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

Trust Matters – Without It You Have Nothing 3

Trust 2People won’t trust anyone they don’t respect first. Have you ever met someone for the very first time and thought, “Oh, yuck – What a dink”? (And I don’t mean Double Income No Kids.) You didn’t know why – you just knew that there was something about that person you didn’t like. But, after you spent some time with them, and got to know them better, did you ever change your mind? Building relationships and establishing trust with the people you work with and interact with is crucial to your overall success as a manager and business leader. Trust matters – Without it you have nothing. Once you lose the trust and confidence of your team mates – you lose your ability to manage and lead them.

Worth Remembering … “If you want to be interesting – you first must be interested.” – Dale Carnegie

Trust and respect do not come automatically just because you’ve been given a title. You must earn both, one person at a time. Establishing trust between you and the people you work with is a 3-step process that I refer to as the 3 R’s – Rapport, Relationships and Respect. It’s a process that everyone must go through when meeting someone for the very first time. Some people will go through these steps more quickly than others. But it’s a journey that everyone has to go on. A close friend of mine is great at this. She can meet someone for the very first time and within minutes they are carrying on a conversation as if they have known each other for ever. People just naturally open up to her. She is also great at remembering names. (I have to admit I’m not so good at this) Think how powerful it would be if you could remember someone’s name, their children’s names, their birthdays and interests and you were able to remember them and use it in a conversation.

The 3 R’s – Building Relationships to Last

Step One: Rapport.  The first step is to build rapport. Find out something about the other person other than the job that they do. Do they have hobbies? Are they married? Do they have children? What do they like to do in their spare time? You need to be able to carry on a conversation with them on a subject that they enjoy talking about. Idle chit-chat is important if you want to develop rapport. You can’t take the next step without first establishing rapport.

Step Two: Relationships. The second step in establishing trust with the people you work with and interact with are relationships. Successful salespeople understand the value of building relationships with their clients. They understand that people choose to do business with people they like. The same holds true for the people on your team. People like to work with and hang out with people they like. No one wants to let a friend down. A recent Gallop survey revealed that companies with less than 10 employees or small teams within the organization have the most committed workers.

Step Three: Respect. The final step in establishing trust is respect. Always keep in mind that people won’t respect anyone they haven’t built a relationship with first. Respect is reciprocal. Try this little experiment. The next time you go into a shopping mall or office building that has a double set of doors – open the first set of doors for the people behind you. I will bet you that someone within that group will hold the second door open for you. Respect works the same way. If you give it – you’ll get it – but you must give it first.  People feel obligated to return the favor. It’s part of our DNA.

Worth Remembering … “Trust is to human relationships what faith is to gospel living.” – Barbara Smith

If you have navigated the 3-step process successfully you will be able to establish trust in your relationship with your team. Without mutual trust and respect, your team will abandon you and you will eventually fail. You might be able to bully them into doing things they don’t want to do in the short-term but, it will come around to bite you in the end. (Pun intended) What goes around comes around. Having trouble establishing trust? Try my 3-step process and let me know how things work out. – 🙂

Copyright (c) 2013. Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Looking for a speaker? Planning a lunch-n-learn or training session on soft-skills or leadership development? DM me – Let’s talk. briansmithpld@gmail.com or visit http://briansmithpld.com to find out more.

Life in The Land of Shoulda Coulda Woulda 6

images (23) Perception is reality and reality is what ever you perceive it to be. The things you do most often becomes you. If you believe you aren’t worthy then you will continue to hold yourself back. If you believe you aren’t deserving of the all the good things that may come your way, then you’ll continue to put yourself down. We know that behaviors can be managed and improved upon, and results are simply the cause and effect of your behavior. Your level of self-esteem is in direct proportion to your internal dialogue – the things that you tell yourself and what you think of yourself.  We all feel insecure and unsure of ourselves at times. We all have bouts of self-doubt – especially if we are attempting to do something we’ve never done before. No one wants to look silly in front their peers or make a mistake. Most humans would rather walk backwards into the future than turn around and face new challenges head-on. What would be worse? Taking on new challenges and discovering what you are capable of or letting your low self-esteem banish you to live your life in the land of shoulda coulda woulda forever.

Worth Remembering – “Lack of confidence in oneself is not the result of difficulty. The difficulty comes from the lack of confidence in oneself.” – Cicero

There are a number of great books on how to develop your self-esteem. One of my favorites is Nathaniel Branden’s book  “The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem”. Dr. Branden has done more than any other theorist to advocate the importance of self-esteem to your well-being. He believes the value of self-esteem lies not merely in the fact that it allows us to feel better about ourselves, but that it also allows us to live better – to respond to challenges and opportunities more resourcefully and more appropriately. If you have a poor opinion of yourself, and remember an opinion is rarely based on fact, then that poor opinion of yourself translates into a lack of confidence – which causes us to think negative thoughts. Negative thoughts in turn causes us to hold back and give up easily rather than face tough challenges. Self-doubt is a deal breaker in so many ways.

Worth Remembering … “If one advances confidently in the direction of their dreams and endeavors to live the life they have imagined, they will meet a success unexpected in common hours.” – Henry David Thoreau

Read over the list below and decide where you want to start. Remember – You are the boss of you. No one has the power to take your self-esteem away without your permission. You must believe in your heart of hearts that you are worthy – because the truth of the matter is – you are.

  • Stop comparing yourself to others. You are unique. There is no one else who is exactly like you. Different is just different and different is OK.  
  • Stop putting yourself down with negative thoughts. You are good enough. You have all the tools you need – you just need to get out of your own way.
  • Surround yourself with positive, supportive people. The truth is not everyone wants you to be successful and leave them behind. But do it anyway.
  • Get involved in the work and activities that inspire you. If you knew you couldn’t fail – what would you rather be doing? Go and do that.
  • Give more of yourself to those around you. Volunteer, become a Big Sister or Big Brother. Pay it forward. Help those less fortunate than you.
  • Respect your own needs. Stop putting everyone else’s needs ahead of your own. You have nothing to feel guilty about. You have a right to be happy.
  • Stop trying to be perfect! You don’t have to be perfect. You just have to be good enough.
  • Stop listening to the should-do’s. Stop listening to people who tell you that you should be doing this or doing that. Do what you think is right for you.

People with low self-esteem see themselves as unworthy and undeserving. They will discount any good fortune that comes their way as being a fluke. If others are nice to them – they tend to think the person must have an ulterior motive – they must want something besides my friendship. In the words of author David McRaney, you tend to fulfill the labels you accept. It’s time you start accepting all the good fortune that is coming your way. Your lease has expired. It’s time you move out of the land of shoulda coulda woulda.  🙂

Copyright (C) 2013. Brian Smith. Looking for a speaker, planning a lunch-n-learn or organizing a training session? Brian specializes in soft-skills training and leadership development. He will work with you one-on-one to insure your event is an overwhelming success. Contact Brian today – briansmithpld@gmail.com or visit http://briansmithpld.com to find out more.