What Uber and Taxis Can Teach You About Decision Making

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We spend a lot of our time making decisions. We make some choices on auto-pilot, like brushing our teeth in the morning; others are tougher, revolving around job opportunities, life partners or places where we’ll live. At work, managers and business leaders are always making decisions about new products, staffing or initiatives.

Sometimes the hardest part of decision-making is not the process; sometimes it’s merely making the best decisions that propel us forward and don’t cause a mess of other problems.

With every decision, there are always pros and cons. Everything comes at a price in life and business, and even an opportunity that appears excellent has some downside to it. That’s just the way it goes in life and work. There is no such thing as perfection, but that’s what helps keep us always striving for better.

The battle between Uber and the taxi industry is an excellent example of decision-making. Uber is valuated at around $60 billion, but the company, and its CEO, Travis Kalanick, have pushed it to a point where based on news reports you have to wonder what’s going to happen next––and not in a good way. We’ll see in the future if their decisions have been the best, both for Kalanick and Uber.

The Problems with Uber

A couple of years ago, Uber was all the rage. At the time, a medallion for one iconic yellow taxi cost $1.3 million. But, there was significant competition for the traditional cab as it seemed that everyone in Manhattan was calling an Uber taxi.

Last year as I was talking to a cabbie about the taxi industry and Uber, he informed me that some New York City taxi owners were trying to sell their medallions for $500,000. At the time, it sounded like the death knell was ringing for the old taxis.

As it turns out, not so fast.

Flash forward about another year, and yellow taxis have taken matters into their hands to compete against Uber. Their decision was kind of simple: let Uber crush them and destroy the traditional taxi business (still a possibility), or put up a challenge. In the meantime, Uber, the famed disrupter seems to face one problem after another.

First, a recap of how the New York taxi industry is dealing with Uber:

  • Fight fire with technology fire. There have been a handful of apps that have been used by the traditional taxi industry to compete with Uber. The apps have succeeded in fits and starts, but next time you’re in New York City and don’t want to take Uber, or hail a cab the old-fashioned way, take a look at Arro or GoCurb.
  • Compete on price. One of the reasons why Uber was initially so successful is because it used sophisticated algorithms to undercut taxi prices and then to use surge pricing when demand was high. The regular cabbie on the street, and the taxi industry for that matter, just couldn’t compete with the advanced technology of Uber. Traditional taxis took a beating, but they’re looking to compete on pricing.
  • Driver competition. If you speak to a cabbie in New York City, ask them how driving a yellow cab compares to Uber concerning earnings. Many drivers who went to Uber found themselves working more and earning less. It’s no news to learn that as the drivers see it Uber has not been terribly kind and, ultimately, they’ve made no secret of wanting to use driverless cars exclusively.

In an article posted on TheStreet, it was reported that Kalanick and Uber prided themselves on, “Nimble, creative decision-making.” It’s true that Uber is innovating and continually thinking out of the box to get ahead of its competition. However, there have definitely been challenges which have been detailed in news articles.

  • Does the business model work? Uber is not yet a public company with over $12 billion in investments, and one of the primary reasons is because it’s not yet fully confident that it’s able to provide its investors with a solid return on investment.
  • Drivers are not happy with Uber and to make matters worse, Travis Kalanick was caught on video telling an Uber driver that if he wasn’t making enough money, it was his fault.
  • Uber and ethical boundaries. Uber is a notoriously tough competitor, and its method is to not only disrupt but destroy. It’s reported that it used technology, called Greyball, to deceive legislative and regulatory officials in places where there’s been resistance to Uber.
  • Battle with Google. In the courts, a war of the tech titans is playing out as Waymo, which is owned by Google to develop the technology for self-driving cars, has sued Uber and its company, Otto, over stolen company technology secrets.

I can go on with Uber’s challenges at the present moment, but it’s clear that Uber is at some cross-roads. In the not-to-distant future, we can see Uber continue down a highly profitable road as the undisputed king of transportation (of course, ultimately without drivers). Alternately, we can see a company that is battered and continues to go from one problem to another until investors move on or the company and investors come up with a significantly alternate strategy to Kalanick’s playbook.

The reality for Uber is not that it’s not been making decisions.

It has.

The question with Uber is, is it making the most effective decisions?

So, in a world of options, how to do you make the right decisions? Or, perhaps a better question, is how do you make the best choice with the options, opportunities, and challenges you have at hand.

