Our World Needs More Optimists

Those who believe in positive results think the world looks bright.  They see the good in things and not just the bad. They carry a smile on their face instead of a frown. Author John Maxwell said, “A pessimist is a person who regardless of the present is disappointed in the future.” An optimist then is a person who regardless of the present is excited about the future. The world is full of pessimists. We are conditioned to be negative and cynical. I find it interesting that very few people would admit to being negative. They use the excuse that they are “realists” not “pessimists”. The problem with that is reality is based on perception. We create our world and our experiences. Optimists just tend to create better worlds. The great thing about optimism is that it is simply a choice. Let me explain with this story about my friend
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Winners Focus on Winning, Losers Focus on Winners

I help to coach my daughter’s competitive soccer team. They are in fourth grade and are a really good team for their age group in the state. Last week, I set up a set up a scrimmage with a sixth grade team. These girls were older and bigger but they don’t play at the same level and don’t know the game as well as our girls. As we began the scrimmage, our girls were timid and very worried about how big they were. They weren’t playing their game because they were intimidated. After a couple of minutes, I finally got them to stop focusing on the sixth graders and instead play soccer the way they know how. We started passing, being aggressive, spreading the field and we won 6-0! My girls were doing what a lot of do in business and in life and that is why it is a
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How To Give a Compliment

Have you ever received a hollow compliment from someone? “You are doing a great job” – “Keep up the great work” While they mean well with those words, the truth is the compliment doesn’t do much for you and it doesn’t engender much respect or connection to them. As leaders, we are told to praise our people. As parents, we want to raise with praise. But I fear that all too often what we do is give hollow, meaningless compliments and no one is that much better for them. Not the giver nor the receiver. As a family, we started doing something a couple of years ago that has helped me learn to give genuine compliments. Every night before we go to bed, we say a family prayer. We rotate whose turn it is to say the prayer going in order of age. I go first, then my wife Sarah,
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How Leaders Should Handle Mistakes

As leaders we will have to deal with our people making mistakes along with the mistakes that we make as well.  There will be problems, failures, setbacks and stupid decisions. That is inevitable. So how do you deal with it? I would suggest that as we deal with mistakes, leaders should be more curious than critical. Curiosity causes you to ask questions. Criticism causes you to reprimand. Curiosity seeks understanding Criticism seeks blame Curiosity builds trust and rapport Criticism builds resentment and defensiveness Curiosity focuses on the person Criticism focuses on the problem Curiosity creates partnerships Criticism creates divisions Curiosity leads to solutions Criticism leads to making others feel small and less confident Leaders who are curious are solution thinkers. They recognize mistakes and then seek to understand them, learn from them and create a better future for everyone involved. A mistake is just that – making a wrong judgment
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12 Ways To Get People To Want To Do Business With You

This was put together by Mark Ford and there are some great ideas here I wanted to share. I like to think of myself as an amiable guy, but I wouldn’t claim to be charismatic. Charismatic is an adjective I would apply to someone like Jay Leno or Tony Robbins. Bill Clinton is supposed to be very charismatic. I know die-hard conservatives who changed their views about him after speaking to him for just five minutes. Wouldn’t it be great to have that kind of effect on people? Wouldn’t it feel good to know that you have the ability to make everyone you meet like you… and want to work with you? Just a few hours ago, such a man came to my office. He had just taken over managing my bond account after my longtime account manager retired. I didn’t want to like this young upstart because I resented
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Practice the Platinum Rule

If you have ever heard me speak you know that the underlying secret to growing your influence is to make it about others. One of the principles I teach is to Practice The Platinum Rule. Most people teach the Golden Rule which states: Treat Others The Way You Want To Be Treated. Tony Alessandra said, “If applied verbatim, it can backfire and actually cause personality conflicts. Why? Because following The Golden Rule literally – treating other people the way you’d like to be treated – means dealing with others from your own perspective. It implies that we’re all alike; that what I want and need is exactly what you want and need. But of course we’re not all alike. And treating others that way can mean turning off those who have different needs, desires, and hopes.” That is why when it comes to dealing with people, communication and influence; we
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Be Present

How do you feel when you are talking to someone and they keep looking around or checking their phone? Now how many of us are guilty of doing the same thing to others? This weekend I had a chance to speak at the same conference as Nigel Risner. Nigel is an entertaining speaker who made a lot of great points but the one that stuck out to me was the importance of being present. In my book – The Power of Influence, I talk about focusing on being interested, not interesting. And being present in a conversation; when someone else is talking – is one of the best ways to focus on being interested. When we are present we validate the other person. We make them feel important and appreciated. When we are not present – what messages are we sending people? – You are not important, I don’t care
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