Thursday January 26, 2017 #860
“I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So, if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening.”
This is one of the hardest lessons for most of us to learn – how to stop talking and truly listen. Even when we’re not talking, we’re often strategizing what to say next vs. really listening. Some of this is due to the speed of life, some is just human nature. Regardless, the quote rings true: we learn almost nothing when we’re talking. So the simple message today is to push back on your normal behavior and intentionally listen, truly listen, and see what you can learn. Everyone knows something you don’t know, has a gift they can share, and has the human need to be heard. By simply listening, you can create lasting value for you and others.
Tuesday January 17, 2017 #859
“One of the main reasons people feel dissatisfaction with their life is because they’re missing it. When we’re not present, we become a little numb.”
It is a little frightening when you add up all the time spent in social media, watching mind-numbing TV, and even doing “work” but the mindless, check-the-box without real thinking work…. How much time are we actually present in what we are doing? Noticing the people and activities around us? Psychologists have shown that much of our dissatisfaction with life and even depression comes from too little real engagement with the world and people around us. The good news is that much of this is in our control. But it takes conscious and intentional action to stay present, aware and engaged. Turn off the mobile phone as you walk to your next meeting and actually notice the people you encounter. Say hello. Ask about their families, their work; ask if they need any help. You will be amazed how this one action opens you up to the possibility of all that is around you but which you rarely notice. This is just the start of a more engaged, present existence. It can make all the difference in building a satisfying life.
Thursday January 12, 2017 #858
“I simply remember my favorite things, and then I don’t feel so bad…”
~Julie Andrews (Mary Poppins)
I hope you used my last JAM to remove some negative inputs into your life and added positive replacements. If you haven’t, I invite you to stop, re-read Tuesday’s JAM, and make these powerful changes to help you achieve your goals for 2017.
If you have done it – great! You’ve made a significant positive step to a better you. However, watch out. There will always be challenges to your intentions. Those negative inputs you intend to stop are likely part of some fairly hard-wired habits that will tug at you to return to your pre-changed comfortable “normal” way of life. It may sound corny, but today’s quote, lyrics from a favorite childhood movie memory for me (and probably you), is something that plays in my head when I need a reminder to focus on my positive inputs – or what I call “my favorite (positive) things”. For me, these include more time with my wife and my family. It also includes reading inspiring books (usually on Kindle), having intellectual discussions/debates on a wide variety of subjects with colleagues and friends, and helping colleagues solve challenges and achieve positive results. What are your favorite (positive) things?
Tuesday January 10, 2017 #857
“Control your inputs. Not just what you eat and drink (though this will have a profound impact), control what you read, what you watch, what you listen to, what notifications you allow on your phone, where you spend your time, who you spend it with. Guard your gates with care.”
Ok… So the New Year has started and you’ve probably unofficially, if not officially, set goals for yourself for improving aspects of your life. These goals are probably around improving all or some of these: your health, your relationships, your financial situation and/or career, and your sense of well-being. And now the hard part begins: starting, actually making progress, and keeping to your intended actions. One thing I have found that has a profound impact on the success of achieving my goals is controlling what I allow in. What I mean by this is well described by today’s quote. It is important to control your inputs: who you spend time with, what you read and watch on TV, the internet, movies, and your social media accounts. If you don’t adjust your inputs from what you allowed in in 2016, don’t be surprised when you struggle to make the changes necessary to meet your goals for 2017. Think about each of your goals and determine to only intentionally let into your consciousness those people, ideas, and experiences that support your goals. It will be different for each of you so I can’t be completely prescriptive, but don’t just limit the “bad” stuff. Also carefully add positive messages, people and experiences to replace the negatives or the things that lead to laziness and lack of action. What should you stop? What should you add? Make a list and start today.
Thursday December 29, 2016 #856
“Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.”
