I Was Told Some Great Advice Once – But I Can’t Remember It

Advice comes and goes, in one ear and out the other. The best advice is the stuff we learn from our ‘mistakes’ and ‘failures’ Ultimately these things, with proper reflection, make us better. It takes time to let it all soak in, and become the wisdom of the sage. Either way it doesn’t hurt to hear something here and there. It is after all up to you to make a choice.

Remember to align your thoughts with your actions. Step back and make sure you’re following the ‘right’ star. This is a lifelong voyage, and where you end up is on your shoulders. Listen to people actively. Listen to understand, not to respond. Show them you’ve listened. Remain chill. It’s a blessing to keep your calm. Don’t repeat your mistakes. Remember the lessons you’ve learned. Do everything you can in a day, but don’t expect to be perfect. You’ll improve. Be kind. You deserve it. Give yourself to others, but don’t give yourself away. Always look for what isn’t there. Look for what you did well, always the positives. Remind the good people in your life that you think of them. Try to help someone each day, even if all you can give at the time is a smile. The things that are difficult will pass. Keep your head up. Stay smiling. Stay in motion. Look to grow. Stay learning. Take a deep breath. Laugh it off. We’re all going to make it. Don’t forget how people looked out for you along the way. Be true to what you feel inside. Don’t deceive the honest. Show your heart. Express your soul. Create. Give life to this world! Restore your faith in humanity by way of your own deeds. You make it up just as much as anyone else. Conquer your fears, love yourself – you’re beautiful… You see what you pull out, so find the beauty.

I apologize for not finding time to create articles as often as I’d like, drawing, writing, and running multiple projects doesn’t leave much 🙂 In the meantime I hope this suffices. If not I do have other projects out there you may find entertaining…

Pulling Down The Moon

Anyone can do it one time. Yes that’s right. Anyone can pull down the moon one time. We’ve all done it. You’ve mustered all your humanity to bring the moon down for yourself or to give it to another. I’m here to say that although that’s a great effort/beautiful gesture, It’s not enough. It isn’t enough to just pull it down. You have to put it back up. Then you have to go ahead and pull it back down the next day only to put it back once more. If you want to be the best you can be for yourself and anyone else then pulling down the moon is an every day event.

I don’t mean to discourage anyone. I want you to attain the best you possible. That’s why I’m going to tell you that you can do it. You can pull the moon down and put it back up. You’ve done it once, you can do it again. It doesn’t get easier. You just become more determined. There may be days where it just doesn’t go as planned. On these days, when you are tested to your breaking, don’t let up. Give it everything you’ve got. Don’t fear failing. If you approach the difficulties with your entirety, at some point you’ll surpass it all.

Know your worth. It’s value is worth giving your all!

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One of These Days – But Which One?

Most of us have great ideas. Sure we don’t all have the same resources to bring them into reality, but all resources mean to an idea is the ability to open the door sooner. Yet no amount of money can bring an idea to reality if the will is not there. That’s right. Money might be a huge influence, but it doesn’t mean a thing if the heart isn’t there. That means If you have the drive, you can find a way. It may take years to build, but you’re not going to let time stop you from reaching for your dreams are you?

If you keep thinking, “When the money comes, then I can work towards my best,” You’ll never attain your an ounce of your potential. Your idea will die in the cradle. Your mind will be its resting place. The richest place on Earth is the graveyard because most people take their greatness and ideas into the afterlife. Drive and effort are the most valuable resources available. It takes conviction to succeed. If you want to reach the peak of your life you have to strive towards it. No matter what you’ve got, you have to use everything at your disposal to climb the steep rise to greatness.

If you keep telling your self, “One of these days,” you’ll end up subjecting your freedom to the hands of those who would will otherwise with you. Do you want to look back and feel even the slightest bit that you could have put in more effort? So go on, get to it. Stop fooling. It isn’t one of these days! It is today, and you have to start going for it! You will have to feel uncomfortable at times. That’s just one of the countless prices to pay for obtaining what you really want. Everyone has their difficulties. Don’t be the person who uses them as excuses for why things didn’t work out. Overcome those obstacles. Break them down, and use them to your advantage as you move forward.

How to Implement Change (‘Be the Change’ Agent!)

I figured it would be good for people to have a clear and concise best practices methodology for implementing change!

With that being said several near universal steps are crucial to the success of any change initiative. There are certainly variations and numerous academics who have worked on the theory of change, but putting in the logical contemplation on such change initiatives will usually result in something along these lines:

1. Establish The Sense of Urgency!

This is crucial as often times if something does not appear imminent or critical people just aren’t moved. They don’t see the need to act ‘now’ and that can create powerful resistance in getting change to move along smoothly let alone sink in.

