Author Archives: Barb Phillips

Monday Motivation: Habit

Posted: December 5th, 2016 in Career Development, Career Development Tips, Wisdom Quote

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Good or bad, what you do every day will turn into a habit. Choose habits that will lead you to success. Over time, they will become automatic, not requiring thought, attention or effort.

What habit can you commit to today that will contribute to your success?

Thank You Notes Can Give You A Boost

Posted: December 1st, 2016 in Career Development

This article was reprinted with permission from the author, Captain George Burk, USAF (Ret), Plane crash, burn survivor, motivational speaker, author, writer. Visit his website at www.georgeburk.com  or contact Captain Burk at gburk@georgeburk.com.

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I’ve heard it said many times that a person’s memory is a direct reflection of the type of life they have lived. If that’s true, and I believe it is, then I’ve been blessed with a wonderful life. Thank you to all here and those passed, who’ve given me many wonderful memories.

“Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” Steve Jobs, Apple co-founder

Several human resources and etiquette professionals suggest that a handwritten note after an interview is more than a courtesy—the job could depend on it. I believe the same strategy is applicable when you send a handwritten “Thank you” to a conference organizer and host(s) and/or someone who invited you to their home for dinner; they’ve gone “above and beyond” to help or did you a favor, etc. The examples are almost endless.

“As a kid, I lived in a fantasy world. I used to believe that ants could talk. Not once did they say thank you.” Willard Wigan

The job interview you waited on for months is over and you think it went extremely well. But, before the position is offered to you, there’s one more important step you should complete—it’s one that I know is overlooked by the majority of people today: write and mail a handwritten thank you note to the interviewer and anyone else you met at the organization who played a role in your being interviewed.

That may sound obvious to some job applicants—especially younger job applicants—who’ve learned to believe and accept that a simple “Thanks” via a text or email is sufficient. No so, career experts suggest.

We’ve become captives of today’s rapid, convenient and quick–fix technology. Technology of the 21st Century has created the culture of texting and e-mailing the communications normal of today. Even for work, most people accept the notion that this is a valid way to express their gratitude after a job interview, says Colleen Rickenbacher, a Dallas-based etiquette expert. “Absolutely not,” says Rickenbacher, a certified protocol consultant and author of “The Big Book of People Skills Games.” “A nice, short handwritten thank you is appropriate and necessary,” she says.

“Feeling good about your life but not expressing a heartfelt ‘Thank you’ is like wrapping a gift for someone and never giving it to them.” Chip Conley

Before my presentations to the senior Midshipmen at the Capstone Character Excellence Program, United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, I place my business cards on the tables in front of each Midshipman’s chair.

After my introduction, I mention my business cards and that I’ll tell them why I did it later. Towards the end of my presentation, I share my strategy: when they attend a seminar or conference, they should walk-in with a hand full of their business cards and leave with handful of business cards from people they meet. Make a note on the card when and where they met and follow-up later with a thank you note. I urge the Midshipmen to make this a part of their overall personal and professional strategy. I know from experience, the majority of people don’t do this today. I also suggest they write a “Thank you” when invited to someone’s home for dinner, when an author gives them a signed copy of his/her book, someone gives or sends them an unexpected a gift or writes them a professional recommendation. These are but a few examples. To me, it’s important to send some type of “Thank you” note be it hand-written, email or as a last resort, a text.

“The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say “Thank you.” In between, the leader is a servant.” Max de Pree

Life’s ‘funny’ as in serendipitous. You never know when you might meet the person(s) again. One day, they may your boss or sit on a promotion board…you may meet them again at the most unlikely location or time…leave them with a good impression of you. It can’t hurt, it will only help. It only takes a few minutes to write, stamp and mail a thank you note. Most of your cohorts and majority of others don’t do it. It’s a lost art.

Scottsdale, Arizona trainer Ed Scannell says, ”If a prospective employee cannot take the few minutes to handwrite a thank-you note on nice stationary, then he or she may not necessarily be the best candidate when it comes to common courtesy and good customer service.” He says that a handwritten note could be the deciding factor when several people seem equally qualified for the position.

