Are you wasting time at work on social media, visiting with co-workers or looking for another job? According to this infographic, these activities are some of the biggest time wasters.
This post was written by guest author ”Captain George” Burk. Learn more about this motivational speaker, author & writer on his website: http://www.georgeburk.com/
Most of the people I know always think about new ways they can enhance their personal and professional creativity. Their purpose for doing this is quite simple: they want to think more innovatively and develop the habit of how to think more creatively.
Bad habits, like negative thoughts and hostile self-judgments often block the strategic paradigms of creativity, innovation, anticipation and excellence. According to Alex Osborn in his book, “Applied Imagination,” one reason many of us tend to function less creatively as we mature is that “we become victimized by habit.”
“Either find a way or make one.” Hannibal, Carthaginian general
The key word here is “victimized” because I believe we have become an “externalized society.” This occurs when people act and talk like someone else – a person, organization, or governmental entity – owes them something. In adopting this attitude, they give up any sense of personal and professional responsibility for the choices they make and find it much easier to blame someone else for their “plight.” In this scenario, everyone sees themselves as a “victim” versus conducting their lives like a “survivor.” The former mind-set is just a lot easier; the latter more difficult as it requires courage, commitment, discipline, goals, focus and hard work.
The “victims” of today are precisely that because of their choices, and because no one, not their family, friends, bosses, or politicians held them accountable for their actions and choices. First and foremost, however, is they made the choice not to hold themselves accountable and responsible.
“As a result of education and experience, we begin to develop inhibitions which tend to restrict our thinking” Osborn said. What occurs are those inhibitions we set as our internal justification for not doing something and that something tends to keep us from attacking new problems (challenges) with enthusiasm and one of our greatest gifts, our imagination. However, it is possible to change the habit of bad and negative thinking with good ones. Here’s how:
Creativity guru Edward DeBono says that one way people can change bad habits and negative mind-sets is to exercise your creative mind. DeBono suggests focusing on an ordinary object, like a drinking glass, or a plate of food and then develop a problem or challenge concerning that object and then brainstorm possible solutions. The drinking glass or plate if food is a metaphor and only an example.
Don’t dismiss this example and tell yourself it’s too simple, or laugh it off as not useful to you. Change the mind-set and say to yourself that this does sound logical and makes sense, and that you will experiment with it and see how it can work for you. Use your creativity and imagination for another object, and then develop a problem or challenge for it and then brainstorm possible solutions. This exercise is also a form of “mind-mapping.”
In his book “Serious Creativity,” DeBono says, “Mostly we think of creativity as being applied to a serious problem and difficulties that seem incapable of real solutions without a creative breakthrough.”
However, suppose that you begin to focus on an issue no one else has even bothered to think about. For example, DeBono suggests while you drink a glass of water, you can choose to focus, “just on the rim of the glass. Could it be a different shape? Could there be a detachable rim for hygiene purposes?”
What are the tasks you do every day that be done differently? Stop and break each task into small, manageable parts. Are there any steps or procedures that are redundant? Can you improve upon you are doing, or how you develop and deliver your product or service? What are the relationships and interactions?
Granted, you may never use many of the ideas you generate from this creative practice but according to DeBono, “The mere exercise of setting out to pick an unusual focus area has a high value. This, in turn becomes a habit itself.”
“If the Creator had purpose in equipping us with a neck, he surely meant for us to stick it out.” ~ Arthur Koestler, writer
History is replete with stories about people that were successful innovators and who proved time and again the value of habitual creativity, anticipation and innovation. For example, Leonardo da Vinci used his imagination and creativity to explore all the aspects of life and included science, art, architecture and engineering. An important part of his thinking was to ask, “What if?”
Da Vinci’s creative habit produced paintings like “The Last Supper” which led him to develop detailed plans for flying machines, and underwater diving suits and a host of other inventions.
Thomas Edison is another inventor who made creative thought and action an integral party of his life. He filed more than 1,000 patents for inventions like the light bulb, an electrical generating system, a sound-recording device and motion picture projectors. To Edison, creativity and innovation was almost as important as eating.
To help you get into the habit of thinking more creatively, here are a few exercises to help you stretch your mind.
Record at least one observation a day in a notebook. Observe details and events around you can help open you eyes—and your mind—to a whole new world of colors, words, ideas, thoughts, people, nature and much, much more. When you take note of your observations and make the connection between your thoughts and what you see, you will begin to develop the habit to think creatively. By simply stopping every so often and observing the world around you also enhances the quality of your life.
When was the last time you stopped to watch hummingbird take nectar from a flower, or watch a flock of geese flying North or South and wonder how and why they always land at the same body of water year after year, even when the clouds obscure their landing site?
Think like Da Vinci and play the “what if” game. This is a great way to play with kids, too.
Playing “what ifing” games is great way to learn how to direct your imagination towards a desired mission (purpose), goal, or both. Michael Michalko, in his book, “Thinkertoys,” says, “This technique lets your ego relax and the playfulness of the ideas it generates will cause your mind to relax even more.”
Michalko offers a number general “what if” examples and include: “What if you had eyes in the back of your head as well as the front?” What if every person in the world had to adopt one homeless person and take care of that person for life? What if people slept for 23 hours a day, and were awake for only one hour?
