- Setting standards, taking a stand and finding kindred spirits.
- Do Better
- When Can’t Means Won’t
- Get on a plane and go to LA
- Seize the Day: Newsies Edition
- Start somewhere.
- A John Mellencamp Day
- We have a responsibility to awe
- Join me on Monday
- Work as if you own the place.
You might have caught this speech from the Chief of the Australian Army this weekend. It’s been flying around online for days and many people have made comments, but I particularly agree with this twitter remark from @5tu (Stu Maschwitz): “THIS IS HOW YOU SAY STUFF.” _Yup. THIS IS HOW YOU SAY STUFF. _ I realize the Chief of Army is addressing a very, very serious issue and it is an issue that demands our full focus and attention. But his choice of words is so powerful I am going to relate them to business and life. I just have to share my thoughts about his speech because I have never heard a clearer example of taking a stand an fighting an injustice. As businesses we all face issues and injustices, whether it’s the high cost of eyewear or the stigma we associate with addiction. I’ve watched this speech three or four times over the weekend, studying Chief of Army David Morrison’s amazing delivery. He is speaking from his heart with a force that sticks. _And I just can’t get this statement out of my head: _ THE STANDARD YOU WALK PAST IS THE STANDARD YOU ACCEPT. _Wow._ There are a lot of lessons in that statement. HERE ARE A FEW I SEE _AND FEEL_: 1. LEADERS LEAD BY TAKING A STRONG STAND. 2. TAKING A STRONG STAND ABOUT AN INJUSTICE CAN LEAD TO CONVERSATION AND CHANGE. 3. WHEN YOU TAKE A STRONG STAND YOU WILL DRAW PEOPLE TOWARD YOU. And yes, maybe away from you. Taking a stand about your belief system emotionally connects you with others and creates strong bonds. 4. THIS SPEECH IS LIKE A WELL-WRITTEN MANIFESTO. We are big time believers in manifestos for organizations and communities. A good manifesto should be something you can _feel_. A good manifesto unites and connects, it draws a line in the sand and defines which side you are on. 5. IF IT MATTERS TO YOUR ORGANIZATION SAY IT WITH STRENGTH AND CONVICTION. And say if from the heart. Yes. _All of that._ Don’t try and please everyone. If you water it down to please everyone, it will not be loved or hated. And you will not be heard. HOW CAN YOU APPLY THE STATEMENT "THE STANDARD YOU WALK PAST IS THE STANDARD YOU ACCEPT" TO YOUR OWN LIFE? Well…do you watch others under deliver? Do you say, that’s good enough? Or that is not my job? Do you know what your company stands for and what you and others should never, ever walk past? WHAT CAN YOU SAY WITH A FORCE THAT STICKS? IF THE ANSWER IS NOTHING, I SUGGEST YOU FIND A NEW JOB OR FOLD YOUR BUSINESS. The post Setting standards, taking a stand and finding kindred spirits. appeared first on Brains On Fire Blog.
“You do better when you know better.” Some wise and comforting words recently shared with me by my mother-in-law. It was in response to a situation I wish I handled differently. In retrospect, I should had done A, B, and C…yada yada. But at that time, I just didn’t know. I didn’t have the information or the experience. It made me feel better at the thought that we just _keep getting better_. Keep _doing _better. The post Do Better appeared first on Brains On Fire Blog.
A kayak parade? SURE! Who needs water?! Just last week we had a lovely little pow-wow as a team. It was so refreshing. We reminded one another, and all the new-ish faces (mine included), about why we're at Brains on Fire. As Robbin mentioned, we got back to our roots. THE WHY BEHIND WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO. It was a "stop. collaborate and listen" kind of afternoon for all of us. One of the stickiest phrases from that afternoon has been on my mind since then. CAN'T MEANS WON'T. (Thanks, Cordell). I dare you to go a week with the mindset that can't does in fact mean won't. _I'm busy. I'm annoyed. I just don't want to do it._ All these _can'ts_ cloud our minds, imaginations and desire to be awesome. Even more awesome than we can fathom. They trick the brain into thinking we're less than we are. We are not capable of reaching just a bit further. TRY IT. Can you reshape your mind and way of thinking to get over the "won't" hump? Can you find a way? Can you be crafty? Can you give just a little bit more? In the long run, I think you can… and will. The post When Can't Means Won't appeared first on Brains On Fire Blog.
