Five Stories: Five Lessons

I came across these five stories and I thought they had some lessons we need to be reminded of in how we treat people and how we want to be treated in return. I hope you enjoy the moral of the stories.

First Lesson – Cleaning Man:

During my second month of university, our professor gave us a pop quiz I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions until I read the last one: “What is the first name of the man who cleans the school?” Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning man several times. He was tall, dark-haired and in his 50’s, but how would I know his name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our final mark. “Absolutely,” said the professor. “In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say “hello.”

I’ve never forgotten that lesson. I also learned his name was Michael.

Second – Lesson – Pickup in the Rain

One night, at 11:30 P.M., an older African American Woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rain storm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride. Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car. A young white man stopped to help her, generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960’s. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxicab. She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his address and thanked him. Seven days went by and a knock came on the man’s door. To his surprise, a giant console color TV was delivered to his home. A special note was attached. It read: “Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes, but also my spirits. Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband’s’ bedside just before he passed away… God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others.”


Mrs. Nat King Cole.

Third Lesson – Always Remember Those who Serve

In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10-year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him. “How much is an ice cream sundae?” he asked. “Fifty cents,” replied the waitress. The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied the coins in it. “Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?” he inquired. By now more people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing impatient. “Thirty-five cents,” she brusquely replied. The little boy again counted his coins. “I’ll have the plain ice cream,” he said. The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and left. When the waitress came back, she began to cry as she wiped down the table. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies. You see, he couldn’t have the sundae, because he had to have enough left to leave her a tip.

Fourth Lesson – The Obstacle in Our Path

In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the King’s’ wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the King for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way. Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the King indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many of us never understand! Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition.

Fifth Lesson – Giving When it Counts

Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz, who was suffering from a rare & serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, “Yes I’ll do it if it will save her.” As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the colour returning to her cheek. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded. He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, “Will I start to die right away”. Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her.

Now you have choices.

Most importantly…. “Work like you don’t need the money, love like you’ve never been hurt, and dance like you do when nobody’s watching.”

I usually leave inspirational thoughts on my voice mail when you call my office. Or if you have attended my workshop I speak about Guiding Principles for Leaders. So in this newsletter I would like to leave with some written inspirations.

“You become what you think about the most, and you also attract what you think about the most. See yourself living in abundance or receiving what you are thinking, and your mind helps you attract that life or that item.”

“Most people are thinking about what they don’t want, and wondering why it shows up over and over again. Whether you believe it or not if you continue to think about the negative parts of your life, the negative thoughts will continue to bring to you the negative aspects of your life. Your life can change by simply changing your thoughts to what you don’t want, to what you do want.” You have 24 hours in your day, how you choose to think all day is your choice. So spend your time thinking about what you want.”

“You are a magnet; your thoughts are a magnet, so the magnet draws to you what the magnet is focused on. You are the masterpiece of your own life you are the Michelangelo of your life; the David you are sculpting is you, you’re creating your masterpiece by your thoughts.”

So think great thoughts!.

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The House with a 1000 Mirrors

In doing some research for this edition and came across this Japanese folk tale:

Long ago in a small, far away village, there was a place known as the House of 1000 Mirrors. A small, happy little dog learned of this place and decided to visit. When he arrived, he bounced happily up the stairs to the doorway of the house. He looked through the doorway with his ears lifted high and his tail wagging as fast as it could. To his great surprise, he found himself staring at 1000 other happy little dogs with their tails wagging just as fast as his. He smiled a great smile, and was answered with 1000 great smiles just as warm and friendly. As he left the house, he thought to himself, “This is a wonderful place. I will come back and visit it often.”

In this same village, another little dog, who was not quite as happy as the first one, decided to visit the house. He slowly climbed the stairs and hung his head low as he looked into the door. When he saw the 1000 unfriendly looking dogs staring back at him, he growled at them and was horrified to see 1000 little dogs growling back at him. As he left, he thought to himself, “That is a horrible place, and I will never go back there again.”

All the faces in the world are mirrors. What kind of reflections do you see in the faces of the people you meet?

I often speak to this topic during my workshops. We all have 24 hours in the day, how we choose to spend our 24 hours is completely our own decision and choice. You cannot give me three hours I cannot hold extra hours for you on the weekend. So if you spend your full 24 hours thinking and reflecting on all the things you do not want, you will have no time to think about the things you want. What is interesting is that it takes just as much energy to create the thought of what we do not want as it does to the thoughts of what we want. Also, we are unable to hold both thoughts in our mind at the same time.