I don’t know about adopting a homeless person and caring for him or her for the rest of my life. But I do know some parents who seem to have continued being responsible for their adult “kids.” And, I think I worked with some people who really did sleep 23 hours a day and when they were awake, may as well have been asleep. Eric Allenbaugh refers to these people as the, “the walking dead.”
So, “What if” you tell your employees they are appreciated and they’re doing a great job? “What if” someone asks you to be their mentor? “What if” you ask someone to be your mentor? “What if” you pat someone on the back and say “thanks?” “What if”’ you hug your kids and tell your spouse you love them? “What if” I had listened to some of the people around me who said I’d never walk again, or walk stairs, or be productive (well, this last point is open for debate). “What if” John Davieau hadn’t driven through that ravine, and “what if” he hadn’t turned his truck towards the smell of the smoke? “What if” he hadn’t found me on fire threw dirt on me and extinguished the flames?
“What if” I hadn’t met you…Well, I think you get the idea.
So, just like most of the things in your life, if you really want to become more creative, you will find a way to make that paradigm become a reality. It is that simple!
Now, “if” I can remember where I put my cars keys.
“Buy the truth and do not see it; get wisdom, discipline, and understanding. Proverbs 23:23 (NIV)
Successful retirement planning is an ongoing process. Have your priorities changed since you initially set your goals? Early in your career, you may have been planning for your dream home or preparing for children to go to college. A plan that was implemented 5, 10, 15+ years ago will need to be reviewed and adjusted.
Are your investing goals on autopilot since you set the initial goals?
Investor Junkie has posted “4 Compelling Reasons to Rethink Your Investing Goals.” These include not only recognizing that your priorities may be different and your circumstances may have changed, but also include the possibilities that the market may have changed since you implemented your goals, as well as the fundamentals of investing.
Learn more here.
Financial advisors recommend reviewing your plan annually to help keep your savings amount and investment choices on track to meet your retirement goals. If you haven’t revisited these goals in awhile, consider increasing your savings, rebalancing your investments, and rethinking your expectations for living in retirement.
It takes more than being qualified for a position to win an interview in a competitive market. Here are some common things interviewees say that seem innocent enough, but can be a big turn-off to potential employers. Have you ever said any of these things?
I can do anything …
I can try …
I remember we used to …
Why do you …
I didn’t get an opportunity to grow …
Why are these so wrong? Head over to DailyWorth and read:
and some of the answers may surprise you!
(Photo courtesy of Dreamstime.)
If you are not using the skills you learned in training, you are missing key opportunities for professional development. The proactive and reactive tools your training provided will not only enhance your career but will also contribute to the greater good of saving lives and preventing injuries.
If you have been using your root cause analysis skills for awhile and are interested in a career change, one thing that will stand out on your resume is a record of your demonstrated TapRooT® successes. When you share multiple examples of problems solved or leading teams to success, you will have a significant advantage in the job market.
Remember, TapRooT® is not only a valued skill for employers looking for accident investigators, but is also a valued skill for companies that:
- need to solve quality related issues
- have equipment downtime problems
- experience failure to achieve optimal operational success
Keep up with the leading companies looking to hire people with TapRooT® root cause analysis skills by looking at this link:
Need a refresher? We have several 2-day courses coming up in June:
And finally, if you have been thinking about getting training to become a TapRooT® Team Leader, get more info about our advanced 5-Day Team Leader Course:
If you have a success story to share about how TapRooT® has helped your career development, please share it by commenting below.
Feedback makes all the difference in performance improvement, but giving constructive feedback can be difficult. Many managers have a tendency to give feedback that makes the employee feel good instead of helping the employee to improve. So, how can we give honest feedback in a way that doesn’t defeat an employee’s efforts but helps them improve?
Research has found that giving feedback to help people see their progress toward their goals is one way to give effective feedback and stay neutral. It is not necessary to highlight what is “good” or “bad” but simply examine the employee’s road map to the goal, and determine how to help them get there efficiently. Employees are often frustrated by professional goals because they know the goals they’ve set, but are unsure of what progress is being made, if any, or what specific actions can be taken to get them there.
This was one tip of four that I learned by reading Time Ideas “Four Ways to Give Good Feedback.” Check out the other three tips here:
The U.S. is the only industrialized country that doesn’t require workers to take vacation. And with Memorial Day weekend, (the unofficial start of summer here in the U.S.), just around the corner, many Americans are still not planning to take any time off from work.
Studies have shown that vacation deprivation increases mistakes and resentment at co-workers. Not only that, workers who don’t take vacation do not enjoy these benefits:
- improved productivity and creativity
- lower risk of heart attack
- improved immune system
- better sleep
- deeper family relationships
The infographic below provides some interesting information about which countries do require vacation for the benefit of their employees.
Even when Americans are offered vacation, many don’t take it. According to a study performed by Harris Interactive for JetBlue, about 57% of working Americans had unused vacation time at the end of 2011, and most of them left an average of 11 days on the table – or nearly 70 percent of their allotted time off.
In a CNN Money article (Vacation? No Thanks, Boss), American worker cite many reasons for not taking time off including not having enough money to take a vacation, not wanting the stress of catching up on work when they return from vacation and fear of taking time off from an employer in an unstable job market.
