Let’s be brutally honest for a minute. No excuses. No whining.
Here is the truth; any success you have in this life starts with you.
How much work are you willing to put in to your goals? Patrick Allmond has a post about working on the weekends called “Want Success Faster? Treat Your Weekends Like Your Weekdays”. Have you read it? I wonder how many people agreed with the idea, but then give the excuse that they deserve the weekend to relax?
Here is the truth; any success you have in this life starts with you.
Afraid of what might happen if you make a change? Do it anyway. Remember jumping off the diving board for the first time? How many times did you jump off the board that day? You overcame the fear to discover the joy of doing something you wanted to do. What joy are you missing today because of fear?
Or are you too comfortable? You talk about a goal. You think about a goal. You might even take a few steps toward achieving that goal. But life is comfortable, things are good. Reaching for something better may disrupt your life. Comfort = Fear. You are right, it will disrupt your life. And no, I can’t guarantee you will succeed, or tell you how long it will take. What I do know is that striving for our goals adds depth and joy to our lives.
So, it is time to be honest. No excuses. No whining.
Here is the truth; any true long-term life success starts with you.
Let’s get to work.
Bio: Jamey Boelhower is a husband and a father of six. He is currently an Instructional Coach and as adjunct professor for Central Community College, Nebraska. You can read his regular blog “It Is All Connected” by clicking here. And you can follow him on twitter at @jdog90Read More
Far too often does the process of making bad choices, unethical choices, begin with a simple almost thoughtless decision. How do I know? I am living proof that good people can make really bad choices and profound doesn’t come close to describing the experience.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I see this coming. When I first started “borrowing” from my client I had every intent of paying back what I took. Heck, I did pay some of it back…at least at the beginning!” Those were the words I shared as I openly confessed that the life I was living was, for the most part, an illusion. Truth be told for all my legitimate successes, I had over time become no more than a liar and a thief. My choices created consequences that he never dreamed were possible.
Some people have advised that I should not be so transparent, especially when writing an article for such a prestigious organization. By my recantation of my ethical fall is all too common. People who fold their arms stating “I would never do something illegal much less unethical!” find that what triggers inappropriate behavior is a basic part of human nature. We are all subject to temptation and therefore can and do make bad choices. I am but an example.
If bad choices lead to tough consequences, what can we do to identify bad behavior before it starts? What can we do, as managers or leaders, to prevent unethical choices from being made in the first place? Those are two very profound questions, both of which are at the heart of why it is critical to talk about the Human Side of Ethics in your organization
The Three Components of Bad Behavior
Research has shown that three behaviors are at the core of what would cause or allow an otherwise ethical person to make unethical and potentially illegal choices. These behaviors are well documented and for those who are charged with detecting fraud (Statement of Auditing Standards #99) are called “the fraud triangle”
Need. Described as perceived pressure that a person is experiencing, is the first and critical component of what motives a person to stray from ethical to unethical. Need may come in a variety of forms. The person who is in too much debt likely experiences financial strain – which was the root of my need. Alice, a church secretary, found her need triggered by her granddaughter:54’s diagnosis of cancer. Infamous Bernie Madoff’s need was certainly not money; likely, he was triggered by the need to be infallible. Whatever the pressure, need is the core emotional state that starts the ball rolling from a choice that is ethical to unethical.
Opportunity. It makes no difference what your need may be if you don’t have the opportunity to satisfy it then the unethical and potentially illegal choice fails. Without Opportunity there is no fuel for the potential unethical fire. I was a trusted employee, and with that trust came opportunity. Alice was trusted, and had been for so many years that no one could comprehend she was capable of any unethical activity. Madoff took opportunity founded in trust to a new level.
Rationalization. Need combined with opportunity provides a firm foundation, but the glue that holds unethical activity together is the ability to rationalize that what is wrong, is right. If you ask most people found guilty of unethical/illegal behavior, they will tell you they felt their actions were legitimate. Mark, for example, rationalized that he was not “stealing” money as long as his intent was to pay it back. Further, he solidified this mental game by paying some of the money back. “Surely, I wasn’t guilty of stealing money as long as I was paying it back,” he stated.
The mind can be tricky and when you combine need with opportunity, and can rationalize bad:00 behavior as good, you have the perfect storm to move from ethical to unethical, and potential illegal, behavior.
What Can Be Done to Prevent Unethical Activities?
