Saturday, September 2, 2017

How do you make important life decisions?

How do you make important life/career/relationship decisions?

Tim Connor

Few decisions in life are ever really easy.  In fact, some of them might appear to be easy on the surface or with a quick view or when we look at just the short term impact, but if we took the time to take a longer view of even the simplest decisions we might find that they have a bigger influence on our life than we might have considered if we had made them differently.

For example, there are many factors both short and long term that are impacted by our decisions such as; health, freedom, happiness, inner peace, long term success, relationships, self-esteem, self-value, financial freedom or status, career outcomes just to mention a few.  What we eat, what we drink, how much sleep we get, who we associate with, how we drive etc.

There are many factors that contribute to our decision process such as; the need for control, the desire for approval, the hope of security, the concern for our health, considering what others might think or how they might interpret our decisions, short and long-term commitments, previous decisions and their outcomes or consequences, emotional maturity, accurate information and our degree of wisdom and emotional control.  Need I go on?  OK, one more - instinct.

Let’s take a brief look at just a few of these to see if you are using them in an effective way to arrive at conclusions, research concepts that contribute to decisions or actual steps you take.

Let’s consider two critical areas first – the issue of consequences and the fact that there is little in life we can control.


All choices lead to consequences. Some of them are positive and some are negative. Some are short term whiles can take years to play out. We always have options and choices. We may not like some of them, but we always have them. The choices we are given present us with the opportunity to move steadily in the direction of a better way of life or the opposite as we move toward our destiny. If we chose wisely, we move smoothly toward this favorable destination. If we choose poorly, I guarantee that sooner or later we will be guided back to the correct or a more favorable path.

Each of us is responsible for the quality of our life. To point your finger at anyone or something in your environment other than yourself for your life’s outcomes is to live in frustration, anxiety, stress and denial. Each of us is free to choose any path. So, choose wisely today, for tomorrow’s harvest is planted today.

What consequences are you paying today as a result of past or previous choices, decisions or actions?

Please consider the following as you develop or nurture your decision approach.


Life will never be exactly what we want it to be or expect it to be. When you think you should be in control of anything – a project, a person, a situation, whatever – sooner or later, life is going to let you know that being in control is not what is important. What is - is learning to live happily and successfully without it.

Decision history

Have you ever reviewed and analyzed your past when it come to your decisions and their outcomes?  My experience and research tells me that most people don’t.  They just keep making decisions, dealing with consequences, moving on and repeating the process.  “New/different day, same stuff, same actions”. From personal experience, this is not an ideal way to live life expecting it to get better as the years pass.  You’ve heard it – “Expecting different results from repeated behavior is a mild form of insanity.”

Your decision process

Most people have a decision process but it’s more an auto-pilot process than a thoughtful one.  Something happens, they have options, they consider the short-term outcomes, they decide and they act or they – procrastinate and trust me – procrastinating is a decision.  A process means that you have developed a – repeatable, workable, successful and manageable approach or philosophy – doesn’t matter whether it’s in the kitchen making a new dish for your guests or it’s your heart surgeon preparing you as a patient for an upcoming event.  It’s all the same – you consider, you evaluate, you forecast, you plan, you act, you consider outcomes and then you repeat the process.  Simple? No.  Necessary? Yes, if you want better outcomes.

A few things you might want to consider –

-The future is never a guarantee no matter how perfect or right your decisions seem at the time.

-The future outcome is not a function of your history of favorable or wise past decisions.

-Outcomes can vary person to person with people who face the same issues and have to make the same types of decisions since we all interpret things uniquely and our environments vary.

-No decision guarantees that people affected by it will like it.

-The longer you wait to decide the greater the cost can be.

-Decision dysfunction (the inability to decide – no matter the issue) is common with people; who procrastinate, have a victim mindset, have low self-esteem or seek others approval.

-There is never a perfect time to decide anything.

-One of the best things you can do when it comes to decisions is to trust your “inner guidance system”.

Why not add a few of your own from your personal experience.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Anything missing in your life?