Vacation breaks are better for our overall wellness than overtime. Most people feel better, have better life perspective and are more motivated to achieve their work goals after a vacation.
We ran this article last August, in preparation for the 2013 Global TapRooT® Summit. Dr. Beverly Chiodo speaks on rewarding and valuing the 49 character traits of your employees, and she spoke about it at the Summit.
As we reflect on our best practices and lessons learned from the Summit, it’s a great time to re-evaluate our values as well. Take 10 minutes, print this blog post, and complete this exercise to refocus your goals for 2013.
(Photo courtesy of USF.)
Our core values are the true representation of our authentic selves. Unfortunately, our authenticity is not always what we present to the world. The bright beacon of core values may dim under clouds other people and circumstances cast over them. That is why it is important to know and stand firm on what your core values are. If you put a small value on your core values, I can assure you that the world will not raise your price.
It doesn’t take years of soul searching and self-reflection to find your core values. The following exercise can help you start living your best life according to your core values in 30 minutes or less.
Grab a pen and piece of paper and let’s go!
1. Determine your core values. From the list below, choose and write down every core value that resonates with you. Do not overthink your selection. As you read through the list, simply write down the words that feel like a core value to you personally. If you think of a value you possess that is not on the list, write it down.
Being the Best
Making a Difference
2. Group all similar values together from the list of values you just created. Group them in a way that makes sense to you, personally. Create a maximum of five groupings. If you have more than five groupings, drop the least important grouping(s). See the example below.
|Flexibility||Making a Difference||Optimism|
3. Choose one word within each grouping that represents the label for the entire group.Again, do not overthink your labels – there are no right or wrong answers. You are defining the answer that is right for you. See the example below – the label chosen for the grouping is bolded.
|Flexibility||Making a Difference||Optimism|
4. Add a verb to each value so you can see what it looks like as a actionable core value, for example:
Live in freedom.
Seek opportunities for making a difference.
Act with mindfulness.
This will guide you in the actions you need to take to feel like you are truly living on purpose.
5. Finally, write your core values in order of priority in your planner, so they are available as an easy reference when you are faced with decisions. For example:
1. Live in freedom.
2. Act with mindfulness.
3. Promote well-being.
4. Multiply happiness.
5. Seek opportunities for making a difference.
If we can get to the place where we show up as our genuine selves, and let each other see who we really are, the awe-inspiring ripple effect will change the world. ~ Terrie M. Williams
The most important thing you can do for your personal success today is to know your core values, and use them to guide and lead you. Knowing core values is important because when we need to choose or decide something, we can do so easily by simply determining if the choice lines up with our true values. A life lined-up with personal values is a well-lived, purpose-filled life.
Three Minute Leadership: What It Takes to Create a Masterpiece. (To the Great Leaders Who Have a Passion for Continuous Learning.)Posted: April 4th, 2013 in Career Development, Career Development Tips
This post was submitted by ”Captain George” Burk. Learn more about this motivational speaker, author & writer on his website: http://www.georgeburk.com/
The following article is typed in its entirety as received from Col. Glenn Waters, USA. THE Simon Center for the Professional Military Ethic, United States Military Academy at West Point, 31 March 2011.
Thank you, Col. Waters. Highlights added.
What does it take to create your life’s masterpiece? This is a provocative question that grabs our attention. John Maxwell, in a recent article, “It Takes a Clear Vision to Create a Masterpiece,” shares his thoughts on the importance of having a vision whose crystal clarity provides purpose and direction to our journey. He introduces the paper with the story “Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia Cathedral.” Its construction began in 1882 and 129 years later, it is still not completed. Best estimates are that it won’t be finished in another 15 years.
The real story, however, lies in the vision of its designer, Antoni Gaudi. Maxwell writes that he had “no illusions” that the cathedral would be completed in his lifetime.” He knew that his work and vision would be completed by those who followed him. Gaudi wrote, “There is no reason to regret that I cannot finish the church. I will grow old but others will come after me. What must always be conserved is the spirit of the work, but its life has to depend on the generations its handed down to and in whom it lives and is incarnated” Knowing this, during his lifetime he devoted his efforts to designing the models and drawings that future generations would use to build the cathedral. From this inspiring story, Maxwell suggests the following:
Clarifying your vision. Gaudi spent over a decade fine-tuning his vision and its clarity has been the driving force behind a project that has spanned three centuries. The renowned Spanish architect understood a fundamental principle of leadership: what must proceed and how. Leaders have to define where they’re going before they begin to move.
Seeing The Vision Clearly Requires Your Effort. Clear visions must come into focus through sustained effort. For me, the whole process begins with questions I must ask myself. What are my deeply felt concerns? What are my core values? What strengths do I have? How have my experiences shaped me? These questions uncover how I am wired and what I hold dear in my life. Once the vision starts to come together in my mind, I share it with the key people in my life. These relationships refine my vision.
Seeing The Vision Clearly Specifies Your Direction. Why should we make the effort to see the vision clearly? Because vague visions cannot serve as compelling guides to those you want to lead. Followers do not rally behind a leader’s fuzzy picture of the future. Rather, they are attracted and motivated by leader’s who can paint an instantly recognizable portrait of tomorrow.
