4012 – Are You Lost In The Career Wilderness?

foggy-wilderness
The foggy wilderness of career loss or change

Recently, while watching a segment on 60 Minutes Sports, I realized I know people who are experiencing the same thing as retiring NFL players – THE WILDERNESS. In December, 2013 the NFL launched The Trust, an arm of the league designed to help players transition from being players to real human beings like the rest of us. According to an article published by MMQB (Monday Morning QuarterBack), a Sports Illustrated property…

Launched last month, The Trust is an arm of the NFLPA that offers free amenities to former players in areas of health and nutrition, career transition and financial education. The $22 million a year budget (which will increase by five percent annually) was procured from the 2011 collective bargaining agreement with the league. “A big part of our negotiations had little to do with dollars or the salary cap,” says Kevin Mawae, the former NFLPA president who stepped down in 2012 . “It was about benefits and post-career options. So this was a huge victory for us.”

Retired NFL players interviewed in the 60 Minutes Sports piece commonly refer to leaving their playing days behind and entering into “the wilderness.” It’s a place that’s foreign to them. They’ve played football for as long as they can remember. Now, they’re not playing and many of them are lost. A few – seemingly, far too few (hence the need for the creation of The Trust) – think seriously about crafting a future beyond the game while they’re still playing. According to an article written last year, 78% of retired NFL players will file bankruptcy within 5 years. The article cites 5 reasons why professional athletes go broke, but there are many more. And it’s not just about money. It’s about sense of purpose. It’s about confidence. It’s about figuring things out and finding your way. Mostly, it’s about finding your way out of THE WILDERNESS.

Have You Lost Your Job – Your Career?

We don’t need a recession like the ginormous one that hit in 2008 to cause job losses. Jobs are lost even in good times. They’re lost when employees haven’t a clue, too. Jack Stack is known as the father of open-book management. In 1983, while serving as the plant manager of an International Harvester facility in Springfield, Missouri, Jack got word the plant would be closing. That meant 119 people would be out of work. The problem was, he thought they were doing well. Truth was, they were – so far as they knew. The problem was, they didn’t know what they didn’t know. They didn’t see the big picture in the game of business. Sparked by knowing they could lose their entire plant because they didn’t have the whole picture, Jack opened up the books. Literally. He shared financial information with the people. The employees began to take on a much greater sense of ownership as they could now relate their specific jobs to the overall financial welfare of the company. Productivity and profitability soared, along with Jack Stack’s celebrity in business circles. Today, The Great Game of Business is not only a book that Jack wrote, but it’s an entire training system conducted by SRM Holdings. They help people find their way out of the wilderness, even if they don’t know they’re lost. Jack is still pretty motivated to help people avoid facing the disastrous and unexpected news of plant closings, department shutdowns and other financial woes that hit the unsuspecting. Maybe you’ve experienced the same frustration and consternation that Jack felt back in the early 80’s. Maybe you’ve walked out of a place where you worked for years with nothing more than a cardboard box. Welcome to THE WILDERNESS.

Have You Lost Your Identity?

People commonly talk of not knowing who they are any more. That NFL player who has known nothing other than playing football since grade school suddenly isn’t playing any more. Now what? The question that rings inside his head nags at him,

Who am I?”

One day he knew. Just the other day. He was a professional football player. Today, he’s not. Now he’s outside. He’s not part of the locker room any more. That team logo is no longer a part of his present life, but his past. And it’s not the exclusive domain of retired professional athletes. It’s also the domain of the laid off worker, the downsized employee, the business owner who is struggling to survive and the middle-aged guy struggling to reinvent himself.*

Welcome To The Jungle?

Axl Rose sure looks like he’s lost, doesn’t he? He was welcomed to the jungle in the winter of 1987. I’m not sure if he fully emerged, but I’ll let you judge that. I was welcomed – partially – into the wilderness (aka “the jungle”) in the spring of 2009, just shy of turning 52.

For about 20 years I had been in a major leadership role of a business, in an industry that was about all I knew since I was a teenager. I know what it feels like to be thrust into the wilderness. I didn’t just slowly slip into the jungle. BAM! I got launched like a rocket sled into it.

Here’s the thing about the wilderness. You have no way of knowing if you’re 1000 miles, 100 miles or 1 mile deep because it all looks the same. Drop a person into the woods at night and in the morning light they can’t tell how far into the woods they are unless there are signs of civilization. If there are no signs, they’re clueless. That’s the big pitfall of the wilderness…you have no idea how far away from clarity (finding your way out) you are.

