Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Most Beautiful Sound

I have some friends who would say that the most beautiful sound is the sound of a cash register ringing.

Well, since digital technology has done away with the ringing cash register I’ll go with Bob Nelson’s thought.

Nelson is the Dean of Employee rewards and author of 1501 Ways to Reward Employees.

Nelson says the beautiful sound is…Your Name.       

Here are some of his tips:
Use the person’s first name when delivering a compliment.
Greet people by name when you pass their desk or work area.
Credit people by name when discussing their ideas with others.
Acknowledge individual achievements by using employees’ names.
Name a contributing achievement award after an outstanding employee.

Monday, February 25, 2013

A Letter to the Future

On Friday I asked what you’d say if you could write a letter to the you of the past. What would you tell the younger you not to worry about? What would you tell him or her to focus on?

Now, what if you could write a letter to the you of the future, the you you’ll be in 10, 20, 30 years? You say you won’t be here in 30 years? How do you know? Folks are living longer and more healthily than ever. Are there some habits that might cut your time short that you should address right now?

What would you tell the future you about your hopes and dreams? Can you create realistic goals you could achieve today that would get you closer to making sure your dreams come true?

The great thing about the letter to the future is that you can do it, put it away and take it out when you’ve reached a future date. In fact, a wonderful exercise is to simply write a letter to yourself to be opened in one year, like a time capsule. You can put the letter and some items in a big envelope and store it for a year; or less, how about opening it on this coming New Year’s Eve?

All this letter writing is simply an exercise to get you to put your dreams on paper…there’s a magic to seeing your goals and dreams in black and white. You’ll be amazed at how many come true.

Friday, February 22, 2013

What If You Could Write a Letter?

This morning I’ve been using the “old westerns” network on cable as background while I work. The John Wayne/Kirk Douglas movie War Wagon and ads for ‘60s TV shows, Bonanza, Lawman and The Rifleman, have brought back lots of memories.

I started thinking, “What if I could write a letter to the me back then? What would I say?”

If you could write a letter to yourself 10, 20, 30 or more years ago, what would you say? What would you warn yourself about? What would you tell yourself to calm down and not worry about? What area of life that didn’t seem important then would you say, “This will be very important, pay attention to it and focus a lot of energy here”?

In 10, 20, 30 years today will the same kind of yesterday. Are you still worried about the same types of things that concerned you way back when?

Have a great weekend…see you Monday.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

It's All Routine

I’ll bet you have a routine of how you get up and get out in the morning. Saturday and Sunday might be a little different, but I’m betting that on weekday mornings you have a series of habits—a routine—that get’s you out of bed, cleaned up and fueled up, and out the door.

Routines are great ways to get things done without having to make decisions about every little step along the way. You can use routines for paying bills, getting the oil changed in your vehicle, working out and getting meals on the table.

The simpler the routine the easier it is.

What can you create a routine for so it makes your life simpler? 

Monday, February 18, 2013

One Word

It’s worth your while to go to  getoneword.com.

One word can provide clarity and focus.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Making the Turn

This morning I was sitting at a stoplight when a song played...and I was sitting in my car over 30 years ago.

Olivia Newton-John is in my area to do a concert so a local radio station was playing her song, "Magic." The DJ noted that it was a Top 10 hit from 1980.

I spent a few moments of almost every working morning of 1980 in the left turn lane at a stoplight at the intersection of E. Cone Blvd. and Yanceyville St. in Greensboro.

I spent those moments praying that one day I'd have the courage to make a U-turn and head back to my apartment, or drive to the beach or the mountains or go do ANYTHING but turn left and go to a job I hated; a job that felt like being caged.

I was 28 years-old, had fumbled my way to a college degree over the course of a decade (I made John Belushi in Animal House look like Einstein), had given up more good jobs than either of my parents ever had, and had totally screwed up a couple of great relationships. I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life but I knew I couldn't spend the next 30+ years turning left.

And one day I didn't.

Have a great weekend...see you Monday.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

What, Are You Blind?!!

A friend of mine is on an important committee for a famous museum in our area.

Last summer I was in the museum and noticed an artifact that, to say the least, troubled me.

