Monday, March 28, 2005

Today Matters - Relationships

... Continuing with excerpts from Today Matters, by John C. Maxwell ...

Why relationships matter ...
  • Life's greatest experiences involve other people
  • You'll enjoy life more if you like people
  • You'll get farther in life if people life you

How to take responsibility for your relationships ...

  • Place a high value on people
  • Learn to understand people
  • Give respect freely but expect to earn it from others
  • Commit yourself to adding value to others

Know that there's much, much, more to this book that I'm not going to blog about. Suffice it to say that it's a warm, reaffirming read for all those who like this sort of thing.

And remember, today really does matter!

Today Matters - Family

... Continuing with excerpts from Today Matters, by John C. Maxwell...

"If you desire to strengthen your family life and make it a source of stability, then try practicing some of these disciplines:

  • Put your family on your calendar first
  • Create and maintain family traditions ... a great 'pitch' for beezee's Family Rituals e-book ... Available at www.funfamilyrituals.com
  • Find ways to spend time together
  • Keep your marriage healthy first
  • Express appreciation for each other
  • Resolve conflict as quickly as possible

This is good stuff, isn't it?

Today Matters - Priorities

... Continuing with excerpts from Today Matters, by John C. Maxwell...

Time is our most precious commodity ...

  • To know the value of one year ... ask the student who failed the final exam.
  • To know the value of one month ... ask the mother of a premature baby.
  • To know the value of one week ... ask the editor of a weekly newsmagazine.
  • To know the value of one day ... ask the wage earner who has six children.
  • To know the value of on hour ... ask the lovers who are waiting to meet.
  • To know the value of one minute ... ask the person who missed the plane.
  • To know the value of one second ... ask the person who survived the accident.
  • To know the value of one millisecond ... ask the Olympic silver medalist.

We cannot change time, only our priorities ...

  • No one gets more time. There are 1,440 minutes in a day. No matter what you do, you won't get more today.
  • Time is unemotional, uncontrolled, unencumbered. It moves forward regardless of circumstances .

We cannot do everything ...

  • "Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists of the elimination of nonessentials." - Lin Yutang, Chinese author and philosopher.
  • You have to choose.

Priorities help us to choose wisely ...

  • "The reason most goals are not achieved is that we spend our time doing second things first." - Robert J. McKain, author.

Managing the disciplines of priorities

  • Evaluate priorities daily.
  • Plan your time carefully.
  • Follow your plan.
  • Delegate whenever possible.
  • Invest in the right people daily.

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Thursday, March 24, 2005

Today Matters - Attitude and Possibilities

"Everyone wants to have a good day, but not many people know what a good day looks like - much less how to create one." That's what John C. Maxwell says on page 2 of his book, Today Matters: 12 Daily Practices to guarantee Tomorrow's Success (ISBN 0-446-52958-3, 2004) and I think he's spot-on. So I thought it'd be worthwhile to share some other meaningful portions of the text with you all.

Today's excerpt is from Chapter 3 - Today's ATTITUDE Gives Me Possibilities - under the sub-section, "Managing the Disciplines of Attitude":
  • Recognize that your attitude needs daily adjustment - Like any discipline, your attitude will not take care of itself. You need to attend to it daily.
  • Find something positive in everything - Dear Lord, So far today, I am doing all right. I have not gossiped, lost my temper, been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish, or self-indulgent. I have not whined, cursed, or eaten any chocolate. However, I am going to get out of bed in a few minutes, and I will need a lot more help after that. Amen.
  • Find someone positive in every situation - Nothing helps a person to remain positive like having an ally.
  • Say something positive in every conversation
  • Remove negative workouts from your vocabulary
  • Express gratitude to others daily - Thinking about the good things helps us to be grateful. Remaining grateful helps us to have a more positive attitude.

I find that I'm having a very positive attitude about this book!

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

How are you at Creative Listening?

People are always telling us things. And more times than they probably realize, WHAT they tell us doesn't always make sense - at least not at first. One way to deal with that is to ignore whatever doesn't make sense. But that's a lesser strategy.

