Category: Career Development Tips

Calcified at 45? 4 Tips to Keep from Turning to Stone

August 26th, 2015 by

calcified
I read an interesting Q&A on Forbes.com recently. Someone wrote in to say that he was turning 45 and felt “stale” on his job. He wanted advice about whether or not he should leave his position of nine years and seek a new one.

Liz Ryan, a former Fortune 500 HR SVP, replied. She said he was robbing himself of opportunities by staying in his current position. I was nodding my head in agreement as I read through her answer, until my eyes hit the words, “Forty-five is an age at which many or most working people begin to calcify.”

Whoa!

“Many or most working people” is a pretty strong claim. I’m 53 so I had to do a quick self-assessment. Then I reminded myself that since I turned 50, I have completed training to become a certified yoga instructor and a certified professional coach. Then I wrote a book and a course; and I am currently finishing my Bachelor’s degree.

It’s not because I have great strength or brilliance either. I couldn’t touch my toes when I started yoga teacher training but I could when I finished. I hadn’t taken a college course since 1994 when I applied for my degree program but I’m consistently on the Dean’s list because I work hard at it.

I breathed a sigh of relief that I am not turning to stone. Whew!

She also said something in her answer that resonated with me, “How much longer will you keep working? If the answer is ‘Twenty-five years until I’m 70′ then the question becomes ‘what do I want to do in those twenty-five years?'”

She’s on to something there!

I’ll someday be 55, 60, 65, 70 whether I pursue new paths or not … so why not? I may write another book based on what I’m learning in my psychology program before I’m 55. I may lead a senior yoga class at age 70. My biggest concern is that I will run out of time before I run out of things I want to do.

Fifty is when it starts getting good. Life no longer revolves around shuttling kids around. I get to buy the car I want, and next weekend I’m going to a Steely Dan concert. I’m adept at using a smartphone and social media … not hard to learn. What’s not to like about being 50?

So, is age just a number?

Research like “The Characteristics Approach to the Measurement of Population Aging” points to the fact that aging is more than just a number, it’s multidimensional. One person who is 75 chronologically doesn’t necessarily act the same age as another 75-year-old. Health and cognitive function contribute so much to the ability to live fully and with purpose throughout this one wild and amazing life.

Here are the top four things we can do to avoid being calcified at age 45 and beyond:

1. Schedule an annual exam. Proactive, preventive care matters more than ever at this stage of the game. I found out I had cancer not once, but twice, through annual well-visit exams. I am an otherwise healthy person … I seldom catch a simple cold virus!
2. Eat better quality food. Eat foods that make your body feel good and you won’t get cravings or feel hungry soon after a meal. You only get one body — feed it nourishing foods. Read a “A Quick & Simple Guide to a Longer Life.”
3. Live an active lifestyle. Walk more, go bowling, play hoops with the kids/grandkids, swim … do this at least three times a week. Put yourself and your physical/mental/emotional health first. It’s not selfish … your family, your employer and everybody around you will benefit.
4. Use your brain. Read, take a class at the community college, try out for a play (all ages of characters are needed), learn a language, travel someplace new for the day, visit the local art gallery or museum … possibilities are truly endless when we step out the door.

Notice I didn’t say “leave that boring job and pursue your passion” because we’re old enough to know it’s not that easy to walk away. However, when we are proactive about wellness, live an active lifestyle and continue to learn new things, we may just stumble upon a great new career without looking for one.

Or you may bring something new and exciting to your present job because you feel better. Sometimes the job is stale because we are stale.

Are you over 45? What do you do to keep from turning to stone? Share your ideas.

Don’t Waste A Good Crisis

August 19th, 2015 by

pablo(9)

Yep, oil prices are still down.  With oil below $50/barrel, revenues in the oil exploration business side are nowhere near what they were when oil was at $100/barrel.  Many are struggling to stay afloat.

So what do you do?

One of our clients had a great thought.  He said, “Don’t waste a good crisis.”  What he meant was, while revenues are down, you may find yourself cutting back on your core business.  For the exploration guys, this might mean less drilling.  Fewer rigs probably means less opportunity to cause incidents associated with drilling.  Therefore, your investigation teams are NOT performing as many root cause analyses, and therefore, proficiency drops.  Your options are:

1) Stop performing root cause analyses

2) Exercise your investigation teams on other items.

He had mentioned that this is a prime time to do things that you may not have had time to do before.  For example, his company is going back to review old incident reports.  They’re doing a deep analysis, looking for commonalities and repeat issues.  In other words, they are taking this time to improve their processes.  When business picks back up, they want to be in even better shape than they were before.  They want to be leaner, make fewer mistakes, waste less time, keep their people and the environment safer, and save money.

How many times have you seen companies stumble when they ramp back up?  They are less proficient, they’ve let their equipment languish, they’ve let their skills degrade.  Suddenly, business picks up.  They go through a period of rapid hires, bringing on new people that may or may not still be proficient at their jobs.  The investigations teams suddenly find themselves busy, but they, too, have lost their proficiency.  Investigations take longer, and they’re not as in-depth.  Lots of wasted time, money, reputation, and (worst case) lives.

All of this can be avoided by taking advantage of the down-time.  Use your skilled workers to their fullest.  I know those engineering teams have sharpened their pencils, looking for better, safer, and cheaper ways of extracting oil.  Your investigation teams should be doing exactly the same thing.  They should be looking at your processes, finding the repeat failures and incidents, and putting more robust corrective actions in place right now.

Where are the inefficiencies in your processes?  What repeat mistakes have your people made in the past, and how can we prevent them from happening again tomorrow, when business is again booming?

I thought that was a great attitude.  Don’t waste this great opportunity.  Don’t waste a good crisis.

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Do you like reading quick yet empowering tips like this? Contact Barb at editor@taproot.com and have them delivered to your inbox every Tuesday.  Just type “subscribe” in the subject line.  Our eNewsletter has career development tips, root cause tips, job postings, and even a joke to keep it light.

Get More from TapRooT®: Follow our Pages on LinkedIn

August 13th, 2015 by

Do you like quick, simple tips that add value to the way you work? Do you like articles that increase your happiness?  How about a joke or something to brighten your day? Of course you do! Or you wouldn’t be reading this post.  But the real question is, do you want MORE than all of the useful information we provide on this blog?  That’s okay – we’ll allow you to be greedy!

A lot of people don’t know we have a company page on LinkedIn that also shares all those things and more.  Follow us by clicking the image below that directs to our company page, and then clicking “Follow.”