_Me and Mike, many years ago…That scrappy yellow dog on Mike's shirt was the logo for our company at the time._ WE HAVE SOME SHINY SMART NEW FACES AROUND BRAINS ON FIRE IN CASE YOU HAVEN’T NOTICED. So we took a couple of hours to remind everyone of our roots last Wednesday. And share some awesome tacos from Local Taco. Thanks Mary Susan! While we were talking and sharing stories, one of my favorite memories popped in my heart and my head. Years ago, when I first began my journey as an entrepreneur with Mike Goot, we hired a headhunter to help us find a much needed additional art director. We were bright eyed and full of dreams and we wanted the best of the best. Resumes poured in from all over. It was most likely some sort of recession at the time. The ones from the west coast were the ones that kept getting my attention. Some of the portfolios were okay. Some were just _barely_ okay. But almost everyone was making _way_ more money than me! I was all of 28 at the time. I walked in to Mike’s office where he was busy writing at his computer. His desk was an old door on top of a couple of old metal file cabinets. I sat down in a director chair across from him and said, “Look at this guy’s work and look what he’s making. Look at her work and look what’s she’s making. It doesn’t add up.” “What are WE doing wrong here!” I said feeling grossly underpaid for all my amazing talent and late nights. _I hope I told him I thought he was grossly underpaid too._ I fully expected him to shake his head and then quietly agree with me. But he stood up. None of our offices had ceilings, just half walls. Mike banged his fist on the door-desk with a force that made everything on top of it rattle in startled amazement. I'm pretty sure almost everyone in the building could hear his next words: “SO GET ON A FUCKING PLANE AND GO TO LA!!! YOU EITHER WANT A JOB OR YOU WANT TO GROW THIS BUSINESS WITH ME!” _Wow. _ It was stunningly quiet in the room as he sat back down and went right back to writing. At that very precise moment a line was drawn in the sand and I decided exactly which side of the line my feet and my heart were firmly planted. I HAVE NEVER ONCE LOOKED BACK WITH REGRET. I’ve said it before but I will say it again. EVERYONE WORKS BETTER WHEN THEY WORK LIKE AN ENTREPRENEUR. I'm getting on a plane today heading for Greensboro and Maryland to speak. It will be so much fun. Stay close to me on twitter and such: @robbinphillips Now that’s a set of words I never saw coming at 28! Who can even begin to guess what's coming next… OX, Robbin The post Get on a plane and go to LA appeared first on Brains On Fire Blog.
Hello, my name is Katie. And I love musical theater. From start to finish, my toes are tapping and my face hurts from smiling. There is nothing like a live performance. In honor of the upcoming Tony Awards (one of the most exciting nights for those on- and off-broadway), I'd like to salute Newsies. If you're new to this scene: welcome. If not: you know what I'm talking about! Newsies is the story of teens fighting for their place in the world. They sell newspapers, or papes, on the tough streets of New York. It's 1899, and the big newspaper owners, Pulitzer and Herst, run the show. The kids can complain on their own and get nowhere, or they can band together and make a difference. They strike! They form a union! They sing, they dance, and they will give you chills. The cool part about this show (I could go on for awhile but I'll try not to) is that it is centered around making a difference. Being an underdog. Going after your dreams. Forming something bigger than yourself. It's about community. The cast members of Newsies live and breathe community every day. They do awesome things like show their love to their "fansies" and take you behind the scenes. Pulling back that magical curtain is one of the coolest ways to let others in. They even captured cast member reactions to their Tony Award® nominations last year. You feel like you're part of the team. Who hasn't felt like an underdog? Who hasn't wanted to be part of a good ole group huddle? Huddle up, folks, because Newsies rock. Let them inspire you to Seize the Day. The post Seize the Day: Newsies Edition appeared first on Brains On Fire Blog.
_I love this photo of Libby William's son. It reminds me that we must always be asking questions. Just think of what we might miss…_ I LOVE MY JOB. I get to talk to some the most remarkable people on the planet when they call inquiring about Brains on Fire's services. A lot them read this blog or hear us speak or have read our book. So they call or they write and then they tell me their amazing stories. Its really interesting stuff. Out of consideration of their time _(and mine too)_ I almost always get the "money talk" out the way quickly. For many folks who are starting a new businesses or following their passions and dreams to push a cause forward, our fees are simply not a budget fit. _Still haven’t figured out how we can work for free. _ But I love meeting these entrepenuers. So many of them have a passion that is so electric it almost crackles. I have a lot of folks tell me they have loyal fans and people who want to help them, but they don’t know how to get started. They want to know the first steps, they want to know what to do next. SO I THOUGHT I WOULD TAKE FEW MINUTES THIS MORNING AND SHARE SOME IDEAS: 1. START WITH LOVE. What do you love about the people you're serving? Write it down. Don't stop until you have a list of at least twenty things you love about your customers. What do your customers or donors love about you? Write it down. And by the way, if you don’t know, make it your _very first step_ to find out. 2. TAKE A STAND. Write your manifesto. Make it lofty. Make it personal. Good manifestos are written with passion and wild abandon. Why do you really get up in the morning? What would you do without pay? 3. IDENTIFY AN INJUSTICE YOU FIGHT. This will also help you craft your manifesto. Are you making the world a better place? How? Do you have an enemy? Who? 4. SIT DOWN AND LISTEN TO YOUR HAND RAISERS. Really listen, don't talk. What language do they use? How does your product and service or cause fit into their lives? What platforms, both online and offline, can you use to help support their conversations? We've said before, but it's worth repeating -- community and movements begin with the very first conversation. SO START SOMEWHERE. THAT'S WHAT YOU DO NEXT. Those are my thoughts about where to start when you want to ignite community and advocacy. WHAT DO YOU THINK? The post Start somewhere. appeared first on Brains On Fire Blog.
