Momentum is a very interesting creature. It is awesome when you have it and what you are doing propels you forward with very little effort. It is a pain when you need to start building it. Jim Collins writes about the "flywheel" concept in his best seller, Good to Great. Simply put, a large flywheel (think merry-go-round) takes a tremendous amount of effort to get moving with very little reward in the beginning. Once the flywheel develops momentum, however, it does not take much effort to keep it going.
Where am I going with all of this? We are sitting in our running clothes, enjoying a beautiful morning. We are committed to running, love running, and know that we have to run. Yet, I'm writing this blog.... If there is something you are committed to doing, take some kind of action. It may be small, but successful people don't do large things better than anyone else, they do a series of small things that other people are not willing to do.
1. What can I do RIGHT NOW that will move me in the direction that I want to go?
2. What little thing can you do right now to start momentum?
3. What reward will I get when I take some action?
Now if you'll excuse me, I am going for a run.....
I have the pleasure of traveling quite a bit. This allows me to see a variety of great places and great people. It also puts me in a great number of airplanes. Many times the service is less than stellar, but every once in a while I encounter someone who makes the concept of being trapped in a metal tube at 35,000 feet quite enjoyable! There are two people who come to mind; one is Kit Rupp out of Detroit, MI. She was so fantastic and excited when I was traveling to speak at a convention in MI. (I realize that the thought of flying to Michigan in the dead of winter is a crazy concept, but until I find a way to have 10,000 people come to my house to hear me speak; I have to go to them)
The more recent example happened the other weekend. Shelly and I were heading back from Colorado and were frantically trying to catch our flight. My book signing line at the convention I was keynoting was longer than usual and I wanted to make sure I had an opportunity to help everyone I could. We finally arrived at the airport and checked in for our 3:05 flight AT 2:29!! Put on the running shoes, blast through security, and run 96 football fields to the gate.
We were greeted at the end of the jet way by a wonderful woman named Barb. She was singing and laughing. We were seated in the front row and witnessed her pleasant demeanor with every boarding guest. After everyone was seated I made a point to compliment her on her attitude. "I have been doing this for years and I have found that my work is so much more pleasant if I bring a great attitude."
Needless to say, I will go out of my way to fly Frontier airlines. I would challenge you to bring the "Barb Factor" to everything you do today. Brighten someone's day, compliment others, and provide exceptional service.
Memorial Day is a time of celebration, relaxation, and the kickoff of Summer! While many people are enjoying BBQ, refreshments, and games; there are hundreds of thousands who are currently fighting on the front lines to keep our rights, our country, and our safety in place. Regardless of political rhetoric, who happens to sit in a particular office, or what your political leanings are; now is the time to thank the brave men and women who will step in front of a bullet for you or I.
Would you march with 100 lbs of gear over a frozen mountain, a broiling desert, or a stormy sea just to protect someone whom you have not met? Regardless of your position or feelings on the military or the wars going on right now, there is a hero fighting for your right to disagree or agree about anything and maintain the right to say what you wish about it.
Take a moment this weekend to not only thank the veterans who have fought or are currently fighting for our freedoms, but also think of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in defending us.
If you are reading this post, thank a teacher. IF YOU ARE READING THIS POST IN ENGLISH, THANK A SOLDIER!
"Amen!" screams the audience in a church, stadium, or other venue. It is a simple word that just means to approve of what was just said. While it is mainly used in a spiritual sense, many people unknowingly offer their "Amen" to dis-empowering things and negativity. Here's the scenario:
"Paul" is talking to a co-worker. "Wow, times are tough out there."
"Amen" says "Betty"
"I wonder when all this madness will ever stop." Paul continues. "There is no growth, money, there is so much negativity. This is crazy!"
"Amen" is the reply.
Think about the negative thoughts that "Betty" just planted in her head. They will grow. You reap what you sow. Unfortunately, most people sow crummy thoughts which turn into crummy actions which turn into crummy reality. Then the water cooler talk begins again.
The overwhelming need that many of my clients want me to share with their group is the power of changing the negative into a positive. You can't ignore reality, but you can make a decision to acknowledge it and do something about it. Would you notice a few weeds sprouting up in your garden and say, "Damn, these weeds are going to overtake this garden. I wonder when the garden stimulus program will be passed?" Heck no! You bend down and pull the little suckers out!
Here are a couple of things to chew on:
1. When someone starts in on how negative something is (it is usually the economy these days, even though studies have shown that 90% of America has the same paycheck as 18 months ago), respond with "I understand, now let me tell you what I'm doing to improve my reality.
2. Be prepared for them to either leave or resent you as they only wanted an ear for their pity party. If you live in your pity party, you are pitiful.
3. Sharpen your skills. Don't wait for your company, church, or the government to give you some kind of a program. Join a Toastmasters group to sharpen your communication, take a college class, learn a new hobby. Who knows, you may find a very rewarding new passion! Don't wait for a hand out. I heard about the government offering a free report about teaching Americans to be better money managers. Isn't that a little ironic?!
I love speaking. I love the experiences (most days), the audience reaction, the results, and the relationships that are created as a result of meeting all different kinds of people from all around the world. One of the most requested program content items lately has been pure motivation. It seems as though many people think that the light at the end of the tunnel is a train. WRONG!
This past week included seminars attended by nearly 1,000 people from all walks of life. The OVERWHELMING feedback comment I have been hearing after my programs can be summarized as follows: "I have been upbeat and optimistic. Thank you for reminding me that it is OK to be that way. So many people are down and I almost feel bad that I'm so happy." My challenge to you is that you be the thermostat in your environment and not the thermometer. By that I mean, SET the attitude, don't RESPOND to it!
Kind of interesting, isn't it? When you think about it, where does the choice of optimism start? I can't motivate someone, no one can. It is a choice. I believe that the genesis of attitude starts with the questions you ask yourself on a regular basis. We all have these voices inside of our heads telling us positive and negative things. (Hopefully they are the same voice!).
Here are a few "Success Recipe" questions that I have found lay a great foundation for a great attitude:
1. What am I thankful for today?
2. Who do I love?
3. What is one thing that I can do to make someone smile by 9 am?
4. What are my top 3 talents that I'm committed to sharpening today?
5. If my kids were to shadow me today, what would I teach them by my behavior?
Give it a try for a week or so. If it doesn't work, I'll give you your old life back, for free!
I swear, if I hear the term "swine flu" or whatever the politically correct term for this darn thing one more time I'm going to go crazy! Never mind that more people will die on the nation's highways in the time it takes you to read this blog than will die from swine flu.
I spoke at a conference yesterday. One of the speakers couldn't attend because he had been exposed to the virus and was being quarantined. I asked the audience, "How many of you would run from this room if you KNEW that someone in here had swine flu?" All of the hands went up.
"How many of you would run from this room if there were people with equally as dangerous attitudes and beliefs?" A few people raised their hands, but most people looked confused. When there is some kind of illness that we have a very slight chance of catching, people take crazy precautions to avoid exposure. However, study after study has PROVEN that over time, people's attitudes will reflect those who they associate with. If people have a negative or "can't do" attitude, most of us have been conditioned to try and appease instead of convince them otherwise. It is easier to lower your expectations than to lift others up to your level. Guess what? You can make new friends, coaches, and mentors. Motivation takes work.
My challenge to you is that you get to know people who push themselves and those around them (in a good way). My coach, Kevin Bracy, told me something that will stick with me forever. He after a particularly grueling coaching session, he explained, "Shef, your friends love you for who you are. Your mentors love you too much to leave you where you're at."