Saturday, April 22, 2017

The clock is ticking . . .

The clock is ticking . . .

Tim Connor

Waiting for a promotion? The perfect mate? Win the lottery? A new job or a career? The perfect vacation?  Need I go on?  Millions of people are just waiting – waiting for their life, career, business, relationship, job or health to get better or change in some way.  I am not against patience, effort, planning, hoping etc. but let me ask you – are you doing all those things but still waiting for something, anything to change, improve, disappear, that will improve some aspect of your life?

Let me repeat – millions of people - spend, no – waste - days, months and even years for just the right time to – get married or divorced, retire or start a new career, travel or start a new hobby etc. and why -  because they believe that hoping is often enough.  Again, I am a big fan of hope but I am also a fan of reality and reality often conflicts with our plans, goals, dreams and wishes.  Did this stuff not happen because God doesn’t care, your parents let you down, your spouse is an idiot, your boss is insensitive, the weather isn’t cooperating – give me a break.

Many people today feel as though they are not on the right road to success or happiness cause:

-it is taking too long

-the journey is too difficult

-there are too many curves, detours, unknowns or bumps in the road

-there is no one on their path willing to help them


Who is to say which is the right road?

Who can know the future?

Who has the right to dictate outcomes to others in their life?

Who can know the future long term benefits/challenges of present circumstances, choices or opportunities?

I have met hundreds of people in my world travels who:

-were going to begin something when the time or circumstances are right

-were going to stop/end something for the same reasons

-were going to start saving some day.

-some day are going to start their own business

-are going to write a book some day

-are going to change careers or jobs – whenever

-and a million other examples of – I am going to ______________  some day.

Do you know anyone like that?  Am I describing you?

Why don’t people start or begin something, anything?

-Are they are afraid to fail.

-Are they afraid of what other people might or will think.

-Do they lack confidence, belief in themselves or the will to begin.

-Are they are full of excuses.

-Are they are just trying to impress people with their statements of desire.

-Do they want –whatever – to be perfect, right or acceptable.

-Are they are unwilling to get out of their comfort zones.

-Do they think just by wanting it they will somehow miraculously get it – someday.

-Are they are hopeless dreamers.  Nothing wrong with dreams, but you have to begin to make them a reality.

-Can you add any to this list?

One of my favorite questions to ask members of an audience is, “If you knew then, what you know now, would you have lived any area of your life differently?”  And the two follow-up questions are always more difficult for many people – if so, “Why?” and “How?” and “When?”

You see, if you knew then what you know now, you wouldn’t be where you are now. You wouldn’t have what you now have and you wouldn’t be with whom you are with now. Not that any of these things are good or bad (they could be either if you choose to see them that way). There is a metaphysical concept that says: each of us is where we are supposed to be -  and that we have experienced what we needed to experience to grow and learn. I haven’t lost it or gone off the deep end.

Why do people wait? It’s called procrastination and it is a thief of time. It steals from the value and essence of your personal life and career. Why do people put things off? We could write a book on this, but I’ll give it a try in 25 words or less.

They: fear the future, overestimate their ability to get things done, don’t know what to do or how to do it, thrive on pressure, set themselves up for failure, love disappointment, like being a victim, have too much on their plate, fail to set clear priorities, or have poor time management or organizational skills.

What is the cost of procrastination?

1. Missed opportunities. 

2. Increased stress. 

3. Broken relationships. 

4. Failure.

5. Increased anxiety and frustration. 

6. The lack of respect of others. 

That’s enough, don’t you think?

So, I’ll wager that the clock is ticking for you in some area of your life!!!

What are you waiting for?

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Is your organization wasting time and mony on employee development?

Is employee training a waste of time and money?

it Depends . . .

Tim Connor

Here’s the bottom line in advance – A large percentage of the training done by organizations is a waste of money and time. (Not being negative here – as I can always use more business.).  However, having said this – this doesn’t have to be the outcome.  Employee development programs (training) can and do work and are effective at improving employee performance for many organizations but why the difference or inconsistency?  Because some managers ‘get it’ and most don’t.  Get what?  Read on. . .

