Action vs. Inaction

Action vs Inaction: Conclusions

I started the Action vs Inaction column in January of this year as a vehicle to finally force my hand in the blogging arena. I had always wanted to write something on a regular basis but had never really had the need or POV. 

With this column I found an angle through which I could make fun of myself in an effort to bridge the gap until my confidence showed up. I used my wit and a few well played eye-winks to get through the dip. I'm proud to say I think it worked. I've been publishing work on a few different blogs and I've gained a few people who enjoy reading. Valhalla.

All of that said, anytime you establish a framework for carrying out a content creation process, you risk at some point having the work that framework produces becoming drole and lackluster. It's a bit of a bummer but it's also really great too! 

Why you ask? Because your writing needs to grow as much as you do. I'm trying to ingrain a commitment to keeping myself agile; keeping my mind and skills ready to shift their focus. I want to be able to adapt. To thrive. You know?

So with that said, I'm shuttering this jam. As of now, and I can and will always go back on my word, (at least in my own column, not in business; in business I am forthright and Reliable) I am putting the Action vs. Inaction series to bed in an effort to commit to the next chapter in my Startup Soirée writing. 

I'm excited to leverage some new ideas and perspectives that didn't fit well under the Action vs Inaction framework. I want to write pieces that come from the point of community. I want to highlight my city. I want to move the conversation out of my head. I want to write more stuff you want to read! This is going to be amazing. 

I hope to hear more from all of you. Let me know what you'd like to read more of in the comments below. I'll write back! Also, you can find me reigning in light on Twitter @PatrickRife! 

Action vs Inaction: Restructuring

There comes a time in every business when you look around and say to yourself "This just isn't what I had in mind." Be it the culture turned out differently than you wanted, the revenues aren't what they should be or you just don't like where things are headed. There comes a time when you realize your business has outgrown it's structure; that your products have pivoted but your organization hasn't. 

This is a tough spot to be in for any business owner of any age. Why? Because as business creators and entrepreneurs we thrive on the innovation; on the Kaizen of the experience. Without that bait you risk losing the luster. I think this is what we call harnessing Intrinsic Motivation. Sometimes it gets out of whack. That's ok! What's important is having a process of alignment ready for deployment.

Dead-End Road In West Gee-Hossa Flat

The first step in getting yourself (Your Company) unstuck is determining what stuck actually is. Stuck is different for different companies. Stuck is different depending on the situation. Sometimes you can have a few different versions of stuck happening at the same time in different parts of your organization. So the important part is defining those pain points.

Is it deliverables that are suffering? Is personnel the route of the problem that is ultimately manifesting itself in poor office moral? Is there a lack of company culture because it isn't being influenced from the top down? These are all different problems that can be restructured; you just have to put the work in to really define the issue.

How Do I Get Out Of Here?

Often times we make the assumption that in recognizing a problem we begin the process of correcting it. Other points of view suggest that we just stop doing the "bad behavior" and by proxy correct the issue. I'm not so willing to place my confidence in such arbitrary tactics. For me the path to proper restructuring involves not only recognizing and ceasing damaging behaviors or actions but also in creating the perfect version of those behaviors or actions that will fill the void.

If we route out something that's negatively impacting our business but fail to create something positive and functional to put in it's place we'll ultimately find ourselves back in a similar dilemma. Something that has intention and embodies your businesses goals and ethics will create a windfall but you need to know what that "something" is!

Defining What You Want!

So.....now that you've extracted the problem it's your turn to imagine what the ideal version of that situation would look like. Now is the time to spitball ideas, pow-wow with your teams and ask yourself the hard questions.

This moment of brainstorming is one of the most critical in the Restructuring process. Why? Because it is in this place that we realize what the problem situation should have looked like all along. With that insight, we start to extrapolate how things will change in our organization if the idea is implemented.