  1. The first place to begin is always with your values. In the case of Uber, as an outsider, it seems to value disruption, fierce competition and winning (at all costs). You can have good values, or you can have values that appear destructive to others, but whatever the case, decisions have to conform to values. Decisions are always better if they align with your values. You’ll find yourself more comfortable, and you’ll be rationalizing less, even in the face of challenges.
  2. Visualization of vision. In the past, I’ve sat in plenty of meetings where some manager tells the team to visualize financial success. Frankly, I always rolled my eyes. However, that’s not to say there isn’t truth to visualization and vision. When you’re in the process of making decisions, and you want to decide on the best course of option, you have to think through the end-results between options. For Uber, the company sees itself as the dominant global transportation company. That’s the visualization of vision.
  3. Paradox of choice. We live in a world where there can be too much choice. Too many options can keep us from making decisions, and we end up in a situation of inertia in the decision-making process. When you’re making an important choice, one of the things you want to do as fast as possible is to eliminate options quickly. If you have five opportunities for a decision, remove three as soon as possible. Then work on the remaining two.
  4. Situation guiding. Sometimes in life and business, you have events that happen that may or may not be in your control. The older you become and the more experience you have, you should use it to help inform your future. Even if you’ve had failures in the past, you have learned something. Keep going back to what those lessons have been. Use the lessons to inform your present situation. For the taxi industry in New York City, they relied for decades on their business model until it was impossible to continue. And now they’re fighting back with technology and trying to provide cabbies with better driver conditions. The situation Uber created has helped guide them as they try to beat back the completion.
  5. Someone asked me recently if I had to pick a single word for my life, which word would it be. That was easy: courage. Decisions take courage, especially when the challenges arise. No decision arrives without work. Even if you think everything is going to be fantastic with your life partner, the new job, city, business opportunity, etc., there’s always work to do––and sometimes it can be hard and painful. Courage in speaking about the inevitable challenges with those who are working with you, courage in moving forward when it’s easier to walk away and courage to make strategic adjustments will help you find validation and success in your decisions. In other words, stay the course and use the headwinds to your advantage.

I think it’s fair to say that the number of decisions that most of us make on a given day has multiplied. Technology and human advancement have provided us with enormous opportunity, but as the taxi industry, with unexpected challenges. However, any decision, even the toughest, can be made with focused and calm thinking. And, always bear in mind your values, the vision, choices elimination, the situation and courage despite the challenges that arise.

 

Please don’t forget to follow my blog at Living on Your Terms and like my Facebook Page.

Posted: May 23, 2017

© 2017 Savas Vikos all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Savas Vikos with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

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4 Essentials to Maximize Your Strategic Planning

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Not too long ago I had a long conversation with a colleague whom I’ll call Peter about his start-up. He had given his all to his digital business, and it had grown, but it grew too fast. Peter and his team had plowed through the money to build institutional capacity, without keeping a careful eye on the revenue stream.

Most start-up organizations will not receive any start-up funding, even those in the digital and tech world. Let me give you some of the reality. In an article by David S. Rose, Founder and CEO, Gust, and described as “the Father of Angel Investing in New York” by Crain’s New York Business, he wrote:

“In very general terms, roughly 1,500 startups get funded by venture capitalists in the US, and 50,000 by angel investors. VCs look at around 400 companies for every one in which they invest; angels look at 40.”

As Peter and I sat together, we talked through everything about his business. As we shared experiences and ideas, there was nothing new that he didn’t know before our conversation. However, as he started to write the reminders down for what he had to do immediately to save his business, I was reminded of the points myself.

The first thing Peter recognized as we spoke is that he had to keep the rush to wanting to do something, anything, at bay. To move forward, he needed to take a step back, or at least pause, and survey everything that was in front of him regarding his business. And, once Peter was able to clearly see the landscape from a rational and not emotional point of view, we could proceed on how he could maximize his strategic planning. Peter realized that to stabilize and climb out of the hole he would have to have a plan or roadmap.

  1. Vision

I’m fascinated about how sometimes entrepreneurs get into the weeds––and stay there. They miss the opportunity to do that which is truly unique to a founder or entrepreneur, which is to set the vision.

Every day I have the chance to see the Mediterranean Sea. It’s an incredible gift. But, as someone who is not a sailor, I’ve often wondered how the ships get from one point to another. Think about it. At one point, these ships lose sight of the shore. So, how do they get to their destination?

The answer is that captains and sailors look to the stars, as they’ve done for millennia. Modern navigation has been with us since the 18th Century. And the tools used by captains to pinpoint their position relative to the stars are the sextant, navigation maps, and a chronometer. However, make no mistake, although we live in a world of advanced technology and GPS satellite information, captains are still looking up to the stars.

I reminded Peter that he had to get back to basics. Why had he started the business? What was the need he saw his company could serve? What was the top priority? In this case, it was business development. What was the target market that would be the easiest to sell? What was the next one and so on?

  1. Energy

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “energy” as,

1a:  dynamic quality narrative energy; bthe capacity of acting or being active intellectual energy; c:  a usually positive spiritual force the energy flowing through all people

2:  vigorous exertion of power:  effort investing time and energy

3:  a fundamental entity of nature that is transferred between parts of a system in the production of physical change within the system and usually regarded as the capacity for doing work

4:  usable power (as heat or electricity); also: the resources for producing such power

Energy is essential to propel anything forward. Let’s go back to the sea. I grew up by the sea, and I’ve loved it my entire life. When I moved close to the water again later in life, I told someone to keep an eye on the sea; she changes all the time and multiple times a day. The colors, the sky, the boats, the rhythm of the waves, the people on the beach or the birds flying out over it. There is always something different about the sea.

What if I told you that mountains change every day as well and there’s energy to a mountain? How can that be? They look the same every day. They’re in place; they don’t move. Not true. Mountains change every day. Tree leaves on a mountain may drop and dirt shifts. No mountain is ever the same day after day.

However, this energy doesn’t have to happen all at once. And, that’s what I told Peter. Retrench. Conserve your energy and decide where you’re going to focus it.

