Think Small…

I decided to grab an earlier flight home.  I would take the 5:20 rather than the 6:05.  Save 45 minutes.  Every minute counts right?  I raced to the airport.  I took a chance to fly stand-by.  Victory…a seat assignment without the surcharge.  Everything lining up nicely.  I rushed (RUSHED) through check-in and security (if that is even possible to do today.)  I ran to the gate.  I arrived disheveled, sweating…but I made it!  Just in time.  I walked down the jet bridge still catching my breath.  I looked down at my boarding pass.  Of course…a middle seat assignment.  That will teach you Mr. Hurry-To-Shave-A-Few-Minutes.  I double-checked my boarding pass.  No mistaking it.  Also no mistaking the two fellow passengers on the window and aisle seat.  I stored my bag in the overhead bin.  And prepared to settle in.  I buckled in.  I hit the seat recline button to get a few precious extra inches before take-off.  OF COURSE.  The seat doesn’t recline.  The lady next to me (aisle seat) must have sensed my exasperation and asked:  “Would you like to change seats with me?”  “No, I couldn’t do that…but thank you very much.  That was kind of you to offer.”  At that second, “THINK SMALL” came across my mind.

[Read more...]

Whining Is Not An Exit Strategy

“Bitch sessions can be cathartic, but don’t you find that some people whine every day about their job, lives, spouses, etc.? Channeling all that whining into action is hard, but it’s the one way to change what you are unhappy about.  When you find yourself complaining to a friend/colleague about something, Ask yourself: What can I do to make this better, other than complain?”

Source: GapingVoid.com

Tip For Getting More Organized: Don’t

I figured this out before HBR and before the IBM researchers.  (Sweet comfort to learn that I’m in front of Harvard and IBM on something.)  Searching, searching, searching, searching.  Hundreds (thousands?) of searches over the years…searching yet being unable to find an email.   Or being unable to find an important presentation.  Or a file that I needed to get in my hands right away. Years of trying different schemes.  Different software applications.  Stacking hard copies in drawers.  Folders bulging.  Creating a few well intentioned and labeled Outlook email File Folders exploding to 10, and then 15 and then 20.  An overflowing plate of spaghetti with red sauce spewing all over.  Frustration boiling over.  Needing to start the work over knowing that your best ideas are buried in a deep, dark corner of your hard drive.

Forgettaboutit.  I gave up.  Scrap the attempts and the time to organize.

I reverted to one outlook file folder to save all of my emails. (Archiving periodically)

I use one software search program – X1 – to rip through searches to find what I need in my computer in seconds.  (See my review of X1)

I now work and SEARCH in peace.

Now, here’s the brain trust at HBR and IBM essentially telling you the same thing in a recent post.  A few top excerpts:

[Read more...]

Why Complicate Life?

Thank you Pavlos via Daily Inspiration & Motivation

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call…

A Cassowary. Native to New Guinea. Source: Animal Planet

Live Simply…

90 year old, Jane Hilliard, in 30 Lessons For Living: Tried and True Advice From the Wisest Americans by Karl Pillemer

“…my later years have been much easier because I learned to be grateful for what I have, and no longer bemoan what I don’t have or can’t do.  Saying “thank you” reminds me of my blessings, which are many.  When I look back over my life, the most important things I have learned are these. [Read more...]

Inspiring (But Crazy!)

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“Kevin Richardson, zoologist and animal behavioralist, raises and trains some of the most dangerous animals known to man. To do this he does not use the common methods of breaking the animal’s spirit with sticks and chains, instead he uses love, understanding and trust.   With this unusual method of training he has developed some exceptionally personal bonds with his students. He sleeps with lions, cuddles newborn hyenas, swims with lionesses.   Kevin can confidently look into their eyes, crouch to the their level and even lie down with them – all taboos in the normal world of wild animal handling – yet he has never been mauled or attacked. Some call him crazy; others shake their heads at his unique method of interacting with the animals. And Kevin’s secret – get to know the particular personality of each animal, what makes them angry, happy, upset, irritated – just like a mother with a child.”

