Friday, September 28, 2012

Find a Way to Be Useful

Who's the Boss?
Who's the Boss? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
by Weldon Smith

A man, his son, and their dog came to visit me. I was working in the back yard at the time.

I can't remember what it was, but I was doing something.

The man immediately saw something he could do to help me and did it.

They didn't stay long and I didn't expect the man to pitch in and work beside me until the job was done.

But in the short time he was with me and talking about something that we needed to talk about, he found a way to be useful.

His young son was holding the dog leash and ignoring us. I said to him, "See how your dad saw a way that he could help me, and he did it? I didn't need to ask him to help me. I appreciate his help."

I try to teach important things to youth to a fault, perhaps. I understood he was holding the dog leash and couldn't help even if he wanted to, but I'm confident that he wasn't looking for a way to help. It was not part of his way of life. Most children don't think of anyone but themselves very often.

I hope that as he gets older he will understand the importance of being useful. I don't expect everyone who ever walks past my place to do some work on my property, but I do notice and appreciate it if someone does something that is truly helpful.

I participated in a recreational activity with lots of people. When we finished doing the activity, there was work to do to clean things up and put them away. Two of us did all the work. The others busied themselves with eating, taking showers, and playing on the computer.

They had not been taught to be useful, which was especially grievous since they had participated in getting the things out and getting them dirty. I didn't say anything to any of them. It was not my place to confront them and criticize them for how they live.

I see small children sit at the table and eat, and then get up and walk away, leaving their dirty plates, silverware, and glasses for someone else to bus to the sink or dishwasher. Perhaps that is normal for small children.

But it seems to stay normal into adulthood if their parents or some other adult doesn't teach them that it is not okay. I frequently see adults who are happy to play or to eat,. but they think that service is free, and they don't have to do any of the work of cleaning things up or putting them away.

I see people of all ages who let their trash blow instead of taking it with them and seeing that it gets in a trash receptacle.

I think there are lots of bosses who don't appreciate employees being creative or exercising initiative. But I think that most bosses are impressed by someone who can see a way to be useful in a way that won't alienate the boss, and they do it. You can do that once and get a reputation with the boss as a hard worker.

I think bosses notice when people do exactly what they have been told to do and no more, even if the people have perceived that exact message from the boss. It's sometimes hard to not alienate a boss who treats his employees like equipment or micromanages them. Still if an employee will do little extra things, the boss will notice.

Five people may step over a candy wrapper discarded on the floor, and one person may pick it up and put it in a garbage can. The boss will appreciate that the wrapper was picked up and put in the right place. Who wouldn't appreciate a lawn mower that could also pull weeds growing in the lawn, or a toaster that could put the butter on?

And there are lots of bosses who do appreciate creativity and initiative. People who find ways to be useful that lead to extra revenues and profits for the company usually get the promotions and the bonuses.

As I've said before many times, it is sad for a boss to treat his employees like equipment. It is disgraceful for the employees to treat themselves like equipment, doing only what they have been "programmed" to do. There are always ways to be useful beyond the job, in any position, with any boss, in any environment.

We can't allow others to program us. We are human beings, and are capable of programming ourselves to notice what's going on around us and to understand how it affects everyone involved, and then to understand how we can be useful in getting the details and the hard work taken care of.

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Friday, September 21, 2012

Personal Development - Freedom And Leadership Is Internal - Tools For Peak Performance

Leadership Forum Sept 2012
Leadership Forum Sept 2012 (Photo credit: mylearning)
by Veronique C

The "Reap what you sow" proverb communicates that you eventually have to face up to the consequences of your actions. Thoughts reap actions, actions reap habits, habits reap character, and character reaps destiny.

Reap the benefits of wise investments you made into yourself to forward your life or reap the negative effects from consistently making poor choices.

Or on a positive note of "past poorly made choices", take the consequences, accept responsibility for the negative results of one's poor choices and turn outside devastations and anxieties around by starting on the inside of you.

Realize the buck stops ... with you.

Freedom to enjoy rewards is an inside job. An investment in yourself from the inside out allows you to be the leader of your life and reap a destiny you are enthusiastic about. First, become aware of what beliefs are at your core, highly anxious and negative or "reality" based positive ones.

