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2015 Blog Year in Review

'Twas a few days before Christmas,  I sat scanning my blog, I reviewed 2015 sipping a glass of egg nog. 

The year has slipped by us, as quick as two winks. I counted 52 blog posts and 90 podcasts with web links.

The subject matter varied, but the theme, all the same. To succeed in life friends, we've got to go after big game. 

Exemplary service, work ethic, stress management all there. Inspiring quotes, book reviews, even a few app recommendations I did dare.

I wrote of superheroes, self worth and being a business smarty.  Most recently, two posts, eulogizing my amazing dad Marty.

I talked of piggy bank moments, and slowing down a bit, to breathe and relax, reducing stress and staying fit.

Reading my posts you will find lots of tricks of the trade, whether entrepreneur or business owner, never let your dreams fade.

There was the time when I posted about problematic email tone. And also one to my readers to be more attentive while giving phone.

A post about an anxiety attack that happened to me, and the hurdles we all may face on our quest for liberty.

I received plenty of responses when I wrote about my fave booksThe Go-Giver, The Present and Think & Grow Rich all deserve second looks.

Living life to the fullest, stepping out of your zone. I am always emphasizing you're not going it alone.

I wrote of 5 simple rules to live a happier life, and talked of beating to your own drum and living with delight.

Reading my posts you will find lots of tricks of the trade, whether entrepreneur or business owner, never let your dreams fade.

About mid-year I wrote an open letter to my mom, and of amazing training wheel moments that last a whole life long.

We learn a lot about ourselves when we deal with defeat. When loss and failure hurts us and we feel like we're beat.

There was a post about Seuss. Think. Wonder. Yes, indeed. Stand out when you're you and you will win, guaranteed.

And I wrote in the spring about being a nerd, and that success can come to you, when others think you're absurd. 

There was a post on social skills, about Facebook and Twitter, about being a good listener and about being a winner.

We all need a cheerleader, someone by our side, to help raise our ship high, even in a low tide. I encourage my community to walk, hand in hand, and together success will be our promised land.

In 2015 I wrote of an epidemic that's catching. Excusitis it's called and the symptoms can be quite lasting. With a positive mindset, and a great attitude, the excuse illness will pass you and a fever you can elude.

I wrote a bit about marketing, taking a social media stance. I wrote of high touch, not high tech and the client prospect "dance."

And when sometimes you need help and in ways you get stuck, I wrote of predictable habits that can bring you good luck.

But the approach I have shared, I have shared with delight, of compassion, empathy, passion and the belief,  nice is right.  And I continue to catch people as they do the right thing. I thank them for just being, and their praise I do sing.

We all need a cheerleader, someone by our side, to help raise our ship high, even in a low tide. I encourage my community to walk, hand in hand, and together success will be our promised land. 

So as I close out this year, Nice Guys Finish First seems so right. Happy holidays to all and to all a NICE night.

Nice Guys Finish First
By Doug Sandler



5 Big Hurdles Successful People Overcome

No one starts out successful. It takes hard work to get there, just ask anyone that has achieved any level of success in their life. I am confident they would be happy to share with you their story. Being persistent, consistent and focused is on the short list of traits needed to be successful, even if you have plenty of support, guidance and leadership in your life. A series of hurdles may come between you and success, regardless of your station in life, status or the type of success you are trying to achieve. Often times these hurdles present themselves as excuses you tell yourself.

Be forewarned, avoid the easy way out, take no detours, stay on task and do your best to hop these five hurdles. With each leap, you will be one jump closer to success.

“I’m not good with people."

Some of the most successful people I know would consider themselves introverts. As they began their professional journey, they were challenged by the fact that they would actually need to talk to people, communicate regularly and build relationships with others. Living life in a figurative bubble is not a very good strategy if success is your goal. If you have products or services in need of being sold, promoted, marketed, administered, purchased, researched or developed, the statement, “I’m not good with people,” must be removed from your life. The solution is somewhat simple - get good with people. The best way to do that is to be yourself but put yourself out there. Put yourself in situations where you have no choice but to open up. Networking meetings, association gatherings and office projects are all good avenues to help you practice getting your people on.

“I don’t like to speak in public.”

Even if you are not looking for a career in public speaking, learning how to present to others is a key hurdle to jump on your way to success. Defined, speaking in public is far more than standing on a stage and delivering a presentation with charts, Powerpoint and an audience. Public speaking involves presenting your ideas in a clear, precise and responsible manner to more than one person. The more you present your ideas to others, the more confident you become. As your confidence grows, you become more sure of your subject matter and people will develop a higher level of trust in you. Stay true to your word, remain confident without having an ego and keep presenting your ideas to others. Mastering the skill of public speaking will take you very far professionally and personally and definitely a hurdle worth jumping on your way to success. Practice makes perfect, so find your public and open up.

“I’m afraid I will fail.”

