Sunday, February 18, 2018

Be Authentic. Not perfect.

"He cheats like hell!" Suzann Pettersen said of President Donald Trump. Suzann is a LPGA star who has won two majors and 15 tour events and has known Trump for more than a decade.

People will forgive anything except hypocrisy. Give up being perfect for being authentic. It's not our abilities that show what we truly's our choices.

We're all going to make mistakes. It's unavoidable. We forgive this, because it happens to all of us. But we have a problem with people who turn out not to be who we thought they were.

I have been told earlier in my life that I was ruthless. That I didn't care about anyone or anything; but just did what I had to do to get the next job done. These days, I know what a mistake that was, and realized I wanted to be sensitive to the people I worked with and to their lives. It works. The results prove it.

When we have wronged someone or broken his or her trust, it is our responsibility to make it right. A sincere apology process should include acknowledging that really happened and that feelings are hurt. Be willing to apologize for your role in the matter first.

Doing, not saying, builds trust. Some people may say, "Trust me," but that doesn't mean people will.  If a salesperson whom you just met and hardly know says, "Just trust me," what is your first reaction? It is not trust! In fact, it is likely to be suspicion. Trust increases or decreases with every interaction.  It is earned by the actions that are taken.


Sunday, February 11, 2018

Lead from the front or from the back?

Ever wondered what is the most popular class in Yale's 316-year history? How to be HAPPY.  Called Psychology and the Good Life, a whopping 25% of all its current undergraduates are enrolled in it.

Welcome to Happiness 101.

BI Worldwide's research shows that 91% of employees, whose managers understand them, are happy with their job and nine times more likely to perform their job with greater intensity. That when one is happy, one is better at connecting with others, seeing the big picture and generating creative ideas.

That in mind, I've come to appreciate that sometimes I need to lead like a general and sometimes I should lead like a shepherd. As a leader, we don't always want to go charging, full gallop, into every situation. This means we need to bring our team in with us. We empower them to lead, to do what needs to be done, and we support them in their efforts.

Now, there are absolutely going to be times when we need to be making decisions, dictating directions. Being able to discern when we need a soft touch versus when a heavy hand will be more effective is key to great leadership. Understanding that sometimes a leader has to be able to accept any outcome, and to regroup, reconsider and recover.

As leaders, we are fortunate to have the opportunity to guide people toward a common goal. Because we spend so much of our time, energy and talent at work, I try to foster an environment where people get excited and enthusiastic about what they are doing, to discover and exercise their talents.

If you have the right team around you and you deploy the right strategy - you put yourself in a much better position to win. After all, true leadership is not so much about what is in your head as about what is in your heart and how you use that to inspire others to greatness.


Sunday, February 4, 2018

Simplicity has power

One in 10 Europeans are conceived on an Ikea bed. This was reported in a New York Times article although I don't think it meant within the actual store.

Less is More. Simplicity therapy. These are words synonymous with IKEA.

As I look around in my travels, I see an awful lo of people just surviving, just hanging on or just getting by. Too many people place importance on unimportant things. These folks get stuck on small things and then find it hard to move beyond them - small mistakes, small insults and small-minded people. Many of us complicate our lives by expending more time, energy and effort than necessary - getting involved in other people's business, playing God, committing to tasks, making promises, creating more busywork.

Consider this: what you do today must be important, because you are exchanging a day in your life for it.

In the greater scheme of things, we can identify the major things by asking "Is this situation going to make a difference a year from now?", "in 5 years, will you remember it at all?"

I can think of so many things in my life that I thought were major when they happened. Now I can't believe I was so hung up on them at that time. These incidents don't matter anymore, and they haven't changed my life or affected my livelihood.

Simplifying doesn't necessarily mean avoiding essential responsibilities or duties; rather it means eliminating unnecessary complexity - taking life in smaller bites, setting priorities, finding your focus.

If we want to dig a well to reach water, we are better off digging one 100-meter deep hole, than digging 10 holes each 10 meters deep. It is a difficult truth, but a liberating one. All truth is, I suppose.


Sunday, January 21, 2018

We're entitled to nothing

Sexual harassment scandal rocked Hollywood in 2017 and continued into 2018 with sexual misconduct scandal of famed photographers.

Money and success, don't change people; they merely amplify what is already there.

How you show up and treat people means everything. Little actions you take, make work better. You lift people up by making people feel valued, appreciated and heard. You hold people down by making people feel small, insulted, disregarded, excluded.

Now, of course, we may not intend to make people feel this way. We may lack awareness or we may not be mindful of our actions and how they make people feel.

