Posts Tagged ‘mistakes’

The Future is Yours

I just did a program for a large multinational manufacturing company, who has been in business for over 70 years. My client’s theme for the conference was … The Future is Yours. In preparing for the program, I decided to do some research on great quotes and statements that have to do with our future. I ran across a statement made by the esteemed economist Dr. Lowell Catlett that really surprised me. He said they did a study in 1960 and again in 2010, which involved over 7,000 economists, that rated their accuracy for forecasting future economic trends; their accuracy rate was 47%. He elaborated on that statement, saying: “What I just told you is, you can flip a coin and beat 7,000 economists by 3%.“ He concluded his point by saying, “You can’t predict the future, but you sure can prepare for it.”

So, I thought I would share with you some thoughts/quotes on “Achieving Success in Your Future.” I think these quotes will help to give you a productive perspective on addressing your success in the future.

The future is unknown, but a somewhat predictable unknown. To look to the future we must first look upon the past. That is where the seeds of the future were planted.Albert Einstein

Just because the past didn’t turn out like you wanted it to … doesn’t mean your future can’t be better than you imagined. – Anon

I look to the future because that’s where I’m going to spend the rest of my life.George Burns

The more you take responsibility for your past and present, the more you are able to create the future you seek. – Anon

Your future is created by what you do today … Not tomorrow. – Anon

The best way to predict the future is to create it. – Abraham Lincoln

If I had to pick my favorite quote of all of them, it would be the second one: “Just because the past didn’t turn out like you wanted it to, doesn’t mean your future can’t be better than you imagined.” I don’t care where you are in life, how low you have gotten, or how bad it has been … tomorrow you can start fresh, creating a better future. All great achievement begins with deciding what you want and then dedicating yourself to achieving it. So, my perspective on having future success is learning from our past.

Past

If you don’t apply the lessons you have learned from your past … you will never improve your future. There is no rule that says your past is your destiny. You possess the power to create a great future: we all do. Remember, your future success is dependent on your present efforts … so, do something today that you will be happy you did tomorrow.

Let your regrets fuel your future …

so your future will have fewer regrets.

 

 

 

SKILL & WILL

Let’s get one thing straight … we all begin as a NOVICE. No one, let me repeat that, NO ONE starts as an expert. We all have to learn to walk, talk, eat, swim, count, write, and read. We all start at zero, the bottom, from scratch, zip … with absolutely no knowledge, experience, or understanding of the “THING” we are about to learn. I actually like that fact; for once, everyone starts at exactly the same place. No one has a head-start when it comes to learning.

So, then the journey begins; your progression from being a Novice, then Average, then Skilled, then a Specialist, and finally an Expert is all up to you. I really like the title of “EXPERT” because it has to be earned. You can assign someone a title of Vice President or Sales Manager, Boss or Director … but EXPERT, that title is something to be revered, respected, and admired.

EXPERTS have put in the time, effort, and study to EARN the title. They have dealt with the pains, frustrations, exhaustion, stress that come with obtaining the title of EXPERT. In fact, it’s really not a title at all, it’s a designation or confirmation that the person you are dealing with is very, very good at what they do. I like being around experts, because they have traits in their character that can do nothing but help me. You see to be an EXPERT you have to have passion, conviction, focus, discipline, dedication, drive, purpose, commitment, spirit, determination … and the undeniable WILL to perfect your SKILL.

According to the American Society for Training & Development, American workers average 6.5 minutes per day developing their skill. That statistic alone explains why there are so many average performing people. Most people just aren’t WILLING to put in the time and effort needed to raise their skill level.

Your success has a great deal to do with your level of SKILL, but not everything. I know a lot of talented, smart, well-educated people who have, in no way, come close to reaching their full potential. I was speaking to a Vice President of Sales yesterday, who was expressing her frustration at several of the sales people working for her who have the skill but not the will. She told me they have all the talent, but yet they still don’t excel. She went on to say they have the training, knowledge, understanding and a huge opportunity, with thousands of potential clients available for them to call on, but they accept being average.

You have the FREEWILL to succeed, if you have the WILLINGLESS to do it. The big question is WILL you? Who would have ever thought such a simple word as WILL would have so much to do with your success. Here are a few quotes I want to share with you that should hopefully broaden your prospective on how important WILLPOWER is to your success. They are by people you may have never heard of … ( de Balzac, Min, and Crowley respectively) … but the brilliance of their words is indisputable.

  • “There is no such thing as great talent without great willpower.”
  • “Lack of willpower leads to more failure than lack of intelligence or ability.”
  • “In the absence of willpower the most complete collection of virtues and talent is wholly worthless.”

Anyone can go from Novice to Expert if they have the WILL to do it. But, the “Skill Knob” below can only be turned to the “Expert Notch” if you have the WILL to make it happen and the discipline to study, learn and practice to perfect your SKILL.

