Friday, July 18, 2014

Trouble on the Horizon

Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Network is on on Sirius Radio in my car about 90% of the time.

This morning I was listening to “Trouble on the Horizon” and I started asking myself, “couldn't that title suggest a negative approach to life,” which you wouldn’t think, it being Jimmy Buffett and all.

And no, for you Parrotheads, I'm not saying Buffett doesn't have a wonderfully positive outlook. Just me thinking.

But, I went from that to thinking, “what if your attitude was, ‘Fun on the Horizon,’ or ‘Happiness on the Horizon?” That sort of focus would seem to create a feeling of positive expectancy, wouldn’t it?

And, if you could have that attitude most of the time wouldn’t it kick out a wide range of positive impacts on mental and physical health, relationships and work outcomes?

Check out your horizon. Even if you see challenge coming how can you put a better, more positive spin on’em?

Have a great weekend. See you Monday.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Call Me Scrooge

A young friend is looking for a job. When I asked for her email address so I could send some information or refer potential employers to her she said "callmescrooge@" and then the server name.

She's a wonderful person and when I asked about the email address she said, "In my last job I had to be Scrooge a lot of the time. It seemed to fit."

Needless to say, I suggested she immediately get a new email address for her job search; she did, and it's a simple, easy to remember address.

Perception is reality. In today's world, if you have a less-than-positive email address or lots of tattoos or outrageous fashion sense a lot of folks will quickly put you in a slot that says, "Not interested."

And you can argue all you want that they are making assumptions, but the reality is...well...the reality.

Now, if you don't care what most people think and the only people who support you, love you, pay you and tuck you in at night are people who look/sound/feel/act like you then don't worry about the other people's (around 80-90%) perceptions.

But, if you are going to be out here with the rest of us...or, you think there's a remote chance you'll be venturing out into civilization, you'd better at least be aware of how you appear to us and how we make decisions.

Friday, July 11, 2014

EZ Ways to Empty Your "In" Box

If you’re one of those folks who have tons of emails in your In box here are two ways to think about:
First, your computer (or the cloud) has waaaay more than enough memory to save the emails so don’t worry about’em. In fact, you can use your In box as a repository of all those old emails. Every once in awhile you can take a few minutes when someone puts you on “Hold” to call up a bunch of emails you know you don’t need and Delete them.

Or, you can take a few seconds when you look at each email and ask yourself: “Is there some Action I should take? Should I send it to a folder for later use? Do I Forward it to someone (perhaps with Delegation instructions)? Do I Delete It?”

That’s it: Action, Save, Forward, Delete. And, this simple process is a mental skill so you get better and faster at it the more you use it.

Have a great weekend! See you Monday.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Your Personal Hall of Fame

My good friend, John Rancke, recently began a project to create a Lumberton High School Hall of Fame.  John believes a hall of fame will be a good way to remember outstanding athletes from the past and introduce today’s young athletes to those who set the standards of athletic performance.

The reaction to the effort has been wonderfully positive. Volunteers are starting to line up and I can imagine financial support will be forthcoming.

The project started me thinking about who would be in my personal hall of fame if I created one. Who would be the selections who have had the most impact on my life? My parents are obvious choices along my two high school coaches (both of whom will end up in the Lumberton hall). There are some people I’ve worked with, friends, and a couple of people who were total strangers, but whose impacts on me were profound.

If you were going to create a personal hall of fame who would be your original inductees?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Promise vs Reality

Most of us spend a lot of our lives imagining how things are going to work out. We mix our hopes, dreams, fears and needs with the information we get from our senses and our minds create promises…messages and images about how life/experiences will turn out.

Let’s be clear about this, a promise is “an assurance that a particular thing will happen.” So, our minds are telling us how life will be.

Promises are both good and bad. A date promises you you’ll get a kiss at the end of the evening, that’s good. But, let’s not forget a parent promising that you’ll a spanking for what you said to Aunt Sarah at the Fourth of July picnic.

A lot of times those promises our minds make don’t work out the way we hoped. What happens is reality. The reality is that you ticked your date off by spilling a drink on her at the movie and you didn’t get that kiss…orrrrr, mom got busy when you got home from the picnic and that spanking slipped her mind (whew!).

I’m using examples from the young periods of our lives because that’s when the whole Promise vs Reality conflict begins. Expectations are types of promises…what our minds promise us will happen. It’s a survival tactic our brains have developed through the history of humankind (ex. that loud noise and that stinky stuff on the ground tells me there’s probably a tiger on the other side of that big rock…so let’s head back to the cave).

The problem is that we often depend so strongly on the promises, the expectations, that we overlook the reality. We don’t expect an experience to be wonderful, but it turns out that way; or, all the evidence tells us a life experience will be great but it consistently isn’t.

In fact, we’ll continue to whack ourselves in the head because our imagination/culture/family/friends/tribe say this is the way it’s supposed to be when the reality is that not whacking yourself in the head is a better thing.

I’ve said this before but it bears repeating, former General Electric CEO Jack Welch used to open meetings with the question, “What’s the reality?”

When you look around in your life what’s your reality? What promises/experiences did you expect that you aren’t happening? Are you fooling yourself into believing that they are happening because you believe so strongly that they should? Why?

What’s happening in your life that’s good? Is it what you expected? Whether you expected it, or wanted it to happen, if it’s good…it’s good. Pay attention and appreciate it.

Promise vs Reality…the happiest people are those who appreciate their positive realities. The happiest people are also those who understand their negative realities and either realistically accept them or start changing them.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The 4th on the 3rd

The Fourth of July fireworks celebration in Lumberton, NC, is held on July 3.

Why? Here’s the story I heard: A few years ago the town council discovered they could buy a half-truckload of fireworks from the New Jersey-based manufacturers for half-price if the delivery could be made on July 3. The rest of the load would be delivered to Wilmington for their July 4th celebration. And, if you’re wondering why they didn’t wait until the 4th to shoot’em off…the town council knew they’d have to pay city employees time-and-a-half to have them work on the holiday and oversee the celebration. So, they saved a ton of money.

Another great outcome is that in addition to seeing the Lumberton fireworks display citizens could go see ANOTHER celebration somewhere else on the 4th…they got a two-fer!

While you’d think the 4th would be the best day for the display I love the focus on making a good buy, maximizing staff and saving money.

Sometimes, making a small adjustment and going against the grain can have a big impact.

Have a wonderful and safe 4th of July. See you Monday.