Advice: Don’t Take Things Personal

One Thing#Newsflash: You can’t make all your stakeholders, friends, colleagues (all the people you know or don’t know) happy all the time.

As professionals, we talk a lot about listening and looking at issues from multiple angles. Those are really important lessons that keep coming up in my career, but lately, there’s a bigger lesson I have learned:

Try not to take all that happens to you as a personal indication of your value or potential. 

If you dig deep enough you will be able to connect the dots in your past and realize that everything that happens to you is for your own good. You are exactly where you need to be right now. All the things that have happened to you HAVE HAPPENED. You can’t change the past and you do not know the future – but you have NOW.

What is the next thing you can do to move your goals forward? Have a big dream, but just focus on doing one little thing that gets you closer. Do that one little thing – that if left undone, you would regret not trying at all. Do one little thing for yourself.

#ChooseYourself #WhosLookingOutForYou #IfNotNowWhen

One Thing Well

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Study, Reflect, Copy, Express….

It may he hard for anyone to reconcile the context and content of this post with the name of my blog, but sometimes you just have to go with the things that move you.

I’ve written before about my admiration for speeches and writings of certain figures in history. I may never know everything about the people I so admire, but the some of the things they say have had a profound effect on making me a better version of myself.

This speech by Oprah at the 2018 Golden Globes is no exception. It speaks to much of what’s happening in the current zeitgeist, but also addresses many issues we deal with on a personal level. It speaks volumes to me about leadership and speaking truth to power.

I hope it inspires you to be more.

Thanks go to NBC for posting this video to Youtube.

Why We Hardly Take The Road Less Travelled – An Easy Primer on Collecting Wine.

I’ve taken a long time away from writing on this blog because I thought I couldn’t say what I wanted without going really deep into what I do for a living. Someone smart told me that doesn’t matter if I add value to the people in my network. If you don’t know what I do, I am sure you can dig up enough research online. My purpose remains the same: I give people access to the best that life has to offer – particularly wines and spirits.

As a luxury professional specializing in the wine & spirits vertical, I have a strong talent for helping clients procure very expensive wines, which they don’t typically desire until they get to try them with me. Well, I can humbly tell you it’s not because of my looks and charm (that only worked on my wife… thank God she liked what I was selling). It’s because I have a very unique way of presenting rare wines and spirits – I tell stories and help my clients make memories.

My approach stems from a belief that most, if not all people, hate disappointment and failure. Think about it! Who wakes up in the morning and says “today I’m looking forward to failing?” Probably only the rare few that understand that failure is a pit stop on the way to success. However, most of us (even myself at times) dread failure, and its hard to coax ourselves out of those mental prisons that prevent us from fulfilling our potential, expressing true affection or a fashion sense, and even drinking good wine.

In the same way, many collectors hate failing when it comes to selecting wine for their palates and cellars. That’s why most consumers rarely “roll the dice” on a bottle of wine from an unknown producer, even if the wine is made from a varietal they like. They would rather buy the wine recommended by someone else (whose palate and preferences may sometimes differ from theirs).

So most often than not, they rely on the advice and selections from wine professionals like me. It’s unfortunate that I have to say this, but I think many wine pros focus so much on selling the brands that we represent, without any real consideration for where our clients are in their wine journey. We should be working on selling an experience and creating a memory they can remember and associate with our brands for the rest of their lives.

A better way to think about this is real estate.

So imagine you are an agent for a client looking for a three bedroom – two bath home on a half acre plot. Your client knows exactly what they want and probably how much they would like to pay (they might not know how much they will have to pay). Most agents would try their best to find exactly what the client wants.

I take a different approach.

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I peel back the client’s expressed needs and expectations to identify their unexpressed desires. I “walk the block” with the client from where they are to show them where “they might want to be in the future.” As a result, I will show my client the five bedroom – three bath home on 10 acres with a little woodshed for him/her to make that custom furniture piece they’ve been trying to produce in their spare time. I don’t do that because I think they should buy a more expensive property. I do it because I want them to have a glimpse of an alternate future. I want to give them something to look forward to, so I capture them with a possible expression of their innate dreams. I may end up selling the customer exactly what they wanted to begin with – but guess who they rely on when they want to fulfil their ultimate vision…me!

We aren’t just chasing the status and social confirmation that our bank accounts and material possessions afford us. We are chasing the memories that make our lives rich and meaningful. Give your clients more than they ask for… give them all they could possibly want and help them build a vision for the future. I guarantee they’ll stick with you because you help them make memories.

I’ve ranted and gone around the block a couple times, but that’s consultative selling in a nutshell.

PS: I had a lot of fun writing this post. I hope you enjoyed reading it. Drink some good wine with someone you admire after this and I’m sure you’ll understand why I do my job so well. Today, someone whose mind I greatly admire received the Nobel Prize for his work in the field of Behavioral Economics. Irrational behavior and animal spirits are everywhere…. even in luxury and the business of alcohol.

UPDATE: Transactional Integrity and Luxury

I updated my last post on Transactional Integrity  with a new post on Linkedin Pulse. Check it out. I’m so glad to be blogging again. I also updated my visuals using free high-res images . Thanks to Kirby Ferguson (@remixeverything) for mentioning.

Failure is A Milestone on The Road to Success

I read something from Theodore Roosevelt today that profoundly inspires me. I know it will do the same for any professional in luxury, or any industry at all. I’m going to keep this one close to the chest.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

– Excerpt from the speech “Citizenship In A Republic”
Delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910

Transactional Integrity… and Luxury

As a brand guardian, every time I get to introduce consumers to a brand I consider to be “true luxury”, it is nothing less than a privilege.

However, there is one rule: I never advocate brands, with which I haven’t had some reasonable interaction (as a consumer, loyalist, or enthusiast). To do otherwise would be disingenuous and represses Transactional Integrity. Continue reading

My Professional Manifesto

Someone once asked me why I’m where I am today.

At first I really thought the question was rhetorical because I couldn’t find the words to explain what was so simple to me. Here is my attempt to use words to describe why I’m still working when most of my competition are asleep or idle.

There is no other way to get better at what you do than simply doing it with the same passion a fish has for water. In your ignorance you will find opportunity; in your failures, more chances to defy the naysayers; and in your successes, the encouragement to do even better.

Am I satisfied with my progress so far?

My answer is a resounding NO.

Am I appreciative for what I have achieved?

Lets just say I’m respectfully pleased because I really don’t know how far I can go in my goal to:

give people access to the ‘best’ that life has to offer.

However I continue to work towards knowing how far my purpose and passion will take me. There’s a remarkable journey for each person that relentlessly pursues the unknown. Success may not be as hard to achieve if you have the correct definition. I believe success lies in simply trying.

Stay hungry my friends.