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    October 2007

    Day 1: Change what needs changing, not what's easy

    October 31, 2007 1826 Views

    Note: This is the first post in our "Change is Good" series.

    "It doesn't work to leap a twenty-foot chasm in two ten-foot jumps." -American Proverb

    Have you ever had a bad experience at a restaurant? The coffee was cold. The soda was warm. The salad had a hair in it. The waiter came by a total of two times the entire meal. It wouldn't matter if they had the best, juiciest steak in the world, you probably wouldn't go back.

    It's the same thing in business. You can spend $100 million dollars on marketing and advertising, but if your customer service leaves something to be desired you're going to lose customers. You can have all the meetings you want. Create another focus group. Whatever. What you really should be focusing on is your direct contact with the consumer.

    Are you a manager? Take some time today to talk to your people. Remind them how you couldn't run the company without them; that they are the backbone that keeps the company from falling over. Be available to help them with their issues. It's amazing what a little positive reinforcement can do for their attitudes, and it will most definitely come through in their contact with customers.

    You've all heard how you can hear a smile on the other end of the phone, so the trick is to make your employees genuinely happy to work for you.

    Not in a management position? This philosophy applies to life in general, too. Your kids, your spouse, your friends- they'll all be easier to deal with if you're not fighting them every step of the way. Take a look at things from their perspective and try to understand where they are coming from. You'll be surprised what you might learn.

    Stay tuned. There are 20 more ways to inspire change coming. If you can't wait to hear them all, check out the book, Change is Good...You Go First.

    Change is good...You go first

    October 30, 2007 2476 Views

    "They say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself." -Andy Warhol

    We're all creatures of habit. Everyone is. It's hard to make a major change, whether it's in your life, your relationships, your business. Anything. Nothing is easy about change. But it is simple. Change happens all around us, and many times we have no control over it, but we do have control over how we react to change. To a certain extent we can create and inspire change in those around us. It's all about the attitude.

    Today marks the release of our latest gift book, Change is Good...You Go First. This book is a road map for bringing about change in your life and in your work, especially as it applies to managers trying to motivate and inspire their employees. It outlines 21 different ways to move forward and help you to achieve your goals in business and in life.

    For the next month, each post on the blog will cover one of these methods. I hope that each of you will use at least one of these techniques to make your life better, and enrich your relationships. Rather than posting direct excerpts from the book, these posts will be my take on the methods outlined in each chapter of the book.

    Our goal is simple...to help you reach yours.

    Stay motivated even when you hit a brick wall

    October 29, 2007 2398 Views

    Brick WallMotivation is a funny thing. It comes in small spurts. If you're anything like me, you'll be ultra-motivated when you have a new idea, or when you come up with a solution to a problem. The difference between normal people and ultra-successful people is that the most successful people find ways to stay motivated all the time.

    Sometime we hit brick walls. Impediments to progress. Sometimes the world is out to get us. So what do you do to stay motivated? Here are a few tips from John over at Pickthebrain.

    • Set fantastic longterm goals: How are you going to make $10 million dollars by the time you're 60 if you don't set your sights even higher? Don't be afraid to shoot for the stars. Even if you only get 10% of the way there, $1 million is still a lot more than most people ever make. Set your goals high, and the creative juices start flowing. Your mind will come up with some way to get there.
    • Go easy on yourself: Don't beat yourself up for failing. Each failure is one step closer to success.
    • Find friends along the way: If you've read Napoleon Hill, you know about the Mastermind. No one is perfect at everything. Surround yourself with the smartest people you know, and the sum becomes greater than its parts.
    • Create self-reinforcing habits: Every success makes the next one a little easier.

    Read the whole article here.

    Stay in the game

    October 26, 2007 1998 Views

    Basketball netHere's another story from one of our readers. It goes to show that success depends more on will than anything else. Just stay in the game, and the game gets better. Thanks for your story, Margie!


    My First Basketball Game

    I never knew I could learn so much about life and success from a game of basketball.

    My mother was an athlete. She was a tom-boy, and growing up she played every sport she could. This was, of course, in the 1950s, when girls didn't do such things and there wasn't a lot of opportunity.

    When I was growing up in the 70s, things had changed. There were girls leagues everywhere, and my mom enrolled me in all of them. I played softball, basketball, volleyball, and tennis. I don't know whether I ever really wanted to play, but I never said no. I suppose it was peer pressure--after all, I knew lots of other girls who were playing, too, and my mom was always the coach.

    When I got to high school, I tried out for the Freshman basketball team and made it. Before we started practicing, however, the coach gave us a talk and told us that it was going to be a lot of hard work. We would have to be at school at 5 a.m. for practices. He would be hard on us, and he expected us not to be quitters. If that was going to be our attitude, he said, we might as well quit now. So guess what? I quit. I decided it was too much effort. I was not my mom. I really didn't want to be a jock. I was more interested in "girly" things like music and theatre. Trying out for Freshman basketball was the last time I ever played. That was 1982!

    Whatever possessed me to join a team now, I'm not sure I will ever know. I got an email that they were starting up a church league and looking for players. Something in me just told me to join. So I did. Let me repeat: I don't know why.

