Archive for October, 2011

ARGUING WITH SUCCESS by Seth Godin

Posted in "Arguing with Success" by Seth Godin, General Management, Life Management with tags , , , , on October 30, 2011 by Robert Finkelstein

Along with hundreds of inspirational quotes, beautiful images, recommending reading, and my own personal and business blogs, at “Behind the Scenes / Virtual COO” you will find the writings and videos of those whose intention is to inspire, motivate and push us to think outside the box.

ARGUING WITH SUCCESS by Seth Godin

“You can’t argue with success.”

Of course you can.

Conventional wisdom says you shouldn’t bother. But arguing with failure is dumb. Failure doesn’t need to be argued with, it’s already failed.

It takes guts to argue with success, guts and insight. And it’s the best way to make things better.

– Seth Godin

If you’re interested in a complimentary 30-minute business strategy session with Chief Operating Officer, Robert Finkelstein, or 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.

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YOUR PERFECT TEACHER (Life) from DailyOM

Posted in Life Management, Your Perfect Teacher (Life) with tags , , , , , , on October 28, 2011 by Robert Finkelstein

Along with hundreds of inspirational quotes, beautiful images, recommending reading, and my own personal and business blogs, at “Behind the Scenes / Virtual COO” you will find the writings and videos of those whose intention is to inspire, motivate and push us to think outside the box.

YOUR PERFECT TEACHER (Life) from DailyOM

All the situations in our lives, from the insignificant to the major, teach us exactly what we need to be learning.

Many of us long to find a spiritual teacher or guru. We may feel unsure of how to practice our spirituality without one, or we may long for someone who has attained a higher level of insight to lead the way for us. Some of us have been looking for years to no avail and feel frustrated and even lost. The good news is that the greatest teacher you could ever want is always with you—that is your life.

The people and situations we encounter every day have much to teach us when we are open to receiving their wisdom. Often we don’t recognize our teachers because they may not look or act like our idea of a guru, yet they may embody great wisdom. In addition, some people teach us by showing us what we don’t want to do. All the situations in our lives, from the insignificant to the major, conspire to teach us exactly what we need to be learning at any given time. Patience, compassion, perseverance, honesty, letting go—all these are covered in the classroom of the teacher that is your life.

We can help ourselves to remember this perfect teacher each day with a few simple words. Each morning we might find a moment to say, “I acknowledge and honor the teacher that is my life. May I be wise enough to recognize the teachers and lessons that I encounter today, and may I be open to receiving their wisdom.” We might also take some time each day to consider what our lives are trying to teach us at this time. A difficult phase in your relationship with your child may be teaching you to let go. The homeless person you see every day may be showing you the boundaries of your compassion and generosity. A spate of lost items may be asking you to be more present to physical reality. Trust your intuition on the nature of the lesson at hand, work at your own pace, and ask as many questions as you want. Your life has all the answers.

– DailyOM
http://www.DailyOM.com/

If you’re interested in a complimentary 30-minute business strategy session with Chief Operating Officer, Robert Finkelstein, or 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 ANT PHILOSOPHY by Jim Rohn

Posted in General Management, Life Management, The Ant Philosophy with tags , , , , , on October 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.

THE ANT PHILOSOPHY by Jim Rohn

Over the years I’ve been teaching children about a simple but powerful concept – the ant philosophy. I think everybody should study ants. They have an amazing four-part philosophy, and here is the first part: ants never quit. That’s a good philosophy. If they’re headed somewhere and you try to stop them; they’ll look for another way. They’ll climb over, they’ll climb under, and they’ll climb around. They keep looking for another way. What a neat philosophy, to never quit looking for a way to get where you’re supposed to go.

Second, ants think winter all summer. That’s an important perspective. You can’t be so naive as to think summer will last forever. So ants are gathering in their winter food in the middle of summer.

An ancient story says, “Don’t build your house on the sand in the summer.” Why do we need that advice? Because it is important to be realistic. In the summer, you’ve got to think storm. You’ve got to think rocks as you enjoy the sand and sun. Think ahead.

The third part of the ant philosophy is that ants think summer all winter. That is so important. During the winter, ants remind themselves, “This won’t last long; we’ll soon be out of here.” And the first warm day, the ants are out. If it turns cold again, they’ll dive back down, but then they come out the first warm day. They can’t wait to get out.

