Stop Comparing

This week we continue with my fifth installment in our list of suggestions for how we could live and operate our businesses from a place of greater happiness…

Suggestion #1: Assume the best.
Suggestion #2: Roll with it.
Suggestion #3: Visualize responsibly.
Suggestion #4: Say what you want and expect.
Suggestion #5: Stop comparing.

As I write this week’s Stretch, we are currently living and working from Tom’s beloved summer cabin nestled in the Western Sierras where we spend 6-10 weeks a year if we can manage it. Located just 13 miles southwest of Lake Tahoe, Silver Firs is a rustic gem of a cabin only 150 yards away from two small but stunningly beautiful alpine lakes called Echo Lakes. Upper Echo and Lower Echo are connected by a tiny but navigable channel and ringed on almost all sides by vintage lakefront cabins. Like Tom’s, most were built in the 1920’s when the Forest Service advertised in the San Francisco and LA newspapers for adventurous and hearty people who were interested in journeying up to build cabins on Forest Service land which they could lease for $1 a year.

At the time, none of the cabins had electricity or plumbing and were little more than camp houses with bunks and a fireplace. Building materials like lumber and rock were harvested from the local forest and waterways. Drinking water was piped from nearby mountain springs or from the lake itself and outhouses were built for daytime use while chamber pots served at night mostly out of a healthy respect for the local black bears.

The road to Echo Lakes dead-ends at the leading edge of the Lower Lake, turning into a well-worn foot-trail around both lakes (which is one of the prettiest and most travelled sections of the Pacific Crest Trail.) Cabin owners on the lakefront had to barge, boat, canoe, or backpack their building supplies and living essentials to construct and outfit their cabins. This is still the case to this day.

While Silver Firs and all the cabins that line the road down to Echo Lakes did eventually get electricity, indoor toilets, and phone service in the 50’s, the cabins on the lake never did. Some lakefront cabins have installed solar or occasionally use a gas generator but most still have propane-lit lanterns at night and heat their hot water with pipes that circulate at the back of their fireplaces.

But even without these modern comforts, they are heavily sought-after properties. They enjoy unobstructed views of the pristine lake on which they reside surrounded by stunning granite cliffs and rugged mountains generously sprinkled with Red Fir, White and Lodgepole pines which were the constant muse of John Muir.

Compared to the cabins on the road, they have no traffic noise or hordes of day hikers looking for a place to park. Instead of the hassle of launching their boat in morning to go fishing or a canoe or kayak in the evening for a tranquil ride around the lake, most “Lakers” have private boat docks right on the water on which they can enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning sunshine and then hop right in their boat any time they choose.

They are indeed truly special places. And so, every time we kayak around the lake or picnic at one of the tiny islands for the day, we admire the beautiful lakefront cabins with their private boat docks and picturesquely quiet settings. We often wonder… why did Tom’s ancestors choose to build a few yards up the road from the lake instead of right on the water? They certainly could have had their pick at the time. Wouldn’t it have been so much better even then? We contemplate what our summers would be like now if his great-grandparents had made a different choice. We compare what the “Lakers” have and enjoy with what we “on the road” can’t and don’t.

Tom has his theory: Most people who took advantage of the government’s offer resided somewhere in Northern California and so didn’t have that far of a distance to travel. But a few, like Tom’s great-grandparents, were from much further south in the LA basin. Looking back at the old black-and-white photos of his ancestors making the multi-day trek in their Model T on two-lane roads and eventually on steep dirt logging roads as they climbed to the summit at 7500 feet hauling what supplies they could, convinced Tom that it must have seemed immensely easier to build on the road just steps away from the lake. Also, because they were about 300 feet higher, at the time they had a beautiful view of South Lake Tahoe from their porch. Not one cabin on the lake can see even a fraction of beautiful Lake Tahoe. Compared to the relative desert environment of the LA basin, it must have seemed like heaven to have both a Tahoe view, be within a stone’s throw of Echo Lakes, and not have to hassle with barging building supplies up the lake to construct your cabin. Makes total sense when you think about it now. And yet we wonder, and compare, and lament, and even envy.