Thank you Dolly @ allaboutlemon.com

Time is nothing…

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Speeding around the world in 5 minutes…17 Countries. 343 Days. 6237 Photographs. One incredible journey. Follow the adventure.

Thank you Mme Scherzo

The Big Apple (aka Apple, Inc.)

Source: Wall Street Journal

The Better Man Project…Dripping Authenticity and Inspiration

“…One of the greatest tragedies is living your life with the belief that yesterday was too much, today is good enough, and tomorrow is going to be better. There is no tomorrow. I know that  sounds like an unreasonable statement, but I don’t want to go to sleep anymore thinking that I will do it tomorrow. There might not be a tomorrow. Seriously though, I feel like we take for granted the fact that we will wake up the next day. This isn’t the case for a lot of people around the world. So how can I every single day get the most out of my life? I think just attacking my plan with a passion and purpose will get me to a successful end of the day…”

…A better man for me is someone who does not settle for the way the world is, who seeks to make it better with his voice, and constantly looks at himself in the mirror diving into his soul-searching for how he can improve…

[Read more...]

Low Aim Is Sin.

Thank You Evan @ The Better Man Project

Coldplay by the Piano Guys…

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Thank you LaDona @ LaDona’s Music Studio

What the whole world wants is a good job…

…What the whole world wants is a good job…

…Whether you and I were walking down the street in Khartoum, Cairo, Berlin, Lima, Los Angeles, Baghdad, or Istanbul, we would discover that the single most dominant thought on most people’s minds is about having a good job….

…Humans used to desire love, money, food, shelter, safety, peace, and freedom more than anything else. The last 30 years have changed us. Now people want to have a good job, and they want their children to have a good job. This changes everything for world leaders. Everything they do — from waging war to building societies — will need to be carried out within the new context of the need for a good job….

[Read more...]

Tic, Tic, Tic…6 months to Empty Nest

I almost missed it.

I almost missed it for a work meeting.

I almost consciously missed my Son being inducted into the National Honor Society tonight.  Coincidently (or maybe not) it was cancelled.  Perhaps someone was sending me a message.  How many of these precious moments have I regrettably missed?

The National Honor Society recognizes students for high standards of scholarship, service, leadership and character.  Eric and 40 other students were honored tonight.

There he sat in the back row of the stage.

His name called.  Six Foot Three.  Wearing his Dad’s tie. When and how did he learn how to tie a tie?

Memories flashed by.  Where did the years go?  It felt like yesterday when I held you in my arms.  And day before yesterday when I watched you walk to pre-school sobbing, not wanting to leave your Mommy.  You carrying your Snoopy lunch box to school.

And now, you walk across the stage.  17 years old.  You collect your certificate.  And then light your candle with the other inductees.

60 days or so from college app decision.

6 months from an empty nest.

It’s gone too fast Son.  Way too fast.

I couldn’t be prouder.

I’m so glad that I didn’t miss this moment.

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”  (Maya Angelou)

Blame no one. Expect Nothing. Do Something.

“Blame no one. Expect nothing. Do something.”

Yesterday Tom Peters tweeted this mantra from former NFL coach Bill Parcells.  It struck me as an concise, powerful expression of an attitude I try to bring to my work as a coach and maintain in my own life (although I fail all the time.) It’s a mindset that I find very motivating…So why does Parcell’s mantra work for me? Because when I hear it, the underlying message isn’t “Suck it up” but “Make it better.

~ Ed Batista, Make It Better

Wednesday For Women…Get Seduced

“It began as a frolic…an innocent flirt. Then she was seduced and was never the same again. That’s the story of Shelly Lazarus, chairman of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide and one of the most powerful women in business.  Early in her career, she was working at Clairol and received a call from a headhunter saying that Ogilvy, an up-and-coming advertising agency, needed a junior staffer who knew something about hair. Lazarus remembers thinking, “well, this should be fun. I’ll do it for a year or so, then I’ll go and get a real job.” But then something unexpected happened. “I was seduced,” says Lazarus. “I was absolutely smitten by the world of advertising, the world of ideas.” The rest, as they say, is history. In a steady rise spanning three-plus decades, Lazarus progressed through the Ogilvy empire and became CEO in 1996, a role she held through 2008. She was named Chairman in 1997 and remains at the helm of what has become one of the world’s largest marketing communications and branding firms….

