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The Power of Nice is Right

photo credit - pixabay.com

photo credit - pixabay.com

As a guy who makes a living at being nice (I even wrote a book called Nice Guys Finish First, so you know I am a believer), one of the more commonly asked questions I get when speaking to groups all over the country is not, “Why are you always so nice?” but rather, “How can you always be nice?” It appears to me that people in general know that being nice is far more beneficial than being not nice. I think people are stuck in the mindset that I must always be “up,” in a good mood, or in a constant state of happiness. Well, the short response to that statement as it pertains to me is, “Yes, but…” Yes, but I do have my mean moments. I want flip someone off in traffic, lay into someone for generally being stupid or yell back at someone when I am challenged by them. Yes, I want to do all of those things (I am human after all), but I hold back. The reason I don’t respond to mean, stupid or challenging people? What’s the point? Even if I win, flip or challenge back, I will never be right in the eyes of the offending party. I consider myself an expert at assessing idiocy while maintaining an attitude of "you cannot overcome dumb." So, I save my energy for kindness, happiness and niceness. I win.

Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.
— Buddha

You must keep in mind that the only things we are in control of are our attitude, our thoughts and our behaviors. Over the years, I have worked hard at the six inches between my ears. My brain constantly is sending messages to me in the form of thought waves. And if your brain is functioning correctly, yours is doing the same thing. You have a choice when you interpret those thoughts. You can either process those synapses and be kind, nice and happy or take the fork in the road and be cold, callus, selfish, mean and dark. I find the latter to be just plain wrong and totally counter productive. I prefer to build up rather than tear down.

Want to know the best way to get anything you want? Give away everything you have. In a previous blog I wrote about a year ago I talked about the act of giving. Want love, give love. Want happiness, give happiness. Want more time and money in your life, give away your time and your money. The world is just a big circle of energy and if you don’t believe that, just try paying a good deed forward. The act of being nice will always be rewarded by the receipt of nice. You win!

Want love, give love. Want happiness, give happiness. Want more time and money in your life, give away your time and your money.

Success in business today involves taking the road less traveled. Recently, I had an opportunity to work on a business project with my brother Richard. Until last month we have never had a chance to work together. Rich has built a tremendously successful (and very personable) business in a potentially cold and sterile high-tech world of webinars, webcasting and learning management systems (complicated business stuff). His company, CommPartners has built a reputation as “the” go-to source, in his market. I would venture to say partly because of his approach to exemplary service, outstanding support and kindness (plus he has a great product too). His competition is stiff and in the world of high-technology, Rich and his talented staff score an A+ for creating a culture of nice, while maintaining a high touch profile with his clients. I learned, over those 30 days, that nice doesn’t just work in the world of my small business, but instead translates perfectly well in a multi-million dollar business like Rich’s. Way to go CommPartners. (#ELEVATE).

Back to the original question, “How can you always be nice?” I honestly don’t see that we have any other logical choice. I tell myself that nice is my only option. If you think that being nice means being a pushover, a “yes” man, or someone that is constantly getting dumped on, think again. Whether you are a leader of a company like my brother Richard, run a small company like mine or run a billion dollar empire like Tony Hsieh (CEO of Zappos), being nice is the best, most productive and most positive way to be. There is a tremendous amount of power in nice. As an added bonus, nice pays well too.

If given a test on the subject of being nice, would you score A+?

Train your brain that being nice is your only option. Create habits that allow you to be mindful of another perspective other than yours. If given a test question on the subject of being nice, would you score A+? Bad stuff is out there folks, that is reality for all of us, but there is plenty of good stuff too. Focus on the good stuff and nice is right around the corner.

Please take a moment and check out my book, Nice Guys Finish First, on Amazon now and climbing the charts quickly. Also, I have a podcast on iTunes, The Nice Guys on Business podcast. Fun and Business can mix well. Everyone can use a bit more NICE in life.

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Practical Advice to Reinvent Yourself

pixabay.com 

pixabay.com 

The only thing constant is change. We are challenged, almost daily, by the conflict of push and pull. We want to make good decisions for ourselves and our families. When it comes to decisions, we often get stuck in a rut and make choices out of habit. The route we take to work, the cereal we buy at the grocery store, how many times we hit the snooze button in the morning. Habits are hard to break and they are certainly what keeps us in our comfort zone. Why else would anyone keep a bad hairstyle from the 1980s? Even worse, why would we ever stay in a job that is taking us nowhere or stay in stagnant relationship that provides little nourishment for our soul? There is, however, a solution in every problem, but we need to be willing to look for it. Big challenges require big vision and bigger change. Enter stage right, the reinvention.

