Thursday, August 29, 2019

This Week's Quote and Commentary

The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.

There is some debate over the original source of this quote but that is really not important. What is important is that you understand the underlying message. You need to continually feed your mind new information if you are serious about becoming successful.  It’s really pretty simple - focused, serious people achieve their goals and unfocused people do not.

Reading books, magazine articles, blog posts, etc., exposes you to new ideas. The more you read the more internal knowledge you have to draw from. How can you grow as a person, how you can you get better at your craft, and how can you get better at improving your personal health or the health of your relationships if you do not learn new methods and new ideas.

And please do not try to convince me, or yourself, that you are getting new ideas from watching TV or your phone screen. Sound bites are just not going to feed your mind with many substantive ideas or much new information. We tend to watch shows and read social media posts that confirm what we think we already know (Conformational bias). That is no way to expand your horizons.

Read as much as you can and about as many different topics as you can. The more you read, the more you will begin to connect dots between subjects and that my friend is where the advantage comes from. The more you have exposed your mind to a variety of information, the more able you are to “see” options when confronted with a challenge.

True success comes to those who really want it and are willing to put in the focused time and effort to learn all they can. You will get achieve more in each of the five Success areas as you read and learn more. What you learn (Head) will help you deepen your relationships (Heart), improve your overall well-being (Health), become more productive and valuable to the marketplace (Wealth), and be a wiser philanthropist as you give back (World).  

Books are easy to come by. Libraries are everywhere as are bookstores (brick & mortar or online). Take full advantage of what's right in front of you to help develop yourself to your full potential. You and the world will be a better place for your efforts.   

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Choose Healthy Communication

It’s always your choice as to how you are going to interact with those around you. Your attitude going into a conversation with anyone whether they be a friend, spouse or co-worker greatly determines the outcome. If you go into a conversation expecting an issue, you will most likely find one. Conversely, if you go into a conversation with a positive mindset expecting an enjoyable conversation, you will most likely experience that as well.

There is a lot of focus today concerning emotional intelligence. It has become one of the deciding factors that job applicants are evaluated upon. Successful personal and professional interactions depend quite a lot on the emotional intelligence of the participants. Your ability to read other’s emotions and empathize helps the entire communication process. It is important to understand your emotional state as well. If you are angry about something, even something totally unrelated to the person or subject you’re going to discuss, you are not in a positive frame of mind for a conversation. Your emotional mindset will spill into the conversation, either verbally or non-verbally, which will likely ruin the exchange and possibly damage your relationship.

Even if you need to discuss something negative, such as an employee’s poor performance, you need make sure you are mentally and emotionally prepared. Person to person communication is too important to just wing it. You need to take time to consider what needs to be accomplished, what your emotional state is, as well as the likely emotional state of the other person. How are they likely to react and what will your response be (again, both verbal and non-verbal)? Taking a few minutes to prepare and think the conversation through can make the difference between and positive and a negative exchange. And if you are counseling someone on performance, you need to focus on the behavior and not criticize the person. You need to other party to understand that you are taking time to talk with them because you want then to succeed and grow. They need to know you care before they will begin to listen. Ask them to reiterate what you said. Feedback is the only way to know if you accurately communicated the issue; it is the responsibility of the sender (you) to make sure the receiver (they) heard and understood you correctly. Only after confirmation that your message was received correctly in its entirety can you then move on to discuss changes/solutions for the future.

And don’t think that proper communication is only reserved for the workplace. Emotional intelligence is just as important in personal relationships. You need check in with yourself when you get home before you walk into the house. Are you going to walk through the door with a smile or a scowl on your face? Trust me, the rest of your evening will likely be determined by the first few seconds with your loved ones. If there is something in your personal life, be it with a spouse or child, that you want to discuss, the same guidelines apply. You need to let them know you care, that you want to strengthen your relationship, and that you want to discuss something you feel is important. Again, the focus should be on their behavior or wording and how it made you feel. They need to know first and foremost you love them before they will be the right frame of mind place to listen and discuss.

It may sound cumbersome to stop and think before having a conversation but with a little practice it will become second nature and generally takes just a few seconds. But what a difference in your world and the world of those around you when you take those few seconds and chose to have both healthy and positive communication. 

