If I Knew Then What I Know Now Would Things Be Different

If someone had told me 30 years ago that I would own my own business someday  – get married – have a son – and then lose my first business – get divorced – almost lose a relationship with my son – become a college professor – start another business – be a published author – and speak and write for a living – I would have thought they where crazy – or at least delusional at best. Hind sight is 20/20 – as Steve Jobs suggests – it’s much easier to connect the dots looking back then it is looking forward. Would it have made a difference if I knew then what I know now? Not sure. However, I do know that I wouldn’t be the same person I am today because I wouldn’t have had the same life experiences. Experience is the best teacher. Having been there – done that – you learn what to do – and most importantly – what not to do the next time.

Worth Remembering … `Your present circumstances don`t determine where you can go. They merely determine where you start`- Nibo Qubein

Failing builds character.  If you aren’t failing you aren’t trying hard enough. If you aren’t failing you aren’t stretching – growing or moving forward. If you aren’t failing you’re robbing yourself of your opportunity to become the person you were meant to be. To become the person you want to be. One thing I know for certain is that you get to write your own script. Only you get to decide where you want to end up. Your past doesn’t have to dictate your future if you are determined to change the here and now. You get to write your books final chapter.

If you are feeling stuck – then get unstuck. Decide what you want out of life and then put a plan together to achieve it. Life – your life – is a planned event – wishing and hoping won’t make it so. I know I’m making it sound pretty simple. But most things are simple – we just make them complicated. Self-doubt can do that. Self-doubt can paralyze you. Self-doubt can make you settle for less than what you are entitled to. If you don’t believe in yourself – then no one else will. You just need to learn how to get out of your own way.

Worth Remembering … `Life isn`t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself`- George Bernard Shaw

Take George`s advice and continue to press on. Getting knocked down isn`t the problem – not getting back up is. Shoulda, woulda, coulda – should not be part of your vocabulary. Take a leap of faith. Go where the path wants to lead you. Listen to your gut. I`m a great believer in fate. Everything in life that happens to you happens for a reason. You  may not know why at the time you are going through it – but none the less – it`s a lesson you needed to learn – so you might as well accept it – learn from it – and continue to move forward.  Life – your life – really is what you make of it. Enjoy the adventure. You never know what life has in store for you until you give it a go. – Cheers 🙂

Staff Disengagement – Top Trends and Remedies to Re-energize Your Workforce 2

Do you feel at times that your staff have tuned-out or have turned-off? Absenteeism on the rise? Is it getting more difficult to motivate others? Are you finding it more challenging to retain talent? Well you are not alone. Results of a survey conducted by Towers Perrin revealed that the number of staff who reported being highly engaged at work was only 17%. Fifty-Nine percent of those surveyed indicated that they were moderately engaged at best; and 24% said they were actively disengaged. And worse yet – those disengaged employees were busy acting out their unhappiness, undermining what the engaged co-workers were trying to accomplish.

What can you do to reverse this trend? 

What can managers and business leaders do to engage the hearts and minds of their employees? According to Dr. David Vik – author of, “The Culture Secret” it starts at the top. Every organization has an identity – a culture – that is best defined as the values, beliefs and attitudes that are shared by all members of the organization. Think of your organizations culture as the rudder that keeps the ship on course. Tony Hsieh – CEO of Zappos believes “If you get the culture right, then a lot of really amazing things happen on their own”. Without a solid foundation you stand little chance of retaining or attracting new talent.  Your mission or value statements should be more than a catchy phrase or sound bite. Every decision you make should be a reflection of those values or you shouldn’t do it. All too often there is a disconnect between what we say we are going to do – and what we actually do. All too often we send out mixed messages and lose sight of why we do what we do and for whom.

Have you given them enough reasons to want to stay?   

Everyone is competing for the same talent. Why would they want to work for your company instead of your competitors? What can you offer them that your competition can’t offer? How much fun are you to be around? If you want to attract new talent or more importantly – keep the talent you have – you need to give them a reason to want to stay. And trust me – it’s rarely about how much money you pay them. Yes – money is important – but it sits at about number four or five on the list of what motivates people. Based on the results of exit interviews conducted by the Saratoga Institute workers left because they felt devalued and unrecognized – there was a loss of trust and confidence in senior leaders – there was too little feedback and coaching or there was too few growth and advancement opportunities. Promote from within based on merit not seniority.

What are you prepared to do about it? 

