Archive for Behind the Scenes Guy


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.


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 Your comments are welcomed below. Thank you.

WHAT TO SAY TO A JERK by Mark Goulston, MD

Posted in General Management, Life Management, What to Say to a Jerk with tags , , , , on April 22, 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.

WHAT TO SAY TO A JERK by Mark Goulston, MD

Communication is challenging enough with the “normal” people in your life — the ones who want to cooperate and make life better for everyone. When you are forced to deal with jerks — people who don’t care about social give-and-take — communication can seem next to impossible, leaving you drained and upset.

Jerks tend to trigger powerful negative emotional reactions that take a long time to recover from and that interfere with clear thinking.

As a psychiatrist, I refer to jerks as “toxic people.”

If being around a toxic person is having a destructive effect on your physical or emotional health, you may need to get that person out of your life completely. But in many cases, you can “neutralize” the negative effect that a toxic person has on you. Here, simple ways to do it…

Recognize when a person is toxic. Everyone can be uncooperative and selfish some of the time — and the techniques in this article can work during those times. But a toxic person is different from a person who is just having a bad day.

Toxic people have a distinctive view of life. They perceive the world as having cheated them out of something or as owing them something. Nothing good that happens to them changes that perception for long.

In contrast to healthy people, who feel entitled to what they deserve… and neurotics, who do not feel entitled to what they deserve… toxic people feel entitled to what they don’t deserve. They do not play by the usual rules of getting along with others. They feel justified in taking, with no compulsion to give.

This belief system reveals itself in different ways for different types of toxic people. A toxic bully may aggressively push others around to get his/her way, whereas a toxically needy person may feel entitled to have his hand held constantly or insist that other people fight his battles. Bullies scream and demand. Toxically needy people whine and complain.

Adjust your expectations. We expect people to behave reasonably, and the shock that we feel when toxic people do not do so can be quite painful.

Toxic people sometimes may appear to be caring and cooperative. This behavior will last only until they get what they want. Don’t be fooled into thinking that they have changed.

In addition, the strategies that usually work with nontoxic people — such as empathizing or appealing to fairness — do not work with toxic people.

Once you have identified a person as toxic, your smartest move is to protect yourself from being blindsided. Expect the person to act solely in his own interests even when he appears to be kind and caring.

Hold part of yourself back. Toxic people get what they want by pushing others off balance. They do so by acting in ways that trigger rage, fear, guilt and other strong emotions in others. Remind yourself not to get emotionally engaged. This is their issue, not yours.

Helpful: Pause before responding. No matter what the toxic person says or does, make a practice of waiting several seconds or more before you reply. Stay calm.

The longer you wait before responding, the more the toxic person may escalate his behavior. For example, he may get even angrier or whine even more. But the behavior is less likely to upset you, because you are keeping your emotional distance.


Three good responses to nearly every type of toxic person…

“Huh?” This one word can stop a jerk in his tracks. Use a mild, neutral tone of voice. Do this when the toxic person says something utterly ridiculous but acts as if he is being perfectly reasonable. This response conveys that what the toxic person is saying doesn’t make sense. It works because it signals that you are not engaging with the content of what he said.

“Do you really believe what you just said?” Use a calm, straightforward tone, not a confrontational one. This question works because toxic people often resort to hyperbole to throw others off balance. They are prone to using the words “always” and “never” to drive home their points. However, don’t expect the toxic person to admit that he is wrong. He is more likely to walk away in a huff — which is fine because then you won’t have to waste more energy dealing with him.

“I can see how this is good for you. Tell me how it’s good for me.” This response is a useful way to deal with a toxic person’s demands. If he stalls or changes the subject, you can say, “Since it’s not clear how this is good for me, I’m going to have to say no.”

Here are other responses to specific types of toxic people…


A bully gets what he wants by scaring other people. Even when he is behaving himself, his presence triggers fear because you never know when he will explode.

What to do…

Disengage: Most bullies use words and tone of voice as their weapons. Say silently to yourself, This person is not going to physically harm me. Picture his words as rubber bullets that, instead of hitting you between the eyes, zoom over your shoulder. Caution: If there is any possibility that the person may be physically violent, leave at once.

Respond: Take a deep breath, and say out loud, “Ah, geez, this is going to be a long conversation” or “You gotta be kidding” (said mockingly to show that the bully hasn’t scared or offended you).

