Archive for May, 2011

FOR SUCCESS, DO WHAT COMES UNNATURALLY by Ali Brown

Posted in "Do What Comes Unnaturally" by Ali Brown, General Management, Life Management with tags , , , , on May 26, 2011 by Robert Finkelstein

Along with the inspirational quotes, the beautiful images, and my own personal and business blogs, at Behind the Scenes / Virtual COO you will find the writings and videos of various thought leaders.

FOR SUCCESS, DO WHAT COMES UNNATURALLY by Ali Brown

What does it mean to break out of your comfort zone? It means challenging yourself by reaching outside your normal range of skills and activities. As we all know, leaving the cozy confines of your safety net can be an unsettling experience. It quickens your pulse and induces feelings of anxiety and nervousness. You are leaving a realm where you know exactly what to expect in order to go and face the unexpected.

So, how do you break out of your comfort zone? Imagine there’s a door with a huge exit sign hovering over it. Now, in your mind’s eye, turn and face it.

Start off small – You can either leap through the door as if your life depended on it, or you can do what is more commonly advised: Take small, incremental steps.

It’s usually the fear of tackling a challenge full on that prevents people from ever trying. Just take it one step at a time. The important thing is that you have started the journey. For example, if you want to be a good public speaker but the thought scares the life out of you, start small. When you pick up a book in your leisure time, read out loud. Invite a few friends over and have everyone practice talking about any topic for just a minute without pausing or repeating yourself. Make it a fun activity. Your confidence will grow.

Make change a habit
– Try something a little different every day. These need only be little things. Try a new route on your way to the grocery store. Try a different drink at your local coffee shop. Hop on a new piece of equipment at the gym. Get used to the feeling of change.

Stop imagining the worst “My life has been full of terrible misfortunes, most of which never happened,” wrote the sixteenth-century French philosopher Michel de Montaigne. Sometimes the worst part of tackling something new is fear of the unknown. Your imagination may run riot, but don’t perceive dangers that are not actually there.

Seek out success stories, read successful people’s autobiographies and blogs. Gather information from people who’ve already tried what you’d like to accomplish. They’ll have useful advice and tips and will help you challenge destructive negative feelings.

Don’t worry about nerves – When you step out of your comfort zone, you’ll likely feel a little bit… uncomfortable. Maybe it’s a queasy feeling in your stomach, or a tight throat. These are natural biological responses to taking on something new. In order to achieve your goals, you need to get acquainted with this feeling. The more you condition yourself to discomfort and uncertainty, the farther you’ll go.

Have a safety net – Bring a friend, family member, or colleague on this journey. Better yet, join a community that supports you such as my Millionaire Protégé Club. You don’t have to do it alone.

Think positively – Commit yourself to a positive mindset. Visualize what success is going to feel like. Keep a journal of those times when you’ve broken through your comfort zone in the past, and truly allow yourself to bask in that feeling of accomplishment. Remember how you took a gamble and it all worked out!

– Ali Brown

“Entrepreneur mentor Ali Brown teaches women around the world how to start and grow profitable businesses that make a positive impact. Get her FREE CD “Top 10 Secrets for Entrepreneurial Women” at www.AliBrown.com

If you’re interested in a complimentary 30-minute business strategy session with Robert Finkelstein, for more information, please refer to Behind the Scenes Consulting. If you have questions, please email Robert at Consulting@RobertFinkelstein.com. Your comments are welcomed below. Thank you.

SELF DIRECTED EFFORT IS THE BEST KIND by Seth Godin

Posted in General Management, Life Management, Self Directed Effort is the Best Kind with tags , , , , on May 23, 2011 by Robert Finkelstein

Along with the inspirational quotes, the beautiful images, and my own personal and business blogs, at Behind the Scenes / Virtual COO you will find the writings and videos of various thought leaders.

SELF DIRECTED EFFORT IS THE BEST KIND by Seth Godin

How much are you paying for a drill sergeant?

Perhaps you can burn 500 calories on the treadmill before you give up for the day. With a personal coach, though, you could do 700. The trainer gets you to exert more effort.

You wake up on a Monday morning after a long hard weekend of misbehaving. You have a splitting headache. You can easily call in sick, no one will freak out. But then you remember that there’s a $500 bonus at stake if you keep your attendance perfect. You make the effort because someone else is bribing you.

