November 24th, 2008
HOSPITALS would not seem to have much difficulty raising money. Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, for example, received a $100 million gift in January for its cancer center, while Children’s Hospital and Health Center in San Diego was given $60 million in June.
Gifts like those followed a record-setting year in 2005, when hospitals and other health care organizations received $7 billion in donations, according to the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy. Most of the money raised, some 60 percent, came from individuals — grateful patients, their families, directors and others.
Capital campaigns can be particularly successful, said David Speltz, a managing director at the Huron Consulting Group in Chicago who specializes in health consulting. The hospitals that he has worked with tend to be quick to reward generosity with recognition, allowing donors to name facilities or programs.
“We named every room, we named every building,” Mr. Speltz said.
But not every program gets its share of the largess, hospital executives and professional fund-raisers say. Because hospital fund-raising is so reliant on individuals, programs without the popular appeal of cancer or pediatrics can get just a fraction of the donations.
Among the areas that have proven the most resistant to fund-raising is mental health, whether it is psychiatric care within the hospital or substance-abuse counseling for the community.
“The mental health areas, where the needs are just unlimited, have always been difficult,” said Robert G. Kiely, the president and chief executive of Middlesex Hospital, a community hospital in Middletown, Conn. Last year, for example, the hospital raised $416,000 for its hospice program, compared with just $9,000 for its mental health services. “The hospice program is a very strong generator of philanthropic support,” said Mr. Kiely, particularly through memorial donations.
Community hospitals, which might not have as many wealthy patients who are potential donors, also have mixed success in raising money for basic programs like emergency-room care or for poor patients.
Other sources of philanthropy, like foundations and corporations, often look askance at such needs, deeming them inappropriate for their broader philanthropic goals. Foundations particularly shy away from giving money to what are essentially run-of-the-mill services.
“They tend to be typically interested in not just a program, and they’re picky also,” Mr. Speltz said.
As money from foundations and corporations has become harder to find, competition for the grants and gifts from those organizations has increased in recent years. A result is that many community hospitals that need money the most from outside sources have fewer avenues of philanthropy.
“One of the concerns is the dwindling number of foundations that are willing to support hospitals,” said Zahida Noorani, a fund-raising consultant in Chicago. Only 20 or so foundations in Illinois will support hospital giving, while the larger national or regional foundations have little interest in supporting a community hospital.
Corporations present a similar challenge, Ms. Noorani said, because they are not interested in giving money unless there is an obvious advantage to be gained.
“The corporations are the first to say we are not in the business of charity,” she said.
Hospitals have the most luck in persuading corporations to participate in special events, said Lisa Hillman, a member of the board of the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy, which estimates that about 13 percent of the money raised by hospitals and the like comes from special events.
Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, for example, has found that its annual golf tournament helps raise money to support the hospital’s charity care to patients without insurance. Because of its vital role in the community serving those patients, the medical center has become increasingly creative in finding ways to raise money for the nearly $100 million it spent last year on such care, said Andrea K. Myers, the hospital’s director of development.
The hospital holds two events to raise money, and the Western Washington Toyota Dealers Association pledged $1 million over 10 years last year at the golf tournament, giving the dealers visibility and helping the hospital defray the cost of providing free or discounted care.
What makes mental health so daunting in raising money is that it does not lend itself easily to traditional fund-raising methods. Many patients who use these services are not able to donate to these programs, and approaching donors can be difficult because of the potential stigma associated with psychiatric care.
“We really don’t have an opportunity in the foundation to work with patients on these issues,” said Cecelia T. Fullam, an executive at the fund-raising foundation for the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System. Even those who are sympathetic may not want their own giving to be connected with the area, she said.
Because some of these programs are also addressing complex problems like substance abuse, they are also less popular, Ms. Hillman said. “Programs like that are difficult to show a more immediate positive response,” she said.
Hospitals have been successful in soliciting money for these services when they are sophisticated about concentrating on potential donors, Mr. Speltz, the consultant, said. The hospitals need to understand that the number of potential donors is limited to those whose relatives have had direct experience with the program or been affected in some way. “It’s sort of a club in some ways,” he said.
