Monday, November 17, 2014

Yep … That’s What We Intend To Do

I recently had the honor to help facilitate a focus group session with a small group of employees reflecting on the results of a recent employee survey. One of the questions reviewed referred to the clarity with which leadership has communicated the future direction of the company.

And when the employees in the room were queried for their thoughts on this survey item, the answers were unanimous. They said they were clear on what is happening in the company, but have little insight into WHY things are changing. Hmmm. That’s interesting … and very telling. Sound familiar?

See, here’s the thing. Just as with your personal goals, knowing why things are changing in the organization and why you are asking your team to do something is critical to motivating the behaviors you seek. The WHY provides the motivation for all to understand the reasoning behind the initiative or change. It provides clarity. Without the WHY, folks will draw their own conclusions and perhaps resist the change. And ya don’t want that!

Give them a reason to believe what you believe, to know why they should care. When you do, the results for you as the leader and for them as the contributors will be amazing!

Your life (and your business) becomes amazing when you do. And your life is happening right here, right now. Make it amazing – I dare ya!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Be Your Own Hero

When I was a young man growing up in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, I had two people in my life that I looked up to and idolized – my father Tom and my godfather Uncle Gene. To me, they were the coolest guys on the planet and I wanted to be just like them. In a word, they were my heroes.

I suspect everyone has had those people in their lives that have influenced the person they have become. Maybe even you have had a hero or two in your day.

The official definition of a hero is “a person that is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements or noble qualities.” Seems like pretty big shoes to fill when it is put that way! Super Heroes, Astronauts, Athletes, Famous People, Performers are all seen as heroes in modern society. Is that really how it should be?

See, here’s the thing. I get the fact that we need external influences in our lives and careers to be our best. New ideas, encouragement, love, patience, mentoring: these all contribute. It is how we learn and make decisions. However, I believe that the person with the most power over your courage, your achievements and your noble qualities is … drum roll please … YOU.

There … I said it. It’s okay – no, recommended – that YOU be your own hero. Won’t that be simply amazing?!


Throughout my life, I have often said, “When I grow up, I wanna be just like me.” And I believe in that still today. If you don’t believe in yourself … if you don’t see in yourself the YOU that makes you feel invincible, then I guess you have some work to do.

Why try to be like someone else? They are already filling that role!

Why can’t you be the one achieving new outcomes in your life or career? What is holding you back from being the best YOU that is possible?

Danica Patrick, female NASCAR driver in the Sprint Cup Series, described it really well when she first entered the top ranks of stock car racing: “I don’t want to be the next them. I want to be the first me!” BAZINGA!!

You can achieve. You can have courage. You can have qualities that stand out. YOU can BE YOUR OWN HERO!

And it all starts when you make the decision that it is time to get on with the doin’. One goal at a time … one step at a time … and one victory celebration at a time.

I used to just watch NASCAR and then I became a racecar driver. I used to admire the Ironman Triathletes and then I decided to do a triathlon of my own. I used to wonder what it would be like to be a leader and I worked hard at being one that made a difference. And I used to wonder what life as an entrepreneur would be like and here I am!

It is a mindset and a perspective that when adopted will give you permission to be bold with your goals and to let the world know who you are about to become.

There is always room in your life for people who you admire and those that influence your actions and outcomes. Collectively they are your pool of knowledge and your guiding light. And know that you can be a hero, too!

Say GO instead of I Don’t Know
Be BOLD instead of Ice Cold
Be a TRIER as opposed to a Stand Byer


And, BTW, to this day, I still hold my dad and Uncle Gene as my heroes. And because of their lasting influence on my life and who I have become, they have shown me that I can also be my own hero. Thanks guys!!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Hey … Umm … I'm Right Over Here

So, did you ever experience this? You are walking down the hall or through the plant or in the parking lot and someone is walking towards you. Maybe you know them … or maybe not. Doesn't matter. You are both going about your own business and then, when you get within about 25 feet of them, they completely divert their eyes away from you, look the other way and try to act as if you don't exist. 

Hello! I'm right over here! Don't you see me? What's so hard about saying hello to me or even just giving me an obligatory head nod, for gosh sake. Am I that repulsive?

These encounters bother me. Why can't people just look at me and say hello, or good morning? Or for that matter, just gimme a cave man grunt. Anything to let me know you acknowledge my being! Sheesh!

Personally, I never let people get away with it. No matter how hard they are trying to ignore me, I will lift their cloak of invisibility with a gleeful "good morning" or "how's it going" just to shake them up. And maybe, just maybe, next time I see them they won't be so intent on acting like they can't see me.

