanted to dedicate to the amazing Joel de la Cruz from “Your Relationship Oracle”.  I have been very lucky to be working with this amazing man who is very kind and also has an “Innate” 6th Sense when it comes to understanding people.

He put a thought provoking post on Facebook that was about “Grief” and the pain of dealing with it.  It really got me thinking, not so much in a “Death” type of respect but got me reflecting on some of my own personal issues that I am dealing with.

Business wise I am rocking (the numbers are great and my projects are up to date) which is fantastic, however my own personal life is becoming quite an issue.  I think a lot of the issues I have always had, are now becoming more prominent as my life is getting busier and there are more and more people that are relying on me.  Like all things, I certainly don’t like “Having issues” and I find myself in the position of having to face them off and deal with them.  A few of my friends know my issues well (thank you Joel, Jenny Kuo, Lisa Aifantis, James Budd, Edward Wright and Penny + more) and it’s been great having their support.

If you read a bit earlier, I do suffer from a Diagnosed Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and it wasn’t that long ago my life was in pieces due to some really bad judgment, poor choices and laziness on my part.  My life is the best it’s ever been in all areas – and although things “On Paper” are rocking, I still mentally am connected to the times where I was alone and really had no one to trust.

My life only really came together say 10 months ago and on a funny note, I am finding myself dealing with all my issues that have been impacting me all my life.  On an even funnier note, the more I be honest with people, the more they are honest with me in telling me their own issues and the stuff they have to deal with.

So I am not alone in my own issues! I used to think everyone was right and there was something “Wrong” with me – only to find that everyone has their own issues and challenges.  One thing I have learnt lately and my close friend Jenny Kuo has been brilliant at (read my earlier articles about this amazing woman) – is about speaking about my own issues.

She has also put up with a lot of my “Trust Issues” – so if you read this Jen, thank you for your patience with me!

Being a “Persian Man” is great, but one big limitation is admitting my own issues.  That is, I was brought up with the importance of making out “I am just wonderful” even when things are just simply not.  The big realization I have had, is to admit the truth and nothing but the whole truth in an objective manner.  That is, if I have a problem “Admit It” as a weakness and deal with it, but also just as equally – if i am brilliant at something then tell the world with complete pride and satisfaction.

Thank you for the read in my article turned diary entry! Have a great day out there with maximum appreciation from Edward Zia – Marketing Mentor and Awesome Marketing Vault Creator.

Defending Earth against Evil MLM’s and it’s Minions

Okay you Scamway Bully.  You Won the first round, so let's go round number 2!

Okay you Scamway Bully. You Won the first round, so let’s go round number 2!

If you are a Sydneysider like me, you have no doubt been bombarded by these people who are some how trying to get into your wallet.  Fighting dodgy Multi-Level Marketeres are a bit like fighting aliens, it almost doesn’t matter how many you stop – they keep landing!

In lots of science fiction films and games, let’s say you are the Hero.  Some aliens are invading Earth (or whatever) and you are the only one that can stop them.  And of course, humanity is out-numbered and unless you get the “Queen” or stop the “Heart” of them – you will eventually lose!

To me, these dodgy MLM’s around Sydney is a bit like the first 30 minutes of a Video Game or a Movie like this.  There are MLM people everywhere, and you seem to be busy fighting them off – and don’t know how to stop them!

I had a very good some time ago.  Some time ago at a Networking Event when I started my business, I wasn’t too confident about myself.  This quite nasty MLM guy who is out and about town trying to rip people off really got stuck into me with some persuasive questioning.  He honestly got me off guard and said hostile things to me like:

– So is your business really passive? What is you stopped working, will you get paid?

– Have you ever created anything? “Dodgy MLM X” is true creation.

– I am successful and you are not.

At that time (when I was a bit vulnerable), although he didn’t get anywhere with me (in fact he got nowhere – I told the Networking Host who kicked him out of the group) it was quite aggressive and hostile questioning that was used against me.

I consider myself a tough savvy guy these days and looking back, what I found almost evil about this was that weaker willed individuals would have been conned into this.  And of course don’t start me about their deceptive behavior, i.e. they drag you to a Coffee Chat about some other reason then hit you up with their pyramid scheme.

Are they evil? Whenever I ask friends who are part of it – they always say “I am Wrong / Stupid” and that I “Don’t get it”.

Well, to the people from dodgy MLM’s who have attacked me, I ask you this:

– Why do you like conning people?

