Decisions

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You are in the condition you are today is due to choices you’ve made yesterday.

Your marriage is in the shape it is today due to choices you’ve made.

Your relationship with your family is in the shape it is today due to choices you’ve made.

You are in financial bondage or freedom today due to choices you’ve made.

You are in good or poor health today due to choices you’ve made.

Your life style is limited due to choices you’ve made.

Your past decisions influenced your present and your present decisions influences your future.  If you don’t like something about your life, now is the time to start the change.  You have the power to change your results.  You have the power and the responsibility.  Start now.  Make smart decisions!

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Nuggets of Wisdom

I love to attend Leadership seminars! I find that they are great resources for stretching my mind. I attended one recently where the keynote speakers were a young couple named MacNamara. Here are a few of the nuggets I picked up. I hope they help you stretch your thinking!two dogs holding little apple branches

  • Curiosity is the cure for boredom.
  • 95% of your success and failure is a reflection of whom you associate with.
  • Don’t listen to those who do not have the results you want.
  • Every problem introduces the person to her.
  • It is hard to improve when you have no one but yourself
    to follow.
  • To know the road ahead, ask those who are coming back to guide those coming along.
  • Applied knowledge equals wisdom.
  • Great things happen when we stop seeing ourselves as a gift to others and see others as a gift to us.
  • Leaders encourage 90% of the time and correct only 10% of the time. People already know what they are doing wrong.
  • If you aren’t doing something with your life, it doesn’t matter how long you live.
  • Focus on self-development, not self-fulfillment. Becoming the best version of your self is the goal.
  • Leaders never arrive. They are always stretching and growing.
  • The people who start the journey with you may not finish with you. Their journey is not yours.
  • Small choices lead to big habits.
  • If you are truthful with yourself, you know you can do better than you are currently.
  • If you miss a personal goal, don’t change the goal. Change the target date.
  • A parent’s life is a child’s handbook.
  • Don’t worry about whether or not your child is listening to you. Worry about whether or not your child is copying you.
  • Don’t make promises when you are happy or decisions when you are angry.
  • Debt is selling the future to live in the present.
  • Big wins start with small ones.
  • Detect the lies you tell yourself. Find the ones that are holding you back.

I Quit!

The majority of people don’t actually quit anything. In my experience, very few people actually say:

  • “I quit working out.”
  • “I quit my friendship with Mary. We see each other occasionally and pretend we care, but if I never saw her again, it really wouldn’t matter to me.”
  • “I show up at my job day after day and do acceptable work, but I actually quit years ago.”
  • “I quit my marriage, but I still live with the guy. We are doing ok. I am not putting in any effort anymore.”
  • “I show up at family events, but I quit the family. I show up out of obligation, but I don’t do anything to foster the relationships.”
  • “I quit my business. I just make sure the doors are open on time each morning, inventory is stocked and the bills are paid. However, I am not doing anything anymore to assure success.”

People don’t actually quit. They just fade away.

Let’s use the example of working out. Initially, there might be motivation for working out. Maybe you have gained a couple of pounds. Or, your high school reunion is coming up. Maybe your doctor tells you that you are headed for a medical train wreck if you don’t get in shape. Then, you have this great idea. “I’m going to do it! I am going to go to the gym 5 days a week and get this old bod in shape.” You start off strong. Maybe the first two weeks you make it to the gym 5 days each week. You might even do this for several months. Then, there is the fateful day when you give yourself an excuse to miss one day. You are too tired, busy, have an ingrown toenail, overtime at work, have to take the kids to soccer, the weather is too hot/cold, have to do the grocery shopping…just about any excuse will work. Besides, it is only one day.

The following week you stick to the plan and make it to the gym all 5 days. Then it happens again. You miss a day or two or three because you have a cold or maybe there is a big wedding to attend out of town. Ooops! Missed the gym again. Now, you begin missing your workouts more and more frequently. But, you haven’t quit! You tell yourself you will get back into the swing of things soon. Things are just hectic right now. Uh huh. Eventually, you even stop thinking about it. No more working out and you never actually admit that you have quit. You just fade away.

How does this apply to less tangible areas such as your job or business? Remember the first day on your new job? You were so excited and nervous. You couldn’t wait to get started on this new adventure. You were on time every day and worked with enthusiasm. Usually, this “honeymoon” period lasts 6 months to a year. It gets harder and harder to get up on time each morning. You are dying for that first cup of coffee and start looking forward to your first break of the day before you arrive at work. The tasks are becoming routine. You pretty much know what to expect each day. Before you know it, you only do enough each day to get by. You do what is required, but no more than this. You don’t actually quit your job, but you have faded away.

