Strong Words, Gentle Soul

July 29, 2015

The Code of a Warrior is steeled in Honor. Their uniform, cause and fellow fighters occupy a special place not open to those who haven’t served. And those who survive seldom let you know about their commitment. The following piece is titled a poem. It’s from the great Native American Shawnee Chief, Tecumseh. Not knowing its source one might conclude it was from a more gentle soul. Later today I will send this to a friend who is fighting a great fight. But, it will be lost. When we talk now, well we barely talk for the tears. When we talk we try to be brave for each other. It just hurts. I hope you’ll share this with someone for whom you care.

So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide.                                                         

Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none.                                                                 

When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision.                                                                                                      

When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.

Carrot, Egg or Coffee Bean

July 23, 2015

Here is a story you can use for several messages

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her.  She didn’t know how she was going to make it and how she wanted to give up.  She was tired of fighting and struggling.  It seemed that as one problem was resolved, a new one arose.  Her mother took her to the kitchen.  She filled three pots with water.  In the first, she dropped a handful of carrots, in the second she a few eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil without saying a word.  In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners.  She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl.  She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl.  Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.  Turning to her daughter, she asked, “Tell me, what do you see?”

“Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” the daughter replied.  The mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots.  The daughter did and noted that they got soft.  Mother then asked her to take an egg and break it.

After pulling off the shell, daughter observed the hard-boiled egg.  Finally, Mother asked her to sip the coffee.  The daughter smiled, as she tasted its rich aroma.  The daughter then asked.  “What’s the point, mother?”

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity…the boiling water…but each reacted differently.  The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting.  However after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.  The egg had been fragile.  Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior.  But, after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened.  The ground coffee beans were unique, however.  After they were in the boiling water they had changed the water.  “Which are you?” she asked her daughter.  “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond?  Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?”

Think of this: Which am I?  Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity, do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?  Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat?  Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a break-up, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff?  Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and a hardened heart? Or am I like the coffee bean?  The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain.  When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor.  If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you.  When the hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest do you elevate to another level?  How do you handle adversity?

So, which are you…a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?

Some people make the future; most wait for the future to make them.

With a Story She Wins

July 18, 2015

We learn that Emotion creates Action. When we find that emotion in a person and we know how to move it, then we get the response we want. Sports, business, family, vacation, in all areas of life. So, how do we move it? What is effective? Why is it effective?

In this forum we have been looking at attaching a story to our message in order to elicit the emotion we seek. In a recent Vistage session a participant offered that her experience with stories is that they help find the Trust button in the audience, they create a bond. A story will inspire the audience because of the emotion it has reached.

Armed with that feedback and my absolute knowing that a story is the way to enhance our Leadership and sales abilities, a client and I planned an important sales call for her. It had been a particularly tough prospect for her consulting practice. They were nearing a deal, the prospect was interested, she just wasn’t closing. She seemed to have a good process, questioning was leading them in the right direction, but something was missing. In past meetings she had learned that the prospect felt he had a solid product, their reputation was excellent. The business had its ups and downs like everyone. But it was just stagnant. Just not moving. She saw that his problem was the management team and their inability to work together.

We developed a strategy for the next sales call. Signs indicated it could be the last. All of the management team would be present for the meeting. A first for her. She began by asking each team member very probing questions. Many of them fumbled. She offered concepts of solutions “when they worked together.” Then she told a story crafted to demonstrate the challenge all of them were facing. It described a strong company and begged the question of why it wasn’t moving forward. That story found the Emotion in the CEO and every member of the management team. It moved them to Action. She now has them as a new client.

Plan your next meeting. Put a story in there. Attach it to a message. Aim it at a specific Emotion. Watch the positive results.

Change Behavior:Change Lives

June 30, 2015

I’m just curious….

Would you like to remembered for what you say?…. By everyone?  Do you want others to respond to your message and wishes?  Would it be worth your time to be a better Communicator?

Learn to connect to others’ emotions through a story.