– Why do you hate your fellow-man and enjoy deception?

– If you are so rich and wealthy, why do you need me?

So watch out everyone! I better be careful too, the big scheme I am attacking my send a hit man to get me at 2AM in the morning!

Success: Turning Up 1 Time More after Everyone Quits!

Learning to Overcome Rejection - Oww, it hurt's about here?

Learning to Overcome Rejection – Oww, it hurt’s about here?

To me this is a very profound concept. In not just my own Small Business, but when I used to Job Hunt – I really learnt how hard the “Real World” can actually be.  My great Mother (God Bless Her) is an amazing woman and Ex-Inspector in the Police Force. She was beaten up for years by an Abusive Father (alcoholic you name it!), fought with the UN (in Peace Keeping Operators and had fought in real gun battles) and seen lots of people die in front of her.

This realism gave her a great grounding in the respect that she used to tell me “The World is a Tough Place”, “It’s Hard” and Success if often turning up 1 time more after everyone else quits.

If anything, I have learnt that I should have listened to my mother more often! But oh no, her comes all the “Positive Thinkers” out of the woodwork. They come along, hype you up and make out with their tools or a “Simple, Dog-Easy to Follow Strategy” you can make $1,000,000 / Min without leaving the house.

You and I are intelligent people. You and I know that they are probably one of two things:

– Lying to rip you off, show off, or take advantage of you.
– Have had Mummy & Daddy pay for everything and have had a sheltered life.

In my experience, it’s usually about 60% / 40% – or a combination of both. The reality is that the “Pain / Avoidance of Rejection” kills many Small Businesses and prevents many of us getting the Promotions in our Careers that we deserve.

My mum always said you got to take the pain. You got to stick at it. You got to survive the longest. It’s such a true lesson, the people who often succeed aren’t the “Smarter” ones or the “Better Looking” ones, it’s the ones that stick at it beyond everyone else that quits.

So why do we ignore mums advice? Because it’s painful! In our own business, we get so much rejection. And it’s tough! But once you get over the fact that it’s “Tough” and enjoy the process, the “Law of Averages” kick in.

If you only meet 1 person a day and get rejected – it’s soul crushing! If you meet 10 people a day and get rejected 8 times – it’s great! (Because you have 2 wins!). I know it can suck at times. I know it can feel really bad when you get rejected.

But when you avoid rejection, you are avoiding the possibility of growing your business, getting that dream job – or even finding a partner! My advice to you – EMBRACE REJECTION! It’s not easy at the start, but I can promise you – each day you do it, it becomes that bit easier. And to all you lying “Positive Thinkers” out there – grow up! Treat others and yourself with honesty and respect!

Boy – I wish I learnt this 20 years ago!

Eric Cartman: Is the only cure for Hate, More Hate?

If the World is such a Positive Place, then why are we still Fighting Wars?

Love or Hate Eric Cartman – he really leads the boys in South Park and has an uncanny sense of street wise smarts.

With all the “Positive Thinking” extreme trash out in the marketplace, I have seen some amazing extremes from both these perspectives.  I have sat there and watched “Positive Thinking” videos by incredibly delusional “Positive Thinkers” that will sit there and tell you the world is such a wonderful place, there is so “Much Abundance”, through “Visualization” wars will end and if you stuck 4 Wheels on me and paint me Red – I would become a fire truck.

OK – Let’s run with this Positive Extreme for a second and pretend it has some kind of Credibility.  If you defend this line of thinking, then please answer these questions for me:

– If the world is such a “Positive Place” then why does 50% of the world live in Poverty? (50% may be a bit of a rough estimate, but I know it’s really high – just go and ask Bono or someone like that).

– The poor Wife who get’s beaten by her husband for 20 years – are you telling me she lives in an Abundant world?

– The poor person in a wheelchair – is that Abundant?

– Living under ruthless dictators such as Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi, Kim Jong Il or Fidel Castro – is that Abundant, and would visualizing them “Going Away” make it happen?

You may think I am being Brutal, but come on – don’t lie to me and don’t lie to yourself. These “Positive Thinking” morons write books, sugar coat everything so you simply purchase their products.  After all – if “Visualization” and “Positive Thinking” is so powerful – then why don’t those poor Starving people in North Korea have large houses, a fully stocked refrigerator and the ability to choose where they want to have dinner that night?

