Thursday, January 27, 2011

Conquering Glossophobia


It is one of the most common phobias.

Some would suggest more than 95% of the any population suffers from this condition at some level. Which means, odds are that as you are reading this post, you may be asking yourself:"

"What about me"?

"Am I glossophobic?"?


Glossophobia is the fear of public speaking. Statistically, far more of us claim we would prefer death to giving a speech. Or as Jerry Seinfeld used to joke, At a a funeral, most people would rather be dead, lying in the casket than alive and up there delivering the eulogy".

If you suffer from glossophobia you duck out of any opportunity to speak in public. Symptoms can be so severe you get terribly embarrassed and fearful of any public speaking. This fear may surface in the classroom where the student prays the teacher won't call his name to answer a question or ask him to deliver an oral presentation. It can happen at work when a manager experiences panic attacks at the thought of making a presentation to her superiors. The thought of speaking in public can leave many frozen with fear, potentially wrecking many academic, social, and career opportunities.

But if you can must the courage to get up in front of a crowd and deliver a presentation, you are doing what more than 95% of your competition won't do. You're automatically seen as an expert. Your personal brand, reputation and self-confidence grows with each speaking opportunity.

Which is why, if you suffer from glossophobia, a trip to the movie theatre to see "The King's Speech" would be a great first step to conquering this fear.

Based on a true life story, you may be inspired to see how "Bertie" did it.



Today's blog is being written poolside from a sun-drenched resort in the Dominican Republic where PropertyGuys.com has wrapped up its annual national conference. Four years ago, the company launched "Speaker's Guild", which gives its franchisees an opportunity to present before more than 150 of their peers on topics that matter to them. Invariably, these presentations wind up being a fascinating, nerve-wracking, roller-coaster journey for these franchisees who eventually wind up soaking in thunderous applause from an audience that stands to admire their accomplishment.

Not just for delivering a message.

But, for having the courage to get up there in the first place.

Which is why this post honors the efforts of Mike Perras from Sudbury, Ontario and the husband-and-wife team of Don and Elaine Lysons of Red Deer, Alberta.

On behalf of everyone who was here in the D.R. for what was titled "Business on the Beach", a sincere thank you goes to Mike, Don and Elaine for stepping up.

And conquering glossophobia.


"You can speak well if your tongue can deliver the message of your heart"
JOHN FORD


p.s.... a guy who knows a thing or two on this topic is Harvey Mackay.



Would you like Gair to re-energize, re-focus or re-inspire your organization or event? Details on his keynotes and speaking programs can be discovered at http://www.gairmaxwell.com/ His book, "NUTS, BOLTS AND A FEW LOOSE SCREWS" is also waiting patiently for you at Chapters.ca and Amazon.com.

Get to know Gair on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/#%21/gair.maxwell

For more info on The Seamless Brand and how this program can benefit your company or organization, explore http://www.seamlessbrand.com/

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Botox and Starbucks


"I've never been more excited about the future of the company, I'll tell you that"
HOWARD SCHULTZ


What's the difference between a re-brand and a branding facelift?

Think of it as the difference between major facial reconstruction surgery(ex:Travolta/Cage in "FACE-OFF") and botox.

Starbucks Corp. has chosen the latter. Or in their lingo, it's pronounced latte.

The world's largest coffee company has unveiled new logo that drops the words, "Starbucks Coffee" encircling its iconic sea nymph, giving her a few subtle updates. Starbucks claims the changes amount to more than nips and tucks. According to chairman Howard Schultz, this fresh look - or injection - heralds a new direction for the company, as it recovers from its toughest times in its 40-year history.



Starbucks plans to bring the new look to stores in March to coincide with its 40th anniversary.

This is the fourth version of Starbucks' logo since the company started as a small coffee, tea and spice shop in Seattle in 1971. The first update came in 1987, taking the original bare-breasted siren in brown to a more stylized – and modest – version in green as the company began to expand. The image was further refined in the 1990s as the company went public and growth soared.

