I was teaching the 7 Habits at a professional gathering last week when I experienced something remarkable. While I spoke about Habit 1, Be Proactive, and some of the principles for being responsible for your own life or carrying your own weather and choosing your own response, a gentleman from the audience stood up. Right before this big audience, this man stood up on his chair and essentially said the following (I’m paraphrasing):
“Last week my wife left me. It was totally unexpected. I have felt a mixture of feelings from being hurt, feeling anger, betrayal and embarrassment. But listening to this today I have decided to not be angry anymore. I am going to choose to be happy and not be hurt or embarrassed any longer.”
I was so taken by this man’s sense of humility and courage, and his desire to be the creative force of his life rather than being victim to his circumstances or his relationship with his wife. I’m sure he was in a lot of turmoil and feeling like the world had crashed down on him. But he gained the self-awareness that he could still choose his response to his devastating personal challenges. He saw that he could act and not feel acted upon.
I commended him for his decision and affirmed that he can choose to let the anger go, to forgive and create his life. This is often a hard thing to do especially in painful situations like his. The audience applauded him. I applauded him. I had never seen anything like it.
When I think of this man, I don’t know what will happen to him and his wife. But I do know that if he will grasp onto the principle of being proactive and seeing himself as the creative force of his own life with the choices he makes, he will find meaning and fulfillment in his life—he will eventually find peace of conscience.
Can you think of a situation or relationship in your life where you can choose a better, more effective response? Choose it now!
When you are looking for work or trying to advance your career, you need all the help you can get. You will find many answers in my book, Great Work, Great Career, co-authored with Jennifer Colosimo. For example, how can you become indispensable at work or how can you stand out from the hundreds of job applicants? What unique contribution can you make based on your talents, experiences and skills? What is an effective resume? Knowing how to create the right opportunities is key to creating a great career and finding lasting success.
On April 13, FranklinCovey is offering you our Great Career iPhone app for only $2.99. This is a great tool for taking charge of your career. You might want to check it out to see if it’s right for you. Go to: http://bit.ly/aLlL7f
I hope you will find yourself in a job you love, where you can make a difference and find meaningful purpose.
March 15, 2010 marked the 25th anniversary of the first “dot-com” registration on the Internet.With over 100 million domain registrations and counting, we’ve witnessed an explosion of communication, commerce, idea-sharing, and human connectivity unlike anything else in human history. This truly marks a revolutionary and transformational shift in the way we live, gather information, do commerce, and connect with each other. No domain is unaffected. From societies, governments, communities, businesses to individuals and families, we have all been profoundly impacted by the massive migration to the Internet.
The impact on societies across the globe cannot be understated as the Internet has provided a democratization tool for people to access information in real time across all boundaries. Still, there are some countries battling the policy of free access to the Internet as evidenced recently by China’s confrontation with Google. However, people find a way to get what they thirst for and eventually get around firewalls in ingenious ways.
Who can forget the Twitter-revolution in Iran last year as thousands and thousands of Iranians took to the streets to give voice to their aspirations for legitimacy in their election outcomes? The human voice is deep and relentless. It cannot be suppressed. Our new Internet technology literally gives voice to countless people of all ages, ethnicities, race, gender, religions, political persuasions, rich or poor.People who were previously disenfranchised are now empowered and equipped to express their voice!
Recently, with the cataclysmic disaster in Haiti, donations poured instantly as people used their social networks and texting to pour their generous funds to the people of Haiti. It’s never been easier to click your way to making an instant impact in the lives of people in one’s own neighborhood or to far away neighbors across the globe.
What Do You Predict for the Future of the Internet?
At the 25th Anniversay of .Com Policy Impact Forum in WashingtonDC on March 16, many prominent leaders from different fields discussed the impact of the dot-com sensation. These leaders shared their excitement along with their concerns for a free-wielding Internet/ technology. They looked through their “crystal ball” to predict what the future would hold with this powerful but challenging medium.
So what are your thoughts? What do you predict is the future of the Internet? Are you better off today being connected 24/7? Are you feeling overwhelmed or do you feel more in charge of your life? Has your productivity increased or decreased? How do you discern the credibility or truth behind all the countless messages, ideas or agendas online? How are you using the Internet to find solutions to your pressing problems? How has the Internet brought you new opportunities or brought you closer to your family, friends, or loved ones?
