Category Archives: Motivational

Be Prepared: 4 Ways to Outthink Your Competitors by Gregory Kennedy

In The Art of War, Sun Tzu wrote that “It’s more important to outthink your enemy than outfight him.” Even after 2,500 years, this maxim is still so universal and relevant.

Sun Tzu warns against waging war without a strategy or understanding what your ultimate goal is. Tactics are not strategy. In the business world it’s common for people to confuse the two, because engaging in tactics makes it appear as if you have strategy, even when you don’t. The best leaders must first understand what their goal is and then work to develop unique tactics that will help you achieve that goal. But they must also be prepared to change that goal, then employ new tactics to achieve it.

Here are some strategies to employ to outthink your competitors:

Search for unique marketing arbitrage opportunities: In the early days, Google search ads were very cheap and drove high-quality traffic to ecommerce sites effectively. Today mobile advertising is still relatively cheap and can be used in a similar fashion, but it’s getting more expensive. Street teams and guerrilla marketing have proven cost effective for many new soft drink brands such as Red Bull. Lots of companies employ technology evangelists, whose job is to attend hackathons and meetups to promote tools to programmers.

Find lower-cost suppliers: This is what drove most manufacturing out of the U.S. to far flung regions of the world. It also drove technology companies to outsource engineering resources to Asia or Eastern Europe. Ikea actually pioneered this approach by moving manufacturing from Sweden to Poland, which was at the time a communist country and difficult for westerners to operate in. There are still opportunities to be had by finding low-cost suppliers, if you’re willing to put in the time, effort and energy to find them.

Take risks with your brand: Use spokespeople or content that other more conservative brands won’t use. Fiat has done this successfully by using Charlie Sheen, who was fired from his own show for unprofessional behavior, as a spokesperson. Virgin brands are well known for using unique, creative and outrageous marketing techniques. Its chairman, Richard Branson, once tried to circumnavigate the world in a hot air balloon. He was unsuccessful at the journey, but extremely successful at generating PR for his company.

Seek out and solve big challenges: Look explicitly for hard problems or difficult-to-employ strategies that others are avoiding and master them. Before Apple, everyone in the industry believed that a touchscreen only device was impossible to make. When the iPhone came out, it was revolutionary. A blog where one posts only 140 characters at a time sounds like a ridiculous idea, but that’s exactly what Twitter is. In many organizations there are systems, departments, technology or partners that people avoid because it’s viewed as difficult. Take on these challenges, master them and you will become an invaluable and unduplicated resources.

Study your competition, carefully evaluate yourself and be honest. It’s only through truth and self awareness, combined with a careful analysis of the situation, that you will find your path to success.

Shout out and hugs to Gregory Kennedy for well

 

Ten Resolutions The Most Successful People Make And Then Keep By Mike Maddock

MOST OF US KNOW HOW IMPORTANT IT IS TO READ, LISTEN AND ASSOCIATE. AFTER READING MIKE MADDOCK’S ARTICLE ON FORBES.COM EARLIER THIS WEEK, I RESOLVE TO FOLLOW MIKE’S SUGGESTIONS IN 2014.  IT MAKES MORE SENSE TO FOCUS ON MIKE’S TOP FAVORITE RESOLUTIONS THAN TAKING TIME TO CREATE MY OWN LIST. AGREE?

HAPPY NEW YEAR MY FRIENDS.   YOU CAN BE THE JUDGE on HOW EFFECTIVE THEY ARE.

LORY

Ten Resolutions The Most Successful People Make And Then Keep

Well, it’s that time again—time to start rolling out the New Year’s resolutions. Some of us will vow to eat less, exercise more, live in the moment, be more grateful. You may even decide to bury the hatchet with the family member who makes you so crazy.

But what about your New Year’s business resolutions?

This time of year is a great time to start making—and keeping—business resolutions, too. But sadly, like our personal goals, we often make them (year after year) with sincere intent only to see them quickly fall by the wayside, as we revert to (bad) habits that we have vowed to break.

But what about the most successful people and their resolutions?

Have you noticed how the most accomplished people just seem to identify important things and consistently get them done? Study successful people long enough and you start to pick up on the resolutions they seem to consistently make.

Here are Mike’s top favorites:

#1 – Spend more time on the not-to-do list.

Strategy is the art of sacrifice. That’s why you may consider creating a larger clearing for what really matters by first identifying, and then avoiding, what matters the least. Your time is a treasure to be invested. Creating a list of things that you are not going to do, allows you to invest more of your treasured time on the few things that matter the most.