Starbucks eventually suffered from its own success. It grew too far, too fast and began drawing criticism that it had become the Wal-Mart of coffee. Its luster further faded as the recession hit and sales and stock price both fell. But, Starbucks brought back founder Schultz to lead daily operations in 2008, closed hundreds of stores and cut jobs. It reemphasized training for employees, allowed customers to customize drinks more, increased its Wi-Fi offerings and launched a rewards program. According to Schultz, "We're sitting today with record revenue, record profit; the stock price is at a five-year high. This isn't an accident". Schultz said.

Some will argue that changes to the logo are in some ways a metaphor for the company dropping the boundaries of its own business and growing into new areas. "The brand is now evolving to a point where the coffee association is too confining and restrictive," said John Quelch, a marketing professor at Harvard Business School. "Starbucks is fundamentally selling an experience, but by no means is coffee the only part of the experience. It is important that they not have a logo that is too confining."

However, some self-described Starbucks fanatics are not impressed.

There have been hundreds of comments posted on the Starbucks’ website:

“Who’s the bonehead in your marketing department that removed the world-famous name of Starbucks Coffee from your new logo? This gold card user isn’t impressed!”

"I have been a big supporter since the early days, taken expensive rides in taxis to get my morning coffee, even waded through two feet of snow in my business suit … but I do not see the logic of your Business Development folks for the removal of the Starbucks name.”

"Unfortunately, I do not agree with the new logo. It's almost like the scenerio where GAP changed their corporate logo look, and the backlash against the design made management rethink. Although, I love Starbucks, the new logo isn't for me. It feels like the Siren is lonely"

But others have differing points of view:

"I think it is bold, brave, and beautiful! Admittedly, I was jarred by it at first glance, but upon viewing it again this morning, I find I am attracted to it—both as a longtime customer, and as a professional graphic designer for 30 years. That said, I believe that the most recognizable image associated with Starbucks coffee is not the siren but the green ring. The hint at "beyond coffee" in the CEO's intro video provides a clue for the redesign rationale."


Marketing experts at Penn State, West Virginia University, and Rice University in the United States just joined forces to examine why consumers react negatively to logo redesigns such as the one by the world's most popular coffee company. Researchers asked 632 students what they thought about new logos for Adidas and New Balance shoes. Those who said they had strong attachments to the brand felt betrayed by the changes while those who weren't so emotionally connected tended to view the new look positively. The study shows people with a longstanding loyalty to a particular product feel threatened by the changes. In other words, customers with the most brand loyalty were also the most likely to abandon that company out of anger, hurt or disappointment.

Hmmm ... isn't that interesting.

Many corporations such as Starbucks believe their best customers will be the most accommodating to change because of their longstanding loyalty.

But, what if the opposite is true?

How do you feel about the Starbucks logo facelift?

Was the girl in need of botox?

Or should she have been allowed to age gracefully?



"That's the mistake women make - you shouldn't see your makeup. We don't want to look like we've made an effort"
LAUREN HUTTON



Would you like Gair to re-energize, re-focus or re-inspire your organization or event? Details on his keynotes and speaking programs can be discovered at http://www.gairmaxwell.com/ His book, "NUTS, BOLTS AND A FEW LOOSE SCREWS" is also waiting patiently for you at Chapters.ca and Amazon.com.

Get to know Gair on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/#%21/gair.maxwell

For more info on The Seamless Brand and how this program can benefit your company or organization, explore http://www.seamlessbrand.com/

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Dignity and Facebook

Every once in a while I catch myself saying ...

"I can't believe some of the stuff people are willing to throw up on a Facebook page. Don't they realize their verbal vomit is out there for the whole world to see"?

You have said the same thing, I'm sure, but lately, this trend to disclose every waking thought a person has - no matter how private - seems to be getting worse. Not only do certain status updates undermine professional credibility, but you have to wonder how they might block any kind of karma the universe might want to send.

