Monday, February 27, 2006

Solving Problems Effectively

By: Brian Tracy

Your ability to communicate is the most important skill you can develop to get on to the fast track in your career. Perhaps the most important thing you do in business is to solve problems and make decisions, both by yourself and with other people.

Use A Systematic Process
A major type of communication in the business organization is meetings for problem solving and decision making. The key to effective problem solving and decision making discussions, is for you to all go through the process systematically.

Define the Problem Clearly
Right at the beginning, you ask the question, "What exactly is the problem?" Clarity of definition will resolve 50% of the issues before they go any further.

Focus on the Future
When discussing a problem, be sure to focus on the future over the past. Ask the question, "Where do we go from here?" "What do we do from here?" "What are our options for the future?" Too many problem-solving discussions end up focusing all of the attention of all the people present on what happened in the past and who is to blame. The effective executive uses this type of communication to focus on where the company and the individuals are going, and what can happen in the future - the only part of the equation over which anyone has any control.

Talk About The Solutions
A second element in effective problem solving communications, is for you to talk about the solutions instead of talking about the problems. It is for you to keep the attention of the individuals in the meeting focused on the possible solutions and what can be done rather than what has already happened.

Release Creativity
The discussion of solutions is inherently positive, uplifting and has a tendency to release creativity amongst the group. A discussion of problems is inherently negative, demotivating and tends to inhibit creativity.

The Key to Positive Thinking
You can become a positive thinker simply by becoming a solution-oriented person rather than a problem-oriented person. If you get everyone in your organization thinking and talking in terms of solutions, you will be astonished at the quality and quantity of ideas that will emerge.

Action Exercises
Here are two things you can immediately to become a better problem solver and decision maker.

First, take some time to be absolutely clear about the problem that is under discussion. Give some thought to what an ideal decision or solution would accomplish. Instead of focusing on the situation as it is, talk about the situation as you would like it to be.

Second, keep the conversation focused on solutions, on what can be done in the future. The more you think and talk about solutions, the more positive and creative everyone will be and the better ideas you will come up with.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

'Justice' In America - The Stella Awards for 2006

It's once again time to review the winners of the annual Stella Awards. It is named after 81 year old Stella Liebeck who spilled coffee on herself and successfully sued McDonald's. That case inspired the Stella Awards for the most frivolous successful lawsuits in the United States.


5TH PLACE (TIED): Kathleen Robertson of Austin, Texas, was awarded $780,000 by a jury of her peers after breaking her ankle tripping over a toddler who was running inside a furniture store. The owners of the store were understandably surprised at the verdict, considering the misbehaving toddler was Ms. Robertson' son.

5TH PLACE (TIED): 19 year old Carl Truman of Los Angeles won $74,000 and medical expenses when his neighbor ran over his hand with a Honda Accord. Mr Truman apparently did not notice there was someone at the wheel of the car when he was trying to steal the hubcaps.

5TH PLACE (TIED): Terrence Dickson of Bristol, Pennsylvania, was leaving the house he had just finished robbing by way of the garage. He was not able to get the garage door to go up since the automatic door opener was malfunctioning. He could not re-enter the house because the door connecting the house and garage had locked when he pulled it shut.The family was on vacation and Mr. Dickson found himself locked in the garage for 8 days. He subsisted on a case of Pepsi he found and a large bag of dry dog food. He sued the homeowners insurance, claiming the situation caused him undue mental anguish. The Jury agreed to the tune of$500,000.

4TH PLACE: Jerry Williams of Little Rock, Arkansas was awarded $14,500 and medical expenses after being bitten on the buttocks by his next door neighbor's beagle dog. The beagle was on a chain in its owner's fenced yard. The award was less than sought because the jury felt the dog might have been a little provoked at the time, as Mr. Williams, who had climbed over the fence into the yard, was shooting it repeatedly with a pellet gun.

3RD PLACE: A Philadelphia restaurant was ordered to pay Amber Carson of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, $113,500 after she slipped on a soft drink and broke her coccyx (tailbone). The beverage was on the floor because Ms. Carson had thrown it at her boyfriend 30 seconds earlier, during an argument

2ND PLACE: Kara Walton of Claymont, Delaware sued the owner of a Night Club in a neighboring city when she fell from the bathroom window to the floor and knocked out two of her front teeth. This occurred while Ms. Walton was trying to sneak in the window of the Ladies Room to avoid paying the $3.50 cover charge. She was awarded $12,000 and dental expenses.

1ST PLACE: This year's runaway winner was Mr. Merv Grazinski of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Mr. Grazinski purchased a brand new Winnebago Motor home. On his trip home from an Oklahoma University football game, having driven onto the freeway, he set the cruise control at 70 mph and calmly left the driver's seat to go into the back and make himself a cup of coffee. Not surprisingly the RV left the freeway, crashed and overturned. Mr. Grazinski sued Winnebago for not advising him in the owner's manual that he could not actually do this.
The jury awarded him $1,750,000 plus a new Winnebago Motor home. The company actually changed their manuals on the basis of this suit, just in case there were any other complete morons buying their recreational vehicle.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Mission Impossible (for a mouse?)

Lessons From our Setbacks

by Chris Widener

You know, you can learn a lot from observing successful people, both in their victories as well as their setbacks. A couple of weeks ago, I observed one of my closest friends suffer a major setback and I learned again about vision, tenacity, graciousness and class.

Many of you who have been subscribers for a while know that one of my long-time friends ran for Governor of Washington State in 2004 and won – twice! He won the first count and then there was a machine recount – which he won. Then the other side paid for a hand recount and after that recount my friend had lost the closest Gubernatorial election in United States history: 129 votes.

So my friend and the party he belongs to sued to have the courts look at the election. After a two week trial, the judge announced his findings. My friend was in our home as we watched the live proceedings and the judge told the state his decision: Even though there were 13 times as many illegal votes cast as the margin of victory, there was not sufficient proof available that those votes would have changed the election and thus the case was thrown out.

Here is what I learned about successful people and about my friend over the last year and a half. When he started his campaign, he had three percent name recognition. There hadn't been a person elected Governor from his party in over two decades!

Lesson: Have vision. Dream big. Don't let the naysayers get to you.

Just after he learned that he lost his case, he met personally with the Vice-President of the United Sates, who encouraged him to remain active. "I'm not going anywhere," my friend replied. He'll be back. In fact, most people don't know that he lost his first election in 1992 and came back four years later to win against his previous opponent.

Lesson: Don't give up – be tenacious. Come back and win the next time.

Over the course of that day, most people advised him to appeal to the Supreme Court, but he decided against it. It was time to let the state move forward under his opponent's leadership.

Lesson: Be gracious. There is a time to bow out. Know when it is. Don't be mad or take shots.

During his press conference, he made sure to recognize the counsel for his opponent, who just days before lost her father. Yet she still did her job and honored her father by doing so. My friend recognized her loss and the job she did in the face of it. He offered his prayers and support to her family.

Lesson. Have class. There are things more important than winning. People matter and we should treat them right no matter what.

So, for my friend, that day was a hard one. But even in the midst of a setback you can see that there is a way to handle it properly and can see the future as bright. I saw that in my friend, and it made me proud to know him and others like him.

We can all learn lessons from our setbacks. When life deals you something that is less than what you hoped for, learn to live with vision, tenacity, graciousness and class. And when you win the next time, you will be a much better person for how you lost the last time.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Take A Moment

by Denis Waitley

Take a moment to listen today
to what your children are trying to say,
Listen to them, whatever you do
or they won't be there to listen to you.

Listen to their problems, listen to their needs
Praise their smallest triumphs, praise their littlest deeds;
Tolerate their chatter, amplify their laughter,
Find out what's the matter, find out what they're after.

If we tell our children all the bad in them we see,
They'll grow up exactly how we hoped they'd never be;
But if we tell our children we're so proud to wear their name,
They'll grow up believing that they're winners in the game.

So tell them that you love them every single night;
And though you scold them make sure you hold them
and tell them they're all right, "Good night, happy dreams,
Tomorrow's looking bright."

Take a moment to listen today to what
your children are trying to say
Listen to them whatever you do, and
They'll be there to listen to you.

The Seven Deadly Roadblocks to Success

by Chris Widener

When traveling down the road it is always good to beware of roadblocks! You don't want to crash and burn do you? The same is true in our journey toward success. We need to beware of those things that will keep us from our destination!

