Flattery won’t get you anywhere.
Flattery won’t get you anywhere.
“I can’t do it. I’m just not good at it.” This was the phrase my daughter used with me when it was time to blow dry her show steer. Barn work doesn’t come naturally to her and because she doesn’t think she’s good at it, she was ready to give up. I was ready to step in with a little coaching when her brother did the job for me. “Caroline”, he told her, “I’m not good at it either, but that’s why we do it every day, we practice and we get better,” I was so proud of the kid I about picked up and hugged him right there in the barn! He hit on something that I think holds so many people back when it doesn’t have to. When they view themselves as not good at something, anything, they believe that their ability is set in stone with no hope to improve. They aren’t good so they give up before they ever start.
Yesterday, I turned 38 years old. When I was 17 and my dad was 38, I thought he was ancient, and it’s funny that now the roles are reversed, I see how wrong I was about just about everything. In the 38 years, I’ve spent on this planet, I have realized two things: 1. I don’t know half of what I thought I did when I was 17 and 2. Wisdom only comes from making mistakes. I’m fortunate enough to have made enough mistakes, been around enough great teachers and kept good enough notes to put together a list of 38 things that I’ve learned that I want to pass along to my children. I wrote this list yesterday for Jack, Caroline, and Kate but I’m sharing it on my blog with the hopes that others can learn from my mistakes. It’s nowhere nearly complete, but it’s a start. 38. Soft skills are more valuable than hard skills. 37. How you treat wait staff says more about you than anything you will ever post online. 36. Grandparents don’t live forever. 35. Learning to pack a suitcase is one of the most important skills to develop 34. ZZ Topp sang All The Girls Are Crazy About A Sharp Dressed Man. It’s true but it works on everyone else too. 33. It’s better to eat for performance rather than for pleasure. 32. No one takes it well when you tell them they’re wrong. If you want them to believe you, you have let them get there on their own. 31. Everything great is hard and it’s the hard that makes it great. 30. We should celebrate small wins because often times, they’re the only ones we ever get. 29. An hour of quiet every week in a church is a blessing in and of itself. 28. Reading is more important than eating. 27. Caring too much is just as dangerous is not caring enough. 26. Save apologies for when you actually do something wrong and they mean much more. 25. It’s better to not eat than to eat garbage. 24. Interested is interesting. 23. When in doubt, favor action. 22. Hire personality, train skill. 21. Credibility is everything. Do whatever it takes to keep and never do anything to lose it. 20. Experiences are more valuable than things. 19. The book might be better than the movie, but the movie lets you feel the emotion faster. 18. The right words make all of the difference. 17. Follow your dreams, but pay the bills. 16. The Reds will always break your heart, but it’s worth it. 15. Hot dogs taste best at the ballpark. 14. Coca-Cola tastes great, but it’s not worth it. 13. Sometimes People Suck. Love them anyway. 12. Flattery can get you everywhere. 11. Always carry and handkerchief, a pocket knife and good pen. 10. A smile can change someone’s day. 9. First impressions are everything. 8. You never have to take back something you never said. 7. It’s best to think on paper. 6. The best days start early. 5. Consistency will always trump talent. 4. People like people who are like them. 3. Discipline = Freedom 2. Sweat the small stuff and the big stuff will work itself out. 1. Greatness is a choice we have to make every day. In 38 years, I’ve learned a few things. Most of it took more than one lesson to get there, but I’ve survived to be a better person because of it. I’d love to know additions that others would make to my list. Drop a comment or two and let me know what I left out. ]]>
A couple of weeks ago, I shared something on Twitter that I had run across one morning that really intrigued me. It was before and after photos of someone who underwent a 72-hour water fast. Yeah, you read that right, some guy didn’t eat or drink anything but coffee and water for 72 hours. The pictures were pretty amazing and I knew I wanted to try it.
In every seminar I lead, I try to make the point that the there are really only three things that one has to in order to be a great communicator; Maintain Credibility, Make Others Feel Important, and Don’t Be Creepy. I know it’s simplistic, but try to poke a hole in this argument. If you’re credible, make others feel important and aren’t creepy about it, you’re going to be a great communicator. It’s simple, but it isn’t easy.
What you are shouts so loudly in my ears that I cannot hear what you say. Ralph Waldo Emerson
“The only stupid question is the question you don’t ask.” What a stupid phrase. There are absolutely stupid questions that people ask of one another every day. It doesn’t mean that the people asking the questions are stupid, but that they have fallen victim to doing what everyone else does and conform. I’ve found as I coach leaders at seminars around the country that this principle is universal and happens everywhere particularly at the beginning of a relationship when we’re trying to establish report. At a time when we’re trying to be most impressive is usually when people fail the hardest and ask one of the two stupidest questions we can ask when trying to build rapport.
In any business, interaction with customers and clients is critical. Though I do my best, I find that a lot of the interactions I both on this blog and on social media is one-sided. Unlike my live events where the audience plays a huge role in the direction a keynote or a training will take, there’s not a ton of feedback on this side. That’s why it was so encouraging to get an email taking me to task. This is an actual email I received last week. In full disclosure, I asked her permission before using it here.
On Friday, I posted a blog titled The Recipe For A Great Life. It was a recipe shared with me by someone at an event who learned a valuable piece of wisdom for living a great life: Find someone to love, something to do and something to look forward to. Since hearing it, I’ve made it my mission in life to live this awesome advice and it’s made a real difference for me. I understand that it isn’t new or earth-shattering but to me, the power comes in its simplicity. That’s the power of simple. If it were complex, I’d be impressed but I wouldn’t remember it. If I don’t remember it, I’m not going to do it. Because it’s simple, I act on it. Even when it’s not easy. Of the three parts to the simple recipe, finding something to do is usually that hardest. Not because there isn’t a lot to do, but because it’s easy to slip into the feeling of being overwhelmed and not knowing where to start. When this happens, making it simple gets me back on track. I’ve written posts, shared videos and even released pictures of my “simple discipline” list. It’s my list of disciplines that I know that I have to do every day in order to stay on track and be successful. It’s extremely low tech – written on a post-it stuck in my journal. It’s extremely basic – things like reading, writing my goals down, taking my ten-minute walks, and journaling. Best of all, it’s simple- 12 items listed on a piece of paper where I put a check mark next to it if I’ve done it for that day. Because it’s low tech, basic, and simple, I can always find something to do even when I don’t “feel it.” It allows me to accomplish something and that momentum can grow into something bigger. This is especially helpful when I’m in a low energy state. When I feel like there’s no point in trying. When I feel like giving up. Having simple, written tasks gives me something to do. That’s the power of simple. Where can you make things simple? Where can you boil down the parts of your business or career into simpler parts in order to give you something to do? We live in a complex word and deal with a lot of complex issues. That doesn’t mean that we can’t make things easier by breaking it down and making it simpler. We just have to make the effort to look. Make the effort and make your list and put the power of simple to work for you. You’ll be glad you did. ]]>