Seeing The Vision Clearly Determines Your Priorities. Every leader has limitations. Limited time, limited resources, and limited energy. As such, nobody can have it all in life. In light of our limitations, we can each make sacrifices and scale back the scope of our ambitions. Seeing the vision clearly, helps us to prioritize which opportunities to bypass and which activities deserve our dedication. The choices we make either draw us closer to our vision or push us farther away from it.
Gaudi’s life teaches the importance of vision – its foundation in self-knowledge, the direction it provides and how it serves to establish priorities. But there is more. If one’s vision is powerful enough, it will live in others – in the inspiration it gives to others to realize it and its impact in their life. There is a Chinese proverb: “There are many paths to the top of the mountain, but the view is always the same.”
May your vision inspire you to change the lives of other people. Remember the words of Carl Jung, Swiss psychiatrist: “Your vision will become clearer only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakens.”
Colonel Glenn Waters, US Army, is an Afghanistan Veteran and graduate of West Point. May 2013, he’ll graduate from the Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania. He’ll transfer to Fort Lawton, Oklahoma and assume the position as the Garrison Commander. On a personal note. Thank you Colonel Waters for your service to our county and for your friendship.
Who are you really? Where are you going? How will you get there? Who will be on your team? Questions I ask about my personal and professional visions.
Do you ever get to the end of the day, and wonder where your time went? Check out the Top 10 Time Killers from Office-Time.net and learn how to eliminate procrastination once and for all!
Studies indicate that non-verbal behaviors comprise a large portion of all interpersonal communication, so paying attention to someone’s body language during an investigative interview or a job interview will give you a wealth of information that they aren’t saying verbally.
When you are judging someone’s non-verbal behavior, where do you look? Most people look for the truth of the story in someone’s face, but did you know that is the main place that people hide their true feelings? Think about it — growing up how many times did your parents say, “Get that scowl off of your face?” or “Put on a good face for Aunt Linda?” How many times do we tell our own children and grandchildren that?
The best way to judge someone’s true feelings is to look at their feet! People tend to have “happy feet” when things are going well, and perfectly still or nervously shifting or bouncing legs and feet when the are not. Some people have restless leg syndrome so a bouncing leg isn’t always a clue that something is awry, but if you know a person typically bounces his or her leg, and suddenly they are kicking their legs and feet out during an interview or not moving them at all, that could be a clue that something is not right. Look for sudden changes in the movement of the legs and feet and think about what was being discussed just prior to the change. If the person is seated at a table and you can’t see their feet, look for vibrations in their shirt, jacket or shoulders that give the movement of their feet and legs away.
See me at the 2013 Global TapRooT® Summit for more tips about decoding non-verbal behavior, or attend my session on the Human Performance & Behavior Change Track (Understanding Human Behaviors: Body Language – Things to Look for in an Interview), Wednesday, March 20 at 2:40 p.m.
Register now for 2013 Global TapRooT® Summit week, March 18 – 22, 2013 in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
You don’t have to be an astronaut or cowboy to live your childhood career dream. A LinkedIn survey has concluded that over 30% of people are in a career related to their childhood dream job. It’s not as crazy as it seems. Nicole Williams, LinkedIn’s career expert, says in Business Insider that what we desire as children reveals our core competencies and natural tendencies:
Out of those surveyed in the report, 30.3 percent said that they currently have jobs closely related to their childhood dream jobs.
“You need to ask yourself ‘what was it about this childhood dream job that got me so excited?’…the ‘why did I want to do that?’…’what was I hoping to accomplish?’…that can help you to get the spark back into your current job,” Williams said.
“Even if the package is different, if can you tie yourself and your career to the fundamental why or passion that you were connected to as a kid, you’ll experience more success.”
What was your dream job as a child? How does it relate to your current job?
Please share in the comments below!
(Image courtesy of Ubercool Gifts)
Two weeks ago we discussed how to make S.M.A.R.T. New Year’s resolutions. Now the question is, “Where do I find the time to do these things?” Here’s where I found it.
I have never been a morning person, but a recent article on the benefits of becoming one inspired me. Research shows that it improves your energy levels throughout the day, and that it’s one of the most common habits of successful people around the globe.
How to Be An Early Bird
Try waking up an hour earlier and going to bed one hour earlier. Set your alarm once and for all, and place it on the other side of your room. Just say “no” to the snooze button, as this keeps you from waking up and robs you of good sleep. When you snooze for 30 minutes, you’re constantly waking and falling back to sleep. This breaks up your sleep cycle, making you more tired.
How to Get the Worm
What do you do once you’re up? Do something for yourself! Anything constructive that you love to do will energize you for the rest of your day and make you even more effective at your job. Prayer, meditation, and journaling will feed your soul, while walking or going to the gym will feed your body. Read that business book that’s been sitting on your shelf for six months or that golf website you love. Work on that New Year’s resolution you set a month ago.
Don’t shake up your schedule too much on the weekends. If you stay up until 12 and wake at 10am, it’ll be far harder to keep your routine steady. It takes 27 days to form a long-term habit, so make that your goal. Do it for one month and see if it benefits you. Chances are, you’ll be happier and healthier and you won’t want to quit!
Will you take the 27-day challenge to wake up earlier?
What will you do in the mornings to improve your day?
