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Posts Tagged ‘escaping mediocrity’

Five Remarkability Lessons I Learned from Alex

October 19th, 2009

As most of you know, I was at BlogWorld in Las Vegas last week. I learned SO much – mostly because the “in the hall” networking was so amazing.

You know who I learned a lot from, though? A guy who is not on Twitter or Facebook, doesn’t have a blog, and for all I know doesn’t even have an email address. His name is Alex.

Alex is a private driver in Las Vegas and I was lucky enough to become one of his clients while I was there. I saw Alex A LOT over four days, so I got to observe how he does business in a remarkable way. Here are the top five lessons I took away:

1) Have the right friends in the right places referring clients to you. I found out about Alex from the woman who drove my hotel’s shuttle bus (another remarkable individual). She overheard my friends and me complaining about all the money we’d spent on taxi cabs the night before. She said, “Oh – cabs will rip you off. Let me give you the name and number for my friend Alex. He is a private driver, he drives for me and he will take care of you.”  Later in the afternoon she actually introduced us to Alex personally – which upped our comfort level on calling him later.

2) Be extraordinarily polite. Alex was driving us to meet some friends and we were yapping so loud and so fast we

"Hey Alex. It's Sarah. Can you pick us up?"

"Hey Alex. It's Sarah. Can you pick us up?"

could hardly hear our own selves. Alex said, “Excuse me. I am so sorry to interrupt your conversation but we are approaching the MGM and I want to make sure I drop you off in the right place.” When we arrived he said “When you are ready to go home, call me right as you approach the doors. They won’t let me stand but I can whip around and pick you up immediately.” Which is exactly what he did. When is the last time a cab driver was that polite?!

3) Remember the small things. Whenever we arrive anywhere, Alex hopped out of the Escalade and opened both doors for us. We mentioned feeling dehydrated and needing water, he went and got us bottles of water and set them up in the console of the back seat. Low jazz or classic rock n’ roll music was always playing in the car. And he asked every so often, “Is the air temperature in here okay for you?” Oh – and he was always professionally dressed, even at 2 in the morning.

4) Be selective about your clients. Alex doesn’t drive for just anyone. You pretty much have to have a personal referral to even get his name and number. Any when your referral sources (see #1) are pre-screening for your ideal client, only the very best will actually call you. (And yes, I am now one of his referral sources. I am EXTREMELY protective of Alex, so unless I really know you well, I won’t send you his contact information.)

5) Charge reasonable rates. After all this raving about Alex, you might be thinking “That’s great but private drivers in Las Vegas are expensive.” Alex actually charged LESS than cab drivers. But you know what? I called him every time we needed to go anywhere for three days. In fact, it became quite the joke because I called him and said, ‘Hi Alex, this is Sarah. Can you come pick us up?” so many times.  I also gave his name and number to two people who also used him exclusively during BlogWorld.

Bonus Lesson: Great service + reasonable rates = all the business he wanted.

So you see, lessons on being remarkable, on being so much more than mediocre,  can come from anywhere if we are paying attention.

Curious to know who taught you this week. 🙂

Trusting My Instincts

October 7th, 2009

It’s official. Today is the day that The Maverick Mom blog becomes the Escaping Mediocrity blog. (Well – there is one more thing to do which to move the whole blog over to the new domain which may have happenedleaping by the time you read this. But I just couldn’t keep this a secret anymore!).

Those of you who hang out here regularly won’t be totally surprised. I’ve been moving in this direction for months, adding the new tagline and shifting the theme. This is just the natural next leap.

And yet again, I’m going against all marketing wisdom. Changing the name of my blog, changing my domain name – it’s just not strategically prudent. And yet, here I am – doing that. It’s risky, but you know what? That’s okay with me. Running against the grain, doing things I’m “not supposed to do”, risking professional suicide – all that has worked out pretty well for me so far.

And besides, following my instincts – wherever they may lead me – is the only choice I give myself now.  That is what I’ve learned over the past year – and it seems that there are lots of people out there who are ready to do the same. And that makes me happier than I have been in a long, long time.

Let the games begin!

Tesla: My Escaping Mediocrity Car

August 26th, 2009

I first heard rabout the Tesla when I watched a segment on it on 60 Minutes last Fall. For reasons that will become obvious, it instantly became my dream car.

I’ve been a fan of electric motors for ages. We even own an Oxygen scooter that I love. They are so much more efficient and help release our total dependency on oil.  But electric cars have always been SteslaO limited. Until now.

