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  • February 19, 2024 9:49 AM | John Russell (Administrator)

    What are you trying to achieve for yourself, your company, your brand, product or service?  Begin by developing a better understanding these 5 factors.

    1. Presence: Measure of the brand’s social footprint

    2. Influence: Branded message adoption

    3. Perception: Emotional reaction to the brand

    4. Virality: People organically participating in conversations

    5. Resonance: Reaction to the overall conversation about the brand

    Start by customizing your message and tailoring it to each distinct customer category.

    1. What is the story telling my target customer?

    2. Why does my target customer care about this story?

    3. What sort of emotions does my story evoke?

    4. How does my story connect to the emotional needs of my target customer?

    5. How will that story incite action on behalf of my brand, product, and service?

    Create a social media/digital marketing content outline.  Develop your content delivery calendar.  Be consistent.  Measure and evaluate market response and feedback.  

    Continue to make necessary adjustments to align your content with your target audience feedback.


    Tell your story.  Tell your customers stories.  Point out the problem and discuss how valued solutions can be delivered.



  • February 19, 2024 9:39 AM | John Russell (Administrator)

    MABC MEETING | WE NEED TO TALK:

    HOW TO PREPARE FOR DIFFICULT CONVERSATIONS

    Presented by Nancy Depcik, Founder of Unshakable Success 

    • When

      March 14, 2024

    •  

      8:00 AM - 10:00 AM

    • Location

      Zoom meeting

    • Registered

      6 registrants

    Registration

    • Guest
    • Member

    March Program Presentation: 

    We Need to Talk: How to Prepare for Difficult Conversations

    with Nancy Depcik, Founder of Unshakable Success 


    Have you faced conversations that are challenging, complicated or downright unpleasant?

    Whether it’s with your manager, coworker, or spouse, there are specific techniques you can start using today that will help you manage conversations that are uncomfortable and relieve stress.

    At the end of our time together, you will…

    • Understand the different styles of communication and which one is most effective
    • Learn a five-step formula to stay focused and keep your conversation on track
    • Practice using a specific template to help deliver your message clearly


    About the presenter:


     Nancy Depcik of Unshakable Success™ brings over twenty years of speaking experience with a focus on leadership, resiliency and tenacity. She has empowered organizations to lead more effectively, foster positivity and communicate more clearly.

    As a Professional Keynote Speaker and Communication Skills Coach, Nancy has delivered presentations to Fortune 500 companies and at numerous conferences and conventions. She has been featured in several magazines, including Brava Magazine and the Huffington Post. Nancy is currently an adjunct professor at Madison College in Madison, Wisconsin teaching Effective Communication and Public Speaking Skills. Her unique blend of humor, enthusiasm and connection with the audience landed her in the top 1% of speakers in an International Speech Contest in Washington DC where over 30,000 speakers competed. In her TEDx speech, she shares the one word that can literally change your life.


    Hope to see you there!


    March 14, 2024      8:00am - 10:00am CST


    _____________________________________

    Agenda

    _____________________________________


    8:00-8:30 a.m. CST  - Open Zoom Networking

    8:30-9:00 a.m. CST - Meeting opening remarks

    9:00-9:45 a.m. CST - Program

    9:45-10:00 a.m. CST - Questions & Answers

    ____________________________________________________________

    Program Logistics

    ____________________________________________________________

    Who. For all B2B consultants craving collegiality, collaboration, and real conversation. Guests welcome!

    What. Monthly program providing networking, relevant education, and personal and professional growth opportunities. 

    When. Thursday, March 14 • 8:00 AM–10:00 AM CST

    Where. Zoom Meeting ID will be in your registration confirmation email

    Cost. Free for Members & Guests

    RSVP. Register Today!


  • February 13, 2024 10:47 AM | John Russell (Administrator)

    Small Business Video Tips

    In today's competitive digital landscape, more and more professionals are including video in their marketing strategy.  

    1.      Get right to the point.  What is the purpose of your video?
    2.     Viewership declines 10% for every ten seconds:  One minute = 50% loss of viewership
    3.     Determine the objective of the video
    Why are people watching this?
    What skill am I giving people access to that they didn’t have before?
    4.      What is the How To skills breakdown objective?
    5.     Make a public service announcement.
    6.     Teach a single skill with crystal clarity.
    7.     Break up your objective into 3-5 points. Most important details or facts about the subject your viewers need to know.
    8.     Use related graphics to show what you mean visually.
    9.    Relax.  Have fun with the process.


    If what you want to communicate takes longer than 1-3 minutes, create a series and post your videos over the course of several days.  Encourage comments and work to create a dialogue with your audience whenever possible.




