Saturday Musings – How To Be Successful in Life...

Saturday Musings – How To Be Successful in Life...

I must admit that I was really nervous writing this title today because it suggests that I have the answer to the underlying question of “How can I be successful in life?”. Well, I hate to disappoint you but I don’t have all of the answers…..but I do have some.

To me, success has less to do with bank accounts and more to do with relationships. The most important relationship in my life is with my wife. Roselyn and I have been married for nearly 30 years (big anniversary next year!) and like any marriage it hasn’t always been smooth sailing.

We’ve had difficulties to overcome but over the years we’ve discovered an amazing secret. It’s really simple, “Don’t be selfish”. What we found was the more we tried to meet each other’s needs the more our own needs got met. It’s actually pretty cool.

I’ve seen a lot of marriages fall apart and normally the parties say at some point that their spouse didn’t meet their needs. My advice, stop focusing on you and focus on the other person. The risk here is what happens if they don’t meet your needs still…..trust me, they will. This isn’t a solution for all relationships but it goes a long way to helping out.

So likewise, I try and bring this mindset into business relationships. How can I help out this client even if it means I don’t get the business? For example, just today I recommended to a domain owner that they should keep on doing what they are and not move their domains to ParkLogic. They were in a unique situation and trying to twist their arm would have been a disservice.

What focusing on your relationships forces you to do is take a long-term view. I may not do a deal with someone today but there’s always tomorrow. It means you’re focused on building trust rather than just your bank account.

What ends up happening is you do business with good quality people where you have developed strong relationships. Like a marriage, those relationships will be tested at times and if they are strong then they will last for years and years. It also means that you’ll have a lot of fun in business with great people along the journey.

Anyone can do transactions, buy or sell something to someone you will never see again. Business is different. It’s all about repeat transaction where people trust each other and look out for each other.

I have the privilege of counting many of the people that I do business with as friends. They may run parking companies, hold large portfolios or monetise traffic in unique ways but what’s special about our friendships is there is a commitment to the relationship that is beyond just business.

Next time you talk to one of your partners, business colleagues, clients, children or wife ask yourself, “What can I do for them?” You may be amazed by their response.

Have a great weekend!

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Saturday Musings - In a World Gripped By Fear

Saturday Musings - In a World Gripped By Fear

Sadly, when I look at the world today I see that it’s largely been caught up in the hysteria of fear. It’s questions like the following that seem to be plaguing everyones mind as the media pumps out an endless litany of terror.

Who will win the presidential race? Does that person walking down the street carry a gun? What are the implications of Brexit? Will I keep my job? Will my kids love me when they’re older?

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Like the USA, Australia is in the middle of a federal election campaign. The two major parties here have finally devolved into, you guessed it, fear campaigns. You can almost feel fear's icy tentacles grip the nation as the attack commercials are shown time and time again on the television. It’s really quite sad.

Being bound by fear of the future and what may happen can be debilitating. One of my favourite science fiction books is Dune by Frank Herbert. In the book there is the following quote:

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

The quotation takes a stand against fear and states exactly what it is, a mind-killer that brings death and destruction. So how do you overcome your fears?

I was recently traveling on a packed bus in Amsterdam and an odd thought crossed my mind as a looked on a lady with wearing a haj, “If she has a bomb vest on I would never know.” It was ridiculous, full of bigotry and most of all fear. How do I quickly get off the bus? Will I have time? Am I right with my maker?

All these thoughts rushed through my head until I mentally faced my completely irrational fear not with mental fortitude or grim determination but with love. I decided to look on the people around me not as faceless individuals but as mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and children. The woman wearing the haj wasn’t nearly so scary anymore. Suddenly, my fear evaporated and instead I found myself smiling at those around me (they probably thought I was crazy – LOL).

There’s a great quote from the Bible which says, “Perfect love casts out all fear.” President John F Kennedy said, “It’s amoral when men and women of good conscience fail to act.”

So in these turbulent times make a decision to show your love for your neighbour, your friends, work colleagues or even the stranger down the street. Together, if we stand against fear we can make a better world, despite our leaders, a world that we can enjoy with our loved ones.

Have a great weekend.

Recent Comments
Wolftalker
- and Dune is a classic.
25 June 2016
mgilmour
One of my favourite books!
26 June 2016
mgilmour
I completely agree with you on this. I think that in many respects the Central Banks have completely lost control of their economi... Read More
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Saturday Musings - When Work Becomes Play

Saturday Musings - When Work Becomes Play

Many years ago when I first got married I said to Roselyn, “You need to understand something about me…..I’ll only keep on doing what I’m doing if I’m enjoying it.” This doesn’t mean that I’m going to quit working if I have a bad day but it does strike at an important life issue.

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We spend a large amount of our time working and I’m amazed by the number of people that hate their job and yet turn up every day. I’m amazed for two reasons. One, they are disciplined enough to keep on doing something they don’t like, two, they are in a position where they have to do it and three, they feel they can’t move onto something else.