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We also have a training page where we share tips about career/personal development as well as course photos and information about upcoming courses.  If you are planning to attend a TapRooT® course or want a job for candidates with root cause analysis skills, click the image below that directs to our training page and then click “Follow.”

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Thank you for being part of the global TapRooT® community!

10 Reasons Why I Don’t Take Criticism Personally

August 12th, 2015 by

praise
Ah feedback – how you put the wind in my sails and then abruptly leave me stranded in the middle of the ocean. The ability to sail through both positive and negative comments from others without relying too heavily on either is truly a skill mastered by the most successful people in the world.

I’ve been writing for publication for 15 years, and active on social media since its inception. I learned very quickly not rely on criticism to determine the value of my work.

I do take feedback into consideration, evaluating what’s “wrong” with the criticism, and what may be “right.” But over time, I’ve established my own personal core values, and these values are what guide my daily decisions.

I’m not claiming that positive feedback doesn’t make me smile, or that harsh feedback never makes me wince. However, when I catch myself getting too involved in feedback, I remind myself of these 10 things:

  1. Everyone has an opinion and everyone has the right to one.
  2. Feedback pushes me into a brainstorming, problem-solving frame of mind when I’m being lazy.
  3. Some people have more experience than I have.
  4. I have an opportunity to learn something.
  5. Constructive criticism can save me from a bad decision when I am open to it.
  6. If I am not receiving criticism, I must not be doing anything significant.
  7. Criticism is not always information meant to improve me, it is sometimes information I need to learn about the person who is delivering it.
  8. Resilience is a major key to success. Criticism offers a good exercise in how resilient I can be.
  9. The path to anything great is full of bumps. If I choose to trip and fall and lie there over someone’s critical feedback, it’s not that person’s fault, it’s mine.
  10. I am the author of my life story. I will not put the pen in someone else’s hand.

What do you think about critical feedback? How do you handle it?

Career Development: Capture More Joy in Life and Work by George Burk

August 5th, 2015 by

pablo(24)

First, a definition of Joy: “emotion of great pleasure or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; elation. Delight. Exhilaration. Rapture.”

“Gurgle like a Meadow Lark.” W. P. Kinsella

All of those definitions and more are wonderful things. To have them you must first make them happen. It’s up to you (and me) to create our joy, delight and exhilaration. No material thing or person can make you joyous and truly happy. Lately, it seems that far too many people expect others to fill their hearts and minds with joy. They want their life and their work to be fun yet they do little to make them fun. They want (expect?) their our boss to acknowledge and recognize them because it makes them feel good about themselves, yet do little to recognize their boss or others.

Our universe, regardless of its size and scope is clear: what we put into our universe is what we get out of it. Happiness and joy in; happiness and joy out. When we are negative, act and talk like a victim and think we’re owed because of some perceived injustice, we get those and more out. To say it another way, GIGO: garbage in—garbage out.

Life requires, even demands, that we create our own joy, happiness, delight and exhilaration. A few suggestions (many I’ve learned on my journey) on how you can find more joy, happiness, delight and WOW in your life:

Make it a habit to spend at least five minutes each morning, before you go to sleep at night or both and think about who, what and why you feel grateful and Blessed. Gratitude and Blessings brings joy, delight and exhilaration. Count your Blessings instead of sheep. Remember those who’ve helped you on that day and in your life. Make a list. I do and what a list!! I start with God, The Trinity and work down from there It gives me a sense of peace, contentment, meaning and purpose. Before I fall asleep, I often recite, “The Lord is my Shepherd…”

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame from within us.” ~ Albert Schweitzer

Acknowledge at least one person each week and thank them for their friendship, kindness, generosity, support and love. Be specific what you share with them. Is it awkward to say “Thank you” in person? Write a note and mail it to them or call them. It wasn’t awkward for them to show their generosity, kindness, support and love to you in person. It shouldn’t be awkward for you to respond in kind. One act of kindness deserves an equal response of thanks and respect. Skip the email—too impersonal. When we share a sliver of our joy with someone else that they can feel and touch, it gives us some more joy, too. For me, there’s far more than one person to thank. To know that brings me much joy!

“Kindness is the language the blind can see and the deaf can hear.” ~ Mark Twain

Make a list of the things in your life that you love. What are they? How actively do you pursue them? On a scale of 1-10 or A-F, rate each effort. Be honest with yourself. We receive joy, excitement, exhilaration, and delight as we march towards our goals, no matter how large the BHAGs, “Big, Hairy Audacious Goals” or how small. The key: keep headed forward.

“When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.” ~ Confucius

Take a long, hard look at your career and work. Does it feel like work and is it fun and do you truly love what you do? Or when you look at yourself in the mirror in the morning, do you hear that little voice in your head that wishes you didn’t have to go to work at that place today? Liar, liar pants on fire.

“The brain is a wonderful organ; it starts working the moment you get up in the morning and doesn’t stop until you get into the office.” ~ Robert Frost

The people with who you associate are who you are and who you become. As shared with me in 1961 by Mr. Orville Merillat, founder of Merillat Woodworking in Adrian, Michigan, “A man is known by the words he uses and the company he keeps. Choose them both wisely.” His support and friendship and that of his wife Ruth were a constant source of inspiration and Blessing to me. How many people in your life truly support you? A friend in need is a friend indeed. If this suggestion creates some doubt in your mind or makes you uncomfortable, perhaps it’s time you take a good look around you. Reach out! Say thanks.

“Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.” ~ Helen Keller

Remember, the friends we select and those who select us are the family we both choose. The old adage that you sure as **** can’t choose your family but we sure can choose your friends is as tried and true today as ever. The people in your life…do they support you or tell you what they think you want to hear? There are times in life, because of location, circumstances or a friendships lack of validity, when you have to create new friendships. The more true friends you have, the more unbiased support and love you receive. Make periodic deposits into your friendship bank account and watch the ‘interest’ and ‘dividends’ grow and compound. To know you have that much support and so many friendships, gives you more joy, delight, exhilaration and Blessings.

Do you associate with people who are committed and enrolled to your development? There’s a special delight to know that those in your universal sphere see your potential and value you to give of their time, talents, efforts and resources. Those friends and mentors shouldn’t, and most often can’t, give you the answer or fix the problem for you. See enabled. You created the problem. Only you can fix it. Own it! What your friends and mentors can do is offer you suggestions via Socratic Coaching; they answer a question with a question. “A pedagogical teaching in which the teacher does not give information directly but instead asks a series of questions with the result that the student comes to the desired knowledge by answering the questions or to a deeper awareness of the limits of knowledge.”

