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Archive for the ‘Enthusiasm & Self Confidence’ Category

Before I die I want to…

Saturday, September 15, 2012 3 comments
 
 
Place your “Before I die I want to…” in the comments.
 
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No one is listening to you. Here’s why.

Monday, April 23, 2012 3 comments

“Why aren’t they listening,” you ask? Because they want a message with purpose; something they can believe in, remember and take action on. So how do you do that?

Start by Generating a Message with Purpose

First your message must have purpose. Are you talking just to fill time or is what you have to say really going to be of importance to your audience? Be sure to consider your audience and determine if what you are about to discuss with them is really going to matter. Once you have done this it is easy to know the direction of your next steps.

“To talk or not to talk – be sure to ask the question!”

Getting their Attention

Once you have decided that your message is important enough to move forward with; how do you do it? How do you get your audience to listen? Start with something to get their attention. A riveting statement, a perplexing question, an amazing fact, a brief story; anything that will turn their head and bend their ear in your direction, just make it relevant and make it something you can circle back to in the end.

Developing your Message

Know your audience and keep your message in context. Now that you have their attention; will they understand?

Tailor your message to the level of your audience.

If you are talking to a group of children, then make it simple and easy to comprehend. If you are speaking with a group of specialists, use their language and terms they familiar with. So what is your message? What is it you want to say? What do you want them to gain from your message? Think about these points.

Include content pertinent to the idea you are trying to convey.

Create an outline formatted to help you step your audience through the message in a logical process. Point A leads to point B which leads to point C and so on. Now you have your message laid out; is it clear and easy to understand? Take a second look, take some time away and come back to it with a fresh mind and maybe even do a dry run with a peer asking them to give you some critical feedback. What’s your back-up plan? Always have Plan B in your back pocket. Get down to the brass tacks. If you had to cut your 30 minute presentation down to 10 minutes or less, what would you say? You know your speech, you know the message you want to convey and you know the key points you need to drive home with your audience. So if the unforseen happens and now you only have 10 minutes to get your message across be sure to hit on those key points. If you are compelling with the key points, your audience will come back to you for more.

Delivering your Message

Ok, you have your message ready to go. How do you get them to believe in your message? How do you get them to remember? First, you MUST exude confidence! If you don’t believe in what you are saying, why should they? Look at them in the eyes when you talk to them it builds trust with the audience and will reinforce your believability. When you talk, use clear and concise sentences; speak clearly and avoid being monotone. Keep them engaged. Whether you are delivering a speech or giving a sales pitch you can keep your audience engaged by asking questions and taking time for dramatic pauses. Ask them to visualize what you are saying, it helps with recall. Use repetition, the more you repeat it, the more likely they are to remember it. Use repetition; the more you repeat it, the more likely they are to remember it. Be passionate about the message. Deliver your vision, make it their vision, get them on board and compel them to act. When you are finished, ask yourself: Do they agree with it? Is it something they will put into action?

I get it, I agree with it, I think I can do it, I’m willing to try it.” – Jeffrey Gitomer

Circle Back

Bring it full circle. You started out with something to get their attention. A riveting statement, a perplexing question, an amazing fact or a brief story; now it’s time to get back to that statement or question. This will bring relevance to that statement which got them to listen in the first place. It will help them to understand your opening statement really does relate back to the end result. Bottomline: Prepare. Be confident, clear and compelling.

What are some of your secrets to delivering a message successfully?
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“That’s Impossible!”

Tuesday, March 9, 2010 Leave a comment

(Photo: Richard.Asia)

You can’t get what you want and still make everyone happy. . . can you? Yes, it is possible! I have always been a person to find a way to get things done, a method of accomplishing the goals I wish to achieve. Maybe it started in childhood when my mother said, “no,” so I went to my father asking the same question. I can’t tell you how many times I heard the line, “What did your mother say?” Lesson learned; if it doesn’t work the first time–take a different approach. Preparation

“Start out with an ideal and end up with a deal.” – Karl Albrecht

  • First you have to know exactly what you want, define it and determine acceptable variations–this will keep you focused and on track.
  • Prepare carefully and research all aspects of the deal. This will ensure you are fully prepared for any counters you may incur.
  • Negotiation is nothing personal so don’t make it a personal attack on the other party. And don’t take the other party’s actions as a personal attack upon yourself.
  • Look at the situation from the perspective of the other party and show compassion toward their situation.

Discussions

“If you can’t go around it, over it, or through it, you had better negotiate with it.” – Ashleigh Brilliant

  • Listen to the needs of the other party.
  • Be persistent.
  • Don’t expect to “win” the first time. Your first job is just to start the other person thinking.
  • Work through the terms, discussing multiple resolutions.
Can you accomplish your objectives without compromising your values? Yes!

