Another Year Older – Not Necessarily Wiser

birthday-cake-2I gave up celebrating my birthday years ago. Once you reach my age, the thrill of blowing  out a bunch of candles looses its appeal. Besides, I’m so old you can’t get a cake big enough for all of them. I have my parents to thank for my good health because the only pills I take are vitamins. Birthdays for me are a time for reflection. A time to look back on the year that was and think about the lessons learned. I figure if you aren’t learning anything new you are robbing yourself of the opportunity to grow. It’s a time to plan for the year ahead. Life is a planned event. Wishing and hoping won’t make it so. But mostly my birthday is a time to celebrate my accomplishments and think about all those things that I am thankful for.

I am thankful for:

  • A very special someone in my life who loves me – faults and all
  • Musical friends and the love of music.
  • What I get to do for a living
  • My son
  • My grandchild – who I get to hang out with
  • My ex-wife who is one of my closet friends
  • My siblings – Greg, Terry, Jerry, Randy and specially Laurie
  • Golf – playing and watching – but mostly playing
  • Movies
  • Red wine
  • Friday night date nights with my special girl Chloe
  • Quite alone time
  • Coffee
  • Spending time with the love of my life. Nothing in this world beats that
  • NFL football
  • College sports
  • A great italian restaurant
  • French fries with mayo
  • Hamburgers with bacon and cheese
  • Friends and family – too many to mention them all
  • Loving parents who are no longer with me but still watch over me
  • My girls – Minnie and Calley
  • Today
  • Tomorrow
  • Blue skies, green grass and sunshine
  • September weather
  • Four seasons, although I’m not really big on winter.
  • Being another year older – Not Necessarily Wiser

I could go on and on and on. I have a great deal to be thankful for. My life is still a mystery to me. There is no way I would have predicted being where I am at this juncture in my life. It’s been filled with both highs and lows. The lows have made me stronger. I know that there is nothing that I can’t overcome. The highs have taught me to be humble and not to get too full of myself.  Reality has a way of bringing you back down to earth.

What are you thankful for? In spite of all the craziness that is going on in your life, take a moment and make a list of all those things you are thankful for. You’ve got a lot going for you – you just may have forgotten them.

Copyright (c) 2016. Brian Smith – Voted Top 100 Leadership Expert, Management Consultant and Author. specializing in soft-skills training and leadership development. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you and your organization visit. https://briansmithpld.com

Suck It Up Butter Cup and Keep Moving Forward

Loser 1Nothing ever goes exactly the way it’s planned, so get over it. It’s called life – and life is full of surprises. This thing we call life is a work in progress. There will always be mountains to climb, valleys to trudge through and a number of detours to navigate around along the way. You can’t change what was – so there’s no sense wasting your valuable time or energy in trying to do something that can’t be done. If you aren’t happy with the hand you’ve been dealt , then it’s time to suck it up butter cup and keep moving forward. You don’t have to be held hostage by your past if you cut the chains that are you holding you back and chart a new course.

#Worth Remembering … Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful. – Joshua J. Marine

The only person getting in your way, of you truly being happy and leading the kind of life you envisioned for yourself – is you. Once you decide to make a change in your life, you’re already half way there. Once you decide you want more out of life – you will find a way. You already have what it takes to be the champion of your life. Motivation is inside out – never outside in. You don’t need any other stimulus to help you accomplish your goals. All you need is to believe in yourself, that you are capable of doing what ever you set out to do. All you have to do is believe.

#Worth Remembering … Don’t let the concept of change scare you as much as the prospect of remaining unhappy. – Timber Hawkeye

Take a moment and write down three (3) things you’d like to change. Three things that you believe would make you truly happy. Take a look at the three things you’ve written down and decide which one is most important to you. Which one will give you the most satisfaction? I want you to write it out in big bold letters and post it on your bathroom mirror. I want you to read it out loud every morning while you are getting ready to take on the day. Do something every day, no matter how small, that will help you reach that goal. You will stumble – everyone does. You will get down on yourself because things aren’t moving as quickly as you hoped. That’s life’s way of testing you, to make sure it’s what you really want to do. Hang in there. Be patient and just keep plodding along. You will eventually make the kinds of changes necessary to live the life you envisioned for yourself.

Copyright (c) 2016. Brian Smith – #Reformed Control Freak. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you and your organization visit https://briansmithpld.com

Do You Have What It Takes?

entrepreneurshipAre you thinking of taking the big plunge and going into business for yourself? Do you think you have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur? I was recently contacted by a first year business student who had to go out and interview three entrepreneurs as part of a class assignment. He had to ask them three questions. If you are looking to go into business for yourself I thought you might be interested in my answers. I have had the good fortune of being self-employed since 1998. Starting and running your own small business is not for the faint of heart. Matter of fact – in a recent Industry Canada study conducted by Eileen Fisher, Schulich School of Business, York University and Rebecca Reuber, Rothman School of Management, University of Toronto, concluded that thirty percent of all new small businesses won’t survive longer than two years, and only half make it to year five. Some of the reasons for those failures are out of your control, but most are because of the bad decisions you will make. Lack of management or financial skills are in the top five.

