Randy Cantrell

Randy Cantrell is the founder of Bula Network, LLC, a boutique coaching company specializing in peer groups to help people leverage the power of others. Visit the website at ThePowerOfOthers.com.

4009 – Magnify What’s Best And Focus On What’s Next (Part 2)

4009 - Magnify What's Best And Focus On What's Next (Part 2)
Go beyond the horizon. See the whole rainbow.

Change The Way You See Others

According to the authors of the book, Change The Way You See Everything, asset-based thinkers learn how to see other people through positive filters. Experience and life teach us to focus on the negative, or to incorporate deficit-based thinking. That’s why we can easily spot the bad traits in each other. And like those pictures with hidden messages, once we see the negative – we can’t avoid seeing it. Like the picture below.

Hidden Words
Can you read the message?

Make opposition matter, advise the authors. Instead of immediately taking a side, assuming the opposing side to be wrong, consider the possibility that both sides may have validity. What new truth can you create together using the opposition as a catalyst for improvement.

Asset-based thinkers foster resolution. Find resolution fast. Tell the truth fast when it involves a tough situation. That’s much smarter (and wiser) than digging into a position and going on the defense. They cite this story.

A marketing executive once told me that whenever a client pushed back on an idea or argued with him, before responding to the verbal attack, he would make eye contact and say to himself, “I love this guy. He’s sharp and bold. I love his conviction.”

People know if we’re with them or against them. Asset-based thinking requires us to work together.

It also requires solid reflection. The book offers an exercise to help us.

1. Select one person you interact with on a regular basis (at least twice a week). Pick somebody you admire and respect. Reflect on recent experiences you have had together.

2. Zero in on what this person did to stimulate rewarding, productive, enlightening, or humorous interactions.

3. Decide when and how you will communicate your asset-based observations to this person. Communicate through voicemail, telephone, or in person – not by email. It lacks emotional intelligence.

4. Repeat this entire process. Only this time, select a person who frustrates or annoys you. No kidding – if you do this step, it will change the way you see a whole host of other people who, at the moment, drive you slightly to moderately crazy.

TIP: If you do this reflection every Friday afternoon, it will help the next week get off to a great start.

Change The Way You See Situations

Asset-based thinking begins in your own mind. Look long. Look wide. Look behind you. Look ahead. Look left. Look right.

The wider the lens, the better the view.”

When tough situations erupt you may lean toward quick reaction. Instead, just breathe. Deeply. Slowly.

We can pause a problem and see it in slow motion if we intentionally slow things down. For those of us who are really proactive, it can be best to ignore the situation in the moment so we give ourselves time to find ways to move past it or around it.

We’d do well to reverse the 80-20 rule. Instead of looking at our problems 80% of the time, and our opportunities 20% of the time…flip it. Focus on opportunities 80% of the time and the challenges only 20% of the time.

So often we concentrate too much on our failings, or limitations. Instead, what if we considered our flaws, shortcomings and limitations as complimentary to our talents, strengths and abilities?

Great vision accompanies asset-based thinking. Engage your imagination and you’ll be able to see the future before it ever happens. Set your goals. Aim high.

This is the recommendation of the authors for widening our lens during everyday adversity.

Step 1

Monitor your first thoughts when you encounter adverse situations such as a traffic jam, missed deadline, or personal disappointment. If your thoughts are argumentative, e.g. “I can’t believe this! What did I do to deserve this? I’ll show them!,” give yourself a chance to widen your lens.

Step 2

Widen your view by asking yourself, “What is troubling me about this situation?” (Be realistic and specific, e.g., “I want to be on time and now I will not arrive on schedule,” or “I was disappointed that he failed to call because I was counting on a dinner date.”) Then ask yourself, “What are my opportunities and possibilities now? e.g., “I can prepare for my meeting while I’m sitting in this traffic and arrive in a good mood,” or “I can call someone else for a night out or find a good book and relax.”

