Thursday, July 10, 2014

Passion Party #522 - Ask

I have to let you in on the world's most powerful and neglected secret to success and happiness:
Ask.
 This simple three letter verb requires you to take action, creates momentum and guarantees a result (not always the result you want or expect, but you always get an answer).
But the key to asking is in learning how to ask for what you want.
Here is a summary from Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen's book, The Aladdin Factor:
1) Ask with a positive expectation
2) Assume you can get it
3) Ask someone who can give it to you
4) Vague requests produce vague results.  Be clear and specific in asking.
5) Ask repeatedly.  As the owner of a company that I used to work for said, "The 'yes' is easy. When someone says 'no', that is when we have to go to work."
Today is the last day of our Kickstarter campaign.  We asked, and over 200 people said "yes", and we are now on our way into the studio to record our new album.
And it would not have happened if we did not ask.
http://kck.st/1pHBqzB

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Passion Party #521 - Just Lean Into It

Success often happens when you just lean into it
 when you leave yourself open to opportunities
without a contract or any expectations.
Like the snowball that continues to grow as it rolls downhill,
leaning into it creates momentum.
Momentum is that unseen energy force that brings more opportunity
more resources
more people who can help you on your path as it unfolds.
38 years ago I threw my electric piano and all my belongings into a Dodge van,
and drove to Los Angeles to be a professional musician.
I had no job, no contract
I just leaned into the dream
I did not know then that my real purpose
was to help people with my knowledge, creativity and organizational skills
to build better lives
and that leaning into my dream
would lead me to a successful banking career
8 self-released jazz albums
a published book
and a wonderful wife and family.
You lean into it
You see how it feels
 The journey will take you where you want to go - or even someplace better.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Passion Party #520 - Fail Forward

"You can never learn less; you can only learn more. The reason I know is because I have made so many mistakes."
-Buckminster Fuller

Many people fail to take action because they are afraid to fail.
But if we look at each mistake as a lesson to learn,
then the failure is really just part of the learning process.

Mistakes are just opportunities for learning something new
and if I continue to
fail forward
if I am willing to fail and learn
then success will come eventually.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Passion Party #519 - Do It Now

There is no perfect time to start.
Preparation has its place
and you have prepared enough
the lesson plan
the rough sketches
all of the skill-building and training
Now it is time to get in the game
It is time to learn by doing
If you don't do anything
for fear of doing it wrong
then you will never get it right.
Get into communication with the people you want to serve
learn from the feedback
adjust your course as you travel towards the goal
Just take the next step
do it now

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Deep In The Kickstarter Trenches, Part 5


The Jazz & Blues Revue is now 35 days into our 40-day Kickstarter campaign: Four days left in one of the largest "passion projects" of my life. We just hit $15,891.   It feels like an amazing achievement, but we still have $2,109 to go to meet our goal.  And, since Kickstarter is an "all or nothing" fundraising site, we have to still hit the $18,000 number or it all turns to dust. 
 
Are there moments of panic? Absolutely.  Is there fear and embarrassment?  You bet.  But there is no time to waste on doubt and false evidence that appears real.  It is time for action.
Our project will be ending  on Friday July 11,2014 at 2:00 PM in the afternoon, and I know it will be successful.  Why do I know?  Read these last lessons I learned during the process:

1.    Stay Positive
I am not a big fan of positive affirmations - I think there is a fine line between always being positive and being delusional.   But I think it is important to surround yourself with positive, like-minded individuals, so at times like this listening to Brian Tracy, W. Clement Stone or Jack Canfield can't hurt.  My favorite book to listen to this week is "The Success Principles" by Jack Canfield, the founder of the "Chicken Soup For the Soul" Books. I listen to it while I drive, and I always come home with a new idea to promote our campaign.
2.    It's Time To Delegate
We are the smartest. We are the best.  We are unique.  Only we know how to talk to our fans.  Time is running out - it is time to lose this lie.  A lot of what you do to promote yourself (emails, tweets, Facebook posts) could easily be delegated to a minimum-wage employee with some simple directions.  So what are you waiting for?
What is your highest and best use during the next 5 days? (HINT: It is item #3 on this list).  It is time to hire a friend or a high school or college student to work for minimum wage, sending one last email to everyone in your database that has not donated to the campaign yet.
3.  The 5 Most Likely People
If you are like me, you have been putting off the difficult "fundraising" phone calls.  Time's UP! People want to get on board your project, and they are just waiting for a little nudge from you.  Who are the 5 best/most financially well-off of your fans?  Who's missing from the people that have already gotten on board?  Make a list of the 5 most likely people to donate at a high level to your campaign and then call them first thing in the morning.  The missing money is just waiting for you to ask.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Play Big! -Reprint of Passion Party #18

Bigger is not always better.
Sometimes bigger is just bigger.
Look at GM. Look at Chrysler.
Look at Six Flags - this company grew to be the biggest operator of amusement parks in the US. They declared bankruptcy a couple of weeks ago.