Do you want to become more successful in 2013? This infographic (courtesy of MetEdge, LLC) shows some traits of successful and unsuccessful people. In addition to reading it to find out whether you’re successful, use it as a guide for becoming even more successful than you already are.
Don’t be discouraged if you exhibit some of the traits on the right side of the graphic. We’re all on a road to success with many pit stops along the way. Brainstorm some ways you can begin the habits described on the left and you’re on your way to a successful 2013!
How will you become more successful this year?
Do you have any tips to add? Please share in the comments!
A recent study shows that even a three-second distraction can cause a colossal mistake in your work.
An experiment was done in which participants were asked to perform tasks, with or without interruptions. It only took a 2.8-second interruption to cause participants to make a mistake. This is because “the participants had to shift their attention from one task to another. Even momentary interruptions can seem jarring when they occur during a process that takes considerable thought,” says lead researcher Erik Altman.
“What this means is that our health and safety is, on some level, contingent on whether the people looking after it have been interrupted,” Altman said. ” … ensuing errors can be disastrous for professionals such as airplane mechanics and emergency room doctors.”
If you know TapRooT®, you already know how detrimental distractions can be. It comes down to the root cause “Human Engineering”. Make your work environment the safest you possibly can by turning off your cell phone and focusing of the task at hand. Take breaks when necessary and make sure you’re well rested and can complete your job in a safe manner.
If your job is to respond to crises, then by all means keep your cell phone on, but evaluate your unnecessary distractions and see if you can eliminate any.
Don’t have a high risk job? This also applies to your desk job. Turn off your cell phone and e-mail for the period of time when you really need to focus and get a certain task performed perfectly. Then check them at a designated time.
(Image from The Houston Chronicle)
Did you make some New Year’s resolutions? If you did, you’re among the 40%-50% of people that make resolutions each year. Did you know that just making a resolution increases your chances of changing?
Just Do It
Studies show that you’re 46% more likely to create lasting change in your habits when you make a resolution, rather than just keep an abstract goal in the back of your mind.
What kind of resolutions should you set? You’ve probably heard of SMART goals in every professional development training you’ve had, and you’ve used the SMARTER plan for your corrective actions. Let’s apply SMART to our New Year’s resolutions, too, whether personal or professional.
Your Goals Must Be SMART:
Specific – What do you want to do? Make it as specific as possible, replacing “Eat healthier” with “Eat a salad once a day.”
Measurable – It’s all in the numbers: Pounds, inches, workouts, dollars, meals, pages, and projects are all items you can count. Put a number on it: Not “Lose weight” but “Lose 10 pounds by Easter.”
Attainable – Yes, your goal should be challenging, but you’re more likely to accomplish it if it’s realistic. Don’t say “I’ll work out every day” unless you really can. “Work out twice a week” is more realistic, and you can always set another, loftier goal when you meet your first one.
Relevant – Is this the right time in your life to attempt this goal? Maybe one of your life goals is to start your own business, but right now you have small children and you spend a lot of time with your family. That’s okay – plan it for a more appropriate time in the future.
Does it fit with your core values? We discussed how to determine your core values in this blog post. Take 10 minutes to do this exercise, and make sure your resolution fits your values. For example, if Daring is one of your core values, then “Go skydiving once this year” is a fantastic goal. However, if Calmness is a value, then you may want to rethink.
Time Bound – Give yourself a deadline, and stick to it. If your goal is “Write 100 pages of my book by August 1” check in once a month, or even once a week, to make sure you’re on track.
What are your resolutions this year?
What are some tips and tricks you use to keep yourself on track with your goals?
Please share in the comments section below:
Did you know that over 79% of people cite “lack of appreciation” as a key reason for leaving their jobs?
Check out this infographic (courtesy of http://www.OCTanner.com) to learn more about how to show appreciation to your employees and avoid a “Management Systems” root cause later on down the line:
How does your company show appreciation? Any tips for showing appreciation?
Please share in the comments!
Did you know that poor back posture can increase the risk of metabolic syndromes, heart attacks and strokes? That if you sit for 11 hours or more during the day you have an increased risk of death in the next three years over those who sit for less than four hours? I read an interesting article on the Huffington Post today detailing this and offering ways to improve posture during working hours:
Happy New Year!
Have you written your resolutions yet? Much of our happiness and success is the result of what we are thinking. So are our failures! And the last thing we want to do in a brand new year is set ourselves up for failure! So let’s think about what we are doing with our self-talk.
It’s a simple concept:
Positive self-talk leads to success.
Negative self-talk dooms you to failure.
Which one are you setting yourself up for?
Let’s examine several ways to combat these negative thought processes and develop new, positive thoughts that will better serve you.
Becoming aware when you make statements like these or think thoughts like these means you are 90% of the way there:
“I can be happy once I …”
It’s a mistake to believe that you need to have or do anything before you can be happy. As soon as the criterion is met, another will simply take its place. It’s great to strive for more, but to make your happiness dependent on such attainment will delay your happiness forever.
The success of other people makes you jealous or resentful.
The flaw is thinking that only a limited number of people can experience success. Learn to admire others that are successful. Learn from their success and be happy for them. You can be successful, too.
“I can’t do anything right” or “I’ll never be successful.”