What are the most common? Here they are:

1. Fear. Fear is one of the worst enemies of success. When fear wraps its tentacles around you and keeps you in bondage, you will never be able to reach for your dreams. We must confront our fears, see them for what they are, toss them to the side, and pursue our dreams with relentless passion. Conquering fear and stepping forward to reach new lands and new ideas is what makes success possible. What are you afraid of today? What fear must you conquer to be able to achieve your dream? When you realize what it is, take an action that is diametrically opposed to that which you fear. This will confront and conquer the fear by giving you the first step in the right direction.

2. Lethargy. Quite frankly, what keeps most people from success is that they simply don't have the energy, or make the energy, to do what it takes to move to the next level. They get to a point that is comfortable and then they settle in for a nice, life-long nap! Don't get lethargic; get going! Force yourself to wake up from the slumber and move!

3. Lack of perseverance. Often times the race is lost because the race is not finished. Success is often just around the sharpest corner or the steepest hill. Persevere. Keep going. One more hill. One more corner! In real estate they say the three most important things are "location, location, location." In success the three most important things are "perseverance, perseverance, perseverance."

4. Pessimism. The saying is that you can achieve what you believe. Ask yourself what kinds of beliefs you hold. Are you an optimist or a pessimist? If you don't believe that you can achieve than you won't. Your pessimism will prove you right every time. You will find that you subconsciously undermine yourself. Develop your optimism. Look for ways to believe that you can achieve success.

5. Not taking responsibility. I am the chaplain for the local police department, and the other day I went with an officer as he took two prisoners to court. Time after time the prisoners made excuses as to why they hadn't yet done what the judge had ordered (she didn't buy it, by the way). After dropping the prisoners off, I said to the officer that unsuccessful people and prisoners have the same bad habit - they won't accept responsibility for their lives. Bottom line is: You are responsible, whether or not you choose to admit it or accept it. But when you do accept that (and that is the moment when you become empowered), you are on the road to success!

6. Picking the wrong people to hang out with. We can easily become products of our environment. This is why it is essential to hang around people who will spur you on not hold you back! What about the people you have surrounded yourself with? Are they quality people who will encourage you and strengthen you in your quest for success? If not, move on!

7. No vision. Those who succeed always see their success months and years before they live it. They have the ability to look ahead, see the future, imagine the good that can and will come from their lives, families and work. To not have vision is a tremendous roadblock. Sit down and work on seeing the future - and make it good!

Man vs. Women

Click images for large view...

When the Door of Opportunity Opens

by Chris Widener

Anybody can achieve anything – do you believe that? I do. But there is a caveat that must be made. Those who succeed are those who walk through the door of opportunity when it swings open. That we know. But what is the secret to getting through the door of opportunity?

Being outside the door when it swings open.

As the story goes, Frank Sinatra got his big break while working as a waiter. One day, as he was waiting tables, who does he see sitting in the restaurant, but one of the biggest names in the music industry. Old Blue Eyes did the unbelievable: He cleared off a table next to the gentleman and got up on it and sang! He knew he was done at the restaurant for doing so, but how many times would this door of opportunity open up? Needless to say, the rest is history.

You've probably never heard the story about the stagehand for Kenny G who one day was in the auditorium with Kenny, just the two of them, when he started to play every song for him on the piano that was set up. Kenny didn't even know the guy could play the piano. Guess who is now the lead keyboardist for Kenny G? You got it!

You see, you never know when the door of opportunity is going to open wide. For some, the big break comes early in life and for others later on. But for all of those who become successful, there is one key similarity: They were ready. And for every one of those who were ready, there were thousands more who weren't.

So, the principle for us is: Be ready!

Are you ready? Here are some thoughts for you to consider.

Are your skills as sharp as they could be? Are they enough so when your shot comes you can perform?

Is your character deep enough to handle success? Let's face it; you don't want big success if your character won't be able to handle it.

Are you working hard to position yourself now? The job to do while waiting for the door to open is to develop your skills and your character, so as to position yourself to get through that door before it closes.

Your door will open someday. It opens for everyone. It may only open once or it may open many times. It is different for everyone and life just isn't fair that way. But everybody gets a shot. Will you be ready?

When that huge door of opportunity opens up, will you be able to walk boldly through it?

Do everything you can to be ready. Don't just sit and wish and dream. Be proactive and make sure that you are the most qualified when the door opens. Make sure that you are the hardest worker. Make sure you are the closest to the door.

When it opens – Be Ready!

Shhh. Do you hear that? Hinges creaking! It is the sound of the door opening. Your door of opportunity! Are you ready?


"If a man empties his purse into his head, no man can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest."
-- Benjamin Franklin

"All real education is the architecture of the soul."
-- William J. Bennett

"I kept six honest serving men. They taught me all I knew. Their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who."
-- Rudyard Kipling

"If you think education is expensive, try ignorance."
-- Derek Bok

"Next in importance to freedom and justice is popular education, without which neither freedom nor justice can be permanently maintained."
-- James A. Garfield

"It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations."
-- Winston Churchill

Seven Steps to Life Balance

By Terri Murphy

Isn't it amazing? We were all lead to believe that this technology stuff would automate systems and streamline our lives so that we had more time...and so, who has more time?

Although we love the way technology is helping us move at the speed of light for the price of a local phone call, we have yet to see our day-to-day lives slow down...

Here's the real deal. I'll bet there will never be enough time to be, or to do, all that we think we would like to get completed. It's not like time is a commodity that is available only to the Trumps or the Michael Jordans of the universe. We all get the same equal measurement of time in a day to which we try to accomplish those things we focus on that create "our lives."

For the sake of self-esteem, health, and a stab-at-life balance, let's look at a few of the possibilities that can make the next millennium more satisfying, less guilt-ridden and more fulfilling than the previous year.

Here are some helpful strategies that may help us stay "locked" onto the big picture.

1. Begin with: "The Big Rock" Theory

Dr. Stephen Covey in his book, "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People," quotes a story of a professor teaching a class about the placement of rocks in a glass container. It is eminently much easier to place big rocks into the container, followed by little rocks, sand and finally water, than trying to reverse the process. When designing your life, decide what your "big rocks" are, and schedule them as designated time slots or days in your annual calendar. Accomplish this by beginning with the end in mind. Work from the end of the upcoming calendar year and then….

2. Work backwards...

Simply block out the days of the year that you have marked with your big priorities, or "big rocks." The process will take some personal searching as to what you give high priority to these days. Placing priority days for those important things in life minimizes the possibilities of the "no-time-for-it" excuse.

3. Plug in the days for specific events

This is the place to schedule all those many things that you have whined about that you've never had time for. Take this opportunity to pencil in those things that you want to add to your life. It could be a quarterly "meet a good friend for lunch" day. Include a day a month for personal grooming and doctor's visits. Don't overlook a regular, quarterly "self-improvement" day for special seminars or courses you have been meaning to begin.

4. Schedule a "Date Night"

Your personal relationships will benefit by choosing a regular weekly "date night" to spend with your significant other. This is not to be confused with a regular weekly "family" night, where the family enjoys dinner and time together. Statistics show that it takes a minimum of 2 ½ quality hours of face-to-face time a week to keep a relationship nurtured.

5. Plug in a quarterly "chill-out" day for yourself.

If Edison, Ford, Firestone, Carrel and Lindberg allowed for creative time, so can you. Decide ahead of time what you would like to do with yourself that special day.

6. If you break your body, where will you live?

We can't seem to get in our daily 30 minutes of exercise, and yet we succumb to hauling around an extra 10-20 pounds every minute we are alive, draining our energy and impairing optimum proficiency... Make a pact with yourself that from this point forward we choose to be healthy and fit for the rest of our lives.

7. Control the only thing you can...

Did you ever notice that the people we envy the most are those individuals that seem to "have it all"? They never seem to have a bad hair day, their cars are immaculate and their homes are interestingly appointed rich in character, interest and comfort. In addition, they seem to have limitless energy and a great attitude to match. If you are like most of us, you secretly wish you knew their "secret" or write them off as not being "real." The truth is they are loaded with integrity and self-esteem because they have taken control of themselves first, and then are much more able to roll with the punches that life seems to throw their way. It just makes plain sense to control ourselves. And not the world around us.

We can't control the weather, but we can choose to work out at a club or walk in a mall, instead of blowing off the walk because it is too cold or too hot. It may be impossible to count on our customers, husbands, colleagues or children to be on time, but we make the choices to wait and feel victimized, feeling frustrated, wasting the time or having an alternative plan.

Instead of being envious of those "together" types, give yourself permission to enjoy those things you covet.

The concept is simple -- you are only in control of you, so start the process by defining what you want, where you want to go, and what it will take to accomplish the new objective and define the time and space required to make it happen.

Make the choice to live life to its fullest. Ignore the early recordings of parents and teachers that said you couldn't "have" that because they couldn't see themselves worthy or "entitled."

