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Friday, December 31, 2010

Just Before 2011 -- Hurricane Truths Unleashed!

Inspire Trust with your team!  Consult with Annie Armen, Communications Artist

Just before heading off to a party here in San Diego, thoughts came storming through my mind and heart, literally like a Category 5 Hurricane… so much so that these thoughts moved me to stop everything, change plans last minute, head on back home, turn on this computer, to write and now share with all of you.

Folks, this is happening real time.  Will worry about grammar, spelling mistakes later as I do want to make sure and honor my commitment in attending my friend's gathering, although will be running a little late.

Allow me to get right to the point, without fluff.  If you can take it, great, if you can’t, also great!  No harm, no foul!  Many of you already know me for my hurricane reputation, so this will be no surprise to you!  Some of you have read about me being an irritational speaker aside from inspirational, motivational, yada yada yada… Well, you’re about to get a dose of “WHY”…  No sugar coating involved here!  All great reminders for all of us for the truths that I am about to boldly communicate in writing!
 
I don’t know about you, but I am personally tired of the diplomatically correct ways to express such truths in creamy cake layers with the hidden agenda of increasing traffic, leads, revenues, you get the idea, yet never truly getting the point across, due to all the sweet fluff, that has no real value for the long haul!  Quite frankly, I see through all that gunk and often bored to my wits when I hear speeches, read writings that are communicated in the form of a rose garden.

Well, that said, I am NOT sorry to disappoint for the truths that I am about to share with all of you, if it even comes to that!  Everything happens for a reason, and for these thoughts to suddenly hurricane its way to the forefront of my mind and heart, just half hour before I was going to go play drums, sing, and hit the party jam… that should tell you something, sure did me.  So here it goes!

1.  Value of our "TRUSTED" Friends
Folks, next to family, in other cases, more than family, is the priceless bond we share with those we choose as trusted friends in our lives.  My prayer for all:  Practice treasuring your friendships to an optimum level -- even MORE THAN -- dare I say … how you treat your “newer” clients.  With clients, yes, there is “revenues” involved, paying bills, more opportunities to explore, etc… GET IT, AND HIGHLY IMPORTANT to continue nourishing relationships with clients to further your business!  However, very rare when you find clients that turn into life long friends, or when you find service providers who turn into life long friends.  Personally, I have been BLESSED beyond measure with such relationships.


Be that as it may, on a general note, what I have seen since timely memorial is this:  When friends get to know one another more intimately with time, the values of respect, gratitude, appreciation, and the like begin to deteriorate through actions and increase with lip service.  Seriously, do we think for one second that our friends are fools?  Now who is the real fool?  Such RARE friends, who wrongfully receive the short end of the stick and yet choose to react with grace, unconditional love, and understanding ….FAR MORE than what is deserved … does not mean they are to be underestimated and taken for granted!  Such true friends have MORE character in their pinky, and we can learn a lot from such RARE friends.  For it is THOSE who place such friends in the back seat who are the true FOOLS -- all capitalized! 

What I find painfully unfortunate is this:  What increases is the attitudes of entitlement, taking friends for granted, expectations of understanding when business takes over, and so forth.  SAD and pathetic, truly!  I certainly do not excuse myself from this equation.  By nature, I am such a workaholic, that business, working 24/7 when I can is oxygen to me.  WHY?  Because I am living in my calling, enjoy tremendously every second of what I do where work is not work to me, and above all I know “Why” I am here for this has been my life long quest since the age of 5, and the answer did not just appear over night.  HOWEVER… make no mistake, in 365 days, I will purpose quality time blocks, when least expected, just because, to cherish those rare friends who I deem as close, who I love with all my heart.  My car crash in 09/23/04 taught me this valuable lesson!  Every second, every moment is precious, and death can happen to anyone, at any time, at any age!  Death does not recognize race, division, religion, politics, sex, color, all the wonderful categories we as humans can come up with to entertain ourselves to discuss and fight over.  Let’s get on with this truth and take it for the reality it is!