“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” ~ Buddha

Play it forward. Give. “Pass the salt and make a difference in a person, place or thing.” Leave them, it or both a little better for your having been there. Share you ‘energy.’ Find that something that stokes your passion(s) and give of your time and talents. For me, it’s the opportunities I’ve been given to share my story of survival and to write. When I receive a hand-written note or email from someone who was the audience when I spoke or who read my book(s), my brain smiles and brings me joy. Their notes help me reflect of the many whose personal competence courage, compassion (love) and perseverance saved my life. It includes the many over the past 35 plus years who invited me to speak which helped me to continue to heal emotionally and spiritually. When we play it forward and give of our time, talents and resources, it gives our life more meaning and purpose. Give more, take less.

“The spirit in which a thing is given determines that in which the debt is acknowledged; it’s the intention not the face-value of the gift, that’s weighed.” ~ Seneca in Letters to Lucilius

Live your life with Character. Don’t be a Character. It’s the right and ethical thing to do. When we focus more on what is right with us, our relationships and our work, we feel better about ourselves. We’re more exhilarated and joyous and that drives us to build even more momentum…to do more right and ethical things. Our Character is our umbrella for life.

“Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

Either you live your life with Character and use it automatically and instinctively, or you don’t. It must be weaved into your deepest psyche. Character, ethical thinking and decision making shouldn’t be conveniently espoused to garner support and/or make a political point. There’s far too much of that today in our ‘leaders,’ politicians and society.

Don’t be fearful. Fear, like other issues in life, is a choice. We create it most when there’s no real reason. It becomes another self-fulfilling prophecy and gives us permission to make excuses. Excuses become our reality. Fear limits us physically and emotionally. It sucks the life out of us like a dry sponge does to water. Fear’s a drain on our joy, excitement and exhilaration. Identify that which makes you fearful and then choose to develop a strategy to get rid of it, one choice at a time and one fear at a time. Go spread some joy…that’s joyous.

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy in life is when men are afraid of the light.” ~ Plato

Each day, create a goal to think about and acknowledge those people and things that delight you and bring you joy, exhilaration and happiness. It’s all around. Sunrise. Sunset. Air after a rain. Flowers in bloom. Hugs. Dry heat. J You have to want to see it. Good luck. God Bless.

“May the God of hope fill you all with joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:18

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.

3 Characteristics that Separate Leaders from Managers

July 29th, 2015 by

pablo(26)

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A manager and a leader have two very different yet critical roles for the success of every business. It is extremely rare to find an individual who can serve both roles.

It may seem intuitive to know which role you’re in, but sometimes a manager will find himself miserable in a position because he is a leader, and a leader doing a manager’s job is like trying to fit a round peg into a square hole.

Knowing whether you are a leader or a manager helps you fit into the organizational structure of your company, and benefits both you and the company.

Here are three primary differences between and manager and a leader:

 

Manager: You’ve been told you’re the “brains of the business.”

Leader: You’ve been told you “inspire action” with your ideas.

Manager: You set exciting goals, i.e., how many green widgets will be produced and sold this week.

Leader: You respectfully question exciting goals, i.e., is the sale of green widgets in line with our company’s core values?

Manager: You major in the “how” and “when,” establishing systems, operating procedures and incentive programs.

Leader: You major in the “what” and “why,” establishing the mission statement, long-term vision, and the direction of the company.

People ask the difference between a leader and a boss. The leader leads and the boss drives. ~ Theodore Roosevelt

While it’s true that some managers inspire and some leaders can create great systems, these are not their primary strengths.

Have you ever left a position because you were managing instead of leading, or vice versa?

Do you consider yourself an investigative team leader? We’d love to see you in our 5-Day TapRooT® Advanced Root Cause Analysis Team Leader Training!  Check out our Global Schedule for a course near you!

Change the Course of your Career by Jumping in the Flow

July 22nd, 2015 by

Are you completely involved with the work you are doing in your career?

Do you feel a great inner clarity knowing what needs to be done?

Do you feel your skills are adequate for your tasks?

Do you frequently feel a sense of ecstasy in what you are doing or a sense of serenity?

Do hours fly by in minutes?

Do you feel part of something larger?

If you answer yes to the above, you have achieved an optimal state of “flow” at work.

Perhaps you work at a company that provides that type of environment. Did you know that the first “Purposes of Incorporation” of Sony when they didn’t have a dime was:

To establish a place of work where engineers can feel the joy of technological innovation, be aware of their mission to society, and work to their heart’s content.

Not quite there? Stay with this 19 minute video until the last few minutes and find out what is blocking you from being in the flow at work.  Find out which state you are in and what you can do to break out of it and into flow.

Continuing education is one way to get back into the flow of your career.

Contact Barb at phillips@taproot.com and find a course that will open options in your career development!

Why Caring About Your Work Matters

July 15th, 2015 by

pablo(6)

If you’ve had the opportunity to hear as many motivational coaches as we have at our Global TapRooT® Summit, one thing becomes clear:  Align your life with your highest aspiration, because it’s short and there are no do-overs. Time is a valuable resource so each day we need to ask ourselves, “Am I spending my time on something that really matters?”

This author brings this point home with some valuable lessons on why we should care about our work.  Read the article here:

The Case for Caring About Your Work

Perhaps when we interview candidates for positions within our company, we should be asking that question, “How will this position help you align your life with your goals?” Because a person who can clearly connect his or her job to achievement of personal life goals will most likely be a better performer.  And a person who has no goals may not be the best fit for your organization.

How else can we encourage others to take care and pride in their work to transform our workplaces?

The #1 Reason Why You Aren’t Happy

July 8th, 2015 by

pablo(12)

Have you ever said:

I don’t have enough time to do all the things I want to do.

I feel uninspired in my career.

I’m not getting what I need from my relationships.

Have you ever wondered why, in spite of good intentions, things just never seem to work out?

I have some good news for you today.  It’s not because of bad luck.  It’s not because you’re too young or too old or too out of shape or too poor.  And stop beating yourself up for lack of motivation.  These problems are all related to one reason:  losing focus on your core values.

We don’t have time for all the things we want to do is because we don’t make important things that align with our core values a priority over all of the other things that distract us.

We feel uninspired in our careers because we are not choosing something that makes us feel excited to get up in the morning, and that something always aligns with our core values.

We don’t get what we need from our relationships because we lean too heavily on others who do not support or share our core values.