There is no need to feel like the "good" life belongs to the rich and famous. You can have your share and more with a little planning and discipline...the choice is yours and yours alone. Just know that when it's "game"-over, you did everything you wanted to do and more, your way.

About the Author:
Terri Murphy is one of the industry's leading consultants on the integration of traditional marketing and communication with today's Web and Internet tools. Her expertise is developing and growing customer relations to create a more profitable business model for Fortune 500 corporations and real estate companies nationwide. She has 24+ year career in the real estate industry and holds the GRI, CRS, LTG & CREC designations. She is the CIO for U.S. Learning, Inc. and a frequent spokesperson for säles industries nationwide. For information about Terri's presentations, contact the Frog Pond at 800.704.FROG(3764) or email

Being in Two Places at Once

By Sheila Murray Bethel

Eddie Murphy did it in Coming to America, Jeremy Irons did it in Dead Ringer and Hayley Mills did it in The Parent Trap. They all played dual roles and met themselves coming and going. But without movie magic, the rest of us are stuck in one body. Faced with competing demands for your time and attention, you have to make hard choices about balancing your personal life and the demands of your work.

The myth of "have it all, do it all" has been pretty much discredited, but the conflicts remain. How can you balance the intense demands of career, family, community, and self without disintegrating into a puddle of mush?

Here are some ideas that have worked for others. Give them a try and see how they fit into your lifestyle.

1. Be where you are.
Guilt and indecision are enormous time and energy wasters. If you're one place and feel you should be another, neither gets your full attention, and both suffer. You might as well be home in bed under the covers for all the good you do. Commit to what you're doing now 100 percent, knowing that when you're elsewhere, you'll be equally committed and intense.

There's an old saying, "Whether you are kissing your beloved or serving a customer, concentrate on what you're doing for best results."

2. Set your own priorities.
Just because you could do something doesn't mean you should do it. You don't have to rise to every challenge like a fish leaping for a shiny lure. Notice when you are being diverted from your goal or task.

If you find yourself torn between priorities, take five minutes and start this exercise. Write "My Philosophy of Life" on a small index card and "My Philosophy of Business" on another. Then fill in your beliefs, commitments and values. Index cards force you to express yourself succinctly in the small space available. Also, you can carry these cards in your wallet, reviewing and adding to them often. The more you reaffirm the "who, what and why" aspects of your life, the less likely you are to let people and circumstances pull you off course.

3. Negotiate.
Inevitably, you'll find yourself having to make tough choices because you need to be in two (or more) places at the same time. Here are some things to try. Delegate if possible. If not, explain and negotiate. Suppose you are scheduled to make an important speech in Hong Kong on the day your child is in the school play. Can you switch either date? Can you pre-tape your presentation or do it via a live hookup? Can the date be changed? Can someone else do it? If the answer to all three is no, can you arrange to videotape the school play and have a follow up party for family and friends with a jumbo-screen TV? Be creative! When you must say "no" in one area, set a time in the immediate future to fulfill that commitment. Then keep your word!

4. Accept that the extraordinary is normal.
There's no such thing as a normal schedule. In fact, three days in a row without a crisis would be distinctly abnormal. Just when you think you've got everything neatly under control, something will change and you'll need to find new answers. Instead of going into a tailspin, incorporate a disaster buffer into your schedule, having a backup Plan B. Illness, school closures, traffic jams, mechanical breakdowns, even satellite failures are simply givens in the 21st century. Don't squander a second of your precious energy on frustration, complaint or regret. A little advance planning will help you move automatically into your problem-solving mode.

5. Consider your private life a career.
Book time for personal growth, R&R, dating and courtship, and family. If you live alone, set aside time with friends and relatives, and make appointments with yourself for personal growth time. If you live in a family unit, schedule specific times with each member of the family team when you can be together exclusively. At least one hour set aside is better than a few minutes hëre and there. Use this hour as a time of togetherness and mutual sharing.

Use an oversized calendar to record four kinds of family time: (a) your special appointments with family members; (b) major vacatïons; (c) quick get-aways, two- or three-day mini-vacatïons; and (d) priority and "make up" days.

Post this calendar in the kitchen or family room for everyone to see. Hold family meetings at which everyone is scheduled to offer a gripe and brag. Other team members can offer sympathy, support and praise.

Keep a file folder for notes about small and medium things that come up when you're apart that will need discussion or decisions. Set aside an hour or half-hour once a week to go through the file together, discussing and making decisions. (In my household it's called the Friday File, and we allocate a half hour.) Such a file clears your mind and schedule of clutter, and the time limit promotes efficiency. Any job will expand to fill the time available.

People tend to let debates about little things go on and on, dominating their personal time. By using the file method, you can frëe up everyone's time for pleasurable interaction or more effective handling of the big issues.

There's no such thing as perfect balance, but your everyday effort will keep you on track, and the results will be worth the effort. Norman Vincent Peale said, "I never heard of anyone on their death bed who regretted they hadn't spent more time at the office." Integrating your business and family careers may be the most difficult job you'll ever do. It's also the most rewarding.

Achieving a balance between self-sacrifice and self-fulfillment takes constant hard work, courage, commitment and ingenuity. You won't always succeed, but the results, when you do, are called a rich, fulfilling life.

About the Author:
Sheila Murray Bethel is a best-selling author, television personality and globally acclaimed professional speaker. Sheila's expertise is Change, Leadership, and Personal Excellence. She is the author of the best-selling book, Making A Difference: 12 Qualities That Make You a Leader, host of the new Public Television Specials, "Making A Difference," and business woman. For information about Sheila's Leadership Seminars and Workshops, contact the Frog Pond at 800.704.FROG(3764) or email


"Plan your progress carefully; hour-by hour, day-by-day, month-by-month. Organized activity and maintained enthusiasm are the wellsprings of your power."
-- Paul J. Meyer

"Develop the winning edge; small differences in your performance can lead to large differences in your results."
-- Brian Tracy

"Failure is not a single, cataclysmic event. You don't fail overnight. Instead, failure is a few errors in judgment, repeated every day."
-- Jim Rohn

"Everyday do something that will inch you closer to a better tomorrow."
-- Doug Firebaugh

"Progress, however, of the best kind, is comparatively slow. Great results cannot be achieved at once; and we must be satisfied to advance in life as we walk, step by step."
-- Samuel Smiles

"There is no sudden leap to greatness. Your success lies in doing, day by day. Your upward reach comes from working well and carefully."
-- Max Steingart

"Where many people go wrong in trying to reach their goals is in constantly looking for the big hit, the home run, the magic answer that suddenly transforms their dreams into reality. The problem is that the big hit never comes without a great deal of little hits first. Success in most things comes not from some gigantic stroke of fate, but from simple, incremental progress."
-- Andrew Wood

Sunday, February 19, 2006

What's Stopping You?

By Beth Burns

"Always know in your heart that you are far bïgger than anything that can happen to you." – Dan Zadra

You've heard if before... sometimes, bad things happen to good people. People get sick, losë jobs, get divorced, have financial problems, raise troubled kids, suffer from depression and there are a multitude of other things that can go wrong in life. Sooner or later we all face some kind of trouble.

What does it take to get past some of the heartache that we all surely experience? I recently saw the movie "Men of Honor" and was engrossed with one man's quest to be all he could be in his life. Many seemingly insurmountable obstacles were thrown in his path and, yet, he kept finding ways to go where he wanted life to take him.

What does it take to keep the faith, find the good in circumstances and continue on your journey through life? In my work as a coach, and from personal experience, I have found it takes healthy doses of the following elements to press on.

1. A sense of purpose. People who continue on know who they are and what they bring to the table. They also know that success is cumulative and that a person is not the sum of his successes or failures, but rather a total sum of his how his mind, body and spirit operate.

"Self-esteem--an estimation of who I am apart from what I do." – Nathaniel Branden

2. The ability to see the big picture and keep a positive attitude. Troubles and turmoil are often the steppingstones to greater and bïgger dreams. This is difficult to see in the midst of trouble, but having even the smallest mustard seed of faith will help propel you forward. Think positive!

No pessimist ever discovered the secrët of the stars, or sailed to uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit. – Helen Keller

3. Perseverance and support. When you know who you are meant to be, the only way to be that person is to keep pressing on. Find a way. If there is not a path, then make one. And don't go it alone. Get the support you need. Find someone you trust. Ask for their feedback and support. Why make life harder than it has to be? When you go it alone, you make it that way.

Keep on keepin' on!

