Posts Tagged ‘problems’

Different Approach

A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to address the Drug & Alcohol Testing Industry Association and it was one of the most memorable programs I have done in my career; the people attending the conference provide drug & alcohol testing for any company, organization, state or federal agency. During my interviewing process to help me customize my program, one of the questions I asked them was … “What makes your job difficult?” Several people responded: “Having to deal with all the stupid excuses people give for testing positive for drugs.” That response really intrigued me, so I dug deeper in my questioning to get actual examples of their excuses; I will get to the excuses in a moment.

To help them with this difficult portion of their job, I suggested they deal with the problem with a different approach. I proposed they print up a little one-page list of excuses that will not be accepted for testing positive for drugs and hand that to them before being test. That way, if they do test positive for having drugs or alcohol in their system, there is no need to waste everyone’s time using any of the excuses listed. Below are the actual excuses given (with NO embellishment) and the form I suggested they print up.

Excuses That Don’t Work for Testing Positive for Drugs

You Will Need To Try Something Different – These Aren’t Acceptable

More Originality Will be Required

  1. I was at a party and everyone was smoking pot around me, so it’s second-hand smoke.
  2. Someone must have put something in my drink; I swear I would never use drugs.
  3. I take my friend’s pain meds when I have a migraine.
  4. I used to smoke pot years ago when I was fat. I hear it stays in your system for a long time.
  5. It was the cookies I ate at a party. I think it was medical marijuana.
  6. I ate a bunch of poppy seed muffins.
  7. I kissed a girl who had just used cocaine.
  8. I take supplements from the health food store.
  9. I buy hemp oil and make salad dressing with it.
  10. I have to light my wife’s joints for her because she uses medical marijuana and she is too sick to do it herself.

So now, when someone tests positive, they no longer have to deal with these 10 silly excuses … hopefully saving them a little time and frustration, and they did it by adding a little twist of humor in the process. May I suggest for you managers and leaders out there, to take a look at things you have to do like: evaluations, reviews, critiques, changing policies, implementing new software programs, meeting deadlines, revamping procedures, enforcing guidelines, delegating responsibilities, providing feedback, or complying with state and federal government regulations … and see if you can find a different approach that might make it be accepted more favorably.

Originality and humor can help take the “sting” out of any situation, so anytime you can add a little of it, to help take the drudgery or negativity out of an issue, mandate, or task … I recommend you go for it.

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

Adjust vs. Change

Unexpected things happen all the time which we have to deal with, whether we want to or not. We can adjust to the circumstances or resist them. I find the people who adjust are a great deal more successful than the ones who don’t. It is one thing to be stubborn to your convictions, it is entirely different thing to be unaccepting to the new circumstances that have just occurred. Instead of looking at things under the painful guise of “Having to Change,” I think it is more effective to say, “It’s time to adjust.”

I would say it is definitely time to adjust when your company decides to let you go. Oh, they can say it in so many different ways; they can tell you they are retrenching, downsizing, rightsizing, re-purposing or re-aligning staff. I had one client call it a “RIF.” For those of you who aren’t familiar with the acronym “RIF” … it stands for “Reduction in Force.” I guess you might say that is a nice way to tell people, if there is such a way, they have been laid off. But in your eyes, you see it as being canned, kicked to the curb, booted out, terminated, shown the door, sacked, discharged, axed, let go, dumped, ditched, dismissed, pink-slipped, issued your walking papers … or in the simplest of terms … FIRED. I heard one person say they had been issued their “DCM” notice, which stands for “Don’t Come Monday.”

Whatever a company wants to call being “laid-off,” the reality is you now have to ADJUST to this new situation. I really prefer using the word ADJUST rather than CHANGE, because it seems easier, in context, to do.

The weather changes and you ADJUST what you are wearing.

The economy changes and you ADJUST your spending habits.

Traffic is bad and you ADJUST your route.

Sales are down so you must ADJUST advertising or prospecting activity.

Production is down so you must investigate the cause and ADJUST.

Your health changes and you ADJUST your exercise and eating habits.

Your boss changes and you ADJUST to their style of management.

You have a newborn baby and you ADJUST your sleeping habits.

You get married and you ADJUST from an “I “ to a “We” way of thinking.

In business you have to ADJUST to competition, technology, economic issues, healthcare issues, rising expenses, changes in media advertising, changing demographics of customers, and availability of workforce … to name just a few. So, instead of using that painful word “CHANGE,” may I suggest you start looking at approaching things with an ADJUSTMENT mentality.

People have a real tendency to resist change, but they do seem more accepting of ADJUSTING to the circumstances. Sometimes it is just the perspective of how we are going to address a situation/problem that will help people buy into doing what is necessary to fix it. Most of the time you don’t have to change everything to fix a problem; you just need to make some ADJUSTMENTS. Would you rather someone say to you, “You have to CHANGE what you did.” … or … “With a few minor adjustments, what you did is going to work great.”?