The Hunt for Gold

Now that you know what you want the process/idea/overhaul to look like it's critical to find the right practitioner for the job. This is literally a hunt for gold. Since you've defined where the problem stemmed from, and what the ideal solution would be you have a pretty good idea of the types of personality and business traits that would excel.

We're only as good as the people we surround ourselves with so when it comes to driving change, to really restructuring, having strong leadership in place that understands the intention, has the confidence to inspire progress and the drive to see the job through will be critical. Hunt for that gold long and hard, be highly thorough in your vetting and then give them the reigns and smack the horse.

Create a Coat of Armor

Now that your team is in place and the initiative has been realized don't just send everyone to the front line naked. Make sure to take the time to build the proper processes around the work you've done. Put systems in place to help your team thrive and grow! Include their feedback as you go along; their POV is a valuable asset.

Take the time to implement and acknowledge the idealogical changes you're creating in your company. How  you communicate your vision for the future and how it impacts your team will be your defining moment. Leadership and politics are a heady brew; the visionary understands their role in everything but also that each need their own balance. 

Back to the Battle

So here we are! Are you done? No way. Remember, this is a process of constant improvement; raking the sand. A healthy methodology that supports the active restructuring of processes and intention in your company will prove to be one of the highest forms of ROI your business will ever receive. And it's Free; all it takes is your time.

Do you have any ideas about Creative Restructuring? I'd love to hear about them in the comments below. I'll comment back!

Action vs Inaction: Baltimore

Baltimore

What's the narrative? What are we talking about? What is being said? How many of those things are true? You should be asking yourself these questions every fucking day. Not just because what's happening in Baltimore is happening but in service of not creating similar situations in the future. 

By the way, I live here. This city is a part of me. I am a part of it. In this role I am not unique. In this role I occupy a space inhabited by thousands of people. I am a Baltimorean. I speak about my city the way I see fit. Things are very different than what is being produced on the local and national media platforms. 

America has a very serious problem with accountability. Baltimore is very much a representation of that problem on a smaller scale. For years our city has been allowed to deteriorate. The physical infrastructure that was once proud is long neglected. Almost 50 years btw. 50 years. 

The pictures that we see on the media portray a Baltimore freshly rioted. Boarded up. Abandoned. The truth? Huge swaths of our city have looked that way for 50 years. Why? Because we never did anything to repair the damages and fallout from the late 60's. Almost 50 years ago....

This Unrest: Looks Black and White but really; It’s Blue

At the foundation of this argument lies the simple fact that a young black man was apprehended by Baltimore police officers for no reason and the results of that altercation were him being dead. There are no shades of gray when it comes to that simple fundamental fact. It's not a black-and-white issue. It's blue and brutal.

Every person of color has the right to be furious. Every person who is a citizen of Baltimore, who is a citizen of the United States of America, who is a person with a heart should be furious. We need to spend more time working on possessing empathy to understand the complexities that come into every person's day-to-day lives.

Responsibility: What You Can Do

So the question goes, seriously though, what can I do? There's a lot that you can do and the best thing about it is all it takes is opening your mouth. So many of the tropes that are being reported about our city are wrong. So many of the stories spinning wildly on the national media circus or grossly inaccurate. They're misrepresentations of what is actually happening in favor of good click bate and headlines. In favor of people tuning in to broadcasts. In favor of Gillette having more ad views. This is where we can have a tremendous impact. Don't be lazy. Set the record straight. 

Stop the bullshit and start speaking up about what you see and how you actually feel. No one should be held hostage to the viewpoint of other people just because we are nervous to offend or hurt their feelings. If people around you are telling stories you know to be false speak up. Out of sync perspectives on what's happening in Baltimore are our worst enemy right now. We should be spending our time on dialogue not shaking our heads at falsehoods. It's our responsibility to let the world know what the real deal is. When we ignore the fight in front of us we enable it.

Leading in Light: Where I’ll Be

My plan for trying to be a productive and helpful participant in the dialogue is to continue to share information. I don't think it's my place to say what is right and what is wrong. I don't think it's my place to stand on the pulpit.

