December 13, 2021

Deciding to Decide

A choice can require additional data or more time. Members of the team need further deliberation to make an informed call. The customer has to check budget allocations. You're unsure it’s aligned with the overall strategy.

Waiting can be justified but excuses can also be the reason we wait. Some decisions require time, others aren't made because we're in the way.

We look for leadership to be decisive and crisp. It’s about helping people get better, keeping everyone on track, and getting stuff done. But it isn't always smooth in real life. How often have you finally pulled the pin and the relief quickly replaces your fear?

Some inspiration as we deliberate:

The only person you really have control over is yourself.
Deborah Reber

It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.
Tony Robbins

When you make the right decision, it doesn't really matter what anyone else thinks.
Caroline Kennedy

Peacefulness follows any decision, even the wrong one.
Rita Mae Brown

Almost any decision is better than no decision at all.
Brian Tracy

Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

What's your decision?
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December 3, 2021

Eat Play Love

Move more. Envy less. Sing more. Cling less. Accomplish more. Show less. Complain less. Live more. Compare less. Contribute more. Annoy less. Enjoy more. Worry less.

Fulfill more. Take less. Focus more. Talk less. Start more. Eat less. Laugh more. Work less. Give more. Regret less. See more. Ignore less. Progress more. Criticize less. Invent more. Renounce less. Embrace more. Spend less. Share more. Measure less.

Collaborate more. Upset less. Dream more. Irritate less. Write more. Doubt less. Read more. Whine less. Accomplish more. Drink less.

Listen more. Waste less. Smile more. Own less. Learn more. Say less. Help more. Use less. Connect more. Stop less. Play more. Hope less. Communicate more. Skim less.

Thank more. Fret less. View more. Reflect less. Originate more. Copy less.

Do more. Love more. Share more.
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November 23, 2021

Motivation

They say we have to do what we're passionate about and what will motivate us. Is that a job? A salary? A promotion? A career change? A new relationship? A new city?

To say we have to follow our passion isn't the entire task. Dan Pink looks at 50 behavioral triggers that motivate us.


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November 4, 2021

Newsflash: You are in Sales

Yes, we're all in sales, but I'm referring to a career that has defined metrics. You sell, you survive. You don't sell, your commission is affected. You park your laptop on a desk in the “sales department” kind of sales. You have numbers you need to hit this quarter, kind of sales. You eat what you kill, kind of sales. It's one thing for your performance to be measured by how you do your job. It's much different to be judged by the actual money you actually bring in the actual door. 

Sales is the transference of trust, so you must build strong relationships. Sales can be a grind and not for those with delicate digestive tracts. It's common for those not in sales to think the sales department will do anything for a buck. After all, they are rewarded in their pay stubs if they sell more stuff. That couldn't be farther from the truth. If you don't respect and believe in what you're selling, making numbers will be a guess at best. 

Numbers and People 

I've spent almost twenty years of my career selling myself long before selling any product or service. That isn't an easy process and the self-ringing phone has yet to be invented. Sales is not easy, but if you have the right product or service, and most importantly, support of your team and management, it can be exciting and rewarding. 

To those in sales, you have my upmost gratitude and respect. To those who are not in a sales role, I have an idea for you  try it for just one day.

You will gain a entire new perspective. __________________________________________________________________

October 17, 2021

Trusting Our Gut

We've heard it a thousand times. You're in a situation, you aren't sure what to do, and some self-proclaimed wise person tells you to trust your gut. But is it really that simple? 

Human intuition is powerful and can potentially be dangerous. I think I'm of sound mind and my ideas are right and so do you. But we may think completely different. So who's right? Both of us? Neither of us? That's the tough question. 

Intuition and Facts 

The Harvard Business Review published an article in 2003 entitled Don't Trust Your Gut

In the piece, the author Eric Bonabeau wrote; "One decision-making tool - human intuition - seems to offer a reliable alternative to painstaking fact gathering and analysis. Encouraged by scientific research on intuition, top managers feel increasingly confident that, when faced with complicated choices, they can just trust their gut." 

