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Goodness! When I wrote my last post and published it I took a look at all posts, realizing I had another post to write for Friday… and realized I was at 1,199, which makes this my 1,200th post on this blog; how about that!

Let Mitchell Handle It

I wrote post #1,100 back in August of 2013, which was 21 months ago. That it took me that long to get to my next 100 shows that I slowed down my pace, which was kind of disappointing but necessary because when I hit that milestone I was traveling back and forth to Memphis, and I continued that pace for another 14 months afterwards. I just couldn’t keep up the pace of multiple posts a week. I’m back on that schedule now, but for how long?

This was a milestone period, that’s for sure. In this period I hit my 13th years in business, which was last June, which means I have about a month before I hit my 14th year. I also hit my 3,500th blog posts on my blogs only, realizing I had probably 5,000 blog posts and articles overall online. I’m thinking those weren’t bad at all.

During those 21 months, 3 articles I wrote some time ago still seem to be the most popular. For instance, 10 Reasons Harry Potter Is A Great Leader was written in 2011 but is my most popular post, 3 times more popular than the next one in line; I know it’s probably because it’s got “Harry Potter” in it but I’ll take what I can get. The next one, 10 Motivational Points In 2 Minutes, was written in 2012, and I’m kind of glad it’s still popular because many people like to tell me that posts about motivation aren’t all that great. My third most visited post was also written in 2011, that being Why Managers Treat Employees Badly.

The only post written in the last 31 months that made the top 25 is the one above on the 13 leadership lessons; that’s depressing. However, I think the reason some of my articles didn’t rank well here is twofold. One, once I went down to one article a week things started to slip a bit. Two, strangely enough, more people are seeing my articles on LinkedIn, as I’d forgotten that years ago I had set that up. Since January I’ve been working on increasing my prominence there for business reasons and people are “liking” the content; hey, I’ll take what I can get. :-)

That’s the look back. Looking ahead, as I already mentioned I’ll hit another anniversary in June, and since I’m going to try to continue writing at least two posts a week I should hit my next milestone in April.

That will be preceded next week by my launching my latest book, which I’ve finally given a title. It’s going to be called Leadership Is/Isn’t Easy, and when I’ve written the sales copy for the launch I’ll come back and link to it here. However, my hope is to launch it next Tuesday, which will coincide with the next post. I’m not only selling my book but throwing in a bunch of things to make it a big deal overall. Lots of stuff in it that I’ve created, some exclusive for the first month’s buyers; I won’t say more now but stay tuned.

I’m excited by that, my 14th anniversary, and all the potential things to come. I have high hopes; now I only have to go out there and achieve them! Meanwhile, as I always do whenever I hit a milestone, I’m sharing my favorite 10 posts of the period below. If you missed them please check them out… and leave comments! Until the next milestone:


The Business Consequences Of Bullying

“Be A Judge, Not A Lawyer”

10 Ways Diversity Improves Our Lives

If You Don’t Stand For Something…

13 Business Lessons

Of Course You Should Be Trying To Live Your Life To The Fullest

True Courage, Courtesy of My Great Grandmother

What Is Leadership?

My Dad The Manager

5 Leadership Lessons From Mom


 

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Last week in this space I wrote an article titled Sometimes People Don’t Want To Be Motivated. In that post I talked about coming across people who don’t like motivational messages for whatever reason. I also talked about the need to not stop trying to motivate people when you can just because some people don’t like it because many others do.

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As with everything else, there’s always another side to this type of issue. I figured I might as well tell my own story because it leads us back to the title of this piece.

Yesterday I wrote an article for LinkedIn titled Are You A Victim Of Your Own Expectations?. I talked about my next book that will be coming out pretty soon and why I’d been delaying it when it’s been completed for a long time. I was more worried about my expectations of how it might be received than by just putting it out, especially the way I’m going to do it, and letting the chips fall where they may.

This doesn’t happen to me often but sometimes I hold certain things back because I’m not ready to put myself out into the interwebs, as some folks like to call it, and potentially embarrass myself. You’d think I would have plenty of experiences that show I won’t embarrass myself, but sometimes it doesn’t matter.

One of my majors in college was music. I wanted to be a songwriter but I kept getting put out there as a performer. I had to play in two recitals, which I hated, but I did pretty well.

Years later, I offered up a song I’d written for a friend’s wedding. The song didn’t quite thrill her but my voice and piano playing did, and she asked me to sing at her wedding. Thus, I had to overcome major fear of singing in public and became a wedding singer for 14 years. Each time I had to pull some courage together beforehand but once I started I was fine.