The retiring NFL player may wander around for months, or years, or decades. So it is with the rest of us, too.

Clarity is tough work. Truth is, it’s some of the toughest work on the planet. My own journey may help you. I’d love to tell you I’m free and clear of the wilderness, but I’m not. Today, I still wonder how deep I am. I’d like to think I’m closer to escaping than I was in 2009, or 2011, but as with all journeys…time will tell.

Contentment is my current curse, but I’ve worked a lifetime to get it so I’m reluctant to loosen my grip.

• Passion is the key? No, it’s not. At least it’s not for me.
• I’m not indifferent, but I don’t have a strong preference.
• Confidence may not lead to success, but try being successful without it.
• Maybe being deluded is like ignorance, bliss!
• Transferring skills and applying experience to new situations isn’t easy.
• Being too old to be young and being too young to be old.
• Too many Baby Boomers have gone bust.
• Goals of middle-age are wildly different than when you’re a 20, 30 or 40 something.
• Listening for clarity when the whole world is creating so much racket
• Finding success in survival and growing complacent

So What Do We Do?

Well, I’ll tell you what I’m doing. I think it’s the right path out of the woods, but one can never be sure until you make it out. It dawned on me not all that long ago that if I merely succeed in surviving the wilderness I’m not really succeeding at all. After years of staying in the woods, surviving on the bare minimum to get by, I started thinking about alternatives. Mainly, I began to consider the prospect that it’s far more difficult to survive the wilderness than to work toward escaping. I’ve never lived in a third world country. Nor have I ever had to forage for food or water. But as much as a modern man in a modern free society can relate, I guess I can relate when it comes to career and business.

Annually, I’ve been foraging for survival for over 4 years. The cycle is pretty well established by now. Q1 is spent hustling and trying to figure some things out. Lots of chasing and not a lot of catching. Q2 is usually where I begin to find enough berries and water to get by. Q3 is more of the same and Q4 starts out the same. Then, at the end of Q4, almost on cue, the berries and water run out. Then, I enter Q1 of the next year and begin the cycle all over again. It’s freelance survival and I’m thankful for it (it beats death I suppose, but there are many days that I’m not sure).

However, wilderness survival has an enormous downside. A person (namely me) can become fixated on staying put and maintaining the status quo. As with most changes in behavior, things have to get bad before they’ll get better. That is to say, circumstances have to worsen before you’ll make up your mind to chase freedom and try to make your circumstances better. It’s the proverbial rock bottom that catapults a person to try something different so they can dig out.

The conclusion I reached – finally – is that if I’m just going to survive the wilderness, it’s really not much of a life. I’d just soon die and get it over with. And if I’m going to die in the wilderness, I may as well try to venture out to escape. What’s the downside? I can’t think of any. If I survive by staying put, that’s as bad as it gets. If I move, even a short distance inside the wilderness, I still find more berries and more water insuring my survival. The upside of moving is that I may be closer to escape the clutches of the foggy woods. If not, then what difference does it make? I’m at least getting to see new areas of the wilderness where I’ve not yet been. So it’s all good. Well, to be honest, it’s better.

I’ll let you know when it gets good. And stop feeling lonely because no matter how much money you’ve made, or how successful you’ve been in the past…you’re not immune from being lost in the wilderness. Just last Thursday, an incredibly wealthy, successful and accomplished comedian entered the wilderness with the rest of us. Jay Leno.

Randy

* Me and many others

4010 – 3 Tips To Create A Process Toward Your Own Greatness

Good is the enemy of great.”

That’s how Jim Collins begins his classic business best seller, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t. Collins argues the veracity of that sentence because people settle for good and stop pursuing better leaving us with good, but not great outcomes.

I don’t agree with Mr. Collins. Rather, I don’t know how you can possibly achieve greatness without first being good. Let me tell you why I don’t think good is the enemy of great!

The Value Of The Process On The Mountain

Mikaela_Shiffrin
Mikaela Shiffrin, 2012

Mikaela Shiffrin is an 18-year-old World Cup Champion slalom skier. She was the subject of this month’s 60 Minutes Sports on Showtime.