Scannell remembers when he served as the executive vice president of a national professional association in the process of hiring a new meeting planner. Several candidates did well in the interviews. “When we did make our selection, I know for certain that one person who did send us a handwritten thank you note made an even better impression and did get the job,” he said.

“I can count on one hand the number of people who wrote me as thank you letter after having an interview, and I gave almost all of them a job.” Kate Reardon

Some managers, however, don’t automatically dismiss a candidate who sends a thank-you by e-mail. Laurel Strasshofer, human resources professional said, “Texting is too casual. But e-mail is acceptable and appropriate since we do so much work on our computers.” But, she accepts that thank you notes carry more weight because they indicate an employee likely will follow up on the details associated with their job. “A thank you note that’s mailed impresses me and shows they have interest in working here,” she says.

Even if a prospective employee sends a handwritten note and wasn’t hired or the right fit for the position, the extra effort could pay dividends later. “It adds a little something,” she says. “I would remember the candidate if another position came up that was a better fit.”

“I think about what has touched me in the notes I’ve received from people. I try to just let my heart speak and not worry that I’m being ‘gushy’ or ‘over the top.’ When you’re sincere, I don’t think you can be.” Thank you advice from a longtime Hallmark writer.

Several months ago, I read a short article in the “Arizona Republic Newspaper.” The article addressed our society’s growing psychological reliance on communications technology. Several psychologists stated they’re concerned that people are losing the ability to effectively communicate verbally and via the handwritten word because of their reliance on electronic communications. People will lose the ability to communicate face-to-face and how to write the syntax in a sentence that makes sense. The “LMOA” and other abbreviations used in texting are not acceptable! (For safety’s sake, please don’t use your cell phone or text while driving and while refueling your car. The life you save…may be mine!)

“God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one today to say ‘Thank you?’” William Arthur Ward

A few tips for thank you notes:
The “3-3-3” policy—Take three minutes to write a note, use three lines to thank the person for their time and send the note within three days.

The look—Notes should be professional looking, fold-over note/cards in a solid color with matching envelopes. Nothing loud or “cutesy.” I developed a blue grey card and blue fonts that match my business card in color. On the card, my name is across the top, the quote on my business card is under my name and at the bottom of the card are my toll free and cell phone numbers and my web site.

The writing—Write the note on the inside of the card. I use the front of the card and sometimes continue on the back. If you don’t have neat, legible cursive, it’s okay to print. This gets tricky for me. My cursive (my scrawl) often times requires interpretation and so does my print. My one functional hand doesn’t always respond well. But…I write my notes anyhow.

Example: “Thank you so much for inviting me to interview for your open account specialist position. I truly appreciate the time you took to talk with me about this opportunity and the company. I enjoyed learning more about your work group and how I might fit into the team. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any follow-up questions you might have. I hope to talk with you again soon.”

The envelope—Color contrast it with the note paper. Double and triple check all spelling, titles and the address.  I have a pre-made stamp with my/our name, address and city, state and zip code.

“Thank you, God, for this good life and forgive me (us) if I (we) don’t do not love it enough.” Garrison Keillor

One final note: I over the past 45 years, I’ve tried to write a thank you note to the many who’ve helped me on my journey and to my hosts, those who’ve read my books, interviewed me, published my articles and others who’ve been gracious, kind and thoughtful. Thank you to my hosts who’ve invited me to speak at various venues. Thank you to those who’ve invited me into their lives, homes, and for their friendship. Each of you has helped me realize my purpose.

Thank you!

Five Tips for Writing Better Procedures

Posted: November 16th, 2016 in Root Cause Analysis Tips

checklist-1622517_1280A poorly written procedure can lead to unsafe work, reduced productivity, and organizational failures.  A few tips can help you avoid these pitfalls. Procedures are action-oriented. They outline steps to take, and the order in which to take them. They are instructional, and may be used in training and orientation. Well-written procedures are solid, precise, factual, short, and to the point.

