Monthly Archives: May 2013

success is …

“Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.”
― Andy Rooney

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What does success mean to you?

More money, more fame, or more things.    For many people success means more money, until they realize that there are those with more than they have and that creates uneasiness.  For others it means more fame, being at the top of the class until they realize someone is more famous.  Others desire more material things and while they have much there is someone who has more, and they chase, and chase and chase for more.   Success is often a comparison between what you have and what others have.  There tends to be an unquenchable thirst to do better than the other person, until you realize that someone else will have more of what you want.   Satisfaction never arrives,  and success is hidden.

Look at what success means to you.  When you are successful what will it look like?  Or, will success be a continual journey through life?   Do we reach this place known as success and stop or do we keep going.  Success is merely a series of pauses in which we recognize that we have reached certain objectives.

The opposite of success is failure, or at least is how we define it in the world today.  You get good grades in school or you don’t.  If you don’t then you’ve failed.   It seems that not meeting some standard of measure is not failure, it just means you need to spend more time learning the materials and understanding what was missed the first time around.   The rate of achievement may have not been equal to others, and that begins this sense that we have to compare our results with others around us.   If we don’t master something at the same rate as someone else we end up believing that we aren’t “good enough.”

What would happen if success or failure in terms of comparison were removed and were replaced with growth or change?   Success would be come a measure of growth in our personal lives.  To succeed would mean ability to grow and achieve your personal best.

What would be different in  your life if success was defined as using your growth potential each day to the best of your ability?   How do you think that would impact your education, work, relationships, friends, health and your spiritual identity?   Who would you be able to become?

More about success with Deepak Chopra,

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authentic leadership

“Often misconstrued, authenticity is not about being an open book, revealing every detail of yourself without rhyme or reason. It is simply the act of openly and courageously seeing what needs to be seen, saying what needs to be said, doing what needs to be done, and becoming that which you are intent on being.” ― Scott Edmund Miller

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Authentic leadership realizes and recognizes that people have lives outside of work and are willing to create the opportunity for their workforce to live a balanced life and balance doesn’t mean equal it means the opportunity to separate work from life in a way that one doesn’t feel guilty for taking time off to see their kids dance on a stage.

We live in an age where employers are trying to squeeze more out of their workforce and are getting less.  Even though there is room for people to do more at work they don’t.    Some people are overworked, some are doing boring work and some may totally disengaged. Employee engagement is a key indicator for organizational success and yet many leaders ignore this key aspect as a way to create a high performance organization.

Organizations that have high employee engagement have 21% more productivity. What can leaders  do to increase employee involvement?

Leaders need to learn how to lead their team and organization by:

1. Compelling vision (does it inspire others, creating meaning)

2. Employee input  and participating  (leaders need to listen)

3. A trusting environment (vulnerability, authentic, genuine, transparent)

4. Ensure the values and standards are consistently applied and are known by everyone.

5. People are held accountable for results (someone checks on the results)

6. An environment of excellence and environment.

What kind of work environment are you in?   What type of leadership is used in your organization? When you go to work are you inspired, engaged and happy to go to work?   If you’re not what would need to change?
What motivates you? Will you be surprised?

positivity for greater success

“We all have ability. The difference is how we use it”
— Stevie Wonder

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What would it mean to you to improve your mental outlook?   What would it mean to feel better, have fewer headaches, fewer pains and aches, and less stress?   It is all available to you by changing your thoughts.  Change your thoughts and you change your emotions.   

Your thoughts produce your emotions.   It may take a few minutes to think about that so do just that, think about what that means.  Let’s say something happens outside of your control, like a rock hits your windshield as your driving down the road.  “Smack” … it’s loud, and for a second you may not know what has happened.   The car is still moving forward and you are trying to figure out what has happened.  You brain is in overdrive.  The adrenaline is rushing out through the body.   Flight-Fight-Freeze, which action are you going to take.   Your brain wants you to do something but you don’t know what that something is.    Now you see a crack on the window starting to form … and now you’re wondering what the cause was.  What is it that you are saying?   What words are you using and what thoughts do you have?   The more you think perhaps the angrier you get, or maybe you’re thankful that it wasn’t worse.   You’re thinking about what happened and generating emotions of relief, anger or something different.

What if we thought positive thoughts rather than negative ones, what do you think would happen?  Well, you’d start feeling better.   A bad day could become a great day.  Whatever it is you’re making a conscious choice to feel or be something.

Listen to Barbara Fredrickson explain how to generate positive emotions.

high engagement

“Control leads to compliance; autonomy leads to engagement.”
― Daniel H. Pink

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Do you work in an environment that wants your strengths, talents and abilities?  Do you work where you are expected to do as your are told?

Which work environment would get the most out of you?   The first one or the second one?

What gets you engaged in the work you are doing?