There is a difference between getting big and playing big.
You can buy things to get big -
- Playing big is an internal game.
You can consume things to get big
- Playing big is a state of mind.
You can acquire things to get big.
- Playing big builds on your unique ability.

Today I choose to play big. I was not put on this earth to play small.
Playing small does not serve me or others. I can shine my light, turn on my high beams. I have so much to give!
I love to play big, surrounding myself with people that help pull me up to the next level.
Marianne Williamson said, "And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same".

And if I can't play big here, well it must be time to find a better playground!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Passion Party #518 - Deep In The Kickstarter Trenches

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The Jazz & Blues Revue is now 27 days into our 40-day Kickstarter campaign. Yesterday we crossed the $11,000 mark on our way to the $18,000 goal.  We are 62% funded, and with only 13 days to go the pressure is on. 
My back is aching from too many hours on the Internet, sending emails, posting blogs, sharing in groups.  But I feel a sense of calm.  The events of the last week have made me more certain that we will reach our goal in the next 2 weeks.
Part of actualizing the result is having a complete vision of the final product.  This week I interviewed (and booked) a Grammy-award winning studio in Los Angeles for the recording session, started confirming the musicians and the album art. As they say, "What you think about you talk about, and what you talk about you bring about." The more complete the picture, the easier it is to bring it to reality.
Four weeks in, and more lessons:
1.    Engage - engage - engage
Remember that people are not just buying a product; they are participating in an experience.  Our job is to engage people in the process of creating the project, raising awareness of WHY we are doing what we are doing.  Continuing to write this blog, sending a personal thank you email to each backer, and posting regular updates on Kickstarter are all part of that process.  The most "out of the box" idea: Posting short videos on YouTube, answering people's question about the project (Here is one I posted, answering the question "What ARE you going to do with all this money?"  http://youtu.be/ven1RG2yFak
Next week's video is going to be a visit to the recording studio!
As Captain Pickard on Star Trek says "Make it so - ENGAGE!"
2.    One more time to go wide, and then we have to go deep, and ASK

I had read that when you do a Kickstarter project there is usually a lull in donations in the middle of the campaign, and we have experienced that this last week. Next week is the first of the month, so it is time to send out my monthly newsletter to the whole database - one last blast to remind people to get on board.  After that, with 10 days left it will be time for the final push. This will involve real targeted marketing.

There are people in our database that we know planned to donate, and they have not done it yet.  Some people are waiting until the end, so they can be the "hero" and come to the rescue.  That time is now!
There are people that we know that have the financial capability to donate at a sizable level if they choose to.  Its time to reach out to them, and actually ask them to pledge at one of the higher levels - as an executive producer or to hire the band for a future event they may be planning.  Someone really famous once said, "Ask and it will be given to you", and my Uncle Moe once said, "If you don't ask, you don't get!"
3.    Keep the energy up
We have a new slogan, posted on the refrigerator:
"All I ask of you is to greet each day with a level of exuberance never before witnessed by mankind."

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Passion Party #517 - Jack's Formula for Success

I love simple formulas.

If Einstein can distill the theory of relativity down to
e = mc2,
then I know that the most compicated ideas must have
a root formula that is simple
and easy to comprehend.

Today I was reminded of Jack Canfield's formula for success.
He wrote a nice big book about it which you can spend days reading,
Or you can just remember this simple formula:

It is not the events that happen to you that dictate your life.
If you take ownership of what happens,
if you take responsibility
(in other words, you OWN your response to the events that happen)
then in the long run you control the outcome.

It is the way you RESPOND to EVENTS that creates the OUTCOME.

E + R = O  (Events + Responses = Outcome).