"Courage and perseverance have a magical talisman, before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish into air." – John Quincy Adams

"It's nevër too late to be what you might have been." – George Elliot

I urge you nöw to take some to time to reflect and do a check-in with who you are. Are you happy with yourself? Are you in integrity? Who do you want to be? If something or someone has been stopping you from taking the above steps, just simply begin and watch what comes your way. Be true to who you are and expect to have a delightful future!

About the Author
Beth Burns is a Professional Life Coach -- partnering with motivated people on their personal and professional goals. Her mission is to teach people to love themselves and love their life! She offers two frëe email newsletters and can be visited on the web at She can also be reached by calling 678-938-0419 or by email

Top 10 Things Every Business Should Provide For Every Worker - Even The Boss

By Philip E. Humbert

Doing business and meeting the needs of workers is increasingly complex. Employees and managers often prefer a cafeteria-list of fringe benefits (a "flexible spending account") so they can choose increased health care, child care or more time off as their individual preferences dictate. But underneath these specifics, there are central needs that most of us want from our work. Monëy can not buy happiness, and by itself it will rarely purchase a loyal, highly motivated staff (even in a one-person professional office or small family business).

1. Creativity. Every human being has a need to decorate their own office, find their own way to do their assigned task, and have their creativity be recognized. In the sense that all of us are somewhat lazy, often allowing and encouraging "creative laziness" can lead to not only happier employees, but a healthier bottom line.

2. Contribution. Managers have always known that every worker must contribute to the bottom line, but increasingly staff at every level want to know that their suggestions, their efforts, energy and loyalty contribute to the company in many other ways. From the old suggestion box, to recent Quality Circles, every member needs to know that they contribute and that their contributions are valued.

3. Community. The workplace is increasingly a one-stop source of friendships, exercise clubs, day care, health care and anxiety. If you and your staff aren't able to foster a sense of community and teamwork in the midst of a highly mobile, competitive and insecure world, perförmance will immediately suffer.

4. Personal Development. As out-sourcing and mobility increase, the best and the brightest are increasingly clear that the work they do must strengthen, enrich, and enhance their lives far beyond a simple paycheck. From team building and communication skills, to new technical skills, every member of your business must know that they are growing, becoming stronger and healthier, or they will quickly grow restless.

5. Professional Development. This actually comes after Personal Development. In the past, industrial bosses needed welders or drivers or clerks, and employees were expected to come to the job with these skills. Today, business requires skills that didn't exist even 3 years ago! Asking the boss to manage with last year's reporting system, or your säles force to sell with last year's website or accounting to get by with an early version of Lotus 123, is asking for bad information, bad decisions, frustration, low morale and high turnover.

6. Challenge. For work to be alive and vibrant, it has to challenge us. From winning a säles contest, to solving international marketing and financial problems, we all love a challenge! Make sure you and your staff understand the "next big thing" and understand that you have confidence in them and will give them the support they need to meet and conquer the challenges ahead.

7. Personal Recognition. While most projects involve teamwork and cooperation across networks, in the end, each individual needs to know that their contribution is recognized, appreciated and rewarded. Often sole-proprietors and professionals in independent practice are the worst offenders! Stop and recognize your own achievements, pat yourself on the back, and share that recognition with others whenever and wherever it is appropriate!

8. Financial Rewards. This is the old (misused and misunderstood) standby. Business has always used incentives, bonuses, competitions and rewards to motivate productive behavior. Unfortunately, in many cases it backfires! The old rule was: pay as little as possible for labor. The new rule: pay as much as you possibly can to hire, train, and retain the very best! Reward yourself and your staff generously and often. It doesn't cost, it pays!

9. Clear vision. From the CEO to the newest trainee, we are all bombarded with so much information, so many messages and so many demands that keeping a clear vision, staying "on message" is increasingly difficult. What, precisely, is each staff member's number one priority? Do you know? Do THEY know? What is the company's primary mission? Confusion about expectations is the number one killer of productivity. Have a target, and make sure everyone knows their responsibility to hit it...every time!

10. Civility and Mutual Respect. I recently saw a news show about an office where "practical jokes," bias, discrimination and "hazing" were rampant. Of course they are being sued! It's increasingly clear that few businesses can technically meet all of the various rules, regulatïons and court decisions about employment. It's also clear that in most cases, employees don't want to sue or even complain. Most people want to do a good job in a safe, clean and supportive environment, and they want to know that they and their work are respected. The real "bottom line" is common decency and doing the right thing.

By Dr Philip E. Humbert, author, speaker and personal success coach. Dr Humbert has hundreds of tips, tools and articles on his website that you can use for your own success! It's a great resource! Visit him on the web at: And, be sure to sign up for his great newsletter!

The Top 10 Principles To Live By For Success

By Marti Eicholz

People are not born successful. They work hard and are extremely focused and persistent. Successful people take hedged risks and solve their problems creatively. Some of the characteristics that most successful people have in common are:

-- Intelligence. Most great people are intelligent--but not in every subject. They simply have well-develop intelligence in the areas or fields they have chosen to pursue.

-- Practice. Almost all-great people have spent many years practicing their particular talents. Mistakes must be made, new solutions discovered, and difficult situations endured.

-- Leadership. Many successful people have a tremendous amount of hands-on experience dealing with people or structuring an organization.

-- Energy. They're very active and involved in their particular work. Their high activity levels spring partly from tremendous enthusiasm and excitement for the things they are doing.

-- Emotional Stability. Some theories have asserted that a person's "emotional quotient" is a greater factor in the person's success than his or her intelligence quotient is.

-- Concentration. Their work really excites them--so much so that they become unaware of everything else.

-- Determination. They develop senses of destiny. They believe that they have major purposes. They can't imagine themselves failing. When they suffer setbacks, they view them as part of the learning process on the road to greatness.

-- Survival Skills. Many have suffered traumatic experiences early in life such as sickness, loneliness, or poverty. Such experiences helped them develop their robustness and persistence. People who can't cope with failure are not likely to succeed.

-- Willingness to take risks. They don't care what people think, or whether their work or ideas may embarrass them in front of others.

-- Letting experience teach them. They learn from life's experiences by making a conscious effort to do so. Many people get caught up in what or who is right or wrong instead of looking at the lesson that can be learned from the experience. And life is full of lessons. From the time we come out of the womb to the day we die, we are learning what life has to offer us, lesson after lesson. The key is to take the experiences-those everyday occurrences in life-and use them to change and grow. That's what life is all really-change. The only real constant in this life is that things and people change. Inspired by experience, change is all around.

We can all benefit by watching successful people. But the knowledge that each of us has the potential to be successful should be foremost in our minds as we proceed in life. Each of us has a unique ability or talent that can be developed. Believe in yourself and know yourself. These two qualities serve as a foundation for the other characteristics great people exhibit.

About the Author:
Marti Eicholz, Ph.D. is founder of the Institute for Transformation in Kirkland, Washington. She is also a national speaker, radio personality and the author of five books, including "Personal Relationships: The Art of Living Together."

The Science of Success Achievement

By Rick Gettle

In his all time best -elling book, "Think And Grow Rich," Napoleon Hill mentions in his first chapter that throughout the book he will be referring many times to The Carnegie Secrët. He said he would not tell you what that secrët is, but when you are ready, it will jump off the page and into your brain. He said, "When the Student is ready – the master will appear. The doors will open. The lights will turn green. The ideas will come. The monëy will come. The people will be there to help you."

Since 1970 we have been teaching the principles of success that Andrew Carnegie commissioned Napoleon Hill to study and share with the world. Napoleon Hill spent his entire lifetïme researching the most successful people of all times from around the world.

Many, many times in our classes, workshops, talks, rallies and in our Master Mind Alliance Success Club meetings we have asked this question to those in our audience who had read the book "Think and Grow Rich":

What is The Carnegie Secrët that Napoleon Hill referred to in his book?

We got all kinds of guesses and some answers that were somewhat close. HËRE IS THE CARNEGIE SECRËT.

1. Have a Definite Major Purpose.

What is the most important thing you would like to accomplish in your lifetïme? Try to define it in one paragraph, even if you have to keep rewriting it a hundred times until it gets as clear as possible. It has to be the most important thing in your life. Mahatma Gandhi's definite major purpose was to wïn independence for India from their British rulers. He succeeded. Dr. Martin Luther King's was equality and the end of oppression for black people. Doctor Jonas Salk's was to find the cure and end for polio. Thomas Edison's was the incandescent light bulb. What is yours?

If you don't currently have what you feel is a definite major purpose, then have a definite major purpose to find your definite major purpose.

It has to be something you want so bad that you think about it all of the time.

2. Be Willing to Stake Your Entire Existence on Achieving It.

Don't Quit. There Are Many Starters In Life, But Very Few Finishers – When The Going Gets Tough They Quit.