Born in Vail, Colorado to parents who are both accomplished skiers, Ms. Shiffrin attended the Burke Mountain Academy in Vermont. Skiing conditions in Vermont more closely resemble those of the European ski circuit giving students experience and training that has produced 30 Olympians since it’s inception in the early 1970’s.

The Shiffrins sent their daughter to Vermont for training, not because they’re living vicariously through their talented daughter, but because she’s driven and committed to become world-class. She clearly has championship stuff as evidenced by her recent World Cup championship runs. Mikaela is the youngest slalom World Champion in U.S. history.

Jeff Shiffrin told 60 Minutes Sports that he and wife Eileen were not trying to produce a professional athlete. They simply wanted her to learn “the process.” Mr. Shiffrin talked candidly about the dance with the mountain. When you ski a good run that has five good turns in it, you immediately say, “That was fun. I want to do that again.” Mikaela’s parents concentrated on that dance while insuring she had fun learning the process.

The international skiing community marvels at Mikaela’s focus, especially given her young age. However, when you understand how her parents and her coaches have helped her, it’s apparent that they understood the value of repeating good habits. She wanted to be great so her supporters did everything possible to give her a process that would deliver consistently good results. That’s why they recommended she delay her competition.

On December 14, 2010 Mikaela won her first race. She was 15 and it was only her 8th International Ski Federation race ever! While other skiers were busy competing, she was busy training. Her coaches at Burke knew that a full day of competition would result in 2 ski runs while a full day of training would result in 15. Fifteen good ski runs a day over a prolonged period of time gave Mikaela the foundation to become a great world-class competitor.

Burke Mountain Academy has an old-style ski lift where skiers straddle a single seat, remain on their skis and a cable pulls them back up to the top of the mountain. Those riding the cable back to the top are mere feet away from the course watching other skiers navigate the gates. During a full day of training the skiers are never off their skis, even when being pulled back to the top. Skiers sit in quiet, solitary reflection on the ride back up to the top. No cell phones, no conversation with friends. Each student is alone with their thoughts as they watch other students ski down the course. The coaches credit the process for providing students with good focus training.

Mikaela is a training junkie who is known to spend up to 5 hours a day in the gym, when she’s not on the mountain.

When I was a J5 I did a lot of free skiing and I actually didn’t like free skiing. I just thought it was a waste of time and I would’ve rather been training or directed free skiing. I always wanted to be thinking of something, whether it was arms forward or my parents had a saying ‘knees to skis and hands in front’ – it’s been drilled into my head and every time I get on snow that’s what I start thinking. I did free ski a lot. I did do a lot of drills. It was probably 1/3 free skiing, 1/3 drills, 1/3 gates, and I did a lot of mogul skiing. I loved skiing the bumps, just the rhythm, trying not to eat it on a bump was really fun for me.”

By the time she had devoted herself to years of practice runs, gym training and other coaching, Mikaela was prepared to be great. None of it would have been possible without what her father calls, “the process.”

The Value Of The Process On The Gridiron

Nick_Saban
Coach Saban during a practice

University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban is a man who constantly talks about “the process.” Saban brought an NCAA Championship to LSU in 2003. He’s coached the Crimson Tide to 3 national titles in 2009, 2011 and 2012. He’s the first coach in college football history to win a national title with two different FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) schools. The man knows how to coach football.

Born in West Virginia, Saban learned the value of hard work as a boy. He’s a serious competitor who openly speaks about enjoying “the process.” Saban expects all his players to devote themselves fully to it. That means lots of time in the gym, in the film room and on the practice field, but it’s more than time. It’s doing things right. He expects every drill and every play to be done with 100% accuracy. Mostly, he preaches for his players to trust “the process.”

In a GQ article last September, a fellow coach made this observation about Saban:

The thing that amazes me about him is that he doesn’t let up,” says retired Florida State coach Bobby Bowden. “People start winning, they slack off. But he just keeps jumping on ‘complacency, complacency, complacency.’ Most coaches don’t think like that.”

Saban believes so strongly in “the process” that he won’t allow himself, his staff or his players to settle. Good isn’t good enough.

Saban’s guiding vision is something he calls “the process,” a philosophy that emphasizes preparation and hard work over consideration of outcomes or results. Barrett Jones, an offensive lineman on all three of Saban’s national championship teams at Alabama and now a rookie with the St. Louis Rams, explains the process this way: “It’s not what you do, it’s how you do it.”