And then thankfully, eventually, we ask ourselves if we’ve actually lost our ever-loving minds? How many people do we know who would give anything for a spot as sweet as Silver Firs? How many hikers walk by every weekend and look up at the cabin commenting in passing as to what it would be like to own or even rent a cabin like ours for the season?

Why are we never satisfied with what we have, what we are, what we’ve accomplished, or what we do? Those people have a bigger boat. She has more money. They have a nicer place. He gets all the lucky breaks. She’s thinner, prettier, younger, stronger, richer, funnier. There is seriously no end to the nasty habit of comparing ourselves, our businesses, or our cabins, to others. It’s a downward spiral that has no conclusion other than to make us feel inadequate, insecure, and jealous and worse yet… to miss the wonder of who we are, what we’ve accomplished, and what we have right in front of us.

This week… Stop it. Just stop it. Join me in stopping the incessant comparison to others. Let’s stand in our own inherent greatness, unique beauty, one-of-a-kind experience, and personal point of view. There will always be something better, grander, and more appealing no matter what we do, become, or obtain so join me in committing to this: Set your sights on what you want and fall in love with the journey to obtaining it and in the meantime, steadfastly reject the urge to succumb to the utterly useless emotion of envy and comparison and refuse to miss the glorious gifts laid right at your feet.


“Instead of comparing our lot with that of those who are more fortunate than we are, we should compare it with the lot of the great majority of our fellow men. It then appears that we are among the privileged.”
~~ Helen Keller

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Say What You Want and Expect

Continuing on this week with our list of suggestions for how we could live and operate our businesses from a place of greater happiness… here’s my fourth suggestion…  

Suggestion #1: Assume the best.
Suggestion #2: Roll with it.
Suggestion #3:
Visualize responsibly.
Suggestion #4: Say What You Want and Expect

This one is really pretty easy. No matter how much we wish it were different, people just can’t read our minds. If something needs to get done, be done differently, or is super important to us… we must make those expectations known. Otherwise, we are likely to have a lot of unmet expectations which I think can be pinned as one of the primary root causes for a ton of our unhappiness.

Early in my life and truthfully for most of my first marriage, I had “giving the silent treatment” and pouting down to a science when someone hurt my feelings or did not meet my expectations. Thankfully, as I have matured and developed more mature relationships, I have found that voicing what I need or simply letting it go definitely produces more joy and less unhappiness for me personally.

Friends, co-workers, and loved ones aren’t thinking about us 24/7. They’re bound to occasionally forget birthdays, underestimate how important something is to us, fail to notice our new outfit, or even miss a commitment. Recently in one week, my son forgot all about a phone call we had scheduled, a friend showed less than the expected sympathy for a challenge I was having with a client, and Tom didn’t even notice that I had cut my hair shorter after returning home from the salon. It had the potential to become a “bad week” or I could choose to check my expectations and decide that no one is trying to hurt my feelings… and that my expectations were either slightly unreasonable or unexpressed.

Mature people and good communicators step up and stop the pouting. They express what they need and they are watchful for the things they could simply let go. They work hard at remembering that we are responsible for how we feel … not other people. This understanding can be sobering but it can also be freeing.

I don’t think we can run our businesses or our lives without having some expectations of those around us. But, I’m a big believer in the idea that almost all upsets can be traced back to a missing agreement (the other party didn’t really know) or a broken one (they did know but for some reason broke it.) When we speak to people in our lives with the intent of creating and clarifying agreements about those things that are really important to us, we set ourselves up for having a lot less unmet or unrealistic expectations and a whole lot more joy and happiness.

This week, stop waiting for people to read your mind. Say what you need and let the rest go… and just notice the amount of freedom and happiness that rushes in to fill the gap.

