“Professional is not a label you give yourself. It’s a description you hope others will apply to you.”

“Professional is not a label you give yourself. It’s a description you hope others will apply to you.”

—David Maister, former Harvard Business School professor

If you say something positive about yourself, it is referred to as bragging. If others say similar things about you, it is considered the truth.

What do the people at work and in your career efforts have to say about you? How are you perceived and how do these perceptions compare and contrast from your own?

What would you like others to say and how do your words and deeds warrant such acknowledgment and praise?


Seek feedback from a small group of trusted colleagues. Let them reveal the unique abilities, superpowers, and best qualities they see in you. Ask them also about your weaknesses, and the limiting blind spots that may be holding you back from the professional levels you desire.

Thank them for their candid and generous perspective, and promise to act on their wise council.

For extra credit, consider a similar exercise with family and friends.

Feel free to reply to this post to let me know what you discover and how it impacts your life.

Choices Reflect Your Hopes

“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.”

-Nelson Mandela

image from www.cbc.ca

image from www.cbc.ca

There are two primary schools of thought regarding what spurs people into action. The first is what I call the “avoiding pain” strategy, in which people examine the bad things that may occur if they don’t take action. Some sales methods take advantage of this approach by turning up the level of pain in order to compel people to buy a product or service.

The alternative strategy, suggested in Nelson Mandela’s statement, could be called the “pleasure strategy.” Here, a compelling and hopeful objective mobilizes us to choose certain actions and behaviors that will help us realize our desirable future.


What will you do to make the majority of your life choices—personally and professionally—from a more hopeful perspective?

“Sometimes, you just have to…”

“Sometimes, you just have to bow your head, say a prayer, and weather the storm.”

—Author Unknown

Image from Flickr by Melinda Swinford

Image from Flickr by Melinda Swinford

In recent weeks, I’ve met a number of people experiencing significant challenges in their professional and personal worlds. They were knocked down and kept down by death, illness, accidents, and other major life events. For some, many of these things were happening at the same time.

Those who weather the storms the best all mentioned that it was their faith, family, and friends that made these disturbing and often tragic life events bearable.


Where can you seek for yourself—or offer to others—a level of support to more successfully weather the storms of life?

“People are like tea bags…”

“People are like tea bags. You find out how strong they are when you put them in hot water.”

—Eleanor Roosevelt, former First Lady of the United States of America

Photo from Flickr by Eric Jusino

Photo from Flickr by Eric Jusino

Other than water, tea is the most popular drink in the world—so popular that its consumption is equal to that of coffee, soft drinks, and alcohol, combined!

Most of us have experienced pouring a cup of hot water over a bag or two, and watching it release its flavor within a few minutes. If you are a bit impatient, you may have even tried dunking the tea bag up and down to release its flavor even faster.


Consider the challenges, obstacles, and barriers you are facing today in either your personal or professional life. See them as hot water that brings out your greatest strengths, and your capacity for personal excellence.

How will you share your cup of life tea with others? How might you offer a little “hot water” to others, to help them discover their own inner strength?

“Do more of what makes you Awesome.”

“Do more of what makes you awesome.”

Kid President

Photo from Flickr by Sam Howitz

Photo from Flickr by Sam Howitz

Awesome is such an awesome word.

For years, I’ve encouraged my clients to be their personal best, pursue excellence, and of course, discover their strengths.

What is it that you do that literally induces awe in others?

Some might describe awe as a heightened sense of admiration or even a reverence for your gift, unique ability, or area of personal mastery.

Whatever it is, doing more of it will most certainly bring you great fulfillment, satisfaction, and most likely produce quantifiable rewards.


Consider asking a handful of people who know you best what makes you awesome. This is not the time to be timid or overly humble. Hopefully these conversations will shed some light on gifts or talents you have overlooked.

Once you come down from the high you will likely experience in these discussions, get out there and let others in your world know about the awesome qualities and abilities you see in them.