The Value Of The Process Is In Consistent Details

It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.”
John Wooden

You’re not likely a World Cup skier or an NCAA Division I head football coach, but the value of process is still beneficial to you. Details are an important part of “the process.”

That innocuous ski lift played a vital role in helping Mikaela Shiffriin learn how to focus. Her coach pointed out at least three benefits to that one seemingly minor detail. One, solitude. The skiers are alone in their thoughts. By going up the mountain alone the skiers weren’t able to engage in chit-chat with each other. Two, nearness to the course, watching other students ski the course as they rode back up to the top. Watching other students maneuver the course taught them how to make a better run their next time down. Three, by remaining on their skis the students weren’t able to use cell phones or do anything else other than remain on their skis focused on successfully making it back to the starting line of the course.

A small detail – an old-fashioned ski lift – accomplished big things for the students of this ski school. You can’t argue with “the process” of a ski school that has produced over 130 US Ski Team members and 30 Olympians. Don’t tell headmaster Kirk Dwyer that details don’t matter. And don’t tell him that a good process can’t produce greatness.

In Tuscaloosa, Alabama – home to the University of Alabama – part of coach Saban’s process has a name. Scott Cochran, Director of Strength and Conditioning, is a crazed Cajun who first joined Saban at LSU. NCAA rules are strict, limiting the exposure coaches have with the players. Enter the detail of the process which is part of Scott’s role. Spring drills and off-season conditioning is his domain. It’s such an important part of the Alabama football program that it has a name, “Fourth Quarter Program.” Alabama players are notorious for maintaining strength through all four quarters of a football game. Opposing players wear down during the game, but Alabama’s attention to “the process” prepares them to press on until the game ends. Do you need proof that it works? In their 2009 national championship season they outscored their opponent in the 4th quarter 121 to 32. In 2011, another national championship season, they outscored opponents 111 to 18.

3 Things To Help You Craft A Process Toward Your Own Greatness

Instead of relying on luck, or random chance, you should consider developing your own process. Don’t shy away from doing consistently good work, or doing as good as you can.

Allan Williams was the booking agent who booked the Beatles in Hamburg, Germany in August, 1960. He was unimpressed with them though and planned to replace them, hoping to land a better act. They weren’t yet great. It’s was suspicious if they’d be good enough to hang with the best acts of Hamburg, but they did the arduous work of grinding it out. It was part of their “process” required to prepare them for America and international fame. They remained in Hamburg from August, 1960 to December, 1962.

John Lennon was quoted in The Beatles Anthology…

We had to play for hours and hours on end. Every song lasted twenty minutes and had twenty solos in it. That’s what improved the playing. There was nobody to copy from. We played what we liked best and the Germans liked it as long as it was loud.”

Think of it. The Beatles weren’t even the best band in Hamburg at the time. Williams told them the competition was fierce. Namely, they had to watch out for the 900-pound gorilla band, Rory Storm and the Hurricanes.

You’d better pull your socks up because Rory Storm and the Hurricanes are coming in, and you know how good they are. They’re going to knock you for six.”

I don’t know what happened to Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, but it’s unlikely they stuck to the process. The Beatles developed a process, stuck with it and dug in to do the work. For over 2 years they appeared to languish in nasty, deplorable conditions (both living and playing), but there’s no doubt that without Hamburg the Beatles may have never been ready for America and world-wide fame. Hamburg was their process.

What are some things you can do to develop your process?

1. Take the time to devise the next step.

Don’t focus on the outcome yet. Greatness isn’t often the result of intense focus on the result, but on the process. Mikaela Shiffrin was making 15 ski runs a day while other girls were competing and making 2 runs a day. They were focused on competing. Mikaela was concentrating on her process.

What’s the very next thing you can do to move forward? The Beatles didn’t go from bad to great. First, they had to get good enough to entertain the tough crowds of Hamburg. What do you have to do to get good?

This step is likely going to involve lots of hard work. Don’t discount repetition. Howard K. Smith was a national news anchor for ABC News in the late 60’s through the mid-1970’s. I once heard him in an interview speak of training his children to be good communicators. He said every day he had them write one clear sentence. Such daily devotion to something so simple may have resulted in helping his son, Jack, become an award winning journalist before dying of pancreatic cancer.