  1. Plan

It’s impossible to get from one place to another without a plan. You don’t have to detail everything, and sometimes a plan can be as little as a page, but you have to have some idea about all the of the roads necessary to get to your destination.

Having lived in New York City, I’ve always found Central Park as one of the most masterful strokes of urban planning ever engineered. Central Park is an urban park, and it’s the most visited in the U.S. It was created in 1857 and rests on 778 acres. Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux designed it.

Think about New York City in the mid-1800’s. It was a busy place, even then, before the cars and skyscrapers. People visited cemeteries (it’s true) to find a little peace from the chaos. Urban planners and the New York government had the vision to see that they needed to create an urban park in a city that would eventually become a global metropolis. They then set out to create Central Park to give the citizens who were alive then and in the future a place to “get away.”

If that’s not a master stroke of genius, I don’t know what is, and that’s why over 40 million people visit it each year, and it’s a sanctuary for millions of New Yorkers. Vision––in this case, the future of New York’s residents and visitors––needed an urban plan for some nature and peace within this vibrant city, which came to be Central Park.

Peter and I talked about the top priority of business development, and then we sketched out a plan to increase revenue in the next 60 days by 10 percent on the back of a napkin. That was the plan, and all it took was a small square piece of paper.

  1. Focus

Finally, when the moment arrives for work, you have to focus. You can’t be distracted. When a business is under financial stress or any stress for that matter, it’s easy to become distracted.

The point is when you focus and contain your energy chipping away at the nut you have to crack, you’re going to arrive sooner than if you diffuse the energy in all different place. The worst thing you can do, and something I’ve seen done over and over again is panic setting in and then an explosion of energy to do something––anything. Wrong move.

Bruce Lee was a great person who’s wise words left a lot of lessons for all of us. As we all know, he was a martial arts master. He was able to overcome opponents much larger than him and do feats that were amazing because of focus. Take a look at this video of Bruce Lee if you want to see incredible focus. It’ll only take a few moments of your time, and it’ll drive home the point.

One of my favorite quotes by this martial arts master is, “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”

I reminded Peter as we were wrapping up our time together that the moment he walked into the office, he would have a thousand demands. He would have constant door-knocks and phone calls of people looking for his guidance. It would test his will to keep his focus on what he had to get done as the leader. No matter what happened, he had to keep chipping away at the problem. A change wasn’t going to come in one fell swoop. The change was going to occur by maintaining a laser focus on what he had to get done.

There’s no magic formula to strategy. There are countless theories. Some of them are solid and based on evidence. Others, come from experience. It doesn’t matter the approach you ultimately decide to choose. The point is to make a decision on a strategy that will get you closer to your goals and objectives. Do the work. Make it happen.

Please don’t forget to follow my blog at Living on Your Terms and like my Facebook Page.

Posted: May 9, 2017

© 2017 Savas Vikos all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Savas Vikos with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

What We Can Learn From Quiet Leaders

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When you think of J.K. Rowling, I’m sure you think of incredible talent. She is a global leader regarding her celebrity status, financial fortune, and philanthropy. But, J.K. Rowling herself has said she is an introvert. So, she is a quiet leader by all accounts.

When she thought of the idea of her most famous character, Harry Potter, she said, “I had been writing almost continuously since the age of 6 but I had never been so excited about an idea before. To my immense frustration, I didn’t have a pen that worked, and I was too shy to ask anybody if I could borrow one.”

Imagine being inspired by a terrific idea and then being too timid to ask anyone for a pen so you can get it down on paper before the idea escaped?

J.K. Rowling is not the only one who is a quiet leader. History has many examples for us:

  • Albert Einstein
  • Bill Gates
  • Elon Musk
  • Tim Cook
  • Isaac Newton
  • Eleanor Roosevelt

I think we tend to have an understanding that “leadership” is brash and bold. It’s extroverted. It may even be loud. There’s a flurry of activity around a leader.

However, that’s not always the case, and we have to do more in business and life to realize we have outstanding leaders who are quiet. And leaders can come to the forefront at any given moment. Sometimes, in the most trying circumstances we see the greatest leadership. But in that chaos, there may be an imposing force within someone that others follow.

From a business perspective, lets take the leadership of Steve Jobs and Tim Cook. It’s an excellent case study of two leaders within Apple.

Steve Jobs

We all know that Steve Jobs is an iconic innovator. Jobs’ powerful character is now legendary. He was someone who was fierce in his vision. He was loud and demanded perfection. No detail was too large or too small for him not to notice. He was relentless with his team to keep pushing further.

Although it was probably not easy to work for Jobs, he was exceptional in his vision, and that is what propelled his team and Apple forward. Team members wanted to be part of the creating the world he saw initially in his mind, and because of his innovative vision, we have the products that fundamentally changed the way we communicate, listen to music and work.

Tim Cook

Tim Cook is the counterpoint to Steve Jobs, and many say he’s the right person to be CEO following Steve Jobs. I think that because of Cook’s quiet and introverted style, the media and perhaps even the world is less fascinated with him––with all due respect to Mr. Cook. However, he is no less a leader.

While Jobs was one for talking, Cook is a listener. Quiet leaders have a great ability for listening and being tuned into their surroundings, and this brings harmony into an organization. Team members feel that their ideas and thoughts are relevant and meaningful, and for Cook, personally connecting with customers is important as well.

