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Leadership Through Change

The modern workplace has significant levels of stress. It can also be immersed with conflict related to change-management and downsizing. Technological change can cause conflict, as can changing work methodologies. Sometimes change would come in the form of a new boss. Someone coming in with new ideas and new methodologies. Just reorganization alone, which is some workplaces tends to be almost chronic, leads to tremendous amounts of stress and conflict.

While leadership is about change, change causes anxiety to many. In some instances, nothing is worse to productivity that extreme and disturbing anxiety in the workplace. This is when people constantly focus on their sources of anxiety (job loss, loss of power, loss of advantages) rather than on their own productivity and the success of the company overall.

Change interferes with autonomy and can make people feel that they’ve lost control over their territory and power. It also creates excess uncertainty. If change feels extremely uncertain, then people will reject it. People will often prefer to remain in misery than to head toward an unknown. In life in general, as much as in the workplace, we all need a sense of safety. Oftentimes with change, much unknown creates much irritability.

Leadership Definition – How it Connects to Change

Leadership is defined as the act of leading a group or organization. But sometimes leadership is faced with challenges in the face of change. Any decisions that imposed on people suddenly will cause anxiety and distress.

Everything seems different. Routine, as much as complained upon, brings certainty and confidence to many. Sudden decisions will create much bitterness and talk in the hallways.

In departing from the past and moving towards newer regulations, many will worry about loss of respect, face and status. Perhaps there are things that they do not really know. Maybe there are things they are not really good at. Things that were sort of protected by the older regulations. The concern would be that the newer regulations may expose inadequacies or incompatibilities.

Change also brings up concerns of being able to adapt to the newer requirements. Especially with technology, those that are not as technologically savvy may take longer to learn and feel extremely intimidated and agitated.

Many will worry that more will be required of them and are not sure how.

Leadership & Change – Getting Past Resentments

Resentments will come in two major forms: past resentments and present resentments.

Past resentments are sometimes staying put and quiet as long as everything is steady. But once anxiety is up, and things are steady no longer, these old resentments may surface again. The older they are, they may be harder to resolve. New resentments may arise stemming from the newly created circumstances.

Oftentimes, when older generation employees feel threatened by newer generation, and feel that their knowledge and experienced are not valued or may not be valued in the newly created circumstances.

The threat of change and the anxiety it causes are more than understandable. Change is promising to some, vital to the organization, dangerous to others. Because of that, change requires proactive conflict management practices. This is done in order to prevent escalation of conflict through change.

How to Lead Through Change

Here are some effective tips for leaders on successfully working through organizational change, without unnecessary drama:

1. Engage and Involve:

People tend to comply much more readily and easily if they feel a sense of ownership. This is rather than them feeling that things are imposed on them. While clearly change IS imposed on the employees, it would be a good idea to engage them in the process. And, to provide them with as much information and rationale as possible. This is in order to give them a sense of ownership rather than risk a sense of resentment.

2. Communicate, and Be Available to be Communicated With:

To keep your employees engaged, motivated and focused in a change-saturated environment, you will need to make yourself more available. This is good for you. As a leader you want to be able to monitor first-hand how things are managed under the organizational changes so that you can react quickly and effectively, and nip disasters in the bud. It is also good for your employees. They will have questions, and they will need clarity. The worst possible situation for an employee in a change saturated environment is to feel that there is no one to talk to other than water cooler talk with other employees.

3. Clarify Roles and Rules:

There is no difference between bigger and smaller corporations when it comes to low levels of clarity in terms of the scope of employees’ work or company policies. Regardless of the size of your organization, a lack of clarity will always lead to conflict.

The rule of thumb when it comes to employees’ scope of work and to company policies is “detail, detail, detail.” Detail aids clarity. In every situation where things are defined in a vague or partially vague manner there are problems. Messages are open not only to interpretation, but also to negotiation and power struggles. This isn’t because employees are necessarily trying to allocate more power to themselves. This may very well be the case, but it’s not always. But, because employees may truly make different assumptions as far as the scope of their work goes, what the policies are, and what is expected of them.

When their perceptions of expectations, scope, and policies clash, they will interpret that clash in a personal manner. Then conflict becomes inevitable. After all, when employees are unsure of what is expected of them, how can they be expected to perform in the best possible way? They can’t. That is why detail and clarity are so important.

4. Be Clear to Battle Fear

In departing from the past and moving toward newer regulations, many will worry about loss of respect, face, and status. One example of this could be a lack of skill or knowledge. This lack may perhaps be protected or hidden by older regulations. An employee may fear that these inadequacies or incompatibilities are about to be exposed.

Similarly, change also brings concerns of being able to adapt to the new requirements. This is especially true with technology. Those that are not as technologically savvy may take longer to learn new systems. They may feel extremely intimidated and agitated. Many will also worry that more will be required of them once the new changes are in place, and they are not sure how to meet those requirements.

The threat of change and the anxiety it causes are more than understandable. Change is promising to some, and perhaps vital to the organization. But, it’s dangerous to others. Because of that, change requires proactive conflict-management practices. In other words, management need to prevent conflict before it escalates. The Red-Shift Blue-Shift model, which we will talk about in greater detail later on, aims to do exactly that.

This model assists organizations in creating a language of effective conflict management. It does this throughout the organization during times of change or turmoil. It’s done in order to proactively address conflicts when they are still small, to increase engagement, and to create a company culture of true teamwork.

5. Promote a Company Culture of Adaptability- and Demonstrate It Yourself

To do well as a leader within your company and to build an adaptable team, you need to be able to accomplish five things. For the most part, what that means is that you need to create a corporate culture that recognizes the opportunity in every challenge.