At North Shore-Long Island Jewish, a real estate developer, Donald Zucker, and his family gave generously to the psychiatric hospital there, since renamed the Zucker Hillside Hospital. Mr. Zucker, a long-time supporter of the hospital, gave because he recognized what was clearly an unmet need.
But finding donors for even less controversial programs can be difficult. Middlesex Hospital in Middletown, Conn., for example, is planning to replace its emergency room for $30 million.
So far, some foundations and corporations have said they are not interested in supporting such a local initiative, said Mr. Kiely, the executive. Foundations often have guidelines that make giving to a community hospital impossible.
“There’s no opportunity for a hospital to approach that entity for high-value, legitimate needs,” he said.
Similarly, the corporations, which are based outside the community, tend to want to donate money to entities where their headquarters are based, even though the emergency room serves their local workers.
“The smaller manufacturing companies and privately held business are being receptive,” Mr. Kiely said.
November 24th, 2008
Will Smith is a success by any Hollywood standard. He is a Grammy Award-winning rapper. He starred in a hit television sitcom. He was nominated for two Best-Actor Academy Awards. He’s had eight consecutive films that grossed more than $100 million. He’s also a film and television producer. And you may not know that he was accepted at, but did not attend MIT—yes, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
One of the secrets to his success might surprise you. It’s self-doubt.
Smith can’t run away from his fears. Whenever he feels fear, he faces it head-on. He tells a story about being in Jamaica as a young man, where he watched people jump off a high cliff into the water below. He was fascinated, but also terrified because he didn’t know how to swim. He wasn’t going to let that stop him, however; so he walked to the edge of the cliff. Several minutes later, he jumped and obviously lived to tell the tale.
Much of his behavior is in response to a fear that he couldn’t live up to the high esteem in which he was held by his mother and grandmother. He concentrated his efforts on trying to meet their expectations. Smith still has some self-doubts, especially in terms of fulfilling the perceptions of those he loves.
Of his fear, Smith said in an interview, “I’ve learned to use it; to flip that negative energy around and make it a challenge. I keep going because I doubt myself. It drives me to do better. I’ve learned that the mastery of self-doubt is the key to success.”
I’ll admit that there have been times when I have questioned a decision or approached a problem and responded more out of fear than reason. I maintained a pretty calm façade, but truth be told, I had all my fingers and toes crossed for good luck. Most of the time, the result was exactly what I had hoped for. A few times, I got fooled.
Those less-than-desirable outcomes serve as a vivid reminder that we cannot get too arrogant. A measure of self-doubt is a healthy part of management strategy. In fact, it’s a necessary ingredient. As French author Jules Renard said, “There are moments when everything goes well; don’t be frightened, it won’t last.” How true!
The trick, then, is to be able to adjust to the peaks and valleys, and still keep your business or career on track. When should you let your doubts rule your actions?
Always! Yes, always. It’s good to question things you have always taken for granted, and things that have never been tried. Never confuse confidence with arrogance. Confidence allows you to proceed with some reason to believe that you will succeed. Arrogance prevents you from really examining your decisions, and is almost always a recipe for disaster.
Eleanor Roosevelt had an interesting observation: “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
How else will you know whether you can succeed if you always take the easy and proven route? How will you find what needs to be changed if you do not question the way things are done?
Perhaps the experience of Tony Verna, the television producer/director who invented instant replay for sporting events, will shed some light on the importance of being able to doubt yourself.
Instant replay was used for the first time in a 1963 Army-Navy football game. “The idea came to me out of frustration,” Verna said. “Before replays, football telecasts were filled with dead spots. . . It really destroyed the momentum of the telecasts. Replays gave you something to show during the pauses. It seemed to make the game go faster.”
Today, instant replay is a permanent fixture of sports telecasts. And now, it’s used to review questionable officials’ calls, which can cause long delays, contradicting the original purpose of instant replay’s creation.
Verna said, “It’s ironic. The reason I started instant replays was to keep the momentum going. Now the replays are slowing the whole thing down.”
The other irony is that now, Verna doubts that his invention improved the broadcasts in the way he envisioned. But they are also removing doubt from the game’s officiating! Go figure.
Mackay’s Moral: Reasonable doubt helps you work the bugs out.