“The real impediment to producing a higher quality product more efficiently aren’t the workers, union or non-union, it’s management” ( Kenneth Iverson). Change comes from the top down – never the bottom up. Nothing happens by chance. It takes a concerted effort on your part to insure everyone on your team is successful.  If you are looking to re-energize your workforce and attract new talent –  then it’s time to get FOCUSED(C) on what matters most – your people.

F – Friendly: Smile – build collaborative teams. Make everyone feel important.   

O – Observant: Reach out to those in need and teach them what they need to know. But, resist the urge to micro-manage.

C – Consistent: Treat everyone the same. Company policy and procedures are for everyone – specially your super stars.

U – Understanding: Be empathetic – See it from their point of view.

S – Sincere: If you truly want others to be successful it will show in the way that you treat them.

E – Energized: Be enthusiastic – lead by example. Be your team’s biggest cheerleader

D – Dependable: What ever you say you’re going to do – do it. They must be able to trust you.  Your word must be your bond.

Copyright 2013 – Brian Smith. May not be reproduced without permission.  Questions or comments? Please contact Brian directly. 🙂

Trick Question: Who’s Your Biggest Cheerleader? 6

Cheerleading Championships - Heidelberg

Who’s your biggest cheerleader? Your mom, dad, significant other? Perhaps it’s someone in your immediate family, a close friend or an acquaintance? However, If you didn’t put yourself at the top of that list – we need to talk because you’ve got a problem. It may be comforting to know that other people want you to be successful – to live up to your full potential – but unless you believe in yourself – what others think means absolutely nothing. They can’t do it for you – others don’t determine your potential – only you can do that.

Are you doing what you really love to do – what truly makes you happy – what you were born to do? Or have you settled for something less? When you get up in the morning do you hit the ground running – full of energy and excitement – ready to take on the day or do you roll over in bed and try to squeeze the last 10 minutes out of your morning before the alarm clock summons you again? If that sounds all too familiar – then it’s time for you to make a change.

In a perfect world – what would you rather be doing? Take a moment and think about that. If you could start over – what would your ideal life look like? I want you to take a blank piece of paper and write it down. If you haven’t figured out yet what you’d rather be doing then start a “Happy Journal”. For the next two weeks – every time you catch yourself smiling – write down what you where doing at that moment. After recording your happy moments over a period of two weeks a pattern should start to emerge. What ever made you smile – is what you are truly meant to be doing.

Are you prepared to do what ever it takes to realize your full potential? Are you prepared to put a plan together and work your plan?  If you believe you are mentally and physically capable of doing what you’d rather be doing – then the only person standing in your way is you. Once you’ve decided what your ideal career looks like – what new skills will you need to learn to accomplish it? Write those down on that piece of paper. What books will you need to start reading? What night courses should you sign up for? What associations or networking groups should you join? You need to surround yourself with “like” people. Think it, act it, and eventually you’ll become it. You aren’t born knowing how – but you are born with the ability to learn. Believe in yourself and never ever give up on becoming what you where truly meant to be.  You’ve got to get out of your own way. You need to be your biggest cheerleader.  🙂

One More Giant Step Towards Success 4

I know there’s no such thing as a perfect world. But let’s suppose for a moment that there is. What would that world look like to you? What would you rather be doing than what you are doing right now? If you knew you couldn’t or wouldn’t stumble and fall where would you rather be than where you are right now? We truly are masters of our own successes – only we get to decide what path to take and what choices to make. Only we get to decide what success and being successful looks like to us. What’s getting in your way from doing what you’d rather be doing? And what are you prepared to do about it?

I know I make this sound simple – but it really is. Life – your life – my life – everyone’s life – is a planned event. And where we  end up is determined by the choices we’ve made. You may not like some of those choices – but – none the less – you do have a choice. You can either choose to sit back and do nothing or you can choose to do something. Each step we take can either move us closer to where we’d rather be or take us farther away. We truly are masters of our own successes. We have the power within ourselves to do those things that make us happy – satisfied and fulfilled or not.

Anytime is a great time to start a new beginning – so why not now? Wishing a hoping won’t make it so. Your past is not your future if you decide to change the here and now. Go ahead – get out of your comfort zone and take one more giant step towards the life you envisioned for yourself. And if you happen to stumble and fall – that’s ok – just take a moment to collect yourself – and then get back up and press on. We all stumble and fall. That’s part of the learning process. If you aren’t stumbling and falling you aren’t stretching enough – you aren’t trying hard enough. Nothing worthwhile comes by chance. If you are willing to put in the time and effort you will end up right where you should have been all along. 🙂