    As time passed and our first game started to become a reality (there were no practices, by the way--just games every Saturday), I started panicking a little bit. It had been 25 years--did I even remember the rules? Could I shoot a basket? What the heck was I doing????

    Alas, our first game day did arrive, and I headed to the church. There I met the other women on my team--all of them at least 10 years younger than I. Half of them were clearly real athletes and played all the time. More panic set in.

    There were only six on our team that first day, so one person got to sit out. I was hoping to be the first, but someone else called it, so there I was, totally unsure of myself, thrown in the middle of a real game!

    About two minutes into the first quarter, I was dying! It had been YEARS since I had run so much! My heart was racing, and I literally wanted to throw up. I tried to sub out but couldn't, because I didn't know the rules. Finally our captain told me I could go out, and so I sat on the sidelines for awhile to catch my breath and collect myself.

    Again I wondered what the heck I was doing. What was to stop me from just leaving? I was too old. I wasn't in shape. I didn't even know the rules!

    But I didn't go home. I stayed. And when it was time to play again, I played as best I could. I didn't make any baskets, but I passed the ball to team members who did, and I prevented the other team from making some! I sat out a lot, but I got back in when I was needed. And you know what? We won! And I knew deep down that each week, if I kept playing and kept practicing, I would get better. Running would be easier. I would understand more. And who knows? I might even score one for the team.

    In the end, that's exactly what happened. I built up the stamina to play an entire game without sitting out, and you know what what? By season's end, I had even scored 6 points for the team.

    Yes, I learned a lot about basketball that first day, but I learned more about the principles of success.

    I learned that the most important thing is to STAY IN THE GAME! Maybe things aren't going as well as you'd hoped. Maybe you feel like you're floundering and don't know the rules. Maybe you need to sit out for a minute and catch your breath. Just stay in the game! If you keep playing and keep practicing, you will get better. It will get easier. You will understand more, and you will win.

    Copyright 2007, Margie Remmers

    Margie Remmers is the author of the famous inspirational story, Parable of the Clothes. She is a business owner and entrepreneur, a mom, and, now, a basketball player. She can be reached at margie@asimplesolution.info.

    Call me about a new car

    October 25, 2007 1703 Views

    Broken DownWe haven't had any reader stories in a while. Remember guys, I'll give you a free book if you send me an inspiring story to print. Here's a tale to help you remember that there's still kindness in the world.

    Ok…yes, it was my fault. I let my gas tank get too low. Maybe you've done the same thing yourself. Maybe you've run out of gas right at a major intersection during the morning traffic scramble getting to work. You pop the hood, jiggle a few wires, and check the battery cable hoping that something will make your car start as you stand alone and helpless while cars go by.
    Some people drive by pretending that everything is fine. Stalled car…what stalled car??? Some people are annoyed, even angry, at the inconvenience you've caused them by having made them switch lanes to go around you. Others have a look of compassion mixed with fear; fear that they might have to put their feelings of empathy into actions that would force them out of their numb morning routine. A few totally snub you. You aren't even worth a glance, you belong to a lower class, you don't drive a luxury car with $600 per month payments.
    So there I stand trying to decide what to do. Should I push my car through the intersection to the lot across the street? Maybe I should push my car up the incline, against traffic to the lot behind me. Should I leave the car there and run a quarter mile down the road and call for a tow truck?
    Suddenly my hopes are stirred. A well-dressed gentleman in a new Suburban is saying something to me with his hand extended. What's this? What could he be handing me in my time of need? I reach out in anticipation. Why yes…it's…it's…a BUSINESS CARD! Surely now my troubles are over! This is obviously no ordinary business card….it's one from a Customer Assistance Manager at the Airport Chevrolet car lot. I'm at a loss.Maybe I'm just dense, but how will this get my car out of traffic?
    "Call me about a new car," he says with a big, optimistic, dollar-sign smile as he drives away. I don't know whether to laugh or hurl an insult his way….I laugh. I feel like the wounded man lying on the road to Jerico as the Levite and Priest walked by. Here I am stranded in the middle of the road and yet to this Customer Assistant Manager I'm just another potential customer that can help him pay off his Suburban. Yes sir, good PR approach! That's the kind of customer service that will really drum up business! I continue trying to figure out what to do, my hope almost depleted, my faith in mankind waning fast. It seems that help today means profiting from others difficulties.
    "Do you need some help?" I look up stunned. It's a young man in an older pickup, wearing a maintenance uniform. "Ah….yes….I do," I say slowly, expecting another business card. Instead, this stranger turned neighbor, pulls into the nearest lot, runs across the road, helps me push my wagon into the nearest lot, and then even drives me to the nearest gas station. Trevor tells me the same thing happened to him a few weeks before on his way to work at the Manor.
    THANK YOU VERY MUCH, TREVOR! Thanks for going out of your way and sharing 5 minutes of your life to help me in my minor crisis. Thanks for being a true neighbor. And, thank you to everyone else who was at that intersection that same morning for bringing the Parable of the Good Samaritan to life for me! You all acted out your parts perfectly! May I never forget who and what a true neighbor is!

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