The Leadership-Jacket Connection

16 10 2013

Unsure man in coatCritical Leadership Skill Numero Uno: The ability to translate thought into action.

In entrepreneurship, you cannot park in neutral and brain your way to success. Action is an inevitable necessity.

For years now, I’ve been trying to pinpoint the source of all that action. What makes a leader step up, when everyone else is stepping down?

Is it courage born of big decisions and masterful business moves? Life altering determinations? News worthy choices? Popular media would have us believe so.

However, my observation-based conclusion comes to: “Not really.”

In fact, I would argue that the essence of leadership is born of HABIT. Yes, habit. And that habit is formed largely from the small, seemingly irrelevant decisions that literally make up our day-to-day lives.

YOU SHOULD WEAR A JACKET

The other day, I couldn’t decide whether a jacket was warranted. For the three minutes I would actually be outside, the decision was truly insignificant. But in the millisecond of thought I actually devoted to the cause, I could imagine two, potential consequences to a faulty choice:

1)  I wore the jacket, was too hot, and had to lug it around the rest of the day. Inconvenient.

2)  I didn’t wear the jacket, was too cold, and suffered a few minutes of discomfort. Also inconvenient.

This is grossly simplifying the alternatives, but you catch my drift. It’s the level of decision-making that we are faced with every minute – even every second. Should I pick up groceries now or after lunch? Should I run the yellow traffic light or wait for the next green? Should I take the stairs or the elevator? Should I approach that person or this one?

In my scenario, I couldn’t decide, asked my husband for his input, and wore a jacket on his recommendation.

Now, can anyone tell me why the above sentence is an outright lie?

Anyone?

Because, in actuality, I most certainly COULD decide. I can ALWAYS decide. So, to turn the above into a truth:

I was unwilling to accept responsibility for the results of my decision, asked my husband for his input, and wore a jacket on his recommendation.

WHY WE DO IT

Fear. Habit. Laziness. Low self-esteem. It’s infinitely easier to choose a scapegoat than a course of action. When we pass the baton, a wrong decision becomes “not my fault”. But what do we lose in the process? Control. Self-esteem. Learning and growth opportunities. Freedom.

TAKING BACK THE REINS

How many times do you catch yourself defaulting to the decision of another person, group, or (heaven forbid) “fate”? I’d wager that you haven’t given it much thought. Why should you? Those trivial decisions are vastly unimportant in the grand scheme of your life.

BUT, I believe that THESE DECISIONS ARE WHERE LEADERSHIP IS FORMED. From a habit of answering your own questions. From a comfort with shouldering your own responsibilities. From an understanding that being wrong WON’T END YOU.

Take more knowledgeable peoples’ input into account, by all means. But let the final decision be yours.

YOUR CHALLENGE

1 )  Observe the actions and interactions of those in your life who are leaders and those who are not. See what happens when a minor decision has to be made. It’s downright enlightening.

2)  Evaluate the little, daily decisions that you’ve been giving away. If you can’t find a darn good reason for doing so, take back the reins! Leadership is waiting for you on the other side.

“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you. Not much.”  ~ Jim Rohn

Dawn M. Tomczyk-Bhajan  |  DMT Artistry, LLC

All content Copyright © 2013 DMT Artistry, LLC. All Rights Reserved.





The Choice: Celebrating an ongoing adventure

1 09 2011

Two year ago today, I launched DMT Artistry, LLC.

I’d like to think this just gave you goosebumps, but I’ll settle for an involuntary gasp.

The first anniversary breezed by with barely a “huzzah”. I was too engrossed in “figuring things out” to put much stock in a 1-year milestone.

But with a second year securing my faith in what DMT Artistry stands for, it’s quite definitely time to celebrate an increasingly successful go-round of entrepreneurial adventure. This business represents a decision to make creative thinking the focus of my life and career; to see projects as a quest, rather than an assignment; to connect with fellow business owners at the level of a peer; to think big and build bigger; to manage, rather than be managed; to DO.

This is the kind of day that needs to be celebrated with others… with YOU. So I invite you to step back from your daily “to-do”s for a moment, throw your proverbial doors and windows open with (intelligent) abandon and bask in the “big picture” of what you’ve accomplished and where you are going.

Remember, it took vision to lead you forward. It took integrity to build a reputation of reliability. It took courage to face the challenges. It took humor to pull you through. And it took cornering the market on elbow grease to make it all come to fruition. You had a choice, and you chose action. Bravo. Well done.