A person with a definite major purpose nevër gives up – no matter how long and tough the road is; instead, they become more determined. Jack London was rejected over 600 times before he finally sold his first piece of writing. Thomas Edison actually failed over 9,999 times before he perfected the incandescent light bulb, and over 5,000 times before he perfected the world's first phonograph record player. There will be times when everything in you will tell you to quit, to stop trying, but if you hang in there, eventually, you will, you must succeed. Quitters nevër wïn and winners nevër quit.

Persistence is the power to hold on in spite of everything – to endure. It's the ability to face defeat repeatedly without giving up, to push on even in the face of great difficulty or danger. Persistence means taking pains to overcome every obstacle, to do all that is necessary to reach your goals. You wïn, because you refuse to become discouraged by your defeats. Those who conquer are those who endure.

3. Keep Intensifying Your Desire.

There are many "firemen" in life that will come along and try to put your fire of desire out. They will give you all kinds of reasons why your idea or goal won't work and tell you to give it up, forget it, or tell you "You can't do it." You have to become an Arsonist. An arsonist sets fires. Every morning when you wake up you have to re-light and re-build the intensity of your fire of desire. You have to eat it, sleep it, walk it, talk it, and concentrate on it until it becomes a red-hot flaming, burning, obsessional desire that will eventually mow down all of the opposition you will face throughout each day. If you don't, your Sizzle of desire will fizzle down to nothing. I'm not suggesting that you stop talking to or seeing your family and friends – what I'm saying is to keep focused day and night, seven days a week. This will bring into play: THE LAW OF HARMONIOUS ATTRACTION. Your burning desire becomes a magnet. You will attract that which you need: the ideas and plans, the monëy you need, and the people you need to help you. They will eventually gravitate toward your desire.

4. Have Bulldog Determination and Perseverance That Will Eventually Mow Down All Opposition.

Expect lots of problems, adversities, and discouragement along the way. Go around it – go over it – go under it – or dig a hole through it – but don't ever turn back. Make your Definite Major Purpose the dominating thought in your mind. It is a known fact that people who have had great achievement formed the habit of making an "obsession" of their Definite Major Purpose. Andrew Carnegie said to put all of your eggs in one basket and then watch the basket. Andrew Carnegie's definite major purpose, which he wrote down at an early age and kept in his desk, was to eärn as much monëy as he can in life and then, in the end, to set up the Carnegie Foundation to give it all away to worthy causes. Even after his death long ago, the Carnegie Foundation is still giving away millïons every year to help mankind.

I have been teaching The Science of Success Achievement Course since 1970. There were many times when I taught the course to as many as ten different groups per week. Some in major hotels, some in large corporate training rooms, in the YMCA, in hundreds of real estate and ïnsurance offices, in prisons, rehab centers, and for many säles and marketing groups of people.

In all of my classes, (There were ten separate 4-hour classes to the course,) I always told my students at the end of the first class, "For your homework this week, I want you to read the first four chapters of 'Think and Grow Rich' (I always had stacks of the book there to sell them). As you read each page, write a list of all of the things the author is telling you to do and the things he is telling you not to do. Then, I want you to carry that list with you every day and keep reviewing your list and keep doing the things the author told you to do. And then come back to class #2 next week and tell the class about the list you made, what actions you took as a result of reading the book, and what results you got."

At the beginning of the class on the following week I would always start out by asking, "By a show of hands, how many of you read the first four chapters of 'Think and Grow Rich?'" About 2% would raise their hands. The rest didn't take the time to read it. Then I would ask the 2%, "How many of you read the first four chapters and made the list I told you to make of all of the things the author told you to do?" Usually about three hands went up. I asked each of them, "How many items do you have on your list of the things the author told you to do?" The first person said three. The second person said nine. The third person said – 90 items

I asked the person who had ninety on her list to come to the front of the classroom.

I said to the others, "You people paid good monëy to take this course because you wanted to achieve greater success. How can you expect the results you hoped for if you aren't willing to take notes and to put in practice what you are learning?"

Then I had the lady read from her list of 90 items. And the class was surprised at how powerful and important the things on her list were.

I asked the class, "How many of you are speed readers?" All kinds of hands went up. Then I told them about an incident when I was at a party and someone asked me what I do for a living. I told him that I teach a course based around the book 'Think and Grow Rich.' He said, "That's a book that we teach from at our speed reading school." Then I asked him, "What were the greatest lessons you learned from the book?" He tried to think and then said, "I don't remember that book so well." I later found out that he was a speed reading instructor. I thought to myself, "There's a guy that can read 10,000 words a minute and remember nothing."

"Think and Grow Rich" is so powerful that it's the kind of book you have to read very slowly and carefully, many times until it becomes a part of your life and habits. I have been reading the book every year since 1970. Each year I pull it back off the shelf and let it fire me up for the achievement of my new goals for the year.

About the Author:
Rick Gettle
The Master Mind Alliance Success Club International To Learn More About This Course - Go To:

Overcoming Negative Beliefs

By Dr. Steve Taubman

In India, the method for training an elephant is the following: When the elephant is very yoüng, its leg is tied to a small post with a thin piece of rope. At that age the elephant hasn't the power to break the rope or dislodge the post. It tries for a while and then gives up. As the elephant grows, there's no reason to increase the girth of the rope or the post. The elephant of course reaches such size and strength that it could, if it wanted, easily break frëe from the restraint. But having tried and failed earlier, it stops trying, convinced that it's entrapped ... Doesn't that sound like us?

Nothing has such a direct impact on our success in life as our beliefs. Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich, says "What the mind conceives and believes, it achieves." Joseph Chilton Pearce, author of Magical Child, says "Belief effects perception." Our beliefs affect what we see and what we accomplish.

If you're to succeed in achieving your life's dreams, you must begin to adopt what motivational speaker Wayne Dyer calls "No Limit Thinking." What you can't do is only what you can't do yet. You are equipped like every other human being with the capabilities necessary to accomplish your goals. Author Richard Bach says:

"Nobody is given a dream without the power to make it come true."

Unfortunately, our beliefs are resistant to change because of the method we use for applying evidence to substantiate them. Sometimes we develop a negative belief which starts as a misinterpretation of an event in our lives. That misinterpretation is reinforced by subsequent misinterpretations to the point that the original misinterpretation is nöw seen as incontrovertible fact. We make our beliefs into reality.

When I was five years old, my family moved into a new neighborhood. The neighborhood kids had been friends with the previous occupants and weren't open to newcomers. The day I arrived, half the neighborhood kids were in my backyard on my swing set. When I went out there to join in, they wouldn't let me. They told me I didn't belong there and that I was stupid and ugly. The wound was substantial. In that moment, I decided that I was undesirable.

From then on, I carried that scar with me. Each new interaction was colored by my decision that I was undesirable. Somehow, I would telegraph my undesirability to others who would use that information, received unconsciously by them, to hold me at a distance. I'd sense their distance and would use it to prove to myself that my notion of my undesirability was accurate. Each new interaction would reinforce my belief, and my belief would recreate the types of interactions which proved the belief true. Further, the inner feeling, which I'd been trained to trust as accurate, would deepen my conviction about my own undesirability. But was I really undesirable or was I just the victim of my misunderstanding of the original situation?

If I were to choose to change that belief, what would I have to face? Well, I'd have to face the feeling that the belief was true, and I'd have to face the voices in my head that would remind me of all the times that things happened which proved the belief to be true. To change the belief, I'd have to fly in the face of both historical evidence and bodily knowing in the förm of emotions. That's a lot of power! What's the answer? Where could I find the strength to overcome such powerful evidence?

The answer is something known as reframing. Reframing is a technique for looking at a particular situation or set of circumstances and challenging oneself to find the most empowering, resourceful interpretation of that situation. It often requires creative thinking and is underlined by the idea that no situation has an inherently correct interpretation except that which we give it. In other words, there are many ways to view any circumstance and our charge is not to find the right interpretation but to find the most useful interpretation, the one that helps us meet our goals, the one that we will also accept as viable.

Suppose it's my goal to be happy. Which is a more useful frame to put around the story I told about my childhood? That I was, in fact, fundamentally undesirable or that I was a perfectly normal child who happened to stumble into an unfriendly situation? Which evaluation would have served me more in my growth?

There are probably some among you who, like me in my past, feel that reframing a situation is inherently dishonest. If you're one of them, let me suggest that you consider the underlying belief that your negative interpretation of a situation is correct. Just because it feels true and has a historic context, does that make it true? Is it not possible that your interpretation is really a misinterpretation? Perhaps you're holding yourself back from thriving because of outmoded adherence to an indefensible view. Whenever I feel that I must maintain my view of anything, I try to remember the words of Ram Dass, who says, "You're not who you think you are." If you're not who you think you are, how can you defend your position?

