Compromise

Compromise

noun

  1. a settlement of a dispute in which two or more sides agree to accept less than they originally wanted
  2. something that somebody accepts because what was wanted is unattainable
  3. exposure to danger or disgrace

verb

  1. to settle a dispute by agreeing to accept less than what was originally wanted
  2. to undermine or devalue something or somebody by making concessions
  3. to expose somebody or something to danger or risk

Encarta® World English Dictionary © 1999 Microsoft Corporation. Developed for Microsoft by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.

It is interesting that the third definition for compromise is “presenting danger or disgrace.” I never thought of compromise as inherently dangerous.  Compromising on techniques, timing, dinner plans, house design, selecting a school for your kids, and where to take a vacation isn’t risky or disgraceful.  It may be a matter of respecting the other person enough to try for a win-win.

However, compromising on your principles is another story. The danger is to your integrity and that is dangerous indeed!

Commitment to The Team

Commitment in the work place is a rarity. The very word can strike fear in someone’s heart – or create a mental image of something nebulous applicable only to personal relationships.

Most people are only as committed as it is convenient to be. Commitment is often not recognized or even part of the daily vocabulary. People generally give very little thought to what they are committed to and, yet, their results are clear indicators of where their commitments lie.

The majority of people are only committed to the team as long as their personal objectives are met. When something begins to require more effort than a person is willing to put out or requires them to subordinate their own agenda for the greater good of the team, out goes their “commitment”!

Commitment is a promise made and kept, even when you don’t like someone on the team, are having a bad day, or don’t get what you want. When you have a group of people fully committed to the team, everything improves, from culture all the way to personal rewards.

John C. Maxwell points out that commitments are easier to keep if tied to personal values.

If you value excellence over mediocrity, you will give your best effort every day.
If you value a paycheck over excellence, you will only give the minimum necessary – just enough to keep from getting fired.
If you value your personal agenda over that of the team, then you may become a superstar on a team that doesn’t need you.
If you value loyalty, then commitment to the team is easier.
If you value your word, then a promise given is always kept.

Commitment is a choice, not a condition. There’s no such thing as a little bit committed. You either are or you aren’t.

Up Shit Creek Without a Paddle?

 
black Labrador trying to climb out of the river

I met with a group of friends recently and somehow we landed on to the topic of odd phrases we all use, but don’t know where we picked them up. We also aren’t sure what some of them actually mean.

  • Beat around the bush. (What bush and why?)
  • Slicker than deer guts on a doorknob.(Really? Did someone actually try this one? Ewwww!)
  • Best foot forward. (We only have two. Which is the best one?)
  • Bite the bullet. (Sounds painful to me.)
  • Break a leg. (How did this become the way to wish an actor best wishes? Sounds pretty mean to me.)
  • Bury the hatchet. (This is suppose to mean that you stop fighting, but sounds more like a form of attack to me.)
  • By hook or by crook. (What are we supposed to do with the hook or crook???)
  • A shot in the arm. (Ow! How is that good?)
  • Acid test. (Sounds painful again.)
  • As happy as a clam. (How do we know that clams are happy?)
  • Bats in the belfry. (Sounds like a scene from a horror novel.)
  • The birds and the bees. (How in the world would explaining sex to a child involve birds and the bees?)
  • Brownie points. (Like in Girl Scouts?)
  • Heebie jeebies. (This is one is just odd. What is a heebie jeebie?)
  • Catch 22 (Is there a catch 21?)
  • Up shit creek without a paddle. (Very visual!)
  • The whole shebang. (Can you have part of a shebang? And, what is a shebang?)
  • Talk to the hand. (Diva move?)
  • Spill the beans. (How did beans come to refer to sharing a secret?)
  • Nitty gritty. (Fine sand?)
  • On Cloud Nine. (Where is Cloud Nine and why is it better than the other clouds?)
  • Paint the town red. (Why is red wilder than say blue or pink?)
  • More bangs for the buck. (More noise is better?)
  • Make a beeline for… (Bees never travel a straight line. Why would making a beeline be a good idea???)
  • Hunky-dory. (What exactly is a hunky-dory and why is it a good thing?)
  • Throw a hissy fit. (Adults hiss when throwing a temper tantrum?)
  • Cute as a button. (I have seen a few cute buttons but not sure I would say they are all cute.)

What other odd sayings you use?

Leadership Lessons

Lessons from Leaders

I attended a three day leadership conference recently. It turned out to be an amazing time with some of the most successful leaders in the Nation.

Here are some of the lessons I picked up.

Given today’s economy and the culture of entitlement, most people will never retire. They will die first.

See more in others than they see in themselves.

Decisions should be made based on principles, not circumstances.

Do what is necessary. Then do what is possible. And, soon you will find yourself doing the impossible.

Your strongest opponent is right between your own ears.

Be the person you were born to be. Not the one you have been allowed to be.

Have a great day or not. Your choice!

Excuses are there to explain poor performance.

Doubt is 100 times stronger than belief.