  • February 05, 2024 9:49 AM | John Russell (Administrator)

    Five Keys to Make Sales Training Stick

    Written by Jeff Seeley, CEO Carew International

    Realizing and sustaining the benefits of sales training depend largely upon the perspective at the client organization. Many sales leaders see skills improvement as one big, momentous event – almost akin to a mass baptismal. They think that, if they take the whole sales team down to the local sales training event, they’ll all be reinvented (“saved,” if you will) from bad habits and talent deficiencies, and they’ll instantly emerge as a vastly improved organization prepared to slay the competition and gain the competitive advantage. 

    If only it was that easy!

    In reality, changing selling skills for the better is a process, not an event. It takes a sustained effort – as well as commitment and engagement – from both the organization’s leadership and from every member of the sales team. I say this as a sales training leader who has worked with hundreds of business organizations to help sales teams learn, develop, and implement new selling skills.

    I know sales professionals are often frustrated after their organization’s sales training event, and feel as though they have been dipped in the new sales philosophy and left on their own to make something of it. But there are things everyone can do to facilitate success. Here are five tips I recommend:

    1. Sales leaders and professionals must all create an environment of accountability, with leaders setting clear agreement on implementation and salespeople being made accountable to frontline managers and each other with improvements, coaching examples, and metrics.
    2. To master new selling skills, salespeople need one thing: practice! Mastery will never occur without practice – regardless of the ease or difficulty of the subject. In his book, Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell contends that it takes roughly 10,000 hours to become skilled enough to be considered an expert in any area. Salespeople should take every opportunity to use their new skills right away.
    3. Everyone must “lead” the transformation. With the ratio of sales professionals to managers skyrocketing, peer development has become increasingly important. Sales professionals should not only use their new selling skills daily, but also model that behavior and coach colleagues at every opportunity. This helps the entire sales team visualize effective sales behaviors and the exceptional customer experience they are capable of providing.
    4. Use selling skills as part of the sales process. New selling skills are knowledge; sales process is habit. Think of it this way: someone with heart disease learns about healthy eating. That’s knowledge. However, if the person doesn’t follow up with proper habits (eating the right foods, exercising, etc.), he or she won’t see results. Selling skills will have little to no impact if they’re not incorporated into your sales process and then used habitually. (That includes everyone in the sales organization, including field sales, inside sales, sales operations, and managers.)
    5. Sales leaders should build recognition and rewards into the new sales training initiative. Ask key senior sales professionals to look for opportunities to publicly recognize salespeople for using their new skills – and highlight their successful results. In addition, peer recognition can be a powerful motivator. Sales managers should encourage salespeople to share their successes; this can be easily done in regular sales meetings or conference calls, or in an email to the entire sales team. These acts will spread awareness of how the program is gaining traction and having positive effects throughout the organization.

    Breaking old habits may be the most difficult part of a sales-training transformation. It takes patience, practice, reinforcement, and recognition to reprogram our thinking and change our behavior.

    Learning new selling skills represents a courageous, personal transformation, and everyone can take pride in that self-improvement. Remember, the ultimate payoff will show up in higher commissions, improved customer satisfaction, and a competitive advantage for the company.


  • January 30, 2024 12:41 PM | Tara Ingalls (Administrator)

    By Amanda Kevin, Founder of ExpeditionHR


    As business owners and leaders, we typically find ourselves caught up in the day-to-day execution and “doing” of our work, and forget the reason why we’re here. The reason why we chose to create our own business in the first place, and why we continue to press forward.

     

    I’m here today to encourage you to hop off the hamster wheel, and turn inward. Reflect on the beliefs you hold true, and the difficult decisions that you had to make to get where you are. When we take time to do this, and solidify our core values, we bring purpose back into our every day work, our decision making and the vision for our business.

     

    Decision-Making Framework

    When faced with a decision, challenge or opportunity, your core values can serve as a decision-making framework, providing a basis for choice and action. For this example we’ll say that your core values are authenticity, integrity and kindness.

     

    For example sake, let’s say that you were approached with an opportunity to partner with another business on a long-term project. This type of endeavor is somewhat out of your wheelhouse, but you’re intrigued by the idea and opportunity it could create for you and your business. Ask yourself…

    • Will this partnership uphold you and your business in an authentic way?
    • Can you complete the project with integrity?
    • Will the partnership be managed in a pleasant, kind way?

     

    Are you able to confidently say yes to these questions? If the answer is undoubtedly yes - then this partnership is likely a good move. Should you find yourself answering no to any of these questions, or your gut is tapping you on the shoulder to say something is off here, it should be a signal for you, a red flag, that something isn’t quite right. Maybe it’s not a good option for you at this time, or you just need to gather additional context to make a better, more informed decision.

