don't take the credit

Don’t Take The Credit

Awards are overrated!

I received an email “sorry to bother, but would you mind voting for me? I’ve been nominated for an award!”. They were serious. I went and voted for their competitors out of spite.

Kidding!

In all honesty, it’s 2017.Who sends an email asking for a vote?

Ask on social media sure, maybe text or talk to your close friends.In my eyes the more people you have to ask to vote for you, the less you deserve the award.

I do realize this comes off as a rant from someone, who doesn’t win awards. Ha! You’d be right if you thought that, but I don’t think awards matter! Here are four individuals, who have put award winning on the back burner and focused on doing things that matter.

For every winner, there must be a loser. Every time you show, talk about, or mention an award you won, it’s simply your ego rearing it’s ugly face. Don’t do it. Don’t buy in. Don’t talk about awards you won. There’s a time and a place for it. During a job interview, on your LinkedIn Account sure, but in your social media bio? No!

Don't tell me what you invented. Tell me about who you changed

In the words of Seth Godin, “Don’t tell me what you invented. Tell me who you have changed.”

Humility is a virtue.

When you send an email asking someone to vote for you to win an award it makes you seem desperate. Awards are special, meant to celebrate something remarkable you did. If you ask others to “vote” for you via email, personally, I don’t think you deserve the award. With all the commotion about the awards out there, I thought something had to be said.

In the business community when you find out the vast majority of “awards” companies and people win, they had someone close to them apply for it, it doesn’t really seem like awards matter. Literally, an agency nominating their own client work for an award? I get a part of it, I mean, it makes them look great, but eventually unwarranted awards will ketchup to you. Results will always matter more than awards.

If you could afford to buy an award would you?

Five years ago a client asked about an ethical dilemma she was having.

“Do you think we should keep advertising in major Canadian magazine, they’re the ones who decide on Canada’s 50 Top Employers.We seem to be on the list if we advertise, but we won’t be if we pull our budget. What do we do?

If you automatically throwout the notion on advertising to win an award ask yourself, why? Sure it feels unethical, but all the major companies do it.Well at least the ones winning the awards anyway… You can choose to be a part of that world, or you can choose a different path.

How the holy hell did he get an award?

I always find it fascinating to look into the criteria for winning awards, generally someone has to apply for it. This reminds me of my 3rd year University. The Business faculty always had scholarships for “the top students”. This made no sense, because the top students were usually the kids who didn’t have to work, had school paid for, and could focus all their attention on class. Myself, on the other hand struggled to pay for school, had a terrible average and would have LOVED a scholarship. I just didn’t agree with “applying for it”.

As the story goes, my arch nemesis, the know-it-all kid, who never wanted to help out with the Business Students Society, who actually quit on us, applied for the BSS funded scholarship. Then he won. I couldn’t believe it. Why the hell would you pick the guy that was doing fine to give a scholarship to? Here I was struggling to get through classes (though I never failed one!) volunteering my ass off and the goodie two shoes just got a free ride, because he had a high average?!?

That’s when I began to mistrust “school” and any awards given away at school.

Life’s about being able to do your art, not winning awards.

Eddy introduced me to an amazing designer that he looks up to, Aaron Draplin. I’ve written about him before, You don’t need to win awards to be amazing. But I think you should watch his Ted Talk. He doesn’t care about awards, he cares about being able to do his art every single day.

What good is an award if you aren’t happy?

Aaron is a happy guy, my favourite part of his talk is when he talks about how lucky he is to just be able to do his art every day. How often we all take for granted what we do for a living? Here’s a guy, who is one of the most amazing designers of our generation and he is very open about not winning awards. I look up to people like Mr. Draplin. He could apply for awards and put that on his website and proposals, but I think his work speaks for itself.If you’re good enough you won’t need awards to make you feel better. Plus, putting syrup on shit doesn’t make it a pancake. Stop worrying about awards and start worrying about results!

pancake quote

What about BIG awards like the Nobel prize?

The Undoing Project by Michael Lewis tells the story of the remarkable relationship of two brilliant Israeli Psychologists, Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman. Amos wasn’t a fan of awards. For every winner there had to be a handful of losers and that just wasn’t fair to Amos.

When the Nobel committee called Amos to notify him he was on a very short list to win the Nobel Prize in Economics, Amos didn’t even take the call. He was quoted later saying winning the Nobel prize wasn’t one of the things he was going to miss when he was gone. The Nobel Prize comes with a $1,000,000 cash prize. Not a small prize to be walking away from. Amos died far too early, the behavioural economics community and the world lost a brilliant mind on June 2, 1996.