Don’t complicate it. Don’t overthink it. Just figure out the next step and start doing it, consistently. Then you can figure out what’s next.

2. Do what others aren’t willing to do.

Alabama football players are willing to spend time in the gym while opponents are doing something else. Scott Cochran is running the team, cheerleading their weight room training and pushing them harder while opponents are calling it a day.

Mikaela Shiffrin was staying on the practice mountain in Vermont while peers were in Europe competing. She was in the gym doing lots of weight training while others figured they’d already done enough.

If you want to be great you must be willing to do more, go further and endure more than others. You can’t be good unless you’re willing to be above average. If everybody were good, then good would only be average. But as Sturgeon’s Revelation says (quoted from Venture, March 1958 by Theodore Sturgeon, American sci-fi author and critic)…

I repeat Sturgeon’s Revelation, which was wrung out of me after twenty years of wearying defense of science fiction against attacks of people who used the worst examples of the field for ammunition, and whose conclusion was that ninety percent of SF is crud.

Using the same standards that categorize 90% of science fiction as trash, crud, or crap, it can be argued that 90% of film, literature, consumer goods, etc. are crap. In other words, the claim (or fact) that 90% of science fiction is crap is ultimately uninformative, because science fiction conforms to the same trends of quality as all other art forms.

Sturgeon was surely onto something. Ninety percent of everything is crap. That means you’re going to have to work hard to unearth the things – the process – that will get you above the herd. If you don’t, you’ll end up as part of that 90%.

The Beatles were willing to leave home, go to Hamburg and live in squalor for over 2 years. They were just kids, but how many other kids were willing to make that sacrifice? Yes, they had talent, but we all know musicians that have marvelous talent who remain unknown. We’ve all heard the adage, “The harder I practice, the luckier I get.” Be willing to do the hard practice others aren’t willing to do.

Double-A-Penny

3. Slow and steady will compound your results. Be patient.

Did you take an economics class in college? If so, you may have had a teacher ask you if you’d rather have a penny doubled every day for 30 days or $1 million cash. The point of the question was to teach the power of compounding. Double a penny every day for 30 days and after a month you’ll have $5,368,709.12. Over 5 times the million bucks you’d have settled for if you selected the $1 million cash. But it’s just a penny. No, it’s a penny DOUBLED. Every day.

When you grind out the process the results pile up. And they keep piling up. They compound and they keep compounding.

As Malcolm Gladwell points out in The Tipping Point, there is a critical time when things seem to turn. If you look at the doubling of a penny every day, you won’t reach the thousand dollar mark until day 18. Over two weeks and you’ve not yet broken $1,000? That can be discouraging. But if you hang tough, by day 21 – just 3 days later – you’ve busted $10,000. Then on day 22, just one day later, you’ve doubled it (remember, we’re doubling it every day) to over $20,000. With only 8 days left you could quit, but you’d miss out on 99.61% of the total gain. You’d leave $5,347,737.60 behind if you quit too soon because you only gained .39% of your total results in the first 18 days. Greatness takes time. Don’t quit too soon.

Conclusion

My son is a pretty good hockey player. He was a little boy when we first put him on skates. Frustrated and angry, he wanted to quit, but my wife pressed him to hang with it. Because he couldn’t master it right off the bat, he wanted to quit. We encouraged him by convincing him that nobody can be accomplished when they start. So he fell. Often. Then he fell less often. He hung onto things and people. Until he no longer needed to hang onto anybody, or anything. And he continued to skate. And skate. And skate. Pretty soon he and his sister were always the best skaters every time we took them to the rink. By the time he was 11 he was as comfortable on skates as he was in sneakers. Today, he’s 33 and he can’t remember a time when he couldn’t skate.

Everything is hard, until it’s easy.

The key to success is to grind out the hard part until it gets easy. That’s best done when you can embrace and love “the process” without too much focus on the outcome. Enjoy those practice runs. Enjoy the weight room. Enjoy the spring training. Then, when it counts, you’ll realize you’ve paid the price for greatness.

Randy

4009 – Magnify What’s Best And Focus On What’s Next (Part 2)

4009 - Magnify What's Best And Focus On What's Next (Part 2)
Go beyond the horizon. See the whole rainbow.