We do not process the word “don’t”. Let me give you an example, I use a metaphor in my training sessions to illustrate this point. I ask the participants not to think about a blue tree. I specifically ask them not to think about a blue tree with a monkey sitting on one of the branches wearing a red hat. I repeat this instruction. I pause, and then smiling ask them what they were thinking about. Most nod that they were indeed thinking of a blue tree with a monkey with a red hat. Then, I ask them to think about a lush green tree – a green tree with beautiful yellow flowers. Asked again what they are thinking they agree this time it was a lush green tree with beautiful flowers. The exercise illustrates that if we spend our time thinking about what we don’t want (the blue tree), we haven’t put our energy into what we do want (the green tree).

So as we come to the end of the year, please take some think to think about what you want for the next year. You will be amazed as you start to think of what you want you will to begin to see it happen around you. People often say, “Oh you are just lucky” or “so positive” actually it is where we put our energy, invest our time, think of ourselves that gives us back on our investments.

So purposefully start to see yourself in a positive way, if you start to see the angry faces looking back, close your eyes, turn around and start again seeing the smiling faces. It sounds easy because it is.

Set your goals, dreams and thoughts today for next year and see what a difference focusing on what you want makes for you. Please share when it happens..

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The Power of Our Words

Did you know that our words are one of the most powerful forces we possess. Words have the ability to build people up, give them pleasure, or destroy them. Sometimes we say words not realizing the impact they may have on others. If you look at the words below you will understand:

You’re so smart.                                            You’re a dim-wit.
You can do anything.                                    You can’t do anything.
You’re talented.                                             You’re hopeless.
I love you.                                                       I don’t love you anymore.

You can easily feel the strength and power of the words on the left, and feel the hurt and sting of those opposite—especially if you’ve heard them before.

Yet interestingly, it is the unspoken words that have the most underestimated power. Recently, I was visiting someone in the hospital. As I came around the corner, I heard the patient in the bed speaking to the nurse who was tending to his needs. He was talking about his daughter and how proud he was of her. He was telling the nurse that she had recently received her diploma for her PhD after seven years of hard work. She was the only person he knew who had travelled to the North Pole to work. She had also recently written a book, although he didn’t understand it; it was on his shelf at home. He added that she was the president of her own company and was extremely busy. He wanted to tell her and anyone else in the hospital how proud he was of his daughter.

As I came around the corner to visit my dad, I realized, he was talking about me to the nurse. He looked up a bit confused and said “there she is my daughter”. I had tears in my eyes because for all the years that I was growing up my dad rarely told me he was proud of my accomplishments and hard work. Yet this day while he was in his later years and in the hospital I am hearing his words now. He has come home from the hospital and now is telling all his care givers the same story. My mother told me he has repeated himself several times over the last few days. I was thinking of hiring him as my promotional agent.
As a note, I was not at the North Pole but in Resolute Bay, which when I showed him on the map he said “the North Pole?” and the story has stayed that way.

This story took some meaning when I realized that we often do not say the things we want to those we love and admire. Often I hear the regret of people whose loved ones have passed on or left and they wished they had told them that: they cared about them, loved them, were proud of them, missed them or were sorry.

Yet often the words we do use are hurtful and wrong.

Don’t ever underestimate the power of our words as positive feedback. We are often quick to point out to someone when they have made a mistake. Sometimes we forget to acknowledge them when they do something right. Giving positive feedback can be a powerful tool for employee motivation, relationship building and team dynamics.

F. John Reh, Management Guide, as some tips on how to use it most effectively.

Do it now. Positive feedback is too valuable to let slide. Say something right away.

Make it public. While negative feedback should be given privately, positive feedback should be given publicly. Do it in front of as large a group as appropriate.

Be specific. Don’t just say “Good job.” Instead, say something like, “That new procedure you developed for routing service calls has really improved our customer satisfaction. Thanks for coming up with it.”

Make a big deal out of it. You don’t want to assemble the entire company every time you give positive feedback, but do as much ceremony as the action warrants.

Consider the receiver. It is essential to consider the feeling of the person receiving the recognition. For a terribly shy person, thanking them in front of their workgroup is  probably most appropriate. For another person, you might hang a banner, balloons, and streamers in the department area.

Do it often. Don’t wait for the big successes. Celebrate the small ones too.