Anything missing in your life?

Tim Connor

No one in life has or gets everything they want, need or desire.  Let me repeat – no one. Are you waiting for some desire or need to be fulfilled?  Just had one satisfied?  None of these?  All of these?  Boy, could I go on for pages with this stuff, but we both have better things to do so let me cut to the chase.

You can’t have everything in life you want but you can have something – you can have more.

As the years pass for me I have had to let go of many dreams but many of them were replaced with new ones and I’m sure many of the new ones will one day have to be left behind – so what’s the point of desires, wants, dreams, goals, wishes etc.? They give us a reason to get up every day.  They inspire our effort, creativity, hope and yes even our purpose for living.

You may not have your health or the love of your life or your dream home or even your dream job but let me ask you – do you have a roof over your head?  Do you have people in your life who care?  Do you have a career, business or even a job?  I won’t belabor many of the negative statistics but give you just two – there are over 150 million orphans and homeless people in the world.  Every day over 10,000 people in the world die of starvation.

So, let me ask you again – what’s missing in your life?  What do you need to feel whole, alive, real, passionate, worthwhile or even just alive?  Better income?  More friends?  Better health? Bigger house?  Better car? This list is endless.

Here’s another question for you – if what’s missing in your life was satisfied or given to you today would that be the end of your search or would you now need something else, something better, something different?  Wanta bet?  Yep, something else (new/different/better) would now be the focus of your next need and again and again and again until when?  Well, until you think you have everything you want or need (never going to happen) or when you’re dead or even deserve.

Last year due to complications of hip surgery I almost died.  Then within a few weeks I had to have open heart surgery because of the complications.  Trust me – I’m happy just still being here and writing this article and heading towards my next speaking engagement next week.

Would I like a better car? Yep.  Nicer digs?  Yep.  More money in the bank? Yep. More and better vacations?  Yep.  Heard enough?  Yep.  But let me ask you – what really matters to you when push comes to shove?  Or are you so spoiled or “selfie oriented” that you will never be happy till you have it all, more, better or even less?

Let me close with a simple concept if you are still with me.

If something is missing in your life and you knew for a fact that you would never achieve it, get it, have it, own it or - whatever . . . would you pack it in and call it quits?  I doubt it.  What you would do?  You would finally be happy with what you have, who you are, where you are, where you are going and what you are doing.  Cause you know what?  Some day for you and for me - the journey of having will be over forever.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Every year organizations waste time, money and resources on employee development.  Why

Every year organizations waste time, money and resources on employee development.  Why

Tim Connor

Most employee training & development that doesn’t last more than a few days or weeks. Here is a process, strategy and approach that will guarantee a huge return on your employee development investment. Guaranteed.

Keep in mind that the overall program is over 25 pages – what I have given you here is a brief overview and summary of this process.  Please keep in mind that this is copyrighted material.  If you would like the complete process – it’s free – shoot me an email.

What follows may appear to be a lengthy process, but if your organization invests over $100,000 a year in employee training OR none – I guarantee it will be well worth your while and will change your perception of this vital topic in a positive way.

I have been in the training business for over 35 years.  During that time, I have had tens of thousands of people in my audiences and training programs and I can tell you that one of my biggest frustrations during my career is knowing that a very small percentage of people (less than 5%) who are exposed to employee development programs apply and integrate what they learn over the long term.  Companies invest millions of dollars a year in employee development and what do they have to show for it?  Yes, many organizations have very sophisticated measurement devices, follow-up programs and accountability systems, but I believe these are in the minority.

There are many factors that determine whether an employee will learn, understand, embrace and apply new knowledge and skills.  Some of these can be controlled by the organization, but many are the results of an employee’s beliefs, expectations, mindsets, attitudes and agendas which can’t be controlled by the training entity whether an outside outsourced firm or an in-house training department.

Effective employee development programs must be more than just putting 100 people in a room for a day and expecting them to change approaches or modify behaviors after just a few hours of exposure to new information.

