Archive for August, 2013

Happy Friday! What attitude have you chosen for yourself today? I choose “having another great day!”

I’ve spent the past few days participating in the WV State Chamber of Commerce Annual Business Summit. There are approximately 800 business leaders and legislators in attendance, so you can imagine that it’s a busy event with a full agenda. Healthcare and education issues are hot on the agenda.

It’s been a great opportunity to reconnect with some friends from my Leadership WV class (2011), catch up with some business associates, and meet some new people. I’ve had some unexpected insights, and realized this week that a certain era in my life has just come to an end. It was a somewhat bittersweet moment, this realization, but I know it’s time to make this change. All in all, it’s been time well spent in a beautiful and unique location (The Greenbrier Resort, White Sulphur Springs, WV). And this afternoon, I will zoom home to my family.

By now, you know the Friday drill, right? It’s time to give some thought to our weekend agendas. For me, it will be family time; I’ve been traveling quite a bit these past 6 weeks, or so, and that means not as much time with my family as I’m used to. So, for the holiday weekend, we will have some fun together; very much looking forward to it.

I will spend some time preparing for Tuesday’s Empowerment Mentoring lesson — You Are Perfect — as well as working on my calendar for the next few weeks. I have some teaching opportunities coming up, so need to polish up a couple of lessons, and I have several coaching sessions scheduled.

So, what’s on your weekend plan?

Who do you need to spend time with?

Will it be a fun weekend or a work weekend?

A personal time weekend or a family time weekend?

What do you need to do to set yourself up for success in the new week? And in the coming weeks?

Whatever is on your agenda, I hope you spend the time intentionally.

“See” you Monday!

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Spend some time with your journal today, writing about someone you consider to be a role model in having a positive attitude. What do they do that demonstrates this?

What impact do they have on you and others?

How might you benefit by making an adjustment in your attitude?

Also, take some time to write about the insights you’ve had this week, our first week of focus on Attitude. How can you apply what you’ve learned about the importance of attitude on the outcomes in our lives?

How can what you’ve learned help you to become a more effective leader?

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Today, I encourage you to step outside yourself and spend some time with someone you know who demonstrates a consistently positive attitude. Ask them the following questions:

How has your attitude affected your success in life?

How do you prevent obstacles from discouraging you?

Have you always been so positive, or have you had specific experiences that shaped you into the person I see today?

When you have listened to the person’s responses, smile and thank him or her for taking the time to share with you. Then take some time to reflect on what they shared that might be of value to you as you move through your life.

Take some time with this exercise…jot down the highlights of your conversation, make note of the behaviors and actions you might apply in your life, and set forth a plan to do just that.

For a long time, I had a note on my daily calendar that said, simply: Choose your attitude! It was the first thing I saw every day, and after looking at it first thing in the morning, every day for several years, I no longer need the calendar reminder. This is not to say I am glowingly positive every second of every day, but that awareness is fresh in my mind, and I am much more mindful of the power I have to choose.

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Good morning and Happy Tuesday! Today is self-awareness and reflection day. Get out your journal and spend some time writing about a time when your attitude had a positive effect on those around you.

At that time in your life, what were the key influencers that shaped your positive attitude?

Now take a look at a time in your life that was a polar opposite — describe a time when your attitude had a negative influence on those around you.

At that time in your life, what were the key influencers that shaped your negative attitude?

What patterns are there in your decision-making that influence whether your attitude is positive or negative in a given situation?

With this new level of self-awareness, how will you approach similar situations differently?

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You’ve likely heard the story that it took Thomas Edison 10,000 tries before successfully inventing the lightbulb. Some would consider that a lot of failure on the path to eventual success. He didn’t appear to take it that way. In fact, I’ve heard his response was that he hadn’t failed 9,999 times, rather, he had discovered 9,999 ways NOT to make a lightbulb! To me, that speaks of a pretty positive attitude; certainly one who would not be daunted easily by what some might consider a set-back.

Or what about the scientists at 3M who invented Post-it Notes. The story goes that they were attempting to create a sticky glue substance, not one that held lightly for a while, but was easily detached. Was what they discovered a failure? Not by a long-shot! While they weren’t immediately successful in creating what they had set out to create, they created something extremely useful and valuable. I’m sure 3M would say this “failure” was worth billions, literally!