Celebrating two splendid years of serving your creative corporate needs:

Dawn M Tomczyk  |  DMT Artistry LLC  |  810.923.4582  |  dawn@dmtartistry.com





Are We There Yet?!: The marketing milestone marathon

12 08 2011

Road trip boredomRoad trip! The joy of adult existence; the bane of children everywhere.

Do you remember your earliest family road vacations, when your parents packed you and your siblings into the back seat with fruit snacks, juice boxes and various luggage items that wouldn’t fit in the trunk?

The first 30 miles were a blur of car games, sing-a-longs and back seat Chinese fire drills. The second 30-mile stretch disappeared in a haze of napping.

But those next hundred miles… ugh! Time and mile markers crawled by at snail’s pace. It was only a matter of time before a plaintive “Are we there yet?!” emanated from the back seat.

As adults, we may have tempered this impatience with maturity, but as business owners – particularly new business owners – our marketing plans occasionally find us regressing back to childhood frustration. Here’s what happens…

The Too-Lofty Marketing Plan
A marketing plan consists of one or more goals, usually about increasing revenue, that act as a marketing mission statement of sorts. It gives your advertising both a direction and a purpose. However, it’s not uncommon to mistake bigger for better.

The problem with Texas-sized goals isn’t their validity or their value; it’s the fact that they take so darn long to accomplish. The adult in us valiantly clings to patience. But the child in us (i.e. the inexperienced, exuberant part of us) is wondering if we’re EVER going to get there.

The last thing you want is for your enthusiasm to wane halfway through accomplishing your goal. You need that youthful energy to drive your entrepreneurial creativity, and keep your business evolving.

So here’s what you can do: Keep your big goals, but also keep your inner child gainfully amused along the way…

1) Create micro-goals.  Give yourself and your company something to shoot for every year, every month, every week and every day. It’s empowering to work with purpose.

2) Celebrate milestones.  Congratulate yourself and your team for accomplishing the little goals that are going to make the big ones possible. Create daily opportunities to feel triumphant. Success grows exponentially, so you may wind up breezing by your big goal and accomplishing something even greater!

3) Get creative with your goal setting.  Marketing goals don’t always have to be directly related to fattening the company wallet. Believe me, just about any strategic goal will lead to increased revenue in the long (or short) run. Alternate goals can be about networking events attended, sale opportunities researched, new marketing avenues explored, partnerships formed, efficiency increased or creating a new and marketable benefit for your product or service.

DMT Challenge of the Week

Take a few minutes to write down your marketing goal for today, one for the upcoming week and one for the end of the month. Be sure that each goal is measurable, so that you can determine whether the goal was a success. Now decide on your reward for each accomplishment, making sure that the scale of the reward fits the scale of the goal.

If you plan it right, the journey to your final goal will be as enriching as its ultimate achievement. And your road trip will be as exciting as your final destination.

“When you come to a fork in the road – take it.”  – Yogi Berra

Dawn M. Tomczyk  |  DMT Artistry LLC  |  810.923.4582  |  dawn@dmtartistry.com





Failure? What Failure?: Putting the Monster to Rest

2 03 2011

Fear of failure is the monster under the bed - it's all in our heads!I had a fascinating conversation with my twin brother, David, the other day. We were talking about his latest class topic: Failure.

David is a professor of entrepreneurship – teaching students how to think like leaders, creators and Masters of Their Own Destinies.

So it may seem a little odd that his recent classes were devoted entirely to “Failure”.

Entrepreneurs and business owners – can you tell me why a professor of entrepreneurship would dedicate precious class hours to the in-depth study of falling flat on your face?

You know it. Because fear of failure is the under-the-bed monster that stalks every entrepreneur and, all too frequently, makes a kill. Only, instead of causing bodily harm, this mental demon devours entrepreneurial spirits.

You can hardly be Master of Your Own Destiny when fear has you dancing on a puppet string.

Interestingly enough, many entrepreneurs who quietly disappear from the business world, shamed by their lack of success, actually DIDN’T FAIL AT ALL. They just forgot to define what success would look like TO THEMSELVES. When “success” is a nebulous cloud of vaguery, barring pure dumb luck, “failure” is guaranteed.

The point, as David is teaching his class, is to start with a flashlight in your hand. Illuminate all aspects of your business… monsters, as any kid can tell you, are scared off by light. Fear of failure, in particular, melts at the first glow of purpose and preparation.