What is at your core holds the key to a destiny of ease, grace and abundance personally, professionally, and organizationally, or not. Look at nature as an example. If the core/root is rotten, there goes the plant. Lead from a healthy and balanced belief based consciousness, and from this core/root you will reap the benefits of great leadership personally, professionally or organizationally.

For any personal, professional and or organizational leadership to be great, it requires character at the core/root ... coupled with the necessary skill sets to drive home success at each and every level. You cannot lead where you yourself are afraid or unwilling to go.

You cannot "honestly" ask others, through any credibility, to pursue the quality of being "outstanding" if you do not pursue the same thing yourself. Step up your own personal criteria for self monitoring your performance levels. Live up to the quality of excellence, the benefits are endless and rewarding. Remember, our ability to lead others is directly dependent on our ability to lead ourselves.

How you do something is how you do everything. So whether it is personal, professional or organizational leadership, any type of leadership involves beginning at the core of you. What are your life goals? Set them. Then strategize your life plan. Hold your vision of the life you want to live and begin building skill sets to support your vision into reality. Collaborate with like minds to develop your support system.

Attaining goals are easier when you have a system of support. Explicitly manage, moment to moment, your attitude to remain positive by increasing self-knowledge of words and their usage. Monitor negative self-talk. Use your time in efficient ways. Place importance on having ones priorities straight.

Live up to high principles, standards of behavior, and values that are necessary and indicative to great leadership. Support your physical body to be strong and healthy. Keep your "space" clean, organized and inspiring.

Wear clothing that supports where you want to be and how you want to be perceived. Uplift your spirit through music and keeping light difficult situations while being accountable and responsible at the same time. Keep personal and business relationships separate so they do not cross over and become entangled emotionally.

Stay within "real" budget guidelines for steady growth. Develop interpersonal communications, learn to go with the flow to manage change on any level. Refine your understanding or appreciation of human intellectual achievements.

Define the culture that best enlivens and stirs your heart and soul in order to better support you from the inside out. Join associations, social groups with attitudes and behavior characteristics that best mimic where you want to be in "your" life. Be enterprising through initiative and resourcefulness.

You don't have to be great to get started. Just begin where you are. To be a great leader of your life, business endeavors or organizationally, you have to start somewhere, there is no better time than now. Remember, leadership is an inside job - Veronique.

It's always good to reread so our mind can fully absorb the empowering suggestions to be successful. Building Ushakable Internal Foundations since 1986. Veronique's intensive spiritual quest became expressed in her innovative course The Choice Is Mine. Her work teaches you how to look at life situations so you can know your full potential & act positively on that awareness, to live your dream life sooner rather than later. Take that first step in your professional development & buy your course today.

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Friday, September 14, 2012

MOTIVATIONAL STORIES: Joe Garland, Fearless Leadership

Gloucester Docks at Dusk
Gloucester Docks at Dusk (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
by Bonnie Hurd Smith

About a year ago, the great Joe Garland died. Journalist. Historian. Author. Community Leader. Visionary.

At the time, I had just ended a relationship with someone I really loved. Neither one of us wanted to, but we had to for reasons I won't explain.

I was in a lot of pain, and couldn't handle one more thing. So, I didn't. Shame on me.

A year later, I am working with Joe's wife, Helen, on some projects. Spending time at their house and in Gloucester after too many years of being away from "the community of my heart," thanks to Helen, thank God. She brought me back.

So, I've been thinking about Joe. Finally. A year later. Delayed grief.

The first thing I know is how much we still need his voice. As a writer, he was forceful, elegant, irreverent, entertaining, brilliant - and important. As a speaker, he was exactly the same way. Add charming. Bedroom slippers and all. Oh yes he did, even at the Boston Athenaeum. Joe was Joe. Period. No pretense. And he always told the truth. Always.

Joe was also a visionary who cared deeply about Gloucester and Gloucester's future. Gloucester is, of course, irrevocably tied to the world. He got that. He saw it all, and he worried. Today, there's a lot of B.S. going on in Gloucester politically. People who care about Gloucester in the way that Joe did are being intimidated into silence or bought off. Lies are being told that people are believing.

NO ONE intimidated Joe Garland. NO ONE could buy him off. And he would NOT put up with lies. He would expose them. He told the truth relentlessly, in his writing, speaking, or in conversations. Sure, he pissed people off. It was fun to watch! When you provide leadership, you piss people off. So, he did.

