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Thursday, February 16, 2006

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Steve Fossett Provides Success Lessons

By Terry Brock

Did you see the news about what that incredible guy, Steve Fossett did recently? He broke yet another world record by achieving the longest, non-stop flight in aviation history. He not only flew around the world, but went even farther. The 61-year-old flew 26,389.3 miles in his Virgin GlobalFlyer during a journey that lasted 76 hours and 45 minutes.

I wrote about his record-breaking solo flight earlier when he piloted his GlobalFlyer around the world for another record. This 61 year old adventurer continues to teach all of us some valuable lessons about life.

Here are a few of the lessons I’ve gleaned from studying what Steve Fossett did.

Fossett Planned His Trip. It took a huge amount of planning to get just the right equipment (his custom-built Global Flyer was designed to stay airborne as long as possible and was carefully and meticulously crafted to make the trip). He had the right amount of training (Fossett didn’t start flying yesterday!). He also had a strong support crew (Virgin Atlantic and the legendary Richard Branson were behind him financially and with moral support).

Lesson For You and Me: You have to think smart. Bring in the necessary resources that are needed for your own journey. An attitude of “we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it” almost insures that you’re going to fall off the bridge and into the water! You must prepare beforehand by bringing in the right resources to accomplish your task.

Fossett Had a Great Team Around Him. His team of professionals watched everything from the stability of the GlobalFlyer, the weather conditions, Steve’s own health and attitude and a thousand other variables.

Lesson For You and Me. Jim Collins says in his legendary book, “Good to Great” that you have to get the right people on the bus. This means education, moral support and more. Figure out what you need and bring those resources around you. Be very careful about whom you select to be on your team. In some cases, it is a matter of life and death. For business, you have to have the right people for support. Don’t even think about doing it all alone.

Fossett Prepared for Setbacks. While flying over India, Fossett met with turbulence that was so strong he had to seriously consider aborting the mission. He strapped on the emergency parachute and was ready to jump. He made it through but proper preparation prevented poor performance once again.

Lesson For You and Me. You are going to have your own turbulence in life. It is unrealistic to expect to go through any serious venture without some kind of “turbulence.” However, this is where planning your trip comes into play. If you’ve done the right things before (planning for the turbulence, having a parachute “just in case” and knowing the right procedures to follow in the event of excessive turbulence, etc.) you’ll make it just fine. The trick is knowing when to bail and when to stay the course. There are no easy answers here and you have to go through a lot to know what to do and when to do it. It’s called judgment and you gain it from experience.

Fossett Didn’t Rest Much. During the trip Steve Fossett flew solo for those 76 hours. He caught quick 10 minute naps totally about 2 hours to keep going. He did the same thing on previous journeys, like on his solo flight around the world last year. This means he had studied some biology and knew what he could do. He was also so determined that he pushed himself---within reason--- to reach the goal.

Lesson For You and Me: You have to have balance and push yourself. Get the proper medical guidance to know what you can do. But don’t baby yourself! I learned a while back that successful people do what unsuccessful people aren’t willing to do (Thank you Earl Nightingale!). Don’t be stupid and risk your health, of course. Seek competent medical advice and know what you can do. Then push yourself relentlessly to achieve the goals you have. Don’t be lazy and cut yourself slack. Push at the right time and know when to moderate.

Fossett Allocated His Resources Wisely. At the beginning of the trip, an emergency cost Fossett almost 750 pounds of fuel. He also had weather conditions that increased the heat in the cabin to 130 degrees thus changing his plans on water consumption. He had to consume more water just to stay alive.

Lesson For You and Me: Plan to have some extra. Know that you are going to run into emergencies. Plan for these. This is the way things work on this planet. You have to “bring some extra water” for those emergencies. Don’t live on the edge. Build in a safety cushion and know when to use that cushion.

Fossett Adjusted His Goals As Reality Dictated. At the conclusion of the trip, Fossett had to completely change his plan. Think about it--- he had made it all the way around the world---and more. At the end of the journey, his electrical generator went out. He had only 15 minutes left or the trip would have ended in a crash. Fossett made the decision to land at Bournemouth International Airport, in southern England, instead of his planned landing point in nearby Kent. He was still able to successfully beat the world record.

Lesson For You and Me: Reality can shift your plans and you have to be willing, able and ready to change---without loosing site of your overall goal. When Fossett’s generator failed, he had no choice but to find an alternate landing place. However, he still achieved the overall goal of breaking the world record. Know what you ultimately want and be flexible enough to adapt with changing circumstances. By the way, while landing, the GlobalFlyer burst two tires and his windscreen was so clogged with ice that he couldn’t see in front. On top of that, he only had 200 pounds of fuel which would have created yet another emergency. Yes, life is riddled with problems and challenges in the midst of all the adventure. Don’t be surprised by these problems and challenges.

Make your plans to recognize them and have your own alternate plans in place to succeed. Remember that as you have to change, look at the new environment. What can you do to leverage those changes to your advantage? Sure, things are going to be different. When (not if) this happens, examine the new environment and leverage your abilities and strengths with that new reality. Losers expect the world to always be a certain way and refuse to change. They’d rather blame others or circumstances. Winners realize that change is inevitable and their best laid plans will have to be altered as reality changes. Adapt. Be flexible. Learn from obstacles and use those obstacles as stepping stones to propel you father ahead!

