Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Year Without Resolutions

PLEASE ENJOY THIS EXCERPT FROM MY 2007 BOOK, "Have a Nice Day" is Not "Thank You", and "No Problem" is Not "You're Welcome"!

“The greatest works are done by the ones. The hundreds do not often do much, the companies never; it is the units, the single individuals, that are the power and the might.” ~ Philemon Charles H. Spurgeon

Every year some time shortly after the clock strikes midnight on January 1st, many people flock to gyms, throw away their cigarettes, start writing a book, change their diet, etc....all in the name of New Year's Resolutions! January is a full month for activities such as those, and, along about February or March, these resolutions to increase, improve, decrease or lose, have, for the most part, dissipated, leaving people feeling they are failures, slackers, or minimally, unresolved...

Rather than set New Year's resolutions, please consider the practice of planned accomplishments throughout the year. Planned accomplishments are goals set with intended results, and are done for a selfish reason of bettering oneself...and often benefit not only you, but others alike.

A proficient (productive and efficient combined) way to plan accomplishments is to think of your three key strengths and write them down, followed by the recording of the three areas of opportunity you observe most in yourself. Then, if you are brave and really determined to improve, poll 6-10 people (on the same two topics) who are important in your life and look for consensus. When you have the top three in each area, personally rank them in order of importance. From there, you have six areas for planned accomplishment (Yes, it is healthy to plan accomplishments for strength areas as's like giving those attributes further enhancement or shine). Determine a workable approach that is measurable for each planned accomplishment, and record them for you before sharing them with minimally three people (ideally, you'd share them with the same 6-10 whom were polled). To ensure you have clear planned accomplishments, when determining them, give yourself a way to recognize your progress. In other words, spending more time with my family is a typical "resolution", where a planned accomplishment is spending at least 1 hour a day with my family in discussion/conversation without the TV or other distractions. Qualifiers such as more, better, stronger, faster, slower, less, provide built-in excuses and/or success. Imagine if someone currently spends 5 minutes a day with his/her family and they "resolve" to spend more time...s/he is magically (read as easily) successful, when 10 minutes is spent...or even 6? Push yourself to know what it is you want to accomplish...and measure up! Similarly, resolving to "lose weight" or get in "better shape" will yield a higher form of accomplishment and purpose when re-focused and rephrased to a specific amount, fitness level, body fat %, or even better, medical health levels, as such planned accomplishments will reflect in one's confidence and in the way others recognize that person's ability to stick with things. Simply stated, set a clear path and follow through. Because of the way your subconscious works, "lost weight" gets found, "better shape" is relative, etc., therefore, I encourage you to look to rid, discard, remove whatever it is you do not want (weight, cholesterol levels, coffee, caffeine, cigarettes, unhealthy relationships, etc.) from your life, so that you are not working against yourself internally without even realizing it, based on your self-talk.

The old adage of plan the work and work the plan, rings true with this process, and the implementation of the methodology will likely keep your focus, commitment and interest level because it is done out of desire and want, rather than in reaction to the tradition of the Babylonians, who were known to have celebrated the new year approximately 4,000 years ago. Picture yourself along about February or March, progressing in/on your planned accomplishments, and, for the most part, none having dissipated, positioning you as a success, a do-er, and quite realistically, already accomplished!

Friday, December 17, 2010

High, Low, Pride Review

“Democracy is the art of thinking independently together.”
~ Alexander Meiklejohn

At the end of a presentation, work day, work week, or project, a good way to kick off a review of the "happenings" is to ask three things:

What was the high from this experience/day/week/project?

What was the low from this experience/day/week/project?

What are you most proud of as it relates to this experience/day/week/project?

The first question starts on a positive note, the second allows you to solution things for next time, and you end with the third question to bring it all into perspective and close strongly as well.

Implement an agenda of just these three things, and watch where the "review"'s democratic, since you each/all can participate, and it's diplomatic in the approach!

Side note - this works great with kids, spouses, and any personal relationships, too!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

BTS to Responding over Reacting

“I think it was a good challenge for me to get my reactions across without being able to speak.” ~ Verne Troyer

Sometimes questions, issues, inquiries come in spurts or trends, and perhaps it is because we are at the year-end, entering into more family time than usual, or just because, but I have been asked many times over the past weeks about how to handle something shocking, offensive or just plain inappropriate.

An option for all things in life is to do nothing. Yes, you can walk away…

Still, most of us want to speak, to share and even put things to rest, so here’s an approach that works for most: I call it the BTS way…

The BTS way means as soon as you are shocked, taken aback, or just frustrated by a comment or statement, you:

B – Breathe (this buys you time and actually calms your body – think “take a breath-deeply”)
T – Tilt your head (shifting your head seems less attacking to the other person and softens your view/direction)
S – Smile (Put a smile on your face so your words are said with a smile and sincerity…even on the phone, the smile comes through)

At a family dinner where politics comes up, in a meeting where working on a holiday is mentioned, instead of reacting and attacking, think responding and bonding with the BTS way!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sharing Your Opposing Opinion Professionally

“Professionalism is knowing how to do it, when to do it, and doing it.” ~ Frank Tyger

A well written opposing opinion message allows for clarity and understanding (not to be confused with agreement). As long as you have an intent that is focused and clear while anticipating your audience, you will likely have success. Still, in order to be as well prepared as possible, the following steps to effectively opposing an opinion, will assist you in achieving just that!

1. Decide what you want to inspire: thoughts, exchange, debate, etc.
2. Imagine various perspectives, regardless of your position.
3. Assess whether you have exposure, experience or expertise in the subject area and know that your audience will know that as well.
4. Use a considerate approach, including:
a. Background on topic (what you have heard/read) for acknowledgment
b. Share one or two stories with facts and evidence that are compelling/interesting
c. State your opinion

If you are writing to someone, use the following additional tips:
1. Create an outline and draft including an introduction (Background), body (Story) and conclusion (Opinion).
2. Use proper vocabulary, punctuation, spelling and tense without acronyms (unless used only after the full description), slang or colloquial references.

For both verbally and in writing embrace the following:
1. Be passionate about the topic without being emotional about potential conflicts.
2. Look forward to the replies/ideas that you may or may not have considered.

Best wishes on those "used-to-get-heated" topics by using a professional, time-tested approach!