Saturday, July 31, 2010

John Deere Mower, Shower, Toilet, and Church...

Life can be really hard.

I know...that wasn't exactly an earth shattering news flash of a comment. But I got to thinking as I was riding on my John Deere...mowing my mother in laws lawn today. Anything worth thinking about is thought of while in 1 of 3 situations.

1. Riding a John Deere
2. The shower
3. Well...lets say it this way..."Doing paperwork in the office, sitting on the white chair".

Oh...I need to add a 4th...Church. I have had some revelations there. Nice pun huh.

But I digress...

If life is can we make it easier?

Near as I can figure we make a conscious choice, everyday, to make it easier or harder.

Making it harder is when we choose to surround ourselves with people that tell us what we WANT to hear when we need people around us that will tell us what we NEED to hear.

How does life get easier?

Flip that statement on it's head.

Be around people that will speak truth into your life...who are willing to tell you things you may not want to hear... but you need to hear.

Life has plenty of distractions.

Stop creating more of them by putting yourself in a world where the noise meter is at it's highest...and there is no substance to the noise.

If it's gonna get loud...let it come from the voices of people that will help you get to where you need to get going...not ones that will tell you warm, fuzzy feel good stories when you need a chapter read to you from...

The book of "No more buts for your butt...Get it moving".

With Expectancy,

The Zuke

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Speaking up...It's your legacy...whether you do or don't. our 4 yr. old is recuperating from being sick, we have been playing board games. His theory today was that there is a difference between "real cheating" and "fake cheating".

"Real Cheating" is when one person cheats during the game and the other person(s) does not. That is real because one person is breaking the rules that everyone else is playing by.

"Fake Cheating" is when everyone playing the game is cheating. Everyone knows that everybody else is in essence because they are all agreeing to cheat on some level...well then, it's not's fake.

The lesson in all of this?

We all have a relatively easy time picking out the cheat if they are the only one doing it. None of us likes it. Sometimes they get away with it...sometimes not. But either way it leaves a bad taste in our mouth when we see someone trying to pull a fast one over on us.

Where the water gets muddy is when even though there are rules in place...everyone agrees to look the other way.

Sometimes it comes down to one person who is strong enough to speak truth into a situation that desperately needs it.

Being right isn't the point as much as it is clearly knowing when you don't want to be wrong.

Don't rob yourself out of the opportunity to be a difference maker...for positive change in the environment you are in.

It's your legacy.

However, in the's really not just you that ends up getting hurt if you remain silent.

But you already knew that.

With Expectancy,

The Zuke

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Busy vs. Productive

Ever been around someone who was actually too busy to be productive? They spread themselves so thin that exhaustion is about the only thing they manage to produce?

I am reminded of a childhood friend that set aside other hobbies to focus on the one he enjoyed the most. He became very talented at the hobby...and as a result, was rewarded with a scholarship for college.

Today...we look at that and say he won't be well rounded...missed out on opportunities...and putting all your eggs in one basket is too risky.


You know what is too risky?

Not realizing that being busy just for the sake of being busy distracts you from something you could be so focused, talented and great at that you miss an opportunity to change the world around you...significantly.

Have some fun yourself a favor...take a step back and look at your world from the outside in, and make a great choice to focus in on being the person you were created to be.

It's not too late.

Who knows...

You may be right on time.

Don't be so busy that you race past your moment.

With Expectancy,

The Zuke

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

"I'll deal with it tomorrow"...

How long will you wait to deal with "that thing"?

You haven't yet because...

It is too big...too small...doesn't affect anyone else but me...affects everyone around me...I don't like learning new things...I want to focus only on new things...

There is no shortage of excuses...err...I'm sorry, would you prefer to call them "reasons"?

The fact of the matter remains that there is no better time than right now to move forward...otherwise you will convince yourself that the following 5 words are actually good advice...

"I'll deal with it tomorrow."

Thats fine...just know that none of us are guaranteed tomorrow.

We are all in the same boat...

Fix, heal, move past, embrace, exhale...

It's the best way to make the "right now" truly be something significant.


Why are you still here?

Go get er done.

With Expectancy,

The Zuke

Monday, July 26, 2010

Java and Bathrobes...In Public?...YUP.

So, I had to share this with you...probably one of the most hysterical confirmations that customer and brand loyalty matter more than ever.

I was leaving a certain coffee establishment this know, the one with the big green logo.

As I was walking to my car I looked up to see a young lady rapidly approaching the drive through, 2 hands firmly gripping the top of the steering wheel as she eyed her destination.

Not odd...UNTIL...

I notice, as she passes, she is wearing a bright blue and white polka dotted bathrobe..and a very stern focused stare.

2 points of observation...

1. Seems as though brand and customer loyalty does matter after all.
2. Do you have customers that would be willing to drive around in their bright colored, polka dotted bathrobe because they had to have your product...and nothing else...right now?

People can blast the place for having a cup of coffee that costs as much as a meal at the place across the street all they want.

But I wouldn't do it in front of the polka dotted bathrobe lady...or any of her closest friends...