#2 – Essential first, email second.

What’s the first thing you do in the morning? For many of us, it is looking at email. We wake up with a renewed mind and spirit, ready to take on the world, and then we immediately allow ourselves to be distracted by an insignificant email. Instead, wake up, take on the most important task of the day, and then (and only then) hit the email.

#3-  Resolve to think about “Who” instead of “What.”

Do you work for a “What” business or for a “Who” business? Successful companies run the risk of focusing too much on their current products and distributors thus—the “What”—losing sight of the constant and dramatically changing needs of their customer base.

(The “Who.”) Insurance, pharmacy, health care, higher education often listen too much to their agents, doctors and professors. The real innovation starts with the end consumer.

#4 Resolve to find your purpose.

As my friend Simon Sinek will tell you: People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. Starting a career, a company or any kind of journey that is based firmly on your purpose is foundational to success and happiness. If you don’t know your company’s purpose or even your own, finding one is the worthiest of resolutions.

#5 – Resolve to support a cause.

If you’re reading this, chances are you are one of the rare people who know how to start things. Fortunately, there are people like you who have already started causes that make the world better—they feed the hungry; they save the rain forest; they fight cancer; they do good things. There is virtually a cause for everyone, and contributing will make your year happier. Promise.

#6 – Resolve to invent more choices.

Here’s a secret that happy people know that I learned from my friend Dr. Dan Baker: You can’t feel grateful and fearful at the same time. And one certain way to become afraid is to feel trapped by any situation. The remedy is choice. The more choices you feel you have, the less trapped—and happier—you will feel. So this year, resolve to do a bit of brainstorming every time you feel unhappy.

#7 – Resolve to find a Yin for your Yang.

Walt Disney had Roy Disney, Steve Jobs had Steve Wozniak and Orville Wright had Wilbur Wright. Wherever there is great innovation, there is a Dreamer and an Operator; an Idea Monkey and a (Ring) leader. First, determine where your passions lie, then go find an equally passionate partner, then go change the world.

#8 – Resolve to get outside your jar.

You can’t read the label when you are sitting inside the jar. The sad irony of being an expert is that it keeps you from seeing possibility. After all, you know what works, what doesn’t, what you can afford, what’s been tried in the past. Instead of relying only on your expertise, learn how to find other experts solving similar challenges to the ones you are facing. Go ask them what you may be missing.

#9 –Resolve to be the creator.

What is the outcome you want? What stands in your way? How do you overcome these obstacles? These three simple questions will keep you from being victimized by any situation. Creators change the world. Victims just bitch about stuff.

#10 – Plan vacations. (now)

You have probably heard the saying, “Life is what happens when you are not paying attention.” Unfortunately for many of us, we let this become true. Do yourself a favor and plan your vacations for the next year today. I promise you that the days around your vacation will fill in nicely. I also promise you that you’ll have something to look forward to and the life that happens during your vacations will be precious.

Hugs and Peace out to  Mike Maddock

Learn more about Mike @ http://www.forbes.com/sites/mikemaddock/

SEND MORE not LESS SendOutCards.com Christmas & Holiday letters

While many believe that Christmas cards are becoming a tradition of the past, I say we all need to send more Christmas (holiday) cards.  It’s important that we send cards of Christmas (or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa) blessings, include family photos, and most of all, send a letter journaling what you and your family (and pets) has been involved in the past 12 months.  People who care about you really want to know and appreciate hearing from you. (especially out of town family)  This is typically the only time of year that it is culturally accepted to send one family letter to hundreds of people. So just do it!

Please, please don’t use the excuse that Christmas letters and stamps cost too much money.  It’s almost always a question of priority.  Ask yourself; what is value of nurturing your relationships versus sacrificing a couple of 6 packs, or a few of those fancy coffee drinks, or not buying that new outfit with shoes that you will only wear once?   Families and friends should always come first!

In this new age of information, too many of us are inundated with digital, quick to the point messages through Instant Chat, Text & Twitter.  It’s easy to see why email is the preferred form of communication in today’s workplace and at home.  However, digital, impersonal, often short, email messages can never bond relationships.

If we really want to stay connected, it’s imperative that we spend more REAL TIME with family & friends throughout the year.  In addition, send a REAL SendOutCard.com/loryfabian       3 panel Christmas letter to your friends and family updating them on your tough times as well as your family’s achievements and happy times over the past year.