As you accompany and support your employees through organizational change, remember that change related challenges are opportunities for growth. Highlight that in every conversation, meeting and communication. And furthermore, don’t forget to believe in it yourself, truly and whole-heartedly.

Dr. Michelle Rozen, International Keynote Speaker, Change Expert and Author, is a highly influential Social Media Expert, and featured on NBC, ABC, CNN, FOX News and many other media outlets discussing change, motivation and how the human mind works to become exceptional in every area of our lives, professionally and personally. Dr. Michelle Rozen is one of the most sought after International and National Keynote Speakers!  Book Dr. Michelle today: https://bit.ly/34QbHPv

Why Nonprofit Board Prospects Say No!

Do your nonprofit board prospects say No, when they are approached? When someone declines an invitation to join a nonprofit board, it could be for more reasons than the organization might assume.

Board members participating in my “Why Don’t Board Members Do What They’re Supposed to Do?” survey were asked the reasons why they would not accept a board position. Their answers revealed “No” could actually have meaning that goes much deeper than “not enough time” or “not having a connection with the cause.”

Survey responses indicate a board turn down may be symptomatic of significant organizational issues.

According to survey participants, here are five specific red flag concerns having a negative influence on board prospect decisions:

  • The board isn’t organized, and its goals aren’t clear.
  • The current leadership is a turnoff.
  • The current staff or board members are a turnoff.
  • There’s a personal giving requirement, or there’s too much fundraising.
  • It’s a board in name only, and not enough would be accomplished.

Here are three action steps to take when too many board prospects say No:

Consider the possibility that your nonprofit’s efforts are being compromised by a less than positive reputation or a damaging perception, and address it.

Create a dialogue in your recruitment process that allows honest feedback when a board prospect isn’t responding positively.

Conduct a self-evaluation to determine possible causes when negative responses seem to be a trend.

When someone doesn’t accept an opportunity to serve on your board, be willing to get a candid assessment. Accept those comments as constructive criticism and a first step toward taking corrective action.

Understanding why prospects say Yes helps ensure successful board recruiting. However, understanding why they say No can be equally important to the overall success of achieving your nonprofit’s mission.

What are some of the reasons you’ve encountered as to why board-member prospects say No? Comment here on this blog as Hardy is interested to hear your thoughts!

Speaker and Author, Hardy Smith works with nonprofits and associations who want an ongoing culture of performance. A master storyteller, organizations across America have benefitted from Hardy’s extensive career in the world of Nascar racing. His involvment with nonprofits, volunteer and community based groups nationwide has earned him the title of: “The Guru of Nonprofits!” Hardy offers: Keynotes, Seminars, Workshops, Leadership Retreats, and Strategic Planning Sessions! Book Hardy today: https://bit.ly/2ZFALqb

Do You Delegate Well?

Most of us are aware of the positives from delegating—we’ve heard them before.  In theory, it’s a great concept: “Get other people to do your work for you…Awesome!” 

We also know we can get more done in less time if we delegate properly.  The results of not delegating include burnout, stress, and getting overwhelmed with mundane tasks that distract us from our most important responsibilities.

Yet, why is delegation one of the most underutilized skills in organizations today?  Why don’t we delegate more?  Delegation is actually a learned and applied skill.  It takes an understanding of how to do it correctly, and conscious focus to create a habit.

Let me ask you: How many times in your life have you said this to yourself? “If it’s going to get done right, and if it’s going to get done on time—I might as well do it myself!”

Here are the Top 4 reasons we rationalize not delegating:
1.I don’t have anyone to delegate to.”

We often believe we don’t have anyone to delegate to.  Certainly, if you don’t have employees or a personal assistant, you may have stopped reading already.  However—don’t fret.  Delegation, at its’ most basic level, is simply having someone help you.  Help can also come from peers, other departments, friends, interns, or even your children (please consult the child labor laws in your state first!)  There are even examples of those who have mastered the art of delegation enough that they can delegate…to their boss

2. I’ve tried to delegate and it doesn’t work. I’ve been burned before.”

You’re right.  Something didn’t get done right or on time because you gave it to someone else.  You trusted someone, and they didn’t come through.  Someone let you down.  Someone made you look bad.  Got it.  It’s happened to all of us.  But, here’s the key:  Don’t make that an excuse to STOP DELEGATING FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. 

3. “By the time I explained it to someone, I could have done it myself.”

Quite possibly, there are things that could take just a bit more time to explain to someone else—the first time However, if we think that way all the time, we WILL be the only person that knows how to do everything—and we will stay in the trap of having to do everything ourselves.  But if we invest the time to delegate the first time, and that same or related item arises again…wallah!  It’s now a time saver from that point on. 

4. “I don’t want to ‘bother’ someone else…they already have enough on their plate.”

I liken this “bothering someone” mentality to asking someone to buy something if you are in sales, or even asking someone out on a date.  Psychologically, there is a certain uncomfortable side to delegating.  We don’t want to seem as if we are pawning work off on others.  We don’t like giving people more work, especially if they, too, seem busy.  However, if we are truly overwhelmed, who do we really have to blame if we never even ask for help in the first place?  Who do we have to blame that we don’t have time for the important projects that we should be focusing our time on? Delegation often has to do with pushing ourselves outside our comfort zone, rather than not feeling like askingfor help and continuing the pattern of taking it all on ourselves.

The key to delegating is the word “habit.” Using the above excuses rationalizes and enhances the habit of doing everything yourself.  Avoiding this excuse creates the habit of delegating. Establish the pattern of delegating, especially on smaller or quicker tasks, to create a habit.