– The work

– The people

– The culture

– The environment

– The purpose and mission of the organization

– The values of the organization

– The perks and benefits

When you have a new idea, how it is received?    Does the culture bring in the voices of the introverts?   Does the culture promote professional development?  Does everyone contribute?   Do non-performers seem to hang around forever?    Are their systems in place to help employees perform at higher levels?    Does the company move quickly or does it take forever to get a new idea or process in place?   Is there a focus on being better?

A great organization is going to help you be successful.  Your part is to make the organization successful through the skills you have.   If the work is boring or isn’t adding value, why would you work there?   If you aren’t using your skills to your best ability then find out how you can make a bigger contribution.

Does the company “reward” employees and celebrate successes?  Are there reviews when things don’t work well to find out how to make things work better? That isn’t a witch hunt, it’s a sincere effort to improve processes and results.  Business growth is based on learning and people learn through experimentation and finding out what doesn’t work (some would call that failure).

What kind of company or organization do you work for?   Is it liberating the best from you on a consistent basis?   Are you growing and being challenged with new work?   What are you bringing to the table, is it your best?

Answer the questions.   Are you working to your full potential?  Do you love what you are doing?   Are you able to do what you love?   What is important to you?

Are you engaged in the work you do?

nothing works until you do

“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.”
― Eric Roth

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People lament the fact that organizations don’t change in the right way.  Personal growth, professional growth, individual habits, weight loss, a better outlook on life, career, or relationships don’t change until you decide you want them to change.   All to often we wait for something else to change in the world to make us feel better.  It is really the other way around.  We have to change to feel better in the world.

There is nothing that will satisfy you or fill you up with happiness or joy unless you are open to letting new things into your life.   It means you may need to make changes in your life in order to experience life the way you would like to experience it.   Want a better career than you have to be the person that is capable of having that better career.

If you are wondering what will make you happy then find out how to make other people happy.  You grow into happiness, happiness doesn’t appear and happen to you, you have to be open to happiness.

It all starts with a change of mindset, a new state of mind.  The question is what will it take for you to make the changes to get more out of your life.   It starts with a goal, your goal, for something better in your life.

Making your life better doesn’t start with something else change it starts with your change, your desire to make a change.   It all starts when you decide that you want to make a change.   There is no treatment, no magic bullet, no amount of “others” asking you to make a change that will cause a change to happen “in” you.   It is a step that you have to make.  It is that first act of courage that says, “I want to make my life better.”    What will it take for you to take a step forward in your life today?

…”yes, but” …

“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked. “Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.” “How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice. “You must be,” said the Cat, or you wouldn’t have come here.” — Lewis Carroll

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What do employees want?   What do you want? Are you working in an organization that is helping you grow to be the best employee ever?  I thought so.   Perhaps you’re wondering why you come into work every day.  You have ideas and you want to see things improve and as soon as you present your idea, you hear , “yes, but …”.   The “but” erased every ounce of that idea and threw it away.   We would “but” we can’t because of X, Y or Z.  That one little but said, “your idea isn’t good enough.”

Employees want their place of work, their manager to exhibit four key characteristics.

1. They want to feel like they belong and they are cared for.

2. They want the ability to grow and advance.

3. They desire feedback and encouragement from their manager’s.

4. They want to know feel like they matter, that they are respected.

Now, most companies would say, yeah, that is what we do.   In reality it is what most companies say they would do.  The daily pressures of performance have driven caring into “we only care about results”.    Maybe you hear, “Our budgets have been cut so we can’t do that.”  What they are saying is that you don’t matter and we don’t want to hear what you have to say. What is it that you hear from those you work for, “yes, but” or “yes, and”?  

The “yes, and” manager is going to be the one who is looking for ways for you to succeed or to provide options for your growth.    

As you go through your workday listen to what is being said.  What do you hear?   What is the typical type of language that is being used?   Are you hearing more “buts” or more “ands”.  

getting over toxic management …

“Resistance is the most toxic force on the planet.”
― Steven Pressfield

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Maybe you’ve worked for someone who sucks the very life out of your soul at work and you dread going into work and performing at the level you want to.   For most people you can’t run from the toxic manager.   Running is often not the option most people have and that is just what they would want to do.    The toxic boss can be overwhelmed with the pressures they are experiencing to not really knowing how to be a leader and understanding the needs of those who work for them.   There are toxic manager’s who believe that their power is at risk unless they bully others and expect people to bow down before them.

There things you can do if you can’t leave the job and do something else.  Some people don’t leave because they fear they’ll find something worse and that may be true.   Let’s look at some ways to make the best of a bad situation.

1. Understand or try to understand the pressures of being a leader or manager.

2. Realize that if there is anger being directed at you it is often an issue with the person with the anger.

3. Have a true confidant you can talk to, therapeutic complaining works as long as it doesn’t drain the person you are talking to.  In other words be careful on how much complaining you do.

4. Meditate as a way to control and manage the stress.

5. Diffuse the anger from a toxic boss, “It is understandable that you’d be upset with _____________”

What have you experienced?  Have you worked with a toxic manager?  What was your approach?   What did you learn?