In this edition, I have no new material to share. In honor of the Thanksgiving Holiday, I simply want to say THANK YOU to the many who have chosen to follow my blog, podcasts, and videos.
It is you, the reader/listener/viewer who bless me with your interest and comments.
The date we call Thanksgiving is a United States thing, I get that. Yet the concept is global and should be important to think about.
What if we all said “thank you” a little more? Say it to the ones we love. Say it to those who perform acts of kindness or service along our journey each day. Maybe it’s the barista at Starbucks or the clerk at the dry cleaners. Maybe it’s your child’s teacher or coach.
There are dozens of people each one of us will contact each day. If we offered a simple thank you to so many more, think how much friendlier our world might be.
It doesn’t take heroic acts to bless others. Sometimes a simple gesture like “Thanks” is enough.
For many years I worked as a banker in real estate. My clients were hugely successful commercial developers and/or residential mortgage groups. To make a good banking loan, you have to be focused on the property that is being financed. The property becomes the primary collateral for the loan. The borrower must work to maintain the value of that property as long as the loan is in force.
In real estate there are ever-present forces, almost gravity-like, that work to decay the property and erode its value as soon as it opens. Here are just a few of the chief concerns:
The weather beats down; sun, wind, cold, heat, rain, storms
Tenants/occupants can tear up the place
Natural wear and tear, so upkeep is required
Vandalism; people stealing equipment, fixtures, and trim
Harrison Barnes (noted career coach) writes: “It is like that with people too. There is a constant gravitational-like force challenging you as well. There is an incredible amount of negativity and other forces out there that will destroy you and your dreams if you let them in. These forces are unavoidable, and the number one characteristic of the most successful people is the ability to avoid these negative forces. They succeed despite negativity coming at them from every single direction every minute of every day.”
If you let any of the negative forces around you influence your view of who and what you are, you are destined to a less than fulfilling life. The choices you begin to make only serve to compound the downward spirals that may already be underway.
You need to avoid the negative forces out there – the negative gravity and information that will seek to keep you down. You need to watch your mind: You need to put more positive things in your mind than negative things.
No one who ever achieves any form of greatness is realistic. Instead, they are able to ignore the negative forces and messages coming at them – guard their bodies and minds. Then, they create conditions in their minds and bodies that promote success, happiness and possibility. This is what you need to do as well.
The actions that make good real estate people successful at managing great properties can work in your life too.
You do not let anything bad inside (forces that destroy from the inside)
You keep everything up-to-date (reduce the effects of forces that cause decay)
You make the best of what you are (avoid forces that drag you down)
You put nice things inside (prevent bad habits from forcing you down)
Barnes goes on to write: “Most people, however, do not maintain themselves as well as they can. Instead, the elements around them have taken hold and reduced them to something less than they are capable of being. They have long ago given up on their dreams and what is possible for them.
Why do people give up on their dreams? Many people are negative because they are afraid. They have been disappointed so many times that they are now afraid of getting excited about anything. If someone is negative, then the chances are they are fearful. The problem, however, is that we typically get what we look for: If we look for negativity, then that is what we end up finding.
There are all sorts of forces around us that create doubt and hold us back:
Things people have said about us in the past
Things we have said about ourselves in the past
Poor results we have gotten in the past
Our current situation and fear of change
People around us that give us negative messages
People who used to be around us that gave us negative messages
Our overall environments and how positive and negative these are
Good results others around us have gotten
Goals we have not accomplished in the past
Information in our environment that frightens us
Scripture says we should renew our minds daily, but that can be so hard. If you watch the news, read the paper, or join the average conversation of most groups (co-workers, friends and others) you are likely to discover that a significant portion of this information is likely to be negative and uninspiring. Why this is the case, I do not know. What I do know is that this sort of information can act like a gravitational force on your life and keep you down.
Since negative information cannot necessarily be avoided, the best solution is often to counteract this with more positive than negative information. You need to pump your mind with positive thoughts daily — or else you will end up being unhappy.
1. Decide That You Do Not Need to Be Perfect
Most people become very negative because they feel they need to be perfect. They do not participate because they are afraid of losing or of not being the best. They are afraid of what people will say if they screw up or otherwise fail.
Everyone is going to screw up, and you will too. The worst thing you can do is to let the fact that you might screw up stop you from acting or doing anything at all. Far too many people allow the prospect of failure to shut them down or prevent them from acting. They also allow the fact that they are not perfect to make them feel bad about themselves. No one is perfect, and you are not either.