A leader isn’t the person running around doing everything themselves.  A leader is someone who inspires others to achieve the goals of the organization as a team.”

Like anything else, delegation takes focus, and a concerted conscious effort everyday—or we revert to our old habits.  You have to WORK on being an excellent “delegator.”  Place a one-word post-it note on your PC to help create this habit everyday.  Bring someone along on that next big project.  Look at your “To-Do List” and delegate 3, 4, or 5 items before you do anything else.  Then devote your time to your big picture goals–and achieve MORE, in less time, with higher quality, and less stress.  

You deserve vacation days without your cell phone going off, and you will be amazed at what your organization can accomplish.


About the Author:  Andy Masters, MA, CSP has written 5 books, earned 4 degrees, and has earned the prestigious CSP award of the National Speakers Association (NSA).  Andy presents entertaining and impactful programs on leadership, sales/service, and personal development topics. Book Andy today: https://bit.ly/2WWOZRn h

Going Back Old School in a Digital World!

This time of year is all about…

  • setting goals,
  • making resolutions, and
  • planning sessions.

These are traditionally a big part of the turn of a new year.

What else can you do to find success in 2019? I think we forget one critical path to achieving new goals…it is the HABITS we have.

If you want to be a leader that evolves and grows consistently, you must have the right habits. Intentional habits are essential to many things in life. Look at a person’s habits, and it will tell you a lot about that person.

My favorite tool for changing habits and tracking progress is old school. I have been using it for three years now. I love my wall calendar that shows the full year. I track my workouts, my nutrition, and my most important projects. I have a color coding that helps me see my consistency. If you want to change your momentum for 2019, you must be intentional about your habits.

Here is my calendar for the year. You can see where I was consistent and where I wasn’t.

2018 Wall Calendar

If you want to get a calendar like this, use this link. I love my calendar. I am ready to get started on 2019.

How about you? I’d love to know what #habits you are tracking to make this next year epic. 

 Here is to an ahhhhhh-mazing 2019,

P.S. You want to make more money ( or better yet keep more money). You want more time off. You want to simplify your life. No matter what you do…track your habits on this calendar.

Gene Hammett is a Motivational Business Speaker, Author, and writes a Weekly column for Inc. Magazine.  His Award-winning Podcast Leaders in the Trenches is heard by leaders all over the world. His newly released book, The Trap of Success gives all business owners a Guide to Success! Known for his ability to: “take an otherwise routine topic and make it new, exciting and captivating” Gene is seen as one of top Motivational Business Speakers around! To hire him for your next event, contact us today at 888-766-3155 or visit: Hire Gene Hammett

Connected Leaders Get Their ASK in Gear!

Leaders encourage new team members to ask clarifying questions surrounding a project, protocol or procedure.  Connected leaders take it one step further and reassure individuals to reach out for support or help when needed. Yet, too many individuals still hesitate asking for what they need to succeed demanding that leaders change their approach.

According to an article in Harvard Business Review, a call center experiment may hold clues to creating a safe and supportive “asking” environment.

The Challenge: The company’s rapid call center growth (tripling in size over a five-year period) left insufficient time for training to support their financial advisor clients. Wanting to look good in their supervisor’s eyes, new hires hesitated asking for help or saying, “I don’t know. Let me find out.” This increased call volume as clients chose to call back until two out of three answers received were alike. The leaders gave their teams a clear vision: Change whatever it takes to prevent clients from living by the three-call rule.

The Experiment: First off, management made it safe to experiment by keeping, but not compensating, call center service agents on metrics for four weeks. To show they were serious, white lab coats were distributed and input solicited. The first experiment resulted in a “Bat Signal” agents could press when needing informational support, but they still hesitated as the device clearly signaled they needed assistance. In addition, everyone assumed someone else would jump in to help, leaving the requestor helpless. Even after someone was assigned as Bat Manager, other demands often meant they weren’t at their desk to receive the signal.

The experiment shifted to a private “Bat Chat” channel where new hires could directly connect with specialized departments, but that also failed. However, when the “Bat Chat” channel was launched to the entire call center, everything changed. Although management anticipated that new hires would be connecting and asking for support from each another, that wasn’t the case. Turns out, only when seasoned team members modeled the behavior and asked each other for additional support, did new hires follow suit.

As the article’s author Joe Brown noted, “When they were just another voice in a crowded room, they felt safe to ask questions. So, the key wasn’t in giving newbies special treatment, it was making them feel normal in saying, “I don’t know.” And a nice added benefit of the Bat chat? Those long transcripts became a searchable library of answers for future service agents.”

My Takeaway for You: Leaders must get their own ASK in gear if they expect others to feel safe enough to follow suit. Put your pride on the side, show your vulnerability and ask for support when necessary. Not only will you be doing yourself a favor, but you’ll be leading the way for others to do the same.


If you are looking for an award-winning, funny motivational speaker that can also deliver solid content in a way that evokes change and produces results, Colette Carlson is the one for your next event!  To have Colette at your next event call us today at 888-766-3166 or click here: Book Colette Carlson

Morning! from Thom Gossom Jr.

Morning!

The morning air is crisp, not yet cool. The sun’s rays reach through the majestic trees, an invitation to the great day ahead. The bay glistens in the background. It’s beautiful! The involuntary grin deeply creases my face. I say my prayers. I’m happy!

Some people go to therapists. Some meditate. Others search daily for that elusive inner peace. For me it’s morning’s freshness and my bicycle at 6am, cruising through the neighborhood. Morning is the gift we’re all given. The bicycle is the gift I give myself.