Does this happen to you? Bugs the crap outta me. I see it as a chance to make a new acquaintance. 

See, here’s the thing. You just never know what positive can come from just saying hello to someone. Just shaking them out of their funk to elicit a reaction. "Hey, I'm right over here!" I have ignited many new casual relationships just by saying good morning to someone who I didn't previously know very well. And it amazes me every time.

As a leader, having even that casual relationship with those that work for you and those that work around you is a key to success. It shows you care. It shows you are authentic. And it shows that you can relate. Authenticity and trust are hallmarks of a leader that makes a difference through the eyes of those they serve. 

Say hello … ask how they are doing today … let them know they have cool shoes on … talk about last night's Pens game. Just be real and make a connection. The rewards will come back to you in spades over time. 

I was told once by a consultant friend that he can always tell when he is on a plant tour with a leader how connected that leader is with the employees working in the plant. When they enter a work area, if all of the employees look away and act busy, there is little connection with the leader. But if the employees are inviting and greet the leader and his/her guests, then my friend concludes that the leader is well liked and has a relationship with the employees. Make sense? Does to me. It jives with my experiences, too.

Give people a reason to connect with you. It can all start with one little hello.

Your life (and your business) becomes amazing when you do. And your life is happening right here, right now. Make it amazing – I dare ya!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Live Life LIke Ya Mean It!

Is it fall already? I can't believe Christmas is just around the corner. This has been a great summer for us and we look forward to playing outside in the snow this winter. Now that would be simply amazing!

Recently I had the honor of being interviewed by my friend and mentor Kent Julian about my keys to success in business and in life. Kent is an amazing professional speaker and helps his audiences and clients find ways to make their teams show up and shine. He has been a great accountability partner in my own speaking business.

So, in lieu of writing something for you this issue, I share the link to the interview that Kent and I did a few weeks ago. I would love to read your feedback on what you find that resonates with you in your life and in your career.

CLICK HERE to access the interview.

Be curious. Give yourself permission not to be perfect all the time. Step over the line that defines your comfort zone and be significant in the eyes of others. When you do, you will be simply amazing!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Yep … That's What I Intend To Do

Fatty Boomballatti. Ever heard of it? Probably not. It’s what four of us guys in my neighborhood call our annual weight loss competition running from New Years through Good Friday. We define our weight loss goal (mine is 13 pounds), share it with each other, weigh in every other Friday and support each other with advice and tips along the way. It’s fun and we spend some quality time together. AND, it’s intentional. We even chart our progress on individual graphs – yep, geeking out as three of us are engineers!

See, here’s the thing. Goals are tough beasts to slay sometimes; often because you define targets that are perhaps unachievable. To be successful in reaching your goals, you gotta be intentional. When you are intentional, you will define your goals very specifically. That specificity creates true clarity of your destination. And clarity promotes motivation and inspiration to keep fighting and finding ways to reach your goal.

Intentionality à Specificity à Clarity à Motivation/Inspiration

And, when setting goals with clarity, you not only have to know what you want to do but why you want to do it. Knowing why is often the most important part of the equation! Really, it is. I’m not kidding ya. What would lead you to do something if you didn’t know why?

And goals don’t need to be achieved in one big step. Goal progression is often how we get there. For example, my weight loss goal breaks down to a little less than one pound per week. I can do that! Little steps make it more realizable and gives me many chances for mini celebrations along the way.

So, I’d like you to ask yourself two things when setting your intentions:

What does this goal mean to me?
How is it going to change my life?

As you think of a goal in your mind, ask yourself these two questions. Clarity in your goals and in your life gives you direction. It allows you to move forward 100% towards your goals and towards leading the life you want to live. And clarity will motivate you – does that make sense to you?

But, how do you motivate yourself? When no one else can hear you, what do you say to yourself? What messages do you give yourself that no one else can hear? Are they positive, or are they negative? Only you will know. If they are negative, STOP! Make them positive.

MY GOAL IS: Lose 13 pounds by Good Friday and sustain this weight loss throughout all of 2014. I intend to achieve this by better dietary practices and a daily workout combining cardio and strength training. My fellow Fatty Boomballattants will support me and I will support them in return. And I want to achieve this goal because I am not at a healthy weight right now and it is preventing me from living an optimal life.

Now that’s what I call intentional! What do ya think?

Right now, define your goals. Gain your clarity. Choose a direction and lead yourself towards success. Go ahead, dare to be amazing!