Send a warm, humorous, and genuine letter about yourself and your family.  Remember, none of us live edited lives, so never feel like you have to write one. Share the good, the bad & perhaps only a little nugget of the ugly. A lot of times, your letter will prompt others to send a letter back to you.

Another idea for this year; think about writing a letter to Yourself. Send a letter journalizing your celebrations over the past year. Document the tiny changes you made that have made a big difference in your everyday life.  Include a paragraph or two on what you are grateful for over the past year and who you are grateful to have in your life. Choose from pages and pages of beautiful blank cards to write your letter on.

And lastly, write a second letter, dated this time next year, in which you describe how your dreams came true.  In it, outline your ideal life in detail – exactly what you’re doing, how you’re doing it, who’s doing it with you.

Write these two Christmas letters for your eyes only. This is a letter to not only the world, but to the Universe declaring your aspirations in concrete form. It’s the same as writing down your goals. It can be the most powerful of motivational tools because it engages your emotions increasing the pulses of creative energy your subconscious mind needs to transform a reverie into reality perfected. (idea source – Sarah Ban Breathnach)

SendOutCards.com recently sent out their 100,000,000th (100 millionths) card.  There is magic in card sending.  If you want to create your own magic this year, visit my website at:

www.sendoutcards.com/loryfabian

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah & Happy Kwanzaa, To You All!

Leaves of Grass – Give me the Splendid, Silent Sun | Walt Whitman (1819–1892)

To all YOU Mother’s out there, please take a moment to enjoy the gift of words written by Walt Whitman many, many moons ago.

GIVE me the splendid silent sun, with all his beams full-dazzling;

Give me juicy autumnal fruit, ripe and red from the orchard;

Give me a field where the unmow’d grass grows;

Give me an arbor, give me the trellis’d grape;

Give me fresh corn and wheat—give me serene-moving animals, teaching content;

Give me nights perfectly quiet, as on high plateaus west of the Mississippi, and I looking up at the stars;

Give me odorous at sunrise a garden of beautiful flowers, where I can walk undisturb’d;

Give me for marriage a sweet-breath’d woman, of whom I should never tire;

 Give me a perfect child—give me, away, aside from the noise of the world, a rural, domestic life;

Give me to warble spontaneous songs, reliev’d, recluse by myself, for my own ears only;

Give me solitude—give me Nature—give me again, O Nature, your primal sanities!

These, demanding to have them, (tired with ceaseless excitement, and rack’d by the war-strife;)

These to procure, incessantly asking, rising in cries from my heart,

While yet incessantly asking, still I adhere to my city;

Day upon day, and year upon year, O city, walking your streets,

Where you hold me enchain’d a certain time, refusing to give me up;

Yet giving to make me glutted, enrich’d of soul—you give me forever faces;

O I see what I sought to escape, confronting, reversing my cries;

I see my own soul trampling down what it ask’d for.

 Keep your splendid, silent sun;

Keep your woods, O Nature, and the quiet places by the woods;

Keep your fields of clover and timothy, and your corn-fields and orchards;

Keep the blossoming buckwheat fields, where the Ninth-month bees hum;

Give me faces and streets! give me these phantoms incessant and endless along the trottoirs!

Give me interminable eyes! give me women! give me comrades and lovers by the thousand!

Let me see new ones every day! let me hold new ones by the hand every day!

Give me such shows! give me the streets of Manhattan!

Give me Broadway, with the soldiers marching—give me the sound of the trumpets and drums!

The soldiers in companies or regiments—some, starting away, flush’d and reckless;

Some, their time up, returning, with thinn’d ranks—young, yet very old, worn, marching, noticing nothing;)

Give me the shores and the wharves heavy-fringed with the black ships!

O such for me! O an intense life! O full to repletion, and varied!

The life of the theatre, bar-room, huge hotel, for me!

The saloon of the steamer! the crowded excursion for me! the torch-light procession!

The dense brigade, bound for the war, with high piled military wagons following;

People, endless, streaming, with strong voices, passions, pageants;

Manhattan streets, with their powerful throbs, with the beating drums, as now;

The endless and noisy chorus, the rustle and clank of muskets, (even the sight of the wounded;)

Manhattan crowds, with their turbulent musical chorus—with varied chorus, and light of the sparkling eyes;

Manhattan faces and eyes forever for me.

Peace and Shout out to the friends at my virutual ‘office’ at Bogey Hills BreadCo’s. .. They’re new ad showcasing a new smoothie gave me the idea to research an old friend, Walt Whitman.