Over the years, as a result of extensive study and research, I have developed a unique training process and approach that can be described as “curriculum based training” rather than short term or transaction focused development.  Essentially it involves four stages or levels of development and each of these will be described later in this document in further detail.  They are:

-The awareness level.

-The understanding level

-The integration level

-The mastery level  

If you want your employee investment to return itself several times over, the only guaranteed way to accomplish this is by ensuring that any training initiative takes the participants completely through a minimum of the first three stages.

Let me repeat - If you want a positive return on your training investment it is vital that you have a programmed learning strategy and approach and not a quick fix philosophy.

But first, here’s the problem.  Due to any number of restraints organizations find it challenging to provide the right environment, material and approach to learning.  There are logistical issues where employees are spread across the country, even around the world.  There are financial constraints where there are many other areas of the business where money spent elsewhere would yield far better return on investment.  And, there are management mindsets that restrict learning due to their shallow beliefs about its value or benefits versus the investment.

During every economic decline in the past 100 years the most successful companies that sustained even grew successfully had policies and approaches to maintain even increase their employee development budget.  As a result, they survived and even prospered during these challenging times and beyond.

Your employees are your most important asset and resource.  What good does it do to have the latest technology, tools, products or services if your employees are under a great deal of stress or are de-motivated due to management approaches or policies, corporate culture, constant and increasing change or uncertain future economic factors?  Believe me, you can have the latest and greatest toys, software, products and services, but if your employees lack the creativity, initiative, motivation, skills, attitudes and empowerment necessary for effective performance - I’ll guarantee that these resources will be underutilized.

There are two ways to educate, train or develop employees.

-The transactional approach

-The curriculum approach

Let’s take a brief look at both.

The transactional approach -

A transaction is a single event, a onetime interaction or a short-term approach.  Let me give you an example.  Let’s say you send your customer service representatives to a half day seminar on how to improve customer relations and increase repeat business.  These people are exposed to appropriate and valuable material for a few hours with little interaction or participation.  They sit there all morning – and learn.  After lunch, they head back to work dealing with many of the routine customer issues that the training was designed to help them with.

Now I ask you, if a person has spent ten, twenty or even only five years developing mindsets, attitudes, habits, routines, approaches do you think they are going to permanently change these because of a four-hour seminar?  Not going to happen.

The curriculum approach –

A curriculum philosophy is a longer-term process where there are ongoing gradual incremental increases of information that is covered as well as some form reinforcement, coaching, inspection and/or accountability.

Let me give you an example.  If you took algebra when you were in high school, how did you learn it?  Let’s say after your first 45-minute class on the topic of algebra the teacher gave you your final exam.  Would you pass?  Of course not.  How do you learn algebra so that after three months of classes, three times a week you could pass the final exam?

Goes like this:  Class, homework, next class two days later you discuss the homework, then new material followed by homework on the new material. Two days later the process continues.  Three months later, you pass the exam.  Now, let’s apply this to a corporate learning situation.

Put your salespeople through a one-day training seminar on how to close more sales (the transaction approach) and then send them on their way.  They might improve their ability to close for a few days or weeks, but I’ll guarantee that two months later if you gave them the final exam on closing more sales most of them would fail it.

See the difference?

As I said earlier, most organizations are unwilling or believe they are unable to take the curriculum approach to employee development, but they still expect the people to pass their exams – in this case keep on closing more business without any reinforcement, inspection or accountability other than end of the month sales reports and feedback on the results only and not the material that they learned earlier.  So, what’s the best answer?  Understand the learning process then implement it into your employee development strategy. For example – read the following. A brief overview as to why people learn, change or adapt or why they don’t.

Over the years I have struggled with why people will sit through a learning experience, pay attention, be engaged and act as if they accept the material being shared will help them in some way in their career or life and then do nothing with the learning or follow-through with action.

What contributes to this lack of application?  Is it intent, dysfunction or internal resistance to change or some other factor?