I’ve been riding bicycles all my life. Love it! I remember my first lessons with training wheels, my first lesson without them. I remember crying when I realized my dad was not behind me holding me up. Then I promptly fell.

Most mornings in good weather, sometimes in not so good weather, I raise the garage door and leave the house for a 75-minute ride through the neighborhood. It’s peaceful. Quiet. There are hardly any cars, dogs, or people; just me, the morning and the promising day ahead.

“The Bicycle Man” they call me. I’ve been called worse.

There are three regular riders on the circuit as I call it, in their colorful bike outfits. They ride as a group always with a bright “good morning” for me. There are some regular walkers offering big smiles while soaking up that morning promise. “Good mornings” abound! Like warm coffee on a cold morning the day flows.

Peaceful solitude only lasts so long. After the 7 o’clock hour the cars, school buses, and people start to flow. I make my way back to our home.

The newness of another day!

Thom Gossom Jr. defied all odds, and as a sought-after Keynote Speaker is on a mission to help others do the same! Thom has come full circle in life; from a walk-on determined athlete in challenging times, using the education he received to become a successful Corporate America leader, succeeding as an Award-winning Hollywood Actor, becoming a best-selling author and film producer, owning his own company-Best Gurl Inc., a Communications Firm, being a sought after Keynote Speaker, serving as the Chair of the Auburn University Foundation Board, to now inspiring, motivating, educating and entertaining audiences all over the globe. To have Thom Gossom Jr. at your next event, contact us at 888-766-3155 today.

Guaranteed to Show You How to Successfully Reinvent Yourself in 12 “Easy” Steps

Guaranteed to Show You How to Successfully Reinvent Yourself in 12 “Easy” Steps

By John Baumann

INTRODUCTION

If you have decided that you desperately and passionately commit to transform yourself no matter how much effort, time and sacrifice that it will take, keep reading, this information is for you. If you are willing, you will have to work harder than you ever have before and sacrifice more than you thought possible. It is not “easy.”

I wrote DECIDE SUCCESS: Twelve Action Steps to Achieve the Success You Truly Desire as an easy-to-understand, step-by-step process for building your own personalized success plan complete with written exercises for each action step. While pragmatic and academically sound, it was not intended to, nor does it attempt to, address the emotional (and even spiritual) foundation often necessary to succeed. I will attempt to provide that foundation here. Just as the steps in DECIDE SUCCESS are hard to stick with, the same will be said about these self-improvement “edicts.” This process or program or, better yet, set of ideals are not for the faint of heart. You got to want it bad enough to get through the pain that is transformation.

As the well-known expression goes, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expect that you are going to get a different result.” Many of us have never learned this lesson. We hold on to familiar approaches to life issues when deep down inside we know that we will get the same result, although unhealthy, one that we are actually comfortable with. Doing something different takes either a very brave person or very desperate person. I recommend that you take the bravery route and not wait for you to become desperate, some call it “hit rock bottom.” Being exposed to someone who is brave enough to transform, or is in the process of transforming, his or herself, a mentor, makes a tremendous difference because you realize that it is possible to succeed, “If they can do it, so can I.” Seek out a mentor.

I have broken this book down into two parts using an old adage adapted to fit my needs. First, “out with the bad.” Then, “in with the good.”

Part I: OUT WITH THE BAD

Out with the bad. I am not proposing that the proverbial baby be thrown out with the bathwater. Quite the opposite. A complete and honest review of your life is necessary from all angles to decide what unhealthy things (including people) need to be removed and who and what have the privilege and honor of remaining in your life. It is “your” life after all. You only get one chance at life and for a very limited time at that. One of the first things you need to do is to stop watching or listening to the news. You may be thinking, “Is this guy kidding?” or “Is this guy for real?” Bad or negative stories are the lifeblood of the media. Uplifting or positive stories are an afterthought or allowed on the air after, I believe, much arm-twisting. Turn off mainstream television and watch documentaries instead. Learn something. Get in touch with the energy emitted by people. In particular, whether the comments made have a negative bent or a positive one.

I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease when I was 41 years old. We, in the Parkinson’s community, use the example of a snowflake when describing how the disease affects each individual differently. Just like every snowflake is unique unto itself, every person with Parkinsons has their disease progress at a different rate. Since there is no test to determine how long one will maintain their quality of life, moments become precious. As with any life-changing medical condition, a sense of urgency develops. We may not have the time to wait to transform our lives. Thus, the following fall under the category, “Out with the Bad.”

Chapter One: BURN THE TICKS OFF

This may be a little bit gross, but ticks will embed themselves into a human body by inserting its head below the surface of the skin. If you pull the tick off, the head will remain. The way to remove the tick completely is to apply a flame to its body or use an alcohol swab. In this way, the head comes out and the whole tick can be disposed of.
There are ticks in your life that have embedded themselves into you. You may have grown accustomed to having them attached to you and feeding off you. It may seem ordinary and usual to have them connected to you. You feel like they belong. You may even feel a sense of superiority to have these people dependent upon you. What you need to realize is that they are slowly, but surely, sucking the life out of you.

You need to properly and honestly determine who are your ticks and “burn” them off. Ask yourself, “Am I better off with this person in my life or without this person in my life?” Do they add to my healthy enjoyment of life or detract from it? Do the things they say tilt toward the positive or the negative. What energy do you feel? A clear signal is, if after spending some time with someone, you feel like you need to take a long, hot shower to wash the muck off, you might want to rethink the amount of time you spend with that individual, if any. Burning the ticks off is not easy. Ticks have a vested interest is remaining embedded in you. There will be resistance. Serious resistance. It takes courage. It takes guts. It takes resilience. Most of all, it takes discipline. You have to stick to your decision even when doubt creeps into your head. Burn, baby, burn.