“…Nor would she be type-cast. “There were no boxes around me, no rules to follow. So I made them up as I went along,” Lazarus remembers. “From the beginning, I was fascinated by the way different people lead. I had exposure to all these different companies and watched all these people leading in different ways. I realized that there’s no one way to lead. So it gave me permission to do it my own way – in a way that was totally me.”

“To Lazarus, passion is the lifeblood of a successful career – and life.  Get seduced by your business, she advises.  Fall in love with what you’re doing.  That’s her first piece of advice.

Here’s 8 additional career tips from Shelly:

[Read more...]

How well do you manage distraction? Take this three minute quiz…

“Do you leave the office with a nagging feeling that you worked all day but didn’t get your most important work done? Do you feel like you aren’t taking advantage of your talents and passions? Are you distracted by little things? Avoiding big hairy projects? Do you interrupt yourself with email and other distractions? Try taking this three-minute quiz to discover where you are distracting yourself the most…”

[Read more...]

This Is Your Life

“This is your life. Do what you love, and do it often. If you don’t like something, change it. If you don’t like your job, quit. If you don’t have enough time, stop watching TV. If you are looking for the love of your life, stop; they will be waiting for you when you start doing things you love. Stop over analyzing, life is simple. All emotions are beautiful. When you eat, appreciate every last bite. Open your mind, arms, and heart to new things and people, we are united in our differences. Ask the next person you see what their passion is, and share your inspiring dream with them. Travel often; getting lost will help you find yourself. Some opportunities only come once; seize them. Life is about the people you meet and the things you create with them, so go out and start creating. Live your dream, and wear your passion. Life is short.”

Thank you Angela @ Mindful-Mod.com

Cease Participation…

We are the strivingest people who have ever lived.  We are ambitious, time-starved, competitive, distracted.  We move at full velocity, yet constantly fear we are not doing enough.  Though we live longer than any humans before us, our lives feel shorter, restless, breathless…

Dear ones, EASE UP.  Pump the brakes.  Take a step back.  Seriously.  Take two steps back.  Turn off all your electronics and surrender over all your aspirations and do absolutely nothing for a spell.  I know, I know – we all need to save the world.  But trust me:  The world will still need saving tomorrow.

In the meantime, you’re going to have a stroke soon (or cause a stroke in somebody else) if you don’t calm the hell down.  So go take a walk.  Or don’t.  Consider actually exhaling.  Find a body of water and float.  Hit a tennis ball against a wall.  Tell your colleagues that you’re off meditating (people take meditation seriously, so you’ll be absolved from guilt) and then actually, secretly, nap.

My radical suggestion?  Cease participation, if only for one day this year – if only to make sure that we don’t lose forever the rare and vanishing human talent of appreciating ease.

~ Elizabeth Gilbert, Author of Eat, Pray, Love, in What Matters Now

Image: Thank you Flowerpics09

Are Your Positioning Yourself For Career Advancement?

See George above.  He’s got a plan.  Competition for promotions is fierce.  What’s your plan?  You may have just received or you are about to receive your 2011 performance evaluation.  This is an appropriate time to reflect on whether you are appropriately positioning yourself for a promotion.  I thought this recent article from the HBR Blog NetworkPositioning Yourself For Career Advancement was very thoughtful.  I have had several first hand experiences of the consequences of  #1 and #4 of the four common misconceptions regarding career advancement:

  1. The belief that producing results in your current job is sufficient. 
  2. Confidence that you’ll get the feedback you need from your boss in your annual performance review.
  3. The sense that promotions are all about who you know
  4. A naïve belief that all it takes is adding a little polish, a new suit, a new style.

Here are a number of excerpts from the article:

[Read more...]

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call…

Thank you Irreplaceable

Would It Kill You To Stop Doing That?

