10,000 Mistakes

We most certainly learn more from our mistakes than we do from our successes.  Having made more than my fair share, I can tell you that those are the learnings and experiences that make you a better leader, better manager, better mentor and a better person.

No one is successful without failure. The inventor Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” If you learn from your mistakes then you did not fail. You learned.

Are you Failing or Being a Failure?

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If you do not fail, it means that you are not taking enough risks.  If you are not taking enough risks, why not?  Are you afraid that you will not get that 2% salary increase at your annual review? Do you not trust your manager? Does the company you are working for punish risk takers? How can you possibly get better with all of these restraining forces?

Go ahead, take a risk. Make a mistake.  Learn from it.  Share it with others so they don’t make the same one.

And now crank up the volume and enjoy this fine tune from 10CC.  Enjoy the weekend.

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Who Are You?

My friend Elizabeth found the following wisdom and suggested that I share it with you.  You will notice a very common them from last week’s Comfortably Numb http://wp.me/p1WXuM-ut  blog focused on doing the best you can do regardless of the mediocrity and excuses around you.  This is a re-post of some additional recommendations on getting you to focus on success.  Original article can be found at:

http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20130328120321-36052017-be-a-hero-five-steps-to-vanquish-any-problem?ref=email

1. No problem — Take the challenge

There is no such thing as a problem. What you call “a problem” is not a thing independent of you, but a situation you don´t like. It is “a problem for you.” To deal with it more effectively, put yourself in the picture. Think of it as your challenge. Take the difficulty as an opportunity to show your true colors.

I often catch myself saying, “the real problem is…” followed by the thought, “…that you don´t agree with me!” Equally often, my counterpart argues that “the real problem is…” that I don´t agree with him. Unless we recognize and give up these bad stories, we will each push hard to overcome the other. Push versus push equals stuck: a very expensive stalemate where we both spend tremendous energy for no result.

2. Drop “Who’s responsible?” – Be response-able

You didn’t do it. So what? You are suffering from it. People and things are out of control. It is tempting to blame them and play the part of the innocent victim. Don’t. The price of innocence is impotence. That which you blame you empower. Become the hero of the story; focus on what you can do to respond to your challenge.

The inspiring question is not, “why is this happening to me!” but “what is the best I can do when this happens?”

I once coached a financial services executive who would always blame external factors: regulation, competition, the economy, his employees, his boss, his peers. All these forces did impinge on his goals. It was the truth, but not the whole truth. The truth that he refused to accept, the one that blocked his growth, was that he was able to respond to these forces. (See the coaching questions I use, here.)

3. Forget what you don´t want – Focus on what you want.

Consider an issue that troubles you. What would you like to have happen? I ask this every time I coach. Infallibly, I learn what my client would like to not have happen anymore. This is a bad end for a hero´s journey. Avoiding what you don´t want will take your energy away from achieving what you do want.

Your brain doesn’t compute “no”. What you try to avoid you unconsciously create. If you don´t believe this, try to not think of a white bear right now and notice where your mind goes. Define a positive outcome precisely. Ask yourself, “What do I really want?” and visualize it in as much detail as you can. This will force you to put some flesh on the conceptual bones. Furthermore, ask yourself, “How would I know that I got what I wanted? What would I see? What would I feel?” In this way you will be sure that your vision has observable standards by which to measure success.

4. Take one eye off the ball – Go for the gold.

It’s not about hitting the ball; it’s about winning the game. Set your mind on what you are ultimately trying to achieve. Build a chain from means to ends, taking you from getting the job, to advancing your career, to feeling professionally fulfilled, to being happy. The ultimate goal and measure of success is happiness.

“What would you get, if you achieved X, which is even more important to you than X?” Ask yourself this question and discover that you never ask for what you really want—and neither does anybody else. We all ask for what we think is going to give us what we really want. Have you ever bought set of golf clubs hoping they would make you play better? And what would you get, if you played better, which is even more important to you than playing better?

5. Failure is not an option – Succeed beyond success.

Commit fully to achieve what you really want. Know that you deserve it and give it your best. This will make you more likely to get it. Success, however, is not the most important thing. To be a hero, pursue your goal ethically, as an expression of your highest values. Success may give you pleasure, but integrity leads to happiness.

Have a great day!

Webman

Comfortably Numb

“Hello, Is there anybody in there? Just nod if you can hear me. Is there anyone at home? Come on now, I hear you’re feeling down, I can ease your pain, And get you on your feet again. Relax. I’ll need some information first; Just the basic facts. Can you show me where it hurts?

There is no pain, you are receding. A distant ship smoke on the horizon. You are only coming through in waves.Your lips move but I can’t hear what you’re saying. When I was a child I had a fever. My hands felt just like two balloons. Now I’ve got that feeling once again. I can’t explain, you would not understand. This is not how I am. I have become comfortably numb.”

Comfortably NumbPink Floyd

One of the greatest guitar solos of all time.

Seems as if many of the people we deal with everyday have gone Comfortably Numb!

Today’s blog is about mediocrity and about how we have now been conditioned to accept it . It is everywhere.  All of the technology in the world cannot rid the rapidly growing wave of excuses for failure, lack of preparedness, reliability, lack of accountability, lack of integrity or just overall ineptitude.

Are we all that busy, that distracted, that stressed, that we just can no longer meet or exceed expectations?  Have we forgotten how to manage time?  Or focus on the things that are important?  Are we too busy playing politics or kissing someones derriere that it affects our ability to add value?