Chapter Two: STOP TELLING YOUR SOB STORY

Everyone has a sob story. Some have a whole book of them. Some have enough to fill a small library. Just stop. No one really wants to hear the tragedies that have befallen you in your lifetime. Don’t wear them like some kind of badge or medal. Realize that no one has a perfect life. I don’t mean to belittle or minimize the horrific things that we, as humans, have been forced to endure: death of a child, sexual assault, disease, disasters, concentration camps, addiction, etc. However, you need to look at yourself as a survivor and move on. I am not saying forget, but, by telling your “story” over and over just for the sake of eliciting sympathy, you become the story. It becomes who you are. It becomes your identity. You stop growing. You get lost in the “woe is me” syndrome and your life, for all intents and purposes, is over.

Just as with all the others, this will not be easy. Some people have held on to their sob story for decades and don’t want to move on. Nothing worth anything is easy. But isn’t getting “your” life back worth it? As my wife, Bernadette, says, “Send the Boo-Hoos Bye-Bye.”

Chapter Three: GET OVER IT
Glenda, a wise friend coined the expression, “STOP or I can’t help you.” Any time anyone is involved in some way in a “Life-changing Event” a flood of emotions come with it. For me and my Parkinson’s, what I call the “emotional rollercoaster” started with disbelief, moved to shock, then to denial, isolation, embarrassment, sadness, depression, and finally accepting and even embracing my Parkinson’s.

Its at these times that Glenda’s words of “Stop” or otherwise remain present, regroup and I’ll help you move forward is all my wife needed to realize that she had to shift her thoughts toward a place of “I can” and begin a renewal process. She did. There are positive people around you that are in your life for all the right reasons, might not be forever, but they can just show up and carry you when you need to be carried. This is the support of love and compassion that strengthens a person and pulls them out of the hole, helps you fight. It’s the team, the brigade, the peers, the mentors in your life and your faith that you need to move forward. Then, and only then, can you be lifted. Stop or they can’t help you.

Interestingly, I have not felt angry about having Parkinson’s, who am I going to be angry with? God? Not smart. A pretty powerful force to be mad at. In reality, no one was to blame for my Parkinson, at least not that I know of.
But often someone is to blame, and anger becomes a major blocking emotion. Very justified. Also poison to the soul. You allow the perpetrator to dictate sometimes the remainder of your life. I’m not saying that you, me or anyone else would be able to get over someone taking the life of someone you love or any other evil act. And I am not oblivious to the time necessary to heal. But, I think you would agree that the faster we move through these emotions, the better.
So, I term this simply, “Get over it.” There is no standard for the time it should take, but there comes a time that you need to just “get over it.” Sooner rather than later. Any way that is right for you (and legal, of course) works. Spiritual. Exercise. Primal scream. Yoga. Fitness Boxing. See a therapist or a doctor. Or, as bold and simplistic as it sounds, just make the decision “to get over it.”

By now you know what I am going to say next: It will not be easy, in fact, depending upon the severity of the incident, it may very well be the most difficult thing that you ever do. But you have got to do it. Getting stuck on any negative emotion takes a tremendous amount of energy and blocks you from moving forward. In fact, when people truly “get over” an emotion, whether it be denial, anger, sadness, depression or any other, they typically report some sort of feeling that a weight has been lifted off of them (usually their shoulders). Why wait? Why not control your own circumstances?

By way of example, why wait for the justice system to procure (or worse, not procure) a guilty verdict in the situation where you or a loved one was harmed by another to take your life back? You have the power to move forward through the natural emotions that you experience in as quickly a fashion as possible.
Shock. I had every right to be in shock. I was 41 with Parkinson’s. I needed to “get over it” and did. Denial. Anyone would understand why I would be justified in being in denial. I was so young to have an “old person’s disease.” But I needed to “get over it” and did. Sadness. Interestingly, most of my sadness appeared when I disclosed my illness to others. I had to deal with the emotions experienced by family especially my mother and father. I had to actually help them “get over it.”

Depression. I experienced depression both because I could see my future in other people that I meet with Parkinson’s (wheelchair, uncontrolled movements, inability to swallow, etc.), but also the chemical reaction in the brain to loss of dopamine that is the pleasure center of the brain. Although I do take medication to combat my depression, I don’t rely solely upon the medication. I still do what I can to “get over” my depression. Eat healthy, exercise, stay mentally active, pursue my life’s purpose, etc.

This “get over it” philosophy is necessary to move forward from wallowing in a negative emotion and applies to more than just being diagnosed with Parkinson’s or any other incurable disease. It applies to emotions associated with becoming a caregiver for someone with such an illness. The loss of a parent. The loss of a sibling. God forbid, the loss of a child. Injury of you or a loved one. Divorce. Being cheated upon by a spouse. Loss of a job. I could go on and on. The response stays the same, “Get over it.”

Addictions produce very complex issues. Addictions from drugs to eating disorders, etc. are not likely something that one can just will oneself to just “get over.” Intervention, medical personnel, counselors are necessary. But there is still a critical element of the person, somewhere deep inside themselves, making the affirmative decision to “get over” the addiction.