Skill Knob

Willpower is a muscle.

The more you use it, the stronger it gets.

(Anonymous)

 

How Many Fans Do You Have?

In the world of entertainment, sports and business … entertainers, athletes, athletic teams and companies have fans. 142 million people follow Katy Perry on Twitter and Facebook. Soccer great Cristiano Ronaldo has 138 million fans following him. Justin Bieber (136M), and Taylor Swift (128M) followers. 59 million people follow McDonald’s, Disney (51M), Red Bull (45M), Starbucks (43M), and Pepsi has (36M) followers. The world of Social Media is rampant with fans.

My question to you today is, “how many FANS do you have”? If you plan on advancing in your business career, it is imperative to have FANS; people who will vouch for your talent, integrity, creativity, resourcefulness, positive attitude, tenacity, thoroughness, and/or energy. Do you have any FANS who will vouch for you?

I am not talking friends … I am talking FANS who are impressed with your skills and talent. Let’s look at FANS from a different perspective for a moment; your perspective. “If you were assigned a big project by your boss, that meant keeping or losing your job, and you were allowed to pick any 5 people out of your company to help you with the project, who would you pick? Would you pick your best friends or people you know are the most talented and who would be able to help you do an amazing job on the project?” I know what my answer would be without any hesitation; I’d choose the talented ones.

The five people that I would choose have a FAN base. They would be known throughout the company as REALLY GOOD! Their work ethic and record for getting things done is known by their peers. Their associates, managers and bosses all know who they are. Everyone wants them on their team. Associates ask them for help and advice and they are always happy to oblige. Doing the bare minimum is not in their DNA.

Developing a FAN BASE is no easy task. FANS are hard to impress. FANS are demanding and expect YOUR BEST all the time. FANS want winners. FANS require consistency, reliability, trustworthiness, stellar performance and are not impressed with words, promises and plans. FANS are impressed with accomplishments, not rhetoric. FANS hate excuses and apologies. Think back on the 5 people you would have selected for the project and ask yourself why you would choose them. Write down the things they do that impresses you. You now have identified why you would choose them … so why would anyone choose YOU? Here is an acronym that will help you with developing FANS. Be Formidable, Awesome, have Nerve and be Steadfast. 

F  ormidable … inspiring respect through being impressively intense and capable

A  wesome… causing awe; inspiring an overwhelming feeling of admiration

N  erves… courage and control under pressure, fortitude, stamina, and boldness

S  teadfast…loyal, committed, dependable, solid, and trustworthy

If You Want Fans

Then Give Them Something to Cheer About

First, Last or Next

We have all had a lot of “Firsts” in our lives; our first step, first day of school, first kiss, first dance, first car and our first job. The list can go on and on with the things we have done for the first time. Some were really hard, some we thought were going to be hard but turned out a lot simpler than we feared and some just happened by accident … but we got through them all. Then we all have had some pretty neat “Lasts” in our lives as well: the last time you had to ask your parent’s permission, the last time you had a curfew on a date, the last time you had to study for a French, trigonometry, or chemistry final …or whatever courses you hated. Life is full of lots of great “First and Lasts”.

But, sometimes the “Firsts and Lasts” aren’t fun or exciting. Sometimes they are sad, hard, disappointing or even heart wrenching. I am sure you all can think of those without me having to point them out. I don’t want to address those today. I want to stay focused and positive about a subject I feel very strong about. I feel that truly successful people, those who stay on top of their profession for years, are always moving forward. They keep relevant, thriving, and successful by looking forward and moving on to the “NEXT” challenge, goal and soon to be another accomplishment. They don’t live in the past talking about previous successes. They finish what they are doing to the best of their ability … take a moment to appreciate what they have accomplished … and then move on; they relish what life has in store for them.

Your life is going to have countless “Firsts and Lasts”, whether you want them or not, but your “NEXT” accomplishment is up to you. The day you quit looking forward to your next goal, project, plan, mission, task, or grand undertaking is the day you stop progressing. When actor/comedian George Burns was 79, his career was resurrected in the 1975 film The Sunshine Boys, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. He continued to work until shortly before his death, in 1996, at the age of 100. When he died he still had future engagements booked. He had more “NEXTs” planned out all the way up to his last breath. At 86 years of age, the famous poet Robert Frost recited his poem “The Gift Outright” at John F. Kennedy’s Presidential inauguration. At 88, Michelangelo completed his sculpture Roudandini Pieta, depicting an aged man holding Christ. At 89, classical pianist Arthur Rubinstein performed his famous concert at New York’s Carnegie Hall. At 104, educator/research scientist Ray Crist finally retired after an 80 year career that began at Columbia University.