On the playground, it’s tempting to rip into a kid who stole the swing from you. You’re about to whack him, but then you see your mom watching. With a great deal of effort, you walk away.

Effort’s ephemeral, hard to measure and incredibly difficult to deliver on a regular basis. So we hire a trainer or a coach or a boss and give up our freedom and our upside for someone to whip us into shape. Obviously, you give up part of what you create to the trainer/coach/boss in exchange for their oversight.

Has it become a crutch? Are you addicted to a taskmaster, to someone else’s to do list, to short term external rewards that sell your long-term plans short? If no one is watching, are you helpless, just a web surfing, time wasting couch potato? Who owns the extra work you do now that you’re being directed?

There’s an entire system organized around the idea that we’re too weak to deliver effort without external rewards and punishment. If you only grow on demand, you’re selling yourself short. If you’re only as good as your current boss/trainer/sergeant, you’ve given over the most important thing you have to someone else.

The thing I care the most about: what do you do when no one is looking, what do you make when it’s not an immediate part of your job… how many push ups do you do, just because you can?

– Seth Godin

If you’re interested in a complimentary 20-minute business strategy session with Robert Finkelstein, for more information, please refer to Behind the Scenes Consulting. If you have questions, please email Robert at Consulting@RobertFinkelstein.com. Your comments are welcomed below. Thank you.

PLEASE DO THESE 3 THINGS by Ron White

Posted in General Management, Life Management, Please Do These 3 Things with tags , , , on May 17, 2011 by Robert Finkelstein

Along with the inspirational quotes, the beautiful images, and my own personal and business blogs, at Behind the Scenes / Virtual COO you will find the writings and videos of various thought leaders.

PLEASE DO THESE 3 THINGS by Ron White

I am extremely leery of any quick fix solution or overnight formula for success. In my opinion, they don’t exist. With that said, the following formula is one that I have recently shared with 2 members of my family to encourage them to break through the rut they are in and experience success. Therefore, if I would share it with my family, I must believe in the principles. I suggested that they begin to regularly do these three things:

1. Surround themselves with positive people who believe that this life is not all that there is. Personally, I find this at my local church. This email goes out to thousands of people all over the world. I know we don’t share the same faith in all cases. This message is not about my faith. It is about you finding a group of people who regularly meet together and have a belief that there is more to life than what we see. This is the first step to a positive outlook on life.

2. You must exercise weekly in order to stimulate endorphins and maintain an energetic life. The exercise of walking to the kitchen or curling 12 ounces does not count as exercise. I run 1 mile twice a week and 2-3 days a week do strength training. This is nothing difficult but it makes a major difference on my attitude.

3. You MUST educate yourself through reading. The average CEO in America reads 4-5 books per month. The average America reads one book per year and 60% of us don’t get past the first chapter! Make a promise to yourself to read at least one book per month. Read anything!

Regardless, of what you read….develop a passion for reading and learning and you will see your attitude and outlook on life begin to change. Any person who faithfully invested their time in these three areas may not break world records in levels of success. However, everything in me believes that they would see dramatic improvements. I believe in those three things so much, I encouraged my family to invest their time in these areas.

– Ron White

If you’re interested in a complimentary 30-minute business strategy session with Robert Finkelstein, for more information, please refer to Behind the Scenes Consulting. If you have questions, please email Robert at Consulting@RobertFinkelstein.com. Your comments are welcomed below. Thank you.

STUCK IN THE MUD (Staying in Pain) from Daily OM

Posted in Life Management, Stuck in the Mud with tags , , , on May 12, 2011 by Robert Finkelstein

Along with the inspirational quotes, the beautiful images, and my own personal and business blogs, at Behind the Scenes / Virtual COO you will find the writings and videos of various thought leaders.

STUCK IN THE MUD (Staying in Pain) from Daily OM

Pain comes and goes – it is when we get stuck in our pain that it becomes detrimental to our well-being and development.

Pain comes and it goes. It is just one component to the grand cycle of life. And when experienced as such, pain can serve as an important teacher. It is when we get stuck in our pain that it becomes detrimental to our well-being and development. If you notice that you feel closed-off, resentful, heavy-hearted, or that you try very hard to avoid being hurt again, there may be a part of you that is still stuck in pain.

