Selfless or Selfish – Depends on Your Point of View

7-ways-your-wasting-timeOne of my three “Action” words for this year is “No”. If  I’m going to accomplish what I want to accomplish then I need to say “No” to those things that will distract me and pull me away from doing what I need to do, to get to where I want to go. Now don’t get me wrong – I’m all in favor of paying it forward – however, I think there needs to be limits to the number of times I say yes. How about you? Are you accomplishing all that you want to accomplish – specially those things that are most important to you – or – are you saying no to yourself so you can say yes to someone else?

Worth Remembering … “How you manage your time is how you manage your life” 

You have 168 hours in the course of a week. No more, or no less. How well are you managing your 168? Keep track of where your time goes over a 2 week period and then analyze the results. Are you spending it wisely? Who is robbing you of your time? Are you wasting it by spending it on things that won’t help you reach your goals? You are the boss of you. Only you get to decide where you spend your time. Be sure you are spending some of it on things that matter most to you and that will help you get to where you want to go. Don’t allow others to steal yours away. Time is not a renewable resource. It’s OK to be stingy. Learn to say “No” to others, including your family and friends, so you can say “Yes” to yourself. Are you being selfless or selfish? I guess it depends on your point of view.

Copyright (c) 2014. Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Brian is available for speaking engagements and conducting seminars on a variety of soft-skills topics including: communication, leadership development and dealing with difficult people and challenging situations.

Even an Old Dog Can Learn a New Trick 3

images (23)Science has proven that most adults never lose the mental capacity to learn new things – they lose the desire. And science has also proven that if you don’t use it (your mental capacity to learn new things) you’ll lose it. Even an old dog can learn a new trick when conditions are right for learning. In a perfect world, your world, where would you rather be than where you are right now? Who would you rather be with then the people you are with right now? What does the perfect life or perfect career look like to you? I’m a student of human behavior and I believe two things for certain about people. I believe we can have and do anything we want to. It depends on two things. Your WIIFM and your ATTITUDE. Both of them are in your control.

Worth Remembering … “If you believe it – you can achieve it. Once the what has been decided the how will  follow” – Unknown

WIIFM:  Have you ever licked a 9-volt battery? When people do something that makes them feel good, what are they more apt to do? If you liked the sensation you got from licking that 9-volt battery, then you’re more likely to lick it again. I believe that people are inherently self-serving and will only do something if they believe they are going to benefit from it. Motivation is inside out – never outside in. Life is all about WIIFM’s. (What’s in it for me). God bless those that volunteer their services or donate money for a good cause. However, I don’t think they would continue to do it if they weren’t getting something out of it. We volunteer our services or donate our money because it makes us feel good about ourselves – that we are making a difference – that we are paying it forward. And feeling good about ourselves and the choices we make is the payoff – it’s the WIIFM. What’s your WIIFM? What will motivate you to take action?

Worth Remembering … “Anything can be taken away from man but one thing – to choose ones attitude in a given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” – Viktor Frankl 

ATTITUDE:  Try this little experiment. Take each letter of the alphabet and assign value to each letter so that A = 1 all the way down to Z = 26. After you’ve done that, write down the word ATTITUDE and assign the value to each one of those letters. You’ll be amazed to discover that the word attitude adds up to 100%. Think about that for a second. Attitude = 100%. You own your attitude 100% of the time. Only you get to decide how you want to react to any given situation. Yes it’s true that other people or events may be one of the motivating factors that got you to react a certain way but, only you can mentally or physically do it. No one else can do it for you. You are the only one who can have that kind of power over you. Attitude is a choice – your choice. It’s a choice that you get to make 100% of the time.

Is there a connection between your WIIFM and your ATTITUDE? I believe there is. I believe that you need to react to any given situation in a way that is going to get you what you want. You can choose to be happy and do the things that make you happy or not. You can choose a career that is best suited to you and your skills or not. You can choose to allow others to take away your voice and do the thinking for you or not. You have the power to say yes or no. Choose wisely. Make sure you’re getting your WIIFM.

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

Checkmate – How to Become a Better Leader in Four Moves 2

Leadership Cycle Coloured 2Whether you are in a management position or play a leadership role in your organization, the challenges remain the same. New leadership skills are required for the workplace of today and for the forseeable future. Success in managing or leading others is no longer dependent on your technical abilities alone. Soft-skills, your ability to communicate and interact more effectively with others, build collaborative teams, problem solve, resolve conflict and deal with difficult people and challenging situations better, now plays a more pivotal role in your success and the overall success of your organization and your people.

I believe to be a really great manager or leader you need to master all four disciplines of my “Four Step Leadership Development Model” (c) . The work environment is changing and you need to adapt to keep pace with those changes. You must have exceptional people skills and be able to bring people together, communicate often, teach others what they’ll need to know and then learn to get out of their way and let them do it. Don’t get left behind – learn to manage and lead the 21st Century way.