Alford has written for Vanity Fair, The NY Times and The New Yorker.  He has written three books and is often heard on NPR.  This book is not intended to be a reference manual.  It is filled with colorful and interesting stories, anecdotes, surveys, experiments and interviews.  I anticipated logical sequencing and organization prior to opening the cover of a “Modern Guide to Manners.”  You won’t find that here in this well written, sometimes amusing but mostly frustrating random walk on the subject.  He lurches from discussions involving the appropriateness of slurping noodles in Tokyo, to accepting all friend requests on Facebook to asking how much rent you pay in Manhattan, to stealing a cab.

[Read more...]

Sunday Morning…

More Cow Bell…

I came across a post on Cow Bells and two thoughts immediately came to mind.

Thought 1: MORE COW BELL!

Several years ago, our team concluded a sales meeting with top performer recognition.  And my team (orchestrated by Elise) played the Saturday Night Live skit “More Cow Bell” to close the day. It was the first time I had seen it. I’m still laughing. Not sure if they intended me to be the producer Bruce Dickinson (played by Christopher Walken) or the cowbell player, Gene Frenkle (played by Will Ferrell). Either way, the depiction of my management style was not all that flattering. :)  Here’s a short clip of the skit:

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Thought 2: WHERE ARE THE &!@*# COWS? [Read more...]

Stay consistent in your beginnings and your endings…

Another great find by Nicholas Bate

White Tiger Cubs And Their Mom, A Chimp…

Check out this post and more pics at allaboutlemon.com: White Tigers’ New Mom.  Warms your heart…

212°: The Extra Degree

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Another terrific post by Michael Hyatt: The Difference A Little Extra Effort Makes.  Here’s a few excerpts:

…Sometimes, success is simply a matter of making one small adjustment. For example, at 211 degrees, water is hot. But at 212 degrees it boils. This makes all the difference.  Sam Parker and Mac Anderson expanded on this simple metaphor in their short book, 212°: the Extra Degree - reminding us that seemingly small things can make a tremendous difference…urging us to make the extra effort in every task we undertake…The point is that it doesn’t take that much extra effort to win first place. What could you do if you were willing to push just a little bit more and break ahead of the pack? Here’s how you can harness the 212° principle in your goal-setting: [Read more...]

Declare war on passivity…

Most of us settle in, and settle for what we have.  Rather than pursue, we accept.  Our lives become unwitting celebrations of passivity: we undervalue our work and perceive ourselves as wage slaves (and so we phone it in at the day gig), we consume compulsively (but not create), we pine for better lives (but live vicariously through our televisions).

These corners we paint ourselves into, it’s no way to live.  There’s no adventure, no passion, no hunger for change.  Remember that relentless optimism you once had?  The goals you wished to achieve, before settling in?  They’re still there.  You need a nudge to find them; a little gumption.

You can start that business.  You can lose that weight.  You can quite smoking, and learn to garden, and write that book, and be a better parent, and be all the things you want to be…that thing this world needs you to be.  It requires courage and faith, both of which you can muster.  It requires effort — but this effortless life isn’t as satisfying as it seems is it?

Declare war on passivity.  Hush the inner voice that insists you’re over the hill, past your prime, unworthy of attaining those dreams.  Disbelief is now the enemy, as is the notion of settling.  Get hungry — hyena hungry.  Get fired up.  Find your backbone, and your wings.

Flap ‘em.  It’s the only way you’ll be able to fly.

—————–
~J.C. Hutchins (Novelist): “Gumption” in “What Matters Now

One step at a time…that’s all

Thank you Amy @ Life: acoustic & amplified

Is your team pulling @ 49%?

Some excerpts from another great Post from my blogger friend at Manage Better Now.
Why You Need to Know Max Ringelmann

Maximilian Ringelmann was a French agricultural engineer that lived from 1861-1931. He did a study that found group force was greater than the force that any single person could apply on their own, but when functioning as a group it appeared that the individual contributions actually declined.  Ringelmann further discovered that the more people he added to the team, the more their individual efforts declined.  Two people would pull with the 93% of the force of their individual efforts combined.  Three people would pull with the force of 85% of their individual efforts.  Eight people would pull with 49% of the force.  So when he put people into groups of eight they were not even exerting half the force they were capable of.

