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Do Not limit the View of yourself. Do not despise the conditions of your birth.

As the message on my Change your Thoughts, Change your Life calendar by Dr. Wayne Dyer (based on the Tao te Ching), I knew today would be full of opportunities to expand my horizons.  Along with that came today’s Mountain Goat Software blog post by Mike Cohn on Shifting from Scarcity to Abundance Thinking.

I’ve been lucky in having marketing mentors who believe that the true job of sales is to expand the pie rather than poach other people’s customers.  As an industry we all grow if we can bring new people into the market rather than chasing the same handful of customers.  I had one mentor who banned pie charts in marketing meetings because he felt they were deceptive, they never accounted for enlarging the pie.  He preferred columns or line graphs since they can always move up.

In this age of big data, it’s easy to segment the market and make false assumptions. There are fans who like both Star Wars and Star Trek but will never watch Firefly.  There are new Whovians who will never watch the classic shows and therefore miss a lot of the Capaldi Doctor’s jokes.  However, there are opportunities within the markets to introduce them to new things.  Had I not met Dean O’Gorman, I would probably never have watched The Almighty Johnsons.  

Making assumptions on what people like can be based on false data too.  Right now, my son is suffering a rash of ads for paranormal fiction and urban fantasy because he ordered some school books using my Barnes and Noble account which is tied to the family’s discount card.

What’s worse is when we make false assumptions about ourselves and our abilities or about others.  I love the Henry Ford quote – If you believe you can’t, you’re right.  If you even doubt your ability to succeed, the entire heart and soul will not go into the effort.  Yesterday, there was an NPI article about a female poker player who learned to use other people’s stereotypes against them.  She admits part of her strategy to win the world poker tournament was to act as if she was surprised to be sitting at the table, to play it that she was grateful to be part of the boy’s club.  She had learned playing into the stereotype led the men around her to not take her seriously as a strategist.  Being underestimated can have it’s advantages.

Underestimating your own value can have adverse consequences though especially for women.  When we underestimate our ability, we don’t apply for promotions or better jobs.  We don’t take the classes we need to improve our skills. We work in survival mode instead of reaching out and thriving and growing.  We argue with people who compliment our skills and even worse, we will self sabotage in order to keep our worldview.

So today’s challenge – reach out of the rut and do something different.  Do something that scares you but will help you reach the next rung of your goals.

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