Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Feelings are fragile things

Today I got my feelings hurt and I hurt someone elses all within a few minutes time... I have been thinking ever since how fragile feelings can be and why that is. I have a few random thoughts that I want to free write about and see if it helps me sort anything out! :)

Feelings usually seem to form around expectations. Expectations of how we think things should go, how people should act, what will take place at an event, what should be the reward for our actions, etc. When those expectations are not met we feel disappointed, mad, frustrated, injured, sad, and other negative emotions. When expectations are are exceeded we are elated, happy, ecstatic, and giddy. And when expectations come in on par with what we had planed we are simply satisfied... Have you ever been in a situation where you didn't have expectations? In all reality probably not. if you were going to a concert and said you didn't have any expectations you in all reality just have very low expectations. Thus if the concert is a bore then you still leave satisfied that you judged accurately. If the concert was amazing then you leave extremely pleased because your expectations were not hard to overcome....

This is an interesting concept to think about. If you have low expectations of other people is that a bad thing? If you truly don't have any expectations then people will never hurt you... However, what about the saying "treat a man like the man he ought to be and he will become that man"? Or what about self fulfilling prophecy? Would that encourage our society to be more beligerant and proper conduct would decompose?

Another thought I had was that maybe feelings and expectations are related to the grand daddy of sin's... Pride. Are failed expectations manifestations of pride in that we would have handled the situation differently and our wanting to be acknowledged for superiority? I often have felt like it was my duty to teach the offending party how I would have handled it... thinking that if everyone had half the sense I did then the world would be a great place! No doubt others have felt the same about my actions as they have felt the need to correct me. So when I get my feelings hurt is it really my pride and confidence that I think I would have handled something differently?

Even if neither of these theories hold water... it seems to me wise to learn to be humble enough to have expectations of people, events, and situations. But to recognize our own short-comings and choose to not be offended or hurt by other peoples actions. After this brain dump I have concluded that humility for me is the antidote for fragile feelings.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Power of a Child's Prayer

During church this last week I had an interesting truth revealed to me. The speaker recounted a story about his son. You see the couple had difficulties having children. After trying for their third child for 3 years they were very discouraged. One day their 5 year old son, sitting on his mothers lap, asked, “Mom, when will you have another baby?”

She smiled and replied, “When God allows me to.”

The young boy then asked, “Can we ask Heavenly Father about it?”

“Of course we can.” Thinking that they would include it in family prayers that evening she was surprised when he immediately bowed his head and started saying a silent prayer. A few moments later he lifted his head and told his mother that she would have a child when he was 7 years old. Just as he prophesied it came to pass.

The revelation here for me was one of humility and faith. You see God has counseled us to become as little children.

1. At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?
2. And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,
3. And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
4. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18: 1-4)
One of the most important characteristics of a child is their humility. Think about it… Children recognize their dependence on others. They know that they need to “ask” to “receive”. A child knows that without his parents help he is helpless. Thus a Child asks in faith and hope for those things which he or she needs.

Sometimes a parent will not give a child all of their want’s and whimsical requests. But surely when it comes to important matters a parent immediately responds to a child’s needs and desires.

9. And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
10. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
11. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?
12. Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?
13. If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give athe Holy Spirit to them that
ask him? (Luke 11:9-13)
Add to that James 1:3-5

3. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
4. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
5. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.

Imagine what our prayers would be like if we knew that we couldn’t do things alone… Images of Christ praying to the father flood my mind. I imagine him in the Garden of Gethsemane praying for strength and desire to fulfill the will of the Father. Imagine what it would mean to our relationship with God if we prayed to him with humility.

Truly a childs prayers have power because of the simple humility and faith with which they ask…

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Book that Changed My Life

Many years ago my mother tried to get me to read a book that she swore would change my life. The book was called "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie. From the sound of the title I automatically rejected her idea. "Mom! I have friends... I don't want to read a book about how loser kids can make friends and stop getting beat up!"