It actually isn’t dramatic at all, and it usually comes with no fanfare, no grand entrance and very little hype. But is does come with a bunch of emotion, worry, and self-doubt. When you are in reinvention mode, it feels great and scary all at the same time. You’re free, you’re refreshed, you are loving life and you are scared. The difference between the old you and the new you can be put into motion by the simple turning of a figurative switch. Make a decision and get to it. Once the decision is made, being overworked becomes being overjoyed. Don’t tell yourself you can’t make the change because change is “complicated.” It doesn’t have to be complicated. Put on your big boy briefs and get to work. Stop settling and start moving. Yes, I am talking to you.

You need to decide that it is time for a change. Focus on a perfect world of I can do it.

What will that catalyst be? It might me waking up one day to discover that you have finally had enough. It might be an enlightening conversation with a friend, coworker or relative. In any case, it will require a decision and then action. First, the decision. You need to decide that it is time for a change. For just a moment, set aside the fear that says “you can’t” and focus on a perfect world of “I can.” Second, take action. I have a very close friend that talks about a principle of a flywheel. Flywheels can be difficult to get started and require a lot of upfront energy to get into action, but once they are moving they chugalug with very little effort.

So let’s get to it. I did it and so can you. Too old to reinvent? Think again, I was almost 50 years old when I started my reinvention, well over 20 years in another world, coming from an entirely different industry, different market and different mindset. So how did I do it? I made a decision, just as you will too. But you will need to make up your own mind, I can’t do that for you.

When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.
— Buddha

Here are the practical steps to reinvention:

Be willing to accept change in your life. Change is not a four letter word. Allow it to enter your life and your decisions. Don’t let the fear of change hold you back.

Burn the boats. Once you make a decision, keep moving forward and do not stop until you win. Ryan Estis, a successful consultant, keynote speaker and friend talks about the idea of burning the boats. Do not allow for a Plan B. There should be no retreat, no surrender and no choice BUT to win. If you have no boat to go back to, you have no choice but to move forward.

Visualize the new you. Say it into existence. Make plans and talk about the new you. It may require a bit of “fake it until you make it” attitude, but I can assure you it works like a champ. In my own personal experience, before I had written the first word of my book, I was an author. Sure, it took 20 weeks of writing, another 10 weeks of editing, a boatload of design and plenty of patience after uttering those words the first time but, “I’m an author.” became my reality.

Develop a step by step action plan. Your best bet is to make a plan and spell it out, step by step. If you don’t know how to do it, follow someone else who has gone before you. Don’t have a relationship with anyone that has gone before you? Make that your first step. I had no clue about the steps I needed to complete in order to become a professional speaker or author, but I knew the right people to ask. It’s incredible what you will discover when you open your mouth and start asking questions.

Seek out support. Disconnect from naysayers. Feed your brain with good, and move away from bad. Seek out the people currently in your life that provide positive energy. For me, I have an amazing network of cheerleaders that regularly boost my energy, bring me back up if I feel down, and keep my head in the right place. Under no circumstance should you align yourself with anyone that will allow you to get away with “average” or second place results. Right now, you need to be pumped up. See my post, 24 Seconds That Can Change Your Life.

Be willing to fail. Don’t let a temporary setback keep you down for good. Remember, you’ve burned the boats, you have no way to get back. I can assure you, you will hit roadblocks and detours along the way and at times you will want to climb under your covers and wait it out. Do not retreat. You got this.

Enjoy life and all it has to offer. There are many years of happiness in front of you and if you take off the rear view mirror and stop looking backwards you will see all that life has to offer. Life is best played with a positive attitude, a huge smile and a soul filled with love.

