A Springboard for You

For a better life and a better eternity

Add Years to Your Life by Cutting Some Television

“I just didn’t have time.”

How many times have people not met their goals and this has been the reason they gave? I have no doubt some people say this after having been perfect planners, wonderful time managers and great prioritizers. However, a great many people utter this phrase without actually looking at how they really used their time.

If you have ever said this, let me challenge you with one question. How much time did you spend this week watching television?

Did you watch one hour per night? Two? Three? 

I’m sure when you state it as hours per week, it doesn’t seem like much. However, if you watch merely one hour per night that is 365 hours per year. That’s actually 15 days of tv watching over the year, more than two weeks. What could you do if you added just two weeks to your year? That means if you average two hours per night you could add four weeks to your year by simply cutting out television.

I’m 35. Let’s say my professional life lasts only to 65. I have 30 more years. With 2 hours of television per night, I will spend 912 days of my professional life watching tv. That’s 130 weeks or about 2 1/2 years. What could you get done if you added 2 1/2 years to your life?

I’m sure it is a pipe dream to say we’ll never watch tv or movies again. After all, there is nothing wrong with enjoying some entertainment or recreation. I do, however, simply encourage you before you say you didn’t have time again you first ask how much time you chose to watch tv and see if maybe you couldn’t add a few years to your professional life span by subtracting some time before the plug-in drug.

Just a though.

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November 13, 2008 Posted by | A Springboard for Your Professional Life, Time Management | , , , | Leave a comment

Delivering Well-Crafted Targeted Feedback (from Ken Blanchard Companies)

blanchard_ken

Last week we talked about how to grow from the negative feedback we sometimes receive. Coincidentally, I received the Ken Blanchard Companies’ Ignite newsletter in my e-mail this week. One article looked at the other side of this. How to give great feedback. Check out the article below.

Blanchard is the author or co-author of several books such as Leading at a Higher Level: Blanchard on Leadership and Creating High Performing Organizations, Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach To Customer Service and The One Minute Manager.

For more info, you can find the article in its original format here. Make sure to check out the information about a free webinar on giving and receiving feedback.

 

Delivering Well-Crafted, Targeted Feedback

Employees need specific and descriptive feedback if they are going to master a skill or achieve a goal. But this type of one-to-one feedback is in short supply in most organizations. The reason is two-fold. First, managers avoid giving feedback because they do not have a clear process to follow, and second, they are concerned that without such a process the conversation might be perceived as evaluative and judgmental. The result is hesitation on the part of the manager that results in the feedback session never occurring.

“The opportunity loss is tremendous,” explains Susan Fowler, a senior consulting partner with The Ken Blanchard Companies. “We know from the research that if someone does not get feedback, they are not going to grow. If they get feedback that is ill-delivered or ill-defined, then their performance can even decline. The only way we see a dependable increase in performance is when a person gets well-crafted, targeted feedback in a timely fashion.”

Providing good feedback does not occur naturally or by default. To provide effective feedback, leaders must learn, develop, and cultivate very specific conversational skills.

For Fowler, that means that managers—or anyone trying to help develop another person’s skills—

appreciate the importance of effective feedback; understand their personal motives, agenda, and responsibility for giving feedback; and know when and how to give the various types of feedback.

Start with Some Self-Examination

For managers looking to improve their feedback skills, Fowler recommends starting with a couple of self-directed questions. In her experience, many managers get off on the wrong foot because they focus more on their own needs than the needs of the person receiving the feedback.

As she explains, “I think that oftentimes, sadly, the feedback that we do give to people is based on our own need to be seen as an expert or to control the environment.”

To address this, Fowler recommends that managers ask themselves, “Is this my need to give this feedback or am I giving this feedback because the other person’s performance will actually benefit as a result of it?”

“You really have to understand whose need it is,” Fowler explains. “Start with understanding your role with the individual. Whether it is your spouse, your child, someone you manage, a coworker, or a peer, ask yourself, ‘What is my role here? What context am I in? Is it appropriate for me to give feedback? If it is appropriate, what is my purpose?'”

Match the Feedback to the Desired Outcomes

Once a manager is clear on the purpose of the feedback, the next step is to provide the type of feedback that will best meet the needs of the recipient. There are two main types of feedback—

personalized and pure. Both can work well, as long as they are matched correctly to the needs of the employee.

