Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Journey

In his film, The Drifter, Rob Machado escapes society to exercise his dislike for people. Buzzing cell phones, flashing lights, mass consumption and insensitivity at the cost of genuine Human Connection have warn him out.

Rob escapes to Indonesia and in his time of evading people he is discovered by people. A local tribe invades Rob's solitude and encourages him to interact again. In doing so, Rob re-discovers the simple beauty of human compassion and comes to understand that people are not the problem but the solution. All the stuff we put between us is what's wrong and ignoring everyone is just as libelous as spreading the insensitivity of Big City living.

Our discontent with the Path we are on is sometimes an effect of that path and not the shoes we wear.

You can walk into a wall or run into a wall!

Can it not be said then that discontent, lack of productivity, effort without results, a lack of happiness or the struggle to compete; may be a measure of the structure we have allowed ourselves to plug in to.

If the path you are walking starts to hurt your feet, try a different path!

This doesn't mean you have to quit your job, leave your family and take up surfing in Indonesia. But you might consider a new way of solving problems by embracing those around you instead of opposing them.

Don't Forget to Remember!



Monday, February 22, 2010

What's Your Theme Song?

In the film (500) days of Summer, the great Joseph Gordon-Levitt walks out of his apartment into a Bollywood sketch in celebration of his discovery of love to the music of Daryl Hall & John Oates.
The greatest invention of the last Decade is certainly the I-pod because it can transport you to any given montage in celebration of the day ahead of you. There is music that you can put on the headphones that prohibits any type of negativity and ensures a great morning. This is a priceless (if unfathomable) jewel to enhance one's perception. Put on the headphones and go!

There are those who say this generation of I-poders are unaware of the world around them, plugged-in to a universe of fantasy....and that's a bad thing?

Why not make today extraordinary by putting an uplifting soundtrack on your headphones?

Here are 5 albums that will ensure your mood is positive:
1. Aim and Ignite by fun.
2. Old Blood by Yeasayer
3. Troubadour by K'naan
4. Re-Arrange Us by Mates of State
5. Let me Introduce My Friends by I'm From Barcelona
Get Up, Get Out and Get Going!

Don't Forget to Remember!



Thursday, February 18, 2010

4 Reasons for Success

I used to document the Challenges I stood to face going into each week. At the end of the week, I would cross off all challenges I had conquered. On one reflective Friday evening I realized that the challenges I listed were actually complaints. On that day, I ripped up my list of challenges and never wrote it again.


Four distinct reasons:
* One Must Accept that which is Out of His/Her Control
* All Complaints can be Re-Directed into Action Items
* Two Things Matter Most in Life
* Life's One True Certainty

Accept That Which is Out of Your Control
There are rules, standards, & quotas...they are etched in stone! They will not change, your inability to recognize them will jeopardize your reputation and no one will care why you failed to comply. Complaining will not change your quota, Bitching will not negate standards and the rules will not change because you missed the bus. There is no exception: You HAVE TO accept rules, standards and a quota and go forward (or around) accordingly.

*Self-Condemnation: If you throw up your hand in a meeting and propose why you can't - you are on a fast track to FIRESVILLE!

You have a co-worker that is not a team player - Re-Direct
* Try questions instead of instructions
You are at odds with a team member - Re-Direct
* Hear them out. Offer a few goals for moving forward instead of dissecting their complaints
You are working with a team of incompetents - Re-Direct
* Before you Judge; Accept that the fault might be yours!
* Reliance on 'rules' to hold people accountable is a sign of poor leadership!

The Two Things That Matter Most in Life:

Any job can be as good or as bad as you make it!

Life's One True Certainty:
If you think today will suck; It Will!

Document your goals daily, weekly, monthly & annually:
* Do so in terms of what you can do, not what you can't
* There is no challenge without an accordingly goal and a process for achievement!

Don't Forget to Remember!



Monday, February 15, 2010

The Day After Valentine's Day

I heard a show on Sirius Radio that was dedicated to the superficiality of Valentine's Day. During this program a person who worked at a florist called in and commented that she was appalled by the number of people coming in to buy flowers. (I think we calls these customers...) The sentiment being that you should Love someone every day and that February 14 was an arbitrary date upon which those who have an inability to express their Love have a default of flowers and chocolates.

On the pages of Twitter, I saw countless posts by people condemning the 'holiday' or apologizing for celebrating it.

My dance card has been filled for a while but even before my ship found it's port I remember enjoying Valentines Day. It was indeed a superficial excuse to invite someone you admired on a date....what's wrong with that?

When did we get so angry? When did seeing Love in others make us mad? Are those who post anti-Valentines wishes suffering broken hearts or do they not feel like putting the effort into Love?

I would propose 3 distinct realities on Valentines Day:
* LOVE is Awesome
* Pessimism of any sort Sucks!
* Ones influence should be used only for Good!

I have heard it said that Love was admitting you cared about someone else more than yourself. I Love that idea!

For many years, I lived with a negativity fueled determination. Eye on the prize with no one to distract me from my goals. Every time I crossed the finish line I was alone. My life was easy at that point. It was not until I decided to give of myself that life got significantly more challenging and much, much more rewarding. The simple (if unfair) fact of life is that all rewards come at the cost of dedicating yourself to others. Put your determination aside, let someone in and achieve together for the mutual benefit of something good. Taking this into account it stands to reason that the primary element of PROGRESS is LOVE!

Next Valentine's Day when you go to air your hate mail for the world to see consider this:
Until we realize that the acts that propel us forward are driven by Love and continue to ignore Love we will only halt progress. Let not the acts of the self-centered bring us to similar actions.