Why do people fade away? There are thousands of excuses, but only one reason: lack of commitment. People like the idea of getting fit or looking good, being married, getting a paycheck, owning their own business, etc., but they aren’t committed to doing what it takes. They only stick things out as long as it is easy and convenient. When people say “I am going to work out 5 days per week” what they actually mean is “I will work out 5 days a week until it becomes more work than my health is worth to me.” In reality, they have quit before they have even started because they are not committed to the decision.

Personally, I am trying to be very careful about what I say. When I say “I would like to paint the garage” rather than “I am painting the garage this weekend”, there is a huge difference in my mind. The first is wishful thinking and the second is a firm commitment.

Make a decision once. Not over and over and over. Decide once you are going to work out 5 days a week and then follow through consistently. Decide once that you are going to do your best every day at your job rather than dragging your butt out of bed each morning forcing yourself to go. Decide once to persistently build your business in spite of the obstacles, long hours and learning curve rather than “trying” to build a business.

Or quit. Really and truly quit. Quit your job. Cancel your membership at the gym. Get out of the marriage. Close your business down. Quit relationships. Tell people you have quit. Tell yourself you have quit. Fading away is pathetic. Decide once. And, then do.

Forging Healthy Relationships

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I think all of you would agree that life is a lot smoother when our key relationships are in good shape. How do we build our relationships and keep them in good shape?I don’t pretend to be an expert, but I am a student of experts on the topic. I have gleaned much from John C. Maxwell, Susan Christy, M. Scott Peck, Oliver DeMille, Orrin Woodward, Chris Brady and a host of other experts.

Personally, I find it helpful to have what I refer to as “cheat sheets” for information I can use on a daily basis. Cheat sheets serve as my “external hard drive”. It is too easy in the chaos of the day to lose focus and slip into reactive behavior. Never a good idea when working with people!

This is one of my favorite “cheat sheets”. It keeps me on track when working with my coworkers and clients.

What personality type is the person I am speaking with?
Am I a source of encouragement or negativity?
Am I connecting with people on a professional level?
Am I focused on listening and understanding others?
Am I building trust right now?
Each of these simple questions serves to remind me of deeper questions to ask myself as I go about my day. They allow me to evaluate myself, identify where I could be doing a better job, and focus on some of what really matters.

I sincerely wish to forge healthy relationships. Unhealthy ones make the day miserable, to say the least!

How do you build good relationships?

Grateful for Dog Poop in the Kennel and other weird things

I am grateful for many things. Some of them might seem small and hardly worth noticing, let alone giving thanks, but I beg to differ. It is the “little” things that carry the most weight. So often we take the little things for granted. How often are we grateful for the simple act of breathing? How about the sound of the kids playing in the backyard? Or even that there are kids in the backyard? When was the last time we noticed that we can smell coffee or walk on our own from room to room? When was the last time we expressed gratitude for the roof over our heads or the food in our belly?

Here are a few of the things for which I am grateful.

The sound of my husband snoring. Yes, I am grateful for his snoring because his snoring reminds me he is alive and well. As does the mess he leaves in the bathroom sink, the newspapers strewn about the house and his greasy handprints on the hood of my car.

My grandsons fighting. Five years ago there weren’t any grandsons. Now there are three healthy, happy little tornados that have stormed into our lives. I’m very grateful even when they are fighting, crying and generally causing trouble. As a matter of fact, I actually find myself smiling when they are at their worst. They add spice to our lives.

The arthritis in my hands. Oy vey! Yes, I am grateful for the pain. You see, the pain means I still have my hands. Don’t get me wrong, I would not mind if the pain went away. However, it is a reminder that things could be worse, to be grateful for what I have.

Chocolate. I am definitely grateful for chocolate. Do I really need to say more about this one???

The people in my life that drive me nuts. There is no doubt I am grateful for their presence! You see, they are teaching me patience, acceptance, and compassion. Without them, I seriously doubt I would grow and improve myself.

Dog poop in the kennel. I know this sounds weird. However, from my perspective, no dog poop would mean there was no dog. I have tried going without a dog before. Not willing to try it again! Hence, I am grateful for dog poop. And, no I don’t want any of yours, so please don’t bring it over here!

My business partner, Kacy. Where do I start? This woman exemplifies patience, kindness, integrity and a whole host of other attributes I am grateful for every day. I am extremely lucky to have her in my life. When I grow up I want to be just like her!

I could go on and on, however I would rather hear about the things you are grateful for today and every day.

Celebrate Wins

Celebrate Wins (written for a veterinary clinic, but applies to all)

When someone you work with experiences a success, what do you do? Do you notice? Do you give a brief “good job” and quickly move on? Do you even acknowledge the win or do you treat it as nothing less than what is required of them?

In your busy, busy day, it is very easy to be so focused on the tasks at hand you fail to notice or acknowledge what has been accomplished. But, if you ignore the successes of your coworkers, you miss a critical opportunity to inspire them onto further successes. And you miss the opportunity to strengthen the team.