November 23rd, 2008
The key to achieving more than you currently are, no matter which area of your life or work you are focusing in on now, is change. The old saying rings true: If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you’ve already got. If you keep eating and exercising the way you currently are, you will weigh the same a year from now. If you continue to sell to the same people on the same schedule, you will make the same amount of money next year. In order to move forward, we must change.
As I have worked with people, both in a professional setting and on a personal basis, I have found two things to be true about change. One, it is simple. Two, it is not easy. That is, the concept of change is simple to grasp. People or organizations are quick to say, “Oh, I know we need to change.” Simple.
But where the problem starts, and why most people and organizations do not change, is because it is not easy to change. But, I believe, if the process is well thought out, and if we have the guts and determination to carry it out, change can happen, and we can move on to more fulfilled lives.
With that said, let me give you what I consider the elements of change.
Discontentment with your current state. The first step in the process of change is to not want to be where you currently are. You must be discontent with it. If you are overweight, you must say, “I will not accept this anymore.” If you are in debt, you must say, “I cannot tolerate this any longer.” If you have broken relationships, you must say, “I will not live with this.” This is a decision to change and not accept the status-quo.
The picture of your preferred outcome. What is it that you want to change to? It absolutely is not enough to say “I need to change.” It must be: “I am going to change to…” This becomes the goal. I would encourage you to get a mental picture of it formulated in your mind. Get a real picture of it if it is that tangible. Perhaps write yourself a short essay, extolling the virtues of what life will be like when you get to the changed state.
New associations with the two states. You must begin to associate your current state you are in with pain, and the state you want to be in with pleasure. Let’s take weight for example. We tend to think of ice cream, mounds of it, with pleasure. I know that I do. Especially chocolate chip mint. At a friend’s house recently, we had some ice cream. Normal portions. I don’t like to eat normal portions. I like huge portions of ice cream. There is an association of pleasure there. But what I did to overcome the urge to eat scoop after scoop was to associate huge portions to being overweight, not the pleasure of the taste. I also associated not eating the ice cream with feeling better about myself. Then when it comes to exercise, I work on associating the exercise and weight-lifting with the pleasure of fitting into my clothes rather than the pain my muscles feel every time I do it. This help me win the battle of the mind.
Develop a plan of short, simple steps. “I am going to lose fifty pounds in two months.” “I will sell 500% more next month.” These are examples of change that are good goals to have long term, but too big for the time allotted – and this is havoc on change! If your goals are too big in too short of time, you will fail and become discouraged. Then you will quit and decide change can’t be accomplished. Instead, you must have short, workable, attainable goals if you are going to see real change happen and stay. “I am going to lose five pounds a month for ten months.” “We are going to sell 6% more each month this year (That would double your business each year)” These are the size steps you need to take. Then you will build victory after victory.
Discipline yourself. Sorry but this is where it is up to you. At the heart of change is the ability to discipline ourselves. I cannot lose your weight. Your mom cannot go out and make sales calls for you. The only real obstacle standing between your current state and your desired outcome is you! So do everything you can to get yourself motivated to change! Force yourself to get out of bed and get to work on your goals! Discipline yourself. Choose to make the right decision.
Reward yourself when you have made the change. That’s right: reward yourself. You have worked hard and exerted a lot of self-discipline to get there! You deserve it!
Quote and Commentary
“People can cry much easier than they can change.” James Baldwin
This is why they do: it is easier to cry, to lament, to wish things were better, than to change. If change were the easiest thing to do, then most people would change. Instead, most people take the easy road and lament along the way, somehow thinking that since they wish things were better, that, in and of itself, must be noble. It isn’t! Taking the difficult road of change in the face of easier roads is noble! Average people cry about their situations, while successful people do something about their situations.
Action Point: What is the one thing you have the tendency to cry about or lament? Take a step today to change it! For example, if it is your weight, then go exercise and don’t have seconds! Change, day by day, and your life will become what you want it to be!
November 21st, 2008
Over the years as I’ve sought out ideas, principles and strategies to life’s challenges, I’ve come across four simple words that can make living worthwhile.