I do think that it's my place to share as much credible information that I've been able to vet myself. I do think it's my responsibility to challenge what is being told to me. It is my responsibility to stand up and have courage to speak out when people that I love say things that I do not agree with. It's no longer an acceptable time for me to let someone off the hook because they're my friend. I do this with the understanding that every time I speak out I do something to tell the truth and when I remain silent I co-sign their message. For me, no way.

It's my responsibility to educate my children. That no matter how young they are I have a responsibility to give them the best perspective on what is taking place. I'm promising myself not to let their heads be filled with stories that aren't true. I'm doing my best to keep focus on giving them narratives that they can understand. Narratives that I can skillfully build on as they grow older. I am tasked with the responsibility of helping my children grow up in a society that desperately wants to call itself "Post-Racial" although it's far from it.

To Whom Knows Where?: El Futuro

What does the future hold? I have absolutely no idea but I do know that I'm committed to making Baltimore a place that is better and better every day that I can be in it. I know that I'm going to commit myself even more to having a positive impact on this great city.

I've said it once before in this column and I intend to reiterate again and again. I very much believe that the solution that is going to pull many of our midsize cities out of this crazy slip that they're stuck in is going to come at the hands of entrepreneurship. I believe that it is up to us to recognize the communities that allowed us to become who we are. I believe that we can develop a system for harmony, productivity and real life. For everyone. Will you join me?

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Action Vs Inaction: Engineering Movement

Ideation: Entrepreneurial Gold

I thought I'd start this blog off by talking about how you engineer yourself into a place that's different from where you currently are. Or maybe I should say how I go about it. How do we actively choose to create a watershed moment, a dramatic change, a moving towards our ideal self?

The ideal is to start with intention. A more thorough thinking through of what the goal actually is. There's absolutely a series of steps that I take myself through to ensure that I successfully end up where I've set out to go. More importantly, that I accomplish my goals along the way.

Fundamentals

I can't stress enough how important it is to actually do the hard work. It doesn't matter who it is that you want to be, or what it is that you want to do. It's important to have the right insight and the right tools and skills at your disposal to make you successful in your pursuits. 

Whether we'd like to admit it or not success comes at the hands of being a good practitioner. Whether your desire is to communicate with people as an Influencer, tell a story that promotes truth as a journalist, or become a web marketer, the basic access for those roles is by becoming an expert practitioner of your craft. Whatever that may be.

Entrepreneurship is sexy; don't get me wrong this dude looks so good and smoldering in the mirror some days. Put on the flippity flip, this shit is also a whole lotta hard work and there are tons of times where things are not sexy, not one bit. I mean who the fuck thinks a Facebook Ad Group is sexy? I don’t, but I rock that shit.

I find that day in and day out I try to spend more time focusing on the fundamentals of my craft. Whether that's via blogging or advanced advertising techniques, trying to figure out new ways to grow my list or drive traffic to my offers it's always, always in the forefront of my mind. The more skills I master in the pursuit of success for my businesses, the more of a businessman I become. 

A Plan

Once you get your fundamentals in place the next most important thing is to put together a plan. When I say a plan I don't mean something loosely sketched out on the back of a napkin. I mean a serious hard-hitting plan that tells you step-by-step what you intend to accomplish and how you're going to do so.

The thing that makes having a plan so valuable is that as entrepreneurs we’re often willing to jump in line for the bucket brigade and start throwing buckets of water on the fire without necessarily realizing the most valuable place to apply our efforts.  We take Action ya know, so sue us :)

Violent thrashing is great in the early days; it's important to get the ideas out; push the ones that aren't going to survive down to the bottom, let the other one soar! But... there comes a point in time when that will no longer be the best fit for your business. That my friend is the point in time when you turn to your plan. 

A System To Put In Place

Once you've developed a plan it's time to test your hypothesis. There's no easy way around putting a system in to place to produce the best results for your project. Unfortunately, it's a long and tedious process of applying ideas, seeing how they perform and then adjusting. Don't get me wrong there's prosperity on the other side of it, you just have to get in the trenches first.