People learn when they are ready, but what exactly does this mean?  I know, during my career I have participated in many career development programs, some for up to three days, and applied little or none of what I learned even though while I was sitting there listening I kept saying to myself, “I can use this idea, this is great, this is just what I need to move to the next level of effectiveness and performance.”

Any employee development program to have long term success must be curriculum based so in the section that follows I will cover why some of these techniques when integrated and included in any training program still fail to achieve the desired results.

Although the human mind is an extremely complicated device there are certain behaviors that can be understood and predicted if you are aware of general mindsets and pay attention to common internal, external and conditioned beliefs as well as how experiences contribute to a person’s actions or lack of them.

The outcome of any training should be improved performance, effectiveness or changed behaviors or attitudes.  If these are not accomplished, the training served no purpose.

Let me summarize this section before we move on.

-Everyone’s brain is wired to handle an unlimited amount of information.

-Everyone is capable of learning new skills, behaviors or attitudes.

-People tend to behave consistent with what they believe about themselves.

-People’s mindsets more than anything else determines what they will learn and accept.

-Everyone has a perceptual filter that is filled with a lot of personal garbage that prevents accepting new concepts ideas etc.

-The unconscious mind is a storage device only.  It doesn’t judge, it accepts everything without prejudice.

-If people are not exposed to new ideas, information or concepts they will never be able to use any of this information. 

-Most people go through life in auto-pilot and spend very little time in the emotional present.

The four learning strategies;

-The awareness level.

At this level of learning employees have an awareness only of techniques, tactics, skills and approaches to be more effective in their roles.  However, they lack the clarity and understanding to embrace the learning in a way that will allow them to put the information into practice in an effective way and for the long term.  At this level, behavior will not change and you will have essentially wasted corporate resources and the employee’s time. They will be alert and attentive during any training session, but will lack the knowledge necessary to know how, where, when and why to use this new information.  The awareness level can be described as sharing information only.

-The understanding level

At the understanding level, employees get it.  They see the relationship between the information they have learned and its value, but they still lack the ability to apply what they have learned to their roles and responsibilities.

-The integration level

Knowledge if it is not used applied or integrated into current mindsets, activities, responsibilities or approaches is essentially useless information.  Without a doubt, the biggest challenge in any training initiative is to ensure that the new learning is used and used whenever and wherever appropriate for the long term.  Applying new knowledge for the short-term only generally occurs when the curriculum approach is used.

-The mastery level  

Mastery is the highest form of knowledge applied.  This is where wisdom becomes the standard for learning and skill and attitude development.  Mastery occurs when knowledge becomes wisdom and wisdom is utilized at every opportunity when the situation or circumstance warrants.  Very few participants in a training session for a number of reasons that we have already discussed achieve this level of knowledge or information application.  Generally speaking people who achieve mastery in their chosen field or endeavor have made mastery their goal and they have followed through with discipline, persistence and planning.

Let me close with the seven laws of learning;

To achieve long term positive employee development training results, it is vital that you follow the following laws of learning and requirements.

1.  All discovery is self-discovery.

2. People all learn at different rates.

3. People all have unique learning styles.

4. People learn when they are ready to learn not when you need them to learn.

5. People who are experiencing a great deal of stress or tension will fail to learn what you want them to and when you want them to.

6. If material is not presented in a way that is comfortable for the person’s personality style they will fail to integrate the skills, techniques or attitudes into their roles and responsibilities.

7. Everyone’s personal perceptions either contributes to or sabotages their ability to learn, grasp and apply new concepts, ideas and information.

The ten training requirements.

Here are the ten requirements to ensure that any employee development program is effective for the long term.