     

    Your Why

    Every solopreneur started their business for a reason. You, yes you, are here for a reason. Maybe it was to support your family in a different way, escape your big corporate job or to pursue a passion. Regardless of what triggered the action, it all started with your why.

    To identify your why, ask yourself:

    • What prompted me to start this business?
    • Why is the work that I’m doing important? Why does it matter?
    • Who is the community that I serve and why did I choose them? Why should they want me?

    Maybe your why has since changed from when you first started - that’s okay! Your why, will help communicate the personality and character of your business, in turn, creating a unique brand identity and core values that are completely yours.

     

    Future Alignment

    You may forever operate as a solopreneur, or you may eventually expand out and hire an employee(s) to help support operations. Having established core values can help attract individuals who share similar values and beliefs as you. It’s really important early on to find employees that are like-minded, bought into your vision and can contribute to creating that cohesive work environment.

     

    PS - this too can be true for finding your ideal clients!

     

    The Exercise

    Utilize some of the concepts in this blog to get your core value gears turning! I’ll even help get you started with a few tips and tricks.

     

          The first step is easy. Take a minute (or two) to pause. Once you’ve found some clarity, lean inward…

          Reflect.

          Discover your why
          Reflect on past personal experiences - those times when you felt truly fulfilled and happy
          Explore your beliefs - right vs wrong, fairness and justice
          Imagine your ideal future - what impact do you want on the world?
          Seek feedback - Ask friends, family and colleagues about the values they see in you.

          Implement them into your everyday business and decision making framework.

          Revisit and refine.

     

    If you are a visual, hands-on learner, try creating a vision board. Start with a blank sheet of 8.5 x 11 paper and fill it with clippings and photos of all the things you envision for your business. It can help bring your vision to life!

     

    Core values truly are multifaceted. We know the benefits of cultivating them, and as you begin to have more awareness of them in your everyday life, I am certain that new uses will be discovered.


    -----

    Amanda Kevin is the Founder of ExpeditionHR. Leveraging her 10+ years of experience building HR functions for several high growth startups, her passion is in creating a fulfilling and meaningful employee experience. Through alleviating compliance stressors, creating policy that upholds workplace culture, and creating a work environment that professionals will be drawn to, ExpeditionHR will guide small business owners towards fulfilling their wildest dreams.


  • January 30, 2024 11:10 AM | John Russell (Administrator)

    Setting Goals For The New Year
    Where do you start?         With yourself!

    Things Leaders Do

    1.      Take Personal Responsibility

    Build teams and place others first.  It’s not about you.

    2. Simplify Constantly
    Clearly explain the top three things you’re working on.

    3.      Understand Breadth, Depth and Context
    How do you fit and respond?

    4.     The importance of alignment and time management
    Set priorities, measure outcomes and communicate to others.

    5.     Leaders learn constantly and also have time to teach
    Teach others of your value and ability.  Share what you’ve learned.

    6.     Stay true to your own style

    Become self-aware.  Every morning ask, what three things could I have done better yesterday?#@#_WA_-_CURSOR_-_POINT_#@#7.

     7. Manage by setting boundaries with freedom in the middle
    Commitment, passion, trust and teamwork are boundaries.  Protect them.

    8.     Stay disciplined and detailed
    Personally intervene on things that are important to you, your customers, your team and your company.

    9.     Leave a few things unsaid
    Sometimes being an active listener is more effective than a personal position.
    What’s best for the team?

    10. Like people.
    You have chosen to be here.  Understand others, be fair and put your best effort forward.

     “The reason most people never reach their goals is that they don’t define them, learn about them or even seriously consider them as believable or achievable.  Winners can tell you where they are going, what they plan to do along the way, and who will be sharing the adventure with them.” 

    Denis Waitley

    Whatever It Takes!

    • You alone are responsible for the quality of your work and the quality of your life.
    • Give yourself the freedom to grow and expand.  Say YES to your own potential.
    • Dream big and use the power of your imagination.
    • Without action, your dream, your goal or plan has little meaning in the world.

    Writing Your Goals

    Clearly describe the results (goals) of what you want that you can control and write them down.

    Define why these results are important to you.  Be certain of your desire to achieve these goals and focus on the solution rather than the problem.

    List the likely obstacles that you will have to overcome to achieve the results and identify where you can get help.  Reach out for help today!

    List the realistic capabilities, strategies and knowledge you will need to achieve these results.

    Write a specific, measurable action plan, defining each step to achieve the results.  Express your goals in terms of specific events and actions.

    Create accountability by specifying a timeline to achieve your goals.

    Progress = Milestones

    How you spend your time everyday matters.

    Persevere

    Stay positive

    Pay attention to details and prepare your action plan.

    Build your own network of advocates, your personal promoter network.