Anyway, probably 15 years later I ran across an audio book version. I was commuting a lot at the time and was sick of music so I bought it and started listening. Little did I know it was actually a business book! And that book CHANGED EVERY RELATIONSHIP I HAVE HAD SINCE! I mean it. Dating relationships, business relationships, social relationships, family relationships, and any other kind you can think of.

I have decided to read the book once per year for the rest of my life. All of my employees will be required to read it. I made a goal to influence 1000 people to read the book in my lifetime. So far I am at about 30. Because of this book I have learned to work through almost any issue and sell my ideas much more effectively.

If you have never read this book please buy a copy and read it. Has anyone else read the book? What was your favorite part of the book?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Ninety and Nine

Wow… I had a slap in the face today when I visited my blog and realized that I hadn’t posted since April! Then as I scrolled down the posts I read the one I wrote on new years about diligence! Haha. Apparently I didn’t have a high-enough priority to put diligence into my blogging. Since then I have had a lot of life changes. I fell in and out of love (in fact… I wonder if the blogging is correlated! Haha), quit my job, and am now in pursuit of deciding what I want to do for the next segment of my life’s journey.

But true to my last post I have started to brainstorm a book with modern day stories of instances when I have seen Christ’s Character manifest in the actions and lives of ordinary people trying to become like him. These people are not perfect but have moments of perfection when the Lord’s love shines through them. Here is one called:

The Ninety-and Nine

I slipped through the doors to the church just as the congregation began singing the opening hymn. A few muffled voices soon grew as the nearly one-hundred members of the congregation joined in. I slipped to the back of the chapel and took a seat by myself. It had been a rough week. I had moved to Arizona, away from family for a job. I didn’t have a lot of friends in the congregation and was feeling pretty sorry for myself. I had been very selfish lately looking out for “number one”. Today was especially bad. I was feeling guilty for how self centered I had been.

After a few minutes a girl whom I had recognized but did not know walked through the chapel doors and made her way to the front. She sat down by herself and began to settle in. I glanced up to see a young woman in the back, whom I had previously judged as extremely young and inexperienced in life. She was extremely beautiful and I misjudged her as someone who was probably caught up in being the pretty girl. She was probably being selfish like I was. But then my mind was opened.

She too had noticed Emerald walk in and sit down. Without hesitation she stood up from her pew and pushed her way to the isle. She walked confidently up to Emerald, sat down, and put her arm around her. She then whispered into her ear and they both got up and walked back to the young woman’s group of friends near the back. They made room for her there. Emeralds face was glowing.

My eyes filled with tears as I watched Christ’s reflection return with one of its sheep. Although Emerald was not a lost soul (heaven knows she is more Christ-like than I will ever be), I was reminded of Christ and his leaving his ninety and nine sheep to go after the one lost lamb. In that moment, I was shown what the Lord meant by Charity. This woman, went out of her way without even thinking about it to include someone in her circle of friends when to leave it alone would have been the easier task. I learned a lesson from her that day that I will never forget. I saw a perfect moment in an imperfect person. I saw what it meant to be a disciple of Christ.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

I like me best when I am with you... i want to see you again!

Lately I have been reviewing my life and the people that have come and gone.  I am awash with gratitude for relationships current past and future.  I have had many wonderful and edifying relationships over the years.  But there have been a few that have profoundly affected who I have become.  People that have made me want to say, "I like me best when I am with you. I want to see you again!"  

When I was in high-school I had a friend named Jeff.  He was probably one of the more popular guys in the whole school and had a magnetic personality.  At our school there was a courtyard with a pseudo-stage where the "cool" seniors always sat.  Jeff and I were accustomed to sitting there with our friends at lunch.  One day as we stood in the lunch line I noticed Jeff hung towards the back of the line.  

As everyone hustled to get their lunch and get to the bench I kept my eye on Jeff.  As he finished paying for his meal he walked over to the back corner of the lunch room.  There, sitting by himself, was a disabled boy in a wheelchair who had very limited and shaky motor skills.  He struggled to get his lunch into his mouth.  Jeff took a seat next to him and, with the table to themselves, they ate lunch together.  

