Episode 52: Exploring Your Options, Taking Initiative, Avoiding Perfectionism And More (Podcast)

Episode 52: Exploring Your Options, Taking Initiative, Avoiding Perfectionism And More (Podcast)

On this episode of In The Box Podcast we talked about if it made sense not to explore options, how to stop being a perfectionist, one tip on how to take initiative at work (and subsequently the difference between responsibility and authority), accepting that expectations will always get bigger of you and one thing I (Garth) would change about myself.

Episode 52: Exploring Your Options, Taking Initiative, Avoiding Perfectionism And More

Performance – What is one tip you have for those who need to accept they will always be performing at a higher level than before?

Exploring Options – Does it ever make sense to not explore your options?

Initiative – One tip on how to take initiative at work without overstepping our boundaries?

Perfection – How do you avoid being a perfectionist?

Bonus – If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?


Stay Positive & Subscribe If You Haven’t Yet

Do You Continue To Perform?

If you performed your art on the street and three passersby tossed in money with a note attached:

The first was a one-dollar bill and a note that said: when you perform, I’m inspired, signed by someone who had once given up.

The second was a five-dollar bill and a note that said: I love your performance, thank you, signed by someone whose loved one just died.

The third was a twenty-dollar bill and a note that said: stop it.

Would you continue to perform?


Stay Positive & If Not $20, Then How Much?



Performance Grunting (benefits of grunting)

Science and verbal agreements by athletes shows over and over again that grunting improves performance. It releases tension, sets a rhythm, intimidates opponents, etc,. Tony Horton even mentions the benefit of grunting while lifting weights in one of his P90X videos.

If it works in sports performance, don’t you think it would work in any other performance?

What if the writing version of grunting is heavy pen pressure or fierce scribbles or crumpling pages? What if the theater version of grunting is a snuffing remark of the character you are acting as or clenching fists in the blackbox? What if the marketing version of grunting is heavy typing or a verbal “Ahhhh!”?

Don’t resist the grunt. Leverage it.



Photo credit

What Makes A Successful Garage Band

(If you don’t want to read, click the last hyperlink in this post.)

There’s no lack of talent when it comes to vocals or who can play a guitar or win over an audience with a ridiculously fast paced bass solo. It’s no longer about who can play an instrument and how well, but how many instruments they can play, how they can incorporate the multiple instruments into a show, and how they can show the audience their passion.

Times have changed but very few garage bands are falling behind. They’re excited to try new instruments, mish mash sounds, and – generally speaking – have fun. Something that is hard to say for those entering the professional world of freelance.

Last night I had the honor to see a handful of bands play at a Launchpad event. Launchpad is a statewide, alternative music competition for Wisconsin high school students who are in bands formed outside of the traditional music classroom ensembles. (view some of the bands here.) These high schoolers were incredible performers, showmakers, and artists.

But the truly exceptional ones brought out different instruments: extra drums, key board, violin. Now it’s now more common to have an extra instrument in a band, but the way these students incorporated them into their songs, well, that was real talent. (One band actually switched their trumpeter with the vocalist, vocalist with the drummer, drummer with the keyboard, and keyboard with the trumpeter. Impressive!)

The status quo is being kicked and bruised by those living the garage band or what I like to call, garage project workstyle/artstyle/lifestyle. There are no longer boundaries. You can no longer bring your one “instrument” and perform. You have to bring everything (all of your “instruments”) and perform some instrumental alchemy.

The worlds changing. Best to be a leader of it.


Stay Positive & Rubber Bands Are Still Accepted

Garth E. Beyer


Unlocking Potential: Interview #6

People can hate on Twitter as much as they want, but the Twitterverse is where I met Clemens Rettich, a small business consultant. Having sent a few tweets back and forth with him, as well as contributed to his #smbfunchat where I learned a handful of tips that helped me jumpstart my passion in consulting, I could not think of a better person to participate in the sixth interview of my Unlocking Potential series.

Whether Clemens is aware of it (obviously now he will be), he was a great inspiration for me to learn more about what it takes to successfully run a business as I often studied from his website/blog which there is a link to at the end of this post. It is an honor to be the one to share with you a bit more about Clemens, his worldview, his operation for consulting and some of the most straightforward life lessons you will learn one way or another, by Clemens or by life.

Without further ado,

Q: Everyone can read your bio by clicking on your name, so let’s dive more into what you do. What is your passion? Do you have a daily routine?

I love the beauty of things done well, of things and processes beautifully designed and executed, of those points where art, business, science, or sport come together to create something magical. My passion is to have some role to play in making that happen. In particular I love to help it happen in small businesses, teams, and organizations.