Here are five tips for writing better procedures:

  1. Avoid phrases like “as necessary,” “as applicable,” or “may include” because phrases like these are confusing. When would it be necessary?  When is it applicable?  When may it include something?  Be clear, specific, and to the point.
  2. Be consistent with terminology. Clarify terminology for those who may not be familiar with it and use the same terminology in each step.
  3. Add visual aids like images, diagrams, or sketches to facilitate understanding of the process.
  4. Organize long procedures into sections.  List less than ten steps per section. People lose focus when presented with a procedure with too many steps.
  5. Avoid using pronouns. Poor: “Turn it to the left.”  Good: “Turn Lever A3 to the left.”

One reference that we recommend in the TapRooT® Corrective Action Helper® Guide is Procedure Writing: Principles and Practices, (1999) by Douglas Wieringa, Christopher Moore, and Valerie Barnes, published by Battelle Press, Columbus, Ohio.

Learn more in our 5-Day TapRooT® Advanced Root Cause Analysis Team Leader Training (Click here to view course list).

Friday Joke: How to Drive a Roundabout

Posted: November 11th, 2016 in Jokes

Life feels this way sometimes!

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Forge Your Own Path

Posted: November 7th, 2016 in Career Development, Career Development Tips

The following article was reprinted with permission from the author, Captain George Burk, USAF (Ret), Plane crash, burn survivor, motivational speaker, author, writer. Visit his website at www.georgeburk.com or contact Captain Burk at gburk@georgeburk.com.

Steve Allen, a well-known (at least to many of my generation in the 1950’s and 60’s) television host, writer and musician passed away several years ago. His humor, writings and music will be missed by many people around the world. In many ways, he was a TV pioneer. His invention of the TV talk show had its roots in what seemed like certain failure.  It was the early 1950’s and TV was still in its infancy.  Many of you “older folks” like me probably remember the black and white Dumont Television. I can still hear him yelling, “smock, smock,” and Don Knotts replying in a quick, high, pitched voice “No!” when asked by Allen if he was “nervous” on the “Man on the Street” segment.

In 1947, at the age of 26, Steve Allen was out of work after his coast-to-coast comedy radio show was canceled.  Reluctantly, he took the only job offer he had at the time: as a disc jockey at a Los Angeles radio station.  A few months later, he started to tinker with the format.  Within two years, he changed the series into a popular one-hour comedy talk-show.

That program led to a variety-talk show on the CBS television network from 1950 to 1952 and then a late-night talk show on NBC’s flagship station in New York.  That show became so popular that NBC sought a counterpart to its “Today Show,” placed Allen on the network, renamed the show “Tonight” and let him create the format.  The rest, as they say, is history.  Johnny Carson took over from Allen and hosted the show for almost 30 years (“And now, heeeere’s Johnny!”).

Steve Allen’s four year stint as host of the “Tonight Show” from 1953-1957 became the spring board for his fifty year career built on perseverance and ingenuity.  Allen’s secret was he “didn’t waste time,” and what he was doing gave him so much pleasure that there wasn’t any time for something called a “weekend.”

Over the years, I’ve had the privilege to meet a number of people — a few I met while a patient in the burn unit –who overcame the severest type of injuries any human can experience.  After their release from the hospital, they didn’t choose the path with the least resistance because they didn’t want to think or act like a victim. They sought to forge their own path in life.  Adversity was seen as a “gift” to help them grow and improve; a temporary road block on their life’s journey.  For example, a man who overcame a deformity and taught himself to dance; an artist who learned to paint after she lost her vision; a man who lost his face in a plane crash in Vietnam and started a burn camp for children several years after his release from the hospital.  There are literally thousands of other examples of personal courage, compassion, humility and perseverance.