Almost 14 years ago I decided to go into business on my own. Four months later I traveled to Pennsylvania and had my first speaking engagement. Strangely enough, I wasn’t nervous at all standing in front of a lot of people talking about leadership and health care. I was more nervous putting it together, especially getting it on those transparencies (who remembers those?).

50-cent book
Even 50 Cent wrote a book :-)

I wasn’t nervous when I put my first book out to the masses; I never even thought about it. I basically released the book while I was consulting out of town and at the time the only place I mentioned it was on this blog and when I did speaking engagements. I was more nervous sending it to publishers, which included a chance meeting with Ken Blanchard, who asked if he could read it; that was freaky!

At this point in my life and career, I find that while some things remain the same, some things have changed. I’ve developed into a better writer if I say so myself. I’ve got around 5,000 articles online in all sorts of places, including my own blogs. One would think that putting together a new book wouldn’t be much of a challenge…

But it was. It’s taken me two years to put it together, even if most of it was already written; I’m not going to get into that yet since the launch will be pretty soon, but I needed to say that to get to the rest of this tale.

Anyway, the book has been finished since the end of November. It’s been edited, and I had to do a lot of rewrites. Then I shared it with some people who said they’d read it and let me know what they thought…

And not one of them did. I felt disappointed. I followed up with all of them and never heard back from them… I felt a little depressed.

It caused me to basically shelve the book for a long while. Maybe it’s not good enough. Maybe no one will be interested in it. After the effort, maybe I wasted my time. Maybe my friends are being kind by not telling me how bad it is… maybe they were just being nice by telling me they’d read it.

See how we put scenarios in our own heads?

Meanwhile, I continued writing posts here about motivation. I write posts on one of my other blogs about motivation. I’ve done a few videos on motivation. I’ve watched a bunch of other videos on motivation.

Last week one of those motivational videos finally struck home. You know who it was… Oprah! This video:
 


https://youtu.be/Dp_cmLfJZ1w

That was needed! The funny thing is that I’ve always said that you can get 10 people to talk to 100 people about motivation, saying the same exact words, and at the end of the day each person will have touched someone who responds to the message based on how they said it.

I’d been listening to a lot of motivational messages and I’ll admit that most of them were testosterone-laced; hey, I’m a guy! I liked a lot of them, felt a little better after listening to them, but none of them said it the way Oprah said it. I guess that’s why she’s Oprah.

This was last Thursday. It’s what got me thinking about the book again, and I realized that my sitting on it because of what other people said they’d do that they didn’t do wasn’t about them; it was about me. I’m responsible for me, just as you’re responsible for you.

It’s good to ask people for their help or their opinion but when all is said and done we’re responsible for ourselves, our successes, our happiness, our dreams and goals. It’s nice to have someone share them with you and encourage you but that’s not always going to happen.

In my case my wife is supportive of this venture; at least I’ve got her. 😀

So, you’re being put on notice. Within the week I’ll have my second book on leadership coming out. I’m doing it all on my own pretty much. I’ll be marketing the heck out of it but there will be surprises. I’m going to be serious about it all and I’ll be looking to get other benefits from it as well. Speaking engagements, interviews… I hope to use it to launch myself into the stratosphere.

Big dreams; big goals. At least I’ve remembered that I’m responsible; that’s what really counts.
 

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Over the past few months I’ve been trying to elevate my presence on social media. I’ve been doing it in two ways.

One way is through Twitter, where I’ve been sharing a lot of articles from this blog and some of my other blogs over and over. I’ve tried to pick what I consider are the best of the best.

perseverancedemotivator

The other way is by posting quotes from blog posts of mine. I started from the earliest posts, which began in 2005, and I’m through the middle of 2009. I only go back to find more every couple of weeks or so, which means I’m posting the same quotes multiple times. However, like the blog posts, I have so many that even though I post them more than once, it probably takes at least a week before I’ll repeat a quote.

Overall it’s been a pretty positive experience. I’ve had more people reading my blog posts and wanting to connect with me on Twitter. That’s pretty cool; that it hasn’t translated into more comments has been interesting, but there are some folks who just aren’t going to comment on blogs.

However, all isn’t perfect. What I’ve found here and there are people who want to debate a quote. Most of the time it’s a motivational quote; that’s kind of strange to me.

I could see having a debate on a political issue. Actually, I have a few quotes that touch upon diversity issues. Those I would be prepared to discuss with someone; I always feel there’s never enough discussion about race.