I encourage you to ask yourself: Where do I need to connect more? Where do I need to simply disconnect to gain better balance and control in my life? I know my grandchildren are already natives to the Internet. I am not. They face many great opportunities if they choose to anchor themselves on guiding principles that will help them determine what is good and what is not, and what is simply distracting or negative on the Internet. Without that anchor they are at risk of being enslaved by forces that will pull them in conflicting directions, leaving them without a principle-centered compass to help them take charge of their own lives.
This is an exciting time with great opportunities for good. I look forward to the future and the promise of people all around the world and their desire for greatness. The Internet can be a powerful tool to fulfill that greatness!
The start of a New Year is always special. There is a feeling of renewal as we look to a new year, a new beginning and there is a sense of excitement for making changes or adopting new habits. However, do you ever find yourself making New Year’s resolutions only to abandon them? If you do, you are not alone.
I want you to be successful at one goal, only one goal this year—and that is accomplishing one small goal you know you can accomplish. I say start small so you can build the confidence and strength to do more. It’s all about taking what I call “baby steps.” Start small, keep at it, and stay consistent until you’re ready pick up the pace.
I also suggest that you work on your goal on a weekly basis. For instance, if you are setting a goal to reduce your sugar intake, set a goal to reduce the number of sugar-rich drinks you consume during the week. If you are in the habit of drinking soda pop everyday or several times a week, decide at the beginning of the week how many drinks you will reduce in your diet. If you go too fast and eliminate all your drinks, you may just fail at it because you are not emotionally, mentally or physically prepared to do so. So start small. Make a promise and keep it…make a promise and keep it. And soon you will enlarge your strength, confidence and capabilities to discipline yourself to achieve other goals.
Many years ago, I went on a sugar fast with a group of students. You can’t believe how difficult it was at first but as we achieved small victories, our will power and passion for achieving our goal became stronger and stronger. We actually found strength in saying “no” to sugar because we felt an inner strength, a strength that inspired us to grow our confidence and abilities to grow our character, our sense of who we wanted to be.
As you set your small goal, you may want to enlist the help of someone close to you. It’s important to have some support, encouragement and a system of accountability. You might even invite this person to set a small goal that you can encourage them on. Work together and create synergy to help each other.
I wish you well on your journey in 2010. You have the potential for greatness in you! Go for it! Start small. Make a promise and keep it.
Successful people often share similar characteristics. But I have come to believe that the single thing they have most in common is that they find success on the far side of failure.
What do I mean by that? I find that almost all successful people have experienced significant failures in life or in their work, but they have learned from their failures.
On the other hand, people who don’t recognize their failures or don’t seek learning from them, are often the ones failing again and again. Why? Because they haven’t learned the lessons from the failure—they haven’t gained self-awareness or understanding; they haven’t understood others or their marketplace; they haven’t developed the maturity for humility and integrity—and they find themselves repeating their mistakes again and again.
Think about the failures or mistakes you have made. How did you respond to them? What outcomes did you get? How have they helped you today? How have they not helped you—do you have something still to learn from your failures?
If you want to make significant progress in your life, don’t forget to find success on the far side of failure!
I am excited to announce a new book I have just released with Bob Whitman, Chairman of FranklinCovey. The book Predictable Results in Unpredictable Times outlines four key principles for getting great performance in good times and bad:
First, winning companies slim down to a few key simple goals with clear targets and careful follow-through. Everybody in the firm knows the goals and what to do about them.
Second, winning companies maintain high levels of trust with their customers, employees, and suppliers. They are totally transparent about their commitments, what they can and can’t deliver. Only the most trustworthy companies survive the kind of turbulence we’re in now.
Third, winning companies do more of what matters. In tough times most people resort to “doing more with less,” but the real question is “more of what?” Winning companies focus on giving more value-not just cutting back.
Finally, winning companies recognize that everyone gets scared when things get uncertain. Instead of allowing themselves to be paralyzed by fear, they channel their anxiety into results. They unleash people’s best ideas and energies instead of suppressing them or micromanaging them.