Hëre are some powerful reframes, which, once adopted by your deep subconscious mind, will activate your enthusiasm, creativity, and sense of possibility:

There are no problems, only opportunities.

Those who cause me emotional pain are my teachers, helping to point out the emotional addictions I need to overcome.

What I've failed to accomplish doesn't prove my incapability but my lack of adequate knowledge to this point.

There is no failure; only feedback.

When I share my pain, I become more truly human.

Take a few minutes to make your unconscious beliefs conscious. Ask yourself what you believe about yourself, about your role in society, about your capabilities, about the world around you, about family and friends, about men, about women, about your past, about your future, about God, about life and death, and about the role of belief in your future.

Take these questïons one at a time and spend one minute writing as many answers as you can to each as quickly as you can, without pausing to reflect. Look for ways of reframing your unresourceful beliefs, finding empowering ways to look at your situation without sacrificing your hold on reality. Be as diligent as you can. With time, you will find your life becoming more satisfying and manageable, even before you've actually done anything to change your life circumstances.

About the Author:
Dr. Steve Taubman is recognized as the nation's "Starting over Expert." As a chiropractor, magician, hypnotist, pilot, speaker, coach, and author, Dr. Taubman has developed skills to reinvent his life and the techniques to help others do the same. In his groundbreaking book, UnHypnosis: How to Wake Up, Start Over, and Create the Life You're Meant to Live, Dr. Taubman lays out a clear five-step program for helping people set and achieve their goals. Dr. Taubman's book encapsulates the principles necessary for one to reinvent one's life. He's coached many people to make major life changes through clarifying their inner-most desires, developing greater prosperity consciousness, and implementing powerful goal-setting techniques. You can visit his Web site at:

Liberate Yourself from the Opinions and Judgments of Others

By Mark Victor Hansen

You can't make everyone happy. I'm sure you've heard this most of your life. It seems like a surface statement - it goes in one ear and out the other - but it runs very deep. You will nevër be able to please everyone. No matter what you do, what decisions you make, what kind of car you drive or where you live - someone is going to be disappointed with you. Putting the opinions and judgments of others before your own will only result in your failure. Learn to trust and believe in yourself for phenomenal success.

Are you constantly trying to maintain the peace in your office or home by making sure everyone is happy? Do you find yourself walking on eggshells everywhere you go, hoping no one will "start something"? Are you afraid of ruffling feathers when you're out with your friends, so you agree with whatever they say? If you said yes to any of these questïons then you my friend are a people pleaser, or on the fast track to becoming one.

I'm not saying there's anything wrong with wanting everyone to be happy. Heck no! I want everyone to be happy 24 hours a day. But I'm not willing to compromise who I am to make that happen.

Sometimes you have to ruffle a few feathers - and that's okay. You can't be a "lesser" you just to make someone else happy. That's not the way it works. Express yourself. Go ahead. But do it with love and a gentle voice. You're not challenging anyone. You're just being your authentic self.

When you stop saying "yes" to everyone and start expressing how you really feel, be prepared. The people who have only known the "suppressed" you are going to give you funny looks, and you'll probably hear "what's gotten into you" quite a bit. A few so-called friends may not ever speak to you again. But isn't it better to know who your true friends are?

There is no such thing as a superiority complex.  It's only an inferiority complex hiding as superiority.

Action Step
Do you have people in your life that you are constantly trying to please? Are these people who you look to for approval? Do they always have opinions about your life and what you're doing wrong?

Normally, we all have at least one of these people in our lives. But why do people act negatively toward us when we try to better ourselves? It's not usually out of spite. Most of the time these people are either insecure about themselves and their lives, or afraid that once we begin living our dreams they'll be left behind.

So, how do you keep your mind and your focus on your goals when these people are around? Well, the first step would be decide who you really want in your life - people who are going to support you or people who are going to bring you down. You are going to change your life and you don't need any negative distractions. If those around you can't listen and support you in your efforts, then they have no place in your life. Period.

If for some reason you cannot remove these people from your life, then you'll have to decide not to discuss your life with them. If they ask you questïons about what's going on in your life tell them you'd rather not discuss it with them. Eventually they will stop asking and go away. If they offer advice anyway, simply thank them for the advice and ignore them. Try this a few times and see what happens. Negativity only survives where it is allowed to feed - starve it and it will move on.

About the Author:
Mark Victor Hansen, co-author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul Series, has for more than 25 years, uniquely focused on the vital elements of human behavior that most affect our personal and professional lives and has influenced society's top leaders and the general public on a global scale. To learn more about Mark and to receive 20% off Mark's best-selling audio programs - Sell Yourself Rich, How To Think Bïgger, The Aladdin Factor and How to Build Your Speaking and Writing Empire - visit or call 877-929-0439.

Sixteen Commonsense Listening Tips

By Dr. Tony Alessandra

The reason you don't understand me, Edith, is because I'm talkin' to you in English and you're listenin' to me in dingbat!" – Archie Bunker

Archie was right about finding a common language or wavelength, but it takes two to communicate - the speaker and the listener. Both need to make the effort to understand each other. According to a French proverb, "The spoken word belongs half to him that speaks and half to him who hears."

All skills require learned behaviors and rules. The rules for good listening involve basic courtesy, sorely needed by Archie, and common sense. Some of the rules may seem obvious, but it is amazing how many people forget them and unintentionally insult the speaker.

Often, without intending to be rude, your enthusiasm for a subject and your own desire to hear yourself talk cause you to forget courtesy. At other times you may be so involved with your own point of view that you forget to listen to what your client is saying; you just plain stop listening!

So, when conversing with another person, be aware of and practice the following rules:

1. Let others tell their own stories first. When others explain their situations, they may reveal interesting facts and valuable clues that will aid you in helping them solve their problems or satisfy their needs. By letting them speak first, you also save time. When their interests are revealed you can tailor your discussion to their particular needs, goals, and objectives and can dispense with inappropriate conversation.

2. It is impossible to listen and talk at the same time. This basic rule of effective listening is most often broken, especially by Archie Bunker. People anxious to add their own views to the conversation try to interject comments while another person is speaking. They wait for a pause in the conversation and "rapid fire'' their comments at the other person. This interjection of random comments is irritating to the speaker and actually slows the conversation because the initial speaker must dodge the comments and still keep his train of thought. Why not wait until the speaker's point is made? Then you will have your chance.

An enormous benefit of listening to your client is that he may "sell himself." He may solve his own problems or even come up with some product benefits that hadn't occurred to you. In addition, encouraging the client to talk keeps him from feeling pressured into a sale. Building confidence and reducing tension strengthen the trust bond between you and your client.

A client who "sells himself" is likely to be more fully committed and less likely to have "buyer's remorse." He may become a staunch defender of your product, be open-minded in future dealings, and be more likely to listen to you.

3. Listen for the main ideas.
Specific facts are only important as they pertain to the main theme. They can cause misinterpretation if taken out of context. Relate stated facts to the arguments of the speaker and weigh the verbal evidence used. Take advantage of the superior speed of thought over words and periodically review a portion of the discussion that has already been completed.

A good listener also tries to guess the points the speaker will make. Ask yourself: "What is the speaker getting at?" or "What is his point?" Then get feedback. If you guess correctly, your understanding is enhanced, and your attention is increased. If you are incorrect, you learn from your mistake.

4. Be sensitive to your emotional deaf spots. Deaf spots are words that make your mind wander or go off on a mental tangent. They set off a chain reaction that produces a mental barrier in your mind, which in turn inhibits the continued flow of the speaker's message. Everyone is affected by certain words so it is important to discover your own individual stumbling blocks and analyze why these words have such a profound effect on you.

5. Fight off distractions.
Train yourself to listen carefully to your customer's words, despite such external distractions as a ringing telephone, passersby, or other office noise. Localized distractions, such as the idiosyncrasies of the speaker, may also be irritating, but make a conscious attempt to judge the content of the message - not the delivery.

Focus your attention on the words, ideas, feelings, and underlying intent. Through practice you can improve your power of concentration, so that you can block out external and internal distractions and attend totally to the speaker.

6. Do not trust to memory certain data that may be important. Take brief notes because listening ability is impaired while you are writing. Remember - you cannot effectively do two things at the same time. Write notes in words and phrases rather than complete thoughts. All you need is something to jog your memory later in the day, and then you can recall the complete content of the message. Read your notes as soon as possible to make sure you understand what you put down on paper and always review them before subsequent contact with your clients.