But motivation? I mean, does a quote like “I like to believe that all of us have the potential to be great, do great, live great, and feel great” really seem like one that people wouldn’t like, or that someone couldn’t feel good about?

That one hasn’t had any negative responses but others like it have. Initially I thought that maybe I was missing the point of my own quote, or maybe I wasn’t thinking it through enough. Maybe I was off base in some fashion.

However, other people were sharing and favoring those quotes, and they seemed fine from my perspective.

What I finally realized is that not everyone wants to be motivated. I should have come to this realization much earlier than I did because it’s happened to me before.

Inspire me, please!
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I’m one of those people who likes trying to make others feel good when I can. Even when I’m in leadership mode and have had to counsel someone I never tried to break them down or crush their spirit. What use would anyone be to me or the organization if I did that?

Yet, there are some people who don’t want that. And when they don’t want it they’ll tell you in much harsher terms than you’re expecting. I have a rule that I don’t give advice unless I’m asked and I stick by that, but trying to make someone feel better when they’re down? If it’s something very serious like issues with a family member I know that’s not the time to try to motivate anyone but other times?

What does one do in those types of situations?

I go by two other rules. Both of them are based on lines from movies; yeah, I can be goofy sometimes.

The first comes from Star Trek: Wrath of Khan, where Mr. Spock says “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”

The second comes from Airplane where this lady, Barbara Billingsly, who famously played the mother on Leave It To Beaver, says to herself while walking away from a situation “Chump don’ want no help, chump don’t GET da help!” lol

What do these two quotes mean?

Basically, if someone expresses an aversion to being motivated I never try to motivate them again. I don’t want anyone to have to deal with something they’ve indicated they don’t like.

That won’t stop me from trying to motivate others or posting motivational messages. Most people like them, some tell me they help them, and those numbers are much higher than the numbers of those who don’t like them. And, since they’re meant to be positive as well as thought provoking, my intentions are good; I can live with it.

Do you run into people who hate motivational messages? Does it make you want to stop trying with everyone, or are you able to rise above the fray? For that matter are you someone who doesn’t like motivational messages?
 

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It’s strange how sometimes a thought will come to you and when you start thinking about it you realize that it’s been hammering at you in more than one way, sometimes from more than one place.

Business Meeting
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There’s this concept of doing what you’ve got to do that’s a big one for me, yet something I don’t think about all the time. It manifests itself in more than one way for each of us based on what’s going on in our lives at the time.

The first way it came to me was during my consultant’s meeting last week when we discussed the generic topic Do You Follow Your Own Advice. One of the consultants there, who’s also a health care finance consultant, was mentioning how at least 60% of his business is marketing and that his rate covers the time it takes him to prospect for new clients. The first part I needed to hear again; the second part was so new to me that I had an “A-Ha” moment; love that!

The second came from a conversation I was having with my wife based on her work ethic when compared to that of some of the people she’s working with now, as well as some of the people she’s worked with in other hospitals across the country over the last few years. It led to my writing an article titled Why Do You Work So Hard?, where I responded to her question by saying we have to do what we do because it’s our reputation on the line and no one else’s every time we decide to do or not do something. Frankly, basing our performance on how other people do things is distasteful; she agreed with me.

When I talk to people about leadership issues, I’m often saying that it’s important for leaders to establish a certain behavior and manner in working with others. I also say that the ultimate goal should be success for everyone on the team, which leads to success in business, and not just the leader.

However, when I think more about this, I recognize that some leaders don’t have the skills needed to do all of this. They still need them, but if they’re lacking these skills then they should fall back on this premise of doing what they need to do or, to word it differently, doing what it takes to get things done.

After all, in business all of us in the end have to do what we’ve got to do to get things completed in the most efficient way possible. Hopefully the most thorough way, the most ethical way, the most cost effective way and the most beneficial way possible as well.

Of course this could be taken another way also but for the purposes of this article I think I’ll leave it there for now. What’s your thought?
 

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Suffice it to say that over the last 4 weeks I’ve had an adventure in trying to get my media package changed from Time Warner to Verizon. Initially it was all Verizon’s fault, although I think it all could have been handled much differently. Then Wednesday night it was Time Warner’s fault; I won’t go into specifics but I’ll say that overall it’s been a miserable experience.

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Thursday morning I awake to this odd, mechanical sounding shuffling noise. I pop on my glasses and aim my eyes in the direction of the noise and it turns out to be the Verizon TV box. It was going through a recycling action, something I was used to seeing with Time Warner’s box every once in a while. Only this time it couldn’t complete the action; it just kept cycling over and over, making this incessant noise.