As business managers, HR Directors and those connected with Compliance, there are clear actions we can take that can help keep folks between the ethical lines.
Look for Need! While we can’t control what needs our employees have, we can be aware of any changes or activities that would suggest an increase in need and the stress that need brings.
I was the one responsible for my unethical actions. I was in too much debt and succumbed to the pressure of my need by turning to an unethical activity. I blame no one, but I also have to acknowledge that if those close to me (my partners in business for example) had noticed my changing patterns of behavior their attention might have thwarted my actions.
When subconscious need is brought to light or becomes conscious, then often the outcome is reduced inclination toward unethical behavior. So, signs to look indicating increased need are: (1) calls from creditors or personal calls intensifying at work; (2) abnormal purchases without apparent new sources of funding; (3) lifestyle changes and/or (4) marital issues or challenges with aging parents.
Need is the fuel that supports the possibility of unethical behavior. The challenge most managers face with thinking about “Need” is to be open minded enough to consider the potential sources of “Need” so that what might fuel unethical behavior can be suppressed.
Minimize Opportunities. The most effective course of action to keep our employees and associates between ethical lines is to remove opportunities to conduct unethical activities. For example, I embezzled money from a client’s trust fund. While I am not proud of that action (now some 25+ years ago), had the bank account that I used required two signatures, the embezzlement would have been far more difficult. Think about it, with that minor change what would I do, ask the co-signer to help me steal money from the trust? The answer is simple, of course not. So, less opportunity equals less chance for unethical activity.
A practical question is how do we reduce opportunity? Some of the answers are obvious. Minimize opportunities by: (1) requiring multiple signatures on checks; (2) require people to rotate job responsibilities from time to time; (3) strongly encourage employees to take vacations or time off; and/or (4) ask employees from different positions within the company to identify how people can or do act unethically. When a person is aware that their actions are being watched or subject to being watched, the “Opportunity” factor decreases substantially. As worn out as the line might be, people really do respect what management inspects. Of course, management must be subject to inspection as well.
Train Rationalization. Depending on one’s internal ethical compass, what one person can easily rationalize may be a problem for another. Therefore, as managers our role (just as important as the more analytical “Opportunity” role) is to educate our people on the significance of “Rationalization” identifying what it sounds like and when it might appear.
When employees hear what rationalization sounds like, when we bring to consciousness what is active in the subconscious, it becomes far easier to support each other in our ethical choices. At a recent ethics seminar an attendee commented, “But everybody does it.” As those words were spoken, another participant yelled out, “Rationalization!” The crowd erupted in laughter as people began to see just how simple and easy it is to rationalize the “little things”. And, when we rationalize the little, the larger unethical choices become easier to swallow.
Your Ethical Culture
Every business or organization needs to remember that the creation of an ethical culture is exemplified in the actual behavior and attitudes of all team members. The question is not so much whether you talk the talk (in policy documents, training materials or video or webinars), but rather whether you walk the walk.
Want to create a culture of ethical behavior in your organization? It’s easy if you think about it. When you start by understanding how good people make bad choices, and follow it with an effective ethics-training program that reinforces ethical choices and accountability, you have a recipe for success. Every choice has a consequence. What choices do you make for your organization to help keep your most valuable assets between the ethical lines?
About the Author
Chuck Gallagher is the President of the Ethics Resource Group and an international expert in business ethics. Chuck provides training, presentations and consultation with associations and companies on ethics and creating ethical cultures where people do the right thing, not because they have to, but because they want to! Information can be found at http://chuckgallagher.com or Chuck can be reached via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Richard Branson sure is a cool dude. And he’s done some incredible stuff in his life.
He’s also had some stupid, massive failures.
Have you ever heard of Virgin Cola? Their bottles were called “The Pammy” because they were shaped like Pamela Anderson.
Really, Richard? You are the same guy that started Virgin Airlines?
How about Virgin Brides? Yikes. (Yes, that’s him in the picture dressed up as a bride.)
It’s easy to laugh at when he swung and missed, though we all know he’s the man. And a big reason is that he doesn’t let a few whiffs stop him from going balls in the next time. And the next time. And the next time.
How can you have the same go-for-it attitude that he does? Simple. The next time you want to make a change in your life—want to start something new—you Experiment.
Simple: we procrastinate because we don’t want to mess up. We are afraid of not being perfect.
(Want to know the psychological reasons why you procrastinate? Watch the video here.)
