The Secret to Success (at least one that I know)

Do you want to be successful?  Here is a huge secret key that is so obvious many people overlook it:

You have to work harder than anybody else.

Let me repeat:

You have to work harder than anybody else. Last year I read a quick tweet from Rory McIlroy, the former #1 golfer in the world talking about how he was on the range practicing for a playoff golf tournament this week in Indiana.  Rory mentioned something about being the early bird on the range and that the range was not crowded.

Who is on that range at some early crack of dawn time?  Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy.  Two of the best golfers in the world.  Does that surprise me?  No, not at all.  The best work harder than everybody else.  Period.

Do they have talent?  Yes.

Do they use their strengths to their advantage?  For sure.

Does talent win?  Not without hard work.

Are they in the right fit?  Yes.

Does fit matter?  Absolutely.  If you are not in the right fit, you may never get a chance to do what you do best.

Rory and Tiger work harder than other golfers who may have similar talent levels.  Tiger also is a victim of his own success because now young up and coming golfers also saw what he did and worked harder, practiced longer and now the whole level of golf on the PGA tour is better than it was years ago.

If you are in the right fit, and you are not working as hard as you can, do not complain about having less than excellent results.  Work hard, be the early bird.

Once you are in the right fit, it is not complicated....
Read more

Are we all exclusive in how we talk? Avoid Insider Lingo!

insider lingo In any group, organization, company, school, tribe, etc there is always insider lingo.  Insider lingo is a code that only people who have been assimilated into the group or tribe understand and can decode rapidly.  Almost any time I enter into a new setting I immediately notice what is familiar, and what is not.  Lingo and language often has subtle nuances that are easy to notice if you are new, but not even a second thought for those already 'in.'  Is this bad?  Is this good?  Neither probably, but it can be exclusive and limiting if you want to bring new people into your group, tribe, etc. In the past few months I changed careers and do strengths based organizational consulting full time.  Our company, Leadership Vision Consulting, works with the strengthsfinder to help people, teams and cultures become strengths based.  Do we have our own lingo at our company?  Absolutely.  Do I have to help connect people to what our company does and how we might be able to help their organization?  Yes!  Do I have to make sure our own insider lingo does not get in the way of their ability to understand what we do?  Absolutely. My New Job  As part of my transition to my new job, I have been doing tons of networking meetings and finding out so much about companies and what people do for a living.  It has been great to get in a bunch of new settings and find out how people are changing the world through a lot of new and exciting ways.  Minneapolis and St. Paul is a hotbed of innovation in so many areas including medical technology and more.  In many of the meetings I have been in there is a good amount of business jargon and insider lingo that is thrown around without a second thought if the listener understands what is being said.  It is usually possible to decode what the people are talking about, but if they head to the acronym world, that presents a whole new level of exclusivity. Exclusive Acronyms  Yah so in the first quarter we need to hit our SMART goals through our new NEC initiative and run any decisions by our CEO, COO, CFO and make sure the exec group approves our TNT based SME quickly and we get...
Read more

If at all possible: REMAIN CALM!

Parking Gararge   A few weeks ago I was running right on time for a client engagement at the University of Minnesota and drove up to this parking garage.  Parking garages more and more are moving away from cash and are only taking credit cards.  So as I rolled up to this parking garage I realized I had neither - cash or credit.  My margin for being on time was low and I immediately felt my anxiety start to raise as I did not want to be late.  What was I going to do?  How would I park?  Would I be on time?  How could I remain calm and solve the problem? This could have gone a lot of ways.  In my youth for sure I would have blown my top and just gotten really mad and been blinded by pure emotion in a way that would not have helped me solve the problem at hand.  At any time in my life my anxiety over stress could have pushed me in a direction that might not have been helpful to solve this real problem.  Thankfully the last couple of years I have really pressed into the concept of emotional intelligence, or 'EQ.' All of us are familiar with the concept of 'IQ,' intelligence quotient.  What is your 'IQ?'  IQ is interesting to talk about, but many studies have shown that your IQ has little to do with how successful you might be in life.  What does have much more to do with how successful you will be in life?  EQ What is EQ, or emotional intelligence? "the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically." Do your emotions control you?  Or, do you control your emotions?  When I realized I had no way of paying for parking that story could have gone a lot of ways.  Getting mad or anxious would not have solved my problem, it only would have left me with the problem and no solution.  On top of that I would have ended up late to my client engagement - something we just do not do. If you are not controlling your emotions it will have an effect on your interpersonal relationships.  This has happened to me more times than I would like to admit in my own life.  These are lessons I can only learn...
Read more