No, it wasn’t anything sexually provocative or obscene, it was something that, considering the issues being faced by the institution with which the museum is connected, seemed wildly out of place.

Is my description obtuse enough? Ok, here’s the deal…there’s an item in the UNC Basketball Museum that, considering the academic/athletic issues the University is facing, seems out of place.

I reached out to my friend and asked why someone hadn’t removed or replaced the item considering the PR issues being faced.

My friend responded this morning that he believes it was simply an oversight. If true, this is a wonderful example of missing the trees because we only see the forest. We all get so used to our environment that, when it needs changing, we don’t notice….ever watch Hoarders?

Try looking at an area of your life through new eyes…better yet, get someone who’ll be honest with you to look at that area of life for you and get them to tell you what they see.

Years ago, in discussion with a good friend, I mentioned that I’d always been “stocky” (at least that’s what my mother called it). He said, “Well, maybe you were stocky at 12 years-old. But, you’re fat now.”

Thank you, Mr. Honesty…however, his comment got me back into the gym.

What have you gotten so comfortable about that you don’t see it now?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Are There Still Pencils Out There?

Do you remember in the first grade the first time a teacher handed you a brand new, sharpened pencil? I do.

I was like, “Are you SERIOUS?!! She’s giving me something sharp and not saying, ‘Now, don’t run with this ‘cause you might put your eye out’”?

And yes, to be honest, before the day was out I ran with it and stuck the point in my hand. And no, for you worry warts, I didn’t get lead poisoning…that I know of.

I don’t know if you’re like me but it seems that I reach for a pen most of the time. In fact, awhile back I realized that I didn’t have any pencils around. I looked through desk drawers, in my work bag and in the junk drawers in the kitchen. No pencils.

So I went out and bought a new box of pencils. I had an electric pencil sharpener that was left over from cleaning out my mother’s house and I had the best time sharpening a bunch of those pencils.

I know, I know, it doesn’t take much to entertain me.

But now, I’m using pencils quite often. I’m constantly using a pencil when I read a book so I can note words, quotes and passages. I love the feel of holding a pencil, the look of the line, the ability to erase and chewing on it.

Sometimes the simplest is the best. And, I don’t run with them anymore.

Monday, February 11, 2013

How Simple Can It Be?

It’s no secret how much I love books. I’m surrounded by them. In fact, I’ve always believed my philosophy of life could be seen on a T-shirt: So Many Books, So Little Time.

Ran across one this morning that had a bunch of old pictures and notes in it. Considering the age of some of the pictures (none I’d be worried about anyone seeing, by the way), I’ve had this book awhile and it’s been some time since I delved into it.

I opened it to a wonderful chapter heading, “If It Ain’t Simple, It Ain’t Gonna Work!”

Since I think messages come to us when we need them I guess I should pay attention to that.

Complex, convoluted plans seldom work…or, at least they don’t work in any way close to what our goals were when we created them.

I’ve never liked the KISS Rule interpreted as Keep It Simple, Stupid because of it’s negativity. I prefer, Keep It Super Simple.

Might be time to simplify. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Catching a Fly Ball

“I wish parents would understand that if their child drops eight fly balls one day, then only drops six the next, that’s reason to go to Dairy Queen. The principal thing is competing against yourself. It’s about self improvement, about being better than you were the day before.”
Steve Young, Super Bowl quarterback

If you spend your life competing against someone or something else then they or it are running your life.

Are you competing? With whom or what? Or, are you trying to get a little better than you were yesterday?

Have a great weekend, see you Monday.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Way to SUCCESS

I don’t plug lots of products/services in this blog.

This morning, though, while sitting in what seemed like an endless wad (that’s a Southern word, it means a bunch of something all wadded up) of traffic it occurred to me that I needed to let you in on what seems to be a well-kept secret.

In a recent seminar I asked the group if they had ever heard of SUCCESS Magazine. It was a sizable group and not a single hand went up.

That’s a shame.

In the car this morning I was listening to the CD that comes with my subscription to SUCCESS. I got two or three great ideas about work, health and life in general. When I read the articles I always learn something that helps me move closer to reaching goals.