I would love to hear about your reinvention. Tell me about the new you, the old you went down with the boats. xo

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Get On Track For Success

pixaby.com werner22brigitte

pixaby.com werner22brigitte

It’s 8:00am and you are sitting down to read over your email for the first time today. Of course you checked it a couple of times on your iPhone before you actually sat down in front of your desktop computer to read it, but you haven’t actually responded to any of them yet. As you start to scan over your in-box you glance to your right and notice a pile of papers sitting on that side of your desk. Yesterday’s unfinished administrative stuff. Your eyes scan your desktop to the left and they lock on three envelopes yet to be opened. One of them is American Express bill. You’ve been meaning to go paperless on that bill but haven’t taken the time to go on-line to take care of that task. The second envelope is junk and you pitch it. The third envelope is from your local grocery store and contains a bunch of coupons. You open it, scan through it and find something that might be of use the next time you go shopping. You pick up your phone and remember those two phone calls from yesterday that you need to return. Well, it hasn’t been 24 hours yet, you still have time, but you jot down the names on a scrap piece of paper. You’ll get to that, later.

Before you know it, it’s 9:30 and a second cup of coffee sounds really good right about now. Although you haven’t really done anything yet, you already feel way too busy today and although it’s only 9:30 you realize the day is going to go by way too fast, and will probably be over before you even have a chance to get started. The coffee tastes good as you look over the handful of business cards you picked up at the networking event last night. You’ll send your new contacts a handwritten note. On second thought, an email would be much faster, so you pick up one of the business cards and start to compose an email. As you look to your computer screen to compose the email, you notice nine more emails have come into your in-box. Uggggh, you seem to be going backwards, getting nothing done, losing traction and destined for finishing the day with more items on your to-do list by the end of the day.

Half of your day gone and you have accomplished absolutely nothing, but man, you are busy.

No better time than now to check your social media hotspots. Facebook, the ultimate social media time suck pulls you in, 26 more minutes gone. Well, you are scanning your competition’s wall, so it really is considered competitive research, right? A check of LinkedIn, 2 new connections and a scan of the job postings yields another 12 minutes gone. Twitter feed, 4 more minutes lost and before you know it, you are hungry for lunch. Half of your day gone and you have accomplished absolutely nothing, but man, you are busy.

Does the above scenario seem familiar? You’re not alone, Salary.com reports that nearly 9 out of 10 employees either waste time or misdirect their time during their work date. Businesses in the U.S. are spending billions of dollars a year on wasted, distracted or nonproductive time. Lost time can result in lost business, lost opportunity and possibly a failed business. With so much time focused on the wrong activity, how can you possibly manage to get back on track after being derailed for so long.

Erase the thought that in five minutes you can accomplish nothing.

Here’s how -- Studies show that if you can get your brain focused on shorter, easier to obtain goals, you can trick yourself into action. Short, attainable micro goals will do the trick. Set a 5 minute goal to take notes about the activities you need to accomplish during the course of your day. Don’t look at the overall day, 42 emails, 4 phone calls, 2 projects, a partridge in a pear tree and counting. Tackling all of those tasks is overwhelming and thoughts of too many tasks will create negative energy. Erase the thought that in five minutes you can accomplish nothing, so you may as well hop onto social media to do some looking around. I’d rather have 5 minutes to focus on something important and productive than waste 30 minutes on YouTube. Once you hit the 5 minute mark, go for another 5 minutes. Keep beginning until you reach the end of a big task. You will find stringing together 10 tasks of 5 minutes each is much easier than taking on one 50 minute task.

Here are a several other “tricks” that will help you get back on track:

Stop multitasking. Try to avoid the temptation of doing many things at the same time because your day is filled to the max. Focus on one task at a time to help you manage your time better. Turn off your email or put your cell phone in the drawer while you are working on a project. Unless you are fully focused on a task you are not being your most productive self.

Half baked is half assed. Complete each task before you move onto the next one. If your task isn’t complete it is going to stay on your to-do list and that is not good news for anyone. Get it done, check it off the list and move on.

Look at where you are going. Success is a huge motivator. The more you have it in your life the more you want it in your life. Success makes you happy, helps build your self esteem and puts you in a proper positive mindset. You don’t have to cross the finish line in first place to feel satisfied, but you do need to cross it to be successful.

Look at where you are going. Success is a huge motivator.

Delegate where you can. We all know that no one can do it better than you -- or can they? Give someone else a shot to run with ball. You do not need to go it alone. Ask for help, you will be amazed at how well other people will rise to the occasion when given an opportunity to help.

