In her bestselling book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, Susan Cain explains how in the twentieth century, extroversion became a cultural value—one that resulted in the conflation of success and outgoingness, likeability and talkativeness. Consequently, “introversion—along with its cousins sensitivity, seriousness, and shyness—is now a second-class personality trait, somewhere between a disappointment and a pathology.” However, as she notes, pointing to figures like Sir Isaac Newton, Rosa Parks, Steven Spielberg, Dr. Seuss, and J. K. Rowling as examples of high-achieving introverts, “we make a grave mistake to embrace the Extrovert Ideal so unthinkingly. Some of our greatest ideas, art, and inventions…came from quiet and cerebral people who knew how to tune in to their inner worlds and the treasures to be found there.”
If a company is more concerned with its immediate bottom line than it is with the customer’s best interests, that is a short-term decision, and a poor one. That company is maximizing a short-term profit in exchange for a long-term loss. When that company stops looking out for its customers, it might maximize its profits that month, that quarter, or maybe even that year—but there are going to be long-term problems down the line…and if the company ignores those problems for long enough, its survival will eventually be at stake!
Humanities majors are becoming increasingly desirable to corporations. Just take a look at this recent study suggesting that Google’s most-prized skills in its employees are those cultivated by a humanities degree rather than a STEM one. But even if you don’t have a degree in the humanities, you can still take insight from the wisdom that programs of study like English, history, and philosophy have to offer.
My grandmother used to say, “Just because you’re moving doesn’t mean that you’re going anywhere.” She then remarked, as she was sitting in a rocking chair, “You see, I’m in motion, but my position isn’t changing.” That is often the case for most individuals who find themselves dissatisfied in the workplace or their home lives. They are “doing things” but not accomplishing goals that enable them to move forward. Do you wonder why it is that our lives rarely change, even when we’re miserable?
In his new book The Solutions-Oriented Leader: Your Comprehensive Guide to Achieve World-Class Results, Dr. Rick Goodman defines emotional intelligence (EQ) as the “ability to perceive and identify emotions in the workplace and in your relationships with others…being attuned to the emotions of the people around you, but also to your own emotions—and making your decisions accordingly.”
If you’ve ever wondered what that certain je ne sais quoi is that distinguishes truly great leaders from mediocre ones—that quality that makes them dynamic, engaging, motivating, and that enables them to deliver results—very likely it is emotional intelligence.
Many people would claim to believe that anything is possible, but when it comes to their own life, career, and success, they don’t believe everything is possible.
The concept of anything being possible is random and ethereal. It includes ideas such as “I might win the lottery,” “We might get hit by a meteor,” or “If I’m lucky, I could get the perfect job and meet Mr. or Miss Right.” In these examples, believing in anything being possible assumes that the outcome is not within our control but it’s possible. On the other hand, when we believe that we control our destiny and our fate is in our own hands, we understand that everything is open to us based on the choices we make and how hard we want to work.
While visiting and working in Florida, I had the opportunity to attend the St. Louis Cardinals’ home opener spring training baseball game. Spring training is a great time both for the players and the fans. Everything starts new in spring training. Fans have renewed hopes of their team winning the World Series. Young players have renewed aspirations of moving up in the organization and possibly even making the Major League team.
But a lot has to be accomplished before decisions are made on who will make the Major League team and who will continue to play in the Minor Leagues.
Today’s organizations are struggling to recruit and retain valuable employees. Employee engagement is less than 30 percent in most industries.
A leader is NOT born. A leader is created, and the whole process starts inside the most dangerous place you’ll ever encounter—your own mind. How can you become a strong leader who inspires others, drives people toward excellence, holds people accountable, and instills a sense of trust? Learning what makes a great leader is your first step.
In his new book Motivate THIS!: How to Start Each Day with an Unstoppable Attitude to Succeed Regardless of Your Circumstances, professional stand-up comedian and Speaker Hall of Fame inductee Steve Rizzo shares strategies for overcoming the negativity bias that’s programmed into us in childhood and retraining our brains to think more positively in order to reach our goals. One of the methods he endorses is “unleashing the power of your Humor Being.” According to Rizzo, your Humor Being is that part of yourself that enables you to access your sense of humor in order to thrive during life’s ups and downs. Rizzo defines “sense of humor” in a unique way, one that helps readers view it as an actual mental tool for reshaping their outlook: “a sense of humor means to be aware that you have a mental quality to turn your mind in an unusual way, or a need to produce joyful or absurd ideas that can soothe your being.”
