It’s 7:38 am.
I’m writing these words into a notebook in the writing room of my Austin, Texas apartment. It’s quiet. The sun is flooding into the north and eastern facing windows of the building’s shared corner office. I’m sitting at a large wooden drafting table that can angle to accommodate one’s creative needs. My earbuds are still in place form the hour of reading and walking I’ve just completed on the treadmill at the gym down the hall.
I’ve reset the timer on my phone’s “binaural” brainwave app from 60 minutes to 40 minutes. The focusing ambient background noise is set to play crashing waves. I cannot hear the sound of my pencil scraping against the paper.
I write every morning after an hour of reading.
I write for at least 25 minutes, usually closer to an hour. My morning ritual of writing longhand has two different outcomes. The first outcome is a note or a letter to someone in my network. The note is used to give gratitude, share ideas, give compassion or just let the person know I’m thinking about them. The second outcome is a rough draft of an article or newsletter for the Asian Efficiency blog.
The notes are stuffed into an envelope and mailed out in their handwritten form. The Asian Efficiency content is scanned into Evernote. A typist I connected with on Fiverr will see the updates to the shared Evernote note and transcribe the words into a shared Google Doc where I will continue to edit and refine my thoughts until they are ready for publication. I do this five days a week. I do this because I’m a lovecat.
What is a Lovecat?
I didn’t realize I was a lovecat until I read a book suggested by a fellow lovecat Than Pham. The book, called Love Is The Killer App, was authored by Silicon Valley executive Tim Sanders in 2005. Tim wrote the book to share a counterintuitive observation he made while working in the supposedly cutthroat world of high tech. He noticed that people who were more likable and generous climbed higher (and faster) in their silicon valley careers. He called these likable, genuine, generous folk lovecats.
The book describes a lovecat as someone who loves people. Lovecats are constantly growing personally to be more valuable and show their love of others through the selfless promotion of their colleagues, business partners, and customers. Lovecats promote and grow others by sharing three things:
- Their knowledge.
- Their network.
- Their compassion.
The Benefits of Being a Lovecat
It is my stance that being a lovecat will not only allow you to be more productive, it will give you more fulfillment in your life and more success in your career.
At Asian Efficiency, we define productivity as consistently taking action on your goals. To be productive, you’ve got to know what your goals are and be constantly taking actions that brings you closer to those stated goals. Your goals should be meeting your physical, social, psychological and material needs in a fairly well rounded manner.
Being a lovecat allows you to easily and systematically create input goals of sharing your knowledge, network, and compassion in a way that will produce outputs that satisfy you socially, psychologically, and financially. Being a lovecat can even bleed over to your physical needs if diet, sleep, wellness and nutrition is the type of knowledge you choose to consume, experiment with, and distribute to your network.
This definition of productivity and the mindset that comes with it is important because, if you are not working toward your own goals, other people will surely solicit you to work toward their vision. The chance of someone else’s vision completely aligning with your strengths or values is extremely low. This misalignment makes life less fulfilling.
So what does freely offering your wisdom, address book, and empathy have to do with your goals?
The lovecat method ties into your goals by making you someone of value. Someone who is distinct in the eyes of others. Someone who elicits good feelings when coming into contact with others. People know you are going to give productive energy to every situation.
The way people feel about you is a major indicator of whether you are likely to achieve your business goals or not. This is true now more than ever because:
- The talent pool and access to international competition is continuing to increase.
- It is easier than ever to avoid working with people you don’t like. (Hint: For employers, think sites like Glassdoor. For employees, think of sites like LinkedIn.)
- Your current skill set (or business) is likely to become less relevant in the coming years. You’ll need to learn from and work with new people in the future if you hope to continue to remain economically relevant.
If you are a lovecat, the above facts about the increasingly interconnected world we live in will not be a problem for you.
If you have a different mental model of the word. One of scarcity. Things will be more difficult. It’s easy to see this when given a real world example.
A lovecat in action…
For the last decade or so, your vocation has become more and more at risk. Business owners can go on sites like Upwork or Fiverr to have their financial data collected and effectively entered at cut rate prices. They can also use tools like Filethis, Zapier or Waves to automate much of the bookkeeping process (as a professional, you can and should be using these automation tools as well).
Are you out of a job? Will you be forced to work for lower and lower wages due to automation and international competition?
If you’ve been growing your business knowledge by reading books like The Ultimate Sales Machine, Work The System, or E Myth Revisited, you can start to solve problems for your clients that they weren’t expecting you to solve. You could become distinct and valuable in their eyes.