The key is how we choose to look at and respond to the things that happen to us. I’d say these two examples demonstrate some folks who have chosen to approach their lives and work with a positive attitude.

Two weeks ago, I was in Orlando, Florida, with the John Maxwell Team, and we were blessed to have Nick Vujicic with he. He spent a considerable amount of time sharing his story with us. If anyone were to have an excuse for having a negative attitude, Nick would likely get a pass. He was born without arms and legs. Today, at 30, he is happily married and has a 6-month old son. He travels the world bringing awareness to a variety of issues that touch his heart, motivating others, and displaying the value and fruits one may harvest if one faces life with a positive attitude. He swims, has been surfing, sky-diving, and, again, travels the world. He has an undeniable zest for life and is not willing to let anything stand in the way of achieving his heart’s desire.

If you ever have the chance to see or hear him speak, I highly encourage you to do it! His attitude is contagious in a very good way.

Personally, he is a reminder to me that very little in life is truly impossible. His story reminds me that although I will face adversity in my life, and I may not be immediately successful in everything I endeavor to do, there really is nothing holding me back except for me. I find, it’s an effective attitude adjustment.

Today, as we begin these four weeks focused on attitude, it’s good to have a baseline to measure from. Take a close look are your attitude in both your personal and professional lives. What is working well for you?

What do you need to change?

How is your attitude impacting the people around you?

As John Maxwell often says, in every relationship, you have the opportunity to be a plus or a minus. What do you choose?

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Eleven years ago, I went through a life-changing leadership training process. During the course of that journey, we studied the Fish! Philosophy, based on how the fishmongers at the Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle, WA, approach their work. Essentially, there are four things these men are focused on as they approach their work, and really their daily lives, and one of them is this: Choose Your Attitude!

It really made an impression on me, because truly it is a choice. We have no control over what life will throw at us, what others will do or say to us. All we have control over is how we choose to react or respond. We can choose what our attitude will be about what happens to us. And frankly, if we don’t choose, we put ourselves in the victim mode. I don’t know about you, but I’m not cut out for that. Yes, I do have my less-than-stellar moments of frustration, impatience, etc…but I typically recover pretty quickly and move on to problem-solving so I can move forward.

Olympic Gold Medalist, Scott Hamilton, said, “The only disability in life is a bad attitude.” Well put, I say!

No matter what happens to each of us in our lives, the best way to create the kind of life and success we desire is to commit to having a positive attitude. When you do this, you don’t waste your time and energy complaining or wishing things were different. You recognize you are the captain of your ship, and have the power to navigate your course. This allows you to focus your energy on creating more of what you do want, and moving farther away from what you don’t want.

As you do this, you become the kind of leader that attracts others. Think about it: Whom do you want to spend a lot of time with — someone with a positive, up-beat attitude, or with someone who has an negative attitude?

Think about your attitude,  and ask yourself this: Is my attitude an asset or a liability? Will it allow me to propel myself forward into living the life I desire, or will it hold me back? Will it attract other like-minded, talented, creative people to me, or will it attract those who are focused on doom and gloom?

How important has your attitude been to your success in life so far?

What do you allow to influence your attitude — both in positive and negative ways?

What kinds of choices can you make each day to maintain a positive attitude?

How has your attitude made a difference in your role as a leader?

Tomorrow, we will begin our four-week journey focused on Attitude. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the subject.

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Dear Faithful readers: Please forgive me for missing my usual blog post on Friday, which would have been D5 of W4, of this 8th month of our Intentional Leadership journey, focused on change. Something that one couldn’t have anticipated happened early Friday morning that demanded my attention and kept me otherwise fully engaged all day. I apologize for missing a step in our process.

However, I’m confident that by now, at the end of our 8th month on this journey, that you are in the swing of our Friday routine and would likely be on track with taking  a proactive approach to planning your weekend, without my weekly reminder.

My Friday was supposed to be spent immersed in a full-day off-site team-building and vision-defining meeting. Again, something unexpected happened to derail that plan. Saturday required some follow-up to the Friday events, and some quality time, alone, with my husband. It was delightful!