Whatever the bully’s reaction — whether he demands an explanation or continues to attack — you can calmly say, “You’re upset, I’m starting to shut down, and before we get to anything constructive, the sun is going to set, and then we’re going to have to start all over again tomorrow because I don’t see us reaching any conclusion.”

If he keeps pushing and says, “I am not upset — you’re just not listening,” you say, “Nah, forget it, it’s gone, gone… the opportunity even to get into a conversation is gone, finito, flew the coop.” The bully eventually will give up.

You can repeat this approach the next time. If the bully says, “Don’t try that with me again,” you just say, “Sorry, I find this exhausting, and I need to preserve my energy. If you can figure out a way to talk with me instead of at me, I’m willing. Until then, count me out.” Then walk away — which will be easy once you let go of the expectation that you will ever reach a win-win solution with this person.


Unlike people who have a healthy need for others, toxically needy people expect constant help and attention and often use guilt to get it. No matter how much you do for them, it is never enough. They act like victims, suck you dry and leave you feeling depressed and incompetent because nothing ever gets better for them.

What to do…

Disengage: Imagine that the needy person has a hook that he is trying to snag you with, but the hook has missed you.

Respond: A needy person might say in a nails-on-a-chalkboard voice, “It’s not fair.” Pause and calmly but firmly say, “It is completely fair to everyone that it affects.”


The taker constantly asks you for favors but never seems to have the time or energy to pitch in when you need help. Whereas needy people make you feel as if they are sucking you dry, takers make you feel as if they are grabbing at you.

What to do…

Disengage: Picture the taker as a child grabbing at you to get your attention. Imagine yourself calmly tapping him on the wrist and saying, “Now, now, wait your turn.”

Respond: Make a mental list of ways the taker could help you. The next time he asks for a favor say, “Sure! And you can help me out by… ” If he balks, say, “I assume you don’t mind doing a favor for me in return, right?”

Insist on a quid pro quo each time, and the taker will soon move on to an easier target.


A toxic person…
1. Interrupts.
2. Doesn’t take turns.
3. Takes advantage of people who are down.
4. Gloats in victory.
5. Is sullen in defeat.
6. Is not fair.
7. Lacks integrity.
8. Is the kind of person you’ll avoid if you possibly can.

– Mark Goulston, MD

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 Your comments are welcomed below. Thank you.


Posted in Life Management, Seven Steps to Achieving Your Dream with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 21, 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.


“Vision is the spectacular that inspires us to carry out the mundane.” — Chris Widener

Can achievement be broken down into steps? Well, it isn’t always that clean and easy, but I do know that those who achieve great things usually go through much of the same process, with many of the items listed below as part of that process. So if you have been struggling with achievement, look through the following and internalize the thoughts presented. Then begin to apply them. You will be on the road to achieving your dream!

1. Dream it – Everything begins in the heart and mind. Every great achievement began in the mind of one person. They dared to dream, to believe that it was possible. Take some time to allow yourself to ask “What if?” Think big. Don’t let negative thinking discourage you. You want to be a “dreamer.” Dream of the possibilities for yourself, your family, and for others. If you had a dream that you let grow cold, re-ignite the dream! Fan the flames. Life is too short to let it go. (Also, check out my article “Dare to Dream Again,” Which has been read by close to a million people in the last 4 months alone. You can see it at the website.)

2. Believe it – Yes, your dream needs to be big. It needs to be something that is seemingly beyond your capabilities. But it also must be believable. You must be able to say that if certain things take place, if others help, if you work hard enough, though it is a big dream, it can still be done. Good example: A person with no college education can dream that he will build a 50 million-dollar a year company. That is big, but believable. Bad example: That a 90 year-old woman with arthritis will someday run a marathon in under 3 hours. It is big alright, but also impossible. She should instead focus on building a 50 million-dollar a year business! And she better get a move on!

3. See it – The great achievers have a habit. They “see” things. They picture themselves walking around their CEO office in their new 25 million-dollar corporate headquarters, even while they are sitting on a folding chair in their garage “headquarters.” Great free-throw shooters in the NBA picture the ball going through the basket. PGA golfers picture the ball going straight down the fairway. World-class speakers picture themselves speaking with energy and emotion. All of this grooms the mind to control the body to carry out the dream.