Does it have something to do with raising the last couple of generations where everyone got a trophy when playing sports, the rules were for equal time for all players, regardless of skills, where no one kept score?  I do not know if this is a driver but headline for everyone – life is about competing, winning and overcoming obstacles.  Doing your best everyday.  Waking up and making a difference in your life, your job, with your family and friends.

Webman, what is wrong?  Well, let me tell you.  Everyday we are engaged with people who just cannot do their jobs.  Think about it.  Go to a restaurant and find a waiter/waitress that has a clue about what is on the menu.  Does not happen often. Last week I visited the Black Cow in Hamilton, MA.  Have tried the restaurant many times, hopeful of getting a meal that was edible, but that never happened.  They have recently renovated, upgraded their menu and certainly upgraded their staff.  The waitress was informed, knowledgeable, pleasant, happy and courteous.  What a pleasant surprise! 🙂  Why am I so surprised when someone actually does their job?

Think about where you work.  Who is really great at what they do?  Who are you wowed by?  Who do you look up to and admire?  Who’s behavior are you trying to emulate?  Which of your leaders do you look up to?  Who looks up to you?  Are you setting an example for others?  Are you leading, following or just getting out of the way?

How many times do people walk out of a meeting and say they are going to do something, only to never see it done?  How many of your co-workers make commitments that aren’t kept?  How many times do you have to either stop by someone’s office or send multiple e-mails to get a response?  How many people never respond?  How many times have you heard,  “I did not have time to read your e-mail” or “I am too busy.”  What ever happened to the golden rule?  Treating others the way you would like to be treated.  What has gone so wrong with our society that even basic decency and respect are now just disregarded?  How many times have you attended a meeting where no one was prepared, there was no agenda or you did not know why you were even invited?  What a waste of your time.

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Time is one of our most precious assets, yet people waste our time every day because they are not prepared.  They do not do the work necessary to have a productive, fact based and thoughtful conversation.  Think about how long it takes to make decisions.  Why, because people are not prepared to make them  Or maybe they are just afraid to make them because then they need to take accountability.  Heaven forbid!  Do they think, “I might be held responsible for that decision, so I think it best not to make one.”  Make a decision today.  It will feel great 🙂

Can you imagine how effective and impactful your work day would be if this situation just improved by 20%? So starting today, be prepared.  Stop worrying about things that are out of your control.  Stop the whining.  Stop blaming others.  Do your best regardless of the hurdles.  In the spirit of being honest and transparent, if people are dragging you down, tell them.  Force change.  Take accountability.  Make a decision.  Learn from your mistakes.  Get better everyday.  Make a difference.  Treat people with dignity and respect.

Do it today and everyday. Wow someone today.  Wow yourself.  Raise the bar. Stretch. Grow.

And of course, say hello 🙂

Webman

Time for You

Moving way to fast for me.  Every week is just flying by.  So much to do and so little time. So much time taken up on things we do not want to spend time on.  Being stuck in traffic, waiting in line at a store, another meeting, another conference call, another powerpoint presentation, getting to the airport one hour early, waiting for you luggage, dealing with yet another incompetent customer service rep, having to do something over because the person you asked to do it did not get it done properly or just doing it yourself instead so that you know it would be done right.  (I think we all do this).  Waiting for that follow-up call from your job interview.  Networking on Linked In, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Words with Friends, Apps, News, You Tube, Bloomberg, Google, Yahoo, ESPN and more.  There are only 24 hours in the day, do we really have the time to spend on all this stuff that adds no real value to anything or anyone.

Some insight from Pink Floyd to start your morning.  Back to my point shortly.

Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way.
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way.

Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain.
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today.
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you.
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.

So you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it’s sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again.
The sun is the same in a relative way but you’re older,
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.

Every year is getting shorter never seem to find the time.
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way
The time is gone, the song is over,
Thought I’d something more to say.

Time – Dark Side of the Moon – Pink Floyd

Time management is really difficult and yet it is so important.  How many times have you thought “what the hell did I get done today?”  If is wasn’t for that stupid meeting I would have executed my plan.  Why did I even attend that meeting?  I just spent 3 hours watching a movie I have seen 4 times.  Should I really be watching the SVU marathon?  How many times have I seen this episode of Chopped or Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.  (I am getting in a little dig for one of my daughters here 🙂 )

Here is the headline for you.  Take control of your time.  Stop blaming everyone else for your lack of time.  Eliminate the following sentence from your vocabulary “I did not have enough time.” You do have enough time if you plan it properly.  Many years ago I learned a technique called Stop, Start and Continue.  List the things that you spend time on everyday both at work and at home.  That is a long list isn’t it?  Now focus on how much time you are spending on things that you really want to do.  Hmm, not enough of that time is there?  No because most of our time is spent on the wrong stuff.  Put your list into the three buckets of what you should Stop doing,  what you should Start doing and what you should Continue doing.  Now be really hard on yourself, stop a lot of stuff and try to free up just 1 hour per day.  Not easy is it?  May not be easy but find it and start doing something you want to do with that hour.  Awesome isn’t it?  You just took control.  Well done!

Use this technique on a regular basis as new stuff you should not be doing will always creep into your day.  Start with setting aside that one hour per day for you.  Try to make it  1 1/2 hours next week.  Take control of your time and stop making excuses.  You always have enough time if you use it properly.

Start today -Time is on your side, yes it is – Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones.

Enjoy your time.

Webman