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?”

I Read to Grow

I have set reading goals for 3 years now. The past two years, my goal was to read 12 books in a year. I did that two years ago. Last year I read 18 books. This year my goal is 24. I’m on my 8th currently.

I read about leadership, marketing, habits, biographies, and self-development. This is the book I just started last evening. I’ve read Dr. Helmstetter’s book What Do You Say When You Talk to Yourself. In fact, I’ve read and re-read it.

This new book is proving to be great as well.

“Your brain is changed by the thoughts you think. You can rewire your brain.”

I’m 59 years old. This thought brings me great hope! I can learn more. I can become more. You can, too!

I encourage you to live a life of learning. It’s not too late to start. For me, I learn most through reading. But there are seminars, continuing education, blogs, podcasts, mastermind groups…the list goes on. We have more resources available to us than ever before. Pick one and dig in.

You and I can become better. Go for it!

A Life-Long Learner by Jim Johnson

This is an excerpt from my workbook, The Path to Promotion.  (previously titled “Right On”). This section is from the “be the right person” chapter…

Think about your current job responsibilities.  Have you mastered them?  Does the quality of your work reveal this?  Too often individuals believe they should be promoted but yet they have not mastered their current responsibilities.  How shallow and blind!

You need to develop a life of learning to prepare for future opportunities.  It begins with where you are today.  If there are areas of your job that you are not completely proficient in (proficient not perfection), then make it a priority to learn what you need to learn.

Proficiency brings so many benefits to you.  You will gain confidence.  A can-do attitude is hard to ignore and is “infectious”.  Job mastery demonstrates your competence.  You can control to some degree what others think of you.  Competency is always a favorable attribute.  And proficiency provides job security.  In today’s economy, you definitely want to be thought of as indispensable as possible.

A life of learning does not only take place on the job.  Are you learning outside of your daily shift?  One of the best ways to develop a life of learning is to read.  Your local public library is full of current magazines, journals and books that can aid in your personal development.  Read about current trends that affect your company, your department, and your daily duties.  You will be preparing yourself with useful knowledge for future projects and even for future interviews.

Area colleges and universities offer courses and degrees designed with the working professional in mind.  Degrees can be earned through in-class and online offerings.

Bottom line:  always learn.  Grow.  Develop yourself.

Being the right person means that you are committed to learning more               about yourself, your job, and your company.

Seek Clarity

In his new book, High Performance Habits, Brendon Burchard speaks about seeking clarity in Habit 1.  I shared this exercise with my Emerging Leader group yesterday.  I thought you might like to read this as well:

  1.  Describe (write it down) how you’ve perceived yourself in the following situations over the past several months – with your significant other, at work, with the kids or your team, in social situations with strangers.
  2. Now ask, “Is that who I really see myself being in the future?”  How would my future self look, feel, and behave differently in those situations? (note: think about how your future self would want to interact in ways that you would be proud of)
  3. If you could describe yourself in just 3 aspirational words – words that would sum up who you are at your best in the future – what would those words be?  Why are those words meaningful to you?  Once you find your words, put them in your phone as an alarm label that goes off several times per day.

I worked through this exercise myself.  I jotted down several things and finally landed on my 3 aspirational words.  I created a calendar event that displays these 3 words at 5:45 am, 1:00 pm and 9:00 pm every day.

Already, there are many times when I see those words and I am reminded to be my best and do my best to act out on these words.  It works.  What a great reminder.

Try it. In fact, order the book and start working your own high performance habits (link to the book is provided above). Begin working on becoming better.  You will not regret it.

high performance habit quote

Read, Leader!

Do you read regularly? Are you intimidated by a book? Do you take a book off the shelf at the bookstore and think “I should probably read this” but then think “I’m never going to make it through 200-300 pages”?

You’re never going to read an entire book in a sitting. So don’t set yourself up for failure – at least in your mind. Try this instead.

Read 10 pages a day. That’s it. Just 10 pages a day. If you were like most adults, you can read 10 pages in 10 to 15 minutes. Perhaps faster.

If you can do this, and I believe everybody has at least 10 – 15 minutes a day to do that, you will finish a 200 – 300 page book in a month or less.

So grab that business book you’ve been putting off reading. Head to the bookstore. Go to your library. Get a book that’s going to motivate, inspire, educate, and change you. Start reading. 10 pages a day. 10 to 15 minutes a day. 

You can do this. Read, Leader!

Book #3

As I shared earlier, one of my  goals this year is to read 12 books. I am actually on book #3 now. This book, Gritty, is co-written by a friend of mine, Ron Lewis. 

Take the time to find out more about these brothers and their passion the following link. Order the book. By their book and give it to a first year college student. They will thank you for it.

http://www.lewflu.com

Read a Book?! Me?!

Is this your response if someone asks you to read a book?  I’ve heard it from many people that I encounter.

Studies have shown that when a person graduated high school and even college that a vast majority never read a book after that. When I ask people why they don’t read, I usually get responses such as “who has time to read a book?”

The answer is simple. You do. No, you really do.

In his book, The Slight Edge, Jeff Olson tells us exactly how to read a book, an entire book, and as little as 30 days. Olson suggests that you set aside time to read 10 pages each day. Now I’m not a fast reader, but I can read 10 pages in about 10 minutes. Olson states that if you read 10 pages a day, you’ll finish a 300 page book in a month. But I think too many people look first at the 300 pages and become overwhelmed thinking “I’m never going to read this”. And then they don’t. 

But if you break it down into simple segments – 10 pages a day – you can easily get through a book in a month. This is the secret to the slight edge – taking small incremental steps each day that gets you towards a goal.

What happens when you start to read?

  • You expose yourself to insights and thoughts that you wouldn’t get any other way.
  • You get an opportunity to learn something.
  • Ideas come to you.
  • A difficult situation may become more clear after reading.
  • You begin seeing your world from a different perspective.
  • It will positively affect your leadership style and your leadership abilities.

We probably all have heard it said that leaders are readers. There really is no downside to daily reading a book.

One of my goals for 2017 is to read 12 books this year. So far this month I’m about to finish book number 2. They’re not “long” books but I’m using the slight edge principles to read at least ten pages a day. As a result I’m moving through the books quickly and I’m gaining new knowledge and insight. And I’m journaling things that I’m learning (another goal of mine).

So, what are you reading? Yes, you! Put the slight edge in your favor, find a great book, and start reading. If you need a book list, start with The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson. At the end of this book he lists around a hundred books that he would suggest leaders start reading. That would be a great place to start. Or listen to your favorite podcaster. I bet they’ll be some suggestions there.

In your town there may be a used book store. You can get great deals at places like that. Or go to Amazon. You can buy great used books for a fraction of the original cost. And many of those used books are in great condition.

Don’t limit your leadership abilities by giving yourself excuses not to learn and grow. Start reading. You really will love it.

The Law of Consistency

In a couple of hours, I will be facilitating another “Emerging Leaders” group sessions here at work.  We are working our way through John Maxwell’s book, The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth.  Here is an application from the end of chapter 5 (Law of Consistency) that is worth sharing:

“The more whys you have for pursuing personal growth on a daily basis, the more likely you will be to follow through.  Start compiling those whys.  Think of immediate benefits as well as long-term ones.  Consider reasons related to purpose, vision, and dreams.  Think of how it will help you relationally, vocationally, and spiritually.  Any reason to grow is a good reason as long as it’s your reason.”

15-laws