Eric Cartman’s line from South Park  “The only way to fight hate … is with MORE hate!” – doesn’t sound very nice.  In fact it sounds disgusting.  But in certain situations – it’s very true!

Hitler is an obvious example, but a current example today are the poor people in Libya fighting the evil and oppressive regime of Colonel Gaddafi.  Lot’s of people have died at the hands of this mad-man, and unless he is stopped – plenty more people will die.

So you “Positive Thinkers” out there who have never left your house, had Mommy & Daddy pay for house & car and have almost no real world experience – I challenge you to respond to this post.  Don’t just say “I’m Wrong” as I get from you guys quite often, I am really open to a credible counter argument on this point (i.e. if I am “Wrong” as you always tell me, then convince me otherwise).  In this case, Eric Cartman is on the money – sometimes, you have to fight “Fire with Fire” and “Hate with Hate”.

We live in a beautiful, yet dangerous world and in dangerous times.  Freedom certainly isn’t “Free” and if we don’t stand up to dictators in the world, or even bullies in our own workplaces and lives – things are only going to get worse for us.  Am I saying running around being fully charged with Hate? Of course not – but sometimes, situations beyond our control call for this type of approach.  Be careful out there, it’s a jungle!

Arrogance is Way Better than Low-Confidence, Right?

I’m Not Arrogant – You are Just Inferior to Me!

In many people, I have known, including some of my clients, colleagues (and even myself at times) – it can be an easy trap to bounce from extremes of “Low-Confidence” right through to “Arrogance”.

That is, when one has a low view of themselves, they eat away their energy and motivation through always putting themselves down (be it out loud, or just through their own internal dialogue).  After reaching a real low in themselves, they then go and buy something or “Puff” themselves up to convince themselves into being “Confident”.

In watching such swings, unfortunately the “Confidence” may turn into “Arrogance” which is no fun for anyone!

The poor person who felt bad, “Puffs” themself up, then because people think they are “Arrogant” they get treated differently and then they slide back where they were – hence the cycle repeats itself.

In my own youth I did this quite a bit and it wasn’t till much later that I learnt (firstly the hard way then formally) that when we have a “Poor View” of ourselves and a very low Self-Worth – it’s very easy to enter this “Low Confidence / Arrogance” type of swing.

In some of the great people I work with, when you hear them pour out their soul to you -I sometimes almost tear up in terms of feeling how much they either put themselves down or devalue themselves all the time.  That is, regardless of what they achieve, what they do for their families, how hard they work – they are so used to beating themselves up – they instinctively:

– Say bad things to themselves.

– Like All the Time.

Going into what I cover in my previous posts, when one has low self-esteem (or self-value), you are “Ripe for the Picking” by Cults, dodgy MLM Schemes or anything out there with people that intentionally prey on people with low Self-Esteem

Then ironically, when the person with low Self-Esteem is sucked into these environments, they may become “Arrogant” and do an extremely great job of then preying on other people and so forth.

So is being “Arrogant” better than having “Low-Confidence” – well, I don’t think they are opposing in that many of the so called “Arrogant” people I know have big big issues with their Confidence and Self Esteem (whether they admit it or not).  A good cliche example is the “Napoleon Syndrome”.

What I have found is that when we start “Actually Valuing” ourselves and start catching ourselves for doing the right thing – it starts to build our our Self Confidence / Esteem in positive way.  It makes us feel better, improves performance and even more – we don’t end up becoming arrogant.  This is where too much “Positive Thinking” can get you into a lot of trouble!

In fact, my own personal definition of “Arrogance” is:

– The End Result of trying poorly to “Cover Up” low Self Esteem.

I wish I learnt this one 20 years ago!

[Edward’s Comment some years later – I have seen so many arrogant people and humble people make way more money.  It’s a great thing to watch, the right people succeeding in their own Small Businesses through integrity, skill and honest Sales & Marketing Practices!]

Why do “Positive Thinkers” think Suffering is Wonderful?

The World isn’t always a Nice Place – Positive Thinkers need to “Wake Up & Smell The Coffee”

If I had a Australian Dollar, Euro, or even a few Yen for every time I have heard a “Positive Thinker” talk about how beautiful the world is – I would have more than enough to fly to the moon and back. A few people and books have talked about “Abundance Thinking” and how just through “Visualization” you can get whatever you want.

Hmmm.  That is an interesting concept. Why haven’t all the poor people in the world though about this before?

