Seasonal Greetings …


Turkey by Kakisky - Morguefile.com… and this is the season of Thanksgiving in America.

Tomorrow in the United States, we gather together to give thanks for freedoms enjoyed, to share fellowship with family and friends, enjoy food and drink, relax in safety and relative comfort, enjoying whatever version of the American Dream we each are working on.

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, as we say …

Interesting that while we do so, many of us are also engaging in intense discussions about whether to allow others the opportunity to enjoy those same things:   the chance to live in freedom, to be fed, clothed, and sheltered, to be happy, to enjoy life, and all that stuff.

The word “Thanksgiving” is a compound word, with two distinct but very connected parts:  “Thanks” and “Giving“.

THANKS …

…Gratitude or a sense of positive regard for what we have, rather than the manic pursuit of what we do not have, which will begin on either Thursday afternoon, Thursday evening, or Friday morning for many. Continue reading

“The Girl In The Hallway” via Jamie DeWolf and Snap Judgment LIVE


Not easy to listen to, but impossible to get away from this riveting testimony to opportunity lost and how we all might do better going into the future:

The Girl In The Hallway / Jamie DeWolf, Snap Judgment LIVE – YouTube http://ow.ly/BIJoU

You can tell when passion is driving the words.  This is one powerful statement and a very good example of how carefully chosen words, delivered with feeling, can move us.

YES, we are our brothers and our sisters keepers … nobody else can do the job of caring like we can … we just need to pay attention and risk a little bit.

About Alligators and Helping …


image“It’s easier to see the swamp needs draining when the alligators are chewing on someone else’s ass …”

Value can go hand in hand with perspective.  One person is often so enmeshed in their environment, in dealing with their challenges, in just getting through each day ... Perspective comes from others … trusted others who can view your situation with respect, concern, and objectivity.  

Therein lies the value of seeking help from others, whether you call them a consultant, a coach, a mentor, or a friend.

Here’s a little assignment for the coming week … after you wash the BBQ sauce off your face and out of your clothes:

Ask someone you trust how they see what is going on with you … ask for specific perceptions around a specific situation, and not “How’m I doing, buddy?”

 

Listen carefully and respectfully to what they say … ask for clarification as needed, but keep your objections to yourself … 

 

Thank the person sincerely for their insights  … continue to keep your objections and responses to yourself …

 

Repeat with several other trusted sources, including some who are not “on your side” … ask for perceptions about the same focus or situation …

 

Review the information received and note similarities that will emerge … look for overall patterns and repeated thoughts.

 

Reflect on these patterns and themes by considering how well or how poorly they mesh with what you want others to see in you … do this along in quietness and calm …

 

Choose a path forward to change your behavior based on what your honest reflections on the perceptions of others has shown you … figure out what you will do to get from where you are to where you want to be …

 

Trying to keep myself away from those nasty, sharp teeth by asking for help in the Heartland ….

John

Inspired by “The Power of Detachment” by Cranston Holden

 

Three Things About Those “First Impressions” …


Greeting“Love, friendship, and business opportunities all develop from good judgment, not just hastily formed opinions based on first impressions.”

 As leaders, we are often expected to make quick and accurate decisions, right?

Our world demands fast action and razor-sharp responses.   Leadership, sales, networking, and business in general have scads of pithy sayings which focus on the idea that you only have one shot to convince someone else to trust you.

I have often been told that my upcoming meeting with a Very Important Person was critical and they will decide whether I am worth spending any time or money on in an extremely short period of time which starts as soon as I show up … which does not leave me relaxed, confident, or at my best.

Hmmm …

… Have you ever thought someone was just beautiful, fun, neat, or some other type of “Cool” when you first met them, but later decided they were not quite all that?

In critical thinking, one of the things we talk about is the ability to separate the person from the idea.  This is like that, except you are not separating, but allowing your impression to go deeper and be formed by more than that first few seconds or minutes in that particular context when you were in that exact mood.

 

Do first impressions count?

Sure … sometimes a first impression is all the chance you have to set up a relationship with another person.

Are first impressions always correct?

Nope … sometimes they are completely inaccurate for any number of reasons.