I met Steve Allen. It was circa 1975 on a Continental Airlines flight from Kansas City, MO to Wichita, KS. I sat next to him for the 45 minute flight. I didn’t intrude on his privacy because he was working on some papers and reading. But I did take a moment to share how much I enjoyed his television shows. I ended my brief conversation with “Smock, smock.”

He smiled and thanked me.

Steve Allen – comedian, author, lyricist, composer, jazz pianist and playwright – built his career on several principles and so did many of my friends.  Here are a few of them:

When dealt a lemon, get creative (make lemonade).

The star of a dozen TV series, Steve Allen never let a cancellation notice faze him.  When his prime-time NBC variety series was given the “ax” in June 1960 after four years, he came back the next year on another network.  He never stopped his creativity and always found ways to put to use the talents he had at his disposal.  Many of the people I know and have met don’t spend a lot of time whining; they choose “winning” and concentrate on what they have, not what they don’t.  Improvise; find a way.  When the “tree of life” is filled with lemons, pick a few lemons and make lemonade. Like much of life, it’s a choice!

“I believe that if life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade…And try to find somebody whose life has given them Vodka and have a party.” Ron White

The first time you choose to make ‘lemonade’ is a challenge. How ‘large’ is the ‘lemon?’ You need help to ‘squeeze’ the ‘lemon?’ What about the ‘seeds?’ How much ‘raw sugar’ to add to ‘sweeten’ it? The second time you make ‘lemonade’ and each time thereafter, you know the ‘ingredients’ and how much of each to use; the ’lemonade’ becomes ‘sweeter’ easier to ‘make.’

“Never stop learning, growing, or giving up.  One hand is better than none!”

Get out of your own way. 

Allen always cautioned people that at the moment of creativity, I call it an “Epiphany”, don’t second guess yourself.  “The editing, the revision, the improvement can come at a later point, but at the moment your original idea is flowing, just let it go.  In other words, get out of your own way,” he said. The approach works.  He wrote 53 books, six musicals, four plays and 52 record albums. Key: Have a concept of what you want to do, believe in yourself and then begin to pursue your idea(s) and dream(s).  You can always find “99 excuses” not to do something; all you need only one reason to act.  Don’t procrastinate – create.

“One may understand the cosmos but never the ego; the self is more distant than any star.” G.K. Chesterton

 Don’t get bound by limitations (yours and others’).

Steve Allen wrote more than 7,200 songs yet he couldn’t read a note of music.  The 1985 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records lists Allen as the “most prolific composer of modern times.”  His hits—-including “This Could Be the Start of Something Big” and “Picnic” have been performed by more than 80 artists, including Aretha Franklin, Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald and Lionel Hampton. Other examples include people who ski, swim and compete in marathons.  They never let their “dis-ability” become a “lie-ability,” or “can’t -ability.”

“Don’t believe what your eyes are telling you. All they show is limitations. Look with your understanding, find out what you already know, and you’ll see the way to fly.” Richard Bach

Keep going, no matter what.  As an author, Allen received more than his share of rejection slips as has many other authors.  Yet, “just about everything I write does seem eventually to get published,” he said.  One of his tricks was variety.  He’s written everything from murder mysteries to books on comedy and religion.  Obstacles can’t be seen as stop signs but as detours; a gift that’s telling you maybe there’s a better way of doing things.  You’ll experience token naysayers who may try to discourage you from pursuing an idea; perhaps they have a hidden agenda — they didn’t think of it first —or try to disparage you or your idea in front of others. Let them deal with their deep-seated insecurities and low self-esteem.

You: Have a dream, believe in yourself, know what you want to do, and don’t let anything or anyone deter you from accomplishing it.  To paraphrase William Shakespeare, “Know thyself and to thine own self be true!”

“Don’t watch the clock. Keep going.” Sam Levinson

Live up to your expectations – not down to others’.

To think small never got anyone anywhere.  Remember, Michaelangelo didn’t paint the “Sistine Floor” and Orville and Wilbur Wright knew that they would find a way to make an airplane fly.  How many other stories have you heard about people who kept trying and trying until they succeeded—from proving the world wasn’t flat, to finding cures for malaria, chicken-pox, typhoid and polio; the peanut and its many uses, electricity, the light bulb,  telephone, automobile, space flight and the computer chip.  Examples are almost endless.

