AAAAARRRGGGHHHH!!!!

The title of this blog says it all!!  It is what each of us feels at some point in time during the course of our busy days!  However, why do we get to this point?  Here are a few thoughts I have…

  • We think we are on an island in a fast moving stream.  If we dare to upset the the current, we may lose everything that this island provides for us.
  • We believe that no one else wants to hear about what is frustrating us.  That is the furthest from the truth, unless you are an infinite complainer that does not have the capacity to see the positive in any situation and as a result those around you tune you out.  Take time to see the upside in every situation, no matter how challenging it may be.
  • Mediocrity breeds complacency.  If you buy in to the thought “it has always been done that way”, you are stifling creativity.  Again, don’t upset the apple cart, it is how we are fed.

I am certain that they are other reasons that we get to the point of AAAARRGGGHHHH!!!  It is important that we understand the triggers in ourselves and work to diffuse the situation prior to frustration setting in.  This is easier said than done, but I will tell you, if you provide yourself an outlet (non-habit forming hopefully), you will find that you are in more control of situations than you think you are.  You will find that you will be easier to step back from situations and see them at the 10,000 foot level rather than mired in the weeds, your frustration level will decrease.  This will result in better decisions being made and hopefully a reduction in stress.

I had a post a that discussed how your mountains are others molehills, and vice versa.  If you learn to control what you can control, and engage only when there is a need to engage a situation, you will find your productivity and sanity levels will improve.

It is easy to focus on negativity and continually complain about situations.  However, to be a true professional, leader, and in many cases a friend, it is important to be able to see the positive in every situation.

Turn that frown, upside down and have a great rest of the week! 

Mother’s Day Reflections…

Mother’s Day is a day for children of all ages to give thanks to their Mother’s.  I am taking this time as an opportunity to thank those Mother’s in the workplace.  Your job is not easy.

For all of those children out there that believe their Mom’s have it easy, believe me they don’t.  They work their butts off to provide a good life and upbringing for their kids.  What is a Mother?

A Mother is…

Caring
Nurturing
A Friend
A Counselor
A Teacher
A Motivator
Your Biggest Fan
A Woman
A Provider
A Supporter
An Accountant
A Veterinarian
A Pediatrician
A Nutritionist
A Banker
A Judge, but never judgmental
Always there for you

There are so many things that a Mom is required to do outside of this list on a daily basis, that we as children forget all the little things our Mom’s do.  It is not until we get older, that we truly appreciate all that our Mom’s did for us, and unfortunately, for some by that time it is too late.

Never wait another day to tell your Mom you love her, trust me, they really like hearing this!

I would like to especially thank all of the Single Mom’s out there who not only have to do the list above but also have to play the role of Dad in their children’s life.  Single Mom’s never get a break.  For the most part, they are on call 24/7 365 days a year.

I see Single Mom’s struggle on a daily basis, and I wish there was more that could be done to assist them.  My hats off to you!!

Take the opportunity to thank a Mom for all they do, whether it is yours or someone else’s.  It was amazing how you can turn a frown, upside down when you wish someone a Happy Mother’s Day when they are working.  It is an opportunity to show a Mom, you do care about them, something a Mom rarely hears.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom!!

Where are you going, and why?

So, you are in transition, but are have you prepared yourself for your next big thing?  Maybe its not a “big” thing, maybe its just your thing.

With graduations occurring over the next couple of months, many students will be asked so what are you going to do now?  Many expect to be making 60K+ because that is a lifestyle they have become used to.  They have become used to their parents lifestyle, but they really don’t remember how their parents started off, in most cases.  What is worse, is that many students are entering a world of debt that they are not prepared for. 

There has been much written in blogs, journals, and other publications about the debt that new High School and College Graduates will be saddled with, however, when working adults transition in their lives, are they truly ready and prepared?  Debt is one aspect of transition.  The more important aspect of transition, in my opinion, is how prepared is a person ready for the challenges of their next role?  For some, it is a promotion.  For others, it is a demotion.  For others, it is a total career change.  What people forget is how their experiences in a prior role can translate into a new adventure.

Here is an example.  Working in a contact center is not a lifelong dream of most young people.  Most contact centers, however, are staffed with individuals that bring a unique “flavor” to their employer.  They may have sold insurance; be technically savvy; have a legal background; sales background, etc.  They may have coursework that range from very little to PhD’s, those that have college degrees, and others that have GED’s.  The main point is that they prepared themselves as a professional in some way that makes them valuable to their employer.