This was coming for a guy that was offered a job for the rest of his life from one of the top Universities in the world. Amos, was one of the greatest thinkers of our time! On his deathbed when the President of Stanford was preparing a last lecture and celebration for Amos, he quickly called and negotiated out of the big celebration. He never wanted to credit for what he did, it just wasn’t important to him.

undoing project quote-amos

How smart was Amos Tversky? Really?

The Tversky Intelligence Test.

In 2013 in Malcolm Gladwell’s David and Goliath, Gladwell tells a story about how highly Amos Tversky was regarded among his peers. As told to Gladwell by psychologist Adam Alter, the Tversky intelligence test was, “The faster you realized Tversky was smarter than you, the smarter you were.

Don’t take credit for what isn’t yours.

Shep Gordon never needed the credit. (I’ve written about Shep Gordon, the Supermench before). When a music manager works on an album or with an artist they are entitled to royalties for perpetuity of the sales that album makes. Shep never signed contracts with artists to guarantee royalties. He never thought he needed to, he trusted the people he worked with. This created loyalty with the artists and groups he worked with. Shep’s reputation proceeded him, after he is referred to as the Supermench. He did admit there was a fine line between smart and stupid when using contracts though. Not to claim royalties on an album like the Beatles Anthology (he worked on it) would fall into the category of the later.

Shep is still doing fine, instead of all that money he’d much rather have Mike Myers refer to him as “the nicest person he has ever met”.

Being a good teammate is better than winning an award.

From the book Give and Take, Adam Grant tells the story of George Meyer a habitual ‘giver’ that has never worried about receiving credit, even though he was involved in some major television productions in the past 30 years.

If his name – George Meyer doesn’t – sound familiar, the shows he’s worked on will; Saturday Night Live, Late Night With David Letterman and The Simpsons. Many people involved with The Simpson’s production agreed that Meyer was a pivotal part of the team, a linchpin really.

Your reputation is far more valuable than receiving credit or an award.

Seeing your name in the credits is an ego boost.

Many people in the entertainment industry thrive off the mention of their name in the credits. To be a part of a major production even as a small role, most people would demand their name appear in the credits. George Meyer was not one of those people. Meyer was a writer and producer on over 300 episodes of the Simpsons and was only mentioned Twelve times in the credits. Having his name mentioned in the credits wasn’t important to him, being an integral part of the team was. We should all strive to be a little more like George Meyer.

being a good teammate is better than winning an award

Congratulations StratLab! You won an award!

Finally if you don’t believe me that awards are something you should never focus on or put time in to, because you never know when someone just makes something up. Look to the top right hand corner of this page (sorry not on mobile). “Canada’s 50 Most Inclusive Employers” was an award I made up to celebrate the first 50 companies participating in the 4to40 initiative. See even you can make up an award and give it to whoever you choose.

Thanks to Aaron, Amos, Shep and George for setting an example for future leaders.

I look up to these four individuals for the courage it took to focus on what really mattered to them. Instead of idolizing pop, culture icons or TV stars try putting up a poster of Amos Tversky in your office. Or maybe it’s a Draplin original, to keep yourself humble at work. I love looking up to people like this, people I want to be like some day. After all, we become our hero’s in the end don’t we? Just make sure you pick the right hero’s to emulate.

the worlds great lie-achievement is greater than fulfillment

The World’s Biggest Lie: achievement is greater than fulfilment

​The World’s biggest lie according to Tony Robbins, “achievement is greater than fulfilment.”

On the Tim Ferriss Podcast with Tony Robbins, Tony goes off on an amazing but very thought provoking tangent.

fulfillment is greater than achievement

Fulfillment is greater than achievement.

His theory of what’s wrong with society is that we continuously put achievement before fulfillment. We’re always looking for the next big thing, the next toy, house, car, or vacation. Nothing is ever good enough and you’re destined to die a lonely death.

Tony talks about Robin Williams and how he asks about Robin to crowds all over the world. Everywhere Tony goes he says 98% of the crowd LOVES Robin Williams, the other 2%? He makes fun of them too.

He asks crowds about Williams because he trying to make a point. Robin Williams of all people had it all, he’d won every award in his field, he was widely regarded as one of the best comedians and actors of his generation. Then Tony get’s mad. “And what did Robin after all of those achievements? He hung himself. He still wasn’t good enough in his mind.” 

We have a duty in the life to help others. One major way is to focus on fulfillment and forget achievement. How can you do this? It’s hard to forget about achievement, we’re built to want ti achieve. It makes us feel good, it’s an ego boost. But the problem with achievement is that it can get addicting, you can want it at all costs, sacrificing things you never would have. Eventually simply focusing on achievement will lead you to disappointment.

The wise owls always worry about fulfillment before achievement, for achievement is but a fleeting emotion, fulfillment feeds the soul.