During my career, I have trained thousands of people in hundreds of organizations around the world and although I did my very best to share relevant and appropriate information I have always wondered – did anyone ever consistently use the ideas, techniques and approaches I shared?

This nagging question for many years has caused me to do extensive research on the effectiveness of employee development and use of resources and its short vs. long term success given the tremendous amount of money spent every year by companies to give employees the skills and attitudes they need for enduring success and effectiveness.

When it comes to employee development programs of any kind there are three issues that must be taken into consideration; information acceptance, retention and the training approach or methods used to improve or change behavior.  I will not delve into the first two as it would take several thousand words to cover all of the aspects of both of these.  What I want to focus on in this article is the third area – training methodology.

There are four approaches or levels of learning you must grasp when it deals with employee development when you consider the results you want to achieve.  They are – awareness, understanding, integration and mastery.  Let’s look at each of these in detail.  But, first let me ask you a question. When you invest time and resources in training what do you want the results to be – knowledge or action? Or put in another way - do you want employees to just hear the message or use it consistently in the performance of their daily roles and responsibilities? If your answer was the first – move on to your next task.  If it was the second – read on.  Here are the four levels in more detail.

-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, at this level they lack the clarity and understanding to embrace the new 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 when the learning session(s) are over they 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 consistently apply (integrate) what they have learned in 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.  The lack of application of new knowledge/skills/attitudes generally occurs when the following ten requirements are not followed in any training (employee development) program.

Here are the ten requirements.

  1. The program must engage the participants and cannot 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 work/discussion groups to relate specific applications to their role and responsibilities and their actual or current challenges and opportunities.
  4. The program must allow adequate time for topic 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 it and some need time to process the information at their own learning pace.
  6. The program must take into consideration the ‘real world’ issues that the participants deal with on a routine basis.
  7. The material must be reinforced in a variety of ways.  This reinforcement must be immediate and ongoing, repetitive and various methods must be used such as; regularly discussing the new material, assignments, follow-up exercises, review of the material using manuals, electronic media such as weekly or bi-weekly webinars and/or telephone conference calls and various evaluation techniques.
  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 to their learning over time.
  10.  The program must provide opportunities for everyone to develop personal ownership of the material.

The Mastery Level -

Mastery is the highest form of knowledge and wisdom applied.  This is where wisdom becomes the standard for learning and skill and attitude development and consistent use for long periods of time.  Mastery occurs when knowledge becomes wisdom and wisdom is utilized at every opportunity when a situation or circumstance warrants.  Very few participants in a training session for any number of reasons 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, planning and an ongoing learning mindset. 

There are generally seven laws when it comes to learning.

These must be understood and integrated into any learning experience if you want to have a successful long term outcomes and behavior and skill modification.

Here are the seven laws of learning;

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 or tailored in a way that is comfortable for the learner’s personality style they will fail to integrate the skills, techniques or attitudes into their roles and responsibilities.

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

So, there you have it.  But here’s the bigger problem.  Most organizations want to achieve the integration or even the mastery level of learning for employees but they fail to grasp that these two levels of learning require;

-       A serious commitment to on ongoing learning process. This takes ongoing and consistent time and resources. You will never achieve long term results with a quick-fix approach.

-       The ability to put strategies in place for inspection and to hold people accountable. Most managers are too busy to be involved in the learning process.  They just want to delegate it.

-       Ongoing coaching. Many managers either do not have adequate or acceptable coaching skills so they fail in this area.

I’ll leave you with a simple question – Are you expecting long term employee effectiveness from your training investment while you are not following any or all the suggestions, no - requirements in this article?  If you are, you will continue to throw more money at your problems or challenges, but fail to achieve the results you desire.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Is your business or career losing relevance?

Is your business or career losing relevance?

Tim Connor

Last year over 125,000 businesses failed. The number of business failures every year for years has been consistent and why?  Simple – the organizations that have failed lost relevance – to their customers, members and/or the marketplace.