* To give of yourself is not easy but nothing worth achieving comes without sacrifice.

"Without Love in a Dream it will never come true"
- Jerry Garcia

"One man is no man"
- Robert Morrison

Don't Forget to Remember,


Monday, February 8, 2010

3 People

I am a fan of 'feel good' stories. There is nothing I enjoy more than the triumph of the human spirit. Stories of Redemption are to me: Religion.

There are those who believe tear jerking moments of divine inspiration to be cheesy. I doubt these folks have ever been champions. When you know what it means to redefine yourself by evolving your purpose, you know the anguish of success and the all more important grace of achieving the impossible.

So this weekend I met 3 people:

In a modern day version of 'Into The Wild', Rob Machado throws his cell phone in a ditch, grabs a motorbike and travels undiscovered Indonesia. In solitude, Rob searches for perfect surf and a secret spot to share it with God (or whoever). He remarks that in these moments detached from society he feels completely alone and yet totally in sync with the world. Paddling the ocean alone between islands Rob loses his physical capabilities and realizes that he could sink to the bottom of the sea without being found...a discovery of the insignificance of each of us. At which point, he decides that if it all means nothing why not live life to the fullest.

Dr. Temple Grandin was diagnosed with autism and condemned in a time when solutions for this 'mental illness' were lobotomy or institutionalization. With a spirit like Rob Machado's, her mother decided that if her daughter was to be dammed she would allow her to live life without apology. Temple ultimate went on to achieve accolades as a cattle engineer, journalist and activist for autism; but her true elegance lies in her acute understanding of the boundless condition of her disease. Instead of allowing her differences to defeat her, she used them as a tool to evolve her thought transmission far beyond controlled thinking. Her ability to articulate her passion for life by living without fear makes her a visionary. "I don't want to die with my thoughts" - a mission of courage from Temple Grandin.

Yesterday's Super Bowl was about more than football. The state of Louisiana, ignored and torn-us-under by Hurricane Katrina still lies in rubble. Many 'residents' are still homeless, many have lost family members and political apologies for American negligence have been sparse. So on Sundays their team began to rebuild a city in the dome that once served as a refugee camp. The nature of human triumph becoming the only thing a city had to hang on to. With each touchdown a sense of achievement, with each kick another reason to keep fighting, with every tackle a little less anger. On February 7th the New Orleans Saints won the World's Championship, finally telling the city it was OK to move on. Demons put to rest, achievements to prove their worth and a little more energy to keep fighting. When Tracy Porter intercepted League MVP Peyton Manning's pass and ran 70 yards in the other direction he ascended into heaven for but a brief moment.

My cheeks were not dry this weekend. Rob, Temple and Tracy helped me remember how precious these moments in time can be. Where did we lose our faith in the glory of humanity? Why do we let the mundane side track us? How could we ever give up faith seeing the achievements of these people?

If all is lost, we have nowhere to go but up, why not charge without condition in determined pursuit of glory.

Don't Forget to Remember!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Difficult People are People Too

I work as a Consultant, Corporate Trainer and Mentor to many. The most popular question that comes up in our one-to-one sessions is...

How Do I Use Empathy in Communicating With Someone who refuses to Meet Me Half Way?

In essence, why would you want to waste time building bridges to someone who has a gas can in their hand?

Great Question....No Simple Answer!

But, then if Human Relations were simple why would we wake up every day. Human Beings are infinitely complex and undefinable but here are two tips that might help you "be the bigger person":
* Questions not Instructions
* Action Items not Complaints

Our temper knows not rules of engagement. It rises in us like a phoenix on crystal meth. You have done everything you should: put in extra hours, researched, gathered resources and woke up 3 hours early to complete the task. Now, your progress has been halted by someone who had one simple task and fouled it up. Your temper will drive you to attack. Take a breath, think to yourself of a personal issue that derailed your professional progress in the past and put yourself in the other person's shoes.

Instead of telling said person how they f-ed up and what needs to be done immediately...ease in with patience and ask a few questions. People just want to be heard and understood, not criticised and instructed.

The easiest question to ask would be: Why didn't you have your portion of the project to me by the deadline? This will put the already paranoid malcontent on the defensive and bring greater distance between you. Try to get past the obvious question and dig a little deeper:
Jim, it's been a heck of a week, you must have a lot on your plate. Let's review your task list and I will see what I can delegate on your behalf.
* Jim is off the defensive, ready to open up and willing to ask for help!

In this day and age of struggle and strife one thing rings true in every area of social intercourse: COMPLAINING.....there is no single human element I have less tolerance for than complaining.
* FACT: Never in the history of humanity has a complaint produced a result!

We have learned to redirect our instructions into questions. Now let's use the same measure of patience in redirecting our complaints into action items.
Complaint: These TPS reports suck!
Supplemental Action Item: Ms. VP - it seems these TPS reports are taking up a lot of time that is distracting us from revenue producing opportunities. I have run some preliminary numbers and it appears the time put into reporting is costing us about $1,200 in weekly labor hours. Can this time be better spent? I wondered if we might entertain the option of implementing a new software system that would streamline our reporting process. The front end implementation would be costly but based on the numbers provided above we would see a Return on Investment in just 7 months.

Here are two ways to put patience to work, gain results by winning people to your way of thinking and eliminating the unnecessary stress of internal conflict.

People just want to be loved! They want to know that we understand and empathise with their struggle. Let them speak, make suggestions for progress and help them develop your instructions for themselves.

In the next installment of this blog series we will learn:
* How to build rules of engagement for every relationship
* How to win one little battle at a time (without being transparent)

Don't Forget to Remember!

- Dave