Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Work That Plan!

"Constant and determined effort breaks down all resistance and sweeps away all obstacles."
-- Claude M. Bristol


I enjoy designing a plan to achieve a goal. Listing the tasks, estimating the times, scheduling them - that all appeals to my analytical side. Then comes the hard part: getting it done.

But it's not really hard. It's one step at a time. One movement, one action, one call, one thing. At - a - time.

Design a cool, appealing plan. And then, most importantly, act relentlessly on your plan.

As Larry the Cable Guy says, "get -er done!"

-- Doug Smith

Monday, March 28, 2016

No Complete Failure

"Make failure your teacher, not your undertaker."
-- Zig Zigler

You know that we can learn from our mistakes. You might also know that failure carries many valuable lessons. I like the expression that comes from NLP (Neurolistic Programing) "there is no failure, only feedback."

There's always something to learn. Any effort that results in learning is not a complete failure.

So it's up to us. While we would never choose to fail at anything (oh horrors!) sometimes we will. Whether we learn or not is completely up to us.

Find the learning. Find the success.

What have you learned today?

-- Doug Smith

Sunday, March 27, 2016

That Awesome Gift of Listening

"The greatest motivational act one person can do for another is to listen."
-- Roy Moody

How would your work and your life be different if everyone you encountered listened carefully, compassionately, and attentively to each other?

It seems so simple, yet it's not. Listening takes focus. Listening takes attention. Listening positively takes curiosity.

How curious are you when you listen?

Here's what I'm working on: listening without judging. I remember a time when I had an answer to every question, an opinion to every view, and something to say in any situation. I wasn't wise enough to know that smart wasn't always enough. We need to listen.

Listening is a gift as profound as any you might give today. Who will you give that free yet awesome gift?

-- Doug Smith


Saturday, March 26, 2016

Big Goals, Little Tasks

"Great things are done by a series of small things brought together."
-- Vincent Van Gogh

A big project can seem overwhelming. Our aspirations can seem too big. Our expectations are frequently recalibrate by what seems like a tough reality.

Instead of looking at the big, big, too-big-to-achieve goal, what if we looked at what David Allen calls "the next actionable step"? What if we, as Brian Tracy advised, "chunk it down"?

Do one thing. Do the next thing. And keep going.

I find it useful to project from when I need to finish something and then spread the little tasks out on a plan to accomplish the big thing.

The Big Thing is just a series of little things. And little things don't scare me a bit.

How about you?

-- Doug Smith

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Start With A Goal

Are you struggling to solve a problem? Does it seem evasive, difficult, unsolvable?

Start with a goal.

Determine what you want in a situation, rather than focusing on the pain you feel. What do you want? What's your goal?

There are thousands of ways to reach a goal. Reach that goal and your problem will have melted away. Yes, we do need to solve problems. It's a key role of a true leader. Sometimes we solve them best by achieving our goals.

Got a tough problem?

That problem's solution starts with a goal.

What's your goal?

-- Doug Smith

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Stay Courageous Through Resistance

What is the typical reaction to courage?

Often, people respond to true courage with resistance. They push back. They run away. They refuse to change.

That should not surprise us. We should expect it. I've worked on projects where the biggest part of the goal achievement involved working through the resistance. People didn't want to change software. People didn't want to print less. People didn't want to move from Chicago to Trevose, PA. But in each case the change was inevitable, and embracing that change was necessary. For those of us driving those projects, we had to maintain our courage and conviction even when people were unhappy and rebellious.

Courage is more often resisted than appreciated.

You won't always get an award. In fact, you will seldom get an award for your courage. But, your courage is still required.

Of course it's not easy. It wouldn't take courage if it was.

How courageous are you prepared to be to achieve your goals?

-- Doug Smith


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Say Yes to Possibilities

Have you seen the movie "Yes Man"?