Obligations are a scary thing and one of the lessons I’m trying to teach my own children is the financial noose that all those unnecessary things can place around your neck. You don’t really need a fancy car, brand new phone or the very latest computer. Going without is often a really good thing to do as it teaches us patience. Going without often gives us the flexibility to move onto to other things where we really enjoy life and work becomes play.

As many of you have seen, my daughter Sarah, is now working part-time with me on Whizzbangsblog. The other day she had a great big smile on her face and she said to me, “Dad, I can’t believe how much I’m enjoying this!”

I replied, “There’s nothing like working hard and having a fun time doing it.” Make sure you drop her a line and say "hi" on the blog here.....just look up Sarah Gilmour.

For many years, work has been associated as one step up from slavery and jobs were a thing you just had to do. Yes, we need to earn money but work in itself is often its own reward. This is why so many people volunteer for worthy organisations…..it’s not work to them.

The other day I had my nine-year anniversary at ParkLogic and I can honestly say that it’s been one heck of a ride. Each day I work really hard but I love my job and I keep on having fun. There’s nothing quite like doing a great job for a client and having them thank you for the work that you’re doing. I would also like to thank all those people that wished me well on my anniversary!

Have a great weekend!

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Michael Gilmour has been in business for over 32 years and has both a BSC in Electronics and Computer Science and an MBA. He was the former vice-chairman of the Internet Industry Association in Australia and is in demand as a speaker at Internet conferences the world over. He has also recently published his first science fiction book, Battleframe.

Michael is passionate about working with online entrepreneurs to help them navigate their new ventures around the many pitfalls that all businesses face. Due to demands on his time, Michael may be contacted by clicking here for limited consulting assignments.

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Saturday Musings - Thinking Outside the Box

Saturday Musings - Thinking Outside the Box

I hear too many people moan and groan about their job, their family or their life. They often feel disempowered to make positive changes over their life. Let me whisper a little secret in your ear….you can change your circumstances for the better! You just need to think a little differently.

For example, let’s imagine that you love your job but can’t stand your boss. Each day you find yourself in two minds of whether to persevere or quit. Solution! Get your boss’s resume and hand it onto a head-hunter. Your boss will get a better job and with any luck you’ll get promoted! It’s only a matter of thinking a little differently.

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If you run a company then when was the last time you fired a painful customer? I remember I ran an Internet Service Providing business a number of years ago and our help desk was being driven insane but a painful customer. I got on the phone and politely told them that we couldn’t meet their level of service expectation and provided a list of three competitors.

They responded by saying, “You know your competitors don’t help customers the way you do!”

I then said, “Well here are the ground rules….”

We kept the customer, managed them appropriately and the support desk was happy once again.

I was speaking to a domain owner who was complaining that they were being harassed thirty to forty times per day by inbound buyers wanting to buy their domain. They have a super-premium domain and have no intention of selling at any price (well....almost). I suggested that they get a premium dial-in number and put a charge of about $10 per minute on it. Suddenly the hassle became worth it and a good source of revenue.

A couple of decades ago I overheard my sales team complaining that they were getting the run around by a potential customer. No matter how many times they called and left messages they couldn’t get the person to reply. I asked for the phone number that ended in 55 and dialled 54.

While the phone was ringing at the other end one of the sales team pointed out that I had dialled the wrong number. I replied, “I know.”

Sure enough the person who answered the call worked for the company that we were after and after a brief conversation that involved, “whoops, I dialled the wrong number”, I was speaking to the person my team had long sought. It’s just thinking a little out of the box that makes the difference.

So you want a better life? Here’s a few simple suggestions.

Get eight hours sleep….you’ll become more potent during the work day and life will look a lot better. Trust me when I say that I used to work to 3am each morning and I was not nearly as focused during the work day.

Think of someone that you love and do something special for them. There’s nothing like seeing their smile…it ignites something on the inside of yourself and them.

Pay the grocery bills of the person behind you in the check-out line at the local supermarket. I’ve done this quite a lot and I can reassure you that I’ve received more out of doing that then the person receiving my cash. You can also do this at the drive-through takeaway…it’s awesome fun!

Do you want to make your family life better? I wrote about fifty little messages on how I thought my daughter was wonderful for her to find scattered around the house. Learn to drink the beverage that your wife/husband likes. For me, it was tea and coffee. What I didn’t realise was that the activity had nothing to do with the drink and more to do with spending time with my wife.

Do something special just for yourself….and then don’t tell anyone. A few years ago I gained my private pilot’s license and didn’t tell any of my wider family. My dad discovered that I could fly when I had him sitting next to me in the cockpit. It was an incredible experience keeping the secret and then going “taaadaaa!”

Life isn’t a chore it’s more the way we are viewing it. Thinking out of the box is taking a look at the challenges that we all face and trying to view them differently. Sometimes we can be so bogged down in the swamp of problems that we don’t realise that the sun is shining overhead.