In an article that Cook gave to Businessweek, he said, “You can learn a tremendous amount in a store. I get a lot of e-mails and so forth, but it’s a different dimension when you’re in a store and talking to customers face to face. You get the vibe of the place…Not allowing yourself to become insular is very important—maybe the most important thing, I think, as a CEO.”

In other words, Cook has the humbleness to understand that he does not have all of the answers. He is willing and open to listening to others.

Lassana Bathily

Leadership can be anywhere. In the case of Jobs and Cook, these individuals have been the CEO of one of the largest companies in the world. However, if you think you have to be the “boss” to be the leader, you’re missing the point. We tend to think of the person in charge as the leader, but look around you. It can be anyone and practically any circumstance.

One of the most impressive examples of leadership that I recall came under the most trying of situations. Lassana Bathily was a clerk in a store in Paris in January of 2015. As many of us remember, that month terrorists attacked the City of Lights beginning with the attacks on the offices of Charlie Hebdo.

A few days later one of the terrorists entered a grocery store where Bathily worked. When Bathily understood what was happening, he took matters into his own hands and became a hero and leader in a hostage situation.

He quickly ushered frightened customers downstairs into the freezer of the store. He then turned off the lights, asked everyone to please remain as calm and quiet as possible and closed the door.

His quick thinking helped save the lives of six people who could have easily died in the hostage situation. He took a lift after safely placing the customers in the freezer and escaped quietly onto the street. Once he got on the street, he provided valuable information to the police about what was happening inside of the store.

Desmond Doss

Through history, there are countless stories of leadership in even the most challenging circumstances. Not too long ago I watched an excellent movie called “Hacksaw Ridge.” The true story is about a conscientious objector during World War II. His name was Desmond Doss.

Like many of the men in his community during that time, he felt compelled to serve and joined the Army––despite the fact he refused to kill or hold a firearm. He wanted to serve only as a medic helping the soldiers, but even medics carried guns into battle. Doss was tested severely for his quiet principles by his fellow soldiers and even the Army when he was court-martialed. When he went into battle in the South Pacific, he was surrounded by extreme violence. But, this quiet person did the incredible. He rose to the occasion as a leader, and he saved 75 men during heated battles, never once holding a firearm, much less firing a single shot. He earned the respect of his fellow soldiers and officers.

So next time you think about leadership, reflect on the quiet leaders. One of the most prominent in history was Mahatma Gandhi. He is yet another example of quiet leadership that changed, in his case, a nation and the world.

We can all aspire to be leaders, but we don’t have to do it all in the same way. It can be quiet and thoughtful and still make an incredible difference.

 

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Posted: April 13, 2017

© 2017 Savas Vikos all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Savas Vikos with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Why You’re Getting the Meaning of Purpose Wrong

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A lot of people talk about purpose. They tell you to follow your purpose for work and life and do whatever you’re passionate or meant to do in life.

While I agree that we have to follow our passion, I think a lot of people are missing the point on “purpose.” It’s not simply to do what you’re meant to do. There’s a bigger meaning to that word.

The Meaning of Purpose

When speaking about purpose, many people have a narrow definition of it. They talk about doing something for which we as individuals were created to do. In other words, many people speak of purpose as some cosmic undertaking.

This is a bit of a mistake.

Many successful people in life, and by the way, I’m not using that term narrowly to mean financial riches, work at what they believe is their purpose in life. That’s good for them, and many thought leaders tell you to find your purpose and chase it with everything you’ve got.

But, I would argue that many others do not work at what they would think is their life’s purpose, yet they are also successful. The success is possible because they do their work “with purpose.”

Working with Purpose

Have you ever wondered how some of the poorest people in the world could be so peaceful and happy? How about others who have a terminal disease and yet as they face certain death, they can live their lives above that reality? And, what of others still who have suffered great tragedy and somehow can survive and even thrive?

Upon reflection of these lives, it’s too simplistic to think their purpose is to bear their circumstances nobly.

How could people with great poverty or difficulties possess wealth beyond measure?

The reason for this is simple.

They live their lives with purpose.

Every moment in their lives is purposeful.

So, what does that mean in reality when many people aren’t doing what would seem to be their life’s purpose, but yet they are still able to be successful and have a meaningful life working with purpose?

  • Working with purpose means you are compassionate with yourself. It means that although you might want to be at C, but are only at A, that’s okay. It means that you understand that achievement of any kind, large or small, does not come in one fell swoop. It comes with consistent work.
  • Individuals who live and work with purpose understand that the mere fact that they are doing will bring them some challenge. That’s how life works. Yet, if their goal is something they truly desire, then they will be patient, and when the inevitable problems appear, they will draw on their patience, learn and keep going. They are people who are resilient and don’t let setbacks consume them.
  • The wealthiest people understand that working with purpose means they find meaning in their work and their lives, whatever that may be. We, humans, are curious creatures. Most of us want to know and learn. But, many of us miss the meaning that comes in the simplest acts. The person who has the dirtiest job in the world can be one of the wealthiest because he understands the meaning behind his work and the contribution to the whole. On the other hand, the CEO of a company who has a vast fortune of riches may totally miss the meaning of working with purpose.

