Tending the Sheep

The Old Testament of the Bible tells a story about a young guy named David. You may have heard about him. David is the most famous king in the history of the nation of Israel. Additionally, he was a tough, fierce and, mighty warrior (read 1 and 2 Samuel sometime – he makes Seals look like boy scouts), the musical icon of his era, and a man of God.

But, he started tending sheep. 9018013942_efbee314ea

It was his defining purpose, and his only occupation prior to becoming who he would eventually become (giant killer/greatest king in the history of Israel/ brilliant general).

For a vast majority of folks in my generation, our role right now feels a whole lot more like watching sheep eat grass then it does killing giants. That’s ok. Faithfulness in the present is preparation for future success. Don’t despair (like I have at times). Instead, prepare. Our giants are coming and we need people in our generation ready to knock em out.

So, today tend sheep. Do whatever you’re called to do today. Do it to the best of your ability. Tomorrow (and all the challenges it will bring) is coming.

(By the way, if you are interested in reading about how bad David was — check out my friend Cliff Graham’s series Lion of War. It’s awesome)

The Diet of Legend: My Personal Review

Disclaimer: This post has nothing to do with sales or marketing. 
However, I am a HUGE believer in health and fitness, and believe 
every professional needs to take fitness seriously. So…

Overview:

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Many of you have approached me over the past few months regarding the “diet of legend” that I followed (borderline fanatically) for the first three months of this year. While I’m not currently attacking this diet, I do plan on demolishing it (or a similar diet) this fall. Again, this is not a usual post, but since I’ve had so many questions regarding it; here’s how it went down:

What:

  • This diet follows a path written out by an author by the name of Joe Warner. Joe was a fitness editor for a magazine in the UK, and he did this diet as at test case. His results are stunning.
  • 12 weeks: Let me just say, 12 weeks is longer than it initially sounds. For whatever reason this number did not concern me at the onset of the diet. It should have. By about week 3 I was seriously doubting my life-decisions and whining an above-healthy amount. By week 8 I had stopped craving the “old foods” as much and was focused on the finish line.
  • High Protein: Almost every meal consisted of meat and vegetables (including breakfast). I learned to love Greek Yogurt through this diet, and have essentially cut my former mistress of bread out of my life entirely. Sidebar: Steak feels weird as a regular breakfast food at first, but becomes a welcome addition to the morning routine.
  • High greens/vegetables: This was the biggest adjustment I had to make. Eating vegetables at every meal, and trying to find new ways to prepare vegetables is a challenge. However, I came upon some really tasty veggies I hadn’t regularly tried before (e.g.Kale, Brussels Sprouts, etc.).
  • Almost no carbs: I mean it. There are very very few carbs in this diet. Even fruits were extremely limited (if not banned altogether). The point is to make sure you’re feeding your muscles protein while starving your fat cells of carbs.

Observations:

  • Cut fat early; gained muscle mass as the diet continued.
  • Grew extremely lethargic over the course of the first 4 weeks. Body craved carbs for energy (wife mentioned some faint “irritableness”).
  • By the end, did not crave carbs, but felt like they provided a huge boost to my energy levels.
  • Ended up losing about 12 pounds of fat in first month and a half, then regaining much of that weight (about 8 pounds) back in muscle.

Conclusion

I don’t know that I’ll do this particular diet over again, however, it did set the tone for my year (in regards to fitness) and provided some solid guidelines that I am continuing to follow post-diet. My current fitness regimen (primarily centered Crossfit workouts) would make it almost impossible to exist without some carbs in my diet. However, I most certainly will diet again. I had not seen physical gains like this since my Sophomore year of college (first foray into working out regularly).

Let me know if this quick snapshot is helpful. As I stated at the beginning, fitness is a really important piece of my life, and I’d love to share/discuss how other professionals and marketers are using fitness to advance their lives/careers. You can find this specific diet here, and I’d love answer any questions you might have when launching into this diet at: adam at adamvazquez.com .

3 Cheers for July 4th

Today I’d like to take a moment to consider three things I’m immensely thankful for. While we won’t be eating turkey on the 4th of July, the pause and reflection warranted by this wonderful day revealed three blessings which I regularly enjoy, but don’t always publicly recognize. 4th-of-July-Sparklers

1. Freedom. Watching the world cup the past few weeks reminded me what kind of people we have in our nation. We (for a few weeks) enjoyed a similar sense of unity and solidarity that motivated the men who declared our freedom 238 years ago. We are blessed to live in the greatest country on the face of the planet, and we have every veteran, soldier, and even many politicians to thank for their work and sacrifice to preserve our freedom.

