Categories
Authenticity Inspiration

P.L. Travers – lessons learned from Saving Mr. Banks

We used to have a little corner in the dining room where we kept the cheap record player. My younger brothers and sisters would sit in that corner and listen to records while the rest of us became fans or foes of the music from a distance.

The corner with the Mary Poppins record player in action
The corner – with the Mary Poppins record on the record player.

One of the coolest records was Mary Poppins. It actually had a photo from the musical underneath the plastic and so it was this amazing visual effect for us at the time. Of course, the real joy came from the music. Mary Poppins songs were often heard mingled with songs from other musicals as we busied ourselves around the house with chores, homework and practicing our instruments.

I don’t remember the movie that much, but I will be checking on NetFlix to see if I can pull it up as a reminder. It seems like the necessary action after seeing Saving Mr. Banks at the theater this afternoon. It wasn’t really in our plans, but sometimes you just need to get out of the house and experience something completely different than the daily to do list and other chores that await. Plus, it is COLD outside.

Most movies kind of slip by me. Those I want to remember, I need to come home and write about before all inspiration is lost.

So, here I am on a Saturday night thinking it out by writing.

savingmrbanks

 

P.L. Travers – pursuit of excellence

P.L. Travers. She is quite the character. The author of Mary Poppins. Adamant in her idea of how her characters should be portrayed in a movie. Yes, she came off as overly picky and a bit standoffish really. She made life a bit difficult for the production team. But, we could learn a lot from her as we pursue our big hopes, dreams and ideas.

She expected authenticity and quality. It forced the people that worked with her out of their comfort zones. They had to think differently and push their personal boundaries. And, that different thinking created a masterpiece.

P.L. Travers had a picture in her mind of how this content was to be portrayed on the screen. It wasn’t just about her despising animation, hating the mustache on Mr. Banks, and keeping the color red out of the film. It was because these things detracted from all of the emotions and characters that she knew had to be portrayed.  We find out in Saving Mr. Banks that some of these things were associated with experiences in her past. But, if it is a story of her past, wouldn’t she best know how to convey it? It was real to her, not just an imaginary tale.

She expected the songwriters, scriptwriters and other team members to listen to her feedback every step of the way. Sure, it was annoying. Yes, they had to re-write songs and work late nights. Not sure if this is real, but she even threw the transcript they had written out the window. These are powerful experiences for those of us that work with people like P.L. Travers. There is this point where everyone realizes that the person isn’t going to change. Those working with them must change if anything is to be completed.  In this case, they stepped up to the challenge. Just think if they hadn’t?

Walt Disney – recognizing & supporting the excellence

It was wonderful to see how Walt Disney was portrayed in the movie. He realized, through the process of pursuing P.L. Travers, that he would have felt the same way if someone turned his dream into something less than his imagination. This positioned him well to understand her, adjust his responses, and approach the business and personal relationship with more empathy. He recognized his own weaknesses, hopes, and expectations through his desire to turn her work into an onscreen masterpiece. The struggle he went through, the additional expectations he placed on his production team, and the unapologetic push back he received from P.L. Travers ultimately improved the quality of his work and quite possibility helped him improve other products created after Mary Poppins.

Will you join the pursuit?

I left the movie with an extra bit of inspiration. To produce better products. To expect more of myself and others. To clarify my vision. To fulfill my potential and share with others. To pursue excellence.

It is a bit discouraging watching people online lately. It feels like so many people are copying each other – the same products and services and the same marketing. When I see people throwing sales pitches all over Facebook and Twitter, I cringe. Is their content that great? Will it really help me? Is it designed in a way that it will resonate with me? Have they giveN that same blood, sweat and tears to the actual product?

Saving Mr. Banks was a great reminder to expect excellence and to go through the sometimes painful process of taking something from ordinary to extraordinary. To make something worth talking about. To make something that becomes a masterpiece.

Thank goodness for P.L. Travers. We wouldn’t have the classic Mary Poppins movie and …we wouldn’t have Saving Mr. Banks.

#nudge

Categories
Goals Inspiration Personal Development

Shutting out the Maddening Crowd – The Power of One Inner Voice

person walking by a bench on a beachIt’s always strange to me when someone makes a proclamation on Facebook that they’ve had enough and they are shutting down their account.

How does one connect with so many people from so many parts of life and then shut it all off?

I’m still not sure that is a good idea because ultimately, it is a place where many of us go to connect. I’m not even sure if we know the addresses (mailing or otherwise) of those that we are connected to and it would put us in a bit of an isolation situation.

However, over the past few weeks I have needed a break from the constant bombardment. True, it is the new year and so there is an extra amount of entrepreneurs peddling their solutions to New Year’s Resolutions. But, it may just be that it is time for a break.

There are so many voices telling us what to do – think bigger, create more goals, don’t create goals, start a business, become a consultant, get into Internet marketing, create your own blog, and accumulate Twitter followers. 