And here’s the last part of the ant philosophy. How much will an ant gather during the summer to prepare for the winter? All he possibly can. What an incredible philosophy, the “all-you-possibly-can” philosophy.

Wow, what a great seminar to attend – the ant seminar. Never give up, look ahead, stay positive and do all you can.

To Your Success,
Jim Rohn

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

I CHOOSE….

Posted in General Management, I Choose...., Life Management with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 20, 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.

I CHOOSE….

Yesterday, I posted this on Facebook, as I do many inspirational and motivational quotes, posters and images. Some are more popular than others. Often I’m surprised by what resonates with my online community, and what doesn’t. THIS one, “I CHOOSE….” is my MOST popular post EVER. At this point, it has received 162 comments, likes and shares. So with that being said, I thought I should post it here as well. I wouldn’t want you to miss it.

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

“I SHOULD HAVE SAID…” (Perfect Retorts and Comebacks) by Kathleen Reardon, PhD

Posted in Life Management with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 18, 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.

“I SHOULD HAVE SAID…” (Perfect Retorts and Comebacks) by Kathleen Reardon, PhD

How many times have you been put on the spot in a conversation? Someone at a party makes an insulting comment or your boss speaks down to you? In response, you either say the wrong thing, triggering an argument… or you say nothing and dwell on it the rest of the day. Then suddenly it comes to you — I should have said… But of course, it’s too late to utter the perfect response.

I’ve spent two decades researching and consulting on how to communicate in difficult situations. One of the most useful tools is a repertoire of comeback techniques that allows you to better handle confrontation, take control of how people treat you and make you feel more in charge of what happens to you in relationships and at work.

When a conversation grows tense or takes a bad turn, we often get overwhelmed by feelings and tend to fall into poor communication habits. We typically get defensive or lash out. We can do better, but keep in mind that effective comebacks are not just snarky one-liners meant to put someone in his/her place. They are strategic ways to help you keep your cool… elicit reciprocal civility from the person who went too far… and let you achieve your goals without being derailed by a poorly considered response. My secrets

COMEBACKS FOR ROUTINE CONFLICTS

I use these to de-escalate tension in everyday conversations with family members, friends and colleagues…

Reframe the meaning of what the other person says. How we choose to define what goes on in a conversation greatly affects how it goes. The next time a person describes you or your actions negatively, revise what he said in a way that enables a more positive or favorable view to emerge. Example: You make a proposal to your boss, and he says, “That’s one of the stupidest ideas I ever heard.” You could accept his interpretation and rebuke him for his insensitive comment — “It’s smarter than anything you’ve come up with” — but that risks hurting your ­relationship and your career.

Better:
Reinterpret the meaning of what he said. It wasn’t that your idea was so bad — just that you communicated it inadequately. Say, “A lot of new, very good ideas seem stupid at first, so I’m not surprised at your reaction. Just hear me out, and we’ll see.”

Rephrase the other person’s words to make them more accurate. Communication happens so fast that people just say what pops into their heads with little consideration. They often make poor word choices that stoke conflict. Example: You are discussing a problem with your spouse, and she blurts out, “You are so stubborn.” Instead of getting angry, you could say, “You’re right. I am persistent. That’s one of the reasons you married me. So let’s try to figure out this problem together.” Stubborn and persistent describe similar characteristics, but persistence is a much more admirable quality.

If you received the same criticism in an office environment, you might reply, “You got me there. I’m tenacious when an issue is as important as this”… or “I’d say all of us here are determined and headstrong because we want the best possible outcome.”

Use nonverbal gestures when people make thoughtless remarks. It gives them the opportunity to reflect on their errors or misjudgments. Example: Your spouse comes home and says, “Why is the kitchen such a pigsty?” You could reply that you’ve spent all day cooking for his relatives, but that comeback, while momentarily satisfying, will just produce a defensive response on his part (“I didn’t ask you to cook them such a fancy meal”).

Instead, respond to the initial insult with a gesture that suggests confusion or curiosity rather than anger and ­indignation. Hold eye contact with him, and shake your head a bit as if hurt and puzzled. By pausing and not replying verbally to the initial insult, it creates a void in which your spouse has to confront how petty and unreasonable his words just were.

