I Blame My Parents

…or the republicans, or my boss, or the economy, or the neighbors, or Obama, or….

When things go wrong it’s SO tempting to place blame.  It makes you feel better.  And more importantly it takes you off the hook.  After all, if you can blame someone else…anyone else… then you remove yourself from being part of the problem. 

Because you’re never part of the problem…are you?

Never being part of the problem is a pretty scary road when you think about it.  You’re basically saying “I’m not in control of my own circumstances”.  Not at work, not at home, not at all.

It’s taken many years, many hard knocks, and a good dose of hindsight to realize that in most situations where a problem exists, the person complaining about it, is almost always a part of the problem.  Myself included.  A tough pill to swallow, I know. 

The fastest most effective way to a solution in nearly any given situation is to ask a very important question: How am I culpable.  What was my contribution to the problem?  And most importantly, are my current actions and words making it better or worse?

I won’t lie, it’s painful to turn the microscope on yourself.  Many people avoid it, choosing instead to blame others for every possible ailment in their lives.  But in the end, it’s not nearly as painful as living life being a victim of circumstance.

My job sucks because I have a terrible boss. My business is failing because the economy is so bad.  My employees don’t perform well because “that generation” has a poor work ethic.  My company won’t give me a raise because they’re so cheap.  Waaa, waaa, waaa!!

Some, or all, of these things may very well be true…or maybe not.  Look closer.  Is there the slightest chance that part or even most of the problem, is YOU?  Is your go-to response complaining and criticizing?  Is your attitude negative?  Do you frequently find fault with others?

If so, it might be time to hit the “reset” button and adapt a better attitude.

Current events have shed quite a light on how we, as a country, handle adversity and not getting our way.  Instead of being thoughtful and strategic by becoming part of a collaborative solution we rush to judgement, form protests and incite violence. 

The adult equivalent of throwing ourselves on the floor and having a tantrum like a 3-year old.  There is surely a better way.

Steve Jobs said: “Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it… Once you learn that, you'll never be the same again.”

Seriously, we are smart and we are capable of amazing things.  And no matter what’s going on around us, fixing or changing something is much different, and a lot harder, that simply criticizing or protesting it.  So step up, take accountability, own the problem AND the solution.  Start small--in your own backyard and then branch out.  Remember a journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step…in the right direction.

 

2017 AWESOMENESS !

Thrive Consulting

You want to be AWESOME in 2017?  Of course you do!  Here are some ideas to help you get there.

Look Back. You can’t move forward with any perspective without evaluating where you’ve been. What’s happened this past year and more importantly, why?  How do you feel about it?  What should there be more of in the coming year?  What should you reduce or eliminate?  Lessons learned are eye-opening.  Tapping into where you’ve been and what you already know provides perspective and insight and this leads to smarter choices.

Slow Down. When you constantly rush through life (and who doesn’t) you risk losing perspective. When you move too fast you only get to see what’s directly in front of you.   You’re reactive rather than proactive.   If you slow down you can gain a wider more future-focused perspective.  Taking time to understand what’s ahead, foresee the roadblocks and plan accordingly leads to a more positive outcome.

Make a Change.  In order to get different results, something (or many things) will need to change. Recognizing and embracing the need for change is imperative.  If you want better results, doing the same things over and over will not get you there.  Better results require a change in strategy and actions.  At the same time, if you’re getting good results, repeating the same actions is no guarantee of continued success.  The world you live in is constantly changing.  When you can remain flexible, adapt your thinking and make tweaks to your plan you will ultimately find the most success.

Plan Your Attack.  Whether you call it goal setting, action planning, or resolution making, you need a concrete way to capture exactly what you want to accomplish and how you plan to accomplish it.

  • Document It—write down what you want to accomplish and the steps you will take.  This forces you to clarify what you want and helps you make decisions about how you spend your time.
  • Visualize It—know what the end result or outcome will look like.  Mentally this keeps you focused and gives you something to aim at.  If you can’t see your target you can’t hit it.
  • Track It—documenting your progress tells you whether things are working or not.  If they’re not working, then you have the opportunity to change what you’re doing.
  • Overcome It—anticipate your obstacles and the people that might hinder your progress.  This helps you get prepared to successfully address issues as they arise.

Celebrate the Little Wins.  Recognizing and celebrating successful steps along the way will improve your attitude, increase your focus, and keep you motivated. Building periodic benchmarks into your overall plan is an emotional booster.  Having to wait an entire year to celebrate a victory makes people give up on their goals because the end seems so far off.  When you celebrate along the way the goals feels much more attainable.

