This will be the first Fathers Day since my Dad passed away in November of 2012. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of him. I still haven’t deleted him from my Skype contact list. (We Skyped each other on Sunday afternoons) As Fathers Day approaches I’m reminded of how much I’ve lost but also of how much I gained. I have my memories to comfort me. I’m glad that I was able to kiss him on the forehead and tell him that I loved him as I left his hospital room. The last words I heard him say was that he loved me too. If your father is still alive don`t miss the opportunity to let him know how much he means to you.
The truth is we don’t get to pick our Dad. I lucked out. I got a Dad who loved me unconditionally no matter how many times I screwed up – no matter how many times I might have disappointed him. I knew I could always count on him to be my soft place to fall. I could call on him for advice – to give me guidance – to be a strong disciplinarian when I needed it but also loving and caring and empathetic when the situation warranted it. I knew he`d always be in my corner when I needed him.
Fatherhood doesn’t come with an instruction manual. You learn in bits and pieces as you go along. Experience is a great teacher. You learn what to do – but more importantly you learn what not to do. I’m thankful my Dad was around to teach me how. I didn’t learn all the lessons as well as I could have – or should have – but I did the best I could. Hindsight is 20-20. Did I make mistakes – absolutely. Did I learn from them – you bet. My son is proof positive that things worked out in a good way. He’s a great Dad to his daughter. The legacy passed down from my Dad to me and from me to my son will live on. Thanks Dad. Thank you for everything. I know you are still there looking out for me – guiding me – and pointing the way. I love you. Happy Fathers Day.
Copyright (c) 2013. Brian Smith. Not to be reproduced without permission. http://briansmithpld.com
Lance Armstrong, Canadian Senator Mike Duffy and the City of Toronto’s Mayor Rob Ford – you can replace those names with any number of people but, the question remains the same. What where they thinking? Why do good people do dumb ass things? Do they do it because they can? Is it because they think no one is watching or do they do it out of a sense of entitlement? They’ve worked incredibly hard, sacrificed much and worked long hours to further their career – and then in one dumb ass move they’ve thrown it all away. Any credibility they had is gone – wiped out in a heart beat. Some will get back into the public’s good graces but most won’t.
It is better to be defeated on principle then to win on lies. - Arthur Caldwell
The first course I ever taught at Algonquin College’s School of Business was a “Business Ethics” course written by one of my personal hero’s, the late Professor Ron Knowles. He wrote it for first year business students in the College’s Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) program. One of the neat things about the course was that I got to work with first year business students to help them write their own personal code of conduct, their own ethical decision-making model that they could use when faced with an ethical dilemma. (A situation where there is no clear right or wrong answer) When you are confronted with an ethical dilemma what series of questions do you ask yourself to help you make a decision that you can live with?
Before the issue of integrity can even be raised we need principles of behavior – moral convictions about what is and is not appropriate. - Dr. Nathaniel Branden
Ethics is best described as a set of moral principles or values that defines what is considered right and wrong behavior for a person or group. Some people suggest that there is a difference between business and personal ethics. But, to my way of thinking there is just one. You are either ethical or you’re not. How can you behave one way at work and then behave a different way at home and still be true to yourself and what you believe in? The truth of the matter is – if you have to ask whether it is ethical or not – you already know the answer.
A moral compass – your personal code of conduct.
What do you hold to be true? What are your enduring principles? What are you not willing to compromise – no matter the situation or the outcome? What isn’t for sale – no matter the price? If you had to sit down and write your personal code of conduct, what kinds of things would you include on that list? Ethics is a process. It is a continuous effort of studying our own beliefs and conduct and striving to ensure that we, and the institutions we help to shape, live up to standards that are solidly based. What series of questions will you ask yourself to solve your ethical dilemmas? Do you believe – I mean really believe in honesty, integrity and treating others fairly? Is it OK to win at all costs? Does the end result justify the means? I wonder knowing what they know now would Lance, Mike or Rob act any differently? Unfortunately they may not get a second chance.
Copyright (c) 2013. Brian Smith-PLD. Not to be reproduced or copied without permission. Brian is available for speaking engagements, seminars and workshops. Find out what Brian can do for you and your organization by visiting http://briansmithpld.com
We are at the mid-way point of 2013 so how are you holding up so far? Is your game plan for 2013 coming together? Can you see the light at the end of the tunnel or have you already given up on your new year resolutions? If you’re like most people you may still be searching for the motivation to begin. Not to worry – you still have six months to go. Anytime is a good time to start a new beginning – so why not start now. It’s not necessarily how you begin the race – it’s how you finish. The person who gets hot at the right time usually ends up winning the cup. Most races are won and lost in the final laps.
