Archive for July, 2015

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.