Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Attitude of Appreciation

"I would rather be able to appreciate things I cannot have than to have things I am not able to appreciate."

~ Elbert Hubbard, American editor, publisher and writer, 1856-1915

Many of us use 'thankful' and 'grateful' interchangeably, and they are different by most definitions, and yet similar in some ways. Thankfulness is about a sense or feeling to be pleased or relieved over something that happened. Gratefulness is about showing appreciation for something someone has done for you.

So as not to get caught up in semantics, let's instead approach each day, each person with an attitude of appreciation. Appreciation, after all is the combination of being thankful and expressing gratitude.

After all, our attitude is the only thing we can fully control.

There is an ease to being appreciative when things go the way we want them to go. The real challenge and true opportunity is when we can stretch to be appreciative of what does not go the way we anticipated. Remember to allow the feeling, and express it outwardly in order to engage in the full act of appreciation.

Sound nutty? It is in that filling way nuts can offer flavor and give you some nourishment. The ability to see through a situation and get the learning, is something that nourishes the soul and feeds our growth. Being appreciative in the midst of adversity or disagreement or challenge is being thankful it is not worse, and grateful for what comes out of it for you...regardless of what others attempt to influence or change.

As we finish our leftovers and start on the holiday shopping and sharing, please include appreciation on your daily list of activities!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Giving Thanks!

“Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.” ~ Voltaire
Thankfulness is something we tend to talk about and celebrate primarily in November in The United States of America. Still, thankfulness and appreciation for an act or abundance need not be reserved for days when turkey is traditionally served.

Regardless of your religion, position in life, or state of mind, often we are with others in groups around events and/or celebrations. When with others during special occasions, holidays, or every day, simply be thankful for them this way:

State his/her name (or’s okay with family/friends...avoid nicknames in business), You make me thankful for you because of your (attribute) and you inspire me to (their inspiration to you). Thank you.

Example I: Danielle, you make me thankful for you because of your creative wit and you inspire me to be playful. Thank you.

Example II (with varied verbiage): Steve, you make me thankful for your generosity and you make me want to be a giving person as well. Thank you.

Example III (letting someone know you acted as a result of them/their inspiration): Carol, you make me thankful for you because you taught me to listen well and because of you, I became a Big Sister. Thank you.

Example IV (a strictly professional affiliation):
John, you make me thankful for your loyalty and because of your referrals, you have been a part of my business/sales growth. Thank you.

Note that the word “I” is not used as the first word (or really much at all). This is to ensure the other person knows it is about him or her and for him or her. Keep you thankful, and that other person in the forefront of the message and thankfulness.

Go ahead, use one or all of these with people for whom you are thankful...on a special day...or any day...and see how it makes a difference for you and the person with whom you shared! Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

4 E’s to Idea-Sharing

An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea.” ~ Buddha, Hindu Prince Gautama Siddharta, the founder of Buddhism, 563-483 B.C.

So often we are in meetings, or sessions where ideas are requested and shared, or not requested, yet still shared. What makes some of them worthy of hearing out, and others fall on deaf ears, so to speak? Often it is in the approach, the amount of time spent, and the ability to stop talking (or inability to stop talking) about an idea that makes one decide whether or not to listen!

Here are the 4 E’s to Idea-Sharing that just may get your voice heard:
E – Explain. Share the concept briefly and seek acknowledgement. Make sure you have people’s attention first, and you can give the details later. Show enthusiasm, control, direction and passion.
E – Elaborate. Once you have people’s interest, then you can go into more details. A wonderful way to elaborate is with a scenario (what if…), a story of how it has worked in the past, or by bulleting or numbering steps that it would take to put the idea in place.
E – Execution. Demonstrate the realm of executing your idea. Include people, time, budgets and more quickly and concisely to give people the sense that this idea can/will become a reality if selected rather than just keeping it a theory.
E – Exit. Allow the idea to be tabled, considered at a later time, or dropped. The worst thing is “selling through the close”, when someone keeps going on and on when an idea has been adopted or quelled and the originator of the idea simply will not let the conversation end. Note the body language, temperature and interest while you are speaking and note when enough is enough.

By following the 4 E’s to idea-sharing, it does not mean each idea will be implemented, rather it shows effective communication, a professional approach, and respect for the time of the listeners…and likely that means more of your ideas will get heard rather than seem like fleeting ideas for others when you get to your next meeting or brain-storming session!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Power of a BYE List

Our thoughts create our reality - where we put our focus is where we tend to go."

- Peter McWilliams, writer and self-publisher of best-selling self-help books (1949-2000)

The invitations are aleady coming. Turkeys are being bought. Families are preparing for "that" uncle or "that" aunt who does "such-and-such" each year during the holidays. Wow, the holidays are nearly here!

Before you get too caught up in the idea of stuffing and shopping, please consider creating a BYE list. This BYE list will include all you want to do

If you make a list of events, people, experiences, and travels, you can decide what is realistic for the amount of time you have before you are ringing in 2012. For the BYE list, start and finish it within 48 hours, and ask anyone with whom you spend a lot of time (spouse, family, friend) to do the same. After you complete it, prioritize those items on the list, and meet with anyone else you asked to make the BYE list. In doing this, you will learn about you, learn about the other person/people, and you can decide what you will do together and what you will do alone or with other people. From there, get out your calendars (phones/iPads), and make the commitment to what you want to do so that you are not standing somewhere on New Year's Eve wishing "if I only had", and excusing it with "but the holidays were so busy".

Go enjoy the things on your list, and make the most of the next 50+ days before 2011 has gone BYE!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

LESS Stuff Means So Much MORE!

“Life is a grindstone, and whether it grinds a man down or polishes him up depends on the stuff he's made of." - Josh Billings, 19th century American humorist Henry Wheeler Shaw (21 April 1818 – 14 October 1885)
More often than not, the old adage of "less is more" rings true. When there is a drive for the opposite (that is the "more is more" mindset), remember that in those instances, "more" is likely just "stuff"...and who really needs more "stuff"? While the holidays season is upon us (and it has been for weeks in the stores, hasn’t it?), this is the perfect time for de-cluttering, and assessing whether or not you really want more “stuff” this year. By going through your office, closets, garage and more, you are likely going to be far more organized than you have been in the past at this upcoming seemingly sure segment of more-things-less-time! An added benefit to your knowing what you have is that it will also reveal what you want for your home life or business in order to be most prepared, effective and efficient as you round out the year. Perhaps the biggest benefit will go to others in that you can donate now (not December 31st) for/to people who can utilize it during the upcoming winter months (and even give you a deduction for your taxes and an increase in your connection to the community). So, go ahead, get rid of the “stuff” that is cluttering your space, and make room for what you want…organization and giving!