Step 3

Finally, generate action geared toward minimizing the downside of the situation and generate other actions aimed at maximizing the upside of the situation. Ask yourself this open-ended question, “What if I were to…?” (Be creative with our answers: e.g., “…listen to a great audio and rehearse my agenda?” or “…call Bill — I haven’t seen him in ages?”)

As you can see, there’s lots of self-talk involved. You know you’re gonna talk to yourself so you may as well devote your self-talk to asset-based thinking instead of deficit-based thinking.

Here’s a 3-step exercise the authors say will help us widen our lens so we don’t miss out on everyday opportunities.

1. At any given moment, in the privacy of your own mind, asses what is working, what is moving forward, what has opened up, and your progress. Make these observations even if there are all-consuming front-burner issues that are dominating your attention. Use your mind like a split-screen TV — watch how you are handling the immediate issues and note what has facilitated your progress, opportunities that have arisen, and how you have leveraged them.

2. Focus on matters at hand and the context within which you are operating. Ask yourself, “What other opportunities are available? What options have I missed that I could engage and run with?”

3. Look ahead. What is in store for you in the hours to come? Get a glimpse of what you are moving into and how your immediate future will serve you.

The last part of the book are some perforated pages that can convert into cards. They’re wonderful photographs with simple statements or questions on each card. I’ll end by sharing with you the sayings on each card.

– Did you remember to forget perfection?
– Do you know what I admire most about you?
– Pursue progress. It’s a much better use of your assets.
– It’s never too early to appreciate someone’s assets.
– How do you get a great idea to take off?
– Did you know that your assets are showing?
– Let your assets and those of others fuel your passions.
– Wear them proudly. Let others see who you really are.
– Did you know that your energy is contagious?
– How did you do that?
– Your assets take others to the top.
– Your assets are in perfect balance.
– Is what you see exactly what you want to see?
– Have you hugged your assets today?
– Assets always better the view.
– Embrace the wealth of assets around you.

When you change the way you see things, the things you see change.”

The nay-sayers have never tried it. They argue against it. They compel the rest of us to join them in their misery. Too often we let them win. I think it’s time to take back the power of our own thoughts, ideas and perceptions. It’s time to change the way we see everything.


4008 – Magnify What’s Best And Focus On What’s Next (Part 1)

its time to turn the light on

Change How You Think: Asset-Based Thinking vs. Deficit-Based Thinking

Age has brought with it a yearning. For simplicity.

A decade ago I began a fascination with minimalism. I’m a non-practicing minimalist. I love the idea. I just haven’t found the energy to do it. It still captivates me though because it’s simple. Easy. Void of unnecessary stuff. More of a distraction-free way to live.

Persuasion and communication have been central components of my professional life. Personal development, cognitive research and the power of the mind have been staple subjects of the book I’m most drawn to read. Today’s show is a short series of podcasts about a book I’m re-reading, “Change The Way You See Everything.”



Mentioned in today’s episode:

Zen Habits by Leo Babauta
Jim Rohn
Soar With Your Strengths by Donald O. Clifton / Paula Nelson
Change The Way You See Everything Through Asset-Based Thinking by Kathryn D. Cramer, Ph.D and Hank Wasiak
– Mat Kearney song, Closer To Love (“one phone call from our knees”) the video is below; buy anything Mat Kearney produces
Early To Rise
BulaNetwork.com/about (to see some of the WHO’s that matter to me)

4006 – What Does Your Solitude Look Like?

Walking into a stand of pine trees is a favorite place

I no longer live in an area rife with pine trees, but I spent the bigger part of my youth amidst them. For me, there’s nothing like a nice stand of pine trees with needles covering the ground. It’s a natural insolation from the world. The smell. The feel. The serenity.