  1. The program must engage the participants and can't be a one-way dialog or approach.
  2. The program must permit the employees to practice while they are learning.
  3. The program must allow time for group interaction in small discussion groups to talk about specific applications to their roles and responsibilities and their challenges and opportunities.
  4. The program must allow adequate time for questions and practical discussions.
  5. The program must take into consideration that everyone learns in different ways.  Some people need to hear it while others need to speak and some need time to process the information at a reasonable pace.
  6. The program must take into consideration the ‘real world’ issues that the participants deal with on a routine daily basis.
  7. The material must be reinforced in a variety of ways.
  8. The learning must be periodically inspected to ensure that the learned skills are being implemented and used where and when appropriate.
  9. Management must participate in the actual learning so they know what their employees are learning.  Without this knowledge, it is impossible for them to coach, inspect and hold people accountable over time.
  10. The program must provide opportunities for everyone to develop personal ownership of the material.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Don't waste your final years on being old

Don’t waste your final years on being old.

Or – How old are you?

Tim Connor

As you read this I’m not sure how you define old so I won’t disappoint you by giving you my age (although many of you know it) but let’s assume “old” for many people is defined after they hit sixty?

I’m sure many of you are so young you can’t even imagine yourself that old and I’ll bet many of you older than sixty never imagined you would be this old. Therefore, you have no interest in this article – but beware – you will be there before you know it.  Just ask most of the older folks you know and I’ll bet most of them will admit that the years have passed by so fast they couldn’t even keep track of them.

So, I’m not going to tray and convince you folks under sixty that you should wake up and smell the roses – you’ve heard it all before but I am going to focus on why most older folks need to spend less time being old and more time being young.

Old - Having lived or existed for a relatively long time; far advanced in years or life. Relatively advanced in age. (What’s a relatively long time?  My addition).

FYI - The current average life span in America is – 77.6 years. S_____ I’m almost there.  Oh well, back to my article.

Why do so many people let their age define their lifestyle, attitudes, behavior or even their goals and dreams?  I could give you hundreds of examples of people throughout history who didn’t really start to hit their stride until they were over sixty and many into their seventies and even eighties?

I’m sure you know many people who are old or older. You may even one of them. Some of you may be getting to ready to retire this year or looking forward to retirement in the near future.  Want a scary statistic? The current average life span of the average retiree at age 65 is 5-7 years.  Yes, many people make it to ninety and some pass away at 66 but the average is only a few short years and why?

Because these folks lose their reason for living, being and even surviving.  There is no more reason to get up every day – why bother – it will just be the same ole same ole.  Sad.

I’m certainly not at all or in any way belittling retirement, however it just isn’t in my vocabulary or DNA so here I sit typing away (at 20 words per minute).

You’ve probably heard the line – how old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?  My mentor Mark Twain was once asked by a reporter, Mr. Twain how old are you and his response (so just Mark Twainish) was “My age is none of my business.”  The day I read that - that became one of my many life mantras. Age is a number and old age is a big number. 

What I really want to ask you is – how are you defining your life as the years creep up on you?  Slowing down?  Speeding up?  Starting new stuff? Letting go of dreams, goals and desires? Not sure what to do next? So many questions and so little time.

Here’s the right question – what are you going to do with the years you have left before it’s too late. . . . think about it!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Are you learning more from your adversity or your successes?

Do you learn more from your trials and adversity or from your blessings and successes?

Tim Connor

Think this is a redundant, stupid or foolish question?  Then why not go back to your daily “to do” list.  If not – read on you might see a few things differently as a result.

First of all, let me state the obvious – everyone in life faces adversity, trials, hardships etc. of some kind in life sooner or later.  No one is privileged to escape pain while they live their life journey - whether financial, relationship, career, business or health.

Before I move on let me state one more common obvious fact – no one handles, reacts, manages or deals with life’s issues the same as everyone else.  Some use them to whine and complain – others use them to grow, improve or mature. While others sit there in a coma wondering – what should I (can I) do?

Before we move on however, I’m sure you know which camp you are in the whining one hopefully this article will be of value to you.  If you are in the growing camp I’m sure you know someone who is in the whining group, so why not read it and then forward it to them – you never know - it might just be what they need today.

OK, back to my message.

Success can teach us many things – what works, what feels good, what is of value in our life or the life of others, that we are on the right path and doing the right things etc.  But, here’s the problem with successes lessons – they tend to prevent us from looking at what isn’t working or wrong or how what we are doing could be working even better.  Consistent success tends to keep people stuck – yes, they have had many success benefits but imagine for a moment if they could achieve even better success if they would learn to see past their success to what could be?