Personalized feedback is the type that most managers are familiar with. This is judgmental information (either positive or negative) about past performance designed to encourage or extinguish future behavior. It takes the form of either praise, when used to recognize positive behavior, or re-direction, when used to discourage negative behavior.

Pure feedback is a new concept for most managers. It is feedback that is descriptive, objective, factual, and nonjudgmental. This kind of feedback allows the receiver to decide what to do with it. It is most appropriate when the goal of a manager is to develop an independent person who can judge for themselves how they are doing—

to give themselves feedback.

Feedback Builds Relationships

The research says that people appreciate and respond positively to well-crafted feedback. It improves performance and helps people sustain higher levels of performance. From an organization’s point of view, that’s why you want managers who are skillful at giving feedback.

But feedback also builds mutual trust and individual respect that results in greater interpersonal relationships.

As Fowler explains, “At the end of the day, when you have given someone feedback that is in context, informative, and not judgmental, and that helps them improve, you’ve demonstrated that you care about them. It is a wonderful way to demonstrate caring.”

Managers obviously have to be role models. They have to be giving the kind of feedback that they themselves want to get—

not only from their managers but also from their direct reports.

“Giving effective feedback takes work,” says Fowler. “You have to do homework. You have to gather the data. You have to plan it. You have to deliver it authentically. But when you do, it is servant leadership in action.”

November 6, 2008 Posted by | A Springboard for Your Professional Life, Giving Feedback, Growth, Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Two Ways to Grow from Negative Feedback

Oh no! The dreaded review. Your boss has just given you some feedback. Sure, most of it was positive but some was negative. Or maybe a co-worker just passed something on to you showing you where you are falling short. Our natural response? “Who does he think he is?” Or “What business does she have telling me that, she does _____________________.” 

Few of us do naturally well with complaints and criticism. Sadly, when we react this way and filter out what people are saying to us, we miss some golden opportunities to help others and reach our potential.

 

Key #1: Don’t filter out the feedback, ask growth questions.

Follow the advice of Roger Connors and Tom Smith in their great book, Journey to the Emerald City, the follow up to their awesome book The Oz Principle: Getting Results through Individual and Organizational Accountability. Instead of filtering the feedback, ask three simple questions.

  1. Is this a belief I want people to have?
  2. Will this belief get in the way of my desired results?
  3. What can I do to change this belief?

Think about it. Does it really matter if your boss does the same thing for which she has just criticized you? Does it really matter if the guy pointing out your flaw is the youngest and newest guy in the company? Does it matter if the person who has accurately described your shortcoming is the oldest and most out of date and backward person you’ve ever met? NO! NO! and NO!

What matters is are you engendering in people the confidence they need to trust you and rely on you and turn to you. So, don’t filter out the feedback to salve your conscience. Ask the right questions to promote growth.

 

Key #2: Reinterpret the complaint as expressions of need.

Instead of letting the complaint be about you, reinterpret it in a way that says something about the person making the complaint, listening to the complaint as an expression of the person’s needs.

For instance, your boss complains in your review because your reports aren’t clear and concise enough. Don’t walk away saying, “I’ll show you clear and concise, pal.” Instead recognize the request in this. See the need your boss has. What the boss is saying is the demands on his time are great and what he really needs from you are reports that he can work through quickly because they are lucid, logical and brief. He isn’t rejecting you. He isn’t saying you are a bad worker. He’s saying he needs some help from you. Wow. How great that is that you can really help your boss.

Perhaps a subordinate complains to your superior about how you are never available for consultation and help. Instead of blowing up about all your time constraints and how you don’t have time, recognize the need being expressed behind this. What does this complaint say about the needs your subordinates have. They are not rejecting you. They are not saying they don’t want to work under you. They are not saying other managers are better than you. They are instead saying that they need guidance from you. They need more than just a figurehead manager or boss who lays out guidelines and offers goals but then leaves them alone. They need someone who is actually invested in their success and will help them when they are struggling.

Yes, yes, I know there are situations where you have to say some reports are just going to be complex and you don’t want to enable lack of initiative for your subordinates. But if you want to grow and reach your potential, reinterpret complaints as expressions of needs and ways to help the people who are offering them.

October 30, 2008 Posted by | A Springboard for Your Professional Life, Growth | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Getting to Did! (Coming Out in February 2009)

We’re closing in on the publication of my next book. “Getting to Did! How to Get Rid of Your Big BUT and Live a Life without Regret.” Working on getting the cover done and final editing. 