If success for you is a dollar amount, what is that dollar amount? Are you looking for just enough to pay your bills? Do you want enough to buy a house on every continent? How much product or service do you need to sell to get there?

If success for you is about opening up more personal time, how much time do you want? What level of income do you need to comfortably take that time? How many employees do you need to help you?

If success for you is about working in your slippers, or setting your own schedule, or turning your clients into friends, or writing your own paycheck, or just plain bragging rights – who is society to judge? Your definition of success is the one definition that matters; it’s the one definition that will legitimately motivate YOU.

So before you write off a business move as a total flop, go back and determine whether you started with the right definition of success. You may be more of a success than you ever knew.

Class dismissed!

“And will you succeed? Yes indeed, yes indeed! Ninety-eight and three-quarters percent guaranteed.”  ~Dr. Seuss

Dawn M. Tomczyk  |  DMT Artistry, LLC  |  810.923.4582  |  dawn@dmtartistry.com





Zombie Advertising: 5 Ways to Revive a Dying Campaign

28 04 2010

"Zombie Crossing" sign$500,000 into your advertising campaign, you’re pulling your hair out. Where are the scores of eager buyers who desperately need what you sell? Why aren’t they responding to your message?

Looks like you’re suffering from a bad attack of zombie advertising! It devours your budget and scares people away without contributing anything to your bottom line.

It’s time to make a move before your campaign saps the life out of your business!

Take a look at these top 5 zombie-marketing culprits… and how to bring them back from the dead:

1) Location, location, location. Who is your target audience, and where do they go? Do they frequent the web, devotedly read the paper, live at the coffee shop? Are they constantly driving, addicted to their smart phone, an avid e-mailer? That’s where your business needs to be.

Zombie advertising happens wherever it’s cheapest, coolest or most convenient to advertise. Forget that. Advertise where your target market is most likely to see you.

2) Judge a book by it’s cover. First impressions count when you potentially have just one shot to make an impression.

Zombie advertising creates ads based on, again, what’s cheapest, coolest or most convenient. But what’s appropriate for your target market? “Caviar”-style advertising is fine, if your target market is elite, high income individuals, but may not mean much to a high school freshman.

3) I’m sorry… have we met? Today’s consumers are wary of nebulous, generic advertising … it’s too much like the Wizard of Oz hiding behind a curtain and blowing a lot of hot air. We want to relate on a human-to-human level, so that we know just who we’re buying from.

Zombie advertising has a corporate, impersonal feel, and lacks personalization. That won’t fly today. Be unique. Be warm. Be human.

4) Huh? I don’t get it. Don’t talk over your potential customers’ heads.

Zombie advertising assumes everyone’s an expert. News flash: we’re not. Shoot for making your advertising understandable, without being condescending.

5) Isn’t that nice. A pretty ad doesn’t mean a sure sale.

Zombie advertising makes a momentary impact, without giving potential customers a reason to follow up. Give people a call to action and, when possible, a deadline to act. A little urgency, and a direction to take, will go a long way toward reviving your stagnant campaign.

What actions have you taken recently to bring your advertising campaign back from the dead, or to keep it in a zombie-free zone?

Have you unleashed a zombie with your recent advertising? Call me to hunt down and revive your campaign: Dawn M. Tomczyk  |  Professional Zombie Hunter  |  DMT Artistry, LLC  |  810.923.4582  |  dawn@dmtartistry.com





Client Spotlight: Change Your World Fitness

19 03 2010

When Lori Wengle lost 107 lbs, it understandably changed her world. How do you go from obese and apathetic to slim and feisty without rocking your very core?

But while most weight loss success stories are content to quietly enjoy their hard-earned gravity lift, Lori set off on a mission to astonish others with their own ability to transform.

If you glean one business tip from this petite powerhouse’s story, let it be to diversify. Lori owns Livingston Antique Outlet and Change Your World Fitness, published “The Fat Princess No More”, invented Personal Trainer in a Box, blogs, trains, speaks… her business acumen is surpassed only by her boundless energy (oh, to be fit!) and her compassion.

And the benefit of putting your eggs in a whole slew of baskets? If one part of your business is dragging, another is taking off, while yet another just might be your ticket to super-success!

I’ve done quite a bit of design work for Lori (view samples here), but most recently used WordPress’ Thesis Theme to customize her “Fat Princess No More” blog site:

"The Fat Princess No More" blog site