My daily routine is only moderately routine. It happens many days, but not every day. I work with clients 4 days of the week. I take 3 days to recharge, create, reconnect, rest. My days start with brisk walks and fruit smoothies… making coffee for my wife and I to talk over. Then it is time for email, client conversations, travel, shopping, organizing life… I love cooking so that is my late-in-the day pause to shift out of work for a while before diving back in again for the evening. I work about 70 – 80 hours a week.

Q: What is the biggest decision you have had to make?

To act without fear. And it is a decision I have to make every morning. Like paying your dues, this is one that you never stop doing. Paying your dues is never a thing to think of in past tense. A life to be lived fully, has to be paid for handsomely. There is nothing wrong with being afraid. True fearlessness is just another form of stupidity. It is the choice to act on those fears that matters. And I have to make that decision each morning… and sometimes several times in the day. This conversation I am about to have, or this decision I need to make, or this action I have to take, scares the hell out of me. But it needs to be done. And that decision to act without fear is the biggest one I make.

Q: How do you tug your client’s imagination and motivation? What is the core of your professional relationship between them?

The core of my professional relationship with my clients is active listening. Listening until my bones ache. When I do presentations or keynotes, I tell people that if you aren’t exhausted after a day of communicating, you haven’t been listening hard enough. Listening to every word, every implied word, and every telling silence is exhausting. That I why I try to limit my day to 2 – 4 coaching conversations maximum, and only 4 days a week at that. I’m no good to anyone after more than 4 or 5 hours of conversation.

I evoke imagination and motivation by responding to what I hear with suggestions from outside my client’s frame of reference. Nothing new there. It is the old lateral thinking, disruptive creativity, non-linear connection of ideas that still works. Most of the time the best ideas are my clients’. They just can’t hear themselves say them. So I just tell them what they just said. And I use a gift I have had since childhood: I connect “unrelated” things easily. A client can be telling me of a financial challenge, and for some reason it makes me think of another client’s story about a motorcycle they just bought. Something in the intersection of the two things creates a fresh approach to reframe the question or problem. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard myself say “Your problem isn’t A, it’s B!” The answer wasn’t coming because the question was wrong.

There is nothing particularly unique or gifted about my mind. 90% of the time there is a great idea or breakthrough of some kind it’s not because I am smart or anything, it is simply because I have outsider status and have my client’s permission to speak my mind. There are few things more powerful than an outsider’s perception, when the currency between the insider and the outsider is complete honesty.

Q: Would you mind sharing one of your biggest failures?

I can’t go into details because they usually involve others. But I can say they almost always involved one thing: a failing of confidence on my part. I fail when I make decisions based on “settling for second-best” or on not having the confidence to push through a tough patch. Dodging conflict has also been pretty consistently a disaster, so I do a hell of a lot less of that in this part of my life.

Q: What did you learn from it? What would you do differently if a similar situation occurred?

It took me about 40 years to learn, and much of that in the last 10 years, but these days I stick closer to my own sense of right and wrong. I don’t mind conflict over something I believe in. I have started to see that the worst that can happen is not a hell of a lot. I trust my own experience, my own sense of things.

Q: This series is a lot about giving credit where credit is due. It’s about reaching out to both, people who could use a little help unlocking their potential and people who can help with that unlocking. Do you have a business mentor who helped curate your passion for small business consulting? What were the mentor’s practices? In other words, how did this person make an impact on you?

Where credit is due is first and foremost to my wife and family. Their passion for great moments, for things done right, for finding that place between standing your own ground and understanding the value of others, has been critical in making me who I am. On the small business side I don’t have any direct mentors. My biggest mentors are my clients. Every one of them owns a small business that is everything they have on the financial and other levels. Yet they trust me and have the confidence in me to invite me in and work with me to change the game. This can be incredibly scary and requires huge trust, particularly if I am asking an owner to change something that they have done for years, and is connected to their own personal values. Every time the change happens, and the owner let’s go, I am in awe. I know from personal experience how incredibly hard that is, even terrifying, yet they do it with me. That makes life worth getting up for each morning.

Also, I am the collective wisdom of every small business owner who has ever brought me into their inner circle and shared with me the workings of their businesses, their successes and failures, what has gotten them out of bed in the morning and kept them up at night. All of that is in my head. Any wisdom I bring to a coaching conversation now is 90% the collective wisdom of a lot of tough, hungry, street-smart business owners who have spent almost every day of their own lives pulling on their shoes and making life happen.

Q: What is your worst fear?