Do it evenly. Big successes need big recognition; small successes need smaller recognition. If you throw a party for every small success, you diminish its effect for a big success.

Be sincere. Don’t praise someone for coming in on time. Don’t congratulate someone on just doing their job. People will see right through you. Really mean it when you give  positive feedback.

We each have the responsibility to the people we care about, our employees and colleagues. Our words, our confirmation and our verification may and can change the lives of the people around us. So tell them today, “That was a great job, I am proud of you. That was truly remarkable, and I would like to thank you”.

Remember: The words we use do make a difference..

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OK So What Compels You to be the Best?

By having a positive set of beliefs that you allow to become your foundation, you may start to enjoy the positive impact that your behaviour will have on others. These beliefs will also have a deep affect on your state of mind and your personal well being. Author of the publication Positive Thinking Your Key to Success; Remez Sasson writes that positive thinking brings inner peace, success, improved relationships, improved health, peace and fulfillment. It also helps the daily affairs of life go more smoothly, and creates energy that looks brighter and more promising.

Positive thinking is infectious. People around you select your mental frame of mind and are affected as a result. Imagine happiness, excellent health and achievement and you will cause people to like you and want to assist you, because they like the feelings that a positive mind releases.

So to have positive thoughts create your outcomes, you want to develop a positive attitude toward life, anticipate a successful conclusion of anything you do, also consider any needed actions to guarantee your success.

Effective positive thinking can create outcomes needs to be more than saying some positive expressions, or telling yourself that everything is going to be okay. It has to be your foremost mental attitude. It is not enough to think positively for a few moments, and then allowing uncertainties and disbelief and negative thoughts to cross your mind. Are you willing to modify the way you think? Are you willing to build a mental picture that can positively affect you, your surroundings and the people around you?

Positive thinking is a mental attitude that allows us to image thoughts, words and images that are conducive to growth, expansion and accomplishment. It is a mental attitude that anticipates optimistic results. A positive mind expects happiness, bliss, well being and a winning outcome of every circumstance and deed. Whatever the mind expects, it finds.

Not every person agrees with or believes in positive thinking. Some feel the subject as just gibberish, and others make fun of anyone who believe and practice it. Those people who have a less easy time with the concept may not have the capacity to know how to get the best results from thinking positively.

We often hear people say: “Just think positive!” to someone who feeling concerned or worried. Most people do not take these words seriously, because they are sure of their intent or meaning. Some do not deem them as practical or useful. How often have you stopped to think what the power of positive thinking actually means to you?

While being sceptical can be a healthy way to avoid getting taken advantage of, being cynical and distrustful assuming the worst, can have serious negative consequences on your life. By looking only at the less tangible aspects of any state may cause you to fail to detect opportunities, disregard problems that need to be resolved, and fail to take action that would otherwise enhance your relationships and quality of life.

Optimists search for the light at the end the tunnel. If you have always had a cynical and gloomy worldview, it can be less easy to change your focus, but it is possible to begin seeing the glass as half full, not half empty. Feelings of appreciation for what you have will make the process flow easier because you are giving thanks for the things that you have. This will allow you to put yourself in a position to accept new ideas and thoughts in your life. By being thankful in what we have the positive feeling will create a center of attention more positive for you.

The secret to positive thinking is the feelings connected with being appreciative. It is not the language you use but the feelings behind the thoughts. You could be thankful for almost ‘anything’. Focus on something that brings you contentment and permit yourself a good emotion of absolute gratitude. The next time you are eating a delectable meal, take pleasure in it and flow in that positive feeling of thankfulness.

When you think you cannot think positively, these tips may get the power of positive thinking for you:

  • At all times use only positive words while thinking and speaking. Use words such as, ‘I can do it’, ‘I am able’, ‘it is doable, ‘I know it can be done’, etc.
  • Allow into your consciousness only feelings of joy, strength and success.
  • Try not to notice and learn to ignore negative thoughts. Stop thinking these thoughts, and replace them with productive cheerful thoughts.
  • Always try to visualize clearly in your mind successful outcomes to your projects and goals. If you imagine with concentration and conviction, you will be amazed at the outcomes.
  • Read at least one page of inspirational book every day.
  • Spend less time listening to the news and reading the newspapers instead watch movies that make you laugh.
  • Hang around people who think positively.
  • Walk and sit tall, with a straight back. This will build up your self-confidence and inner strength.
  • Walk, swim or engage in some other physical activity. This helps to develop a more positive attitude.
  • Think positive thoughts. Think of what you want as opposed to what you do not want. The same energy goes into both. The results are very different. If we think more of what we want we get that. If on the other hand you think about what you do not want you get that too.