Recently, I noticed a female lawyer proclaim she is "giving up on men" after lamenting the day before she was without a date for the weekend. Another chronically single FB friend felt it necessary to not only change her status from being "in a relationship" to being "single", but also offer the follow-up pity-party commentary:

"If it seems too good to be true well...It probably is ... :("

Wasting no time, another half-dozen "friends" chime in and are quickly clicking and clucking away in on-line wallowing; anxious to share in their insecurities and desperation.

Sorry, but I can't help but wonder how these social media pity parties impact one's personal brand.

Let alone one's sense of self respect.

And when it comes to the issue of personal brand, how do you think the following status update would improve someone's chances of getting interviewed for a professional position with a well respected company?

"ya put ur right boob in...ya take ur right boob out...ya put ur left boob in ..and ya squish it all ta hell...ya do the mammogrammy and ya squish ur boobs around, thats what its all about..♫ My fav day of the year..NOT Especially when you are the president of the itty bitty titty committee...ouch...sigh...oh fun day! "

Would you believe a company that was potentially interested in interviewing that individual, decided not to do so.

Through it all, a single word comes to mind.

Dignity.

Or lack thereof.

In the dictionary you will find "Dignity" defined as: "The quality or state of being worthy of esteem or respect". What you won't find is much of it on Facebook these days as the platform degenerates into a mosh of self-absorbed, self-promotion or self-flagellation.

Just to be clear, this is not the fault of the Facebook platform itself.

The responsbility lies with the people who abuse it.

And those who are determined to rise above the jabbering and yammering and utilize social media platforms for the greater good.

What do you think?

Dignity and Facebook.

Are they mutually exclusive?

Or can they coexist?



"Remember this ...that there is a proper dignity and proportion to be observed in the performance of every act of life"
MARCUS AURELIUS ANTONINUS (121 AD - 180 AD)



Would you like Gair to re-energize, re-focus or re-inspire your organization or event? Details on his keynotes and speaking programs can be discovered at http://www.gairmaxwell.com/ His book, "NUTS, BOLTS AND A FEW LOOSE SCREWS" is also waiting patiently for you at Chapters.ca and Amazon.com.

Get to know Gair on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/#%21/gair.maxwell

For more info on The Seamless Brand and how this program can benefit your company or organization, explore http://www.seamlessbrand.com/

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Frozen Horror at City Hall

A well kept, professional woman walks into City Hall and scans a public bulletin board for real estate information. Since her camera phone isn't working very well she reverts to Plan B. The woman simply removes the three documents from the bulletin board and heads over to the reception area looking for help.

She politely and respectfully asks the man sitting behind the well appointed reception desk, if it would be possible for her to get the documents photocopied. She also offers to pay.

The man, his face instantly frozen in horror, stammers he does not have the power to make that decision. He tells the woman she will have to ask the two ladies working at the next counter.

The two ladies, who take care of water bills, parking tickets and other payments made at City Hall, are equally horrified when the woman asks if its possible to photocopy the three documents; photocopies she is willing to pay for. Lady #1 attempts to draw a line in the bureaucratic sand.

"We're really not supposed to. It's against our policy".

Lady #2 shrugs her shoulders and chimes in:

"You can go ahead if you want to, but count me out".

Lady #1 jumps back in, telling the woman:

"We kind of have to cover our asses around here. And besides, if we did it for you, we would have to do it for everyone else".

As this exchange unfolds, one can't help but notice the presence of a large photocopying machine, sitting directly behind the two ladies at the counter.

There is an awkward silence, before Lady #1 offers to save the day:

"Let me go check with my boss".

Lady # 1 gets up, walks over to a nearby office before returning several minutes later with good news. "Operation Photocopy" has been approved by her immediate superior, her commanding officer - and at no charge to the civilian!

Before you think I am making a mountain out of a City Hall molehill, this is the type of organization that will also post the following information on its "Employment Opportunities" section on their website.

Working for the City of XYZ

The City of XYZ has a team of 600 people on the leading edge of policy and program development and service delivery. We're looking for people who share a commitment to community and to the lives of our citizens, and who share our values of responsiveness, excellence, fairness, integrity, leadership, and learning. If you want to be part of a challenging, safe, healthy and rewarding workplace; and have fun ... then our team is the place for you!

