Wednesday, March 31, 2010

2010-14 - Lessons Learned From a Child and Her Dog…

"So teach him to close the door", my daughter Emma responded after listening to me complain, again, about the dog coming in from the back door, bringing with him a blast of Buffalo January cold air.
Teach a dog to close a door behind him? You got to be kidding. That has got to be a really, really hard thing to do, and I do not have any dog credentials following my name.
But then she took it a step further. "Come on Kolby", she said, grabbing some treats and positioning him in front of the open door. "Touch."
And "touch" he did, which moved the door to a closed position. She rewarded him with a treat, smiled, looked at me, and said "see!"
And I saw and became convinced. Over the last few days I have been consistent with Kolby. Each time he comes in I bring him back to the open door and ask him to close (I changed the target word, making the command more specific). There have been failures, but lately more and more successes. And I knew we turned the corner this morning when he asked to be let out just so I would open the door, so that he could close it and be treated.
WOW
There remains work to be done. I have to remove the hand signal and work so that he will close the door from a distance. But, I now realize, with consistency of focus the task will be completed, and, with the way things are progressing, completed quickly.
What a wonderful treat to have a dog that can close the door after himself. Even more wonder can be found in the lessons I learned so clearly from both Emma and Kolby.
A wish is just a wish until you decide to take action.
Once you decide to accomplish a goal, and decide that it "is" easy (remember Emma's assurance), than it becomes easy to do what needs to be done. Just start doing it.
As long as one holds on to the belief that it is "too hard", than it remains "too hard" and out of reach.
Working towards the accomplishment of a goal can be loads of fun, and full of lots and lots of treats.
So what have you been wishing for lately? And what has been stopping you from getting started?
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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

2010-13 - 212°... The Extra Degree

In 1991, when ‘Successories’ hired Tim Dumler as a corporate account manager, he shared his goal of becoming number one in the company with his manager, Neil Sexton. But Neil, quite frankly, had serious doubts that Tim could make it through the first month, much less be number one.
Neil’s first two interviews with Tim were conducted over the phone, and he passed those with flying colours. But when Neil met Tim for the first time, he was shocked when Tim told him he was legally blind. He began to lose his sight when he was in the third grade from a rare disease called macular degeneration. Tim acknowledged he would have problems entering orders into the computers, but he had a solution. He told Neil about a machine that he could hook up to magnify the letters on the screen to two inches high. Tim was willing to buy it if he could have the job.
After the conversation, Neil came to my office and explained the situation. Mac said, “Neil, let’s give him a chance,” but I must admit, I had serious doubts that Tim could do it. Well, we were dead wrong. We grossly underestimated Tim’s passion and his determination to succeed. Even though it took him much longer to enter the orders, Tim made it work. He came in early, he worked late. Whatever it took, he did it.
In 1991, Tim’s first year, he was number one out of ten experienced corporate sales reps, with over $500,000 in sales. In 1994 he was number one again with $700,000, and again in 1997 with $950,000.
His customers loved him because when you can’t see, you become a great listener. His peers loved him because of his caring, positive attitude. He was certainly an inspiration to me, too. I asked him one time, “Tim, how do you stay so positive?”
He said, “Mac, it’s unfortunate that I’m visually impaired, but I have to tell you that fighting through the adversity has made me a better person. I have come to realize that I have a lot more than I don’t have. I love my family, my work, and the people I work with. I’ve been blessed in many ways.”
~ Author Unknown
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“Do more than is required. What is the distance between someone who achieves their goals consistently and those who spend their lives and careers merely following? The extra mile.”
~ Gary Ryan Blair
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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

2010-12 - Would You Do It If It Were On TV…?

Matt, an eighth grade teacher, was in a huge hurry. With guests arriving at his home shortly, he had a small list of things to buy. With 14 items in his basket, he decided to chance it and use the "10 items or less" express line.
Matt’s heart pounded when he saw Phil, one of his students, come toward him. Matt talks a lot about honesty and ethics and, as he feared, Phil was all too happy to catch him doing something wrong. Sure enough, with a big "gotcha" smile Phil loudly proclaimed, "You have too many items. That’s cheating."
On the scale of moral transgressions, misusing the express line is a misdemeanour. But the inconsistency between Matt’s words and actions can, nevertheless, seriously undermine his message about the importance of ethics and his personal credibility. Whether he’s officially "on duty" or not, a teacher is expected to set a good example. It’s the same for all people in authority, including parents and bosses. And when they fail to do so, there are consequences.
Yes, it’s unfair to judge a person’s character by such small offences, but many will. Though we judge ourselves by our best intentions and most noble acts, others are likely to judge us by our last worst act.
Here’s a simple strategy: act as if there’s a tiny TV camera on your shoulder broadcasting all your words and actions. If what you’re thinking of doing isn’t consistent with the image you want to convey, don’t do it.
~ Michael Josephson (Speaker and Radio Commentator)
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“Ethics is not definable, is not implementable, because it is not conscious; it involves not only our thinking, but also our feeling.”
~ Valdemar W. Setzer
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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