2. Keep Improving
Many people hit a plateau of sorts in their lives and stop there. Or, they fall down to a certain level and stop there. The rare person keeps improving and keeps setting goals for themselves. One of the most important things you can do in your career and life is to constantly set goals for the person you want to become and never stop improving.
Improvement is powerful because when you are always improving and do not stop improving you are sending a message to your mind that tomorrow can be better than it is today. Tomorrow should always be better than today, and when you are constantly setting goals for yourself and improving, you are sending yourself that message.
Whether your idea of improvement is about fitness, mental acuteness, or growing wisdom, there are plenty of opportunities to add these kinds of activities in your life to allow constant improvement.
3. Stop Being Judgmental
Most people are quite judgmental of others. They look at people who are different than them and find all sorts of fault. They find all sorts of fault with others, whether it is how they dress, talk, live, or conduct themselves. In fact, many social groups seem to exist and thrive based on judging others.
The problem with judging others is that as soon as you start judging others, you also start judging yourself. Any person who takes joy in judging others or watching others in pain will also eventually experience a great deal of pain. You need to free yourself from the disease of judging others and making them wrong.
4. Find Things to Appreciate
Everyone needs to find things in their lives that they can appreciate, and every life has things in it that can be appreciated. You can even appreciate things that seem to be negative to you. You need to focus on the things that you have and not things you do not have.
The reason you need to appreciate things is because you will attract into your life what you focus on. If you focus on the negative, then you will attract the negative. If you focus on the good, you will attract more of the good. You need to find the good and what you can appreciate.
The world and the people in it are full of negative thoughts that will eat you up and take hold of you if you let them. The smartest thing you can do to be happy and not negative is to find aspects of your life that you love and focus on these. Be grateful for who you are and what you are.
5. Have Faith in Yourself
The most important power you have in the world is faith. Faith makes everything possible. Being positive is about having faith in yourself and that things will get better than they are today. You have been through a lot and whatever negativity you see in your life today will pass as well.
Your life is controlled by your thoughts and through faith you can achieve whatever you set your mind to. You need to believe in yourself first and do everything within your power to believe in yourself even when that does not always seem like the smartest thing to do. Everyone who has achieved anything worthwhile generally only was able to do this by having faith in themselves.
“There is a tremendous amount of negativity, harm and hurt in the world. These forces are all around us and conspiring to bring us down and reduce us to less than we are capable of being. In order to reach our potential and be the people we are capable of becoming, we need to do everything we can to be positive in the face of overwhelming negativity. This will save us, make us strong and give us the lives we are entitled to and deserve.”
All I can add is AMEN!!! You can be a force in this world. You might not be the next headliner in the Wall Street Journal for a breakthrough invention, but the difference you can make at home, at work, and in your community can have a lasting effect on so many around you.
[reminder]In what ways will you restore the faith in yourself to be more positive?[/reminder]
Footnote: This piece is a collaborative effort inspired by an article Harrison Barnes first posted on December 16, 2015.
In my consulting and coaching business, I often ask the question “are you coachable?” It is amazing how many times the prospect says “well, yes I believe I am.” After a few sessions with input and feedback, it becomes apparent they really are not coachable. How do I know? It manifests itself in many ways.
Business owners and professionals at all levels sometimes struggle with being coached. Success and achievement creates a false sense of not having any need for change. If you are getting results, why interrupt the methods that got you there? That may be a good mindset in the short run, but long term success requires growth.
To find good examples of being coachable we can look directly at athletics where the concept of coach and student are most notable. When you explore the story of the truly great athletes (think Michael Jordan or Jerry Rice), you will find stories of tireless pursuit of perfection. Regardless of the season they just had, these guys worked relentlessly to improve their stamina, skills, and techniques.
Recently Jerry Rice, football great and now, NFL Hall of Famer, was being interviewed. He was on the driving range at a celebrity golf outing. Rather than merely slap some golf balls around, he was on the range with both his caddy and a coach. When shots were not going the right place he was asking for guidance and advice. Golf isn’t even his game, yet the discipline of looking to perfect a skill was at work. His desire to do well at whatever endeavor was before him drove his will to be better. That’s being coachable.
Here are the a few thoughts about deciding if you are truly coachable.
Do you routinely seek advice and counsel to improve some aspect of your professional or personal life? Or have you learned it all and know it all? Being open to the pursuit of growth as a professional is key. The best individuals in any aspect of life will be constantly trying to improve. Whether that includes technical knowledge, insight, or wisdom, the effort is there. Those who excel believe there is always more to learn or be.