We can get stuck in our pain for many reasons. As children, it was natural for us to cry, throw a tantrum, and let the experience move through us. By fully feeling our pain in this way, our emotions would wash us clean, leaving us open and available to new experiences. With age, though, we might have determined that expressing emotion was no longer appropriate, and so we developed a variety of coping strategies to deal with our discomfort. We may have learned to stuff our feelings down or to run away from them. Perhaps we began thinking that staying closed and unwilling to try new things would keep us safe from heartbreak, safe from rejection, and safe from failure. We may have even gotten so used to being in pain that the thought of being without it scares us. But, if we continue to hold onto it longer than necessary, we are expending a lot of energy that could instead be channeled into making our life experiences more positive.

If you notice that you are continually connecting with the same familiar patterns of pain, consider embracing your feelings and letting go of your hurt. Whether your pain is from childhood or from an experience last week, see if you can give it room to move. When it does, you will reconnect with a wonderful source of your own vital energy.

– DailyOM
http://www.dailyom.com/

If you’re interested in a complimentary 30-minute business strategy session with Robert Finkelstein, for more information, please refer to Behind the Scenes Consulting. If you have questions, please email Robert at Consulting@RobertFinkelstein.com. Your comments are welcomed below. Thank you.

THE POWER OF RESILIENCE by Denis Waitley

Posted in General Management, Life Management, The Power of Resilience with tags , , , , , on May 9, 2011 by Robert Finkelstein

Along with the inspirational quotes, the beautiful images, and my own personal and business blogs, at Behind the Scenes / Virtual COO you will find the writings and videos of various thought leaders.

THE POWER OF RESILIENCE by Denis Waitley

It has been said that failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead-end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.

It may motivate you more toward your own goals to know that some of the most famous and well-known people in modern times had to overcome obstacles as difficult as anyone’s before they finally reached the top. It takes persistence and total commitment to your goals, but it’s possible.

Thomas Edison’s father called him a “dunce.” His headmaster in school told Edison he would never make a success of anything.
Henry Ford barely made it through high school.

The machines of the world’s greatest inventor, Leonardo da Vinci, were never built, and many wouldn’t have worked anyway.
Edwin Land, the inventor of the Polaroid Land camera, failed absolutely at developing instant movies. He described his attempts as trying to use an impossible chemistry and a nonexistent technology to make an unmanufacturable product for which there was no discernable demand. These hurdles, in his opinion, created the optimum working conditions for the creative mind.

Joe Paterno, head coach of the Penn State University football team, was asked by the media how he felt when his team lost a game. He rapidly replied that losing was probably good for the team, since that was how the players learned what they were doing wrong.

Setbacks and failures mean little or nothing in themselves. The whole meaning of any setback — or any success, for that matter — is in how we take it and what we make of it.

We often look at high achievers and assume they had a string of lucky breaks or made it without much effort. Usually the opposite is true, and the so-called superstar or “overnight success” had an incredibly rough time before he or she attained any lasting success.
You may not know the background of a certain laundry worker who earned $60 a week at his job but had the burning desire to be a writer. His wife worked nights, and he spent nights and weekends typing manuscripts to send to publishers and agents.

Each one was rejected with a form letter that gave him no assurance that his manuscript had even been read. I’ve received a few of those special valentines myself through the years, and I can tell you firsthand that they’re not the greatest self-esteem builders.
But finally, a warm, more personal rejection letter came in the mail to the laundry worker, stating that, although his work was not good enough at this point to warrant publishing, he had promise as a writer and he should keep writing.

He forwarded two more manuscripts to the same friendly-yet-rejecting publisher over the next 18 months, and, as before, he struck out with both of them. Finances got so tight for the young couple that they had to disconnect their telephone to pay for medicine for their baby.

Feeling totally discouraged, he threw his latest manuscript into the garbage. His wife, totally committed to his life goals and believing in his talent, took the manuscript out of the trash and sent it to Doubleday, the publisher who had sent the friendly rejections. The book, titled Carrie, sold more than 5 million copies and, as a movie, became one of the top-grossing films in 1976. The laundry worker, of course, was Stephen King.