Everyone has achieved some degree of success in some areas of their life whether raising great kids or creating a wonderful backyard garden or building a successful business from scratch.  These are all worthy accomplishments but again I ask you – if you could have accomplished even more (a better garden, better kids, better business etc.) would you have settled for what you achieved knowing you could have done more that was within your skills or power?

Success is not just about achievement or winning but serving, giving back, learning and the journey.  Today’s successes can be tomorrow’s failures.  No success is guaranteed to last for a lifetime or even years.  Success like life is a process but if success keeps you from learning then you are missing what real success is – going past your own definition of your potential and seeing life from a broader perspective.  I’m not saying we can ever see our life or our future from God’s perspective but there’s no reason why we shouldn’t try and see it from a wiser or better human perspective one and not limited by conventional wisdom, previous successes, other’s judgements or our own limited belief system.

In the final analysis what can success teach us?

A few of the obvious ones are – gratitude, caution, patience, faith and the value of persistence.  Yes, there are many others but in the end without these we will tend not to learn what life offers.

What can adversity, problems, hardship or failure teach us?  I could go on for pages with this section but, I’m sure you have better things to do than read my diatribes so let me keep it brief.

First of all, a few important concepts to consider:

-Anyone who has ever achieved and worthwhile success has faced trials, failure, adversity etc.

-Failure is necessary for great and sustained success.

-Failure, adversity etc. is not what is happening to us but how we respond, react, deal with it, learn from it or use it for something good.

-Adversity and problems etc. are in our life to teach us – not about them or it but us.

So, what can we learn from these negative situations?

Think of adversity, problems challenges etc. as a classroom environment and they are the teacher.  If you want to pass the course you’ll need to pay attention, do your homework and figure out where the important learning is in all of the chaos and uncertainty. Learning Geometry is not easy if you are not good with numbers.  Learning to manage problems is not easy if you have never had any or have never managed them successfully in the past.

Failure, adversity, hardship etc. use pain, disappointment, rejection, ambiguity, distress, abandonment, uncertainty, discomfort, isolation and many other circumstances to get our attention and the courage to take action.

I’m not in any way suggesting that we should seek out failure, adversity etc.  but I’m also not suggesting that we hide our heads in the sand or go into denial simply because we don’t like what we are experiencing.

Trust me – if you don’t learn a lesson life wants you to learn sooner or later you’ll get another chance to learn the same lesson.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

How is where you have been imacting where you are going in life?

How is where you have been . . .

contributing to where you are going?

Tim Connor

Let me be clear at the outset – I’m not referring here to your last and next vacation.

No one knows what tomorrow will bring.  Everyone knows what yesterday brought them.  So, the real question of life is simply – how do use what yesterday offered to help us get where life wants us to be tomorrow?

There are lots of ways to consider this topic – relationships, careers, businesses, health issues, financial concerns etc.  I don’t have the time or ability to talk about each of these in a meaningful way so let me stick with a few general concepts.

-Does the past pre-determine our future?

-Can we change course after many years of charting the same direction?

-Should we even consider a new course direction later in life?

-What are the challenges if we do decide it’s time for a new direction?

-What are the benefits and finally what are the consequences?

Does the past pre-determine our future?

I don’t care if you are in your twenties or eighties - previous actions, thoughts, decisions, outcomes, beliefs, prejudices etc. all contribute to tomorrow, next week, next year and the next decade.  There is no way to prevent this.  I could go into all the psychological and spiritual reasons for this but suffice it to say – history repeats itself unless we make dramatic changes to our thought patterns, mindsets and willingness to learn and change behaviors, decision process, habits, expectations and self-accountability.

There are three areas where the past dictates - often even control our future;

The need for approval or validation from others.

Low self-esteem.

An out of control ego.