For your reading enjoyment, I am including the introduction below. There will be more information in the weeks to come. Keep your eyes open for pre-publication ordering specials.

Enjoy!

 

Sam’ Crumbling World

Sam’s world was crumbling. Have you been there? Are you there? Are you afraid you are going there? Then you know how Sam felt. Not that his world had ever really been that big or that stable. But it had been his. It had been comfortable. Had been. Now it was collapsing.

Sam was 49. He had been semi-happily married to Susan for 25 of those years. His oldest son, Sam Jr. was 23 and a recent graduate from Sam’s alma mater. Sarah, the lone female, was 20. Scott was 17 and would be starting his senior year in high school in just a few months. The youngest, Sid, was 14 and going into the eighth grade.

Seven months ago, Sam was at the top of his world. A few years earlier, he had been promoted to Vice President of Sales in the company that had pursued him as a salesman when he was 32. He and Susan had finally bought that bigger home. Since Sam had been given a company car, he bought Susan the Lexus she always wanted. Things were good. But then Sam’s company was sold. The buyer wanted to keep several workers in Sam’s company, but wanted to rely on her own management team. Sam no longer fit. She let Sam go the week after Christmas.

He was given a decent severance package, promised a good recommendation and then politely escorted with his box of office paraphernalia off company property, where he called Susan to pick him up because he was no longer allowed to use the company car. She handled the news relatively well. Sam cried for a week.

For months he called it his worst Christmas present ever. However, in years to come he called it his best.

Realizing Susan’s income, supplemented by the severance package and their meager savings, could support their lifestyle for about a year, he started looking for another job.  “Really,” he thought, “I don’t know why I’ve been so depressed. I’m highly qualified. I have a Bachelors degree in business and marketing and a Masters in accounting. I’ve worked for the same company for 17 years. My track record is good. Who wouldn’t want to hire me?”

Sam, however, learned that “overqualified” was the politically correct and lawsuit safe euphemism for “too old.” None of the companies to which he applied wanted 49-year-olds with good track records. They were too busy head hunting 32-year-olds with promising futures.

 Though he was only halfway through his severance package, Sam felt he was at the end of his rope. As he often did when particularly stressed and depressed, he manicured his lawn. Keeping his yard “green and pristine,” as he called it, was about the only joy he had. It gave him time alone to think, provided a sense of accomplishment and, if nothing else, hid from the neighbors the turmoil going on inside the house.

He had just finished and was sitting down on his back deck with a glass of ice water, when his neighbor, Dave, came around the corner of the house and said, “Hey Sam. How’s the job hunt going?”

“Great Dave, just great. You trying to pour salt in the wounds?”

“Still no luck, huh? Keep trying. Something is bound to come up.”

“I hope so, but I’m beginning to doubt it. Right now, however, I’m more ticked at Scott,” Sam unloaded.

“What? I thought Scott was the good kid.”

“He is, but we’ve been fighting a lot lately. He’s going to be a senior this year and I’ve been on him to get his application in to the ols alma mater. But he keeps putting it off. I told him if he keeps waiting, it’ll be too late and he’ll be stuck going to the local community college. Do you know what he said?” Without giving Dave time to answer, Sam continued, “He said, ‘So? I’m not sure I want to go to your alma mater anyway.’” Sam gave an exasperated “you know how dumb kids can be sometimes look” to Dave, but Dave didn’t respond.

Sam simply continued talking, “I told him I was only looking out for his own good. He needed to go to a good school, study hard, make good grades and then he could get a good secure job and provide for his family. You know what he said then?” Sam plunged on, “He said, ‘You mean like you?’ Talk about kicking a guy when he’s down.”

“Well, Sam, he does have a bit of a point. It’s hard to take that kind of advice from a guy whose good secure job has left him so insecure.”

Sam, his eyes wide, spluttered, “Well… yeah, I know. But I just want what’s best for him. My dad went to that school and so did his dad. It’s done all of us well. I mean, didn’t you want Dave Jr. to go to your alma mater?”

“I guess I might have, if I had one. But, I never went to college. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted Dave Jr. to go. I thought that was important, and I told him so. But I didn’t think it was so important he should sacrifice what he thought was important.”