Science Based Wisdom 

Bonabeau goes on to state; "Anyone who thinks that intuition is a substitute for reason is indulging in a risky delusion." So when we trust our gut, experience, or intuition, are we doing it void of scientific realities or known facts? Or are we looking at those facts and making a judgement call through our lens and experience? Perhaps a mix of both. 

When you think of something you tried for the first time in your career. Perhaps a new gig or new department; maybe it was a new concept or project. Did you go blindly into the abyss ignoring all facts in front of your or did you measure what you could then made a judgement call on the direction? 

Dreamers and Billionaires 

We look at people like Elon Musk, Oprah Winfrey, and Jeff Bezos and call them visionaries. But I'm of the mind to suggest they didn't create an electric car company, rocket corporation, media empire, and online shopping conglomerate in a vacuum without facts and realities. I agree with Bonabeau that we can't just fly off the handle in the face of contradictory facts and trust our gut. But our intuition gets at least a vote. 

If you want to test your gut, asking others for their opinions may just add their gut into the mix and then you may be even further from a successful solution. But as President Regan famously stated, trust but verify. We should keep ourselves in check by checking with the facts. Eventually we'll have to make a decision and it may not always be successful. But one thing is for sure.

Indecision can create doubt even in our gut. __________________________________________________________________

October 7, 2021

Destination: Home Office

Over a dozen years ago, I wrote a bunch of articles for a national Canadian newspaper publication. I stumbled on my notes recently and one of the pieces rang true with regards to the current state of affairs. With the onslaught of Covid-19 over 18 months ago, many (most?) of us had to re-adjust our working environment and many (most?) have remained in that scenario. 

Companies had to set people up in order to work from home while employees had to adjust with the fact that family life and work life were potentially forever merged. This article was about the home office. 

Why do we work? 

To sustain a lifestyle, feed our children, save for the future, go on vacation, and buy some toys? A lot has been written about the reasons why we get up in the morning and some feel it falls in to three categories (and I agree); to make money, to make a name for ourselves, or to make a difference.

We are fortunate to live in a time and place where we can make choices and enjoy a high standard of living – no matter what our profession. For decades, the model has been office spaces featuring people in offices or cubicles toiling at desks on computers for eight hours each day. 

If you are currently working at home or thinking seriously about doing so, there are rudimentary issues you must keep in mind. When setting up a home office, your headspace is as important as your workspace.   

Dress Code: If you get up each morning, shower, and get ready for work, you will be in a better place to stay focused. Surfing on your iPhone while in sweat pants may limit your ability to stay on track. 

Technology: With personal digital assistants, video conferencing, email, and smartphones, we have the capacity to transform and redesign our vocational surroundings. Work can literally be done anywhere. However, frequently updating your Facebook status may limit your career growth. 

Research: If you don’t need a video capabilities for your work, it’s best not turn any on while you are working in your home office. The temptation will be too great to “take breaks”. Watching hours of cat videos on YouTube does not count as research. 

Refreshments: I can’t speak for you, but my home office is usually overflowing with the aroma of coffee while I’m sifting through the morning emails. But you have to be very careful! The refrigerator can be your enemy. It’s best to insure that the office-to-fridge excursion is difficult to navigate. Keep the two as far apart as humanly possible. Having eighteen snacks a day in lieu of getting the report done will hinder productivity. 

Collaboration: Limit your time commiserating with other home office colleagues. How ever tempting, thinly disguised daily business meetings with friends at coffee shops will divert potential success – for both parties. 

Planning: The Internet is not a toy. Researching what you will buy when you’re rich before you get your actual work done will catch up with you.

Meetings: Full conversations out loud to yourself whilst alone are permitted; that counts as a staff meeting. Beer alone at Noon is not a working lunch. 

Assistants: If you have pets, resist the temptation of feeling bad every time you get a coffee refill and the dog thinks it’s time to play. Please remember that cohabitating with a canine would not be fun in your car while you look for another job.