Tears welled up in my eyes as I saw the character of Christ being reflected in my friend.  In that moment my life changed.  I awoke to a sense of my selfishness.  I knew that I wanted to be like that.  I wanted to see others before myself.  Jeff had no idea that anyone saw his act.  In fact, he tried to be very discreet. His heart was in the right place.  He made me "Want to be the best that I could be.... and I wanted to be around him more often!"

While I have fallen extremely short of this state of mind.  I find it inspiring to see those around me who just seem to live it.  It seems to be a part of who they are.  I am going to try to post more of these stories soon... they have changed me so I want to share them with those that are close to me.  Will you share any similar experiences with me?  They inspire me and I would love to hear them.  Send me an email at jake.randall@yahoo.com if you want to keep them private.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Sharing Your Heart is Part Timing... Part Art!

The greatest asset to me in my personal and professional life has been self-awareness.  It has also been my greatest weakness.  Sometimes I have it and other times I don’t.  Self-Awareness is defined as the ability to see recognize and control your emotions in highly stressful situations.  Many times we let the emotion push away logic.   Anyone who has ever been in a relationship or a heated argument understands this concept.  It is the fight or flight response.  Sometimes we fight back when it’s not in our best interest long term.  One of my favorite authors, Dale Carnegie once wrote, “You can catch more flies with a drop of honey than you can with a gallon of gall.”

I want to apply this theory of self awareness to dating.  We will not be talking about losing control in an argument but rather losing control in a dating situation.   Have you ever dated anyone who made you lose your cool factor?  I once had a crush on a girl in high school who took away my “filter” for shareing feelings that should be shared until a socially acceptable time.  It seemed like I just vomited out my feelings with no regard for how it would affect my chances with her or not.  And here is the worst part…. I knew it was happening as it spewed forth!

Okay so here is the story.  I had a crush on a girl named Jessica(Note: the names in this story have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved.  Ha ha I have always wanted to say that!)She was a cute little thing and all of my friends had a crush on her at one point or another.  We called her the ‘untouchable’ because she really didn’t seem like she was interested in dating anyone.  Jessica and I became good friends my Junior year and we shared an English class.  For our end of the year project we had to spend 25 hours doing something English related.  We had just finished a section on poetry and since I was into rap and hip-hop at the time I decided that I would write some poetry or do some rhymin’. 

So I wrote a bunch of cheesy poetry about things like Oreo’s, insects, and sports.  But some of my stuff was deeper.  For my final project I shared some of my lyrical miracles with the class.  Afterward, Jessica told me that she thought I was talented and asked me for a copy of my poems.  Like any enterprising young man interested in wooing a girl I gave her a copy. 

A few weeks went by and it was now in the early summer.  One night while running around the school track, I had this crazy idea that I should tell Jessica just how I felt about her.  My emotion kicked in and told my brain that it was worth it.  That logic didn’t apply in this situation. 

So I drove home and scrawled out the worst love poem you have ever read.  I mean it was terrible!  It compared her to a thief; a thief who had stolen my sleep, my thoughts, and my heart!  For some reason I thought that this would be a good thing to share with her.  We had never even been on a date.  Women always love it when people spring their feelings on them with no warning right? 

Anyway she had told me what time she would be coming home from a church campout so I knew that I could leave it on her porch.  So I grabbed some flowers out of my neighbor’s yard, jumped in my stick-shift minivan.  Destination….. drop zone.  I pulled into the cul-de-sac with my lights off and slunk up to the doorstep, dropped the poem and the flowers and tore off towards the car. 

Now it is important to note that I did not sign the poem…. But I might have written it in the same font and style as the other poems that she had.  It didn’t take Sherlock Holmes to figure out what was up.  Anyway I got about halfway home and my emotion finally subsided to a point that my logic kicked in and I realized what I had done.  I threw the van into low gear, pulled a u-turn and screeched the tires as I headed back towards her house.  I had to go back for it!  I realized for the first time that maybe sharing my feelings was a little premature!   She was a good friend and not interested in dating anyone, let alone me.