2. Forming a Powerful Guiding Coalition or Team of Change agents.

This is important for if you don’t have people working together with both experience dealing with change ie. being themselves an agent of change within their own lives (‘balanced psyche’) and the ability to manage such a change initiative then you will probably find your change falling short and stuck useless in your back pocket. It also helps if said coalition has some power players within it, for having the power to initiate change can assist greatly. Regardless of power, these folks should be proponents of the change and thus consist of cheerleaders and role models of said change.

3. Creating a Vision.

If there is no vision, your change initiative will likely fall short of whatever it is trying to achieve. This is because people need something they can get behind, something they can attach to and feel apart of and recognize with. That being said your vision must be crystal clear and within reason for if people can’t understand it or be convinced it will work, they will never be fully behind it and may ultimately end up adding resistance or breaking apart your coalition.

4. Communicating the Vision.

That being said it is of utmost important that once your vision is created that you communicate it effectively. If you come out with a weak ‘war cry’ what warriors will follow you into the fray of change? Those who will be ineffective at championing said change. You could lose some of your supporters, and your guiding coalition could drift away. This would be a devastating loss in the tides of change before you’ve even begun. This is why strong communication is critical. This is also an opportunity to listen to your resistors and see if you can gain from their perspective or even provide them with information about your vision and thus turn them into an ally.

5. Empowering Others to Act on the Vision.

Having a great and crystal clear vision is not enough. If your supporters have no means of implementing it, then you have left them powerless and without any hope of succeeding. You must provide to them the tools for which they can begin to implement it. Without this they may fall victim to infighting as they begin to panic and can see no clear means of victory. This could be training in dealing with those who might oppose the movement for change, or methods of keeping everything organized so that work can be managed. Ultimately you must empower those you hope to lead to victory with whatever means you reasonably can to give them the best chance of success.

6. Planning for and Creating Short-Term Wins.

Since step is critical in any initiative that hopes to win the war. You must make certain that there are smaller steps that can be achieved that lead up to the ultimate goal. This assures a good morale within the camp and allows for momentum to build. If people can feel the change happening, the energy moving onward and upward, then they will work harder to finish what they started. This can also be of great use to silence or convert more resistors and neigh sayers. The less resistance on the other end, the easier it is to get to the goal.

7. Consolidating Improvements and Producing still more Change.

You will make change happen, but once it does you need to know when to take a step back and re-examine what you have already affected. Things may need to be re-shaped before moving forward. Remember you just did all this work to initiate change which you plan to solidify. Do you really want to get to the end and realize you solidified something that will now require an entirely new change initiative to fix? From here you have to keep your head up and remember you aren’t done yet. There is still more change to produce.

8. Institutionalizing New Methods.

If it doesn’t stick then you’ve wasted all the efforts. This is the phase where you go down and make sure every thing is going the way it was intended. Have we changed? Yes. Then lets keep doing what we are doing until it becomes the way of things.

*9. Performance Measurement

If you can’t measure your change then have you actually altered anything? Probably not. How do you know when you’ve succeeded and the movement has accomplished its goals? When someone says, “This is the way we do things here.”

Sine Cera

The Gift and the Curse of Tunnel Vision.

We’ve all had it. We get into this narrow view of something and it just sucks us in. We get drawn in closer and closer. Before too long we’ve forgotten all about looking to our right and left. In other words we have overlooked plenty of information that may have changed how we would have acted. This is dangerous. It can cause all sorts of problems in our day to day lives as well as have significant long term effects. Sounds like a good thing to avoid then right?

Why would we develop such a habit if it could lead to such awful outcomes?

When you need to focus on something it often helps to block out everything else. This can be a huge benefit if we are studying for a test or focusing on getting that end of week report in. If you couldn’t shut out all the unnecessary information your brain is processing you wouldn’t be able to get much done. So tunnel vision is actually a good thing.

Where we run into a problem is when we don’t examine all the details/perspectives before tunneling in. What do I mean? Let us pretend you have a test on Friday morning. On Tuesday you decide, “I’m going to zone in and make sure I am prepared to crush the test.” This is great. You will most likely go on to do this. OH NO you forgot all about redoing a paper from last Friday due Wednesday morning. Ahh. You see this wouldn’t have been a problem if you had examined all the details of your situation before getting tunnel vision. It could have been avoided if you took a casual step back though.

It really gets to be an issue when we get emotionally charged. When we have failed to examine our situations for quite some time and then remain in tunnel vision. We go forward thinking we know exactly how to handle the situation because we are so sure of ourselves. This is where we can do some real damage. This is where we need to be careful with our words and actions.

So what can we do? 

