I Dare You!

With the Olympics in full swing, I am in awe & inspired by the athletes & their dedication. A friend told me to look up a letter written to high school students by an Olympic gold medalist named Clifton Cushman in 1964 & I absolutely love it. I hope you love it too. To the youth of Grand Forks: Don’t feel sorry for me. I feel sorry for some of you! You may have seen the U.S. Olympic Trials on television September 13. If so, you watched me hit the fifth hurdle, fall and lie on the track in an inglorious heap of skinned elbows, bruised hips, torn knees, and injured pride, unsuccessful in my attempt to make the Olympic team for the second time. In a split second all the many years of training, pain, sweat, blisters, and agony of running were simply and irrevocably wiped out. But I
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Validation Is The Key To Winning Every Argument

Disagreement is a part of every day life.  Whether in your personal life, business life, social life – disagreements happen.  I came across an interesting article, The Mistake You Make in Every Argument, that gave an interesting perspective on how to make the best of the often times unavoidable argument. How do you respond when someone says something you disagree with? Do you calmly tell the person why they are mistaken, do you jump right in to defensive mode and yell or do you retreat and let them have their way?  In his article, Dr. Liane Davey makes the argument that all of those responses are wrong and the only way to get results in an argument is to first validate the other’s point of view. The first thing you have to do is validate the other person even though you completely disagree with them! See, when you validate the
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How To Be A Great Teammate

I had the opportunity to hear my friend, Don Yeager, talk about the new book he co-authored with legendary catcher, David Ross, called Teammate. He gave 16 characteristics of high performing teammates and I want to share my top 5. · Humble – They don’t require the spotlight to feel important – Action – make a point to praise others, especially when you are being praised · Encouraging – they notice the success of others – Action – identify those co-workers who are struggling, and find ways to inspire them · Resourceful – they share what they learn and embrace a mentoring role – Action – share your expertise with those co-workers who work in your circle · Willing to sacrifice – they are not above doing the dirty work – Action – assume whatever role is necessary for the team to win. Never say the words: “It’s not my
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Do Your People Know You Care?

Last week I spoke for Easter Seals Florida. They are an incredible non-profit organization that helps individuals with disabilities. I had the opportunity to spend some time with their CEO Sue Ventura and I came away inspired. We’ve all heard the saying, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” I believe that’s true, and I often remind leaders that “You can live people without leading them but you cannot lead people without loving them.” My question is, do your people know you care about them? If your answer is yes then how do you demonstrate it? As the CEO of a non-profit, Sue Ventura is limited in how she uses her funds. But she wanted to make sure her staff felt appreciated and knew how much she cared about them. So in an incredible example of servant leadership, when Sue’s parents passed and
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What Type of Leader Are You?

In 2000, Daniel Goleman conducted a seminal study with over 3000 managers that clarified six distinct leadership styles and traits. Each style has its positives and negatives. Which one describes you?   Visionary — mobilize people toward a vision. Works best when a clear direction or change is needed. Creates the most positive climate. Coaching — develop people for the future. Works best when helping people and building long-term strength. Creates a positive climate. Affiliative — create emotional bonds and harmony. Works best to heal rifts in teams or motivate people in stressful times. Creates a positive climate. Democratic — build consensus through participation. Works best to create consensus or get input. Creates a positive climate. Pacesetting — expect excellence and self-direction. Works best to get quick results from a highly competent team. Creates a negative climate. Commanding — demand immediate compliance. Works best in crisis or with problematic people. Creates a negative climate. The most important aspect of this breakdown is
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Push Through With Passion

I am sure there is a goal that you are passionate about. Something that you are pursuing with all of your heart. What is it? Is it your business? The relationship of your dreams? Weight loss? Most people think that passion is just enthusiasm for what you are doing, and it is that, but there is more to it. Even though you focus on what you love, it does not mean it is always going to be without challenge. The word passion originated in the 12th Century, originally used by Christian scholars who were describing the suffering of Christ. Passion is more than just love; it is willing suffering for something that you love. It is when the feeling in your heart supersedes the challenge that lies in front of you. A family friend recently went through a kidney transplant because his body had rejected his own. He explained to
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3 Ways to Create Staying Power as a Leader

My thoughts lately have been on the need for leaders to become and stay relevant. Relevancy creates staying power, but it requires constant vigilance. I read an article recently where Vince Molinari shared three ways that leaders become irrelevant. These can be the things that cause the downfall of many leaders. 1)     You Believe You Arrived:  When leaders achieve a certain level of success they wrongly conclude that they’ve made it. That they have arrived. This can lead a leader to starting coasting. Then one day you realize you no longer matter in your organization. Your ideas don’t resonate with others. You stop being invited to important meetings. To have enduring staying power means understanding that leadership is an unending journey – you never arrive. You must constantly challenge yourself both in how you think about leadership and the way in which you lead, no matter what level of success you have
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Do’s and Don’ts of A Good Listener

Listening is an essential skill in business and life. We could all improve our relationships by improving our listening skills. Below is a list of do’s and don’ts to help you brush up on your listening skills.   Do – Maintain eye contact Limit your talking Focus on the speaker Ask questions Manage your emotions Listen with your eyes and ears Listen for ideas and opportunities Remain open to the conversation Confirm understanding, paraphrase Give nonverbal messages that you are listening (nod, smiles) Ignore distractions   Don’t – Interrupt Show signs of impatience Judge or argue mentally Multitask during a conversation Project your ideas Think about what to say next Have expectations or preconceived ideas Become defensive or assume you are being attacked Use condescending, aggressive, or closed body language Listen with biases or closed to new ideas Jump to conclusions or finish someone’s sentences  
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What Type of Thinker Are You?

  Our mindset, the way we approach life, the way we think about the world around us dictates so much of our happiness. In the book, Supercoach, author Michael Neill outlines three different types of thinking – Acquisition-based thinking places the power outside us in the visible physical world. If we want some of that power for ourselves, we need to go out and get it. When we don’t get what we want, it’s either because the world is rigged against people like us or we just aren’t trying hard enough. Attraction-based thinking places the power outside us in the invisible metaphysical world. If we want to tap into that power, we need to align our thoughts, feelings, intentions, and desires. When we don’t get what we want, it’s either because God/the universe has a higher plan for us or we just aren’t thinking positively enough. Creation-based thinking recognizes that
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Energizers vs. Drainers

We are all busy.  Running from this to that to the next.  It’s just the pace of life these days.  While a lot of that busyness is necessary and enjoyable, it also is a drain on our energy.  We only have so much energy and we need to make sure we spending the majority time, or at least our discretionary time, on activities that energize us and not drain us.   Below are two lists, the first a list of “energizers” and the second a list of “drainers”.  While sometimes “drainers” cannot be avoided and are a necessary part of life, we can look for healthy ways to reduce or eliminate them.  When we look for opportunities to do more on the “energizers” list, we find ourselves feeling more positive, enthusiastic and hopeful.   Things That Energize Me Hanging out with people who inspire me Loving my children Teaching Reading books Developing ideas Exercise Hobbies I
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