One Key for Dealing With Change

changeI’m amazed by people who say they love change. I don’t know if they are serious, if they are just looking on the bright side, or they are just denying the existence of change. Maybe, I suppose it’s possible, maybe they actually do love change.

I’m actually okay with change so long as it doesn’t effect me personally. I know of many things and many more people who need to change. Thankfully, I’m not one of them. I know there are people who think I do need to change but it’s actually their thinking that needs to change, not me.

I suspect most people are like me, I have no real interest in changing or dealing with change and if the world would just sit still for a minute I’d be just fine with that.

But the world won’t sit still.

That’s why it’s so important that like change or not, we learn how to manage it and even use it to our benefit. Here’s the technical reason so many people struggle with change: they equate change with loss.

Every time something changes in your life you lose something, even if you initiate the change. You accept a new job and you “lose” many of the relationships that existed with the old one. You buy a new house and you miss some of your old neighbors. You may not even be aware of the “loss” but it affects you anyway.

One key to successfully managing change is to acknowledge the loss. We need to realize that it’s okay to feel a little distress with the loss, it’s normal and it doesn’t make you any less effective as a person or a leader.

Once you acknowledge the loss you can replace it. There is something in the “change” which will replace the loss, something new, something that might take getting used to, but the void of the loss will be filled.

Once the loss is acknowledged and replaced it becomes much easier to move forward. Change experts (which I am certainly not) would even say to celebrate the passing of old into new as a way of getting closure out the loss and embrace the new.

Here’s a fact that all successful people know: you don’t have to like change to make it work for you. You do need to understand it, you do need to accept it, you do need to realize that it’s going to happen whether you want it to or not.

The real question is whether it will happen to you or for you. That’s a choice and it’s a choice only you can make.

What the World Owes You

The World OwesThis could be the shortest blog post in the history of blogging. The answer to what the world owes you, me, and every other person in it is the same. Nothing!

That’s right nothing! Nada, zip, zero, absolutely nothing.

I could end this post right there and you would have the basic point, we don’t always get what we want but we do usually get what we earn.

If you live your life with any other belief you’ll likely live a life of disappointment and bitterness. You’ll live a life full of jealous anger and that anger will limit your ability to accomplish anything that truly makes a difference.

If you believe that “life” is somehow magically “fair” you’ll also likely be disappointed. Life, as it turns out, is only as fair as each individual chooses to make it. Every person who has ever lived gets dealt a bad hand from time to time and it’s how they play those cards that will determine their ultimate success.

Some people get dealt a bad hand and just fold. Successful people who understand that the world owes them nothing make the most of out of bad situation and learn from their mistakes and losses. People who believe that the world owes them something just keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again.

Clearly there are exceptions to everything but generally speaking, successful people simply work harder and smarter than people who go through life expecting a hand out and being disgusted when they don’t get one.

This is the true secret to success: if you want more, work more.

You want help? Help yourself! People who help themselves have very little trouble finding other people who will help them more. People who refuse to help themselves often lament the lack of help available and curse the “lucky” people who did get help.

People who believe the world owes them a life operate with their eyes closed to avoid the reality of the “lucky” people diligently working all around them.

Life isn’t fair until you make it fair. Don’t criticize others for the work they have, learn how they got it and copy their methods and efforts.

The world doesn’t owe you a thing and will seldom steal from you any success you have earned. If you are one of those unfortunate few who have had their success stolen from them by circumstances then play those cards and continue to work. Effort always pays off eventually.

If you are willing to work for true success then always remember, no one “owes” you a thing. Life your life knowing that nothing is due you until you first do something. Whatever level of success you achieve you’ll sleep better know that you have earned it!

 

 

 

The Greatest Lie You’ll Ever Tell

I-cant11Do you ever tell a lie? Be careful with your answer because research shows that the average person lies 7 times a day. 7 times!

That seems like a lot to me. I’m certain I don’t lie 7 times a day… well pretty certain. I guess it depends on how you define a lie. I mean if you tell someone something that isn’t true to protect them then that’s not a lie is it?