Ask for clarification. Many times we are too quick to infer negative intentions before determining if any were intended, especially if we’ve had tension with a person in the past. Example: You’re about to go out, and your spouse says, “You’re wearing a short-sleeved shirt?” You could assume that she’s being critical or controlling and respond with irritation. However, she may be coming from a more loving place. She doesn’t want you to be uncomfortable if everyone else is dressed more formally. My preferred comeback technique: Mention your tendency to leap to judgments, then ask for more information. Say, “I get so defensive when I hear comments like that. What did you mean by it?”

COMEBACKS FOR INTENSE SITUATIONS

These are for when an argument is getting out of control or you are dealing with a particularly insensitive clod or a real bully…

Answer sarcastic questions as if they were factual inquiries or observations. Sometimes people are looking to bicker or egg you on. If that’s the case, it’s not worth the effort of trying to turn a negative situation into a positive one. Ignore their insults, avoid reacting to their implied criticisms and redirect the conversation toward a quick end. Example: A person says, “Don’t tell me you’re still here?”… You say, “Okay, I won’t tell you that.” Smile slightly when you respond so that you let the person know that you caught his sarcastic drift but chose to ignore it.

Tell the other person, “We’ve gotten into an URP.” This unusual comeback works best when you are stuck in an accelerating argument or standoff in which neither of you can see the way out. Using the word “URP” is so silly and unexpected that it acts like a circuit breaker. The other person becomes too curious about it to keep fighting.

You can then explain to him, “A URP is an unwanted repetitive episode. I was reading about the patterns people tend to fall into when they argue.” Suddenly, instead of being stuck in a frustrating argument, you have turned your attention to how you argue and the topic of effective comebacks. This allows both of you to get some emotional distance from the immediate fight and see the bigger picture.

Retaliate.
On rare occasions, you want a great comeback that stings the other person. This usually is reserved for when someone is grilling you relentlessly or demeaning you in public. In this case, you need to set the person straight. The idea isn’t to issue a ­counterinsult that is even meaner or more derogatory, which may lead to an argument, but to make a bold, edgy comment that lets the other person know he has crossed a line. Example: You are at a dinner party, and the person next to you says loud enough for all to hear, “How much money do you make?” Or “Have you had much work done on your face?”

My favorite comebacks…

“Since we’re obviously saying whatever crosses our minds tonight, I’d like to say how much I hate this topic.”

“I’m going to let what you just said season a bit before responding.”

For more general taunts, try these comebacks…

“You’re funny sometimes. Just not this time.”

“Fortunately for you, I’m speechless.”

– Kathleen Reardon
Bottom Line/Personal interviewed Kathleen Reardon, PhD, professor of management and organization at University of Southern California Marshall School of Business, Los Angeles. She is coauthor, with Christopher Noblet, of Comebacks At Work: Using Conversation to Master Confrontation (HarperBusiness). http://www.ComeBacksAtWork.com

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

THE MOST IMPORTANT MEETINGS YOU’LL EVER ATTEND ARE THE MEETINGS YOU HAVE WITH YOURSELF by Denis Waitley

Posted in Life Management, The Most Important Meetings You'll Ever Attend Are The Meetings You Have With Yourself with tags , , , , , , on October 15, 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 MOST IMPORTANT MEETINGS YOU’LL EVER ATTEND ARE THE MEETINGS YOU HAVE WITH YOURSELF by Denis Waitley

You are your most important critic. There is no opinion as vitally important to your well-being as the opinion you have of yourself. As you read this, you’re talking to yourself right now. “Let’s see if I understand what he means by that…. How does that compare with my experiences? I’ll make note of that—try it tomorrow. I already knew that…. I already do that.” I believe this self-talk, this psycholinguistics or this language of the mind can be controlled to work for us, especially in building self-confidence and creativity. We’re all talking to ourselves every moment of our lives, except during certain portions of our sleeping cycle. We’re seldom even aware that we’re doing it. We all have a running commentary in our heads on events and our reactions to them.

• Be aware of the silent conversation you have with yourself. Are you a nurturing coach or a critic? Do you reinforce your own success or negate it? Are you comfortable saying to yourself, “That’s more like it.” “Now we’re in the groove.” “Things are working out well.” “I am reaching my financial goals.” “I’ll do it better next time.”

