Give Yourself an ‘A’

When you wake up each morning, I want you to give yourself an ‘A’.  This is a lesson I learned from Ben Zander, conductor and educator.  Tell yourself, “today, I get an ‘A'” and then think about all of the reasons you gave yourself the highest mark.  What did you do?  What did you say?  Who did you help?  What did you do that brought you joy?

It’s amazing that just this little act of seeing yourself in this light will transform your day.  You are enough.  You do get an ‘A’.  You deserve it!

New Year’s Grateful-utions

We’ve already had our first snow with a little “stick” here in Michigan.  It’s one thing to see a few flurries.  There is new meaning when you wake up and see snow caps on rooftops.

Snow means winter is coming.
Winter coming means Christmas is coming.
Christmas coming means New Years is right around the corner and New Years means . . .
The time of year when we all resolve to be better us’es.  (yep, I made that word up).

As  2014 comes close to an end do yourself a favor.  Before you consider making a list of everything
you need to improve upon in 2015 make a list of everything you are awesome at.

Are there things we could do better?  Sure there are. And, do you know what?
There always will be.
Instead of focusing on all of your shortcomings take the time to be grateful.
Reflect on all of the great things you have,
great things you have done,
greatness you have seen.

Don’t begin the year beating yourself up and making resolutions that may not even be realistic.  Begin the year loving yourself with a personal inventory of all of the goodness around you.
Spend the remainder of 2014 building on your gratitude list.  At the end of each day ask yourself

What made me happy?
What made me laugh?
What am I most proud of?
What did I try for the first time?
What lost treasure did I rediscover?
Who did I help?
Who helped me?

If you want to find happiness in 2015, first find gratitude.

What’s On My Reading List; Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn

I have always been a John Maxwell fan and have read and reread many of his books. As a leader and lifelong learner, I always find great applicable lessons from his books.  One of my favorites is a very short read, Make Today Count.

I am frequently asked for recommendation and often reply “anything from John Maxwell or Patrick Lencioni”.  On the flip side, I am offered so many title selections that my: “to read” list stretches from Detroit to Kalamazoo (inside joke with my daughter).

Oh, whatever shall I read next?  Books leap to the top of my “to read” list when
they are repeatedly referred to.  Maybe someone recommends it and then I see it quoted in an article and then it is mentioned in an interview. Bam!  It goes straight to the top of the list. That’s why I was excited to read Maxwell’s most recent book, Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn.  While not a great fan of this book what I like most about it is that is broken down into 11 areas of learning

1. Humility 
2. Reality 
3. Responsibility 
4. Improvement
5. Hope 
6. Teachability 
7. Adversity 
8. Problems 
9. Bad Experiences 
10. Change 
11. Maturity 

Each one of these chapters can be read on it’s own instead of taking on the entire book at once.

Sometimes You Win--Sometimes You Learn: Life's Greatest Lessons Are Gained from Our LossesSometimes You Win–Sometimes You Learn: Life’s Greatest Lessons Are Gained from Our Losses by John C. Maxwell
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

While there were some great nuggets in this book, there is nothing new or original. In fact, the author spends most of his time quoting others. The title could be “Everything Everyone Else Said About Learning”.

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What’s on My Reading List; Executive Presence

The concept of “executive presence” is a fantastic one. When providing feedback to others the term can be used as a reference to remove any personal context and ease the conversation.  Leaders can work towards creating a vision of executive presence for their organization to provide guidance for those growing within the organization.

This book provided many examples of do’s and don’ts and I will use the term to coach employees who are missing the mark and holding themselves back; however I cannot recommend reading it.

Executive Presence: What Nobody Ever Tells You about Getting AheadExecutive Presence: What Nobody Ever Tells You about Getting Ahead by Sylvia Ann Hewlett
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Perhaps this would make a good article, but it is very drawn out and boring as a book.

There isn’t new information here – look your best, be your best, and speak your best.

This book agitated me for these 4 reasons:
1) Using Angelina Jolie as a positive example for anything
2) Endorsing plastic surgery
3) Recommending heavy make-up
4) Overuse of the word gravitas and the phrase “show your teeth”

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Couch to Marathon in 58 Days, Week 2

“One way to keep momentum going is to have constantly greater goals.”

Here is this week’s schedule.  The big one is already under our belt.  So far, we’ve only wanted to quit…almost every day.  We haven’t built momentum yet, but I know we will.  We can do this!!!

Success requires first expending ten units of effort to produce one unit of results. Your momentum will then produce ten units of results with each unit of effort.

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