I always used my strengthsfinder themes; not always for good

I read somewhere recently you should write, "The parts of your story you least want to tell, are the parts people most need to hear."  - Jeff Goins. So, here goes. I do realize that someday my son may read these blogs and then ask me, "Dad, what was the deal with......." I realize some of you may say, "Wow, really?" I doubt I will add as many intros and caveats in the future, but here goes. The whole story needs to be told, the good and the bad and how I used my strengthsfinder themes and personality from a young age to have influence in good and bad ways. Social Media Perfection The trend in social media is for all of us to focus only how we want to be seen.  So, sometimes viewing someone's facebook profile or twitter feed, you might think they never have an off day.  Look, I confess to not like putting out pictures of myself that are less than glamorous.  We all do it.  We self edit to try and put out the best possible version of ourselves. I want to step outside of that box more than I usually do and tell you a few stories from my high school days.  The stories my wife rolls her eyes at and wonders how I am still alive in some cases. My StrengthsFinder Themes My strengths have always allowed me to organize, execute, lead, delegate, market, sell and produce gatherings and events.  In high school these talents were used to have parties when my parents were at our summer home in Wisconsin for the weekend.  (Mom, I know you know this story already, so....)  I went to high school in LaGrange, Illinois at Lyons Township High School.  "LT," was a school of about 4,000 students divided into two campuses, north and south, south being for freshman and sophomores and north for juniors and seniors. It started at south campus, but my ability to pull off events, 'parties,' was refined during my time as a junior, (for the first and second time), and as a senior.  The marketplace tells you all the feedback you need in order to be successful and having parties at my house gave me a lot of feedback from people who attended the parties, to how I had to clean up, and how I might make a profit. High School Dropout My first junior year of high...
Read more

Stop being who you are not and start being who you are!

I am the first to admit that I have tried hard at being things that I was not meant to be. I grew up in Chicago and in Chicago, basketball is king.  Minnesota may have hockey, but Chicago has basketball.  More professional basketball players come from Chicago than any other city.  So what did I do growing up?  I played basketball all the time.  I went to summer camps, played in junior high, and shot baskets, regardless of weather, in my front yard.  You know what?  I was an average player.  I worked so hard - to be average.  As soon as I got to high school it was clear I would never see the court, and maybe even make the team.  So, you know what I did?  I focused on swimming which I was actually pretty good at.  You have the greatest potential for success in areas where you already have talent.  Stop trying to be something that you are not and start being who you are. "You can't be anything you want to be, but you can be more of who you already are."  -Curt Liesveld / Tom Rath This quote above was very hard for me to accept when I first heard it 14 years ago.  What?  What do you mean I can't be anything I want to be?  My whole life I have heard people tell me that if I just work hard enough at something I can be excellent at it.  My take on this?  That is a total lie, but with good intentions.  No matter how hard I tried to be an NBA basketball player, 10,000 more hours of training would not have helped.  I am 5'8" inches tall, the odds are forever not in my favor!  You know what else?  I had friends who were way better at basketball then me, and who were 6'3" and they played at a small local college.  10,000 more hours would not have made them NBA players.  You know what else?  My cousin Tim is 6'10" tall, was an honorable mention all-state basketball player in Illinois, played for Holy Cross, was the Patriot league player of the year (conference player of the year), I am sure he did 10,000 hours - and he even played professional basketball in Europe - but he did not make it to the NBA.  Now, Tim did receive a full...
Read more