Share your goals with the world, right here, right now!

NEED HELP ON YOUR JOURNEY TO SUCCESS? GET ME STARTED!

THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL

The Root of all Evil-Thrive Consulting

“Money is the root of all evil.” That’s the way most people remember this quote. The correct verbiage is, “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil” (1 Timothy 6:10).

I’m not here preaching a bible lesson so don’t go running away yet. What I’m talking about is how chasing money in business can be counterproductive to both personal and professional success.

Making money is a necessary outcome of working for most of the world. We have to pay bills, buy groceries and fund endless sports camps and dance lessons. It still begs the question; why and how do you make that money, what’s your motivation or inspiration, and how’s that working for you?

The business landscape of today is drastically different than it was 20, or even 10, years ago.  Many businesses today are started with a philanthropic focus because of a passion to help others (think TOMS, Gogo Water, Good Spread). Employees want to work at these businesses because it nurtures the soul. Sometimes people start a business or sell a product because they believe it’s the coolest most unique thing on the planet (check out Simple Sugars, Lolla Cup, and Scrub Daddy). These are reasons that keep people motivated and inspired. It keeps them going even when the going gets tough. Joy and happiness survive even in the face of failure. A higher purpose is being served. Making money or earning a paycheck is a byproduct of the work effort but not the reason for it.

Sometimes though you run into people that are in their given business or profession solely to make money—and the more, the better. Don’t get me wrong, making money is awesome. I highly recommend it. We need to look no further than businessmen and humanitarians Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, or Chuck Feeny to see how making lots of money can serve a higher purpose. But rarely, if ever have I known of a truly happy and fulfilled person whose single focus was simply accumulating wealth and “stuff”.

What I’ve observed is that the single pursuit of a paycheck usually manifests itself in negative ways. People “in it for the money” are often unhappy (or even depressed) and uninspired yet behave with self-promotion and bravado. Sad, bored, and disengaged employees put in their hours, day after day, collecting a paycheck and just waiting to retire, bound by the proverbial “golden handcuffs”. Money people make skewed decisions leaning toward what is monetarily beneficial rather than what is right. Integrity be damned in pursuit of the mighty dollar. It’s great when you can have both but often these two results are contradictory. Rather than being generous, money seekers are most concerned with getting their fair share of the “pie”, which to them, is never big enough to go around.

On the flip side, working with a purpose and passion brings fulfillment and joy. Doing business with humility and gratitude is a reward all by itself. Building the bonds of relationships is an important driver of both success AND happiness. Giving up the big paycheck, corner office, and company car in exchange for loving what you do and making a difference is life changing—in the BEST way possible. When you do what you love for the right reasons all kinds of abundance follows.

In the end what we have matters little compared to who we are. We all leave behind a legacy. Leave behind something meaningful.

Need help on your journey to success? Get me started!

CINDERELLA LIED – HOW TO BE SUCCESSFUL WITHOUT A FAIRY GODMOTHER

One Life Just One-Thrive Consulting

Actual headlines I’ve read recently:

  • 20k to 25k over the next seven days.
  • 3 Fast and Easy Ways to Kick-Start the Growth of Your Business!
  • Thank you letters that land job offers.
  • Keywords can land that job.
  • How One Tiny Piece of Paper Can Make All the Difference for Your Productivity

#IDON’TTHINKSO
Reading headlines like these could make you believe that being successful is just a click away. You might think that if you go read these articles and follow the fast and easy tips, BAM!, your business will grow, you’ll land that perfect job, and oh yea, you’ll be skinnier and more popular too.

PLEASE, SIGN ME UP!!
Claims like these are everywhere. And we all want to believe them, myself included. We all want to believe there is a magic bullet to fix our problems. We want to believe that if we only knew the top secret formula that everything we want would suddenly come true.

I have just one question?  How old are you!???

Cinderella’s fairy godmother does not exist. The magic wand is fake and the pumpkin is just a pumpkin. You can rub that genie bottle all day long and the only thing it will get you is some odd looks and perhaps your co-worker calling security. And watch out for the guy on the white horse. He just might run you over.

Disappointing, I know.
Whether it’s life, love, work, or business, the thing about success is that you have to want it and want it bad. You have to acknowledge that it will not be easy or fast. Hard work, and sometimes doing things you don’t want to do (like actually asking for help), will be required.  You have to try, fail and then get up and try again. You have to be willing to stretch yourself, go without things you want like sleep, money, and your own way. You have to work harder and be more persistent that you ever thought you would.