Change The Way You See Others

According to the authors of the book, Change The Way You See Everything, asset-based thinkers learn how to see other people through positive filters. Experience and life teach us to focus on the negative, or to incorporate deficit-based thinking. That’s why we can easily spot the bad traits in each other. And like those pictures with hidden messages, once we see the negative – we can’t avoid seeing it. Like the picture below.

Hidden Words
Can you read the message?

Make opposition matter, advise the authors. Instead of immediately taking a side, assuming the opposing side to be wrong, consider the possibility that both sides may have validity. What new truth can you create together using the opposition as a catalyst for improvement.

Asset-based thinkers foster resolution. Find resolution fast. Tell the truth fast when it involves a tough situation. That’s much smarter (and wiser) than digging into a position and going on the defense. They cite this story.

A marketing executive once told me that whenever a client pushed back on an idea or argued with him, before responding to the verbal attack, he would make eye contact and say to himself, “I love this guy. He’s sharp and bold. I love his conviction.”

People know if we’re with them or against them. Asset-based thinking requires us to work together.

It also requires solid reflection. The book offers an exercise to help us.

1. Select one person you interact with on a regular basis (at least twice a week). Pick somebody you admire and respect. Reflect on recent experiences you have had together.

2. Zero in on what this person did to stimulate rewarding, productive, enlightening, or humorous interactions.

3. Decide when and how you will communicate your asset-based observations to this person. Communicate through voicemail, telephone, or in person – not by email. It lacks emotional intelligence.

4. Repeat this entire process. Only this time, select a person who frustrates or annoys you. No kidding – if you do this step, it will change the way you see a whole host of other people who, at the moment, drive you slightly to moderately crazy.

TIP: If you do this reflection every Friday afternoon, it will help the next week get off to a great start.

Change The Way You See Situations

Asset-based thinking begins in your own mind. Look long. Look wide. Look behind you. Look ahead. Look left. Look right.

The wider the lens, the better the view.”

When tough situations erupt you may lean toward quick reaction. Instead, just breathe. Deeply. Slowly.

We can pause a problem and see it in slow motion if we intentionally slow things down. For those of us who are really proactive, it can be best to ignore the situation in the moment so we give ourselves time to find ways to move past it or around it.

We’d do well to reverse the 80-20 rule. Instead of looking at our problems 80% of the time, and our opportunities 20% of the time…flip it. Focus on opportunities 80% of the time and the challenges only 20% of the time.

So often we concentrate too much on our failings, or limitations. Instead, what if we considered our flaws, shortcomings and limitations as complimentary to our talents, strengths and abilities?

Great vision accompanies asset-based thinking. Engage your imagination and you’ll be able to see the future before it ever happens. Set your goals. Aim high.

This is the recommendation of the authors for widening our lens during everyday adversity.

Step 1

Monitor your first thoughts when you encounter adverse situations such as a traffic jam, missed deadline, or personal disappointment. If your thoughts are argumentative, e.g. “I can’t believe this! What did I do to deserve this? I’ll show them!,” give yourself a chance to widen your lens.

Step 2

Widen your view by asking yourself, “What is troubling me about this situation?” (Be realistic and specific, e.g., “I want to be on time and now I will not arrive on schedule,” or “I was disappointed that he failed to call because I was counting on a dinner date.”) Then ask yourself, “What are my opportunities and possibilities now? e.g., “I can prepare for my meeting while I’m sitting in this traffic and arrive in a good mood,” or “I can call someone else for a night out or find a good book and relax.”

Step 3

Finally, generate action geared toward minimizing the downside of the situation and generate other actions aimed at maximizing the upside of the situation. Ask yourself this open-ended question, “What if I were to…?” (Be creative with our answers: e.g., “…listen to a great audio and rehearse my agenda?” or “…call Bill — I haven’t seen him in ages?”)

As you can see, there’s lots of self-talk involved. You know you’re gonna talk to yourself so you may as well devote your self-talk to asset-based thinking instead of deficit-based thinking.

Here’s a 3-step exercise the authors say will help us widen our lens so we don’t miss out on everyday opportunities.

1. At any given moment, in the privacy of your own mind, asses what is working, what is moving forward, what has opened up, and your progress. Make these observations even if there are all-consuming front-burner issues that are dominating your attention. Use your mind like a split-screen TV — watch how you are handling the immediate issues and note what has facilitated your progress, opportunities that have arisen, and how you have leveraged them.

2. Focus on matters at hand and the context within which you are operating. Ask yourself, “What other opportunities are available? What options have I missed that I could engage and run with?”