You decide.


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Seize Responsibility for Yourself, Your Beliefs and Attitudes

A number of years ago when my husband Kurt and I were in Thailand on an elephant safari we had the exceptional privilege of meeting a baby elephant who was only 10 days old. She was happily running lose beside her mother who was watching carefully over her curious baby. She would come up to us put her trunk in our pockets then run back to her mother. Only to repeat her adventure again within a few minutes. We were able to touch her and play with her under her mother’s watchful eye. What I found amazing was that the mother elephant only had a short small rope tied to her front ankle.

I was amazed how only a small rope tied to her front ankle with no chains or fences or cages was holding such a huge creature. It was evident that the elephant could, at any time, break away from her tie but for some reason didn’t. I saw her keeper close by and asked him why this beautiful, superb animal just stood there and was not attempted to break away from her bond.

He explained, that when elephants are very young and much smaller they use the same size rope to tie them and, at that age, it is adequate to hold them. As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot get away. They believe the rope can still keep them, so they do not try to break free. I was astounded. These animals could at any time break free from their bonds but because they believed, they could not, they made no attempts and remained right where they were.

Thinking of this story, I started to reflect on how like the elephants many of us go through life hanging onto an attitude or belief that we cannot do something, merely because we failed doing it at a former time.

How many of us are holding back because of a previous outdated belief that no longer serves us? Have you passed up trying something new because of a limiting belief? On the other hand, how many times do you feel you were being held back by someone else’s limiting beliefs? I would like to encourage you to challenge your own limiting beliefs by questioning them. If you start to question a belief, you routinely weaken it. The more you query your limiting beliefs, the more they are weakened. The more you begin to belief that you are not able to accomplish your dream or challenge the less likely you are to achieve it. It is like falling off the bike and not getting back on it immediately.

Once you have watered down your old belief, begin to replace it with a fresh, empowering one. Search for situations to sustain your ‘new and improved’ beliefs, which you want to develop and nurture. Seek out friends and colleagues who may have accomplished what you want to achieve, find out what they did, and copy their behaviour. Keep in mind there were times when in your past you were successful and use that experience to push yourself forward. Envision and create in your mind your successes. See yourself clearly in your mind’s eye achieving your goals successfully. Repeat to yourself that you are succeeding. Write down your affirmations and review them daily. In addition, take the appropriate action to move forward with your new goal. Remember to take your foot off the break while you are driving.

You have heard that your unconscious mind does not know the difference between real and make-believe. Try this and see what happens. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Michael Losier in the book The Law of Attraction writes that whatever you believe, with conviction, you can achieve. He adds that we attract into our life whatever we give our attention, energy and focus to whether it is positive or negative.

Dr. Raymond Holliwell, Working with the Law, say, “Never expect anything you do not want, and never desire a thing you do not expect. When you expect something you do not want, you attract the undesirable, and when you desire a thing that is not expected, you simply dissipate valuable mental force. On the other hand, when you constantly expect that which you persistently desire, your ability to attract becomes irresistible. The mind is a magnet and attracts whatever corresponds to its ruling state.”

So, do not be like the poor elephant and go through your days trapped in place or situation because of a limiting belief or negative attitude you developed some years ago. Jim Donovan author of Handbook to a Happier Life and This is Your Life, Not a Dress Rehearsal says, “Take charge of your life now and live it to the fullest because you deserve the best.”

“Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.” Mark Twain..

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Everything You Need to Know About How Your Brain Creates Negative Emotions and How to Avoid Them

It is now acceptable in many circles to have a success coach or personal trainer who will assist you in breaking through whatever the issues are, regardless of the context (therapy, business, personal growth or education).

There has been scientific proof that the thought is stored in the body. ANY thought. (“Quantum Healing” by Dr. Deepak Chopra) A strong thought with an unresolved negative emotion such as anger, sadness, guilt, fear or anxiety will repress the memory with the intensity of the emotion. These repressed negative emotions being trapped in the body, in many cases can block the flow of communication through the body’s neurological network pathways.

