Saturday, September 29, 2018

Second Chances

Second Chances
                                                                Tim Connor

Do we all need a second chance from time to time?  How about a third one?  Or more?  Ever had a second chance and ignored it?  Ever had a second chance and in hindsight realized that it positively changed the trajectory of your life in some way? These questions are not redundant.  We all get second chances, even more, that we ignore, don’t realize or even spurn for any number of reasons.

How about a second – health chance?  How about a second – career chance? I know you are getting bored by my questions – see what I mean?  I’m just trying to set up the foundation for this article and you have lost your patience for giving me a second chance or I have touched a sore spot in your life and you wonder where I’m heading.

Either way, the entire question of second or third, fourth or 100th chances is moot if we don’t see the need to evaluate them, consider them or take advantage of them.

If I had to bet – there is some area of your life right now where you wish you could have a second chance?  Am I right?

What exactly is a second (or another) chance?

It can be a new beginning, a new ending, a new opportunity or a new life lesson – painful or cheerful.  It gives us the choice to stay on a path that may or may not be working or beneficial or the option of fixing a previous mistake, failure, bad decision or choice or accepting responsibility for our life as it is unfolding.

Life has given me many second chances – some I embraced and many I ignored but in the end they all came into my life for a reason – to help me get wiser in some way – to teach me something I needed to learn and to help me to let go of ego, arrogance, insecurity, immaturity or any number of emotional, financial, relationship and/or career behaviors that in the end, if they didn’t change, would have come to a negative conclusion in some way.

Risk, uncertainty, and change in our life circumstances can not be avoided sooner or later.  We all must face some unknowns and do the best we can with them given our education, history etc.  But in the end, we will all make some dumb decisions or choices, it’s who we are.  But life is seldom final.  It helps us, if and when we are ready, to improve, grow, change, adjust etc. and learn from our mistakes, failures and bad choices or decisions.

But, life also will not prevent us from experiencing the lessons or consequences of these actions, choices or behaviors as this is one of life’s ways of helping us learn, grow and change.  But, it still gives us a choice.  Life says, “Learn from this or you will continue to bear the consequences of these actions until you do.  I am giving you a second chance.  Don’t blow this one.”

When fear of change, risk or uncertainty rules our life we close ourselves off too many of life’s opportunities and blessings.

However, we must not see second chances as simply a way to escape from lessons that need to be learned.

So, you are in a dead-end job going nowhere and a previous employer offers you a new position with more income and no hard feelings about the way you previously left.  Take it or not – that is the question.

A previous spouse wants to try again to make it work this time and they say they forgive you your transgressions.  Say yes or no?

Life is filled with these types of options and choices – so what do we do?  I can’t tell you how to approach second chances – all I can tell you is what I have learned.  Sometimes they work out well and sometimes they don’t, so how do we know which road to follow?

-Listen to your gut. Ask yourself – what really feels right?  What makes sense? What would I do if I was smarter, wiser, younger, older, poorer, richer – get it?  Just keep asking yourself questions and I will guarantee sooner or later the answer will come – do it, don’t do it, wait, get more information before you decide or some other approach that often seems to come from nowhere.

Sooner or alter we all get a second chance so the question is not whether we have one or deserve one but what do we do with it?

Saturday, September 22, 2018

The pain and stupidity of comparison

The pain and stupidity of comparison

Tim Connor

Many people’s idea of success is nothing more than a comparison of them to others.  And who do you think these folks compare themselves too – people; who are smarter, wealthier, happier, more attractive, more influential, or just better off in some way?  I seriously doubt it.  These folks, to feel better about themselves in some or in any area of their lives must look better than others.  I know, because there was a time in my past when I was guilty of this stupid life philosophy.

Why do we care what other people think about us? Why do we need other’s approval? Why are we afraid to show or share weakness, failure or inadequacies?  Why do thousands of people every day add new “amazing” photos of themselves to social media sites?  Is it only for approval, or due to insecurity or just an egotistical life approach OR, could it be all of these or even something else?