Ways to Show Your Grateful by Lory Fabian

 “Live your beliefs and you can turn the world around.”  Henry David Thoreau

I am continually amazed how many people neglect, forget or never even think to say one of the first manners most of us were taught before kindergarten. Using those two simple words, ‘Thank You!’

I’ve experienced over and over again, the more you thank someone, the more that person feels appreciated. Coincidence or not, a smile and a thank you builds momentum because of the Law of Reciprocity.  How do you show your friends, family and customers how grateful you are for them?  Just as small steps can lead to big accomplishments, a simple thank you can have a huge impact on your life, and the life of that person.

If you find little ways and big ways to weave gratitude in your life, you life will be forever changed.  I wonder why so many people resist trying such a simple task. Most of us are in search of finding ways to be happier … and never realize or believe that Happiness is a Choice.

Need proof? Take the SendOutCards.com/loryfabian 30 Day Gratitude Challenge. SendOutCards.com is changing millions of lives. It is truly a phenomenon!  2 million cards of gratitude were sent in 90 days last summer.  Over and over again, we hear most about bad news.  Why does the main stream media neglect sharing the breaking news of people spreading love, hope and gratitude at a faster speed than ever before in history?

People around the world are becoming happier & making the people around them much happier as well. Sending and sharing appreciation and gratitude has a ripple effect that will make the world a better place. (Remember the story about the Boss who rips his Manager who then yells and shouts at his employee?  (Where the term, Stuff Rolls Down Hill comes from.)

When the employee gets home, he kicks his dog and does who knows what to his wife?  If the Boss would thank his hard-working & dedicated Manager, the Manager would then take his employee to lunch and praise him.  When the employee feels recognized and appreciated, he or she gives 110% more to the company, production goes up. The employee takes his wife home flowers and gives his dog a bone. The wife is happy, the children are happy and even the dog is happy!

Sound silly??  Ask yourself, what is the worst thing that can happen if you try showing gratitude to your family and employees? Get rid of your old-school thinking that just because you pay your employees, you don’t have to thank them.  News Flash! Employees & Customers are people too!

Saying thank you isn’t really that hard!! Do you agree that it is so much easier than having to say “I’m Sorry?” Cardinal Rule: It is important that your sentiments are genuine and sincere or they may cause more harm than good.

John Lennon was on the right track when he wrote the song, Imagine, over 20 years ago. Spreading love and peace through cards and words is a great place to start. Agree?

Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You, you may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you will join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man (and women)

Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You, you may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you will join us
And the world will live as one

For those who need help coming up with a few ideas on how to show their gratitude, listed below are a few ideas that work for me:

1. Create a Gratitude Journal. John Tesh reported last week that people who keep a Food Journal lost over 50% more weight than those who didn’t.  Oprah keeps a gratitude journal. I believe many of her blessings came from her gratitude and acts of giving.

2. Send a thank-you note. Go to www.sendoutcards.com/loryfabian and sign up for the 30 day Gratitude Challenge. Guaranteed to be a life changer!

3. Give a free hug. Donna Naumann, Nurse Practitioner, at Cave Springs Toastmasters recommends giving 9 hugs a day to see and feel immediate results.

4. Give thanks for today! – Thank God that you woke up this morning. Be thankful you are alive.  Today is a gift, be sure to live in the present. Be purposeful on your gratitude…and you will begin to recognize more and more blessings that you have.

5. Random Act of Kindness – A simple gesture of opening a door, paying for the meal or coffee of the person behind you in a drive-through, allow someone in front of you in line at the bank or grocery store in front of you.  Stop, smile & take a few minutes to visit with a senior citizen or veteran.  Most of us will be a senior citizen some day.  Some of us, sooner than later. Be sure to treat them how you wanted to be treated when you reach those golden years. What a great opportunity to show your children how they should treat you! LOL

6. Give a little gift. – Gifts are my love language.  The gift doesn’t have to be expensive. If you know someone whose love language is a Gift, write a surprise love note, deliver a single fresh flower, or share a box of chocolates or wine. Trader Joe has an awesome Hungarian Merlot Wine under $10. Most people’s favorite gift is the gift of Your Time.

7. Send a SOC Card that lists all of the wonderful and favorite things you like about that person. – I promise this card will be a forever card.  (Kids need to hear the good things they do and what you love about them, especially teenagers who tend to be criticized more frequently for what they are doing wrong and not being recognized for what they are doing right.) With SendOutCards.com/loryfabian you can personalize each card for each loved one and include a quote or Bible verse.