Congregate: “To collect into a group or crowd; to come together into a group, crowd or assembly.” – Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Your success and the overall success of your organization begins and ends with your ability to bring people together. If you can’t connect with others on an emotional level, then you stand little chance of assembling a cohesive team. You are only as good as the people around you. Each individual is a vital link in the chain. Get to know your people for more than the job that they do. People like to work with people they like. Successful managers and leaders know how to develop those all important relationships and build collaborative teams.

Communicate  “To convey knowledge of or information about; to cause to pass from one to another.” – Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Communication isn’t just something – it’s everything! If you can’t communicate – you can’t manage or lead others. I can’t think of a more valuable skill set for managers and leaders to have, than the ability to communicate effectively up, down and across the organization. If you can’t send the message and have it received the way it was intended – then what you said means absolutely nothing. The words you choose and how you go about saying them can be the catalyst for action or inaction. 

Educate “To train by formal instruction and supervised practice especially in a skill, trade, or profession.” – Merriam Webster Dictionary. I don’t believe there is any such thing as common sense. The only thing common about common sense, is that it’s not very common. We should call it “Life Sense” because it seems the older we get, the smarter we get. We aren’t born knowing what we need to know, to be able to teach someone else what they need to know. I believe having the ability to teach someone else is a learned behavior. Successful managers and leaders are great teachers and coaches.

Delegate “To entrust to another; to appoint as one’s representative.” – Merriam-Webster Dictionary. If you fail to delegate you are robbing your people of their opportunity to grow. Successful managers and leaders understand that they aren’t the end all and be all. Successful managers and leaders understand that they must give up control to get control. Resist the urge to micro-manage others. Your ability and willingness to delegate effectively are essential to freeing up your time, so you can carry out your duties and responsibilities as a manager or leader.

Any time is a great time to start a new beginning. Which one of these four disciplines; congregate, communicate, educate or delegate will you need to improve upon to be a more effective manager or leader? Don’t get left behind – you can become a better leader in just four moves.

Copyright (c) 2014. Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Excerpts from Brian’s soon-to-be-published workbook “Leadership Lessons from a Reformed Control Freak – The Art of Managing and Leading in the 21st Century(c)”. Brian is available for keynote speaking or facilitating training sessions on a variety of soft-skills topics including: communication, time management, problem solving, dealing with difficult people and challenging situations better and developing the leader in you. To find out more visit http://briansmithpld.com

Things Won’t Get Better Until You Do 6

Delegate 2We all feel overwhelmed at times. We all feel tired and can’t seem to find the willpower to carry on. We all have self-doubt, feel unappreciated and wonder why we keep doing what we do. But what separates each and every one of us – is the strength we find within ourselves to get up off the floor and get back in this game we call life. Mind you some are better at it than others. And some decide to give it up all together and walk away. And that’s OK. It just means they haven’t figured out yet what they want to do with the opportunities they’ve been given. They are still searching for meaning in their lives. I believe we all have the capacity within ourselves to lead the kind of life we envisioned for ourselves. We all have the ability to change – to develop the kind of skills we need to be better at what we do.

Worth Remembering … “When you’re up to your neck in alligators it’s easy to forget that the initial objective was to drain the swamp”  – Unknown

The question is – Are you willing to make the kinds of changes you’ll need to be more effective at what you are doing? Are you willing to make the kind of changes needed to learn how to communicate and listen more effectively, get along with others, manage your time or cope with stress?  I believe we are all born a certain style which subconsciously dictates the way we act and react to what’s going on around us. We need to learn to react in a way that is going to get us what we want.  How does a good communicator and listener act? What changes will you need to make to manage your time more effectively, to get along with others or cope with stress?

Worth Remembering … “Between stimulus and response is our greatest power – the freedom to choose.”  – Stephen R. Covey 

There are two things I know for certain about people. Motivation is inside out never outside in. People are motivated to change if they believe there is a payoff. They are motivated to make a change in their lives if they believe it is worth while. It’s what I call a WIIFM. (What’s in it for me). And the second thing I know for certain about people is that they get to decide how they want to react to any given situation. It’s a choice only they get to choose 100% of the time. No one else has the power over them to make them do something they don’t want to do. Now it’s true that we may not like the choices we have to choose from – but it’s a choice none the less.

Worth Remembering … “If it is important to you, you will find a way. If not – you’ll find an excuse” – Unknown 

If you are feeling overwhelmed what changes do you need to make? Do you need to have a shorter to do list? Do you need to learn how to prioritize and manage your time more effectively? If you are feeling tired what changes do you need to make? Do you need to take more “Me” time to recharge your batteries to cope with the stress in your life? Do you need to learn how to say “No” to others so you can say “Yes” to yourself? If you have self-doubts, feel unappreciated and wonder why you keep doing what you’re doing what changes do you need to make? We are adults and adults can change. We can stop doing one thing and start doing another. And if we do it often enough it becomes us. When you change the habit you change the result. You can learn to act in a way that will get you what you want. You just have to decide what that is. Things won’t get better until you do.

Copyright (c) 2013. Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Looking for a keynote speaker? Planning a leadership development session or workshop on a variety of soft-skills topics? Contact Brian. He will work with you to insure your event is an overwhelming success. http://briansmithpld.com