We all do it at one time or another in our lives, but don’t let the fear of failure hold you back. Many of us have let this hurdle stop us dead in our tracks multiple times. Once you get up close to this barrier, you will see it isn’t so tall after all. Fear of failure has a close associate called the comfort zone. And your comfort zone has a forcefield around it that protects you from failure. Often times it’s disguised as Netflix and a comfortable sofa. Other times is can be accepting a cost of living increase raise at work, or even a familiar cubicle at the office. You know it, you’re used to it and it’s not so bad. I would challenge you to stop settling for mediocre, average or just okay. What’s holding you back? Probably nothing more than an excuse and fear of failure. The timing will never be perfect and honestly, failing is only permanent when you quit. The greatest part about life is that we all have opportunity in our lives, uniquely hidden inside every challenge. Replace every negative word in your vocabulary with positive words. Keep your brain focused on all of the wins you have had and eliminate “loss” thinking. Be the best you can be at everything you do and failure will have a very hard time taking grip.

“I’ve never been much of a goal setter.”

You are either a part of your dreams or a part of someone else’s dreams. I would encourage you to be a player in your own dreams and not someone else’s. Life is much more fun when you are in control of it. Goal setting is a critical component. Without it, you are adding a hurdle that will be nearly impossible to jump over on your way to success. The great visionaries including Steve Jobs (Apple), Larry Page and Sergey Brin (Google fame), Steve Case (AOL) all pushed hard to make sure their goals became a part of not only their personal lives but also a part of their company’s corporate culture. In its simplest form a goal is a promise you make to yourself with an actual plan to get you there. Start dreaming and start living. Your dreams will come true if you set a few goals for yourself.

“I’m not really sure how to get where I want to go.”

This hurdle can stop you dead in your tracks. You may think you are moving forward but in actuality, you are only getting ready to move forward. Since you are moving things around your desk, setting up unproductive appointments, pacing your office, prepping for action and letting distractions, well, distract you, you probably think you are actually doing something. You are not. Stop fooling yourself. The best way to get started is to get started. Purposeful action will help you jump this hurdle. When in doubt of the action step to take first, find someone who is where you want to be, invite them out for a cup of coffee or set up a face to face meeting and open up to them about your plans, goals and dreams. Now is not the time for an ego; now is the time to shut up and listen to what they have to say. Once you have listened, write down a handful of action items and get moving.

Your comfort zone has a forcefield around it that protects you from failure. Often times it’s disguised as Netflix and a comfortable sofa.

As you leap over one hurdle another may come into view. Don’t allow it to slow you down. Use the confidence and the momentum created to help propel you forward. I’m excited most for anyone that recognizes that it won’t be easy, but that it is possible to be successful. Keep moving forward, keep jumping high and get to the success line, it’s just around the corner.



5 Simple Rules for Living a Life of Happiness

One of the greatest feelings you can possess is happiness. When you are happy, people want to be around you. It’s a simple attraction principle; when you are happy, you attract other happy people. Happiness can spread quickly and is very contagious when gratitude, generosity, and positivity are added to your relationships.

Hundreds of studies have been conducted on the positive effects and health benefits of being happy. It’s hard to argue with the facts, a happy you equals a healthy you. Although I have always considered myself a happy person personally, as I have developed my professional life as well, I have discovered that the happier I am, the more successful my business became too.

Here are five rules to help you live a life of happiness:

1. Don’t take life so seriously.

As I was growing up my dad would always have to remind me that worrying about things that are outside of my control was harmful to my attitude and ultimately challenging my ability to be happy. Plus, I had no control so I should stop worrying. He’d continue by saying that worrying about something within my control was not needed since I had the ability to fix the problem by taking action. Our time on this earth is limited, it’s extremely important to make the most of it while we are here. Look at life as a dress rehearsal, even if we mess up our lines, we can stop, take some advice from the experts that support us and guide us through it, and get back to the show.

2. Define for yourself what success means.

Don’t let others define what success means to you. Success to you might be a filled bank account, fancy automobiles and material items. To others it might mean free time, lots of family gatherings and plenty of staycations. Professionally, success to me means working for myself, never having to hire staff and creating my own products and services. Personally, it means loving and being loved while enjoying the time I have in this lifetime. Someone else might define success as being CEO of a Fortune 500 company, having hundreds of staff members and having a corporate Amex card. You have the ability to make your own goals, dream your own dreams and define what success means to you.

3. You have an unlimited amount of do-overs

About 40 years ago, my brother and I would play ping pong in our rec room. To the right of the ping pong table stood a rubber tree plant. When the ball either hit the rubber tree plant or came too close to make a return shot, we’d yell “DO-OVER!” As an adult we have unlimited do-overs. As your professional career evolves, if you don’t like the direction you are going, take a do-over. Nearly 3 years ago, at 48, I decided to take a professional do-over, reinventing my professional life to where it is today as an author, speaker and business consultant. I have never been happier in my life and while there have been some very scary moments, it has also proven to be one of the most rewarding directions I have ever gone, making me extremely happy.