Think back to a time in your life you have found difficult. Try to see what you gained as a result of what you learned, what strength you found even in the most trying time — or what strength you find now in your having overcome it. Perhaps you may never have been aware of what you gained until you think about it now. The Chinese have a saying: “Eat bitter to taste sweet.” It means that by living through painful times, we can become stronger people. I certainly agree with this, and the transformation depends on our ability to discover something beyond the pain.

A Compelling ‘Why’
I have a suitcase for you. In that suitcase there is $1 million in cash. The suitcase is sitting in a building that is about an hour’s drive from where you are now.

Here is the deal: All you have to do is get to this building in the next two hours. If you get there before the end of the two hours, I will hand you the suitcase, and you will be a million dollars richer.
There is one catch, however. If you are even one second late, our deal is off, and you will not get a dime. No exceptions! With that in mind, what time would you like to leave?

Most people would respond to that scenario by saying that they would leave right now. Wouldn’t you?

So off you go. You jump into your car and start driving for the building. You are excited and are already starting to plan how you are going to spend your million dollars. Then, suddenly, the traffic comes to a complete stop. You turn on the radio and find that there has been a series of freak accidents between you and the building, and there is no way to get there!

Now what would you do? Would you give up and go back home? Or would you get out of your car and walk, run, hire a helicopter, or find some other way of getting to the building on time?

Now let’s suppose for a minute that you are driving to an appointment at your dentist’s office. The traffic again comes to a stop. Amazingly, there have been freak accidents between you and your dentist’s office. What would you do then? Probably give up, go home, and reschedule!

What is the difference between these two situations? It all comes down to why. If the why is big enough, the how is usually not a problem. This compelling why is connected to your personal objectives, mission statement, or magnificent obsessions. It is the basis of your motivational support beam. Truly motivated people are able to identify and tap into the power of a compelling why in everything they do.

– Denis Waitley

If you’re interested in a complimentary 30-minute business strategy session with Robert Finkelstein, for more information, please refer to Behind the Scenes Consulting. If you have questions, please email Robert at Consulting@RobertFinkelstein.com. Your comments are welcomed below. Thank you.

WORDS TO LEARN BY by John C. Maxwell

Posted in General Management, Life Management, Words to Learn By with tags , , , , , , , , on May 7, 2011 by Robert Finkelstein

Along with the inspirational quotes, the beautiful images, and my own personal and business blogs, at Behind the Scenes / Virtual COO you will find the writings and videos of various thought leaders.

WORDS TO LEARN BY by John C. Maxwell

In my years of studying leadership and evaluating leaders, I have stumbled across a leadership shortcoming that continually amazes me. Leaders will manage a team, work with the same individuals every day, yet they hardly know anything about their people! These leaders have never prioritized acquainting themselves with the dreams, thoughts, hopes, opinions and values of those they lead.

The best leaders are readers of people. They have the intuitive ability to understand others by discerning how they feel and recognizing what they sense.

I have found that leaders overestimate the amount of time and effort needed to get to know someone. In fact, in only one hour with you in private conversation, I could, probably by asking three questions, find the passion of your life:

What do you dream about?

A person’s dreams are powerful revealers of passion. When a person starts to talk about their dreams, it’s as if something bubbles up from within. Their eyes brighten, their face glows, and you can feel the excitement in their words.

What do you cry about?

Passion can be uncovered by peering into the hurts deep inside a human soul. The experience of pain or loss can be a formidably motivating force. When listening to a story of grief, you hear a voice thick with emotion, you see watery eyes flooded with feeling, and in that moment, you glimpse the intense connections between a person’s deepest pain and their greatest passion.

What makes you happy?

I have fun hearing what makes people tick and seeing the smile that comes when they talk about where they find joy. Enjoyment is an incredible energizer to the human spirit. When a person operates in an area of pleasure, they are apt to be brimming with life and exuding passion.

If you can uncover a person’s dreams, hurts and joys, you’ve discovered the central dimensions of their life. This lesson is designed to show you the types of questions that can draw out the passion inside of a person. I’ve included my own answers to give you an understanding of how the process works. Try to limit your answers to one or two words. Also, notice how each question is asked both positively (what makes you happy?) and negatively (what makes you cry?). I have found that by expressing opposite feelings and emotions, you reveal your true inner self.