We need more people like Joe Garland, but we still need Joe Garland.

His words, and his vision for a sustainable Gloucester where we respect all of its natural elements and its history and won't allow it to be sold out, one where we all pull together to make it work, are still needed. His words live on in his written works. They live on through Helen, and his many friends. We need his fearless and articulate leadership. Always. How we miss him. But how he MUST continue to be present.

One of my favorite personal stories about Joe involved his book The Fish and the Falcon, a reissue of his 1970s book Guns Off Gloucester which told the story of battles with the British off the coast in 1776.

In the 1970s, Judith Sargent Murray's letters from that period of time hadn't been found. But they had been when it came time for him to write The Fish and the Falcon in the 1990s. He contacted me, and I sent him my transcriptions of Judith's letters describing what happened.

I thought he would, maybe, include an excerpt in a call-out box or on a page. Instead, he wove her voice throughout the book. I was knocked out.

Shortly after the book came out, I ran into Joe and Helen at a restaurant in Essex. We were all going to an event at the Essex Shipbuilding Museum. He said to me, gruffly, of course, 'cause he was Joe, "I need to pay you a compliment."


He said, "For years, I've thought you were crazy. No, really, I thought you were insane for being so obsessed with this woman. I wondered what was wrong with you." Was there a compliment coming??? He said, "But when I read those letters, I cried. They were so beautifully written, but when she had herself inoculated with the small pox to be able to take care of her father in case he got sick, I cried. So," he continued, "I get it. You're not crazy." Wow. Joe Garland said I wasn't crazy!

What an honor it was to know him, and to have him respect my work. And to include my work in his.

I, in turn, today, a year after his death, am just coming to fully appreciate his visionary leadership in Gloucester. That voice must never, ever be silenced, and he must continue to be held up as an example of fearless leadership and relentless truth telling and enormous talent.

Joe Garland. He died loved, happy, and in the beautiful home he shared with Helen. He just went to sleep one day. What an honor it is to know both of them. Joe Garland. Joseph E. Garland. I have a message for you. Don't rest in peace. Don't rest at all. You were always restless anyway. And we need you, damn it, as you would say. But, thank you for everything.

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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Top Tips For Being More Creative

Creativity (Photo credit: Mediocre2010)
by Helen Leathers

Creativity isn't just about all things artistic, although that is one element, it is about how we see the world and how we interact with it, especially when challenges present themselves.

In the past I'd never really considered myself particularly creative, especially in office environments.

When I had a traditional job I would cringe at those brainstorming meetings where we had to come up with innovative new ideas for the team or the company.

I really wasn't any good at it. Or maybe I just didn't care.

I say this because I later discovered that I could come up with creative ways of helping others, or to help others' help themselves. I could see solutions for people and situations I cared about. And when I was inspired to write I was most certainly being creative.

Being creative is about introducing new ideas and concepts, finding different ways of thinking and being as well as actually creating things in a more traditional sense, whether it's inventions, artwork, music, clothing, poetry, or something else.

Everyone is creative. Your beliefs may tell you otherwise, but if you release your mind from the restrictions of what you tell yourself, you will be creative too. Equally you can't force creativity out, it must be coaxed gently, and then given freedom to come to you in its own time. Creativity must flow naturally.

Top tips to being more creative

  1. A bit of what you fancy: Forget about what others think and just give it a go. If you want to paint, draw, sing, write, dance, decorate, bake ... or anything else, just try it. Don't think about the 'what if's', don't worry about being good or bad at it, just try it.

  2. Spending time in nature: A walk in the park, a hill climb, a picnic, watch the sun set, or the moon rise, however you choose to do it, this can encourage your creativity.

  3. Quiet time: Meditation, yoga even pilates, activities that quieten the mind will encourage our creativity out from its hiding place within.

  4. Adrenalin rush: Do something different, amazing, exciting or scary. It will make you see the world a little differently and then who knows what might happen?

  5. Have a long chat with a good friend: Especially if you're looking for a creative solution to a situation. Talking things through can really give you clarity and understanding and a fresh point of view is also helpful.

  6. Map your mind: If you want to be more creative, get a big sheet of paper and write, 'how to be more creative' in the middle. Now write down lots of ideas and thoughts about creativity, what it means and how you could embrace it. Make you mind map colourful and decorative it if you want. Put down everything, even if your conscious mind says it's silly. Spend a good length of time on this and then sit back and take a look. What thoughts and feelings do have about being more creative now? What actions could you take?

