THE STAR THROWER

Inspired by the writing of Loren Eiseley

There was a knock at the door, a thud of a box and a quick shuffle sound of the Amazon associate ddelivering a package to my home this morning.

When I opened up the package I was greeted with a very warm and beautifully hand written card from my new boss at work. I thought to myself this is so nice considering the team has already done such a nice job welcoming me onboard my new position as leadership training manager at the Home Depot.

You make a difference

As I continued to empty the contents of my package I found another card with a custom pin for me to wear on my apron and on this card was a beautiful starfish story.

I had heard about the story through many colleagues and friends, even my wife the school teacher had told it to me once before however it really moved me once I had the pin and the card in my hand.

You see a few days before receiving this starfish pin, my new boss presented it to me virtually and read me the story, I immediately fell in love with this concept, I had thought of it and performed this in my life many times and said it many times however didn’t know what it meant.

It’s a great reminder in leadership that you do make a difference in some one else’s life, even if you teach thousands and only one success, you made a difference in that persons life.

Here’s the quick story if you’ve never read it.

My StarFish Pin

This principle of making someone’s day is to try and make the day better for the people you’re working with.

If you’re dealing with customers face-to-face this means engaging with them, smiling at them, taking a genuine interest in them, and finding ways to simply add positive morale and value to their day intentionally.

My boss could have simply mailed it and I could have Googled about it but I don’t think it would have had the same effect. He was intentional about this moment, he did it strategically and went out of his way to make my day today.

You see, what that young man’s actions in the starfish story represents something that is special in each and every one of us.

We have all been gifted with the ability
to make a difference. And if we can, like that young man, become aware of that gift, we gain through the strength of our vision the power to
shape the future.

And that is your challenge, that is my challenge. We must each find our starfish. And if we throw our stars wisely and well, I have no questions
that the 21st century is going to be a wonderful place.

Remember…

Vision without action is merely a dream.
Action, without vision just passes the time.
Vision with action can change the world.

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HOW TO STOP STRUGGLING AND GAIN YOUR BALANCE BACK IN BUSINESS AND IN LIFE.

Lately I’ve been getting a lot of questions using the #askzarir so I decided to bring the hash tag ask zarir show back on LinkedIn and you’ll find these posts there once a week, I’m also on iTunes or anywhere you consume podcasts, Spotify is cool too and of course the noisiest of all platforms youtube and Tiktok.

If we’re just meeting welcome, my name is zarir and I’m a master trainer for the worlds largest home improvement retailer in the world where I’m responsible for training our front line sales and leadership associates.

Here’s a question I got from Angelo recently in one of my selling skills classes

Angelo asks, how do you keep from struggling with balance in your life? I just moved my family to a new city, I’ve got a little one and one on the way and just started a new job and I’m really stressed out, any advice ZARIR?

Angelo

I teach that the most important areas in our lives are what keep us in balance. In my initial teaching on balance, I cover four areas:

Emotional Stability
Physical Fitness
Financial Independence
Spiritual Fulfillment

Please note that I weigh them equally and the order listed above does not reflect their order of importance.

Let’s compare this concept to a four-legged stool. I’m sure you’ve had the experience of sitting on one that was out of balance–with one or even two legs shorter than the others. It was uncomfortable, wasn’t it?

😂

It’s the same thing when we’re out of balance. It’s uncomfortable to say the least. The challenge is that we can get used to being out of balance and forget that it’s bad for us. We can linger on that teetering stool too long and it hurts us.

Let’s go over the four areas in a little more depth:

Emotional Stability

This has to do with your ability to cope with life crises, and to be generally happy most of the time. Under this concept are the topics of self-image and self-esteem. When we feel stable or good about ourselves, we will have the courage to face what life hands us.

Physical Fitness

This is a matter of taking care of our bodies so that we don’t become rich and sick. Don’t let work take over your life so much that you stop exercising, that you eat unhealthy foods, or drink too much of anything (coffee, soda, alcohol). If the machine that is your body fails you, you will be able to do little else but work to its limitations. Yes I love coffee and I drink a lot of it, my boys call me a POT HEAD 😂

Drink better ☕️ #MugLife

Financial Independence

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Creating enough wealth to life well without the help of others is important.

Spiritual Fulfillment

This means to believe in something. This is a very personal matter, but an important one to recognize. You see, if what you believe in doesn’t make a difference, it doesn’t make a difference what you believe in.

Learn to recognize your weaknesses in any of these areas. Then set goals for getting back in balance. Ideally, you will achieve success in all four areas and live an enjoyable life!

If you got value out of this please leave a comment, smash that like button and share this with a colleague of friend that needs this, please follow me, it would mean the world to me.