Thursday, August 22, 2019

This Week's Quote and Commentary

"Never begin the day until it is finished on paper." - Jim Rohn

OK, I’ll admit it: I am a personal notebook and list making type of guy. Before I leave work each day I make a list of what I need to accomplish the following day. In the morning while eating breakfast I make a list of things that popped into my head overnight. Even on the weekend I will keep a work to-do list as well as writing down what I need to accomplish around the house (And I love the satisfaction of scratching items off the list as I get them done).

I see personal development as a journey, and everyone’s journey is going to be different. To develop you have to have a plan. You must look to make a measured amount of progress in a measured amount of time. You cannot call anything a journey if you are not moving forward. Sitting still just doesn’t cut it.

Jim’s basic point is that you need to have a plan of action each day. What do you have to get done today? What are the priorities? Who do you need to call? Who do you need to meet with? What has to get solved today?

I would bet anything that almost everyone reading this blog post has gotten to the end of a very busy day and found themselves wondering what they did. Sure you were busy, but what exactly did you accomplish and was it actually what needed to get done? That’s the point. Beginning each day on paper provides clarity and focus to what is important and serves as a road map to get you back on track throughout your day as your attention gets pulled in different directions.

We all wear multiple hats on the job and at home. The world continues to speed up and we find ourselves often times swimming in a rising sea of information. Your daily list helps center your attention so that you can make sure you are actually moving forward on your journey.

If you are not normally a list maker I strongly suggest that you start making a daily to-do list each morning (or evening if easier). Keep that list with you and refer to it throughout your day. You will be very pleasantly surprised at just how much more productive you will become. Not busier – just more actual productivity, and that my friends is a very good thing.    

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

How to get Everything you want

We all have dreams and desires. And we wonder how to make them all happen. The answer is both simple and straightforward yet at the same time will require work and commitment on your part.

WHAT? How can that be?

Very simply – You can have everything you want as long as you are willing to help everyone around you get what they want first.  Let me repeat that - You can have everything you want as long as you are willing to help everyone around you get what they want first. The more you help others move along their dream paths the more you will find yourself moving along yours.

I know – this may sound counterproductive to you but if your sole focus is mainly on yourself, on just getting what you want, you are going to find the journey much harder, much less fulfilling and in the end unsuccessful. It is actually easier in comparison to focus your efforts and energy on helping those around you.  Think about the old saying “A rising tide raises all ships”. You are one of the ships and as you help all raise their tides, you naturally get lifted up in the process.

Now just because it is easier in comparison, that does not mean it will be easy. You will likely encounter long hard days as well as some sleepless nights as you endeavor to determine the best ways to help those around you. You will need to stretch your mental capabilities. You will need to enhance your leadership and mentoring skills. You will need to build up your stamina (both physical and mental).

Hard work yes, but so rewarding. You will begin seeing those around you thrive and move forward. And over time you will find yourself finding your dreams and desires fulfilled as well. It’s a win-win-win. Everyone you help wins, the world wins due to the ripple effect emanating from you, through the people you touch and then outward from them, and you win because you are growing, changing and becoming the person you were destined to be.

Commit to helping everyone around you to get what they want. Help them achieve their personal greatness and I assure you that you will achieve yours in the process. What a fantastic world we would be living in if everyone would just help lift everyone around them upward. It starts with one person saying yes I will. You can be that person and that change that helps make the world a better place (at least in your corner of it).

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Quote of the week

“Unless you change how you are, you will always have what you've got.” - Jim Rohn

This week's quote is really pretty straightforward and a bit like the old definition of insanity (Doing the same things, the same ways but expected different results).

It makes sense when you think about it. Why would anything change if you do not or are not willing to make any changes. The energy you put out to the world is the same level of energy that comes back. Walk into a room looking down at your feet and not speaking to the people in the room and no one is going to speak to you. But walk into that same room with your head head high, a smile on your face and a warm hello to everyone you meet and you are sure to get hellos in return. Positive energy is infectious.

What ever you want more of in your life - love, happiness, health, wealth, possessions, etc. - is not going to materialize without effort on your part. You have to change how you see the world and how you are interacting with the world around you if you expect outcomes to change.

If you want better relationships and more love you have to be more loving.

If you want an increase in pay at work you have to be willing to learn new skills and be willing to take on more responsibilities. Let your boss know you want to grow. A good boss would be thrilled to hear you want to contribute more and will start to work with you to help you develop the skills you need. (and if your boss isn't interested in discussing your future growth it's time to find another boss).