Purpose is a beautiful word and one that we should all make a point to hold in our daily lives. When you hold purpose in your hand and mind each day, you are reminded of your importance in the day to day. And when you work with purpose, your wealth grows immeasurably as even the simplest act can take on new meaning.

 

Please don’t forget to follow my blog at Living on Your Terms and like my Facebook Page.

Posted: March 22, 2017

© 2017 Savas Vikos all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Savas Vikos with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

You’ve Got the Money: Now Make a Difference Today

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You’ve got the money that you and your family need, but now what?

We all know money isn’t everything. And you certainly don’t take it with you.

So, what do you do to make a contribution to society with the money you’ve earned?

There are some ways you can get serious about helping others and creating a legacy beyond your family.

  • Set Up a Donor-Advised Fund or Foundation

A donor advised fund, or DAF, is a public charity. When you establish a DAF, you get an immediate tax deduction for your contribution to the fund, and then make charitable gifts to your preferred nonprofits over time. It’s simple to set up a DAF through companies like Fidelity, Schwab and community trusts. Minimum contributions to open a donor-advised fund are usually $5,000 or $10,000.

There’s over $70 billion sitting in these types of funds, and of course, locking the money away in a DAF is not the way to go. Getting a tax deduction and keeping the money in the fund helps no one but the person who created the fund. So, if you decide to establish a DAF, or you prefer to set up your own foundation (which means you assume all of the administrative and regulatory burdens), do some thinking beforehand. Think about the organizations you want to support, the amounts of money you want to give annually and make it a point to donate the money from the fund or foundation.

  • Become a Nonprofit Board Member

Did you know the vast majority of nonprofits operate with budgets of less than $1 million? I’m sure you’re probably well aware that charities are in need of resources. The fact of the matter is that money’s always a need for organizations in the social sector, but so are knowledge and expertise.

Joining a nonprofit board is an opportunity for you to help make a difference with an organization and cause close to your heart. But, it also helps them gain from your experience. As a successful executive, charities need not only your money, but your expertise in board governance, finance, marketing, and of course, fundraising.

  • Fund a Nonprofit Program

If you’re looking for a way to see the difference you could be making, finance the start-up for a nonprofit program. Speak to the executive director of your favorite cause and ask him or her if they could dream a program that would serve to make their world a better place, what would it be? Don’t go in with your ideas. Be humble enough to listen to what the nonprofit leader has to say.

You’ll have plenty of time to vet and help them shape an idea.

Once you receive a 1 to 3-page brief on the program, work with the nonprofit to vet, design and refine the idea (if necessary). And then commit to give the organization the start-up funds for that program. Depending on the organization and the work, nonprofit programs can be as little as $5,000 or go into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Whatever the case, commit to working with them for three years to get the program off the ground. And, if you won’t fund the whole 3-year investment yourself, then help them find other donors like you who will help turn the dream into a reality.

Let’s face it, money’s good. As capitalists, the more, the better. But, what’s money if it’s not doing work? In business, you get the money to work for you. As human beings, you might consider using the money to make a difference in the world. As we know, we’re not leaving this place with money, so why not look today to invest in the world of others who need your money and expertise?

Please don’t forget to follow my blog at Living on Your Terms and like my Facebook Page.

Posted: March 15, 2017

© 2017 Savas Vikos all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Savas Vikos with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

How to Handle Rejection

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In life, we all experience rejection from someone or something that didn’t work out as we planned. As long as we’re alive there will be always times when things do not come our way. There will be people who may disappoint and reject something we want.

How do we handle ourselves? What do we do?

Again, there is not one way to handle it and it would depend on the circumstances. Still, there are some basics that I’ll write about – if nothing else, to attempt to help you in times of crisis.

Let’s begin at childhood. Most of us are taught from an early age not to do this or the other thing because it’s not the right way. Later on, we realize that some of these rules might not apply or might need adjustment to handle the demands of everyday life. Specifically, some rules are meant to be broken.

We’re always taught to be nice to others and to show our “good side” so we have a chance:

  • to get noticed
  • to get into a good school
  • to get a good job
  • find a good person to live with, and so on.

Unfortunately, as we all know life is not that regimented and things don’t always happen the way we plan. Most of us are not taught to handle rejection well. For example, when one goes on an interview for a job and you get the feeling 15 minutes into it that the interviewer is not that impressed, or you hear back with that form letter that declines you for the position. How do you handle yourself at that point? Do you break into pieces going into a deep depressive state blaming the company and so on or do you stay focused and centered?

You tell yourself that maybe this was not meant for you and you take that experience as the impetus to dust off the experience and get ready for the next engagement.

I learned about rejection the hard way because many years ago I chose sales as a career. In the beginning, I worked for companies and later on I represented myself. During all that time, although I’ve been very successful, there were times when I faced plenty of rejection. I had to learn how to deal with it to survive and flourish.

I learned quickly in business not to accept rejection as something I would take personally. I might not have gotten the desired outcome because it may not have been the right time, the right product, the right service, the right mix. The person I was speaking to may have had a tough day and wasn’t in the mood to see my point of view or purchase my product or service.