Focus: It is important to build in rules and creature comforts to your working space within your living space. So take breaks, be comfortable, but don’t expect miracles to happen if your 3pm meeting each day is with Netflix. Working at home can be extremely gratifying, but it is still work. 

If you can create an office space within your home space which cohabitates with your mind space, you may never want to be stuffed into a cubicle again.

Good luck!
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September 21, 2021

Wanted: Real Leaders

I live in Canada and we had our second national election in two years this week. The government spent over $600M CDN on an election that resulted in absolutely no change in power or the configuration of our national political landscape. 

Like many parts of the world, we are experiencing the fourth covid wave yet my government felt it necessary to hold an election no one could afford to garner no new results. Why is that? It's simple - power. The ruling party - the Liberals under leader Justin Trudeau - wanted a majority government so they could run the country however they wanted with no opposition. 

Great leaders wanted 

They got another minority government which means the other parties can influence decisions. It also means, we are in the exact same place we were before this election. Additionally, word is that we may have another election in less than two years while the two biggest parties continue to lob mud at each other getting nothing accomplished during a pandemic. 

The topic of what makes a great leader has been debated since humans could say the word. When you think of the values a mentor has brought to you, it's often those intangible aspects which are more difficult to define. It's tough to be thrown into a new role when you may be good at the work but not as well versed at the people part. 

It's about the math

It’s easy to point to those who have handled leadership with grace but it's not a skill you learn in short order. And it can certainly be a balancing act when the company continually reminds you profit is the goal. That is even more complex when discussing political leadership of a democratic country when the Liberals won the election with less votes than the Conservatives where each got about 30% of the 65% of registered voters. Just imagine running a company with those metrics.

Words such as power and fear may be the reasons why strong balanced leadership is often as rare as great customer service. But despite the election this week that changed nothing, I am proud that I have the privilege to vote which is not something all humans have the ability to do. While politicians and pontificators throw jabs, I have an idea. 

 Let's be kind to each other.
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September 8, 2021

Motivation

They say we have to do what we're passionate about and what will motivate us. Is that a job? A salary? A promotion? A career change? A new relationship? A new city?

To say we have to follow our passion isn't the entire task. Dan Pink looks at 50 behavioral triggers that motivate us.


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August 16, 2021

I'll Go First

I do wake up at 4am wondering if my life is fulfilled. It may not be the same time on the clock for you, but I'm going to guess I'm not alone. I worked with a guy early in my career who was instrumental in my professional development. He was awesome, in fact. And he passed away earlier this month. He was about 15 years older than me and now I'm thinking about what will I do in the next decade and a half that will matter. 

I get lost. I get scared. Sometimes I don't know what to do next. Occasionally I forget that I do have gifts to give the world and just to keep going. I can say the same for you. There are times when I wonder if it will all work out. Of course, worrying with no action won't get me anywhere, so I give myself a mental kick in the backside and keep going. 

What Have We Learned? 

We are still in a global pandemic and if the conversations I've had over the least 18 months are anything like the ones you've had, people are stressed but wondering what they want to truly do with their lives to be happy. I spoke with a colleague this week I hadn't spoken with in probably a decade. She and her partner are thinking seriously about dumping their careers, selling their house, getting rid of most of their stuff, and moving to Costa Rica to help others. That's so cool and brave. 

I don't suggest we have to go to those lengths to find happiness, but doing the same crap we've been doing for the last couple of decades may not be working either. So yeah, there are early mornings when I wonder what I could be doing to better my life and the lives of others. And that's okay because I will be more worried when I stop thinking about those things. 

Now it's your turn.
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August 1, 2021

Perspective

We love stories. They give our lives perspective. They help give context to concepts we share. If we can present a new idea that resonates with the audience, it holds more credibility. But if I share an idea with you, you don’t just digest what I'm saying; your beliefs, perceptions, and point of view come into play. Your experience and bias is always part of the equation. 