• When winners fail, they view it as a temporary inconvenience, a learning experience, an isolated event and a steppingstone instead of a stumbling block.

• When winners succeed, they reinforce that success by feeling rewarded rather than guilty about the achievement and the applause.

• When winners are paid a compliment, they simply respond with “thank you.” They accept value graciously when it is paid. They pay value in their conversations with themselves and with other people.

A mark of an individual with healthy self-esteem is the ability to spend time alone, without constantly needing other people around. Being comfortable and enjoying solitary time reveals inner peace and centering. People who constantly need stimulation or conversation with others are often a bit insecure, and thus need to be propped up by the company of others.

Always greet the people you meet with a smile. When introducing yourself in any new association, take the initiative to clearly volunteer your own name first and always extend your hand first, looking the person in the eyes when you speak.

In your telephone communications at work or at home, answer the telephone pleasantly, immediately giving your own name to the caller before you ask who’s calling. Whenever you initiate a call, always give your name upfront, before you ask for the party you want and before you state your business. Leading with your own name underscores that a person of value is making the call.

Don’t brag. People who trumpet their exploits and shout for service are actually calling for help. The showoffs, braggarts and blowhards are desperate for attention.

Don’t tell your problems to people, unless they’re directly involved with the solutions. And don’t make excuses. Successful people seek those who look and sound like success. Always talk affirmatively about the progress you are trying to make.

As we said earlier, find successful role models after whom you can pattern yourself. When you meet a mastermind, become a master mime, and learn all you can about how he or she succeeded. This is especially true with things you fear. Find someone who has conquered what you fear and learn from him or her.

When you make a mistake in life, or get ridiculed or rejected, look at mistakes as detours on the road to success, and view ridicule as ignorance. After a rejection, take a look at your BAG. B is for blessings—things you are endowed with that you often take for granted, like life itself; your health; living in an abundant country; and your family, friends and career. A is for accomplishments. Think of the many things you are proud of that you have done so far. And G is for goals. Think of your big dreams and plans for the future that motivate you. If you were to take your BAG—blessings, accomplishments and goals—to a party and spread them on the floor, in comparison to all of your friends and the people you admire, you’d take your own bag home, realizing that you have as much going for you as anyone else. Always view rejection as part of one performance, not as a turndown of the performer.

And enjoy those special meetings with yourself. Spend this Saturday doing something you really want to do. I don’t mean next month or someday. This Saturday, enjoy being alive and being able to do it. You deserve it. There will never be another you. This Saturday will be spent—why not spend at least one day a week on you?

Action Idea: Go for one entire day and night without saying anything negative to yourself or to others. Make a game of it. If a friend or colleague catches you saying something negative, you must put 50 cents in a drawer or container toward a dinner or evening out with that person. Do this for one month, and see who has had to pay the most money toward the evening.

– 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.

SECRETS TO BEING MORE SELF-CONFIDENT by Leslie Sokol, PhD, and Marci G. Fox, PhD

Posted in Life Management, Secrets to Being More Self-Confident with tags , , , , , on October 14, 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.

SECRETS TO BEING MORE SELF-CONFIDENT by Leslie Sokol, PhD, and Marci G. Fox, PhD

Paula* received an e-mail from an old friend. Though the two had been close in high school, over the years they had lost touch. Now, her friend was reaching out. But Paula didn’t answer—because she had recently been laid off and was afraid that she would look like a failure.

Kate called her husband at work to tell him about an appointment with a doctor she’d had that morning. After a minute, he cut her off and said, “I’ll call you later.” Kate thought, “He doesn’t care about me. He probably wishes we weren’t married.”

Why did Paula worry so much about what an old friend might think? Why did her husband’s momentary distraction lead Kate to question her value as a wife? And what price did each woman pay by refusing or doubting relationships that could have brought them joy?

If you (like Paula and Kate) tend to be your own worst critic, learn to boost self-confidence with the following doubt-dispelling strategies…

RECOGNIZE DOUBT

Doubt rises up when you undervalue your own strengths and overemphasize weaknesses. This lets insecurities overwhelm intellect, control mood and dictate behavior—even when there’s no reason to doubt yourself.

Example: You’re going to give a presentation at a town hall meeting. You’ve prepared, practiced and successfully addressed audiences before—yet you are beset with worries about messing up.