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“To complain is always nonacceptance of what is. It invariably carries an unconscious negative charge. When you complain, you make yourself into a victim. When you speak out, you are in your power. So, change the situation by taking action or by speaking out if necessary, leave the situation, or accept it. All else is madness.”
~Eckhart Tolle

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Visualize Responsibly

Last week, I started a list of suggestions for how we could live and operate our businesses from a place of greater happiness. I could have easily titled it, “Top Ten Ways We Make Our Lives Miserable and Our Work Harder Than It Has To Be.” Here’s our third suggestion…

Suggestion #1: Assume the best.
Suggestion #2: Roll with it.
Suggestion #3: Visualize responsibly.

My physician’s office calls and wants to discuss a lab report… and I immediately visualize cancer and begin thoughts of how and where I’ll tell Tom. I buy internet service on the plane and after landing realize that I’ve left my ATM card in the seat pocket… and my brain immediately rolls into the likelihood of a massive identity breech which will haunt me for years to come. A client leaves a message wanting to suspend our mystery shopper call program with their practice… and I instantly assume that it’s a permanent suspension and the result of some mistake made by one of my team members.

Like many, I have a bad habit of jumping forward from a relatively neutral event to one that isn’t even remotely likely, panicking and acting like a child in the moment, and then being hugely relieved when the actual outcome is something significantly better. This sloppy practice causes me undue stress and anxiety when the vast majority of the time, things work out just fine.

Two weeks ago, I wrote that Suggestion #1 for improving your happiness advantage was to “Assume the Best” which focused on ascribing good intent to actions of people you meet. This week’s suggestion, Visualize Responsibly, is focused more on the situations that happen to us.

All events are neutral. We give them meaning. And if we can attach one meaning to them, we can always attach a different one. When we worry and assume the very worst outcomes, we are visualizing unintentionally and, if you will… irresponsibly. Visualizing responsibly is being intentional about our assumptions and, better than “hoping for the best,” actually expecting the best.

Someone told me once that when unexpected things happen to them, they try to ask themselves these three things:

1) What’s the worst that could happen?
2) What’s the best that could happen?
3) What’s most likely to happen?

What’s most likely to happen is almost always not the catastrophic apocalypse we’ve been imagining. What’s most likely to happen is usually that things work out one way or the other. When we remain calm, take a deep breath, visualize a great outcome (or at least what is most likely to happen), we become the leader we want to be. The leader that others describe as level-headed, reliable, and wise. Someone others want to follow in good times and, maybe more importantly, in the bad ones.

It’s Music Monday (always the first Monday of every month) and this time I’m featuring “The Freedom Song” performed by Jason Mraz in a video that shows him playing it live at the Freedom Awards. The footage behind Jason was taken during his 2010 visit to Ghana with Free the Slaves and is sung by children freed from slavery. The song also has a cool backstory as it was originally written by Luc Renaud during his visit to Louisiana in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Luc wrote the song with children he met at a shelter during the disaster.

Really… If children freed from slavery and those residing in a shelter after losing everything can write and sing a song like this one, then surely we can keep calm and carry on all the good work we are called to do out there in the world no matter what life and business throw us, right?

Call it the Law of Attraction, karma, or just plain common sense but positivity breeds more positive outcomes and optimism breeds more prosperity. In a recent article in Thought Catalog, the author wrote this: “(Negativity) is a happiness riptide. It will carry you away from shore and if you don’t swim away from it, will pull you under.”

Ride the waves of powerful intention and watch how swiftly they carry you to the shores of happiness.

Jason Mraz – The Freedom Song

“I picture something, it’s beautiful
It’s full of life, and it is all blue
I see the sunset on the beach, yeah
It makes me feel calm
When I’m calm, I feel good
And when I feel good, I sing
And the joy it brings makes me feel good
And when I feel good, I sing
Of the joy it brings
I see birds fly across the sky
Everyone’s heart flies together
Food is frying and people smiling
Like there is no other way to feel good
[Chorus]
I say come on along
I know you really wanna feel our song
We’ve got some life to bring
We’ve got some joy in this thing
(Repeat)