The same happens with team culture. If you work in an environment that encourages sales at all costs but you prefer building relationships first, your time will be challenged. Those who measure success solely by financial gain may tell you to just make more calls because their perspective is relationships are a numbers game. 

 It’s the way we do it around here 

 If your leadership style is to give a good portion of your time to help the development of your people to in turn grow the bottom line; someone who tells you the best way to motivate people is through fear, will be a recipe for conflict. The stories we tell ourselves are powerful. They feed our narrative, perspective, and beliefs. They can become our truth regardless of reality or facts. 

And it gets even trickier when you have culture comprised of people from different demographics, psychographics, or points of view. This is not to suggest teams succeed when everyone thinks the same way - just the opposite - but if we become rigid, we can close ourselves off from even better ideas. 

Turning the camera around 

If you have a belief embedded deep inside you, it will require enormous energy for me to first convince you another stance and then share my view. 

Multiple that dynamic by hundreds or thousands in an organization and you can quickly see how the power of story can morph into complication. But if we accept our differing points of view, we both win. 

 The stories we tell ourselves can also get in our way.
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July 13, 2021

Your Next Want

You've said it; you’ve heard it; you’ve been asked it - what do you want? It’s a huge question and most of us have a list. It’s too much to ask. I want to be financially stable. I want a puppy. I want to have millions. I want to retire. I want to live in a lakefront mansion and sip iced tea all day.

We all dream of winning the lottery. We all let our minds wander to places where we perceive our problems will vanish and life will be endless bliss. It's like the old story of the nine year old boy who is once asked; "So Sam, what do you want to be when you grow up?" and Sam quickly replies; "I wanna be rich!" 

Tougher Done Than Said

It took me years to grasp the concept of the fear of success. It sounded counterintuitive. The fear of failure, to me, is easy to understand. You don't want to fall on your face or run out of money or have to give up things you have your life. The embarrassment of failing is terrible. But, what about our fear of what we will do if what we try actually works? How will you handle the responsibility of that dream coming true?

The marketing genius Seth Godin once challenged that it's easier to fail small. Complaining about the fact we never amount to anything or we're not meant to win or no one ever gives us a break, is way easier than the unwavering persistence required to achieve something we want.

It's Way Too Big

In my opinion, it's easy to say you want a Bugatti Veyron because odds are pretty good it will never happen. It's much more difficult to identify the small shifts we need to make every day to get to the bigger dreams we possess. My business partner and I have been working on a project for close to a year. There are days we wonder if we are out of our minds. But each day, you push a bit more, ask a little bit more, and keep at it. Giving up now will only make us forever wonder what if we had kept going. 

You have dreams. You have things you want to accomplish. You have stuff that may feel a little out of reach. But I'm willing to bet if you suspend those for just today and think about what you could do right now to get what you need right now or your next want, over time, those bigger things will come clearer into focus. 

Let's try that and see what happens.
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July 3, 2021

Forward Steps Back

I was thinking about a situation that happened a couple of years ago that sucked. Life moved on but I still think about it. I've asked numerous people if they have events they relive in their heads over and over again. The answer is almost always yes because most of us do. But why is that?

I'm not suggesting we don't relive happy memories, but the challenges seem to cut deeper for some reason. Is it perhaps because we are still learning a lesson? I know this, the more we try and not think about those events, the more we think about them. If I was to ask you to not think about an orange elephant riding a motorcycle  good luck getting that image out of your head!

Beware of the Lizard Brain

I'd consider myself a fairly smart dude, so why can't I just tell myself to stop letting something that has already happened, which I cannot change, continue to bug me? It has to do with the part of the limbic system in our brains that is in charge of fight, flight, feed, fear, or freeze. It is our survival mechanism which decides what we do next if we are experiencing stress. It's why we can't seem to get started on the project even though we know the deadline looms.

If we have a situation, current or past, real or imagined, it will react immediately. If we are experiencing or have experienced pain, it will focus solely on that moment. When I think of that event, it's as if I am reliving it over and over again. 

