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?”

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

 

Promotion – Your Next Level of Results

  • There are athletes training right now for an Olympics event years from now.
  • There are individuals planning right now to build relationships that will last.
  • There are people who are working right now to lose weight and get healthy.
  • There are high school students who are working hard right now in extraordinary circumstances to prepare for college entrance.
  • There are scholars who right now are striving to earn that next degree that will propel their career.

What do all of these people have in common?  They understand and are implementing the 3 principles I have laid out in my book, The Path to Promotion.  The book does focus on helping someone advance in their careers.  But there is so much more to that.

Book Cover from Amazon

Are you wanting to move from where you are today to your next level?  Read The Path to Promotion and begin putting the principles into practice.

 

 

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!

Building Your Company’s Culture in the Moment

Scenario: You witness a situation at work and it is clearly evident that this will lead to a culture-killer for your company.  What do you do?

Most people do one of 3 things:

1. DO NOTHING.  Look the other way.  Ignore what you’re seeing, hearing, and feeling.

2. JOIN IN.  This is the mob mentality.  “A riot is an ugly thing…I think it’s high time we have one!” (Young Frankenstein). This only fuels the fires of negativity.

3. PROMOTE, PRACTICE, and PROTECT the culture.

in the moment

Easy. It’s just as easy to not act as it is to act.  Just like losing weight or exercising or reading or being intentional in a relationship….it’s easy to do something and it’s not easy to do something

 

Fear.  We fear taking a stand.  We fear retribution from our peers (“who does he think he is?!”)

Deflection. “It’s not my job.  I’m not a manager, VP, CEO…”

Since when is protecting our culture the sole responsibility of a supervisor?

hey

 

Self-worth“Who am I to say something/take a stand?”

Too many times, we don’t take a stand because of what we say to ourselves.

  • “I’m just a line worker/entry-level accountant/etc.  I have no authority.”
  • “People will make fun or treat me differently.  I don’t want to risk that.”
  • “I’ve only been with the company for 6 months.  I don’t know enough to speak up.”
  • “I’m an idiot.  I should shut up.”

Please realize that there are people who applied for your position and did not get it.    YOU are in!  YOU made it.  YOU are worthy!  Your company believes in YOU.

But in order for your company’s culture to grow and be cultivated, each team member has to make the right decision at those critical moments.

  • And every time you and I stand up to PROMOTE, PRACTICE, AND PROTECT our culture, we build momentum.
  • And when momentum builds, it becomes the norm.
  • We raise our standards.
  • We don’t settle.
  • We refuse to live to the lowest common denominator.
  • The culture becomes alive.
  • WE become the culture.

 

protect your culture

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 12 Week Year – Getting More Done

12 week year

At the prompting of a mentor of mine, Karl LaPan (CEO of the NIIC here in Fort Wayne, Indiana, last week I bought and started reading The 12 Week Year by Brian P. Moran.  If you are wanting to become more efficient and get more done in business and in life, buy this book.  I’ve provided the Amazon link above. It is excellent.  Here are some excerpts that are causing me to think and act differently:

 

 

 

“Most of us have two lives:  the lives we live and the lives we are capable of living.”

 

“The barrier standing between you and life you are capable of living is a lack of consistent execution.”

 

“Vision is the starting point of all high performance.  You create things twice; first mentally, then physically.  You will never outpace your mental models.”

 

“To be truly effective, your daily activity must align with your long-term vision, strategies, and tactics.  Your results are created by your actions.”

 

“A study conducted a few years ago by Salary.com found that the average person wastes nearly two hours of every working day.”

 

“Accountability is not consequences but ownership.  The only things you control are your thinking and your actions.”

 

“…the difference between greatness and mediocrity on a daily and weekly basis is slim, yet the difference in results down the road is tremendous.”

 

“…you can be great, beginning today, simply by choosing to do the things you know you need to do.”