Can you feel
Can you feel
Can you feel
The joy that it brings
If you can feel the joy then you should let yourself sing
Hey I love to share my things

‘Cause it brings me freedom
Got to get you some of that freedom
It’s a smile you can feel in your heart beat
Singing freedom
You deserve your freedom
It’s in the feeling that beauty
Freedom
Well it’s all for you
All for you
All for you
All for you
Freedom
Got to get you some of that
Got to get you some of that
Got to get you some of that
Freedom”

 

 

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Roll With It

Last week, I started a list of suggestions for how we could live and operate our businesses from a place of greater happiness.  This is a list of what could make us happier people and better business leaders but it could also be interpreted as a list of the things that make us miserable or our lives and businesses harder than it has to be… if we don’t pay attention to them.  This list won’t be a completely comprehensive one, how could it be?  I’m positive that each one of you could add a suggestion or two.  But, it will be the top ten choices from my own study, both anecdotal and researched.  Here’s our second installment…

Suggestion #1:  Assume the best.

Suggestion #2:  Roll with it.

We all believe that what we are seeing and experiencing in our work and life is THE reality.  We write our own movie all the time and we’ve been at the center of it with every experience.  We know what we want to happen.  The problem is everyone else is living inside their own movie too… and it’s not the same as ours.  According to our script, others forget their lines, don’t love us properly or at all, don’t give us the raise or promotion we deserve, and sometimes leave us at the absolute worst time… and our movie is ruined.

Don’t hold too tight to your pre-written script for business or life.  I tell speakers that I coach all the time that of course we have to prepare and practice but on the day of their performance, the very best speakers let go, connect with what this audience is going to give them and embrace whatever is bound to show up in the room.  It rarely ever goes exactly as we’d planned.  The best speakers let go of their script and step fully into the moment wide open and agile… accepting fully “what is.”

We have to constantly be rewriting our script or even better, lose it altogether.  Let someone else star in it once in a while.  Welcome in new characters.  Embrace plot twists.  Laugh at set and costume malfunctions.  And notice how much more fluid your life and business becomes when you don’t hold too tight to the “way it’s supposed to go or be” and instead embrace “what is.”


“Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.”  ~~Ann Landers

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Seeing the Best

Does being happy matter in business? I think it does, and there is plenty of current research to show that it matters more and more to the customers, clients, and patients in today’s marketplace. 
  
Someone asked me recently, “How is it that you’re able to be so happy with all that’s going on in the world today?” They were speaking specifically about the political and racial climate, but you can “fill in the blank” with your own topic. 
  
We all know it’s a choice. It’s a decision to feel happy despite what others feel and in spite of what may be happening around us. It’s a determination to not only feel good and find the good when things are going well but also even when they are not. It’s a commitment to find the good and the beautiful even when there is overwhelming evidence to the contrary. It’s a belief that feeling bad for very long doesn’t accomplish anything constructive especially in relation to the things we’d like to change or improve. 
  
But how? How do we do it consistently? What is it that happy people do or understand that the rest of us don’t on a regular basis? Over the next few weeks, I’m going to take a stab at that question. I’ve done some research and talked to others who I know to be basically happy and living most of their life in joy and gratitude, and I’ve done some thinking about the tools, techniques, and mindsets that have helped me personally move into and stay fairly consistent with one of the happiest phases of my life so far. I’ll submit them as suggestions to living a happier life and employing happiness as a solid business strategy for yourself and your team.
Suggestion #1: Assume the best.
Your charity didn’t include you in the list of contributors, even though you donated. You weren’t invited to dinner when a group of colleagues went out. Someone cut you off on the freeway. The cashier short-changed you. And you are mad… or at the least, offended. 
  
We ascribe bad intent and get offended so easily without ever really knowing the truth for sure. Sometimes people are upfront about their true intentions, but most of time we just assume it for them. I don’t think we are on the minds of most people to whom we ascribe poor intent nearly as often as we think we are. I believe that most of the time these episodes (which we think are personal affronts, intentional slights, or outright attacks) are more often innocuous and accidental at best or misguided mistakes at the worst. 
  