If you cut me, I’d probably bleed a little Lynyard Skynyrd, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Seger and John Mellencamp. All of which you’d expect to hear from a 55 year old male, which I’m not. Blame it on my rocker parents if you’ d like, but I absolutely love me some John Mellencamp. I once taught a continuing education class and referenced a ‘Jack and Diane’ couple and their tax situation. This morning, I jumped in the car and started towards Brains. Today totally feels like a John Mellencamp morning. So I popped in his greatest hits CD, turned up the volume, and ‘Hurts So Good’ came on. It reminded me of a job interview I had back in 2006. There was this weird company, with this quirky name, who needed an accountant. I had no idea exactly what they sold, it sounded a little foreign compared to my banking experience. But standing in the lobby of their office at the end of the interview… along came John singing ‘Hurts So Good’. Even amongst the nervousness, I could feel the divine intervention and peace that a song can give you. It says… _this is where you are meant to be… John Mellencamp is playing in the lobby… what better sign could there be?_ So here’s hoping you have a John Mellencamp Day. You might not end up with a job at Brains On Fire like me, but I sincerely hope you get the gift of comfort and reassurance that a song can bring. A song that tells you, yeah… _I’m on the right path_. -------------------------
Brandy is our CFO and Gun-for-Hire. Meet her here.The post A John Mellencamp Day appeared first on Brains On Fire Blog.
This fast-paced video from the Shots of Awe series really breaks down the "contrast between banality and wonder." With repetition, what was once novel falls below our perception. This process desensitizes our mind mapping. Like our brains literally stop bothering to note it. It's like you'll notice how other people's houses have a scent, but not your own. It made me *wonder* what stimuli or situations does my mind skirt over? My favorite line from the clip: "_We have eyes yet see not, ears that hear not, and hearts that neither feel nor understand_." Wow. To produce awe, you have to provide your senses with something that requires you to reconfigure your mental schemas. That seems intimidating to me and hard to do…so I again wonder: is it becoming more rare? What was the last thing that left you awe-struck? The post We have a responsibility to awe appeared first on Brains On Fire Blog.
_Ramsey's doing the graphics for The Art of We. So you won't be visually bored._ I HAVE A LOVE/HATE RELATIONSHIP WITH WEBINARS. I love them because I love to share our customer’s stories in hopes of inspiring others. But I hate them because I can’t SEE the people I am talking to. _Hmmm… _ So today I am asking you a big favor. Will you join me on MONDAY, JUNE 3RD FOR WOMMA’S WEBINAR? You can register here. IF you sign up, please shoot me a comment to let me know you’ll be there. It will be more fun if I know I'm among friends. It’s happening on Monday at 3pm ET. I promise I will listen in on your next webinar. I really will. HAPPY FRIDAY! OX, Robbin The post Join me on Monday appeared first on Brains On Fire Blog.
_I love this doodle from Geno. Passionate companies are made up of people who take ownership. _ Long ago, before I became a business owner I remember a client asking me, “Do you own a part of the company?” I still remember that exact moment to this day. I was eating lunch and almost dropped my fork. BECAUSE I ALMOST SAID YES. Even though I technically didn’t own the company, I felt a strong sense of ownership. I often tell bright young college students to work as if they own the company when they land their first job. So today, as so many of you out there are beginning to look for your first jobs, I’m going to take a few minutes and list a few ways to help you work as if you own the company. Even if you've been out in the work world a while you might find a new way to look at your current “job”. 1. UNDERSTAND HOW THE MONEY’S MADE. Ask questions. Make friends with the CFO. Learn to read a balance sheet. No matter how wonderful the mission of the company, you can’t do anything positive in the world if you don’t exist. You should care enough to understand how your company makes money. Besides you might find out that you want to open your own business one day, and you'll be glad you asked. 2. HAVE EMPATHY. When decisions are made that you don’t understand, try and have empathy. When my daughter had her first job she came home complaining about how the owner got so upset over the least little thing. We talked about it and I said, _"I bet she took a lot of risks to open that business. What can you do to help her make her dream work out? How can you help her feel good about her decision to quit her safe job at the bank and start this new retail business? How can you help her get more customers?"_ Even at 16 years old, empathy was a big motivator and in a short time she had got a small but really valuable raise. Even if you work for a big organization, having empathy for how and why decisions get made can change the way you work. 3. BE SOMEONE’S BEST FRIEND AT WORK. People work better when they have a best friend at work. If you're working as if you own the place, you want others to feel they have a best friend at friend at work. SO BE THAT BEST FRIEND.Do what best friends do. Listen harder. Be kinder. Recognize effort. Take a break and laugh together. 4. Write love letters. Be grateful to the people you work for and with. Business leaders _(good ones at least)_ are grateful. They are grateful for every single customer and employee. You can and should be grateful too. So how do do you work when you find yourself working as if you own the place? What advice do you have to share with others today? Have you ever done business with a company where everyone you met seemed to own the company? The post Work as if you own the place. appeared first on Brains On Fire Blog.