4. Tell it – One reason many dreams never go anywhere is because the dreamer keeps it all to himself. It is a quiet dream that only lives inside of his mind. The one who wants to achieve their dream must tell that dream to many people. One reason: As we continually say it, we begin to believe it more and more. If we are talking about it then it must be possible. Another reason: It holds us accountable. When we have told others, it spurs us on to actually do it so we don’t look foolish.

5. Plan it – Every dream must take the form of a plan. The old saying that you “get what you plan for” is so true. Your dream won’t just happen. You need to sit down, on a regular basis, and plan out your strategy for achieving the dream. Think through all of the details. Break the whole plan down into small, workable parts. Then set a time frame for accomplishing each task on your “dream plan.”

6. Work it – Boy, wouldn’t life be grand if we could quit before this one! Unfortunately the successful are usually the hardest workers. While the rest of the world is sitting on their couch watching re-runs of Gilligan’s Island, achievers are working on their goal – achieving their dream. I have an equation that I work with: Your short-term tasks, multiplied by time, equal your long-term accomplishments. If you work on it each day, eventually you will achieve your dream. War and Peace was written, in longhand, page by page.

7. Enjoy it – When you have reached your goal and you are living your dream, be sure to enjoy it. In fact, enjoy the trip too. Give yourself some rewards along the way. Give yourself a huge reward when you get there. Help others enjoy it. Be gracious and generous. Use your dream to better others. Then go back to number 1. And dream a little bigger this time!

– Chris Widener

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 Your comments are welcomed below. Thank you.


Posted in General Management, Life Management, The Most Important Meetings You’ll Ever Attend Are the Meetings You Have With Yourself with tags , , , , on April 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.


You are your most important critic. There is no opinion so 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 that tomorrow – I already knew that…I already do that.” I believe this self-talk, this psycholinguistics or language of the mind can be controlled to work for us, especially in the building of 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 stepping-stone 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: “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 volunteer your own name first, clearly; 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 own name up front, 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, health, living in an abundant country, family, friends, 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 took your BAG – blessings, accomplishments and goals – to a party, and spread them on the floor, in comparison to all your friends and the people you admire, you’d take your own bag home, realizing that you have as much going for yourself 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 fifty 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 Your comments are welcomed below. Thank you.

THE AGENDA by Seth Godin

Posted in The Agenda with tags , , , , , on April 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.

THE AGENDA by Seth Godin

The job of the CEO isn’t to check things off the agenda. Her job is to set the agenda, to figure out what’s next.

Now that more and more of us are supposed to be CEO of our own lives and careers, it might be time to rethink who’s setting your agenda.

– Seth Godin

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 Your comments are welcomed below. Thank you.


Posted in "Be a Person Who Practices Non-Situational Integrity" by Denis Waitley, General Management, Life Management with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 13, 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.


Integrity, a standard of personal morality and ethics, is not relative to the situation you happen to find yourself in and doesn’t sell out to expediency. Its short supply is getting even shorter, but without it, leadership is a faade. Learning to see through exteriors is a critical development in the transition from adolescence to adulthood. Sadly, most people continue to be taken in by big talk and media popularity, flashy or bizarre looks, and expensive possessions. They move through most of their years convinced that the externals are what count, and are thus doomed to live shallow lives. Men and women who rely on their looks or status to feel good about themselves inevitably do everything they can to enhance the impression they make – and do correspondingly little to develop their inner value and personal growth. The paradox is that the people who try hardest to impress are often the least impressive. Puffing to appear powerful is an attempt to hide insecurity.

In the Roman Empires’ final corrupt years, status was conveyed by the number of carved statues of the gods displayed in people’s courtyards. As in every business, the Roman statue industry had good and bad sculptors and merchants. As the empire became ever more greedy and narcissistic, the bad got away with as much as they could. Sculptors became adept at using wax to hide cracks and chips in marble and most people couldn’t discern the difference in quality.

Statues began to weep or melt under the scrutiny of sunlight or heat in foyers. For statues of authentic fine quality, carved by reputable artists, people had to go to the artisan marketplace in the Roman Quad and look for booths with signs declaring sine cera, which translates in English to mean, without wax. We, too, look for the real thing in friends, products, and services. In people, we value sincerity, from the words, sine cera, more than almost any other virtue. We expect it from our leaders, which we are not getting in our political, media, business and sports’ heroes for the most part. We must demand it of ourselves.