Sadly, my adulthood solitude hasn’t included pine trees. Mostly, it happens in random places sought out at the spur of a moment. It often happens inside a car. Today’s show was recorded in a car. Parked in a parking lot with windows lowered about 1/4 of the way. The sounds of nearby traffic and a clear blue sky over head.

Sometimes we need to find a place with a lower noise floor so we can think more clearly. Introspection demands a focus we don’t often get in today’s constantly plugged-in environment.

People regularly eat with a fork in one hand and their iPhone in the other. They don’t talk to the people two feet from them, often preferring to interact with people miles away who mean much less to them. Important conversations give way to Words-With-Friends, which is an ironic name implying that valuable words are exchanged with friends. Racket replaces relationships even though relationship building gets tons of lip service. Increasingly, it means connecting with people who can help promote us, or make us look bigger, more successful or more popular.

A moment arrives, perhaps out of the blue, and suddenly the urge hits us. We need an instant change of scenery. We need a quiet place to be alone. Away from the ordinary distractions. Including the Internet. And cell phones.

Alone. With just our thoughts. And perhaps our beliefs and convictions.

To ponder. To wonder. To let our minds help us find solutions or options.

These days I mostly find solitude from inside my car, parked in the exact same location where I recorded a podcast over at BulaNetwork about the death of my best friend, Stanley.

What does your solitude look like?


New Year's Meeting 2013
Me with Easton Cantrell, my 10-month-old grandson in south Alabama
a large stand of pine trees near Dothan, Alabama where I took Easton


4005 – Working Alone, Working Solo

breaking-badBreaking Bad concluded last night. I was captivated initially by the quality of the writing on the show. Throughout the series I’ve read many interviews with the writers. The writing room for that show fascinates me. Six or seven people in a room in Burbank crafting this remarkable story — clearly able to do some things together that none of them would be able to do alone!

When I was young President Kennedy had thrown down the gauntlet to put a man on the moon before the end of the 60’s. NASA accomplished that goal on July 20, 1969 with Apollo 11. Many of those young NASA engineers reported that it was the best work of their lives.

Both Breaking Bad and Apollo missions are a hard act to follow. People commonly report how badly they miss the collaboration. People miss working along side others toward a common goal. Working alone just isn’t the same.

Sometime in the late 1990’s while browsing through a bookstore I noticed a brightly colored book entitled, Working Solo: The Real Guide to Freedom & Financial Success with Your Own Business by Terri Lonier. Prior to that I don’t recall hearing anything about working solo. The term “solopreneur” wouldn’t arrive on the scene until much later.

Then, around 2001 another book caught my eye. Free Agent Nation: How America’s New Independent Workers Are Transforming the Way We Live by Dan Pink gave new meaning, at least to me, to the term “freelancing.”

I was a chief executive at the time, responsible for many people and assets. I was never working alone. Honestly, at that point, the thought never crossed my mind. But these two books prodded the gerbils to start running inside their wheels.

It began like most things – a daydream. A fantasy. A “wouldn’t that be nice?” kind of a thought.

Today’s show consists of my observations about working alone vs. working in collaboration with others.

Also mentioned in today’s show:

Jay Leno’s Garage YouTube channel and Batman’s Tumbler
• BulaNetwork.com – my main hangout | a special episode about my best friend (our collaborations were special)

Thanks for listening,

4004 – I Don’t Know What To Do Next

“I don’t know what to do next.”

Grinding it out. That’s the stuff of success, but it’s not fun or glamorous.

It’s arduous. Lonely. Difficult.

In today’s show I want to talk with you about doing what’s next to take you closer toward the success you’re chasing. It may be that you don’t know what to do, but more often than not – I find people do know what to do next. They simply don’t want to do it. Because it’s hard.

We want the performance. We don’t want the practice.

But without the practice – the hard work of preparation – we never will get to perform. Or our performance will fail.

I hope you’ll embrace the good feeling and sense of accomplishment that comes with grinding it out by doing what’s next!


P.S. Just because…

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