  • Give a little to allow the other party to feel as if they gained some ground.
  • Admit, when appropriate, the validity of the other party’s arguments.
  • Avoid ultimatums and other forms of non-negotiable demands.
  • You must be fully prepared to lose a great deal in order to make a great deal.

Resolution

“The first principle of contract negotiation is don’t remind them of what you did in the past; tell them what you’re going to do in the future.” – Stan Musial

  • Work together with the other party for a common resolution.
  • Don’t be selfish; try to base a solution incorporating the needs of the other party.
  • Negotiation is always best if both parties are happy and you can develop a win-win outcome.
  • Put your bargain in terms of his or her needs, advantages, and benefits.
  • Define and set a timeline for the transaction to take place.

Negotiation can bear a negative association so be sure to take the time to fully understand the situation, be a good listener, work to develop win-win resolution and never compromise your values. So dream the impossible dream, achieve your goals and gain a new confidence in life to go out and take the world by storm!

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What I’ve learned from playing with LEGO®

Tuesday, February 16, 2010 2 comments

(Photo: Legospective, originally uploaded by Guillermо.)

There I was, a young child, sitting in the middle of the floor in my parent’s living room with my box of LEGO® bricks, each in their own compartment sorted by color. My options were endless; with LEGO® I could be anyone, go anywhere and do anything. Now thirty odd years later in my own living room I relive those memories, sitting on the floor with my sons, toiling with them as they build their own LEGO® dreams.

As indirect as it may seem, I learned much from playing with my LEGO® building bricks. Many of those same lessons my sons will learn too.

1. Organization

“Organize your life around your dreams – and watch them come true.”

To this day, I am particularly organized; including lists, calendars, general tidiness and yes – color coding! Did it all start there so many years ago placing each color LEGO® into it’s own pile making sure none of the blue were mixed in with the red? Who knows, but I do know every day when it was time to clean up, each piece went back into its own color coded compartment ensuring the next time I brought them out, no sorting would be needed.

2. Following Instructions

I don’t remember them when I was a kid, but in today’s LEGO® sets there are step-by-step instructions of how to put together each item in the set. The coolest creations are made easy following along with page after page of pictures stepping you through the construction. Maybe it stifles the creativity a bit, but what it does is teach you how you can accomplish your tasks by following along with the directions. Not bad lessons to learn as you are starting out in life.

“Discoveries are often made by not following instructions, by going off the main road, by trying the untried.” – Frank Tyger

3. Creativity

“Creativity is the power to connect the seemingly unconnected.” – William Plomer

Once you get past the instructions and let your creativity flow, the options are infinite. With the LEGO® bricks in hand you can build whatever you want; there are no limits. When you build a straight up tower of bricks, it can be a rocket ship or a tall building or a sword, your imagination is your own limitation. Let your mind be your guide as you steer toward your life’s destiny.

4. Patience

“Patience is the companion of wisdom.” – Saint Augustine

Building with LEGO® bricks is a slow progression. It can be a grueling process, but it is a lesson in the value of patience. And patience is a virtue teaching you self control and restraint.

5. Attention to Detail

“In the successful organization, no detail is too small to escape close attention.” – Lou Holtz

Piece by piece you labor to advance your work of genius; each part needing to be in the right spot in order to achieve your desired outcome. I watch as my son studies in detail the pictures on the box, carefully calculating the placement and adjacencies needed in order to build his next LEGO® project. I recall similar analysis myself at a young age and to this day you can find me sitting down with a pad of paper and pencil to layout the design of my next project.

6. Adapt to the Situation

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. – George Bernard Shaw

One day you can build an airplane and the next day, with those same LEGO® bricks, you can build a skyscraper. If you find yourself a few LEGO® pieces short for your intended project you can modify your results by using another color, a different piece or scaling down your design. The possibilities are never ending. In life everything will not happen as we intended, we need to be able to revise our plans when necessary and go with the flow.

7. Any Mistake Can Be Fixed

“Ok, I can fix this” – My son upon breaking one of his LEGO® creations.

My son enters my office to showcase his latest LEGO® construction. As he extends his arms to present me with his creation as it breaks into two. There were no tears, no grumblings of anger, none of the negativity you might expect when something you worked so hard to build falls apart. On the contrary the first words out of his mouth were, “Ok, I can fix this.” We can all learn a lesson from this type of can do attitude, knowing no matter how awful circumstances may seem our problems can be repaired with a little ingenuity.

8. Problem Solving

“Any problem can be solved with a little ingenuity.” – MacGyver

One of the greatest characteristics I developed playing with LEGO® is the ability to know I could use my mind to remedy any situation. No challenge was too great; I would always be able to determine a method for success. It may not have been my original intended approach, but I knew there was always a path to my final destination.

