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Jonathon Mead had a great post on Zen Habits on “How to stop acting like such a big baby.”

It really hit home because the other day I had a day full of complaints.  I was feeling bad for myself and complaining about a bunch of things.  I felt depressed, burned out, and tired of the grind. 

Why all of a sudden did this happen?

I went down the complaining slide.  You know how it is when you go down a slide.  It starts off kind of slow and as you keep going it gets faster and faster.  That is exactly how complaining works.  Once you start your mind keeps going and going and going.  It doesn’t want to stop because it get some kind of adrenaline rush from complaining.  And it takes too much effort to get your mind out of it because you are lazy and enjoy it too much.

How do you combat this?

Take a day and do the following

  • Write down every complaint you make for the day.  You will be amazed how negative you can be.
  • Write down if any can be solved right now or in the near future.
  • Write down or do a positive action to combat that complaint.

The thing with complaining is that you need to be aware of when you are complaining because most of the time you are not. 

The first step to overcoming any shortcoming is being aware that it is there.

For more on complaining check this website out.

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The other day I was driving around town just after lunch.  As I was looking around at how beautiful everything was looking I drove by a lemonade stand with 5 kids selling lemonade.  I drove by and almost kept driving then realized what it would mean to stop and get some lemonade from these kids. 

So I did a u-turn and reached in my pocket for all of my spare change.  I gave them the change and asked how many lemonades I could get for that(I have to try to teach in every moment I can).  Right away one of the kids got a blank look on her face and gave it to the older one.  I could get 2 lemonades and with the little extra I told them that it was their tip.

In every experience I have had lately I try to take a few things away.  What did I take away from this chance encounter with some kids at a lemonade stand?

  • Buy lemonade from kids whenever you can.  You can’t buy anything for a quarter these days anyway.  You might as well give the kids fifty cents and make their day.  Don’t just buy the lemonade engage the kids and ask them questions.
  • What if every business had as much excitement as these kids did?  Just think how many things people would sell if their salespeople had this much excitement over each sale. 
  • When did we as adults stop smiling so much?  These kids were smiling from ear to ear over a quarter.  It is hard for any adults to smile at all throughout the day.

Take the next week and sit down and write notes after every experience you have and analyze it.  What is good bad or otherwise? 

The only way we get better is to realize the mistakes we made and change the future so we don’t make them again.

Leaders don’t lead through fancy talk.  They lead through consistent action.  Most great leaders aren’t brilliant or the top of their class.  In fact most leaders learned how to lead in school already.  They didn’t lead in school because they had some position such as student body president.  They probably led a little tribe within the school.  As they got older they learned how to lead better and moved on to bigger things.

Leaders know that you don’t have to be great at everything.  You just need to be a lot better at a few little things than anybody else. 

People don’t wake up one day and say: “I think I am going to be a leader today.”  And then everyone starts following. 

That is not how it happens.

Leaders are people who stick their neck out on things and aren’t afraid to stand up for what they believe in.  Once they get a few wins and gain confidence with others through consistency they are on the path to being a leader.

They say it takes 10,000 hours to be an expert in a field.  Leadership is no different except it might take double to really be effective.  Why do I say that?  I think your path to leadership should be about 10,000 hours so you can figure out how to be a great leader.  And your next 10,000 hours as a leader lets you learn from failures and victories so you can truly become an effective leader.  No, you won’t be effective if you don’t look back on a regular basis and learn from your mistakes. 

Do you want to be Ordinary or Extraordinary?

The key is being CONSISTENT especially in your learning from failures and mistakes.

Most times in life adversity will make you want to ask the question “Why me?”  If you keep asking that question pretty soon you are going to be saying “poor me.” 

There is a reason challenges and adversity happens.  They happen to make you better.

My Air Conditioning has been out in my house for close to a week now (only 4 days that I knew it wasn’t working).  Today it is a blistering 95 degrees and tomorrow there is supposed to be more of the same.