Here are my answers to his three questions. I hope it will give you some valuable insight into what it will take to be a successful entrepreneur.

1 – What made you decide to own your own small business? I had managed other people’s businesses for a number of years, with the idea that I wanted to own and operate my own small business some day. Being my own boss appealed to me. It proved to be a great training ground for me. I got to learn what to do, and more importantly, what not to do. The best part was I got to make those mistakes on someone else’s dime. I recommend that to anyone looking to start their own small business. Work for someone else until you’ve learned enough to start your own.

2 – What are five key characteristics that you feel are important to have to be a successful entrepreneur? I believe there are a number of key characteristics you need to be successful. Some you will do well, others you will need to learn. Here are my top five. I’ve listed them here in no particular order.

  • Time Management: Be able to manage your time well. Learn to prioritize what needs to be done so that you do the most important things first. Sometimes that will mean doing things you don’t like to do. We tend to spend our time on things that we enjoy doing or that we are good at. Be disciplined enough to complete your “A” item before you work on your “B” or “C”.
  • Open Mindedness: You only know what you know – you don’t know what you don’t know – and it’s what you don’t know that could hurt you. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice – and be smart enough to take it. That’s how we learn.
  • Empathetic: Be able to see things from another person’s point of view. People make mistakes. The important thing is how you react to them.
  • Communicate: You must be able to communicate in a way that others will understand. If you can’t communicate both by the written word and verbally, then you stand little chance of being understood.
  • Goal Setting: Being successful is a planned event. Put a plan together to accomplish your goals. Great plans start with the end in mind. Have a clear vision of what you want to achieve and then put a plan together to get there. However, you need to be flexible enough to change or adjust your plan, if it isn’t going to help you achieve your goal.

3 –  If you could start your business over again, what one thing would you do differently? That’s a tough question because struggles are part of the learning process. If you aren’t making mistakes you aren’t learning anything new. There are some valuable lessons to be learned from the mistakes you make. The one thing I would do over again is to be more disciplined in managing the money side of the business. That old saying “it takes money to make money” is true. But you have to make the money before you spend the money. I would put together a realistic budget and then stick to it. Projections are just that – projections. They are a best guess. However, projections don’t pay the bills or more importantly, they don’t pay you.

Copyright 2016 (c) Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Not to be reproduced without permission. Brian is a former Professor at Algonquin College’s School of Business, Top 100 Leadership Expert, Author and Speaker. To find out more about Brian and what you can do for you and your organization visit https://briansmithpld.com

We Are All Just Passing Through

7-ways-your-wasting-timeAs I approach my sixty-sixth birthday, I’m reminded that I have more years behind me, than what lies ahead of me. Time, unfortunately, is not a renewable resource. We all have just 168 hours in the course of a week, approximately 672 in a month and 8,064 in a year. No more, or no less. Are you spending your time wisely? If someone told you that you had just one more year to live – what is the one thing on your to-do list that you’d want to accomplish? What is that one thing that you’ve always wanted to do, but kept putting it off, thinking that you had all kinds of time? Shoulda, coulda, woulda, should not be part of your vocabulary.

Take a moment and write down that one pressing thing you’d like to accomplish. Would you like to go on a world cruise, learn to play guitar, write a book or skydive? Make it a BIG one. No sense thinking small here.Remember, you only have a year. What’s it going to take to accomplish that goal? I want you to write those things down as well. Once you’ve written all of them down I want you to put a plan together to accomplish each one. Anyone can eat an elephant one bite at a time. Keep your eye on the prize and work your plan.

As you start to work your plan I want you to think of these 2 things.

(1) Only do those things that move you forward. If it won’t move you closer to accomplishing your goal then you need to be disciplined enough to say no. If it won’t move you closer to accomplishing your goal then you are wasting valuable time. Time that you can’t afford to give up. You need to manage your time well.

(2) You need to eliminate all the distractions in your life. You need to walk away from those who are robbing you of your time. That includes family, friends and acquaintances. You know who the time wasters are. You need to be selfish here. Now don’t get me wrong. All work and no play does make for a dull life. Life is a journey that should be enjoyed. So when it’s time to work – work. And when it’s time to play – play a little – and then get back to work. Focus, focus, focus.

This post is dedicated to Lucille Smith, a wife, good mother to her 2 children, and a great grandmother to her 2 grand children. Lucille passed away suddenly. Taken from her family, friends and loved ones way too soon.She is gone, but will never be forgotten. She lives on in the hearts and minds of those she left behind.

Copyright (c) 2016. Brian Smith, Reformed Control Freak. Not to be reproduced without permission. Subscribe to Brian’s Blog and receive a “Free” copy of Brian’s book – “Confessions of a Reformed Control Freak – The Top Ten Sins Most Managers Make & How to Avoid Them”. Visit https://briansmithpld.com to find out more.