Integrity that strengthens an inner value system is the real human bottom line. Commitment to a life of integrity in every situation demonstrates that your word is more valuable than a surety bond. It means you don’t base your decisions on being politically correct. You do what’s right, not fashionable. You know that truth is absolute, not a device for manipulating others. And you win in the long run, when the stakes are highest. If I were writing a single commandment for leadership it would be, “You shall conduct yourself in such a manner as to set an example worthy of imitation by your children and subordinates.” In simpler terms, if they shouldn’t be doing it, neither should you. I told my kids, “clean up your room,” and they inspected the condition of my garage. I told them that honesty was our family’s greatest virtue, and they commented on the radar detector I had installed in my car. When I told them about the vices of drinking and wild parties, they watched from the upstairs balcony, the way our guests behaved at our adult functions.

It’s too bad some of our political and business leaders don’t understand that “What you are speaks so loudly that no one really pays attention to what you say.” But it is even more true that if what you are matches what you say, your life will speak forcefully indeed.

It’s hardly a secret that learning ethical standards begins at home. A child’s first inklings of a sense of right and wrong come from almost imperceptible signals received long before he or she reaches the age of rational thought about morality. Maybe you’re asking yourself what kind of model you are for future generations, remembering that people are either honest or dishonest, that integrity is all or nothing, and that children can’t be fooled in such basic matters. They learn by example.

To remind myself of my responsibility to live without wax, with sincerity and integrity, I took the liberty of re-writing Edgar A. Guest’s poem, “Sermons We See” to apply to setting an example as a real winner for my children and grandchildren.

I’d rather watch a winner, than hear one any day. I’d rather have one walk with me, than merely show the way. The eye’s a better pupil and more willing than the ear. Fine counsel is confusing, but example’s always clear. And the best of all the coaches are the ones who live their deeds. For to see the truth in action is what everybody needs. I can soon learn how to do it, if you’ll let me see it done. I can watch your hands in action, but your tongue too fast may run. And the lectures you deliver may be very wise and true. But, I’d rather get my lessons by observing what you do. For I may misunderstand you and the high advice you give. But there’s no misunderstanding how you act and how you live. I’d rather watch a winner, than hear one any day.

Hey, politician, business leader, motion picture producer, television actor, rock star, sports star. Hey mom, hey dad. Don’t tell me how to live. Show me by your actions. You’re my role models.

Action Idea: When you talk to others, beginning right now, don’t try to impress them by talking about your accomplishments. Let your actions speak for you. Ask more questions.

– 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 Your comments are welcomed below. Thank you.

Inspirational Quotes and Images – Updated

Posted in General Management, Life Management with tags , , , , , , , on April 11, 2011 by Robert Finkelstein

“Every time you face a challenge, you are being tested as to how strong your beliefs and intentions are. People who go through great hardships to achieve greatness have a kind of aura about them that says: ‘Don’t mess with me, I know what I’m about. I have been thoroughly tested in battle.’ Confront your challenges with a brave face. The greater the challenge, the greater the gift of power.” – A. C. Ping

My Quotes and Images page is updated daily.

To see the entire list of 100s of great quotes and beautiful images, please click on this link.
Quotes and Images

I invite you and your friends to subscribe to my blog, “Behind the Scenes – Operate at a Higher Level”. You’ll find the “Email Subscription” box on each page of my blog. If you have any business questions or comments, I’d love to hear from you. Thanks.

STEPPING STONES (One Day at a Time) from DailyOM

Posted in Life Management, Stepping Stones (One Day at a Time) with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 8, 2011 by Robert Finkelstein

STEPPING STONES (One Day at a Time) from DailyOM

Our lives are made of stepping stones, one experience after another in perfect and divine order.

The years of our life do not arrive all at once; they greet us day by day. With the descent of each setting sun, we are able to rest our heads and let the world take care of itself for a while. We may rest assured throughout the night, knowing that the dawn will bring with it a chance to meet our lives anew, donning fresh perspectives and dream-inspired hopes. The hours that follow, before we return to sleep once more, are for us to decide how we want to live and learn, laugh and grow. Our lives are sweeter and more manageable because we must experience them this way: one day at a time.

Imagine the future stretching out before you and try to notice if you feel any tension or overwhelm at the prospect of the journey still to come. Perhaps you have recently made a lifestyle change, like beginning a new diet or quitting smoking, and the idea of continuing this healthy new behavior for years seems daunting. Maybe you have started a new job or are newly married and can feel an undercurrent of anxiety about your ability to succeed. If you can shift your focus from what may happen years down the line and return it to the day that is before you right now, you may find a measure of calm and renewed confidence in your capabilities. You may also discover an inner faith that the future will take care of itself.