8. Acknowledge publicly. – Social Media is a free and powerful tool to give praise and gratitude.  It can be amplified by other friends and make a person glow inside all day or all month.

9. Surprise them with kindness. – Do you really need help with this one?  Probably not.

Ponder this!  We judge ourselves by our intentions, and we judge others by our actions. Why not surprise yourself & take action some today?

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.’ William Ward

 

 

How to Grow a Smart SMB Team by Lisa Barone

Small business owners have a lot on their plates – it’s become cliché because it’s true! Between marketing, running, and growing their business, there are always more tasks than hours in the day. However, among the most important and difficult of tasks is trying to build your team. It can be hard to find people who you can trust to come in and help you get the job done. It’s even harder to find people who share your values and your commitment to your customers. But it’s doable. More than that, if you want to grow a successful business, it’s a must. You can’t work in and on your business at the same time.

Whether you’re in the process right now of trying to build your team or you simply aspire to one day being bigger than yourself, below are some tips to help you grow a smarter SMB team.

1. Assess Your Skills

Knowing the skills you’ll need to hire for means first understanding the skills that you (and possibly your existing team) already bring to the table. For example, maybe you’re great at customer service but you’re terrible at marketing. Or maybe you’re awesome at using social media tools to connect with people, but you can’t keep your books straight for the life of your business. Start creating lists of skills – skills you have, skills you can acquire, and skills you’d need to hire for. Once you know what skill sets you’re looking for, prioritize them to help you identify what is most important to your business.

2. Seek Out Referrals

Once you know what roles you’re looking to hire for, put it out to the universe. Talk to the people in your community and your local network about the types of people you’re looking for. Post the required skills on LinkedIn or Twitter and see if anyone in your network can help. Talk about in the online groups that you’re part of. I’m always surprised by how easy it is to find the perfect person as soon as you let people know you’re looking for them. The world is smaller than you think.

3. Go Online Talent Shopping

If your local referrer network wasn’t able to come up with a match, it’s time to go online talent shopping yourself. One of my favorite tools for this is LinkedIn’s Advanced Search.

With LinkedIn’s Advanced Search you can hunt for potential employees by experience, industry, salary, job title, current company, previous company, etc. Better yet, you can then narrow it down to employees living within 50 miles of your storefront, helping you focus on the people who could actually come and work for you. Once you have a list of people you’d like to get an introduction to, see who in your network is already connected to these people or what groups/ associations they’re a part of. This is a really great way to get your foot in the door with an applicant who could bring a lot of value to your business.

4. Find Shared Values

But finding a great new team member for your SMB isn’t just about the skills they may have on paper. It’s about finding someone who thinks like you do and who values the same things that you’re trying to instill in your business. Getting that “culture fit” right is invaluable in helping to avoid potential pitfalls later on. If a person doesn’t match what the rest of the company believes, then they’re not a good fit for your business. No matter how impressive their resume may be. Use your gut and look for people who show a history of action, being a team player, and who appears receptive to challenges.

5. Trust them

Once you find that person who compliments your team’s skill set, get out of their way and trust them. Sure, put procedures and policies in place to help make them accountable, but avoid your instinct to hover over them to make sure they’re doing things “your way”. Delegating does not mean hiring Mini-Yous. It means creating a more diverse team. Get comfortable with that.

Even the most-skilled CEOs will eventually need to invest in growing his or her team. You can’t do everything. By carefully and deliberately putting together a team of complimentary skill sets, you help set yourself (and your business) up for success.

Hugs and Peace to Lisa Barone @ Smallbiztrends.com

Learning to (almost) Like Criticism by Fellow Toastmaster, Brian Toma

Practically everybody will admit to being interested in improving themselves or their business or personal relationships. There are even some, like Toastmasters members, who have actually taken steps to do so. But unfortunately, many people miss out on valuable opportunities for improvement and growth because of their inability to take advice and criticism from others. Do you make use of suggestions offered by your peers? Do you seek out the advice and feedback of others to your advantage? It makes sense, but it’s not as easy as it sounds.

I am the owner of a small business. Several years ago the managers of my company met to formally establish non-financial, people-oriented goals. Examples of those goals included providing a safe work environment, offering adequate training and improving teamwork between departments. We then sent a description of the goals and a survey to all employees so they could rate our level of achievement of those goals. Employees could respond anonymously. This was to be done annually.

I almost didn’t make it past the first survey. Most employees responded, but not in that supportive, kind Toastmasters way. They just told me exactly how they felt by using the survey rating system and adding their own comments. Although I got what I asked for, I must admit I was very upset because the ratings were, in some cases, insultingly low and several comments were nasty, blaming me directly for certain problems.