Sam sat in stunned silence for a moment. Dave the most successful men he knew didn’t even go to college? How could that happen? He owned several restaurants and a few apartment buildings. In fact, it had always amazed Sam that Dave lived in his neighborhood, when surely he could have afforded something much more. Dave and his wife Deborah always looked happy. In fact, despite their having been married over 40 years, Sam always had the impression they were newlyweds. He chalked that up to no longer having kids at home. On top of that, he had heard Dave’s kids were also pretty successful.

“You never went to college?” Sam questioned, words tumbling out in gusts. “How on earth have you done so well? Did you get a big inheritance? I could sure use one.” Sam slouched back in his chair.

Dave smiled slightly. “I guess you might say I got a big inheritance, but not the kind you’re thinking of. I consider my dad one of the most successful men to have ever lived, but he never had much money. There were some things he always DID however. He always DID his best. He always DID what he enjoyed. And he always DID take care of us. He died while I was still in high school.” Dave paused, looked up and smiled again as though he had just relived some great moment. Then he continued, “He DID leave me a legacy of knowing how to get things done. That’s why I’m successful. That’s why I was able to start my first restaurant when I was 25 and then invest in several franchises over the years. That’s why I was able to get into real estate investing. That’s why I was able to quit working for money in my 40s.”

“Yeah, I coulda started my own business, but I was newly married and I needed the benefits, you know what I mean?”

“Sure, I know,” Dave responded. He continued after a brief pause, “Exactly what are those benefits doing for you now, Sam?”

“Well, I shoulda handled my money more wisely, but my wife and kids were always wanting more and I wanted to give them the best. You know, I wanted them to have what I never got.”

“How much longer are you going to be able to do that, Sam?”

“Come on, Dave, I woulda got a job by now, but all those companies want young guys. I feel like I’m in my prime. Fifty is the new thirty, you know, but they think I should be put out to pasture. I wish I had done things differently, but hindsight is 20/20. I’ll just have to live with my regrets. Right now I just need a job.”

Dave fixed Sam with a hard gaze. He paused for a moment as if measuring the words in his mind before letting them slip out of his mouth. “Sam, if you want my advice, you need to get rid of your big BUT.”

“What?!” Sam squawked nearly spilling his drink as he jumped forward in his chair. “You…you think my weight is holding me back?”

“Wrong ‘butt,’ pal. You’re filled with COULDAS, SHOULDAS and WOULDAS. Then you cap them all off with a big BUT. That’s why you’ve got so many regrets. You need to turn those into CANS, SHALLS, WILLS and DID. That was the inheritance my dad left me. He taught me to get rid of my big BUT, to reach my potential, getting past COULDA, SHOULDA and WOULDA and get things done. Or as I call it, GET TO DID. That’s what’s helped me be successful. That’s what’s helped me live a life without regrets.”

“Wow…I think,” Sam said, scratching his head. “I don’t have any idea what you’re talking about. Sounds like some kind of crazy PMA stuff we used to get from the home office.”

Dave responded, “No, it’s not just PMA and you probably do know what I’m talking about. You just don’t realize it. You can’t possibly have been as successful at sales as you have been without following some of the principles I like to share with people. You just don’t realize how they apply to everything in life, even trying to make ends meet after losing your job. Somebody told me that Plato said all learning is really remembering. I don’t really know what he meant by that. But I’ve found that when someone passes on a true principle to me, I really already knew it in my gut, I just needed someone to formulate it into words to give it power in my life.

“I’ve been watching you and hurting for you, Sam. I normally wait until someone asks me for advice to give it, but we’ve been friends for a while and I’d like to ask you to trust me and let me give you some real help. In the end, if you think it’s crazy and my friends and I are just flukes or flakes, you can go back to hunting for a job your way.”

Sam crossed his arms and cocked his head to one side. “So you think you could help me by GETTING TO…what was it you said?”

GETTING TO DID. No, I COULD not. I steer clear of the COULDAS. Rather, I CAN, I SHALL and I WILL. In fact, consider it DID.”

Sam’s face said it all; he didn’t get it. “Dave, what you just said didn’t make a lick of sense to me.”

“Of course not. You don’t know the tools yet. But if you’ll let me give you just a few opportunities to talk with my YES MEN and me, you’ll understand all of it.”

YES MEN? I already don’t like the sound of this. I’ve never liked those kind of people.”

“That’s because you’re thinking about a completely different kind of YES MEN than I am. But again, that’ll be something you learn  when you talk with my friends. How ‘bout it?”