It is already a common knowledge that we got inside of us, hardwired, as a failsafe device, the “flight or fight” response, which protects us from danger and keeps us safe. What you may not be aware of is that fear is an outcome, a secondary emotion that has little to do with our safety. So let me ask you a question: almost everybody knows that a positive thinking is preferred to dwelling in negativity. Nevertheless, do you know why?

You have experienced in your past a full range of emotions including fear, sadness, anger, anxiety. Now, if 10years later you are still angry because of something that happened in the past, that is a waste of time, don’t you think

There is not much you can do about something that happened 10 years ago, and still people keep hanging onto their negative emotions from the past, carrying them into the future. And it does not help … neither the past, nor the future… You may have felt depressed, angry, or in hopelessness, once, when there was nothing apparently happening in your life that should make you feel like that. These emotions come from the past set off by something that passed unnoticed. No wonder, so many of us do not have the happy, positive, peaceful, abundant future that we desire.

Unresolved negative emotions produce physical and psychological damage, affecting our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being. They become distorted in the form of self-dislike, self-hatred, not feeling appropriate or good enough. Our self-worth becomes insecure. As a result, we begin looking outside ourselves for confirmation that we are OK.

The reason most people cannot perform at their maximum ability comes from being concerned about what others think of them. They are looking “outside” to confirm that what they are saying and doing is right and they fear those people will reject what they say. Put the same people in an empty room or among their trusted family and friends and they would perform beautifully.

How many of us are in the position to say, “It doesn’t matter what people think of me and what they say. They have a right to think what they like.” Of course, it is reasonable to listen to all views and information, meanwhile accepting that they have every right to disagree. But, when free of fear and other negative emotions and limiting beliefs, you know that what really matters is what you think of you, then life starts really being good.

Thoughts and emotions are in fact patterns of energy that flow from us “outside” in the world. Like anything else, emotions such as fear, guilt, and resentment, are energy, too. These deep-seated and often long-held emotions act like black bags of energy, which, if not dealt with and released, cause dis-eases in our bodies such as cancer and heart problems.

They block or diminish the natural, powerful, flow of intuitive energies, as they pass through our bodies. You might see these black bags of energy symbolically like dams or big rocks in a fast flowing river, slowing down the flow and causing discord as whirlpools are created.

When we lack positive emotions and hold instead on fear, anger, sadness and/or guilt, it keeps us back from reconnecting with our true, whole, selves. Yet, when we look from a different perspective at what makes us feel fearful or guilty, it all seems so ridiculous. Fear, guilt, and resentment are not emotions we have to feel. We can let go of them and feel instead love, joy and happiness.

To be without fear is, however, not to be without awareness. Some people say that fear is essential for survival because it is what prevents us from walking across the street in front of a car or jumping into a dangerous situation. However, fear and awareness are not the same. You do not have to be fearful to know the consequences of something and avoid them. In fact, fear is often the cause of creating painful events, not the protection from them.

The situation is similar with all the other negative emotions above mentioned. While it is all right to feel sad when appropriate, it is harmful to feel the same sadness, concerning the same event, ten years later. In fact, it is terribly destructive. Again, when you examine what makes us act that way, it is programmed ‘values’, mostly from generations long passed or in some cases social judgment on the morals. When you look at what makes people feel emotional pain, many times it is largely the result of programming. It has little to do with what is right or wrong and everything to do with what that society has been programmed to perceive as right or wrong over the years.

There is so much that society demands we should feel guilty about. We look back at the way we treated our parents. We feel guilty and sad if we did not fulfill in our lives what our parents wanted us to achieve. We think we have let them down. We feel sometimes depressed at the way, perhaps, we treated our own children or other loved ones. You name it and someone, somewhere, will feel some form of negative emotion about it. We really would be zombies if we were incapable of feeling emotions. In fact, negative emotions can be good. They show us something is not in order. Holding onto them is pointless! When we let go, we really begin thinking positively and break the patterns of the past.

When you understand that you are unique and special, and you do not need any approval from somebody else to be yourself, when you let go of all the emotional demand you are carrying with you from your past, then and only then you will be able to create the future that you so much desire.

You are the sum total of all your experiences and conscious and unconscious decisions, with different things to offer and different things to learn. If you allow negative emotions and other limiting beliefs from the past to make you conform to other’s life patterns and value systems, you give away the ability forever to achieving your dreams. So, make a special effort to take care of yourself and those unproductive thoughts today..

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Whatever You Consistently Focus Your Attention On, It Grows!