Relevance – being connected: having some sensible or logical connection with something else such as a matter being discussed or investigated.  Having social significance: having some bearing on or importance for real-world issues, present-day events, or the current state of society or business.

Now my definition – the ability to bring real world experience, reality and perceptions into decisions, actions, activities and behavior that maintain a connection between your business’s products and services and buyer needs, wants and trends and the direction of market, technology and social influences.

There are many factors that contribute to or determine relevance whether in your business, career, non-profit, association, church or government agency but here are just a few;

Timing, Ego management,  Business emotional maturity, Fostering of creativity and imagination, Letting go of the past, Successfully managing change, Improving knowledge, Staying connected – Letting go of arrogance, Developing new mindsets, Effective growth management, Creating a leadership oriented culture, Identifying and preparing for economic and market trends, Staying in touch with reality, Creating an empowered organization culture and Successfully anticipating and preparing for economic and market trends.

How are you doing?  Why not give yourself an excellent, average or poor grade in all the above? 

Not sure how you are doing?  Well, here are a few things to consider that will help you determine what grade you should give yourself or your organization.

-Is your market expanding or shrinking?

-Are you losing or gaining customer loyalty?

-Got too many “Sacred Cows?”

-Micro-managing your organization or employees?

-Finding it more difficult to keep or attract the best new employees?

-Spending too much time, energy or resources stuck in the weeds?

-Are you confused about how to use technology to stay relevant?

-Is your income stable or declining?

-Do you often wonder what you should do next

-Scared of the future?

-Think about throwing in the towel now and then?

-Growing too fast and this is creating organization dysfunction in some way?

I could go on for hours with these questions so I’ll leave you with a thought and a question.

Any organization or individual, if they are to stay the test of time must remain relevant to its customers, prospects, market and stay aware of and successfully manage their response to evolving trends. 

Are you willing to seriously consider the issue of relevance and any or all the above items?

FYI: For the past two years, this has been my most requested speaking topic for both organizations, non-profits and associations! Go figure

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Are you cheating at checkers with your employees?

Are you cheating at checkers with your employees?

Tim Connor

Confused by the title and its relevance to your career or business?  Take a few minutes and read the following and it will help you achieve greater employee performance and improve accountability throughout your organization.

Remember when you were a kid playing checkers with a friend?  Here are the rules if you have forgotten.  We flip a coin to see who gets to move first.  You win so it’s your move.  After you move, it’s now my move.  The rules are clear I can’t move again or twice.  I move – you move – that’s the way the game is played until one of us wins.  OK got it?  Now, what does this have to do with employee performance?

Why not start playing checkers with your new hires or even your current employees.  Let me explain with a quick example.

When you are hiring a new employee, the game begins.

You pace the ad – your move.

Now it’s their move - they respond.

Your move – you schedule an interview.

Their move – they show up.

Your move – you ask them questions and discuss the position.

Their move - they ask questions.

Your move – you decide to offer them the position.

Their move – they accept or reject the job.  Let’s say they accept.

Your move – you provide them the support and training they need to be effective.

Their move – they take advantage of the training and learn the skills the position requires.

Your move – you help them continue to grow in the position.

Their move – they keep growing.

And so, the game moves on.

Here’s the issue – what if after you move they stop moving.  For example, you offer them the training they need but they fail to use the skills you have given them that are necessary for success.

Back to checkers.

When it’s my move in the checker game and I decide not to move for whatever reason - the game is over.  To complete the game successfully we both need to keep moving when it’s our turn until someone wins.  See the connection here?

When one of us for whatever reason stops moving the game is over.  Now back to the example.  If the employee fails to move after you have moved – the game is over.

So, how and why do managers cheat at checkers?

Typically, when the employee fails to move when it’s their turn, for whatever reason, the manager moves again. 

For example, the manager teaches the employee how to make wise decisions.  But the employee fails to do so, so the manager steps in and makes the decision for them. You just taught the employee that they don’t really need to use the skills you gave them because if they fail to move, you will move for them – again and again.