Telling someone something that isn’t true because they will never be able to prove it wasn’t true, well that isn’t really a lie either.

Truth be told I suppose that under the right circumstances we can convince ourselves that if there is even a smidgin of truth to what we say then we are being honest and above board.

Integrity and honesty tell a different story. The story they tell is much more black and white.  Integrity and honesty says that if what we say isn’t the whole truth and nothing but the truth, then it’s a lie. Pretty simple.

We lie 7 times a day. Some are kind of big lies, most are really little. Most do little or no harm to others and “shading” the truth just makes many of life’s circumstances a little easier to deal with.

There is however a lie that is very damaging. Others may never discover the lie and yet they are likely to suffer because of it. No one may call you on the lie yet you WILL suffer for telling it.

It’s the lie we tell when we tell ourselves or others that “I can’t.”

“I can’t” is a lie and it’s a whopper! It instantly degrades your self-confidence and morale. It greatly limits the amount of risk you’re willing to accept in your attempt to succeed.

It causes others to possibly think less of you and some judgmental people may even think they are better than you.

When you tell yourself that “you can’t” you also provide yourself with an excuse to not even try. When you don’t even try your self esteem plummets even further and the next “I can’t” comes even easier than the last.

So here’s a truth you must always remember: You can! You can and you should. Never tell yourself you can’t and never, never, never, let someone else tell you that you can’t succeed either. The sad fact is that some people who tell you that you can’t succeed simply hope that you won’t succeed. They would prefer that you stay down at their level.

Stay away from the “I can’t” lie no matter what it takes. Surround yourself with “I can” people and do and say the things that they do and say.

You are in control of your own success, but you must be honest with yourself.  You can succeed, you just have to be willing to push past whatever obstacles get in your way.

Are you honest enough with yourself to do that?

 

Where to Find Success

keys-to-successI remember one of the first cell phone commercials ever to appear on television. It featured a guy in a car at what looked like a restaurant drive through window except instead of ordering food he was ordering time.

His order was something like 4 hours with an extra 15 minutes on the side. At the time it was a pretty cool ad, the idea was that by using a cell phone in your car you could give yourself move productive time each day. The ad closed by saying that while we really can’t buy time, when you use a cell phone it will be just like you could.

The ad must have worked pretty well because these cell phone things really seem to be catching on. I am now convinced that they are here to stay!

Would’t it be nice if we could order success at a drive through window? Or simply buy it at a kiosk in the mall? I know people would pay big money for success because I hear people saying all the time “I’d give anything to be able to… __________.” Feel free to fill in the blank for yourself.

Have you ever said that? Those by the way, are the words of a dreamer. “If only,” and “I wish,” and “why not me.” Don’t get me wrong, many great accomplishments have begun with a dream. Dreams are great but dreams unaccompanied by action are a waste.

It seems to me that people who “say” they would give anything to succeed actually “don’t” give a thing in their attempt to succeed. Many of them not only don’t give a thing, they don’t do a thing either. Their actions simply don’t match their words. They won’t give a lot of anything to succeed and when you watch them it appears they won’t even give a little.

Here’s what I think it boils down to: people with dreams often act upon them. People who are dreamers do not.

So which are you? If you have dreams you’ll find a way to succeed. You know where to find the success you seek. You know it’s already inside of you. You know that you have the smarts, skills, and savvy to do want needs to be done. You know that you have the self-discipline to focus on the important stuff and let the urgent, less important stuff fall by the wayside. You know that your success is up to you.

If you’re a dreamer then you’re likely “waiting” for your big break. You’re waiting for something to happen, something to come your way. Dreamers are an incredible patient bunch of people, they seem willing to wait forever for someone else to make them a success.

Dreamers appear to think that no one succeeds on their own. They pout about the “luck” of the person who toiled years for their “break” as if it fell out of the sky. Dreamers seem to have trouble acknowledging that hard work leads to success because if they did then they would also have to acknowledge that they really do know where to find success.