Have a great weekend!

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Michael Gilmour has been in business for over 32 years and has both a BSC in Electronics and Computer Science and an MBA. He was the former vice-chairman of the Internet Industry Association in Australia and is in demand as a speaker at Internet conferences the world over. He has also recently published his first science fiction book, Battleframe.

Michael is passionate about working with online entrepreneurs to help them navigate their new ventures around the many pitfalls that all businesses face. Due to demands on his time, Michael may be contacted by clicking here for limited consulting assignments.

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mgilmour
The most important thing that I've found is to be humble when posing the question about the groceries. I've never had anyone get u... Read More
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mgilmour
Thanks for that Daniel!
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Saturday Musings - Integrity

Saturday Musings - Integrity

For the past week and a bit I’ve been working my way through the “joys” of Influenza Type A. When your body has integrity, everything seems to function just right and work is a great reward in itself. When there is an invader like Influenza, everything gets out of kilter…..in a similar manner people can get out of balance with their ethics.

A number of years ago I was asked to mediate between two friends that were having a shouting match about who should pay their landlord $300. It was at lunchtime and I calmly ate my meal while I listened to the both of them really go at it.

I finally got up and said, “You both disgust me.”

They both turned to me and asked, “Why?”

“Because you value the friendship at $300.”

I then walked out…..so much for mediation.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy to help different parties out when there is a genuine dispute over a matter. When people value friendship at so little then it makes anything that I would say as completely irrelevant. These people have much bigger problems than $300.

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At the recent Namescon conference I was speaking to a few guys that jointly owned a large domain portfolio. At the end of the conversation we shook hands on a deal and everything was great. Over the next few weeks they dodged phone calls and avoided replying to emails….obviously, their word was not their bond.

I don’t mind if people get a better offer….this sometimes happens in business but don’t avoid talking to the party that you’ve made an agreement with. If there is a problem then speak with them straight away….otherwise, you end up just looking like an idiot and a person that lacks integrity.

I was recently speaking to one of my kids and they were faced with an opportunity that could have saved them literally thousands of dollars with no one knowing. For some stupid reason they got me involved and they asked, “What should I do? No one will know.”

I immediately replied, “But you’ll know.”

There’s no such thing as “no one knowing”….it just depends how much you’re willing to ignore your conscious and sell you’re integrity for.

My business partner and I had a coffee at a local shop and we were so focused on our conversation that we just got up and left without paying the bill. The next day we discovered our error and I made the journey to the shop to fix up our bill. The coffee shop owner was stunned that anyone would make a special trip to pay for their coffee…..I didn’t want to know that I’d just sold my integrity for the price of a coffee.

Integrity is as much about being true to yourself then being a bit of a showman to those people around you. It’s being able to look in the mirror and like the person that is staring back at you.

The benefits of leading a life of integrity are multitude. When you sit down and talk with me I’ll tell you things straight. I won’t lie, shake your hand on a deal and then renege. If I can’t tell you something then I won’t. I’m entirely disinterested in short-term relationships which means that I’m committed to developing our relationship into the long-term. You should have the confidence that you’re dealing with someone that respects you and just as importantly, takes it very seriously when asked to look after your assets.

The benefits to me are incredible. I end up doing business with some really great people. I’ve known many of them for well over a decade and had the pleasure of seeing their children grow up. I don’t have to remember which lie I told to whom….I just tell the truth….it’s so much easier! If something goes wrong then we discuss the issue together and work on resolving the problem together.

I have people ask me what’s the secret of running a successful business and I tell them it’s really hard but also really simple. Live a life of integrity and you’ll attract the right customers that stand with you rather than war against you.

The result of this mindset has been that my own company, ParkLogic, has continued to grow year after year. Every client has a line directly to me. If there is a problem I want to get it resolved as quickly as possible. I also like hearing about the good news as well!

I would like to say that I get it right all of the time….but I don’t. I make blunders and the wrong decisions on a regular basis but I would like to think that I make amends, learn from the experience and move on. Living a life of integrity is not a destination but a journey of constant self-improvement. It’s working on the little things and learning to enjoy the simple satisfaction from doing what is right.

Like my Influenza Type A, knowing that you’ve just done the wrong thing can begin to eat away at you…..trust me when I say that it’s not worth it. When I got sick I went to the doctor to get checked out….who do you go to when you damage your integrity? Everyone needs someone.

Have a great weekend!

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Michael Gilmour has been in business for over 32 years and has both a BSC in Electronics and Computer Science and an MBA. He was the former vice-chairman of the Internet Industry Association in Australia and is in demand as a speaker at Internet conferences the world over. He has also recently published his first science fiction book, Battleframe.

Michael is passionate about working with online entrepreneurs to help them navigate their new ventures around the many pitfalls that all businesses face. Due to demands on his time, Michael may be contacted by clicking here for limited consulting assignments.

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