Why? Because being successful is about paying your dues, putting in your time, and overcoming the obstacles that are in the way. It’s about learning, growing, pushing boundaries, and seeing what you’re made of. Success in anything is a hard fought battle full of adventure, hard work, compromises, sacrifices, twists and turns. There are no shortcuts.

BUT THAT’S THE GOOD NEWS!
The road to success is a journey that teaches us life lessons. It transforms us in ways we would never expect. It makes us stronger, smarter, and more resilient. Success is so much sweeter and gratifying when the road isn’t easy–when it isn’t just handed to us. When success is earned through hard work, dedication, and effort there is no greater feeling.

Stop searching for that quick fix, magic bullet, fast and easy way to get from here to there. Embrace the journey and see where your hard work will take you. Find out what you’re really made of. I know you can do it!

Need help on your journey to success? Get me started!

EIGHT GREAT TIPS - BLOG WITHOUT BREAKING COPYRIGHT LAWS

“WHO SAID THAT?”  “I DID.”  “DIDN’T YOU SEE THE BYLINE?” POSTED BY DEBBIE MARSHALL.

Blog Without Breaking Copyright Laws-Thrive Consulting

IF ONLY IT WAS THAT EASY.
Creating complete, brand new, never been posted before content for each and every blog post is hard. Some would say impossible. After all, if you’re thinking about a topic right now, someone has probably already written about it. Does that mean you can’t write about that topic? Of course not. Just because content is out there doesn’t mean YOUR audience has seen it or that you don’t have a unique perspective.

The question is, how do you make the content fresh and original? How can you avoid plagiarizing without spending all day coming up with something new? Well, I’m not an attorney (and I don’t play one on TV) but I’ll pass along some things I’ve learned.

  1. Do lots of research. What I find is that I rarely agree 100% with anything. Which is good.  I have my own unique perspective and so should you. Take bits and pieces from several places and put your own spin on them.
  2. If you find a quote, idea or excerpt so uniquely fabulous that you must pass the information along, verbatim, then block quote it and site your source. But remember, this should make up only a small portion of the entire blog post content.
  3. Make sure you link back to the original content and site your source at the end of your post if any part of your blog post isn’t an original idea or original writing.
  4. Use only highly credible sources when doing research. Especially when you state facts rather than opinion. You certainly don’t want to publish incorrect information.
  5. Try to find what’s missing from what others have posted. What do you know that they don’t know? Call on your expertise and experience to help you find a unique angle.
  6. Talk to your network, colleagues, friends…. Try to gather information first hand that you didn’t find on the internet.
  7. Don’t be afraid to take an edgier approach or a completely opposite stance. You want people to think and be interested, not necessarily agree.
  8. Purchase your own images, take your own photos or use Open Source images (and site the source). You absolutely cannot copy images just because they are on the internet or in someone else’s blog. Image companies have employees that do nothing all day but look for people stealing their images—and the fines are steep.
So my best advice? Be unique, be different, put a new spin on things and give credit where credit is due. Research should inspire you and get you thinking. The rest is up to you.

Need help on your journey to success? Get me started!

 

PERSONAL OR BUSINESS – THE STRUGGLE IS REAL

Personal or Business-Thrive Consulting

Technology, automation, efficiency. We can do so many things without ever talking to anyone or leaving our house. Efficiency reigns. Companies like this model because they can push more work though with less people. Less overhead saves us money on the product or service we’re buying. That would seem like a good thing.

BUT IS IT?
For anyone who has ever been caught in one of the infuriating automated phone systems, automation can be quite the opposite. For customer service “push 1”. If you know your thirty-six digit account number enter it now”. Are they kidding??? And if you are fortunate enough to get a live person on the other end the frustration can get even worse. It’s no longer a conversation. It’s all about the CYA script.  Ask three different questions, you get the same scripted answer. Total frustration!

How about: to leave a nasty message “push 3”.  They never give you that choice do they?

Infuriation aside, the focus on automation, efficiency and the CYA scripts has robbed us of something important. Relationships. The benefit of human contact. The joy of real customer service. The feeling that you’re being heard and that someone understands you and cares.  That’s a human need present in all of us. But don’t take it personally.

How many times have we heard “it’s not personal, it’s business.”  You know what? I think that’s a load of crap! There, I said it. I know that’s what all of you were thinking.