Doubt is distinct from realistic concern, which focuses a reasonable amount of attention on a particular situation that warrants it.

For instance: That town hall meeting is in an hour, you were too busy to practice and you’ve lost your presentation notes. Now when you worry, it’s a realistic concern.

Before you can build confidence, you must ascertain whether worries stem from doubt or realistic concern.

Ask: “Do I have the skills or tools I need to handle this situation?” If not, you have a realistic concern that requires action. If so, doubt is unfounded—and you need to change your thinking.

IDENTIFY DOUBT TRIGGERS

Doubt triggers are situations that spark a crisis of confidence. An individual’s personal doubt triggers depend primarily on how she would like to be viewed by other people. For this reason, doubts can be activated by another person’s comments or actions—even when the person had no intention of eliciting such a reaction. The two main types of self-doubt…

Competency doubt. This occurs in people who want to be seen as capable, intelligent and accomplished.

Example:
A coworker asks a question about your approach to a project. Instead of seeing this as a potentially helpful opportunity, you perceive it as criticism. You think, “I’m not good enough, I’ve failed,” then feel unable to move forward…or you lash out at the questioner, creating a hostile atmosphere.

Your trigger is competency doubt if you feel relieved when you finish a task… place great importance on being well paid for your work… and choose your career or other commitments over your personal life when conflicts arise. (Paula displayed competency doubt when she didn’t respond to her old friend.)

Desirability doubt.
This occurs in people for whom relationships are of primary importance. They want to be regarded as good friends, parents or spouses—in short, as lovable.

Example: You overhear friends making plans to dine together, but they don’t invite you. Instead of assuming that they have something to discuss or simply didn’t think of asking you, you worry, “I’m unlikable” or “They don’t value me.” As a result, you may cling or complain—and drive others away.

Your trigger is desirability doubt if you would rather be called nice than smart… prefer to do a social activity instead of working on your planned goal for the day… or would rather win a good citizen’s award than first place in a competition. (Kate displayed desirability doubt after phoning her husband.)

Purpose: Being aware of your doubt triggers helps you identify situations in which you send yourself negative messages with no legitimate reason… and makes it easier to avoid falling prey to an unfounded self-confidence crisis.

Remember: What you imagine others are thinking about you may be inaccurate—so try not to assume the worst.

CONTRADICT YOUR DOUBT

Confidence problems often begin in childhood—for instance, when your dad called you dumb or your mother seemed to like your brother best. Pinpointing the genesis of a specific doubt helps you refute its legitimacy.

Example: You catch yourself thinking, “I bounced a check, I really am dumb.” Now bring to mind some specific facts that disprove this criticism—”I’m an avid reader and a skilled bridge player.” Then move on—”I made a mistake. It’s no big deal.”

Sometimes self-doubt springs from an emotionally wrenching experience (divorce, job loss), then feelings of failure spread until it feels like you cannot do anything right.

Helpful: Identify an aspect of your life that is going well—”Okay, I’m temporarily unemployed. But thanks to the extra free time, I’m finally writing my novel.” Take satisfaction in that success.

TAKE ACTION

Once you recognize the source of doubt and weed out negative thoughts, you can begin to fertilize confidence. This takes practice, but the more often you react confidently to situations, the more it becomes second nature. Try this…

* Keep a daily log in which you enumerate your accomplishments.

Example: “I finished making that quilt… I led a good meeting.”

* When doubts flare up, try to identify the self-imposed rule that’s driving your critical thoughts.

For instance: “I felt stupid because I got caught in traffic and was late for my appointment. It is important to always be on time.” Now consider whether your rule is too strict. Yes, punctuality is good—but sometimes delays are unavoidable. Perfectionism only sets you up for failure.

*
When you catch yourself imagining a worst-case scenario, think instead about what’s likely to happen. If you phone that long-lost friend, is she really going to be disgusted to learn that you never went to law school? Or will you simply have fun reminiscing? Putting a positive spin on your thoughts helps you approach the future with confidence.

*Names changed to protect privacy.

– Leslie Sokol, PhD, and Marci G. Fox, PhD, coauthors of “Think Confident, Be Confident: A Four-Step Program to Eliminate Doubt and Achieve Lifelong Self-Esteem”

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.