I sprinted to the front door only to find the flowers and poem missing.  I was too late.  I drove home ever so nervous.  I thought I would pretend that it never happened.  Pretending doesn’t make it so.  A week or so went by and we hadn’t talked.  Finally we made contact and I could tell that she knew… it was awkward so I fessed up.  I told her I was sorry and that I don’t know what got into me and asked if we could put it behind us and pretend that it never happened.  I also asked her to destroy the evidence. 

She told me we could put it behind us and that she had already thrown the note away. (Ouch!!!  That hurt but I was glad the evidence had been disposed of so it took off some of the sting).  Anyway, a year later, I went over to my friend Steve’s house and he mentioned that he had just come from Jessica’s house…. He had a sly grin on his face and started laughing as he blurted out, “I read your poem!”  She had kept it!  Although I don’t blame her on bit!  That is high powered blackmail material! It was too good not to share!  

Anyone else have some good stories to share?  I am thinking this would be a good idea for a book or a compilation of stories!  I would love to hear your stuff!  

Monday, February 9, 2009

Brain Vomiting

I am an office supply store Junky!  Something about buying new pens and new pads of paper increases my heart rate and motivates me.  I can't tell you how many leather bound journals and pens I have purchased....  This week I was convinced by one of my mentors to buy a nice fountain pen.  He wrote a book about how personal letters can make all the difference in business and in life.  So I bought one (I am embarrased to say how much it cost me!).  But In all honesty it has paid for itself already!

With my new fancy pen in hand, I decided to just let my thoughts spill out onto paper about a number of different subjects.  In some cases I just started writing and the rule was that I could not stop to think about what I was jotting down.  With this continual vomiting of ideas onto paper I ended up solving some of the problems I was having at work, found a great new marketing idea, and solved a personal problem that I have been struggling with.  

I have done this exercise a few times in my life but should probably do it more often.  Have you ever tried brainstorming on a computer screen?  It is difficult...because we don't think left to right in our heads all of the time.  Our mind works like a search engine and recalls information that sometimes appears unrelated on first glance.  If we let our concious mind filter our thoughts then we often hamper our creative problem solving ability.

Are you struggling with a problem or stuck in a rut.  Get a nice pen and a fresh sheet of paper and let your ideas pour out onto the page in the form of continuous writing, mind maps, pictures, random thoughts, etc.  You can organize your thoughts into usable information later.  But sometimes you need the creativity that comes with Chaos to find the problem.  

Does anyone have any good experiences or insights into this method of problem solving?  I would love to hear about them if you do.  

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Become a Better, More Valueable Human Being!

Okay everyone... I have not been so diligent at my blog these days.  Mostly because we have been trying to put together a marketing campaign at work that will eventually become part of our main website campaign (when the final version is created and edited).  

Many of you have been asking me where I work or what I am doing.  Well the answer is that I am working as the Director of Business Development for a company called iLearningGlobal.  And we help people become who they want to both professionally and personally by giving them access to the best training and education they can get online.  

We are a new company and only about 5 months old.  Our website is www.iLearningGlobal.tv.  We are attracting the highest caliber of people including CEO's, Entrepreneurs, as well as the ultimate calling.... the stay at home mom! Anyway, for those of you interested in personal development, sharpening your skills, and increasing your effectiveness as a human, you should check this out.  

I have completed the rough draft of our basic message.   And I would love to get some feedback from anyone who has the time to look at it.  If you want to see what I have been working on go to www.influencinglives.com.   

If you do check it out I would love to get some market feedback on it to see what questions in general people have.  Did it leave you confused in any point?  What were you feelings about it?  And what would you do to make it better?  If you wouldn't mind dropping me an email at jake.randall@yahoo.com or leaving a comment below I would appreciate it.  Let me know what you think....

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Spring Cleaning.... Shaking the cobwebs off my goals

Okay so I know its only January, but in AZ if feels like spring and my thoughts have turned to spring cleaning.  It is a great time of year to kick out all the crap in my life and make sure that my activities are getting me where I want to go.  In September, I wrote down my goals for the next year. I had 10 of them.  I have been carrying a laminated card with my handwritten goals scrawled out on it.  The intent was to read them every morning and night... I am not doing so great at that part but I am carrying them with me wherever I go.

