Category: Career Development Tips

Gift yourself! (Santa has your back)

December 13th, 2017 by

Do you have the feeling that you have the ability to do more in your career in 2018 but are unsure of how to get going? Why not think about giving a gift to yourself?

Click here to learn more.

Kick Them Out of Your Canoe – Leadership

November 28th, 2017 by

The following article is reprinted with permission of its author, Vincent Ivan Phipps, M.A., CSP. We are pleased that Mr. Phipps is a keynote speaker at the upcoming 2018 Global TapRooT® Summit.  You can purchase his new book, Lead Out Loud, and learn how to unlock your personal excellence by clicking here. Learn more at CommunicationVIP.com. And last but not least, don’t forget to register for the Summit and meet him in person!

Leadership is a lot like paddling in a canoe. Let’s say you and two other people are in a canoe. The goal is to cross a river. Let’s say you are in the rear and the other two are seated in front of you. Even if you are the only one paddling, you can propel everyone in the canoe on your own. If all three of you paddle, together in rhythm, all three of you can propel faster. If everyone paddles together, you can also exert less energy and still go faster, farther, with less work from each person individually. This is the concept of teamwork. But how is this related to leadership?

Let’s say, you are paddling hard in the canoe and the other two are not paddling but even worse, they are sticking the legs and hands out of the canoe and into the river. Their placing their limbs in the water is now causing drag. All three bodies have the potential to go faster. If two are not paddling or worse, causing resistance, everyone slows down.

You ask each person to paddle. One tells you they are tired. The other says they will paddle later. You then ask them to at least pull their hands and feet out of the water and place them back inside of the canoe to prevent unnecessary resistance. They both tell you it’s hot and they prefer to keep themselves cool by sticking their hands and feet in the water. They are not focused on the advancement of the team. They are selfish focusing only on what is easier for them personally.

You now have a conundrum. Keep both in the canoe maintaining the potential for more efficiency. Or do you make the tough leadership decision, and, KICK THEM OUT OF THE CANOE! You can move faster, yes, even moving by yourself, than you can with those you are carrying who are not putting forth their effort.

Give others the opportunity to paddle for the team. Be clear about the goal. If others step up, they deserve to stay dry. If they fail to do their part, make the tough decision and do what is best long term, and kick them out of your canoe!

Job Postings for Candidates with TapRooT® Skills

October 31st, 2017 by

 

TapRooT® root cause training can take your career to the next level. Here are some openings for professionals with TapRooT® skills:

FieldCore

EHS Manager

Global EHS Manager

EHS Global Security Manager III

Haldor Topsoe, Inc. 

Process Safety Engineer (PSM)

United Technologies

Associate Quality Engineer

Senior Quality Engineer

Occidental Petroleum

HES Ops Specialist (Rotational)

HES Ops Specialist (Non-Rotational)

What are you waiting for? Expand your career options. Sign up for training today!

2-Day TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis Training

November 2 Albuquerque, NM

November 6 Amsterdam, Netherlands

November 6 Houston, Texas

November 8 Sao Paulo, Brazil

November 16 Calgary, AB Canada

November 16 Singapore, Singapore

November 20 Toronto, Canada

November 21 Adealaide, Australia

November 28 Bogota, Colombia

November 29 Nashville, TN

December 4 Las Vegas, NV

December 14 Perth, Australia

Monday Motivaton: Do you see things worse than they are?

September 25th, 2017 by

“Cynic: an idealist whose rose-colored glasses have been removed, snapped in two and stomped into the ground, immediately improving his vision.”
~ Rick Bayan

We worry about viewing the world through rose-tinted glasses, but often the problem is the opposite. It’s the gloom-tinted glasses we need to worry about. Read “Remove your Gloom-Tinted Glasses” on Forbes.com and learn about two features of human-basic psychology that can drive us nuts (Click here to read the article).

Monday Motivation: Let your accomplishments do the talking

September 18th, 2017 by

 

 

“Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often.”
― Mark Twain

I was reading profiles on LinkedIn today and couldn’t help but notice how many people describe themselves as “innovative” and “visionary.” The funny thing is, I couldn’t find one thing in the experience/accomplishments sections of their profiles that supported that. Adjectives are easy to throw out there but are you describing yourself more in words than proving it with accomplishments?  If you truly have those magnificent characteristics and are only using words to prove it, you’re not convincing anyone.

Your accomplishments speak for themselves.  Take a look at your LinkedIn profile this week and replace those words with your proven track record. Actions always speak louder than words. And while you’re on LinkedIn, follow us! We post news every day to help you expand your knowledge for further success!

Monday Motivation: Build your personal advisory board!