One of the things I’ve observed and teach to others is How to Decode the Path to success. Briefly, the Path is paved with 7 major stones: Goal Setting and Planning; Establishing your Purpose; Dealing with Change; Managing your Time and Maximizing Productivity; Your Commitment to what you do; Your Attitude; and Taking Action.

Are there other major steps we could include or substitute? Probably, but that’s a discussion for another time. You have to accept my philosophy for the moment.

However, there are several tools which help us achieve the success we seek. One is how we communicate with others. One is how we persuade others. One is how we influence others. And there is ONE TOOL which helps us with these more than any other tool out there—other than winning the lottery—and that’s STORYTELLING.

Use stories to Persuade, Influence, Inspire & Engage Others to take Action. Use them to enliven your presentations, build Credibility. Stories help you Communicate with Passion and build your Team. Your leadership performance improves.


June 29, 2015

Check out my new Speaker Page with iCubed Agency!  They are a National Speaker/Event Management company who specializes in working with speakers who are forward-thinking and inspirational to change the world one audience at a time!

The Squash’s Fight to Grow

June 18, 2015

A few years ago researchers at Amherst College performed a fairly simple experiment that produced some interesting results. They planted a squash seed, fed and watered the plant until it grew a squash about the size of a person’s head.

They then fit a band around the squash which was attached to instruments that would tell them how much pressure the squash exerted as it tried to grow against the constraint of the band. They expected that the squash would exert as much as 500 pounds of pressure. Sure enough, in a few weeks the squash was doing just that.

But the squash was not finished with growing. In two months it was producing 1,500 pounds of pressure. When it got to be 2,000 pounds they had to reinforce the bands.

The experiment ended with the squash pushing 5,000 pounds of pressure. But it didn’t end because the squash stopped growing. At 5,000 pounds it had broken the bands that had been measuring its force.

Further, when they cut the squash open they found it was full of incredibly dense fibers. It was the squash’s determination to grow that created the ‘muscle’ to push against its restraints. They also discovered that the plant had sent out over 80,000 feet of roots searching for the strength it needed to grow against the force holding it back.

This story was taken from a church sermon our priest delivered in May 2015. Its relevance to his message of faith is strong enough. But I’m sure it moves you as it did me with poignant levels of instruction in so many areas of life and business. We learn about its external show of strength to break the bands. We learn about its internal strength and the fiber density it developed so it could grow. Finally, we learn about the root system it created for foundational strength. I count 7 applications of this message. What do you see?

You want more happiness? Increase your level of discipline. Period.

June 1, 2015

That’s what it said. So, I read on. (A blog comment by…someone) But I liked the content as he continued to explain that we can measure our levels of happiness in all areas of life by the discipline we give to that part of life. Health, education, attitude, commitment, relationships, family, friends, and on. I examined my own levels of commitment to discipline. Some good, some not so much. That’s to be expected. The ones that matter the most, however, deserved a closer look. That’s what I’d encourage you to do. And pass this along to your friends, clients, family.

The author says the two are so closely linked that movement up or down yields immediate results. And sure enough just examining my own situation, he’s right. One of my clients has been re-committing her sales generation activities by doing something you might not feel is a sales-related activity. She reads more. The topics are specifically related to her activities with clients: expected results, anticipated challenges her clients might have, google research on related but somewhat tangential topics, and more. She’s in wealth management.

So when there’s a downtime, nothing scheduled, no ringing phone, instead of pumping emails or some other non-essential activity she’s reading. And Mr. Google has helped her find some interesting topics  she can take to clients. Information she can share with a client about their industry. This is where it’s about the Happiness:Discipline equation. Discipline to do the next thing. Discipline to build her business. Discipline to help a client in an unexpected way. Discipline to grow her relationships. What will you do?

Deliver Your Message: See the Results

May 18, 2015

Stories can Change behavior…You Can Change Lives.

In one form or another what do each of us seek in our daily business lives?

Answer: Motivate others to reach Goals, buy our product, heed our advice, take a new direction, create energy. Each of them is best accomplished by uniting an idea with an emotion. Telling a story is that connector.