Happy people do not do this. They are in the habit of assuming the best in others and intentionally assigning good intent, or at least neutral intent, until proven otherwise. This doesn’t mean they necessarily like what happens, but they don’t automatically assume the worst in everyone or every situation. 
  
This week, heighten your awareness about how quickly you ascribe poor intent without real proof. Notice the lightness and happiness when you decide to assign the person or situation a dose of good intention instead. Cut them some slack. Make room for mistakes (remembering times when you may have done or said something similar without meaning it.) Exercise grace and forgiveness. It’s not weakness but rather great strength to see the best in the face of the worst. This is the core of optimism… a key component in great self-leadership. 

“Grace has been defined at the outward expression
of the inward harmony of the soul. ” 
~~ William Hazlitt
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Issue Resolution

From time to time, issues arise between members of any team which require resolution in order for the team to continue to function at its highest level. Following are six points to remember for positive and successful issue resolutions:

  1. Turn your complaints into requests.
  2. Change “you” statements to “I” or “we/us” statements.
  3. Never go backwards! Focus on the future only.
  4. Offer a solution or new idea.
  5. Avoid making demands. Ask for someone’s help in solving the issue in a mutually beneficial way.
  6. Avoid generalizations like “you always” or “you never.”

Notice how different these two examples sound and feel. See how easy it is to utilize and incorporate all six of the techniques above in just a few sentences:

Complaint: You never clean your instruments before you leave for the day. You got off on time but I had to stay late every day last week to finish them.”

Request: “Cheryl, I’d like to ask for your help. Could we sit down together one day this week – say, Wednesday at noon – and develop a system to make sure all the instruments are cleaned and properly put away at the end of every day? I have some great ideas about it and wanted to ask for your help in developing a system that would work for both of us.

Remember:

  • Avoid a sarcastic or condescending tone when making your request.
  • Most people are reasonable and want to work out differences just like you. Expect to work it out.
  • Be respectful that “right now” may not be a good time for the other person involved. Ask permission to discuss it now or to pick a good time (be specific) in the near future.
  • Listen and smile! Recognize every human’s greatest need is to just be heard and understood. Seek first to understand and then to be understood. And a soft smile can powerfully communicate optimism and kind intent.

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Lost and Found

I love poetry. I get that from my mother.

I recently heard a poem on an Oprah podcast with Eckhardt Tolle called Lost by David Wagoner. It stopped me in my tracks.

“Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes behind you are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here, and you must treat it like a powerful stranger. Must ask permission to know it and be known.”

Stand still. Ask permission to know it and be known.

This is a “be careful what you ask for” moment for me. I asked for success. I asked for prosperity. I asked for a way to share what I’ve learned and what I love with the world and The Universe said, “Absolutely… Yes!” And now, I find myself on a Friday night seated mid-cabin on a 100% full Southwest flight bound for Minneapolis from Grand Rapids via Chicago. And my Tom? He’s driving somewhere on a lonely 395 Highway in the middle of the Californian desert in a fully-loaded Nissan Murano accompanied only by our sweet Sierra bound for Echo Lakes and our “Silver Firs” cabin. Hmmm.

Stand still. Wherever you are is called Here.

It would be so easy to sit on this flight and lament where I am not. Not with Tom. Not with sweet Sierra. Not in a Nissan Murano on the 395 headed to our cabin at Echo Lakes. Instead, I’m stuffed into a Southwest flight on a Friday night somewhere over the Midwest.

But, Wagoner’s poem reminds me that where I truly am is called, “Here.” And “Here” is the result of a company I’ve groomed and grown for this very moment. “Here” is a tipping point of success where the LionSpeak message has reached a mass audience and is transforming into an undeniable force. “Here” is a fully vested body of work I’ve always wanted to do. “Here” is an amazing space if… I will not try to be “There” instead.