As a person embarks on their next challenge, they need to ask themselves some very simple questions, regardless of the industry they are in.

  • Why am I embarking on this challenge
  • What do I hope to gain from this experience
  • Who will mentor me
  • When will I know if I am successful
  • Where do I see myself in 6 months, a year, five years
  • How is this experience going to allow me to improve or increase the tools in my toolbox

Education is an investment in a persons future, however, education without experience often leads to frustration.  When new college graduates expect to be earning 60K+ directly out of school, they don’t realize the importance of experience.  Some are able to land high paying jobs directly out of school with very little experience, however, those are the exceptions.

Education and experience can come from many different places.  Be open to coaching, mentoring, constant development whenever it is offered to you.  This will allow you to become more well rounded as your career evolves.  Understand where you are at currently, know where you want to be, but most importantly know that your path is going to have a myriad of directional changes which will prepare you for the next fork in the road. 

Have a good week!

A Formula for Success

Another High School Baseball seasons is drawing to a close.  This is a sure sign that the school year is ending shortly.  As a parent of two high schoolers (both of whom are baseball players), I realize that the end of their high school academic career is also coming to a close (fortunately my boys are a junior and freshman this year).  This post has nothing to do with baseball, however, it does have to do with being prepared for transition.

This spring and summer many graduates will be interviewing for their first “real” job, but are they prepared?  Much like a ball player stepping up his/her game are graduates or job seekers truly ready to step up their game?  What I coach people on is where you are today, should not be where you expect to be tomorrow.  It is important to have a basic formula for success, such as:

Preparation + Opportunity = Success
 
 
By looking at this very simple formula, it can lead you in the direction you are seeking. 
 
Preparation – have you invested in yourself and equiped yourself with knowledge and experience that others will recognize?  What do you know about the path you are choosing and do you understand not just the glitter associated with your choice, but do you also understand how to avoid the quicksand that can derail your journey?
 
Opportunity – carpe diem!  Seize the moment!  When you are in a position to put all of your preparation to action, do you take advantage of the moment?  Don’t be hesitant, just go for it!!
 
Success – Celebrate your success!!!  Understand what got you to the point and appreciate those who guided, coached, and mentored you through all of your preparation for the moment that you were able to capitalize on. 
 
Like an athlete moving up levels of competition, it is important to remember where you have been and what brought you to the moment of success that you are in.  Keep preparing for the next level of your career and never stop being a student of not just your trade or vocation, but of life.
 
Remember P+O=S.
 
Have a great week!

A Schoolhouse Rock Moment…

Just to preface this post, this is post is no way reflective of a political leaning in either direction.  I usually don’t discuss politics in this format.  This is instead a reflection of a childhood memory and how it impacts me today.

I remember as a kid watching Saturday morning cartoons.  While some of the cartoon characters stick in my mind, what I remember most are the shorts under the Schoolhouse Rock umbrella.  They were a catchy way to remember english, history, science, and math.  The one that I have been thinking about the most is the short that taught about the formation of our country and the preamble for the United States Constitution.  This is something that I think that politicians these days have really lost sight of.

As a reminder, the preamble says this….

“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

In my opinion, the United States was established as a union of colonies that aligned themselves against British rule.  Taxation and religious freedom issues were key issues for early colonists.  Early Statesmen understood that aligning resources towards a common goal was the best recipe for success.  At the end of the day, while there may have been much discussion and dissent they understood that their goal was to “form a more perfect union”.  The “how” they would form a more perfect union lay among the rest of the preamble as these were the basics for the remainder of the constitution.  Government’s purpose was to:

  • Establish justice
  • Insure domestic tranquility
  • Provide for the common defense
  • promote the general welfare
  • secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves
  • posterity for all colonists

To understand what our forefathers were attempting to establish as their goal was something much different than what was occurring on the European continent.  In Europe, remember that each country could easily be considered a state.  Thus the creation of the United States of America was a union of colonies united together to form that more perfect union of states on the North American continent.

Over the past 224 years since George Washington was first inaugurated as our country’s first President government has been transformed based upon interpretations of the constitution.  At the end of the day, what has been at the root cause is the interpretation of states rights versus the role of the Federal government in the lives of the citizenry.  Government in the beginning served to create a common law of the newly formed nation and provide defense against those who threatened the union of states. 

In my opinion, regardless of political affiliation, we as Americans need to get back to the basics of how we came together as the United States of America.  The role of government in the affairs of the citizens needs to be reexamined.  Our government, defined as all three branches of government, are not meeting the constitutional expectations as outlined in the preamble of the constitution.