I became aware that the world does not revolve around me and there could be thousands of reasons I did not get what I wanted. I have become so skilled that I have been complimented on my exceptional attitude and respect toward a client, even in the toughest negotiations. And, I’ve reached a point where rejection repels off of me like water to a duck.

It can be done. You can do it as well. You can take small steps and realize that and the word “no” does not reflect on you personally. You can also learn to have the mindset that you will get what you’re working on, and you don’t need the distractions of rejection. Rejection can be the ultimate disturbance.

With a focused mindset, you can achieve a lot. But realize that there might be times when you will find obstacles, that’s life. During those times it depends on how you handle the adversity and rejection. Your success depends on how you compose yourself and that determines the final outcome.

Some ways to handle rejection are:

  • Remember that rejection is not always about you. Oftentimes, people are rejecting your proposal–not you personally.
  • It may not have been the right time for the other party. Sometimes a person across from you might be having a bad day, bad mood not feeling well etc. Something may have influenced your rejection that is not known to you.
  • The universe but might be telling you something. Let’s say someone turned down your proposal to go out. Perhaps that person was not going to be a good fit for you and you were saved the pain. You might get upset at first for refusing you, but it does not mean you need to stop asking people out because you are traumatized. Maybe you can move along to someone else, but just don’t stop.
  • Some rejection can be beneficial. It can show us how to regroup and rethink our situation. Just fine-tune it, adjust and go for it again but with an improved strategy. There’s always a lesson to learn in rejection.

There’s an order in the universe that with thoughtfulness and focus, we will ultimately get to our destination. But, you have to mean well. You have to do your best. You have to be open to new things and new relationships without losing your determination and maintaining your enthusiasm. You have to be willing to adjust your rudder, even if things don’t come easy for you.

Please don’t forget to follow my blog at Living on Your Terms and like my Facebook Page.

Posted: August 18, 2016

© 2016 Savas Vikos all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Savas Vikos with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

How Simplifying Your Life Gets You More Joy

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It seems that life has come become so complicated, or is it just me?

The media and many so-called gurus tell us that everything can be achieved no matter what. It is called a structured, regimented life, etc.

Here’s what I say. Really?

Whatever happened to the joy of life?

Whatever happened to the elegance of simplicity?

Every day we are robbed of our potential by just conforming to what is the “right way,” according to others.

Folks, is real living important to you? Or, is the joy of life a cliché?

Have you been living by rote and have stopped wondering if it’s ever going to change? Do you wonder if it’s going to become easier?

If you yearn for more, then you have to apply yourself to less.

Take Back Your Life

First, simplify your life. Be selective to all those time robbers that appear constantly. Make choices. Although you may be reading all these articles explaining how important it is to be in the midst of everything, social media, mining big data and being up to date with the Internet of things in order to succeed, you do not have to be a part of everything.

You can decline to do things.

Ask yourself: Do you want to live like a pre-programmed drone, because everyone else is doing it?

Or, do you want to live with a purpose?

I read somewhere that although many will try anything to become successful in their pursuits in life, what the world desperately needs are more healers, peacemakers, storytellers and lovers of all kinds.

Yes, it’s as simple as that. Don’t for a minute think that it’s any more complicated.

Get Out of Your Own Way

What can you do to find the time to do the things for you, your soul, your peace?

Do you have any thoughts about it?

Do you even think that way anymore?

If you feel like spending a few minutes in the middle of the day doing nothing, here’s a thought–do it–you deserve it. Find a quiet place and close your eyes for a few minutes.

A few minutes of downtime is truly what your body needs to restore your energy. It’s not checking out what’s on the news or your social media feeds.

Be Nice to People

The only way to get more out of life is to simplify it. One of the easiest ways to do that is to cultivate kindness and compassion for others, and for yourself. The energy comes back to you.

Since we are all so busy, we seem to treat each other worse. Every day is a stream of violence, hate and disregard screaming for your attention brought to you courtesy of whatever media you’re paying attention to at a given moment.

This narrative can end–one person at a time. If we turn away from our phones and the news and look to truly connect with others.

Many of us feel we need to be at the cutting edge of what’s happening in the world. We are living in a world where each day we wake up to hear news of brutality, struggle, and disorder.

We listen to the news constantly. We check our phones every minute, looking for emails and social media updates to no end. I ask you, is this what you’ve been placed on this earth to do?

Our self-made purgatory and obsessions with our phones and keeping ahead of things is all contributing to the grave problems of this world!

Don’t you get tired? It never ends!

We seem to have forgotten that there are real people right next to us looking for a real human connection–if we only looked up from our phones!

Keep Tabs on Where Your Time Goes

Aside work, how do you spend your free time?

We all have only so much energy for doing things. Limited with what we have been given and based on our regiment of rest, work schedule, nutrition, fitness, genetics, health state we try to do the best we can.

But, we all have to beware of all the extraneous time wasters.

We have to get close to nature when we can, even for just a little. Being in the park,

forest, or lake is priceless. Nature is steady. And, she is not interested in looking at the phone or spinning off into the next “must do” activity.

Nature relaxes you and you feel more grounded into the planet. There’s so much benefit to seeing the awesomeness of nature.

Don’t you think you should stop checking your phone so much? Unless you are the head of a country or a high-ranked individual, every message, news alert, text or email that comes through your mobile does not, in fact, need to be looked at–right now.