Negative vs Positive

Perhaps this is more prevalent in Western culture, but we seem to do it more often when remembering negative situations over joyous ones. Do we think we don't deserve joy and need to pay for pain? I'm obviously not a psychologist but I think there's something to that. Our frontal lobe is in charge of reasoning, motor skills, higher level cognition, and expressive language. So our complicated brain starts to fight with itself. 

I've started an exercise and like most when you begin, I'm terrible at it, but I'm trying to think of five positive things in my life or events that have happened whenever a negative thought or memory crosses my mind. When I can do it successfully, it actually works. So perhaps you can try it if you can't seem to get past a negative event in your past.

I wonder how the elephant balances on that motorcycle? 
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June 14, 2021

Decide Then Verify

It's been widely reported that the difference between us and the rest of the animal kingdom is apposable thumbs and the ability to reason. And wouldn't it be so much easier if that was the only difference?

We human types are complicated creatures and I suspect our reasoning minds add way more complication than is required to live a successful and contented life. We want more money to buy more things; we want to climb company ladders to achieve bigger titles; we want a nicer house than Bob across the street; the list is endless and most of it is useless to finding happiness or contentment. 

More More More

When we get our first apartment, it's usually filled with hand-me-downs from our parents or family. I think I was well into my 20's before I purchased my very own set of new cutlery (silverware) which went nicely with my very own set of new dishes and cups. 

Fast forward many years and many moves and many sets of dinnerware, and now I have stuff I actually don't even remember buying and why is that? Are we seeking something we can never catch? Is last year's car not good enough for us? Do we really need that food processor that will grate cheese in seconds? And better yet, have we learned anything after experiencing a global pandemic for over a year?

Less is More

I think one of the sources of our unhappiness is that we have no clue what we want or what we'll do when we find it. I recently had to return some items I bought online because they were the wrong size. As I was dropping them off at the courier place, I realized two things  I didn't need the items and have no intention of re-ordering different sizes. What is that? Boredom? I'm not sure.

I guess we can make the case for just about any decision. That's why you can buy a McLaren supercar in hot pink. Our reasoning minds aren't always sound in their decisions. So while we search for something we'll never find, perhaps figuring out what we need and dumping the rest is a good first start?

 Perhaps my parents' old couch was all I needed?
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June 2, 2021

What is Stress?

Merriam-Webster defines stress as to cause or experience physical or emotional tension. It's not an object we can put in our hand or pour into a glass. It's felt on an emotional level, but it can be just as real as a punch in the face. A lot of people are talking and writing about stress these days. A global pandemic will do that.   

You have family and career and health and finances and deadlines and all the other items on your list called your life. The layers seep into each other and affect the results of everything. If you're stressed about the health of a loved one, your work is probably going to take a second seat. If you have financial issues, your family may suffer.  

Real or Imagined? 

You have a deadline for today. A client is waiting and it absolutely has to be delivered. That's stress. Add to that, your boss has called you four times to remind you of the deadline and adds revisions each time. That's added stress. Your partner calls and your child is sick. Then the client calls and wants to ditch the whole idea and start over. That's about when you're ready to throw your laptop. 

I have mentioned this several hundred times on this site, but if I talk about self-inflicted, self-doubt, or self-stress, I know of it only too well. That's where we get into the weeds, as my business partner would say. The client has changed the scope, the kid has the sniffles, and your boss has added useless additions to the deck that is now scrapped.

Reversed Delegation 

A former boss walked into my office one morning just to say hi and see how was I doing. He could tell I was stressed. He asked me what the issues were and if he could help. I admitted I simply had too much on my plate and I didn't want to miss a deadline. 

I usually have a written to-do list next to my laptop and he asked to see it. He grabbed a pen and started putting a line through a lot of the items and handed it back. But I needed to know how he could just arbitrarily take stuff on my list. 

Their List 

He said he had been in most of the meetings where the items were raised, but for some reason I had added them to my to-do list. He told me to send them back to the people who came up with them, ask them to flush them out, and bring them back to me with more ideas of how to accomplish them. He said most of the items will disappear. He told me I was suffering from a serious ailment  reverse delegation.  