Here are the very sexy specs on the Tesla Roadster Sport:

Acceleration 0 to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds
Range 244 miles EPA combined city/highway
Top Speed 125 mph
Charging As short as 3.5 hours for a complete cycle (partial cycles are faster)

In short, it is sexy and FAST – not exactly adjectives associated with electric cars.  Oh and did I mention, it is designed and manufactured in the Silicon Valley?!! In short, this car is all about Escaping Mediocrity.

Recently, I got to actually sit in my dream car. (You have to understand. I live in Alabama. Not exactly the mecca of forward thinking automobile choices. So it was a very BIG deal.)

My friend Jamie Sandford (@jsandford on twitter)  who works for Southern Companies, got his hot little hands on one and had it on display at Social South.  I wasted no time in hustling myself AND the Young Turk downtown so I could take a gander.

I have to say that in real life, it did not disappoint. In fact, it only made my obsession worse.  (No, I did not get to drive it or even ride in it, but that is another story.) Pictures simply cannot do it justice. As someone I know said, “It is sex on four wheels.” Still, I did have my picture snapped while sitting in it and quickly changed my avatar on Twitter, which continues to create QUITE the stir.

I’ve even chosen a theme song for my new love and me. 🙂 Tesla Girls by OMD

And then…..this guy who was taking video while I gabbed away to Jamie about the car, was actually someone official who posted the video online. YIKES!  But I’m willing to let you take a peek at it so that you can get a taste of just how HOT this car is.

Tesla Roadster electric car on display at Social South

I have set my intention to ride this car into the sunset of my Escaping Mediocrity Adventures!!

And now I’m wondering if any of you have chosen THE thing you most want as part of your personal adventure?

Starting Your Escape

July 27th, 2009
One of the questions I’m getting frequently via email and DM is a variation on “How do I know where or how to start escaping mediocrity when I’ve been living with it for so long?”
Reading map by Andreas Solberg.

Uploaded on March 3, 2007 by Andreas Solberg

While all the pieces of the Escaping Mediocrity Blueprint can be a place to start, one of my favorites is “Pay Attention”.  The reason I like this one so much is because by asking myself to do that – pay attention – I am asking myself to break out of autopilot (a hallmark of mediocrity) and actually notice what is around me.

Here’s what I mean: paying attention means we actually SEE what is in front of us. We notice how we feel and what we think when


we look around at our world. Sounds easy enough I know, but my thinking is we don’t actually do this very often.  We zone out or overload our senses so that we can’t – or won’t – engage.

(Think I’m wrong? How often do you take a walk without another person or your Ipod so that you can actually hear and observe the world you are walking past?)

Once I can “pay attention” and decide how I feel about certain aspects or my life or my business – THEN I can start making small shifts and changes that will move me out of mediocre working and living.

I’ll give you two real life examples:

1) My bookkeeping
Since I started my businesses five years ago, I’ve managed what could loosely be called “my bookkeeping” myself. Which meant that whenever tax time rolled around, I had to scramble to get all my paperwork together- which took days and thoroughly irritated my accountant. AND during the rest of the year, I was always stressed out about the bookkeeping that wasn’t getting done. It was like having an application running in the background on my computer – sapping my limited RAM.

When I finally started to “pay attention” and ask myself question about what was draining me in my business (and keeping me from doing what I loved) – this was the first thing that popped up. Notice I had to consciously ask myself the question, even though it was so clearly an energy suck.

After tossing around different possible solutions, I realized I could just hire a virtual bookkeeper to handle it all for me – what a concept! Yes, it required some (okay – a lot) of work from me on the front end but what  huge RELIEF!

Now I no longer have mediocre books for my business AND I no longer have to focus my energy on what I consider to be a mediocre task.  What a concept.

2) My towels. All of the towels in my house are over 10 years old – and some of them are even older than that. I just realized this about two weeks ago. Why did it take me so long to notice that the towels I use every single day are faded, fraying and in need of replacing? I have no idea.

BUT, now that I know – I am on the hunt for GREAT towels. I get to pick the color that I like, the size(s) that I like and the softness that I like.

And…now that I am looking (and noticing) great towels, I’m thinking I might just repaint both bathrooms, too.

Now I know both of these examples seem small and not very adventurous. But I’m accomplishing two things:

1) I am exercising my ability to “pay attention” which means I will get better and better at it.

Uploaded on September 27, 2007 by nickherber

2) I am executing a series of small shifts that will add up and/or lead to BIG shifts down the road.

passing the QM2 at sea by nickherber.