     “Like all of us, you are spending the minutes, hours, and days of your life in the pursuit of something and your are buying it with your very life.  Have you inspected the package?  Are you chasing what you really want?” 

    “Pursue your goals with ferocity and singularity of purpose.  When you choose a goal to pursue, do you ask, “Is this a mountain I’m willing to die on?”   - Roy H. Williams

    Take Action Today!
    Write down your goals, put the steps necessary to reach your goal in your planner and set a date by which you will have made progress towards achieving those goals.


    Why I Have No Goals

    “Goal,” in my experience, is a favorite word of people who talk and dream and dream and talk. And then they get together to “network” with other talkers. There’s always a lot of noise in these meetings but it’s unlikely than anything of consequence is going to happen. People who chatter about goals are rarely willing to die on that mountain.

    I have no goals. But I do have plans.

    A plan puts you in motion toward a destination. The destination you choose is irrelevant.
    It is (1.) motion, (2.) determination and (3.) commitment that separate destination-reaching explorers from goal-setting chipmunks.

     “Am I willing to die on this mountain?”

    “Intent.” That’s the word. Plans have intent. Goals do not.

    A goal without a plan is wishful thinking.
    A plan without action is self-delusion.

    1. What are you trying to make happen?
    2. How will you measure success? 

    3. What’s the first thing you need to do to get started?

    How to Use Goals to Create a High-Performance Sales Culture

    Goals must meet four criteria:

    1) The goal must be simple enough to be clearly understood.
    Overly complicated or ambiguous goals are doomed from the get-go. If your team members can’t understand what the goal is, they’ll never latch on to it.

    Don’t confuse simplicity with easily accomplished. . Sir Edmund Hillary’s goal was to be the first to reach the summit of Mount Everest – simple and clear, but certainly not easy to accomplish.

    2) The goal must be (just) achievable.
    If goals are too easy, they’re not very useful. On the other hand, if goals are seen as impossible, your team will only end up discouraged and frustrated. Remember that goals are not one-size-fits-all. What is achievable for one person or team may be out of reach for another.  While reaching the summit of Everest is certainly achievable with the right preparation, determination, skill, and support (658 people summited last year), it is not an achievable goal for the vast majority of the population.

    3) The goal must be meaningful.
    People look to leaders for a vision and to help them become part of something bigger than they could achieve alone. If you cannot tie your goal to anything meaningful, you won’t inspire the necessary enthusiasm among your team to struggle to achieve it.  To have a fair chance at conquering Everest, where 1 in 10 people loses his or her life, the endeavor must make profound sense to you and your family physically, emotionally, and spiritually. 

    4) The goal must be worth fighting for.
    Goals require work and discipline. When the chips are down and the road ahead still looks long, people must be able to revisit their intention to achieve the goal and say, “This will be worth it. I will do what it takes to prevail.”

    Some organizations have not gotten the memo about goals, and they wonder why their teams are underperforming. More often than not, we find in these types of organizations that leaders are setting goals that are unclear, meaningless, impossible to achieve, too easy to achieve, or not seen as worth the effort in the eyes of their people.

    The next time you set a goal for your team, make sure it’s simple, achievable, meaningful, and worth fighting for. When you are crystal clear about where your organization is headed and how you’re going to get there, you can see amazing results from the top of the world. 


  • January 22, 2024 9:54 AM | John Russell (Administrator)

    Madison Area Business Consultants welcomes people from all walks of life.

    We pride ourselves on being a diverse, equitable and inclusive organization.

    Here's a different perspective from the leader of Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism.


    Compassion and the Individual

    Tenzin Gyatso; The Fourteenth Dalai Lama

     The purpose of life

    ONE GREAT QUESTION underlies our experience, whether we think about it consciously or not: What is the purpose of life?  I have considered this question and would like to share my thoughts in the hope that they may be of direct, practical benefit to those who read them.

    I believe that the purpose of life is to be happy.  From the moment of birth, every human being wants happiness and does not want suffering.  Neither social conditioning nor education nor ideology affect this.  From the very core of our being, we simply desire contentment.  I don’t know whether the universe, with its countless galaxies, stars and planets, has a deeper meaning or not, but at the very least, it is clear that we humans who live on this earth face the task of making a happy life for ourselves.  Therefore, it is important to discover what will bring about the greatest degree of happiness.

    How to achieve happiness

    For a start, it is possible to divide every kind of happiness and suffering into two main categories: mental and physical.  Of the two, it is the mind that exerts the greatest influence on most of us.  Unless we are either gravely ill or deprived of basic necessities, our physical condition plays a secondary role in life.  If the body is content, we virtually ignore it. The mind, however, registers every event, no matter how small. Hence we should devote our most serious efforts to bringing about mental peace.