Core values have a huge impact on our lives because they give us purpose and direction.  One of the most popular Career Development posts on the Root Cause Analysis Blog is “5 Easy Steps to Determining and Living Your Core Values.” It is a simple exercise that reveals to us that core values are actionable items – that everything we do are either aligned with them or they are not.  Determine your core values here:

http://www.taproot.com/archives/33161

“What you seek is seeking you.” ~ Rumi

So after you determine your core values, what do you do with them?  How do core values help you live the life you’ve always felt meant to live?

Where it typically breaks down is when we don’t make the effort to align these values with our day-to-day lives.

Here are 3 important action items to implement once you decide to build your life on your core values.  When you make that intention, getting what you want from life will feel like less of a struggle, “luck” will seem to be in your favor, and motivation will come with ease.

  1. Review your core values frequently. Keep them in notes on your iPhone, on a Post-It on your bathroom mirror or any place you look often. It’s important to keep them in front of you daily so you remember what they are.   Fully understanding what they are and writing them down is wonderful, but if you do not review them daily, or at least weekly, you will find yourself slowly sailing away from all of the things you hold dear, and it will take a crisis to turn that ship around.
  2. Don’t make a major decision without examining them. Buying a house? Changing careers? Going back to school? Getting married? Buying a car? We allow other people and things to influence our decisions all the time when we really should be true to ourselves and align every big decision with our core values. For example, if one of your core values is to “live in freedom,” you will not want to purchase so many items on credit that you are living in bondage to debt.
  3. Take inventory of daily small decisions and determine if they fit with your core values. One easy way to stay on track is to mentally review the small decisions you make each day before falling asleep. Keeping a journal is helpful as well.  When your decisions don’t line up with your core values, you can get yourself back on track before venturing too far away from yourself. For example, if one of your core values is to “act with mindfulness” you may note that you were served a wonderful meal that day but was so distracted you really didn’t taste the food, or that a friend was sharing a story about her vacation and you were only half listening.

Living our core values is essential to living out our purpose in life and finding true meaning.  There is no greater gift we can give to the world or receive for ourselves than to honor our core values and live the life we are meant to live fully and with passion. Every home, workplace and city is an exciting place to be when it is full of those passionate about life.

I would like to hear about your core values, how they’ve been tested, and how they guide you through challenging times.

Career Development: The Truth About Failure

June 22nd, 2015 by

success failure

In Walter Bond’s book All Buts Stink (2009),  he puts failure into perspective.  He believes that there are two important factors that contribute to it – a lack of information and/or a lack of discipline.  Both contributing factors can be overcome.

You are already paying a price for the life you have. Pay a little bit more and have a bigger life. ~ Walter Bond

Reaching for a bigger life is to risk failure. Ironically, failure is easy to live with because it brings out sympathy from our friends and colleagues.  Sympathy is comforting.  We may not realize it, but there may be a point in life that we settled comfortably into the benefits of failure.  Discipline is hard work, and so is finding the information that we need to be successful.

However, accepting failure is also accepting a smaller life.

So how do you live a bigger life? Bond advises,

Career change, back to school, investment of time, investment of money, increased effort or focus, investment of courage.

And then what? And then the road to success may get uncomfortable, and one reason is that success brings out jealousy from those same friends and colleagues who were all in on the  group hug when we failed. They may send this message to us once we begin to experience success:  Don’t push forward and leave me behind. Stay here on my level where we’re friends.  They may not say those exact words, but what they do say to us may not encourage us to move toward a bigger life.  Plus, taking risks will create more obstacles, more roadblocks, more failures.

Perhaps the solution is to re-frame “failure” as simply an undesirable outcome.  Undesirable outcomes are not failures, they help us succeed.  To experience success after an undesirable outcome, we must be willing to take action.  We not only need a willingness to risk failure, we need to be willing to fall flat on our faces allowing that experience to motivate us to take that information and increase in action, to find the information we need, to become more disciplined.  Failure is a chance to move forward with important, new knowledge.

Know better. Do better.

Think of all the successful people throughout history, and all the struggles they went through before achieving a bigger life.  They never gave up — they corrected what needed to be corrected after each failure and kept their momentum.

When we become wildly successful, no one will be talking about our failures. Failures are just important and necessary stepping stones to achieving our highest aspirations.  Stepping stones … not stumbling blocks.  And that, friends, is the truth about failure.

Are you paying a price for the life you have? Are you willing to pay a little more?

Learn more about Walter Bond at http://walterbond.com/

Career Development: Ace the Interview!

March 30th, 2015 by

So you got an invitation to interview for a job — what now? Time to collect your thoughts to ensure you ace the interview. The first thing you should do is take a few moments to research and take notes on the company. Then take some time to become very familiar with the job description, and make notes on how your skills match it. Also, make a list of questions that you can ask the employer about the position.

Last but not least, get ready for the questions the employer will ask you. The Center for Career Development at Biola University has a list of the top 50 Interview Questions and tips on how to handle them. Learn more here:

https://career.biola.edu/interviewing-2/top-50-interview-questions/

And don’t forget, additional training will open up more career opportunities for you. Check out our upcoming training schedule here:

http://www.taproot.com/courses

Monday Motivation: Think of mistakes as encouragement to keep going…

March 23rd, 2015 by

Motivational-quotes-photo

Thomas Edison said, “I failed my way to success.” Mistakes – do they help you to grow stronger or do leave you feeling beat down, afraid to try again? What would happen if you stopped berating yourself for not meeting your highest aspirations every single time?

Mistakes are not committed intentionally but we often allow them to interfere with our progress. If we step back and view them objectively, we will find a few gems of wisdom to help us along the path. Stay open and flexible and most of all, see mistakes for what they are: events that provide each of us with our unique life experiences. Not only are mistakes proof that we are out there trying something, they are proof that we are willing to suffer some risk and change to get to where we want to be.

Career Development: Don’t Deal with the Devil by George Burk

March 2nd, 2015 by

Editor’s Note: 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.

Many times it’s simple to do the ethical (right) thing on your own. But what about when your boss tells you do something you instinctively and intuitively know is wrong (unethical)?

Simply stated, it’s a question of “Can I be true to myself and my character” said Elizabeth Doty, founder and president of WorkLore, a San Francisco-based consulting firm.

“Self-praise is for losers. Be a winner. Stand for something. Always have class, and be humble.”

John Madden, football coach

Doty surveyed people about how they handle the tension between their core values and their work persona. Doty calls this, “winning the devil’s bargain.” The tension (conflict) between succeeding at work and doing the right (proper) thing can be difficult. Then again, maybe it doesn’t need to be if you know and follow your core beliefs and always take the right course of action. Whether you agree or not, like it or not, your character and integrity is always being tested. In the final analysis, it’s never about money. It is about character, integrity, self-respect and being able to live with yourself.

