How Television Can Change Your Life
Posted at 9:10 AM on Friday, February 27, 2009
It you want the CliffsNotes version of this article, here you go:
Television can change your life when you . . . turn it off.
Of course, the CliffsNotes version of anything leaves out some important components and ideas of any message - and that's the case here too.
I'm not necessarily suggesting to never watch television, in part because I don't want to advocate something that I don't do.
I watch television. I watch less than the national averages, but I do watch.
And sometimes I watch much more than at other times - in part because the networks are good at advertising their own programming. If you are like me, the more I watch, the more I watch.
What I am advocating is a simple formula, in relationship to your television - and that's relevant to everyone - regardless of how much television you currently watch.
One Decision + One Button = Massive Opportunity
Let's start with the right side of the equation.
Here are some questions for you to consider:
- Do I have a goal that I'm not making the progress on that I would like to?
- Are there people I keep saying "I want to get together with"?
- Do I have a book (or a stack of books) that I really want to read, but never get to?
- Or a stack of magazines, journals or newspapers?
- Do I have a home project that I never seem to get to?
- Do I have a hobby that I don't get as much time to work on as I would like?
- Do I have trouble finding the time to exercise?
That list could have been doubled or tripled. And underneath each one is the bigger question.
How badly do I really want these things?
And more directly . . . are you willing to trade television time for any of them?
If you are watching more than 30 minutes of television a day currently, your behavior says the answer to that question is no.
The reality may be that you haven't thought about it that way, or you have allowed the habit of television to keep you from things that truly are more important to you.
If there are things on the list that are more important than TV - reducing television time gives you the time to reach those goals.
So now let's go back to the left side of our equation:
One Decision + One Button = Massive Opportunity
The biggest challenge with television for many is not thinking about it as a decision, it just gets turned on . . . without thinking about it - because it is a habit.
Without preaching or giving you thirty things to think about or feel guilty about when considering the questions above, I urge you to make just one decision.
Decide to turn on the television only when there is something on that you really want to watch. Don't turn it on to "see what it on."
The habit of turning on the TV takes it out of conscious decision. Make the decision consciously, and you will be amazed at how much time will magically show up in your life.
By now you have figured out the one button, haven't you?
It's the power button on your TV or remote.
Once you've made the decision, all you have to do is push that one button to turn the power off - or to turn it on intentionally.
Television can be a wonderful way to be entertained, informed and even inspired. It can be a way to gather with those near you and enjoy time together (though it is far from the only or even best way to do this).
But when television becomes an unconscious habit, it gets in the way of living the life you are meant to live, and reaching the levels of happiness, productivity and results you deserve.
Apply the formula for yourself every day - One Decision + One Button = Massive Opportunity - and I guarantee you can use your television to change your life.
Potential Pointer: Consider your television as a tool - and remember it has an off switch that you can use consciously. Make intentional choices about your television viewing and you will magically manufacture more time in your life to create the life you deserve!
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Remarkable Leadership Boot Camp
Posted at 9:03 AM on
I'm about to do something I've never done before, at a price I'll never repeat again.
On March 11, I'm launching Remarkable Leadership Boot Camp - a 12-part series of teleseminars on the mega-competencies of Remarkable Leaders (corresponding to 12 of the chapters in Remarkable Leadership - Unleashing Your Leadership Potential One Skill at a Time. In case you don't remember what those are:
- Remarkable Leaders Champion Change
- Remarkable Leaders Communicate Powerfully
- Remarkable Leaders Build Relationships
- Remarkable Leaders Develop Others
- Remarkable Leaders Focus on Customers
- Remarkable Leaders Influence with Impact
- Remarkable Leaders Think and Act Innovatively
- Remarkable Leaders Value Collaboration and Teamwork
- Remarkable Leaders Solve Problems and Make Decisions
- Remarkable Leaders Take Responsibility and Accountability
- Remarkable Leaders Manage Projects and Processes Successfully
- Remarkable Leaders Set Goals and Support Goal Achievement
This is a boot camp - but you don't have to travel anywhere. Instead, you will have full access to this unique Boot Camp from your nearest phone.
It will be a series of live, 60-minute, interactive teleseminars spread out over several weeks. If you are unable to make one of the calls live, you will have 24/7 access to the replay lines for a full 60 days after each call.
In addition you will have special access to the 12 accompanying handouts/workbooks for each call.
