66 things I learned (over the last 2 days)

I got out of my home office. Out of my city. Out of my comfort zone.

I spent two days in meetings with people like me: On a mission to improve the lives of others.

Where exactly I was is not important. For my own records, I was meeting with this partner of Life is NOYOKE.

What is important, though, is what I learned about myself, business and life.

Note: For the happiest, most fulfilling life, strive for regular trips like this one.

Life lessons realized or confirmed

  1. The true competition may not be who you expect.
  2. People WANT to be given the right information. Even if it means spending more money, nobody likes feeling like they made the wrong decision.
  3. Good events are like good speeches. You forget the words quickly. But the feeling you had during the event sticks forever.
  4. Demonstrations of appreciation never go unappreciated. Receiving them early and often go a long way.
  5. Excitement and enthusiasm, if genuine, are contagious.
  6. If you feel uncomfortable, chances are that other people do, too. Being the one that makes people feel comfortable, one at a time, builds friends forever. And, the work required (lots of the exhausting kind) is worth it.
  7. Large group dinners are best when you take breaks. Breaks for bathroom, breaks to get up, breaks to chat with others.
  8. An empty seat at the dinner table is a simple way to make people move around. So easy to have a few minutes with someone else.
  9. When you’re being entertained, saying, “thank you, it’s all wonderful” is welcomed especially when it’s preceded by, “I want to tell you before I have my first drink.”
  10. Hearing “you’re family now” eases all the concerns in the world.
  11. Traditions make for great memories. Especially if they’re explicitly proclaimed as a tradition. And especially if they’re silly and campy.
  12. Traditional ice-breakers are not necessary for a successful meeting. In fact, leaving them out might be sufficient for a successful one. Or, at least, sufficient to get a meeting that starts with lots of energy.
  13. Videos, if high quality, are phenomenal additions to traditional, slide-driven presentations.
  14. A good CEO doesn’t work, per se. She leads the ship with clarity, consistency and unwavering enthusiasm.
  15. Keeping money out of conversations (and thoughts) as much as possible drives true success (and satisfaction).
  16. Nobody wants to feel slighted. Nobody wants to be a slightor. (See above)
  17. Spare no expense when demonstrating appreciation. (See above)
  18. Being a fan of one of your fans is a lot of fun.
  19. If collaboration with team members is the natural inclination, you’re focused on the right things. If competition amongst team members if the natural inclination, you’re not.
  20. At large group dinners, find the guy with the loudest, most infectious laugh. He’s who you want to sit next to. So much fun. Plus, the energy you create radiates across the entire room.
  21. It’s okay to talk about the weather. Sure, it’s boring. But it helps warm up the conversation (as well as cool it down).
  22. Dress slightly better than everyone else.
  23. There’s a question behind every question. “What else do you do” might actually mean “what else can you do for me?”
  24. Scheduling one hour of downtime after a full day of meetings is KEY to a successful night out afterwards. Failing to schedule that hour (and using it instead for yet another PowerPoint presentation) is just that: Failure.
  25. Still can’t say enough about yoga and meditation right after waking up as part of the morning routine. Calming, energizing, focusing. It could be the only time you get it all day.  (See above)
  26. So much of success comes from good timing.
  27. Meeting people in-person that you’ve only previously talked to on the phone can be magical.
  28. Non-obnoxious name tags (like press-pass badge thingys) are great. Good for knowing you’re using the right name. But also great for projecting exclusivity and membership.
  29. Loyalty DOES get rewarded.
  30. Doing the right thing for your customers usually results in the right thing being done for you. That is, when you’re look up and now you’re the customer.
  31. Controversial topics are the only ones worth talking about. Polarization gets you more loyal fans and more attention in general.
  32. Never take yourself too seriously.
  33. Never correct someone during a large-group meeting. It’s like telling someone “you’re wrong” in front of everyone they want to impress. You may be right, but now both of you look like assholes.
  34. Speakers love hearing from individuals right after their talk. There’s a sex analogy here. Perhaps it’s like hearing you’re well-endowed post-coitus. You don’t need the affirmation. But it’s certainly welcomed.
  35. Favors are easy to ask for when you’ve built up goodwill.
  36. Smiles build up goodwill.
  37. Presence, enthusiasm, and genuine interest do, too.
  38. Someone has to be the one to break the ice. Find the person who’s willing and able. The river will flow from there.
  39. The tone at day-long meetings is set right away. Getting people talking has to be priority number one.
  40. Pressing “B” during a PowerPoint presentation turns the screen black. This is one the of the most powerful techniques to gain and keep attention while speaking.
  41. Even the biggest players have to play by the rules.
  42. It takes guts to dismiss those players who don’t. (See above)
  43. But one gutsy dismissal can take you to the promised land. (See above)
  44. Stories move people. Real, genuine, heart-breaking stories. Data and facts, no so much.
  45. Writing is best when you want to. When you need to. Not when you have to.
  46. Hot showers fix petty, but lingering troubles.
  47. Spend two days with a small group of similar people. They’ll tell you more about your brand than you could ever figure out on your own. (Apparently, I’m, suave (pleasantly surprised about it’s positive connotation), a bit looney, genuine, honest, appreciated by some young women, adored by many older women, polarizing for men)
  48. Some people want to keep their identity and work a secret. After much prying, my conclusion is that that’s probably for the best.
  49. If your work is a secret, it can’t be very meaningful. Or you’re in the CIA.
  50. Most people want you to succeed. Like seriously. 99 out of 100.
  51. Offering to help others gets others to help you. Only way.
  52. Social media remains one of the most uninteresting disciplines to discuss, strategize or execute. It’s like sprinkles on cupcakes. They don’t build the cupcakes. But these days, people get into a hissy if they’re not there. Feh.
  53. The smartest guy in the room is never the highest paid. Nor, is he the most respected. But, if he’s passionate about his work, he’s the most loved.
  54. People DO buy products I wouldn’t never buy. And they need them, too.
  55. Having a home office is incredible. Traveling to conferences, meetings, etc. every three weeks makes the lifestyle even better.
  56. When trying to help people with junk food, just think of my relationship with smoking weed. Life is infinitely better without it.
  57. For some people, work is their vice. Life can be infinitely better for them the same way.
  58. Opportunity to make money can be exciting. It can be invigorating. But, remembering that money is a means to the end (and not the end itself) is key.
  59. Poor purchasing decisions can hamper people’s ability to achieve their goals. Help them make the right purchasing decision and everybody wins.
  60. Keep people wanting more.
  61. Always say, “goodbye” even if goodbyes are horribly awkward.
  62. Make a glass of water your last drink before bed.
  63. Wait an hour after your last alcoholic drink to go to bed. Better yet, make it two. The sleep isn’t actually sleep, otherwise.
  64. Pack your cell phone charger immediately after unhooking your cell phone.
  65. Inspiration comes in the most expected places.
  66. You are not alone.

Lenny Gale at Vitamix Headquarters