But “NEXT” is not just for the elderly. Mozart was performing piano concerts across Europe at the age of 6. Bill Gates wrote his first computer program at the age of 13 and at 31 he had made his first billion dollars. At 15, swimmer Dara Torres set the world record in the 50-meter freestyle. Tommy Hilfiger opened his first clothing store at the age of 18, with his hottest item being bell-bottom pants. What do these people all have in common? They all kept moving forward to their “NEXT” accomplishment. 

If you want to study somebody who was really amazing at “NEXT”, take a look at Benjamin Franklin. Mr. Franklin was an author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. He founded the first U.S. hospital, insurance company, police department, fire department, and book circulating library. He invented the Franklin Stove, the lightning rod and bifocals (to name a few). He was involved in founding two colleges. On top of all of those accomplishments, Mr. Franklin was also an Alderman, Governor, Ambassador and one of the founding fathers of the United States. He kept active and working right up until he died at 84 years of age. Over 20,000 people attended his funeral. Mr. Franklin’s entire life was a continuous journey of “NEXTs”. Here is an anonymous quote that I think sums up nicely the point I am trying to make. 

“You can’t start the NEXT chapter of your life, 

if you keep re-reading the last one.”

Personal Communication Filter

One of the definitions for the word “filter” is “a device that is used to filter out something unwanted.” You can buy a pair of sunglasses to filter out unwanted ultraviolet light. There are water purification filters, oil filters, fuel filters, air filters, pool filters, cigarette filters, coffee filters, aquarium filters, and furnace filters. You can filter emails, filter out spam, and put a filter on an internet search engine. You can even put a lens filter on a camera to reduce the amount of wrinkles people see on your face.

But, I haven’t found a filter you can buy for personal communication. There are a lot of people who have ruined their lives, be it on a personal or business basis, by saying something stupid, thoughtless, mean, malicious, despicable, inappropriate, condescending, cruel, hurtful, vicious, painful, and certainly uncalled-for. If they had just had a filter that would have removed their unacceptable statements, things would have turned out so much better for everyone.

Practicing good manners will serve as a filter, or possibly your experience will help to filter out the things you shouldn’t say. One simple way to protect yourself is to say nothing. Abraham Lincoln once said, “ Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt”.   Or you may want to follow the advice of the Canadian educator, Laurence J. Peter, who said, “Speak when you are angry – and you’ll make the best speech you’ll ever regret”.  

Just as a water filter removes the impurities from water … I feel we all need a personal communication filter so we can filter out the impurities from our speech such as: complaining, anger, gossip, cursing, nagging, idle chatter, egotism, condescension, ridicule and hurtful criticism.  I wonder how many people you know would want to filter out certain things you say. Ask yourself this question: Do I brighten the mood of a room full of people when I enter the room or when I leave the room? Maybe you should consider filtering some of the things you are saying.

 Plato once said, “Wise men speak because they have something to say, fools speak because they have to say something.”  Since there are no personal communication filters available for sale, it is going to fall to us to filter our words. So, let me give you a few rules that might help: Only speak what you know to be true, speak with integrity, before speaking ask yourself would someone be pleased with what you are saying about them, avoid at all costs speaking when angry, and when in doubt, stay silent. My final advice is this simple poem:

Be careful of the words you say,

and keep them soft and sweet.

You’ll never know from day-to-day,

which ones you’ll have to eat.

Well … I’ll Show You

There are two sides to rejection: those who got rejected and those who did the rejecting. Instead of crawling in some hole and giving up when you get rejected, making the REJECTERS right about you, why not see it as a challenge and simply say to yourself, “I’ll show you.” There is no law that says REJECTERS are always right. In fact, there are countless examples of the REJECTERS being terribly wrong. The REJECTERS were the ones who made a HUGE mistake. The REJECTERS turned out to be the ones who were REALLY SORRY for the decision they made.

One of my favorite stories on being rejected is about the famous cartoonist, Charles Schulz, who created the world-renowned comic strip Peanuts. Charles asked his girlfriend, Donna Johnson, whom he had dated for three years, to marry him and was REJECTED. Yep. She turned him down and married a person who had a more stable job, rather than marry a cartoonist. The Peanuts comic strip went on to be published in over 70 countries and earned Mr. Schulz approximately $40 million annually. Mr. Schulz immortalized his rejecting girlfriend by creating the little red-head girl in his Peanuts strip, who always rejected Charlie Brown. Mr. Schulz … showed her.

Marilyn Monroe was REJECTED by Twentieth Century-Fox production chief, Darryl Zanuck, after just one year under contract because he thought she was unattractive. Well … Marilyn showed him. Tom Cruise was REJECTED by the casting director for the television series FAME because he wasn’t pretty enough. Well … Tom showed him. Sam Walton, founder of Walmart, originally owned fifteen Ben Franklin Hardware Stores operating under the name, Walton’s Five & Dime. He went to the executives of Ben Franklin Hardware Store franchises and suggested opening discount stores in small towns. The executives rejected his idea. Well … Sam showed them.

