Braverman's Blog
Terry Braverman and Company

Sustaining Energy: Focus on the Forgotten Factor

Energy is the engine that drives you to do whatever it is you do, personally or professionally. Without it, any purpose to living goes unfulfilled and nothing gets done. The engine requires quality fuel to power it, such as positive motivation, pure water, healthy foods, and regular exercise. The forgotten factor is often ignored because we do it automatically, without planning or any thought whatsoever. Yet, it is the ultimate life force…breathing.

“A Merry Heart Doeth Good Like Medicine…”

“…but a broken spirit drieth the bone.” – Proverb 17:22 “WIPE THAT STUPID GRIN OFF YOUR FACE!” How many of us ever heard that during our formative years? The message from our families comes through like a somber TV commercial: “And now, a word from our sponsors. Having fun is a serious offense, punishable by solitary confinement. Don’t think and jive!”

As a child I always felt that adulthood was an unappealing destination, and fiercely resisted attempts by my elders to convert me to solemnity. I felt like I had to put my inner child up for adoption to become an adult. To some extent, we all bought into it. I trust this may serve as a debriefing and help us realize the value of lightening up to improve ourselves on all levels.

Humor Can Give You the Business

The year was 1991. Like now, America was mired in a recession. I was airborne for New York to tape some more shows at Comedy Central and ply my stand-up act, but clubs around the country were closing faster than a Bruce Lee spin move. My mother would urge me to get “back up,” meaning a regular job or a wealthy sugar mama. I would assure her that I still had my newspaper route from when I was 12 years old.

Sitting next to me on the flight was the head of a collections agency. He looked like a man tied to a railroad track. I listened to his tales of woe and frustration over the pile of outstanding accounts confronting him. I asked him if he would show me a copy of the letter his company sends out for collections. It was typically heavy-handed in substance. I suggested he try sending letters with funny relevant quotes or cartoons. He thought I was crazy, but we had plenty of flight time left so we brainstormed a few ideas. I thought of one cartoon with a caption that said, “You’re twelve months past due. This means we’ve carried you three months longer than your mother did.” As we parted company I doubted he would use any of the ideas, but three months later I received a surprise call from him, and he was excited. He used some of the quotes and cartoons. Amazingly, his collections increased by 15%! Yes, there is life after debt.

We Interrupt This Program to Bring You Breaking News…

Patterns of behavior can be interrupted and changed instantaneously. When people lock into recurring patterns of negative behavior, it may serve them better to have someone interrupt the pattern rather than sympathize with them, which reinforces the attention they inherit for acting out that pattern. Program interrupts (or pattern breakers, as I sometimes call them) can short circuit the pattern and inspire a more resourceful, positive state. An outrageous act, like sticking a clown nose on their face and having them look in a mirror, can transform the mood and circumstance.

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Frying

TURN IN THE DIRECTION OF THE SKID. In the business world, the wheels of change are burning rubber. A permanent job has become an oxymoron. Once-potent corporate giants are staggering around on a lean diet to survive and thrive. Companies synonymous with gold watches and large pension funds are either laying off thousands of people, being bought out or disappearing from the corporate landscape.

Due to rapid changes in technology, restructuring, and global competition, you can’t rely upon the status quo. Virtually all of us will be between jobs or businesses, perhaps frequently, during our work lives. We need to continuously recreate and reinvent ourselves and our skills. It is important to detach our sense of self-worth from transitional circumstances and maintain perspective on who we are by enhancing our sense of “self-mirth.”

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