You'll most likely go through a few iterations of your system before you find something worth trying on a larger scale. Often times we assume that our first hunch is the best hunch but that’s not the case. Don't be afraid to try something and fuck it up and try something else again. The route of perseverance is really the key here.

Applying A Focused Pressure Test

Once you have a system in place it doesn't necessarily mean it's going to stay your system forever; or that It's going to be your system for the time being. The thing about systems that are designed to perform a specific objective is that if they don't perform that objective well enough we fire them. No sympathy.

One of the best ways to find out if your system will actually stand the test is to perform a test at high-pressure. That's right, once you get an idea of how things are going to work, and you know that from the beginning to end it actually transitions through, the next step in your journey is to apply pressure and see how it holds up. #Cringe.

If you can scale the volume of the system that you're trying to test and it performs well in small and large capacity then you've got a winning recipe; now it's time to hit the afterburners.

Scaling Your System

Scaling the system that you've built is where all the real fun comes in because you've already proven your idea is good and you've developed a way to bring it to fruition on a larger scale in a manageable system. The fun comes when we get to apply a greater effort and it compounds, giving greater results. This is where all the hard work pays off.

Now you can take your system and begin to scale it by changing out minor variables to have that system apply to more than one persona or demographic that you've identified as a vertical for your business. Quite simply this is the application of multiplicity across a proven idea that more importantly has proven return as you invest more of your energy.

When the energy you invest in a project starts to return to you in multiples the value of proofing your idea and taking the time to understand your product in the beginning will be obvious. Then, you do it again. And again. And again.....

So, how do you proof your ideas? Leave me a note in the comments below! I'm looking for a few great practitioners profile in the coming weeks.

Until next time.....

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Action vs. Inaction: Two Wrongs Make a Write

To Be or Not To Be

I've always wanted to be a writer. I've struggled with it and what it means to start or not to start; to write. To actually commit and have a purpose in my task. I mean seriously, what am I doing? How do I do it? Until recently all efforts have failed me. 

When I was a young man in middle and high school I can remember my creative writing courses and wanting to have something to say. Feeling like I wanted to tell a really incredible version of what happened inside of my head. Ultimately the ability to communicate or construct any kind of legitimate narrative was something that was elusive. Mostly it flat out escaped me.

Baby Steps

So how does it begin? What I figured out is that it begins with very small steps. With a very small incremental goal that you can put in front of you and then knock off the railing. Also.... it takes PRACTICE! 

I don't know why it's so hard for me to remember that most things take practice to become mildy proficient. Practice has worked time and time again but for some reason I always hold myself to some crazy expectation (read delusion) of being great at whatever new thing I'm doing as soon as I start doing it. Unrealistic, to say the least. 

Action vs. Inaction and the Startup Soirée platform have provided me with an awesome opportunity to write on a regular basis and not take myself too seriously. I mean, I take this so seriously, but I'm not afraid to take a risk now and again; and curse. Thank you for that!

But I Really Wanna

I think what I want most of all is just to be consistent. Make time in my day to commit to something that I feel is beneficial to myself and also for the people that are around me. What I found in the instance of having committed to writing something on a regular basis is that it helps me to understand how I feel about things.

There's a very different part of my brain that works when I'm feeling something versus when I'm thinking. Often the way that I think and the way I feel  are in conflict with each other. Parsing through the different points of view in my mind can be erratic. When I'm forced to construct my thoughts in language it provides a new perspective. 

I'm an emotional person. Sometimes my emotional response to a situation isn't exactly how I feel in the long run. It doesn't negate that response, however it also doesn't mean that it's a balanced perspective either.

What Should I Say

It's tough to figure out your "Voice," as a writer. It isn't as obvious as it seems. Also, it's hilarious how elusive something can be when it's just you. The person you've known the longest. Haha!