Today, I spent some time with my son and mother-in-law at the WV State Honey Festival! Now, I am catching up with you and preparing for the week ahead. I will be traveling, again (have had a lot of opportunities to travel these past six weeks) this week, to The Greenbrier Resort for the WV State Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting and Business Summit. This is a great event each year, as it allows me to catch up with friends and associates from around the state whom I don’t have the opportunity to see very often, and to meet new people I’m not yet aware of. It will be a time of reminiscing, learning, and divine appointments. Have to say, I had some amazing meetings, conversations, and connections with a few folks last year; I trust this year will be just as rewarding.

I also need to prepare for this week’s Empowerment Mentoring lesson on Comfort Zone — and how being in our comfort zone isn’t always a good thing.

I hope you don’t mind my taking this space to do my usual month-end wrap-up on Change.

As I’m sure you’re aware, the only constant in today’s world is change; it is an unavoidable reality of life. As a leader, we must take responsibility for anticipating change, understanding its implications, and guiding our people through it. This requires a blend of qualities and skills…bravery, flexibility, determination, casting a clear vision, providing frequent communication, and consistent behavior.

As you know — and maybe you feel this way, as well — many people abhor change, would rather go through all kinds of other unpleasantries, or even give up on their potential to avoid it. You will be tested in this arena, needing to put forth all of your abilities and talents to overcome the resistance of the status quo. This can be a grueling, thankless journey, but if you are driven to be a leader, it’s the path you have chosen.

Change and growth go hand-in-hand. If you aren’t growing, you aren’t going anywhere. If you stay the same, you will become stagnant, and we all know, nothing grows in stagnant pools.

I encourage you to embrace change. Plunge forward with courage. Help others see the possibilities in the future, through the path of change. Remember, if you are going through change and you have some level of confusion, it’s a good thing! Yes, a good thing. If you are going through change and you aren’t confused, it means you already know what you need to or have given up trying to understand it. If you are confused, it means you are going through a growth process.

Embrace change! If you don’t, won’t, or can’t…give up on leadership — you can’t lead if you can’t navigate change.

Now, having said that, I trust that since you’ve made it through this 8th month of our journey so far, you won’t give in to complacency. So, I’ll “see” you on Monday, as we move into our 9th month, focused on Attitude.

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As we come to the end of this month focused on Change, spend some time reflecting on your past…what is your history when dealing with change?

Write down two of the biggest changes in your life. Spend some time with your journal, exploring how you recognized the need for change, how you handled it, what lessons you learned, and what you would do differently if you had the opportunity to do it over.

What can you learn from these previous experiences that will allow you to recognize the need for change sooner, and navigate your way through change more smoothly in the future.

Remember, experience is NOT the best teacher! In fact, experience alone will not teach you anything. The wisdom is gained by reflecting on our experiences, so we can glean some lessons and apply them to other situations in the future.

Courage doesn’t always ROAR! Sometimes, courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try, again, tomorrow. ~Mary Anne Radmacher

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What is the change you need to bring to your team or organization?

What would the benefit be, if you can bring your vision to fruition?

Is it worth the work, investment, and sacrifice?

Spend some time with your team, or appropriate peers, today to cast your vision about the change and get their feedback. Be open to responding to questions, hearing their input, and be willing to fine-tune your vision based on what you receive. Together, create a strategy and implementation plan for moving forward.

Remember, casting a vision is big stuff, and getting all your peers / teammates on the same page may take some time and effort, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t get through it all in one meeting. But, if you don’t start today, when will you?

Write it out:

What change would you like to make?

How will it benefit your team/organization?

What steps do you think you need to make to implement your plan?

Schedule meetings with the people who will be affected and begin to communicate and promote the change. Be sure to let them know what role they will play, and how important they are to the success of your endeavor.

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Have you noticed how confidence can be contagious? When you, as a leader, have confidence in your ability to succeed, it also instills confidence in your team.

Great change agents typically identify the need for change, cast a compelling vision that allows them to bring their teams/organizations to agreement about the need for change, communicate the change effectively, and implement a strategy for the change.

What change is needed in your team or organization?

Do you have the confidence you need to cast the vision and bring your team to the same place — understanding the need for change?

Do you have the capability and capacity to bring about the needed change?

If not, what are you missing? What would allow you to be more confident in moving forward.

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