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Welcome to The Innovative Professional's (TIP's) Letter!
Sunday, October 13, 2002
Written & Published by Philip E. Humbert, PhD
Visit our website at:

Table of Contents:

1. The One-Minute TIP
2. Welcome Notes
3. Where, Exactly, Are You Going?
4. Quotes of the Week
5. Strictly Business:  Who Are Your Customers?  
6. Resources You Can Use
7. Humor: Idiots on Parade 

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1. The One-Minute TIP

Are you sailing in the direction you want to go? Are you
deploying your assets, your time, your energy and your
intelligence to create the life you truly want? If not,
don't blame the conditions. Instead, challenge yourself to
become a more skillful sailor.

2. Welcome Notes

Last week I apparently complained about the fall rains and
darkness, and several folks wrote to say that "negativity"
wasn't like me. I guess for all of us, sometimes our words
don't communicate as clearly as we would like.

Life gives us so many little miracles to celebrate every day.
This morning, the trees are turning color, Cody is watching
the birds and one annoying squirrel play in the trees, and
my French Vanilla coffee is wonderful. These are little
things, I admit, but I also notice that they are free, and
abundant! Make a point to hug someone or send a note, and
celebrate the beauty around you. Why not? Being grateful
can't hurt, and it might help!

I've listed several Resources for Your Success, below,
including free articles and tools for your website. Check
them out, and enjoy!

Finally, I want to welcome 136 new subscribers this week.
I continue to be amazed and grateful for how this thing
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deeply grateful for your recommendations.

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3:  Where, Exactly, Are You Going?

It's often said that, "No wind blows in favor of a ship
without a rudder." No matter what the conditions, a ship
without a skilled crew, proper equipment, and reliable
maps, is doomed. All three elements are essential, and
sailing the "ship of life" works much the same way.

This week, I talked with a man who argued that crashing on
the "rocks" is not his fault. He's a real estate agent,
and he's nearly bankrupt. He blames his failure on the
markets, the banks and economic conditions, but admits he's
made no real effort to adapt to changing conditions. He's
like a Captain sailing into the teeth of a storm because
"that's the route we took last time and it worked out
alright." He's doomed.

Am I being unfair? Perhaps. He's a good person and
deserves better than he has received in life.

At the same time, however, we are each responsible to play
the cards life has dealt us. We are responsible to do what
we can, to develop and use effective strategies. We are
responsible for our actions and, largely, for our results.

We have the tools to live amazing lives. We are wealthy
beyond measure. The world's great books, museums, art,
music, wisdom and resources are at our disposal. There are
people who can teach you anything you wish to learn. You
can move, change jobs, learn new skills, and change your
life. You can do less, or do more. You can go back to
school, make new friends, and add beauty, music and
inspiration to your life.

It has never been easier to create a beautiful sitting
room, read a great book or enjoy a superb wine.
Conversations are as rich, deep and inspiring as we make
them - or as boring, shallow and repetitious as we permit.

Can you transform your life in a day? There is some debate
about that, but my personal answer is, "Not likely." My
experience suggests that most of us won't, and shouldn't,
run away to Paris, or abandon our responsibilities. Most
of us cannot rebuild our lives on a whim.

But, day by day, we CAN move in the direction of our
dreams. We can, day by day, take action to remove the
clutter, frustrations, and annoyances of life. We can
learn from our mistakes and mis-directions. We can clean
up, fix up, and enrich our lives.

Others have, and so can you. One of my inspirations is
Oprah Winfrey. I love that her personal battles have been
so public, and that she never gives up, never quits, and
never loses. In my book, she's a winner.

Another inspiration for me is a guy named Jim H. You've
never heard of him, and few will ever meet him. Jim was
born with several limitations, in part because his mother
drank while she was pregnant. Jim will not likely become
rich, well educated, or famous. But his apartment is
clean, he works hard and takes pride in his life and his
friends, and at age 42, he recently graduated from the 6th
grade. I'm impressed by him, and proud to be his friend.