“Don’t lower your expectations to meet your performances. Raise your performance to meet your expectations.” Ralph Marston

Our brain is a computer too; instead of zeros and ones, it uses electrical impulses.  But to be effective any computer must be programmed with good data.  If you input garbage, you get garbage out (GIGO).  If you “program” your mind (computer) with positive thoughts and good information, positive things will happen.   Establishing high expectations (programming the computer) is an important first step.                  

Benchmark.  You’ve undoubtedly heard this many times before, but it bears repeating.  It’s when you identify precisely what you want to improve; determine who does it the best and then study them. The term “benchmark” is usually applied to organizations and it’s an important tool to help improve a specific business process.  The principle has far-reaching applications for personal improvement, as well.

To be really effective, (you’re really committed to change, right?) the benchmark principles must be applied sequentially; that is, inside – out; personally, then outside in, professionally.  Regardless of what it is you want to improve, to make the commitment to change personally is the first and most important step.  That’s why many 12 Step Programs begin with the person acknowledging publicly that they have a problem and…they can’t accomplish their goal(s) without Divine intervention. Without this important first step, true healing and meaningful change can’t begin.

If you are truly committed to becoming a better speaker, writer, leader, boss, husband, father — human being, the first step in your journey starts with the admission that you want to change. The second step is to determine who does what you want to improve the best and then study them.  Watch them, read about them, ask people for positive, constructive feedback, accept the feedback as a gift….and then use it!  If you want to change and improve bad enough, you’ll find a way.

We’re not here very long –the blink of an eye in cosmic time – and we can choose to make this web called “life” stronger by right actions and right words or weaker by negative thoughts and negative words.  We can build up or tear down; make those around us feel like heroes or goats.  The next time you’re shaving, brushing your teeth, or putting on your make-up, take a moment and look in the mirror.  Who do you really see?  What’s that “inner voice” say to you…and us?

Remember that life (and success) is a marathon, not a sprint.  Never give up.  And laugh often.

Humor will get you through just about anything.  Believe me!!

“A sense of humor…is needed armor. Joy in one’s heart is a sign that the person down deep has a pretty good grasp of life.” Hugh Sidey

Prepare your Investigation Results for Management

Posted: October 24th, 2016 in Presentations, Root Cause Analysis Tips

presentation-36911_1280After you’ve concluded a TapRooT® investigation, preparing your investigation results for management doesn’t have to be a chore.  If you have TapRooT® software, you can avoid creating a Powerpoint completely!  Learn how here.

If you prefer to add content to a PowerPoint, the TapRooT® tools that helped you complete your investigation will also help you create a presentation that gets their attention.  Here is a simple guideline of what content to add from your TapRooT® investigation:

  • After your introduction slide, clearly and simply state the incident and the determined results in two to three sentences.
  • On the next slide, present a small section of your SnapCharT® that explains the incident.  For most incidents, it will include four to six Events (Squares) leading up to the incident, as well as the the incident (Circle), and one or two Events that occurred after the Incident.  Only present the first line of the SnapCharT® (the Events) on this slide.
  • Then add slides with visuals.  You have already documented evidence through photographs and videos and maybe even sketched arrangement/placement in Steps 1 and 2 of the TapRooT® 7-Step Major Investigation Process.  You can use these items as Powerpoint visuals.  But how many should you use?  Use the visuals that most clearly support your results – just a few will suffice depending on the complexity of the incident.
  • Then present slides that contain each section of your SnapCharT® that includes a Causal Factor – one Causal Factor section per slide.  Include Events and Conditions this time.  Write the Root Cause next to each Causal Factor determined.  Do not present the Root Cause Tree.  Why?  Because then you are providing a pick-list for management to analyze and they have not put in the hours analyzing the SnapCharT® and finding supporting evidence.
  • Finally, create a slide that presents your Corrective Actions in an easy-to-read column or table format.  For example, list the Root Cause in Column 1, the Corrective Action in Column 2 and who will implement the Corrective Action (and the deadline for implementation) in Column 3.