The manager of the Grand Ole Opry fired Elvis Presley after one performance. He told Elvis, “go back to driving a truck because you will never make it as a singer.” Barbara Walters was told by the executive producer of 60 Minutes to “stay out of television.” Jay Leno applied for a job at Woolworth’s but failed the employment test. Ted Turner, the founder of CNN, took the original idea to the executives of CBS, NBC and ABC and was REJECTED by all of them. They all thought the idea of a 24 hour news network was stupid. Decca Records rejected The Beatles, saying, “We don’t like your sound, and guitar music is on the way out”. Authors Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen who wrote, Chicken Soup for the Soul, received 134 rejections from publishers. Other famous authors such as William Faulkner, John Grisham, E.E. Cummings, Rudyard Kipling, J.K. Rowling and Stephen King were all rejected by publishers. Well … they all showed them!

It looks like, to me, that when you are rejected you have now joined a pretty elite group of people … if you decide to prove the REJECTER wrong. Yes, the chronicles of world history are littered with REJECTED people, ideas, concepts, manuscripts, songs, paintings, and patents that later turned out to be someone or something special. So, if you want to take it to the next level, put three words in your arsenal that will dispel all failures, ridicule, mockery and rejectionI’ll Show You.

Just imagine a convention where all the STUPID REJECTERS in the world showed up and you got to meet them. You probably wouldn’t remember their names, only the fact that they were the ones who REJECTED Elvis, or Marilyn or, The Beatles. Those REJECTERS are all kicking themselves in the butt because “the rejected” proved them wrong. Elvis sold over 1 billion records with eighteen #1 hits … we are all glad he didn’t go back to driving a truck.

The famous movie actor, Sylvester Stallone, once said, “I take rejection as someone blowing a bugle in my ear to wake me up and get going, rather than retreat.” Take rejection as a wake-up call … someone sounding the alarm for you to recommit yourself to prove them wrong.

Detractors, Critics, and Rejecters are Only Right

If You Let Them

Don’t Confuse Them

Your boss uses the following words in a meeting: sanction and temper. Did you raise your hand and ask, “Excuse me, but I am confused about your sanction comment; does that mean you approve of it or we are to boycott it? And then you told us to temper our comments, so do you want us to soften them or strengthen them?” Or, did you think to yourself:

  • No way am I going to risk advancing my career by questioning my boss.
  • I am going to let someone else fall on the sword and ask the questions.
  • Hey, I’ll find out later what my boss really meant.
  • Not a chance in the world will I ever point out to my boss they just used a two words that have totally opposite meanings.

How employees handle this dilemma is a very telling sign as to the leadership qualities of their boss. I believe if no one says a word, then we are dealing with a difficult person to work for; a boss who might be best described as a mean, belittling, oppressive, and over-bearing person. If that is the case, a roomful of employees just walked out of the meeting having no idea which definitions they should use.

What if you are a global company, with multiple languages being used to communicate. The “context” of what was said (or written) can easily get lost in translation. The next thing you know you have employees moving in opposite directions all thinking they are doing the right thing, which is a true formula for disaster.

Our English language is riddled with puzzling words that are potential traps for confusion that can lead to problems. The examples I used in the first paragraph, sanction and temper, are called “Contronyms”, which are words that have contradictory meanings. Another area of confusion can stem from the use of “Homophones”. A homophone is a word that is pronounced the same as another word but differs in meaning, and may differ in spelling. The words may be spelled the same, such as rose (flower) and rose (past tense of “rise”), or differently, such as carat, caret, and carrot. Other examples are … break / brake … blew / blue … by / bye / buy …fair / fare … hear / here … witch / which … and … would / wood. In fact, the list of homophones is quite extensive. So, for you scholars out there, I have a short quiz for you; all the answers are homophones so let’s see which ones you can answer.

Example:   If four couples went to a restaurant, how many people dined?  

Answer :   eight ate.

  • 1. What would we do if we found bad plants spoiling our lawn?
  • 2. What would you say in the evening to a soldier in shining armor?
  • 3. What are groups of sailors on an ocean pleasure trip?
  • 4. What is a group of musicians that isn’t allowed to play?
  • 5. If they are not here, where are they?
  • 6. What is the name for a weird street of shops that sell incredible things?
  • 7. What do you call a bucket that has seen a ghost?
  • 8. If a devil is completely sinful, what is an angel? 

Can’t you sea that the answers to these questions are as plane as the knows on yore face.

In a world of global communication, when a click sends a message for all the world to see,

may I suggest you choose your words wisely, or what a fool you could appear to be.

 Leaders who confuse people, aren’t Leaders for long.

 

Homophone Answers

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