I went to one of my ‘friends’ social media pages (someone I do not know – so they are really a stranger) pages before writing this article and they had over 950 photos of themselves.  Who has time for that? Who is interested in seeing all of them? No disrespect intended – but I just don’t get it. Many single people (according to their profiles) routinely add numerous photos (mostly them at their best) every week. But a better question is - why the need?  Does this approach make them feel – unconsciously or quietly in their own mind – better than others or are they just searching subtly for some type of acceptance? I am not judging but I can say that as long as you don’t have your own self-approval or self-acceptance it’s doubtful you will ever get enough of it from others.

Please understand - regardless of your wide circle of friends, your hundreds of social media connections and the thousands of people who you will meet in your lifetime – you will always find people who are better off than you are and worse off, better looking than you and uglier, poorer and richer, happier and sadder.

People who have a healthy self-esteem, like themselves or are real, tend not to need to compare themselves to others.

Success is not a comparison of you to someone who is less successful.  If you must – success is a comparison of you and your past or present to your own potential.

Happiness is not about what you have, and others don’t, but who you are -inside-out not outside-in.

Contentment, inner peace, and self-love are not about anyone else or anything else – it is simply an acceptance of who you are and where you are going where you have been and what you have.  This does not imply that a lack of initiative, purpose, effort – whatever – is not required for what you want in life but what you want is up to you.

If you want to stay; poor, unhealthy, alone etc. – that is your choice but if you want something more or better in life, that’s ok too – all I am suggesting is use your own standards, not someone’s who has less or more.

It doesn’t mean you wouldn’t benefit from new skills or better attitudes, more learning or positive change, new lessons and new experiences.

 So, in summary - what’s the point or value of comparison? It’s all about “you and what you have, what you know, what you are, what you believe, what you have accomplished, what you look like, who you know, etc. etc. etc. compared to someone or something else that is or has less.”

If this is, you – is it working?  Do you feel OK with who you are, where you have been, where you are going and what you have or own?  Or, are you on a mission to – do more, have more, be more so you can finally be ok when you are compared to what others think or believe about you?

My life mantra is simple – I was not put on this earth for your approval.  Like me, don’t like me, approve of me or don’t, judge me or don’t – whatever - I don’t care. I’m not perfect in any way and never will be.  I am not famous and don’t need to be. I could have more or better stuff, but I’m ok with what I have.

In the end – trust me - the only acceptance that really matters is your own of you.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Is it time for some new definitions?

Is it time for some new definitions?

Tim Connor

Let me ask you – how many friends do you have on Facebook or LinkedIn that you don’t know, have never met and have never talked to?

If I had to guess, I’ll wager it’s most of the people on the various sites you are connected with.  Am I right?

OK, so after several years of social media redirecting and controlling our lives I believe it’s time for a few new definitions.  Agree, disagree, like, don’t like – doesn’t matter – I will guarantee how you define the following has changed in the past few or several years. I’ll give you the traditional (dictionary) definition first them mine. Feel free to add yours if inclined.


Traditional – a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically exclusive of sexual or family relations.

Mine – Someone who knows you, trusts you and supports you, believes in you, is with you in the good and the bad, and want’s the best for you.


Traditional – a person one knows slightly, but who is not a close friend.

Mine – Someone you have connected with at some point in your life and from time to time – reconnect in some way.


Traditional – a person whom one does not know or with whom one is not familiar.

Mine – Anyone who crosses your path – in an airport, restaurant, business meeting, while on vacation or a first date and you never see them again.


Traditional – a partner or colleague in business or at work.

Mine – Someone you have a common and mutual bond with, in a professional way.


Traditional – a relationship in which a person, thing, or idea is linked or associated with something else.

Mine – Anyone you meet where you have something in common and develop this in a mutually positive way as time passes.


Traditional – a person born in or coming from a country other than one's own.

Mine – Anyone not from the country they are currently in whether they are visiting, are on vacation, are running away from home or are looking for a new or different adventure.


Traditional - a person from a country who comes to live permanently in a different or foreign country where they were not born or were a legal resident.

Mine – I agree with this one.

I’m sure some of you might take issue with some of my definitions and that is your prerogative.  The only reason I have written this is to ask you how many social media so-called friends do you actually know or who know you?  So, Tim – what’s your point?