This simple act of carrying them with me is enough to be a constant nag in my back pocket to stick to activities that are going to bring me closer to what I really want in life.  But sometimes life's little activites creep into your life and get your priorities slightly out of sync.  For example, I have been so busy with a campaign and brainstorming at work that I have let my work creep into my evening hours and bump out priorities that are important to me.  

Time to dejunk:  For one thing, I have convinced myself that I am too busy to cook my own food and that eating out is the logical choice to being more productive.  But that is counter to anotheer of my goals to be more healthy and lose weight.  

I once had a mentor that told me that he planned out his business day each morning by asking himself, "What is the activity that stands to make me the most money in the long run?"  And that is the activity that he does first even if it is the least favorite one.  Such a question is appropriate with any goal.  What is the number one activity you need to do today to bring you closer to your goals?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Story Telling

Everyone is a story teller...  I am not talking about the kind that captivates an audience or calls children to the storybook corner of the classroom.  Rather we tell stories to ourselves all day long.  This concept is not a new one but I have read several books lately that have shed some interesting light on the subject (if you are interested the books are "Crucial Conversations" and "Leadership and Self Deception").  

The idea is that we take in information, tell ourselves a story, and that story triggers emotions within us.  For example: one day when I was in SLC I went country dancing one night.  A slow song came on and the guys started rushing to ask the girls of their choice.  I wasn't super excited about anyone so I just kind of hung back.  I saw these two girls who were chatting.  One of them got asked to dance leaving the other stranded by herself.  She seemed like a nice girl but from the looks of it probaby didn't get asked to dance a whole lot.  The way she acted led me to believe that she would be delighted for me to ask her.  I actually had the audacity to think that I was doing her a favor by asking her to dance!

I strolled up to her and asked her if she would like to dance.... she looked at me for a second and then shook her head and said NO!!! ha ha I was floored..."Seriously?" I asked.  "Seriously," She responded.  I actually started clapping my hands and laughing as I walked away.

But here is the moral of the story.  I took in fact (she was standing alone, semi attractive, and shy). I told myself a story (she must be shy and probably doesnt get asked to dance and therefore would be thrilled to dance with me).  And then, because of the story I began to feel like I was charitable or kind or altruistic.  The point is.. that my story affected how I felt.  But boy was I wrong!!!!

Being aware of the stories you are telling yourself is half the battle of being able to challenge your own stories and make sure you act appropriately.  The greatest communication skill is the ability to see things from another's perspective.

Does anyone else have any experiences where they told themselves a story and felt one way. Only to find out that the story they told themselves was totally wrong?  

Thursday, January 1, 2009

My One-Word Pursuit for 2009

Today, along with billions of other people (think about that... BILLIONS!!!! that is a lot) are thinking about new years resolutions or making changes in our lives for the better. Think of the collective "good intentions" of billions of people!  And yet, most new years resolutions don't get written down, don't have determined committment, and probably will go unfulfilled this year.  

For more information about goal setting and it's importance please see my post blow called "Goal Setting... The Expirment."  

This year my goal is DILIGENCE.  Think about that for a minute..... diligence is defined by www.dictionary.com as
"constant and earnest effort to accomplish what is undertaken; persistent exertion of body or mind."

Most goals, I would venture to guess, go unfulfilled because of a lack of committment or diligence in acheiving them.  Diligence is not a mundane word for routine... it is a passionate word implying dogged determination and constant effort to make right choices.  

One of my mentors introduced me to the graphic at the beginning of this post.  This horizontal "Y" shape represents a choice.  Each day is a journey of choices and every little choice determines whether we are getting closer or further away from achieving our goals.  For example, lets say your goal is to lose weight... your first choice in the morning may be between hitting the snooze bar one more time for 9 more minutes of relaxation and getting up to work out.  If you get out of bed then you progress and get closer to the goal.  Your second choice could be a fatty McGriddle sandwich or a bowl of bran cereal for breakfast.  Assuming you chose to get up and work out but then chose to go to the Golden Arches for breakfast you have lost the ground you made this morning and digressed to be in the same situation in which you started the day.