When you get advice do you act on it; following through with using the information to achieve more? Or do you discount the information and talk yourself out of action? Using what you learn is important. In leadership, it takes practice. Once you learn and understand a skill, you must apply it to your tool kit. By using your newly found understanding, you help to create confidence in its worth. Just as athletes work to build muscle memory for critical physical moves, leaders can build “influence memory” to work to their advantage.
Do you seek follow-up from the coach to be sure you understood the coaching and that you are properly performing the actions that were recommended? Or do you move on without ever doubling back for refining advice? Even the best coaches require feedback from the client to know whether the teaching and training is working. Be proactive in giving that feedback to your coach. When you realize you are working on a new dimension of your training, open up the communication with the coach. Let them know what feels right or needs better explanation.
Make Your Decision
If your current professional or personal situation is not producing the results you expect, then perhaps some coaching is needed. But before you simply engage a coach, ask yourself whether you are truly coachable.
Today’s guest post explores the significance of creating the right work space.
A relaxing office environment allows you to think clearer, be more productive and get more done and here are some tips on how to create one.
Allow Employees to Personalize Their Space
Offices are often boring and bland. This can hinder creativity. One way a company can remedy this situation is to allow employees to personalize and customize their work spaces. Personalization can include things such as family photos and artwork. Customization includes allowing different workstations and chairs to be used in the work area. By allowing your employees to create a personalized space, you are fostering the idea of community rather than just a job.
Creating Common Areas in the Workplace
Oftentimes, offices do not have common areas where employees can mingle with other employees. This can cause employees to stay in their office most of the day, which can hinder creativity and job satisfaction. By creating a number of common areas, you can combat this and foster a sense of community and interaction among employees.
Motivational Imagery in the Office Place
You can enhance the vibe of your company by using images that align with your company ethics throughout your office. Using these items will help create a sense of purpose among your employees. You may want o use artwork that reflects the goals and values of your company. Additionally, hanging beautiful artwork makes the office space feel more homey and enjoyable.
The sound of water is one that can really make such a difference to a space and adding one to your office can be a fantastic addition. These beautiful water features and fountains from Soothing Walls provide this and are also a beautiful showpiece.
Creating Multiple Work Environments
Employees report that it can be very stressful to feel like they are chained to their desk. By giving your employees the freedom to move around you can help improve the morale of your employees. You can include a variety of work surfaces, such as standing desks and couches. Another way is to create different rooms with different lighting to create ambiance and improve worker productivity. Oftentimes, a simple change of location can inspire fresh ideas to help solve a problem.
Provide Locations to Recharge
You can improve worker productivity by offering them a place to get away and recharge. This area can be filled with bean bags where no electronics are allowed. Include relaxing features, such as soft lighting, plants and a small, trickling water fountain to create a stress-free location.
Quiet Spaces within the Office
Some employees may not be able to cope with an open office setting. Those that need to focus on their work may need a quiet space to complete their work. Create quiet work spaces that are marked as do not disturb areas. This will allow your employees to focus on their work without being bothered with phone calls, emails, and employee interaction.
Use Aesthetics to Cultivate a Sense of Relaxation in the Office
Did you know that natural light can keep employees happy and more productive? Incorporate as much natural light into the office as you can. Additionally, the colors in the office can affect employee morale and productivity. In relaxation zones, use muted colors. Save bright colors for creativity zones in the office.
[reminder]What has your company done to provide the best work environment?[/reminder]
[callout]Notice to Consumers: Products, goods, and services referenced herein have no relationship with Doug Thorpe or his companies. There are neither implied nor explicit trade benefits earned or shared by posting the mentions herein.[/callout]
While academics debate whether emotional intelligence (EI) can be taught, in the workplace, HR professionals are searching for ways to identify EI among candidates and strengthen it in employees.
[shareable cite=”Thomas K. Arnold”]EI is the ability to understand your own feelings and to empathize with other people. [/shareable]
Dean Bender, principal at Bender/Helper Impact, a strategic communications firm with more than 40 employees and offices in Los Angeles, New York City and San Francisco, said he’s always looked beyond technical or practical skills when interviewing job candidates.
“We absolutely try to simulate a situation that could potentially occur and want to see how the candidate responds,” he said. “It could be related to deadlines, crisis or client relations. We’re about far more than just technical skills. I can teach or improve the many skills required for our profession, but there are intangibles that can’t be taught and we try to learn at an early stage just how emotionally intelligent our new employees are.”