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Horace Silver Dies, 85 years young

One of my heores in Jazz piano, Horace Silver, died today.  He was the source of a lot of my jazz inspiration over the years.
http://www.latimes.com/local/obituaries/la-me-horace-silver-20140619-story.html#page=1
Here is the LA Times OBIT
And here is a sample of his music
https://archive.org/embed/JazzInspirationHoraceSilver

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Passion Party #516 - First With The Head, Then With The Heart


(For Bryce Courtenay)

I have always been a bit of a loner.

I would much rather be on my own creating something than hanging out with a group of friends.
I always wanted to be the leader, as it is easier to keep yourself protected by being out in front.

As a front-runner, I always wanted to win.
Winning is something you work out intellectually.
Emotion clouds the mind,
and is its natural enemy.

In the past this made for loneliness
which often left me aching to share an emotion
but equally afraid that if I did so
I would reveal a weakness that might
later be used against me.

It was years later that I realized that real winning is not just a mental exercise
People connect more with the emotion than the thought process
And I had to create first with the head, and then with the heart.

So this has been the sound of the train that runs through my life
Running down the tracks,
The clickety-clack of the wheels saying
"First with the head, then with the heart,
First with the head, then with the heart..."


http://kck.st/1pHBqzB
http://passionparty09.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Passion Party #515 - Achievement Formula

Why is it
 
that some people succeed and others fail?
There is a simple formula that can  help change
a passing thought into reality.
 
For some a dream is just that,
a wish with no real desire to bring it about
only a "wouldn't it be great if..."
 
Part of it is follow-up
part of it is follow through
part of it is learning the skill
part of it is a burning desire
but the key element to the formula
is the effort one puts into making it happen
once the skill is learned.
 
Achievement = Skill X Effort 

Join me with the Jazz & Blues Revue

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Passion Party #514 - Sharing My Passion

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As you know, I am passionate about playing piano and creating jazz music.

I love sharing my heartfelt talent and love of music with others.

It gives me pleasure to give it, and I know from the response I get, people love receiving this gift.

Now, for the first time in 4 years, I am planning to go back in the studio and release an album with my new group, The Jazz & Blues Revue.  And I can use your help in making this happen.

Releasing a top-quality album of 13 songs, brilliantly performed by the best musicians in Los Angeles, is an expensive venture.  Unlike my previous 7 jazz albums, this time I have decided to use Kickstarter, a "crowd-funding" website. 

I'm looking for “first followers” to get this party started.

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with Kickstarter, it is a website where you pledge money to help get this album completed.  In exchange, you receive a copy of the finished CD, and many other great items, like a visit to the studio or tickets to the CD release party in Hollywood!  

Kickstarter is an "all or nothing" site, so if we do not hit our goal, you get your money back…so, you have nothing to lose, and a lot of good karma  (and some truly terrific music) to gain!

You can pledge any time between now and July 10 by going to http://kck.st/1pHBqzB

Or go to http://kickstarter.com, and search for George Kahn

Your support for this wonderful artistic endeavor is sincerely appreciated!
 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Passion Party #513 - A Sojourn on Earth

We are all visitors here
 
brought here by our parents
and their parents before them
without an owners manual or guidebook.
 
We are the total of our past, our upbringing, our education
and then
we are passing through.
it is a short visit
but I am not in exile,
I are not running from or running to
I am a visitor here
learning the language
finding the things that engage me
 
and then
Sharing my knowledge
Caring for those near me
Loving those around me
until it is time to move on.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Passion Party # 512 - Change What You Think

"Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans."
-John Lennon
 
I may have it all figured out
but then life gets in the way.
Life is filled with adversity
starting from the first day we are pushed from our mother's womb.
 
You cannot change the fact that
you will face adversity
But you can change the beliefs you have
about the adversity.
 
If I believe that life is a school
and every adversity is a lesson to be learned
my life will take a different turn
than if I believe that life is an ongoing struggle
and every adversity brings more difficulty.
 
Its as simple as A + B = C
Adversity + Beliefs = Consequence

Friday, May 2, 2014

Passion Party #511 - Build A Circus Library!

The question I posed was,
"If you had a choice, would you build a circus or a library?"
 
The answer I got was that it is not a simple dichotomy.
Life gives us many options.  Andrew Carnegie built  great libraries, and he also built concert halls.
 
As one friend said,
"Does not Shakespeare, or the Bible for that matter, have strong elements of "the circus" in it?...

The greatest works in our libraries point to an integration of spirit, mind and heart. And the greatest entertainers apprehend the spirituality implicit in the bond of people coming together as one."
 
And another had the best idea:
"I'd build a circus which contains within it's fabric a world class library!!!"