If we are what we eat, as the old saying goes, we may also be what we think. Or how we think, as well as how much we think. Recently in my studies I have come across the statements, “What you focus on grows, what you think about expands and what you dwell on determines your destiny.” That would mean that we are 100% responsible for our thinking.

You are not responsible for everything that happens to you, but you are responsible for how you react to what does happen to you. The principle that, “Life acts. You react.” means that your reactions are under your control. In any life situation, you are always responsible for at least one thing – your attitude towards the situation in which you find yourself. Your attitude is your response to what life hands you. You can have either a more positive or a more negative attitude. It is under your power and can be changed. With the right attitude, you can be an adaptable and flexible person.

If you change your thinking then your life will improve. But, what thoughts do you change? Your bothersome thoughts about a position can simply be found in your self-talk. Self-talk is that inner running conversation you have with yourself. It is what you tell yourself about life’s situations.

If a person focuses on their strong points, achievements, and accomplishments, the world opens up to many astonishing opportunities. This positive outlook reveals it self in the form of more energy, increased creativeness and a stronger sense of competence. We start to say, “Bring it on, I can handle it, I am able!” On the other hand, when you focus on your weak points and disappointments, the world becomes terrible place of “whoa” and anguish. You may start to believe that you cannot succeed so you stop trying, which may cause mental distress. These anxious thoughts fill one’s day with trepidation and drudgery, and may weigh a person down with a sense of bleakness.

To modify your self-talk or attitude you must change that inner conversation or dialogue you are having. To stop it you must catch it in action. So, pay attention to yourself. You must connect to and listen for that inner voice whenever possible.

All of us have a voice that talks to us. You may recognize it as that voice that starts as soon as you wake up. Every now and then, it may wait until you look in the mirror before it actually talks to you. It may say, “You sure are good looking.” or “What a wonderful person you are.” Alternatively, “You are going to have a great day.” It might even say,“You are in great shape and a perfect size and your hair looks fantastic.” If you are not familiar with this voice then yours may be speaking to you in a different way. You might be hearing, “You look like crap today” or “You sure have put on the pounds.” “Having a bad hair day?” “It’s is a terrible day! Just go back to bed.” This voice, the critical one, is one of the major reasons we have so many problems. It can destroy resiliency by opening the floodgates and draining your energy.

You have probably heard or read about this before and are wondering at this point so what is new about this…how do I change or stop this dialogue. Let’s explore….

The next time that you find yourself feeling “bad” do not start asking, “Who did this to me?” Do not start looking around for the outer cause of your problems. What you should do is to ask yourself, “What have I been thinking?”“What have I been telling my self?” You may find that your inner self-talk has put you deep into emotional distress.

Whenever life acts, we respond. If you win the lottery, you might be happy. If you lose your job, you may be angry. Whatever your reaction it will depend upon your attitude. Fortunately, we can control our attitudes.

In determining how we face life, it is our attitude that is the key.

Paying attention to what you think is a practice called self-observation. It means that you embrace that inner voice in your head as it begins to speak to you. Paying attention to what is it saying. Is it helpful or not? Learning to recognize that judgmental voice.

When you try this process of self-observation, you may likely hear that voice claiming, “Well, you did it again!” You will catch yourself after the fact. You will catch that inner voice after it has spoken and you are already in the midst of that damaging reaction. You may have been severely condemning yourself for a blunder. You may have been listening to how excessively “unpleasant” an annoying but innocent situation was.

Whenever you hear that voice saying, “Well, you did it again!” You should applaud yourself. You have made a lot of progress because always in the past you would have listened to that negative inner dialogue and never even know that you did it. You would think that it was normal. You need to learn to catch yourself after the act.

By observing the inner voice soon may say, “Here you are doing it again.” So, go ahead and do it. Improvement has been made because you now find yourself in the act but are not yet able to stop it. Hence, when you hear the voice saying, “Well, you are about to do it again.” Once again, you continue with the thinking and censure yourself for the mistake. You are becoming more mindful and catching yourself in the act earlier each time.

Ultimately, you will hear, “Pay attention. You are about to do it again.” At this point, you choose not to proceed. You do not begin the negative dialogue but deliberately begin a positive one. You hear yourself saying, “Mistakes are good. You can learn from this slip-up. Try again and see what happens.” You are now getting out of the negative pattern and consciously influential your response to life events.

When you listen to your inner dialogue and choose the more positive and realistic attitude you become a stronger person.