Mistakes are simply a learning method of how not to do something. Humans learn largely via ‘failure’. The most successful people have failed far more times than the average person. The difference is that they discover how to pick themselves back up again so they can go on to succeed. Remind yourself of all the times you’ve succeeded at something in the past.
For example, learning to talk and walk were difficult endeavors. Consider how many times you failed at both of them and yet you were successful in the end. What if you had the same level of perseverance for everything else in your life?
“Why do these things always happen to me?”
Over the long haul, life is remarkably fair. Bad things happen, but they tend to pass and good things take their place. To believe that you are singled out for bad things is a critical error that can guide you toward more negative circumstances.
“I can’t do this.”
It’s difficult to do something that you believe you can’t. In reality, you can do nearly anything, given enough time and effort. Can you improve a little bit today? Of course you can, and you can keep improving each day. How could you not be able to do something if you never give up?
“I’ll do it tomorrow (or next week).”
We often let ourselves off the hook by putting things off into the future. Successful people are great at doing what needs to be done. They simply do the things others don’t have the nerve to do. Be brave and claim your success today – not someday.
Any other negative self-talk.
There’s a simple way to know if your thinking is on track. You should be happy, motivated, and enthusiastic to attack your goals. If you don’t feel this way, then you have negative thoughts in your head. Find and resolve these thoughts.
Monitor yourself continuously for negative thought patterns. When they occur, intentionally turn the thought around into something positive. Most of your negative thoughts have little reality supporting them – they merely have the power of repetition on their side. You can override that with repetition of new, positive thoughts.
You have the power to transform your life. Imagine what you could do if you banished all negative thoughts from your mind. Practice positive self-talk and enjoy the success you deserve. Here’s to a great New Year!
“Do the thing you fear the most and the death of fear is certain.”
Get back on a bicycle, horse, or a plane.
When I was in graduate school, I read a book (actually, I read more than one book) and one chapter dealt with public speaking. The author, whose name I’ve long forgotten, said, “Man’s greatest fear is standing in front of people and speaking. Given that choice or walking through a wall of fire, man would choose the wall of fire.” I had been out of the burn unit for almost five years; my initial emotional response was similar to, ‘Bull crap.’ I’ve done both; public speaking is a cake-walk. I know fear!
There are four basic types of Fear: Fear of Success; Fear of Failure; Fear of Confrontation; Fear of the Unknown.
Life’s all about choices. When you choose and commit to identifying, acknowledging and eliminating your fear(s), you’ll find the needed motivation and courage to continue to live with enthusiasm and appreciation. Overcoming your fear(s) is a lot like losing weight or getting into shape. “As people begin to feel stronger and healthier, they develop (more) confidence and this pushes them to pursue their goals,” says Jonathan Alpert, author of “Be Fearless: Change Your Life in 28 Days.”
“Have the character to think it out and the courage to talk it out.”
Here are a few tips to identify, confront and put fear it its place:
Shut your pie hole. To vent or not to vent. Aye, there’s the rub. Venting has its place and it often helps us to feel better and to talk ad nauseam but in reality, it doesn’t help. Venting only provides temporary emotional relief and after the venting is done, the main issues still remain. People with deep seated fears are stuck in emotional and complaint quagmires. Venting becomes the instant responses to focus on the external rather than the real fears that are internal. People don’t want to be around a negative nincompoop. A better strategy: stop chewing on the negatives and venting on life’s injustices, how you’ve been treated and wronged, stop with the negative and focus on the positives. Create, achieve and sustain real change and success with a plan. Discipline and train your emotional brain to fill yourself with positive self-talk; positive affirmations. Know the triggers—people, words, places, events— and stop the negative stuff it its tracks.
“One has to remember these days where the garbage pail is, because it’s so easy to make sounds…but it’s just as hard as it always was to make good music.” Robert Moog, inventor
Change (flip) to the positive. It becomes (almost) second nature to focus on what has gone wrong and what could go wrong than to change your focus and take advantage of what’s right. When fear of the unknown begins to creep into our mind, then what to do? Seek the facts! What’s the evidence? Are you really ‘doomed’ or are you just nervous about what you think are the expected outcomes? Or do you have the expectation and believe that you’re ‘doomed’ again? It’s “The Law of Self-Fulfilling Prophecy.” You think it’s inevitable and make it (let it) come true.
“It’s easier to fix damage than it is to create it.” Brian Lamb, executive
Evolve. As humans, our minds are hard-wired to think of all the things that could possibly go wrong. “Fear is compelling because it has served humans well for thousands of years, Alpert said. “It prevented people from going near danger and places that could potentially be life threatening.” Humans do ‘rewire’ their brains and go to the “sounds of the guns.” Our country’s filled with examples of this and the heroes that accomplished great things. The fear of the unknown is not necessarily negative and freezes our emotions and responses. It challenges us like few things in life to respond, often times without pausing or thinking about what we should do. When you acknowledge and overcome your fear(s), you’ll become more mentally tough but also careful to not become emotionally hard.
“Life’s hard by the yard but by the inch it’s a cinch.”