7. React to the message, not the person. Don't allow your mental impression of the speaker to influence your interpretation of his message. Good thoughts, concepts, and arguments can come from some of your least favorite people. George Jefferson planted the seeds of many ideas in Archie's fertile imagination.

8. Try to appreciate the emotion behind the words (vocal and visual messages) more than the literal meaning of the words.

Try to ask yourself these questïons when another person is speaking: a. What are the other person's feelings? b. What does he mean by what he is saying? c. What is his point of view?
d. Why is he saying this?
e. What is implied by what he says?

9. Use feedback.
Constantly try to chëck your understanding of what you hear. Do not only hear what you want to hear. In addition, chëck to see if the other person wants to comment or respond to what you have previously said. Archie and Edith could have avoided many misunderstandings by simply using feedback.

10. Listen selectively.
Critical messages may be hidden within the broader context of a conversation. Listen in such a way that you can separate the wheat from the chaff. Always ask yourself: "What is he telling me that can help me satisfy his needs, solve his problems, and accomplish his goals?"

11. Relax.
When another person speaks, try to put him at ease by creating a relaxed, accepting environment. Do not give the speaker the impression that you want to jump right in and speak. Give him a chance to speak his mind.

12. Try not to be critical of the other person's point of view. Hold your temper and your emotional feelings and try to listen to truly understand. Be patient, Archie. Allow the speaker plenty of time to fully finish his train of thought. You might find that what you were initially going to disagree with wasn't such a bad idea after all. Keep an open mind. If you give the other person half a chance to tell you his views, you might find that you have learned something.

13. Listen attentively.
Face the speaker with uncrossed arms and legs; lean slightly forward. Establish gentle, intermittent eye contact. Use affirmative head nods and appropriate facial expressions when called for, but do not overdo it. Occasionally respond to your customer with "uh huh," "go on," or "yes," to demonstrate that you are listening.

14. Create a positive listening environment. Shoot for a private atmosphere away from sources of distraction. Make the effort to ensure that the environment is conducive to effective listening.

15. Ask questïons.
Ask open-ended questïons to allow the speaker to express his feelings and thoughts. A simple "yes" or "no" is not enough. Use development questïons like "How can I help you?" or "Where do we go from hëre?" to ask the speaker for more details on specific subjects. Clarifying questïons seek information by restating the speaker's remarks.

These techniques demonstrate that you're hearing correctly. If you keep the other person talking, potential ambiguities clear up. The effective use of questïons also allows you to contribute to the conversation.

16. Be motivated to listen.
Without the proper attitude all the foregoing suggestions for effective listening are worthless. Try to keep in mind that there is no such thing as an uninteresting speaker, only disinterested listeners. Put out the extra effort to try to listen.

Learning to listen effectively pays off in stronger trust bonds and increased säles. Others feel relieved to find people who actively listen and try to understand what they have to say about their problems and needs. Once that occurs, the speaker generally reciprocates by listening when it's the other person's turn to speak. That leads to an open, honest information exchange, the kind Edith Bunker was yearning for. Isn't that what communication is all about?

About the Author:
Dr. Tony Alessandra helps companies build customers, relationships, and the bottom-line. Tony has a street-wise, college-smart perspective on business, having fought his way out of NYC to eventually realizing success as a graduate professor of marketing, entrepreneur, business author, and consultant. Dr. Alessandra earned his MBA from the Universïty of Connecticut and his Ph.D. in marketing from Georgia State Universïty. He was inducted into the Speakers Hall of Fame in 1985. To order Tony's best-selling program, The 10 Qualities of Charismatic People, go to

My Quraan

My Quraan comes at time when tension are high between the Muslims and the Christians over in-sensitive cartoons published in a newspaper in Denmark. Well thought off, fairly balanced writing, there are some nice articles which explain what Islam is all about and is worth a read. For example :
is all worth a read.

"We have not sent down the Quraan to you that you should be distressed;
But as a reminder to him who fears God" (Taha: 2-3)

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Liverpool 1 Man United 0

12:31 GMT : Match Starts
1 min : United kick off attacking the Kop in the first period
1 min : Gary Neville's first touch is roundly booed as he drives the ball down the line
3 mins : Crouch wins an aerial battle in the box but Silvestre clears the danger for United
3 mins : Kewell barges into Neville on the right side and earns a talking to from the ref
6 mins : Ronaldo collects a quickly taken free kick and strikes a low shot which Reina saves comfortably low down
9 mins : Giggs floats a free kick into the area which is deflected behind for the game's first corner
11 mins : Good low cross into the area from Kewell which Brown hacks over his own goal
14 mins : Gerrard crosses into the box and Morientes is just beaten to the ball. Another corner for the Reds though and a promising start
18 mins : Best chance of the game so far as Van der Sar saves from Kewell's header
18 mins : GOAL! Peter Crouch: Crouch heads into the corner from Finnan's cross to give us a deserved lead
25 mins : Hamann is down on the far side of the field and needs treatment
29 mins : Now Rooney goes down under a challenge and needs treatment on the pitch
32 mins : Crouch and Morientes combine brilliantly in the area and win another corner as we continue to dominate the match
33 mins : Booking: Ryan Giggs:
35 mins : Finnan smashes the ball into the side netting but should have scored from Gerrard's well delivered free kick
42 mins : Morientes lofts the ball into the area but Van der Sar gathers under pressure
45 mins : Three extra minutes to be played
13:19 GMT : Half Time Reached
13:37 GMT : Second Half Begins
46 mins : Liverpool get the second half underway
46 mins : Substitution: Louis Saha for Mickael Silvestre:
46 mins : Early defending for Brown in the second half as he is forced to head over his own bar
48 mins : Booking: Dietmar Hamann:
50 mins : Crouch forces a mistake in the United defence but pokes the ball just wide of the far post
53 mins : United break quickly down the right and the Reds just clear the danger before Van Nistelrooy can pounce
53 mins : Booking: Sami Hyypia:
54 mins : The free kick is worked into Rooney's path but his low shot doesn't trouble Reina
57 mins : Van der Sar totally misses his punch and Liverpool win a corner as a result
62 mins : Booking: Jamie Carragher:
63 mins : Substitution: Luis Garcia for Fernando Morientes:
66 mins : Sissoko finds himself in a great position on the right of the area but scuffs his shot across the face of goal
68 mins : Kewell has a brilliant chance to add a second but his low drive is blocked before it reaches the United goal
73 mins : Crouch is back on the field after needing stitches in a head wound
74 mins : Booking: Gary Neville:
75 mins : Booking: Numanja Vidic:
76 mins : Substitution: Alan Smith for Darren Fletcher:
78 mins : Booking: Harry Kewell:
79 mins : Giggs fires in a volley from the edge of the box but cant keep it on target
82 mins : Substitution: Jan Kromkamp for Harry Kewell:
84 mins : Richardson's free kick from the edge of the box smashes into the Liverpool wall and the Reds clear
88 mins : Substitution: Djibril Cisse for Peter Crouch:
90 mins : Vidic needs lengthy treatment after a challenge from Riise
90 mins : Substitution: Ji-Sung Park for Alan Smith:
90 mins : seven extra minutes to be added
14:30 GMT : Match Over

Friday, February 17, 2006

Wrong Address

Wrong Address

A man checked into a hotel. There was a computer in his room, so he decided to send an e-mail to his wife. However, he accidentally typed a wrong e-mail address, and without realizing his error, he sent the e-mail.

Meanwhile....Somewhere in Houston, a widow had just returned from her husband's funeral. The widow decided to check her e-mail, expecting condolence messages from relatives and friends. After reading the first message, she fainted. The widow's son rushed into the room, found his mother on the floor, and s aw the computer screen which read:

To: My Loving Wife

Subject: I've Reached

Date: 15 DIS 2005

I know you're surprised to hear from me. They have computers here, and we are allowed to send e-mails to loved ones.

I've just reached and have been checked in. I see that everything has been prepared for your arrival tomorrow.

Looking forward to seeing you TOMORROW!

Your loving Hubby

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Eight Tips to Eliminate Your Energy Drainers

By Debbie Mandel

Are you feeling tired, the kind of tired where nothing really matters anymore? Have your energy levels dipped to the point that you feel like you are dragging around a leg iron? It's time to relax and be patient. Save your energy the way water does when it cannot go over an obstacle. Water waits for the rain to fall, so it can collect itself and rise; for at this point it will not hesïtate to flow over a rock in the creek or go around it. Water finds its path. Rainier Maria Rilke reminds us: "How deep is the reservoir from where your life flows."