First, life is worthwhile if you LEARN. What you don’t know WILL hurt you. You have to have learning to exist, let alone succeed. Life is worthwhile if you learn from your own experiences – negative or positive. We learn to do it right by first sometimes doing it wrong. We call that a positive negative. We also learn from other people’s experiences, both positive and negative. I’ve always said that it is too bad failures don’t give seminars. Obviously, we don’t want to pay them so they aren’t usually touring around giving seminars. But that information would be very valuable – we would learn how someone who had it all then messed it up. Learning from other people’s experiences and mistakes is valuable information because we can learn what not to do without the pain of having tried and failed ourselves.
We learn by what we see so pay attention. We learn by what we hear so be a good listener. Now I do suggest that you should be a selective listener, don’t just let anybody dump into your mental factory. We learn from what we read so learn from every source; learn from lectures; learn from songs; learn from sermons; learn from conversations with people who care. Always keep learning.
Second, life is worthwhile if you TRY. You can’t just learn; now you have to try something to see if you can do it. Try to make a difference, try to make some progress, try to learn a new skill, try to learn a new sport. It doesn’t mean you can do everything, but there are a lot of things you can do, if you just try. Try your best. Give it every effort. Why not go all out?
Third, life is worthwhile if you STAY. You have to stay from spring until harvest. If you have signed up for the day or for the game or for the project – see it through. Sometimes calamity comes and then it is worth wrapping it up. And that’s the end, but just don’t end in the middle. Maybe on the next project you pass, but on this one, if you signed up, see it through.
And lastly, life is worthwhile if you CARE. If you care at all you will get some results, if you care enough you can get incredible results. Care enough to make a difference. Care enough to turn somebody around. Care enough to start a new enterprise. Care enough to change it all. Care enough to be the highest producer. Care enough to set some records. Care enough to win.
Four powerful little words: learn, try, stay and care. What difference can you make in your life today by putting these words to work?
November 20th, 2008
When was the last time you complained that you had too much time on your hands? You probably cannot remember that far back. The truth is that most of us cannot squeeze into a 24-hour period all the items written on our daily planners. A common mistake most people make is to attempt to find time instead of make time!
How do you MAKE time?
FIRST, define your most important goals:
A burning desire to reach a specific goal motivates you to make time to take the required actions.
Write down specifically how you will use extra time. Will you spend it making personal calls, three-way calls, attending training meetings, making new contacts?
SECOND, chart your time:
Note how you spend each hour. Most time is wasted, not in hours, but in minutes. A bucket with a small hole in the bottom becomes just as empty as the one that is deliberately kicked over.
THIRD, organize your time to plug the time leaks:
Assume the attitude that every minute that does not work for you, works against you.
To make the most of your time, try these proven time savers:
* Examine the usual daily interruptions. See how many you can eliminate immediately, screen out, or delegate. Set aside a specific time for phoning people on your prospect list, making presentations, keeping up with the detail part of the job, attending training meetings, reading and sending emails and phone calls. These designated time blocks do not always work; emergencies occur, demanding flexibility in scheduling. But when you have a plan for organizing and investing your time, that extra hour of time each day will be available.
* Analyze your energy cycle. Determine when you tend to be at your best physically and mentally. Schedule challenging tasks during those times of peak performance and you will accomplish more in less time. I have more energy in the morning hours than I do in the afternoon hours, so I have always made the majority of my phone calls for sales appointments first thing in the morning. For some people it is just the opposite. They are evening people and work better in the evenings.
* Think about time the way you think about money. The more wisely you invest time, the greater the yield. Before you invest time in a given activity, ask yourself, “Is there something more profitable I could be doing?” And remember, making face-to-face contacts and presentations will ALWAYS be the most profitable thing you can do!!
Make the most of your life by making the most of every minute, every hour and every day!!
November 19th, 2008
COSMETIC doctors have nicknames for the days on which they offer deals on anti-wrinkle shots.
Dr. Don Mehrabi, a dermatologist in Beverly Hills, California, advertises his weekly promotion as “Botox Fridays,” the days on which he lowers his fees by about 30 percent for smoothing out frown lines and crow’s feet.