This snippet from a Fast Company article makes a powerful statement.
“One of the most common mistakes people make when building relationships for career success and revenue growth is treating business contacts differently than personal friends. Just think for a moment about the people you work with on a professional level who are also close personal friends. Aren’t they always more forgiving when you slip up and more helpful when you’re in need than new acquaintances are? Of course! I guarantee your work will be easier, more joyful, and more successful if you make more of your business relationships personal.”

I’ve always believed that people are the foundation and lifeblood of every business. Whether you’re an employee, customer or vendor, you’re a person, not a number, not a sale, but a person. And that, my friend, makes it personal. Act accordingly.

Need help on your journey to success? Get me started!

10 TIPS YOU NEED TO KNOW

Top 10-Thrive Consulting
  1. Manage and maximize your time—spend time doing what matters. Don’t mistake activity for achievement. Being busy is not an indication of success.
  2. Don’t be a one-man-band. Success requires working with, trusting, and collaborating with others. Success is amplified by synergy. Seek interdependence rather than independence by asking for help. Basically, play nice with others.
  3. Play to your strengths. The more you develop and use your natural talents and skills the stronger they get. Doing what you’re good at leads to being happier and more productive.
  4. Manage risk and protect yourself, your home and your business. Risk does not cease to exist because it’s ignored. Proactive risk management is much easier than reactive risk clean up.
  5. Be willing to change direction. Did you decide at the age of five to be a dentist or superhero? How’s that going for you? As we grow, mature, learn, and experience life, our ideas and dreams change. Don’t be afraid to abandon the status quo or something that’s not working to forge a different path. Follow your inner voice.
  6. Embrace your knowledge and skill gaps. Really, it’s OK not to be good at everything. If you’re talents and skills are in the creative realm, should you really be doing your own accounting? I think not. Don’t let your weaknesses become liabilities. Ask for help.
  7. Never, ever stop learning—you will never know enough, even in your own area of expertise. Live to learn. The discovery process can be exciting—and it keeps your brain alive and healthy.
  8. Make a decision already! People hate making tough decisions. They second guess themselves and seek endless input from others. As Teddy Roosevelt said, “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”
  9. Build strong trusted relationships and value the people in your life. Money might make your way of life possible but it’s the people that make it worth living. Treat them accordingly.
  10. Give back. Bad Karma can bite you really hard in the…well, you know where. You always get back what you give out. It’s like a boomerang. If you’re not doing right by the world, you should duck!
DO NOT BE AFRAID OF FAILURE! Seriously people. If you have lived more than a couple of decades and you haven’t failed at something you are not trying hard enough to succeed.  Living a safe and risk-free life is boring. Just go for it!

  Need help on your journey to success? Get me started!

THE LAW OF SACRIFICE

Quote-Thrive Consulting

Most people view sacrifice as purely altruistic, a selfless act. This one dimensional view is a bit misleading. Real sacrifice is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as: An act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy.

This doesn’t diminish the intention of sacrifice, it just reframes it. Some call it the “Law of Sacrifice”. Clearly it’s not just about giving something up but gaining something in return. What we are actually doing is acting in way that gives more importance and priority to what we value most in life.

Unfortunately, the Law of Sacrifice  can be painful and uncomfortable. We live in a “have it all” and “have it right now” society. No place is this more evident than in the diet world. We’re led to believe that we can lose 20 pounds in 10 days without giving up foods we love. Well, maybe if I cut off my leg.

The path of least resistance or taking the easy way certainly has its merits. But as the saying goes, anything worth having is worth working for.

Recently I experienced this concept first hand. I was a couple of months into studying for my HR exam and had barely made a dent in the nearly 2,000 pages of material. Everything got in the way. Client work, business planning, family functions, hanging out with friends, workout time, reading for pleasure, simply relaxing on the weekends. Something had to give, and quickly.

Honestly, I was tempted to quit. How much would I have to give up to pass the test? And would the sacrifice be worth it?

I wanted this certification pretty badly. So, out went reading for pleasure, hanging with friends, relaxing on the weekends, and most painfully, out went my workout and strategic business planning. Drastic, I know. But there are only 24 hours in a day and many of those hours were needed to study.

So how did it turn out? Recently I took the test and passed. Looking back, did miss going to events with my friends? Yes. Did I miss just relaxing on the weekend? Of course. Am I behind on my 2016 planning? Yes. Was it hard getting back into my workout routine? OH MY GOSH, YES…and OW!!

But was it worth it? I won’t lie–it was high-five, dance of joy, I’m going to Disney World kind of moment. There’s a certain kind of personal gratification that comes when achievement is result of head’s down hard work and sacrifice.