Our world is constantly changing … so your life is in a constant state of adjustment. Always remember, there are things you can’t change so you must ADJUST or you will not succeed.

Successful people know that

if they aren’t reaching their goals

it is time to ADJUST their actions.


Shed Those Funky Feelings

Lack of confidence affects job interviews, promotions, athletic /musical/ theatrical performances, negotiations, romance, and leadership … to name just a few. Now, let’s take it a step further. Let’s add someone trying to tear you down by telling you that 1) you’re the problem 2) you are really lousy at this, or 3) you will never amount to anything.  

I have a dear friend of mine who is going through a rough time in their life, which has caused them to doubt themselves. When you think about all the things that life can throw at you, that are totally unexpected, we “ALL” can have some good reasons to doubt ourselves.  A company being downsized and having to let go 500 people can cause each one of those people to doubt their ability. Did they get let go because of their lack of talent, knowledge, skill, or attitude?

The next thing you know you are in a FUNK, unhappy, maybe even considering yourself to be a little depressed; well, welcome to the human race. You sure aren’t alone. I truly believe that everyone, and I do mean everyone, at some point in their life, doubted their abilities, value, talent, skill, or self-worth. Recording star and multiple Grammy winner, Taylor Swift, (who made $50m last year) said, My confidence is easy to shake. I am very well aware of all of my flaws. I am aware of all the insecurities that I have.”  So, how in the world can you get to feeling better about yourself?  Even though it may seem that other people and circumstances are to blame for your self-doubt, that really is not so. You are the person truly responsible for your own mental state.

That last statement is easy to say, but hard to handle. Telling someone to “Snap out of it”, “Get over it,” and “Let it go,” doesn’t usually get great results. So, the most important thing to understand is “YOU” hold the keys to opening the doors to your confidence. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

Before you give value to anything bad being said about you, first give some thought to who is saying it and for what reason. People who are biased, prejudiced, egotistical, uncaring, jealous, bitter, nasty, envious, impartial, and/or opinionated could have a real tendency to want to tear other people down, just to make themselves feel better. They could feel threatened by your talent and want to hold you back to help their own career. Would you give value or worry about what a person said if you knew they were a stupid, shallow, conceited jerk? SO, don’t give ANY VALUE to what others say … except from friends who are offering constructive, helpful suggestions.

Never let REJECTION kill your confidence. Many great people have been insulted with dreadful rejections. The great writer, Rudyard Kipling, in one rejection letter, was told he doesn’t know how to use the English language. Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor for lack of ideas. A so-called expert once said of the NFL Hall-of-Fame football coach, Vince Lombardi: “He possesses minimal football knowledge and lacks motivation.” If these great people had believed what others were saying about them … they would have never been successful.

Don’t let anyone ever bring you down, make you think bad of yourself, tell you what you can and can’t do, hold you back, destroy your self-respect,  take your smile,  decide your self-worth … and never accept as fact that you aren’t smart enough, pretty enough, creative enough, good enough, talented enough, or committed enough to succeed. Move past their opinions and never look back; rearview mirrors are for cars … not life.



If you don’t believe in yourself …

why should anyone else believe in you?


At the peak of their expansion, Starbucks was opening 7 new stores every day and adding 15,000 employees every week. How did a small coffee shop in Seattle end up with over 17,000 stores and revenues of more than $10 billion, selling $4 coffee in a fancy cup? How did Starbucks build such an incredible organization that has over 135,000 employees? How do they get their new employees to show up on time and excel at delivering exceptional customer service, especially when many of them are young, unskilled, and lacking little if any experience in business? If you knew the answers to those questions, do you think it might help you expand your business or on a personal level … help you to become more successful? Let me give you just a little insight to their formula for success.

 Howard Behar, the former president of Starbucks once said, “We’re not in the coffee business serving people. We’re in the people business serving coffee.” When your entire business model is built around delivering exceptional customer service, you have got to figure out a way to instill the necessary SELF-DISCIPLINE in your people so they can correctly handle almost any situation. Long lines, complicated orders … and dealing with sometimes angry, mean, and in-a-hurry customers can be a daily routine for an employee at Starbucks. But, the customer and situation I just described can be the norm in a lot of businesses, so why are employees at Starbucks so good at dealing with it?

It all starts with training. Each first year employee will spend over 50 hours in the classroom and more time at home studying workbooks or conversing with mentors. Starbucks spends hours upon hours developing powerful habits to prepare their people for the onslaught of customers. They have found that following disciplined habits will enable their people to DEAL with almost any challenge they may face. They focus on life skills and helping them to handle their emotions and show them how to deliver a BURST of energy, pep, and enthusiasm when dealing with every customer. They role play with them, interact with them, help, guide, nurture and SHOW them how to handle many different SITUATIONS.