Wow this is so profound. I wish I got told this years ago. So are you saying that:

– If I am a poor Starving person in Africa, India or North Korea – all I have to do is visualize food and be positive and I will get a nice Fat Fried Chicken on my plate?

Well, yes – that is exactly what they are saying.  However, when I have this debate with people – there seems to be all these “Interesting Clauses & Exceptions” to protect their thinking in the case that any “Negative Person who doesn’t think Abundantly” attacks it.

For example, when I brought up this argument with someone who thought that money is “Just so easy to make”, their answer (after a 10 second Tony Abbott like pause) was to the effect of:

– You just have to be positive.

This is where the whole concept of the extreme of positive thinking completely breaks down and one must rational and realistic about things.  Positive Thinking is the type of logic that says that no matter what happens, just ignore reality and focus on “What you want it to be”.

I think examples such as World War II, Colonel Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein all back up the contrary quote of:

– “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” -Edmund Burke.

Besides extreme examples such as above, dangerous extremes of “Positive Thinking” can become incredibly hazardous when we have problems in our lives – and choose not to deal with them and just focus on “Positive Thoughts”.

Now, I know what some people who are reading this blog is saying.  Ed, you are “So Negative”, “You don’t think Abundantly”, you think in terms of “Scarcity”.  I know that, because I have heard people accuse me of this before.  When I turn around and ask them what they think of the world, I usually get some fake answer to the effect of:

– It’s a great and wonderful place.

That’s nice – so you think all the people suffering in the world and our society is “Wonderful?”.  That is what you are telling me? Would you care to re-phrase that? This is the key problem with “Positive Thinking” – it can put us into a state where we don’t take action to fix problems.  Like stopping evil people as above, fixing problems, solving issues in advance – you only pick that up by being “Critical’.

You can’t wish a broken arm away, just as much wishing you had $1,000 in your wallet doesn’t make it suddenly appear.  So I challenge the “Positive Thinkers” out there to come forward and prove me wrong! Show me how thinking of $1,000 put’s it into your wallet. I have unfortunately been sucked into extremes of “Positive Thinking” – usually as a means of people trying to (and unfortunately) successfully getting into my hip pocket.  Balance is king! Nothing beats Rationalism.

Being Competitive Makes The World a Miserable Place?

I am a very competitive person.  In a crazy way, I had this “Like / Dislike” relationship with it and I was always never sure of whether it is really good for me or not.

I “Liked” being competitive in that it always seemed to get more out of me, but at the same time I didn’t like it.

After all? If you’re competitive by nature, what happens in an area where someone blows you out of the water?

You get very unhappy real fast.  And if you think about it, regardless of almost any area in our lives – let’s face it, there is a good chance that there is someone better than you.

Let’s say you get really buff at the gym, you still aren’t Mr. Universe? What about you earn $200K+ one year, well there are a lot of millionaires in the world which you aren’t? What if your business grows at 20%+ year on year – well, you still aren’t as big as Facebook or Google?

One of the biggest problems in my own psychology was that I had been too competitive with other people. That is, I think being “Competitive” is excellent, however in the way Michael Jordon applies it in being:

– Competitive with your own personal best.

To me this is a very strange, but liberating concept in the sense that if you are simply competing “With Yourself” it makes life a lot more fun and easier.  In addition as well, when you choose to stop “Competiting” with every man and his dog – you can actually really focus on your own Goals / Outcomes in a way that makes sense to you.

What painfully taught me this lesson was in learning how to Trade the Forex Markets (i.e. Currency Markets).  Because I just had to be “Better than everyone else” it really caused me to ignore the basics and not learn the fundamentals.  This basically meant I wasted lots of time “Changing what I was doing” so I could “Beat” other people in my reference group.

Instead of just taking it slowly at my own pace, ignoring everyone else – I kept getting sucked into what everyone else was doing.  In addition, if someone is just a “Brilliant Trader” leagues beyond me, I would instantly be put off in that I would instantly think “I am a failure or doing something wrong”.  No – it’s just that in this area, someone is getting a better result than me – so what?

I then felt very bad about it and found out – it’s a common trading mistake.