Remember: Attitude is the key to resiliency.

It is easier to change the way you think than your emotions..

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Rapport: Making a First Impression and Keeping It

To me rapport is about connection. It is an energetic level. OK, what is energy! I know that most people have the experience of thinking about someone and picking up the phone to dial only to have them already on the phone because they were already there but your phone never rang. People make connections on all levels other than those that we are aware. These connections can be just as strong whether someone is standing next to you whether they are on the other side of the world.

It takes very little time for people to form an impression of someone they have just met, and that impression tends to same with you. A study by Harvard University psychologists found that the opinion students formed toward new teachers in just two seconds was essentially the same as the one they held after sitting through the whole course. Of course, you cannot expect to become everyone’s best friend in a few seconds, but if you make the right first impression, demonstrating that you are honest, reliable and trustworthy, you can initiate the building of a lasting rapport within 90 seconds.

Your attitude sets the quality and mood of your thoughts, which in turn influence the tone of your voice, the words you use, your facial expressions and your body language. Your attitude establishes the quality of your relationships. When you cast a “really useful attitude,” one that is optimistic, interested and cooperative, other people will want to be around you. You choose your attitude. When you project the opposite attitude, you will have the opposite reaction. Make sure your words, tone of voice and gestures are all consistent. When faced with contradiction among these three ways of delivering a message, people pay most attention to body language, and then to tone of voice-and surprisingly little to the actual words.

We like people who are like us, so the key to establishing rapport with strangers is to learn how to be like them. This requires you to deliberately control your behaviour to become sufficiently like the other person to form a connection-at least for a short time. Look around a restaurant especially on Valentine’s Day or any other public place where people meet and socialize and compare those couples who are in rapport with those who are not.

The ones who are in rapport lean toward one another… adopt similar arm and leg positions… talk in similar tones of voice. In short, they seem to be synchronized.

The quickest way to establish rapport with people you meet is to synchronize with them. Synchronizing does not mean you are being phony or insincere. Its purpose is to help you put the other person at ease and speed up the rapport that would otherwise take longer to develop. You are not expected to make your movements, tone and voice mimic the other person’s, but just to act with them the same way you would if you were already friends.

Try to start synchronizing within seconds of making a new acquaintance.

Five stages of a successful first impression…

  • Use open body language. Open hand gestures and facing the other person.
  • Be first with eye contact. Look the other person straight in the eye.
  • Beam a smile.
  • Be the first to identify yourself with a pleasant, “Hi! I’m Monika!”
  • Lean subtly toward the other person to show your interest and openness, and begin to match.

Pick up on the other person’s feelings and identify with them by synchronizing your movements, breathing patterns and expressions. Use your voice to reflect back the mood conveyed by their voice. Do not copy them clumsily, but notice their posture, gestures, head and body movements and facial expressions and mirror them.

Particularly important: Mirror their voice tone, volume, speed and pitch. And the angle of their spine.

Get the other person to start talking openly so you can find out what matters to them and synchronize yourself accordingly. Begin by asking open questions-those that cannot be answered with a simple “yes” or “no” but encourage the other person to open up and reveal themselves.

Key words: Who? When? What? Why? Where? How?
Keep the conversation going by answering a question with another question.

If you really want to communicate with other people on their own wavelengths, learn to rapidly figure out their sensory preferences.

People view the world in one of three basic ways…

  • Visuals are motivated primarily by what they see.
  • Auditories by what they hear.
  • Kinesthetics by physical sensations.

You can quickly recognize which group people belong to by listening to the vocabulary they use.


Visuals tend to talk fast, wave their hands, look up with their eyes, dress well and say things like, “I’d like to see proof of that.”
Auditories tend to talk at a medium speed, have melodic and expressive voices, gesture and move their eyes from side to side and will say, “I hear that.”
Kinesthetics tend to speak very slowly and with great detail, look down as they speak, wear textured clothing, and talk about how they feel.

Detecting sensory preferences requires you to pay close attention to others, which in itself makes you a more people-oriented, likeable person. And when you learn how to synchronize with people using the vocabulary they feel comfortable with, your ability to develop rapport with almost anyone will grow.

Rapport is the condition of being in sync, in tune, on the same wavelength. I’ve heard it said that with enough rapport, anything is possible; without rapport, practically nothing is possible. In business, rapport is needed to coordinate action and exchange information. Rapport is at the foundation of all our relationships. Ironically, most business decisions are based on rapport, not on technical merit or the best idea. Rapport makes or breaks most aspects of getting what you want.