I will join Tom at the cabin soon and this year, because of his retirement and career change to organic farming, we’ll spend the entire month of August and most of September living and working from Silver Firs as our summertime home-base. So, I’ll not try to be There when I am actually “Here.” As David Wagoner suggests, I’ll treat my “Here” as a powerful stranger and ask permission to know it and to be known.

You can bet this poem will make its way into our cabin journal this year. I adore its wisdom and truth. This week, join me in embracing our “Here,” loving our present, and being grateful for all that has brought us to this moment in our lives. And then we can simply be eager for more and look forward to “There.”

Lost by David Wagoner,
from Traveling Light: Collected and New Poems


Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes behind you

Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to the Raven.
No two branches are the same to the Wren.
If what a tree or a branch does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.

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Music Monday: An American Child

 

There are certain passages in our lives which create personal bonds so deep that the flow of time has no effect on their strength or impact on you. My high school experience was one of those passages. With only 38 kids in my graduating class, we were close. So close in fact, that our teachers insisted we take a moment in the dark school cafeteria after the ceremony, and before we went out to see our families, to say our goodbyes to one another as classmates. Some of us were headed to college in the Fall. Others would stay to work on the family farm or ranch. A few would seek their fortunes in the workplace. Two were already married and pregnant. I remember an instant knowing in my gut that it would be years before I would cross paths with most of them and some I would likely never see again. Understanding that fully felt like a small earthquake shifting the ground beneath my feet leaving everything I’d known before permanently rearranged.

We had a great 10-year reunion but nothing else until last week when I traveled to Montgomery, Texas to attend my 40th. With such a small class, this reunion included 4 – 5 classes at a time in the hopes of having a handful actually show up. Montgomery, a once sleepy little country town was now all grown up and thriving but many of our old haunts were still recognizable. It was so good to see my classmates after all these years and hear where their lives have taken them. As you would expect, we shared stories of old teachers and football games, mishaps and skip days, classic pranks and memorable moments. We remembered a few who had already left us and those who have seemingly disappeared.

Some of the stories we shared were about teachers, pastors, and upper classmen who had inspired us and those who sadly had the opposite effect. One of my classmates told of a teacher who allowed him to take and retake (and retake) a test of the most common misspelled words in the English language. Having already flunked English once because he couldn’t write an essay, she told him he was making it way too hard and that by memorizing a simple formula, he could write a good essay… or at least one that would pass. He said the fact that he ultimately became the editor of the local newspaper (which he still runs it today) was largely due to her unwillingness to give up on him, her belief in his ability and the way she championed him at every turn some 40 years ago.

But, another classmate shared a different story. An African American student navigating a school system which had only recently integrated, recalled a white counselor, who was clearly struggling to make the long-overdue shift along with the rest of the world, telling him that he should not bother taking Algebra 2 or calculus because he would not need it unless he went to college which he would never be able to afford. Fortunately for him, there were other teachers and influences in his life who encouraged him differently and today, he holds a master’s degree from the University of Houston.

On this 4th of July, one of my most favorite holidays, we celebrate a nation built on the idea of dreaming big. A nation which provides opportunities to every child and every adult to chase their dreams. This day reminds me that what we say, even off-handedly, to others (especially young people) about their abilities, hopes, and dreams can leave a lasting impression and make a difference, positively or negatively, on the outcome.

On this Music Monday (always the first Monday of every month), I chose American Child by Phil Vassar because it’s a favorite song on my “Patriotic” playlist but also because I love his lyric: Dreams can grow wild born inside an American child.

This week, as you celebrate our nation’s independence with your family and team, remember that one of the most precious attributes of our freedom is that anyone can be or become anything they dream. Our gift to them as great personal leaders is to be their champion, the voice of encouragement and on occasion, to show them the greatness we can see in them but which they may not be able to see in themselves.

Phil Vassar – American Child

“I was ten, I was thin, I was playing first base
With a second-hand glove and dirt on my face
In nowhere Virginia, who’d ever figure
That kid in the yard would go very far?