It’s also not a trading mistake – as I have found that in many areas in society this type of thinking is a big problem for a lot of people.  “Keeping up the Joneses” thinking can lead to excessive levels of debt, poor young girls (who are convinced they are “Fat” by some photo-shopped model on a fashion magazine) feel bad all the time and in extreme cases can even die from eating disorders, people use unethical workplace political tricks to undermine others who are “Beating Them” and the list goes on.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting in anyway that we “Stop Trying” or use this as an excuse.  I have just learnt (and also observed from a lot of top players) that when you start playing your own game, is when the results really come in. That is, if you are really competitive with other people – you are actually saying to the world “I don’t believe in my own journey, goals or outcomes”.

Think about it – if you were on what you know is the “True Path” for your life – who cares if someone can run faster than you or has a better car?  If you feel the need to “Compete” with others as I did, then I can bet you that you either don’t know what you are after or have lost sight of what you were once after.

Is Being Too Competitive Making Me a Loser?

I have a bit of an Inferiority Complex.  Yep – I said it.  In writing, so you have proof that I said it.  One thing that I have realized in myself is that if I am working in an area and someone is way better than me – I tend to “Shut Down” and think along the lines:

– If I am not the best, it means I am pathetic and worthless.

Really positive stuff! I really deserve a Tony Robbins Positive Thinking Medal for this one! As part of my Business Coaching Course I have been working through these exercises that are designed to uncover “Unconscious Junk” such as this in our thinking.  That is, 90%+ of our actions are controlled subconsciously we have a great deal of “Hidden Beliefs and Views” of the world that shapes our thinking and our actions. By bringing them to the conscious level, it really gives you a change to change them – so you don’t act or think like this anymore!

Don’t get me wrong, I am a friendly guy and I don’t put people down or anything like that – but if someone beats me too much it just bums me out.  It got me thinking, no matter what area we have in our lives there is always people better and people worse! In fact, one of my good Trading Mentors Vic Noble advised me on how to correct this thinking.  That is, you:

– Need to focus on your own personal best. That way you will always be improving.

Will you have the body of Hugh Jackman in Fitness? Will you own as much property as Donald Trump? Will you trade like George Soros? Will you have the connection to God as like Mother Theresa or Saladin? (An ancient Arab Leader known for his chivalry, against people that deserved the sword).

Maybe, maybe not.  The thing that I am learning is that no matter what area we work in – chances are there are people on both sides of your success level! It taught me a good lesson, in that if you are “In competition with people” around you, you will always be a “Loser!” Now, don’t get me wrong.  I am not advocating a hippie view, suggesting you start a commune, get high on marijuana or L.S.D or listen to Peace Songs – in fact I am suggesting quite the opposite.

That is, some of the top performers I know actually don’t care about people around them and having to beat them.  Their focus is lifting their own personal best each day.  In a day it may only lift say 0.5% – but after 100 days – that’s a 50% improvement! It’s time I stop “Keeping up with the Jones” and straining myself unnecessarily!

* Thanks to DVIDSHUB from Flickr for the image of the poor guy!

Job Interviews: Didn’t you read my resume first?

Job Interviews – you got to love them.  The phone calls, endless rejections, keeping the resume up to date and trying your best to appear “Confident” without showing “Desperation”.

I have read dozens of books and probably been to 90+ Interviews in my life time and I can honestly say that many of these books are written by people who I doubt have had to apply for a job in a long time.

That is, I found many of these texts to really be providing “Pre-Internet”, “Pre-GFC” type of advice with the complete assumption that you are only going up against 1-2 other candidates in a given job.

I know some very good recruiters in Sydney and I have a lot of respect for the pain and suffering that many of them go through.

Unfortunately, like in any profession – you get your occasional “Rotten Apple in the Cart”.

I had this very enthusiastic recruiter call me up and offer a job to me that was 2 ranks below what I was doing at the time.  The role offered less than what I was on and to make things better – it was for an industry that I have never worked in before.

I politely told the recruiter all the pertinent facts and that I was not suited for this role and not interested.  The recruiter kept “Pushing & Pushing” and saying I would be great for it.

They then said they will put me to their client for a higher wage.  I then said, “I don’t think so – it’s not just me”.

But the recruiter kept insisting on me – so okay, I could be wrong here? Ed – just keep an open mind.

So anyway, I rock up at the interview and it was clear in the first 3 minutes that this job wasn’t for me.  So anyway, I continue talking to the client and they started just becoming very rude and harsh with me.  I quite realized that this wasn’t going anywhere, so I simply asked “Look, you don’t seem to be too thrilled with me – Can I ask what your concerns are?”.