September 11th, 2017 by

“Pulling a good network together takes effort, sincerity and time.”
Alan Collins, author of “Unwritten HR Rules”

Part of valuing your time is investing in the right relationships. Spend your time on relationships that matter the most.  For career development, those relationships include people who are willing to help guide your career goals. It takes thought, time and effort to find them. However, the more you procrastinate building your own personal advisory board, the more disconnected you will be from opportunities that could advance your career.

Join us for a fun, exciting and rewarding opportunity to network and build relationships at the 2018 Global TapRooT Summit in Knoxville, Tennessee, February 26 – March 2.  Learn more here.

Monday Motivation: Never Stop Learning

September 4th, 2017 by

Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.
~ Henry Ford

Invest time in obtaining the know-how to accelerate your career advancement. Don’t set back and wait for things to fall into place, shake things up by working on being smarter, wiser and more strategic about how to better manage your career. Know the goals the industry you are serving desires to achieve and how you can contribute and build relationships with key thought leaders.

Begin with a 2-Day TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis Training or 5-Day TapRooT® Advanced Root Cause Analysis Team Leader Training. For just a small investment of time you can improve the skills that contribute to your success in these types of careers!

Monday Motivation: Invest in your Strengths

August 28th, 2017 by

“Accept yourself, your strengths, your weaknesses, your truths, and know what tools you have to fulfill your purpose.”
― Steve Maraboli

Commit to your natural strengths that allow your skill sets and capabilities to thrive, and then invest in them.  For example, if you are a good speaker, never assume that your technique doesn’t require improvement.   Take a  class, enhance your abilities and then put them to work more frequently.

Keep in mind that just because you’re good at something, that doesn’t make it a strength. How do you know what your natural strengths are?

Ask yourself these questions:

When do I feel the most engaged at work?

What activities make you feel strong?

What do you do differently than everyone else?

You can’t build your career around your best attributes until you know your strengths!

 

Monday Motivation: Are you making a living? Or making a life?

August 7th, 2017 by


What are you working for? To buy some new things? Did you know that buying experiences, not possessions, leads to greater happiness? A San Francisco State University study (2009) demonstrated that experiential purchases, such as a meal out or theater tickets, result in increased greater well-being than material possessions. These experiences tend to satisfy higher order needs, specifically the need for social connectedness and vitality—a feeling of being alive.

Another thing to think about… a Harvard Business School study (2009) revealed people tend to overestimate the influence of wealth on happiness by 100%. When basic needs are met, money does not lead to nearly as much happiness as people think it will.

Let making a living support what really important, making a happier life!

Monday Motivation: Improve Workplace Dynamics for Better Results

July 31st, 2017 by

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”
— Henry Ford

“Group dynamics” describes the effects of roles and behaviors on the group members, and on the group as a whole. You may have a very talented group of employees but if the dynamics aren’t working, your company is not receiving the benefit of that talent.  What can you do about it?

You can:

  • Get to know your team.
  • Tackle problems quickly… before they begin to fester.
  • Assign and define roles and responsibilities.
  • Break down barriers that have been erected.
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate
  • Pay attention!

Want to know more? Read this helpful article on Mindtools:

Improving Group Dynamics: HelpingYour Team Work More Effectively

Monday Motivation: Leadership

July 24th, 2017 by

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” ~ John Quincy Adams

The authority of leadership is not something that someday you’ll deserve. It’s possible that you are not even aware of the biggest impact you’ve ever had on a person’s life. You are more powerful than you think! Be inspired with this six minute video.

Everyday Leadership via @TEDTalks

Monday Motivation: Don’t Buy Into the Myths!

July 17th, 2017 by

 

Write down your goals!

Try to do your best!

Visualize success!

What’s wrong with these motivators? We’ve all heard them and probably said them to motivate others. Well, how are they working for you? This Psychology Today article discussed possible stumbling blocks to these motivators:

The 3 Biggest Myths About Motivation That Won’t Go Away

Monday Motivation: 5 Sign that You are Coasting at Work

July 10th, 2017 by

Do co-workers always ask you for help? Do they never ask you for help? Are you often on the receiving end of passive-aggressive comments? Are you chafing under micromanagement? Are you no longer “in the loop” about important projects?

This sounds like a list of things that would motivate you to look for career opportunities elsewhere. But before you do that, you need to consider whether or not you’re bringing it on yourself. These tips from “The Muse” may help!

Read: 5 Signs You’re Not Pulling Your Weight at Work (And People Know It)

Monday Motivation: Making a Difference

June 19th, 2017 by

When trying to come up with a list of goals for yourself, why not start by answering the question: “What kind of difference do I want to make with my life?”