Share your knowledge
You hear a client complaining about lower sales. Let your lovecat ways jump into action. Share ideas about education based marketing you read about in The Ultimate Sales Machine that will help solve their sales slump.
You notice that another client is struggling with effectively delegating roles, responsibilities, and tasks in their business. The lovecat in you can’t help but share how most successful companies use documentation tools like the Strategic Objectives, Operating Principles, and Working Procedures to let their staff know the general strategy, business direction, key rules to follow for grey area decision making, and step-by-step instructions for all repeated tasks. Sending your client the instruction manual for creating documentation in their business, a book called Work the System, would take their business and your relationship to the next level.
You could also share that one of the most popular books on small business states that the entrepreneurial myth (E Myth) is that most small businesses fail because the founder is a technician and has a hard time delegating tasks that they are capable of doing. In order to avoid a similar fait, successful business owners need more than just the technical knowledge of how to create a certain product or deliver a certain service. They also need to have the vision of an entrepreneur and the planning and organizing of a manager if they hope to sustain their business in the long run. That kind of enlightenment doesn’t come from automation. It comes form a lovecat.
Share your network
If you are that same bookkeeper and join a business networking club like Business Networking International, you could start to share your network of lawyers, accountants, interior designers and other professionals that could serve and grow the business or personal life of your clients. You are now the bookkeeper that introduced a business owner to:
- Their latest hire.
- Their wife’s massage therapist.
- The lawyer that got them out of that fraudulent lawsuit.
Some anonymous data entry person across the globe is not nearly so tempting. Your business partners want a lovecat that delivers surprise benefits.
Share your compassion
As that same Arizona bookkeeper, a client calls frantically with news that they are being audited by the IRS. Showing compassion and easing the fear your client is feeling is an invaluable experience that will be remembered and appreciated.
You, a competent bookkeeper form Scottsdale, AZ that shares your knowledge, network and compassion on a consistent basis, do not need to fear the competition. In fact, you could likely double your prices and still have people knocking down your door to hire you, because you provide an amazing experience. You give more than you take. People enjoy being around you. You get a sense of fulfillment by serving others. Everybody wins.
Now let’s say you are that same bookkeeper from Scottsdale. But you are not a lovecat.
You don’t take time to read books on a consistent basis. When your clients complain about problems in their field you have no useful solutions to offer or information to point them to.
Or maybe you did read some books, but use the knowledge only to serve your own needs. You feel like if you worry about someone else’s problems you won’t have enough time or energy to address your own. And if you do share your insights, they owe you (financially or otherwise).
You are also more tight with your network. You think that if you share one contact that means they’ve depreciated in value. Or you just don’t take the time to consider that people in your network would benefit by knowing each other.
The non-lovecat should be worried. They provide only the value expected. No more. They are a commodity. When another cheaper alternative to your service appears, people will jump ship just as quickly as changing brands of flour at the grocery store.
A Lovecat is Not a Bellycat
Being a lovecat does not mean you are a person who sacrifices their work to please others. Lovecats still have laser like focus that they apply regularly to their own work and life.
Lovecats are only different in the fact that they are not 100% internally focused.
Lovecats spend a portion of their time and energy trying to help others. Lovecats even help those who cannot return the favor. This external focus is fulfilling. When you are thinking of others your own problems do not seem quite so pervasive. But lovecats are not bellycats. Lovecats don’t rollover to the needs of others in the hopes of a pat of approval. Lovecats focus both inwardly and outwardly. To do this effectively, the best lovecats have systems. Input based goals that they perform consistently.
- Write one thank you card a week.
- Reach out to two loved ones every weekend.
- Read 30 minutes every morning.
- Introduce two people from network every Wednesday.
A Lovecat is Who You Really Are
Deep down, even “lone wolves” have a bit of love cat in them. The lovecat is inner voice wanting to reach out and connect. We humans need each other more than any other animal. The worst form of torture, torture so bad that it is typically labeled as cruel and unusual, is the isolation through solitary confinement. Don’t let your goals, your career, your network, your knowledge suffer in isolation.
Be a Lovecat
Use your natural inclination the help and serve others. Provide a better experience. Be more capable by reading more books. Share what you’ve learned. Connect people in your network. Be compassionate.
If you are anything like me, you get excited by ideas and want to share them with the world. One effective why I have found to extract highlights and notes I have made in my Kindle ebooks is a tool called bookcision. Click here to see a video where I explain how I efficiently get my book highlight and notes out of the cloud and into Evernote in seconds.
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