You are a Marvel

Pablo Casals, the famous cellist, composer, conductor, once said (modified a bit):  

“Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique. In all of the world there is no other person exactly like you. In the millions of years that have passed there has never been another person like you… You may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, a Beethoven. You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel. You must cherish one another. You must work—we must all work—to make this world worthy of each of us.”

Do you approach your day with this mindset? What would change if you did?

I’m inspired. Oh, how our world would change for the better if we all worked “to make the world worthy of each of us.”

You are a marvel.

From Depression to Stronger Together

In Shawn Achor’s book, Big Potential, he shares this sobering data:

“The average age of being diagnosed with depression in 1978 was twenty-nine.  In 2009, the average age was fourteen and a half.  Over the past decade, depression rates for adults have doubled, as have hospitalizations for attempted suicide for children as young as eight years old.  What could possibly have changed so much to account for this?”

Achor points to rise of technology and social media.  For kids, there is a never-ending need to announce accomplishments and the whirlpool of competition (from boyfriends to athletic prowess to stupid tricks to selfies) keeps spinning faster and faster dragging more and more people in.  And then there is the pressure that continues to ramp up in schools and on the athletic fields and arts platforms.   Better grades.  Higher batting average.  Flawless performances.  Pressure! Pressure!  Pressure!

For adults, it is not much different.  Promotions, projects, and performance all set the stage for continual pressure points.

Achor’s challenge and call is for us to understand that our potential is “interconnected with others.”  “We need to stop trying to be faster alone, and start working to become stronger together.”

Good words for today, right?

We are about to enter a time when we need each other more than ever.  When the economy opens back up, we face choices.  Everyone for themselves or everyone helping each other to recover.  People want and need to get back on their feet.  Each of us can help someone succeed.  How?

  • Be an encourager.
  • Help someone find work.
  • Listen to a hurting friend.
  • Support a local business and encourage others to do the same.
  • Celebrate someone else’s win.

“Because when we work to help others achieve success, we not only raise the performance of the group, we exponentially increase our own potential…making others better takes your success to the next level.”

happiness Achor

Change the Way You See Situations

As I stated in my last post, I have been reading Change the Way You See Everything.  In fact, I just finished it during my lunch break today.  This is probably the fourth time reading through this incredible book.

In the closing pages I read today, authors Cramer & Wasiak challenged me to change the way I see situations.  What is the current situation right now on April 27, 2020?  The ongoing quarantine due to the corona virus.  The economy of the world is crippled.  Millions in the US are unemployed – and this happened in a mere matter of weeks.  Small businesses are closing never to reopen.  There is a lot of depression, fear, and despair.

If we’re honest, most of us focus on that last paragraph.  The 24/7 news channels feed viewers a never-ending diet of gloom and doom.  It seems as if everything is focused on what has gone wrong.

But what if we could see this differently?  

Think back to September 11, 2001.  When that day happened, I’m sure many thought New York would be forever devastated.  But Mayor Rudy Giuliani provided this vision:

“Tomorrow New York is going to be here…and we’re going to rebuild, and we’re going to be stronger than we were before…I want the people of New York to be an example to the rest of the country, and the rest of the world, that terrorism can’t stop us.”

And New York did rebuild.  One year ago, I stood at the World Trade Center Memorial.  I walked the streets of the city.  It has rebuilt.  Our nation became stronger and more vigilant.

How did that all happen?  How will we climb out of the hole we were thrown into these past few months?  Can we?  Yes, we can!

foucsCramer & Wasiak challenge us to apply the 80-20 rule…in reverse.  “Instead of focusing 80% of your attention on problems and 20% on opportunities, concentrate 80% on opportunities and 20% correcting what’s wrong.”

 

So what are your opportunities?

  • Devoting time to invest in your personal growth and development.
  • Investing time to discover a better/more efficient way to get work done (hey, you already changed where you work – focus on how you work!)
  • Ask, “How are my customers interacting with me now?  What is working with this?  What small tweaks can I make that would make it even easier for my customers to do business with me?”
  • Ask, “How can I become more financially fit during this situation so I can better be prepared for the future?  Who can I turn to for help with this?”  (locally, here).
  • Ask: “Who can I help right now?  Who needs encouragement, support, or a friend?”

