Doug Gray, the Passionate Action guy

Fact:  We all aspire to be a superhero

Fact:  I have written a book with a purple cover called “Passionate Actiuon: 5 Steps to Creating Success in Life and Work” (2007)

Fact:  There is no sex in the book.  Sorry.

So what does it mean to be the Passionate Action guy?

1.  Passions are expressions of strong emotion.  They help us create.  Passions lead to something else.  Think of any relationship– there are passionate impulses at the start, yet relationships are hard to maintain over time.  Think of any business- there is a passionate focus at the start- yet it is hard to maintain most businesses over time.  Sparks start fires.  But they do not maintain fires.

2.  Actions require focused accountability.  Nothing sexy involved.  Daily habits lead to results.  Make your sales.  Focus on delivery.

This is HOW I help my clients make money and serve others.  Call me at 704.895.6479 for details.

My experience is that we create success when 1) luck meets 2) prepared opportunity.

In that formula, the only thing I can control is preparation.  And so I continue, day after day, year after year.  Since 1997.

Success starts with the physical actions.  Like running and yoga stretching.  Like daily calls to prospects.  Like KPIs.

So why wait?  Call me at 704.895.6479 with your story.

Most of us need a little more passionate action in our lives.




Are you a GOMO?

GOMO stands for Going Through the Motions.

Some 70% of workers are dissatisfied with their jobs.

Some 50% of marriages end in divorce.

Some 20% of people make a living doing what they love… Huh?  Yes, it is possible.  Here are two stories.

1.  One of my clients, Matt, co-founded an IT company that provided a unique service.  Over 10 years they were acquired by 3 companies.  Matt was the principal architect of the software.  But he was getting restless.  His young family was not happy in the D.C. metro.  He was tired of being a GOMO.  We had worked together 6 years previously.  So he re-hired me to explore “what’s next?”  He realized that several of the executives on their team were working remotely.  In short, he could live anywhere.  So within 4 months he relocated to Colorado.  And he re-designed how he managed his product development team.  That process occurred in months, not years…

2.  Another client, Allen, had been an HR manager for many years, but he aspired to be a global talent director of a nearby F500 company.  We met at a Vistage International meeting.  Shortly thereafter he realized that he could not imagine staying at his current employer.  He felt trapped.  There was no evident career ladder.  He struggled each day, and hated the fact that he called himself a GOMO.  So we explored options.  He did not want to move.  His divorced wife, and their children, were nearby.  So he designed a virtual talent recruitment program, using former HR colleagues who wanted to work from home.  He built the system and sold services to F500 clients.  In short, he developed and moved into his dream job.

So how about you?  Are you feeling stuck as a GOMO?

If ready to explore what’s next, then call me at 704.895.6479 now.

There is no wisdom in waiting.

What’s Next?

Option 1.  Americans are known throughout the world as a country of optimists.

We were founded as the “New World”, we foster Nobel Prizes and Patents and innovations that imply global leadership for centuries to come.

The defining question is “What’s next?”

  • Consider every political campaign… or product launch… or new business…
  • Consider any Apple product launch, and the fact that Steve Jobs spent 6 weeks (consider that time investment) preparing to announce “what’s next?”
  •  Consider media descriptions, such as the West Wing television series.  Fast action.  Continuous movement– walking between rooms or hallways.  Glib banter.  And after any dramatic moment, that long pause, and the president or chief of staff turns to the exhausted team and asks, “What’s next?”   Perhaps the defining question of that television series.
  • Consider sports.  I played ice hockey in college, so I recall the Wayne Gretsky quote, “I skate to where the puck will be…”  Pick your sport.

In business we focus on “What’s next?”  We make our daily to do lists.  And we choose markets.   And we make calls to those who need our products and services.  We wake each morning with that ancient optimistic faith that we can “Make it a great day.”

Or not.

Option 2.  Some people choose to hide or protect their interests.  They do not reach forward, or look up, to embrace what’s next.  They are fearful.

Wags often state that there are two kinds of people.  Those who think there are two kinds of people.  And those who disagree.

Lately I think there are only options to the “What’s next?” question.

Are you option 1, based on optimism, or option 2, based on fear?

Call me at 704.895.6479 with your answer.


My business failures include…

… the following list.  I urge you to develop a similar list for yourself.

Since 1997 I have been trying, and regularly failing on occasion.