    From my own limited experience I have found that the greatest degree of inner tranquility comes from the development of love and compassion.

    The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater our own sense of well-being becomes. Cultivating a close, warm-hearted feeling for others automatically puts the mind at ease. This helps remove whatever fears or insecurities we may have and gives us the strength to cope with any obstacles we encounter. It is the ultimate source of success in life.

    As long as we live in this world we are bound to encounter problems. If, at such times, we lose hope and become discouraged, we diminish our ability to face difficulties. If, on the other hand, we remember that it is not just ourselves but every one who has to undergo suffering, this more realistic perspective will increase our determination and capacity to overcome troubles. Indeed, with this attitude, each new obstacle can be seen as yet another valuable opportunity to improve our mind!

    Thus we can strive gradually to become more compassionate, that is we can develop both genuine sympathy for others’ suffering and the will to help remove their pain. As a result, our own serenity and inner strength will increase.

    Our need for love

    Ultimately, the reason why love and compassion bring the greatest happiness is simply that our nature cherishes them above all else. The need for love lies at the very foundation of human existence. It results from the profound interdependence we all share with one another. However capable and skillful an individual may be, left alone, he or she will not survive. However vigorous and independent one may feel during the most prosperous periods of life, when one is sick or very young or very old, one must depend on the support of others.

    Independence, of course, is a fundamental law of nature. Not only higher forms of life but also many of the smallest insects are social beings who, without any religion, law or education, survive by mutual cooperation based on an innate recognition of their interconnectedness. The most subtle level of material phenomena is also governed by interdependence. All phenomena from the planet we inhabit to the oceans, clouds, forests and flowers that surround us, arise in dependence upon subtle patterns of energy. Without their proper interaction, they dissolve and decay.

    It is because our own human existence is so dependent on the help of others that our need for love lies at the very foundation of our existence. Therefore we need a genuine sense of responsibility and a sincere concern for the welfare of others.

    We have to consider what we human beings really are. We are not like machine-made objects. If we are merely mechanical entities, then machines themselves could alleviate all of our sufferings and fulfill our needs.

    However, since we are not solely material creatures, it is a mistake to place all our hopes for happiness on external development alone. Instead, we should consider our origins and nature to discover what we require.

    Leaving aside the complex question of the creation and evolution of our universe, we can at least agree that each of us is the product of our own parents. In general, our conception took place not just in the context of sexual desire but from our parents’ decision to have a child. Such decisions are founded on responsibility and altruism — the parents’ compassionate commitment to care of their child until it is able to take care of itself. Thus, from the very moment of our conception, our parents’ love is directly in our creation.

    Moreover, we are completely dependent upon our mothers’ care from the earliest stages of our growth. According to some scientists, a pregnant woman’s mental state, be it calm or agitated, has a direct physical effect on her unborn child.

    The expression of love is also very important at the time of birth. Since the very first thing we do is suck milk from our mothers’ breast, we naturally feel close to her, and she must feel love for us in order to feed us properly; if she feels anger or resentment her milk may not flow freely.

    Then there is the critical period of brain development from the time of birth up to at least the age of three or four, during which time loving physical contact is the single most important factor for the normal growth of the child. If the child is not held, hugged, cuddled, or loved, its development will be impaired and its brain will not mature properly.

    Since a child cannot survive without the care of others, love is its most important nourishment. The happiness of childhood, the allaying of the child’s many fears and the healthy development of its self-confidence all depend directly upon love.

    Nowadays, many children grow up in unhappy homes. If they do not receive proper affection, in later life they will rarely love their parents and, not infrequently, will find it hard to love others. This is very sad.

    As children grow older and enter school, their need for support must be met by their teachers. If a teacher not only imparts academic education but also assumes responsibility for preparing students for life, his or her pupils will feel trust and respect and what has been taught will leave an indelible impression on their minds. On the other hand, subjects taught by a teacher who does not show true concern for his or her students’ overall well-being will be regarded as temporary and not retained for long.

    Similarly, if one is sick and being treated in hospital by a doctor who evinces a warm human feeling, one feels at ease and the doctors’ desire to give the best possible care is itself curative, irrespective of the degree of his or her technical skill. On the other hand, if one’s doctor lacks human feeling and displays an unfriendly expression, impatience or casual disregard, one will feel anxious, even if he or she is the most highly qualified doctor and the disease has been correctly diagnosed and the right medication prescribed. Inevitably, patients’ feelings make a difference to the quality and completeness of their recovery.

    Even when we engage in ordinary conversation in everyday life, if someone speaks with human feeling we enjoy listening, and respond accordingly; the whole conversation becomes interesting, however unimportant the topic may be. On the other hand, if a person speaks coldly or harshly, we feel uneasy and wish for a quick end to the interaction. From the least to the most important event, the affection and respect of others are vital for our happiness.

