Tragedy of Achievements

It is a tragedy when we constantly overshadow achievements because we’ve inundated a specific channel; It can hold water up to the ceiling, so it should right?

It is easy to overlook; forgetting the importance one plays in a role, or the victory attained by even the smallest of tasks. But isn’t timing everything? How can one accomplish every bit alone? Without the gatherer how can the builder construct what the visionary has planned? It doesn’t happen alone, nor does anything achieved truly happen without others. This is not to say someone deserves all the same glory or spoils as the true laborer. No, not at all – But not none at all either! It takes very little to make it understood that it was done with support of others, that even though not of great significance in the grand scheme, still deserves the warmth of light of gratitude. The time frame was achieved together. The willingness to show that gratitude takes a graciousness that speaks depths of a character.

And character, after all, is the story of your entirety. Will it be a tragedy of achievements, or will it an epic performance? One that, from whatever gods there are, will deserve a spirited ovation, a sure nod for respect given.

 

*I spelled achievements wrong* how embarrassing

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Attitude Is Everything

How are you approaching the day to day events in your life lately?

Are you swallowing them to get by, taking the hits, hoping it will get better as time eases the pains of reality?  If this is working for you, great!  Content isn’t so bad. But are you offering the world all it deserves out of you?

A lot of people wake up and go about their day with a negative, complacent, or quitters attitude. They think they understand everything; That they know all the answers. That they can just snap their figures and succeed. When things don’t work out to their delight, they get pissy because they want the world to be given with minimal effort.

IT DOESN’T COME TO YOU; IT WILL NOT BE HANDED TO YOU.

You have to chase after what you want like the last train taking off. If you don’t get on that train, you will never get where you are trying to go. NEVER. Read it again.

In case you didn’t read it again: You have to chase after what you want like the last train taking off. If you don’t get on that train, you will never get where you are trying to go.

 

That’s right. Read a third time! It’s the last train. You have somewhere you really need to be. You are not on the train. The train is moving away from the station.
There will be no more trains to take you to your destination for the rest of your life.
What will you do?

Whatever it takes; Start chasing.
If that was your answer then good.

But most people aren’t serious about it. They say they are.
But when rubber hits the pavement, there is not a bit of traction.

The pretenders. The false faces. The self-deluding. The victims. The self doubters. They all lack one thing that could change everything for them. What is it? If you haven’t figured it out yet – Attitude – They simply don’t have the right one. Stop kidding around. The fools get hung at dawn. Are you going to do something or are you going to throw your hands up to the sky and wait for someone to pick you up and carry you away?

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In following posts I will examine attitude more in depth in case you just haven’t had that break through we’re looking for yet!

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

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.

The Art of: Listening Effectively

There are many skills which can be learned to assist us in our daily strive towards ‘success’

A very powerful skill is the art of listening effectively. This means actively listening. Not hearing in order to respond, but paying attention so that you can understand. Often times when someone is telling us something we just hear it. If we were asked to respond and actively show understanding on some level it doesn’t always articulate the best. This is because listening effectively is a honed skill. Most of us are never taught it, and only after much trial and error do we discover it. That is if at all.

When someone tells us a story they don’t give us the coffee black. What I am saying is they add filler. Instead of saying, “Big smile, happy, dinner, promotion.” There is a lot more than the summary going on. Here’s what I mean.

John entered the room light as a feather. He high fived Joe with vigor 4 times in a manner reminiscent of Russell Brand. Joe kind of brushed it off as John’s usual quirkiness. John looked around excitedly, turning his head every which way 5 or 6 times. It appeared as if he was about to spill like a bag of skittles on a black quarts countertop. His cheeks were flushed roseate; he was dressed sharply. As john approached me he took a huge breath. “Mike, you are not going to believe what just happened! I was on my way to work and wasn’t feeling too hot. Spilled my cinnamon spiced pumpkin latte. Then I got a call from my boss and I thought oh sweet strawberry rhubarb pie this can’t be good.” John sped up his pace. “I had just got into a fight with Suzy this morning over who was going to tell the kids we couldn’t go to Santa Cruz, and Sarah just wouldn’t stop, she was barking since 4:40 am, this morning was a hellish ride on one of those Gravitron things,” John took a breath finally. “Oh right my boss called and he said, “John I’d like you and Suzy to come out to dinner at Jaconin’s with Henry, our wives, and I tonight. Don’t be late this is a big deal.” He shot up again, “I forgot he also mentioned he wanted me to bring you! Wear that gray suit you’re always looking for an excuse to look like Zac Efron in.”

