Recognizing the Power of Recognition

People need to know that they matter. They need to know that what they do is noticed. They need to know their efforts, whatever they are, are not in vain. 

Authentic leaders seldom miss the opportunity to recognize their people. When there is no opportunity to recognize their people then they create one. For authentic leaders recognizing others is not a part time job, it is not something to “fit-in” or something to do in their “free-time.”

Authentic leaders are intentional and strategic with their recognition practices. They use recognition to reward, coach, and motivate their people. They know that true recognition goes deeper than the basic “nice job” and that it requires thoughtfulness and meaning.

Authentic leaders provide authentic recognition. Authentic recognition comes in two parts: the “what” or action being recognized and the “why” or how the “what” has made a difference.

Lazy leaders might toss out a nice job while crossing paths with a team member but an authentic leader will invest the time to make the recognition meaningful and lasting. They are very specific as to “what” was a nice job, why it was noticed and how it made a difference. This requires that an authentic leader put thought into the recognition of others. 

Leaders who seldom provide recognition to their people are missing an essential trait of leadership and that is almost certainly being reflected in the commitment level of their followers. Many factors can affect the compensation and benefit levels a leader can offer their people. Still more factors can affect the work environment a leader is able to provide. There are just any number of factors that a leader cannot control. That is why authentic leaders don’t let the controllable become uncontrollable.

Recognizing your people is completely within your control. You can choose daily to affirm their importance or simply let them wonder if they really matter or not. 

When you choose affirmation you choose authentic leadership. You choose to build people and you choose to build your organization. Making an intentional effort to recognize your people encourages them to push themselves. They know what they do matters and that the more they do the more it will matter. 

Authentic leaders know that there is a direct link between recognizing success and the amount of success available to recognize.

Recognize your people today and they will ensure that there is even more success to recognize tomorrow. 

 

How to Stay Motivated

The pain of discipline is greater than the pain of failure. That simple fact leads to more failure than any other single factor. When we lack the discipline required for success we also lack the ability to “push-on” when we face the struggles associated with long-lasting success. There are struggles within every successful endeavor and within every successful endeavor someone found the motivation to continue the way forward.

Average people need someone to motivate them. Successful people find a way to motivate themselves and ask for help when they can’t. Here are just a few of the methods they use to get going when the going gets tough:

They re-dream the dream. Before they quit they remember why they started, they remember what’s in it for them if they can keep going. They see the end of the rainbow and reach for it again. It is that “reach” that provides them the momentum and motivation to continue forward. 

They make it fun. They enjoy what they do. Here’s a fact: almost 100% of successful people enjoy what they do. It is nearly impossible for a human being to excel at something they truly dislike. If you’re involved in a career or job that you simply don’t like then either find a way to make it fun or find your way to another career. You’re not likely to become the first person to put a square peg in a round hole so don’t burn up your motivation trying.

They are not afraid to change course. If something doesn’t feel right it’s probably not. There is almost always more than one way to accomplish something. Just because something has always been done a certain way doesn’t mean it’s being done the best way. You’ve likely heard the saying “there’s no need to invent the wheel’, well if that was true we would all still be driving on stone wheels. Looking for a “better way” is an excellent method for staying motivated. Settling for what you have makes it very difficult to push yourself for better.

Motivated, successful people reward themselves. They also celebrate their successes, both big and little. The bigger the goal, the greater the task the more likelihood of set-backs along the way. Set-backs wilt motivation and lessen resolve. Rewards, even small rewards like a longer lunch break once in a while or knocking off an hour early can be just the ticket to reinvigorate yourself. Small celebrations can refill your energy tank and provide the motivation needed to overcome the next challenge. 

Successful people have a mentor to motivate them. Staying motivated in the face of obstacles is  pretty darn tough to do day in and day out. It’s really tough without a little help. A good mentor will help you over the rough spots and help you to re-dream that dream. Successful people aren’t afraid to ask for help and the person they are most likely to ask is their mentor. 

If you don’t have a mentor today then find one now. Select a person who cares about you, a person who is successful and willing to invest themselves in you to help you succeed too. 

Here’s a big statement to make but I’m going to make it anyway…. there is not a single thing you can do in 2014 that will have a greater positive impact on your chances of success than having a coach or mentor. If you don’t have a coach or mentor then get one. 

Your motivation is your responsibility but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a little coaching along the way. 

Why YOU Matter!

There are few things in life that you absolutely must know. I suppose even those few things could be debated. The few things we must know vary by person as well. Your occupation or profession will also partially determine what you need to know too. Where you live might make a difference along with how long you live. 