“If money is your hope for independence, you will never have it. The only real security that a man will have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience and ability.”

Henry Ford, industrialist

“Most people are so uncomfortable in those situations, they just push it out of their awareness,” she said.

When people take the initiative and confront the issue and know it’s the right thing to do, it improves their productivity. “You begin to feel more alive, creative and resourceful when you feel good inside,” Doty said.

“The world is more malleable than you think and it’s waiting for you to hammer it into shape.”

Bono, musician

So, if or when you’re asked to do something you know is unethical or worse, here are a few suggestions:

Don’t play the game. Do what Doty calls “play the bigger game.” Learn to always place your principles first and have the strength of character to say “no” when asked to compromise them. “It’s not lowering your aspirations. It’s daring to be absolutely honest about the current realities,” she said. The goal’s to create conditions where (more of) the truth is part of the decision-making.

“Most people treat the present moment as if it were an obstacle that they need to overcome. Since the present moment is life itself, it is an insane way to live.”

Eckhart Tolle, writer

Turn the tables. One example Doty used is of the woman who once worked for a telephone company. The woman’s boss asked her to fake documents that would show that customers had asked to switch their phone service. The woman told her boss that she knew he really didn’t want this to happen. Hearing that, the boss then knew he had to do the right thing. “You can bring it back to the long term impact rather than the short term gain,” Doty said.

Beware of “good” organizations. These are the companies and organizations that seem to do the right thing but don’t always do it. Doty interviewed one person who joined a financial service firm because it seemed especially ethical. Soon after she was hired, several senior officers were convicted of embezzlement. When this happens, people who work for that kind of organization often become even more disillusioned and their level of trust is lowered significantly.

Remember the big picture. When you compromise your values, it doesn’t just affect you, it also hurts the organization. What may begin as a small indiscretion can soon grow into something larger and have even more effect on your personal and professional character. When that happens, it can destroy an organization.

“If we could sell our experiences for what they cost us, we’d all be millionaires.”

Abigail Van Buren, advice columnist

Trust your instincts. It’s impossible to know if every situation is the right one. But your gut, your intuition and instinct can give you a hint. When you have a queasy feeling in the pit of your stomach or a question in your mind, that’s a powerful message! Act on it! “When an organization or its employees are running too fast or operating from a culture of fear, that’s when these unethical things happen,” Doty said. Don’t always look to the “external” for answers. Look to your “internals.” Tap into you experiences, instinct and intuition. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

“Wherever smart people work, doors are unlocked.”

Steve Wozniak, Apple co-founder

Who’s Responsible for Your Professional Development?

January 12th, 2015 by

Who’s in charge of your professional development? Well, according to recent research, 71% of workers believe employers should identify job opportunities and career paths. So, it’s interesting that, according to the same study, 85% of managers believe employees should identify their own job opportunities and career paths.

So who’s in charge of your professional development?

And how can you expect to get anywhere in 2015?

Read this Forbes article by Lisa Quast and find out:

Who’s in Charge of Career Planning?

Career Development: Why Do You Do What You Do?

December 16th, 2014 by

Is not your resources that matter, it’s your resourcefulness. The decisions we make today about using (or not using) the skill of resourcefulness are shaping our destinies.

A Core Value for Leadership

December 10th, 2014 by

We’ve written about determining and living your core values so we thought you may be interested in this article along the same theme.

This article was submitted by “Captain George” J. Burk, a Vietnam veteran, plane crash & burn survivor and motivational speaker. Visit his website at www.georgeburk.com or let him know what you think at: gburk@georgeburk.com

Humility: Advantage for leaders originates from this unforeseen core value

Humility: “the absence of any feelings of being better than others; freedom from pride and arrogance; lack of false pride.”

It seems we live in a time where authoritarian power is questioned from the classroom to the boardroom and many places in-between, research seems conclusive—humility is a dramatically and more effective way to lead.

A study from the University of Washington Foster School of Business shows that humble people tend to make the most effective leaders(yep, that right, the most) and are more likely to be high performers in both individual and team settings. This is not a revelation to me because of some of the leaders I’ve worked for and was privileged to know. This reinforces my belief that there’s no room in the classroom or boardroom, onboard ship or wherever leadership is present, for the self-absorbed, over-indulgent, narcissist, know-it-all, loud mouth blowhard. Yes, I’ve known a few of them! The study found that employees who rated their leaders as humble said they felt more engaged and were less likely to quit. They also indicated they were more committed to a leader’s vision and trust them more and more receptive to the leaders’ ideas.

“If you want to hear God laugh, tell Him how much you know.” Dr. Kenneth Boa

The report called this “quieter leadership”—listening, being transparent, aware of their limitations and appreciating their staff strengths and contributions, is an effective way to engage and motivate employees. It’s hardly a secret that leaders are hired based in their specific skills and experience, but often fired based on their personality. A leader’s arrogance, narcissism and a belief that by any means necessary and however unscrupulous it may be, is justification to achieve power or success. Our country is replete with business owners, political and military leaders who were lionized by various publications and media as if their apparent over confidence was a good benchmark of paranormal abilities, super intelligence, infallible strategic vision and wonderful speech patterns and oratory skills. Yet, to a person, those leaders were credited as the cause their organizations and careers collapsed. Many tears ago, I learned that if leaders and others, regardless of their position or a status, find the need to continuously tell people they are transparent, aware of their limitations and so on, really aren’t that way at all. They merely parrot those values as a way to convince others and create an artificial perception of who they want others to believe they are. It’s a false narrative.

There are examples that suggests that there’s an inherent power in humility—for various reasons people associate humility with weakness and an inability or unwillingness to stand up for ourselves. However, the same research mentioned above, other studies…and my own observations…shows humility has “zilch” to do with weakness because it requires substantial inner strength i.e. “guts”…an a strong belief in self that not only welcomes feedback and constructive criticism but knows it’s one of the fundamental ways to grow. The ability and will to self-reflect and see our limitations along with our strengths, is essential to reap the benefits of humility.

“He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble His way.” Psalm 25:9

How to spot humility.

Like it or not, those around us can see our humility, or lack of it, far better than we can see it. Here are a few scenarios to consider when we evaluate our humility or the humility of others.

When they are celebrated. Are they (and us), boastful and take all the credit or conscious of the people and events that created the success? Deflect praise? Accept responsibility when the excrement hits the rotor blades?

“Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real.” Thomas Merton

When they are criticized. Are they (and us) self-confident enough to accept feedback and learn from it while they (and us) honor themselves, or do they resist, defend their positions and rationale and react, often negatively?

“When pride comes, then comes disgrace but with the humble is wisdom.” Proverbs 11:12

When they are in competition. Respect their opponents, and see the opportunity to interact with them as a valuable teachable moment from which to grow or…are they (still) ruthless, disrespectful, loud and boorish?

When in a momentary or sustained position of increased strength or weakness? Are they respectful to those lower in the hierarchy and to those above them without the belief or attitude that either action somehow takes something from them?

In the above scenarios (and perhaps others) leader(s) will be prompted or even provoked to reveal their true level of humility when asked specific questions in various ways. One observation: how comfortable is the leader and how comfortable are you (us) with power in yourself and with others?

Leaders and people in general grow and mature in relationships with both sides of the humility coin—having it and not having it and are best illustrated in how and when they conduct themselves in response to it. A person’s true humility is best seen by a relaxed emotional attitude in relation to power, while arrogance and self-absorption betray a deep-seated immaturity, lack of self-confidence and self-awareness and awkwardness in the face of it. Humility allows us to objectively self-reflect and clearly see our limitations and our strengths and is vital to reap the benefits of humility. Humility is not a sign of weakness, oh contraire, but is an indicator of emotional strength because it demands an inner strength to accept feedback and criticisms. Humility is one of the most important core values we need so we can continue to grow as leaders and human beings.

John Ruskin said, “I believe that the first test of a truly great man is his humility. I don’t mean by humility to doubt of his power. But really great men have a curious feeling that the greatness is not of them but through them. And they see something divine in every other man and are endlessly, foolishly, incredibility merciful.”

I’ve known and know those I consider great leaders. They come in all genders, shapes, sizes, colors and ranks. I observe(d) how they respond(ed) to stress, professional and personal challenges, disappointments and loss and their successes, of which there were many. My conclusions: they live (lived) a strong and humble center of gravity and are (were) seen as more honest, trustworthy and quite capable. They also had a deep sense of their own spirituality. I learned from their thoughts, words and deeds they believed they were not alone in their walk through this life—they always sought to do the right thing(s). How do I know this? On a many occasions, especially after I was burned and injured in the plane crash in 1970, I and my family were the recipients of their humble, gracious, ethical and moral leadership, care and unseen humility. Without it, I believe my life and that of my wife and three young children would have taken a different and darker path. They gave us hope when I had none and all seemed lost!

Humility is a great anti-self focus and it allows leaders (and us) to develop a deeper perspective in their (and our)relationships with others. They’re not surprised or often fooled by the surface and can see behind the veil individuals create. They do not suffer fools wisely.

So, the takeaway from this: humility is inherent, and I believe, a learned treasure and core value that everyone can receive if and only if, they choose to take the journey into the true heart of who they really are.

I’ve often heard a phrase that captures humility: “A pseudo leader always leaves you with a feeling of their greatness, while an authentic and humble leader and person always leaves you with a feeling of your greatness.” My mother, Willa Catherine Burk epitomized that kind of leader and mother. She constantly filled me with positive affirmations; she always made me feel my greatness. I miss her…a lot!

Ever since my plane crash and all that occurred since that day, I’ve often ask myself, “Who are you really?” Where are you going? How will you get there? Who will be on your team?” Perhaps you’ve asked yourself similar questions, too.

“Oh Lord it’s hard to be humble, when you’re perfect in every way.” Lyrics from a Willie Nelson song.
His words, not mine!

What is the Root Cause of Happiness?

November 21st, 2014 by

What do you think is the root cause of happiness?

Wealth?

Fame?

Good looks?

Intelligence?

Power?

happyWell, many people think that any or all of the above are root causes of happiness, but research has indicated that those things really don’t provide a long-lasting feeling of contentment. In fact, one of the most important things you can possess to ensure a lifetime of happiness is a character trait that anyone can develop: gratefulness.

Since Thanksgiving is just around the corner, it’s a good time to think about what we are thankful for and enjoy the bonus of feeling happier.

What, exactly, does an attitude of gratitude do for our well-being that contributes to life-long happiness? So much!

Here are some of the benefits of practicing gratefulness:

  • reduced risk of heart disease and cancer;
  • a stronger immune system;
  • increased productivity;
  • improved decision making;
  • increased achievements;
  • better interpersonal relationships;
  • a better self-image;
  • more respect from others;
  • less stress;
  • reduced feelings of jealousy;
  • happier memories (research has indicated gratefulness helps us remember the good stuff in life and minimize the negative);
  • a feeling of well-being;
  • stronger resilience;
  • more energy;
  • better sleep; and
  • a longer life.

Want some ideas on how to cultivate an attitude of gratefulness? The University of California, Berkeley published 10 great tips by Robert Emmons including using visual reminders; watching your language; and thinking outside the box by seeking new things to be grateful for.

Here’s another tip: grateful people mindfully use social media in a positive way. So post an inspirational quote or this article on your social media, and you will not only grow in your practice of gratefulness but encourage others to take this meaningful path as well.

Career Development: Five Quick Ways to Become a Better Speaker

October 28th, 2014 by

Surveys about fear have revealed that we fear public speaking more than death. That’s why there is a joke that goes something like, “If you are at a funeral, it’s better to be in the coffin than the one delivering the eulogy.”

However, there are many things we can learn about public speaking from the masters. Even better, there are many very simple techniques that will captivate the audience every single time.

Take, for example, the pause:

Pause for two or three seconds and the audience assumes you lost your place. Pause for five seconds and the audience begins to think the pause is intentional… and starts wondering why.

Pause for ten seconds and even the people who were busy tweeting can’t resist glancing up.

These days, if you can get someone to look up from his or her phone during your presentation, you’ve pretty much won at public speaking.

Learn four more ways to be a better speaker from Jeff Haden:

5 Ways to Become a Better Speaker Overnight

Would you like quick tips like this to be delivered to your inbox every Tuesday? You’ll find root cause tips, accidents & lessons learns and even a little humor.  Sign up for our eNewsletter by emailing me at editor@taproot.com. Add “subscribe” to the subject line.

Career Development: LinkedIn – 3 Tips to Optimize Your Personal Profile

October 15th, 2014 by

Do you wish you could use your LinkedIn profile to find a new job or network to get more business for your current job? Here are 3 tips that will optimize your personal profile and make these wishes more likely to come true.