To practice preparing and presenting results to management, sign up for our 5-Day TapRooT® Advanced Root Cause Analysis Team Leader Training.  You can even bring a real incident from your facility!

Friday Joke: Are You Appalled?

Posted: October 21st, 2016 in Jokes

Security Joke

You Can, You Should & If You’re Brave, You Will

Posted: October 17th, 2016 in Career Development, Career Development Tips
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Recently hiked to the top of House Mountain in Corryton, Tennessee. The climb can be rough in spots, but worth the view. Isn’t it always?

Ahhhhh the bucket list! I’ve been thinking about mine again lately. The 2007 movie inspired many of us with adventurous spirits to do more. So grateful to be living my bucket list adventure today!  Sometimes the best thing you can do for your career development is to do something different.

You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will. – Stephen King

If you haven’t made a bucket list, you’re missing an easy opportunity to live a more fulfilled life. A bucket list defines where you want to spend your resources before other non-essential things swallow them up. We all have a limited number of resources (and an expiration date), but few of us live like we do.

 

How to Create a Bucket List

 

  1. Choose different types of activities that enhance your primary areas of life. For optimal life balance, we all have six primary areas to attend to: physical wellness, emotional wellness, spirituality, relationships, finances and careers. You might include a few physical challenges, like hiking a mountain trail. Or plan a few adventures with your family or friends, like indoor skydiving (did that, highly recommend!). It might be fun to include a few intellectual and travel items that will enhance your career development. Maybe you’ve even thought about earning extra money by turning a hobby into a business.
  2. Don’t overwhelm yourself with too many items to check off. Your list is not set in stone, it can change over time, but always prioritize your list. Start with a “top 10” list. The top items on your list will be more meaningful to you than all of the rest of the list combined. Assuming it will take years to check off all the items, your list will change. You’re changing, so it’s only reasonable to expect your list to change too.
  3. Pick one thing that you can do this weekend. It might be buying tickets to see your favorite musician in concert or signing up for guitar lessons. Give yourself a feeling of accomplishment right off the bat. Some of the best things can be simple and easy. For example, traveling by car for a day trip adventure is easier than traveling to another country. Have bucket list items that range in difficulty from simple to difficult.
  4. Set goals that support items that will be challenging to achieve on your bucket list. If you want to live in Sonoma, California when you retire, you might set some financial goals and sign up for a wine tasting class. An easy first step is just buying a calendar with photos of Sonoma and hanging it by your desk so you can see it every day and keep the dream alive. Remember to review your goals regularly and remind yourself why you’re pursuing them.

Every day you’re writing a page of the story of your life, make it a good one!

Do you have a bucket list? Inspire others by sharing what you’ve checked off!

Choose or (Always) Lose

Posted: September 20th, 2016 in Career Development, Career Development Tips

The following article was reprinted with permission from the author, Captain George Burk, USAF (Ret), Plane crash, burn survivor, motivational speaker, author, writer. Visit his website at www.georgeburk.com or contact Captain Burk at gburk@georgeburk.com.

There are times when all of us find it difficult to make a decision. I know I have! Sometimes, the best decision is the one we didn’t make and time and outcome(s) showed we were correct. There are legitimate reasons to not make a decision. Some of these reasons have to do with time, resources, lack of adequate information and or our desire and the will to take some type of action.

That said, psychologist Susan Jeffries tells a story that shows the inherent risk involved when people won’t or, choose not to, make a decision.

Once upon a time, she says, there was a donkey that stumbled upon two bales of hay. Both looked good and had a pleasing, pastoral bouquet. The donkey stood before the hay for hours, trying to pick which one the donkey would consume.