No ... I am not making this up.

Is it just me or do you see a disconnect between what's advertised on the web and how things really play out on the municipal front lines?

How much leadership, learning and fun can there be had when you work in an environment where otherwise fully functioning adults can't be trusted to make no-brainer photocopying decisions? And does a blatant "cover my ass" mentality truly reflect what has been described in HR speak as a challenging, safe, healthy and rewarding workplace?

Sadly, this scenario plays out at far too many government and bureaucratic organizations all over the continent. Qualities like initiative and resourcefulness take a back seat to the need to control human sheep as they graze through their professional existence without ever thinking how utterly ridiculous it is to see grown men and women paralyzed when faced with making the simplest of decisions.

You can probably guess where HR buzzwords like "Empowerment" need to be shoved.

But take heart TSB readers ... all is not lost.

Hope can be found in those precious few organizations that still value what the human spirit can bring to the workplace. Like Southwest Airlines and the story that broke recently over a pilot holding a flight so a grieving grandfather could make his connection to be at his dying grandson's bedside.

That's just the way things are done in the Southwest world as President Emeritus Colleen Barrett describes how life works on the front line.



Barrett has been with the company since it started flying in 1971 and is a big reason why the culture at Southwest continues to reverberate - even at the annual shareholders meeting.



Two questions:

What do companies like Southwest know about workplace culture that most organzations - especially the public sector - don't?

Why do we not call "bullshit" more often on organizations that force otherwise capable, bill-paying adults into thinking they still need to ask the teacher to be excused?

Instead of being free to think for themselves.


"A company is stronger if it is bound by love rather than by fear"
HERB KELLEHER


Would you like Gair to re-energize, re-focus or re-inspire your organization or event? Details on his keynotes and speaking programs can be discovered at http://www.gairmaxwell.com/ His book, "NUTS, BOLTS AND A FEW LOOSE SCREWS" is also waiting patiently for you at Chapters.ca and Amazon.com.

Get to know Gair on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/#%21/gair.maxwell

For more info on The Seamless Brand and how this program can benefit your company or organization, explore http://www.seamlessbrand.com/

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Critics, Schmitics

"A business wearing only a badge of ownership may get a customer to buy once or twice. But, a business boasting a brand of distinction can inspire a customer to buy for a lifetime"
GAIR MAXWELL


Rolling Stone music critic and author Dave Marsh once said, “KISS is not a great band, KISS was never a great band, KISS never will be a great band, and I have done my share to keep them off the ballot of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame".

“KISS still lacks that flash of creative madness that could have made their music interesting, or at least listenable,” said John Milward in his 1976 Rolling Stone review of "Destroyer," their first album to go platinum.

The headliner at Friday night's Atlantic Brand Confabulation in Moncton, N.B. has never been a fan of music critics like Milward or Marsh.

KISS bassist Gene Simmons , the tongue-wagging TV reality star and branding/marketing/merchandising guru believes music scribes are "an unnecessary life form". "We own some very big houses that critics have bought us with their bad reviews," Simmons cracks. "There's a large Kiss cemetery at the back of our houses where we bury them."

Lack of critical praise never prevented KISS from becoming the #1 rock brand in the world. Worrying too much about what "critics" have to say, then building a compelling brand of distinction that has sold over $500 million dollars in merchandise alone would never have happened for Simmons and his masked minstrels.




The Atlantic Brand Confabulation is much less about music than it is about the profit-generating and customer loyalty business of branding.

And while some will be quick to criticize the event, the ticket prices, the timing among other things, the fact remains, there will be no shortage of game-changing ideas on business and branding shared by someone who has "been there, done that" and sold 20 million t-shirts to prove it.

Brands of distinction like KISS are polarizing by nature.

Any brand of distinction won't waste a lot of energy trying to convert critics or haters into lovers. Life is too short and besides, there will be millions of others out there who will be head over 7-inch heels in love with your message and why you sell the products and services you do.