Some academics see EI as a sharpening of traditional leadership skills, while others view it as a cluster of personality traits that promote well-being and self-actualization. Some researchers maintain that emotional intelligence can be learned and strengthened, while others say it’s an inborn characteristic.
Many HR professionals embrace the theory that with training, coaching and time, a person’s EI can be honed so that he or she is able to express difficult emotions and remain calm even in stressful situations. For these HR professionals, EI is an important trait to bring to the workplace, particularly for those in leadership positions.
Studies have found that people who not only know and understand their own feelings, but who also comprehend and can deal with the feelings of others, function more effectively in every aspect of life. A 40-year study of University of California at Berkeley doctorate-degree holders found that a person’s EI was four times more likely than their intelligence quotient (IQ) to predict who would achieve success in their field of work.
David Caruso, a research affiliate in the department of psychology at Yale University and co-author of the business book The Emotionally Intelligent Manager (Jossey-Bass, 2014), said that other studies have shown that people with high EI “have better quality long-term relationships, are better at managing stress and create more-positive work environments.”
But he suggested that when considering someone for a job or promotion, first focus on intelligence and technical skills, then ascertain whether the candidate has the EI necessary for the position. Spotting emotional intelligence in a job candidate isn’t always easy, said John Mayer, a University of New Hampshire psychologist who is among researchers credited with coining the term “emotional intelligence” back in 1990. For one thing, people with different goals and personalities will express emotional intelligence differently. For example, he said, achievement-focused people will use their EI to get ahead; relationship-focused people will use it to maintain and improve relationships.
“I don’t believe it would be very easy for HR professionals to pick up emotional intelligence in an interview,” he said. “In my opinion, only ability-based tests are reliable, valid ways of doing that. Such tests are useful when there is good evidence that emotional intelligence is important to job performance.”
Caruso, Mayer and Yale University President Peter Salovey developed a model of EI, explaining that EI is comprised of measurable abilities in four areas: the ability to accurately perceive emotions, the ability to use emotions to facilitate thought, the ability to understand complex emotions and transitions between stages of emotions, and the ability to integrate data and emotions to devise effective problem-solving strategies.
The threesome then created a tool to objectively assess EI abilities: the Mayer, Salovey, Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test, or MSCEIT. The test measures and provides scores on these four emotional abilities. In a guide to the MSCEIT, Caruso wrote that the test was developed in accordance with two principles: Emotions are critically important to our success, and these emotional skills can be measured objectively.
“If you want to measure the ability to accurately identify how people feel, one way to do so is by asking the test-taker what emotions are being expressed in a photograph of someone’s face,” Caruso wrote. “For example, if you show a photo of a person displaying mild sadness, and the test-taker selects an answer indicating that the person is feeling a bit happy and somewhat surprised, then such an answer is considered incorrect.”
The International Society for Research on Emotion calls the MSCEIT “the most well-respected and widely used measure of EI,” but it is by no means the only emotional intelligence test available. There are dozens of tests, from dozens of sources, including TalentSmart, which claims that 75 percent of Fortune 500 companies rely on its products and services.
Bender of Bender/Helper Impact said his company hasn’t yet deployed a formal emotional intelligence test, relying instead on his own interviewing abilities. But he’s certainly open to it, he said, and may yet “make it an official part of our interview process.”
Thomas K. Arnold is a freelance writer based in Carlsbad, Calif.
Continuing our look at Robert McGee and “Search for Significance”, he speaks of the Biblical notion of the need to renew our mind. I have found this to be true in so many facets of life and business. As leaders in our business, our community and our families, we need to be ever-mindful of the significance our actions can have. But before we get to action, we usually have a process that starts with each and every situation that comes our way. Knowing the key elements of the action sequence can improve the outcome.
It starts with an understanding of this flow diagram of how we typically process our response to a situation.
Let’s talk about this spectrum.
1. Beliefs – When a situation arises, we first filter it through a set of beliefs. I am not talking exclusively about any particular religious belief. Rather I mean a set of core values, understanding, and evaluation of things important to us or things we have assumed as drivers for who and what we are. Most of these beliefs have their roots in our early childhood development; life experiences including things were taught expressly or things we learned as outcomes to events. These experiences establish a set of core beliefs that have a strong influence in how we react to new situations in later years. Unfortunately, most of keep a portion of negative beliefs mixed in with the good things. e.g. I am not smart enough, strong enough, or pretty enough, etc.