‘Cause 419 Lakewood had no silver spoons
Just an old beat up upright that played out of tune
Now I’m singing and living the life that I love
And when I count my blessings I thank God I was

An American child
An American child
‘Cause dreams can grow wild
Born inside an American child

7 lbs. 3 oz., she’s got my nose
And she’s into my heart as deep as it goes
With a promise that’s more than just someone’s last name
Anyone’s equal, in late August came

An American child
An American child
My Grandfather would have been 80 today
But in ’45 he fell down beside

An American child
An American child
‘Cause dreams can grow wild
Born inside an American child”

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The Most Important Business Tool

Warren Buffet was recently asked what he felt the number one necessary business skill was today. His answer? Public speaking.

In much of our work here at LionSpeak with corporate executive teams or sales teams, I agree 100%. But, I wondered. Would that also apply to my other primary market of dentists, veterinarians, and other discretionary healthcare providers? They are not professional speakers. They typically don’t address large groups at corporate annual sessions. Most of their business conversations are one-on-one or small groups of a just a few team members.

Turns out that while that is still true, some important elements have changed. There are now multiple opportunities to drive business with this single skill in today’s healthcare marketplace. With the increase in practice consolidations and group practice, more owners are needing to keep larger and larger groups of employees motivated and clear about company priorities and direction. On the flipside, as private practices struggle to keep their place on the healthcare map, they must become much better, even flawless, at leading their small to medium size teams to higher levels of patient service and treatment excellence in order to compete.

Also, there are more and more markets where public information forums can be one of the very best marketing strategies to grow a patient base who have a specific treatment need. One of the best examples of this is a recent LionSpeak client, Dr. Hazel Glasper from Baltimore, Maryland. Dr. Glasper came to us initially for speaker’s coaching to compete in a national speaker’s competition held every year at the annual meeting of the Speaking Consulting Network. She was an ideal coaching client. Hazel did the work, put in the practice, and nailed the competition taking top honors last month in Orlando.

However, another reason she wanted to improve her speaking skills was to continue to dominate her marketplace as the leader of a public outreach called “Teach Me Dental” which aims to redefine how the public understands and treats their dental health especially as it relates to their overall health. Through her ability to speak in such a passionate, convincing, clear, and inspirational way, she has become the leading expert in her community on these issues. She delivers well-attended public forums, collaborates with other civic organizations, hospitals, and non-profits, and is frequently interviewed on television and radio shows. Her ability to communicate her message to her team, patients, other healthcare providers, community leaders, and the public at large has created a thriving dental practice as well as a burgeoning speaking and coaching career.

So, I will have to wholeheartedly agree now with Mr. Buffet that indeed public speaking skills are a necessary skill for any business professional, no matter the industry. The art of public speaking is nothing more than the ability to address any size group of people and create absolute clarity about your message as well as the inspiration within them to take action. Whether that’s your team, your patients, other collaborative professionals, or potential patients… this is a skill every dental, veterinary, and healthcare professional needs, certainly as much as any corporate executive, team leader, or sales representative.

This week, think about and discuss where you and your teammates could utilize and improve your speaking skills as a business tool. If you’re like most people you may find that many of you have some anxiety about this idea and you really don’t need to. There are definitive strategies to handle your nerves and embrace, and even enjoy, taking the stage front and center. Imagine the possibilities if you weren’t hesitant to seek out great opportunities to share your message, your passion, and your unique selling proposition… and you had the confidence to deliver that well. Where could it take your practice and your own career?

Warren Buffet is a billionaire and a very smart man. Mastering the art of public speaking helped him get there. It can help you get there too.

 

Become a ROARING Lioness Speaker!
Craft speeches and stories that Illuminate, Educate, and Captivate!
_______________________________________________

The Lioness Principle™
INSPIRATIONAL SPEAKER’S WORKSHOP

Great speeches illuminate great ideas, creating breakthrough moments for an audience. Well-told stories “prime the emotional pump” of your audience or team to hear your message and create unforgettable moments of clarity and inspiration.