I believe in order to have sustained satisfaction with life and even happiness, we must actively find the positive in our personal and business lives. It is so easy to see the negatives and much harder to see the positive. But find them we must. We choose in every moment to wear the lenses of positive possibility or the lenses of negativity. When we choose to look for the positive, we can always find it. And when we do, we must be thankful for it and be grateful for every positive element we encounter. Each reflection of gratitude makes it easier to find and honor the next. Make it a habit for 2017 to practice intentional reflection on the many positives, large and small, in your personal and professional life. You’ll be glad you did!
Tuesday December 27, 2016 #855
“I had begun to understand that business and life have a lot in common with a hug. The best way to get a good one was first to give one.”
As you enjoy your family and friends this holiday season it is a good time to remember the incredible power of expressions of authentic caring, especially hugs! We all crave human touch and most of us realize the best way to get our fill of hugs is to reach out and give one.
As I think about returning to my business life and the need for authentic relationships to drive sustainable business success, this quote rings true. If you want trust, give trust. If you want authentic relationships, be authentic. And so on… Plan for real and virtual hugs in the New Year!
Thursday December 22, 2016 #854
“The biggest mistake you can make is listening to people who’ve given up on their dreams telling you to give up on yours.”
As you continue to reflect on your accomplishments for 2016 and your New Year goals, it can be easy to get caught up in others’ negativity about their own circumstances and decide that your dreams are too difficult to pursue. There are innumerable examples of people in far worse plights that whatever you may be facing that have found the inner strength and taken advantage of kindnesses of others to take positive steps in their lives. While you may very well be facing an extremely challenging situation, it is likely that your circumstances are more annoying than fatal. The key to move forward toward your dreams is simply to keep moving forward – regardless of challenges and naysayers. A lot of people around you may have given up or lost hope. Don’t let their attitude infect yours. And as you move forward, and express a hopeful and positive outlook, you may just inspire others to do the same who just need to see your example.
Tuesday December 20, 2016 #853
“You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight.”
As you move through mid-December, prepare for the holidays, and prepare for the New Year, it is time to reflect on what has gone well this year, and what areas of your life you want to improve. In this reflection, you may come to realize that something you’ve been aiming for needs to be rethought. It could be a relationship, a professional goal, or something physical or spiritual. It may involve determining a whole new path. It might seem overwhelming to contemplate a different destination or goal. But rather than focusing on reaching the destination, the best way to start a fundamental change is by simply taking a step in the direction of your newly defined destination. Talk about your idea with a close confidant. Gain knowledge by reading on the topic. The important thing is to begin.
Need to change your destination? What can you do today to change your direction?
Thursday December 15, 2016 #852
“You either get bitter or you get better. It’s that simple. You either take what has been dealt to you and allow it to make you a better person, or you allow it to tear you down. The choice does not belong to fate, it belongs to you.”
There are many challenges in this life, personally and professionally. No matter our planning and preparation, we cannot eliminate all or even most of these challenges. As they occur, we have a choice to accept, reflect, and be better for them. Or, we can flail and moan and curse the unfairness of it all. Admittedly, all of us suffer through a bit of the latter from time to time. But, with courage and tenacity and a focus on a better future, we must quickly get through any negative emotions and launch ourselves forward with new skills bought with working through our challenges, and a keen determination to be better for them.
Thursday December 8, 2016 #851
“My mother always told me that as you go through life, no matter what you do, or how you do it, you leave a little footprint, and that’s your legacy.”
The holiday season is here, and soon the end of 2016 and the beginning of a new year. It is time to reflect on the impact your actions have had and are having on the world around you. Yes, you are having an impact! Be it small or large, positive or negative, all we do and say impacts the people we interact with and organizations we are a part of. It is likely that the high speed, ever-changing world we live in has brought out some innate skills and positive behaviors in you, as well as uncovered less positive areas you need to work on. 2017 will only bring more change and ambiguity and to thrive, we must assess our strengths and opportunities and intentionally commit to leveraging our strengths and working on those weak spots which have the potential for becoming strengths. We owe it to our families, our organizations, our communities and most of all ourselves, to get a bit more effective every year. What would you like your footprints to say about your impact going forward?
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