More of. Less of.

On this early morning (4:51 am) of September 11, I woke up with this on my mind.

Tony Jeary first introduced me to an idea, a concept that changes lives. This idea helps people become better. Goals become focused. Behaviors take on new meaning. This is not only practical – it is doable.

More of. Less of.

Think about a goal you have:

  • Monthly sales goal
  • Weight loss
  • Self-development
  • Relationships

Now that you’ve got that one goal in mind, ask yourself, “What can I do more of to move me closer to my goal?” Then ask, “What do I need to do less of that is hindering me from achieving my goal?”  Now go do it!

It’s pretty simple, isn’t it? We already know what we need to do more of to hit sales goals (more calls, more follow-ups/follow-throughs). We already know what we need more of to become healthier (drink more water, exercise, eat more veggies). And you can list what you need to do less of to develop yourself into becoming the better version of where you are today (i.e. less TV?). And you have a lot of experience already to know what you need more of and less of to make your relationships thrive.

Let’s broaden this thought out. My country…our world…needs more of something, and it all needs less of something.

  • Prosperity?
  • Equity?
  • Justice?
  • Violence?
  • Chaos?

What I woke up to was this: more love. This is not new. This is not radical. This is and has been the answer forever. And we all know how to do more love.

  • Smile – let your spirit brighten someone else’s day.
  • Laugh – it’s healing.
  • Care – do something for your elderly neighbor. Buy someone’s meal at a restaurant (without them knowing it was you). Volunteer.

What do you think would happen in our world if everyone did one random act of kindness today? Just one. More love. That’s what would happen.

So, why don’t we? Perhaps we are so wrapped up in ourselves that we become blind to others. Maybe we are so inwardly focused on our own fears, worries, anxieties that we cannot see how others struggle. Perhaps we need less focus on ourselves and more attention on those around us.

Today I challenge myself – and you – to do more of something that moves you towards love in your part of the world.

  • Smile more.
  • Tell someone you appreciate them. Literally, tell them and be specific.
  • Be helpful.
  • Compliment more.
  • Find the good in someone else.
  • Say “thank you” often.
  • Email/Call someone you have not been in contact with. Tell them you have been thinking about them.
  • Do a random act of kindness.

In my country, today is a somber day. We remember a day filled with hate, destruction, and murder. But we also remember more about our heroes who gave their lives so others lived. We remember a city that rebuilt itself as our nation rebuilt its hope. We remember buildings filled with people who loved others, helped others, and inspired others in the face of unspeakable horror. We remember.

And today, we do more. We love…more. And one by one, person by person, this love changes our nation and our world.

 

Tuesday Tip – Who else would benefit from knowing this?

Many of you read articles, blog posts, books or listen to a TED talk and you are inspired. You learn something new. You actually make changes in your professional/personal life as a result. Does it all end there…with you?

My tip for today is take this one step further. Why else would benefit from knowing or getting exposed to this information?

  • Your team?
  • Your colleagues?
  • Another leader in your community?
  • Your family?
  • Your mentor or mentee?

Of course learning and developing as a leader is critically important. Take it one more step and share what you have learned with someone else. Email them a link to that blog post. Send them a podcast link. Take a photo of a powerful paragraph and email that to them. Share what you’ve learned over coffee or lunch.

Some folks will be receptive to this. Others will not. You’ll learn who is open to this. Focus on adding value. This sharing – it is about them, not about you. You could help someone launch something incredible in their life!

Be Passionate by Jim Johnson

To many folks, this idea sounds too dramatic.  Why be passionate about your job or even your company?  Well, you are investing a significant amount of time each year at work.  Why not throw yourself into what you do?  Why not seek the real purpose behind what it is that you do?

Do you know what you company’s vision/mission statement is?  If you do, write it down below:

My company’s purpose is to…

Why is this idea so important?  Perhaps this can be answered by asking this question:  would you want to work at a job where there was no meaningful purpose to what you produced? 

But I hear you say, “I just work on an assembly line.”  “I only balance a GL.”  “I have to answer the phone and hope to not get yelled at.”  “I cash checks and make deposits.”  “I have to make sure items are stocked on the shelves on time and answer questions from customers.”

What is the real purpose behind your job?  Do you know? 

Years ago, I traveled from Indiana to Orlando, Florida.  I spent the night in Indianapolis at a La Quinta Inn prior to leaving on a very early morning flight.  I was allowed to leave my car at the hotel instead of paying for short-termed parking (a great service).  I was shuttled to the airport and told to call the hotel back when I returned so they could pick me up.

When I returned, I called La Quinta.  I was informed that their shuttle van was broken down.  I was then instructed to take a taxi back to the hotel and they would pay for the fare (they did).  After I loaded my luggage into my car for the drive home, I discovered that my battery was dead (it was winter and very cold out).  I went inside to call AAA.  While I was on hold, the front desk manager asked what had happened.  I told her. 

“Oh, hang up, honey.  We’ll take care of you!”  And they did!  Within 20 minutes the hotel manager (it was his day off) drove to the hotel, jumped-started my car and I was on my way home.  The hotel personnel all treated me as if I was the most important person around.  They did it with smiles and enthusiasm.  I felt as if I had known these folks for years.  They were genuinely nice.  La Quinta’s brand statement is “wake up on the bright side”.  They certainly brightened my day more than once. 

If you work on an assembly line, focus on the product your team is producing and the part you play in this process.  If it is manufacturing a car, you are not just working on an assembly line.  You are creating a quality driving experience for the consumer. 

If you work in a call center, you are serving your customers by listening to their issues and providing solutions that can help them save them time, save them money or fulfill a need.  If you wait tables at a local restaurant, you are actually selling an experience rather than merely getting hot food to patrons on time. The better the experience, the more likelihood the customer will be back and even recommend others to visit your eatery. 

You can personally impact your company’s success!

Being the right person means you will passionately discover and live the true purpose behind your job.

From The Path to Promotion: by Jim Johnson

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.

Gourmet Chicken Salad – Making My Wife’s Lunch

I love to cook, and I love to create. I also love my wife very much! So I make her lunch on the days she goes into the office.

So today, I’m sharing a simple lunch salad recipe my wife loves. Why? We are called to serve others – for me, this starts at home.

Gourmet Chicken Salad by Jim Johnson

Ingredients:

* 2 boneless, skinless grilled chicken thighs (or half of a chicken breast) – note: this is a great way to use leftover grilled chicken from the night before. I marinate mine in a sesame ginger marinade. I find this makes the best tasting chicken for the salad.)

* 5-7 green seedless grapes cut in half

* 1 Tbsp of a great relish – I use Sechler’s Hungarian sweet relish. It’s made about 40 minutes north of my city. Simply the best relish!

* 1 overflowing Tbsp of mayonnaise (use your favorite)

* iceberg lettuce chopped

* fresh spinach chopped

Putting it together: Simply mix the grapes, relish, mayo, and chopped chicken together. Place on the lettuce/spinach.

Try this easy and incredibly tasty salad.

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?”

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

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