On other days of the week, he gives a 10 percent discount to clients who choose a combination of Botox Cosmetic and injections of Juvéderm, a gel that plumps the skin.
“That percentage off might actually increase because of the economy,” said Dr. Mehrabi, who posts his deals on his Web site, bhskin.com. “We are contemplating going up to 20 percent.”
In light of drastic consumer cutbacks on spending, some dermatologists, facial surgeons and plastic surgeons are promoting the kinds of markdowns, coupons or two-fers you might expect to find in supermarket circulars — complete with restrictions like “offer not good with any other promotion.”
Consumers pay cash up front for cosmetic procedures and, because the treatments are medically unnecessary, they are typically not covered by insurance, which explains why doctors’ marketing efforts can resemble a department store white sale.
“Giving $1,000 off, you are going to see more of that,” said Dr. Lawrence S. Reed, a plastic surgeon in Manhattan who does not offer deals on surgery. Dr. Reed said that all upscale businesses — including plastic surgeons’ offices — are seeking creative marketing strategies to stay afloat.
“You have got to do things to get people into your fancy restaurants, your fancy car dealerships, your plastic surgeon’s office, your dermatologist’s office,” he said.
To be sure, most cosmetic doctors are neither flamboyantly advertising discounts on operations nor marketing fire sales on injections. But the economy has taken a toll on cosmetic practices. Competition from an increased number of doctors entering the cosmetic market has also stimulated more aggressive marketing.
In private consultations with patients, many plastic surgeons are reducing their fees.
“I can’t imagine anyone’s not doing that,” said Dr. James Wells, a plastic surgeon in Long Beach, California He recently asked 80 colleagues via e-mail messages how they are adapting to the economic downturn. “They are now willing to discount things anywhere from 10 to 15, 20, 25 percent,” he said.
But such price-cutting blurs the line between the tactics of commerce and the practice of medicine, in which physicians have traditionally encouraged treatments based on a patient’s condition or concerns, not on the doctor’s bottom line.
Some plastic surgeons said that incentives like discounts, treatment packages or two-for-one deals could induce people who had not previously considered it to have an injection or an operation, or to have more procedures, potentially increasing their risk of medical complications. Promotions in which existing clients receive discounts or special treatment for sending friends to their doctors can also be ethically fraught.
“It skews the caution of proper decision-making,” said Dr. Adam Searle, a plastic surgeon in London who is a former president of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons. His group has warned against discounts. “It simply reduces it to a commodity and that’s dangerous,” he said.
But economic realities are pushing practices once considered unseemly into the mainstream.
Sixty-two percent of plastic surgeons who responded to a questionnaire from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons reported that they had performed fewer cosmetic procedures in the first six months of this year compared with the same period last year, according to a study the group released last week.
In response, the plastic surgery society added a forum to its annual conference, which was last weekend in Chicago, entitled: “Survival Strategies for Tough Economic Times.” Some speakers at the event recommended that doctors expand their client bases by joining school boards, churches, synagogues, rotary clubs, symphony and museum groups, and breast cancer fund-raisers. Others encouraged doctors to introduce package deals and offer promotions to existing clients who refer their friends.
Plastic surgeons traditionally reduce their fees for operations on related areas of the anatomy — such as a face-lift and an eyelift — that can be performed in one session, said Dr. Mauro Romita, a plastic surgeon in Manhattan. It is also standard practice for doctors to offer discounts on Botox if a patient is having the treatment in more than one area of the face, he said.
But discounting is going public this year.
Under a three-month promotion that ended last Friday, people who bought Restylane, a facial filler, could receive a $50 rebate for one syringe or a $100 rebate for two syringes from Medicis, the brand’s distributor in the United States. The tag line for the promotion: “The economy may not be looking its best, but you can.” More than 20,000 people redeemed rebate coupons.
Individual doctors are devising their own deals.
Dr. Christine Hamori, a plastic surgeon in Duxbury, Massachusetts, said she recently mailed a two-fer invitation — designed and printed by her Medicis sales representative — to about 3,500 clients. In October, clients could buy two syringes for the price of one $600 syringe of Restylane or one $800 syringe of Perlane, another filler, Dr. Hamori said.