Learn More

Two Ways to Participate:

Active Participant $1800
*Early Bird $1500
Observation Participant $1500
*Early Bird $1200

July 27 – 28, 2017
Sacramento, CA
Click here to Register

*November 8 – 9, 2017
San Diego, CA
Click here to Register

“Take advantage of every opportunity to practice your communication skills so that when important occasions arise, you will have the gift, the style, the sharpness, the clarity, and the emotions to affect other people.”
~~ Jim Rohn

 

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True Freedom

Today is Juneteenth… an official State holiday in Texas. Growing up in Texas, I can remember Juneteenth celebrations in the small, country town in which I was raised. There would definitely be BBQ, cold beer, and for some reason as tradition dictated… strawberry soda pop.

The story of Juneteenth is an interesting one. It celebrates the day that Major General Gordon Granger landed with his troops in Galveston on June 19, 1865 to finally enforce the Emancipation Proclamation in Texas which had been signed into law by President Lincoln in Washington, DC… two and a half years earlier. Seriously.

There are several stories about why there was such a delay for slaves to obtain their freedom in Texas. Often told is a story about a messenger who was murdered on his way to deliver the news that the slaves had been freed. Another theory is that slave owners banded together and deliberately withheld the news for economically selfish reasons and yet another is that federal troops actually waited for slave owners to reap the benefits of one more cotton harvest before enforcing the law.

Whatever the reason, the news sent shock waves emanating out from the docks in Galveston but was quickly followed by a long-awaited, collective jubilation. This huge celebration became the tradition we now call Juneteenth. This day is so revered by Texans, especially descendants of former slaves, that many still make a pilgrimage every year to Galveston to remember and honor this historic day.

As the Major General addressed the crowds in Galveston, these were his first few words…

“The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and free laborer.”

Reading this paragraph, I was struck by the sentence, “the connection existing between them becomes that between employer and free laborer.” It reminded me that today we are free even if we feel bound in our work or relationships. We always have choices- thank goodness. We have choices about who we work for and who works for us. And many, many people sacrificed to make sure that this was and still is the case. I think it’s a disgrace to blame anyone else for our choice to stay in a job or keep someone on your team when it is not a good fit, and I try never to allow fear to steer my decision if I know it’s a bad fit.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve worked in plenty of jobs where I was unhappy and knew it was not my final stop because there was nothing else available, and I had children to feed. But freedom is not just in the decision to leave but also in taking responsibility for the decision to stay and owning it 100% until you can make a different choice.

Great self-leaders know this is an important mindset not only for themselves but also to assist others in their life. We have almost daily opportunities to show people who blame, complain, and gossip that there is a much more empowered platform from which to operate. Gently steering the conversation to what might be possible is a great way to improve the culture in your team at work and in your family and circle of friends.

Today and this week, celebrate Juneteenth and all it stands for. Take a stand for living a life of empowerment and always operating “at choice.” Stop blaming anyone else for your state of employment, happiness, fitness, or any other part of your life that you don’t like. Gently and kindly help others to look at what’s possible instead of what’s not and to step into their future by owning their choices. This is how great teams support one another… not by agreeing about what’s wrong but agreeing what could be right or made right.

Oh, and when you’re celebrating Juneteenth… don’t forget the Texas BBQ and some ice-cold strawberry soda!

Become a ROARING Lioness Speaker!
Craft speeches and stories that Illuminate, Educate, and Captivate!
_______________________________________________

The Lioness Principle™
INSPIRATIONAL SPEAKER’S WORKSHOP

Great speeches illuminate great ideas, creating breakthrough moments for an audience. Well-told stories “prime the emotional pump” of your audience or team to hear your message and create unforgettable moments of clarity and inspiration.

Learn More

Two Ways to Participate:

Active Participant $1800
*Early Bird $1500
Observation Participant $1500
*Early Bird $1200

July 27 – 28, 2017
Sacramento, CA
Click here to Register

*November 8 – 9, 2017
San Diego, CA
Click here to Register

 

“The secret to happiness is freedom… And the secret to freedom is courage.”
~~ Thucydides

 

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