Got any of the three?  I know during my life I have often struggled with repetitive life, career, business etc. mistakes and for the life of me couldn’t figure out why.  Wrong!!  I really wasn’t ready to face up to my weaknesses for a variety of reasons.  So, you ask, what gives you the right to write this article?  Great question.  Want an answer – nothing, but I’m writing it anyway because with time and effort I am figuring this stuff out.

The future is a blank slate but it also has embedded in it some rules, rituals, beliefs, desires and fears.  When any of these dominate our behavior or actions we will tend to continue them but I’m sure you’ve heard that old phrase – “To continue doing the same stuff and expecting different outcomes is a sign of insanity”.

Does that those of us who make repetitive bad decisions or choices – are insane – well – maybe not worthy of an being in an institution but we sure could use some human training.

So - to answer the question for this subtopic – it’s yes and no and it depends.  Helpful?  Probably not – so keep reading, hopefully by the end of the article you will have figured all you need to in order to – change or stay the same or just chill out and not care.

Can we change course after many years of charting the same direction?

Life is a lot like sailing.  Years ago, I spent a lot of time in my sailboat “Rainbows End” and it (she) taught me a great deal about the past, present and future.

1)   As long as the rudder (your brain) is working you can change course at any time.

2)   As long as you have a wheel to turn (a willingness to learn, grow and or change) you can change course.

3)   As long as the sails are up (you have desire) you can change course.

4)   As long as there is wind (action/movement) you can change course.

5)   As long as you have a compass or GPS or Map (life direction) you can change course.

It doesn’t matter how old or young you are.  Your gender is not an issue.  Your race, education or upbringing are not factors.  None of these matter UNLESS you let them in some way manipulate you and/or your future.

Let me close this subtopic with two favorite quotes from some mentors during my life.  Want to make God laugh?  Tell Him your plans.”  We are here for a little while then we are somewhere else forever. So, decide how you want to spend them both and how they relate to each other before it’s too late.”

Should we even consider a new course direction later in life?

How does one decide if it’s time for a new life direction? And if so, what should that be? What do I need to do?  Where can I turn?  Who or what can help or guide me?  What if the new direction ends badly?  Questions and more questions.  Trust me – I’ve spent a great deal of time with these and many more but what are the answers to the most critical or demanding ones?

Is it time for a new direction?  Feeling some inner stress, anxiety or emotions pulling at your heart, stomach or mind?  Your inner voice screaming at you: “do something.”  Your spiritual inner guide or your Spirit tugging at your life trying to get your attention?  Believe me – there are always signs that it’s time for a change and usually they are masked in pain, struggle, uncertainty, regret, challenges even failure.  The key is to pay attention and listen.  I know - your pain doesn’t speak english but trust me if you will listen to your inner cravings, fears, dreams, emotions and yes, your pain - it will guide you without using language but the real question is – do you follow your instinct and heart or do you pay more attention to your brain?  Here/s the key – follow your heart in all matters and then let your mind get in step.

We will tend to only change when the pain becomes unbearable or the emotional rationales no longer make sense.  If we wait too long however, the consequences could be devastating.

What are the challenges if we do decide it’s time for a new direction?

Just because you change or start moving in another direction is no guarantee that things will improve or change quickly or easily or even at all.

Any change requires faith, patience, trust, courage, planning, action and resolve and without any one of these we can get derailed in a heartbeat.  There are hundreds if not thousands of books on these topics so let me just address three of the common challenges.

Resistance – We tend to resist that which we are either uncomfortable with or have little knowledge or information about.  To better manage resistance requires more accurate information, truth and facts about something or anything.  The problem is with change is - that we may have these about the past but there is no way to have them accurately about the future which is why so many people fail to change.

Impatience – The number one contributor (not cause) of death is stress.  The number one contributor to stress is impatience or the need for control.  I don’t care how smart you are, how wealthy you are or how old you are etc., you can never know everything or often anything about the future so the need to control it is essentially stupid, a waste of time or any other word you would like to use.  This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t plan, have goals or dream but it does mean that we shouldn’t get too attached to these.