Persuasion is the business activity that is central to every level of success. Customers so they buy your product. Employees so they support your changes. Investors for clarity on why they should invest with you. Partners to agree to the next deal and sign up with you. Most executives struggle to communicate their intent, much less inspire someone to go along with them. They rely on bullet points crammed with facts and logic, PowerPoints (they read each word!), memos, corporate-speak and the continuum of other ineffective efforts. The audience is confused, at best, over the message.

Become an effective leader by harnessing stories to make your point. Toss the death-by-PowerPoint and “that’s-the-way-we-do-it” approach to persuasion. Move people through their emotions. That’s how they are motivated/persuaded to achieve goals, take actions. The story has a long history of being a successful communication tool.

Storytelling helps you win an important audience. It is a powerful tool. Through storytelling we make abstract concepts real. By creating that vision we drive culture and instill values. Paint a vivid picture of the future. That’s what makes you memorable. Your life and career are a rich source of stories. Use them to drive your company’s purpose, goals, vision, and values. And your Success!

Learn to resonate with your audience, surprise them, connect with them, tap into emotions. Either make them mad or make them sad or make them happy, but don’t just leave them sitting there!

We need only look around us, listen and read to find stories we can adapt to our message. Read your resume, the stories are there. Write the story and make it connect to an emotion. The story should be no longer than 2 minutes.

Practice bringing your message to life with a story and watch your results soar.

What is Your Legacy?

April 2, 2015

The first lesson is Leadership and Mentoring is be a guide, tutor, coach, leader. This is where we learn to leverage our own qualities and our ability to create output by teaching and helping others. We know how Trusted Mentors will leave their mark. Sound advice, guidance, love and examples. They help with personal growth and are important in shaping a young mind.
So, we have to ask: What is our legacy? Who can we help? How can we shape the lives and futures of others? Who can we remove from a negative place? What marks are we leaving along the path for the next generation? Here’s the important thing: We may be successful, but we have an obligation to pass on what we’ve learned. It is not ours to keep. It is ours to pass on.

With mentoring you may never know how your legacy will continue to grow and influence others. Some may take 50 + years to be recognized.

When I was 11 years old it was a big deal to be in the “A” league in Little League baseball. I was fortunate enough to be there. We were returning Champs. Several of us had be on the “All Star” team. Tryouts are held each year and boys are picked for teams in the A, B & C leagues. Our coach picked a boy I didn’t think belonged on an “A” team. Somehow I had appointed myself judge. This young boy lived down the street from me. He couldn’t throw the ball out of his shadow. We could have had another boy who could really play. But the coach knew he should select him. He came from an unfortunate family situation. They struggled with everything. The self-esteem of everyone in the family was low. I now know after 50+ years this was one of the most important things I have ever witnessed. I now know how much it helped that boy and helped his family. I now know how wrong I was to judge that boy and to judge the coach’s choice. The coach was my Dad. He was gone by the time of my ‘awakening.’ I didn’t get to tell him how proud I was of this unselfish mentoring decision. I’ve told him in prayer. I am telling him now in a forum that will live in the public forever. It took 50+ years for my dense head to get it. But I’ve got it now. I’m proud of him for his legacy.

I Want, I Need, I’ve Gotta Have, I’ve…..

March 26, 2015

This question could shed some light on the gap between where you are and where you want to be. I know you are ready for your life to be different…You want:
• to have more money
• to lose more weight
• to find the love of your life
• to experience great success
• to fully and completely express yourself creatively
• and anything else that you may be looking for…
Now here’s the question that is so important to your success: I know you are ready, but are you WILLING to be different? The key is that to have a different life, YOU must be different. There isn’t another way. What you have in your life won’t change unless you change
• How you make decisions
• How you handle success
• How you handle failure and mistakes
• How you handle your time
• How you set up boundaries
• How you value yourself
• What you consistently focus on
• How you translate the things that happen in your life
If you are waiting for your life to change from the outside, you are going to wait forever. So, I’ll ask you again…Are you WILLING to be different?
(this is from a blog, whose name I lost long ago, but I give them credit)


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 394 other followers