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Who helps you behind the scenes when you don’t even know or realize it?  So many times we think we are doing the heavy lifting not realizing the people who do the little necessary things along the way to help you out. 

Check out this story relating to that at All Things Workplace by Steve Roesler.

After reading this story think about the people that pack your parachute. 

Who are the people who make your job easier but don’t get the credit? 

Who are your customers who are loyal and pack your parachute year after year?

Stop being so selfish and realize you aren’t doing all the work.  If the little details along the way wouldn’t get done would you still accomplish what you do?

This week look for those who help you and others out.  Write them a not or let them know what a great job they are doing.

When golfing whether you use woods or irons can be applied to how you go through life.

If you tee off and use woods: You probably are a risk taker.  You like to get ahead quickly and don’t take the steady approach.  When the yardage says lay up you try to go for it all.  You have a great time working your way out of long grass, sand traps, or behind trees.

If you tee off and use irons: You prefer a slow steady predictable approach.  You would rather keep on hitting it straight that go for one big shot.  It is more beneficial for you to sacrifice some yardage for a predictable shot.

 

If I had to guess in my life I would be more of a person that would use woods.  I prefer to take chances and go for the big one than the slow and steady approach.  But every time I golf I tee off with my 3 or driving iron.  I hit it straight most of the time and never shoot great but never awful. 

As I sit back and think about why I golf the way I do I wonder if I golf the opposite I am in life.  I hope that is the case, but maybe your golf game shows more about you than you want to realize?

Are you a risky golfer?

Do you take risks in life?

Is there any connection between the two?

What happened to the days when your word meant everything?  Where if you said you agreed to something you held to it and so did the other party.  You didn’t need to get any expensive lawyers to use some fancy, sophisticated vocabulary to spell it out for you.  You did what you said because of your integrity and what it said about you.

Because we started using words so flippantly they became worthless and useless.  Instead of taking people at their words we needed signed contracts and agreements on things.  Even small things now need contracts or something along that line.  The crazy thing now is that it is getting worse.  Someone told me the other night that “contracts don’t mean anything anymore.  People will look to claim bankruptcy just to get out of a contract.” People will take the document to court and just because of one or two misplaced words will get it thrown out. 

What’s next?  Is there anything that will hold people to agreements?

I hope you will start to think carefully about promises and decisions you make.  Start right now and do it old school style.  Start small and make some small promises.  Write them down so you remember.  Then go ahead and follow through on them.  You will be amazed how surprised people around you are when you are a man of your word.

Let your Yes be Yes and your No be No.

The last couple of weeks have been filled with a few deaths.  From Steve McNair, to Michael Jackson, to Ed Thomas.  How all of these men’s lives varied differently and I believe speaks volumes about their character. 

What you do when no one is looking is a reflection of what your true character is.

Steve McNair had done a lot of great things and had even just run a football camp for less privileged kids.  He appeared to be a role model for every young kid in the area.  He was always smiling and played through much pain and injuries.  He was said by many to be a great leader on the field. But true leaders are leaders in every area of there life.  I am not downplaying anything Steve McNair did or what he stood for.  It is sad that what he will be remembered for the most is the affair he was having.  And ultimately being murdered in a murder suicide by his girlfriend. 

Michael Jackson led the way for many African-Americans especially in singing.  He was very successful and overcame great odds.  He was one of the most talented singers and entertainers ever.  It looks as though Michael overdosed on a prescription drug and was addicted to them.

Ed Thomas was regarded as one of the best high school football coaches in Iowa and even the Nation.  He not only was great at coaching football but great at coaching life.  What echoed in the interviews with former players and people close to Ed was how much they learned about life from him.  He not only lead his teams but he lead his family.  In the interviews with his family they didn’t weep uncontrollably what you heard from them is “God has a plan.” I even heard a story of his wife calling the family of the man who shot Ed and telling them she didn’t blame them.  Who does thinks of others when they themselves are grieving?  Someone close to Ed Thomas would know what it is like to be others focused.  He had been doing it all of his life.

What do we learn about people through their deaths:

Remember: Character is what you are is when no one is looking.  Or when you think no one is looking. 

All 3 of these men died unexpectedly.  If these men thought people were watching would they have been in these situations?

Steve McNair: Would he have been having an affair with this young girl if he thought people were looking and his wife would find out?  By his decision to do this he lost a lot of credibility in the eyes of many people.

Michael Jackson: He couldn’t handle things by himself so he used drugs to help him out.  Would he have taken them knowing he would or could die from them?  Leaving his kids without a parent.

Ed Thomas: He died in the weight room helping young men get better.  He died in a small weight room in a small town in Iowa.  Not a huge house or Condo.  Ed Thomas lived for others.  Ed Thomas knew this life wasn’t about him. 

What we can learn about others is how people around them respond to their deaths:

Steve McNair:  Wife is distraught and kids are probably in shock not only that there dad died but was being unfaithful.  Many questions unanswered.

Michael Jackson: Huge mystery surrounding everything for kids and everyone around.  Everyone was overly sad.  Many questions.