It didn’t seem like the employees were trying to help me. Indeed it seemed they were trying to hurt me, because that’s how I felt. I experienced the defensive, prideful reaction many people feel when being criticized. Criticism is universally disliked. Franklin P. Jones, an author most known for humorous quotations, wrote “Honest criticism is hard to take, particularly from a relative, a friend, an acquaintance or a stranger.” It is just plain hard to take advice or criticism. Even positive, well-worded evaluations give at least a hint that we are inadequate in some way. Most of us know that we have faults or could improve, but we just don’t want to hear about it.

My immediate reaction to the survey results was defensive, but after time and thoughtful consideration I realized that there was a consensus in the results. That is, many employees expressed similar comments and ratings. I began to recognize the value of their perspectives. So, with pain and difficulty, I decided to “own” the problems and the criticisms. I sent a memo to all employees thanking them for their participation, summarizing the survey results and comments (without displaying any of the nasty ones) and showing my recognition that I, as president of the company, was a major part of the problem. Then we took action in response to the feedback and, over time, changes and improvements came about. The surveys continue today after five years and the company has greatly benefited.

“Sometimes there are difficulties in getting valuable comments from others.
But the biggest challenge is in making use of the feedback.”

I put in place a method for the company by which I could measure certain non-financial goals, identify problems and then make improvements accordingly. I also began to rely on a process for using advice and criticism to my advantage:
“Sometimes there are difficulties in getting valuable comments from others.
But the biggest challenge is in making use of the feedback.”

Recognize that you can get unique and valuable perspectives from others. Be aware of opportunities to get feedback.

Find people who are capable of providing you with perspectives of interest and value to you.

Request feedback in a way that will increase the chances that your evaluators will be open and honest. This can be a challenge. Most people understand human pride and many will simply be polite without offering any critical feedback. Sometimes anonymity is required. With anonymity, however, some insensitive people may criticize with absolutely no regard for your feelings: Be prepared for that, keeping in mind that some people are not well-trained in the manner of offering advice, but still may have some valuable ideas.

Read or listen to the feedback that is offered.

Experience your feelings. Expect the possibility of defensive reaction. You will know that you are having a prideful reaction if you find yourself judging your critics. It’s human nature. Go with it. But try to maintain control of your outward expressions for the sake of others.

Be gracious, regardless of your feelings. Thank the evaluators for their comments so that they feel welcome to offer you more open and honest feedback in the future.

Let time go by, allowing your negative feelings to diminish.

Honestly evaluate the feedback. This is the most difficult step. Your pride may block your ability to do this effectively, but try hard to find the value in the comments you received. If you just can’t find any value in the comments, then try to evaluate your feelings. If you feel at least a little bothered by the comment, then there is a good chance that your pride is obstructing your ability to make use of some valuable feedback. If you can follow this process by going to the next step instead of reacting with your feelings, then you may be able to benefit from the advice.

Seek consensus. If you identify similar comments from multiple critics then the signal is getting louder and the value of the feedback is increasing. But avoid the mistake of seeking consensus about your feelings, that is, seeking sympathy. You can make yourself feel better by doing that, but you will miss a growth opportunity.

Own it. Acknowledge it. Take responsibility. Take control. If you acknowledge the criticism as useful and valid, but then follow up with excuses and blaming, then you have not taken ownership, responsibility or control. Without ownership you won’t be ready for the next step.

Take action. Make directed improvements in accordance with the feedback that you have received. You may be forced to take small steps at first, but continue with them until they add up to greater advances.

Repeat the process.

I have used this process in an informal way in business . It can be used for continual evaluation, growth and improvement.

Much of a person’s life involves interactions and relationships with other people. Public speaking, for example, involves a relationship between a speaker and an audience.

To evaluate your own performance as part of a relationship, it makes sense to seek out the perspectives of others who are involved in or knowledgeable about the relationship. Sometimes there are difficulties in getting valuable comments from others, but the biggest challenge is in making use of the feedback.

To take advantage of critical feedback you must work past your discomfort and defensive feelings. Apply the “no pain, no gain” principle, and you’ll soon enjoy all the benefits of an improved life.

Love & Peace to Brian Thoma. Brian is CTM, CL, is president of His Toastmaster’s Voice 6280-38 in Moorestown, New
Jersey, and owner of Thoma, Inc., a company representing manufacturers of laboratory furniture and school casework.