Quitting is like farting in a Smart Car – it affects everyone!

Quit putting yourself down for what you are not and lift yourself up for what you are.

Don’t try to fill your hero’s shoes. Fill your own and walk in her footsteps.

For those who believe, no proof is required. For those who do not, no proof is possible.

Your mortgage on your house should never be more than 1 week of your paycheck.

Consensus doesn’t make the untrue true.

Quit waiting for your ship to come in. Build it or swim out to it.

Encourage = instill courage

Quitting is a permanent solution to a temporary problem

It is not what we do once in awhile that creates our future. It is what we do consistently.

I hope you found one or two points helpful. I am sure you found at least one that made you smile and another that made you wince. Growth will do that to you!

Now to implement them!

Retirement

Most of us were taught: “go to school, get good grades, find a safe, secure job, and stay there until retirement.” I did go to school; earned grades (ok, they weren’t anything to brag about), found an incredible job with a veterinary school, but can I retire?  Absolutely!

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 80% of the USA population will retire on 33 – 50% of what they are making at the time they retire. Could you afford to take a 50% pay cut right now? 

Oh, your 401K or 403B is going to make up the difference? Really? Did you see what happened to the stock market in 2008? Do you realize that all those people who were planning on retiring between 2008 to 2020 no longer can because their 401K is now a 101K?   Many poor people who were already retired at the time of the stock market crash have either gone back to work or are desperately living on Social Insecurity.

I don’t mean to be a doomsayer, but we really need to teach our citizens and ourselves to think differently about money. Retirement is NOT an age; it is an income.

What would you do if your current income kept coming in every month even if you never returned to your job or business again? Would you spend more time with your family? How about travel more? Would you live somewhere else? What charities would you support or even donate your time to on a regular basis? Would you spend your time helping improve our environment? Rescuing animals? Helping change our laws or legal system?

I don’t know about you, but my “retirement” started the day I realized that my financial education is my responsibility. I hope you are taking care of your financial education. Don’t leave your future in the hands of a stock“broker” or get your financial advice from your brother-in-law who carries $10,000 in credit card debt.

Learn from those who have the life style you want and do what they did. Learn so that you can have and can give! Start right now!

Vacation!

I usually take two one-month vacations each year. This time is spent recharging my batteries by turning my mind to things that don’t require my mind.

  • gardeningchocolate Labrador, Koto, lying in a field of flowers
  • playing with the dog
  • hiking with my husband
  • shopping with friends
  • reflection (aka napping)
  • building a new shed
  • painting the house
  • visiting with family
  • writing blog articles (and you thought I used my mind – ha!)

All of the above actually do require my mind, but on different tracks than my day-to-day profession. Vacation time allows me concentrated time to stretch my brain in other directions or to just let it shut down for a bit. Both are valuable.

I hope you allow yourself proper time to recharge and restore yourself throughout the year. Become an expert on vacationing and the benefits are huge!

Boost Your EQ

You would think that an adult who is married, raising children, earned an advanced degree and holding down a prestigious job would have enough life experience to have developed a decent level of emotional intelligence. Unfortunately, life experience does not bestow emotional maturity.

Emotional intelligence requires deliberate effort. It doesn’t happen accidentally or as a by-product. Wouldn’t you agree that you know at least one or two brilliant people who could use a boost in their personal emotional quotient?

Where are they going to get this boost? They aren’t unless they choose to grow and seek out the resources to do so.

You can’t coerce, threaten, bribe, inspire or force anyone to grow and change. But you know this already. I bet you have tried to get someone to grow up. Change only comes when the person is willing and committed.

We all could use at least a little boost in our emotional intelligence. What are you doing to increase yours?

Decision Versus Fantasy

There were three birds sitting on a wire. One decided to fly away. How many birds are sitting on the wire? Three. One decided to fly away, but no action has taken place yet.

People talk a good game about changing something in their lives.They emphatically state over and over again that they have decided to:

  • Get fit.
  • Lose weight.
  • Eat better.
  • Improve their finances.
  • Spend more time with the family.
  • Regularly save money.
  • Grow their business.
  • Live a life of priorities rather than obligations.
  • Take better care of themselves.
  • Improve their marriage.
  • Be a better parent.
  • Develop self-discipline.

Initially listening to them, you might be convinced they are committed to their decision. And yet, all they do is talk about what they have decided to do. Months, even years later, they still have not actually done anything. However, they have added a sentence or two to their decision.

  • When I get the time…
  • After the kids are out of school for the summer…
  • Once things quiet down at work…
  • After I finish the project I am working on…
  • After the wedding (10 months from now)…
  • After the baby is born…
  • When I recover from my injury…
  • After we return from our upcoming vacation…
  • When I can find someone to work out with…
  • After we pay off the car…

Their original “decision” wasn’t a decision after all. It was a fantasy they gave voice to in a moment of inspiration. They were just wishing out loud.