I called my local plumber and told him I didn’t think it was working and on Friday he called back and said the part wouldn’t be in until Tuesday or Wednesday.  I had the choice of one of two reactions:

Reaction A: “Why in the heck don’t you have that part on hand.  You are supposed to be one of the bigger and better plumbing places and you don’t have that part.  I want this, this and this.  I want my air conditioning now.  You better express mail that.  I can’t believe the product you have would break down this soon.”

Reaction B: “Don’t worry about the problem.  I know you are doing your best and when the part comes in it will get done.  It will be a little warm but we will be alright.  Many people don’t have air conditioning and we can cope.  Thanks for checking on it right away and giving me a call back.”

 

To me Reaction B should be your reaction with every situation.  What good does it do to rehash something that can’t be changed.  Reaction A was the reaction of someone I explained the situation to(I exaggerated it a little bit).  None of those thoughts even came to my mind.

From every trial you should ask some questions and should cause yourself to realize some things and change them. 

What have I realized from this situation?

  • Having Air Conditioning isn’t the worst thing in the world.  Actually others people’s houses are way too cold.
  • I no longer need my AC at 70 degrees.  It is 82 in my house right now and I think 79 or 80 should be fine.
  • Not having AC makes me more in tune with the weather and causes me to spend more time getting fresh air.
  • Makes me realize how fortunate I really am for having AC.  How can such a small pleasure be so overlooked?

As a leader you should never let your team make excuses or become bitter about situations.  You should right away steer them into a direction of learning from the situation and becoming better.

Step out of your comfort zone for a while.  Stop drinking pop, eating out, or even shut off your AC for a week.  Learn from it and become a better person.

So make a promise to never ask the question “Why Me?”  Instead ask “What can I learn?”

By the way my Reaction was Reaction B.

I have been listening to a few Nickelback songs lately and “If Today was Your Last Day” struck me.  It got me thinking about how we treat life in general.  The line that really got my attention was the following one:

“Each day’s a gift and not a given right.”

It really struck home with me and with our culture in general.  We think we deserve things or we are owed things because they are rightfully ours. 

If we treated each day as a gift how much differently would our days look?

I know mine would look differently starting in the morning.  I would pop right out of bed thanking God for giving me the gift of another day, the health to walk, providing everything I need, and a beautiful wife and daughter.  So many gifts that we have we take for granted. 

What would your life look like if you viewed each day like it was your last?

I know I would spend less time doing so called “important” things of this world and doing more things for others.

So start tomorrow viewing each day like it is your last day.  Or just try it for a day or a week and see what it does.

I’ll let you know how it goes for me.

Recently I have heard the phrase many times “I am going into full time ministry.”  I don’t mean to be nitpicky about this phrase but it is one of those phrases that downplays what every other person does.

Does being in “full time ministry” or work having to do with the church make you that much better of a person?

I get worked up a little when I hear phrases like that because sometimes I take it the wrong way. 

Instead I have decided to use this phrase to challenge myself.  I don’t believe full time ministry has to do with just the Church.  We as Christian leaders need to being doing full time ministry in our jobs on a daily basis. 

We as business people come across a wider range of people that most people in “full time ministry” would ever come across.

I don’t mean to be negative with this but I brought this more as a challenge to myself.

Why does it bother me so much?  Probably because I do not treat my life as full time ministry right now and I know I should be. 

When people ask me what I do I want to use the phrase (or something like it) “I am in full time ministry.” 

I don’t need to be connected with a church or organization to be in full time ministry.  I should do it every single day.

Do you always wonder how to make work more fun?  Or anything more fun for that matter. 

Don’t you remember when you were a kid (or even now) to pass the time while driving you would play the ABC game or you would play Zip or some other game like that.  Your goal at the end was getting to your destination but you needed some tools to make the journey more fun. 

I love to transfer childhood lessons learned to leadership and business.