If you have to, set alerts on your mobile phone for emergencies. Anything else is not an emergency.

I’m amazed when people text back-and-forth 30 times and then wonder where all that time went.

When working, set your parameters where you do not need to entertain gossip or drama. If there is something bad happening in the life of someone you know, a friend or relative, make the time to talk and possibly help them feel better. But, do not allow someone to simply unload to you if it’s simply an exercise in self-centeredness on their part. You don’t need to absorb people’s bad energy intended only to make you feel miserable. It is known that negative people can deplete all the energy out of you just by listening to them

Always try to find some inspiration out of life, a book, story, music or videos. Positive messages and thoughts have a tendency to re-energize us. You do not need to live with a to-do list always. Prioritize what needs to be done and tackle only the most important stuff first. If you do not manage all your to-dos, there is always tomorrow. Really, more often than not, it’s not really that important.

People who try to do twenty different things all the time, multitasking, so proudly claiming they can handle everything, are the ones who at the end of the day are gasping for air.

Keeping busy and just existing is not living life fully.  I understand that living life means to-do’s, obligations, chores but it is up to each of us to choose what that really means and not believe the hype that it has to be a constant state.

If you want to live a happy fulfilled life, simplify it and devote time to yourself and to your loved ones every day because life is short.

Last but not least, it is up to you to realize life’s importance and devote time to what matters to you most. Don’t act like so many others just because everybody is doing it. Always ask why you’re doing something.

 

Please don’t forget to follow my blog at Living on Your Terms and like my Facebook Page.

Posted: July 27, 2016

© 2016 Savas Vikos all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Savas Vikos with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

What’s Life Got To Do With It?

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Recently I came across Arthur, an older gentleman who used to live in our building. I had not seen him or his wife for six months and in the past we had talked a few times. They seemed to be nice and private people.

Although we did not speak the same language when I saw him he was in tears, trying to explain in English that his wife passed away a few months ago.

He was devastated. And, I could not help but feel a degree of his pain, as I thought of my wife upstairs.

There are times when we lose someone dear to us. It is something most of us try to avoid thinking about, and we tell ourselves we’ll deal with it when it happens to us. But we all secretly hope it never does.

Our impermanence is something, however, we should be thinking about. When we do that, it actually helps live a better life.

The thought of our eternal departure reminds us to appreciate our family, loved ones and friends while we are still all present in each other’s lives. Even in those mundane moments, or the tough times, the prospect of someone no longer being a part of our daily lives is a reminder to hold every moment with them close to the heart and memory.

When the specter of what is always just beyond the horizon of our days becomes something we embrace, we learn to live a different life.

If you were told you had less than one year to live, what would you do with each of your remaining days?

Would you live a life that never pushed the boundaries beyond your comfort zone? Or, would you reach out to the world in a way you have never done, full of fearlessness?

Would you squeeze the very last drop out of your life and make it as fulfilling as possible?

Or, would you remain fixated on the excuses many of us accumulate that keep us from living a life on our terms?

Would you do something out of the ordinary scope of your life?

What happens if you learned that your spouse, partner or loved one had less than a year to live? What would you help that person do with each of those remaining days?

Perhaps your first instinct is to say, “I’m only human. I only can do so much.”

I’d like to challenge you to think with regard to your own life, how you can rise up to the fact that our life as it is today will not be like that forever. Unfortunately, most of us will experience the passing of our other half or someone who is a kindred spirit.

The way to meet the permanent sleep that awaits each of us is to accept the idea of mortality every day.

It is by doing this, mindfully, each and every day that we can then do the following:

  • Live life to the fullest.
  • Be good to people and appreciate their presence in our lives always.
  • Take care and enjoy our families, even in those moments that are seemingly banal and not full of any excitement other than simply occupying the same space in a room.
  • Do the things you have always wanted to do: a trip, start a new business or write a book, etc.
  • Treat yourself and your partner often to little and simple things, which demonstrate you care.
  • Do something outrageous and fun, just because.
  • Invite people (even strangers) to your home and into your life.
  • Really see and experience the growth and development of your children instead of always being at work or too tired.

Many times we do something because we feel we ought to do this or the other to keep somebody happy, buy what about you?

Life is too short to hate, to be unfulfilled or not to be grateful for each day. Say “thank you” more often. Be ambitious to do your thing, but humble at the same time. Don’t be afraid to say I’m sorry if you made a mistake.

Forgive yourself in life. It’s okay if you didn’t become an astronaut, quarterback or a successful entrepreneur or even actor. Life is still good because you have it and those who you love with you. It’s fine that you followed another path and became something else. Glamour is overrated.

Realize that your mission is to live your life, experience the journey and if you are part of a couple, to make the other person’s life better along with your own.

If you live to be 80 years old you are living for only 29,200 days. Think of those 365 days a year mindfully and with purpose. With your time on earth you are meant to say, “I lived. I experienced. I loved.”

Get to a point in your life where if something happened to you – or someone you loved – you can say have no regrets. I lived my life. I cherished my family and those around me. And, I wrote the definitive story of an amazing life.

What a powerful feeling if all of us can experience that.

What a life!

 

Please don’t forget to follow my blog at Living on Your Terms and like my Facebook Page.