Why do individuals try less in a larger group?  Ringelmann coined the term “social loafing” for this behavior.  The first reason individuals put less effort into group projects is because they feel that their individual efforts will have little impact on the overall results of the team.  If their efforts are going to go largely unnoticed, why should they try hard?  This leads to a lackadaisical effort because the team members are convinced that their laziness will go undiscovered.  At this point others in the group will notice that some are not giving 100% so they feel justified in reducing the amount of effort that they are contributing…The bigger the group, the less effort individuals will put into the project.

There are things you can do as a team leader to reduce the impact of the Ringelmann effect. [Read more...]

Sitting is killing you…

Sitting is Killing You
Source: Unknown

Wednesday for Women…

HBR Blog Network: Confidence is a Numbers Game
“Here’s where I think women get it wrong: we are perpetually rounding down, where, by all rules of mathematics, we should be rounding up. And that slight miscalculation has huge repercussions in our professional lives.”

Forbes: I am Woman, Hear Me Network
Women’s networking moves faster than a speeding bullet and with greater force and effect than a rocket to the moon. Put a networking woman into any room, anywhere, any time, and before you know it, opportunities for work, service, assistance, employment, investment, and a new cleaning service blossom like seeds do in time-lapse photography.”

Bloomberg BusinessWeek: The Perfect Husband
He cooks, cleans – and lets his wife climb the corporate ladder.  Inside the sacrifices, resentments, and sometime-bliss of the modern marriage.

Forbes: The 10 Most Common Fitness Myths.
Exercise can erase my bad eating habits. This one is pervasive and unfortunately a myth. “You can’t out-exercise a crappy diet,” Wiedenbach says. “Your eating has to be in check. About 80% of what you look like is based on diet.” It’s a calorie game, and he says people often overestimate the amount of food they burn in an hour-long session. He suggests sitting down, doing the math, and figuring out your weight-loss goals.

Stuff the Wax In My Mouth (A modified Odysseus’ strategy)

Odysseus and the Sirens Attic red figure stamnos,Thebes, ca. 480-470 BC (detail)

Odysseus and the Sirens Attic red figure stamnos,Thebes, ca. 480-470 BC

In Homer’s Odyssey, Odysseus is warned about the dangers he will face at sea. One of these is the Sirens.  “The Sirens were magical sea creatures that looked like mermaids and had beautiful singing voices. The music they made was so hypnotic that sailors stopped sailing their ships, to listen – - with no one in charge, the ships crashed into land, killing everyone on board.  When Odysseus heard the beautiful music, he was suspicious immediately. To be extra safe, he stuffed his crewmen’s ears so they could not hear the music. He tied himself to the ship’s mast. That way, in case the gods decided to be helpful, he wanted to be able to hear them. But, since he was tied tightly, he would not be able to jump off the ship or swim to shore, or to do anything else that might endanger himself or his crew, when he heard the magical music. It worked! Odysseus is still the only man who ever heard the Sirens sing and lived to tell about it!”

Well, if I’m Odysseus, my Siren is Chocolate.  And instead of using it in my ears, I should have jammed the wax in my mouth.  For the first time in memory, I made it through the holidays being “flat” on the scale.  Zero weight gain.  Not one pound.  How?  Exercise daily.  Modest intake of junk food and candy and cookies despite it being available everywhere.  Then for some strange reason, the Sirens started calling on January 2nd.  CHOCOLATE.  One piece one day.  Leading to 3 larger pieces each day for 3 days.  Then I graduated to 2 candy bars a day.  My weight exploded.  What a WEAK man.  What a woeful shortage of willpower and discipline.

I didn’t need the NY Times or anyone else to tell me that I needed to cut the calories, remove the candy from the house and get this situation back under control.  Yet this article and its reference to “Willpower” and Odysseus (which jogged my memory of Greek Mythology in college) resonated with me.  I have the 7 tips from this article hanging next to my desk.  Enjoy some of my favorite excerpts… [Read more...]