9. You Can Build the Impossible Dream

“Without dreams, there is no reality!” – Luis B. Couto

Dreams are the means to a desired end. With LEGO® bricks you can capture those ideas, you can construct your vision no matter how large an obstacle it may seem. The same applies to your life; never accept that something cannot be accomplished – despite the barriers to can realize your dreams.

10. Never Give Up

“Never, never, never, never give up.” – Winston Churchill

Sure there are times when you want to throw your hands up in defeat, I did it myself and I see it from my sons as they construct a LEGO® projects, but the answer is to never give up. Determination is a key factor in life; if you endure the journey keeping the vision alive you will see some of the greatest accomplishments achieved you never thought would happen.

11. Teamwork

“The nice thing about teamwork is that you always have others on your side” – Margaret Carty

We can all use a little help now and again, my sons will periodically come up to us for assistance with their LEGO® creations needing my wife or me to snap a piece or two together. Sometimes we can all use a little guidance to get us through a tough spot and it is good to know you have others to rely on. There is no need to go through a difficult situation alone; the insights from others can often be inspiring as they allow us to see circumstances from perspectives outside of our own architecture.

12. Celebrate your Achievements

“The virtue of achievement is victory over oneself. Those who know this can never know defeat.” – A.J. Cronin

Finally, you have worked so hard to carry out your objective don’t let your labors go unnoticed. Boast your accomplishments with humility and place your LEGO® creation up on the shelf for all to see. The same policy is relevant in later life; use tact, but be proud of your accomplishments.

Those are just a few of the lessons I learned from play with LEGO®; I’m sure there are many more. Who knew back in 1934, when a carpenter turned, wooden toy maker, Ole Kirk Christiansen, took the first two letters of the Danish words LEG GODT, meaning “play well,” and put them together; the concept later developed by LEGO® would expand into a global staple of childhood toys shaping the minds, visions and futures of children into adulthood.

“Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” W. Clement Stone

What other life lessons have you carried into adulthood based on your childhood experiences?

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Betrayed in the Fourth Grade

Wednesday, February 3, 2010 1 comment

(Photo: hayitstayler)

It was a begrudging incident the day we voted for fourth grade class officers I remember it well…

The year was 1984; incumbent President Ronald Reagan and former Vice President Walter Mondale were vying for our nation’s top spot. As a practice in politics my fourth grade teacher opened the door for us to campaign as class officers. My chosen position – Class Secretary. My opponent – a cute, kind hearted girl I had befriended since pre-school. We campaigned through the classroom working to secure the votes of our classmates. Election Day arrived and each member of the class cast their votes for President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer. Once the ballots were tallied the officers were announced, but wait there was a tie. As it turns out the votes were split 50/50 for the position of Class Secretary. With neither candidate willing to concede the teacher called for a revote. Prior to casting the second round of ballots my opponent the sweet, kind, girl I had known for the majority of my life, who I sat next to in class, leaned over to me and offered an olive branch, “If you vote for me, I will vote for you.” Wow, such a kind offer, a show of support for true friendship by supporting one another, no matter which of us wins we’d know this election, would not come between us.

The second round of voting commenced, the teacher counted the ballots and this time there was a clear winner. The announcement was made, “The winner, by the change of a single vote is…,” we’ll just say, it wasn’t me. Disappointed by the loss, I vowed to go on supporting my friend who I had shared a keen friendship with for so many years. But wait, this just in! Word had spread through the classroom newswire, the vote that tipped the scales in her advantage, was….her own! My long time friend had broken our pact, tricked me and voted for herself. My feeling was that of devastation. How could someone do such a thing? How could my life long friend deceive me? The anguish of this event hit me hard, it was this day I learned an early lesson in life. The lesson of BETRAYAL!

Betrayal can strike us hard, obviously – for me to refer back to this incident from more than 25 years ago. It is a life lesson most of us learn at some point along our path, but not one we easily forget.

Once trust is broken, can it ever be repaired? Sure, but it is not going to happen overnight and it is not going to come easily. Trust can take years to rebuild it is something you have to believe in and work hard at.

What is betrayal?

Betrayal is the breaking or violation of a presumptive social contract, trust, or confidence that produces moral and psychological conflict within a relationship.

Resolving Betrayal
The first question should be, “Do both parties want to repair the relationship?” If not, then you cannot force it on them, it is best to move on. Hopefully with time, forgiveness will come.

If both parties are in agreement and would like to move forward rebuilding the relationship then it needs to begin with courageous integrity on behalf of the offender. The guilty party needs to:

  • Admit fault.
  • State their mistake.
  • View the breach of trust from the victim’s perspective.
  • Listen to the offended party allowing them to speak without interruption.
  • Reflect their feelings, avoiding the temptation to explain your actions. This can have a negative affect leading to a feeling of your insincerity by the injured party.
  • Accept responsibility for the violation.