Chapter Four: QUIT BEING MEAN

After discussing such sensitive areas thus far, it may seem trite to provide an edict called, “Quit being mean.” The significance of this statement should not be trivialized. People provide ample opportunity to be criticized, made fun of, teased, bashed, bullied, abused, etc. You need to resist the temptation to somehow build yourself up by tearing someone else down, whether to his or her face or behind his or her back. I’m just saying. It’s exciting to be mean. We get a rush from it. In fact, watch most of the shows on television. Meanness abounds. You must, on some level, be affected by watching people being mean on these shows. The meaner the host, the better the ratings. Stop the insanity and choose different programs to watch.

Chapter Five: FORGIVE

I’ll end the “out with the bad” section with the most significant edict. Forgiveness. What a powerful word. Who do you need to forgive? Everyone. That includes YOU. Though we should always strive to be, no one is perfect. Sometimes we come down hardest on ourselves. I am not saying forget, but give yourself a break. Learn from mistakes. Learn from failure. As I state on the first page of my website, JohnBaumann.com, “It’s through the pain and fear that builds a warrior.”

You absolutely can, and must, forgive even if it is something that you will never forget. We need to learn from our experiences, but that does not mean that we cannot forgive. It is totally within your power and control to forgive anyone. The other person does not have to ask for your forgiveness or say that they are sorry for you to forgive them.
Your forgiveness does not entitle them to avoid the consequences of their actions, that is their issue. But you don’t have to carry around the anger or other baggage associated with the situation. You have the option of simply forgiving them in your heart. Think back to the people who have wronged you over your lifetime and, one-by-one, forgive them.

I know I sound like a broken record, but, as simple as it sounds, truly forgiving someone, let alone everyone, is also a very difficult thing to do. It takes strength. It takes all kinds of strength, including spiritual strength. “To err is human, to forgive divine.” You may question whether you can forgive. What if you were molested? Lost the ability to walk due to the intentional act of another? Had a loved one brutally murdered by someone? Yes. Yes. Yes. And there are many more circumstances, too many to be able to include in this publication. As monumental as the task, you cannot improve until you have relinquished the anger and pain of your unique past.

Part II: IN WITH THE GOOD

Now that we have removed the bad, we have created a void. We need to fill that void. It is just human nature. What do we fill it with: Good. In with the good. After all, this is self-improvement. It is time to discuss the improvement part.

Chapter Six: PICK A CONCRETE DAY

Many, if not most, people naturally procrastinate, especially when it comes to doing things that are hard or difficult. So, you need to, as my friend Terri says, “Just pick a day to start and stick with it.” If you don’t decide upon a day to begin, you never will get going.

I recommend that you jump right into your transformation, but some people need to start slowly and build up steam. Whatever works for you is fine so long as you are moving forward and not backtracking. It can be a random date or a date that has some significance. Just don’t make it too far into the future or leave it flexible. Focus hard on the date and set it in concrete. Tell people that are important to you the date. Gain ownership in the date.

Chapter Seven: SEEK OUT POSITIVE

There are positive people out there. You just have to keep your eyes open. Look for them. Join a gym. Take up a hobby. Something you really enjoy. Get involved with a charity. Go to a place of worship. Meet new people. Make the time to do what you truly love to do. Surround yourself with the most positive, upbeat, fun-loving people that you can find wherever you go.

Seeking out positive goes well beyond people. Create a positive environment in your world. Open the shades and let in the light. Build a fire in the fireplace on a cold, winter’s night. Feel the warmth. Schedule time to just do nothing.

Go for a walk in the park.

Have real conversations with people. Discuss things that matter. You don’t have to discuss politics or religion to have a real conversation. If in a group, a good rule of thumb is to speak no more than one quarter of the time and listen intently to what others are saying the remainder of the time. Are they confrontational? Are they conciliatory? Are they really listening to what others are saying? Are their comments of a sexist or racist nature? Then, pick out the ones that you want to consider a friendship relationship. Slowly at first, but remain in touch and engaged with them.

Chapter Eight: BE AWARE OF WHAT YOU HAVE

Although I recognize that there are many, many people with no material possessions, there are also many people who have shelter and food to eat on a daily basis. We get so caught up in adding to our “stuff” that we forget what we have. You need to constantly remind yourself to maintain perspective.
When you wake up in the morning, practice making your first thoughts be a relationship that you cherish, could be your relationship with a parent, a sibling, a close friend, a higher power, etc. Or maybe the comfortable bed that you just woke in, the roof over your head that is protecting you from the elements, the ingredients necessary to make your breakfast, etc.

Chapter Nine: BE HEALTHY

Being healthy covers a range of topics. First, eat “clean” (healthy food). Make sure that you put fuel into your body that will aid in living a quality life, make you healthier. You need to eat organic foods to minimize the ingestion of pesticides and other damaging products used in non-organic and processed foods. It would be best to grow your own vegetables and fruits in order to make sure that the soil is not depleted and has the necessary nutrients. If that is not possible, farmer’s markets are popping up all over. Develop a relationship with some of the producers.
In one form or another, sugar is contained in almost everything food purchased in a store. You need to read labels and wean yourself off sugar and sugar substitutes. If you choose to eat meat, focus on locating sources that don’t add steroids or other growth stimulators, treat the animal humanely during its life and the manner of its death, and handle the animal parts in a proper, sterilized and refrigerated environment. Again, start with a farmer’s market.
Drink water. Lots of water. Cut out soda and diet soda, any drink that is sweet. Go cold turkey if you have to. No discussion. No negotiation. It is that bad for you.

I found that when I started eating healthy, I could eat a lot more food, I never had that bloated full feeling, I have more energy, I can exercise more effectively and, so long as I am prepared, I almost never feel hunger pains. What I mean by prepared is to have food always ready to eat no matter where you are, just in case. For me, an Ezekiel wrap of hummus and length-wise cut cucumbers. This removes any excuse to ever be tempted to go to a fast food restaurant.