I kind of sunk blue in my skin. Looking at John with a fake smile. Clearly he was exuberant. I didn’t want to kill his vibe. I told him, “that’s great.” I continued after a brief pause, “I don’t know if I can make it tonight though. I’m going to be busy here at work all day and I’ve got to go out to the suburbs and drop off that old bed. Then I was thinking of having a night to myself.”

John replied, “Hey how about me and you drop that thing off on the way. I’ll have Suzy drop the kids off at Mark and Roxanne’s. Then we can meet up with her in the parking lot and all go in together. I laughed and said, “That works for me man. Tonight should turn out just fine.” “He just didn’t get it,” I said to myself.

A lot just happened here. The question is how well did YOU actively listen. Without going back tell me how many people were named in those passages. How many colors were used? What kind of animal was mentioned? What’s going on with John? Who was the narrator? What doesn’t John get? What if I had told you before hand this was a test. Would you look for what isn’t there more closely? It’s obvious in this passage that John isn’t reading the signs his friend is sending. He is listening to respond. Not to understand.

This exercise aimed to do two things. Raise awareness about listening for what isn’t there or what isn’t being said, and additionally to teach active listening.

Remember I said we don’t want to hear in order to respond. We want to listen so we  can understand. This builds a better relationship with whomever we are communicating and can lead to much better results. It also avoids potential pitfalls.

At this point in the passage we know John and Mike are going to dinner with John’s boss and whoever Henry is. It appears Mike isn’t as excited even though it would seem like something he should be happy about. We can’t be sure what is going on in Mike’s life, but it seems that there is more to this ‘old’ bed than what meets the eye. It’s also glaring that everyone going to dinner will be with a significant other except for Mike. Mike doesn’t seem thrilled, but tries his best to keep appearances for John’s sake. Mike is a good friend and listens to understand John. There appears to be tension around John not understanding his situation. Potentially this could cause an issue in whatever the ‘big deal’ at dinner is about.

So go ahead and try this out. Find someone who says they are a good listener. Let’s see how well they’ve honed the skill. Tell them you are going to read them a passage. Ask them to listen. Then when you finish tell them if they can answer the questions you’ll give them ten dollars. If they knew about the money before hand how much better would they have actively listened?

I’d be surprised if they could nail all the questions I proposed earlier. Remember that listening actively is a honed skill. You can improve it! Additionally you want to train your mind to move quickly and effectively communicate that you’ve listened. This is something we can work on in another post.

Enjoy your day! Remember you are awesome. and there is no reason you can’t become even greater. Don’t be a dinosaur*

*Mentally. Physically you can go ahead and be a dinosaur because they are the coolest kids.

A Phenomenal Skill for Success and Growth

We need to define success first. So What is it? You could easily call success a whole slew of things. Jordan Belfort claims he doesn’t feel successful unless he is making upwards of $49 million dollars a year. For others money isn’t the crux of their success. That is to say success varies from individual to individual.

So what is success? The secret to success? It’s that success can be whatever you decide. Here we go again. More responsibility. You can handle it though.

Getting up before a certain time, staying positive throughout the day, and keeping your stress level to a minimum; All these things can be great successes. Again it is up to you to decide what is relative to your life.

I woke up at 6 am today and got to most of my morning routine. For me that is a step in the right direction and a success. If you have goals you are looking to accomplish it starts with building momentum. Framing your perspective to celebrate even the small things as victories in your life is a powerful tool. They may not be monumental, but they certainly keep your head up and looking for the positives.

Remember that at some point using the bathroom was a celebrated moment for you. Why would the little things that move us in the right direction of our larger ambitions be overlooked? Without them we wouldn’t be making progress. Yes progress is a success!

Go ahead and determine some small victories or ‘short term wins’ that can build positive momentum and reinforce the path to success you are traveling. I promise it will help a ton in the long run. Write them down. Communicate them to yourself. Don’t be afraid to feel good about the little things you do.

In some of my following posts I will examine more great skills for success, as well as a best practice for acting as a ‘change’ agent.