I started with the idea of wanting to write for more of an inspirational point of view, not in a cheesy ass way, but in a way that would help to provide an outlet for the positivity that I feel in my heart in lieu of feeling negative. That lasted for a few  articles.

I've also experimented with "How To" articles as I feel like I've learned a lot of technical tasks and I could be helpful in providing insight to how others can accomplish those tasks too. But that also didn't speak directly to my point of view. Directly to the amount of feel I wanted to impart on my writing. So again I search. 

I'm closer now to where I want to be but I still have a long way to go. What I would really like most is to embody in my writing the candor and ease with which I converse with the world. One of the things that I love most of all in life is simple conversations with people that are excited to be having conversations with me. I've always enjoyed people and I think on my better days I'm helpful to others. That's kind of the root of it. 

Where You Going Charlie Brown?

So what's up next? I'm not totally sure! But, I plan on continuing to publish articles. Simply put I just want to keep making more awesome. And try to be more like me.

All of that said.... I wanna know Where are YOU going? Leave me a message in the comment section below. I love hearing about other peoples Action(s) vs Inaction(s)..

See you soon?

Patrick

Follow me on Twitter & Instagram @PatrickRife

 

 

Action vs. Inaction: Letter To Mom (and everyone else, too!)

Breathe In

I'm sitting here watching the color in your face. It's the most wonderful color I've ever seen. You did it mom, you made it through.

You stood up to a challenge so daunting most people would demure from starting. I can't describe my pride. I can't describe my glee. 

Breathe Out

When it comes to personal health, admitting to ourselves what the facts are and what needs to be done is often the most difficult challenge. 

The space between Action and Inaction narrows; ballasted most by the emotions inside. Driven in no small part by our greatest fears. 

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Action Baby, Action!

Recognizing the fulcrum, the point of transition, becomes near impossible. It takes faith and trust, two things I'm lucky you have in abundance Mom. 

Many have chosen not to take their future back. Many lack the courage you embody. You've become my hero all over again. 

Pour One Out

I love you Mom and I can't say it enough. Your impact on me is immeasurable every day and every minute. I’m left feeling a little foolish it’s taken this event to remind me. But I’m okay with that.

Sometimes it takes high stakes to reveal just how rich life is. I for one, am glad to have had the opportunity to have learned this lesson.

Us vs. The World

I urge all of you out there this holiday season to take Action in expressing yourselves. Let the ones who matter know just how important they are every chance you get. Each and every day we act as each others' greatest ambassadors, stewards and caretakers.

Pay attention to the ones around you and lift them up. Take the time to brush them off. Make the effort to let them know. 

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“You're Bill Groundhog Day, Ghostbustin’ Ass Murray!” -Genius Gza

It’s kinda like the Delusion scene in Coffee and Cigarettes with the RZA aka Bobby Digital, GZA the Genius and Bill Murray. Sometimes you just gotta let people know you care.

No matter how ridiculous the situation. Sometimes you just gotta Shout Out Loud! But that's none of my business. (sips tea) See what I did there? 

Stay safe this holiday season friends. I can’t wait to see you all in the New Year. 

Salut,

Patrick

For more Wisdom, Mistletoe and Holiday Cheer                                           Follow Me @PatrickRife on Twitter and Instagram Dear!

Action vs. Inaction: Turn Off the Naysayer

Patrick Rife

fulcrum

[foo l-kruh m, fuhl-]

nounplural fulcrums, fulcra 

1. THE POINT ON WHICH A LEVER RESTS OR IS SUPPORTED AND ON WHICH IT PIVOTS. 

2. A THING THAT PLAYS A CENTRAL OR ESSENTIAL ROLE IN AN ACTIVITY, EVENT, OR SITUATION.

Turn off the Naysayer

Just edit the podcast. "I really need to show my editing chops!" Just edit the podcast. "I have to record the most Incredible voice-over stuff" Just edit the podcast. "I have to write the most compelling questions." Just edit the podcast. "The theme song has to be AMAZEBALLS!" Just edit the podcast. "The theme song has to be AMAZEBALLS!" Just …..