Love in the Second Half of Life
If you find yourself in that second half of life, think about the beauty of such a statement. Truly, this is the part of the journey where the rose has fully bloomed as a result of the seeds sowed in the first half.
One of the most questionable advertising, marketing, or promotional phrases is, “You can have it all.” You can have all of some things and more of other things, but you can’t have all of everything.
I saw a news story the other night where a reporter on the street was interviewing people and asking them what they would do if they won the lottery. Many people said that they would travel or that they would buy exotic cars, a new house, or some other luxury extravagance. What I found most interesting is that when asked, “Would you stay at your job?” every single person said, “No, I would leave my job immediately.” That was every single person.
These days there are a plethora of opportunities that enable mothers to stay in the workforce while remaining at home, which is fantastic. However, working from home as a mother of small children is no small feat. While I certainly would not dare say that one mom role is harder than another, being a WAHM can be a very trying position: in many ways, the WAHM is, in addition to being a working mom, a stay-at-home mom (SAHM), someone who is responsible for childcare and/or household duties at some point in the day. And in my experience, because you’re juggling these two positions as a WAHM, it is easy to feel like you’re failing at both. Below are some tips for managing the stress and challenges that come with being a WAHM.
During a sales call, the hard-to-find details in the room can often be the secret passageways that lead to an order. What do you look at and what do you look for when you’re in a conference room or someone’s office? Are you so busy “pitching and showing slides” that you forget to look around? Are you staring at your phone in anticipation of the next e-mail or text? No! This is the precise time to be in the moment, look up, and put your “I Spy” skills to work.
I am astounded at how many people roll out of bed every day, every week, every month, and every year to work for a company that is subpar in its treatment of its most important asset—people. There is no spark of enthusiasm when the alarm goes off on Monday morning. Why not? Perhaps it’s time for a career audit. You may discover that your job is a liability instead of an asset.
In his forthcoming book, Motivate THIS!: How to Start Each Day with an Unstoppable Attitude to Succeed Regardless of Your Circumstances, Steve Rizzo writes: “If you put most of your time and energy into one area, you run the risk of leaving the other unfulfilled. This is especially common among high achievers.” According to Rizzo, it’s important that we dedicate quality time to our work, but a problem arises when this work interferes with what he terms our “cherished values.” Examples he gives of such core values include spending more time with family, establishing technology (and work)-free personal times, and engaging in activities that satisfy our spiritual and emotional needs.
Everyone wants to have happiness for themselves and their loved ones around the holidays. We wish people “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Holidays,” and “Happy New Year,” but rarely do we consider what really makes us happy during the holiday season and throughout the year. If you think back on past holiday seasons when you were particularly happy, you will likely discover it had more to do with gifts you gave, people you were with, and activities you enjoyed rather than something you received.
It’s the time of the year when you’ve most likely created a list of resolutions. You are determined that this time will be different. You won’t quit. You won’t get distracted. You’re going to stick with your plan for a new start. However, sadly enough the odds aren’t in your favor. According to U.S. News, approximately 80 percent of resolutions fail by the second week of February. What’s the common denominator? Excuses.
I run into a lot of leaders who mislead themselves—without realizing that’s what’s happening. Here’s how they do it. They say things like “My people aren’t creative—we need to get a creativity expert in here to talk to them.” Or: “My people aren’t great problem-solvers—they need to get better at problem-solving. Go find me a program that will help them improve their problem-solving.”
A month or so ago, I came across an article in the WashingtonExec about Dr. Sarbari Gupta, CEO of the technology company Electrosoft. In it, she says that Earl Nightingale’s Lead the Field audio program “literally changed [her] viewpoint on life when [she] first heard it in 1995 and motivated [her] to take bolder steps toward [her] goals in life.” Sound Wisdom recently published a beautiful print edition of Lead the Field, so I reached out to Dr. Gupta to learn more about how Nightingale’s work shaped her life and career. She was kind enough to chat with me over the phone, sharing many of her own success strategies as well as those that she gleaned from Nightingale’s audio program.