Big Idea 2013: Be the Head Marketer of You by Linda Coles

“Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room”   Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon

Entering 2013 with a tight economy, restructuring, and new ways of doing business, the competition for a position or sale has become intense. Who shines out above everyone else in those situations? Those people who are spending time developing their own personal brand.

We all recognize great brands by their logos such as the Nike flash or the Starbucks face, but how do we recognize you? How do we know that you even exist? And when we do, what are you known for? You need to become the head marketer of You.com, and 2013 is a good time to make a start if you haven’t already.

10 simple ways to work on your own personal brand

Back in 1997, Tom Peters wrote a great piece about working on your own personal brand, which was way before any of the online networks such as LinkedIn and Facebook had even started. Now that we have these tools available, promoting your personal brand has become a whole lot easier.

  1. Have the best-looking LinkedIn profile that you possibly can and use it. People are checking you out online.
  2. If you are happy for others to see into your Facebook life, switch on the subscribe button.
  3. Tweet and re-tweet what’s relevant and interesting, keeping away from gossip.
  4. Apply some etiquette when replying to emails and online posts. Always start with a salutation or greeting and finish with a valediction or sign off.
  5. Look closer to home with your personal presentation such as ensuring your shoes are always shiny. Dress “just a little bit better” than those around you.
  6. Develop your own online soapbox by way of a blog or personal website where you share relevant content, your thoughts, perspective and encourage discussions.
  7. Buy the domain http://www.yourname.com
  8. Use your media contacts to get published in the press and on air.
  9. Write and publish a great book.
  10. Speak at industry events.

Make a start now because it takes focus and time to build a great brand. Seth Godin published a very famous book called “Purple Cow, transform your business by being remarkable”. How about applying some of those principles to the business called you?

Linda Coles is the author of “Learn marketing with social media in 7 days” (Wiley) and is a speaker and trainer on building relationships. She lives in New Zealand on a fig orchard. You can get a free sample of a chapter of her book by registering for her newsletter.

Shout out to and Peace & Love to Linda Coles

50 Ways to Show Gratitude for the People in Your Life / by Lori Deschene

 

 

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” –William Arthur Ward

 

The holiday season generally brings us closer to people. Sometimes that closeness reminds us how much we love each other. Sometimes it reminds us that we drive each other crazy, as family often does.

 

At the heart of it, Thanksgiving in particular calls us to see people with the deepest appreciation for the gifts they’ve given us. Some gifts are more immediately obvious than others—the type that come with praise, affection, and genuine esteem.

 

Others push us, stretch us, test us, and make us wonder if there’s anything to be grateful for at all.

 

There’s no denying certain relationships are more challenging than others, but through each we have an opportunity to grow and help others do the same. Every relationship teaches us something about loving, trusting, forgiving, setting boundaries, taking care of ourselves, and taking care of each other.

 

From the people who love you, to the people who challenge you, to the people who support you at work, here’s how to show your gratitude:

 

Show Gratitude to People Who Love You

 

1. Share a specific example of something they did for you and how it made a difference in your life.

 

2. Do something little but thoughtful for them—like clean up after Thanksgiving dinner!

 

3. Give a long, intimate hug; or if you know they don’t like hugs, stick out your hand for a handshake to cater to their preferences and make them smile.

 

4. Tell them you’re there if they have anything they want to talk about—and let them know they have your full attention.

 

5. Give them something of yours that you think they would enjoy, and let them know specifically why you want them to have it.

 

6. Invite them to do something you know they’ve always wanted to do.

 

7. Encourage them to try something you know they want to try, but haven’t yet because they’re scared.

 

8. Offer to do something you know they don’t enjoy doing, like organizing their closet or mowing their lawn.

 

9. Compliment them on a talent, skill, or strength that you admire.

 

10. Look them straight in the eyes and say, “You make the world a better place.”

 

Show Gratitude to People Who Challenge You

 

11. Fully listen to what they have to say, instead of forming your rebuttal in your head and waiting to speak.

 

12. Thank them for introducing you to a new way to look at things, even if you still don’t agree.

 

13. Pinpoint something you admire about their commitment to their beliefs—even if you don’t hold them, as well.

 

14. Resist the urge to tell them they’re wrong.

 

15. Challenge them right back to be the best they can be, with love and positive intentions.

 

16. If they inspired you to push outside your comfort zone, thank them for inspiring you to take a risk, and let them know how it paid off.

