Mohini was a regal white tiger who was the first of her species to come to the United States. This being pre-Siegfried and Roy times, her striking snowy white coat with black and dark brown stripes was unlike anything people in the U.S. had ever seen.

And she was feisty beast too. While being presented to President Eisenhower in 1960 she roared and lunged toward him (while in her travel cage) making the President noticeably recoil at her fierce display.

After all the pomp and circumstance, Mohini went to live at the National Zoo in Washington DC. Despite her celebrity status, for many of her years there her home was the old Lion House where she perpetually paced around her 12 by 12 foot cage with iron bars and a cement floor.

Not happy with the conditions their star attraction was relegated to, the National Zoo built a new enclosure for Mohini. This new expansive space resembled a tiger’s native habitat covering several acres filled with hills, vegetation and a large pond for her to swim in.

When the day arrived for Mohini to be released into the enclosure, a large crowd gathered at the zoo expecting to see her happily bound around her new digs. The crowd, however, went home disappointed.

Because upon release into her new habitat Mohini headed straight for a perimeter wall at the edge of the enclosure. And there she remained for most of her life perpetually pacing – eventually wearing down a 12 by 12 foot patch in the grass.

Now if you think this post is about our own limiting beliefs which hold us back… you’re wrong. While that is a battle we all fight, this post is about something even worse.

What is it? I’ll give you some examples using things I’ve heard business owners say recently.

I’m not interested in AdWords cuz my brother-in-law who’s “good with computers” says it doesn’t work.

I see all my competitors on Facebook and Twitter so I guess that means I need to focus my efforts there.

“Everyone” knows direct mail doesn’t work anymore. You should only invest in marketing on the Internet.

So did you guess what’s worse than letting your own limiting beliefs hold you back?

It’s when you let the limiting beliefs of OTHERS box you in and limit what you do to move your business forward.

What assumptions about marketing (or any aspect of your life for that matter) are you making based on the uninformed, untested, or unproven thought patterns of others?

Now I’m not telling you to never listen or follow the lead of others. But when you do, go in with your eyes wide open and make sure they are someone truly worth listening to or following.

I recently heard a highly successful marketer give some advice to a young pup trying to start his first online business… “Imitate, then innovate.”

So yes… if you see someone who is successful (and you KNOW they truly are successful… not just someone blowing hot air up your shorts or trapped by their own biases, lack of knowledge or misery) then by all means study what they’re doing and incorporate as much as you can into your own marketing.

But even if you find those people worth imitating, don’t just stop there. Don’t limit yourself.

Because that’s just a starting point. Once you get some traction based off of imitating them it’s time to INNOVATE. Test new ideas, concepts and strategies to break out and through so you can move on to bigger and better things.

We handicap ourselves enough battling (or being oblivious to) our own limiting beliefs. Don’t let the limiting beliefs of others lock you in an imaginary cage and further limit what you are capable of accomplishing!

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It may sound odd for someone (such as yours truly) who tries very hard to avoid blood, vomit, shots, etc. to find themselves in medical school. But that’s exactly where I found myself about 20 years ago… for ONE day.

Knowing my general squeamishness with most things medical, I knew enough to not actually APPLY to medical school. But I found myself dating (and eventually marrying) someone who did apply to, and attend, medical school. So on one occasion, for reasons I can’t remember (other than being young and in love), I tagged along with her to a special weekend class the med students had to attend.

The professor was a medical ethicist and one topic he lectured about really caught my attention. It was about the difference between treating symptoms vs. addressing the ROOT cause of an illness or injury.  Hearing him talk about it, it seemed like an obvious issue but was not one I had really thought about before his lecture.

The gist of what he said was that many of the treatments doctors prescribe and/or administer do a good job of reducing or eliminating the symptoms a patient is experiencing. However, he said that doctors generally don’t spend enough time with patients to ask the probing questions that would let them dig down to try to uncover and address any underlying issues that may actually be causing the symptoms the patient is experiencing.

An example he gave was treating abdominal pain and cramping or anemia… but not understanding that these symptoms are being caused by lead poisoning. A doctor can offer treatment to lessen the effect of these symptoms, but without uncovering and addressing the lead exposure issue, the patient will keep battling these symptoms.

The ethicist’s point in this lecture was to make the med students aware that, while they are learning about effective treatments for a wide range of medical issues, there may be more going on with a patient than meets the eye.

(And, by the way, this issue is not squarely on the doctor’s shoulders… a health care system that favors speed and profits as well as patients who actively seek a quick fix/magic pill so they don’t have to change their lifestyle certainly are big contributors here.)

That said, I am not sharing this with you to get into a whole discussion about our society and modern day medicine.

The reason I AM sharing this with you is that we often do something very similar in our businesses…

We often make decisions that may temporarily alleviate the symptoms of problems we face but don’t do anything about the underlying causes (often because we don’t see or understand them).

Here are a few examples:

1. A business owner who is constantly running around putting out fire after fire.

You might try to address this issue by working longer hours, hiring someone to help you out or even by cutting corners on some things at work or home to try to give yourself some breathing room.

However, we usually fail to address the underlying cause of our constantly putting out fires in our businesses which is we don’t have systems in place to make things operate more effectively and efficiently. (Which, as I’ve written about before, the fix usually involves creating a set of written, documented procedures.)

2. An employee who doesn’t seem to be pulling their weight.

The easy thing to do is fire them. But maybe the underlying problem is that your company doesn’t have a good training system in place for new employees. Or maybe the problem runs even deeper than that… it could be your hiring process that’s at fault and you hired the wrong person for the job (or the right person that you have doing the wrong job for their skill set).

3. An AdWords campaign (or any marketing campaign, for that matter) that isn’t producing an ROI.

The quick, easy thing to do is pull the plug on the campaign and assume that AdWords doesn’t work. But often the real problem is that your landing page/website/messaging is weak and does not resonate with your prospects. Or you may not have a strong sales system in place and the way you and/or your employees handle incoming leads is to blame because you are unable to close as much business as you should be if you had some proper sales training.

Next time you have a problem in your business, stop and think about what the ROOT cause of it is instead of coming up with a temporary, knee-jerk solution.

Because if you just try to take the quick, band-aid approach that addresses the symptoms, you’ll end up dealing with the same problems over and over again.

However, if you can go a level deeper and pinpoint the root cause of the problem, then you can develop a system that has a much better shot of being an effective long term solution that eliminates the problem once and for all.

Taking that approach may be just what the doctor ordered!

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Even Many Successful Business Owners Don’t Understand These 2 Key Concepts

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A Very Simple – Yet Highly Effective – Landing Page Template

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It’s a horrible problem. An epidemic really. Thousands of businesses have websites that are ill-equipped to get site visitors to do the ONE thing their owners should want more than anything  else – take action! Whether it’s a phone call, Contact Form submission, whitepaper download – most websites are a confusing mess of conflicting pseudo-calls-to-action, irrelevant […]




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