2010-11 - Catching fish in a jar…

When I was between eleven and twelve years old I decided one bright sunny day that it would be fun to go fishing. I didn't have any fishing gear and I had never done much fishing other than to play on the stream banks while my father fished. I also didn't want to "hurt" the fish I just wanted to catch them and then let them go.
I looked around the house for what I could use and I found a washed out old mayonnaise jar. You know the old style jars with the big open "mouth". I walked to a nearby pond and put the jar down in the soft dust-like mud of the water's edge with the open "mouth" of the jar facing toward the centre. I then stirred the waters a little and made them cloudy so that the fish would have trouble seeing me. Then I waited hovering over the jar. Gradually, cautiously a small fish would swim up to the clear jar to investigate the disturbance and when it swam into the jar I dropped my hand into the water and over the jar mouth. I caught a fish, then another.
I just let them all go and returned my jar to the cupboard. Then I decided to use wire "box trap" to go fishing and rigged a string to the door. This way I could drop the trap in the water and not have to "hover over" it like I did with the jar. I sat very relaxed on the bank of the pond and sure enough I caught a fair sized bluegill. I took it home in a water filled plastic waste basket to show my dad and afterward returned it to the pond.
When I told people about how I had caught the fish they just paused and laughed nervously. You see unlike these people, I didn't know that you couldn't catch fish in a jar. If I would have asked them they would have scoffed and said, "You can't catch fish in a jar or a box trap!" No one in my life had ever dreamed of telling me that so my belief system did not contain these words or the impact that they would have had on my "day of fishing". Only a free minded kid could come up with an idea of using a jar or a box trap to catch fish! No one had told me that this was impossible so I just used what I was familiar with and what I had available and I succeeded.
Maybe today finds you facing a situation that seems impossible. You have a desire but no visible way of bringing it into being. You may need to find that "kid" inside you who thinks "outside the box" and the normal ways of achieving things and let him or her catch that fish in a jar! See your situation from a different angle. Start looking at the resources that you already have and the things that you are already familiar with. A fresh perspective and a childlike sense of wonder may surprise you and there's no telling what you will come up with!
~ Jami Sell (Excerpt from Thought And Belief: How To Unlock Your Potential And Fulfill Your Destiny! © 2010)
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“If you nurture your mind, body, and spirit, your time will expand. You will gain a new perspective that will allow you to accomplish much more.”
~ Brian Koslow
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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

2010-10 - Great Expectations…

Pete Rose, the famous baseball player, and I have never met, but he taught me something so valuable that it changed my life. Pete was being interviewed in spring training the year he was about to break Ty Cobb's all time hits record. One reporter blurted out, "Pete, you only need 78 hits to break the record. How many at-bats do you think you'll need to get the 78 hits?" Without hesitation, Pete just stared at the reporter and very matter-of-factly said, "78." The reporter yelled back, "Ah, come on Pete, you don't expect to get 78 hits in 78 at-bats do you?"
Mr. Rose calmly shared his philosophy with the throngs of reporters who were anxiously awaiting his reply to this seemingly boastful claim. "Every time I step up to the plate, I expect to get a hit! If I don't expect to get a hit, I have no right to step in the batter's box in the first place!" "If I go up hoping to get a hit," he continued, "then I probably don't have a prayer to get a hit. It is a positive expectation that has gotten me all of the hits in the first place."
When I thought about Pete Rose's philosophy and how it applied to everyday life, I felt a little embarrassed. As a business person, I was hoping to make my sales quotas. As a father, I was hoping to be a good dad. As a married man, I was hoping to be a good husband.
The truth was that I was an adequate salesperson, I was not so bad of a father, and I was an okay husband. I immediately decided that being okay was not enough! I wanted to be a great salesperson, a great father and a great husband. I changed my attitude to one of positive expectation, and the results were amazing. I was fortunate enough to win a few sales trips, I won Coach of the Year in my son's baseball league, and I share a loving relationship with my wife, Karen, with whom I expect to be married to for the rest of my life! Thanks, Mr. Rose!
~ Barry Spilchuk
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“The meaning of things lies not in the things themselves, but in our attitude towards them.”
~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery
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