1.  Just in Time Coaching,  JIT Coach, JIT Peer.  For individuals and organizations to quantify the ROI of coaching, and provide enterprise solutions.  Tagline:  “Now that you can hire a plumber or lawyer online, why not hire a coach or consultant just in time?”  In 2009-2010.  Worked with a brilliant software business partner, who developed the software and managed a team of offshore developers.  We created a solution that assessed coaching needs, defined strengths, matched with a qualified coach, scheduled services, delivered in 4 modes (direct, phone, Skype, email), and evaluated services.  Presented to three F500 companies.  No sales.   Now (in 2013) there are at least 2 companies that provide similar services. I learned the importance of defining market needs before investing years of energy into what I may think is “a great idea.”

2.  A digital scavenger hunt app to promote any event or organization.  In 2012-2013.  After creating and delivering 3-5 adventure races and running races each year, for 6 years, I knew something about event management.  Then in April 2012, my 16-year old daughter and I were watching a local mud run, the Spartan Race.  She continually uploaded photos onto Facebook and Snapchat.  And she said, “Daddy you could create a better event than this one.”  So we formed a great team and delivered 4 events in the fall of 2012.  We proved the concept and applied lean technology (build measure learn.)  Armed with a provisional patent, we developed customized scoring software.  These 4 events promoted local businesses and people travelled by foot, or car, or bicycle.  In 2013 I tried to sell this concept to amusement parks, pub crawls, music festivals.  But no sales.  Yet.

3.  4A Coaching.  A subscription based online library for best practices of coaching and consulting.  In 2009 or so.  With a brilliant software business partner, who created the framework.  Populated with hundreds of best practices and ROI data.  No subscribers.  I learned that all the content in the world can be organized into a searchable format.  However, people need to hire me/ coaches like me to help them through the messy process of learning.  Communities drive sales, not just great content.  Coaching can never be commoditized into a library.  Thank God.

4.  Action Learning Apps.  May prove to be a market driven reality some day, but after 18 months of sales and development I could not find a buyer.  One prospect meeting, with two senior partners in the largest law firm in the SE, was promising.  They stated, “We need to cross-sell.  This app and your business development sessions can force us to use our contact management systems and talk with our colleagues in the other silos, such as real estate, finance, or intellectual property.  Then we can be compensated for cross selling.”  Good concept, but not the economic buyers, therefore another failure.

5.  And there are other smaller failures…

The main point:  learning is  a messy process, combined with failures.

I embraced the above examples because I wanted:

  • to leverage digital knowledge
  • to integrate the virtual and physical
  • to expand value to thousands of people
  • to partner with smart people

How about you?

Call me to discuss any of the above, at 704.895.6479.
And write to describe some of your failures, and lessons…

High pay vs. Low pay marketing

Since 1997, I have been delivering value to clients.  That fact means that I market and sell my services every day.  In everything I do and say…

Years ago I coached a new franchisee in the Sandler Sales Program, called President’s Club.  Pat needed to distinguish between high pay and low pay activities, because he is distractible.  (Like most small business owners.)  I helped him increase his business over 300% in 6 months.  He had to do so.  I strongly recommend the President’s Club content.  And I strongly recommend re-visiting the President’s Club content, which is what I did yesterday.

High Pay marketing activities are those that will likely lead to relationships and higher value sales.

  • direct meetings with qualified prospects
  • direct meetings with referred or pre-qualified prospects
  • invited speaking in your area of expertise
  • cause marketing in your area of expertise
  • networking with buying agents
  • invited writing as a credible expert

Low Pay marketing activities are those that will likely lead to transactions and lower value sales.

  • email marketing
  • direct mail marketing
  • interruptive advertising
  • paper and digital advertising
Last week I met a local marketing expert, Shelly, who provided a circular model of marketing services she could offer her clients.  Imagine spinning the Wheel of Fortune with as many colorful options.  I appreciated her ideas, but felt dizzy.
Last week I also met a financial advisor who had been a member of MDRT, the Million Dollar Round Table, for 11 years straight.  He was exhausted. His marketing system required that he deliver seminars to local retirees who needed to invest in his estate planning solutions.  He wanted to know if there was something else he could do that would yield similar high results, but be easier.  I said, “No.  Nothing is simpler.  Thank God.”
He give me a strange  look, and asked, “What do you mean?”
I explained, “If you want great compensation, then you need to provide high value.  The laws of marketing require that.  When we give great value, then and only then we receive great value.  You know that better than most, who dream of being at the MDRT level.   What you need is a regular kick in the ass.”
He agreed and hired me to coach him.
You can too.  Call me at 704.895.6479 now.
So, are you engaged in high pay or low pay marketing?