1. Add a profile picture (it will make your profile 7 times more likely to get noticed). Don’t just upload any profile picture, choose a clear photo of your face that is appropriate for business networking.

2. Get recommendations. LinkedIn offers tools that make it so easy to request recommendations. Go to your profile and click the dropdown menu next to “Complete your profile.” Choose “Ask to be recommended,” and you will be guided through a series of prompts to complete your first recommendation request. Painless!

Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 2.25.51 PM

 

3. Customize your profile URL.  Customize your URL with your name to help search engines identify you. (Learn how).

Why not take ten minutes to invest in your career development? A few tweaks to your LinkedIn profile will help you become more visible and lend greater credibility to your professional image.

Career Development: How to Manage Overtime

October 7th, 2014 by

Is your company trying to reduce costs associated with excessive overtime? Circadian® 24/7 Workplace Solutions recently released an infographic with 5 shift work tips on how to manage overtime.

View the infographic here: http://www.circadian.com/blog/item/38-5-shift-work-tips-how-to-manage-overtime.html#.VDQyeCldVQX

Career Development: How to Handle an Unsupportive Boss

September 16th, 2014 by

a23be4d5ed897c4b_MichaelScott

In this column, we share a lot of ideas and tips for building and moving forward in your career. But sometimes management can present obstacles to your success, whether it’s a personality difference, micromanagement, stifling a promotion, or undermining your hard work. Don’t simply live with the negative situation, or quit only to find another imperfect job in the future. Try the following tips to improve your relationship with your boss and empower your career.

Acknowledge Your Role

Rather than blame your boss for the obstacle you’re facing, put aside any emotional bias you may have (SHRM). Don’t gossip about your boss, and try to understand the situation more clearly (Tech Republic). Honestly evaluate your own role in the situation. Do you have unrealistic expectations of your boss? Do your professional skills measure up to the requirements of that promotion? Have you failed to earn the trust of your micromanaging boss? Have you really achieved all the goals of your current role? Do your work achievements reflect well on your boss and team? Think of this as your “HR root cause analysis.” Truly evaluate all the facts about your performance and relationships at work, then devise practical methods for improving these.

Communicate with Your Boss

In our “HR root cause analysis,” one of the corrective actions will almost always include talking with your boss. Difficult though it may be, coming to your boss in a professional manner is the right thing to do and will likely make a positive impression on him or her. When you do, come with a positive outlook with ideas for improvement. Don’t simply come with complaints and no attempts at a solution, which may only make your situation worse.

The best approach is to arrange a performance review meeting with your boss. Make it clear during this meeting that you want to grow professionally, and you’d like to find out what it will take to do so. Ask him or her how you’re meeting and not meeting the goals of your position, and brainstorm action steps to reach those goals. As you receive the criticism, take it with grace and not defensiveness.

If there’s something you need from your boss that you’re not receiving, simply ask for it in a logical manner (Chron) (SHRM). Make it an easy request to grant. For example, instead of simply complaining “You micromanage me too much,” ask if it would help your boss if you provided regular status updates to ease his or her mind.

Make it clear at this meeting that you are committed to your boss’ success as well (Chron).

Develop Your Professional Skills

After you’ve met with your boss, take this feedback to heart. If you’ve received concrete ways in which you can improve, make these your goals and stick to them. Exceed your boss’ expectations and you’ll likely gain his or her trust (Chron).

If your conversation does not go well, there are still options. Take your problem to HR, even if all you need is a second opinion on some aspects of the problem. It always helps to bring in a third party ro evaluate the situation.

If you need additional support, start by building your professional network by pursuing a mentoring and/or networking opportunity (Tech Republic). A mentor can provide a second opinion and unbiased advice on your career. This relationship just may provide the support you need to move forward in your career. Continue to build your network through events, LinkedIn, and pursuing one-on-one meetings with colleagues (Diversity MBA).

Prepare for a future job change and safeguard your interests by building a file that includes your updated resume, certifications, accomplishments, successful projects, and any awards you’ve earned (Diversity MBA). As you move forward within the  company, or if you decide to seek advancement elsewhere, you’ll be ready to put your best foot forward.

Career Development: Is Getting “Caught Up” a Worthy Goal?

September 9th, 2014 by

A recent article in the The Washington Post listed some tips for getting caught up and I really liked it because the author pointed out:

“Rather than worrying about whether we have caught up, which can lead to feelings of inadequacy, we can try some of the following activities to restore ourselves and feel better about what we are accomplishing.”

Are we ever really caught up? Maybe it’s time to change the mindset to noticing what we are accomplishing instead of focusing on what we haven’t finished yet. It may be more motivating and more productive to think this way.

Feel better about what you are accomplishing and read 10 tips written by Joyce E. A. Russell here:

Career Coach: Tips for getting caught up

Career Development: 5 Ways to Use LinkedIn & Maximize Your Job Search

September 2nd, 2014 by

bigstock-Business-woman-holding-a-card-29452100

Rebekah Campbell, CEO of tech start-up Posse, does all her recruiting through LinkedIn, she says in her recent New York Times article. Why? LinkedIn’s new Recruiter service helps her search for the perfect candidates based on any and all aspects of an individual’s profile. This means your next prospective employer is looking for you based on elements like location, previous and current job titles, previous employers, university attended, current job length, and so much more.

With the knowledge that you could receive your next job offer through Linkedin, here are a few tips to make your presence even more dynamic on the platform.

- Write an extensive profile, using strong searchable terms. Ask yourself what you would type in to find someone like you and add those keywords, suggests Ted Prodromou, author of a book on using LinkedIn (NY Times).

- Add a professional-looking photo. This way, recruiters can pin a face to your name and you’ll be 11 times more likely to have your profile seen (Forbes).

- Update your headline, otherwise the default will be your job title. If you have a strong headline full of searchable keywords, your next employer will have an easier time finding you and you’ll stand out from the crowd (Forbes).

- Join interest groups (NY Times) – Search for terms related to your industry, and you can not only connect with like-minded individuals but with potential employers. Don’t know where to start? Join our TapRooT® Group – it’s chock full of fantastic root cause analysis professionals from around the globe. Join our network here.

- Join discussions (NY Times)- When you contribute to online discussions in a meaningful way, you build up others’ view of your expertise. In addition to learning and sharing your knowledge, you may meet an employer who’s impressed by your knowledge and wants to work together. Join our TapRooT® discussion group for conversations regarding current events and other investigation topics. Join a discussion here.