Missing something. I’m not like all those wise ‘old souls’ out there in the world of patchouli oil and Birkenstocks. I can’t get enough of anything. I love being alive and learning and consuming and enjoying. I guess I’m a young soul if you believe in that kind of thing… I don’t believe in that ‘vale of tears’ nonsense or that our bodies are “just material”… I love being alive and on this earth and have no interest in waiting for some ‘other later’ reality. I like this one. A lot. There is a reason why Walt Whitman is one of my favorite poets. So ya, I’m afraid of missing stuff. I want to live 1,000 years and try it all!

Q: What is the biggest obstacle/challenge you have had to overcome?

All that stuff about fear I talked about above. The rest is relatively easy. Following a close second would be bootstrapping my business. You build up a lot of debt in the first few years, and you have to be crazy careful not to let that cross the line where it erodes cash flow in a fatal way.

Q: What is the biggest challenge todays small business leaders are facing?

Gerber got it right: failing to understand that baking and owning a bakery are two completely different things. The biggest challenge they are facing is a world of ignorance and bullshit. All that “do what you love and the money will follow” nonsense. Running and growing a small business successfully is probably the most complex thing a human being can do. The number of things you have to know about and do right, and do right consistently, every day for a decade or two, is staggering.

So no, it isn’t the economy, or competition, or offshoring, or anything else like that. Those things are huge challenges, but they are not the biggest. The biggest challenge is the romantic mythology, especially in America, of owning your own business.

Q: What do you do to continue your growth as a consultant?

Listen to my clients. Listen to the market. Respond with an ever-broader and more diversified and responsive set of products and services. My new book Great Performances – The Small Business Script for the 21st Century is a piece of that. It is setting up a whole new way for me to connect with and support more small businesses to be successful.

And never forgetting who brung ya to the dance. I am a passionate believer in the power of follow-through and great long-term relationship development. I drop the ball lots, but I don’t ever stop trying to stay in touch with and add value to every business I have ever worked with.

Q: What are the golden life lessons you have learned and are willing to share with the readers from your experience as a small business consultant?

Spend more resources on keeping customers and employees than getting new ones. Don’t ever make the mistake that solid systems and procedures, creativity, and relationships are mutually exclusive. That is a myth that simply doesn’t exist in the world of the performing arts. Any ballet dancer, classical violinist, or rep actor could run circles around business people when it comes to getting that. Discipline, practice, organization, systems, all those things aren’t killers of creativity, they are the world’s best support for it.

So work harder to hang on to people, and work harder to bring more organization and systems to your business. Don’t shy away from that stuff.


Some great places to find Clemens’s work:

Have more questions, topics of discussion or simply want to give a shout out to Clemens, you can tweet him @ClemensRettich.


Stay Positive & Stick To The Fundamentals, Or At Least Learn Them First

Garth E. Beyer

Thinking Body, Dancing Mind

The Lessons You Need To Celebrate Being Alive

Thinking Body, Dancing Mind

TaoSports for Extraordinary Performance in Athletics, Business, and Life is the one sport that if you were to become a professional in, you should pick. Although, I would add or change the word extraordinary because the lessons taught and experiences shared in this book are the ordinary techniques that are used by the extraordinary. The way I am going to regurgitate this book to you is by first sharing everything that I actually wrote down while I was reading it. These items are the most important parts of the book that sparked the brightest ideas and concepts in my brain. Then I am going to list the chapters in the book to let you know of all the different lessons that you can learn and improve on. The reason for this process is that the book can be picked up and started from anywhere you choose: the beginning, the end, or a random page. My advice for you is not to go and purchase the book, but to go and flip it open to a chapter that you think you want to improve in your life, read it and see if you want to read the other chapters. Lastly, I will share some of my favorite affirmations that were shared in the book that hopefully you can use.

Garth’s Dancing Mind

Why fight your way to the top, when you can rise to it?  There is no such thing as a victory in an uphill battle; there is only a plateau and it’s never at the top.

Having a winning attitude is a defiance to the expectation of feeling the thrill of victory and agony of defeat.  Both of which are detrimental to any possibility of being successful in the future. To have a winning attitude is to break down the process to moments.  Thinking and feeling that you have won each moment. Success is relative to the quality of the process. There is more than one finish line in a 5k race, there are actually 6,200 finish lines. Every step is a victory and should be viewed as one.

What Not To Be –

  • Struggling for external recognition
  • Measuring self-worth on outcomes
  • Focusing on perfection
  • Establishing unrealistic expectations
  • Blaming others
  • Condemning yourself for mistakes and failure

“You don’t dance to get to the other side of the floor” – Alan Watts

There are three visualization processes that I have taken from the book (which probably has 30+ in it). The first is a visualization of your sanctuary that you can retreat to based off a trigger (mines putting my index finger and thumb together to create a circle). You get to create your own place of ritual and relaxation. My place was based off a picture of a monk sweeping in front of his hut that was cuddling the base of a mountain, the monk is my guide, as you will read more about when you open the book. The second visualization process was to imagine a steady beam of sunlight coming down on top of you, entering your head and circulating it’s power throughout your body, delivering energy, healing powers and enlightenment.