Here’s the problem – you are moving for them when it’s their move. Hence - you are cheating.

Why do managers cheat at checkers when it comes to the performance or behavior of their employees?  Simple – as their supervisor they don’t want to take responsibility for the failure of the employee so they just keep doing more than they should – keep moving for the employee.  Here is the fundamental flaw with this approach.  You get the behavior you reward.  So, if you keep moving when the employee doesn’t move - what’s the message you are sending them?  Not sure?  Simple – you are teaching them that they don’t need to move and why?  Because you will keep moving for them even though it’s their move.

Want to play checkers fairly with an employee?  Explain to them that if they keep moving you will too.  But when they fail to move when it’s their turn – the game is over.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Got a severe case of CD (Corporate Disconnect)?

Got a severe case of CD (Corporate Disconnect)?

Every organization has CD (Corporate Disconnect) lurking somewhere in the shadows and every day that it’s allowed to continue or grow - it’s costing you sales, profits and consistent effective performance and consistent healthy stable growth. 

It doesn’t matter whether you are a start-up or have been in business for over 50 years – (I will guarantee you have CD to some extent as every organization I have ever worked with, observed or evaluated has had to some degree) or you;

-Have 5 employees or over 5000

-Sell a service or a product

-Are in ANY industry

-Have a local market or are a Global organization

-Have under 1 million in sales or over one billion

The single biggest reason why organizations or businesses fail is - CD.

If you’re not sure what CD is let me explain;

If you have ever been in an airplane at 40,000 feet on a clear day, I’m sure you’ve had the experience of looking out the window and being able to see for hundreds of miles, but also realizing that you couldn’t see any detail on the ground. No cows, trucks or houses. You are just too high to make out anything other than the vast expanse of raw land.

Later, the pilot announces that he is beginning the descent. As you descend through the 20,000-foot level, you notice that you can’t see quite as far, but the details are getting a bit clearer. You can see houses, roads and factories, but you still can’t tell if that’s a cow down there or a truck. As you get closer to the ground, you notice that you can’t see as far off on the horizon, but the details are getting clearer. At 500 feet, your view of the horizon no longer exists, but the details are quite clear. You can tell that there’s a red truck traveling on the highway off to your right. You land, and another safe trip is behind you.

The analogy: Presidents, CEO’s, CFO’s and other senior executives are typically flying at the 40,000-foot level in their organizations. They can see a long way. Their vision for the future is clear and they can easily be aware of major storms or opportunities at this altitude. But details? Not a clue. Middle managers, directors or senior staff employees are typically flying at the 20,000-foot level in their organizations. They don’t have as clear a view of the horizon as their superiors, since they are 20,000 feet lower, but their view of the details is a bit more evident; not totally clear, but better than at the 40,000-foot level.

Then there are the employees in your organization who are flying at the 500-foot level, almost at ground level. They don’t have a clue what’s going on beyond their desk or the building next door, but they can tell you what customers think, what policies or procedures are working or not working and what is generally going on in the bowels of the organization. They know the details, they live them every day; but they, for the most part, don’t always see the connection between the reality at 500 feet and the vision or decisions at 40,000 feet.

Here’s the truth in two sentences: If the reality of what is going on in the marketplace, with your customers, with your competitors and/or with your employees is not getting to the 40,000-foot level, I will guarantee you are experiencing CD. Likewise, if the vision, leadership or goals at 40,000 feet are not finding their way to the 500-foot level, I guarantee you are also experiencing many of the negative issues of CD in your organization.

Let me repeat, every organization has Corporate Disconnect and if its symptoms are ignored, its causes not eliminated, sooner or later it will have a negative impact on your sales, margins, profits, customer loyalty and healthy growth.