Don’t let your LinkedIn profile become a static online resume. Build it up with these foundational aspects, and make sure you check your account weekly to answer messages, engage in group discussion, and reply to any job opportunities that come your way!

 

Image via

To See the Best in Others Will Help Them Become the Best by George J. Burk

August 26th, 2014 by

“Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them to become what they are capable of being.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Imagine for a moment that we actually treated one another with such an unbiased respect and unconditional belief that we were able to elevate each other to be the best we can be. It’s not just a military slogan. It can and does happen. I’ve experienced this kind of respect, belief and positive reinforcement in my own life.

I’ve heard and witnessed many incredible stories of how people, given little chance to live or to walk again, overcame their physical and emotional injuries to lead positive, productive lives. They, in turn chose to “Pass the salt and make a difference in other people’s lives.” One particular story I read about recently, where a man who was barely able to read was given an assignment that required him to not only read, but to speak in public and exhibit leadership skills. (I know from personal experience that man’s greatest fear is NOT standing in front of a crowd and speaking. Man’s greatest fear IS walking (or crawling) through a wall of fire.) The man’s personal transformation was called miraculous.   He was told that GOD inspired his assignment, and he took it quite seriously. He became an eloquent speaker and leader and that helped him to prosper in other areas of his life and provided a better life for his family. How can this be done you ask? Glad you did and here are some tips:

Release the prejudice. The first step is we must relieve ourselves of the limitations we place on others. Eradicate (I like the word) negativity about ours and others limitations from our mind and memory; erase the mental models and phrases like, “She’s only” or “He’s always” or “They never,” or “He can’t.” We need to stretch our mind and our imaginations and visualize, “see”, them doing something great or being something great. Change our thought patterns from the negative to think “Just because he (or she) never did that before doesn’t mean that he (or she) can’t. It just means that he (or she) has never tried before because no one really believed he (or she) could.”

“None can be more negative on its impact than the limitation on human resource capacity.” Said Musa

Forget the past. Car windshields are larger than the rear view mirror because it’s far more important to see the ‘highway’ ahead than the ‘road’ travelled. Look where you’re headed, not where you’ve been. Whatever mistakes you and others have made and wherever you and they have failed before, or the horrible way you or they have been treated, leave it go! Those issues are totally irrelevant for today. The past is the past. It’s over! Everyone has a story. Choose to change your mental models. ‘See’ yourself and them as winners, not whiners and treat yourself and others that way. It’s sequential, inside out, not outside in. You and then others. Get your own ‘house’ in order first.

“Life is divided into three terms-that which was, which is and will be. Let us learn from the past to profit by the present, and from the present to live better in the future.” William Wordsworth

Remember your roots. We’ve developed and grown into the person we have become because someone, or in my case, many someone’s, believed in us. It was our parents, mentors, teachers, friends, God, all the above and many others. Along the way, there were (and are) people who believed in us and that belief helped us to believe in ourselves. When we stop, pause and reflect on where we began and where we are now and all those who’ve helped us and believed in us and then apply that same belief in others, the results can be (and are) amazing. Like all meaningful change, it has a beginning and middle but no end. It’s continuous.

“Believe in yourself and stop trying to convince others.” James De La Vega

Use words that encourage and inspire. Positive affirmations. A few examples like, “If I can, you can.” “You will succeed.” “You’re potential is endless.” “You’re more than capable.” “You’re smart and articulate.”

Assist them through the setbacks. I’ve discovered that few things in life have a trajectory that’s straight up. On the contrary, there are many issues from our choices that are often straight down. There are times when we ask, “What am I doing? Am I crazy for trying this? “What was I thinking?” “I should have asked for help?” Don’t let the negative thoughts get in the way. Bring them out. Talk about them with people you trust. Share your thoughts and then dismiss them. Vent! It’s healthy. Then continue with your encouragement and prayers. Caution: prayers work! Be careful for that which you pray. You might just receive it.

Encourage others to play it forward. Regardless of when and where I’m greeted by others, my reply is always, “I’m vertical, take nourishment and play it forward when God provides the opportunities.”

After a goal’s achieved, encourage others (and yourself) to establish and seek more goals and continue that pattern. I believe we have an obligation, or errand to help those around us; those who seek our help and are truly committed and enrolled in the process. What we don’t want to I do is become an enabler and weaken them emotionally, spiritually and physically. When we see others as better than they are or were and help them on their journey of self-realization and self-improvement it is one of the noblest things we can do for others. When they achieve success, it’s a win-win. Many, many others have done that for me and for you too, I suspect and often without us even knowing it. So…”Pass the salt and make a difference in all you choose to do. Make a person, place or thing a little better for your having been there.”

“Correction does much but encouragement does more.” Johan Wolfgang von Goethe

Becky Hammon was recently hired as the first female basketball coach in the National Basketball Association (NBA) by the San Antonio Spurs. She’s played professionally here in the U S and overseas for 17 years and begins her new position as an assistant coach next year.

In the Tuesday, August 12, 2014 edition of “USA Today Sports” an article written by Nancy Armour shares her exclusive interview with female basketball player Becky Hammon. “Even after all these years, Becky Hammon hears the voices in her ear,” she said. “The assistant coach at Colorado State University was constantly on Hammond telling her she was going to be the school’s first All-American. How she was going to do this. How she was going to do that,” she said. In the interview Becky Hammond said, “but when she started speaking all that, she started planting seeds. ’Yeah, maybe. Maybe I could do that if I worked really hard,’ Hammon said. “You have those people speaking really good things in your life and it grows and produces fruit later on,” she said. “But somebody had to initially plant those good seeds.”

”Hope and encouragement, especially hope, is probably one of the greatest things you can give another person,” Hammond said. “I mean, what a gift to allow that person to be able to dream, to be able to say, ‘Why not me?’ ‘Why couldn’t I be the first?’”

Hope is the thing that perches in the soul-and sings the tunes without the words-and never stops at all.”   Emily Dickinson

Life really IS like a roll of toilet paper. The closer to the end the faster it goes. When you leave this life, what will be your epitaph? What do you want others to say about you? How do you want to be remembered? When our time’s up, it’s up. No more make-ups or second chances. So…take time to be the person who others hear in their ears. Tell them how they’re going to do this and how they’re going to do that. Make the choice to become a planter of positive seeds then stand back and watch the ‘plant(s)’ grow. I know it works!!

This article was submitted by “Captain George”J Burk, USAF (Ret).Vietnam Veteran, Plane crash & burn survivor, motivational speaker, author & writer | www.georgeburk.com | gburk@georgeburk.com

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