If you are interested in ordering the book, please Click Here and you will receive 30% off the price for the next few weeks. I know you will find many practical ideas in the book to help your performance.
Since the beginning of the month of August I’ve done two webinars addressing topics to help people better manage their careers, job security and stress. The first webinar focused on how to rethink your job and become indispensable at work.
In the second webinar last week, I spoke about the stress people are feeling in these turbulent times, especially as companies downsize and remaining employees face the challenge of doing more with less. Stress, of course, is a part of our lives even in stable times and we all need to learn how to create balance in life or we risk losing ourselves to mounting distractions and burnout.
Next week on August 25, I will present my final webinar of this series. I will be talking about how you can make a unique contribution at work and how to tap into your skills, passion, talent and energy. As yourself: what do I want to be remembered for at my job?
Hope you can join me. For registration information Click Here.
Are you struggling to make changes or respond to changing conditions? I know many people right now are being forced to change the way they work or live because of our turbulent environment. What we might all consider in these times is what the great historian Arnold Toynbee once said:
Nothing fails like success.
What does that mean exactly? Well, if you consider the challenges you’re facing, you might just be using an old approach that isn’t equal to the challenge. In other words, when we have a challenge and the response is equal to the challenge, that’s called success. But once we have a new challenge, the old, once successful response no longer works. That’s why it’s called a failure.
We have to examine our paradigms (our view of things), our tools, our skills to determine if we’re approaching the problem in the right way. As a first step, we may even step back and make sure we’ve correctly defined the problem. Then we need to see if, based on the evidence of results or lack of results, if we need a new approach.
As you ponder your challenges, consider if you need a new mindset, a new skillset or toolset. You may need to adjust your view, try a different perspective or a new way to think about it. Then you may need to acquire some new skills or tools to tackle the problem. What ever the case, you may need to find a new model to drive success. This can be an exciting proposition because you will most likely find new growth and development in the process—this is success!
Remember: nothing fails like success. Be vigilant and be ready to continually learn and adapt to new challenges, which will surely come your way.
As I think of the struggles many people go through, I am reminded of a powerful quote by Albert E. N. Gray:
The successful person has the habit of doing things failures don’t like to do. They don’t like doing them either necessarily. But their disliking is subordinated to the strength of their purpose.
If you are someone who has to make important changes in your life, you may want to ponder on this idea. What are the things you know you have to do but are avoiding? If you were to discipline yourself and create a plan for doing those things, would you find positive, even breakthrough rewards?
In my case, I know when I’m trying to avoid doing something, I eventually see that I’ve paid an even higher price by avoidance. For example, when I’ve neglect my health by not eating right, exercising, or getting enough sleep because I find it hard to stick to a disciplined regiment, I have found myself feeling sluggish and not doing my best work. When I finally subordinate my dislikes to the strength of my purpose, things turn around.
Identify something you are avoiding and make a promise that you will do it. Make a promise and keep it. Subordinate the things you dislike doing to your greater purpose. The more you do this, the more strength you will build—and the more success you will find.
Organizations from all sectors, of all sizes, all over the world are facing very tough challenges. We are in the midst of a crisis. Most managers and professionals, whether in business, government, educational, or non-profit organizations are facing enormous pressure to produce more with less, much less. This requires tough, decisive action and the risks are high.
The tendency of those with management responsibility is to personally assess the situation, come up with a plan of action, and then announce and implement it. If that means downsizing or layoffs, so be it. That particular solution may be necessary in some cases, but in many cases, I find that such “solutions” developed independently, in isolation, and at the top, often create more problems that they solve – for one basic reason. They fail to involve people in the problem, and therefore, fail to get their best thinking and commitment.
In fact, I believe this principle: involve people in the problem and work out the solution together to be a business imperative. This is no soft, touchy-feely, lose-win approach for organizations; it takes much more courage and toughness to go for a true win-win.
The opportunity today is to get authentic and real with people—to have open conversations, to look at the problems and honestly share the issues at hand—and then listen to people and let their ideas flow. When mutual understanding and respect is present, the spirit of synergy inevitably starts to develop. Synergy is always exciting and tenuous because you are never quite sure what it’s going lead to. All you know is that it’s going to be better than before, better than what either party could come up with themselves.