Your investment? Just $199 for ALL twelve calls (that's less than $17 each!)
To learn all the details, dates and specifics (and to register) just go to The Remarkable Leadership Boot Camp webpage.
There are a variety of reasons why I'm doing this, and they are described on that same page. The most important reason is that I am passionate about helping you become a more effective - yes, Remarkable - leader. This once-in-a-lifetime event is an easy and affordable way to encourage you to hop on that path.
Contact us directly or through the chatbox on the webpage with your questions or for special pricing for groups.
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Three Ways to Learn From Movies
Posted at 9:05 AM on Friday, February 20, 2009
Movies are everywhere.
Their stories, phrases, and scenes are a part of our culture.
We all have favorite movies, favorite memories relating to movies, and in some cases movies that help us define our lives. While you may not think about it, movies have probably enriched your life.
Movies are stories told in a rich medium. Stories are how we make sense of the world. They hold tremendous power to surprise and delight; to affect in ways far beyond entertainment. Stories, well told on film, can affect our views of ourselves and alter our perspectives of our world. Stories, without question, have made our lives better.
Learning is one of the most important parts of life. In fact, the ability to learn in a multitude of ways is one of our most human qualities. We learn best when we are immersed in a situation, actively involved in the learning process. Movies can help us learn because they wrap us up in a story. If you've ever jumped or screamed or cried during a movie, you've experienced the power of film.
While most think of movies as entertainment, a diversion or an escape because of their very nature they can be much more than that. As the previous paragraphs show, they likely already have become a source of learning in your life.
The rest of this article will provide you with three specific ways you can consciously use movies to drive your learning and enrich your life:
- Asking Reflective Questions
- Exploring Your Mental Filters
- Creating Group Conversation
Asking Reflective Questions
There are some general questions that can be helpful when reviewing a movie - whether to reflect personally or to spark a conversation. These questions can be used with any movie and can be, by themselves, the foundation of meaningful learning opportunities. These core questions include:
- What was/were your favorite scene(s) and why?
- What did you like/dislike about the movie and why?
- If you've seen the movie before, how was your experience of the movie different from past viewing(s)? What struck you the same or differently?
- What scenes made you laugh or cry (if appropriate)? Why?
- Which characters, if any, do you identify with in some way?
- What about this movie or story reminds you of your life experiences?
- What if anything will you do differently, or think about differently, since watching the movie?
- What insight do you gain from this movie?
- What in this movie inspires you?
Exploring Your Mental Filters
Your state of mind, current thoughts, and life experiences all play a part in how you "see" a movie.
This is one reason why you can watch a movie twice, even if only a few days apart, and have a very different experience. Your mental filters are the reason why you may experience a movie differently on different viewings.
Some of your filters are life-long, based on your values, early experiences and deeply held beliefs. For example, people who grew up in India will have a different perspective and therefore view the movie Gandhi much differently than Americans will. Different filters are largely the reasons for these distinct perspectives.
Other filters are related to more recent events and the various roles you are playing in your life at that time. If you saw The Sound of Music after recently being widowed, your reaction to Captain von Trapp might be different than in previous viewing of this movie. These more recent filters are the main causes of unique experiences during various viewings of the same film.
The question "If you've seen the movie before, how was your experience of the movie different from past viewing(s)? What struck you the same or differently?" is included to help you examine your filters. Often by thinking about these filters, movies can help you reflect your own growth and change over time, as well as how current situations are shaping you.
Creating Group Conversation
While you can do the first two tasks by yourself, I'm guessing you often watch movies with other people, so it's natural to consider having a conversation with others about a movie.
Of course, this happens naturally already, either with the people you watched the movie with or around the coffee pot when you all realize you've all seen the same movie.
Since conversations about movies are natural, all I am suggesting is that you consciously extend and/or facilitate the discussion so that everyone can take lessons and insights for their own lives from the fiction you've experienced on film.
This may be as simple as you interjecting questions from the reflective question list into the normal movie banter, or it might be even more intentional where people agree ahead of time to extend the entertainment of the movie into the education that can be derived from it. Either way, everyone wins!
In the second case, if you are leading the conversation, the best way to begin is to simply tell people that the goal is to learn from the experience of the movie. Let them know that you want this to be fun, and encourage them to really listen to each other.