Just Sayin.

I think you'll lose the argument.

With Expectancy,

The Zuke

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Risk...embrace or erase?

There are 2 kinds of people.

1. Risk Takers
2. Those who take risks

Risk Takers? (Embracers)

They are willing to do what it takes to get it done......they know that there are no guarantees...yet they press on, pursue and tackle the task at hand because they wouldn't have it any other way...and the rewards are in sight.

Those who take risks? (Erasers)

Those are the people that stand next to Risk Takers trying to steal their moment. They tell Risk Takers an infinite number of excuses as to why "it" won't work.

You know em...we all have them in our lives...and this is your reminder not to lose your focus just because of them, and not to be one of them in someone else's journey.

And please...stop with the "devil's advocate" routine.

That idiot doesn't need any more help.

Maybe it is just that simple...

Embrace it.

With Expectancy,

The Zuke

Grandfather Part II

At the memorial service years ago for our grandfather we asked for people to jot down a favorite memory about Grandpa Bixby... so we could continue, as his grandchildren to pass down lessons to our children from his wisdom.

The following is a synopsis of one of the stories we received that night...

Let me set the stage...

A couple, married in the spring of 1987, in the Cattaraugus area. The reception following the wedding was in the Ellicottville area. As they recall...everyone was driving to the reception...and there...on the way, was Grandpa...


In his suit, fishing in a nearby creek.

And I quote...

"He just could not pass up a good fishing hole. A great man with a great story at all times. Never too busy to go fishing."

What is it today that you need to slow down long enough to enjoy?

You get one crack at life...

If you see a "fishing hole" that needs tending to...


Come back with a great story.

With Expectancy,

The Zuke

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wisdom from my Grandfather...

My grandfather passed away 6 years ago....but his legacy lives on. My wife handed me a folder of poems/thoughts that he had written to us over the years tonight.

I wanted to share one of the thoughts with all of you...

Some I know for sure are original...others he may have just passed along. This one, I believe, was one of the ones he passed along.

"Those who complain about the way the ball bounces are usually the ones who dropped it."

Love it.

Enuf said.

With Expectancy,

The Zuke

Bad Radio Ad Strikes Again...

While driving today I heard a radio spot that bothered me.

The short version...The advertiser wanted customers that didn't have a lot of disposable income to know that they were the store the customer should shop at for the item(s) being advertised. They followed this up with the statement...

"All you can do is all you can do."

All I know is that if I were the potential customer...I wouldn't be after hearing that.

Then they proceeded to add that you should shop there if you have deep pockets too.


Here is the 2 part lesson they taught.

1. If you don't have $ to spend...come here...we just wanted to remind you that you were cash strapped...and that you can only do so much...but come here anyway.

2. If you are $ loaded...come here...we want you to spend your money here. Why? Just because we want your business...not because we actually gave you a good reason to even consider us...or showed we cared about your needs...just because we have stuff...big stuff...lots of stuff...oh, and did we mention because we want your business.


I know that the economy is making it tough...

But don't make it harder on yourself like this advertiser.

Talk WITH your customers.

The alternative?

Talking AT them. ( Today's example. )

Thank you for checking in today. I appreciate you being here.

With Expectancy,

The Zuke

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Do you really know?

Quick thought of the day...

Are you talking/sharing/connecting on a regular basis with your audience or are they just out there talking about you?

If it isn't both parts...

Are they really your audience?

With Expectancy,

The Zuke

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I Challenge You Today To...

Make this day feel different than yesterday...and make tomorrow that much more fun to top.

Instead of walking past someone sitting on a park bench and saying nothing...

Smile, and say hello as you pass by.

Maybe even buy them a cup of coffee.

Let me tell you a quick story...

Not too long ago I was driving past a local shopping mall area. At a few of the bigger intersections there were several people holding up rather large signs that advertised a going out of business sale for a big chain store.

The weather that day was a combination of cold, wet and sideways driving rain. Not exactly the type of weather you would want to be out in for 10 seconds...let alone 10 hours.

As I drove past one gentleman holding a sign...I noticed he had on a garbage bag as rain gear.

I couldn't take it. I had a few bucks in my pocket, so I pulled in to a local eatery and purchased a large cup of coffee...grabbed a bunch of sugars and creamers and proceeded to walk across the parking lot to go see this man.

When I came up on him I extended the coffee and said..."I don't know if you are a coffee drinker, but I thought this might warm you up having to stand out in this weather today."

The smile on his face was warm...he couldn't remove his heavy mittens fast enough to shake my hand...and I think I made a friend.

I may never see that man again...

But something tells me that when he can...when he sees someone that has a need he can meet...he will jump at the chance to meet it.

It's not a story to say...hey look at what I is a reminder to all of us that we have a ton of opportunities everyday to make the world around us a better place.

So what are you waiting for?

Go make the world different today because you are caring for someone's need(s).

With Expectancy,

The Zuke

Monday, July 12, 2010

Chuck it...