What you need to know is at least a little different than what I need to know or what the person who lives down the street needs to know. But there is one thing that every single living human being needs to know.

They matter!

YOU matter!

There is absolutely no way you could ever stop mattering. Even if you allow someone to convince you that you are somehow inferior to other people YOU still matter. YOU matter whether you believe it or not, so believe it! 

Because YOU matter, never let someone tell YOU that you don’t. People, anyone, that would tell you that YOU don’t matter clearly do not have your best interests in mind. Ignore them. Those kind of people will likely always be part of your life but it is solely your choice as to whether you listen to them or not. Always remember this: NEVER be one of those people who think or say that YOU don’t matter. Some days you may need to remind yourself often that YOU are amazing and that no matter what happens in your life YOU matter!

The world needs YOU and it needs YOU to be just as YOU are. Even if you’re an identical twin there is only one YOU. No one else can be truly be identical to YOU so don’t rob the world of YOU by trying to be someone or something you’re not. Just be the very best YOU possible. 

Don’t believe that you’re just “good enough” or only “average” because you’re not only the best YOU, you’re the only YOU. Out of billions of people already born and yet to be born there is only one of YOU and that ought to prove just how special YOU are and how much YOU matter. 

Because YOU matter YOU can accomplish great things. You’ve been given a life that allows you the opportunity to make a difference in the world. As long as you can draw a breath you have the opportunity to use your amazing life to make a difference in the life of someone else. YOU do!

Maybe helping other people know how much they matter is the difference you’ll make. It’s a worthwhile difference to make and YOU can do that.

It’s only a question of whether or not YOU will! So answer the question today by telling, and maybe even showing, someone how much they matter to YOU!

Do You Know Who You Are?

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You can’t be true to your values until you know that you have them.

Do you know who you are? No, not just your name, who you really are. It’s a sad reality that most people don’t actually know themselves all that well.

We all have values that inform various decisions in our life and most of our values change over time. As we grow older, become more experienced or are influenced by a different set of circumstances, some of our values tend to change. That is normal.

But some of our values run much deeper, we don’t necessarily choose them, we discover them. We grow into these values and that “growth” often begins at a young age. Once these values are “set” they stay with us throughout our life; these are our core values.

Research shows that most people have between 6 to10 core values. The research also shows that when asked, most people cannot tell you what their core values are.

Whether you are consciously aware of these values or not it is these values which most affect your life. They impact, or should, almost every aspect of your life; who your friends are, how you live your life, what you do for a living, etc.

If the life you live matches your core values you are likely to be more successful than average. You find fulfillment in what you do, in how you live and you probably have little conflict in your life.

If you’re living a life disconnected from your core values, as many people are, you are likely leading a life full of conflict and unhappiness. In some cases people will try to live the values of someone else to make them happy. In either case these people are unfulfilled and probably often feel like they just can’t “get it together.”

If you’re a person living apart from your core values it may just be that you are not consciously aware of what they are. If you’re ever going to reach your full potential in life you’re going to have to become consciously aware of what truly matters to you. Only then can you live your life accordingly.

A coach, a mentor or someone who truly cares about you can help you discover your core values. It may take a bit of effort and a fair amount of introspection but the payoff is a life lived to it’s fullest and a life of very few regrets.

So, do you know who you are?

Your Attitude Adjustment is Looking Right at You

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Let’s be honest, it’s still tough out there. We’re in the “un” times, lots and lots of unknowns. European economies are a mess, we lack leadership in the US Congress, who knows what the markets will do from day to day.

It’s easy to see how our attitudes could go south on us, plus we’re still getting lots of help from the media, pointing out the problems with every hopeful sign.

Too many people in too many places have just thrown in the towel and hunkered down to wait for better times. Their attitude is shot and they need no help to find the negative in every situation.

They need an attitude adjustment and they are waiting patiently, too patiently, for someone to give it to them. Think about that – they want someone else to fix their attitude. Now I really hope you’re not one of those people waiting for someone to fix your attitude, but if you are here is some advice: Stop waiting, it ain’t going to happen. The only person who can improve your attitude is the one who looks back at you when you stand in front of the mirror. That means if you’re going to have a positive attitude it’s up to you, and you alone to make that happen.

If you find your attitude slipping then you must change your input in order to change your attitude. Expose and surround yourself to and with positive information. Encircle yourself with positive people, people that have your best interests in mind. I’m not talking about burying your head in the sand, I’m just saying to make sure the positive “inputs” in your life outweigh the negatives. That’s something you have complete control over.