I got up and went to check out the other two TV’s. I knew what I was going to see, and I was right; none of them were working.

Part of the problem that prompted Verizon techs to my house on Wednesday was moving the TV modem from one room to another because of phone issues we were all having. They finally fixed the phone but no one thought about looking to see if the TV was still working; oops!

Initially I was irked and frustrated; I’d only been awake about 5 minutes and it looked like I was going to have to call Verizon again and have someone come to the house again… it would have been the 7th trip here. Oy!

Instead, I sat down and thought for a moment. It hit me that I had 3 Verizon boxes but only one was going haywire. That was the box that the modem had initially been tethered to, and it was possible that it was going nuts looking for the modem.

Whenever the Time Warner modem went down (which happened often), what I had to do was unplug it, let it sit for about 30 to 60 seconds, then plug it back in and let it reset itself. I decided to do this with the wonky box. Lo and behold, once I plugged it back in it started to recycle itself but this time I saw a message on the TV asking me to wait a moment. It said a few more things over the course of the next minute, then finally popped a program on the screen.

At the same time I heard voices coming from the other rooms where I’d turned the TV on. All was right with the world again; TV signals are strong, the boxes work, and I didn’t have to call anyone. Winning all around!

teresa 7-14-2005 7-18-00 PM
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Sometimes when we’re thrown off for a little while our first reaction is to find someone to help us fix things, especially when we think someone else messed them up to begin with. That’s not usually my norm, even though it was what I was thinking because of how many times I’d had to have someone come to the house to address things. Once my head cleared a bit, I was able to go into my normal mode of thinking things through, remembering old patterns, and giving it a shot. The worst that could have happened was that it wouldn’t work; I had a feeling it would.

When I was an every day director years ago I’d have employees come into my office or ask me to come to their desks. They’d have a problem they didn’t know how to handle; or so it seemed.

Instead of just fixing it for them or giving them the right answer, I’d ask them what they thought the problem was first. If they could identify that, then I’d ask them what they thought they could do that might fix it. Most of the time they got it right, and I’d give them affirmation and leave.

I don’t know when we got to a culture where people are scared to take chances to address issues on their own. I know there are some managers and directors who put limits onto what their employees are allowed to do. I know there are times when that’s necessary, but based on my own experience it shouldn’t be the norm. People are often much smarter than even they give themselves credit for.

Are you a leader who limits employee growth in this way? When it comes to problems you encounter, do you immediately reach out to someone else, or do you take some time to think it through to see if you actually know the answer?
 

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Of all things, I got invited to the Floyd Mayweather – Manny Pacquaio fight on Saturday night. Rather, I got invited to a party where this guy had paid for us to watch the fight on TV. At $100 a shot, which I didn’t know until just before I left, I guess it was cause to have a party to make sure you got your money’s worth.

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During and after the fight, many of the people there weren’t happy with what they saw. Instead of two guys coming together and beating the daylights out of each other, what they saw was a tactical fight by Mayweather, who almost never got hit, and a guy on the other side who was frustrated to no end. It was typical Mayweather, who won the fight easily.

At one point during the fight, one of the guys there said “Mayweather isn’t even trying to fight; he’s just standing outside throwing jabs.”

I said “That’s what he does; that’s what boxing really is.”

He said “But that’s not fighting.”

I said “No, it’s boxing, and this is why he’s going to win.”

He said “But this isn’t all that exciting.”

I said “It’s not always about being exciting; it’s about winning.”

Strange as it might seem to people who know me now, I used to win a lot of things as a kid. I won lots of bowling trophies. I was pretty good at a lot of sports. I was badminton and ping pong champion of my class senior year, and I was a pretty good volleyball player also, though I never really liked the game. I was also pretty good at tennis.

I mention these sports specifically because I played them differently than how other people played. I was only about winning. I played fair and by the rules, but I played by my own rules when it came to trying to win.

What do I mean? Instead of trying to bang a ball back and forth with the other person, trying to prove how tough I was, I played to my strengths in each sport.

For instance, in ping pong, my strength was in blocking back everything anyone hit at me. The other person would try to blast the ball past me and I’d just block it back. I’d keep doing this until they eventually missed because they’d get frustrated.

In tennis, I hit the ball with a slice, which meant the ball had a backspin to it. This gave me two advantages. One, I could pretty much hit the ball where I wanted to hit it. Two, when the ball landed it lost its steam, so other players would have to lunge for it.