Starbucks has spent millions of dollars creating courses that TRAIN their people on not just the steps of the process, but more importantly, on how to maintain the self-discipline to do it” every time. One acronym Starbucks uses to help their people is LATTE. It stands for Listen to the customer, Acknowledge their complaint, Take Action by solving the problem, Thank them, and then Explain why the problem occurred.  Starbucks has developed numerous routines for their employees to follow to help them during stressful situations. By developing these routines, they are helping their people create the RIGHT HABITS to serve their customers. When an employee is PREPARED, EQUIPPED, and ARMED with the RIGHT HABITS to address almost any situation, delivering exceptional customer service becomes easy.

 A BURST of energy, pep, and enthusiasm will enhance anything you do.

Bad Decisions – Mistakes – Good Judgment

I think sometimes we lose the perspective of where good judgment comes from. We aren’t born with good judgment. Some good judgment slowly evolves from the knowledge our parents, teachers, coaches, bosses and mentors try to share with us. Some good judgment evolves from doing something so many times that we figure out what works best. But often, we unfortunately have to live through a bad experience to gain the knowledge/wisdom.

I read one time that Good judgment comes from experience and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.” Mistakes are a wonderful source of insight so I think it is important to never let a mistake go to waste. You can’t get the mistake back but you sure can learn from it, so you don’t do it again. I tell companies that they should keep a list of their mistakes, write down every detail, and then share them with the new employees; this is a great way to reduce the possibility of having the same mistake occur again. You don’t want new employees making old mistakes … any mistakes they make should be new ones.

 When a mistake is made it is also important to understand that the person didn’t mean to do it; people don’t set out to mess-up. Now, they could have been lazy, not followed the instructions, been in a hurry to meet a deadline or done something foolish … but doing it INTENTIONALLY is seldom ever the case. Another way to reduce mistakes is to pass along words-of-wisdom by sharing tricks, short-cuts, experiences or stories that have helped you become a more qualified, skilled and knowledgeable person. Sometimes those wise words sink in and help to eliminate mistakes from occurring. Here are a few words-of-wisdom I think you might find helpful. (the author of each quote is unknown)

     Δ  Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you

     Δ  Words that soak into your ears are whispered … not yelled

     Δ  You cannot unsay a cruel word

     Δ  Meanness doesn’t just happen overnight

     Δ  Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer

     Δ  Letting the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than putting it back in

 I don’t care where I get the knowledge from … just as long as it helps me. You need to understand that mistakes are not final, nor is failure. If learning is good and making mistakes is all a part of learning … then I think it is fair to surmise that making mistakes is simply a part of the learning process. Albert Einstein once said … “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”  

Look at every first time mistake as a part of the WISDOM process

… get over it and learn from it …


YOU Control Your Destiny by the Choices YOU Make

I am going to throw a list of questions at you and let you reflect on your answers. Now, some of these questions might not be applicable to you at all, which is good. BUT, if one or more of these questions strikes a nerve when you read them, then you may have some work to do.

Why do you waste time?

Why don’t you rest more?

Why don’t you eat better?

Why do you procrastinate?

Why don’t you laugh more?

Why don’t you forgive more?

Why don’t you exercise more?

Why aren’t you more efficient?

Why are you so critical of others?

Why don’t you save more money?

Why do you waste time listening to gossip?

Why don’t you take more time for yourself?

Why are you sometimes or all the time … late?

Why don’t you say what you are really feeling?

Why do you put so much pressure on yourself?

Why do you spend more money than you should?

Why are you sometimes or always in a bad mood?

Why do you sometimes or always doubt yourself?

Why do you stay in a job or relationship you hate?

Why do you say yes when you really want to say no?

Why don’t you spend more time with the ones you love?

Why don’t you treat everyone with the same respect you want?

Why don’t you read something every day that will make you better?

Why don’t you tell the people you care about that you care about them?

The REALITY OF YOUR ANSWER to each question is very telling.  If the answer to any one of the questions is because YOU have chosen to do so … then YOU can change it, alter it or correct it. Quit blaming others for what YOU HAVE CHOSEN. Example: You will eat better when YOU DECIDE that it is important to your health TO DO SO. But, unfortunately most people wait until they have medical problems and a doctor puts restrictions on their diet before they change their eating habits. Look at each question and then decide what is important to YOU. Your life is not a dress rehearsal. You’ve got one shot at it, so try and make it your BEST SHOT.

 The day you … Realize / Acknowledge / Accept … the fact that

YOU control your destiny by the choices YOU make

is the day you start taking control your life.

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