They would have to acknowledge this fact: success is found in the efforts, attitude and actions of successful people. Those characteristics didn’t come after the success, they were there to begin with. Those characteristics are in everyone, successful people just made the decision to use them. Dreamers can make that decision too. Dreamers dreams can come true if the dreamer will make the effort, control their attitude and do the right things the right way.

Your success is all about you so if you’re looking for success don’t look at me, look at yourself.

Managing is Not the Same as Leading

leadership-versus-managementHere is my simple concept on the difference between managing and leading: if you’re doing something for your business it’s managing, if you’re doing something for your people it’s leading.

That’s a pretty simple concept … in writing. The challenge for business the world over is that it’s not such a simple concept in practice.

In practice it gets kind of messy. Here’s a leadership fact for you to consider: it’s seldom the followers who make this mess, it’s almost always the person in the leadership position.

The follower “knows” if something benefits them or not and if their perception happens to be wrong that’s still not a follower mess, that’s just a different leadership mess.

Which brings us to one Marissa Mayer. Her leadership “style” is now being described as  unorthodox. That’s a pretty generous description. The reality is that it’s really not leadership in the truest sense of the word. It is a management style and not necessarily a good one at that.

It looks like she is at least a bit of a micro-manager, one who has yet to learn to trust her team. Early indications seem to be that she has a rather narrow view of the type of individual that can bring value to Yahoo. Then of course there is that whole “working from home” thing.

The working from home edict, or more accurately, working from the office only edict, is where things get messy. While it would be easy to describe it as a bold leadership move it not only isn’t bold, it isn’t leadership at all. It is a management decision that reflects the limited leadership currently at the helm. It is a decision that says the leader has very limited influence and one that admits the influence is so limited that it can only happen face-to-face. It is a decision that uses a hatchet rather than a scalpel to address an emotional subject. It is a management decision that imposes a view rather than a leadership decision that inspires a view.

It might even be an outstanding management decision but again, it isn’t leading. By all accounts Marissa Mayer is a very smart person, more than capable of managing even a company of Yahoo’s size and diversity. A person of her managerial skills should be able to slow the decline of the company and even provide several quarters of profitable results.

But….

Companies and organizations are managed to stability, they are led to growth. That’s why I believe the distinction between managing and leading is an important one.

Managing improves the company today, leading improves the company tomorrow and many more tomorrows after that. Managing improves the company’s processes and systems. Leading improves the company’s people. It’s the people who grow a company or organization, not processes and systems.

Every company needs both skilled managers and inspirational leaders. People in leadership positions can hold the false belief that they are one and the same. Authentic leaders know better. They know it’s possible to be both manager and leader but it’s not possible to use one set of skills to do it.

Time will tell if Marissa Mayer made a good management decision with the new work from the office policy. What history has already shown us is that it is a poor leadership decision.

 

Would You Follow You?

leadershipPeople are pretty interesting to study. So many people from so many places, so many different cultures, backgrounds, and histories. So many differences.

But even in a world of differences there are some things that we can find most everyone has in common, and one of those common factors is that the majority of people hold others to a higher standard than they hold themselves.

And that’s likely a key reason why most people are not authentic leaders. Authentic leaders, the type that we would all follow, hold themselves to a higher standard than they hold others.

Most people have high expectations for themselves but authentic leaders do not merely have high expectations, they have high standards. We may expect much of ourselves but we also provide ourselves with many excuses that authentic leaders simply don’t need. Authentic leaders don’t make excuses, they make commitments to excellence.

Authentic leaders know that people tend to “follow up”, they follow people they want to be like or they follow someone they believe sets an example of who they could become. No one “follows down”, they don’t follow people that they would not want to be like or people that they cannot trust.

When someone with a leadership title or in a position of leadership holds themselves to lower standards than they hold others they lose the trust of their people and they lose the ability to truly lead.