“Anyone who thinks that they are too small to make a difference has never tried to fall asleep with a mosquito in the room.” Christine Todd Whitman

With most of the great men and woman of history, making money or finding fame was not their primary goal. They wanted their life to have real meaning.

Experts say the desire to make a difference seems to have affected how successful they really were to accomplish their mission. Albert Schweitzer, one of the greatest humanitarians in history, is but one example. At 30, Schweitzer was a world-famous organist, specializing in compositions by Bach. It was during this time that he began thinking about making a greater difference with his life. He read a report on dismal conditions facing Africans in the Congo (now the Republic of Zaire) and decided to become a missionary surgeon.

“When it’s obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, but the action steps. Confucius

Schweitzer returned to school and spent eight years earning a degree in tropical medicine and he played concerts on the side to help raise money. At 38, he loaded his medical supplies on a ship and sailed for Africa. He transferred his supplies to a small boat and traveled up the Ogooue River to a thatched village called Lambarene. There, Schweitzer established a hospital in the only building available: an old chicken coop.

“Bee to the flower, moth to the flame; Each to his passion; what’s in a name?” Helen Hunt Jackson

Within nine months of arriving in Lambarene, he treated more than 2,000 people who had never before had any access to modern health care. Albert Schweitzer continued his work there for some 50 years, fighting everything from leprosy to sleeping sickness. His compassion, dedication, commitment and vision earned him the Nobel peace Prize in 1952. He used the $33,000.00 to expand his hospital and build a leper colony. When he died at the age of 92, his village had grown to 1,500 patients and 40 doctors and specialists.

Andrew Carnegie was also a man on a mission that was much greater and larger than him. The steel magnate started out as a penniless day-laborer in a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania steel plant (my home town and home to the six-time Super Bowl Champions Steelers), but he eventually became the richest man in the world – he sold his steel interests at the turn of the century for 480 million dollars.

“A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” Joseph Campbell

To become rich was only half of his goal. Throughout his life, Carnegie’s main goal was to spend the first part of his life making a lot of money and the second part spent giving it all away. As early as 1868, he wrote himself a letter spelling out his goals, including a plan to resign from business by age 35 and live on an income of $50,000.00 a year.

Carnegie planned to devote the reminder of his money to various philanthropic causes and most of his time to education. He lasted in business almost 30 years longer than he planned, but as he saw it, the staggering wealth he was acquiring for his philanthropic purposes was well worth it.

“Never respect men for their riches, but rather than for their philanthropy; we do not value the sun for its height, but for its use.” Gamaliel Bailey

After the sale of his business interests, he built thousands of libraries and set up foundations to help people learn what they needed to be successful and fulfilled.

By the time of his passing in 1919 at the age of 84, Andrew Carnegie had given away nearly all his fortune.

Making a difference in other people’s lives and hence, your own, will help you find the “Meaning of Life.” The “Meaning of life” is a seven letter acronym. Those of you who had me as an instructor, or have heard me at one of my speaking engagements, probably remember the acronym. The acronym contains several principles that everybody can achieve; to be meaningful and relevant, each person must seek it and accomplish it on their own. Want to know more? You will have to contact me to find out – but I will not just “give” you the answer, because the acronym means different things to different people. Like many people in my life did for me, I’ll share how they taught me to fish for a lifetime; they didn’t give me a fish for a day.

“Each man must look at himself to teach him the meaning of life. It is not something discovered, it is something molded.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery

How many people have made a difference in your life? Do you know who they are? Have you ever taken the time to thank them? More importantly, have you been and are you now taking the legacy they gave you and making a difference in other people lives?

There are hundreds of people who helped me before my plane crash and injuries in 1970 and the hundreds since then who helped me to get back on my feet, continue on my journey and helped me find Meaning in Life. I acknowledged as many as possible in two of my books, “The Bridge Never Crossed – A Survivor’s Search for Meaning” and “Laugh You Live Cry You Die – A Burn Survivor’s Triumph Over Tragedy.” Each person in my life played a major factor in who I am today. Whatever success I’ve achieved, I owe to each one of them. I hope they know how much they meant and mean to me and how much I love(ed) and honor(ed) them. Throughout my life, I’ve tried to show them and tell them.

“I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dreams of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.” e.e. cummings

I read somewhere that our memory is an indication of the kind of life we’ve lived. If this is true, and I think it is, then I’ve been Blessed to have lived a good life.

