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

Stop Doing What Doesn’t Work 14

fortune-telling It’s that time of year again when we sit down and reflect on the year that was and start making plans for the year ahead. Are you great at making New Year Resolutions but somehow manage to fall short of actually accomplishing them? You are not alone. According to a recent study, only 10% of those who make a list of resolutions manage to see it through.

Perhaps it’s time to stop doing what doesn’t work and try something different for 2014. Like most of us I was in that 90% group until I read a blog post by Chris Brogan. Chris suggested that I pick 3 action words that best describes the things that I wanted to accomplish for the coming year. So with nothing to lose and much to gain I picked Ask, Health and Networking. I decided that everything I set out to do 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 forced me to do things that I normally wouldn’t bother doing. Even though I knew I should.

ASK: I use to sit back and wait to be asked – not now – I ask for what I want. If you don’t ask you don’t get. You have to ask for what you want out of life because chances are no one else is going to offer it to you. You have to ask for that raise, ask for that promotion or ask to go out on a date with that special someone. I sent out more proposals this year then I ever have and they are paying dividends. 

HEALTH: I rarely ate breakfast or lunch. I would go all day without eating until I sat down at the end of my day for dinner. I knew it wasn’t the right way to go about taking care of my health but I never felt like taking the time to cook myself a meal. I now religiously eat breakfast, lunch and dinner – regardless of whether I feel like it or not.

NETWORK: In spite of what some people may think I’m actually a pretty shy guy and rarely go out of my way to meet and greet new people. I’ve gone to more events and meet-ups this year then I ever have. Which in my line of work is a good thing. I realized that the only way to expand my circle of influence was to get actively involved. I attended my first networking event and MC’d a fashion showcase this year.

Thinking of trying something different this year? Think of 3 action words that will help motivate you to accomplish your goals in 2014. Here’s the thing. Every time you go to do something – if it isn’t a reflection of your action words – then you shouldn’t do it. If it’s not going to move you a step closer to achieving your goals – then why bother? My 3 actions words for 2014 are No, Yes and Exercise. I’ll keep you posted. 🙂

Copyright (c) 2013. Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Are you looking for a speaker who can inform as well as entertain on a variety of soft-skills topics? Are you planning a leadership development training session? Give Brian a call. Visit http://briansmithpld.com

Mission Possible? You Can Turn Your Ship Around 9

Change-GraphicYou are the captain of your own ship. If you don’t like the direction you’re going, then you have the power to turn your ship around. If you don’t like the direction you’re headed, then you have the power to plot a new course and take action. Because chances are if you keep sailing in the wrong direction, you’ll either end up on the rocks, stranded on a sand bar, or float aimlessly like a vessel without a rudder. Change can be difficult. Change means getting out of your comfort zone. But without change, you can’t move forward. Without change, you most likely can’t even stay where you are because everything around you is changing. And if you don’t keep pace with that change, you will get left behind.

Worth Remembering …  “They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself” – Andy Warhol

You can change, but you will only change if the will to change is greater than the will to stay where you are. An early model of change developed by Kurt Lewin, universally recognized as the founder of modern social psychology, described change as a three stage process.

  1. Unfreeze: Stop what you are doing and decide what needs to change. Decide what is getting in your way of you making a change? As Dr. Phil says “You cannot change what you do not acknowledge”.
  2. Change: Stop doing one thing and start doing another. When you change the behavior you change the result. What you need to do is replace one habit with another. Adults can change if they believe the change will help them accomplish their goals.
  3. Re-Freeze: Once you have made the change keep doing what you are doing. If you do it long enough it will become part of you. Successful people keep doing what made them successful. Successful people do what others won’t do so be patient, stay focused, and keep on course.

Worth Remembering … “Change what you can – influence what you will – and give up on all those things that you cannot control.”

You can only do what you can do. You can only change you. You’ll have to navigate your ship around the odd rock formation and sail through choppy waters and rough seas. And there will be times when you think you aren’t moving at all, but that’s ok. Keep sailing your ship on the course you’ve set for yourself. That’s what good captains do. Mission possible? Absolutely! You can turn your ship around. 🙂

Copyright (c) 2013. Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Brian is available for keynote speaking and presentations on a number of soft-skills topics. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you and your organization visit http://briansmithpld.com

What’s Getting in the Way of You Leading? 5

images (36)If dolphins, lions and wolves can do it – why is it so difficult for humans to do it too? Why is it so difficult to put a group of people together and have them perform as a team? Teams, or at least the concept of teams, are the primary force of most organizations today but, without a strong leader, teams stand little chance of being successful. Team success or failure rests solely on the shoulders of the leader. If your team isn’t as successful as they could be or should be – it’s time to take stock of your leadership style and make some changes.

Worth Remembering … “It is not the individual but the team that is the instrument of sustained and enduring success in management.” – Anthony Jay 

You can increase your chances of leadership success by avoiding or maneuvering around these ten obstacles to building collaborative and productive teams. What’s getting in the way of you being a more effective leader? Are you guilty of committing any of these offences?

  1. Lack of a competent leader: Leaders aren’t expected to know everything. But, they are expected to know who to go to and find out.
  2. Lack of goals and goal alignment: Leaders need to be very clear on what it is they want to accomplish and have a general idea of how to go about accomplishing it.
  3. Individual focus on themselves and not their team: There can’t be any hidden personal agendas. There can only be one agenda – the team’s agenda. Everyone needs to understand that if the “team” wins – everyone wins – including the leader.
  4. Lack of understanding team members: What motivates you may not motivate them. Leaders need to take the time to find out what their people’s individual needs are. And then work very hard to make sure their needs are met.
  5. Lack of clarity on team roles: Everyone has a strength that they bring to the team. Leaders need to put people in positions where they will be able to play to their strengths.
  6. Lack of trust: If they can’t trust your word – they won’t trust you. Your word must be your bond. What ever you say you’re going to do – do it!
  7. Lack of accountability: You must hold yourself and others accountable. Standards aren’t open for debate. Standards must be met and maintained. However, how you go about accomplishing them can be.
  8. Lack of team focus: – Leaders must never lose sight of why you do what you do. Everything you do and say must be congruent with your purpose and vision, or you must not do it.
  9. Lack of spending time together: People want to feel important. They want to feel needed. Take the time to establish a relationship with the people you work with and interact with. People perform better for leaders they like and respect.
  10. Poor Communication: Leaders can`t communicate too much. People want to know what`s going on – good or bad. Especially if it`s going to impact them. If you can’t communicate – you can’t lead.

Copyright (c) 2013. Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Are you looking for a keynote speaker, planning a lunch-n-learn or training seminar? Brian will work with you to insure your event is an overwhelming success. To find out more about Brian visit http://briansmithpld.com