Remember, food is your body’s fuel. At first, you will struggle giving up many so-called “comfort foods.” I know that I sure did. But as your system cleanses itself, the cravings diminish and then disappear. For the first few months of your transformation, think of food as fuel for your body to operate efficiently and not a source of pleasure or reward. Sure, some of the clean food you eat will taste good, but, temporarily, don’t focus on taste, focus on nutrition.
Second, exercise on a daily basis just beyond your comfort zone. I was attending a conference on Parkinsons when one of the speakers made this statement. It shook my world. I immediately went home and started to exercise on a daily basis, no excuses allowed. I put a definite time on my schedule. I progressively moved from walking on the treadmill to spin bike, etc. Sixteen months later, I do, on alternating days, an hour of strength training in a kettlebell class called G-FIT at Core Combat Sports and 90 minutes of hot yoga at Bikram Yoga Louisville.
I, over the past sixteen months, unintentionally went from 215 pounds to my optimal weight for my height of 180 pounds. I can honestly say that I am healthier and fitter now, over ten years into my Parkinsons, than I have ever been even before I started exhibiting the symptoms of Parkinsons.

Chapter Ten: TOUCH

Make human connection. Many may scoff at this notion. I have an “old school” doctor who during my appointment is in constant contact with me whether it be my forearm, hand, wrist or shoulder. It is unusual and, I’ll admit, I was somewhat uncomfortable with it at first, but, when I got used to it, I realized how soothing it is. I have come to realize how important hugs are in appropriate circumstances. I hug my son and daughter every time I see them. My wife has to remind me sometimes to stop writing so we can hug. For us, it is a minimum of 20 seconds.

Chapter Eleven: BE KIND, COMPASSIONATE AND LOVING

Wow, what a mouthful. But doesn’t everything boil down to these five words. What is the golden rule? What are the teachings of most, if not all, religions? The message of many self-help or self-improvement gurus can be summarized to be more kind, compassionate, and especially loving.

Chapter Twelve: FIND YOUR PURPOSE

I discuss extensively in my book DECIDE SUCCESS having faith that your life has purpose. Once you have accepted the fact that your life does have purpose, the next adventure is to uncover what that purpose is. You don’t create it. Often, you don’t decide what your purpose is. You just uncover it.

For me, I thought my life’s purpose had something to do with working as an attorney. I was wrong. As it turns out, what I uncovered was that my life’s purpose has to do with inspiring people. Go figure. I found out that I have a gift. My genuineness, kindness, compassion, empathy, joy for life, optimism, love comes out whenever I am asked to inspire a group or even an individual. I can bring back hope where hope had been lost. I can help people see beyond what is apparent. I can work with people to create a more positive “End-vision.” I had to develop Parkinson’s disease to uncover my life’s purpose. I now not only accept my Parkinson’s, but actually embrace it. God does work in mysterious ways.

What is your life’s purpose? I know one thing, if you don’t burn the ticks off, slam the door on unfulfilling dating relationships, stop telling your sob story, get over it, stop being mean, forgive, pick a day to start, seek out positive, be aware of what you got, be healthy, touch, be kind, be compassionate and be loving; you will not be prepared or ready to uncover your life’s purpose. It takes work, hard work, to move forward, but, I can tell you, it is worth every bit of it. I hope that I have set a positive example for the people with whom I come in contact. After all, that is what being a mentor is all about.

 

Most would give in and give up when diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (or any other chronic illness) at the age of 41.  John made the decision to “Decide Success.”

He had a wonderful life and believed he was fulfilling his “purpose.” He graduated from Cornell Law School, and had practiced law for 15 successful years. Then his world was turned upside down. He had no idea how quickly the symptoms of this horrific, debilitating disease would progress. It totally changed his perspective on life.

What no one would see as a positive development, John decided to make one. He worked for seven more years as a full-time attorney. He contributed to several books and wrote one of his own aptly named, “Decide Success-You Ain’t Dead Yet.”John joined the faculty of the University of Louisville, and was honored as “Most Inspiring Professor.”

But his most important decision was to reinvent himself as an Inspiring Success Speaker and Workshop Facilitator. Now over 15 years later after that first diagnosis, John speaks on topics he knows he is an expert in, and maintains an honest, genuine, real, humorous approach.  He has truly “uncovered his purpose!” 

Develop Differently-Abled Employees: No-Excuses Leadership

Develop Differently-Abled Employees: No-Excuses Leadership

By Doug Lipp

Sandra, the factory employee I’m observing, works tirelessly and methodically at her station.

Reaching into a large cardboard box filled with hundreds of teabags, Sandra pulls out enough bags to fill tea-bag-sized indentations in a tray situated in front of her on the workbench. Once she fills each indentation—15 for this job — she carefully transfers the teabags from the tray into a smaller box destined for supermarket shelves.

Over and over during her shift, Sandra accurately fills the smaller boxes with the consistency and reliability of a computer-controlled robot … yet she is blind, cannot hear, and cannot count.

Sandra is blessed to work for an organization called Pride Industries. Founded in a church basement in 1966 in Auburn, California, Pride Industries hires and trains people with a variety of physical and mental challenges, the “differently-abled” in our society.  Using massively creative training programs, Pride Industries helps turn an often ignored group of people into purpose-driven, contributing members of society.

The overwhelming success of PRIDE has proven what its founding leadership team suspected all along: When people are nourished by the power of purpose, and set up for success via well-designed training, their spirits soar, their talents blossom … and their disabilities disappear.

