Imitating Yourself

When companies succeed and wish to keep that success going, they often play it safe and imitate what they are doing that is working.

A radio station that rises to the top and knocks off competitors usually doubles down on what they did to get there.

Same is true of individuals.

When we succeed, we get overly cautious and reduce risk by keeping things exactly the same.

The thing is imitating yourself is the antithesis of success.

What got you to the top of your game will not keep you there.

Taking chances, trying something new and even disrupting your approach is probably what earned you success in the first place.

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Building Confidence Requires Action Not Words

When we hop on the Peloton machine or start a brisk workout, we push ourselves to build strength (remember “no pain, no gain”).

With Peloton or the new Mirror, users can compete with others in real-time and get coaching (even shouting) to help reach new levels of fitness.

For some reason when we want to build emotional strength (better self-esteem, more confidence, etc.), the mental workout is weak.

Just as in physical fitness, emotional fitness requires getting out of our comfort zone and someone to push us again and again to break the habits that have been resulting in weak emotional intelligence.

To be more confident, acting it out in real-time is more effective than talking about it first (studies have proven this).

There is no emotional growth without producing a stretch first.

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Dogs Understand Praise the Way Humans Do

A team of Hungarian scientists did a study that concluded that what we say and how we say it are important – as it turns out both to dogs and humans.

They used words of praise and neutral words like “if” and “yet”.  You can read about the study here.

In our high-tech world, we may not even hear words, just read them which means a potent tool for communication is being lost.  Or we may just use an emoji.

What we say and how we say it matters.

It’s been said that a trainer throws a seal a fish as a reward for performing a trick.

Now, we’re finding it may be even easier to communicate praise to those we care about if we also consider the importance of the way it sounds.

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If You Can’t Get That Song Out of Your Head…

You know, you hear the words, the melody, the beat and it repeats over and over and it’s hard to stop it.

That’s exactly what happens when we focus on criticism – we repeat it over and over just like a song we can’t get out of our heads.

Sometimes we’re the critic – that’s not being nice to ourselves.  Often, it’s the hurtful words of someone else that marinates in our brain.

Change the station.

Program something positive (example: “I am a good listener”, “I care about people”, “I want to succeed”) and let those lyrics play as long as they want over and over again to help become a more positive person. 

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Being Liked Shouldn’t Require a Popularity Contest

The co-owner of our favorite fish store is the nicest person – every time we walk out, Cheryl and I say the same thing over and over – “what a nice person.”

Yet not all customers are nice to her – she gets chewed out, corrected, directed and sometimes outright insulted in spite of her sunny disposition.

Do we have a responsibility to make others happy if they won’t let us?

Or is it better to be the person you want to be 100% of the time no matter what the response?

Being liked shouldn’t require an election or a popup survey to see how you’re doing.

Your vote is the only one that counts.

Have you done all you can to be your best self?

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How Accomplishments are Like Waze or Google Maps

If I asked you this one question, could you answer it without a pause – “what are you trying to accomplish?”

It’s funny that when we’re asked what we don’t like – pick any topic – we can’t wait to elucidate.

It’s virtually impossible to set a meaningful goal without knowing what it is first.

In Dale Carnegie Training problem solving begins with this question “what is the problem” because human nature being what it is, our tendency is to start coming up with solutions even before we can clearly state the problem.

The same with goal setting.

Think of a smartphone with a Waze or Google Maps app on it – even today’s technology requires us to clearly state where we want to go before we see the path to get there.

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Trying Too Hard for Perfection

When you need a brain surgeon, you only want a perfectionist which is why if you’ve ever noticed anyone who needs a doctor usually describes him/her as “the best”.

But perfection in everything can be toxic.  It causes us to turn into task masters that are not easy to work with and often makes winning cooperation more difficult.

This doesn’t mean accepting less than the best.

When two sports teams oppose each other, they are not worried about perfection, they are obsessed with winning the game.

Life is similar  – it’s about winning not becoming a person so obsessed with perfection that they cannot see that they are already ahead.

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The Two Kinds of Control

People can control their attitude.

Their reputation.

The ability to filter out negative crosstalk that seeps into their heads.

But controlling people cannot be done in spite of the fact that almost everyone keeps trying to do it – it drives people away and makes the controller unhappy.

Attitudes can be controlled, people cannot be.

The only way to get control of anything is to give up control – accept that which you cannot change.

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Hate Your Enemies and You Become Them

Hate your enemies and you become them.

Forgive but don’t forget and you rise above them.

Forgiving does not mean forgetting.

Letting go of the pain they inflict feels so much better than holding on to something that continually hurts and makes us more like the people we detest.

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The Line Everyone Loves to Hear

“I was thinking about you”

We think about people in our lives every day, but do we tell them?

Share it – you’re already thinking it. 

This is one phrase that is effective in any form of communication – text, phone, in-person or video.

Action step:  make one minute or less QuickTime video and send it to the person you are thinking about.