And I’ll see you next week where I’ll be answering another question, this article and video is also available on my other social media channels.

Thank you for reading ✌🏽 😉 ☕️

7 TIPS FOR FIRST TIME LEADERS IN 2021

Many first time managers face significant challenges as they go from a place as someone who “executes” to someone who’s responsible for a team.

Here are some tips to remember if you’re transitioning to a management role for the first time:

This one is hard for a lot of leaders to understand.

Most new managers think that becoming a manager is the “graduation.” Truth is, it’s the reverse.

1. Leaders work for their employees.

That means you have to understand what your employees want at a deep level. You have to be constantly adapting to their needs and what they want from the organization.

For example, one of my employees might want higher pay when he’s 24. But maybe he falls in love at 28 and decides he wants to spend more time with his family. Another might be more interested in a fancy title. Another might want to get access to me and build a relationship. Another might want to go to our state of the art corporate headquarters and work there.

There are a million different variables, and it’s on you as a leader to adjust to reality as it changes.

When you go from being someone who “executes” to someone who’s managing a team, you go from trading on IQ to trading on EQ. You go from doing the actual work to listening to employees, catering to what they want, taking blame, and being the bigger person.

The best managers are actually the best mentors.

2. Lead with empathy and kindness

Empathy and kindness are two massively underrated qualities when it comes to leading a team. They’re not qualities that most people would think makes a good leader, but I believe in them so much.

I genuinely believe that the best leadership qualities are maternal, not paternal. It’s a lot more appropriate and helpful to have a caring, empathetic, understanding personality when you’re a leader than something stern, paternal, or aggressive.

A lot of people overlook the idea that showing emotion is important.

Even if you already think of yourself as an empathetic or kind person, becoming a manager will change how you practically apply that empathy.

A lot of this just comes down to self-esteem. If you’re not secure in yourself, you’re not going to feel as comfortable being kind, positive, and empathetic to other people. It won’t come as natural to build someone up (instead of tear them down). It’s why so many leaders lead with aggressive, mean personalities. Many of them are just insecure on the inside and they project that insecurity on their understudies.

At Many companies today, you can’t lead with ego. They suffocate that out. People who lead with negativity and ego get fired really quickly too from what I’ve seen in business the past 3 decades here in America.

3. To Build Culture, Focus on Coaching and if they don’t shape up, don’t give up on them!

When I hire, I do look for certain qualities.

For example… emotional intelligence matters above everything else. Then, I care about the actual tangible skills candidates have.

It’s not even close. If someone’s a jerk, I won’t hire them – even if their numbers are phenomenal. It’s similar to sports — a team that sticks together will end up beating a team of superstars that were put together for one season (over the long term).

Another big piece of advice I give is hiring people that complement your strengths. If you’re a visionary type of person, hire someone who is obsessed with excel and freaks out if you’re a minute late. Hire someone who loves details.

A lot of leaders get “caught” because they hire friends that are similar to them, but aren’t what they actually need.

But ultimately, to maintain great culture within your team, you have to do one thing:

Focus on getting rid of the cancer by suffocating their negativity with coaching and mentoring. It takes time but it’ll be worth it in the end.

In the early days of my company, I would hire people real easily — but I would fire quickly if and when I realized they weren’t a good fit on my team. It didn’t matter to me how great they were on paper or how talented they were — if they didn’t play well with the other people on the team, they were out.

If you don’t cut that “cancer” out quickly, your team will crumble long term. Nowadays I limit my time with the toxic crabs, my hope is that through my content they’ll succumb to my POV.

4. Being nice is ROI positive

Truth is, you could have the greatest HR tools and software of all time to “monitor” how your employees are doing – but if you don’t actually care about your people at a deep level, you will lose. None of those tools are going to do anything.

As a leader, it’s my job to give my employees 51% of the value in the relationship.

But I’m not Mother Teresa. It’s just practical.

If you’re using negativity as a way to extract value from employees or people on your team, they’ll build resentment towards you and it’ll kill your culture long term.

I want to create a conversation around the practicality of positivity, kindness, and empathy within my organization. I’m not just saying it to be ideological — instilling those characteristics and traits as part of your culture has significant long term impact for your business.

And if there’s ever a debate on what’s good for our employees vs what’s good for our bottom line, she’ll win that debate nine times out of ten.

5. Say “Yes” to Everything

As a leader, I’m very “yes” minded. I say “yes” to virtually everything.

I say “yes” to everything because I look at business as a net-net game.

Let’s say I say “yes” to 12 things, and 7 succeed. On one side, I won 7 times. On the other side, I have to deal with failures — including trying to make up for them because I may have let people down directly or indirectly through those losses.