“…what if you could reach into the depth of that problem and extract a treasure – a wealth of information that could propel the situation forward in a way that benefits everyone involved, exponentially!”

Cramer & Wasiak offer solid advice:

  • Get a new vision of your world today.
  • “Turn yourself on by sharpening your vision” of what could be.
  • “Link your passion, vision, and skill set with the strengths and capabilities of those you have attracted into your circle of influence.”  
  • Change how you think about problems and set-backs.

This is not an impossible situation we are all in.  But those that will rise to the next level and challenge will be those who focus on the 80% of the opportunities this time is presenting to us.

“How can this be the best problem we’ve ever had?”

The First 7 Seconds

Change the Way

I am re-reading a great book by Dr. Kathryn D. Cramer and Hank Wasiak.  The book is Change the Way You See Everything.  I’m in the section that talks about creating positive interactions/ relationships with others.  Here is something that should make us all think:

 

“Research confirms that the tone you set (positive or negative) in the first seven seconds of any interaction determines the predominant tone for the remainder of the interaction.  Start well, and you are more likely to end well – even in the face of challenging or disturbing interactions.”

What Do I Do Now?

Many years ago, I was having lunch with a friend who was going through a rough, personal time – an ugly divorce.  As we talked, he poured out his heart to me – hurt, bitterness, anger, etc.  It was real.  And it was tough to listen to. He was so frustrated with the entire ordeal that at one point he said, “I feel like I need to be doing something right now.  I feel caged up.  My life isn’t moving forward.  What do I do now?”

What do I do now?

We are several weeks into the Covid-19 disaster.  The news is filled with daily reports of death and despair.  Our world-wide economy is being more than constrained.  Small business owners are watching what they fought so hard to create crumble right in front of them – and at no fault of their own.

People are losing their jobs and their security.  I hear first hand of stories of despair and worry.  It would be hard enough to lose a job, but during a time when government tells businesses to remain shuttered, new opportunities seem unreachable.

What do I do now?

This post is not meant to provide magic dust to sprinkle on your life.  I write to you to give you hope.  What is there to do when the rug has been pulled out from under you…

There are things you can do now.  Things that will strengthen you.  Things that will encourage you.  Things that will prepare you for your next opportunity that will come.

  • Stay connected.  You’ve got friends/family members who care about you.  Stay connected with them.  The temptation is to become even more isolated than the world is now.  Fight that urge.  Call someone.  Get a fresh perspective.  Hear an encouraging word.
  • Strengthen your mind.  Even if you are not out of job, use this unique time to become better.  Read a book that will make you stronger now than you were just a few weeks ago.  I highly recommend reading The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday.  I came across this title just a couple of weeks ago, and I am almost finished reading it.  This book will inspire you.  It will give you a quick kick in the britches.  It will make you think.  If not this book, find a book where you spend time investing in you now for your future opportunities. Or find an uplifting podcast.  You will not regret it.
  • Control your mind.  What we say to ourselves dramatically determines how we navigate life.  Be mindful to things you say to yourself.  Dr. Shad Helmstetter has been writing about this for decades – his words and work will encourage you!  Don’t roll your eyes at this.  Your self-talk is far more powerful than you think.  You can “re-program” your brain and make it work for you, not against you.
  • Journal your journey.  Multiple studies have shown that journaling is vital.  But what you write is as vital.  Take time to document what you are grateful for.  Write down positive interactions you had on a particular day.  Record questions you have and then follow up on learning the answers.
  • Don’t neglect your spiritual life.  From my perspective, this means spending time in prayer, worship, and meditation.  When stress comes, we are easily knocked off our feet.  Staying spiritually tuned is an essential grounding necessity.
  • Be others-focused.  When hard times come, it is natural to sit in a corner and lick your wounds.  But find ways to do something for others.  When we focus on others, we can more easily get out of the funk we are so easily entangled in.

Sure, there are things that are out of control.  Don’t focus on those things.  If it’s out of your control, then it’s a waste of your time mulling over it.  Focus on what you CAN do, then do it.

boulder

 

The Path to Promotion by Jim Johnson

These have been interesting days.  A lot of us have run to frig too often, gotten reacquainted with our families, freaked out our pets for being home so much, missed talking with our neighbors, etc.

I’ve done all of that.

And I also finally finished a book project that I’ve been working on for a while.  Introducing:  The Path to Promotion!

