Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Lucky Pennies

Though I've found countless lucky pennies four fairly recent reassuring examples stand out:
  • starting the Lucky Penny Experiment
  • riding the Mega Bus
  • running my first 5k
  • sending a loved one on a journey
Regardless of the source, it is always a boost for self confidence when we receive a signal that all will be well.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Energizing Activity

Everyone's unique!  Things that energize some of us, drain others.  We each need to deliberatively ask ourselves which activities energize us, and which ones drain us. 

We can't wait to participate in energizing activities.  With equal frequency, we dread and avoid those that drain us.

Though we can't avoid all unpleasant activities, we often fail to recognize that some of the things that we avoid are energizing for others.  We can dramatically increase happiness, satisfaction and energy when we actively engage others to determine who is most and least passionate about the tasks required for the team/company/organization/family to be successful. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Lucky Dog!

We had a fabulous D.C. weekend with precious Julia and her wonderful friends!  After a fun-filled afternoon, we gave her the valet ticket to claim our rental car.  A gust of wind sent the ticket flying, precariously close to a sidewalk grate.  Fortunately, a very well-behaved dog caught the ticket in her mouth.  Her understanding companion gently coaxed the unmarred ticket from his furry friend.

I can't imagine trying to tell the valet that a dog or grate ate our ticket, and all we knew was the color and kind of rental car that had an unidentified Maryland license plate. 

It's great to be and encounter lucky dogs!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

383,999,000 Things That Didn't Happen

It's sometimes overwhelming to deal with all the things that come our way.  However, when we consider that 383,999,000 (google search for stuff that happens) possible things didn't cross our paths, it is easier to process the things that we did address.

Makes me feel 100% better about the several things I did successfully address.

Everything is relevant!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

A Different Voice

Laryngitis is frustrating for anyone afflicted.  It's perhaps particularly stressful for those who:
  • talk every day as a major part of our jobs (me)
  • live with someone who has hearing issues (me)
Amazingly, I conducted a customer presentation on Thursday and conducted a scheduled United Way conference call, with unimpaired voice on Friday.  However, the next time I answered the phone, only a whisper escaped.  Fortunately, I was able to convey the desired information to my caller.

My voice had been threatened for 2 days.  It started with a sore throat and progressed to coughing through the night.  I feel blessed that my full voice was unimpaired for my presentations.  However, once my scheduled obligations ended, so did my volume.  My body sent a very silent message that I needed a break from the non-stop activity of my work week.

Whispers, touch and hand signals gave a different voice to the rest of my day.  Despite my lack of volume, I was able to successfully complete many interactions. 

Touch, eye contact and hand signals supplemented the audible voice I lacked.

Friday, October 5, 2012

What the Top 1% Do Differently

Garrison Wynn's book, The Real Truth about Success - What the top 1% do differently, why they won't tell you, and how you can do it anyway" captures 10 years of his research with 5000 top performers. 

A few tidbits from his book include:

1.      Most successful people get where they are because they have secret advantages and aren’t afraid to use them – look, personality, character trait, demeanor, network, resources

2.      We often deem irrelevant the smaller things we do repeatedly.  However little differences are often the BIG distinction.

3.      You actually want an unfair advantage rather than a fair fight.

4.      We get value from those we trust – compassion and competence lead to trust.

5.      Be clear and likable- if you are likable you have influence

6.      Optimism peppered with negativity to get innovation and success – there is a difference between negative thinking and fatalistic thinking.

7.      Intelligence must be coupled with communication. Without clarity you have no impact.  It doesn’t matter how much you know if no one understands you.

8.      You can’t be influential unless you know what someone values.

9.      Sometimes it is what you don’t know that helps you most – everyone knows something you don’t know – that is a way to build buy in, connection and make the other person feel valued.

10. Much of our success is based on appearance and personality.

11. The true strength of a team is based upon people playing different roles.

12. You can’t lead by example if you are a bad example.

13. Do very little of what you do badly and a lot of what you do well.

14. Listening is powerful – it makes others feel important, heard and smart.

15. Don’t say "you are wrong" – look for even  a 10% opportunity for agreement.

16. If people don’t like your behavior, they look for reasons to disagree.

17. Most successful people enjoy the process to be successful

18. Know how others perceive you and use that to your advantage.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Two Very Different Dog Stories

A colleague was walking her dog this weekend and a pit bull scaled the 6-foot fence in his yard and attacked her beloved pet.  In the process of saving her companion, my colleague was also bitten.  Both my colleague and her dog sustained injuries but are recovering. 

The morning after I heard this story, I was running my normal route. As I rounded a corner, I was shocked to come within inches of a large dog tied to a post.  The dog's owner had stepped in for coffee across the street. 

Both my colleague and I were doing our thing without expectation of danger.  The huge fence between her and the aggressive pit bull would have appeared to be a protective barrier and wasn't.  There was no barrier as I unexpectedly encroached on the other dog's space.  However, this well-behaved animal barely noticed me.  Though I was frightened, the animal was not the threat I immediately assumed.

These experiences reminded me that safety and danger are not always as they appear.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Paintdrops Weren't Falling on Our Heads

Years ago, my husband and I realized that we were "have it done for yourselfers" rather than do-it-yourselfers".  However, I recently agreed to join my Comerica colleagues for 4 hours of paining at a United Way agency for Comerica's national day of service.

Thankfully, visions of paintdrops falling on my head, did not materialize.  One of our committed colleagues engaged her accomplished painting contractor husband.  He and she saved the day!

Our small, but eager team was effectively directed to achieve a project that appeared to exceed our abilities.  This experience reminded me that leaders often situationally emerge.

We can keep paintdrops from falling on our heads by bringing the right tools and engaging the best team members.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Exceeding an Enormous Goal!

I enthusiastically accepted a request to lead Comerica's Houston United Way campaign.  We first thought that we'd be asked to exceed last year's campaign by 10%, which was imminently doable. However, when we were asked to raise over $40,000 more than the previous year's campaign, I knew that creating a stellar team was the only way we could succeed (or exceed goals).

We realized that all of our colleagues were not familiar with the amazing impact of United Way and created 3 distinct Kick-Off events with speakers from United Way and community agencies. Knowing that every dollar we raise benefits 1 in 2 of our Houston residents creates a compelling case to participate.

This stellar team of committed leaders and engaged colleagues has exceeded our ambitious fund-raising goal!

Lessons reinforced by this experience are:
  • education is a critical component for buy-in
  • leading by example really matters
  • individual requests for participation increase engagement
  • creating an ambitious goal creates a rallying point for success
  • asking a newbie to lead the charge allows new questions to be addressed