Seventy-five people came in for injections; many of them requested additional treatments. In a month in which few people had signed up for expensive operations, those coming in for the injection special filled up her schedule, she said. “The response was tremendous,” Dr. Hamori said.
And some pharmaceutical companies offer volume discounts to select doctors.
Dr. Hamori said that when she recently bought 50 vials of Botox, a sales representative from Allergan, which makes Botox, added another 50 vials free. Each vial costs about $500, she said.
Dr. Mehrabi said that he received one free syringe of a filler called Radiesse from BioForm Medical, the product manufacturer, for every syringe he had sold in September.
Adam Gridley, the senior vice president for corporate development at BioForm, wrote in an e-mail message that the company does not comment publicly “on specific programs and doctor metrics.” Jonah Shacknai, the chief executive of Medicis, said that only a few doctors across the country are participating in his company’s program to introduce patients to the effects of two syringes. Caroline Van Hove, vice president for corporate communications at Allergan, wrote in an e-mail message that the company does not provide free vials of Botox Cosmetic as a reward for buying the product.
Some doctors are also lowering their charges for larger procedures.
Dr. Hamori said she has been reducing her surgical fees in a range of 5 to 10 percent.
In Indianapolis, Dr. W. Gregory Chernoff, a facial surgeon, decided to lower his prices a few months ago after he noticed a slowdown in face-lifts and hair transplant patients. He calls the 15- to 20-percent reduction in surgical fees a “professional courtesy.”
“We do not want to be a Kmart of cosmetic surgery,” said Dr. Chernoff, who has also posted holiday special offers, good until Nov. 28, on his Web site. “That word ‘discount’ is shunned within our profession.”
Dr. Wells, a former president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, said that many of his colleagues are now trying to figure out how to provide “value added” services to entice clients. He predicted that more doctors will start offering a free anti-wrinkle shot or laser treatment for people having cosmetic surgery. But some doctors may go too far, he said.
“My conjecture is we are going to see people go over the line,” Dr. Wells said.
Along the hallways of the plastic surgery conference in Chicago, Dr. Wells toted one of his favorite books, “Cowboy Values,” an ode to the moral code of the Old West. As his coda to an interview about cosmetic surgery marketing, Dr. Wells opened the book and read a passage aloud to a reporter: “You never really know the measure of a man until there is adversity or money on the table.”
November 19th, 2008
A reader recently emailed me a sad story about a dog from the perspective of a six-year-old boy. Our family has shared our home with several loyal and lovable golden retrievers, so the story caught my attention more than most.
It told about the family dog that had cancer and had to be euthanized. The father and mother thought their son could learn something from the experience. As the dog slowly drifted away, the little boy seemed to accept the dog’s transition without any difficulty or confusion. The family sat together for a while after the dog’s death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. The young son already had it figured out, and announced, “I know why.”
His explanation was stunning in its depth and simplicity. He said: “People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life—like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right? Well, already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”
We can learn a lot from dogs. Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. We give dogs time we can spare, space we can spare and love we can spare. And in return, dogs give us their all. It’s the best deal anyone has ever made.
The veterinarian who cared for this dear family pet, and so many others, offered some other lessons that dogs can teach us: (There are 65 million dogs in the United States.)
- When loved ones come home, always run to greet them. Dogs treat us like celebrities when we come home. There’s nothing wrong with showing people that we care about them.
- Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride. On warm days, there’s nothing wrong with stopping to lie on your back on the grass. I think of Richard Gere’s character in the movie Pretty Woman. He was so busy working—doing big business deals—that he never stopped to enjoy walking barefoot in green grass until Julia Roberts showed him.
- Take naps. Many of us are on overload, so in life you have to know when to throttle up and throttle down. If you can’t take a nap, at least take a break. It will improve your disposition.
- Run, romp, and play daily. If you have a chance to have fun, go for it. Life presents plenty of difficult times, and we all need a break every now and then. My motto: work hard and play hard.
- Let people touch you. Don’t be aloof. Allow people to get close to you.
- Avoid biting when a simple growl will do. Just make sure your bark isn’t as bad as your bite. It’s okay to warn people that you’re upset or even angry, but keep your temper in check.