The way we show up for our lives today and tomorrow has an enormous affect on who we will be and what we will be experiencing years from now. If we can remain fully engaged in the day at hand, enjoying all it has to offer and putting our energy into making the most of it, we will find that we are perfectly ready and capable to handle any future when it arrives.

– DailyOM

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 Your comments are welcomed below. Thank you.


Posted in General Management, How To Squeeze The Most Out Of Your Time, Life Management with tags , , , , , , , on April 4, 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.

How To Squeeze The Most Out Of Your Time by Brian Tracy

How do you start your day? Years ago I started planning mine by writing everything down I would have to do, the night before. I found that drawing up your list the night before prompts your subconscious to work on your plans and goals while you sleep. When you wake up, you feel ready to tackle your challenges.

When prioritizing and planning your time, consider the following points:

• Key questions.
What is the highest value-added action I can do?
What can I, and only I, do that I’ve done well before to make a difference?
Why am I on the payroll?
The answers to these questions help identify all that needs to be done and in what order. That, in turn, will bolster personal productivity.
• Values.
Decide what’s important to you, and in what order. Make sure your values don’t conflict with work. Energy spent worrying diminishes your abilities.
• Consequences.
Every action has consequences – good and bad. Consider what rewards you’d reap by completing a task. Then, compare those rewards with the consequences of putting it aside. This process makes it easier to see which goals have a higher value.
• The Pareto Principle.
Vilfredo Pareto, a 19th-century engineer, argued that 20% of what you do accounts for 80% of the value. When considering the importance of a task, ask yourself whether it’s among the 20% that creates the most value.
• Urgency vs. Importance.
An unexpected phone call or a drop-in visitor may be urgent, but the consequences of dealing with either may not be important in the long run.
The urgent is other-oriented, it’s caused by someone else. Important things are self-directed and have the greatest value for you.
• The Limiting Step.
Standing between you and what you want to achieve is the limiting step. That’s the bottleneck that determines how quickly you can reach your goal. It’s important to identify that step and focus single-mindedly on getting that one thing done.
• A Written Plan.
Lists of goals, tasks and objectives are of no help unless they’re written. Putting your plans on paper makes a seemingly elusive goal more concrete. There’s a connection that takes place between the brain and the hand. When you don’t write it down, it’s fuzzy, but as you write it and revise it, it becomes clear.
• Visualization.
See yourself doing what you need to get done. Visualization trains the subconscious to focus on completing tasks. Say, for example, that you want to begin each morning by exercising. Visualizing yourself doing sit-ups and push-ups the night before conditions the mind to do those the next day. When you prime you mind, it wakes you up even before the alarm clock goes off.

Remember you are a winner and preparation goes a long way in helping you achieve all your goals.

– Brian Tracy

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 Your comments are welcomed below. Thank you.


Posted in General Management, Life Management, Unlock Your Full Potential with tags , , , , on March 30, 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.


If you have ever made a resolution to change, you know how difficult it can be to successfully make that change. Our natural tendency is to keep doing things the way that we have always done them, even after we learn that there’s a better way. This inability to adjust can have devastating consequences — for example, many people with major heart problems do not alter their diet and lifestyle, even when their doctors tell them that they must change or die.

When our attempts to change fail, we too often assume that we’re just too old, too stubborn, too undisciplined or too lazy to change. In truth, our attempts to change usually fail because we are succeeding so brilliantly at a different, conflicting goal. Often this is a goal that we don’t even realize we are pursuing.

Example #1: A manager consistently fails at his goal of delegating responsibilities to his staff, even though he knows his department cannot function smoothly if he cannot share his responsibilities. When he was young, his blue-collar father instilled in him a belief that people who do things themselves are better than those who hand off responsibilities to others. Now grown, the manager unwittingly continues to pursue this goal of being a “real man” by doing everything himself at the expense of his goal to delegate.

Example #2:
A woman regularly loses 20 pounds and then quickly regains them. She is aware that she is discouraged each time she puts the weight back on. What she is not aware of is the way she also is managing — each time she regains the weight — to extricate herself from her angry and overwhelming feelings at being treated as a sex object whenever she is thinner. Overeating allows her to achieve her hidden goal at the expense of her outward goal to be fit and healthy.