Focus…

It’s that time of the year…keep your cool

   

HBR Blog NetworkHow to Keep Your Cool During a Performance Review

…For many companies, it’s salary and performance review time…These anxiety-provoking milestones are filling your organization’s calendar even as you read this…and there is plenty of anxiety to go around, affecting both providers and recipients of such tidings. What does this signify? What are they telling me here? What does it say about how I am valued?…Here are four ways to become better at receiving — and implementing — feedback:

[Read more...]

Tuesday Morning (Back to work) Wake Up Call…

Source: The-Absolute-Best-Posts

Stepping Up: 100/0

“It is true that if we step up there is no guarantee that things will change…but here is the truth: There is 100% guarantee that nothing will change if you don’t step up.  What’s more, we are much more likely to regret having staying on the sidelines than we are to regret our failures…People rarely regret failures but often regret not trying.”

It seems fitting that I finished this book today, on Martin Luther King Day – - a day held in memory and in honor of the man who stepped up, took responsibility for what many believed was impossible change and led the way forward.  This book’s premise centers around 2 concepts: the need to take responsibility and the results of what happens when we step up and take action.  Izzo states that when we focus on what we can change rather than getting others to change, we move into a place of power.   [Read more...]

Who would have thought…

Zeke @ 4 Months & 4 Years

I grew up in a household where “animals” belonged outside or in the barn.  Cats were tolerated because they caught mice and were independent (but in the barn).  No dogs…as they served no commercial purpose…consumed cash…chased farm animals…and defecated on the lawn.

My wife, on the other hand, grew up with dogs (in the house), loved dogs and missed dogs terribly.

I stoutly held my ground for 20 years.  Kanigans don’t have dogs in the house or have dogs at all.  Yet, I continued to be worked over at home and by a friend of mine at work (CP you know who you are). [Read more...]

Sunday Morning…

Is Life Good?

Thank you Nicholas Bate

What Did You EXPECT? It Makes A Difference.

NY Times: The Importance of Setting Expectations Whether High Or Low.

…how we manage expectations applies to everything, from dating to job searches to what presents we’re going to get for our birthdays.

…“It’s so central to our lives,” said David Rock, author of “Your Brain at Work

…There are two sides of expectations — what we expect from others and what we expect from ourselves. And how we manage those expectations is critical to how we view our experiences and pursue our goals.

[Read more...]

Direction vs. Inspiration

From Gapingvoid.com:

I CANNOT

This is really about leadership.  Leaders understand, often innately, what it takes to inspire action.

Inspired action is a much different animal than top down directed action.

Inspired people will walk through fire to achieve their goal.

Directed people are in it for the paycheck.

It is the difference between the Roman legions and mercenary adversaries.

It is why so many businesses these days are focused on finding their true purpose, and why we spend a lot of our time helping companies communicate that purpose.

Purpose allows for inspired action with amazing results.

People Are Awesome (Bit Crazy too)…Wow!

Another great post borrowed from Anderson Layman’s Blog.  Thank you Steve Layman.

Try this for 2012…

Source: NY Times

Closing on Elevator Speech?

The punch line from Seth Godin’s recent posted titled “No One Ever Bought Anything In An Elevator” is that “The purpose of an elevator pitch isn’t to close the sale…No, the purpose of an elevator pitch is to describe a situation or solution so compelling that the person you’re with wants to hear more even after the elevator ride is over.”  This post reminded me of an excellent book on the subject called “Small Message Big Impact” by Terri Sjodin.  Read my full review at Amazon – it’s called “I’m Sold“.

[Read more...]

Indexed…

 

Source: Indexed - Thank you Jessica Hagy

The Best Job Is The One You Have…

Ed Buzz (pen name) is a superintendent of a school district in California.  I am a buyer of Ed Buzz’s leadership style and an enthusiastic fan of his blog The Ed Buzz Blog. I would encourage you to check out his blog.  Imagine what our school systems would be like with 1000 Ed Buzz’s at the helm.  I’ve copied and pasted the entire post below to save you the trouble of clicking another link – IT IS THAT GOOD!

[Read more...]

You Believe You Are Living…and Then…

9 Box Performance/Potential Matrix

Source: Great Leadership: Nine Leadership Development Strategies For a Performance & Potential Matrix

Wednesday is Hump Day…

Source: Genehow