Posted: February 29, 2016

© 2016 Savas Vikos all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Savas Vikos with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

The Right Attitude And How To Create Momentum

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The right attitude is paramount in the worlds of business, entrepreneurship or career advancement. Someone will argue that as long as you are a professional who knows your area of expertise well, you will do fine in life.

Not necessarily.

There have been many people with advanced degrees and experience who have not made their mark after many years of struggle.

Attitude

Here’s why: Attitude.

The right attitude is crucial. It will propel you to different heights no matter what comes your way. If you are determined with a mission and a vision of what you’re looking for, then you’re halfway there.

Of course charisma and a positive outlook on life as well as enthusiasm about what’s coming next, doesn’t hurt. Attitude can be invaluable or it can be destructive if used the wrong way. You can have a negative outlook and attitude on life that simply does you in.

Having said that, if you’re looking for a particular outcome having the attitude that nothing will stand in your way and deter you from doing what you want in your life, is the place to start.

Persistence

But attitude is not enough. You have to persistently have the right attitude. You can never blink, especially when things don’t go your way. You need to exude confidence that flows from your attitude towards life and you need to condition yourself to overcome the obstacles that will come your way while pursuing it.

In other words, expect the unexpected.

Persistence can only be achieved with a good and positive attitude.

So the way someone’s attitude is, will translate into the ongoing behavior that will be adopted with regard to how that person acts, reacts and talks to others. How that person motivates himself or herself to keep on going. How that person uses innovation and creativity to get through the hurdles.

Gratitude

Attitude and persistence are important. But then, another ingredient also becomes essential.

That element is gratitude.

One has to maintain an attitude of gratitude for everything you have so far and for everything that will come your way, realizing that better and bigger things are around the corner. Being thankful in advance of what you will be receiving is essential because it keeps you centered, humble and real.

Many people, unfortunately, don’t foster these qualities. Perhaps it’s because they do not believe in themselves or have become jaded and embittered.

No one said life is easy but we do not need to make it any more difficult than it is by having the wrong attitude, or a sense of entitlement, which has no connection with anyone other than ourselves.

Getting to the Finish Line

Do you want to get to your “finish line”, whatever that is and whatever it might take? Then “try and try again.” Get your head straight. Get your attitude right. Know that you have to be persistent and develop gratitude for what you have – however much or little. Stay away from the negative, including entitlement. No one is entitled to anything.

Get your facts straight, use your knowledge and motivation and act accordingly.

Research the life of inventors and you will realize that before they succeeded in creating “Y”, they failed hundreds or even thousands of times, but they kept on going. With every failure they learned and made their vision clearer and better.

I understand that getting involved into something new, embarking into a new business or anything new can be unnerving, but stay focused on the reason why you need to do this. Maintain your vision always in the picture frame, and you will realize that you cannot be deterred.

Calculated risk, at times, is absolutely necessary to get places. It is either this – tackling life – or doing nothing (i.e. the alternative) and wondering the rest that of your life “what if”.

Doors will open if you persist, people will notice you, opportunities will be created and all you need to remember is to repeat, repeat…repeat. Nothing happens without clarity of vision and persistence.

Then, the more success the more fearless you become, the more you keep on repeating and building on what you’ve achieved. Life is a testing ground that can be very challenging, but also exceedingly beautiful. You just live it a day at a time, one step at a time with the attitude that you are taking the right steps.

 

Please don’t forget to follow my blog at Living on Your Terms and like my Facebook Page.

Posted: January 28, 2016

© 2016 Savas Vikos all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Savas Vikos with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Suggestions For A Meaningful 2016

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1) Offer to help when you can.
2) Be grateful for the little or a lot you have.
3) Laugh every day and make someone laugh.
4) Simplify your life.
5) Do not worry for the details.
6) Take care of your health.
7) Be authentic, be real.
8) Love and care for your family as well as your friends.
9) Always set time for yourself every day. Time to relax, time to learn new things.
10) Focus when you work.
11) Enjoy when you play.
12) Take time to recharge.
13) Take on a hobby.
14) Volunteer some of your time and talent when you can.
15) Be humble always.
16) Don’t hold grudges even if you were wronged.
17) Speak your mind without being negative.
18) Enjoy life, enjoy the nature.
19) Try to make a difference anyway you can.
20) Do not add to the mundane.
21) Play with children and make them laugh.
22) Be respectful of others.
23) Always welcome discussion and different points of view.
24) Be open to opportunities, to new friends.
25) Don’t come across as a know-it-all, even if you do know a lot.
26) Be spontaneous.
27) Show the ropes to someone.
28) Take initiative to lead when you can.
29) Do not fear life.
30) When deciding on an outcome use logic, followed by your intuition and then emotion.
31) Do not hate, it’s not worth it.
32) Leave your preconceived notions aside and just live.
33) Challenge your brain with new things, new languages, new areas of interest.
34) Realize everyone of us are only human and frail no matter our age and plan accordingly. Focus on new experiences.
35) Last but not least “it is not the destination but the journey that counts.”

Please don’t forget to follow my blog at Life on Your Terms and like my Facebook Page.

Posted: December 31, 2015

© 2015 Savas Vikos all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Savas Vikos with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.