    Recently I met a group of scientists in America who said that the rate of mental illness in their country was quite high-around twelve percent of the population. It became clear during our discussion that the main cause of depression was not a lack of material necessities but a deprivation of the affection of the others.

    So, as you can see from everything I have written so far, one thing seems clear to me: whether or not we are consciously aware of it, from the day we are born, the need for human affection is in our very blood. Even if the affection comes from an animal or someone we would normally consider an enemy, both children and adults will naturally gravitate towards it.

    I believe that no one is born free from the need for love. And this demonstrates that, although some modern schools of thought seek to do so, human beings cannot be defined as solely physical. No material object, however beautiful or valuable, can make us feel loved, because our deeper identity and true character lie in the subjective nature of the mind.

    Developing compassion

    Some of my friends have told me that, while love and compassion are marvelous and good, they are not really very relevant. Our world, they say, is not a place where such beliefs have much influence or power. They claim that anger and hatred are so much a part of human nature that humanity will always be dominated by them. I do not agree.

    We humans have existed in our present form for about a hundred-thousand years. I believe that if during this time the human mind had been primarily controlled by anger and hatred, our overall population would have decreased. But today, despite all our wars, we find that the human population is greater than ever. This clearly indicates to me that love and compassion predominate in the world. And this is why unpleasant events are “news”; compassionate activities are so much part of daily life that they are taken for granted and, therefore, largely ignored.

    So far I have been discussing mainly the mental benefits of compassion, but it contributes to good physical health as well, According to my personal experience, mental stability and physical well-being are directly related. Without question, anger and agitation make us more susceptible to illness. On the other hand, if the mind is tranquil and occupied with positive thoughts, the body will not easily fall prey to disease.

    But of course it is also true that we all have an innate self-centeredness that inhibits our love for others. So, since we desire the true happiness that is brought about by only a calm mind, and since such peace of mind is brought about by only a compassionate attitude, how can we develop this? Obviously, it is not enough for us simply to think about how nice compassion is! We need to make a concerted effort to develop it; we must use all the events of our daily life to transform our thoughts and behavior.

    First of all, we must be clear about what we mean by compassion. Many forms of compassionate feeling are mixed with desire and attachment. For instance, the love parents feel of their child is often strongly associated with their own emotional needs, so it is not fully compassionate. Again, in marriage, the love between husband and wife -  particularly at the beginning, when each partner still may not know the other’s deeper character very well - depends more on attachment than genuine love. Our desire can be so strong that the person to whom we are attached appears to be good, when in fact he or she is very negative. In addition, we have a tendency to exaggerate small positive qualities. Thus when one partner’s attitude changes, the other partner is often disappointed and his or her attitude changes too. This is an indication that love has been motivated more by personal need than by genuine care for the other individual.

    True compassion is not just an emotional response but a firm commitment founded on reason. Therefore, a truly compassionate attitude towards others does not change even if they behave negatively.

    Of course, developing this kind of compassion is not at all easy! As a start, let us consider the following facts:

    Whether people are beautiful and friendly or unattractive and disruptive, ultimately they are human beings, just like oneself. Like oneself, they want happiness and do not want suffering. Furthermore, their right to overcome suffering and be happy is equal to one’s own. Now, when you recognize that all beings are equal in both their desire for happiness and their right to obtain it, you automatically feel empathy and closeness for them. Through accustoming your mind to this sense of universal altruism, you develop a feeling of responsibility for others: the wish to help them actively overcome their problems. Nor is this wish selective; it applies equally to all. As long as they are human beings experiencing pleasure and pain just as you do, there is no logical basis to discriminate between them or to alter your concern for them if they behave negatively.

    Let me emphasize that it is within your power, given patience and time, to develop this kind of compassion. Of course, our self-centeredness, our distinctive attachment to the feeling of an independent, self-existent “I”, works fundamentally to inhibit our compassion. Indeed, true compassion can be experienced only when this type of self- grasping is eliminated. But this does not mean that we cannot start and make progress now.

    How can we start?

    We should begin by removing the greatest hindrances to compassion: anger and hatred. As we all know, these are extremely powerful emotions and they can overwhelm our entire mind. Nevertheless, they can be controlled. If, however, they are not, these negative emotions will plague us - with no extra effort on their part! - and impede our quest for the happiness of a loving mind.

    So as a start, it is useful to investigate whether or not anger is of value. Sometimes, when we are discouraged by a difficult situation, anger does seem helpful, appearing to bring with it more energy, confidence and determination.

