The Official Blog of Mike Rayburn

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Eat Your Sacred Cows – Change and Innovation Through Reinvention

Here’s a fun hypothetical: Let’s say you and I worked together regularly up until a few years ago, what idiosyncrasies might you know about me? You’d know that…

todothings1. I don’t use guitar effects like reverb and echo.

2. I don’t use techno-gimmicks like powerpoint or video.

3. I don’t enjoy pre-presentation conference calls with clients because I do my homework and I’ll do a great presentation without it.

4. I don’t tailor my presentation because it works for any client as is.

5. I never put the guitar down and just speak; guitar is my brand, man, it’s who I am.

Now, let’s say we decided to work together again today. You would expect the same idiosyncrasies, right?  Wrong. I have changed EVERY ONE of those. It turns out that…

1. My playing is greatly enhanced with the tasteful use of effects.

2. I am an even better communicator with the subtle use of powerpoint, video, and I recently set myself apart by being the only speaker in the world to use hologram.

3. I enjoy and INVITE client conference calls because I love getting to know them, I learn so much, and I do a much more effective presentation with the things I learn.

4. Tailoring my presentation is not only great for my clients, I love it! It makes me stretch and use my art and creativity to provide solutions which my client hadn’t considered.

5.  Putting the guitar down is very powerful. And dynamic. It removes a psychological barrier, it let’s us get personal, and while guitar is integral to my brand, guess what? So is speaking.

Oh, and guess what else you would learn that’s changed? My success, impact (and income). All for the better. 

Success demands flexibility. With the exception of honesty, integrity and excellence – which are non-negotiable – I am open to changing/improving anything about what I do. The way I describe this in my “What If…?” Keynote is, “To do things you’ve never done, you’ve got to start by doing things you’ve never done.” 

We’ve all heard the definition of insanity: “Repeating the same actions in hopes of different results,” right? I won’t kid you, it takes great courage to abandon something that works and risk doing something that might not. However, it’s the only way to get better results.

For what it’s worth I continue to practice this. I debuted two new stories in my keynote yesterday. I used two new guitar pieces and a whole new idea in my TED Talk this past Saturday. You see, a steady diet of sacred cows – reinvention, intentional change – are integral to success.

Yes, the sacred cows worked. But I don’t worship sacred cows, I eat them. And they taste good.

Action Steps… What are your sacred cows? Ask yourself, what if I could no longer do/use that, what would I do?

What is it that makes you good, but keeps you from being great?

What do you know you need to change?

Will you take a chance and make that change? When?

2 Responses

  1. Mike
    Thanks for the kick in the keester! Changing and flexing are hard, scary, & necessary. Oddly enough, I have a sneaking suspicion my company name needs to be changed to give me the latitude to go other places in my mind and platform! Thank you, Oh, Virtuoso! You wise!

  2. You never fail to inspire me, Mike. Thank you so much for sharing this. It’s just what I needed to hear. It’s so easy to get set in our ways. “Comfortable isn’t always compelling” is what I tell my coaching clients about speakers (you’ve seen those comfortable but boring speakers, haven’t you?)…it holds true in our business behaviors, too. Thanks for helping me reach that clarity. You’re the best!

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