- When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body. Happiness is the American way. After all, the Declaration of Independence says we are endowed “with certain unalienable rights that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” So we have a right to be happy!
- Delight in the simple joy of a long walk. Exercise is always good. I’ve been doing it all my life. It just makes me feel better, gives me energy to work more productively and, I hope, live longer. My philosophy is: Exercise doesn’t take time; it makes time.
- Be loyal. In a recent column about loyalty, I wrote that one of the first qualities that I look for in both employees and friends is loyalty. And my friends know they can expect my loyalty in return.
- If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it. I’m constantly asked what the secret of success is, and persistence is at the top of the list. When you study truly successful people, you’ll see that they have made plenty of mistakes, but when they were knocked down, they kept getting up … and up … and up.
- When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently. People remember two things in life—who kicked them when they were down, and who helped them on the way up.
November 18th, 2008
One of the keys to success is to have successful relationships. We are not islands and we don’t get to the top by ourselves. And one of the key ways to grow successful in our relationships is to be “life-giving” people to others. With every person we meet, we either give life to or take life from.
You know what I mean. There are people who encourage you and after spending time with them you feel built up. Then there are others who make you feel torn down. Successful people are people who have mastered the art of building up others. This is especially true of our families.
One of the ways we build up our families is to praise them. There is power in praising people! Something begins to happen in them, in you, and in your relationship when you praise someone. Can you remember a time when someone told you something about you in a praising manner? It was great, wasn’t it? You probably liked that person more after they praised you, didn’t you?
Now I am not talking about praising people for the sake of praising people. I am talking about honestly looking for and praising positive character traits and actions of your spouse and children. Don’t lie to them. If they have done something wrong, correct it, but when they do something right, praise it!
With that said, here are benefits of and ways to start praising the people in your family.
Your relationship grows. Life is about relationships–family relationships, friends and co-workers. When we begin to praise people for their positive aspects, our relationships grow. It puts them, and us, on the fast track. Your leadership and influence grows. Who is going to have greater relationships, the one who tears down or the one who builds up?
Stronger relationships and loyalty. When the person is appreciated and praised, they become fiercely loyal, because they know that you care for them, love them and appreciate them. This will take you to success.
Happier, more fulfilled people. I truly believe it is our job to build the members of our family up and that they need it. There will always be others who come along to tear them down; it is our job to instill in them the power of praise!
Some Ways to Praise:
Character traits. Is your wife joyful? Is your husband hard-working? Is your son or daughter honest? Then let them know how much you appreciate that in them. Say something like this, “You know Tom, I think it is great that you are such a hard-worker. You really set a good example and I want you to know how much I appreciate that.” Simple!
Action. Same idea as above. “Sue, I don’t know if I have ever told you this, but I love how you always take action on the things you believe in. Thanks for that.”
Other ways you can show praise and appreciation is with a card or a gift.
Make it your goal to praise every member of your family at least once each day. If you can, praise them a few times a day. It will take work but it is possible. It just takes discipline and a little work.
Any way you cut it, there is power in praising people. If you are serious about healthy family relationships, this is a great place to start!
Questions for Reflection
Q. Do you know the best way to express love to your spouse so they interpret it as love and can appreciate it the most? Do you tell your spouse and kids that you love them each and every day?
Q. Would your family characterize you as having a serving attitude and heart toward the rest of the family? Why or why not? In what ways could you become a person who serves better?
Q. Are your family relationships characterized by honest and open communication? If not, what is the hindrance? What could you do to open up the communication?
Q. Are you patient with your spouse and children? Who are you most patient with? What are the things that trigger a lack of patience in you? How can you improve in that area?
Q. When was the last time you had fun – real fun – with each member of your family? What kinds of fun things do you like to do with your spouse? What kinds of fun things do you like to do with your kids? More importantly, what fun things do they like to do with you?
November 17th, 2008
You Get What You Give
Ralph Waldo Emerson, in his essay, “Compensation,” wrote that each person is compensated in like manner for that which he or she has contributed. The Law of Compensation is another restatement of the Law of Sowing and Reaping. It says that you will always be compensated for your efforts and for your contribution, whatever it is, however much or however little.