Message:
  Be sure NOT to take familiarity with your friends for granted.  RESPECT THEM, TREAT THEM AS THE DIAMONDS THAT THEY ARE IN YOUR LIFE, just as, if not better than your clients.  True friends will be with you for the long haul, without the need for contracts.  Clients come and go, as valuable as they are… although there are exceptions there too, and boy am I blessed beyond measure in that department!  Why?  I EARNED IT, and will continue to earn their trust until my last breath on earth!
 

2.  Now… let’s look at the flip side -- "Free Loaders"  On a general note again, folks in general tend to take their friends’ businesses for granted.  For example, “Your friend is an attorney.  He totally gets you don’t have money right now, and so you are glad that he always takes care of your legal stuff every time you’ve reached out his way for help.”  Great right!  My answer, ABSOLUTELY NOT!  Don’t you find that selfish?  Does your attorney friend not have a family to feed?  Does your attorney friend not have bills to pay?  Does your attorney friend not have a day to day business to run, pay staff, and on top of all that, give you “free” service simply because he or she is “your friend”.  Guess who is paying for your “free” service? 
 

Did you take into account his time, his heart, his energy invested, on top of funds he invested to make up for the lack of monies received, adding more pressure to his plate, although he will NEVER tell you that, and instead, he will greet you with a smile, always with love and compassion!

Here is another example…This one I am drawing from my journey.  Growing up as a kid, I can’t tell you how many times I witnessed my family allowing “friends” to come into our family restaurant, and watching my grandmother provide them with “free” food and service.  Here comes the best part… not ONE of these so called “friends” ever offered to help, contribute tips to the waitress or waiter, you get the idea.  Oh it gets better… as if that wasn’t bad enough… these wonderful “friends” told their friends that they too will get the same service simply because of the connection with my family.  Seriously, gotta love such “referrals”.  I wish such “referrals” on NO ONE!  The term I believe we use in the states for such “friends” and “referrals” is “free loaders”.  Dare I say, purge them out of your circle!  You want sowers in your business, not takers!  I've seen too many businesses destroyed because of allowing "takers" to literally take them down!  Remember, your business is not just feeding your family, but also helping thousands of others.  Truly, not a difficult decision to make and implement going forward!  Y(our) call, y(our) choice! 

Look… for those "friends" who truly don't have funds right now to contribute into your business, does not mean they can’t do something to help.  They can certainly look for “PAYING” referrals to help you generate revenues as “value” for the services he or she received from you.  Good glory, I’ve got a whole list of things they can do to make sure you thrive in  your business. Honestly, NO EXCUSE NOT TO, and being friends does not entitle you or me to reap “FREE” anything!

3.  Wipe the Word “FREE” out of your vocabulary
In fact KICK “FREE” out to the curb, and never let “it” back into your house, into your business ever again!  If you ever catch me using this term or offering it, STOP ME and remind me of this note!  We all can work toward holding each other accountable and helping each other grow our businesses!  Here is the reality -- THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS FREE and anyone who tries to feed you that garbage whether in business or in life is feeding you just that, garbage.  Shame on us when we choose to buy into it!  Make no mistake, someone is ALWAYS paying the price somewhere, and we must never lose sight of this fact! 
 

4.  Business Partnerships
Those of you who are business partners, PLEASE take every measure to have each others’ back – CONTRACT OR NO CONTRACT – going forward!  Enough betrayals, lies, working with hidden agendas.  If you are such a person, do the honorable thing -- GET OUT of the relationship and don't choose your partner to nail to the coffin financially!  I have seen so many partnerships break up due to lies and “bad” hidden agendas that could have been completely prevented and avoided if both parties were HONEST from the very get go.  The best partnerships are those that form before any talks of money and a piece of paper to seal the bond / deal.  How do I know this… I am blessed with such partnerships and I am praying for anointed partnerships in all your lives!  WHY am I blessed?  I EARNED EACH ONE, and NOT overnight, which brings me to the next point which aligns with the image you see in this post.