If you want to be healthier you have to be willing to see a doctor, change your diet, work with a trainer, stop smoking, cut back on drinking etc. Yes, it is a trade-off and it will take time and effort on your part. But change requires your full participation.

There are very few things in life you cannot have - but you have to be willing to change, to commit, to put in the time and effort. Nothing happens overnight, but when you change things will change for you. Time, patience and commitment. Three words to live by and to change by.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

How Bright is your Light?

Your personal energy, your light, is the clearest indication to everyone you meet about how you feel about your life. Are you pumped up or are you just going through the motions? Do you bring energy and light with you wherever you go, or do you enter a room and bring the energy level down?

Life should be exciting and filled with new adventures and opportunities. Don’t start thinking that these are just once in a lifetime opportunities like climbing Mount Everest or diving on the Great Barrier Reef. New adventures and opportunities are all around you. What about that new restaurant that opened in town? What about a project at work that needs a team leader? How about volunteering at a local shelter or at your church, synagogue, or mosque? Assistant coach for a little league or soccer team? The list can go on and on.

The point is that there are a wide variety of opportunities all around you if you just keep your eyes, ears and heart open. And that is where your light comes from. Your light is a product of your head and your heart working together, embracing life and letting others know you care. It shines the brightest when you are engaged in helping others and is the dimmest when your focus is solely on yourself.

So, I ask you one more time, how bright is your light? If you are not bringing light and energy with you, I challenge you to find something you care about and can really sink your heart and mind into. You owe it not only to yourself, but to the world itself, to share your knowledge and your passion. You’ll be happier, you’ll feel more fulfilled, and everyone you encounter will feel the energy and light radiating from within you. 

It’s your life, it’s your light – Make the best and brightest you can each and every day.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Let's examine this Quote of the week

"What you do off the job is the determining factor in how far you will go on the job" – Zig Ziglar

As far as I am concerned this is one of Zig Ziglar’s best quotes. I believe this dates back to 1997 and still holds true today. We all gain experience and skills on the job itself, but you need to both grow and take care of yourself off the job as well to really become a valued resource for your company.

Only by exposing yourself to new ideas, new methods and new philosophies can you hope to increase your abilities and your sphere of influence. Read books, research topics, talk to people in and out of your field, attend seminars, take classes, watch TED talks, etc. There are a myriad of ways to increase your knowledge and open your mind to new possibilities.

In addition to just feeding your mind, you need to make sure to take care of your body and soul as well. Are you eating a truly healthy diet? Is your doctor (please tell me you see a doctor regularly) happy with your weight? How is your cardiovascular health? Do you have an exercise routine that challenges you and helps keep you fit? You need to be strong physically as well as mentally in order to be ready and able to truly excel at work.

Listen to Mr. Ziglar. Make sure you have a plan, and work that plan, for developing your whole self outside of the office. You, your boss, and the rest of the folks you work with will be glad you did.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Would you want to work with you?

Perhaps an odd question, but think about it for a moment. On a day to day basis are you a person that others want to work with? Are you the person people want on the team?

No one works in a vacuum. We all work with a variety of people in a variety of jobs and situations every day. What attitudes are you bringing with you day in and day out?

Let’s consider two different team members: Mary and Rodger.

Mary is energetic, positive and full of life. She is truly excited about what she does and looks forward to getting to work and helping make a difference no matter what has to be done. She is a team player and looks to help everyone she can throughout her day. She thinks before responding and chooses her words thoughtfully.

Rodger takes diligent notes but rarely comments in meetings and answers most questions with as few words as possible. He gets his work done and done well, but is not one to ask if others need help; he expects everyone to pull their own weight. He brings his lunch but avoids the break room in favor of eating alone in his car. He never talks about his weekend plans or anything in his personal life; he is all business all the time.

It would seem obvious that Mary would be a much better coworker, but there are quite a number of Rodgers in the workplace. Hard working and focused, but not that engaged with other team members or, often times, the organization itself. 

Take a step back and examine how you are interacting in your workplace. Are you engaged, outgoing and connected to others on your team, or are you a bit disengaged with your head down focused solely on your specific job tasks. If you are the latter I encourage you to be bold, lift your head up, put a smile on your face and start to engage with others in your workplace. You will find work will get more enjoyable, that people will respond more favorably to you and maybe, just maybe, you’ll get even better at your job, be looked at in a more positive light and even be given more responsibilities. Sounds like a win- win all around to me.