Rebuilding Trust
Can trust be rebuilt? Most likely, with time the wounds will heal. Although steps will have to be taken to rebuild the trust once shared by all parties.

  • Set up an agreement going forward stating boundaries for all parties involved.
  • Determine methods continuing the relationship without overstepping the bounds.
  • Allow time for memory of the incident of to dissipate.
  • Make amends.

Aftermath
Even when forgiveness has been granted and reparations have been made, relationships do not always return to normal after violations of trust. The violator often has lingering feelings of guilt, embarrassment and self-consciousness when around the victim. It may take time for the victim’s emotions to wane as well. Full forgiveness may take weeks, months or even years, but if everyone involved is committed to the relationship time will help to heal those wounds.

So, do I resent my fourth grade friend for something that happened so many years ago? No, let’s face it, we were nine years old at the time, I have long forgiven her; in fact she represents to me, someone who alerted me to the stratagem we can experience in life. She taught me early on, trust is a sacred contract between people and once broken, it is not easily repaired. People learn from many of life’s lessons, but few have such a great impact on us as those of trust and betrayal.

Do you have any stories of betrayal? Feel free share, I’d love to hear them.

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Winning is everything!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009 1 comment

(Photo: U.S. Marine Corps)

“We tell our kids it doesn’t matter if we win or lose, but let’s be honest, winning feels pretty great there’s nothing like that golden moment in the sun. I think every parent probably wants that for their child and maybe a little bit for ourselves too.” -Jay (Ed O’Neill) on ABC’s Modern Family

We have all heard the phrase, “Winning, isn’t everything,” but have you ever started something with the intention of coming in second, third or even last? NO! You are in it to win it or you wouldn’t be in it at all.

So why do we love winning so much?

“When you win, nothing hurts.” -Joe Namath

The answer is simple, winning feels good! You have a sense of accomplishment, everything you practiced, trained for, and worked hard to build was executed to the best of your ability and you came out the victor. If you have ever won at anything you know the sensation it brings you and know without winning the desire to achieve, the incentive to practice, the motivation to work harder and the aspiration do one more thing to make the difference is absent.

Now, are you always going to win? No, but you sure as hell are going to try! If you don’t win will you shrivel up and disappear? No! So maybe winning isn’t everything, but you certainly have to be willing to give it your all and try.

“All right Mister, let me tell you what winning means… you’re willing to go longer, work harder, give more than anyone else.” -Vince Lombardi

It is this yearning to win which keeps us driving forward when others have given up. It is this aspiration to win which allows us to work longer than the rest. It is this necessity to win that compels us to practice when others have quit. It is the desire to win that permits us to put in extra hours after everyone else has gone home. It is the yearning to win which induces our determination.

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So what does it take to win?

1. Leadership

2. Strategy

3. Focus

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1. Leadership

  • Effective leaders have a rapport of trust by working WITH their team.
  • Leaders instill a positive attitude setting an example for their team.
  • Leaders set the tone for everyone else.

2. Strategy

  • Have a thorough knowledge of your industry.
  • Use solution based thought processes clearly defining goals and maneuvers.
  • Offer innovative insights and solutions.
  • Let your customers be your voice and promote you to others.
  • Adjust your plans with the turns of market but be creative.

3. Focus

  • Have clear set of goals in mind and what your final vision is.
  • Radiate a positive attitude; believe in yourself and in what you are doing.
  • Display unyielding determination by concentrating on the solution.
  • Hold true to your word.
  • Exude energy both physically and passionately.

“Every obstacle presents an opportunity… If you’re looking for it. You only fail when you quit.” – Jeffrey Gitomer

I think this is best summed up by Teddy Roosevelt: “It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”
-Theodore Roosevelt
“Citizenship in a Republic,”
Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910

Remote Note:

As a remote leader you have a distinct advantage over the office staff during the holiday season. Working from home allows you to use the spare moments you have to accomplish a few extra tasks you would have otherwise had to go to the office to complete. Don’t let the holiday season slow you down. As you thrust forward you will be passing by the others who have let this “slow time of year” reduce their momentum. Put in those few moments of extra time and you will come out the winner.

How are you going to go out there today and win?

What are some or your winning strategies?

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Teddy Roosevelt: Man in the Arena

Tuesday, October 27, 2009 Leave a comment

(Photo: American Presidential Photos)

“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

-Theodore Roosevelt (October 27, 1858 – January 6, 1919)
“Citizenship in a Republic,”
Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910

The Theodore Roosevelt Association. 2009. 17 October 2009 < http://www.theodoreroosevelt.org/life/quotes.htm>.

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