“Being a nice person can be an effective strategy.”

“Being a nice person can be an effective strategy.”

—Eric Barker, Author of BARKING UP THE WRONG TREE

Image from Unsplash by Tim Mossholder

During my senior year of high school I worked as a Deli-man at the local Jewish delicatessen. My responsibilities included serving a high volume of customers  delicacies such as pastrami, corned beef, and smoked fish for Sunday brunch, from 3pm Saturday to 3am Sunday.

I was 18 years old. The majority of the other deli-men were in their fifties or sixties. It turned out that being able to slice lox razor-thin was paramount to being a brain surgeon in this community, and these veterans were simply the best.

One downside of this work was the significant number of challenging customers who saw themselves as superior to everyone else, and demanded “only the best.”

When those customers entered the store, most of the veteran deli staff quickly took their 30-minute breaks, leaving ME to the wolves, and most of these customers strongly objected to an 18-year-old rookie taking care of them.

Clearly, fighting fire with fire was never going to work, so I took the kill them with kindness approach, and in time, won them over.

EXERCISE:

Where and with whom in your personal or professional communities would being the nice person you are be the best strategy to follow?

“The best way to ride a horse is in the direction in which it is going.”

“The best way to ride a horse is in the direction in which it is going.”

—Author Unknown

Image from Unsplash by Annika Treial

A fair percentage of the coaching engagements I’ve been involved in over the years have related to career transitions. Two common terms for such assignments are on-boarding and assimilation coaching.

One of the more challenging and often stressful assignments is when a new leader or team is brought in to “turn around” an organization. In such situations the company/horse and the vast number of employees/riders are headed in different directions.

These assignments almost always involve casting a more inspiring vision and enrolling others in changing direction toward a better future.

EXERCISE:

Assuming you are proactively taking steps to lead and manage your own career trajectory, what strategies and tactics can and will you take to lasso those horses and get in the saddle of those headed in a direction you would like to travel?

“Success is not to be pursued. It is to be attracted by the person you become.”

“Success is not to be pursued. It is to be attracted by the person you become.”

—Jim Rohn, 20th Century American motivational speaker

Image from jimrohn.com

Jim Rohn, who passed away in 2009, was a personal development pioneer.

His over 6,000 seminars, countless books, tapes, learning programs and, of course inspirational quotes, have influenced millions.

Many of his wisest lessons were focused on our abilities to work on ourselves and contribute to others in our various communities.

One of his many students was a young, broke, down-and-out Tony Robbins, who has said many times that Rohn was the man who turned his life around. Tony, as we all know, has been working on himself for decades, and has paid forward similar lessons to millions.

EXERCISE:

What are the strategies, habits, and behaviors that help you continue your personal best journey?

What additional approaches can you incorporate in your days to both contribute to others and attract the success you desire?

“There are many ways of going forward, but only one way of standing still.”

“There are many ways of going forward, but only one way of standing still.”

—Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States

Image created in Canva

As part of my customized Personal Excellence Training — which sets the stage for the majority of coaching engagements — I introduce a self-coaching tool called “The Pivot Point.”

This technique uses the concept of “creative tension” described by Robert Fritz in his book, The Path of Least Resistance.

Essentially, the pivot point involves asking yourself — or perhaps a group — these three questions:

  1. What is the current reality?
  2. What is the vision or goal?
  3. What actions can and will I/we take to move forward?

The leverage of our vision provides the impetus to move forward, and creates the opportunity to better our situation.

EXERCISE:

Select at least one personal or professional front-burner issue or project to try out the Pivot Point technique. Please consider replying to this post to let me know how things go.

“If you only have a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.”

“If you only have a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.”

—Abraham Maslow, 20th Century American Psychologist

Image from Unsplash by Travelergeek

When was the last time you needed to repair your car, an appliance, or some other device in your home?

In days gone by, we would sometimes give these items a good whack in hopes of getting them going again.

Sometimes it actually worked!

These days, it is rare that any single tool or technique can get the job done, given the multitude and complexity of the many technologies and challenges we face.

In our use of communication, leadership, management, and coaching tools, it almost always takes a tailored and customized approach to optimize our outcomes.

EXERCISE:

Where in your life is being a hammer not working?

Consider asking a friend, colleague, family member, or coach for guidance regarding what other tools might be a better choice.

“When you decide to collect experiences rather than things, you never run out of storage space.”

“When you decide to collect experiences rather than things, you never run out of storage space.”

—Joshua Becker, Founder and editor of Becoming Minimalist

Image from Unsplash by Chuttersnap

Did you know that the self-storage industry generates revenue of 38 billion dollars annually and that almost 10 percent of households use them? Many also have basements and garages full of stored items.

The volume of self-storage units in the United States alone could fill the Hoover Dam with old clothes, skis, and keepsakes more than 26 times.

Beyond the costs, consider the maintenance and generalized stress caused by the clutter and junk most of us would never pay for again if given the chance.

EXERCISE:

What are some strategies to lighten your load to live a simpler and perhaps more minimalist lifestyle? At the same time, what are a few life experiences you wish to collect that may only take up space on your camera or computer hard drive? What actions will you take today to make progress in both areas?

“Enjoy life to the fullest – it has an expiration date.”

“Enjoy life to the fullest — it has an expiration date.”

—Author Unknown

Image from SupermarketNews

When was the last time you went grocery shopping?

What strategies do you use to select the freshest and healthiest foods for yourself and your loved ones? If you are like me, you check the expiration dates or “best if used by” dates on items such as meats, dairy products, and other packaged goods.

Master shoppers, of course, always dig a bit further back or down on the shelves, knowing all stores rotate their newest shipments toward the rear and place foods that are sooner to expire up front.

EXERCISE:

Given your current life expiration date extending strategies, and the wonders of modern medicine, how can you improve your efforts to add many more years to your life, and of course, far more life to your years?

To keep a warm heart in winter is a real victory

“To keep a warm heart in winter is a real victory.”

—Marty Rubin, Canadian author of The Boiled Frog Syndrome

Image of baked potato in foil

Image from Livestrong

We are currently in the grips of winter here in Michigan, and today’s quote reminded me of a story a friend shared at a holiday luncheon.

As a little girl, she would often wait outside in the cold for the school bus. To keep her warm, her mom would bake small potatoes in aluminum foil and slip them in her pockets to hold through her mittens, making her wait a bit more comfortable. Once in her seat, she had the extra benefit of a tasty snack to eat on her way to school.

To this day, she attributes this heartwarming story from childhood for her current fondness for hash brown potatoes for breakfast.

EXERCISE:

What heartwarming strategies can you employ to show your love and care for others this winter, and all year long? If you happen to have one of your own heartwarming stories, please hit reply and send it my way!

It takes two to argue

“It takes two to argue: One to initiate, and the other to take the bait.”

—Author Unknown

Image of hands holding a fishing rod

Image from Unsplash by Carl Heyerdahl

One of my favorite clients is an avid fisherman. Bring up the topic of fishing and he lights up with excitement. He is full of stories of the nuances and mysteries that result in success.

He is an expert on the many lures and baits that entice fish to bite, which result in a strategic “win” for him, and at least the temporary “lose” for the fish. On many occasions, he releases the fish – which rarely occurs in arguments between two people.

EXERCISE:

How do various people in your personal or professional worlds lure you into arguments? What are some ways you can be far more aware of their strategies, to resist the bait and swim on through your day?