4. Worry less about what they think.

Who the heck is they anyway? And honestly, until they are paying my bills and living my life, “they” don’t know what is best for me. I get to define my happiness and determine what life is all about for me. What it really comes down to is this: you have to deal with the consequences of your actions and “they” get to walk away. There will always be a court of public opinion and you will never be able to please all of the people in that court, so you may as well make decisions and take action based upon what works best for you and not “them.”

5. Play by your own rules.

There is nothing worse than a static policies and procedures manual. Sure, there are some rules that are very important to follow. I usually put them into the category of common sense. Rules like, “Don’t harass your coworkers,” or, “Physical or verbal bullying will not be tolerated and subject to termination.” People breaking these rules need to get a life and should actually try to harness that negative energy into something positive, lasting, and beneficial to the human race. Happiness is created by treating others fairly, doing what feels right, making a positive impact on the planet and by following what you are passionate about.

When I originally sat down to write this blog, I was challenged by the idea of creating a set of rules pertaining to making rules for your life. Use these rules as guidelines and suggestions. Keep in mind, these are the rules that apply to my life and are “serving suggestions” for you. If you don’t like them, get your own set of rules and start getting your happy on, today. I know it will be worth it and will ultimately, make you very happy.



A Problem Worth Solving

Photo Credit - pixabay.com

Photo Credit - pixabay.com

Problems don’t ever seem to creep up on me. Instead, they lurch out of the darkness and create a detour in my already jam packed day. As a business owner, I have worked hard, trying to reduce the number of problems that arise, and I have worked even more diligently at trying not to let a problem that surfaces wreck my day. Regardless of how much effort, time and energy I exert to preempt problems, the little gremlins seem to find their way into my schedule.

I may not go about solving problems in a straight line, but eventually, I will get there.

Since problems are a fact of life, I have spent a considerable amount of time in problem solving mode. I would not consider my problem solving skill level on the scale of Sherlock Holmes or even Detective Columbo. More likely, I would compare myself to Chief Inspector Jacques Clouseau from the Pink Panther movies. I may not go about solving problems in a straight line, but eventually, I will get there.

Here are 5 tactics I put into use when trying to solve problems:

Be passionate about the solution, not the problem. When a problem is presented to me, my initial instinct is to go into defense mode. I can feel the pulse in my neck begin to throb as my emotions kick in. Instead of denying the feeling, channel the energy into a passion to find a solution. As difficult as it may be to believe, the problem presented is not about you, it is more likely about your product, service or a situation that occurred in need of your attention. If you focus on the solution and not the problem you will see things in a whole different light.

Put the rules aside. When a problem is presented to you, and you start to work on the solutions, write down as many solutions as possible. Initially, do not focus on the rules, policies, procedures and guidelines. What you are actually doing by working this method is training your brain to be solution based. Once you have exhausted your “solutions list,” go back and strike out the bigger rule breakers. There is a possibility the rule bender solutions may fit the problem perfectly and that your company may be willing to make an exception to the rules for this specific situation. One step further, there is a chance that a problem presented is worthy of a rule change, making you a Class A problem solver and influencer. Nice job.

I would highly recommend you put the problem into perspective and evaluate it through the eyes of the source.

What does your gut tell you? When presented with a problem, it is usually presented with a “gut check” as well. Instinctively, you may have that sixth sense that evaluates the situation and presents its findings in a split second. If your gut instinct is usually correct, I would encourage you to present that as one of your initial solutions. If you are experienced in your profession, your gut is best guide for problem solving.

Keep everything in perspective. I would highly recommend you put the problem into perspective and evaluate it through the eyes of the source. Your customer wants to hear solutions that are based upon their needs, not the policies of your company. You will need to present solutions that show empathy, compassion and an understanding of the problem based upon the needs of your customer. You will find that solutions come much faster if you focus on the needs of others instead of your needs first.

Problems are bound to happen, it’s what comes next that is important.

Don’t go it alone. Bigger problems may require the efforts of more than just you. No need to be a solo superhero, let others help generate a solution with you. Batman had Robin and Speed Racer had Chim Chim, you too may need help. You will be amazed at how supportive others are when you ask their advice. Although your goal is never to pass the buck, the ability to enlist others should be within your problem solving tactics. Teamwork provides a great opportunity to resolve the most complex problems.

While problems are never fun to deal with, problem solving provides an great opportunity for you to grow, think fast on your feet and work magic into your day. Problems are bound to happen, it’s what comes next that is important.

What other techniques do you use to resolve problems during your day? Please share them in the comments section below. Also, take a moment and share my Nice Guys Finish First message on your favorite social media channel. LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook have been very successful at amplifying my message. Also, check out my writing on Huffington Post as well.

The launch date for my book is coming very soon. Amazon.com will be taking pre-orders for Nice Guys Finish First in the next few days. I will be emailing anyone on my mailing list. As we put the final touches, edits and designs together, please help me with the HUGE task of deciding the book cover design. Which design would look nice on your bookshelf?

Click design to enlarge

Click design to enlarge

Cover Design Choice *
Help me select my cover design. Which do you prefer? You will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a signed copy of my book. On release date, I will be announcing the winners. Stay tuned for details on launch date.


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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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