Death is Fatal But Never Final

optimisticMy Dad passed away on November 17 – 2012. Just six days after we celebrated Remembrance Day in his hospital room. My Dad, like so many others of his generation, was a veteran of the Second World War. He taught me the value of hard work and applying yourself. He always made the best with what he had, always striving for something more. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of him. I know his spirit lives on. He’s watching over me and helping to guide me. I like to think that we’ll meet again some day when my time comes. I don’t know that for certain, no one really does, but I’m hopeful just-the-same.

We all have someone in our lives who have passed away all to soon. I was reminded of that the other day when I got the news that a very close and dear friend of mine has stage two lung cancer. She’s beat cancer twice now – and I’m optimistic that she’ll beat it for a third time. Unfortunately the odds aren’t in her favor. She’s getting on in years now and each fight gets more difficult for her to win. Her Doctor feels that surgery will be too evasive and suggested radiation and chemotherapy. She’s leaning towards taking the treatment, but  hasn’t decided yet what she’s going to do.

She’s earned the right to do what ever she thinks is right for her. I believe we all should have that right. The right to leave on our own terms. I know my Dad left on his. Whatever she decides to do I wanted her to know that I’m thinking of her. That I love her – That she made a difference in my life. Her spirit will live on through me and others she has touched. She will never be forgotten. What kind of legacy will you leave behind? What would you like people to say about you when you pass on? Death is fatal, but never final. Make your life memorable.

Copyright (c) 2014. Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Management expert, author and speaker specializing in soft-skills training and leadership development. Looking for a speaker? Planning a lunch-n-learn or seminar? Call me – let’s talk. http://briansmithpld.com

Failure is a Detour – Never a Dead End Street

Pot of Gold“Failure is a detour – never a dead-end street”. I love that quote by Zig Zigler. No one – and I mean no one is perfect! We have all experienced failure at one time or another. In spite of all the pre-planning we do, nothing seems to go off without a hitch.  Getting knocked down has never been an issue for me. I get knocked down all the time. But not getting back up is. I look at the mistakes I’ve made – and trust me I’ve made plenty – as simply an opportunity to learn from them, make the necessary adjustments so I don’t make the same mistake too many times, and then begin again.

Worth Remembering … “I have not failed 10,000 times. I have discovered 10,000 ways that do not work.” – Thomas Edison.

How you look at failure – your failures and the failures of others, makes all the difference in the world. Attitude – your attitude and how you choose to react to any given situation, is a choice that only you get to make. You can beat yourself up over them – or you can choose to learn from them. No one can force you to react a certain way. When you get knocked down I want you to react in a way that is going to get you what you want. When you think about your failures – think of them as opportunities to grow.

Worth Remembering … “Your attitude determines your altitude.” – Covey

I can’t help but get inspired watching the Olympic’s.  The hard work and dedication that each athlete has put into preparing themselves over the last four years for this moment, is incredible. All they can do now, is do their best. All they can do is walk away from that experience knowing that they gave it their all. Winning a medal is a bonus. Discovering who you are and what you are capable of doing when you put your heart and soul into something, is the real prize. Believing in yourself – knowing that there is nothing that you can’t overcome – makes it all worthwhile. Always remember that failure is a detour – never a dead-end street.

Copyright (c) 2014. Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Brian is available for keynote speeches and delivering seminars on a variety of soft-skills topics including: communication, team building, 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

 

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

Positive Self-Talk is More Than a Sound Bite

self-confidenceThink it, Act it, Become it. Perception is reality – your reality. It is what ever you think it is which is why positive self-talk (what you say to yourself), is more than a sound bite. Your self-talk has the power to move you to action – or in action.  We all feel insecure and unsure of ourselves at times. We all lack self-confidence, especially if we are attempting to do something we’ve never done before. But, you must not let your self-doubt get in the way of you stepping out of your comfort zone and expanding your growth zone.  We must not let fear of failing get in the way of the attempt.

Worth Remembering … “Lack of confidence is not the result of difficulty. The difficulty comes from the lack of confidence.” – Seneca

World class athletes, just like world-class actors visualize a gold medal, Oscar-winning performance. They set themselves up for a positive experience by visualizing in their mind’s eye what their performance will look like. They see themselves in the winners circle. And then they go out and replay that winning performance in real-time. You need to see yourself as the hero in your own movie.  Think it, Act it, Become it. The more you do it – the more you will become it. Being successful in any endeavor is a learned behavior. When you change the behavior you change the result.

Worth Remembering … “Confidence is that feeling by which the mind embarks on a great and honorable course with a sure hope and trust in self.” – Cicero

Here are some helpful tips on how to boost your self-confidence. Pick one or two and give them a go. You just may end up surprising yourself.  Failing in your first attempt is never the issue. Not giving it another try is.

  • Focus on your achievements rather than your failures: Nobody is perfect but everyone has the capacity to grow and get better. Focus on what you did well and what you are going to do better on your next attempt. Progress happens in baby steps not gigantic leaps. 
  • Focus on your good qualities: Stick with what you do well and reach out to others when you get stuck. There is no sham in admitting that you need help. Have a short list of mentors and coaches that you can call on for words of encouragement or advice when needed. 
  • Be prepared for the task at hand: Nothing beats thinking and planning it out. You can’t be prepared for everything but you should be able to anticipate what could go wrong and decide ahead of time what you are going to do to overcome them. 
  • Set reachable goals for yourself: Don’t set yourself up for failure – set SMART targets. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely) Anyone can eat an elephant one bite at a time. 
  • Reward yourself when you succeed: No victory is too small. You have every right to be proud of yourself and what you’ve accomplished. Do something nice for yourself and don’t feel guilty about it. 

Remember – We are not born knowing what we need to know to do all that we want to do. Success and being successful is a learned behavior. Successful people have learned to get out of their own way. You can do the same thing. You just need to believe in yourself. Now get out there and give it a go. 🙂

Copyright (c) Brian Smith. Not to be reproduced without permission. Looking for a keynote speaker, planning a lunch-n-learn or workshop on a variety of soft-skills topics or leadership development? Give Brian a call. http://briansmithpld.com