The lesson for me was that real deadlines can cause stress but self-created ones that shouldn't be on our list only complicate our lives. Stress is part of life's recipe but we don't need to add any unnecessary ingredients. We can discuss not making everything on our to-do list a top priority in another post. 

Stress is part of life. Adding more than necessary isn't required.
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May 18, 2021

Making Other Plans

One of my all-time favorite artists is John Lennon. His musical legacy is legendary; his views on politics and peace are well-documented. And he was aptly quoted once saying; "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." And it's so true. 

We are on the second lap of the calendar on this global pandemic. The end might be in sight but we actually have absolutely no idea when that will arrive. I have had my first of two vaccine shots and my second isn't until August. You may still be waiting for your first. Multiply that by seven billion humans and this thing is going to take a while. Please keep wearing your mask!

What is normal?

During the last year or so, I've noticed several trends. There are friends and colleagues who are out of work waiting for the company to call them back. Others are getting adjusted to a life of working from home and having to stay home around the clock. And others are making plans for what happens in their lives. I walked away from a situation that wasn't serving me, and near the end, some may have thought I wasn't serving it. And that is life. 

But the point for me was that I had to make other plans for my life. Whatever bucket you find yourself in right this minute, it isn't easy. My folks always encouraged me to try things as I grew up. If I had told them I wanted to be a clown in the circus, they would have told me to be the best clown that ever existed. But it's not up to others to break down those barriers to our plans. It's up to us. Others can help, but we have to write the book or build the wall or paint the canvas ourselves. 

We are not born with fear

Fear is something we learn over a lifetime of shortfalls and mistakes. We think it protects and guides us but all it does is stop us. I have an Olympic gold medal in fear. It's easier to blame circumstances or age or finances or a myriad other reasons as to why we don't follow our gut to reach our dream. 

If you have a seed of an idea, share it with someone you trust and ask for feedback. If the idea is taking shape, reach out and ask for help. If you have never truly asked for help - I can promise you two things. It will be scary at first and you will get better at it. 

 Life happens whether we make plans or not. 
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May 4, 2021

Is Patience a Virtue?

It may be true that waiting is admirable but how often does it fit into our business goals and plans? We want the new idea started - NOW! We want the results - NOW! We want the changes we suggested implemented - NOW! But we know deep down that patience still rules the day.

I once had a boss who proclaimed that everything he did was "ready shoot aim". So he thought of an idea, fired it against the wall, cleaned up the mess, and examined what was left. In my opinion, the "ready aim shoot" approach is well-tested and the better strategy. We often aim too long and don't execute anything. Paralysis by analysis as many have called it. Maybe my old boss was right; stop overthinking and take the shot.

C'mon I Don't Have All Minute!

I think I was about 12 when I walked into the kitchen and my dad was standing in front of the microwave waiting for his warmed up coffee. He looked agitated. I thought, wow he can't wait 37 seconds for hot coffee? That image has stuck with me all the years since.

We do it all the time. We think we are being patient when inside our impatience is running a muck. We're looking at the clock, calendar, phone, or website, and wondering why the answer, result, or solution isn't there instantaneously.

Calm Down

Another cliché - never in the history of humankind has anyone calmed down by being told to calm down. It incenses us when we're uptight and someone tells us to chill. It's not that the guidance isn't based in reality or caring, but our emergency needs to be the world's priority - NOW!

I'm working on a project right now that has taken far longer than I originally anticipated. It's not the project's fault or those involved; it's my expectations that are faulty. I know this takes time and I'm battling excitement and perhaps a dash of panic to get it done. We don't want to calm down but if we do, it may make the inevitable waiting more bearable. And how often have you thought about a better idea while you are impatiently stewing over the current results?

The solution may lie in our patience after all. __________________________________________________________________

April 20, 2021

Burning Bridges

We've heard it since we were kids. It's sage advice, but not always possible in the heat of the moment. I'll tell you a quick story of when I could have burned a bridge, chose not to, and it changed my life completely. 