The client then replied “Oh, we are just keeping their options open”.  The client then started asking me quite personal questions about my business and personal life.  Although I have no problem in answering these, the complete process from the Recruiter to Client was strange to me.

The client then got very rude with me and started winding things up and then turned it on me asking “Do you have any questions as we are very busy?”.  I then a second time, went to excuse myself and said “Well, it looks like you are busy – so I won’t keep you”.

So then the client replies “No it’s okay ask away” after really being rude with me.

It was a very strange experience, no-one listened to me when I said it wasn’t me.  In fact, my resume clearly stated exactly who I am – and still to this day I wonder why they even bothered to talk to me?

Having been a hiring boss and also the poor candidate looking for work – I found it was really bad form.  It appeared they didn’t even read my resume and for whatever reason, they completely ignored my protests.

After thinking it through, I had a sneaking suspicion that the Recruiter just wanted me there as a “Filler”.  Either that or they are completely daffy! A good lesson here is an old cliche “Time in Money!”.  Just ask for what you want and don’t mess around I say!

People Who Say One Thing & Do Another!

I am sick and tired of Bastards in life that say one thing and do another.  For whatever reason, hypocrisy is something that drives me completely mad!

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying or expecting that everyone lives up to some “Unrealistic Standard” or anything like that – as I can be a hypocrite at times.  I am talking about those extremists/bastards who 80%+ of the time, don’t practice what they preach! Many years ago, I was involved in a pretty hostile takeover.

Fortunately, I was in the “Taking Over” company – but unfortunately I was moved into the company being bought (and then ironically became classified as “One of them”). I was given a wide range of diverse clients that was incredibly hard to manage.  That is, it wasn’t so much the time required, but it was near impossible to understand all the complexities involved.  That is, you had radically different clients, using radically different products in radically different industries – and you were expected to be a complete expert.

This was near impossible as myself and other’s would:

– Have no F&$(#%G idea how their industry works AND

– The Customers Knew It!

What made this incredibly funny was that Senior Management put these “Stretch Targets” on us to grow a mature business by 10%+ per year.  Meanwhile your competitors are specialists who can easily meet the specific needs of such clients.

Now, before you think of me being a “Whinger” I just want to explain that I am a strong believer in Stretch Targets and getting those most out of your team and employees.  But, if you give all your employees a crazy task which they are not supported for – then no one is going to win.

Anyway, due to this credibility problem that myself and my colleagues across Australia was facing it was barely possible to introduce new products – let alone protect your business from the competition.

We had this new “Crack Shot” from overseas arrive that just “Knew All the Solutions”. The first thing that this person said was that I “Couldn’t Handle My Customers Properly” and that I needed to “Work Harder”. They also explained that they knew how to “Sell” so well, they could talk things around very easily.  So okay – maybe it’s my fault? Let’s Learn. So I bring my new boss to one of my top clients.  This client was a clever and very impatient man working for a large Australian Company (who was a known leader in their industry). So this “Elite Boss” walks in and tries their so called “Elite Selling Skills” on him.

Wow – this didn’t work at all! This client clammed up and several days later told me over the phone to NEVER EVER bring this person with me again.  I remember one of this clients famous quotes:

– Your Boss is just a Salesman. Bring me someone who’s knows what they are on about.

The boss who was “Elite” then said I just don’t know how to work with my clients and being a “Typical Bastard” didn’t take any responsibility for the clients reaction to him as it was somehow “My Fault”. I was still fairly young at the time, but years later all these events started to make sense to me.  This Boss was one of those people who just lives by:

– Saying One Thing. Sounding Good. Doing something else. Blaming Others.

The good thing about this so-called “Boss” was that they lost their position a few years after I left. Well that’s Karma for you! All I can say is, if you Talk A Big Game – Make Sure You Can Deliver!

The Arrogant Moron: Always Right and Never Wrong

I have worked with some really brilliant people. I mean really brilliant. People that are either great artists, fantastic property investors, superior currency & option traders, excellent cafe operators and people who have mastered their health (or any combination of the above). I learn a lot from friends like these and some of them really have it together. In just watching them kick goal after goal, it has always made me ponder “What are they doing, which I am not?”

In my own observations, I found:

– They are hard on themselves and push themselves to achieve more.
– They don’t believe they are the smartest person in the world, but believe they are “Good Enough” to do a decent job.
– Can ride out the “Bad Times”, stick to their guns and build on what they have.
– Respect that there are both people who are “Better” and “Worse” than them in the world.
– They think the above is fine and are focused on their “Own Race”.

