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Entries from April 2008

The Magic Ingredient for Living an Abundant Life

I can cite research and statistics all day long and talk about neurological memory and emotional intelligence, but the truth is that none of that matters if you don't have a dream in your heart. Life is best lived with the magic and wonderment of a little child visiting the zoo for the first time...or a little child playing in the rain and jumping in a puddle...or a little child taking great delight in each lick of an ice cream cone. I think you get my point. Seeing something and experiencing something for the first time is exciting, and remember that each new moment in your life is a new experience. It can also be more rewarding when you're dreaming and allowing life to unfold like a magical treasure hunt. See the adventure around you. It's there! While you're looking around you to see the next unfolding mystery, here are some powerful words by Amanda Bradley that have guided me for the past 23+ years and reminded me to live with hope while cultivating the dream in my heart. I hope they inspire you as much as they have inspired me.

Always Have a Dream

Forget about the days when it's been cloudy,
but don't forget your hours in the sun.

Forget about the times you've been defeated,
but don't forget the victories you've won.

Forget about mistakes you can't change now,
but don't forget the lessons that you've learned.

Forget about misfortunes you've encountered,
but don't forget the times your luck has turned.

Forget about the days when you've been lonely,
but don't forget the friendly smiles you've seen.

Forget about the plans that didn't seem to work out right,
but don't forget to always have a dream.

-Amanda Bradley
(Thank you, Amanda!)

Are You TOO Honest? Two Golden Rules for Communicating with Respect

My father used to say "Honesty is the best policy." Of course he would say that as a way to elicit some confession out of me (i.e. Okay, "I" broke the glass.). He'd then couple it with one of his other favorite expressions, "The truth always comes out." These beliefs left me rather neurotic and quite confessional: "Dad, I need to let you know that I went to a party instead of the movies and I was home 15 minutes after my curfew." However, this unbridled truth-telling took a turn and slapped me in the face as I got older.

Some people would call me "direct" while others began to withdrawal. As a manager and employee and human being interacting in a world of other humans, I began to realize that there was a limitation to sharing my truth. Worse, I was inadvertently offending people and ruining my chances of adequately communicating with them if I was TOO honest. I couldn't really tell people "I can't get a word in if you keep talking" and expect them to listen to me after that. I also couldn't get frustrated and declare "Would you please speak up and say what you're thinking?!" to someone that wasn't participating in a discussion.

The reality is that people can be like other countries--we need to approach them by appreciating their differences, learning their language and their culture (personality) while enjoying our vacation (interaction) with them. Here are two golden rules for communicating appropriately with people without blowing it and telling them why you can't communicate with them.

Golden Respect Rule #1 If someone is quiet and withdrawn, give them more space and allow for longer pauses to let them articulate their thoughts. RESIST THE URGE TO SAY WHAT THEY ARE THINKING (You're most likely wrong!).

Golden Respect Rule #2 If you're communicating with a long-winded talker and you want to flee, RESIST THE URGE TO SHUT THEM UP. Instead, try to acknowledge what you've heard them say or how they feel and then you can let them know you're a bit short on time (LONG-WINDED TALKERS STOP TALKING IF THEY FELT HEARD, BUT TALK MORE OR EVEN ATTACK IF THEY FEEL BRUSHED OFF).

A Must-Read for Career & Leadership Success

People often ask me for a book recommendation that will help them or their team overcome self-defeating behaviors that sabotage their success. For instance, have you or someone you know ever battled with procrastination and missed a critical deadline? Or perhaps you can relate to those that are trying to cultivate courage to leave a secure but unsatisfying job. Maybe you or an employee is struggling with defensiveness and being closed off which causes one to become ostracized from the team and miss out on promotions. There's also the other groups of folks that you might relate to that are afraid of confrontation and have trouble speaking out in meetings or experience extreme difficulty in letting an ineffective employee go. All of these situations and more are addressed in a fabulous book that is sure to be one of your favorite resources for yourself and those you're leading. It's "Get Out of Your Own Way at Work...and Help Others Do the Same" by best selling author Mark Goulston, M.D. Dr. Goulston is a revered business consultant and psychiatrist who writes the syndicated column "Solve Anything with Dr. Mark" for the Tribune Company papers and Fast Company. Moreover, he's the kind of respectable and inspiring leader that walks the talk of providing strong leadership mixed with genuine empathy. He has mastered quality of life balance and can help you do the same. You'll like his practical advice, usable insights and wisdom on wellness.