No disrespect to anyone, but on a recent birthday I received over 300 birthday wishes from social media strangers (so-called friends) and I personally knew 12 of them. One of my social media “friends” has over 495 photos on their social media account. I see people who go to the trouble every day to keep us all informed of their lives as they progress from day to day.  One person every day for a week actually complained about how they had been dumped in a relationship. Does your world of “friends” need to know?  Do most of them really care?

Who has time for this – to either list them or look at them?  And we wonder why we have lost the “human touch” in relationships.  I am by no means suggesting that all or any social media sources, everyone that is on them or those that use them for personal or business gain have no value or use.  I’m sure lots of people have gained fame, recognition, made new “real” friends, have made legitimate revenue and any number of other positive benefits or results

My only point with this article is to bring some reality (from my unique perspective – not saying I am right and anyone else is wrong) to this process or definition of words we are calling “friends” etc.

I’m sure some of you who may have finished reading this article may be taking issue with some of my remarks and are defining me as – “out of touch, uncaring, unsupportive, irresponsible, stupid etc.” I am guilty.  I have no idea why I have over 4500 friends on FB and over 2500 connections on LinkedIn, but I do know this – most of them don’t give a “real” rip about my life circumstances, issues, challenges or what I had for dinner last night.

Many words today are being used and interpreted differently than they have in the past and if this process keeps changing even more in the future (and trust me it will) – at some point we will all need to carry a personal amogie and/or a word dictionary with us at all times so we know what people are saying, implying or mean! We (most of us) are letting social media dictate and control many aspects of our lives – starting with how we define basic words. This my friends is a very slippery slope. . .

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Why do organizations fail?

Over 250,000 businesses in the US failed last year and do you know the common reason?  Well, it’s obvious none of them did. If they had paid attention to what was going on around them they would not be only a statistic today.  We are also on track this year, regardless of a positive economy and economic outlook, to lose thousands of more businesses, clubs, associations and even churches.  Why, well, it’s simple but also complicated.  What makes it simple is what it is.  What makes it complicated are the steps to take to avoid it.

I’ll keep this short and to the point – every organization that fails does so for one primary reason – they lose market relevance.  They stop providing what their customers want, and; how they want them, where they want them and what they are willing to pay for them.

I could give you dozens of examples going back, oh, let's say fifty years.

Howard Johnson’s is gone.  Do we still have restaurants?

Pan Am is gone. Can we still fly to different places?

Blockbuster is gone.  Can we still watch videos?

Oldsmobile is gone. Can we still buy cars?

Toys “R” Us is gone.  Can we still buy toys?

Borders is gone.  Can we still buy books?

Need I go on?

Keep in mind that your; size, history, market, customer base will not prevent failure.  I don’t care if your revenue is in the billions or thousands, if you market is Toledo or the world or you have been in business for a week or a century.  None of these matter when you lose relevance.

So, to summarize, what are a few of the common reasons why organizations lose relevance?

-They are run by an ego driven senior management team or board.

-Management in these organizations is out of touch with market reality.

-The organization is stuck in what it used to make or sell and how it used to sell it.

-There is a serious disconnect between the employees and management in the organization.

-Their sacred cows (policies, procedures, products etc.) are still their driving forces.

-They are not paying attention to trends and changing customer buying patterns.

-They are unwilling to re-invent themselves.

As a global speaker for over 35 years, this topic for the past several years has been my most requested one both domestically and globally.

But, knowing and doing all of the above and even more will not guarantee you do not lose market relevance and fail if you avoid one critical step.  Do you know what that is?

If you don’t permanently change the mindsets of management and employees to one that learns to embrace uncertainty, change and consistent transformation as a positive, consistent  and necessary mental tool and process, sooner or later no matter how much you try, you will lose relevance either from the top down, bottom up or inside (the organization) to outside (the organization).

Don’t believe me? Just consider a few businesses in your industry, geography or market place who have failed or are failing.

Need a proactive speaker for a meeting on this topic?  Contact me.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

So much life is wasted - waiting . . .

So much life is wasted – waiting . . .