5.  TRUST is Earned, not Freely Given!
Friends… I’ve got news for you.  For many of you a given, for others, a hurricane reminder, in either case, worth an encore!   Just because you are friends and partners over 10 years for example, does not entitle you or me to slip, not even for a second, no matter what age, culture, sex, religion, you get the idea.  Trust is earned EVERY DAY, not just in moments when things are convenient!  Bottom-line, make it a point everyday to earn TRUST, more than you would work loyally to earn a pay check, or do whatever it takes to close a sale to get a client!  Work faithfully to earn TRUST every day, in both sickness and in health for as long as you live, and wear this around your neck at all times!
When you make a promise to someone, do whatever it takes to honor your word, with or without a contract!  If you can’t do it right then and there, no problem.  Be open and honest with the party you made a commitment to, and as soon as you can, make it happen!  Don’t wait for him or her to call you, JUST DO IT!  Even if they cast less than positive judgments on you, due to  your unintentional delay in delivery of promise, let that be on their conscience, not your problem to deal with.  In the end, your actions with results will humble him or her.  Until then, don’t concern yourself with what he or she may think, simply because you are late on a promise.  

Before I continue here... very important that you understand that by me sharing this, is in no way advocating for you to make a habit out of being late on a promise!  Good glory no!  However, we are all blessed with those days where it’s raining “cats and dogs”, and we may feel stuck as to how to best handle, prioritize, fix and move on. When extenuating circumstances do kick in which in your mind take precedence, then take care of it, and don’t procrastinate!  During those unique times,  write down your promised commitments, remind yourself of it everyday, and as soon as you can,  focus on honoring your word to those you made promises to, and get it done!  Throughout that time, CHOOSE to stay in open communication with those you made promises to, even if embarrassing.  WHO CARES, just call, update!  Communicative action is better than silence and no action at all!  


Remember, all you can do is your best, and I promise you, for the most part, your best will always be more than good enough! Procrastinating, not taking the bull by its horns, is NO excuse!  Important to OWN your situation at all times, especially when you think you have no control over them.  In fact, I find just the opposite is true!  You have more control than you can imagine, if you just CHOOSE to own up to your promise in the best way you can, beginning with staying LOYAL to honoring your word, to someone -- and that originates with how faithful you are to honoring promises you make to yourself.  Think about it!
 
7.  Most important of all – Look up, stand up, and be grateful you are ALIVE
Why?  You have another day, another chance to make things right and do better!  For those of you who feel you are at the top of your game, who said it ends there?  We all have areas we can improve on, and we all have so much more to learn everyday, expert or not!  Let us not forget, what makes us beautiful is not our perfections, but rather our “imperfections!” 

That said, friends, there are no such things as mistakes, but only LIFE lessons so long as we choose to learn from them!
  Mistakes only exist when we choose to ignore the lessons behind them, and quite frankly, don’t you and I own our choices, no matter how dire or exciting?

Hurricane Prayer:  Let's be proactive starting NOW, throughout 2011 and for years to follow!  Help your friends thrive in their businesses!  Surprise them!  Refer PAYING leads their way! Honor your promises to them!  Offer to find ways to help your friends generate revenues!  Think outside the expected boxes!  TRUST your friends, that in turn, they will also find ways to financially take care of you!  Reciprocity is a beautiful thing!  When there is a will, there ALWAYS is a way! 

ENJOY A THRIVING NEW YEAR ALL THE WAY THROUGH, and pass this message on to your friends!  You will be pleasantly surprised by the outcome! 

~Annie Armen
The Communications Artist


P.S.  In the event a friend doesn’t understand the message here and walks away, then give him or her space to walk away and grow up.  You will be a true friend in their life by doing so!  When they’re ready to return, embrace them back with open arms as if the past never happened!  Kudos to you for being such a great, walking example in their life! 

And now... The Hurricane is dashing off to celebrate what's left of New Years Eve for the rest of the evening!  HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!

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