So, you can only imagine how I recently responded to a complaint voiced by an owner of multiple restaurants across the United States: “These young kids today can’t count change for our customers.” Look in the mirror, buddy, your lack of leadership is where the problem resides.

Business owners, leaders, managers and supervisors need to stop playing the victim card. It’s time to move from the excuses-laden, creativity-killing position of, “No, we can’t do that because,” to the possibilities-rich mindset of “Yes, If.”

Sandra would be the first to agree.

Doug Lipp is on a crusade to help your audience strengthen their corporate culture, boost business performance, and unapologetically, have fun while doing it. As an International Keynote Speaker, Best-selling Author of “Disney U”, Former Head of Disney University Training Team, and Executive Coach, Doug is one of the most trusted and respected business speakers and coaches in the world! He is sought after for his expertise in helping organizations build adaptive, world-class service cultures that fuel growth and long-term success. Doug leaves his audiences with a blueprint for creating and perpetuating a culture of significance unique to their organization.  Call 888-766-3155  today to hire Doug for your next event!

 

Nonprofit Caregivers Need Help, Too

NONPROFIT CAREGIVERS NEED HELP, TOO

Every day dedicated nonprofit professionals are working to help those who have suffered misfortune, aiding victims in need of care, and finding solutions to someone else’s problems.

Nonprofit professionals deal with situations that can range from the simple to the complex and, often to the tragic.

The daily pressure and stress can be mentally, physically, and emotionally challenging. Even the most compassionate and consummate professional can feel the cumulative impact of such a demanding career.

Unfortunately, the intensity of this already stressful workplace environment is growing. While budgets are being cut and calls for help are escalating, staffs are being pushed to do more with less.

So who props up those who prop up others? The answer could be You.

As a high school basketball player, I was barely good enough to make the team, and my prospects for actually getting into a game were close to nonexistent.

In spite of my bench warming role, my three younger sisters showed up at games to loudly cheer for their brother. Their pleas to “put Hardy in” didn’t persuade the coach but did totally embarrass me.

Through the years, my sisters have continued their encouragement. They recognize a need and offer support. My once youthful embarrassment has grown into appreciation and the realization of how fortunate I am to have such great cheerleaders in my life!

You too can have a positive influence on those you work with by being a cheerleader who provides co-workers with a much needed boost.

Help create a supportive environment that will assist in re-charging those whose batteries are running low. Offer words of encouragement to those dealing with a particularly difficult situation. Recognize when someone may be struggling, and help find a way to temporarily lighten his or her load. An act of kindness will go a long way toward deflecting frustration, fatigue, and even burnout.

Acknowledge those who are making a difference. The feeling of being appreciated is a powerful motivator.

Champion the effort to get everyone working together as a team. Celebrate the individual and collective successes your organization is having so each person can share in the glow of accomplishment.

People who work to meet the needs of others are indeed special. But even those who help others need help and deserve recognition and encouragement themselves.

A sister can be a great cheerleader. And you can too!

Speaker Hardy Smith is your Go-to Resource who works with NonProfits and Associations that want an Ongoing Culture of Performance. Organizations across America have benefited from Hardy’s 30-plus years of experience working in the high-performance world of NASCAR racing. His extensive involvement with nonprofit, volunteer-based, and community groups nationwide gives him a keen understanding of nonprofit and association needs. Hardy’s offerings include keynote addresses, seminars, workshops, leadership retreats and strategic planning sessions, such as, “Why Don’t Board Members Do What They’re Supposed to Do?; leadership training; strategic planning; and innovative and results-oriented consultation.  To hire Hardy for your upcoming event ct 888-766-3155.

Do Creative People Think Highly of Themselves?

Do Creative People Think Highly of Themselves?

By Julie Austin

A recent study on creativity showed that people who are highly creative tend to score low on tests of humility and honesty. After spending most of my life in the entertainment industry and being surrounded by creative people, I’ve run into plenty who thought highly of themselves and would score low on honesty. But I’ve also been around plenty of creative people who are also very honest and humble.

I would have to say that the ones that are still humble are less likely to make it to the A list though. Being creative and making a great living from your creativity seem to be two separate things. Unfortunately some of the most creative people never make great money at their craft and remain very humble and honest.

The study, which used the HEXACO model of personality structure, said that the people who scored low on humility and honesty were more likely to bend the rules for their own monetary gain and had a sense of entitlement. So, does this mean you have to be arrogant and dishonest in order to make a lot of money with your creativity. I hope not. And certainly the most creative people, whether they are writers, actors, artists, etc. don’t always make a lot of money.

There is another piece here besides just creativity. In today’s world you also need to be a good pitch person. And that requires a different set of skills. Most creatives are not very good at the business side. It helps to have both.

Creativity means putting yourself on display for others to judge. That means your ego will take a beating and you have to be pretty confident to keep doing it for the long haul. You have to have a thick skin to keep taking that beating over and over again. Maybe this helps to explain why creative people think highly of themselves. You have to believe in your own creativity before others will.

Julie Austin is a sought-after Keynote Speaker, award-winning author, and Inventor of Swiggies – The Wrist Water Bottle by Hydrosport.

Coming from a background in the TV & film industry as a commercial actor and TV host, she also has worked in the development of over 1,000 scripts. Julie knows the creative and how to sell it from a business perspective.

Julie knows a thing or two about innovation. She’s an inventor/innovator who turned $5.00 and a lump of clay into an international NASDAQ winning product—the Swiggles wrist water bottle, now sold in 24 countries. Call 888-766-3155 to book her for your next event!