The premise is that the main character goes to a seminar where he learns to say yes. To everything. Yes to fun. Yes to adventure. Yes to romance. It gets him delightful surprises, and it gets him into trouble. There are real risks in saying yes to everything. Somethings need a solid, firm, NO.

I do like how the movie points out that we are open to many more possibilities when we do say yes. So often we say no much too quickly. So often our reluctance and our fear get in the way.

We have a better chance of achieving our goals and solving our problems when we get into the habit of saying yes to possibilities. When we figure out a larger list of choices, we dramatically improve our ability to succeed. Letting more creativity into our life by acting more creative requires yes, yes, and more yes.

Creativity means saying yes to possibilities.

How's your yes today?

-- Doug Smith


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Feel Good About Your Goals

How do you feel about your goals?

If they are big, noble, ambitious, and fun you probably feel good about them.

If they are small, inconsequential, and discordant with your mission or values, you might not feel so great about them.

We get to choose.

Our feelings will tell us all about our goals and their importance. When we feel unhappy with our goals, it's not our feelings that are out of whack - it's our goals.

Our goals should make us feel good about ourselves.

Our goals should tell us that we are working on important things and making a positive difference. Our goals should show us that we are growing. Our goals should bring a smile to our faces.

Maybe not all of your goals will set the world aglow or keep you grinning. But, shouldn't some of them?

-- Doug Smith


Thursday, March 10, 2016

Avoid Those Empty Spots

Do you get a lingering sense of emptiness from an unachieved goal?

When the goal is important, I really need to achieve it. Otherwise, there's a nagging sense of the incomplete. It tugs, it pulls, it drags me down. Why set a goal if not to achieve it?

A goal unachieved leaves an empty spot to fill.

Fill that spot. Achieve that goal. Then move on to the next noble and exciting goal.

Not happening? Maybe the problem is in the design of your plan. When our goal is compelling we need a plan carefully designed to get done what needs to get done to achieve that goal. Design that plan, then work it. Act relentlessly on your plan, and your goal is yours to achieve.

What lingering goal needs your attention? Maybe it's the plan.

-- Doug Smith

Monday, March 7, 2016

Learn Constantly No Matter How Annoying It Is

Some things that annoy us the most grow us the most.

I never asked for some of my biggest lessons. I probably didn't ask for any of them. They hurt. They bruised. They provoked anxiety. They made me sweat. But I learned.

I learned that people need lots of attention. That sending an email isn't enough. That a handshake (and even a kiss) doesn't mean that a deal won't ever be broken. That broken promises (especially when a kiss IS involved) are the hardest lessons to take.

We go on. We strive forward. We learn. We forgive.

I am annoyed by big lessons. My ex-wife once gave me a little present that was a miniature traffic cone with the words "Oh no, not another learning opportunity!" on it. That about sums it up: not right now please, I'd rather not get that lesson.

We don't always get to pick the timing, but we do get to decide whether or not we learn from those things that annoy us. Things like the team member who isn't finishing the important task, or the boss who has no patience for doing things right (Aren't you done yet???), or the financial transaction that went in the wrong direction. We can have the experience and learn, or we can just endure the experience (and then probably experience it again later because we haven't, you know, learned.)

Guess we might as well learn...

What have you learned today?

-- Doug Smith

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Perform Creatively!

Creative performance keeps the performer AND the performance fresh and fascinating.

Stay creative!

-- Doug Smith

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Support Someone's Creativity

What have you done lately to encourage someone else' creativity?

Is that up to you? Maybe. What if there were someone in your life who was stuck and needed just enough encouragement to get creative enough to become unstuck?

I'm sure that person exists. Someone, somewhere, needs just a little nudge from you to be more creative. Maybe it's seeing you draw. Maybe it's hearing about a creative project you're working on. Maybe you could sing together.

Supporting someone else's creativity will boost your own.

When we share creatively, our creativity grows. And that's a wonderful thing.

Who do you know who needs some positive feedback on staying creative? Why not elevate their day?

-- Doug Smith