Become familiar with it. The unknown (uncertainty), the fear of loss and criticism—the ‘three horsemen of creation” as entrepreneur Jonathan Fields calls them in his book “Uncertainty”— paints the mental models that can also create unbelievable breakthroughs. “In the context of a single endeavor, you may need to live in this model (space) for hours, days, weeks, months or years until the process takes on enough form to provide the validity of the vision,” he said. Embrace the model and its concepts. This is when your personal core values that include character, competence, courage and perseverance play critical roles.
Take your imagination with you. Make it portable. Everywhere you go there you are. Once you begin to eliminate the personal, then professional self-defeating, potentially catastrophic what if’s and could’ve, would’ve, should’ve emotional responses, begin to envision (visualize) what it is you want to achieve. The development and identification of a vision is just the first step and some may think that’s enough. Earth to readers…It isn’t! Too many people have big wishes and big dreams but lack an action plan to implement their vision. They instinctively and habitually “talk the talk” but seldom “walk the talk.” They choose to not commit and enroll in the process. “Wishful thinking is an outgrowth of fear,” Alpert said. To have a vision and plan to make a million dollars is much harder than looking at a blank check for a million dollars; to ask your boss for a raise or even work smarter and more effectively. What process is most likely to result in more financial security in your bank account? The vision with the most stress and fear. It’s the natural emotional catalyst that drives us to succeed.
“I think hearts are very much like glasses. If they do not break with the first ring, they usually last a considerable time.” Letitia Landon, poet
Grasp the can-dos. “I think I can, I think, I can…I KNEW I could!” Decide that you’ll be the “Little engine that could.” Many organizations have down-sized. If you’ve lost your job or fearful you may lose your job, there’s not much you can do to control the number of positions that may be eliminated or if your position may be one of them. What you can control is your relationships at work, especially with your boss and your work performance. You can, for instance, control if your position is less expendable (make it difficult for them to let you go), and if you choose to continue your education outside of work and learn new skills and enhance your current skills and your marketability. Another “can-do” is identify your personal and professional networks and begin to utilize your contacts as a tool to help you find that new, more challenging and rewarding position. Plan-Do-Check-Act.
Complete. Said another way, “Finish.” Too many fearful people, at the first inkling of failure, stop. Instead of using failure as teaching tool, a “Teachable Moment,” they give-up on themselves and give-in to what they come to believe will be more failures, so they stop trying. That attitude can, and often does, lead to a downward spiral of missed opportunities, bad choices and poor mental and physical health and failed relationships. It’s insidious. Over the years, I’ve asked people why the car windshield is so large and the rear-view mirror is so small. The answer is quite simple; you want to see where you’re headed, not where you’ve been.
“If you believe, then you hang on. Ruth Gordon, actress
As a burn survivor, I was challenged to learn this concept like no other lesson life taught me. I knew that if I wanted to survive and thrive, I had to get off my pity-potty, stop thinking about what may have been and what happened to me and force myself like never before to look out of my life’s windshield and envision success I knew I could achieve. After all, the worst thing that could happen to a human being already happened to me and, when I finally accepted that premise, I knew from then on, there was no second place. So, take your eyes off the rear-view mirror and begin to look through your ‘windshield of life’ and develop a plan; include a few, initial, logical steps you can take that will point you towards a comeback. Replace any negative references—people, places, things— you experienced with positive, sequential examples. As part of your inspiration, vow to make any naysayers wrong! Turn a negative into a positive. Use the ‘adversity’ as a teaching tool. Life’s one BIG Teachable Moment. Failure is not falling down, it’s staying down. Accept it and learn from it. Sure it hurts. That’s life and it’s not always “fair.” Get over it! The sooner you do the better off you’ll be. It’ll strengthen your resolve, deepen your character and enhance your self-esteem and feelings of self-worth.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God, I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 4:10
DECIDE ON YOUR TRUE DREAMS AND GOALS. Write down your specific goals and develop a plan to achieve them.
Learn more about Captain George Burk at: www.georgeburk.com.
Inc.com listed links to what they think are the best tips for motivating employees. The article asserts:
” … success of any facet of your business can almost always be traced back to motivated employees. From productivity and profitability to recruiting and retention, hardworking and happy employees lead to triumph.”
Links to articles on motivation Inc.com listed fall into categories ranging from changing corporate culture to non-cash incentives to creating a fun workplace and more.
See the link below and make some positive resolutions for enhancing motivation in your workplace:
Let’s expand on something we discussed last week regarding planning and productivity. It seems silly to record your useless activities (Quadrant IV) when prioritizing and managing your time, doesn’t it? Recent studies, however, reveal that creating a “Do Not Do List” is one of the habits that skyrockets a good company to a great one.
“The biggest time management mistake people make is not realizing how much time they waste,” says Peggy Duncan, productivity expert. When we’re honest about our activities and whether they really further our goals, we can see where we’re wasting time and be proactive about it. We can eliminate time-wasters and spend more time doing what is productive, meaningful, and rejuvenating to us.
Harness the Power of the Do-Not-Do List:
Write it Down. First, take out your Urgent/Important Matrix from last week, and look at Quadrants III and IV. If you haven’t done this, simply write down every activity you do in a day.
Pin it Up. Write all of your time wasters on a separate list and post it in your office/home to remind yourself what is not effective for you to spend time on. Post an additional list of your important & useful (Quadrant II) activities so you know what to do instead that will truly further your goals.