Encourage them to approach the conversation with a spirit of inquiry, not of debate. Conversations usually aren't very fulfilling when everyone has the same opinion, so encourage people to share their thoughts, even if they seem "way out" or different from the opinions of others. When you set up the conversation that way, you are well on your way to a great interchange and much new learning for everyone.
Potential Pointer: Movies are a part of our lives, whether you watch several a week or haven't been to the theater in years. Because movies provide a rich sensory experience of a story, they provide a wonderful platform to learn when you take the time to intentionally extract lessons from them.
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Dialogue: The Art of Thinking Together by William Issacs
Posted at 8:59 AM on
I recently wrote about the magic of dialogue. Dialogue is an underutilized, underappreciated and misunderstood communication avenue for all sorts of groups. Because of its power, you owe it to yourself as a member of teams, family and organizations, and as a leader to understand and use this communication approach appropriately.
This book is a complete description and analysis of dialogue and its many uses. The author is a true expert in this communication approach, and it shows in both his examples and the depth of coverage in this book.
Far from an academic treatise (though Issacs is a lecturer at MIT's Sloan School of Management), it also has sections on how to create dialogue. One of the features of the book I like most is the focus on the individual's role in creating dialogue and what you can do to get out of your own way in creating it.
You leave this book recognizing the important role of everyone and their mindset in the successful creation of this communication approach.
This is the most complete and helpful book I have read on dialogue, and for that reason I recommend it, and I did find it hard to get through at times.
If you want to learn more about dialogue you need this book. You may find in the end though, that it's a book you will read parts of and use as reference as much as one you will read cover to cover right from the start.
Learn more and purchase from Amazon.
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Time to Get Back to Leadership Basics
Posted at 9:08 AM on Friday, February 13, 2009
It can happen to all of us. We have a library of books. We attend meetings and seminars. We read blogs and listen to those we know. We have experience as a leader and being led. We have all of this knowledge available to us about leadership.
All of this "stuff" can get in our way.
Sometimes it really is best to get back to basics.
If you ask great athletes about the details and particulars of their sport, they can give you tons of technical details, any yet they still practice the fundamentals. Ask great presenters about their craft and they can tell you stories and walk about techniques, and in the end they will tell you to focus on your audience and the core of your message.
So it should be for leaders.
You have plenty of resources around you. You have plenty of books on the shelves. You have plenty of people who can tell you what great leadership is and looks like. All of it is valuable. All of it is helpful and all of it can help you be more effective - but only if you place it on a firm foundation.
Several times I've asked groups to describe leadership in six words - just six words. I urge them to write a phrase, not just six adjectives.
And that's what I am asking you to do now.
When you have your six word description you can return.
It doesn't have to be perfect or a complete sentence. Let go of your inner judge and just describe leadership . . . in six words.
Stop reading, pick up your pen and write. (It's OK, I'm not going anywhere.)
If you are expecting me to give you the scoring key or tell you the right answer, you're going to be disappointed.
I could give you a list of things to consider - but I won't.
Now is the time for you to think about the fundamentals as you see them. Because how you see them has value and makes a difference.
Read your six words right now. Listen to what they are saying - and what they're not. Then think about how well you practice these fundamentals every day, regardless of your role or job title.
Let your six words sit with you for a few hours or overnight. Then edit them if you feel you can improve your description.
Once you've finalized your description write it somewhere easily accessible.
Carry it with you and read it out loud three times a day for the next month. After you read it take a minute to think about what you can do in that moment to more completely do those words in your work and life.
At the end of thirty days you will be a more effective leader - not because of what someone else said but because of what you did.
And what you did was practice the fundamentals.
Potential Pointer: You will become a more effective leader when you continue to learn, but only when you build your lessons on a foundation of the leadership basics. Remind yourself of, and practice your fundamentals and you are on your way to becoming a truly Remarkable Leader.
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Top Sales Experts 2.0
Posted at 9:05 AM on
I've been fortunate enough to be a part of a group called the Top Sales Experts since its inception more than a year ago. This team of extraordinarily talented people has put together an amazing toolbox for sales people of all types.
Whether you're a new sales person, an experienced veteran or a sales leader or manager - in fact, even if you AREN'T a salesperson - I encourage you to learn more about this new opportunity by listening to this five minute interview with my friend Jonathan Farrington.
After listening to the interview, you can learn even more about becoming a founding member of the Top Sales Experts.
The value here is far greater than any book on sales or a sales related topic that you might buy this year. Be sure to check it out - and share it with all of your friends who are in sales!
