An Alternative to New Year's Resolutions

An Alternative to New Year's Resolutions

What’s wrong with New Year’s resolutions? Is it because the word “resolution” has become associated with superficial, lofty goals that fade almost as quickly as our hangover from the New Year’s Eve celebration? Or could it be that there is simply no time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s to do any serious goal-setting—given all the holiday parties, family obligations, and end-of-the-year work deadlines that must be met?

The answer is “yes” to both. The fact is New Year’s resolutions are a joke because...

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Getting “Schooled” By My Student

Getting “Schooled” By My Student

I was facilitating a week long outdoor leadership program up in the mountains of Colorado. This particular program was designed to enhance the leadership abilities of people who already were in positions of responsibility…be they managerial, consulting, training, or teaching.  The group consisted of twelve participants from around the country, ranging in age from twenty-two to thirty-five years. As you might imagine with such a young group of leaders, the energy level was constantly high, as was the desire to learn and try new things. There was never a shortage of volunteers to lead the group on a given activity, project, or on any of the various assignments throughout the week.  But that didn’t surprise me either given that we had twelve leaders in the group.  In fact, it often became a competition amongst them to see who would be the first to seize the next opportunity to lead.

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The Marathon that Wouldn't End

The Marathon that Wouldn't End

When it comes to asking for help…I simply won’t do it. Actually, that’s not completely true. I will ask for help, but only as a last resort, after I’ve exhausted every single option first. Is that a guy thing? Regardless, I think it explains why it was so difficult for me when I had to ask Carol for help. Carol and I were running buddies. At the time, we were in the same running club and always managed to run together during the weekly interval training. Over time we became friends and would even do long runs together on the weekends. I was in training for my first marathon and was grateful to have someone to train with like Carol. You see, she had run numerous marathons and triathlons already and ended up being a great resource on everything from my diet to the amount of miles I needed to get in each week.

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The Day of the Dolphins

The Day of the Dolphins

The four-day trip around the Channel Islands, just off the coast of Southern California, started out like it was supposed to…calm seas, plenty of sunshine, and 18 to 20kts of wind. The channel was only about 35 miles across which would put us in a safe harbor for the evening in 5-6 hours.  So far so good, right? The Backstory:

I’m not a sailor.

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My Day At The Funeral Home...and how it changed my life forever!

My Day At The Funeral Home...and how it changed my life forever!

Part I: Having Second Thoughts

It was 7:55 a.m. and I recall sitting in my car, which was parked out in front of the funeral home. My stomach was feeling a little queasy and I found myself wondering if this was such a great idea after all. You see, I like to know first-hand what my clients do, and some of my clients happen to be in the funeral industry. Can you see where I’m headed here?

But wait, there’s more to this story.

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I Didn't Make the Short List!

I Didn't Make the Short List!

When my friend Garry passed away, I was disappointment that I was not included in the small group of friends who got together to memorialize him. My disappointment wasn't just about not being on the short list, per se, but also about how my relationship ended with him. Don't get me wrong, nothing happened to end our relationship; it just slowly faded away, as many relationships do. And yet, I probably think about him more now than I did when he was alive. Is that unusual? And why didn't I make more of an effort to stay in touch, especially when I knew he was dying? And why didn’t I make his short list?

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I'll Go Fifth!

I'll Go Fifth!

It was a number of years ago. I was a management trainer for a consulting firm and was teaching over twenty different leadership/soft skill classes for various companies across the country. I was pretty good too. I’d form relationships with my clients and would continually get asked back, over and over again. By most peoples’ standards, I was extremely successful. And yet something was missing.

I was going through the motions but my passion was faltering. It was taking more and more effort to get excited about what I was doing. I wasn’t feeling it anymore.

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The Chain Reaction

The Chain Reaction

And we think we don’t make a difference…

  • A light blue car stalls in the carpool lane of a major highway. It’s 6:45am on Monday. A back-up immediately ensues.
  • Within ten minutes, the stalled car is pushed to the side of the highway.
  • Within those same ten minutes the back-up has quickly progressed for over a mile down the highway with no end in sight.
  • Now cars coming in the other direction begin to slow down, rubber-necking their way past the anticipated obstruction.
  • It’s not even 7am yet and traffic in both directions has basically come to a standstill.
  • The main roads feeding to-and-from the highway have now backed-up as well.
  • Bob, the CFO of a large company downtown, leaves his house in the suburbs and heads towards the highway. Running late already, he needs to make up time and believes taking the highway will help.
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Conflict on the Mountain!

Conflict on the Mountain!