Example #3: A married man knows that he must stop lecturing his wife about minor financial missteps for the good of their relationship, but he finds himself doing so again and again. These lectures are a way for him to pursue his hidden goal of feeling as though he is in control of his financial life — but they come at the expense of his goal of a happy relationship with his wife.

Seven steps to achieving change…


Before we can achieve goals that have proved elusive for us, we must identify the hidden, conflicting goals that stand in the way…

1. List the things you do — and the things you don’t do — that inhibit your progress toward your stated goal.
Your goal is to spend more time with your family. Your list might include, “I work late many days, even when the office isn’t very busy”… or, “I accept every request for my time, even tasks that I don’t enjoy or that really aren’t my responsibility.” Be honest with yourself — list as many inhibiting behaviors as possible.

2. For each inhibiting behavior that you listed in step #1, ask yourself, “What fear or fears are raised in my mind when I imagine myself doing exactly the opposite?”
If your goal-blocking behavior is working late, you might write, “When I picture myself walking out of the office at 5:00 pm, I worry that my boss and coworkers will consider me lazy.” Or, “I worry that tasks will be mishandled if I’m not in the office.” Or, “I worry that people who report to me will goof off if I’m not around.”

3. Rewrite the fears you listed in step #2 in a way that expresses your commitment to your hidden conflicting goals. These are the hidden goals that prevent you from achieving your stated goal.
If you wrote in step #2 that you were worried about being seen as lazy for leaving work early, you might now write, “I am committed to being seen as hardworking.”

If you wrote that you feared that tasks would be mishandled in your absence, you might now write, “I am committed to not trusting anyone else with responsibilities.”


Once you have identified a conflicting goal and recognized that it stands in your way, you might find that you simply can leave this goal behind — but don’t count on it. Our hidden, conflicting goals often are deeply rooted in our “core beliefs,” the ideas and philosophies that shape our sense of who we are. Our minds will strongly resist any attempt at change that challenges these beliefs. It is more practical to move forward in small, incremental steps that give your mind time to adjust to your intended changes. To do this…

4. Go back to the fears you described in step #2, and list the assumptions that are built into them. The idea is to explore the worst things that can happen if you no longer pursue your no-longer-hidden conflicting goals — and to consider whether these results actually are likely. In many cases, they aren’t — they just are irrational fears. Even very intelligent people can hold on to very significant erroneous ideas when those ideas are related to their core beliefs.
Example: If your fear is that you will be considered lazy if you occasionally leave work at 5:00, you are assuming that leaving at 5:00 even occasionally is automatically equated with laziness… that arriving early counts for nothing… that effort level during the day counts for nothing… and that staying late on other days counts for nothing. Are these assumptions true? Do your colleagues and bosses really think this way or just you? Don’t other hardworking employees occasionally leave at 5:00?

5. Imagine what would happen if you pursued your stated goal and things did not go perfectly.
What would the negative consequences actually be? Would there be positive, liberating consequences as well?
Example: Would your job or performance bonus really be at risk if you left at 5:00 a few times a week… or just your reputation as the employee who puts in the longest hours? Would spending more time with your family be worth losing this reputation? Would it be liberating to shed the title of the “guy who always works late”?

6. Discuss your desire to alter your behavior with those who will be affected by your changes. These prechange chats reduce the odds that those around you will misinterpret your altered behavior… increase the odds that they will offer support… and make it more difficult to chicken out, because others now know your stated goal.
Example: Ask your boss if he/she would have any objection to your leaving at 5:00 on slow days to spend time with your family. Explain that your commitment to the company is as great as ever and that leaving at 5:00 when there is not a lot to do will make it easier for you to stay later when there is work that needs to be done.

7. Adjust your behavior in small ways that challenge the importance of your conflicting goal without forsaking it entirely. If the results of this experiment are positive, adjust your behavior a little more.
Example: Head home at 5:00, but bring your laptop and cell phone and instruct colleagues to call or e-mail you if they need you for any reason. If they do fine without you, head home at 5:00 on the next slow day without the instructions to call. If that works, try leaving the cell phone and laptop at home and joining your family on an outing after work.

If making a small change doesn’t seem to work, ask yourself if you may have “rigged” the experiment to fail. This is a common, unwitting practice. One manager we worked with discovered that he had done a poor job briefing his employees before he left so that they would fail and “prove” his indispensability.

– Robert Kegan, 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 Your comments are welcomed below. Thank you.