If you don’t know about SUCCESS Magazine or if you do and don’t subscribe I can tell you that you’re missing a wonderful opportunity to grease the rails in terms of getting where you want to go in life.

Go to success.com and look in the upper right-hand column for subscription info. A subscription is $34.95 and it’s a great investment in your future.

And no, I don’t get squat for recommending them.

And yes, $34.95 is somewhat expensive for a magazine. But, think about it this way: Is your dream in life worth $34.95?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Drugs and Groceries

During the last 48 hours I’ve presented programs for a global pharmaceutical company and the largest retailer on the planet, Wal-Mart.

The first group does their work by walking into medical practices, universities and some of the most renowned hospitals on the East Coast. The second group works in a monstrous, refrigerated, grocery distribution center.

They varied wildly in terms of education, income, country of origin and upbringing.

However, they all had one thing in common: Every one of the people I encountered had a great attitude about their work. While I discovered that some of them had tough personal life situations to deal with, each and every person I talked to was positive, focused and upbeat about their work.

At a time when there’s lots of research floating around that says so many people are dissatisfied with their employment I thought it was interesting to run into this many folks who, not only are not dissatisfied, they are optimistic and looking for wins.

It comes down to choice.

These people make a choice every day that they will approach their work as a positive challenge, not an exercise in slogging through the drudge.

And, I can tell you this: Their consistent positive choice shows on their faces, in their body language, in their encounters with others…in their lives. It was a pleasure to be in their presence.

What choice do you make every day?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Most Miserable Person

Saw a great quote in the sports section today.

Yahoo sports columnist Cam Wetzel, writing about the Harbaugh family having brothers coaching opposing Super Bowl teams wrote, “The Harbaughs face the old adage: You’re only as happy as your most miserable kid.”

Some workplaces are like that. One person, or that person and a couple of cronies, will sour the workplace culture for everyone else. Sometimes the sourpuss is a great producer and folks are worried about letting him or her go.

If you have a bad apple in the group you have to turn them around (unlikely), isolate them, or move them out.

If you don’t have the power to manage the sourpuss you have to look at your contact with them as a stress management situation. Minimize your contact if at all possible and then use positive rituals to get yourself back into a positive frame of mind when you move away from them each day.

Monday, February 4, 2013

And the Lights Went Out

Hope you didn’t lose your rent money betting on the Super Bowl.

If you were watching you know that soon after the 3rd quarter started the lights went out in the New Orleans Super Dome. I can’t imagine what it was like being in a dark room with 60,000+ people.

It took about a half-hour to restore power and bring the lights up to bright enough to continue the game. It was interesting watching some of the coaches yelling at NFL officials to do something about an issue they were essentially powerless to change.

It was also interesting to note that the immediate reaction among the group of people who had gathered at my house to watch the game. Folks looked around and wondered…terrorism?

We live in interesting times.

We also live in times in which no matter what you do, no matter what precautions you take…something can go wrong that throws your entire plan out the window. You can’t be ready for everything, but you can have an attitude of readiness just in case.

Friday, February 1, 2013

OK...It's Super Bowl Weekend

The closest I’ve ever gotten to attending a Super Bowl is this: My father attended Super Bowl III and saw Joe Namath and the Jets beat the Colts. That’s it.

So, what’s your prediction?

I’m torn. Baltimore Ravens Coach John Harbaugh is a big brother, as am I, so that’s one thing to pull for. But, I don’t like Ray Lewis, that’s a downer. Danell Ellerbe, the linebacker who’ll more than likely take over for Lewis next year after his retirement, is a Tar Heel, so that’s a plus.

I’ve always liked the 49ers and REALLY like Coach Jim Harbaugh’s energy. That’s two pluses. Colin Kaepernick the 49er quarterback is smokin’ while the Ravens’ Joe Flacco is pretty dull. More pluses.

Ok…here’s the deal: A tight game, something like 24-20, with the Niners winning.

If you’re looking for a game changer it might be David Akers, the 49ers kicker. He isn’t doing well and if he misses a kick early it will change the 49ers gameplan…and that won’t be good.

Have a great weekend…and ease up on the nachos and beer after halftime. Remember, you probably have to go to work on Monday.