Recently, Simmons told a business audience in Montreal, "I’m in a band but there’s no reason I can’t be in a brand. This is a business. It’s up to you. You have an inferred fiduciary duty to your own butt to make sure you maximize every potential and minimize any exposure and what that sorta means is we all have to be smarter today than we were yesterday".

Gene Simmons and KISS are "Purple Cows" of the music business.

Marketing guru Seth Godin coined the phrase "purple cow" as a way to describe a product or service that was remarkable. The "purple cow" stands apart from the many brown and black cows that populate the herd in any category; car dealerships, insurance agencies, dry cleaners, financial planners, or any company that sells everything from gas to groceries and anything in between.

Godin has argued that being a "purple cow" is vital in order to bust through the information clutter created by today's Twitterverse. But, why doesn’t everyone do it?

There are two reasons.

The first is that most people think the opposite of remarkable is “bad” or “poorly done”. Not so. Most companies sell stuff that is "good enough" or in some cases "very good". But, even "very good" is an everyday occurrence, hardly worth mentioning. KISS would never have filled stadiums and arenas all over the world by just being "very good".

KISS was, and still is, remarkable.

And now the second reason why a "purple cow" like a Gene Simmons or KISS is so rare.

Its because people are so afraid.

If you’re truly remarkable like Gene Simmons, Apple Computers, Harley-Davidson, WestJet, Lulu Lemon, PropertyGuys.com or Dave Carroll, then it’s likely some people, especially the critics won’t like you. But, that goes with the turf. Nobody who is truly great gets 110% unanimous praise — ever.

If you are somewhat shy, reserved or timid when it comes to entering the branding arena, the best you can hope for is to be unnoticed.

Criticism comes to those who have the courage to stand out.


"A name means something and it doesn't matter what it is: whether it has music, whether it’s a religious symbol, a political symbol, a company or a politician – everything should be a brand”
GENE SIMMONS




Would you like Gair to re-energize, re-focus or re-inspire your organization or event? Details on his keynotes and speaking programs can be discovered at http://www.gairmaxwell.com/ His book, "NUTS, BOLTS AND A FEW LOOSE SCREWS" is also waiting patiently for you at Chapters.ca and Amazon.com.

Get to know Gair on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/#%21/gair.maxwell

For more info on The Seamless Brand and how this program can benefit your company or organization, explore http://www.seamlessbrand.com/

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Branding With Distinction

The newspaper reporter on the other end of the line asks the question.

"So what exactly is the difference between a badge of ownership and a brand of distinction"?

From my experience, more than 97% of businesses in virtually every product or service category do NOT own a brand. What they really possess with their company name, storefront signage or logo is a badge of ownership.

The difference between the two is loyalty.

"Let me explain it to you this way Eric. Right what kind of computer are you working on?"

"A Dell".

"Perfect. So let's say for example that someone walked in, took your Dell, and as long as all your files were in order replaced it with a Toshiba, Acer, HP or any other number of brands. You really wouldn't care one way or the other, right"?

"You're right".

"But, if someone walks in on an Apple user and they try and replace his Mac with any of the products I just mentioned, they are liable to get a swift kick in the nuts from one pissed off Macfanatic".


A badge of ownership is just a symbol. It does nothing more than distinguish one company's products or services from a competitor across the street or across the web. It is a symbol that never speaks to a person's heart. More often than not, the badge of ownership is a reflection of a business owners lack of imagination, fears, insecurities or ego.

A brand of distinction is a different story altogether.

A brand of distinction rallies a tribe that hungers for its products and services.

A tribe that yearns to purchase ancillary merchandise by the bushel.

And in extreme cases, a tribe that wears the brand like a heart on their sleeve.





Back in 1997, Steve Jobs described much more than what it means to be an Apple customer. What he really talks about here could apply to any brand, determined to carve out a place in the market uniquely its own.



If you are truly serious about learning the secrets of what Apple, Rolex, Starbucks, Harley-Davidson, Oprah, the Running Room, Dove, Nike, LuLu Lemon, BMW, the City of Las Vegas, Perrier, PropertyGuys.com, Geico, Gucci and KISS know about creating brands of distinction, you could not have picked a better week to be in the Greater Moncton area or Atlantic Canada.