Fulfillment is sustainable. Fulfillment is that feeling that makes you smile when you wake up in the morning and the reason you’re happy falling asleep. It’s challenging, it’s spiritual, it’s something personal, it’s your journey. It has nothing to do with anyone else, it’s your art and only you know if you’re putting in 110% all the time. When you do, you’ll get a weird feeling of contentment.

Fulfillment is greater than achievement

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17-books-for-2017

17 Must Read Books For 2017

1. How To Fail At Almost Everything and Still Win Big – Scott Adams

creativity-is-allowing-yourself-to-make-mistakes

Counterintuitive thinking on how one attains success. It’s a fun read, he’s a cartoonist so you can imagine how much fun Scott has in a book. My favourite part was the first time reading through, he gives you some piece of contrarian advice and then follows it up with “remember, you are the one taking advice from a cartoonist”. He’s not afraid to make fun of himself.

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Why You Don't Need a Marketing Strategy

Why You Don’t Need a Marketing Strategy // eps 50 #inthelab

Why You don’t Need a Marketing Strategy

How many small startups have a marketing strategy? I’d venture a guess as very few. No I don’t mean a “marketing plan” I mean an actual strategy with tactics, objectives, and intended outcomes. Rarely do startups care about marketing because if you have to rely on marketing to make your product or service successful you’re not going to be.

How many recent extremely successful products or services have grown exponentially because of a marketing strategy? I’d guess very few. The reason something catches fire is one part luck and one-part remarkability.

Remarkability: The odds that someone will talk about your company, product, service or organization.

Most business owners think of marketing as logos and commercials when really it about getting people to spread your story. There’s nothing traditional about marketing in 2016.

You don’t need a marketing strategy. A lot of people will tell you you do. Professors of marketing, those who’ve never practiced their theories just taught them in the classroom are the worst at spreading the lies about why you need a marketing strategy.

They’ll say you can’t be “off brand” and that every communication you make needs to be consistent.

“Mind your four p’s!” they’ll tell you, even though three out of the four are almost obsolete or useless for your company. Price, Place, Product, Promotion.

Marketing needs to start at the beginning of the planning process of your product or service.

I love the Seth Godin quote “Advertising is the tax for the unremarkable.”

Advertising is the tax for the unremarkable

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The hard thing isn't setting big hairy audacious goals

What To Do About The Struggle [a letter to entrepreneurs]

The hard thing isn't dreaming big...

The hard thing isn’t usually what you think it is. In the entrepreneurial journey there are a lot of emotions, life gets down right shitty some days. There is hope though. You’re on a journey only the greatest minds of our world start out on. A journey that most won’t try make. The journey of a true entrepreneur is plagued with disappointment, triumph, and even more let down. As long as you stay a little more positive than those negative thoughts you’re going to come out the other side a winner.

When you’re in it, it sucks. There’s no way to describe it. It’s a necessary evil, without the years of failure there is no learning, and no learning means no company.

The struggle is when food loses its taste

What is the struggle?

Something every entrepreneur human being goes through. The longer you can last, the further you will go. A lot of people don’t last. The Struggle eats them up, destroys their soul, and all they’re left with is a scared, hurtful attitude towards anything outside of what is expected. Protectionism sets in the status quo is the only way of doing things.

Why do we have to struggle?

Simple, the universe doesn’t give you anything for free. Nothing in life is easy. The more you struggle, the better the reward.

There’s a famous quote from Bill Gates “Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.”. You have to struggle, there’s no easy way about it. You have to go through the bad to appreciate the good.

How long has the struggle been around? 

The struggle has been around since the dawn of civilization. Our ancestors went through it. Anyone who has done anything worth talking about has been through it.  Anyone who has that crease near the corner of the eye, you know the one, the one that lets you know they’ve been through a lot.

Don't take it personally

When we’re in the struggle our minds are our greatest enemy. We tell ourselves lies, we’re delusional, we create a reality in our heads that’s just not true. Humans are amazing at finding every possible way a plan can fail. We find every loophole that might come back to bite us in the ass. In this horrible state of mind we never look for the positive horizon with the attitude of it gets better. No instead we try to warn our subconscious with these thoughts, it’s a defence mechanism sounding the alarm bells.

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At least you tried

The Next Time Someone Doesn’t Like Your Original Idea Remember….

They just don’t get it yet.

John Cleese’s advice is so perfect for creatives, “if you do something a bit original nobody gets it at the start”. You can’t be discouraged when someone doesn’t like your new idea. They just don’t get it yet.

I used to have the wallpaper on my computer of a Seth Godin quote: “All the creativity books in the world aren’t going to help you if you’re unwilling to have lousy, lame and even dangerously bad ideas.”.