Greatness often comes through diligent, passionate, and constant decision making!  Who want's to live thier own personal "Groundhog Day" with the same results over and over.  No matter what your goals are, make sure that you really want to achieve them.... If you ardently desire to achieve them then apply passionate decisionmaking every day to make sure you have made more productive decisions than unproductive ones.  In this game... Numbers Matter!

I am blown away at how few people, who say they want more out of life, don't put in a diligent or constant effort to attain it.  What goals do you have?  What daily decisions are you going to have to make to achieve your success?  Do you want to make more money?  How about the classic decision to surf the web a few extra minutes each day or use those minutes to make more another sales call.

I would love to hear any thoughts you have on this idea.  Also what other ways of looking at diligence do you have?  Please share them if you have them.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Interesting exercise: Know thyself! How do other's view you?

This summer I heard of an interesting exercise and have been looking for a good opportunity to try it out.  That opporunity came today on Christmas!  My family sat around the table and we decided to come up with three words that best describe each person.  This is an interesting exercise because many times we "tell ourselves stories" about who we are and who we want to be.  It is an interesting experience to see how the people who know you best would describe you.  The way we view the world is often called our "paradigm" or our "belief window."  and it affects the way we interact with ourselves and the world around us.  

Caution:  You should only do this if you can have an open mind and not take offense at what others say.  In fact, you should remain silent while the group debates what words to descibe you.

One by one we went around the circle and debated the top three traits of that person.  It was interesting to see what my family thought of me.  For example,  my sister thought one of the words should be teacher, because I am constantly learning from others and try to help others by sharing the things I learn.  I hadn't really felt like that was one of my most dominating characteristics...  

As a group we decided that my Mom was "emotional" (not in the crying sense but in the sense that emotions drove her behavior much more than logic).  Anyone who knows my mom knows that she is very passionate about a lot of things and definately gets into what she does.  My mom however, had a negative perception of the word "emotional" and was surprised at our observation.  You see, she didn't think people saw her that way... she eventually came to grips with the word "passionate" rather than emotional!  ha ha.  

Anyway, Here is a list of the Characteristics we came up with for each memeber in the family:

Brad (my dad): Patient, Integrity, Optimistic
Ruth (my mom): Entertainer, Organized, Emotional/Passionate
Me: Outgoing, Ambitious, Diligent
Amy: Organized, Opinionated, Extrovert
Kenzie: Emotional, Independent, Persistant
Seth: Reserved, Analytical, Strong-willed
Erica: Analytical, driven, diligent

You would be surprised how heated and eye-opening this was for a lot of us... We often have several "Me's."  Incluidng the me that I think I am, the me that others see, and the me that I aspire to be.  I would encourage everyone to try this experiment with someone they truly trust and who knows you well.  I would love to hear your experience if you do it or if you have do9ne it in the past!!!  please comment below or email me if you have an experience.  

Know thyself... you just might find out the person you think you are is different than the person you thought!  

Monday, December 15, 2008

Family Values

I went to dinner with a famous motivational speaker and corporate trainer named Jim Cathcart this evening.  I had a grand old time and spent the evening picking his brain about success and public speaking.  We had an interesting discussion about parenting and how those who put in the hard work up front find that their kids become easier to manage over the long run.  Jim gave himself a great compliment when he told me that his son was the type of guy that he would like to grow up to be one day! 

That lead us into a discussion about how important family is and that structure really does improve relationships.  He mentioned to me that when working on the Board for Junior Achievement, he put together an entire program for families based off of the Mormon Church's "family home evening" program.  He told me that he flew to SLC to learn about it and implemented an amazing program based on the same principles in the Junior Achievement curriculum.  

I thought this was interesting.... Structure can improve relationships?  Then I started thinking that relationships are based on communication.  And when there is a structured setting where communication flows freely among individuals those relationships grow deeper.  I am grateful for my parents and the structure that we had growing up that allowed me to learn a great deal from my parents. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Balancing yourself: Do more in less time!