It was around four-thirty in the morning when Christian, our instructor, rousted us from our tents.  We were in the eighth day of a grueling ten-day Outward Bound program and were waking up to the ultimate challenge of summiting Mount Massive by noon and returning to camp before dusk. At 14,421 feet high, Mount Massive is the second highest peak in Colorado and the third highest peak in the United States. Given that it was a fourteen-mile round-trip hike, we knew we had our work cut out for us. After a quick breakfast and pep talk by Christian, we were quickly off on our journey, backpacks in tow and flashlights initially guiding our every step.

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Mind the Gap!

Mind the Gap!

I just got back from an action-packed week in London where I got to play tourist the entire time. And, if you’ve even been to London before, you know that the easiest way to get around is by using the underground trains, better known as the Tube.

Since I don’t work in the city anymore, I had forgotten how crowded, busy, and in a hurry everyone seems to be, with London being right there at the top of the list. This was especially evident when riding the Tube with continuous crowds moving on and off the trains, weaving in and out like a bunch of ants moving in all directions from a giant anthill. Hurry, hurry, hurry!

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Behind "Leading From Within"

Behind "Leading From Within"

Leading From Within is a powerful transformational three-day workshop designed to help you achieve optimal performance as a leader in both your personal and professional life. This means leading with a sense of purpose and passion, guided by core values—that transcend into all facets of your life so that what people see on the outside is a reflection of who you are on the inside. This is what’s known as Authentic Leadership. as the person only you are capable of being; your authentic self.

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Been There, Done That!

Been There, Done That!

Dear Geese,

Why do senior executives stop attending management training classes? Is it because they think they already know all there is to know about management and leadership or are they simply done learning? I ask because our director is great at “talking the talk” but falls short in “walking the talk,” if you know what I mean. And whenever we bring up the suggestion for him to attend a workshop (like your Leading From Within program), he scoffs and reminds us that he attended “one of those” already at the Center for Creative Leadership earlier in his career. 

I always thought personal and professional growth was ongoing.

-Sharlene

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Why Do We Need Team Building?

Why Do We Need Team Building?

Dear Geese,

My staff cringes whenever I bring up the topic of team building. Talk about resistance! Last year we went to a baseball game as a group but I’m not sure anything was accomplished.  Oh wait, we did decide to never do a baseball game again…but I digress. Is team building really necessary? I ask because you gave a speech at a conference I attended recently and I remember that you emphasized the importance of it. Can you expound on that again?

-Kumbaya Kimberly

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Poor Communication Skills

Poor Communication Skills

Dear Geese:

I have a “weenie” for a supervisor. You never hear a thing from the guy until performance review time, and that’s only because he has to speak. It is also the only time we get any feedback from him. To make matters worse, he will bring up things that happened months ago and puts it in the review! Seriously! I know this is all wrong, right?

-Kim T.

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Ineffective Meetings at Work!

Ineffective Meetings at Work!

Dear Geese:

This is so sad it’s almost comical. We have too many meetings at my company. Why, we’ve gotten to the point where we can’t even make a decision without having a meeting. But the bigger problem is how poorly these meetings are run. They are unorganized; people who need to be there aren't there, and they constantly run over time…as if we have nothing else better to do.

Can you tell I’m frustrated? Any suggestions would be greatly be appreciated!

-Sam from D.C.

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When to Escalate Conflict

When to Escalate Conflict

As a nation of primarily conflict avoidant people, just the notion of escalating conflict can sound like a contradiction. And yet, there are times when escalating a conflict is exactly what you need to do.

But the conditions have to be right.

What do I mean? I mean that there has to be an intention…a purpose…or a reason for escalating a conflict, first and foremost. And the more favorable the reason—the more favorable the likely outcome.

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Bless me Father...

Bless me Father...

I went to a Halloween costume party the other night dressed as a priest. Actually, I went to the wrong Halloween costume party the other night dressed as a priest. Turns out there were two houses right next door to each other having parties and I, having never been to my friend’s house before, walked into the wrong one.

And then things got interesting.

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How to Take a Vacation Every Day!

How to Take a Vacation Every Day!

Here’s my Maui satellite office that has served me well during this week. What was particularly interesting to me about this spot was that I was able to be effective and efficient in whatever business dealings I had to take care of while my mind remained in vacation-mode—in many ways a contradiction of sorts.

And yet that’s the beauty of it. The setting—which includes the tropical sights, sounds, smells, and warm temperatures—put me in a constant state of peacefulness, serenity and appreciation.

So this leads to the million dollar question: Is there a way to maintain this state of mindfulness…this state of being…when I return home back to the hustle and bustle;

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