Ed Thomas: Family was calm and collected.  Everyone was sad but knew Ed lived with no regrets because he lived life to the fullest.  His kids spoke about God’s plan and wife reached out to the accused family.  Not many questions

Who do you think was a better leader and better prepared those around them?  Who set an example in everything he did?

I know Michael Jackson, and Steve McNair were rich and famous but Ed Thomas invested in his family and kids who are going to be great examples in society.

Remember that at any moment you could die.  What would people say if you died doing what you were doing right now?

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.

Take a moment to think about what you think about everyone around you.  Think about your friends, people who aren’t your friends, coworkers, relatives, classmates, and anyone else.

Answer the following questions of 5 to 10 people:

  1. What is your opinion of that person? Do you like them, do you find them annoying, a know it all?
  2. Why do you feel that way?  Was it one thing they said, was it repeated actions, was it what others said?
  3. What was your first encounter with that person like?
  4. What are most encounters like?

 

These are the questions I would like you to think about and are questions I am going to think about also. 

I was reminded this weekend that one impression of a person isn’t usually how that person is.  I was a miserable cocky kid in high school but that is not who I am now.  If people went off a first impression of what I was like in high school they would not think much of me. 

You can’t go back in time and change things but what you can do from now on is to make sure you make the right first impression yourself.

Not only that, but give others some grace.  Don’t pigeonhole them as a certain person because of 1 or 2 encounters.  What for them to do things repeatedly before you form your judgments.

How many of you have heard a true genuine apology?  You know the ones I am talking about.  The ones that don’t have a BUT on the end or any other type of excuse.

“I am sorry we were late but the traffic was bad.”

“I am sorry we didn’t do that right the first time but the guy working on your house was new.”

Take the but out of all your apologies. What if every apology you had you owned and didn’t make excuses.  Everyone around you would be shocked wouldn’t they?

Is an apology with a but really an apology?  I do not believe so.

Even if there is an excuse stop making them.  Your customers and others around don’t care about excuses they just care how it affects them.

So next time you apologize kick the apologies but(t) by leaving it out.

My goals for the year were to change a habit each month.  January I gave up pop, February I decided to exercise, March I wanted to try to get up on time, for April it is to stay in touch with my people.

Right up until April my goals were going great.  Then busyness set in and the rest of my goals went by the wayside.  I started drinking pop because I needed it to get through the day, or so I thought.  I stopped exercising because I lost free time both with work and with having a baby.  Getting up on time has stopped happening because I don’t stick to a schedule and routine of going to bed on time and having enough time for relaxation.  Now I am so busy trying to keep on top of customers that I don’t know what is going on with some of my team.

I need to get back in a routine and start to focus.  To get past things you need to focus and have a plan.

To stop drinking more pop: Don’t buy it at home and take a jug of water to work and make sure that is the only thing you drink. 

Exercising: Schedule 3 days a week to do some exercise.  Don’t try to overdue it.  Just start slowly.

Getting up on time: Stay on a schedule of going to bed on time and have a routine to start your morning.

Keeping in Touch with my Team: Put them as an action item on your to do list.  Have things written each day to talk to each of your team members about.

 

Sorry this post was so me focused.  But if I cannot live out what I am talking about here I am just another blathering idiot.  I will get back to you on how this is going.

"Focus on remedies, not faults."

   -Jack Nicklaus

 

Are you one of those people who can always find something wrong with everything?  This is an awful problem to have if you don’t have the follow up question after it.

What is the follow up question to pointing out what is wrong?

It is trying to find the remedy for the fault.

Any person can find fault in things.  There are so many people who only find faults.  These people are called pessimists.

The only difference between a pessimist and an optimist is the follow up question. 

Pessimists point out the bad and tell everybody about it.  Optimists tell themselves what the bad is and do everything possible to turn it into good.  Optimists don’t just share the bad with people.  They share the solutions to the problems.  They are always looking for remedies.

So be a leader.  Be a remedy finder not a fault finder.  Fault finders are a dime a dozen.  Remedy finders come once in a great while.

Integrity is the key character trait that defines who a person is and what they can become.

This is from a post at Leadership Turn:

The heavy reading comes from Max Bazerman, the Jesse Isidor Straus Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. A working paper “shows that seemingly innocuous aspects of the environment can promote the decision to act ethically or unethically. Key concepts include:

    • Once people behave dishonestly, they are able to morally disengage, setting off a downward spiral of future bad behavior and ever more lenient moral codes.
    • However, this slippery slope can be forestalled with simple measures, such as honor codes, that increase people’s awareness of ethical standards.
    • Moral disengagement is not always a necessary condition leading to dishonesty, but it may in fact result from unethical behavior.
    • The decision to behave dishonestly changes levels of moral disengagement, and the awareness of ethical standards affects the decision to engage in unethical behavior.”

How does one little white lie always lead to ten that follow it having to cover your tail?  That is because a white lie is never as white as it seems.

Try this for a change.  Tell the Truth.  Not some of the time, not most of the time, but all the time.  Then you won’t have to worry about covering up other lies. 

When you behave dishonestly or lie you try to separate yourself from it so you don’t have to deal with it.  When you don’t deal with things you can’t progress, move on, and be the leader you were meant to be.