Over twenty years ago, I was working in an organization going through significant employee reductions. The day came when the envelope was slid toward me on the desk and I was walking to my car with eight years of my career in a box under my arm. 

Life Isn't Fair

I was hurt and angry. I could have called them every name imaginable. My choice was to take a deep breath, force my chin up, and move on with my life. It was incredibly difficult. Three years later, the company called me back and I was there for another seven. 

That original decision not to burn that bridge, propelled me into other opportunities. Most of the other people who were gassed that day, burned the bridge and the river it was on and never worked in the industry again. 

 Lessons Learned

Sometimes we get the short end of the stick and that sucks. But I learned from that experience and many since; if you are a good person and you don't stab people in the back, it will pay back huge dividends. 

I'm working on a project right now that requires me to call numerous people I once worked with, partnered with, did projects with, and I am happy to report they're taking my call. I'm not suggesting every call turns into millions nor am I saying that it's enough to move this project forward on its own.

Your Character Precedes You 

If I had been a complete jerk and burned bridges along the way, those calls would have gone unanswered. Our reputation goes farther than we even know. 

If you're human with people, respect their time, and ask for their advice, you will be surprised what happens. They will help, they will suggest ideas, and they will make other introductions for you. 

If we burn bridges, we better be prepared to do a lot of swimming.
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April 6, 2021

Our Brain 1-2-3

It’s often said that we use a small percentage of the potential of our brain. There are things we can overcome, do, create, and accomplish, if we access additional information and abilities within it and ourselves. Teamwork, trust, and collaboration are becoming even more important in the workplace. Competencies are important, abilities are critical, but where companies find success is when the connections between us strengthen.

Tom Wujec is an information designer who explains in his TEDTalk three areas of our brain that help us understand words, images, feelings, and connections and how to better help us understand bigger ideas and possibilities.


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March 12, 2021

A Year in the Life

We first heard about some virus in Asia. It looked bad. Then really bad. Then we heard that story of China building entire hospitals in a matter of weeks. Then the World Health Organization put a name to it  PANDEMIC! It felt like it was something happening in a movie or at the very least to someone else. 

A year later, it's happening to all of us. It has felt like a decade and an instant.  

We covered the 1918 Spanish flu in history class. It looked like something that could never happen these days. Yet it did. A year ago the world turned off the lights and shut the doors and most of its restaurants and offices. A large percentage of the world had to learn to work from home and millions lost their jobs. Lives were changed; lives were lost.

Stay the Course 

It is kind of adorable when you can still hear people proclaim they can't wait until things get back to normal. Yeah, normal left the building and is it not returning. The new normal has taken over. My life has forever changed in many ways  has yours?

The new normal is yet to be defined and it may take years for us to adjust. Remote work, social distancing, and masks have replaced hugging loved ones and going out for a night of food and drinks with friends. Even as we all await our turn to be vaccinated, we still have a long wait for this new normal to become somewhat stable.

Lost track of time

When this all started, I was glued to the news  on my phone, tablet, tv, every waking hour checking numbers regularly and then checking the websites. I was watching social feeds and I'm sure we ran into each other doing the same. Here in Canada, we have been somewhat fortunate but it's heartbreaking to see the attitude of some who disbelieve this is real while more lives are lost.

I never leave the house without a mask on and I obey all of the protocols, I've become numb. How are you doing? Have you let your guard down? Have you become fed up with all this yet? Of course, me too. But we have no choice. Two members of my extended family have died from Covid-19 and about half a dozen professional colleagues have gotten the virus and since recovered. 

The flipside

But what good has come out of the last twelve months? Maybe you have even better friendships? Perhaps you've thought long and hard about the changes you want to make in your career? Possibly now is the exact time to follow that dream or idea and go for it?

We've come too far and far too many people have lost their lives already. We have to continue to wear our mask, wash our hands, and keep socially distanced. And for those who think making eye contact and saying hello will get you infected, we don't have to lose our manners while being careful. 

