Friday, June 24, 2011

Gotta Have It

Energy, that is. We’ve all been there – some more than others – wish you had more energy to do more, stay awake longer, or have more concentration. Yeah, you’ve been there.

Jon Gordon, author of The 10-Minute Energy Solution says that, "Everyone has lows. The key is to know when your energy is down and what you can do to turn it around." He maps out a 30-day plan with a simple 10-minute exercise each day to give you a boost physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Here are 10 things you can do:
1. Start your day with a positive energy walk. Step briskly and say what you're thankful for. Think positive thoughts like "I look forward to the rest of the day, the people I'm going to meet, the things I'm going to learn." Or complete these sentences: "I believe that... I trust that..."
2. Neutralize the "energy vampires," the people who drain you. They’re everywhere. Counter their negative comments and attitude with kindness and compassion. Notice something? Another person's negativity can only bring you down if you let it. Like I always say, attitude you give = attitude you get.
3. Lose your mind. No, don't go any more crazy than you already are. Go meditate. Sit in a quiet place. Focus on your breathing. Inhale and think of a word like "so" or "one" or "peace". Exhale and think of the same word or another. (Gordon likes the mantra "so hum".) Repeat with each breath. If a thought floats into your head, let it float out, and focus on your breathing and mantra again. "You want to lose your thoughts, your thinking mind, so you can be one with the moment," Gordon explains.
4. Add play to your day. Run around the yard with your kids or your dog (chase a squirrel). Put on your favorite pick-me-up song and dance. Grab three tennis balls and try to juggle them. Go for a bike ride. Build something out of Legos or Lincoln Logs – remember those? Write the lyrics to your life as a funny country song (and then share it with me!).
5. Connect. Call an old friend you haven't talked to in a while. Invite a coworker to lunch. Drop a line - not by email but by good, old-fashioned pen and paper (wow, what a concept) - to someone you don't see often.
6. Smile and laugh. Walk around your office and smile at your coworkers. They won't think you're strange (probably), just in a good mood. Several times a day, think of a funny joke or experience, and laugh.
7. Let stress go. "Energy is like a river," Gordon says. "Stress blocks it." To get it flowing again, first, list your stresses. Take a deep breath and clench your hands into fists, as if you're holding on to all the stress. Exhale forcefully, opening your hands and throwing your arms wide. Feel your tension release? Good. Say, "I choose not to have my stress. I let it go." Repeat this exercise for each stress you listed and let it go.
8. Pray for someone. It recharges your spiritual batteries. Studies suggest those who have a strong faith are better able to handle adversity. Make a list of people and what they need help and prayers for. Find a quiet spot and get comfortable. Listen to your breath, feel your heart beat. When you're nice and relaxed, pray for each person on your list.
9. Look for signs of grace. Think about the times in your life when you thought something bad happened, but it turned out to be a blessing. It may have happened and you just haven't realized it yet. Write these experiences down. Next time something you didn't want or expect occurs, look back on this list and remind yourself everything happens for a reason, even if you don't see it just yet.
10. Do a little lifting. Giving someone else a lift gives you a lift too. In one study, college students who performed five small acts of kindness a day (such as helping a friend with a paper or visiting an elderly relative) experienced a significant increase in well-being.

What will your five acts of kindness be? Plan two. Then look for three random opportunities to be kind as the day unfolds. If you come across more, keep going! As Gordon says, "Positive energy never decreases by being shared. With each gift, it grows."

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Dare to Expect

What we usually get from people is what we expect to get. If we expect greatness, we'll get greatness. If we expect mediocrity, we'll get mediocrity.

Good leaders expect the BEST from themselves and their staff. Your expectations play a huge role in your own success and they also have a profound effect on the people around you.

ATTITUDE - What you expect from your staff determines your attitude toward them. And those around you reflect your attitudes right back to you - whether those expectations and attitudes are positive or negative. Attitude out=attitude back.

How many have ever worked for, or known, someone who thinks all staff are there just for a job. They have no motivation and will take advantage of any situation that comes along? Wow - that does sound familiar. If that's what the leader believes - that's what the leader will expect - that's how their staff WILL act.

In ALL relationships with others, develop a positive outlook. One that recognizes that they have the very best of intentions - with no ulterior motives.

Hey! Here's another good reason to be positive and expect the best. According to The Longevity Quotient, by Edward L. Schneider, M.D., "researchers interviewed 800 Minnesota residents to assess and rate their optimism levels, then tracked them for 35 years to see how long they lived." And the results? "Regardless of age or sex, the optimists lived longer. The pessimists died prematurely. In fact, for every 10 percent increase in the pessimism index, there were 20 percent more early deaths." That sounds like a pretty decent reason to think positively.

Communicate your expectations! Let your team know you have faith in them, while they might not yet have enough faith on their own. Knowing your expectations of working toward their best and being a positive influence will carry everyone to higher successes.

Friday, June 10, 2011

You ARE Your Staff

You are your staff - Your staff are you. Huh? In other words, the way customers, competition, and your bosses look at you is a direct reflection of your staff . . . and visa versa.

As Lee Cockerell says in his book, Creating Magic: 10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies From a Life at Disney, "your people are your brand". As I've said before, you are not alone. Leadership is not a one way street. If you have remarkable staff, chances are you'll be looked at as remarkable. If you have lazy staff, well, you get the picture.

Just as you would work hard to choose the best materials to create a product or develop the best routine's for your CSRs, you have to choose the right people to create those products and answer those phones. It all really becomes part of your brand - the ability to make the right choices.

Lee uses a great example in his book to illustrate this: "A head chef may be a great culinary artist, but if he or she does not hire the right people, train them well, and inspire them to prepare every single dish perfectly, he or she will quickly end up cooking for one."

A key to your top branding is - hire people with leadership ability and potential. These people think - and perform - differently than your average "it's just a job" employee. They WANT to be there. They WANT to learn and succeed. They WANT the organization to succeed. They'll act as a positive influence on others and help "keep the peace". You think you're stressed? Hire the right people and watch that stress level drop.

Remember - Leadership is not a one man show. You are not alone. You CAN'T be alone. It takes some good planning and smart thinking.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


I had a great time last week at the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) Expo in Orlando. It was actually my first time attending, but definitely won’t be my last.

Networking is so important these days for advancement. One of the best ways to network is by joining associations related to your profession. Just about every profession has at least one association. You can connect with people all over the world through the organizations website (blogs, forums, etc).

With membership in the group usually comes an annual meeting or conference. Now you have a great opportunity to “put faces to the names” and meet many more people (and maybe have a nice vacation mixed in).

At this year’s ASTD Expo I was able to meet one of the great “guru’s” in leadership, Ken Blanchard. That was an extreme honor. You know why you always see pictures of him smiling? Because that’s exactly the way he is. I was able to talk to him for just a couple of minutes, but that was all it took to know that he’d be just a pleasure to be around.

I was also able to meet Kevin Eikenberry, Guy Harris, and Becky Robinson of the Kevin Eikenberry Group. Kevin and Guy wrote the remarkable book, From Bud to Boss, which I had the honor of reading, pre-launch, and writing about here on my blog, Twitter, and Linked2Leadership. What fantastic people they are.

So check out your professional associations. You never know what doors it will open or success it will bring.