All work and no play make Jake a dull boy!  This cliche term holds a lot of value for me and I often catch myself falling into the trap of an unbalanced life!  Lately I have been working my brains out and incorporating play less.  This is a classic trap that people fall into....Especially me.  Because we actually work much more efficiently when we have a balanced life!  I have a friend Kyle who is extremely good at balancing life.  He goes waterskiing once a month and has been doing so for 48 months in a row!  He also is an avid hunter and fisherman.  Sometimes I am baffled by the amount of play he gets done in a month... However, he is a very successful and busy guy who works like a horse and gets things done!  I admire his ability to work and play hard!  

I have noticed that the more time I put towards church activities, helping people, and taking time for myself to recreate, the more efficient I am.  There is a lot to be said about the efficiency one gains by taking time off.  An old study on memory and brain activity may have some application here:  Subjects were given a list of random syllables to memorize.  One group was to go through the list 60 times in one sitting and memorize as much as possible.  The other group was told to go over the list a total of 38 times but to spread it over the course of a couple of days. The end result was that those who had reviewed the list only 38 times could recall much more than those who had gone over it 60 times!  Maybe we are more efficient in spurts sometimes rather than in long hours!  Just some food for thought.

Does anyone have any feelings on this?  I would be interested to hear of any experiences or applications anyone has experienced.. please post!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Goal Setting....The experiment!

I read an interesting fact about goal setting recently.  A study was conducted at Harvard in 1979 and was published in a book called "What They Don't Teach You In The Harvard Business School."  In 1979, MBA graduates were asked "Have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?"  Only 3% of them had written goals and plans while 13% had goals that were not in writing.  the remaining 84% had no set goals.

Ten years later, now 1989, these people were interviewed a second time to see where they came out.  The 13% who had unwritten goals were on average earning 2x as much as the 84% with no goals.  A very surprising statistic in itself.  But the biggest surprise was that the 3% was earning, on average, 10x as much as the other 97% combined!  

I decided to put this to the test a couple of months ago.  (Obviously the test is ongoing and will not be finished for a number of years).  So I wrote my goals down on paper and took them to get laminated.... I now carry those goals with me everywhere I go!  It is very empowering to feel it in my back pocket when I sit down. It goes everywhere my wallet does.  Since I have them on me, I read them often, and they stay on the forefront of my mind; motivating me to do things to accomplish them!  I will give an update every year or so to see where I come in.  I set 10 goals down on paper using a combination of methods from "Think and Grow Rich" as well as Brian Tracy's 10 Goal Method.

Basically I wrote them out in present tense (i.e. "I earn $xxx,xxx per year)
Then added a definited date next to them (i.e. "I earn $xxx,xxx per year by xx/xx/xxxx")
Then I wrote a paragraph about what I was going to do to get there.  
I am trying to read them each morning and night (I am not perfect at it yet....).

Does anyone have some interesting experiences with goal setting that they would like to share?  I think this would be a fun experiment if some people raised their hands and said "I am in.... I want to make some goals and be part of this experiment."  If any of the people that read this blog (all three of you! ha ha jk) are interested we could conduct this little private experiment together and see what happens.  Contact me if you are interested.

To Be Great.... Surround Yourself With Greatness!

One of the interesting commonalities of successful people is the fact that successful people surround themselves with other successful people.  Andrew Carnegie, one of the richest men to ever live, attributed his entire fortune to surrounding himself with a group of great people who had common goals to change the Steel Industry!  Henry Ford surrounded himself with the likes of Thomas Edison, Harvey Firestone, and others.  In fact, Henry spend vacations with Edison annually. 

There is a certain power that comes from aligning yourself with certain types of people.... it is the old principle that if you put a hard to catch horse in the same field as a tame horse, most of the time you end up with two hard to catch horses.  We tend to take on many of the ambitions, habits, and power of those whom we associate ourselves with.  This does not mean we should only hang out with great people, but there is a certain power that comes when you ALIGN your goals and desires with other like-minded people.  

In certain times of my life I have associated myself with people whom I admired and it raised me to a new level of what I wanted to be.  Certain people just inspire me to become more!  I love that feeling!  I have also worked with individuals who were satisfied with mediocrity... And it was much harder to motivate myself to produce above quality work.  