“Alright, Dave. This sounds crazy, but I think you must know what you’re talking about. I mean, I guess it can’t hurt,” Sam gave a weak laugh, “When do we start? I only have about six months to get things on track or it’s foreclosure and dog food time.”

“Let’s start in the morning. I’m already having coffee with one of my advisors then. I call him my TRAINER. I’ve stayed in touch with him for years because he helps me turn my COULDA into CAN. I’ll let him know you’re coming. I CAN get him to clear some time for you and let him teach you the first step on the journey to DID. Meet me in my driveway at 5:45.”

 

October 23, 2008 Posted by | A Springboard for Your Professional Life, My Books, Success | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Get a Real Dream and Pursue It with Passion

I was recently listening to one Dan Miller’s excellent podcasts in which someone chastised him for telling folks they could reach their dreams even in troubled financial times. Of course, Miller, using his own life experience, gave an excellent and helpful reply. However, as I was listening to the letter berating him and then heard his first illustration, a thought solidified in my mind. 

The letter had been talking about just how hard it can be to achieve early retirement or financial prosperity in difficult economic times. It then said Miller shouldn’t turn a blind eye to the present economic climate and tell folks they can all just achieve their dreams. Miller’s first illustration was Michael Phelps who won eight gold medals at the most recent olympics. 

Wait a minute. Winning eight gold medals isn’t about finances. Granted, receiving those medals has given Phelps the inside track on some major endorsement deals I’m sure. But what Miller used as his illustration wasn’t really what the writer was talking about. 

Then it hit me. This letter writer doesn’t have the right dream. His dream is about having lots of money. This demonstrates a problem for many today. If your dream is lots of money, you probably won’t ever get it. Of course, even if you have lots of money by other people’s standards, you will always view yourself as falling short. 

Financial success will rarely come by dreaming of financial success. If all you dream about is financial success, you will wander around aimlessly trying to latch on to the next scheme that might make you some money.On occasion you may end up with some money in your bank account, but it will all be used up and you will be right back where you were, wandering aimlessly looking for the next cash cow. Real financial success comes from a dream that you follow passionately. That passion will set you apart in whatever field your dream causes you to pursue, which will then cause you to find the financial success. Your dream may be helping folks with cancer. It may be helping folks overcome addiction. It may be playing baseball. It may be manicuring lawns. It may be swimming. It may be making people laugh. It may be any number of things.

Here is the very interesting thing. When your dream is properly aligned, the guy who is only dreaming of financial success may not see you as having achieved financial success. You may not reach Trump status when you pursue your dream. However, because your dream is not about making money the fact that your dream is supporting you at all causes you to be satisfied and fulfilled by your dream. 

Let me ask you, do you think if Michael Phelps was not getting endorsement deals that he would be upset about the eight gold medals feeling like it was all a waste? Of course not. He achieved his dream even through tough circumstances. Because his dream was aligned properly, he would probably wonder, what on earth do you mean we can’t achieve our dreams in an economic slump. Sadly, too many people equate achieving their dreams with being rich. They rarely end up rich and they never get their dreams whether the nation is in an economic slump or not.

The economic slump only keeps you from achieving your dreams if they are only about money. The fact is, if your dream is only about money, it’s not a dream worth having. Get a real dream and pursue it with passion.

ELC

P.S. For more great professional advice and some practical tools, click the Dan Miller link above.

October 16, 2008 Posted by | A Springboard for Your Professional Life, Dreams, goals, Money, Success | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Keeping the Main Thing People

I remember reading in one of Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad, Poor Dad books that the rich dad knew what business he was really in. He then used Ray Kroc as an example of remembering that he wasn’t in the restaurant business, he was in the land business. Now, I have no doubt in some sense that is true. For those wanting to be millionaires and branching into franchising, real estate is where the business lies. But I think we need to remember that even more fundamentally, we are all in the people business.

I bring this up only because I’m weak in this area and just this week I have received a strong reminder from some folks who have my best interests at heart that I need to work on this. I’m a choleric, task-oriented person. I usually focus on getting something done, moving from project to project and when I’m behaving most naturally I relate to people only as they are involved in helping complete the same tasks. When you understand that, you can understand why I can walk past 20 people, never say a word and not even realize I passed them. I’m on a mission to get a job done, to check to make sure something was done or to make sure something is going to get done. But while in that mode, I’m failing to get my most important job done. I’m failing to forge those relationships that will really help me and provide the most fulfillment for me and those around me.