Not sure where your Corporate Disconnect is stealing from your bottom line?  Not sure where your Corporate Disconnect is hurting your business growth?  Not sure how your management style, culture or employee attitudes are contributing to your Corporate Disconnect?  Here are three simple explanations;

Corporate Disconnect is;

1.   When the realities that exist at the lower levels of an organization and in the market place do not accurately, consistently and congruently find their way to the highest levels of the organization – where direction is set, goals are established, vision is created and major decisions are made.

2.   When the vision, mission, purpose, direction and leadership at the highest levels of an organization do not accurately radiate throughout the entire organization with integrity, accuracy, clarity, accountability and consistency.

3.   When corporate-wide and top-down messages lack consistency and accountability and negatively impact the integrity of bottom-up communication, employee performance and effectiveness.

Here are a few of the most common C D symptoms, that impact employee performance, healthy organization growth, customer loyalty, increased sales and consistent profitability;

- Communication breakdowns in any direction

- A lack of consistent accountability

- Inconsistency in policies, procedures or approaches

- A lack of proactive Leadership throughout the organization

- Ineffective supervision

- Poor employee retention

- Ineffective recruiting strategies or processes

- Inadequate or inappropriate feedback

- Management ability that is inconsistent, unpredictable or contradictory

- Poorly or inconsistently motivated employees

- A lack of an effective training process, effectiveness, inspection and/or integration

- Top-down and bottom-up communication breakdowns

- Uncontrolled egos

- Poor or outdated motivational strategies

- Corporate Culture breakdowns or lack of congruence

- Personal agendas

- General organizational dysfunction

- The lack of a fun environment or culture

- A lack of clear, communicated and accountable vision and direction

- A lack of clear, communicated and reinforced strategy and/or direction

- Poor customer loyalty or retention . . .  this list could go on forever . . .

I’ll bet you are working for, own, manage or know an organization that is suffering from CD and as a result they are losing; revenue, customers, market share, positive reputation, the best employees etc.

The solution – identify it, address it, overcome it or better still prevent it.

If you would like my 100 question CD evaluation (it’s free) shoot me an email –

Monday, April 3, 2017

Is what you say always consistent with wjat you believe?

Is what you say always consistent with what you believe?

Tim Connor

There is a Native American legend that says - you will only get into Heaven leaning on the shoulders of someone you helped while you were here.  So I figure if I have helped a few million people around the world as a speaker and author I will have a better shot. Well I once told this story to an audience and at the end someone came up to me and said they were offended by the analogy of Native Americans and Heaven .  So I asked them if they were also offended by my hiking story and its reference to nature and courage and they looked at me like I was crazy.  I decided to ask them one more – that if my reference to my favorite color being Kelly Green offended them and guess what - they just walked away from me and the conversation.

My good friend Charlie “Tremendous” Jones once told me while we were having a very serious conversation.

“Tim if you believe and you are right you have everything to gain.  If you are wrong you have nothing to lose.  If you don’t believe and you are wrong you have everything to lose.”

I was once told by a client that I couldn’t use the word God during my keynote presentation.  I asked them what other words or illustrations were off limits.  They said – nothing that was it.  I told them to find another speaker.

Don’t get me wrong I am not hired to preach the Scripture, God or Salvation and I don’t stand in front of a group of people I have been paid to address on a sales, leadership or motivation topic and do any of that however, if every now and then the word God or Christ or Jesus slips out of my mouth – it’s simple – I can’t separate who I am from what I do and I am not going to edit or apologize according to current political correctness rules, standards, expectations or stupid people who have varying or double standards.

Last year I had hip replacement surgery and during the procedure I was given a heart attack that caused me to have to have open heart surgery 45 days later.  Prior to going into the operating room, I told my daughter and a few close friends if I come out of this alive, God isn’t finished with me yet.  If I don’t - He is and have a nice life. 

Believe it or not I had a client tell me I couldn’t tell this story or use this example.  Well, they had to find another speaker because I asked him to give me a list of all of the things I couldn’t’ say or reference. So I suggested they put together a list of do’s and don’ts for their next speaker.  Want the job?  Call me I’ll be happy to give you their contact information but – good luck with your future career!