Today at work I was going through everything I ordered and also thinking about my goals for the year.  I was thinking to myself I need to give myself a jump start to get excited about selling things and talking to people.  I talked to one other person and we decided to make a game of greeting people and keeping track if we sell to them.  No this game isn’t all about sales.  It is more about making conversation with people.  I want everyone who comes to my business to get talked to by at least two people.

This is how my thought process worked:

  1. I thought of my goal: My goal was to sell 10% more than last year.
  2. A main step in getting toward the goal: Making sure every customer who comes in gets talked to and made to feel welcome.
  3. Come up with 3 ideas of how to achieve: Make it a policy, make it a reward, or make it a game.
  4. Think of how to implement your idea: Keeping track of how many customers you talk to and how many end up buying.
  5. Enlisting Others: Talked to another person at work about the idea and we decided to make it a game with lunch as the reward.
  6. Leaving room for change: Be willing to change how to keep track and different ways to make the game more interesting.

What is the use in playing games if you don’t keep score.  Quit making it easy and basing it on numbers.  Anyone can create a game like that.  Be a little more ingenious.

 

When you stop paying attention to your negative emotions and just masking them with positives you could cause huge problems down the road. 

We are so into the self help books that tell us to be positive all the time.  Don’t hear what I am not telling you.  I am all about being positive in every situation.  The key is not to suppress the negative emotions that come.  You need to recognize them as they are coming and figure out how to learn from it.

Negative emotions have similar affects as failure.  You learn the most from failure but most people don’t want to experience it.  Negative emotions are a part of growing as a person and if you try mask them with positive emotions you will never learn anything.

Be optimistic in life but learn from negative emotions and things that happen.

A great article related to this is at Personal Growth Map.

Some Great quotes I found at Leadership Turn.

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and it looks like work.” –Thomas Edison (Entitlement has more letters.)

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” –Mark Twain (If they don’t encourage you to climb they won’t offer a hand if you trip and fall.)

“Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time; for that’s the stuff life is made of.” –Benjamin Franklin (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter…)

“Live as if you are to die tomorrow.  Learn as if you are to live forever.” –Gandhi (Teach this to your kids and tattoo it on your frontal lobe—it’s the best advice you’ll ever get!)

 

I love great quotes.  The first one by Thomas Edison makes me laugh and I would like to quote to all of the “get rich quick” wannabees around.  The last quote by Gandhi is one that I am going to try really hard to live out.  What would happen if you lived life this way?  Never stop living life to its fullest and never stop learning.  You never stay the same you either get better or worse.

One of the main things you gain to do get more people to come to your business is as easy as Being Remarkable.

Lots of people can talk about being remarkable but it is a lot easier said than done. 

How can your business be remarkable:

  • Hire people for attitude: Don’t hire people based on experience.  Skill can be learned but attitude is engrained in you.
  • Create a healthy work environment: Have a positive work environment where new ideas and excitement are rewarded.
  • Set an Example: It starts with the leader.  If you aren’t willing to be remarkable than is everyone else willing to be?
  • Have Fun: Being remarkable isn’t so much about systems as it is about making it fun.
  • Think Others First: When you start thinking about how to excite people walking in the door you can come up with all kinds of ideas.
  • Go one step further: Just when you think you have done enough go one step further if you want to be remarkable.

This spring our business has worked at being remarkable.  Rainy days have always been kind of a drag for everyone so we wanted to make them fun.  We went out and purchased some umbrellas to keep people dry.  Just having them available for people would have made it a nice gesture.  But we wanted to be memorable and remarkable.  So when people came we ran out to the cars to hold the umbrella for the people as they walked in.  But we didn’t stop there.  We also did it on the way out.  Was this a little out of our comfort zone? Yes.  Was it a lot of fun?  You betcha.  Will people talk?  I am sure they will tell at least ten of their friends.

How are you going to get people to talk today?