To maintain an open channel of communication with another person is to align with them, match them, and meet them where they are. This does not mean you agree with them, but rather that you are open and willing to accept their point of view and you let them know you are there with them.

The purpose of building rapport (matching and aligning with the other person) is to get fully in step with them, so that the next step you take, they are more likely to follow. When you start by matching and meeting them (not expecting them to come to you), you can take immediate control of the situation and move with greater confidence that they will stay with you. Worst case, matching gives you something to do when you get bored during staff meetings.

Special thanks to Nicholas Boothman: How to Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less


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Coaching: Bringing Out the Best in Others

Today organizations are working with smaller budgets and fewer people. At the same time, customer expectations are increasing. In this environment, making the best use of all employees’ skills, knowledge, and abilities is more critical than ever before.

To meet this challenge, many organizations are redefining and expanding the role coaching plays in helping to meet organizational goals. Coaching is no longer a ritual that only managers carry out during scheduled performance reviews and appraisals. Instead, it’s seen as a way for everyone in the workplace to work with, motivate, and support one another, both within and across functional lines.

The goal of coaching is not to provide direction, but for employees to work together to help one another find direction. To accomplish this goal, employees must take on greater personal responsibility in the workplace not only for their own performance, but also for the performance of others. Instead of saying, “That’s not my job,” employees must find opportunities to help others:

  • Gain confidence in their own abilities
  • Analyze problems and find solutions
  • Set goals
  • Think of a better approach to their work
  • Find new ways to apply their skills
  • Sort through their fears and concerns
  • Find ways to overcome obstacles

After all, the security of your job may ride on how well others do their jobs. Each employee’s success depends on the organization’s success and for the organization to thrive; everybody has to be a coach.

The value of coaching within and across functional lines is easy to see. The tough issues are learning to coach and finding the personal resolve to be an active coach. To become business partners working together toward the organization’s success, all employees need to learn to:

  • Recognize diverse coaching opportunities
  • Routinely coach other people for the good of the whole organization
  • Understand the difference between coaching and giving orders
  • Coach with confidence when they aren’t entirely sure of the “right way” to do something
  • Master a step-by-step approach to coaching
  • Coach people in other groups or functions
  • Know what to say when coaching someone
  • See how their own coaching connects to the success of the larger organization

In this challenging New World, success depends on continuous improvement, which in turn depends on continuous learning. Nowadays, most people understand that fact of survival. Coaching, a practical skill anyone can learn is the foundation for continuous learning. Skillful coaching enables everyone to share information and experience with others. As a result, the organization becomes more competitive through the internal sharing of knowledge and skills.

Coaching: Why Bother?

Think of the following questions….

Possible Benefits of Coaching
When you coach someone, what are some possible benefits for that person?
What are some possible benefits for you?
How can coaching benefit the organization?
What If We Do Not Coach?
What are the long-term consequences to an organization when people do not coach, even though they see opportunities?
What would be the long-term consequences for you and others in your work group if people chose not to coach?
If we were to develop a coaching motto for this organization, what would it be?
  1. Identify an opportunity to help someone expand on his or her skills, knowledge, and abilities.
    Coaching is a chance to help someone enhance his or her performance and add value to the organization. Sometimes, people may ask you for coaching, but do not wait for that to happen. Learn to identify coaching opportunities and act on them at any time.
  2. Confirm that the person is ready for coaching.
    Before coaching, make sure the person is open to it. If the person seems hesitant, you might try explaining the benefits, but do not insist on coaching someone who simply is not receptive.
  3. Ask questions and offer information to clarify the situation.
    Much of coaching involves helping people clarify situations in their own minds. Often, the best way to do this is by asking questions that encourage them to think through the situation aloud.
  4. Help the person identify possible actions.
    The best coaching enables people to think and act on their own. As you help someone identify immediate actions, you are also preparing the person to work through similar issues without your help.
  5. Gain agreement on a course of action.
    In coaching, you help someone plan how to handle a situation. To be certain that the session results in positive action, help the person develop an action plan for how to proceed.
  6. Offer your support.
    The ultimate goal of coaching is to enable a person to act independently. Most people need reassurance and support before they can reach that goal. As a coach, you need to let the person know you are available to give further assistance, or further coaching, when it is needed.


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