3. Look ahead. What is in store for you in the hours to come? Get a glimpse of what you are moving into and how your immediate future will serve you.

The last part of the book are some perforated pages that can convert into cards. They’re wonderful photographs with simple statements or questions on each card. I’ll end by sharing with you the sayings on each card.

– Did you remember to forget perfection?
– Do you know what I admire most about you?
– Pursue progress. It’s a much better use of your assets.
– It’s never too early to appreciate someone’s assets.
– How do you get a great idea to take off?
– Did you know that your assets are showing?
– Let your assets and those of others fuel your passions.
– Wear them proudly. Let others see who you really are.
– Did you know that your energy is contagious?
– How did you do that?
– Your assets take others to the top.
– Your assets are in perfect balance.
– Is what you see exactly what you want to see?
– Have you hugged your assets today?
– Assets always better the view.
– Embrace the wealth of assets around you.

When you change the way you see things, the things you see change.”

The nay-sayers have never tried it. They argue against it. They compel the rest of us to join them in their misery. Too often we let them win. I think it’s time to take back the power of our own thoughts, ideas and perceptions. It’s time to change the way we see everything.

Randy

4008 – Magnify What’s Best And Focus On What’s Next (Part 1)

bulb
its time to turn the light on

Change How You Think: Asset-Based Thinking vs. Deficit-Based Thinking

Age has brought with it a yearning. For simplicity.

A decade ago I began a fascination with minimalism. I’m a non-practicing minimalist. I love the idea. I just haven’t found the energy to do it. It still captivates me though because it’s simple. Easy. Void of unnecessary stuff. More of a distraction-free way to live.

Persuasion and communication have been central components of my professional life. Personal development, cognitive research and the power of the mind have been staple subjects of the book I’m most drawn to read. Today’s show is a short series of podcasts about a book I’m re-reading, “Change The Way You See Everything.”

Enjoy!

Randy

Mentioned in today’s episode:

Zen Habits by Leo Babauta
Jim Rohn
Soar With Your Strengths by Donald O. Clifton / Paula Nelson
Change The Way You See Everything Through Asset-Based Thinking by Kathryn D. Cramer, Ph.D and Hank Wasiak
– Mat Kearney song, Closer To Love (“one phone call from our knees”) the video is below; buy anything Mat Kearney produces
Early To Rise
BulaNetwork.com/about (to see some of the WHO’s that matter to me)

4006 – What Does Your Solitude Look Like?

pine_forest
Walking into a stand of pine trees is a favorite place

I no longer live in an area rife with pine trees, but I spent the bigger part of my youth amidst them. For me, there’s nothing like a nice stand of pine trees with needles covering the ground. It’s a natural insolation from the world. The smell. The feel. The serenity.

Sadly, my adulthood solitude hasn’t included pine trees. Mostly, it happens in random places sought out at the spur of a moment. It often happens inside a car. Today’s show was recorded in a car. Parked in a parking lot with windows lowered about 1/4 of the way. The sounds of nearby traffic and a clear blue sky over head.

Sometimes we need to find a place with a lower noise floor so we can think more clearly. Introspection demands a focus we don’t often get in today’s constantly plugged-in environment.

People regularly eat with a fork in one hand and their iPhone in the other. They don’t talk to the people two feet from them, often preferring to interact with people miles away who mean much less to them. Important conversations give way to Words-With-Friends, which is an ironic name implying that valuable words are exchanged with friends. Racket replaces relationships even though relationship building gets tons of lip service. Increasingly, it means connecting with people who can help promote us, or make us look bigger, more successful or more popular.

A moment arrives, perhaps out of the blue, and suddenly the urge hits us. We need an instant change of scenery. We need a quiet place to be alone. Away from the ordinary distractions. Including the Internet. And cell phones.

Alone. With just our thoughts. And perhaps our beliefs and convictions.

To ponder. To wonder. To let our minds help us find solutions or options.

These days I mostly find solitude from inside my car, parked in the exact same location where I recorded a podcast over at BulaNetwork about the death of my best friend, Stanley.

What does your solitude look like?

Randy

New Year's Meeting 2013
Me with Easton Cantrell, my 10-month-old grandson in south Alabama
Pine_Trees
a large stand of pine trees near Dothan, Alabama where I took Easton

 

Scroll to Top