Throughout my life’s journey, I’ve ‘’gazed’ at the Headstones of the many who’ve passed and who played a major role in my life from birth to now and I think of the friends and hosts who’ve enriched me…. and who remain vertical…. the quote at the end of the movie, “Saving Private Ryan” rings in my head: “I hope I’m a good man. I hope I’ve lived a good life. I hope I’ve earned it!” Me, too!

“A whole stack of memories is never equal to one little hope. Charles M. Schulz

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.

Monday Motivation: Modify your dreams or magnify your skills!

June 5th, 2017 by

  You must either modify your dreams or magnify your skills. – Jim Rohn

“Dream big,”” they say.

“If you can dream it, you can become it,” they say.

It’s the season of high school and college graduations, and success clichés are in the air.  And, to be fair, there is a certain amount of vision that can be gleaned from inspirational quotes.  But there is more to reaching success in your career than simply having a dream.  Don’t settle and modify your dreams.  You can bridge the gap of where you are now to where you want to be by magnifying your skills.

We can help you do just that!

If you want to magnify your leadership skills, read the TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis Leadership Lessons book.

If you want to magnify your skills of conducting fast simple investigations, read the Using the Essential TapRooT® Techniques to Investigate Low-to-Medium Risk Incidents book or attend our 2-day TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis Training.  We have made major strides in making TapRooT® easy to use. We even have a new five step process for doing a low-to-medium risk incident investigation.

If you want to magnify your skills of conducting major investigations, learn the whole TapRooT® process and tools for investigating high potential and high risk incidents by reading the TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis for Major Investigations book or attending our 5-day TapRooT® Advanced Root Cause Analysis Team Leader Training.  The book and course explain the entire 7-step TapRooT® System and all the TapRooT® Tools.

If you want to get ahead of accidents, incidents, and quality issues, then magnify your proactive/audit skills by reading the TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis for Audits and Proactive Performance Improvement book.

Don’t settle for less than what you want to do with your career.  Magnify your skills!

Monday Motivation: 4 Tips to Help you Stand Out in an Interview

May 22nd, 2017 by

You are not your resume, you are your work. ~ Seth Godin

It’s easy to make anyone look good on paper, isn’t it?  As a former resume writer, I know it can be done. However, a resume only gets a person an interview, not a job. If you want the job, you better be prepared to talk about your work.

Here are four tips on how to represent your work in an interview.

  1. Tell a story. Begin with an unfavorable situation like “poor performance” or “high incident rate” and follow with a statement on what you did to overcome it. Finish the story with the successful result. Prospective employers remember stories.
  2. Quantify. Quantify. Quantify. Use percentages and hard measures where you can. For example, say “decreased machinery down time by 80%” rather than “decreased machinery down time.” Percentages are higher impact than absolute numbers.
  3. Speak up. Don’t assume the interviewer has read your resume. In a perfect world, they do, but often there is only time for a precursory glance. Highlight your achievements verbally and be specific with details.
  4. Get TapRooT® training. Talk about the success you’ve experienced using TapRooT®.  Investigators who are TapRooT® trained bring a unique set of problem-solving skills to the workplace that will set you apart.  Learn more about training here.

Monday Motivation: Seek Inspiration

December 26th, 2016 by

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Don’t get caught in a rut. Inspiration can be found everywhere. Every day, seek inspiration, and it will help sustain your motivation over the long term. Sources of inspiration can include: blogs, online success stories, forums, friends and family, magazines, books, quotes, music, and photos.

Where can you find inspiration? Set a purpose to seek it regularly, and watch your life and goals become energized!

Monday Motivation: Visualize your goal

December 19th, 2016 by

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Post a picture of your goal someplace where you will notice it daily — near your desk or on your refrigerator. Visualize your goal exactly how you think it will look when you’ve achieved it. Focus on that picture to keep you motivated over the long term.  Once you lose focus, you lose motivation. Having something visual to keep bringing your focus back to your goal will help keep your motivationstrong.

What picture can you post today to keep a visualization of what achieving your goal will look like? Post it!

Monday Motivation: Keep hope alive!

December 12th, 2016 by

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No matter how bleak things look, keep hope alive. It is your connection to get your dreams and expectations realized. Never lose your grip on the rope of hope.

What are you allowing to slip through your hands today? Renew your hope!

Monday Motivation: Habit

December 5th, 2016 by

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

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

Forge Your Own Path

November 7th, 2016 by

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He smiled and thanked me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Get out of your own way. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

How to Create a Bucket List

 

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

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

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

Choose or (Always) Lose

September 20th, 2016 by

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday Motivation: The right way to the top

August 29th, 2016 by

pablo (26)

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

Monday Motivation: Failure is Better than “What if”

August 22nd, 2016 by

pablo (25)

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

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