2. Work. This week brought obstacles, trials, and frankly some hard questions to which I cannot provide the answers. However, I was gently reminded through Scripture and the wise counsel of some mentors in my life to consider Colossians 4:2, “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.” Although I don’t have the answers today, I can trust in my Savior’s guidance and provision. And I can always give thanks. I’m grateful God has put strong Christian leaders in my work place to help guide my personal development . What a kind Redeemer to give us work we can glorify Him through.

3. Family. Long weekends provide the time to spend with family that is difficult to create otherwise. My wife is not only my best friend, but also the first person to hear my whining, complaining, crazy ideas, and overall frustrations. She is an incredible source of stability as compared to my wild ideation and brainstorming, and I don’t deserve her. Men, if you want to take the next step in your life/work, don’t believe the hype about singleness. Marriage is where it’s at. Additionally, my parents and brothers are a constant source of encouragement and support. Holiday weekends like this one allow for me to realize that more than usual.

I have a ton to be thankful for. The fireworks, the flags, and the euphoria of American pride are a simple reminder of the blessings we get to enjoy every day. What a beautiful country.

I hope you’re able to enjoy and reflect on the blessings granted to you as well. Cheers on this July 4th!

Born for Adventure

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We’re all created with an innate need to be challenged.

God created paradise (Garden of Eden) with challenges in it. Adam and Eve weren’t simply lounging in a zero-gravity memory foam hammock while living in the garden (although can you imagine?? I’m sure we’ll get those in heaven). Instead, they were naming animals (potentially chasing those bad boys down first), gardening wild plants and flowers, and (unsuccessfully) avoiding huge snakes. Point being, there is a whole lot more to life, and to what composes who we are as humans, than comfort and relaxation.

In fact, I’d go so far as to say we were created for adventure and challenge. Think about it. This purpose explains the reason we get up and go to the gym.Challenge is the same reason we work hard to increase our salary/status/power hold, etc. Sometimes, we find ourselves seeking to grow within a social group or societal structure. Why? We naturally crave challenge.

Additionally, sometimes our day jobs don’t provide us with the necessary challenges and adventure we want or need to fill our lives with meaningful events. Which leads us to the question, “How do we provide worthy challenge to ourselves?”

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Your Small (Big Ripple) Impact

The internet is like an enormous lake. Often times, an article, video, or story will toss a pebble into that grand lake  that causes a tiny ripple. For whatever reason, common folk like myself don’t tend to believe we’ll ever cause a ripple (and certainly not a wave) to be formed due to some content or message pushed out from our limited perspective.

 

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Recently, I’d definitely fallen into this scenario. It seemed that although I’d been casting ideas and vision into the lake of projects, conversations, and frankly, this blog; the water was resistant to my pebbles breaching the surface and causing an impact.

Then, tonight after work, I met up with some guys who I don’t get to hang out with very often, and the topic of my blog came up. One guy in particular seemed to be genuinely interested in the content posted here, and even mentioned he had shared the content with some of his roommates and friends.

What a huge encouragement. 

This kind fellow was simply discussing some of the ideas he appreciated (specifically from “Monday is Coming: Set Your Mind Above”). However, the impact on someone whose mind has seemed to be restrained and rejected was endless. He informed me of my ripple effect, which in turn tossed a new pebble into the lake of my psyche.

So, what’s the point? You have no clue what your audiences (clients, customers, target demos, friends, colleagues, etc.) are experiencing at any given moment. As humans, we’re created to communicate. The fact that you have a message to communicate is all the motivation and reason you need to find a medium and transfer those ideas to a greater audience. You don’t know who is in need of that message, and you can’t begin to know how big your ripple will become. Gather your confidence, find your platform, and share.

Oh,  and if you’d be so kind, let me know where you’re spreading your ideas.  I can’t wait to feel the ripple.

 

 

Morning Leadership: Bring the Cheer

The scene begins to play out as soon as the elevator doors crack, and the fluorescent lights from the hallway stream into the glorified cargo vessel I ride from the ground floor to the third.

Hushed whispers, quick glances back and forth, and raised eyebrows are noticeable as I make the trek from the elevator to my office all the way in the corner of the building.

I wonder to myself, “Why so much whispering back and forth? It’s only 7:45. Did I miss some big news overnight?”

One of the production team members runs in and hurriedly drops off a calendar update while anxiously whispering,”…hmm, um – so…um how was your morning? Here’s the update…listen, have you had coffee yet?”

That’s when it hits me.

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Monday Is Coming: Set Your Mind Above

I was reading from Colossians 3 this morning when the first several verses struck me. The passage is a familiar one, and probably memorized by those of you with Christian upbringings,

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. “

The author is talking about putting on the new self once we are believers. After redemption through faith, the first step in our new race starts in the mind. Similar to physical training, our heads have got to be right or we won’t make it anywhere.

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!!ANNOUCEMENT!!