  7. Stay hydrated and get plenty of sleep: You cannot be creative if you're body isn't happy or you're too tired.

  8. Be patient: Don't give yourself a hard time, enjoy yourself, have some fun and at some point you'll suddenly realise your creative self is wide awake and hammering to be heard.

You are already a creative being, follow these top tips for being more creative and see what happens next.

Classing herself as a naturally modern mystic Helen teaches, inspires and encourages spiritual growth, personal and psychic development. Take a look at her website for a free meditation download 'Stillness & Strength' - 15 minutes of pure relaxation:

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Saturday, September 1, 2012

FOCUS - Follow One Course Until Success

Focus (Photo credit: Michael Dales)
by Ron Rosenberg

It's sometimes funny how life works. You're busy doing whatever it is you do every day and then something is said that really hits home and makes you think long and hard about something.

That's what happened to me the other day when I was taking a cycling class at the YMCA.

Our instructor was leading the class and giving specific instructions on how fast to pedal and encouraging us to do our very best - it's our class, of course, so we need to push ourselves so we can improve and make progress.

She is a 1981 graduate of West Point, so you always know she's prepared and on time for class. Plus, she's very disciplined (thanks to her training at West Point), and had recently completed the Disney Marathon (the Goofy Challenge) where she ran a half marathon one day and a full marathon the next.

That's when she asked us in the class if we knew what the acronym FOCUS meant? We shook our heads, no, and she said, "Follow One Course Until Success!" And I immediately thought, "Wow, that makes a lot of sense." So for the next half hour, as I was pedaling I thought about this concept.

Goal Setting

In life it's important to set goals. If you don't set them, then there's nothing you need to strive for. Last year I set the goal that I wanted to complete a half marathon.

The thing is with any goal, there is a path you need to take to get you there. If you want to learn another language, if you want to travel to a foreign country, if you want to lose 25 pounds, all of these goals have specific steps you need to take in order to reach them.

If you want to learn a language, for instance, you have to decide if you want to take a class or do on-line training. You need to schedule time each day to study and practice your skills. You may want to join a "Meet-Up" group where you can converse in the language. You might want to plan a trip so you can be immersed in the language and become fluent.

Follow One Course

That's what I really liked about the word, course, as opposed to goal. Because many people have a goal, and it sometimes can be a lofty one. A lot of times it's sitting out there and seems too difficult to accomplish ... because as I stated previously, there's usually a lot you need to do to achieve your goal.

That's why so many of us put off our goals and go on with "business as usual." We'll get to that when the kids are gone, when I'm feeling better, when I'm retired; and you don't make any progress towards your goal. For many years, I've had a goal to learn French. And I have been putting it off until my daughter goes to college, because then I'll have more time. Will I? Or will I find another excuse?

So instead of setting goals, why not rather set a course for what you want to achieve. When you set a course, you're planning on how to get where you're going. Then you can focus on that course, doing whatever it takes, until you achieve success.

This may not be complete attainment of your goal, but might be the minor successes you achieve along the way. For me, when I completed my half marathon, I was very ecstatic. I had attained a goal that I wanted to achieve and I did it in 2 hours and 24 minutes, which was a good time for me.

But the real enjoyment for me was "the course." It was planning how I was going to complete the half. It was doing training runs with my best friend (there's not a lot of talking as we run, but it's incredibly comforting having a friend by your side). And it's the progress I'm seeing each and every day I train.

Your Assignment

Right now, go to your calendar and pick a time when there aren't any distractions and think about what you would like to achieve in the next few months, few years, or before you "kick the bucket."

Pick something you'd like to accomplish and determine your course, the one course you want to follow. What do you need to do to get there? Then start to FOCUS on it ... every day, every week, and every year. You'll be amazed at what you can accomplish and you'll feel great when you do.

Ron Rosenberg is a nationally recognized expert on marketing and customer service, business coach, and public speaker. Maximize your marketing efforts and generate more revenue in less time with his Business Self-Defense 90-Day Success Program and Business Owner Survival Kit. Get free marketing tools, tips, and tactics at or for details on our speaking and coaching programs contact us at 800-260-0662 or

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