So there is our question: Would you follow you? Do you expect more from others than you expect from yourself? Do you hold others to a higher standard than you hold yourself?
Do you allow yourself excuses that you would not allow others? Are the majority of your mistakes “excusable” but not the mistakes of others?

In order to properly answer those questions you must be completely honest with yourself because if you’re lying to yourself, you’re also lying to everyone else.

Excellent, experienced, authentic leaders pause from time to time to ask themselves those very questions. If they don’t like the answers, they take immediate steps to change them.

An authentic leader has no other choice.

How to Avoid Being a Doormat in Life

doormatA couple of things you need to know before we begin this post: YOU are special. You were made in the image of a God who loves you. There is nothing you have done, nothing you are doing and nothing you will do that He can’t and won’t forgive.

YOU are that special! He loves you that much! While you may desire more love than He gives, His love is all that you really NEED.

God’s love for you is unquestioned, the real question is whether or not you love yourself enough to avoid being a doormat.

Just so we’re clear; don’t mistake being in love with yourself for loving yourself. There are few things in life more destructive than being in love with yourself and even fewer things more healthy than loving yourself. When you’re “in” love with yourself it becomes very difficult to love someone else. When you love yourself you become free to give the best of yourself to those who matter most. This may sound selfish but here’s what I believe: it’s nearly impossible to fully love another person if we don’t first fully love ourselves.

A good healthy love for yourself allows you to stand up for yourself without tearing other people down. When you love yourself, when you hold firm to the belief, the fact really, that you are indeed special; you become almost immune to the darts of hostility and the arrows of insults hurled at you from the people who would have you be their doormat.

When you begin to doubt the simply irrefutable fact that YOU matter, then you may also begin to believe the negative things that other people think and say about you. You feel a need to respond and human nature dictates that the response will be defensive and often, combative.

That’s how fights start and it’s a fight you’ll likely never win. You’ll never win because you’re fighting with the wrong person. Before you can prove your worth to someone else you must prove it to yourself. The great thing is that when you’ve proved it to yourself you’ll have much less need to prove it to anyone else.

When you’re certain that you matter your response can be much more measured and self-confident. It’s more measured because when you know that you matter you also know that the other person matters too. The other side of that is when you know that you matter you tend to spend much less time with people who act as if you don’t. You just don’t, and shouldn’t, allow them in your life.

So, how do you remain certain, in the endless daily battles that make up life, that you are indeed special? Well, Margaret Thatcher said that “You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.”

Remaining certain that you are indeed special can be a battle in itself and may require an almost daily personal affirmation; “stuff” and sadly, some people, may cause you to doubt it.

Don’t! Don’t doubt it for a second. Remember, He loves you that much!

That’s a bit about the emotional side of avoiding the “doormat complex.” Now let’s get down to the technical side of it.

When people know they matter they are more likely to stand up for themselves. The opposite of standing up could be considered “laying down” and hey, if you’re down there already you just might make a pretty good doormat.

When you allow people to take you for granted, in your work or personal life, you risk being seen as a doormat. To avoid this risk you must speak up to stay up.

Successful people know that they don’t have to tear someone else down to keep themselves up. To avoid seeming rude or condescending, avoid comparisons that make it “you verses them.” This is a fine line and “tone” will make all the difference here. Don’t tell them what they do wrong, let them know what you do right.

Don’t feel the need to defend yourself or your position, instead ask the other person questions that will make them support their statements. Questions like “why do you say that,” “why do you feel that way” and “can you give me a SPECIFIC example to support what you’re saying” work very well here.

YOU matter and you deserve answers to those questions. Regardless of their answers, the mere act of asking these questions keeps you off the floor and out of the “doormat danger zone.”

There will be times when you may choose to accept their answers, there may be times where you need to ask additional questions to help them see the error of their thoughts.

Either way, YOU are now in control. It’s your life, it’s your choice. Every choice you make will make a difference in the quality of your life, consider your options and choose wisely.