For more on the way Eric Lewis of the Moncton Times-Transcript portrayed the Atlantic Brand Confabulation and the rest of our conversation, click here.

http://timestranscript.canadaeast.com/front/article/1368679


"I want to put a ding in the universe"
STEVE JOBS


Would you like Gair to re-energize, re-focus or re-inspire your organization or event? Details on his keynotes and speaking programs can be discovered at http://www.gairmaxwell.com/ His book, "NUTS, BOLTS AND A FEW LOOSE SCREWS" is also waiting patiently for you at Chapters.ca and Amazon.com.

Get to know Gair on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/#%21/gair.maxwell

For more info on The Seamless Brand and how this program can benefit your company or organization, explore http://www.seamlessbrand.com/

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Genie With the Jewels

The word "genie" is derived from Latin "genius", which means a sort of guardian spirit thought to be assigned to each person at their birth.

In Arabic folklore, genies are supernatural creatures which occupy a parallel world to that of mankind.

According to the Koran, genies are made of smokeless flame or "the fire of a scorching wind", with the ability to change their shape.

But in a secluded, somewhat offbeat yet loving family residence in Los Angeles, "Genie" is the pet name for the man of the house.

He also just happens to be one of the world's foremost authorities on marketing and branding.



On Friday, January 14th, an Atlantic Canadian business audience will get to experience for the first time, the marketing and branding genius of Gene Simmons. The star of A&E's "Family Jewels" is coming to Moncton, NB for what is being billed as the "Atlantic Brand Confabulation", where he intends to kick some serious business ass. Anyone with even with the faintest interest in exploring how marketing and branding really work at the highest levels will want to learn from one of the very best on the planet.

And if you are one of the truly serious, you will also invest time in learning what Gene really has to say (especially around the 11:00 minute mark) about business, branding and life in this revealing interview with his pal George on CBC's, "The Hour".



Gene Simmons is no stranger to The Seamless Brand.

His opinions are often offensive and controversial and we applaud him for that.

Simmons' insights on marketing and branding have been featured in a number of previous posts and his unconventional approach has also been highlighted on Track 28 of "NUTS, BOLTS AND A FEW LOOSE SCREWS", now available on Amazon.com and Chapters.ca. But, in my experience many business people still fail to recognize how transferable some of the KISS concepts are to creating their own brand of distinction and how it can become king of the nighttime world in a specific category.

The presence of this "Genie" makes the Atlantic Brand Confabulation THE most significant business and branding education event of the year in this part of the world. Gene Simmons has actually “been there, done that”; with over 3,000 licensed products bearing the KISS logo being sold all over the world, generating a steady stream of passive revenue. The branding insights that a Gene Simmons would share could be worth in the tens of thousands if not millions of dollars for the people who are savvy enough to discern the true value of a brand, what it represents in the market place and how it affects the balance sheet.

Well over 90% of any businesses in any category do NOT possess a brand. They may own a logo, website, clever tagline or slogan, but what they really possess is nothing more than a badge of ownership. They do NOT own a brand of distinction that can move anything from condoms to caskets.

Gene Simmons knows the difference between a badge of ownership and a brand of distinction.

But, do you?

Are there marketing jewels you need to discover for your brand in 2011 and beyond?

Even if this genie rubs you the wrong way, do you really give a crap if he can help clear the fog and get your brand pointed in the right direction?

Could this single event be the "fire of scorching wind" you need to lift your brand to one of distinction?


"My mother is probably the wisest person I've ever known. She's not schooled, she's not well read. But she has a philosophy of life that makes well-read people seem like morons"
GENE SIMMONS



Would you like Gair to re-energize, re-focus or re-inspire your organization or event? Details on his keynotes and speaking programs can be discovered at http://www.gairmaxwell.com/ His book, "NUTS, BOLTS AND A FEW LOOSE SCREWS" is also waiting patiently for you at Chapters.ca and Amazon.com.