I would love to hear any feedback from any of my readers (all two of you!!! ha ha).  What do you think of this principle... Have you ever experienced something like this?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Creative creatures killed by habit

We are very unique beings with enormous creative potential.  But we are also creatures of habit.  Have you ever left work, found yourself in your driveway at home, and realized that you couldn't remember much about the actual ride home?!  I know I have! 

We develop habits easily as humans and in many ways it is good for us!  A routine can ensure efficient use of time when performing activities that need to be done on a regular basis.  However, when it comes to creativity and problem solving, a routine may be holding us back from looking at things from another angle.  If I don't rearrange my furniture in my room at least once a quarter, I feel like my creative juices get drained! 

Sometimes, I will take my laptop to the other side of the office and work in a cubicle just to get a change of scenery.  Sometimes a simple change of location will heighten our senses.  This heightening increases our brain activity and allows us to see things on a different mental frequency. 

So if you are in a rut then change something up!  Rearrange your furniture, take a walk in the middle of your work day, do some research in the bathtub, change up your work-out schedule. 

There is a new theory in the physical training world called muscle confusion (see P90X).  The idea is that your body becomes accustomed to a particular workout overtime and it becomes less effective as time goes by.  The theory suggests that doing different workouts every time will keep your muscles guessing and you can get in shape/lose weight faster because your body doesn't get used to a stagnant workout.  Perhaps there is an application in our mental work-outs as well...

Just a reflection.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Girls burn their boats when they date... sort of.... (Dating and Viral Marketing)

When Cortez came to the America’s to conquer the Aztec Indians he knew that many had tried and failed.  He knew that his men would have to be extremely motivated to defeat the Aztecs.  So when they had unloaded their ships, he ordered them burnt; leaving no means for a retreat.  They had to either conquer or die.  No I am not suggesting in any sense that when women get in a relationship that they are stuck there and there is no going back.  But it is much more of a process for a woman to get back into the dating scene after a breakup than it is for a man. 

After a breakup, a man simply asks another girl out.  But in our culture, where girls typically don’t do the asking, they resort to spreading the word that they are single again through networks of friends and family.  This viral marketing can take awhile for quality guys to get the word.  Then once they are aware, many men feel like they have to “run into them” somehow before they can call; a cold call would feel to desperate.   So in addition to the word spreading the girl typically has to get out and mingle in the social scene.  

This has two side effects.  First is that girls are often (not always) a little more cautious when jumping into a relationship when there are several suitors because once she quits singlehood its tougher to get back into the swing of things.  Additionally, girls tend to put more of their heart and soul into making a relationship work once they have committed.  Maybe this is why some women stay in abusive relationships; starting over can be very difficult.  Men should understand that if they are taking out a girl that has several suitors that she may be interested but wants to take things a little slower at first because she doesn’t want to dig herself out of “in-a-relationship status” just yet.  She may legitimately be interested and may actually be more interested in you than she lets on.  Just be patient for a couple of weeks and see if you are the cream that rises to the top.

These two social protocols may be on their way out however with the advent of online social networks.  News, especially news of a personal nature, can spread instantly with a single “wall post” or “status update.”   It will be interesting to see if this shortens the trip back to singlehood for women.  I have a feeling that social networking will change the dating/marketing game forever.  It has changed the way we do business and how we market goods and services…. It will change dating relationships as well.

This is my first blog about dating and viral marketing.... Love to hear your thoughts and comments.  Do you agree? disagree? What insight can you share?  Please leave your thoughts if you have any.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Sales, Customer Service, Marketing, Branding, and Dating???

Last night i had an interesting conversation about dating with my family.  I have been in the dating game for quite awhile now and have seen a lot of successes and disappointments. I have a lot of insights into how dating relates to marketing, sales, customer service, and branding.  I have decided to write a small book about this subject and will be posting the book on this blog when it is finished.  I might even use this blog as a sounding board for some of excerps and would very much appreciate any input and stories relating to any content that I post!  So stay tuned... I think it will be interesting!