In the meantime, the donkey grew hungrier. Afraid he’d miss out on the best pile of greens, he did nothing. Just like the donkey, when people fail to choose, they get stuck.

“The irony of course, is that by not choosing, we are choosing—to starve,” Jeffries said. “We are choosing to deprive ourselves of what makes life a delicious feast.”

Jeffers, author of “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway,” explains why people find it difficult to make a decision. “Our need to be perfect and our need to control the outcome of events work together to keep us petrified when we think about making a change or attempting a new challenge,” she said. “The inability or unwillingness to make a decision leads to a real or imagined loss of self-esteem and self-worth, a lack of progress and growth and ultimately mediocrity.” So…lead, follow or get the ‘heck’ out of the way.

“Middleness is the very enemy of the bold.”
Charles Krauthammer, writer

To break that paradigm, Jeffers recommends turning away from no-win thinking and changing to a no-lose way of thinking.

Jeffers suggests to affirm: “I can’t lose—regardless of the outcomes of my decision.” As I’ve said many times before, learn to fill yourself with positive affirmations. Change your internal script from negative thinking to a more positive view— “I can’t” to “I will.” “I’m not a good speaker” to, “I will become a great speaker.” The examples are personal and professional and are endless.

Look at the world as a great place for opportunity and growth, and you will look forward to the opportunities for learning and growing that either path you choose will give you. Think of your glass of life as being half-full, not half-empty.

“One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar.”
Helen Keller, writer

Even some of life’s most stressful events and we all have them —job loss, financial challenges, divorce, non-life threatening illness or worse—being burned and severely injured, for instance—have a way of leveling the playing field and giving us plenty of material that can provide us with internal fuel later, when we step-out to accomplish our next dream (vision) and goal. This can occur in the form of more contacts that expand our network or an important personal or business lesson.

“Traditionally, opportunities in life are thought of as relating to money, status and the visible signs of ‘success,’” she said. “Think of opportunities in a completely different light.” Through my personal life experiences, I’ve learned there’s nothing worse than an amputated spirit and without hope, one’s success and survival is significantly diminished if not lost.

“Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss in life is what lies inside us while we live.”
Norman Cousins, writer

Now, after you’ve refined and tweaked your thinking, begin to use the doldrums-busting steps below:

Do your homework. Securing relevant information is an important first step of the decision-making process and can keep you moving forward. “Don’t be afraid to approach the specific people involved relative to the decision to be made,” Jeffers said. Acknowledge what you don’t know. Seek out those who can help you learn. Enhance the positives and make the negatives disappear or at least, less apparent.

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
George Santana, philosopher

Set your priorities. Start by learning and focusing on the here and now. The issues that drive you today may well be a different color or originate from a different source than those you had last year. Goals are dynamic and, if developed properly, will change as you make progress. “You have to keep reassessing them,” Jeffers said.

“You only get back what you expect, and if you start low you’ll end low.”
Colin Powell, general and secretary of state

Listen to your gut speak. Quite often, your intuition, your sub-conscious mind provides messages as to what choice is best to make at a specific time. There have been many times in my life when my gut instinct
told me the choice I wanted to make was the right one. But, for any number of reasons, I rationalized that choice away and made another choice. Later, to my dismay, I discovered that my first, intuitive choice would have been the best one for me. What that taught me is to trust my intuition, my “gut” more often and go with my first choice and then not look over my shoulder.

“Don’t look over your shoulder. Someone may be gaining.”
Satchel Paige, professional baseball player

Don’t worry. Be happy. Leave the gnashing of teeth and the wailing about how life’s unfair, the stomping of feet and the verbal and non-verbal “woe is me” to others. Learn to trust in your ability to handle whatever life happens to throw your way. When life gives you a lemon, you have a choice. You can become a sourpuss or you can make lemonade. Self-made lemonade tastes great!!