    Here, though, we must examine our mental state carefully. While itis true that anger brings extra energy, if we explore the nature of this energy, we discover that it is blind: we cannot be sure whether its result will be positive or negative. This is because anger eclipses the best part of our brain: its rationality. So the energy of anger is almost always unreliable. It can cause an immense amount of destructive, unfortunate behavior. Moreover, if anger increases to the extreme, one becomes like a mad person, acting in ways that are as damaging to oneself as they are to others.

    It is possible, however, to develop an equally forceful but far more controlled energy with which to handle difficult situations.

    This controlled energy comes not only from a compassionate attitude, but also from reason and patience. These are the most powerful antidotes to anger. Unfortunately, many people misjudge these qualities as signs of weakness. I believe the opposite to be true: that they are the true signs of inner strength. Compassion is by nature gentle, peaceful and soft, but it is very powerful. It is those who easily lose their patience who are insecure and unstable. Thus, to me, the arousal of anger is a direct sign of weakness.

    So, when a problem first arises, try to remain humble and maintain a sincere attitude and be concerned that the outcome is fair. Of course, others may try to take advantage of you, and if your remaining detached only encourages unjust aggression, adopt a strong stand, This, however, should be done with compassion, and if it is necessary to express your views and take strong countermeasures, do so without anger or ill-intent.

    You should realize that even though your opponents appear to be harming you, in the end, their destructive activity will damage only themselves. In order to check your own selfish impulse to retaliate, you should recall your desire to practice compassion and assume responsibility for helping prevent the other person from suffering the consequences of his or her acts.

    Thus, because the measures you employ have been calmly chosen, they will be more effective, more accurate and more forceful. Retaliation based on the blind energy of anger seldom hits the target.

    Friends and enemies

    I must emphasize again that merely thinking that compassion and reason and patience are good will not be enough to develop them. We must wait for difficulties to arise and then attempt to practice them.

    And who creates such opportunities? Not our friends, of course, but our enemies. They are the ones who give us the most trouble, So if we truly wish to learn, we should consider enemies to be our best teacher!

     

    For a person who cherishes compassion and love, the practice of tolerance is essential, and for that, an enemy is indispensable. So we should feel grateful to our enemies, for it is they who can best help us develop a tranquil mind! Also, itis often the case in both personal and public life, that with a change in circumstances, enemies become friends.

    So anger and hatred are always harmful, and unless we train our minds and work to reduce their negative force, they will continue to disturb us and disrupt our attempts to develop a calm mind. Anger and hatred are our real enemies. These are the forces we most need to confront and defeat, not the temporary “enemies” who appear intermittently throughout life.

    Of course, it is natural and right that we all want friends. I often joke that if you really want to be selfish, you should be very altruistic! You should take good care of others, be concerned for their welfare, help them, serve them, make more friends, make more smiles, The result? When you yourself need help, you find plenty of helpers! If, on the other hand, you neglect the happiness of others, in the long term you will be the loser. And is friendship produced through quarrels and anger, jealousy and intense competitiveness? I do not think so. Only affection brings us genuine close friends.

    In today’s materialistic society, if you have money and power, you seem to have many friends. But they are not friends of yours; they are the friends of your money and power. When you lose your wealth and influence, you will find it very difficult to track these people down.

    The trouble is that when things in the world go well for us, we become confident that we can manage by ourselves and feel we do not need friends, but as our status and health decline, we quickly realize how wrong we were. That is the moment when we learn who is really helpful and who is completely useless. So to prepare for that moment, to make genuine friends who will help us when the need arises, we ourselves must cultivate altruism!

    Though sometimes people laugh when I say it, I myself always want more friends. I love smiles. Because of this I have the problem of knowing how to make more friends and how to get more smiles, in particular, genuine smiles. For there are many kinds of smile, such as sarcastic, artificial or diplomatic smiles. Many smiles produce no feeling of satisfaction, and sometimes they can even create suspicion or fear, can’t they? But a genuine smile really gives us a feeling of freshness and is, I believe, unique to human beings. If these are the smiles we want, then we ourselves must create the reasons for them to appear.

    Compassion and the world

    In conclusion, I would like briefly to expand my thoughts beyond the topic of this short piece and make a wider point: individual happiness can contribute in a profound and effective way to the overall improvement of our entire human community.

    Because we all share an identical need for love, it is possible to feel that anybody we meet, in whatever circumstances, is a brother or sister. No matter how new the face or how different the dress and behavior, there is no significant division between us and other people. It is foolish to dwell on external differences, because our basic natures are the same.

    Ultimately, humanity is one and this small planet is our only home, If we are to protect this home of ours, each of us needs to experience a vivid sense of universal altruism. It is only this feeling that can remove the self-centered motives that cause people to deceive and misuse one another.

    If you have a sincere and open heart, you naturally feel self- worth and confidence, and there is no need to be fearful of others.