I know, right? Wait. Huh? Here we are again.

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The Fulcrum

I'd allowed a project I was helming to become much bigger than was necessary. This lesson goes to show that sometimes our biggest natural talents; talents we know (or think we know) to be our best, can be the greatest hurdles we have to overcome.

In my pre-business life, I was a fount of musical production. Like Rachmoninoff with a stack of Stooges records. I spent all of my time filling up cassette tapes and mini-discs; later piles of hard-drives with tons of musical compositions. In short, I love making music.

For me creating music and producing audio has always come easily; a gift I don't take for granted. But sometimes you get stuck. Or you get away from your confidence. It becomes easy to forget that feeling. That natural confidence that comes from being so in-tune with your efforts that the lines of division disappear.  

You with me? 

What it is

So what's the deal? I don't know really. You find one thing after another that hangs you up. An excuse to delay. First it's the music. Then it's the process. Then the Intro and Exit tracks. Really it's the approval. I get nervous.

Anyway, I love making music right? And I've said so more than enough around PixilatedHQ. You know, that music is my thing. (in jaded cool guy voice) But….I've never really shared that stuff with my Pixilated family. So, you know, the jitters. Approval jitters.

I recently watched a Ted Talk with Dr. Laura Trice speaking about asking for what we need and not being scared of showing vulnerability in doing so. I thought her POV was eloquent and insightful.

It reminded me of a pact I've made with myself. To use humility as an opportunity to grow when it's easy but also when it's difficult; always. A pact to not be shy about needing to feel the support of those around me; and maybe more so, to not shy away from asking for it.

I'm not brave enough to carry myself that openly out of the gate but I'm going to try. If for nothing more than to place my faith in the taking of action, not inaction.

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Salvation in Entrepreneurship

One of the things that entrepreneurship provides me is the opportunity to change direction any moment I choose; a trait I will fine tune as my businesses begin to grow and prosper.

We pride ourselves on agility, on taking things into our own hands, on persevering regardless the challenges that need be overcome. In short, Temerity. Find that hunch, now turn it up.

See you soon, now get to work.

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Action vs. Inaction: The Beginning

Action vs. Inaction: The Beginning by: Patrick Rife

The Beginning

The place where you begin. Or don’t. The invisible barrier to starting can be so difficult to break through because for many it’s hard to pin down exactly what it means.

Creating a vision from scratch can be a daunting process, but if you put a plan in place and take things one step at a time, anything is possible. 
  
Daydream Believer

I’m a daydreamer, and that means in a large sense that I’ve spent more of my time thinking of hundreds of incredible things I COULD be doing than actually DOING even one of those incredible things.

For whatever reason, it didn't occur to me that I never made it to the next step of asking myself the “how to," you know? 

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Voices Carry

My internal monologue should have gone something like this… “Ok Patrick, this is a wicked good idea (song, painting, concept, business plan, religious cult), what are your next steps to make this thing actually happen?”

Instead it went something more like “Dude! (to self) That song you wrote is SO GOOD! No doubt the great Musician Finder Satellite will hover over your apartment building in Baltimore and see how many great tunes are on your hard-drives! So stoked I don’t actually have to make an effort.” (insert self-inflicted face punch here)

Blame Game

Maybe it was Catholic School, maybe it was my Dad’s fault. Who knows? Who cares? (I’m looking at you Coach) The point is, I definitely had barriers to overcome but once I was willing to actually look at the writing on the wall they weren’t anywhere near as difficult as I made them out to be.

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 Conclusion: Go forth and thrash

The battle is so difficult because it’s a fight we’re waging within. We have to learn to manage doubt and fear; summon forth our internal power, break free of the negative. Take the first step.

The good news is that you have the power to silence the noise. Take your fate in your own hands and create your vision. All you have to do is start. Take action. Take ONE step. You’re getting closer.

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