2014. Here We Come!

31 12 2013

 

4:26 PM (Eastern Standard Time)

New Year, just south of seven hours from now.

Resolutions being formed.  Regrets (too much bad food and bad blood in 2013) being mulled and, hopefully, forgotten.  Goals being articulated, fleshed out—progress ahead.

“Your time is gonna come” (apologies to Led Zeppelin).  I believe that this is the year for your time to come as well as mine.  I really do.

So……..

  • Smile more, even if you don’t feel like it.
  • Laugh.  A lot.  Laugh at yourself.  And have fun doing so.  After all, you’re only human.
  • Choose friends, surroundings and stimuli with care.  This year, jazz and classic rock have saved my neck over and over when the mood swings come and I want to drown in despair, cynicism, and negativity.  Thank you Miles Davis and Led Zeppelin.
  • Read.  Watch.  Take notes.  Do your homework.  As Brian Tracy reminds us, “All skills are learnable” and “To do something you’ve never done before, you must become someone you’ve never been before.  That is exciting and filled with promise.
  • Love your family and friends enough to communicate with them eye-to-eye and voice-to-voice, not simply through Facebook, Twitter, and texts.  The sound of another human being is magical.  No, it’s eternal.
  • Be a thermostat.  Everywhere.  Set the bar high with your example.  Office, factory, stage, classroom, living room.
  • Read anything by Seth Godin.
  • Read anything by Brian Tracy.

Ah.  Night is falling.  Celebrations starting.  Be safe and responsible—get a driver or a cab if you need to.

Happy New Year!

Cheers

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Seven Decades and Going Strong

17 12 2013

Dad1942.  Our country fully at war in Europe and the Pacific Rim.  A time of apprehension, fear, courage and destiny.

A boy born in the Great Lake State.  He grew up learning the ethic of hard work, doing his share of chores on the family farm.  It has held him in good stead all his life.

As a teenager, he faced devastating loss with the rest of his siblings and yet survived it.

As a young adult, he  made the courageous choice, in the height of the Cold War, to serve in the United States Air Force, first in Turkey and later at headquarters for the Strategic Air Command, Offutt Air Force Base, just outside Omaha, NE.

He married and adopted a young child–a boy, and went on to add two handsome sons and a beautiful daughter–siblings.  He went on to serve twenty-nine years in the Michigan State Police.

He taught his family the value of hard work.  He was always at work on some project, all the while serving his community and his state during his “day job.”  He still rarely slows down with his projects–carpentry, renovation and additions. Even after retirement eighteen years ago, he has continued his to use his skills in fire and arson investigation privately, providing for his family.

He taught his kids to love one another and get along.  He attended their ball games and school events.

He taught his kids the value of faith, providing for tuition for parochial school–not an inexpensive enterprise by any means.

He taught them to get back on the horse if you’ve fallen off.  That mistakes are not permanent.  Dust yourself off and get back into the fray.

He outworks men half his age.  Two replaced hips later, he still rocks.  He just doesn’t stop.  Serves his wife–our fantastic stepmom Debby–his  family, his Church, his community, this great nation–her values and the things that make her great.

I am that adopted kid.  And this is my dad.  James Edward Fahey.  Today is his birthday.  He continues to encourage and inspire us all.

Happy Birthday Dad.  I love you.  We all do!





Superior Experience

5 12 2013

A Superior ExperienceHere are a few questions to ask yourself as you relate to the people with whom you traffic on a daily basis.

  • Am I giving them more of the same cynical, boring, and predictable responses and input that they get from their colleagues, family, social, and mainstream media?
  • Have I passed along something of value–something that will make them think and see that their lives could be more than they are at the present moment?

Some time ago, I read  portions of Sol Stein’s remarkable book, Stein On Writing.  In it, he made his case for the ideal that the primary job of a writer is to provide the reader with a superior experience to the one he or she is currently enjoying or enduring.

How about you?  Do people leave their interactions with you challenged, invited into something new, emboldened to question the status quo?  Or are they simply having reinforced the same tired stuff they hear and see, day in and out?

It’s an important question.  And you should answer it.  Making an indelible impression takes effort, creativity, and purpose.  Do you really want to be a parrot, simply repeating what everyone hears ad nauseum?

Here’s the challenge:  Shake things up.  Give alternate, even upsetting, information.  Force, in a friendly and collegial way, your associates to look at things differently.  Reassess.  Challenge their prior commitments.

I think you’ll find, as a result, that you’ll stand out among those in their daily orbits who actually try to bring them to a better place, to more thorough thinking and planning.

In a phrase, you’re giving them a superior experience.

And isn’t that something we’re all looking for.  Try it!

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Mentally Strong People: The 13 Things They Avoid

4 12 2013

Mentally Strong PeopleI read this article the other day and was really helped by it.  I think you will be too.