Uploaded on September 27, 2007 by nickherber

One of my favorite analogies does a much better job of illustrating this than I ever could.

Do you know how those great big ships turn around in ocean? Yes, they have enormous rudders that will turn it, but the effort and pressure required to push such a large object against the ocean would be nearly impossible. So, someone very clever figured out how to put a bunch of very small rudders all along the big rudder. So, turning that big ship begins by shifting those small rudders – a few at a time.

Neat trick, huh?

Hatching My Escape Plan

June 24th, 2009

Drain boy by phill.d.So, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my Plan to Escape Mediocrity. I swear it feels like I am masterminding a breakout from Alcatraz. (Cue Mission Impossible music!)

Seriously, I think if I – and anyone else who wants to come along – will ever break free from mediocrity and into a life and business filled with authentic adventure, we need a plan, a map, a blueprint so we can tell if we are on the right track.

I want to share what I have come up with so far. These are in no particular order because no one is going to have the exact same escape route. But I think we can at least use them to stake out where we need to begin digging the tunnels.

My plan now is to write a blog post for each one of these so we can elaborate and discuss them.

My rucksack is packed – have a compass, a shovel, and a canteen. Anyone else coming?!

Blueprint for a Kick-Butt Escape Plan

  1. Accept Responsibility, or Not. (wrote blog posts about this here and here.)
  2. Define and Defend Your Integrity.
  3. Check Your Assumptions.
  4. Consider Your Choices.
  5. Pay Attention.
  6. Get Into Gratitude.
  7. Secure Your Spiritual Core.
  8. Play to Your Strengths.
  9. Seek Wise Counsel.
  10. Protect Your Priorities.

***Emergency Plan for when you get totally lost: Go find someone who needs help and help them.***

Original Art uploaded on May 23, 2008
by phill.d


June 11th, 2009

Some of my loyal followers may have noticed that it’s been awhile since I posted anything here at my blog. Believe me, it’s not because I’m not thinking about it – or you!  I’ve just been in serious “thinking mode”.

See, here’s how it all got started: Chris Guillebeau’s latest Manifesto 279 Days to Overnight Success somehow found it’s way into my tweetstream the day it launched in mid-April. If you haven’t read it, nothing I say here can match it, so go get it and come back here later.

After reading Chris’s manifesto, I suddenly got smacked in the head by the fact that I am still uncovering my unique voice in this world. What is it that only I can offer (one of his biggest questions)?

Combine this with my total frustration with the fact that the noise in social media is getting SO loud and quite honestly absurdly ridiculous. Gurus are buying friends and followers – or worse – gaming the system to rapidly increase their “apparent” influence. They know who they are and I know who they are. Not my job here to expose them.

As one of my mentors, Andrea Lee said in her newsletter recently – everyone’s newsletter (and sales pages and websites and autoresponders) all look the same! Why is that?! Do we actually think there is only one formula for success? Do we actually think we can “buy” a model for authentic communication?

I watch so called experts tout their “Gajillion Dollar Systems” and people scrambling to fork over enormous amounts of cash and it just makes me sad. Don’t get me wrong. Some experts have GREAT stuff to teach, but much of what I see is what I call Smoke N’ Mirrors. Makes me crazy.

So many of us are willing to settle for being “like” someone else instead of finding and sharing our own brilliance. Authenticity cannot be packaged up and sold. You can’t buy it; there isn’t a system for it.

Where is our sense of adventure? Of play? Of creativity?life is an adventure.... live it! by blue_i's.

Are we willing to trade that for the illusion of certainty, of conformity? Do we really want to be sheep?

Well, I’m about to find out!

You’ll notice that I’ve changed the tag line for The Maverick Mom to read: “Escaping mediocrity one adventure at time”. And that is EXACTLY what I am setting about to do.  See, I’ve bought into the whole “duplicate the successful” mindset from time to time, so I’ve got some work to do! I’d really rather not go alone so I am inviting you to come along with me!

We will explore what escaping mediocrity looks like by talking about:

– Entrepreneurship
– Adventurous Living
– Authenticity
– And any other uncommon topics that might come up.

I know this is not a traditional “target market” definition. But I have a feeling this stuff will resonate with some people. And it is okay that it won’t resonate with most.

Over the coming weeks i will be changing much of the site content, so watch for that, along with some fab guest posts from people I believe truly are Escaping Mediocrity.

I can promise it will be a FUN trip so I hope you’ll pack your bags and come along!!

Artwork uploaded on April 10, 2009
by blue_i’s