Your business is your own GlobalFlyer. Make your plans for your own journey and do it wisely, with professional care and support. Then have that dogged determination to barrel through no matter what.

I wish you your own “world record” in your achievements.

Terry Brock is a marketing coach who helps business owners market more effectively leveraging technology. He shows busy professionals how to squeeze more out of their busy days using the right rules and tools. He can be reached at 407-363-0505, by e-mail at or through his website at

Copyright © 2006, Terry Brock, All Rights Reserved Internationally. No portion may be Business Journals to use in regular publications.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Portable Color Pen Scanner And GPS
Help Mobile Professionals

By Terry L. Brock

You’re a mobile professional. You need to get around a lot and don’t have room for a lot of baggage to carry. Here are a couple of new products that can help you as you’re moving about to be more productive and more competitive.

DocuPen RC800

I love reading and going to the library. Often I’ll find items there that I want to bring home and would love to have a portable scanner. A flat-bed scanner---even a very light one --- is difficult to drag along with a computer. Ugh! The sheet-fed scanners that I love and use often still need to be attached to my laptop.

Enter the DocuPen RC800, the world’s first portable color scanner. I’ve been testing this device for about a month on the road and in seminar presentations. It is pretty amazing at what it will do.

The device measures about 9 inches in length, long enough to scan an 8” swath as you scan regular 8.5” X 11” stationery or 8.5” X 14” legal paper. I’ve used it to scan business cards, magazine articles and even color photographs with success.

However, you have to maintain a steady hand as you scan. You also need to scan on a flat, preferably non-moving surface or the resulting image will be unreadable with lines and distortion.

Recently I discovered another use for this device from my audience members. In a recent presentation after I discussed the benefits of the DocuPen, many of them lit up like flashlights after a power failure when they said they could visit a potential customer who is accepting bids and scan proposals from the competition. Because the DocuPen is lightweight and can be carried in a coat pocket, I guess it can be quite useful in business intelligence gathering! Armed with the right technology, you can be a James Bond type of industrial espionage gatherer!

The DocuPen will hold about 400 business cards of information and about 100 pages of 8.5 X 11 paper. Color requires more storage space than B&W but for scanning just a few quick documents, it is doable. You can add memory modules for an extra charge that provide more capacity for scanning hundreds of pages.

Once you have the documents scanned, you load them into your computer via the provided USB cable. Connect one end to the DocuPen and the other to your laptop computer and you can transfer.

I used this in conjunction with Nuance’s PaperPort, a great piece of software that handles scanned documents.

This is a handy device for a portable professional who needs to quickly scan magazine articles, important documents, business cards and other items while away from the computer. To see a video of this in demonstration go to (that is “ell, jay, ell” in lower case when typing ).

(DocuPen RC800, $299.00,

Locate Where You Are And Where You’re Going

If you travel a lot in rental cars and your own vehicle, you know what it is like to be lost. Ugh! You can be late for appointments, waste precious time and even endanger your safety. Knowing where you are and how to get there quickly is very important for today’s traveling professional.

Recently I tested a new GPS (Global Positioning System) that is now available in the States at a lower-price point than normal. It is the FineDrive 400 from Fine Digital. This device helped me find the location for a meeting (very important for a speaker!) and avoid the frustration of getting lost.

Like other GPS devices, it narrates turn-by-turn directions, shows a map which you can use to zoom in and zoom out and shows areas of interest. I’ve used it in various locations as I maneuvered around San Diego, drove to Ft. Lauderdale and Orlando, Florida. My experience with the unit has been quite good.

It takes a few minutes each time you start your car for the FineDrive 400 to locate where you are. I’ve seen it normally requires about 5 minutes to “find” you. Once it has you on the scope, you see a map of your location and the unit tracks your progress.

I like the ability to zoom in and zoom out for detail. You can see distance for tracking where you should be with small city streets. Rather that driving around hoping that a road leads to another, you pause, zoom out, and can see the bigger picture. Zooming in and zooming out helps in the real world of driving.

You can also plug in various places of interest and types of restaurants. In the video I mention (below) you see how we plugged in a search for the nearest Korean restaurant and the FineDrive 400 was able to locate and plot the path. The unit comes pre-loaded with a detailed map for the US and Canada so in North America, you’re in pretty good shape. Because it is portable, this is a device that is easy to move from one rental car to another.

To see a video of this in more detail go to: and see it in action.

(FineDrive 400, FineDigital, , $499)
Terry Brock is a marketing coach who helps business owners market more effectively leveraging technology. He shows busy professionals how to squeeze more out of their busy days using the right rules and tools. He can be reached at 407-363-0505, by e-mail at or through his website at

Copyright © 2006, Terry Brock, All Rights Reserved Internationally. No portion may be reprinted or used in any way without prior written permission. Permission granted to Business Journals to use in regular publications.