To maximize this lesson, I’ll give you four easy assignments.

1. Ask yourself and answer the questions posed in the lesson. In doing so, you’ll enhance your self-awareness.
2. Share your answers with your team to allow them to learn about you.
3. Ask your team to answer the questions to encourage their self-discovery.
4. Ask your team to share their answers with one another. This practice will bring team members closer together.

What is your biggest asset?
My greatest asset is my attitude. I discovered this when I was in high school, and the coach of my basketball team appointed me as team captain at the beginning of the year.

I was surprised because I wasn’t the best player on the team. John Thomas was the best player. I was the second- or third-best player, but I wasn’t the best. I was sitting on the floor of the gymnasium with my teammates, and I think the same question was in all of our minds: Why is John Maxwell going to be the captain of the team?

Anticipating our questions, our coach gave an explanation, “Of all the players on this team, the kid with the best attitude is John Maxwell. He doesn’t get discouraged, he believes that we’ll win the game, and he’s going to be the captain of the team.”

What is your biggest liability?
My biggest liability is unrealistic expectations. As with many weaknesses, my unrealistic expectations are the Achilles’ heel of my strength.

Many years ago I quit hiring, and I have stayed away from it ever since because I’m a terrible hirer. Why? Because I naturally look for the best in people. When I see a potential employee, I see the raw talent, and I begin thinking about how I can help shape the person into a star. I’ve had numerous failures hiring lousy leaders because I convinced myself I could mold a flawed leader into a top performer.

What do you like most from others?
For me, it’s encouragement. Encouragement is the oxygen of the soul, in that it allows you to breathe. Encouragement supports and sustains leadership, especially during the hard times.

What do I like least from others?
I cannot stand people who make excuses—blamers, complainers and explainers who refuse to accept responsibility for their mistakes.

I admire a person who will admit their faults, since it shows me the inner character of that individual. I can accept another’s imperfection if they take ownership of their errors, because we’re all human, and we all fail from time to time.

What is the best thing to have?
I think the best thing to have is friends. For me, nothing compares to the joy and fulfillment of going through life with friends you can laugh with, cry with and celebrate alongside.

What is the worst thing not to have?
I can’t imagine a life without hope. Even if my health is failing or my financial situation is grim, if I have hope, I can see a way out of my difficulties.

Hope is the foundation of all change. When people come to me as leaders, and they say, “I want to create change within my organization. What should I do?” My response is the obvious answer, “You have to create hope.” Nobody changes unless they think life is going to improve. Hope is the motivation that allows people to change.

– John C. Maxwell

If you’re interested in a complimentary 30-minute business strategy session with Robert Finkelstein, for more information, please refer to Behind the Scenes Consulting. If you have questions, please email Robert at Consulting@RobertFinkelstein.com. Your comments are welcomed below. Thank you.

MEDITATION FOR PEOPLE WHO DON’T LIKE TO MEDITATE by Roger Walsh

Posted in General Management, Life Management, Meditation For People Who Don't Like To Meditate with tags , , , , , , , on May 6, 2011 by Robert Finkelstein

Along with the inspirational quotes, the beautiful images, and my own personal and business blogs, at Behind the Scenes / Virtual COO you will find the writings and videos of various thought leaders.

MEDITATION FOR PEOPLE WHO DON’T LIKE TO MEDITATE by Roger Walsh, MD, PhD

We have heard all about the benefits of meditating. For decades, studies have shown that meditation helps with depression, anxiety, stress, insomnia, pain, high blood pressure, self-esteem, self-control, concentration and creativity. Yet for many people, meditation seems daunting. Maybe you find it hard to sit still… to clear your mind… to make the time…or to stick with it long enough to experience the effects.

Key to success: Choose a technique that suits your personality, schedule and level of experience, then do it consistently. Twenty minutes or more daily is a good goal, but even five minutes is helpful if you do it every day — and some techniques take almost no time at all.

IF YOU ARE A BEGINNER…

The methods below are effective yet simple enough for a novice. Start with just a few minutes, and work your way up.