Increase Your Value
This Law of Compensation also says that you can never be compensated in the long term for more than you put in. The income you earn today is your compensation for what you have done in the past. If you want to increase your compensation, you must increase the value of your contribution.
Fill Your Mind With Success
Your mental attitude, your feelings of happiness and satisfaction, are also the result of the things that you have put into your own mind. If you fill your own mind with thoughts, visions and ideas of success, happiness and optimism, you will be compensated by those positive experiences in your daily activities.
Do More Than You’re Paid For
Another corollary of the Law of Sowing and Reaping is what is sometimes called the, “Law of Overcompensation.” This law says that great success comes from those who always make it a habit to put in more than they take out. They do more than they are paid for. They are always looking for opportunities to exceed expectations. And because they are always overcompensating, they are always being over rewarded with the esteem of their employers and customers and with the financial rewards that go along with their personal success.
Provide the Causes, Enjoy The Effects
One of your main responsibilities in life is to align yourself and your activities with Law of Cause and Effect (and its corollaries), accepting that it is an inexorable law that always works, whether anyone is looking or not. Your job is to institute the causes that are consistent with the effects that you want to enjoy in your life. When you do, you will realize and enjoy the rewards you desire.
Here are two things you can do immediately to put these ideas into action.
First, remind yourself regularly that your rewards will always be in direct proportion to your service to others. How could you increase the value of your services to your customers today?
Second, look for ways to go the extra mile, to use the Law of Overcompensation in everything you do. This is the great secret of success.
November 17th, 2008
When I was young, and new to sales and marketing, I heard a story that has stayed with me all my life. It is about a Japanese Martial arts expert who lived long ago. I cannot give a source for the story or tell you if it is fact or urban myth the lesson it teaches for sales, for life, makes it worth telling again.
The story tells of a well respected family in Japan who had always been leaders in martial arts, a samurai family. The eldest son of the new generation was very skilled and very proficient and very sure of his ability. He did things easily and always won when he fought.
Come the day of the national titles he went to fight with full confidence in his skills.
The fight though did not go as expected, he lost, he lost badly, he was humiliated, his family was shamed.
He left the tournament and he left the city. He went to live in the forest, far from people.
When he was alone he came to understand that he needed to put aside his arrogance and begin again to learn his art from the basics. He found the tallest tree in the forest, bowed in respect, and then began to practice his punches and his kicks by hitting the tree.
The result of is work did not show on the tree but it showed in his hands and his feet. In the beginning he suffered terribly.
Day after day, week after week, month after month he practiced kicking and punching the tree and lived by foraging in the forest.
The tree showed a little flattening of the bark but the change was not in the tree, the change was in the hands and the feet that struck it. Raw knuckles hardened, calluses formed, muscle and bone toughened, technique improved till the warrior could strike the unyielding tree with strength and with power, again and again and again.
Finally the tree started to yield, the bark began to chip away from the pounding and, day after day, the training continued.
Eventually, as the months passed, the tree had been ring-barked and it died.
When the last leaf fell from the tree the young man knelt and honored the tree and left the forest to return to the city.
He trained for a time with other fighters to get the rhythms of sparing and he enrolled to fight in the national titles.
Not only did he destroy any fighter who stood before him on the day, he never lost another fight in his life.
Interesting story but what does it mean to us?
It means that we need more than natural ability to be the best we can be.
In many ways we are warriors ourselves when we go out to work. We are not fighting with our fists but using all our skills and abilities to achieve outcomes for our businesses and for our families.
Sometimes we have core activities that are part of our jobs and that just have to be done.
Sometimes there are two outcomes, we do the job but we also learn skills that we need; consistent work habits, handling rejection, earning to listen, building word and language skills so people understand us clearly.
We need to be mature in our manner and methods and that only comes from the experience.
Some things you just need to do over, and over, and over, and over.
So take this little story and stick it in the back of your mind. When you have a job that is long, and hard, and that seems thankless, then stop and look closer at it. See if it is going to make you stronger and more capable.
Is this work actually “punching the tree” for your profession and your life?
It is bringing change in you and who you are?
Is doing such work with strength and consistency going to make you a warrior yourself, strong, experienced and confident in your own life?