Hire Yourself Every Morning

I was fired as program director of a major market radio station once for succeeding too much.

The station was number one in teens and young adults but the station said they couldn’t sell that to advertisers so they axed me and brought in someone to attract an older audience.

It didn’t work.

The station went on to lose listeners and eventually did so poorly the owners sold the radio station.

Peter Laviolette is a Stanley Cup winning coach hired by The Philadelphia Flyers a few years ago to help them do the same thing. In his first year, Lavy took The Flyers to the Stanley Cup finals. Over the ensuing years, he did well enough to earn a raise and contract extension.

But something awful happened.

After losing the first three games of that new contract season, the team’s impatient 80-year old owner allowed this winning coach to be fired. Laviolette sat out the rest of the year and eventually signed with The Nashville Predators, which at the All-Star break this year had the best record in the NHL.

Lousy coach? Good coach?

These are just two of the many stories that we hear too often – perhaps you have one of them as well.

Getting fired when you’re doing the job – even doing a great job or earning a promotion.

In our venture capital/results now world, more and more people are becoming victims of bean counters who don’t even know what the people they are firing do so well.

They may get to tell you whether you have a job or not, but they don’t get to say that you have failed when you actually succeeded.

In fact, study any successful person in almost any type of career and you will see that along the way some damn fool doubted their ability to get the job done.

Don’t you do that.

I’m doing just fine.

Peter Laviolette has a shot at another Stanley Cup ring – a year ago when someone else decided he wasn’t the coach they wanted, he didn’t believe it.

And you will live another day to do what you do best.

Hire yourself every morning – and remind yourself why.

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Stop Trying To Improve Everything

Life is more stressful than ever.

We need to be the best, do the best – super-achieve.  And unfortunately we sell this snake oil to friends, associates, family and even ourselves.

And in the name of candor this hits close to home for me, as I am a perfectionist – guilty as charged.

Could you imagine saying that your children are cute, but they could be cuter.

Or that your friend is so loyal and caring but could be more so.

That your day on the beach was beautiful but if you didn’t have those two white clouds over the ocean, it would have been even better.

Thinking like this is pure insanity.

There are times in the day when pointing our shortcomings is worthwhile especially if you’re in charge of the wellbeing of others.  But not all day.

So, take the challenge I am taking for myself today – don’t try to improve anyone for 24 hours.

In fact, laugh to yourself when you get the urge and wonder how this poor person is going to go on without my perfectionist attitude.

Of course, they will and you will be closer to them.

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Put a Stop to Being Ignored

You’d think in the instant text-messaging world in which we live it would be impossible to not receive an answer to a text.

But it happens and it happens more than most people think.

No answer to your email or text, no problem.

No return phone call?  Why not?

But it may seem that when others want YOU to respond things are different.

What to do?

Here is a gem that may help.

People want what they cannot have.

They crave that which is often out of reach.  It’s part of the human condition.

So when you find yourself being ignored, take a step back and operate under the digital radar.  It’s not always on purpose but there is too much communication sometimes.

When I was a professor at USC I learned that no matter how much I prepared, or cared to teach the elements of the course, I could only do so when the students wanted to learn.

That was it.

Make them want to learn.

Same with relationships in the digital world.

Make them want to converse with you.  Just because we can doesn’t mean we should pound away until we get a response.

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Win the Approval of Others

The way not to win the approval of others is to spend your time trying to please them.

When trying to win the approval of others, look to yourself first.

The baseball great Ted Williams batted over .400 one season, something that has happened very infrequently in the sport.

But that means that 60% of the time, Williams was out – didn’t get a hit, didn’t help the team.

When we want to win the approval of others we must never try to hit 1.000 sucking up to them.

We must be true to ourselves.

Even when people do not agree, they seem to admire a person who is comfortable in their own shoes.

So today – just for one day – embrace yourself, make all that you are good enough without question, be confident of the gifts you have and even grateful for having them.

Then step up to the plate and do the best you can.

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Make Meaningful Life Changes

The same reason we have to-do lists loaded with projects that take longer than a few minutes is why most of us have a hard time making meaningful life changes.

Big work to-dos take hours if not days, weeks or months.  Achievers know the key to completion is to break the project down into many little projects that can get closer to the end goal.

Same with meaningful life changes.

We want to be a better parent but that concept is so overwhelming it’s hard to know where to begin.

We want to be a better friend but it involves so much.  Where do we start?

We know we should live in the now to be happy but what do you do first?

We want to make a career change (or are forced to) but the thought is so overwhelming that it cannot be done in a few hours or even a few days.

Try this today.

Focus on one thing.

Only one thing instead of trying to change everything.

Be a better parent by helping children construct stronger boundaries – just one day, just one time.

Be a better friend by being a better listener for just one conversation not forever.  Forever cannot come before the first time happens.

Live in the now for one walk – around the block – concentrating on gratitude.  Just for a few minutes not all day.

And effect real career change by first deciding the one thing that will make you the happiest so you can take another small step toward the goal you just identified tomorrow.

Even small steps are big accomplishments.

And they feel just as good as swallowing up everything we want to do in one big move which, of course, is not possible.

Do something – anything – no matter how small and you have begun a meaningful life change.

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