Stay safe!
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March 2, 2021

The Stories We Tell Ourselves

Stories give our lives perspective. They offer context to concepts we share. If we present a new idea that resonates with the audience, it holds more credibility. If I share an idea with you, you don’t just digest what I'm saying; your beliefs, perceptions, and point of view come into play. Your experience and bias is always part of the equation.

The same happens with team culture. If you work in an environment that encourages sales at all costs but you prefer building relationships first, your time will be challenged. Those who measure success solely by financial gain may tell you to just make more calls because their perspective is relationships are a numbers game.

That's not how we do it here

If your leadership style is to give a good portion of your time to help the development of your people to in turn grow the bottom line; someone who tells you the best way to motivate people is through fear, will be a recipe for conflict.

The stories we tell ourselves are powerful. They feed our narrative, perspective, and beliefs. They can become our truth regardless of reality or facts. It gets trickier when you have culture comprised of different demographics, psychographics, or points of view. 

What's your opinion?

This is not to suggest teams succeed when everyone thinks the same way - just the opposite - but if we become rigid, we can close ourselves off from even better ideas.

If you have a belief embedded deep inside you, it will require enormous energy for me to first convince you another stance and then share my view. Multiple that dynamic by hundreds or even thousands in an organization and you can quickly see how the power of story can morph into complication. The dangerous part is this bias can hide inside what some may mistake as company culture. 

If we consider our differing points of view, we both might win.

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February 22, 2021

Just Like Me

In grade school, we were new at the relationship thing, so we usually gravited to kids who shared our interests and were just like ourselves. As we grew older, we hung out with kids who liked what we like just like ourselves.

As we entered the workplace, we grabbed a drink with the people who seemed to be cool just like ourselves. As we built our careers, had grown up relationships, and even raised a family, we would spend our fleeting spare time talking and hanging out with old friends just like ourselves.

What do you think?

When we ask for opinions, it's easy to ask for input from people just like ourselves. The challenge is to break through those norms we have built since grade school and ask new opinions, fresh perspectives, and maybe even contradictive points of view.

I don't remember who said it, but the adage goes like this: when you're building your business, tell your friends and family all about it; get that out of your system; then get the real work of building your business. I'm not sure we should gloss over the first part. 

We spend our formative years with people just like ourselves and then we are told to be open to people who are not like ourselves. That might be wise counsel as long as we don't devalue our own opinions and thoughts. After all, I'd like to think by the time the world steps it, we may have a good idea or two. 

Our opinion counts too.
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February 1, 2021

TikTok Now

One of my colleagues sent me a post from TikTok by Mel Robbins. In it, she outlines her key tenets to life. I told my friend that I had seen Mel's TEDTalk and posted it here a couple of times. In fact, the first time I posted this video was a decade ago. 

 Her message has never been more relevant that it is right now.

 
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January 1, 2021

What's New With You?

It's a new year after a crap year that we hope is a great year. I don't know about you, but the end of the year usually brings me the most reflection. It's as good a time as any to review the past 12 months and make some plans and ideas for the next 12 months.

We have all spent WAY too much time watching our screens and seeing bad news, so it's not easy to make plans per se when we don't know what normal is anymore. Nonetheless, we have to remain diligent. Vaccines are coming and we have to keep our masks on and our social distancing in place.

What Day is It? 

 I have lost count how many times I've had to check my phone to discover what day of the week it is and time seems to be flying by. Days pass like a few hours and months feel like a few days. it's weird, isn't it? 

I'm among the tens of millions of humans on the planet whose career was affected by the Covid-19 virus. In my case, I may have pushed a bit to make it fully happen as it felt like the perfect time but perhaps most would have disagreed.

So as I embark on new adventures, I hope you will take even a few moments during this once in many lifetime chance to allow yourself to dream a bit. 

Perhaps this is the time to look at staring that business or making a shift in something that is stuck in your life. One thing is for sure, it is never easy to make a change. 

Stay safe and be kind to yourself.
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