Even if it breaks down into those two categories, I will still take the 7 wins that resulted from saying “yes” to everything rather than just trying to do 2 or 3 with the goal of “getting them right.”

6. Give Trust Easily

I give trust a lot easier than most CEOs would.

I think it’s just smart. It’s offense.

The reason most people don’t give trust is because they fear losses. They’re afraid of an employee messing up, failing, or creating short term losses in business. But the truth is, at some point, you have to let your kid swim. You have to let your kid swing the bat.

And for me, I’d rather do that sooner than later.

Too many managers put restrictions around their employees, and then lift those restrictions as employees prove themselves. I’d rather give my employees unlimited trust in the beginning, and then slowly take that trust away if and when they do something to lose it. That’s what helps me move fast.

Giving trust also minimizes the risk of micromanagement. When people who are amazing at execution move into a management role, they tend to still be in that “execution” mindset which leads them to be stuck doing other people’s work instead of focusing on managing the team.

But the problem is, most managers are either 1) afraid of short term losses that come with giving trust, or 2) they’re afraid of potentially allowing their understudies to be better than them.

7. Communicate with underperforming employees

There are different types of employees that you’ll have to deal with as a manager — underperforming employees that have strong talent, hardworking employees that aren’t talented, and more.

The way I deal with them is strong communication.

When you have the luxury of being the “judge and the jury” as a manager, the pressure and the onus is on you. If there are employees at VaynerMedia that are highly talented but underperforming, it’s my fault for not creating the infrastructure for them to shine.

Maybe their bosses aren’t “clicking” with them and that’s making them feel demotivated. Maybe they’re just in the wrong department. Maybe we haven’t asked the right questions when it comes to the interests they have.

If you have an employee that’s talented but underperforming, sit down with them in a meeting and ask them:

“Hey Gabriel, I noticed you have talent oozing out of your eyes but you’re not delivering on the hustle – and that’s an important variable here. What am I doing wrong? What’s the company doing wrong? How can we help you succeed?”

Unfortunately, most managers have conversations that go like “Noah, you’re being lazy. Step it up.”

When you’re a leader, you have to put the onus on you. You’re the one creating the rules of the game.

If you don’t like how it’s played, change the rules.

If you got value from this article, it would mean a lot to me if you could share it on Twitter 🙂 #leadership #zarirmerwanji

SELL THE SIZZLE, NOT THE STEAK 🥩

I have no doubt that there are many people who, upon their introduction to me, didn’t like me – whether it was at a conference, or through a video I made online–


Or maybe they liked me and thought “this guy is full of it.” The cynicism around me and my brand is pretty high, and I’m very aware of it.

But I love it.

The reason I love this is because I know that once you look under the hood of this Alfa Romeo, I deliver. You can market your ass off, but if your product sucks, you’re dead. Your steak can sizzle and look crazy appetizing, but if it doesn’t taste any good, your customers aren’t coming back.

In order to build a functional business that can take on a life of its own, your product just has to be real.

You need to spend all of your time and energy on creating something that actually brings value to the people you’re asking for money!I know it sounds obvious, but it’s something I can’t overstate. It’s imperative.

So let’s take a step back and talk about me. I was 30 years old when I began to produce THE ZARIR MERWANJI AUDIO EXPERIENCE episodes. I had already built a very large business in my 20’s and 30’s.

By the time I segued into making videos about business and marketing, I was 45 years old. So as far as a spectator was concerned I came out of nowhere and was all this and all that, but I had already built the businesses to back up everything I said.

One of the reasons I created a personal brand in the last few years was to remind everybody (and myself!) that I actually build businesses.

It is insane to me that people can speak on marketing and business without having even built a business.

I mean I can respect that sometimes the best sports analysts never played the game, but those people tend to have other qualifications like being the son of a head coach who was groomed since birth or some other variable, they are also far and few between.

Do you have any idea how many social media experts were literally selling real-estate four years ago?

Now I’m not going to get dragged into that mess because the truth remains undefeated.

I mean how in the bloody hell does anybody listen to a marketing author if her/his book is a best-seller on its first week when he gets all his friends to buy, and then is ranked 100,000th on Amazon two weeks later?!

Now this is where some people might talk about the whole idea of “Fake it ‘till you make it,” but they’re missing a really important detail that’s right in front of them.

The part of that statement that really matters is that you actually have to make it eventually.

There is no such thing as “Fake it ’till you fake it.”

Even though I think a lot of people behave as though that were the case.

If you read this far, I just wanted to say thank you 🙂

Tweet me @ZarirMerwanji I want to buy you your favorite Kahawa ☕️