Nothing wrong with wishing as long as that is what you realize you are doing. If you mistake a wish for a decision, frustration and a feeling of failure are bound to show up. A wish is a fantasy without commitment and a game plan.

It would be more accurate to say they wish to get fit, lose weight, etc., etc. – but, I am not committed to making it happen – just wishing.

A decision is a dream backed by commitment, a game plan and action. A decision is “do or die trying” and “come hell or high water.” As my friend, George Guzzardo, says a “red line defense” – an all-out consistent effort to follow up on the decision and do everything possible every day to make it come to fruition.

Now, that is a decision!

Have you made any decisions lately?

Fruit on the Tree

Be careful from whom you get your advice. The advisor may not have achieved or helped others achieve the results you are looking for in your life. Seek advice and guidance from those with “fruit on the tree”: People who have first-hand experience reaching the goals for which you are looking. Measure advisors based on their results, not their words.

Humans are “pack animals”. We want to be part of the pack and trust the pack even when it is jumping off a cliff or wallowing in the mud! Think about it! We get our financial advice from our family and friends who are all broke and living from paycheck to paycheck. We pay for marriage advice from a professional counselor who has been divorced three times. We get success advice from our coworkers who hate their jobs. We seek inner peace and enlightenment from religious leaders who may lack both. We believe in the words of others without giving a thought to their credibility. Oh, the advisors mean well. And, they believe what they offer is accurate, but beware the source! Is the advice opinion or experience?

Even a professional title is not enough to earn credibility. Licensed financial planners go through a 2 year program to earn their certification. Those two years are spent learning economic theory, investment laws, etc. Once they have earned their certification, they are now qualified to call themselves a financial planner. Or are they? Unless a financial planner has earned good financial results for themselves and others, can they really offer credible advice to you? Yes, they can offer you the theories they have learned, but is theory going to get you the results you want? Maybe yes. Maybe no. Are you willing to take the risk with your hard earned money? Evaluate the results of any professional before taking their advice.

How about the faculty teaching in veterinary schools? I worked for a veterinary school for 30 years. The faculty DVM who taught the veterinary students how to run a business had never been out of academia and had never run any kind of business. Just how credible was he? I am not saying that the class was a waste of time. It did offer the students concepts and principles that may prove of value later. However, a good many of the lectures were not founded in proven business practices, but were only theories.

I am sure all of us have run into the professional real estate broker or agent who offers advice on which house to buy and how much you can afford to buy. Hmmm, credible? Maybe yes. Maybe no. Could there be a conflict of interest? Has the broker/agent established a track record of helping people make excellent financial decisions about their future? There are many that have the results for which you are looking. Just make sure the one with whom you are working has your best interests at the forefront and has the track record to support the advice provided.

Most people mean well, but they haven’t a clue. Consider the source of advice, including the motive and credibility. Remember, the best part of about advice is that you can keep what you want and throw the rest away! Just make sure the advisor has achieved or helped others achieve the results you wish to duplicate.

Reading

“Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing or that but simply growth. We are happy when we are growing.” William Butler Yeats

As always, I learn so much from my mentor, George Guzzardo! Here are some of my thoughts on the importance of reading I have learned over the years. Slowly, but surely I am putting it all together in my own head!

I think we can all agree there is a lot of unhappy people in this Nation. Discontented in their work. People unable to create healthy, happy relationships. People physically sick and tired. Financially strapped. Emotionally numb. Stuck in the drudgery of home to work; Home to work; home to work.

We also know from the numerous studies available that literacy is at an all time low in our Nation. As a percentage, we have more uninformed, misinformed illiterate citizens than we did at the founding of our Nation. Back then the majority could read and were very literate. The ability to read was treasured. They deliberately stayed informed and sought to improve their critical thinking skills and advance their understanding of their world. The number of illiterate in this country today is shocking, but what is even worse is the number of literate people who don’t read at all or only read for entertainment.

“The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.”
Mark Twain

People who aren’t growing and learning are much easier to control, influence and mislead. Eventually, we have a Nation of sheep led to slaughter by the wolves.

If we don’t know what we don’t know and we are forgetting what we do know then we are missing critical information in our lives. We can’t see what we aren’t educated to see: opportunities and dangers. Reading sources of credible information is the key to “knowing”. When we read, we are exposed to ideas, data, thinking processes, and information we didn’t know existed. Through reading, we are also reminded of that which we have forgotten. The end result: personal growth through knowledge. We increase what we do know improving the potential for a better life for our families and ourselves. We also become armed against the dangers represented by those who would do our Nation harm and us. It is always those who know who hold sway over those who don’t; for good or for evil.

“After all, nothing really changes until the mind changes.” George Guzzardo

To know is to have. If you don’t know, then you don’t have. Increase what you know and you can have. This applies to just about anything in our lives: relationships, financial standing, fulfillment, health, etc. The key is to expand what we know and the ability to think critically is to increase our reading of valuable books. If every adult and child in this Nation read a minimum of one valuable book a month, life, as we know it would improve because we are growing.