The third visualization example was actually the first in the book which goes like this:

“For example, close your eyes right now and imagine a juicy, sour lemon. In your mind, cut a big wedge from the lemon and place it in your mouth. Bite down, and let the sour juices permeate your entire mouth. Did you find yourself puckering or salivating?”

It simply goes to show how powerful visualization can be. With consistent practice, you can have the same trigger affect to visualizing winning a race, visualizing closing a deal or whatever will help you succeed.

While visualizations are confirmations for your mind, affirmations are confirmations to your heart. “Affirmations are not self deception, they’re self direction.” At the bottom of this post, I will list my absolute favorite affirmations from the book. It is loaded with them! You can also create a list of perfect affirmations for yourself by turning your favorite quotes into affirmations.

  • At every moment remember: Be positive, Be present, Be concise, Be rhythmic.
  • Adaptation is the hallmark of champions.
  • Remember to pace yourself. Progress is two steps forward, one step backward.
  • To trump fatigue, you can either focus on one aspect of the process or at the end result, ignore all else and let the fatigue bypass you.
  • Concentrate on what you have control over.
  • What you believe you become.
  • Handling a negative event in  a positive way is an experience that can become a touchstone for future encounters.
  • Fear: is a natural part of life. It can either paralyze you or give you an opportunity to assess the risk your facing and prepare for it properly. Fear can also make you respect your comfort zone.
  • When in a slump, go with the flow because you will slingshot back.

5 Stages of Injury:  – Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance. (When you read this section under the chapter titled Injuries, you will agree at first, but then you will disagree because when you finally realize the process you take, you are able to shorten and change it.)

Challenge: Find the book at the bookstore and read the beginning of the chapter on page 76. (Half a page) By far the most “Woa” moment in the entire book.

One of the most important excerpts I took from the book is that you, me, we – are never as great as our greatest victory or as bad as our worst defeat. We are above it all, we are apart from it because we have a winning attitude.

Reevaluate life while in downtime. Just because your body may be down, does not mean you can allow your mind to go down with it. You need to focus on what made you lose balance, what you are going to do to achieve balance again and what you will do to prevent from ever entering downtime again. Oh, and remember, laughter is by far the best medicine to get out of downtime, I suggest George Carlin.

Committed to truth no consistency – Buddha

“According to Mark, when you become totally engrossed in your sport, you over-analyze everything.” Contributing to the saying that analysis is paralysis. Ironically, I had just written a blog post about this called The One Quality You Need To Be A Successful Expert

I will top of my Dancing Mind with something I loved most about TBDM. At the beginning of each section, and sometimes within, a chapter of the Tao Te Ching is shared. The characters associated with it were so aesthetic that it made me want to study them. The reason being that the greatness of them is that they are meant to make you visualize and feel their meaning when you meditate on them. The Tao Te Ching inserts reminded me of a post I wrote a long time ago on a particular chapter:An Accord With Greatness

Tao Te Ching no.1

Thus, without expectation,

One will always perceive the subtlety.

And, with expectation,

One will always perceive the boundary.

TMDB Chapters – If you think a topic is appealing, pick up the book and just read the chapter

Visualizations, Affirmations, Beliefs, Positive Thinking, Relaxation, Vision, Focusing, Centering, Intuition, Reflection, Fear, Fear of Failure, Fear of Success, Slumps, Fatigue, Injuries, Expectations, Self-Criticism, Perfectionism, Confidence, Assertiveness, Courageousness, Detachment, Egolessness, Selflessness, Conscientiousness, Competition, Winning, Psychological Tactics, Motivation, Goal Setting, Self-Improvement, Synergy, Leadership, Integrity, Adaptation, Persistence, Balance, Simplicity.


Fixed minds detract from potential. Flexible minds are the essential.

My performance is a perfect mirror of my image of self.

To be in sync, use instinct.

The voice of fear is healthy to hear.

There is plenty of success for all of us.

What I resist will persist.

I don’t dominate – I demonstrate.

I risk temporary loss for the chance for permanent improvement.

When I’m detached, my play can’t be matched.

Helping others find their way gives me the chance for better play.

There is no home court advantage unless I give it to them.

If I persist each day, I’ll eventually get my way.

Stay Positive & One With The Tao

Garth E. Beyer