Celebrate wins. When a coworker places an IV catheter in a difficult vein, sincerely acknowledge the person. When the boss manages to get the additional space or equipment you requested, celebrate his efforts and success. When the receptionist who has difficulty working with challenging clients successfully defuses an irate client, celebrate his efforts. When a coworker completes her night courses and achieves her degree, celebrate.

Celebrating wins does several important things for you and your team:

Celebrating wins reminds your team to keep striving even when things are at the most challenging. Those crazy days where the work never stops, the clients are all crazy, and the clinic is short-handed.

Celebrating wins reminds your team they are working for a winning organization. People want to work for a winning team.

Celebrating wins forces you and your team to focus on the positive rather than the negative.

Celebrating wins must be done in a timely fashion. The annual Employee Appreciation BBQ isn’t enough if it is the only recognition given. Celebrate events at the time they happen. Acknowledge the successes of others within 24 hours of the event.

Celebrating wins promotes a healthy team atmosphere and this results in a great working environment! Who will you celebrate today?

Living Life Intentionally

yellow Labrador ready to pounce on a ball

One day I stopped to ask myself just exactly where all the busyness was going to get me. In a year, 5 years or 20 years, was I going to be any less frantically busy? Was I going to be any closer to my goals? Oh, wait a minute! What are my goals? Aaah…when dealing with a flooded kitchen, turn the faucet off first!

Remember, the best thing about advice is that we can keep what we want and throw the rest away. With that said, I am going to offer advice on how to manage the busyness of life. Remember, if we want different results in life, we have to change something. We have to change how we think.

First, buy a pad of paper and a weekly appointment day planner. The weekly calendar should include appointment slots from early morning to late evening 7 days a week.

Next, sit down somewhere quiet. Make sure you aren’t going to be disturbed by anyone. Hide from the kids, the spouse and the chores screaming your name. Maybe in the bathroom? Now, just think about what you want your life to look like this coming week. This is tougher to do than it sounds because our mind has been taught to constantly multi-task. When your mind drifts to the dirty kitchen, the next day’s work, and the shopping list, don’t beat yourself up. Just gently bring your mind back to the task at hand. Do you want more chaos or more control over your week?

Make a list of everything you know you need to accomplish this week. Just jot everything down without judging or stressing out. The work, shopping, making dinner, DMV, car repair, doctor appointment, kids soccer practice, etc. Now, add to the list everything you really WANT to accomplish this week for yourself. Is there a lunch date with a friend that would be a treat for the two of you? How about the great book you have been meaning to start? Is there an online course on VetMedTeam you want to participate in? How about working out three times this week? This part of the list is for those things you really, really want for yourself.

Read the entire list top to bottom. Place a star next to your top 12 most important items on the list. Of those top 12, place an asterisk next to those you can delegate to someone else. Uh oh, I just heard some of you say there aren’t any you can delegate. Really? Do you want more chaos or control in your life? Could you rotate responsibility with another parent for getting the kids to their activities? Do you really need to shop for that wedding gift by running all over town or could you shop online in a fraction of the time? Here is a thought, if you were in a hospital recuperating from surgery, who would take care of all those things you think you can’t delegate? So, start delegating!

Using your day planner, write in your schedule for your job. Take a look at the list of your remaining top 12 without an asterisk. Schedule each one of them into the week. These are firm appointments you are going to keep. Include driving time in the schedule. Now you have a little bit better handle on how the week will progress!

What do you do about all the items that didn’t make it onto your top 12 list? If they didn’t make it to the top 12 list, but you still feel compelled to get them done, reassess them and decide which ones would make you feel good about yourself. Add them to your schedule without bumping any of your top picks.

Below is an example of one of my typical work days. Definitely one of my simpler ones!

  • 0500-0530Get up and get ready for work
  • 0530-0600Breakfast, feed the dogs
  • 0600-0630Listen to books or lectures on CD during commute to work
  • 0700-1100Work
  • 1100-1200Lunch break: read!
  • 1200-1600Work
  • 1600-1700Listen to books or lectures on CD during commute home
  • 1700-1800Feed the dogs, make dinner
  • 1800-1830Eat dinner, chat with husband
  • 1830-2000Work in yard and play with dogs, husband does the dishes
  • 2000-2100Read and get ready for bed
  • 2100-0500Sleep

Please notice that nowhere on my schedule is there time for surfing the net. This is a time thief! Have you ever told yourself that you would only spend 5 minutes looking at a video clip someone sent you only to discover that you have just spent 2 hours! For some reason, the Internet is addictive. I am sure there is a psychology student out there somewhere doing a PhD thesis on this very topic. In the meantime, just remember that you chose a list of important accomplishments for your week, time is very valuable, and not to waste it where value is not added to your life.