The problem is we often don’t know from what perspective the voices are coming from and if their advice will fit us.

This year I’ve had moments where I was just plain listening to the wrong voices. Voices of inexperience. Voices of hype. Voices of people creating sales pitches that really hadn’t been through some of the experiences that I’ve been through. Listening to these voices can cause confusion and sometimes the wrong focus. It can even cost you money!

So, once in a while it is time to turn off the computer (or at least the social sites), take a walk, pray, and find out what your own inner voice is telling you to do. It might be for an hour. It might take an afternoon. It might be longer.

Deep within we are entitled to know what is best for us. But, when we surround ourselves with too many voices our inner voice can’t get a word in edgewise. It has to wait and hope that we’ll take the time to calm down, separate ourselves from the world and take the time to listen.

I’ve done that over the past few weeks. It was kind of forced because I was sick and the computer monitor hurt my eyes. I was forced to listen to inspiration with no one to comment, give an opinion or sway me. I was forced to see where my actions were heading. I was forced to determine what I wanted to be known for and sought after for in the world of work. “Forced” probably isn’t the best word, but something within me was forcing me to take this time to reflect.

At the end of the day, are you doing what you were meant to do in this life? Are you adding value in the way that best utilizes your talents and enables you to serve others? Are you pursuing a sustainable path that keeps your personal values and vision intact?

To find out, it is time to take a step away from the maddening crowd. They’ll have opinions. They won’t like that you step away. But, you must.

Your inner voice must be heard if you want to keep heading in the right direction for you.

Go ahead – there is power in listening to your inner voice. We’ll welcome you back when you are ready.

 

Photo: Courtesy of Diogo Tavares (http://www.fanq.pt/) through Unsplash

Categories
Inspiration

Burn the Ships – or at least get focused

a burning shipOver the past few years there is often a reference in blogs and articles to “Burn the Ships” or “Burn the Boats.” This is in reference to Alexander the Great commanding his small (and vastly outnumbered army) to get rid of his ships once they landed in Persia. A lot of disagreement as to whether they just let the ships sink or if actual burning was involved. Regardless, they had to make do with what they had because there was no turning back at that point. It demonstrated full commitment to the purpose at hand.

Jim Collins (Good to Great) referenced this story in talking about CEO Darwin E. Smith of Kimberly-Clark (paper products company). Smith made the difficult decision to “Sell the Mills” –  the core of their business for years. He sold the mills and instead started investing more in brands like Huggies and Kleenex. It was shocking to many that he would make such a drastic move, but it paid off.

Last night as I was talking to a referral and I remembered this story when the person was asking me to clarify what was going on with my website. They couldn’t figure out my core business.

Shameful, aye?

But, I agreed.

My clarity has not yet hit my website and I’m in the process of narrowing down WAY too many interests. Luckily, my day job brings in the big bucks. Not Nudge Village.

Perhaps this is one reason why.  Yikes!

It took a bit of humility, but I deleted 5-6 key website pages that were confusing people when they visited my site. I have a few more changes in the works to simplify, refine and clarify. I’m one step more focused and clear on what I will and will not be.

Sometimes in the quest to find the right thing we can appear to be all over the place. But,  little nudges from others can help us get back on track if we are open to receive them.

We are forced to re-focus.

We are compelled to select a  few personal “burn the ships” items. Delete extraneous products or blogposts, refrain from partnering with an unrelated affiliate, discovering misguided priorities,  trying to be everything to everyone.

So, the angst of the last week is now turning into a way forward, at least for a few more steps.

Thanks to someone I don’t know, but said something that nudged me to start a bit of a “fire.”

Nudge Nudge – burn some personal ships, sell some mills, get focused!

Categories
Customer Needs Customer Relations Inspiration Marketing

The Webinar of the Lone Participant – the failure isn’t what you think

one sports fan sitting in a stadiumA few years ago I was anxious about presenting at a conference after being out of practice for a few years. I wasn’t sure if what I had to share was noteworthy to anyone outside of our organization, let alone our team. I wasn’t even sure anyone would show up to my session. I openly expressed my fear to some co-workers. Everyone gave the usual “You’ll do fine” advice. But, Mark Oehlert (http://blogoehlert.typepad.com/) stressed the importance of always treating even one participant as if you were there for them. He had started his blog and said he wrote what he wanted to write and if even one person listened that would be fine by him. Mark is a successful thought leader and now has thousands of blog and Twitter followers because he’s great at spreading ideas and making people think.

His comment made me think and most importantly I remembered it. Everytime I write a blogpost, deliver a conference session or train in a webinar, I remember his comment.

Today I held an all day series of webinars. The attendance was low. There were a few technical difficulties along the way. I hadn’t gotten all of the marketing right. In fact, I was downright busy and so were the presenters. It could have been a let down.