Jim knows who he is, he has goals, and he uses everything
he has to reach them. I count that as extraordinary

Are you sailing in the direction you want to go? Are you
deploying your assets, your time, your energy and your
intelligence to create the life you truly want? If not,
don't blame the conditions. Instead, challenge yourself to
become a more skillful sailor.

4. Quotes of the Week

" A dream is a wish your heart makes."
                                    -- Annette Funicello

"Every day do something that will inch you closer to a
better tomorrow."
                                    -- Doug Firebaugh

"Life consists not in holding good cards, but in playing
those you hold well."
                                    -- Josh Billings

"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself."
                                    -- George Bernard Shaw

5. Strictly Business:  Who Are Your Customers?

We laugh at the compliment that someone could "even sell
ice in Alaska", but in fact, that is rarely true. No
matter how good the ice, in some markets, it's a tough

In their enthusiasm, entrepreneurs often fail to ask hard
questions about who is going to buy their products, and
whether there are enough customers willing to buy at a
reasonable profit.

Some great products are simply no longer in demand. Buggy
whips and horse blankets come to mind. Other products are
highly prized, but are out of reach for most people -
luxury yachts and private aircraft might be examples.

As a Psychologist, I know how this impacts some of my
colleagues. No one questions that most therapists are
superbly trained, and that many people could benefit from
their skills. The problem is price, availability and
perception of value.

In a society where "talk is cheap", and there continues to
be a bias against counseling, many therapists cannot fill
their practices and making a living. Both the therapists,
and our society, suffer as a result, but from a business
standpoint, the problem is clear.

Not enough customers value the service highly enough to buy
it. Period.

As a business owner or manager, here are four questions you
should ask at least once a year, or every time you review
your business strategies:

1. Who, exactly, are my primary customers?
2. Where are they and how can I reach them?
3. Do they understand and need the benefits I provide?
4. Are there enough of them and will they buy at a price
that permits a profit?

Unless you can answer these questions, the best products
and services in the world will not be enough to make your
business successful. Focus on the customer!

6. Resources You Can Use:

To YOUR Success!
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7. Humor:    Idiots on Parade

Examples of the foolish things even smart people do and say
never cease to make me smile. (Thanks to folks have sent
me similar items, and I'm always relieved when I get to
the end and find that - so far - they aren't quoting me!)

Sighting #1:

I live in a semi-rural area. We recently had a new neighbor
call the township office to request the removal of the Deer
Crossing sign on our road. The reason: too many deer were
being hit by cars and he didn't want them to cross there anymore.

Sighting #2:

My daughter went to a local Taco Bell and ordered a taco.
She asked the person behind the counter for "minimal
lettuce." He said he was sorry, but they only had iceberg.

Sighting #3:

I was at the airport, checking in at the gate when an
airport employee asked, "Has anyone put anything in your
baggage without your knowledge?" To which I replied, "If it
was without my knowledge, how would I know?" He smiled
knowingly and nodded, "That's why we ask."

Sighting #4:

When my wife and I arrived at an automobile dealership to
pick up our car, we were told the keys had been locked in
it. We went to the service department and found a mechanic
working feverishly to unlock the driver's side door. As I
watched from the passenger side, I instinctively tried the
door handle and discovered that it was unlocked. "Hey," I
announced to the technician, "It's open!" To which he
replied, "I know - I already got that side."


Be kind to yourself and to someone else, and have a
wonder-FULL week!

Philip E. Humbert, PhD,
Resources for Success!
President, The Philip E. Humbert Group, Inc.

Shameless Marketing TIP:
Dr Humbert is a professional coach, author and popular
speaker. Ready to achieve more? Imagine what's possible
with a coach! For info and over 250 pages of tips,
tools, humor and resources for your success, visit:

Copyright (c) 2002, all rights reserved.
U.S. Library of Congress ISSN: 1529-059X
You may copy, forward or distribute TIP's if this
copyright notice and full information for contacting
Dr Philip E. Humbert are included. Contact him at: or email

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