How many times have you been going back and forth in your mind trying to settle on making a decision and no matter how many pros and cons you list out you seem to be...stuck?

You have so many "top priorities" that nothing becomes "the priority".

I was recently away for a couple of days coaching at a soccer tournament. When I arrived home I was really excited to see my wife and kids and hear how their last couple of days had gone.

While we were sitting in our living room...I reached down and picked up a toy to hand to our 7 month old as he sat next to me in his "Exer-saucer" ( A nifty bouncy/swivel/toys on the tray of the whole thingy seat he loves).

When I handed him the went from his hand to being chucked on the floor in about 1.5 seconds. This is a toy he usually likes...but in that moment ...he knew what he wanted...and it wasn't the toy I handed him.

After a weekend away from home...he wanted some attention from his dad, with no other distractions.

I figure there are really only a handful of decisions in a 7 month old's world.

Eat...sleep...poop/ Those are the top 5.

He wanted attention...not toys.

Can you clearly define your top 5?

Do you know the things in your business/life/school/relationships that matter the most so well that you can chuck the things that are not a top priority at the moment in 1.5 seconds?

If not...spend some time today getting that short list together.

It sure makes the decision making process easier all around.

Just ask my 7 month old.

With Expectancy,

The Zuke

Thursday, July 8, 2010

"Tripping over dollar bills to pick up dimes"

In a conversation I had today with a businessman, he mentioned to me that the company he works for is constantly doing just that.

Companies have 2 choices. They either value their customers or the transaction from the customers.

At some point...all the fancy gimmicks, promos and sales fall on deaf ears once the customer realizes that what they thought was genuine interest in their needs was only an attempt to get in their purse or soon as the expense of their loyalty and trust.

When the first good reason to make a business decision is $ related...think long and hard.

When the first good reason to make a business decision is customer

At that've got it.

And by the way...the $ usually follows.

With Expectancy,

The Zuke

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

"Cooler" head prevails...

Back on the grocery kick for today...

I just stopped at the local circus...err...I mean "Mart that is large" to pick up 2 things I needed.

One of them was sour cream.

I found my way to the back of the store where the open cooler areas are that house said item (which, by the way, feel great to shop by when it is 90+ degrees outside). I picked up what I needed, turned around...and started to head for the cash register.

I looked down and noticed that the "best by" date was July 14, 2010. I wondered if I could do I turned around and went back to the display. I put the one I had just picked up in the spot it started from...and then proceeded to reach a few rows back and grab a different one.

August 5, 2010 "best by" date.

Same product...or so one would think at first glance.

Their initial appearance is identical. It is not until you pick one up and turn it over that the difference is revealed.

I clearly left the store today with more value because I was willing to look a little closer at the product.

Consumers are smarter, thriftier and more discerning than ever before. If you think that they aren't turning your product over and you are just hoping they will take it because they "need" is...


Its just a matter of time before you are looking at a shelf full of your expired product wondering why.


Ignorance is not bliss.

With Expectancy,

The Zuke

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Get it done...

If you needed some milk, bread and eggs at the store what would be your course of action? get in the car, go to the store and get what you need.

You mean you don't analyze the cost effectiveness of car versus walking...maybe a cab...or a bus ticket? You don't call all of your neighbors to see about car pooling? Certainly you would draw up a nice power point to detail the goal of obtaining the grocery items you need and review with your spouse!

Pun incoming...


You just get it done.

ROI's, Committee's , and Presentations have their place...but it isn't everywhere, all the time for obvious tasks.

Sometimes...Its just a quick trip across town...mission accomplished.

Resist the temptation to believe that Activity and Productivity mean the same thing.

With Expectancy,

The Zuke

Monday, July 5, 2010

Ka-boom or Ker-plop.

We had a great 4th of July with family and friends yesterday. Swimming, kickball, great food and of course...going to see the fireworks. Every year it seems like they send them off a bit later. This year was the latest yet. In addition to the late start...they were the LONGEST we have ever seen.

Herein the problem resides.

If the fireworks had been incredible and attention grabbing in their display...everyone would have been on the edge of their seats. 35 plus minutes of here a cracker there a cracker could actually put you to sleep in your lounge chair as you looked into the dark July sky last night.

So the product was lackluster...what about the "customers". Let's face adults it is cool to see a great fireworks display...but the awe factor is in seeing a child view the spectacle.

When it is well after 10:30pm and over half the kids we had with us were out cold on the lawn...and the second oldest (7 years old) says..."I can't take this anymore" and drifts off to sleep in his dads lap...uhh...Houston...we have a problem.

So...2 for 2. Product and Customer expectations not met.

So you start the fireworks a little earlier and pack them into an amazing 10 minute display. Promote it ahead of time as the most amazing 10 minute display in WNY that you can't afford to miss.

The crowds will have a healthy expectation of what is to come...the customers will be overjoyed with the product and they will all be able to say...

'We were there".

Is your product causing your customers to want to tell your story?

Are you sure they are there? Or if they will come back?

With Expectancy,

The Zuke