 

As a matter of fact, I can name several women who have lived their lives with a fairly negative view of me, based on my first perception that they were beautiful and I was not worthy.  This translated into boorish behavior fueled by an extraordinary amount of alcohol.   Not a good combination … and it created a first impression of me that was impossible to alter. 

In business, we talk much of the time about business relationships, but then we tout the old and inaccurate sayings about first impressions. 

Here’s a few guidelines for creating perceptions based on good judgment, and not just first impressions:

Give It a Chance …

If time really is money, invest it with the same care and long-term view that you should be using with real money.  Time is a valuable resource and investing time in a relationship outweighs snap decisions with a limited amount of information to guide you. 

If you see consistent behavior over time, you have confirmed your initial thoughts.   If you are surprised by varied degrees of behavior, you have just been reminded that most of us are multi-dimensional.

Be slow to judge, rather than quick … what’s the rush?

Consider the Context … 

Think of behavior within a spectrum and not as a finite point or event.

Base your eventual perceptions on established behavior over time.  Look for the average and consider it in the context of the standard deviations.  In other words, pay attention to how the person acts most of the time and how far and how often they stray from their behavioral center.

For example, I am seldom at my peak performance from 1 PM to 3 PM each day … catch me early or catch me later and I will astound you.  Between 1 and 3, I resemble a Zombie.

After all, none of us are on our best game all the time.

Be Humble …

If you accept that none of us are perfect, this third aspect is easier to handle.   If you do believe in perfection, I have a very nice bridge on special for a cash offer …

Part of this is perspective … you are not the only participant in this dance.  After all, the other person is forming THEIR FIRST IMPRESSION OF YOU now as well.  Maybe judging everything in terms of “me” is not the ideal way to do.  The old “Do Unto Others As …” idea comes into play here. 

Remember, you are just two human beings trying to get through life and a rushed decision based on first impressions may just be the worst decision you ever make.

Trying to remember to give the other guy a reasonable chance in the Heartland ….

John

 

Guest Post: Lessons From China


Lessons-from-China_3dI am Beau Sides, the founder and president of Global Partners in Life, a non-profit organization that helps orphaned children, special needs orphans, and disadvantaged youth with educational, humanitarian, and medical needs in China. Since 2004, Global Partners in Life (GPiL) has been giving for the purpose of enabling young lives to prosper. As a businessman, teacher, humanitarian, and husband I enjoy making life better for those around me, and I enjoy people. My passion is to serve others, and doing so as the president of Global Partners in Life has been a mission and a joy.

 

Formerly, I served in the tech world successfully as a manager for IBM. As my interest in Chinese culture grew, I served on numerous teaching tours as an English language instructor at a Chinese university and other business and language schools in China and earned the title of teacher. In China, teacher is a lifelong title of honor which I will always appreciate and cherish.

There are many examples of how respectful students at the university in China were to me. When I would call the students names for attendance, they would have a unique way of raising their hands with an almost spiraling motion and say “present” not “here.” Also, if I asked a student a question, they would stand to answer my question, and they wouldn’t sit down until I told them to.

Our classes were about 2 hours long, so we had a ten minute break half way through the classes. One day a student didn’t return when class started, but I saw her standing outside the door. She was looking at me, so I motioned for her to come in, but she wouldn’t. I thought there may be a problem, so I went to the door to check on her. She was almost in tears and she was so apologetic for returning late, and she wouldn’t reenter the classroom until I assured her it was OK. After class she handed me a note apologizing again for being late, and she assured me it would never happen again.

It was interesting that the students called me teacher. I have learned that once you are a student’s teacher, you are always considered their teacher. It has been more than 10 years since I taught some students, and they still send me documents and papers to correct for them. I am blessed to communicate often with some of them, and I have even met some of their children!

About the Author

Beau Sides is the founder and president of Global Partners in Life, a non-profit organization that helps orphaned children, special needs orphans, and disadvantaged youth with educational, humanitarian and medical needs in China. He is also the author of Lessons from China (April 2014), a fictional story of a young woman who moves to China to teach English, only to discover that she has some lessons of her own to learn. Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Follow him on Twitter @beausides and visit his website – beausides.com.