We Have a Voice – It’s Time We Started Using It

images (11)I participated in a weekend twitter chat hosted by @Kate Nasser – The People-Skills Coach, that reminded me that we have a voice, a very loud voice. And we need to speak up because politicians and company executives are listening. The silent majority needs to speak up against bullying, rape, violence against women and powerful companies like Monsanto who are counting on you and I to say nothing at all. We can’t make a difference you say. No one cares you say. And no one is listening. Tell that to Lululemon’s Founder and Chairman Chip Wilson who was forced to resign and step away from the company he started, a month after he made controversial comments that angered their customer base and sales took a nosedive. And tell that to the fast food industry who were swayed by public pressure to put nutritional values on their packages and menus so that consumers could make an informed decision about the foods they eat.

Worth Remembering … “It always seems impossible until it is done.” – Nelson Mandela 

Monsanto: Protestors in over 40 Countries around the World participated in a march against Monsanto and Genetically Modified Foods (Referred to as GMO’s). What started as a whimper is now beginning to sound more like a roar. A number of American States have passed laws requiring any GMO food or seeds to be labelled as such and prohibits any food containing GMO’s to be labelled “Natural”. A number of Countries including Canada are drafting and passing similar legislation. 

Bullying: Do a Google Search on “bullying” and you’ll get 24,600,000 results in 0.67 seconds. The cry against bullying is more than a flavor of the month – it’s a revolution. Bullying is a learned behavior. But community groups, school boards and governments working to eliminate bullying is not enough – Parents need to step up and teach their children that bullying is not cool – it’s not OK. Is there a connection between bullying and suicide among young people? According to a report published in 2006 by the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) there is. They believe that suicide is rarely a spur of the moment decision. There have been a number of highly publicized suicides among young people recently that supports their findings and law makers are beginning to take note.

Workplace Violence and Harassment:  Bullying of the Adult Kind. Provincial Governments in Canada are taking a stand against workplace violence and harassment by enacting legislation that prohibits violence or harassment of any kind and if employers or employees are found guilty of an offence, and on conviction, are liable to a fine of not more than $25,000 per offense, or to imprisonment for a term of not more than 12 months, or both. Workers have a legal right to a safe workplace and employers must do everything reasonable under the circumstance to insure their health and safety.

Worth Remembering … “Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.” – Martin Luther King Jr. 

We have a voice. We can make a difference. Yes progress is slow, change seems to take forever and the deck is stacked against us,  but that shouldn’t detour us from doing what we know is right. Social media and the internet have given us a platform. It’s up to each and every one of us to step up to the podium and be heard.

Copyright (c) 2014. Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Brian is available for keynote speeches and delivering workshops on a variety of soft-skills topics including: communication, time management, coping with stress, dealing with difficult people and challenging situations better and developing the leader in you. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you visit http://briansmithpld.com

 

Stop The Madness – You Are Producing a Generation of Wimps 9

Stop the MadnessStop the madness!!! You are producing a generation of wimps. Too much of a good thing – is not a good thing. In the “real” world not everyone gets to make the team, regardless of their skill level. In the “real” world they won’t be praised or promoted for being just good enough. And in the “real” world they may not get a second chance to make the wrong thing right, without paying the price for being wrong in the first place. In the “real” world there are consequences.

You are doing this newest generation a dis-service by not preparing them for life “outside” of the nest. The world can be a cruel place for someone who hasn’t been taught the skills needed to take on life’s challenges. The world can be a cruel place for someone who hasn’t been knocked down because they never learn how to get back up. The world can be a cruel place for someone who rarely heard the word “NO” while growing up.

Worth Remembering … “The depths and strength of a human character are defined by its moral reserves. People reveal themselves completely only when they are thrown out of customary conditions of their life, for only then do they have to fall back of their reserves.” – Leon Trotsky

Tough love, applied at the right time – for the right reasons – is not a bad thing.  Tough love teaches you that life is not always fair. That you don’t get everything that you ask for. That bad things can happen to good people. Tough love teaches you to stand up on your own two feet and compete for what you want. Tough love teaches you that “You aren’t in Kansas anymore”. Tough love builds character, self-confidence and self-esteem.

Worth Remembering … “There is nothing more unequal than the equal treatment of unequal people.” – Thomas Jefferson

You can still be someones soft place to fall – just don’t make it too comfortable. When you eliminate honor rolls or deans list in schools because you don’t want to make those who just want to skate by feel inferior – you take away the incentive for the achievers who want to excel. You can’t build up someones self-worth by taking away someone else’s. When you no longer keep score because you don’t want the other team to “feel” discouraged – you take away a persons competitive spirit. If you don’t teach them the value of money, what it means to be independent and the feeling they’ll get from making it on their own – you are robbing them of their opportunity to grow. Stop the madness!!! You are producing a generation of wimps.