You need to realize that along the way you will have urgent matters that pop up, problems that need to be fixed and people that need your time and attention. It’s ok, don’t get overwhelmed, it will all get done. Once you are able to start ticking items off of your list, 5 minutes at a time, your days will become less stressful, much more productive and you will feel much better about yourself.

Please share on LinkedIn , Facebook, Twitter and your favorite social channel by clicking on the "SHARE" button below. I welcome your comments. My book, titled Nice Guys Finish First, will be sold on Amazon. very soon. Stay tuned for details.

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Would you hire you? 10 ways to add value to your position at work.

Photo by vetkit/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by vetkit/iStock / Getty Images

Whether you receive a paycheck signed by someone else, run a company with scores of employees or work for a small organization, there is a value placed on your position. By going the extra mile, being the best you can be and contributing to a positive environment you add value. On the other hand, intentional or not, are you bringing a negative attitude to work, passing the buck a bit too often and doing the minimum to get by? If so, your value as an employee will be significantly lower. There is a relationship between your value at work and the probability of getting a raise, a promotion, extra perks and bonuses on the job. With all of the benefits associated with higher value, why anyone would choose to lower their value at work is beyond me. Simply put, it is your choice. You are directly responsible for your value, the exchange rate and your happiness at work.

Have the courage to give an honest answer: Would you hire you?

Ask yourself this question and have the courage to give an honest answer: Would you hire you? If words like passionate, excited, motivated and inspired describe you, you probably will get the gig. If, however, you are struggling to find the right words that fit or more importantly, if you are saying to yourself, “I would be positive, passionate, motivated and inspired by my work, but…(fill in the blank),” chances are good you wouldn’t get a call back or a second interview for the position. Excuses will not help boost your value, only action will.

Here are 10 questions that will help determine your value at work:

  1. Do you contribute to a positive office culture or does your attitude at work fan the flame of average? The overall profitability of the company you work for is attributed to the culture created within that organization. Companies like Zappos, Wegmans, Apple, Nordstrom and dozens more are household words because of the amazing culture created by the people that work there. You have within you the ability to be better than average. Make sure you prove it to yourself and add to your value.
  2. Do your efforts take the customer experience to the next level up or does the effort elevator not quite make it to your floor? If you haven’t already realized it, your effort is felt by everyone around you, not just your company’s customers. Everyone you come in contact with is your customer and they all need you to be positive. Your value at work is directly related to the contributions you make to your company.
  3. Can you add problem solver to your resume or do you prefer to hand issues to someone else in your office? You don’t need to be an investigator like Sherlock Holmes or as smart as Einstein, but contributing to problem resolution or supporting someone trying to solve a problem will add value to your role. It’s valuable to be a part of the solution. Under no circumstances do you want to be a part of the problem.
  4. Do you go the extra mile for your company or do you take shortcuts as you find them? Creating system improvements and working to provide exemplary service are qualified as going the extra mile. However, creating a shortcut that potentially can lead to less than stellar performance grades will diminish your value. Change for the sake of change will not add to your value.
  5. Would you describe yourself as an influencer or someone that is influenced? You do not need to be assigned to a management position in order to be considered an influencer. If you are well respected in the workplace, you are boosting your value.
  6. Does the idea of creating a new and improved system inspire you to look for ways to streamline your work process or would you prefer leaving systems in place? Making simple systems improvements or providing suggestions to make a process easier proves you are not just doing your job but actually thinking about the bigger picture. Creative thinking improves your value.
  7. Are you a good listener or are you at the office water cooler adding to the rumor mill? A good listener knows that he doesn’t know everything but wants to learn from someone more wise and with more experience on the job. Seek out a mentor where you work. Knowledge is power and will contribute to your value. Water cooler conversation and gossip contributes to negative office politics and should be avoided.
  8. When a team is needed to accomplish a task would you describe yourself as a volunteer or a captive participant? Teamwork, partnerships and cooperative effort involves building relationships. Great relationships equal better business. Whether you own your own business or work for a large organization, you should look for opportunities to work on a team. Teamwork sparks creative thinking. If you find yourself in a position to accomplish a task as a part of a team, don’t shy away from role.
  9. Do projects, customers, vendors, phone calls and emails slow you down from doing your job or are they a part of your job? Do not live in a vacuum at work. Remember that communication is a part of your job. In order for your company to exist, these relationships are essential. Each opportunity to communicate with your customers and vendors/suppliers is a chance to strengthen your brand. Lean into these unscheduled moments to gain trust and add value to your position and your company.
  10. Do you have a bright light passion for what you are building or do you see passion as something only dreamers dream about? Increase your value by being more kind than you need to be, friendlier than others expect you to be and put your heart out there for others to see even more than you already do now. Embrace the role you play at work and don’t just go through the motions. Honestly, anyone can be average. Average offers no value. Being average is not a stepping stone to anything other than mediocrity. Being average will never amount to happiness, it will only amount to getting by. Have the strength to set your sights on your bigger goals and be passionate about the contribution you make at work. Passion adds value. Have the courage to dream bigger and to be passionate about the responsibilities you have at work.
Increase your value by being more kind than you need to be, more friendly than others expect you to be and put your heart out there for others to see even more than you already do now.