Emotional fatigue usually correlates with disappointment. You might feel drained because you have been begging for scraps of attention, approval, financial security, and love. Ironically, you nevër had to beg in the first place because you already possess all these jewels. Maybe you don't know where to look for them.

The antidote to fatigue is to get all fired up and forge your own universe. Your beliefs control your world; whether you believe that you can or can't do something, you will prove yourself right! Reboot your sense of purpose and see if that doesn't jumpstart your energy. Start dreaming and reframing your thinking to empower yourself to move in a more hopeful direction. Make sure to be specific about what you envision for yourself. While you are involved in the process of self-excavation, hëre are some suggestions to help you get fired up:

* Have a good fight! Perhaps you are swallowing too much, suppressing your needs for the sake of others, being far too accommodating. Conflict is not a wïn or losë situation. Conflict opens the door to change.

* Don't be an unrealistic optimist! Perhaps you have expected too much and so your disappointment is all the greater. Aim for small successes. Each mini- success will fuel your enthusiasm and drive you to achieve more.

* Build up your self-concept. Maybe you have been talking yourself down internally or internalizing only the critical comments about your endeavors. Most of us tend to focus on what we don't have; in other words, we think about that single negative remark over and over again, forgetting about all the compliments we receive. Every day list all the compliments people give you. Soon you will have a more accurate self-concept.

* Are you fighting too much? I know I told you to have a good fight, but are you expending too much energy proving that you are always right? Try to wïn by losing – apologize when you are wrong and wïn.

* Tighten your mind and stop wasting your energy. Relax during the in-between stages, loosen your muscles, and use your strength of focus when you need it.

* Don't let others steal your time. Get a big Do Not Disturb sign and put your phöne machine on. Spend your time wisely instead of wasting it.

* Be less involved in the product, the outcome, and more involved in the process.

* Whatever you do, experience the present – don't dilute it!

About the Author:
Debbie Mandel, MA, is the author of "Changing Habits: The Caregivers' Total Workout and Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul" - - a stress-reduction specialist, motivational speaker, personal trainer, and mind/body lecturer. She is the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WGBB AM1240 in New York City, produces a weekly wellness newsletter, and has been featured on radio/TV and print media. To learn more, visit

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

God and Man

A man walking along a California beach was deep in prayer. Suddenly the sky clouded above his head and, in a booming voice, the Lord said, "Because you have TRIED to be faithful to me in all ways, I will grant you one wish."

The man said, "Build a bridge to Hawaii so I can drive over anytime I want."

The Lord said, "Your request is very materialistic. Think of the enormous challenges for that kind of undertaking. The supports required to reach the bottom of the Pacific! The concrete and steel it would take! It will nearly exhaust several natural resources. I can do it, but it is hard for me to justify your desire for worldly things. Take a little more time and think of something that would honor and glorify me."

The man thought about it for a long time. Finally he said, "Lord, I wish that I could understand my wife. I want to know how she feels inside, what she's thinking when she gives me the silent treatment, why she cries, what she means when she says 'nothing's wrong,' and how I can make a woman truly happy."

The Lord replied, "You want two lanes or four on that bridge?"

Character Traits of Extraordinary Leaders

 by Chris Widener

When people make a decision (either consciously or unconsciously) to follow your leadership, they do it primarily because of one of two things: Your Character or your Skills. They want to know if you are the kind of person they want to follow and if you have the skills to take them further. Yes, there are other variables but these are the bulk of the matter. This article will focus on the kind of character that causes people to follow your leadership.

1. Integrity. Integrity is that you do what you say you will. You are trust worthy. People can rely on you. You keep your promises. The one thing that will most keep people from following you is if they can't know for sure if you will actually take them where you say you will. Are you known as a person of integrity? If so, you will become an Extraordinary Leader!

2. Optimistic. People don't want to follow others who think the future is bad! They want to follow those who can see the future and let them know that there is a better place and that they can get them there! Do you see the cup as half empty? Then you are a pessimist. Do you see it as half full? Then you are an optimist. Do you see it as totally full - half air and half water? Then you are a Super Optimist! Are you known as an optimist? If so, you will become an Extraordinary Leader!

3. Embraces Change. Leaders are the ones who will see the need for change and willingly embrace it. Followers will at first desire to stay where they are. Leaders need to see the benefits of change and communicate them to followers. If you don't change, you won't grow! Are you known as a person who embraces change? If so, you will become an Extraordinary Leader!

4. Risk Taker. Whenever we try something new, we are taking a risk. That is part of growing though and it is imperative. Most people are risk averse. Not the leader! They calculate the risk and what is to be gained from taking the risk. Then they communicate that to the followers and away they go to a better tomorrow! Are you known as a person who is willing to take risks? If so, you will become an Extraordinary Leader!

5. Tenacious. The tendency of the follower is to quit when the going gets tough. Two or three tries and their motto becomes "If at first you don't succeed, give up and try something else." Not the leader! They know what good lies beyond this brick wall and they will go and get it. Then they will bring others with them! Are you known as a person who is tenacious? If so, you will become an Extraordinary Leader!

6. Catalytic. A leader is ultimately one who gets people going. They are able to move others out of their comfort zone and on toward the goal! They can raise the passion, enthusiasm and the ACTION of those who would follow. Are you known as a catalyst? If so, you will become an Extraordinary Leader!

7. Dedicated/Committed. Followers want people who are more devoted and committed than themselves. At the first sign of lack of commitment, followers scatter for the doors. If the leader sees the end and is bailing out, they better get out first. Followers follow those who will stick it out because they see the importance of the task and the goal. Are you known as a person who is committed and devoted to the goal? If so, you will become an Extraordinary Leader!


Break All The Rules.

It came up with this surprising finding: If you're losing good people,
look to their immediate supervisor. More than any other single reason,
he is the reason people stay and thrive in an organization.  And he's
the reason why they quit, taking their knowledge, experience and
contacts with them. Often, straight to the competition.

"People leave managers not companies," write the authors Marcus
Buckingham and Curt Coffman. "So much money has been thrown at  the
challenge of keeping good people - in the form of better pay, better
perks and better training - when, in the end, turnover is mostly
manager issue." If you have a turnover problem, look first to your
managers.  Are they driving people away?

Beyond a point, an employee's primary need has lessto do with money,
and more to do with how he's treated and how valued he feels. Much of
this depends directly on the immediate manager. And yet, bad  bosses
seem to happen to good people everywhere.. A Fortune magazine survey
some years ago found that nearly 75 per cent of employees have suffered
at  the hands of difficult superiors. You can leave one job to find -
you  guessed it, another wolf in a pin-stripe suit in the next one.

Of all the workplace stressors, a bad boss is possibly the worst,
directly impacting the emotional health and productivity of employees.
HR experts say  that of all the abuses, employees find public
humiliation the most  intolerable. The first time, an employee may not
leave, but a thought has  been planted..

The second time, that thought gets strengthened.  The third time, he
starts looking for another job.  When people cannot retort openly in
anger, they do so by passive aggression. By digging their heels in and
slowing down. By doing only what they are told  to do and no more. By
omitting to give the boss crucial information.

Dev  says: "If you work for a jerk, you basically want to get him into
trouble.  You don't have your heart and soul in the job."

Different managers can stress out employees in different ways - by
being  too controlling, too suspicious, too pushy, too critical, but
they forget that workers are not fixed assets, they are free agents.
When this goes on too long, an employee will quit - often over seemingly
trivial issue.

It  isn't the 100th blow that knocks a good man down. It's the 99 that
went before. And while it's true that people leave jobs for all kinds of
reasons- for better opportunities or for circumstantial reasons, many
who leave would have stayed - had it not been for one man constantly
telling them: "You are dispensable. I can find dozens like you." While
it seems like there are plenty of other fish especially in today's
waters, consider for a moment the cost of losing a talented
employee.There's the cost of finding a replacement.

The cost of training the replacement. The cost of not having someone to
do the job in the meantime. The loss of clients and contacts the person
had with the industry. The loss of morale in co-workers. The loss of
trade secrets this person may now share with others.  Plus, of course,
the loss  of the company's reputation. Every person who leaves a
corporation then becomes its ambassador, for better or for worse.

We all know of large IT companies that people would love to join and
large television companies few want to go near. In both cases, former
employees have left to tell their tales. "Any company trying to compete
must figure out a way to engage the mind of every employee,"

Jack Welch of GE once said.   Much of a company's value lies "between
the ears of its employees".  If it's bleeding talent, it's bleeding
value.  Unfortunately, many senior executives busy travelling the world,
signing new  deals and developing a vision for the company, have little
idea of what may be going on at home.