In both badminton and volleyball, instead of hitting the object (since badminton doesn’t have a ball) hard and back at the opposing player or team, I would tap the item at angles, barely over the net, which threw them off because no one else played that way.

Winning isn’t always spectacular or pretty. There have been international chess matches that have ended in less than 5 minutes because the losing player analyzes what’s happened and has already figured out that he’s lost and gives up. Often people who watch these matches (which I can’t imagine) get really upset because they don’t have that kind of vision, the type that only a grand master could have. But a win is a win; you never hear of the winners of these matches being upset that they won.

Think about business wins. When Windows became the number one operating system in the world, was there a spectacular party proclaiming it, or did we just open the newspaper one day to read that they had started to dominate the market? When Google overtook all other search engines, was there a major celebration with cake and confetti, or did it happen without anyone really noticing at the time?

In my mind, if most of us concentrated on a few small and innocuous daily wins we’d motivate ourselves to do other things that might be more substantial. I’m big on winning as often as I can, but I don’t want every win to be a major challenge I’ve had to overcome.

Sometimes, winning is as simple as getting out of bed and facing the day. Other times, winning is figuring out something that seemed kind of tough and getting it completed on time and proficiently.

Whether you win on your own or in front of others, don’t ever get caught up in playing someone else’s game, especially if it’s not your strong suit. Win on your own terms, as long as it’s fair and within whatever the rules are. Do that and you’ll win often.
 

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Dr. Ben Carson is supposed to be a very smart guy. If that’s the case why are his words so stupid?

Pinocchio DSM 5
Len Matthews via Compfight

This isn’t a political discussion; it’s a communications discussion. Back last August he was on some news program trying to promote an agenda item and he decided to compare the United States government to the Nazi regime. When asked a couple of days later about his statement, he said that not only did he stand by his comparison but said “And I know you’re not supposed to say ‘Nazi Germany,’ but I don’t care about political correctness.”

Imagine you’re working for this man in any capacity and he makes a statement like that. How would you feel, even if you were against the present administration? Would you support a statement like this, knowing its sordid history? Would you be proud enough to go out that night, to the store or the bowling alley, or wherever, and repeat those words to your friends and colleagues?

What if the people you were around included Jewish people? What about black people? The disabled? The Nazis not only hated all of them but killed them indiscriminately. Could you look those people in the eye with confidence and tell them that what their ancestors experienced is equal to what, supposedly, people are experiencing now under the current administration?

Of course, back in March, after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was reelected by using some language that didn’t seem appropriate at the time to win, John McCain, the senator from Arizona, said “Mr. Netanyahu made his initial statements for political purposes and the White House should recognize that.”

In other words, McCain was basically saying that no one’s words should be taken seriously.

At what point in history did people in leadership positions decide that they could say anything they wanted to without actually meaning it, and that they should be forgiven or given a pass because “everyone with any sense knows we don’t mean it?” If this is really the norm, leadership in this world is in great peril.

If no one can believe a single word any leaders say, why should anyone be loyal to anyone else? Why should anyone commit to either a company or management vision, even if both say that they’ll take care of their employees to make sure that they’re successful and happy? I wonder how many people believed that type of thing as they were escorted out of a business because of layoffs.

The words of some of these leaders scares others. Dr. Carson’s former hospital formally disassociated themselves from him after his words above. After Chick-Fil-A CEO Dan Cathy decided to come out with his words against gay marriage based on his religion, many franchises tried to distance themselves from him personally. Mozilla, the company that builds the Firefox browser, let go their CEO of only a month when it was discovered he’d been giving money to organizations committed to fighting gay marriage in California and that he’d made previous statements against it.

There are many more examples one can find, and none of them ever go well. Even though these two aren’t leaders specifically, last week two actors from the Avenger movie coming out at the end of this week has to issue an apology because they’d insulted an Avenger character with a sexist comment while trying to be funny, but no one took it that way. It won’t stop the movie from being a juggernaut, but it’s made a few people wary about the two for a little while at least.

If you’re going to be a leader you can’t expect that your words aren’t going to carry as much weight as any actions you take. If loyalty is to mean anything it has to be all encompassing from its leaders. Unless you’re ready to deal with the consequences of your words, which will come, you need to check them before you say them. If you’re worried about political correctness you should realize that’s not your biggest worry. Controversy only helps true celebrities; the rest will often suffer greatly.

Is that really the legacy you want to deal with in your company? Ask yourself that before you utter something you can’t, or won’t, take back.
 

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