If you are up to trying a different approach you might consider what I did this year. I got the idea from Susan Murphy (suzemuse) who I think got the idea from Chris Brogan. Instead of taking the traditional route they suggested that you pick 3 action words to help you stay on point. With nothing to lose and much to gain I picked Ask, Health and Networking. I decided that everything I set out to accomplish in 2013 had to be a reflection of those 3 action words or I wasn’t going to do it. I gotta tell you – it works. It helped me prioritize what’s important to me, either in the short or long-term. It helped me stay focused on what matters most. By concentrating my efforts around these 3 action words I’ve ended up accomplishing more.
ASK: I was never big on marketing or self-promoting. I use to sit back and wait to be asked – not now – I ask for what I want. Like the saying goes, if you don’t ask – you won’t get. I have sent out double the proposals to speak at events or deliver seminars then I did in the past and at the half-way point I’m already ahead of last years numbers in confirmed engagements. All indications are that this is going to be an outstanding year.
HEALTH: I am making healthier food choices on my weekly shopping trips. I rarely ate breakfast or lunch – settling on eating when I got home at the end of day. Not now – since January I haven’t missed eating a simple breakfast (usually oatmeal with dried cranberries sprinkled on top) and a sandwich or soup for lunch. I now schedule quiet “me” time to de-stress after a busy week. I’ve taken up baking on the weekends. (Nothing over the top mind you – oatmeal cookies and banana bread – that my son and grandchild Chloe seem to enjoy) I plan on playing more golf this summer and start exercising for at least 15 minutes a day.
NETWORK: I’m volunteering more now. I haven’t said no to any event that I’ve been asked to attend or be part of. I’m reaching out to non-profits and offering my services for free. I was never big on rubbing shoulders at networking events. I’m happy to report I attended my first ever and survived to tell about it. And I was the Master of Ceremonies at a Fashion Showcase. (A first for me) My Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook “likes” continue to grow – helping me reach a wider audience for my blog posts and books. If someone is kind enough to reach out to me – I reciprocate – expanding my circle of influence.
So I’ve told you how I’m doing – what about you? If you had to score yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being totally satisfied with your progress to date) what score would you give yourself? If you don’t think you warrant a passing grade then it’s time to get re-energized and get back in the game. It’s time to re-invest in your own future. Remember – It’s not how you start the race – it’s how well you finish.
Copyright (C) 2013. Brian Smith. Not to be reproduced without permission. Are you looking for a keynote speaker, planning a lunch-n-learn or organizing a seminar? Brian specializes in soft-skills training and leadership development. Visit http://briansmithpld.com to discover what he can do for you and your organization.
Are we born who we are – or do we have the ability to change into someone else? Jerome Kagan, who has devoted his career to studying the emotional and cognitive development of children believes it’s a little of both. His research suggests that introversion – extraversion is only 40 to 50 percent heritable. “To ask whether it’s nature or nurture is like asking is a blizzard caused by temperature or humidity – it’s the intricate interaction between the two that makes us who we are”. After reading Malcolm Gladwell’s take on the 10,000 hour rule I don’t think we are naturally born to do anything. I think you can accomplish what ever you set out to do. You can rewire your brain. I believe you are the boss of you. You and you alone get to decide your fate in life. Only you and you alone get to decide where you end up.
Dr. Carl Schwartz, director of the Developmental Neuroimaging and Psychopathology Research Lab at Massachusetts General Hospital, is convinced that we can stretch our personalities, but only up to a point. “Our inborn temperaments influence us, regardless of the lives we lead. Part of who we are is ordained at birth by our genes, by our brains and nervous systems”. However, he also believes that because we have “free will” – the power to choose – we can use it to shape our personalities. Susan Cain – author of “Quiet – The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” refers to this as “the rubber band” theory of personality. Picture yourself as a rubber band at rest. Just like that rubber band you are elastic and can stretch yourself. You can rewire your brain. You are capable of developing different habits to get a different result.
Do you marvel at how some people have the ability to motivate others, inspire people to take action and influence the top decision makers and wished you could do the same? You can learn to do that as well. You can learn to be more patient, empathetic, flexible, open-minded or a good listener? You can learn how to communicate and interact more effectively with others? The question is – Are you willing to put in the time and effort to make the kinds of changes you’ll need to make to realize your full potential? One of the best ways to learn a new skill is to observe someone doing it the way you would like to do it and copy them. Think of someone you admire. What is it about the way they act that you identify with? Do they remain calm in stressful situations? When they speak – do others listen? Are they really good at making new friends? Do they lead by example? When they walk into a room do others take notice? Are they compassionate towards those less fortunate? You and you alone get to decide your fate in life. Only you and you alone get to decide where you end up. Only you and you alone get to decide the kind of person you want to be. Think it, act it, become it … You are the boss of you.
(C) Copyright 2013. Brian Smith-PLD. May not be reproduced without permission. Brian Smith works with people who want to learn how to communicate and interact more effectively; and who want to discover how to get the best out of themselves and others. He is available for speaking engagements, seminars and workshops. Visit http://briansmithpld.com to find out more.