    I believe that at every level of society - familial, tribal, national and international - the key to a happier and more successful world is the growth of compassion. We do not need to become religious, nor do we need to believe in an ideology. All that is necessary is for each of us to develop our good human qualities.

    I try to treat whoever I meet as an old friend. This gives me a genuine feeling of happiness.  It is the practice of compassion. 


  • January 17, 2024 10:05 AM | John Russell (Administrator)

    There are many strategic moves you can make to improve, advance and develop your career and customer base.  One often overlooked strategy is to always use Pre-Meeting Agendas for your personal and business meetings.

    Russell Wilson, long time NFL quarterback has been quoted as saying, "the separation is in the preparation".  The difference between winning and losing is in how you prepare.

    Pre-meeting planning can take many forms.  It often includes qualifying questions that help frame the opportunity for you to solve your prospects or clients problems.  What can I do to prepare?  What should I read to learn more?  What research should I do in advance?  What questions should I ask?  

    What can you learn about your prospect or client before you meet to show them that you're invested in their success?

    What's the goal of the meeting?   How will you know that the meeting was successful?  How will you measure the outcome?

    Type up the meeting agenda.  Write a short list of 3 questions that you want to ask before the meeting, related to the agenda.  Then send out the agenda and the 3 questions to the other people involved in the meeting.  You can say, "in preparation for this meeting I've done some homework and I'd like to share with you three things I hope we can discuss."  Then suggest that all the other people attending the meeting review the agenda and questions and come prepared to discuss.  Then ask them what questions they have that they would like to learn more about.  Add those to the agenda to be sure everyone is included and engaged before the meeting.  Then finalize the agenda and questions before the meeting and send them out to all involved.  State what you perceive the desired outcome might be.  Then when everyone meets all people arrive being on the same page.  Focused on the primary reason for the meeting and all working together to achieve the desired outcome.


  • January 09, 2024 8:14 AM | John Russell (Administrator)

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Date:  1/9/2024

    Tingalls Graphic Design, a leader in creative graphic design and digital solutions, proudly announces its 10th consecutive year of recognition by InBusiness Magazine’s Executive Choice Award for website development services. This achievement celebrates the company’s unwavering dedication to superior digital solutions serving the diverse and dynamic businesses of Madison.

    Now in its 24th year, Tingalls has established itself as a small yet mighty design firm, successfully launching over 50 websites in 2023 alone. This includes a beautiful new online presence for Badger Prairie Needs Network (www.bpnn.org), a vital non-profit tackling food insecurity in Dane County. For Dane Dental (www.danedental.com), a business known for its welcoming approach to dental care, Tingalls developed a website that perfectly showcases its extensive in-house services. And lastly, the firm’s collaboration with Top Pop Fundraising (www.toppop-fundraising.com) resulted in a whimsical and engaging website, reflecting their innovative approach to fundraising. These projects exemplify the versatility of Tingalls’ creative design team and their commitment to capturing the unique brand and mission of each client.

    “At Tingalls, our design process is engaging, stress-free, and fun,” said Tara Ingalls, owner. “This award also affirms that our designs are not just visually stunning but also SEO-savvy, ensuring they’re as effective as they are visually appealing.”

    “Tara and her team provided our company with outstanding work in creating our new website www.teamstercenter.com. Our website stands as a testament to Tingalls Graphic Design’s skills and commitment to delivering high-quality design solutions. The site showcases a seamless integration of functionality and aesthetics, providing an intuitive user experience while maintaining a visually captivating appeal. Throughout the design process my staff and I were very impressed by the level of expertise, creativity, and professionalism demonstrated by the Tingalls team; especially when it came to communication and collaboration. Their dedication to understanding our needs and exceeding our expectations was evident at every stage of the project,” noted Andy Johnson, Fund Administrator for Teamster Center Services Fund.

    As Tingalls celebrates this significant milestone, the team extends heartfelt gratitude to the Madison business community for their continued support and trust.

    Learn more at www.tingalls.com.




  • January 02, 2024 10:36 AM | John Russell (Administrator)

    As we look ahead towards 2024, most business owners take a quick look back to take into account all the accomplishments and achievements that you, your company and your customers achieved over the past year.

    We also look ahead to the new year to think and plan about what goals, opportunities and achievements lie directly before us. 

    If you’ve never worked with an independent, professional before to get a non-biased perspective related to helping you achieve your goals this could be the time.

    Madison Area Business Consultants brings over 60 experienced professionals to you to help you achieve your goals and overcome any obstacles that might be in the way.

    We have experts from every discipline in business.  Click here to start your journey towards getting some professional consultation from experts that matter the most. https://madisonconsultants.com/sys/website/?pageId=18162



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