No one understands an original idea in it’s first form, that’s why you shouldn’t get discouraged when people don’t like your ideas. The trick is to keep coming up with ideas, that way, when someone doesn’t like one of your ideas that’s just fine, tomorrow you’ll come up with another and the day after that another. As long as you keep creating, keep trying, and keep pushing yourself to get to that “one” person to say, “I get it”, you’ll be just fine. It’s that endless pursuit that makes it fun isn’t it?

If you do something a bit original nobody gets it at the start

the-whole-basis-of-gentle-teaching-isnt-trying-to-change-the-individuals-behaviour-but-rather-changing-our-approach-on-how-we-serve-the-individuals

Do you think people want to follow a faceless company online

How The Golden Rule Applies To Your Social Media Strategy // eps 45 #InTheLab

How The Golden Rule Applies To Your Social Media Strategy

Common sense is not so common when it comes to social media. “Businesses act too much like businesses online” – Conrad Hewitt

Conrad shares with us why he thinks a lot of companies get it wrong with it comes to social media and their online marketing presence. Running accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram he sees it all right now and from the sounds of it he’s not happy! It’s easy to sound professional and to echo “business jargon”, it’s hard to create a personality that people come to like and trust.

It’s hard to argue against developing a personality online with so many local examples (@ReginaPolice, @KiltedBroker, @Eric_Dillon@BradWall, @Nenshi). All these folks don’t exactly “follow the rules” when it comes to social and their fans absolutely adore it. Don’t take yourself (or your business) to seriously online.

With the amount of options we all have to buy what you are selling from someone else, you have to figure out a way to cut through the clutter. Being different is now the safest thing your brand can be.

I wish your pictures on Instagram were more business like

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The Fox and the Hedgehog-Im not that good at a lot of things

I’m Not Very Good At a Lot of Things || Eps 41 #InTheLab

The first thing I tell my class when teaching is that I’m only good at two things, baking chocolate chip cookies (I’m really good at it) and getting excited about Volleyball, as in coaching or helping a team. Everything else I’m not that good at. When you really think about it, no one is amazing at a lot of things. I mean some people just seem to be really good in several areas of their life. But when you find someone who’s amazing at something, usually they lack in many other areas of their life. And when I say “lack” I don’t mean we’re bad at those things, we just haven’t had the practice we need. I feel a lot of people need to have the power of being “smarter” than others, be it ego, self esteem or lack there of. Anyone in a leadership role (coach, teacher, professor, manager, boss) should never deliberately act smarter than anyone else. This comes out in correcting others, arguing, overtly disagreeing, putting others down, and generally being a know it all. Don’t be that person in life. No one likes a know it all.

The Oxford Philosopher Isaiah Berlin wrote the now famous essay, The Fox and the Hedgehog. The Fox knows many things but the Hedgehog only knows one important thing. It’s an analogy that works for many different life situations. Psychologist Phillip Tetlock studied the political predictions of two different types of expert speculators, foxes and hedgehogs. Throughout the 20th century Hedgehogs were more likely to get prime time television slots on Fox political hour(they made the big bold predictions) but Foxes seems to be right far more often in their predictions. An anomaly in political predictions, the more press you get, the more you think you’re right.

“I am not very good at a lot of things.” -Jeph Maystruck

I like to look at the Fox and the Hedgehog in regards to my life. I was never the Jack of all trades growing up. I didn’t fix things around the house, I wasn’t overly helpful when things broke. I still don’t fix things around the house, I just not a fox. This amuses my family. I don’t change my own oil or winter tires. They usually bug me about it. Not any more!!

I say not any more because of what happened the other weekend. I bring my car over to my parents place and my family is going to help put on my winter tires. We get half way done when two tires won’t come off the vehicle. We literally tried and tried to no avail. I went home with two winter tires on and two summer tires. The next day I had to explain to the folks at Quicklane why I had two tires changed out already! ha! I told my family they can’t make fun of me for not wanting to be “handy”. I trust experts to do what they do best. Long live the hedgehogs.

You can get great at many things but you’re much better off to focus your attention on one thing and try to be the best in the world at it.

I'm sorry I'm just too busy

Stop Saying You’re Too Busy || Eps 37 of #InTheLab


When ever someone says “I’m too busy” I’m always reminded of a story I heard about from a Volleyball coach I look up to. In grade 11 leading into grade 12 I wanted to get better at Volleyball. I told my coach I wanted to play pepper (simple volleyball drill) more and he offered to come in the morning twice a week to play pepper at 7:30 in the morning. We did this for a couple months and I really think it helped my Volleyball skill in the long run. But more importantly, he was willing to volunteer MORE of his time to make me better. That’s dedication.

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