But, it wasn’t and here’s why:

  • Preparation – each presenter came prepared. They had thought through a topic. They had to create a presentation. They had to figure out what idea they were trying to share. They were excellent and provided meaningful information.
  • Accountability – the products each presenter created didn’t exist earlier this week. The products existed because they had a goal to participate in this webinar. How amazing is it that if we just set a date and promise to be there for others, we actually produce? Accountability is a huge key to any success actually happening.
  • Awareness – honestly, I was not aware of the talent right under my own nose. The presenters are all in our online Nudge Village Accountability Group. They contribute all the time, but I had never seen any of them present. Wow. Nudge Village’s got talent!
  • Personal Change – there was something to learn from all the presenters. I may have been the only participant in some sessions, but their presentations made an impact on ME. What do you think I’m going to do now? I’m going to share and promote them.
  • Promotion – yep, I’m going to promote what each of these presenters offer because it made an impact on me. What if they had acted as if I didn’t matter? As if I didn’t count? Would I still be promoting them?

We’ve all heard the Power of One quote – often attributed to Nelson Mandella, but actually written by Marianne Williamson. The Power of One is real – whether it is the person presenting or the person being presented to. Ideas are exchanged, hope gained, and a possible partnership formed.

When it comes to webinars, sharing your blog, presenting at conferences and spreading your big idea…don’t forget the one. That “one” may be a person like me. I learn, I share, I promote, I mentor, and I give.

The failure of the webinar today isn’t that the numbers were low, though I hoped they’d be higher. The failure is thinking that the one that did show up wasn’t important enough to share our best with and that they wouldn’t spread Your idea when you shared it.

Over the course of time, if we do share our best with the one, the one will become two, the two will become four and the four will become 100, 1000, or perhaps 10,000.

The point is to just keep sharing – one person at a time.

 

Categories
Inspiration Nudge Stories

The Power of a Nudge

finger pressing a screenThis week I created a guest blogpost for another blog and realized that I really needed to share it here. After all, it is about the power of a nudge!

So, here it goes!

Have you ever had a family member, a friend, a co-worker or even someone you barely know make a suggestion or comment that made a huge difference in your life? It may have been a simple remark, but it had a lasting impact on choices you made going forward?

We call these “nudges.” These little ideas, comments, and suggestions have the power to increase our self-confidence, encourage us to change direction in our lives, educate us on new possibilities, and  instigate a new business, adventure or idea. Unfortunately, some nudges can have a negative impact – lead us away from generally accepted moral and ethical behavior or cause us to lose confidence in our own capabilities and gifts.

How can small, seemingly unimportant interactions hold this much power in our lives?

Over 10 years ago I decided to quit my job and go back to school. Why? A friend suggested that I should get a masters degree. I had not thought about getting a masters degree, but I had made it a goal to take a few courses in web design. The power of the suggestion made me re-think my plan. I decided to enroll in an online MBA program through the University of Maryland. I was accepted and started my first course – accounting. It wasn’t my best subject and it wasn’t very motivating. A few months into it I received an email from a former co-worker who excitedly shared that she thought I should go to graduate school and that she had found a program just for me at George Mason University. Her email contained all the right words to peak my interest – training, education, HTML, and adult learning. So, I signed up. Seriously, I went to the website, found out the requirements for applying, took the proper steps and I walked into my first class on campus less than four months later.

Why would I start a graduate program based upon a suggestion from a friend? Why would I drop out of an MBA and start a new program based upon a simple email communication?

I still don’t know why, but I acted on their suggestions. Perhaps I trusted their opinions. Perhaps I trusted that they knew my desires, talents and skills. Perhaps I felt inspiration at the moment the suggestions were given. Though I’m still not sure why I accepted those “nudges” and took action, I can look back and see the amazing change they made in my life. I did well in the program and went on to progressively more interesting and higher paying jobs. I also gained a lot of confidence in myself.

The act of accepting a nudge is important. But, what may be even more important is taking the time to become “a nudger.” Sharing small tips that might help a friend, suggesting that someone ask for that raise, and expressing confidence that a person will be able to attempt and achieve a goal. Sometimes it is just to be helpful and sometimes we will truly be inspired to say something that will help someone completely change direction in their job, their friendships, and life goals.

We all have the power to nudge and be nudged. It gets easier with practice and as we become more aware of these interactions, we also start to notice when we might be unintentionally nudging people in the wrong direction or becoming a detriment to their growth. But, those moments will be rare.

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p class=”impact-text”>Try nudging someone today. You’ll see. It might change you too.

Categories
Ideas Inspiration

Stealth Creatives

I’ve had this thought on my mind, but haven’t had a chance to capture it in a written post. But, I put on a necklace tonight and sat in front of my webcam and recorded directly into my YouTube account.

Isn’t technology great?!

So, just wanted to share some thoughts on people I call “stealth creatives” because they often have great ideas and don’t know it.