See, the purpose of an experiment is to learn. The great thing about it is that the only way you fail in an Experiment is not to conduct it. Because I don’t know about you, but I learn best by doing. There is no substitute for experience.
When someone learns to fly, he reads. Then he Experiments in a flight simulator. Then he Experiments by flying with someone else. Then he is ready to go solo.
Our brain gets freaked out when we want to make a change or try something new—especially if it’s something big.
When you want to make a change, how can you break that change down into the smallest experiment you can?
If you decide you want to run your first marathon, you might then become paralyzed with fear: Do I have the right shoes? Do I run before or after work? Am I ready to commit to running five times a week for the next fifteen weeks?
You don’t have to answer any of these questions. All you have to do is perform an Experiment this next week. Try two Experiments: run once, for 15 minutes before work, and run again for 15 minutes after work. See which one fits best in your schedule. See if you need better shoes. Is it easier to commit to running almost every day for the next four months, or twice over the next week?
This concept works so well that I’ve written a whole book about it, which has become a #1 bestseller in both the Creativity and Business Leadership Training categories. It is a modern business fable, where a business owner—who wants to make changes in his personal and work life—meets a coach, who walks him through these changes through a variety of Experiments.
Take the next project you have. Is it a book? Starting a business? Getting healthy? What is the tiniest step you can take? Do that step. Then evaluate; what worked? What didn’t? What is your next step from there?
What do you think Richard Branson’s next Experiment will be? Virgin Butter? Virgin Flypaper?
Doesn’t really matter, because he’s still the coolest guy in the world. And he’s going to keep Experimenting until he dies. And his Experiments change the world.
Fear should never be allowed to hinder one in life. In reality, fear is nothing but, “false evidence appearing real”. That means that if you dissected the fear that a person had, then you would find no reason for it. A friend of mine told me recently of how she used to be afraid of dogs, until she was the age of 33. When my friend was a child, her aunt told her of a story of being bitten by a dog when she too was a little girl. She even showed my friend her wound. My friend became so terrified of dogs from that point on. It was almost as if my friend had “inherited” this fear from her aunt. Never had my friend been bitten or had any reason to be afraid of dogs, but she carried this fear for years. She assumed she would always be that way until one day she dated a guy who owned a Rottweiler. At first she experienced those same dreaded reactions that she always would when she came into contact with a dog. However, this time she soon realized that, although the dog was huge, there was no cause for her being intimidated by him…he was just a 150 lb. puppy, who happened to be extremely loveable. From that point on, her fear of dogs vanished.
It is ridiculous to think that a person could actually be fearful based on something that happened to someone else, right? Not really. This occurs every day. Too often, people are afraid to start a business, write and publish a book, go back to school or of making an investment in their future. Not because they have tried before, but because they knew someone else who tried and failed. Or you have the other end of the spectrum where a person may actually be afraid to succeed. Either case is a tragedy in life and could result in a person being stuck in their own world.
No matter how you look at it, you can never win with fear. Fear can be just as devastating as a plague, if allowed to exist, and has the potential to spread to so many other areas in life. That’s why it is vital to face fear head on. In life, we should never allow fear to score more touchdowns than we do, if we expect to win. And we do. Instead, deal with your fears before they become so detrimental to progression in life.
How do we deal with fear? Although not always a simple answer, some steps include:
Follow these steps with each fear that you may have. Make sure that you have conquered one before moving to another. Progress may not come overnight. Each person is different. Do not hesitate to seek professional help if your fear is deeply rooted and/or a result of trauma.
Know that you are predestined to win in life, not lose to fear. Refuse to give up or give in. Make the choice to tackle your fears today!
Shonda R. Murphy is a Life Coach at Divine Direction Life Coaching and a Financial Planner for Primerica, Inc. As an advocate of financial literacy, she thrives on helping individuals through life transitions as they get back on track, especially in the area of their finances.Read More
It always seems like there’s supposed to be this one magical day where everything goes from being ho-hum to some new level of greatness. People ask me all the time whether some specific event changed everything for me. I understand why. That’s how movies and books and comics all make it seem. You’re bitten by a radioactive spider or your parents are murdered in front of you or you get exposed to gamma radiation and pow, life gets quite different. But that’s never how it goes.
WHERE DOES IT ALL BEGIN?