The stronger approach is to become a Creative Listener, listening not just to what IS said, but to what might be MEANT by what is said, as well. This is particularly important when the subject matter is emotionally-charged. In cases like this, the person talking to you has probably thought about having this conversation with you for quite some time, rehearsing it, editing it, tuning it, and committing it to memory. Yet when it comes time to actually HAVE the discussion with you, the person often omits some essential information needed for you to understand the context of things, or flubs their words and says some things that sound very, very wrong.

Hey, it happens. And because it happens, it's all-the-more important that you strive to listen beyond the words to understand what the person is really TRYING to communicate. How do you do that?
  • By being patient.
  • By asking questions.
  • By saying back what you're hearing to see if it's correct.
  • By assuming that there is an excellent nugget that's just too important to miss buried somewhere in their words .
I call this being a Creative Listener. And it's my belief that the more creative you are as a listener, the more effective people will be in truly communicating with you.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Rate your Day

A client of mine has started to take a very close look at how well he's walking the talk in his life and has developed a very interesting rating scale to track his progress and is allowing me to tell you about it.

It's a 5-point scale (the higher the number, the better the day). Although I've included some of his detailed 'watch' items, I want you to pay particular attention to the "names" he's given each rating as they really capture what the ratings mean to him:

  1. Cocooned
    • Nothing truly productive accomplished
    • Totally zonked, depressed, bad day
    • Endless escapism
  2. Crawling
    • A few lower priority tasks accomplished
    • Sluggish but moving
    • A lot of escapism
  3. Walking
    • Small chunks of productive time
    • Limited amounts of important work accomplished
    • Moderate but controlled escapism
  4. Jogging
    • Large chunks of productive time
    • Targeted progress on important tasks
    • Minor, controlled escapism
    • Sense of clarity, playfulness, and movement
  5. Jammin
    • In a state of flow
    • Hard working most of the day
    • Productive, important tasks done
    • Little or no escapism
    • Rapid paced, fun, dancing, singing, energetic day

So that's his rating scale, but how well would you score on it? Better yet, what would your 5-point scale look like?

Try creating one and see how well you do with it for the next week or so.

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Saturday, March 12, 2005

Keyword: Happy

Here's some happy news. The keyword "happy" returns 95.2 million happy sites in Google. It brings 110 million happy sites from MSN's search engine. And it brings a whopping 191 million happy sites from Yahoo!

The number one "happy" site for both Yahoo and MSN (and the number two site for Google) is www.HappyPuppy.com. But the site has nothing to do with puppy-dogs what-so-ever ... it's a video gaming site.

That didn't make me so happy. But many of the so-many-million others, did.

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Monday, March 07, 2005

The Worst of the No-Help Helpers

First, scroll down to see the comic and then come back.

Funny, isn't it? And yet, like so many Dilbert cartoons, it's oh so true.

We have Wally, who is a masterful No-Help Helper. Need help? Don't bother asking Wally.

Then we have the pointy-haired boss. He's a No-Help Helper, too. In this instance, he's actually a trifecta winner in the No-Help Helper Derby:
  1. He hasn't helped Alice - she's certainly not getting any help from Wally.
  2. He hasn't helped Wally - he's just given him another excuse for not finishing his own work.
  3. He hasn't helped the project - it's still where it was, and even more behind schedule.
(Better watch out Wally, the pointy-haired boss' No-Help Helping is making you look almost collaborative by comparison.)

And then there's Alice. In this instance, Alice is the least helpful No-Help Helper of the bunch. Look at her - she's just sitting there, not saying a word, not thinking a thought. She's her own worst enemy.

In situations like this, there are always at least 4 steps you can take:
  1. Work harder. (Who'd a thunk that Wally'd be such a sage?!)
  2. Think it through.
  3. Ask for help.
  4. Ask again.
Don't be your own worst enemy. Don't be your own worst No-Help Helper. Get your workweek off to a better start than that.

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Friday, March 04, 2005

A Perfectly "Linear" Day

Yes, that's right. March 4, 2005, or put another way, 3-4-5. It's nice to know that with all the priorities whirling around, circling back on each other, and getting all tangled up, today offers a little comfort as an absolutely straight-line-of-a-day. So decide where you are ... and where you want to get to ... and crank up the engine to full-speed-forward. Today is YOUR day and you get to make the MOST of it.

(My apologies to those who read my February 3, 2004 posting and found this somewhat redundant!)

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