Here is the major down side of this natural tendency. Folks see me as arrogant, cliquish, proud, haughty and just in general a jerk. Let me tell you, that persona does absolutely nothing for helping me accomplish the tasks I need to get done and I need to encourage others to do. That persona won’t help you a bit either.

The solution? I have to remember what business I’m really in. I have to remember to keep the main thing the main thing. I have to remember to keep the main thing people. 

Here is what you need to understand. You can produce like nobody’s business. You can have your time management down to a science and an art. You can excel at every aspect of your job. But if you don’t make people your main business, you will still lose business. If people can’t say, “I’m better because I bumped into _______ today,” you will never achieve your potential.

How about we both work on keeping people our main business. We can do it with baby steps. I’m going to take a bit of advice from John Maxwell’s Winning with People and walk slowly through the crowd. I’m going to make sure that my task stuff is done before I am with people so when I’m around them, I can keep them my main focus.

Give me some feedback on this. What have you done to help make sure you keep the main thing people?

October 9, 2008 Posted by | A Springboard for Your Professional Life, Being human, People, Relationships, Success | , , , , , | 16 Comments

6 Keys for Making Goals Work

Everyone and his dog knows if you want to accomplish anything you need to have some goals. You can just walk through the self-help section of the bookstore and you pick up on this. However, there is more to setting goals than just saying we are going to set some goals. We need to do some very practical things to make goals actually work for us. 

  1. Set goals, not wishes
  2. Set goals that are attainable
  3. Set goals that stretch your limits
  4. Write them down
  5. Review them daily
  6. Attach a plan to your goals

1. Set goals, not wishes
Some people think they have goals when actually all they have are wishes. “I want to travel more” is not a goal, it’s a wish. “I want to take my kids to all 50 states over the next 5 years” is a goal. It is a goal because it is measurable. You know when you have achieved it. It also has a deadline. 

2. Set goals that are attainable
If you are like me, you need to set some goals that you can attain. They give you a sense of accomplishment. They give you something to celebrate. They give you a boost to keep going with your other goals. However, don’t only set attainable goals. That leads us to #3.
 
3. Set goals that stretch your limits
At a lunch with Dan Miller, he encouraged me to set goals I wasn’t sure I could accomplish. After all, if I only ever set goals I can easily accomplish, then I never find my limits. More importantly, I never stretch my limits. If I reach for the stars, I may not actually touch one, but I will definitely reach new heights. If I only ever reach for the street lights, I won’t get very far.
 
4. Write them down
Writing goals down makes them real. There is something about having thought through the goal and then putting it on a piece of paper that really brings it home. In fact, I would suggest, for most people, until you have goals written down, you don’t really have goals at all.  
 
5. Review them daily
Don’t write them down and then drop them in a drawer somewhere. Look at them every day. Measure your progress. Ask yourself what you did to move yourself closer to these goals today. What do you have planned to move yourself closer to your goals tomorrow.
 
6. Attach a plan to your goals
Most goals worth having are not merely a one step process. Take the goal mentioned above about traveling to all 50 states. If that were actually a goal of mine, I would need to set out a time line. To meet this goal I could travel to 10 states each year. I need to consider finances and plan how to underwrite these travels. This is going to mandate some smaller goals like savings goals. Let’s say I determine this will cost me $5,000/year. I will have to establish a plan for coming up with those funds. You see the point. I can’t just say, “I’m going to take my kids to all 50 states over the next five years” without developing a plan. This gets us back to the daily review. I need to consider each day if I have followed the plan and measure how well I’m doing at attaining the goal. 
 
Why We Struggle with Goals
If you’re like me at all, you may have some problems with goals. You like to think about them. You like to say you have them, but you keep putting of the 6 keys above. Why? Usually it is an unreasonable fear of failure. If we never actually set a goal, then we never have to admit it if we didn’t attain the goal. Let’s fix this mindset for a moment. As you can see from key #3, the goal of goals is not necessarily to make sure you succeed at accomplishing all your goals. 
 
The goal of goals is to push you to do your absolute best. Someone may set a goal to lose 50 lbs over the next two years. At the end of two years, they may have only lost 40 lbs. Are they a failure? Absolutely not. Okay, they didn’t actually achieve their goal. However, if they hadn’t set the goal and worked hard to attain it, do you think they would have lost 40 lbs? Of course not. This goal accomplished its purpose. It made them work at losing weight. 
 