 

17. Write a blog post about how they helped you see things differently and dedicate it to them.

 

18. Use the lesson this person teaches you through your interactions, whether it’s patience, compassion, or courage.

 

19. Introduce them to someone who may challenge them and help them grow, as they’ve done for you.

 

20. Let them know how you appreciate when they challenge you in a loving, non-confrontational way—and if they don’t do that, be calm and kind when you ask them to do that going forward.

 

Show Gratitude to People Who Serve You

 

21. Give a larger tip than usual.

 

22. If they have a tip jar, include a thoughtful note of appreciation along with your coins or bills.

 

23. Smile when you order or enlist their assistance. Smiles are contagious, so give one away!

 

24. If they serve you regularly, acknowledge something they always do well—like work efficiently or stay calm under pressure.

 

25. Exhibit patience, even if you’re in a hurry.

 

26. Let their superior know they do an outstanding job.

 

27. Keep their workplace clean—for example, at a coffee shop, clean up after yourself at the sugar stand.

 

28. Offer to get a coffee for them, if it’s someone working in or outside your home.

 

29. If you have their contact information, send an email of appreciation—and let them know you just wanted to express your gratitude, so they don’t need to write back.

 

30. Praise them in a review on Yelp and/or recommend them to people you know.

 

Show Gratitude to People Who Work with You

 

31. Write a hand-written thank you note, acknowledging things you value about them and their work.

 

32. Offer to lighten their workload in some way if you are able.

 

33. Bring back lunch for them if you know they’re working hard and likely haven’t had a chance to grab something.

 

34. If you’re running a meeting, keep it short to show them you appreciate and respect their time.

 

35. Ask them about their lives instead of always being all business. This doesn’t mean you need to pry into personal matters; it just means showing an interest in who they are as people.

 

36. Be the calm, light voice in a stressful situation.

 

37. Give them flowers to brighten their desk.

 

38. Let their boss know how they’re doing a great job and contributing to the company.

 

39. Listen fully if they’re having a difficult day, and recognize if they need space to figure things out on their own, not advice or help.

 

40. Remember the little things can make a big difference!

 

Show Gratitude for Yourself

 

41. Make a list of ways you’ve impressed yourself lately.

 

42. Treat yourself to something you enjoy, like a pedicure or a massage.

 

43. If someone compliments you, thank them and let them know you’re proud of that skill, talent, or accomplishment.

 

44. Compliment yourself—say it while looking in the mirror, write it in a journal, or jot it on a sticky note and put it on your refrigerator.

 

45. Give yourself time to enjoy a passion you’re sometimes too busy to fit in.

 

46. Take an inventory of all the good things you’ve done for other people and the world.

 

47. Write yourself a love letter. Seriously, start with “Dear Lori” (but insert your own name) and describe all the things you admire about yourself.

 

48. Let go of any conditions you have for being kind to yourself—meaning you appreciate even if you didn’t accomplish or do anything specific.

 

49. Schedule a date with yourself—an afternoon or evening that’s all about you.

 

50. Share the beauty that is you with the people around you, knowing they’re fortunate to have you in their lives.

 

I am fortunate to have you in mine. You make the world a better place!

Peace and Love to TinyBuddha.com

Turn Failure into Success: 10 Ways

The first step to becoming more successful is changing the way you think about failure.

Failure is painful, right?

Not for successful people. The most successful people in every field don’t consider failure to be a particularly painful experience–because they think about it differently.

Successful people transcend failure because their self-esteem, rather than depending on whether they win or lose, is based upon their own sense of value.

Rather than taking failure seriously, they develop beliefs that allow them to capitalize upon negative feedback and turn it to their advantage.

Rules to Live By

Therefore, if you’re really committed to being successful, you’ll mothball that “failure=pain” nonsense. Instead, instead adopt some (or all) of the following beliefs:

1. Failure renews my humility, sharpens my objectivity, and makes me more resilient.

2. I take the challenge seriously, but I do not take myself too seriously.

3. If the more I fail, the more I succeed, then failure is a part of the process of achieving my objectives.

4. Failure is temporary when I use it as an opportunity to try new ideas.

5. I learn more from failure than success.

6. Negative feedback is information that helps me correct my course so that I stay on target.

7. I am paid for the number of times I fail.

8. My self-esteem is not based on the reactions of others, but by my own sense of virtue.

9. The unkindness of others reminds me that I need to be kind to myself.

10. It takes courage to fail–because nobody ever got ahead without taking risks.

The above is adapted from a conversation with Art Mortell, a wonderful motivational and keynote speaker and the author of the excellent book The Courage to Fail.

Love and Peace to Art Mortell.