In the end staying true to what I believe may offend some people and my answer is simple – don’t read what I write, don’t pay me to speak or walk away from a conversation with me, but my standards are not made by the evolving expectations of culture or social media or the varying rules of countries.

Last year I spoke in Greece, Ireland and Singapore and my message is the same.  When I let persuasive Idiots, who have no standards, varying rules and have no idea what they believe or stand for or they do and these go against my spiritual beliefs I will not cave because of your position, power, fame or influence.  I have several life Mantras and one of them is simply – “I was not put on the Earth for your approval.”

In conclusion, there are three areas I would ask you to consider:

1)   Do you put political correctness ahead of spiritual correctness?

2)   Do you let others determine what you believe or can say?

3)   Are you more concerned with your short stay here on Earth and what determines your success, happiness or inner peace will be here or with where and how you will spend eternity?

It is not my job to save you as many believers believe, but it is my job to be able to look in the mirror and say to myself – I am who I am because God made me that way.  I will respect others and their beliefs - as how their life turns out is not up to me but them.

You are not in charge of what comes out of my mouth or is written on paper in my books or articles – you are not in charge of me or my life – whether you were my parents, former spouse, former boss, former client or best friend.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Been given a gift today?

Been given a gift today?

Tim Connor

There are those who choose to see only the darkness during the brightest day and there are those who can see only the light in life’s darkest hours. Your life is filled with choices that lead you to your enlightenment or keep you stuck in the ambiguity of adversity, disillusionment, distress, and discouragement.

I don’t know where you are on your life’s path. I can never know the depths of your pain and struggle. It is impossible for me to comprehend your personal battles as you face another day. I can only tell you that, no matter what you are facing this day or this year, in the end your life experience was a gift from God, and what you did with it was your gift to Him.

Please keep in mind that each of us is offered many different gifts by life. Some people may not have been blessed with sight, but they have been given the gift of time. Others may not have been given the gift of freedom but they are blessed with the gift of choice; and others may not have been given the gift of family, but have been given the gift of health. Some may not have been given the gift of wealth and opportunity, but they have been given the gift of another day.

I have never met anyone in my world travels who has not been the beneficiary of numerous life gifts. You are no different. No matter what your circumstances, situations, life position, age, gender, or nationality, you have been given many gifts. The secret to happiness is to be filled with gratitude for the gifts you have been given and not complain about the ones that are absent in your life.

Life’s gifts don’t always come when we want them or think we need them, but they are always there in the wings waiting to appear at just that moment when we least expect them. You and I cannot manipulate God or life into giving us the gifts we think we need or deserve on our terms. The lessons life is constantly trying to teach each of us are patience, faith, belief, and gratitude for what we have been given.

It is often much easier to focus on what is missing, what we want, or what is wrong in our life than on what is coming or what could be. This is one of life’s harshest tests: gratitude for what we have been given while we wait to discover if we will be given more or less, better or worse in the future.

There don’t seem to be any rules. No one – and I repeat, no one – goes through life without some gifts. Maybe the ones they have been given are not the ones they feel they deserve or desire, but they are, gifts nonetheless. How can failure be a gift? How can cancer be a gift? How can loneliness be a gift? How can discouragement be a gift? It’s not the gift we are given that matters but how we use it, share it, learn from it or interpret it.

You can choose to see the light or the darkness, the good or the bad, the positive or the negative; but keep in mind that events, in and of themselves, are neither positive nor negative. What gives them their definition in your life is your response to them.

Every gift, regardless of its present interpretation, has future unknown outcomes. An apparent business failure can be viewed as a negative. However, if that failure led to a new and exciting career, one which you may never have discovered had your business not failed, then in hindsight the failure was a gift in disguise. If a divorce at first seems a negative life experience, but years later, after finding true peace and joy, either with another or in your own solitude, then in fact the divorce was a gift in disguise. We are not always privileged to know how events will turn out after the initial gift has been given. Our role in life is to take the gifts, say thank you, and move on with gratitude, positive anticipation, faith, and hope.