Copyright (c) 2013. Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Looking for a keynote speaker? Planing a lunch-n-learn or training seminar? Contact Brian. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you, your organization and your people visit http://briansmithpld.com 

Without a Plan – Anywhere You End Up Will Do 4

It’s that time of year again when we sit down and map out where we’ve been – stroke off what we’ve accomplished – and look over our things to-do list and see what still needs to get done. What’s on your list? What are those kinds of things that you’d still like to accomplish over the next 6, 12 or 18 months? It’s time to stop making New Year’s Resolutions and start making plans instead. Wishing and hoping won’t make it so – life is a planned event. Without a plan – anywhere you end up will do.

Worth Remembering “Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists of eliminating the non-essentials” – Chinese Proverb 

Goal Setting: Take a look at your list of things that you’d like to accomplish. Think carefully about what items on your list are most important to you. Which one – when accomplished – will bring you closer to where you’d like to end up? Which one would give you the best return on your time investment? Which one would bring you the most joy? Write it down on a piece of paper. Don’t generalize. Be specific. If you want to lose some weight – write down how much weight? If you want to save money – how much money do you want to save? If you want to switch careers – what would you rather be doing? A good goal starts with the end in mind and walks back to the here and now. When you write your goal down also write down a realistic timeline. Don’t set yourself up for failure. If you want to lose 40 pounds by June 1st. Mark June 1st. on your calendar. How many weeks are there between now and then? How many pounds do you need to lose per month? per week? per day? (Anyone can eat an elephant one bite at a time)

Worth Remembering … “Once the what has been decided the how will surely follow” – Author Unknown 

Planning: You’ve most likely heard it a thousand times or more before – “Fail to plan – plan to fail”. But it’s absolutely true! Committing yourself to a goal and then writing a plan to accomplish that goal – is the only way to demonstrate to yourself and others that you are serious about accomplishing what you’ve set out to do. Goals and planning go hand-in-hand. Once you have decided what it is you want to accomplish – all you have to do is write down all those things that need to fall into place to make it happen. If your goal is to lose 40 pounds – what steps do you need to take in order to accomplish that? You’ll need a meal plan, an exercise plan, perhaps you’ll need to join a support group or club. You’ll need to empty out your fridge and cupboards – throwing out all those things that will get in the way of you accomplishing what you’ve set out to do and replacing them with the kinds of foods and snacks that will help you lose the weight.  You need to change the habit to change the result.

Worth Remembering … “Our habits may control our destiny, but we can control our habits. Before we change our habits we must change our thinking” – Author Unknown 

If you aren’t willing to put in the time and effort to accomplish your goal – then just keep doing what you’ve been doing and you’ll continue getting what you’ve got. Motivation is inside out – never outside in. You are the boss of you. You may be a victim of circumstance but where you end up is a choice that only you get to make. Your future is not in your past so stop living there. If you aren’t satisfied with the cards you’ve been dealt – then it’s time to fold your hand and get into a new game. Dreams are merely goals with deadlines. What would you rather be doing then what you are currently doing? What changes will you have to make in order to bring more joy into your life? Decide what it is you want to accomplish and put a plan together to get there. Wishing and hoping won’t make it so – life is a planned event. 🙂

Copyright (c) 2012. Brian Smith. Not to be reproduced or printed in any form without written permission. Excerpts of this article  were taken from Brian’s soon to be published book – “Get-A-Grip – Wishing and Hoping Won’t Make it Happen”

What Legacy Will You Leave Behind? 9

A hero, a teacher, a mentor, a coach – both on and off the field. A good father – a father who loved his six children unconditionally and was proud of the adults they had become. He loved his grand children and his great-grandchildren. A man who adored his wife – and for the 66+ years that they were married he did everything he could to make her the centre of his world.

A go getter. An achiever. Someone who was all in no matter what he was doing. He figured if you are going to put in the effort – you might as well give it your all – because you just never know how far it will take you or where you’ll end up.

He was a kind man who reached out to his friends when ever he could.  He was fun to be around and hang out with. He was a story-teller. He was not a saint or a sinner. He believed in God but didn’t force his beliefs on others. He was a proud Canadian who wore his colours on his sleeve and fought to defend our rights and freedoms.

He was my Dad. He passed away yesterday on his terms – quietly and at peace. I will miss him dearly. I have a lifetime of memories to keep me company until we meet again. Bye Dad – I love you – but you already knew that. 🙂