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New Year’s Resolution: Backward Goal Setting

25 Years Ago I Learned A Surefire Goal Setting Method While Serving As A Missionary In Taiwan

25 Years Ago I Learned A Surefire Goal Setting Method While Serving As A Missionary In Taiwan

Believe It Or Not, A Counter-Intuitive Goal Setting Process That Allowed Me To Produce The Best Missionary Results In Taiwan’s History… Can Work For You, Too.

By Rich Harshaw

Note: About once a month, Monopolize Your Marketplace takes a break from marketing advice and focuses on personal development topics. We call this ongoing series “Personal Edge.” Enjoy!

“Those giant white guys on huge bicycles.”

Even though I only stand a modest six feet tall wearing shoes in the United States, when I served two years as a Mormon missionary in Taipei, Taiwan, I was considered a giant. Everyone knew us as those giant white guys that rode huge bicycles around town.

And oh, did we ride around! Mormon missionaries adhere to extremely regimented schedules: Up by 6:30 AM, studying and preparing until 9:30… then out on the streets riding those giant bicycles around to find and teach people about the church until 9:30 PM. Six days a week. With no access to TV, radio, cell phones, internet, music, dating, or any other “normal” nineteen-year-old activities. In terms of learning, growth, confidence, and maturity, nothing beats paying your own way to serve strangers full-time for two years in a foreign country like you do as a Mormon missionary. Nothing else even comes close.

Or stated differently, what were you doing when you were nineteen?
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Country Christmas, 1948

Christmas 1948

When The Jar Broke On The Floor Of Our Bedroom, I Knew We Were Doomed. Santa Was NOT Going To Visit Our House That Night.

The Year Santa Claus Proved He Doesn’t Visit Naughty Children. Or Does He?

Note: About once a month, Monopolize Your Marketplace takes a break from marketing advice and focuses on personal development topics. We call this ongoing series “Personal Edge.” Enjoy!

Last week I told you I was a sucker for Christmas Stories when I shared my first story from 1998 with you, Wise Men Still Seek Him.

When I was a kid, nobody made Christmas as special as my Grandma Harshaw. It was truly magical when my brother and sisters and all of my cousins would get together out in the old country farmhouse and open presents and eat a huge turkey dinner. Much later, when I read my first Christmas story to my family in my own house in 1997, my grandma who loved Christmas was touched to tears. Some of my best Christmas memories included my Grandma Harshaw.

After she passed away in 2010 at age ninety-one, I wrote my second Christmas story—the one you’re about to read now—as a tribute to that special lady and gifted it to my dad and grandfather. Different versions of this story were told almost every Christmas in my family, usually prefaced by “Did you ever hear about the year Santa Claus didn’t come?” It’s a simple story of sin and redemption, as played out in the mind of my dad when he was just five years old back on the family farm in 1948.

When I wrote this story I hired an artist to illustrate it just for fun. I lucked into finding a stellar illustrator named Chad Lewis, who now illustrates every Monopolize Your Marketplace blog posting. When I showed the final copy with all the illustrations to my then-ninety-two-year old grandfather, he went on and on about how the pictures looked just like my grandma used to look when she was young. It was a big hit.

And now I’d like to share this with you. It’s a family story, but one I’m sure just about everyone can relate to. I hope you enjoy it—both story and pictures. If so, feel free to share it with your family.

God Bless you, and Merry Christmas!

Download Country Christmas 1948

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Wise Men Still Seek Him

Santa, Christmas Trees, Wreaths, Presents, And Trees Are Fun… But Did You Know They’re All Symbols Of Something Else?

Santa, Christmas Trees, Wreaths, Presents, And Trees Are Fun… But Did You Know They’re All Symbols Of Something Else?

A Story About The Real True Meaning Of Christmas

By Rich Harshaw

Note: About once a month, Monopolize Your Marketplace takes a break from marketing advice and focuses on personal development topics. We call this ongoing series “Personal Edge.” Enjoy!

I’ve always been a sucker for Christmas stories.

And I’ve always had a big mouth.

During the Christmas season of 1997, these two things intersected to create the story you’re about to read.

While visiting my in-law’s home that year, my mother-in-law read the family several Christmas stories. Most of them were short and fun; some were geared toward children; a few of them were even tear-jerkers.

On one particular night after a particularly edifying story, I surprised myself and the entire family by declaring that I would write a Christmas story of my own to be read at the next year’s Christmas.

When the next October rolled around, I realized I should probably get started on the story. Small problem—I had no ideas. Then I remembered a short poem I had read several years before about Santa Claus lamenting the fact that everyone loved Christmas, but almost nobody knew what any of the symbols of Christmas stood for. Like why green and red are the Christmas colors; why candy canes, bells, bows, and presents are associated with Christmas. Like that.

So I took that idea—explaining the symbols of Christmas—and wrapped it into a story about… wait for it… that’s right… advertising!
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Can A Small Remodeling Company Like Mine Really Participate In Branding?

Think Branding Is Only For Giant Companies That Everyone Already Knows? Think Again.

Think Branding Is Only For Giant Companies That Everyone Already Knows? Think Again.

Yes! In Fact, If You Don’t, You’re Killing Your Future Sales.

Contractor Marketing Quick Tips: Branding

By Rich Harshaw

Note: This article is part of Monopolize Your Marketplace’s ongoing “Marketing Quick Tips” series. This information is not meant to be comprehensive; it’s simply meant to give you some quick ideas on the topic.

When most people think of branding, they think of huge corporations with internationally known brands like Nike, McDonald’s, Apple, Mercedes, and so forth. So the temptation is to assume that to “brand” your company, you have to behave, marketing-wise, like those guys—which includes spending millions of dollars on every kind of advertising and marketing imaginable.

Clearly, dumping millions of dollars on advertising isn’t a viable strategy for most local contractors… but the good news is that you don’t have to behave like a Fortune 500 company to effectively brand your company in the local marketplace. It’s much simpler than you might expect.
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