Replace Bad Habits. Don’t simply tell yourself “STOP!” but replace that activity with a beneficial Quadrant II one. For example, when I find myself mindlessly browsing on the internet to “relax” at home, I remind myself how much more refreshing it is to go for a walk or read a favorite novel instead. This way, I am more motivated to change my habits, because I see the benefits of doing so.
Keep the Good Eggs. Some activities on your list might be potentially beneficial but not worth doing now, like planning Christmas gifts in August. We suggest you make a running list of your great ideas and re-evaluate it every month to see if it’s time to start working on some of those fantastic projects.
My examples are from my home life, but this technique is even more crucial to master at work.
What are some of your time-wasters at work? How will you change your habits?
Tell us below in the comments:
When it comes to our daily activities, we can easily find ourselves busy without truly accomplishing our goals. The Urgent/Important or Eisenhower Matrix, which we mentioned a few weeks ago in this article, is a fantastic tool that you can use to overcome the tendency to focus on urgent activities and accomplish what’s really important to you.
A Bit of History: President Eisenhower reportedly used this grid, with the philosophy that “What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.” Stephen Covey popularized this philosophy and the grid in 1994, calling it the Urgent/Important Matrix in his book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”
How to Use It:
1. List all your activities. Include everything you do habitually, even interruptions and distractions.
2. Assign importance to each activity on a scale of 1-5. Don’t worry about urgency at this point; it’ll come later. Remember that important activities build into the achievement of your overall goals.
3. Evaluate the urgency of your activities now. Plot items on the matrix according to importance and urgency. Urgent activities demand immediate attention and are often associated with others’ goals.
4. Use the following strategies to make the most of each section of the matrix.
Strategies for Success:
Quadrant I: Urgent & Important
- These are legitimate issues, deadlines, and crises that cannot be dealt with later without great negative consequences. Examples would include family emergencies, hard deadlines, angry clients, machine repair, and injured employees.
- Deal with these immediately, but remember that some of these issues (such as deadlines) become urgent due to procrastination.
Quadrant II: Not Urgent & Important
- These activities help you achieve your goals, and can include exercise, planning and preparation, building solid relationships, quality family time, empowering others, personal and career development, and spiritual growth.
- Allocate plenty of time for these so they don’t become urgent later. “Increasing time spent in this quadrant increases our ability to do so. Ignoring this quadrant feeds and enlarges Quadrant I, creating stress, burnout, and deeper crises for the person consumed by it. On the other hand, investing in this quadrant shrinks Quadrant I.” – Covey
Quadrant III: Urgent & Not Important
- These activities masquerade as Quadrant I activities because they seem urgent. In reality, they usually further others’ goals at your expense. Examples include off-topic phone calls, e-mails of low importance, and drop-in visitors.
- Eliminate as many of these activities as possible by delegating them to trusted individuals. If you can’t delegate, allocate specific times during which you’re available for these interruptions or hold a meeting during which all these items can be dealt with.
Quadrant IV: Not Urgent & Not Important
- Activities like junk e-mail, mindless web browsing, channel surfing, water cooler gossip, light addictive reading are the time-wasting activities in this category. These seem like recreation activities you’d place in Quadrant II, but they are unhealthy “cotton candy” time wasters. They feel good at first, they have no substance.
- The solution? Replace these with important or re-charging activities from Quadrant II like work, exercise, quality time with friends, reading a classic novel, prayer/meditation, or your favorite hobby.
After last week’s article on integrating new employees into the workplace, I thought it would be useful to share some tips for those of you who are new employees yourselves.
Be Positive & Friendly: As a new employee, you may think your new co-workers should reach out to you and be friendly. This isn’t always the case, however. Smile, introduce yourself, and make it a point to remember each person’s name. Make three solid connections in your first week of work, so have have peers to lean on in the future.
Get to Know Your Boss: Take him or her to lunch. A healthy working relationship in which you feel comfortable being honest and asking questions is essential for your success at your new job. Over time, you’ll also learn his or her preferences, habits, and work style; this will help you meet expectations to a T.
Listen First, Talk Second: You’ll be tempted to prove yourself, but don’t be too aggressive. You have a lot to learn, so listen closely and take lots of notes. Be assertive and share your opinions and ideas when it’s relevant, but don’t force it.
Learn the Ropes: Pay attention to policies, protocols, and company culture. How do your new co-workers treat one another? How are decisions made? How quickly do others respond to your e-mail? Take these cues, along with the roles and expectations your new boss sets for you, and use them to assimilate into your new workplace. Ask for a list of others’ job titles and roles, if your company has one. Then you’ll know who to ask for the information you need.
Buckle Down: Work as hard as you can, especially in your first few months. Go above any beyond the expectations set for you by seeing unmet needs and taking care of them without being asked. Deliver on your promises, and you’ll be seen as a dependable employee. Your bosses will be glad they hired you.
Build into your future: As soon as you feel settled, perhaps a week or two into your job, begin creating a vision for your future. Look for a mentor, someone who has been in the business longer than you and has wisdom to offer. Take advantage of all the extra training and programs your company offers you throughout your career. A TapRooT® course or the TapRooT® Summit would be a fantastic place to get some of that root cause analysis, investigation, safety, or quality training you need.
Do you have any tips to share from your experiences as a new hire? Share them in the comments below!