“It is pretty hard to tell what does bring happiness; poverty and money have both failed.”
Kim Hubbard, humorist

Begin to think as if you’re a lifetime student (which we are) at a college or university. Call it the “University of Life,” where every day’s an adventure and every meal’s a banquet. The University of Life is where you eagerly anticipate the new people you’ll meet, the challenges you’ll face and how those challenges will pull you—or drag you—to change into the person you really want and can become. Each experience, whether positive or negative, is a valuable learning tool, each are “Teachable Moments.”

“If a window of opportunity appears, don’t pull down the shade.”
Tom Peters, business coach

The difference between a winner and a whiner is their attitude and a two letters. How well do you ‘spell’? EH?

And the winner is …

Posted: September 19th, 2016 in Contest

The winner of the most recent caption contest is (drum roll please) …

Barry Eichler

with his caption “Cutting Staff for Cost Savings.”

Congratulations Barry!

We had a great time judging this contest and are amazed at how clever you all are.  Check back soon for a new contest!!!

Monday Motivation: The right way to the top

Posted: August 29th, 2016 in Career Development, Career Development Tips, Wisdom Quote

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Regardless of where you work or what your title is, everyone must find ways to meet their individual goals and create a path to get there.  Is it easy to move up at your organization? Or will you need to weave around?  Make it a good and honorable journey, contribute where ever you can, and know when you get to the top, you earned the view.

Employment Opportunity: Director HSE, Matrix Service

Posted: August 25th, 2016 in Career Development, Job Postings

We just received this job posting for a candidate who is interested in providing leadership and direction of the HSE function for the Matrix Service organization, including U.S. and Canadian locations.  This position will manage the HSE organization through HSE professionals in each operating division.

Learn more or apply on-line here.

Monday Motivation: Failure is Better than “What if”

Posted: August 22nd, 2016 in Career Development, Career Development Tips, Wisdom Quote

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It’s a funny thing about life. You never know until you try, but to try is to risk failure. If you don’t try. you’re stuck in the “what if” your entire life. Try and know. Even if you fall, you’ll learn some things on the way down to help you rise a better person.

Enter our caption contest!

Posted: August 15th, 2016 in Contest

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From today through September 16 we are running another fun caption contest!

Contest Instructions:
1. Create your caption to the photo above in five words or less. All captions with more than five words will be disqualified.
2. Type your caption in the comments section of this post by September 16.
3. If you haven’t already, subscribe to the Tuesday TapRooT® Friends & Experts e-newsletter.  Only eNewsletter subscribers are eligible.
Our  staff will vote on the most clever caption, and the winner will be announced via our e-newsletter and a blog post on September 20.

Have fun!

Monday Motivation: Accomplish the goal!

Posted: August 15th, 2016 in Career Development, Career Development Tips, Wisdom Quote

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If you arrived at work today and was immediately met with a project that you put off last week, and the week before, and the week before … how do you begin? Visualize the desired outcome and how great it will feel to have accomplished the work. Then identify one small step you can take today. Take the step and don’t obsess over whether it was perfect or not. Then the next day, take another. Pretty soon you will have established a rhythm and the momentum will shift toward completion.

Monday Motivation: Choose happiness

Posted: August 8th, 2016 in Career Development, Career Development Tips, Wisdom Quote

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Bonnie Ware, the author of The Top Five Regrets Of The Dying, wrote in a Huffington Post blog:

“Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again … life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.”

Monday Motivation: Confidence

Posted: August 1st, 2016 in Career Development, Career Development Tips, Wisdom Quote

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If confidence doesn’t come easy to you, here are 3 tips:

  1. Correct your posture. Displaying confident posture will make you look and feel more confident. Roll those shoulders back and elongate the spine.
  2. Determine to do your best, and know that is enough. I promise other people aren’t evaluating every error and misstep you make. (Well, unless they are jealous of your confidence … and in that case, who cares?)
  3. Know your stuff. This is probably the best advice for building confidence. If you are speaking about a topic, do your homework and know the material. If you are meeting with someone, prepare. If you are trying something new, study up.

If you want to achieve success, you must believe you are worthy and go for it!

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