Don’t wait for someone else to provide you with an attitude adjustment, the only attitude adjustment you need, and the only one that truly works is inside you just waiting to be unleashed. Let it out and you can overcome any challenge that comes your way.

Excuse me, Have you got the Time?

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I should likely start with a disclaimer that I don’t really believe in “time management.” I don’t believe in it because it’s really not possible to manage time, we each get 24 hours in a day, 1440 minutes. No more, no less. It’s the same for everyone; no one in the world has more time than you.

I agree that it seems like some people do have more time, their work is done and they even have some time left over for what is known as fun. I just don’t agree that happens because they manage their time better. It happens because they manage the “events” that use up their time more effectively than most people.

Think about this, our day is made up of driving, phone calls, emails, customer calls, sleeping, eating, and lots of other “stuff” we don’t even bother to define. The calls, emails, driving, eating, etc. are all events. The more events, the more time we need to complete them all.

Now while I don’t believe in time management I am a firm believer in event management. We can and must control the events in our lives on a daily basis if we truly want to be successful AND happy. Successfully managing the events of our lives is where balance comes from.

Luckily there are many tools available for us to manage these events. Let’s talk about just a few of them here.

Perhaps the most useful tool is the Daily Prioritized Task List. This is like a to-do list except the tasks are listed in order of importance and we don’t move to the second task until the first task is complete. Here’s a great question to always be asking yourself: Am I in this moment doing the most productive thing possible? The most productive “thing” is whatever is going to get you closer to whatever goal you’re working on at that time. It takes tremendous discipline to use a prioritized task list because the most important things are also often the most challenging. Our instincts are to “skip” ahead to a less challenging task, which will almost always backfire on us. Stick to the most important task, everything is easier once that is complete.

Next up is the tool we call Block Time. Here’s the concept of block time: instead of “planning” to tackle “events” in your free time, or your “extra” time schedule time on your calendar as if it were an appointment to complete that event. It’s like an appointment with yourself. The event can be anything you decide, calling for appointments, prospecting or follow-up. The important thing is to view this time “blocked” on your calendar as you would any other appointment, don’t just ignore it, keep the appointment, it may be your most important appointment of the week.

Another excellent event management tool is the Time Log. The time log helps us pinpoint how we really use our time. Let me say that again. It helps us pinpoint how we really use our time, not how we think we use our time. If you’re honest with how you use it then you’ll learn just what your biggest time wasters are and what time of the day you are most productive. Simply Google “time log” for more information on how to use this valuable tool. This tool also will take great discipline to use but you’re not spending time to use it, you’re investing time in the short term to gain time is the long term.

The real key to effective event management is to be completely honest with ourselves. When we’re not, we can fool ourselves into thinking what we’re doing is indeed productive. We convince ourselves that the 45 minutes we spent talking about the game last night was relationship building because the conversation was with a customer. It’s times like that we need to keep the “is this the most productive thing” question firmly in mind.

Providing ourselves with more time to succeed during the day is a choice, it’s about making consistently great decisions, being fearless when prioritizing events, and having the courage to say no to requests you know you can’t accomplish in the time you have. Above all, never tell yourself there is not enough time in the day, there is exactly enough time when you match your events to the 24 hours you have each and every day.

Successful Leaders are Enthusiastic!

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Do we absolutely have to be enthusiastic to be a successful leader? Probably not, we can likely find cases where a somewhat unenthusiastic person has become a success. What would be much more difficult to find however is an enthusiastic person who is not a success.

Dale Carnegie said that “enthusiasm is the little recognized secret to success.” I believe that statement is as true today as it was when he made it 70 years ago. It is true for anyone but maybe there is a bit more truth in it where leaders are concerned.

Think about it, you’re trying to convince a someone that your idea is best, so much so that it is worth taking a risk to implement. That’s hard enough as it is, it becomes almost impossible when you have the enthusiasm of an autopsy subject. How can anyone become excited about what you have to offer when you appear not to be? Would you follow someone just going through the motions?

Successful leaders are excited by what they’re doing and that excitement is contagious. They draw people to them because these people want to work with them, do business with them and just be around them. Are you that type of person? Many Dale Carnegie classes begin with a “warm-up” that has participants shouting “act enthusiastic and you’ll be enthusiastic.” I’ve seen that “warm-up” many times and I know that statement to be absolutely true.

Sometimes it is as simple as acting enthusiastic, because you see, you can even catch enthusiasm from yourself.