It begins with a choice. Everything we do begins with a choice, but this choice is married to a commitment. We commit to something more for ourselves, something bigger. This can happen in any part of your life. You say no to dessert and feel the power of self discipline. You decide to push for 225 on the bench press and work at it week after week until you hit 305 instead. Or it happens at work. You have to make an extra $2000 and you push hard and hit $5000.
But that’s the beginning. What comes next is a series of realizations that go something like this:
And once that bunch of thoughts erupt behind your eyes, everything changes. That’s where it all begins. Sometimes, it takes a few dozen times. Sometimes, it takes a hundred times. Who knows?
The difference between those people you view as successful and those people whose names you can’t even remember is that commitment to growth (Tweet That), that understanding of how to apply a lesson learned in more than one place, and the power to persist, even after you fall down a few times.
That’s what I see and that’s how I help others make their win happen.
Chris Brogan is CEO of Owner Media Group, a media and education company dedicated to equipping people to own the game they most want to win. He is the New York Times bestselling author of 8 books and counting, including his latest, The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth. Learn more at CallingAllFreaks.com
Believe it. Believe it with your heart and soul. Believe it with every fiber of your being. Believe that you have a calling and that you will climb, crawl and jump over anything to meet your calling. Believe that you will have pain, setbacks, and times when it feels like the world wants to do everything it it’s power to get in the way of your calling. The wounds and damage are part of the journey. Don’t dwell on them. Welcome them and embrace them as part of the process of life.
But don’t ever stop believing. Fabricate in your mind a clear vision of what your particular success looks like. It could be a health transformation. It could a wealth transformation. Or it could be getting a job that makes you so happy that would do it for free. Whatever your particular version of success id, believe and it imagine it in detail. Only then will you be table to take the momentous steps you need to take to fight the battle towards your dreams and successes.
It is that time of the day again. That time where we muster all of the strength we have to get out of bed, plant our two feet firmly on the ground, take a deep breath, and start believing again. We did it yesterday and if we are extremely lucky we’ll get to do it again tomorrow. We will have that chance to believe and act on our belief. Our belief that we were meant to do something significant with our lives. The belief that there is more to our existence other than staring at little small computer screens all day long. And the belief that we have the ability to make somebody else’s life better as a result of us being alive. Sometimes it feels like progress comes too slow, and that other people are just dying to block us at every opp. But yet we still get up every day and put those two feet on the ground. That is faith. That is believing. That plus massive action every day is what will make us successful.
I don’t understand people that get that runner’s high. It’s never happened to me. On my best days with my best times, I still can’t wait until I’m done with the entire course. That is exactly how I felt when I made this quick video after running recently. I hate running. But I still encourage people to do it because there is no better test of health than how your body reacts right after a run. Check it out.
(Be sure to subscribe to the YouTube channel after watching. You don’t want to miss another chance to see me out of breath and sweaty)
Every single one of us on this planet has at least one ‘thing’ on this planet that makes us come alive. We may have discovered it as a kid (like me) . Or it may have taken several decades for us to peel back the layers of your soul enough to get to the heart of it. And some of you reading this still may not know what that magical thing is. To you I say – keep peeling back the layers. One day that magical ‘thing’ will hit you and you’ll wonder how you lived without it.
Why do I bring this up? What many of my friends may not know is that I am a pilot. Right behind my driver’s license I carry an equally important card with me every place I go. It will be in the wallet the day that the air leaves my lungs. That is my pilot’s license. It says that I am allowed to crawl into a small metal machine and escape the surly bonds of earth.
That is my ‘thing’. If you are ever hanging out with me and something with wings passes overhead, whatever we are talking about probably disappears into the background of my brain. I will turn my head. I will look up. Because I know that in that little metal box I will find a kindred soul. He is in heaven just like I would be (or at least he is 2000′ AGL closer to heaven).
I was reminded of ‘my thing’ when I saw the video below earlier in the week, and then again today when Mr. Cliff Shaw shared it. Flying is my thing. When I am there I am in heaven. And when I am not there I wish I was. I share the video below with you and I hope you get a kick out of it. I know that I have some pilot (or pilot-in-training) friends who will say ‘yeah. this!’.
Take 60 seconds and think: What is that ONE thing that gets you excited and makes you drive faster – literally or figuratively?
The title above was one of many gems that came out of this university commencement speech by Jim Carrey.
It is not uncommon to have celebrities speak at commencement ceremonies. This one was special and has some very deep words that you should listen to and put into practice in your own life.
What did you think? Come over to the Facebook Page and let me know what you took away.Read More