Tim Connor

Waiting for the right job.  Waiting for the perfect relationship.  Waiting for the right weather.  And, even just waiting for the right email or text response.

Ever waited for something and in hindsight realized how much time was wasted?  I know I have and I also know the pain of not being able to recapture those lost minutes, weeks or even years – they were gone forever.  But it’s not my intent to be morbid here but to suggest some creative, positive and even risky thoughts on what lies ahead, what is real, what you can control and what can or will elude you no matter how hard you try or how long you wait.

First of all, there are three types of waiting – waiting for something to begin, waiting for something to end, or waiting for something to improve, change or maybe even recover.

But regardless of the waiting or what we may be waiting for the consequences are always the same – frustration, disappointment, regret, fear, and even anger and yes, even more, depending on the magnitude or significance of what we are waiting for.

Waiting for Mr. or Ms. right until you are in your seventies is not a wise move.  Waiting for the right career position after bouncing from job to job for twenty years might get in the way of the right one showing up. Waiting years for a bad relationship to end or for the other person to end it when you both know it isn’t or wasn’t meant to be or was not a wise decision you previously made can cause a lot of stress, resentment, and bitterness.  Waiting for your kids to finally get the concept of responsibility?  Waiting for your employees to finally have some respect, loyalty or motivation?

Waiting till you retire for the vacation of a lifetime? And then your partner dies before you get to go.

Waiting for decades for a promotion, recognition or raise – well maybe it’s time for a change.  Waiting to really live and have fun until you win the lottery, well, you might want to re-think your life purpose.  Waiting weeks or even months for the right client or customer to show up – well you might want to rethink your sales or marketing strategies.

Need more examples or have I made my point?

Having said all of the above I want to be clear that I am not against waiting – for the right reasons, for the appropriate amount of time or for the right, best or suitable outcomes.

Are there common emotions, expectations or attitudes that can contribute to a waiting mentality? From my experience, I believe there are ten major ones; hope, fear, desire, insecurity, self-esteem, ego needs, impatience, the need for control, dreams and or arrogance.  I don’t have the time and I’m sure you don’t either for me to dig into each of these in detail so let me see if I can give you a few summary points to consider if you have been guilty of unnecessary waiting, are waiting for something now or will, notice I said will and not might, wait for something in the future.

As I see it there are three common denominators in all of the above reasons, mindsets or rationales; 1) insecurity – or the need for approval, the need for acceptance, a mindset of unworthiness or conflict avoidance. 2) fear – or the willingness to face reality, uncertainty or unknowns in a common sense or reality-based way. 3) Ego – or an unhealthy definition of what you feel you deserve, you are worth, you are worthy of or you don’t deserve.

In the end, waiting in most situations is life wasted.  The current lifespan average of Americans is 77.3 years.  So, regardless of your age whether you are wasting days, weeks, months or years, in the end, will leave you with memories of regret, resentment, apathy and or disappointment.

Is it worth it? Was it worth it? For me, looking back, in some cases it was, and, in most cases, it wasn’t, but that’s me.

Here are a few things to consider if you are a “waiter”.

-Create a list of potential gains and losses for whatever you are waiting for. Then weigh them appropriately for both the short and long term.

-Talk with people you respect who have had similar experiences or have insight into what you are considering waiting for and ask them for guidance. You don’t have to follow it, but it can help you make better decisions.

-Start a decision journal and start keeping track of every decision you have made and their outcomes or consequences and I’m not referring here to where you decide to go to lunch or what color dress to buy.

-Meditate on all major decisions and listen to your inner guidance system’s or spirit’s suggestions or inclinations or whatever you want to call it.

-Keep a list of all major life decisions and their eventual outcomes - if and when they ended; like a business, career, job or relationship.

-Don’t make choices or take actions while under stress or emotional unrest.

-Be willing to admit mistakes.

-Learn to learn from everything regardless of the outcome whether positive or negative.

-Declare emotional endings before starting new beginnings.

-Read the book – Transitions by William Bridges.

-Pray about it.

These should get you started and, on the way, to better outcomes and less wasted time and life.  I can only say in conclusion that I wish I had done many of these earlier in life.