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Why I write the way I do and why it is important
February 17, 2014 | By Neil Ducoff | 36 Comments
My demeanor has always leaned toward the more serious end of the spectrum. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been intrigued by business, leadership and the multitude of elements that make it work. That being said, it makes sense that I’ve been an entrepreneur for almost my entire working career. In the mid 70s, my passion for business found three powerful vehicles that allowed me to reach and interact with other business owners – public speaking, coaching and writing. I started my first coaching company in 1978 and never looked back.
I regard my ability for public speaking, coaching and writing as gifts that allow me to have a positive impact on the lives and businesses of others. At 64 years old, the passion, thrill and fulfillment is as powerful as ever.
But because of who I am, what drives me and how I’m wired, I focus on and write about the tough stuff – the real stuff – that owners and leaders deal with on a true day-to-day basis. My “no-compromise” reputation is a reflection of who I am, and people have come to expect and depend on me to talk straight and not candy-coat the issues. Still, I find it interesting that my presentations and writing receive feedback that call it inspiring and motivating. I truly never regarded myself as a motivational speaker…and yet my work has inspired many to take action. My coaching provides the tools, systems, thinking and leadership behavior that can be described as “best practices.”
Last week’s Monday Morning Wake Up on “Is it time to hit the ‘Reset’ button,” received a comment from a long-time reader and business owner expressing his opinion that my writing is negative in tone and seems intent on discouraging people from going into business. He was therefore canceling his email subscription to seek inspiration elsewhere. (Yes, I read every comment.)
Being the no-compromise leadership guy that I am, I willingly accept constructive feedback. Yet as appreciative as I was, this owner’s observation that I come across as negative deeply troubled me because that is so not my intention. I sent his comments to my team of coaches asking for honest feedback to see if maybe I need to take a more balanced approach. What I got back surprised me … and gave me a needed no-compromise smack in the head.
Strategies Coach Melanie Loboda said it best, “I believe that those of us who are passionate about what we teach can often be labeled as ‘opinionated, condescending, negative, or know-it-all.’ In general, I believe it is when we hit a nerve by calling out something or some behavior that we see that this happens. I think there does need to be balance. For Strategies, the balance is that there is always hope when we recognize the ugly that is rearing its head. There is hope of getting off the hamster wheel if we just open our mind to new thinking and behavior – that winning the gold doesn’t mean doing everything we love … It means combining that with what we are passionate about in order to create success.”
No one goes into business or leadership because they want to deal with employee issues, cash-flow problems, budgets, debt, drama and negativity. People start companies to bring a vision to life, to create opportunities … to win.
So here’s the bottom line: I write about what matters. I write about what’s behind the curtain. I write about the stuff that keeps owners and leaders up at night. I write about building extraordinary companies, dynamic cultures, financial literacy, accountability and achieving your full potential … and providing opportunities for your employees to achieve their full potential. I write about real problems and business challenges.
What I write about most are the disciplines for success. I push leaders out of their comfort zones. I hold the mirror up in front of them so they can look directly at the origin of most of their challenges … because all change must begin with the leader. Yes, I write to make you uncomfortable. I write to push you to take action, to pay attention, to listen and to confront reality head on. I push you to achieve your full potential because that’s the only way I can achieve mine.
This is Monday Morning Wake Up #317. That’s 6+ years of MMWUs. Add 14 years of writing Strategies Magazine, my three books – Fast Forward (first and second editions), No-Compromise Leadership and Wake Up! – and you have a writing voice and style that resonates with you. That’s why you keep reading my stuff. Along the way, my writing style, my message and my strategies may turn some people off. My stuff may not be a good fit now or never … and that’s OK. But over 10,000 people read my MMWUs and as long as that number keeps growing … I’ll keep delivering my No-Compromise Leadership message. And I will always listen and work hard to get better.
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