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My friend, Andrew Zallie, and I are launching a brand soon to help folks break free of the limits they and their employers may place on them.

 

We’ve completed much of the research, identified our audiences, and are very close to wrapping up the name/branding process. I’m EXTREMELY excited to continue towards launch and will be providing updates here as we go along!

 

Keep updated on the blog, and be on the watch for more details. It’s going to be a fun ride!

Modern Day Selling

Let’s go on a mental field-trip…

Imagine you are reclining in the sunroom of your dream home while sipping your favorite beverage and watching the sunset in your backyard.

Peace. Zen. Relaxati—-

Wait. What was that movement in the bushes along the edge of your property? Is that a human? Is there a human coming out of the bushes?!

By the locks of Samson’s mane- there is! There’s a grown man fumbling through your bushes and stumbling into your yard! 

Well, thank goodness you’re in the sunroom. You get up to begin to sneak towards the house so he won’t notice you, when…wait. what?! He’s seen you! He’s calling out to you and keeps telling you he can see you walking out of the sun room. WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE?! 

Well, now you’re spotted. You can’t make a break for it, plus he might be hurt or needing help… 

But then you notice it – the tie.the briefcase. the fake smile. This guy is in no harm. No, no sir. This man is in something much worse: sales. Some two bit- greasier than Shia Le Bouf in every scene of Transformers- salesman has just breached the tranquility of your home and is on his way to sell you some widget or gadget. 

Ok, snap back to reality. It was all a terrible dream. I apologize – I more than likely should’ve included some sort of warning in the title.

Maybe some of you have survived that experience. Perhaps many of you have yet to see a similar saga play out. The particular scenario we just read through was one that happened to a close friend of ours (right down to the bushes rumbling and the salesman yelling). Point being, we all know the stereotype and images that enter our minds when we think of sales people.

Slimy. Sleazy. Selfish. 

Fair or not, we have an impulse response to the word ‘sales’ -positive or negative- and for many of us that word has been soured.

Here’s the worst part: We’re all salesmen. 

Obviously, none of us want to be characterized by the creep who fell into my friend’s yard like a drunken fool, however, the evolution of industry and the digital  flattening of the playing field has forced sales upon us.

Sure, you might be an engineer, developer, staff member, maintenance personnel, or business owner. Regardless, you’re ultimate job rests in the field of sales. Lewis Howes recently did a great blog on exactly this point. 

Now, I’m not talking about making cold calls every day in order to drum up business and close deals. Although, that certainly is a style of sales. Everyone is in the business of selling their idea, product, or themselves on a daily basis. So, how do you go about doing this?

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The fact is that the days of selling ala the style of Alec Baldwin’s character in the iconic movie “Glengarry Glen Ross” are all but over. That move is great for motivational quotes, or pre-pitch energy boosts, but the practicality of forming a relationship out of thin air -and closing business the same day- borders on insanity.

Instead, sales has moved in the direction that our marketplace and consumers have taken it: online.  I’m not referring exclusively to e-commerce sites, although the process of commerce happening digitally continues to garner a large slice of modern day sales.

Rather, I’m talking about three aspects of selling that are non-invasive, don’t require cold calling, and actually provide the information your consumers want. You ready? It’s really simple (I’ll even alliterate for my fundamentalist Christian friends):

  • Connection
  • Content
  • Community

It’s that simple. You’ll notice I intentionally left out cold calling, canvassing, and closing business. While all three conveniently start with a C, they miss the point of what consumers are looking for. 

The fact is that consumers now want to be connected with other people who are doing great things, are good people, and are willing to help them. Is that you? It should be. Connecting different pieces of your network to each other ought to be a regular practice you implement. Social media has made this too easy to ignore. This is great place to begin your modern-day selling cycle.

Creating content is the second step (and arguably the most important). No longer are consumers satisfied for you tell them what the best solution is. Instead, they want to be able to study and research solutions for themselves. Are you present when they do so? What kind of content are you producing to ensure you brand is perceived as the experts you that are? This step is VITAL to funneling leads and driving business in the modern-day cycle.

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Lastly, we have community (no, not the show, although from what I hear it’s hilarious).If you’ve followed steps one and two, this last piece will come as an organic follow up. Consumers (myself included) want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Whether it’s a sports team, training for an athletic event, sharing a hobby, or joining a religious group- we all have a desire to be a part of something greater. Utilize this fact of human nature to your advantage!

Create an environment for consumers (online and traditional) in which they can absorb content, become connected with like-minded individuals, and eventually share in the community that will grow out of that process.

The days of knocking door to door might be over, but the days of selling are not. It’s never been more vital to drive leads and create an ecosystem for your consumers to connect with you.

How are you doing this currently? Let me know if we should talk about how to grow your community online!