Service Makes You Happier

One of the reasons that I love the Holiday Season is because of all of the good that is done in the world. We focus on others, serve those around us and look for ways to help. When I was in high school, I decided that our DECA club needed to do something that brought us together and provided service. As we discussed it, one of the girls suggested we provide Christmas for a family who needed it. We all got on board, soliciting donations, money, and food. With a monumental effort, we showed up Christmas Eve at the front door of a tiny home in downtown Denver with three SUV’s packed full of Christmas. We had toys, candy and clothes for the four kids, food to fill their pantry, and some money for the parents. As we brought in the first presents I set them down next to a
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Be An Optimist

As I have studied successful people, one of the common traits I find is optimism. Not naive or overdone – just a positive approach to life, leadership, challenges, and what is possible. 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
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Investments Lead To Stories

Investments in people lead to stories. And the stories that are told invariably build the influence and reputation of the one doing the investing.   Think about it: -When you have exceptional service at a restaurant, what do you do? You tell the story. -When your boss does something extra special for you, what do you do? You tell the story. -When a friend goes out of their way to help you, what do you do? You tell the story. We love it when someone invests in us by providing exceptional attention and service, and because it is so unexpected or unusual, we almost always share.   One of my clients is Subway. I speak to their franchisees and managers quite often and when I do I always share a simple experience to illustrate this point. I was eating in a subway once in the middle of the afternoon and
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Litmus Test

Below are 12 questions you can ask yourself. They will help you to see whether your thinking is inward or outward, selfish or selfless. They are not designed to make you feel bad. Rather, they should help you stop and really analyze your thinking and your motives. Be honest with yourself. We can all improve our thinking. These questions will help you accurately assess where you are and in what areas you can improve.  In sales do you A) care more about the commission you make or B) more about the customer?  In leadership do you A) place blame or B) praise your people?  Do you A) feel threatened by the success of others or B) celebrate their triumphs?  In relationships do you A) try and change others or B) try to make yourself better?  In relationships do you A) want to win or B) do you want win-win?  When
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People Do Business With People They Know, Like, Trust and Value

There’s a fundamental rule of business that states: “People do business with people they know, like and trust.” We’ve all heard that, and even repeated it, but ultimately it is wrong. Ok, maybe wrong is not the right word. But the rule is incomplete. The truth is, people do business with people they know, like, trust and VALUE. Honesty and likeability are important, but if people don’t see you as valuable, they will never do business with you. If you don’t come across as professional, knowledgeable, and credible with the right skill set to get the job done, you will never be as influential and successful as you would like. So what do we do about it? How do we make ourselves more valuable? By constantly developing our knowledge, our skills and continually striving to get better. The fundamental rule of Business should read: “People do business with people they
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Build People Up, Don’t Tear People Down

People with integrity focus their attention on building up others as opposed to tearing them down. They avoid criticism, complaining and gossip and instead they celebrate the successes and praise the strengths of those around them. It is easy to get caught in the trap of gossip or negative speaking, but I love what Will Durrant said when he stated, “To speak ill of others is a dishonest way of praising ourselves.” Do you build people up or tear people down? To illustrate this point further, let me tell you about an interesting study. Friends Gary Hamel and C.K. Prahalad wrote about a study conducted with a group of monkeys. Four monkeys were placed in a room that had a tall pole in the center. Suspended from the top of that pole was a bunch of bananas. One of the hungry monkeys started climbing the pole to get something to
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Three Questions To Ask Yourself For Maximum Performance

In a conversation on adding value, New York Times bestselling author Brendan Burchard proposed three questions we should ask ourselves. As you finish a project, contribute to the team or look for ways to add value as a partner leader, I want you to ask yourself these three questions on a regular basis. I put it on a sticky note as I was writing my book Partnership is the New Leadership because I want the content to add enormous value. Answering all three in the affirmative will accomplish that goal. Question 1. Is what I am creating/contributing distinct? Is your contribution different in a significant way? Is it adding value in a way that no one else has done? Does it stand out? Does it look and feel aesthetically unique? Is it something that will impress people because it is coming from an angle that others haven’t thought of? It’s
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Mentor Individually

I have realized that there are some key steps to empowering your people and building leaders not followers. Mentoring is one of the best ways to do so. A mentor is “an experienced and trusted adviser,” one who shows the way. It isn’t bragging or showing off. John Wooden said, “Mentoring isn’t about celebrating your own insight but about sharing wisdom. When you pass on the lessons of your life with someone else, it’s not you who are teaching – it’s your experience.” To mentor individually means to pay attention to each person’s interests, desires and capabilities, to recognize that everyone doesn’t fit the same mold, and wisdom is most effectively shared one-on-one. Mentoring is an investment in your people which requires time, energy and effort on the part of the leader. My friend Don Yaeger, who coauthored The Two Most Important Days of Your Life with me, used to
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Great Leadership Is Driven By Passion

If the Number One thing we want is committed people, we need to start by looking in the mirror. Leaders who lack passion will have followers who lack commitment. You’ve heard it said that the speed of the leader is the speed of the pack. That is especially true when we look at the attitude, the work ethic, the energy, and commitment of the leader. Pure passion will permeate your team, it will rub off on them, and it will inspire them. The word passion originated at the time of Jesus Christ and was used to describe Christ’s suffering. Knowing the etymology of the word gives us a unique insight into its meaning. Passion means being willing to suffer for something that you love. The kind of passion that inspires commitment shows up early, stays late, finds solutions, engages the team, and gets the job done. Save Save
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If You Use PowerPoint – Read This

Last week at one of the events I keynoted the speaker before me used 65 blank white slides with bullet point paragraphs in black font that he read word for word from screen! – Seriously painful. So to make sure that doesn’t happen anymore – here are 18 tips for anyone who uses PowerPoint to present: (I have to give credit to Ruby Newell-Legner for many of the tips below)   Finish your presentation before starting to work on your Power Point slides Remember – PowerPoint is NOT your Presentation. It is a visual support to your message Use a consistent template slide for consistency and branding Keep slide design simple and clean Limit text to 6 lines (or less) per slide and 6 words (or less) per line Cover only one idea per slide Avoid Italics and vertical lettering Minimize animation – Avoid too many transition styles or a
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