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The Most Overlooked Networking Opportunity
Posted at 4:04 PM on Friday, February 06, 2009
When the word networking is mentioned, most people I know think about salespeople or business owners exchanging business cards any chance they can.
Of course networking can be the card exchange. It's also "doing lunch" and attending events and many other equally valid and important things, but even so, most of what is written and thought about networking focuses on external networking.
External networking is important. And, for a leader in a company of any size, I would suggest that the most important networking opportunity you have is the one all around you - networking with those within the company; networking internally.
Since this type of networking isn't talked or written about much; it is rarely thought about.
And yet, for all of the relationships, learning and opportunities external networking can bring, the same can be true when you focus on building your network inside your company as well.
Here are eight ways you can creatively and effectively network within the boundaries of your own organization.
Invest one lunch a week. One great way to build relationships is over food. And since everyone has to eat, you can likely get on people's calendars relatively easily. Why not invite someone from another department or someone you don't know well to lunch? Make the lunch about getting to know them, which means you want to do less talking and more listening.
Seek out internal mentors for yourself and your team. If you are in a relatively large organization, there are probably people that you have heard of or have watched from a distance in admiration. Why not approach them to be a mentor to you and/or members of your team?
Be a silo buster. If your organization operates in a fragmented, highly departmentalized, siloed way, decide to be the silo buster. All these ideas can help you do this, but the point here is to make a conscious decision to network with the purpose of building relationships that will begin to break down these barriers.
Create "lunch and learns". Invite people from other departments with expertise your team or department doesn't have to come and share that information over lunch. This creates new learning opportunities for both sides and gives people a chance to get to know new people at the same time.
Establish more cross functional brainstorming. Have a big problem or challenge? Starting a new project? Looking for new business opportunities or product ideas? Bring together a cross functional, eclectic group of people from around the company to share their ideas and perspectives in identifying ideas. When you do this you will get more (and likely better) ideas; you will build new relationships (especially if you design the session knowing that's one of your goals); and - perhaps most importantly - you will create greater commitment across the organization for the ideas you do implement because more people were involved in the process.
Start a league. It could be bridge, basketball, golf, croquet or any of a hundred other things. Find something of common interest to a broad number of people and get them playing after work or at lunch. When you're playing you are getting to know people for more than just their position or knowledge, you are really "getting to know" them. This one may take more time to form and maintain, but the networking value is tremendous.
Share the love. Don't just focus on building 'your' network; make sure to connect others. As you get to know more people in deeper ways, you will find out their needs and goals. With those valuable insights, you can connect them to others inside the company who share similar interests and can help them achieve their goals. When you become the connector, you become more valued and valuable.
Create internal networking events. The Chamber of Commerce and other organizations everywhere have been doing this for years. Why can't you create an internal event with the specific goal of getting people to know each other better? Many of the other ideas on this list may be the platform or the "excuse" for such an event - but you can come up with many more that will work within your organization now that you are thinking about it!
All of these ideas may not apply to your situation, but some of them will. For every idea I've shared I would guess you can think of five more. In the end, the most important key to internal networking is to just start doing it!
As you build your internal network you will create benefits and opportunities for you, those you're networking with, and for your team and colleagues. When you look at it this way you hopefully realize what a valuable investment time spent on building a larger and broader set of relationships inside of your company can be.
Potential Pointer: The most overlooked opportunity to network is not out in the world, but right inside your organization. As a leader, or aspiring leader, when you mine the network and relationships within your company you help both yourself and your team create greater success!
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The Top 100 Leadership Blogs
Posted at 4:01 PM on
For the past few years we've sponsored a contest to identify the top leadership blog, and we start with a list of 10. Last week, The Best Universities Blog
, identified the top 100 leadership blogs.
I was thrilled to find my blog as one of those 100. But I didn't write this recommendation as a proclamation about my blog. I write it because that one list is the equivalent of many, many weeks of resources all from a variety of perspectives - 100 to be exact.
And given that it's a list of blogs, all of the content, ideas and inspiration is yours for free
Furthermore, the 100 blogs are categorized for you! The categories include:
- Leadership Development
- Youth and Student Leadership
- Community Leadership
- Managing Others
- Female Leadership
- Religious Leadership
- Workplace Leadership
- Team Leadership
The bottom line is that you won't find one or two great resources here - you'll find many!
You owe it to yourself and your own development to take advantage of these rich resources for your leadership development.
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