From time to time ask yourself, “Have I taken a good step back before I tunnel in any further?” Have I examined my situations lately? If something doesn’t seem right… Then it may be wrong! Go ahead and step out of that tunnel and look around to make sure everything is in order. You are allowed to take some time to do this! I know we want to focus in. It is natural to assume everything is right and ordered for us to move forward and execute. Just be certain to examine the peripherals every now and then. It can’t hurt. It can only improve awareness and lead to making the best possible decision more often!

Have you been keeping something in the peripheral lately?
Take a breath. Now take a look ‘around’

Training Your Mind to Effectively Communicate

It can be easy to sit back and just let someone’s words slip past you. We’ve all done it before.

Wife: “Hey honey, I’ve got a really busy afternoon with this Voyer account, so I don’t think I’ll be able to grab groceries before picking up the kids. Do you think you could try to get over there on your way home and grab some things. Can you grab some fresh apple cider too? I want to make some apple cider bread tomorrow.”

Husband#1: Yeah, sure thing. Got it.”

This isn’t the most effective response for showing that you’ve listened. In fact, if this is how you respond to most things people say to you, it’s pretty weak. This isn’t about whether you understand the other person, it’s about effectively showing the other person that you understand. It builds stronger relationships and prevents misunderstandings.

Wife: “Hey honey, I’ve got a really busy afternoon with this Voyer account, so I don’t think I’ll be able to grab groceries before picking up the kids. Do you think you could try to get over there on your way home and grab some things. Can you grab some fresh apple cider too? I want to make some apple cider bread tomorrow.”

Husband#2: Yes I can do that, I know you have been working really hard on that account all month. You get the kids and leave the groceries to me. I’ll grab two gallons, I love your cider bread. Is there anything else you’d like me to make sure and grab?

Obviously this is generic, but you can catch it if you look for it in your daily interactions. This has nothing to do with being a good or bad husband. This is simply communicating to other humans in a manner that shows them you have listened. It can be used in any day to day interaction. It does require practice. This means training yourself to ACTUALLY LISTEN and show that you’ve done so. You don’t want to be sitting there silent while you think, “How can I make it clear that I’ve understood?” – you want that kind of active listening to be a reflex.

One way this can be accomplished is by way of repeating key words. In this hypothetical example, a salesperson and a merchant are ‘communicating’

Merchant: We don’t really have the time for this because we’ve had offers like it before and they didn’t work out. The timing on this project is going to be critical and I can’t have it fail to take off. That kind of thing is bad for the image we’re trying to put out there and following through is a big thing for us.

Salesperson: Well you don’t have to worry about anything like that because if you just look at these numbers I can show you how great of an offer this is for you. You’d be crazy not to jump on it.

Okay… how do you think this Merchant is going to respond? Did the Salesperson actively listen to what was said? Obviously not. He certainly heard what was said, but they failed to give anything more than a rote, generic response that did not address the merchant’s concerns. Such a response shows the merchant that his concerns do not matter, regardless of whether or not the offer’s potential benefits do indeed nullify them. Let’s try effectively communicating by showing we understood. Pick up on, and utilize key words to get more information that will be sure to aid you in avoiding misunderstandings!

Merchant: We don’t really have the time for this because we’ve had offers like it before and they didn’t work out. The timing on this project is going to be critical and I can’t have it fail to take off. That kind of thing is bad for the image we’re trying to put out there and following through is a big thing for us.

Salesperson: When you say ‘we’, does that imply that there is someone else who needs to be present in order for this decision to be made? It seems similar offers were tried in the past and they did not go so well for you, what were these offers? Why is the timing on this project more critical than in the past, have previous offers failed to deliver up to expectations? What kind of image are you trying to give off, and does it have anything to do with being reliable?  Let me show you here why following through is a big thing for us too.

Which salesperson showed they listened better? The answer is clear. Which one is more likely to build better relations with the merchant? No contest. The second salesperson is an effective communicator. The first one is not going to go very far. What did the first one effectively communicate? Basically that everything the merchant said doesn’t matter as much as getting the sale. No investment of mental is being made. That’s not a good message to relay to a potential relation. The second person made it clear that this is important. It was clear they were looking to understand the situation as in depth as possible. They were vested in the success of the project. That’s a great message to relay.

You want to train your mind to move quickly and effectively to communicate that you’ve listened. This means actually listening and actively showing it.  Now remember this takes practice. It’s a skill that you hone each moment that you spend interacting with others, but only if you CHOOSE to hone it. It’s a choice: to lazily let words slide over you and brush the other person off with generic responses, or to expend a little extra mental energy and with time become a truly great listener. Lastly, keep in mind that with great listening comes greater trust from others. Do not abuse this trust. The rat race of modern society is full enough of nefarious scheming individuals out solely for personal gain. Please, don’t waste all your natural human warmth and genuine fraternity to become one of them.