There is a rising sense of entitlement these days. What's tripping me up is that it's not just the well-to-do, the lucky or the elite who feel entitled - it's everyone. You can't make demand unless you're in demand. And yet everyone somehow simply believe they're entitled to get whatever they want. Without working for it.

You cannot demand a job for which you're not qualified. You cannot demand a salary that your experience doesn't justify. You cannot demand respect simply because of your job title. I don't know anyone who likes a person who acts entitled. That behavior isn't worthy of respect.

Until you put in the work and earn it, you're entitled to nothing.


Sunday, January 14, 2018

Be relentless. Keep going

It has been a weird few weeks of weather. While the US shivers through the freezing temperatures, Australia is battling with road-melting heat. Niagara Falls has frozen over and sharks were frozen to death in the Atlantic; while hundreds of bats have died in a scorching heatwave in Australia as the soaring temperatures "fried their brains".

To be the best, you must be able to handle the worst.

In fact, the greater the degree of discomfort we experience, the greater the difficulty, the greater the sense of personal accomplishment that comes after.

Here's the deal: when it seems all is lost and all hope have long since vanished, relentlessness is the fuel that will drive us through.

All I do is focus on and deal with that's directly in front of me. I just put one foot in front of the other, taking things on as they present themselves. And I ultimately achieve my big, grand vision by taking one step at a time.

Relentlessness doesn't mean charging into the fray headfirst nor bashing your fist against a brick wall until it's bloody and bruised. It means using a hammer and chisel to slowly, methodically chip away piece by piece until eventually there's a hole. And then the hole gets bigger. And bigger. Until, you can step through into a whole new world.

Anyone who has gone to the gym knows that results aren't immediate. You don't spend an hour working out and look like a new person. But that doesn't mean what you're doing isn't working. It's the same thing with work or health or career or relationships.

My message is that no matter how difficult your life may become, no matter how hard it gets, there is always reason to keep on going and fighting because you can survive...and thrive.


Sunday, January 7, 2018

Collaborate for success

Nintendo's Switch has become the quickest-selling console ever! A hybrid of a handheld and home console, it's primarily driven by a robust portfolio which includes the likes of Super Mario Odyssey , The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.

Too many folks think that they achieved their success on their own.

I will be the first to say that much of the success I enjoyed was made possible by the setting I am in - the support I received from my team, the ultimate arbiters of my fate.

Sometimes we are called to do things we cannot do alone. No matter how much talent or skill or passion we have, let us never forget that there will come a moment, when we must rely on the gifts, the skills and the commitment of others.

It has been my experience that when you think you are there to help someone else, chances are they are really there to help you. Our students make the best teachers. Without the help of others, we will never make the journey.

It is a funny thing I have observed about life - mistakes are almost always and inevitably one's own responsibility, but one's successes, triumphs and worthwhile achievements are rarely accomplished without the help of others.

Even someone like Ed Sheeran, Spotify's Top Artist in 2017, wouldn't - and couldn't - be who he is without the army of talented, dedicated people helping him look and sound like the star he is.

Recognizing this truth is the only way to avoid becoming self-delusional. We can end up having a demeanor or spirit that doesn't appreciate or value the collaborative power that success is built on. Don't get into the culture of peacocks...strutting around trying to get the world to look at you. In truth, peacocks strut because they can't fly.

If you really want to fly, you're going to need someone to help you. Be grateful for collaboration. It's a profound component of success.


Monday, January 1, 2018

If it is to be, it is up to me

In 2018, I am looking forward to the Royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, women finally being permitted to drive in Saudi Arabia, the World Cup in Russia, Frozen the Broadway Musical and to find out which city Amazon will pick for its new HQ after receiving 238 bids from across North America.

I will confess that 2017 was bittersweet.

The experience was exhilarating, joyful, humbling and at times, plain infuriating.I've tried to learn from my mistakes. I've tried to make my peace with painful memories and recapture some of the fun that filled more days of the year.

After all, we have the life we are willing to put up with.

Think about it. What are the problems spoiling the happiness of your otherwise blissful life? Do you hate your job? Are you in a bad relationship? Is there something wrong with your health? Fine, get a new job. End the relationship. Change your diet and exercise or find the kind of help you need. Seems simple, doesn't it?

But if you're not willing to take actions to change your situation, in other words, if you're willing to put up with your situation - then whether you like it or not, that is the life you have chosen. So stop blaming other people, or circumstances.

In a documentary "Angst", Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time opens about his battle with anxiety and depression—two of the most common mental health issues affecting lots of people today. He encourages people to remember that we are all going through similar things together and emphasizes the importance of having an open dialogue about our feelings.

The crux of the message is this: If you can't handle stress, you can't handle success.

So, don't let anyone live rent-free in your head. Accept what is. Let go of what was. Have faith in what will be.