I have also had the unique pleasure of working with people (some, but not many of which have had good results) that:

– Aren’t hard on themselves at all.
– The “Successful” ones on quite a few occasions have either “Got Lucky” or have had “Rich Parents” – but then, they perform “Mental Back flips” or lie claiming that they did it themselves.
– At some level they “Know they are so much smarter than everyone else”.
– When someone close to them outdoes them in a given area, they are quick to criticise or act in a way to try to “Bring Them Down”.

Contrary to the heading of this article, I once worked with a person that was actually “Not a Moron” at all. However, they really had some strong inflexible beliefs that in practise made people think of them as a “Moron”. For example, they were:

– Never Responsible for losses – If something went well, it was due to them. If something failed, it was due to their Manager not supporting them, the Supplier Stuffing up and one of their Staff Members not doing their job.
– Was always “Right” – Every idea that wasn’t from them had something wrong with it, but their own ideas were very “Accurate”, “Sharp” and “Powerful”. When their ideas didn’t go according to plan, they simply used the belief above to ensure they are “Always Right”.
– Complete distrust for their own Staff – They managed a team and were known to completely ignore their own Staff’s advice. That is, they hired people with specific functions – and then would quite often ignore them and “Just do what they want” with little justification (or at least a very limited understanding of the area in which they make a decision).

What made this person “Dangerous” was that they controlled a significant budget and had quite a bit of power. Their decision-making was miles off and they made one bad call after an another. As this person believed they were “So Smart”, it made them highly inflexible so that they couldn’t adapt and improve.  Eventually, this person lost out and was forced to leave. Even though “Justice” was served, there was a path of destruction that took quite a lot of time to heal. What was sad, was that this person was more than Smart Enough to win. They just blocked and ignored all the people trying to save them from themselves.

Now, I am not advocating the other extreme of being a “Yes-Man” and just following whatever you hear around you. Quite often, we have to make tough decisions that may go against what people around you are telling you. But, if taken to the extreme – you can go down the famous “Kevin Rudd Path”, ignore common sense advice and bring down yourself and lots of people around you. In my own life, sometimes I have gone a bit down the “Arrogance” Path and got into trouble. Then, I went down the “Yes-Man” path and got into trouble.

One of my most favourite older managers used to have this saying “Firm but Fair”. They would also say “Listen, but you are responsible for the call”.  This man was very clever and I think he really got the balance right. And guess what? He is highly successful in his health, finances, family and relationships.

Paranoia: Be Alert, Not Alarmed

Whenever I have worked in companies going through restructures, that contain vicious politics (or even with a Manager that pushes around their reports) I have noticed that it can be very easy to be paranoid.

One great Manager that I have worked with was a really good person – however they reported to a very mean and vicious manager above them.  The vicious person was not only petty, but really gained delight from putting people down (they were really a nasty piece of work!).

Anyway, this Great Manager would get beaten up by their boss and as a result, sometimes would act like a “Kicked Puppy”.  That is, you can walk up to them asking a question – and out of pain and frustration they would often attack you or defend themselves against something random that they think you are going to criticize them for.

I felt really sorry for this person in the respect that they were extremely competent and good-natured, but had trouble standing up to their manager and as a result lived as their “Doormat”.  Still, this vicious manager was so dogmatic – unless you are really on-top they are quite a challenge to take on (but it was certainly possible and eventually done).

This Good Natured Manager was often quite Paranoid about most things to the point where it really impacted their performance, quality of life, relationship with other staff and their General Reputation.

After working in some tough companies, I have learnt (the hard way!) the Coalitions old advertising campaign made some sense:

– “Be Alert, But not Alarmed”.

There are two extremes here.  You can’t be paranoid and attack everyone else first, but at the same time you can’t sit under a Rainbow with your Guitar and pretend that everyone around you is “Honest & Loaded with Integrity”.  I have done that myself and been burnt many times. I think John Howard’s statement is perfect in that:

– Be aware and observe what is going on, so you don’t get manipulated.

– But don’t think that someone has poisoned your lunch milk (unless you have run over someone’s dog and burnt their house down).

At times I have been “So Positive” and have ignored my own instinct.  Well! Didn’t I pay for that in more ways than one! Whether you like it or not, there are some sharks in the fishing tank! * Many thanks to Alexandra Bellink from Flickr for the great pic.