So, don’t look at goals as merely about accomplishing those goals. Look at goals as a means to drive your farther than you would have gone. Therefore, the only time we actually fail is when we don’t make any goals at all and therefore don’t make any progress.
 
What are your goals?

October 2, 2008 Posted by | A Springboard for Your Professional Life, goals, Success | , , , , | Leave a comment

How To Be Ready For Your Lucky Break

Who hasn’t seen this video?

Some think, “Lucky Paul Potts. I wish I could get a lucky break like that.” No doubt, Paul did not climb and claw his way up the music industry. However, this is hardly a lucky break. Potts didn’t get a voice like that by luck of the draw. He practiced. He worked hard. He prepared. Then he actually went after it when given the opportunity.

The fact is each and every one of us probably have a hundred lucky breaks a year. However, few of us are actually ready to take advantage of the lucky break and so it passes us by. If you want to take advantage of your lucky breaks, here are ten keys.

 

  1. Practice
  2. Practice
  3. Practice
  4. Work Hard
  5. Work Hard
  6. Work Hard
  7. Keep Your Eyes Open
  8. Keep Your Eyes Open
  9. Keep Your Eyes Open
  10. When You See Your Break Act Based Upon Your Practice and Hard Work
If you do this, then you may end up with your own video like these:
 

 

 
ELC

September 25, 2008 Posted by | A Springboard for Your Professional Life, Success | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Four Most Important Choices You Ever Make Every Day

I’m reading Lessons from the Classroom: 20 Things Good Teachers Do, by Hal Urban. I don’t teach in schools, but this book is helping me immensely. It has some great advice. In fact, the lesson I just finished has some of the best advice you will ever here as a springboard for your professional life.

Lesson #14: Good teachers help their students discover the power of choice.

Urban teaches all his students the four greatest choices they will ever make are choices they make every day. If only all our schools would teach us these. If they did, we would all be much better off in our careers and professional lives.

 

  1. Your Attitude
  2. How You Treat Others
  3. How Hard You Work
  4. How Honest You Are

 

Do you see how much better we would be if we made wise choices every day in these four areas?

Attitude

The issue is not what is happening to you, but how you respond to it. Each of us chooses our attitude. We all choose whether we will see obstacles as roadblocks or opportunities to grow. We all choose whether we see others as people to use or people to serve. We all choose whether today is a day to grow or a day to stagnate. We all choose our attitude for today.

How You Treat Others

Sadly, many folks have a scarcity mindset thinking there is only so much out there and the only way to make sure I get mine is to make sure you don’t get yours. They see all of life as a competition to prove we are better than others. If on the other hand we recognize life is filled with plenty of respect, honor and glory for everyone, we can feel free to give it away to others without thinking we will lose ours. 

Obviously, the great rule for treating others properly is The Golden Rule. Treat others the way we want to be treated. Please, don’t think anyone has come up with anything new as they talk about the Platinum Rule being better. Clearly, we all want others to consider what we want before they determine how to treat us. Thus, following the Golden Rule means we will consider what others want and need before we treat them. Before you make any choice in your treatment of others, ask yourself if this is what you would want them to do to you in the same circumstance.

How Hard You Work

“Work” is not a four-letter word. Well, it is, but you get the picture. The fact is, there is simply no success without hard work. Folks who rely on the lottery for financial success usually have lost it all in a short time even if they win. Success comes through work. Only you decide how much you will work on your job, your education, your marriage, in your church, on your life and in improving yourself. But understand this, if you don’t work, no one else will work for you.

How Honest You Are

There is so much dishonesty highlighted in the news, we begin to think no one is honest anymore. The fact is, there are many honest people. There are many successful honest people. Nothing will destroy your success long term than taking shortcuts and lying about it. You may get ahead in the short run by cheating, lying and covering up. Sooner or later though, it all comes out. If you lie, you will lose the confidence of everyone around you. Trust me, sooner or later, folks will find out and you will have a hefty bill to pay. It will likely be more than you can afford. So, make sure you choose honesty today.

Maybe you didn’t hear these lessons in high school. Maybe you have made terrible choices in these areas up until now. Don’t worry. You can start making wise choices today. Do it now.

ELC

September 18, 2008 Posted by | A Springboard for Your Professional Life, Get to Work, Honesty, Relationships, Success | , , , , , | Leave a comment