So the question is, what are YOU willing to sacrifice to achieve your goals and dreams?

Need help on your journey to success? Get me started!

YOU NEED A TIME-OUT!!

Time For A Break-Thrive Consulting

Steven Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People was published over twenty-five years ago. Even today it remains a best seller. It’s one of the most helpful books I’ve read and one that I refer to often. All seven habits are important for success in life and in business but it’s the seventh habit, “Sharpen the Saw”, that I’ve found myself calling on more and more.

What I like about Steven Covey is that he teaches in a way that is so easy to understand and applyIt’s called “Sharpen the Saw” for a reason. A dull saw blade would significantly slow down the progress of even the most skilled builder. Effort would not equal results. Seems elementary but it’s a concept that we tend to ignore.

You would do well to work all seven habits into your life; or at least a few of them, but ignore #7 and you could undermine all of the good you’ve done practicing the others. Lack of “sharpening the saw” in your life probably looks something like this:

  • Not enough sleep.
  • Not eating right.
  • Lack of exercise.
  • Little social life.
  • No hobbies or fun activities.
  • Headaches, backaches, generally poor health.

I know, I know. Who has the time and energy when there is so much work and so many pressures to deal with every day?! But here’s the thing. Taking time to rest more, eat healthier, exercise, and have some fun nurtures your body, mind and spirit. If you did that, how much more could you get done and how much better would you feel doing it????

It’s common to get engrossed in the demands of life and work. I’m as guilty as the next person.  The list of what needs to get done is long and never ending. You’re thinking you should keep at it just to get it done. You fear that if you stop, even for a minute, you will fall further behind.  The reality is that taking a break and going back at it fresh will increase your efficiency and effectiveness and also improve the quality of your end result. There’s a significant difference between getting it done and getting it done right.

So I’m asking you to go for a walk, take a breather, a time out, or a nap.  Whatever you need to refresh and sharpen YOUR saw–GO DO IT NOW!

Need help on your journey to success? Get me started!

YOUR TO-DO LIST HAS SOMETHING IMPORTANT TO TELL YOU

Stephen Covey gives us the perfect visual.

Thrive Consulting

The world is full of super achievers.  You go, go, go all day.  Your long-running to-do list gets filled with check marks.  Laundry fluffed and folded-check. Volunteering every week at the animal shelter-check.  Making fancy decorated cupcakes for the school bake sale-check. Extra time at the office to finish a special project—check.  Happy hour after work--check. “Liking” baby pics, cute posts, and vacation photos on Facebook-check.  Reading the latest novel to keep up with friends-check.  Making dinner from scratch-check.  Washing and vacuuming the car weekly-check. Planning the next vacation because you really need to get away and rest-CHECK!

Wow, look at you go!  Doing so many things right!  You’re definitely setting yourself up for success.

Or are you?

What this list should be telling you is that just because you’re doing so many things right, doesn’t mean these are the right things to do.

Yes, you all have “stuff” to do. And there is nothing inherently wrong with the “to-do” list.  It’s when putting things on our list is more reactive than proactive that our life gets out of control.    Yes, you will always need clean clothes and of course you need to eat.  But that doesn’t mean you can’t take shortcuts or ask for help.  And it absolutely doesn’t mean that you can’t just say no to things that don’t fit your long-term goals,

Now, just for fun, stop moving.  Stop thinking about your list.  Instead, take some deep breaths, clear your mind and envision what you WANT your life to look like.  Think about your long-term goals.  Then decide how many things on your never-ending to-do list will actually help you get there.

Everything you do in life either gets us closer to, or takes us further away from what you really want. 

If carefree family time is one of your goals then forgo the made from scratch dinner for something quicker and easier to prepare.  I promise, your family is not impressed with your culinary skills.  They only care about having something edible and on the table when they’re hungry.  Free up the time you took to shop and chop and go for an after dinner walk or take a trip to the library.

If having your own business or moving up at work is your goal, then rethink how you spend your time.  Would washing and cleaning your car twice month instead of weekly and skipping happy hour free up some time for you to spend putting together a business plan, strengthening your professional skills, or taking a class?

If getting healthier is your goal would it make sense to limit Facebook and other social media to once or twice a week and get that novel as an audiobook so you can schedule workout time?

It often seems that our life controls us instead of the other way around.  

Truth is, you live what you create based on your choicesIntentional choices lead to intentional results.  Try it for a week or two and let me know how it’s working.

Need help on your journey to success? Get me started!