In business, if organizations are not meeting customer needs, or the needs of their shareholders, leadership changes occur.  In our government, there are far too many in the legislative branch, regardless of party affiliation, who do not have real accountability back to their electorate.

Just some food for thought for the week…. Take look back at the Schoolhouse Rock series.

Have a great week!

    Passion

    What is passion?

    The word is used most frequently when one talks of love, or hate.  One definition would say that it is the object of an intense desire, ardent affection, or enthusiasm. 

    Can you have passion in the workplace?  Most HR professionals would encourage love in the workplace to not occur, however, I would argue that in order for businesses to thrive and grow, you need to have passion.  You need to have a love of what you are doing, just not love those in the workplace as HR would frown upon that.

    As a leader, it must be understood that passion for doing the job right got you to where you are today.  Does that same passion or love still exist for you in the job. 

    Teachers are a great example of a profession where there are many passionate teachers when they land their first classroom position.  For some, distractions and political agendas replace a love and passion for educating young minds, with a passionate hate for coming to work.  Even the most passionate and energetic educator succumbs to the negativity at some point.  It is those teachers who are able to keep perspective about why they are in the profession that are able to make careers out of the classroom.

    Office politics frequently will breed complacency and stifle the innovation and passion of individuals.  Perseverance and vision stimulates the love for the job and allows for positions to develop into careers.  It is important for individuals who lead others to always demonstrate PMA – Positive Mental Attitude.  By doing so as a leader you are rising above the politics and providing vision. 

    I am passionate about the work I do.  I wake up each day excited about what the day holds.  I have a vision about how to accomplish what needs to be accomplished.  I understand that politics exist in the workplace, but I also understand that if I don’t have a better solution, it is not a hill worth dying on.  Battles must be selective, because once you have become war weary, your passion for the job, turns to a passion for survival.

    Some questions to think about…

    Is your current position a job or a career?
    Why are you in your current position?
    Where are you going?
    Does your organizations values align with your values?
    Would you do your current job if there was no monetary incentive?

    If you can answer the last question, the money question, with a “YES”, I would argue that you have passion for your position.  I love what I do and understand that what I do adds value to others. 

    I haven’t written a post in almost 2 months, and I realize that I love writing, but it hadn’t become a passion for me…yet. 

    Take some time to look introspectively and create a positive direction for yourself, if you are feeling less than satisfied with where you are.

    Have a great week!

    Thing 1 and Thing 2

    As a leader, it is important to look at Thanksgiving in a different light.  True leaders, in my opinion, have been blessed with a gift.  A gift that needs to continually give to others. 

    I recently finished reading a book entitled The Weekly Conversation by Brian Souza.  As I read through this very engaging story, I realized that every moment is a coachable moment.  Too often we as leaders are looking for the “right time” to have a key discussion with a peer, team member, or even a manager we report to.  There is no right or wrong time to have that discussion.  There are only those discussions or conversations that do not occur because of the “what if”. 

    I had a conversation with one of my sons (Thing 2 or T2) about his schoolwork.  He is consistently a very strong student and work hard.  He was telling me about one of his classes where they were having a group discussion and his thoughts on a topic were different than his classmates.  He said that he chose not to speak up.  At that point, it didn’t matter for me about the grade, but rather the “why” he chose not to share his perspective. 

    As we discussed a little more, I wanted to share with him that regardless of a grade, in order to be successful in life, he needs to be willing to speak his mind and support his position with a solid argument.  At the same time, he needs to be willing to listen to others as well.  I have read some of what he has written for his classes, and it is solid.  This was my opportunity to impart some of my experience on him that communication is not one sided.  It needs to be an engagement of differing opinions, but a common understanding and respect for others perspectives.  Too often, conversations do not occur for precisely that last reason.

    Now, my other son (Thing 1) will argue a point until the cows come home.  This too can be detrimental to open communication as no one wants a discussion to be monopolized.  He is very emphatic about his beliefs and will engage in a conversation on any topic with anyone at any time.  As I have observed him with his peer group from afar, he does actively listen, but will always try and persuade you to his position. 

    Back to the book.  Having a conversation should be a natural occurrence.  Whether you are Thing 1 or Thing 2 in how you approach conversations, the key is that you are willing to engage in thoughtful dialogue as a leader.  Be open to others perspectives and be a consummate listener and learner.

    Have a great week!