Book Cover from AmazonI wrote this book initially for my staff who would often ask “How do I get to my next level/promotion?  What do I need to do?”

In early 1998, I was was basically unemployed full-time only working a few part-time jobs here and there to make ends meet.  I did land a job with my current employer.  Once there. I worked the process I spell out in my book.  I went from unemployed to Vice President in 5 years.

 

Now, I’m not giving you a magic formula.  But I am giving you a tried and tested process – one that I’ve seen played out in other’s lives, too.

I would appreciate it if you would order my book.  If you know someone who feels stuck in their current role or who wants to make a bigger “splash” at work, share this post with them.  There is work involved.  But as I say often, “it works when you work it.”

Don’t wait for someone else to make something happen for you and your career.  Get on your Path to Promotion today!  You can do this!

To order click here.

Thank you for ordering!

Don’t Tell Them

I have been leading people for over 30 years now.  I am passionate about it.  I love to see my teams succeed.  I love to watch them learn and grow and get results.  I love being a part of that process.

But I have to be honest.  In my exuberance, I sometimes “take over” situations.  I see the issue.  I understand the fix. I just do it or I tell someone to go do it.

And that’s not helpful.

I am continually learning to stop telling them to do something.  Instead, I challenge them to find the answer, the solution, the remedy.  Why?

When they are tasked with figuring something out, they will learn more, connect more dots, and be able to act on this new information more clearly in the future.  And their resolution may be far better than what I think it should have been.

I love my team.  I love to get involved.  But I continue to have to remind myself to challenge them to think and act vs me simply telling them what to do.

Train your team.  Provide them feedback along the way.  Listen to them.  And give them opportunities to grow.

challenges

One Step

When most of us think of transformation, we think of dramatic, significant change that takes place on a large scale. But that really isn’t the case.

Transformation is best made one small step at a time that moves you towards your goal. And I think there in lies the problem for many people.

We live in a day and age where the dramatic is valued. And without dramatic change happening in a relatively small timeframe, most people give up on transformation because the small steps many times go unnoticed.

Let’s face it, small steps done on a daily basis can sometimes be boring. It can seem as though we are not truly making any progress. But the facts don’t support that thought.

Right now there are Olympic athletes preparing for both winter and summer events. They don’t just simply get off the plane and go out and win gold. No, today they take multiple small steps towards the goal of winning gold. They practice. They condition. They work on their thought process. Multiple upon multiple of small steps are involved in getting them towards their gold medal.

So if you are working on transformation, do not be discouraged. It is in the small daily steps that you will truly transform your life, your health, and your business. Be intentional. Be disciplined. And realize those small steps will move you toward your ultimate goal of success.

The Transformation “Doings” by Jim Johnson

Transformation requires work.  We all know that.  Years ago I read that to realize change, we need to start doing some things and stop doing others to get us to where we want to be.

Transformation requires these 2 “doings”  – START and STOP

If you want to transform an area of your personal and/or work life, you will need to START doing something new, in different ways.  Why?  As I wrote last time, if you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always gotten.  So, transformation requires that we START to do something new – the CHANGE.

If you want, for example,  more energy, lose weight, and improve the overall sense of health in your life, you can START doing something new by:

  • Drinking more water.
  • Get regular exercise.
  • Choose healthier food options.
  • Visit your doctor on a regular basis.

But in order to improve your health, you will most likely need to STOP doing things that will hinder this goal:

  • Stop drinking soda pop.
  • Stop eating junk food throughout the day.
  • Stop going through the drive-thru lane at a local fast food restaurant multiple times per week.
  • Stop plopping yourself in front of the TV for hours each evening.

START Here:

So on this 2nd day of the new year, think about where you need transformation. Write it down.  Next, create a 2-column list and write as headings START DOING and STOP DOING.  Fill out each column.  This list is not a wish list.  It is a doing list.  If you think you’ll waiver on this, share your list with a friend who can help with accountability (in fact, why not ask a friend or two to do this along with you).

We can tend to think of transformation as some sort of dramatic life event that will catapult us to a new level.  Maybe in the movies, but in the real world, transformation takes planning, determination, work, and intention.

And it can be as simple as this:

START doing the things that will move you closer to what you want to be, achieve.

STOP doing the things that put up obstacles on the road to your transformation

 

start stop doing