*Single-tasking. A time-crunched society encourages multitasking — so you sort mail while on the phone and listen to audiobooks while driving. What you may not know: The simple act of focusing fully on a single task is a meditative exercise. It improves your powers of concentration, alleviates stress and boosts mood by enhancing your appreciation of the here-and-now. Try: Once or twice each day, give your complete attention to just one activity. Example: When you fold the laundry, don’t turn on the TV — just enjoy the softness of the fabrics and the soothing rhythm of your hand motions.

*Focused breathing. Sit in a quiet place, on the floor or in a chair, keeping your back straight so your lungs can expand. Pay attention to your breathing. Feel the air moving through your nostrils as you slowly inhale and exhale… feel your abdomen rise and fall. Then choose either of these sites (nostrils or abdomen) and focus fully on the sensations there. Soon you may notice that your mind has wandered. Don’t berate yourself — this happens even to experienced meditators. Simply return your attention to the breath.

*Centering prayer. Choose a phrase or a word that is spiritually meaningful for you, such as God is love or shalom. With each breath, repeat it silently to yourself. Again, if your thoughts start to stray, just calmly return to your prayer.

IF YOU HATE TO SIT STILL…

Some people can’t stop squirming when they try to meditate. Solution: Moving meditation.

*Qigong, tai chi or yoga. These practices combine specific movements with a contemplative focus on the body, so you exercise while you meditate. Many health clubs, adult-education centers and hospitals offer classes in these techniques. Referrals: National Qigong Association (888-815-1893, http://www.nqa.org)… American Tai Chi Association (703-477-8878, http://www.americantaichi.net)… Yoga Alliance (877-964-2255, http://www.yogaalliance.org).

*Mindful eating. Eat a meal alone, in silence, savoring the experience. When you first sit down, spend a moment enjoying the colors and aromas of the food. Take a bite and chew slowly. How do the taste and texture change as you chew? What sensations do you perceive as you swallow? Surprise: You are meditating. Continue to eat each bite as consciously as you can, never rushing.

IF YOU CAN’T FIND THE TIME…

Some days you may not have even five minutes to meditate — but you can take just a moment.

*Three breaths. Whenever you feel tense, take three long, deep breaths. Even a few conscious inhalations and exhalations will calm you. Also use cues in your environment as regular reminders to focus and breathe deeply. Example: Take three slow breaths every time you hang up the phone… walk through a doorway… or get into your car.

*Beauty in the moment.
Three times a day, look around you and notice something lovely — the scent of someone’s perfume, the happy sound of children playing. Explore the experience with your full attention. Example: A light breeze is blowing. Watch the graceful way it makes the grass sway… listen to it whisper as it moves through the trees… feel its gentle touch on your cheeks. Notice your emotions of pleasure and appreciation — and carry them with you as you continue through your day.

IF YOU ALREADY LOVE TO MEDITATE…

If you are an accomplished meditator and want to enrich your experience, try these more advanced techniques…

Contemplative reading.
Select a brief passage — two or three sentences — from a philosophy book, religious text or other writing that is meaningful to you. Read it slowly and reflectively, over and over. If your reading brings up insights, ponder them. If your mind drifts to unrelated thoughts, return to reading.

Inquiry. Sit and focus on your breathing. When a thought, feeling, sound or other sensation enters your awareness, instead of turning your attention back to the breath, explore the experience. Does it seem to have a shape or image associated with it? Does it change or fade away as you examine it? Examples…

*You notice a tickle in your shoulder.
As you study it, you note that it feels diffuse… then localizes in one spot… then moves to a different area and prickles… then disappears.

*You are feeling anxious. Rather than trying to figure out what is causing this, note where the anxiety manifests in your body (a fluttery stomach, a tight muscle)… any images and thoughts associated with it… and how those images and thoughts change as you observe them.

When a particular sensation passes, return your attention to your breath until the next sensation enters your awareness… then explore this new one. Over time, this enhances awareness and acceptance.

– Roger Walsh, MD, PhD

If you’re interested in a complimentary 30-minute business strategy session with Robert Finkelstein, for more information, please refer to Behind the Scenes Consulting. If you have questions, please email Robert at Consulting@RobertFinkelstein.com. Your comments are welcomed below. Thank you.