Get to know Gair on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/#%21/gair.maxwell

For more info on The Seamless Brand and how this program can benefit your company or organization, explore http://www.seamlessbrand.com/

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2011 Energy

Can a single word define your entire year?

Shape the way you engage with the world around you and interact with people closest to you?

Long ago, I decided to say "screw it" to New Year's Resolutions. Why set yourself up for failure? Instead, I chose to experiment with the idea of choosing a single, defining word that would serve as an appropriate "theme" for the year.

A year ago on this day, January 4th, my defining word was "Alchemy" and served me well it did. There was no shortage of alchemy created both on the personal and professional front, so much so, that people I hadn't run into in a while kept saying the same thing.

"You look so much younger"!

My first book, "NUTS, BOLTS AND A FEW LOOSE SCREWS" was published in May; the number of invitations to speak to business audiences continued to climb; the appearance at the Atlantic Dream Festival drew rave reviews and there were many more interesting personal/business trips to places like Vegas, L.A., Venice, Paris, Montreal, Aruba, St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Thunder Bay, Ontario in late December. (OK, I know that list sounds a little like Sesame Street where one thing doesn't fit with the other, but I hear T-Bay is a nice place to visit in the summer!)

My point for sharing this story with you is to illustrate the powerful effect a single word can have on our lives and careers if we choose to get serious about making it a part of who we really are. The reasons why I chose "alchemy" in 2010 really don't matter, but I am convinced that it does matter to pick a word, any word, that resonates with who you are and where you want to go. And there is no better time than the start of a new year to make that happen as we truly say "out with the old and in with the new".

Do you have a word in mind that could shape your entire year, and help attract the things you want most in life both personally and professionally?

Maybe and not so coincidentally, one of my closest "inner circle" friends shared a "word" with me just the other day that made him stop and think. For him the word was "Abracadabra".

Digging into the etymology of the word, my friend discovered many scholars believe "Abracadabra" is a derivative of the Aramaic "Avrah-KaDabra", meaning "I create as I speak." If this etymology is correct, this magical word can be compared to the ten utterances of creation in the Book of Genesis. Knowing my friend the way I do, I have no doubt 2011 will be truly "magical" for him and the people and projects he will impact. But, do you believe a single word has the power to unlock your future?

From where I sit, 2011 represents a transition from "alchemy" to "energy". In other words the field of human energy that is present all around us. The stores of energy we require to fuel our hopes and dreams. Energy we must have to plow through our daily tasks and responsbilities with gusto. Energy that we need to replenish through proper eating and exercise habits. Negative and toxic people energy we need to avoid at all costs.

One of the best illustrations of the impact energy has on all of us comes from the motion picture "What the Bleep Do We Know?" In particular, there is a segment that clearly illustrates the work of Dr. Masuru Emoto in how energy is communicated through water at the cellular level.




Recently, I shared this concept of a single word defining an entire year with three other people who I would consider to be "energy givers" (As opposed to energy neutrals or worse, energy killers). Their reactions surprised me in the sense that all three knew instinctively right away what their defining word was for 2011.

"Accountability". (Being personally accountable for staying more focused on priorities).

"Humbility". (A hybrid of humility and being humble enough to not let the energy-draining presence of ego get in the way).

"Control". (Having more control over one's business and self so as to maximize the value brought to others).

2011 is well underway.

If you're already an "Energy Giver", could a single, defining word shape what happens to you over the next 361 days?


"Should you find yourself in a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks"
WARREN BUFFETT


Would you like Gair to re-energize, re-focus or re-inspire your organization or event? Details on his keynotes and speaking programs can be discovered at http://www.gairmaxwell.com/ His book, "NUTS, BOLTS AND A FEW LOOSE SCREWS" is also waiting patiently for you at Chapters.ca and Amazon.com.

Get to know Gair on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/#%21/gair.maxwell

For more info on The Seamless Brand and how this program can benefit your company or organization, explore http://www.seamlessbrand.com/