What are other areas that should be considered to determine your value at work? Please add your comments below. To subscribe to my weekly blog please click here. I am available to speak to your company on a variety of topics including customer service, building lifetime relationships, managing and living a life of no regret and dozens more.

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Would You Hire You, The Podcast

Nice Guys Finish First
By Doug Sandler

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To be successful, change the world. Start with you.

Change creates lasting ripples in your life and the lives of others.

Change creates lasting ripples in your life and the lives of others.

I couldn’t even train my dog to sit on command. Coincidentally, if she sat while I was barking the mandate in her general vicinity, of course, I would have taken credit, but it was less likely she was following my orders and more likely she just felt like sitting. I don’t know which one of us learned more from obedience training, me or the dog. Success in class was not garnered by yelling out orders to my K-9 partner, but instead by adjusting my position, both mentally and physically. Eventually, my subtle changes helped me achieve my objective. I had to change, not the dog.

I had to CHANGE....

We’ve all heard it before, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Let me add, however, you can change the way you teach a trick to the old dog. You can’t change the world, your market, your employees or your coworkers, but you can change you. Get really good at changing yourself and you will help others realize that they can change too. As your confidence grows, your success rate for helping others change will grow as well. People will see how much of an inspiration you are at effecting change and will want to be a part of the plans you are making.

If you find yourself ever saying ‘I’ve always done it this way,’ change is due - now.

Change is not something you should be afraid of, or hesitant to put into play as long as the hope for change is that it brings positive results. Change is good, however, change for the sake of change is not ever my goal. Instead, I look for change to keep me aware of hope for a great future, to keep me flexible and to make me smarter. Most importantly, I look to change as a way of keeping my possibilities limitless because, if I can change, anything is possible. You can too.

Self talk warning -- “I’ve always done it this way.” If you find yourself ever saying these words to yourself, change is due - now. In some way, you may feel, the idea of permanence will be registered by uttering those words. I know, because that was me. I was resistant to anything involving change. Balancing my checkbook online instead of by hand, shopping via Amazon instead of the big box stores. In business, I needed to shift my focus from print advertising and cold calling to promoting my business via social media channels and content marketing. I was stuck in my Windows95 thinking, so passionate about what I knew and was comfortable with, that progress was passing me by, and I was ok with that.

I was stuck in my Windows95 thinking, so passionate about what I knew...progress was passing me by.

If there is anything to fear, fear not changing. Do not view change as a threat or that is has any negative implications. I would often view change through a negative lens because it would make me step out of my comfort zone, until I realized that change represents opportunity. Opportunity will often bring adventure, excitement, education and lessons learned. Change for me now represents success. I no longer view change as a negative. Change is the leading cause for success in my life as it would be for you as well.

I look to change as a way of keeping my possibilities limitless.

Small changes in your life starting today will amount to huge changes in your life in the future. Look for these new beginnings in every aspect of your life. Professionally, it might mean the beginning of building a positive office culture, where previously you lived by a T.G.I.F. philosophy. Personally, it may be the difference between a relationship that has gone stale, versus one you begin nurturing, building and creating exciting moments that will make lasting memories. Change is good. Change is empowering. Change is motivating. Change is essential. Change is growth. Change the world by changing you.

I'm moving to a new house in the upcoming weeks that has a great big back yard for a dog. I'm looking forward to getting a new puppy, I can't wait to see what tricks she is going to teach this old dog.

In what ways have you changed and what lessons did you learn? Please share this post on your favorite social media channel including LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

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