Source:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/cherylsnappconner/2013/11/18/mentally-strong-people-the-13-things-they-avoid/

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For all the time executives spend concerned about physical strength and health, when it comes down to it, mental strength can mean even more. Particularly for entrepreneurs, numerous articles talk about critical characteristics of mental strength—tenacity, “grit,” optimism, and an unfailing ability as Forbes contributor David Williams says, to “fail up.”

However, we can also define mental strength by identifying the things mentally strong individuals don’t do. Over the weekend, I was impressed by this list compiled by Amy Morin, a psychotherapist and licensed clinical social worker,  that she shared in LifeHack. It impressed me enough I’d also like to share her list here along with my thoughts on how each of these items is particularly applicable to entrepreneurs.

1. Waste Time Feeling Sorry for Themselves. You don’t see mentally strong people feeling sorry for their circumstances or dwelling on the way they’ve been mistreated. They have learned to take responsibility for their actions and outcomes, and they have an inherent understanding of the fact that frequently life is not fair. They are able to emerge from trying circumstances with self-awareness and gratitude for the lessons learned. When a situation turns out badly, they respond with phrases such as “Oh, well.” Or perhaps simply, “Next!”

2. Give Away Their Power. Mentally strong people avoid giving others the power to make them feel inferior or bad. They understand they are in control of their actions and emotions. They know their strength is in their ability to manage the way they respond.

3. Shy Away from Change. Mentally strong people embrace change and they welcome challenge. Their biggest “fear,” if they have one, is not of the unknown, but of becoming complacent and stagnant. An environment of change and even uncertainty can energize a mentally strong person and bring out their best.

4. Waste Energy on Things They Can’t Control. Mentally strong people don’t complain (much) about bad traffic, lost luggage, or especially about other people, as they recognize that all of these factors are generally beyond their control. In a bad situation, they recognize that the one thing they can always control is their own response and attitude, and they use these attributes well.

5. Worry About Pleasing Others. Know any people pleasers? Or, conversely, people who go out of their way to dis-please others as a way of reinforcing an image of strength? Neither position is a good one. A mentally strong person strives to be kind and fair and to please others where appropriate, but is unafraid to speak up. They are able to withstand the possibility that someone will get upset and will navigate the situation, wherever possible, with grace.  It takes much practice to hone mental strength

6. Fear Taking Calculated Risks. A mentally strong person is willing to take calculated risks. This is a different thing entirely than jumping headlong into foolish risks. But with mental strength, an individual can weigh the risks and benefits thoroughly, and will fully assess the potential downsides and even the worst-case scenarios before they take action.

7. Dwell on the Past. There is strength in acknowledging the past and especially in acknowledging the things learned from past experiences—but a mentally strong person is able to avoid miring their mental energy in past disappointments or in fantasies of the “glory days” gone by. They invest the majority of their energy in creating an optimal present and future.

8. Make the Same Mistakes Over and Over. We all know the definition of insanity, right? It’s when we take the same actions again and again while hoping for a different and better outcome than we’ve gotten before. A mentally strong person accepts full responsibility for past behavior and is willing to learn from mistakes. Research shows that the ability to be self-reflective in an accurate and productive way is one of the greatest strengths of spectacularly successful executives and entrepreneurs.

9. Resent Other People’s Success. It takes strength of character to feel genuine joy and excitement for other people’s success. Mentally strong people have this ability. They don’t become jealous or resentful when others succeed (although they may take close notes on what the individual did well). They are willing to work hard for their own chances at success, without relying on shortcuts.

10. Give Up After Failure. Every failure is a chance to improve. Even the greatest entrepreneurs are willing to admit that their early efforts invariably brought many failures. Mentally strong people are willing to fail again and again, if necessary, as long as the learning experience from every “failure” can bring them closer to their ultimate goals.

11. Fear Alone Time. Mentally strong people enjoy and even treasure the time they spend alone. They use their downtime to reflect, to plan, and to be productive. Most importantly, they don’t depend on others to shore up their happiness and moods. They can be happy with others, and they can also be happy alone.

12. Feel the World Owes Them Anything. Particularly in the current economy, executives and employees at every level are gaining the realization that the world does not owe them a salary, a benefits package and a comfortable life, regardless of their preparation and schooling. Mentally strong people enter the world prepared to work and succeed on their merits, at every stage of the game.

13. Expect Immediate Results. Whether it’s a workout plan, a nutritional regimen, or starting a business, mentally strong people are “in it for the long haul”. They know better than to expect immediate results. They apply their energy and time in measured doses and they celebrate each milestone and increment of success on the way. They have “staying power.” And they understand that genuine changes take time. Do you have mental strength? Are there elements on this list you need more of? With thanks to Amy Morin, I would like to reinforce my own abilities further in each of these areas today. How about you?

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