Fear – Fear, what can I say – the single biggest issue that gets in the way of any and or all change.  Want to stay stuck – keep letting fear rule your life.

What are the benefits and finally what are the consequences?

I’m going to let you do some of the work here.  I don’t pretend to have all the answers nor do I have the right to tell you how to live your life or why.  So, it’s your turn. . .

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Advocates, champions, mentors and coaches.

Advocates, champions, mentors & coaches.

Got one?  Got some?

Tim Connor

I have never met anyone who has achieved sustained career or business  success that did not have a champion, advocate, coach or mentor in their corner as they worked towards a dream, a goal or a vision.

How about you? Are you the exception to this belief of mine and are you still trying to “go it alone” as you travel one step after another towards your unknown future?

Mentor – adviser, guide, guru, counselor, consultant, confidant(e).

Personal coach – Coaching is a form of development in which a person called a coach supports a learner or client in achieving a specific personal or professional goal by providing training, advice and guidance.

Advocate – upholder, supporter, backer, promoter, proponent, exponent.

Champion - advocate, proponent, promoter, supporter, defender, upholder, backer, exponent, campaigner, lobbyist, crusader, apologist, booster, flag-beareradvocate, proponent, promoter, supporter, defender, upholder, backer, exponent, campaigner, lobbyist, crusader, apologist, booster, flag-bearer.

I’m sure none of the above are anything new for you but I offer them as a reminder that they all have something in common – the blending of wisdom/knowledge that is shared with others in some beneficial way.

As a side note: two of my mentors for many years have been Will Rogers and Mark Twain (I guess this is where I get one of my missions that is to get under other people’s skin to trigger positive change in some way. If I’m not under yours yet – just give me time – or read some of my other articles or books – you’ll get there.)

Yes, they are both dead and I never met either of them but I can still learn from them from their many books and words of wisdom.

Where was I - back to the main points of this article;

What are the benefits of have one of the above (in the title)?

During my career, I have had numerous relationships with mentors, coaches and mastermind groups but the ones that have done the most for my career and business success over the years are Advocates and Champions.  Yes, the other helpers are valuable and can save you lots of time and resources but I have learned that Advocates and Champions always do more for you than the others and they do it because they want to not because they benefit in some way.

These people want to help you succeed, believe in what you are doing and why and have no skin in the game other than the satisfaction of contributing in some small way to your achievements and/or success.

They help you save time.  They help you make valuable connections.  But the most important thing they do is “Sell” you to the important people or contacts that they know in a way that improves your credibility and saves you effort.

Let me give you one quick example.

A friend and fellow author was unknown but one of his connections liked his writing and contacted him to see if he could be of any help.  Well, to make a very long story short, because of one of his connections he was able to secure a publisher for his first book with a significant six figure advance.  The story isn’t over yet.  He recently told me he just got a 5-million-dollar advance on his third book.  And how and why?  Just because someone he didn’t know all that well was willing to help him.  Go figure!

Have any champions in your life?  I’ve been fortunate during my career to have a few but they shall remain anonymous as they are or have been all celebrities in their own way.

They can save you time, make you money, make you famous, get you new positions etc.  I could go on for a few pages on what a champion or advocate can do for your career or business.

But, if you don’t get it yet, I won’t waste any more of your time.

Where can you find them?

They are everywhere.  They are in your Facebook, LinkedIn or some other social media list hidden just waiting to surface.  They live next door, work across the street, they know your relatives and they know some of your customers.  They work for competitors.  Have I made myself clear yet?  Again, they are everywhere.  So, you ask, how do you find the right ones who can help you accelerate your career or business?  First of all, networking is not who you know but who knows you, so attending events every night to collect hundreds of business cards might help you some before you retire but there might be a better way.

This is not a book about this subject so I’ll leave you with three quick ideas.

1)   If you don’t ask you will never know.

2)   If you don’t ask you will never find out.

3)   If you don’t ask you will never find them.

I know – a bit redundant. But, what are you waiting for?