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    April 2008

    Mondays With Mac: Find a Mentor

    April 29, 2008 2555 Views

    Nothing boosts your self-confidence or nurtures your positive attitude more than a mentor. And remember're never too old or too young to have one

    The ability to find and benefit from a mentor is one of the key lessons to be drawn from the extraordinary life of Eleanor Roosevelt. As Robin Gerber, author of Leadership the Eleanor Roosevelt Way explains, great mentors "will not only lead you on your future professional path but also help you to realize your full potential- spiritually, mentally, emotionally."

    Eleanor did not have a happy childhood. After losing her parents at a young age, she had no one to show her any respect or affection. And because she was unattractive and lacked certain social graces, her own family members- not to mention other children- insulted and ridiculed her.

    Ordinarily such a childhood would lead to a lack of self-esteem and confidence. Nothing, as we all know, was further from the truth. She was not afraid to fly in the face of convention, to do exactly as she pleased with the whole world watching. How did the shy, unattractive girl become the smiling, confident Eleanor Roosevelt?

    Much of the success of this great lady has to do with another lady- a mentor she met in boarding school. Marie Souvestre was the French headmistress of the English boarding school to which Roosevelt was sent when she was 15 years old. Instead of laughing at Roosevelt, Souvestre encouraged and complimented Eleanor on her intellect, her proficiency in the French language, and her attitude toward the other girls. Slowly, Souvestre built up young Eleanor's confidence, in essence creating the young woman who later would take on the world.

    Ask yourself who could make a positive difference in your life. When faced with difficult choices or challenges, to whom could you turn for guidance? The answer might not come to you immediately, and that's probably for the best. What I would suggest is that you go through your address books and make a list of candidates. List the strengths and weaknesses of each person, and rank potential mentors in the order of preference. At that point, I'd arrange a lunch with your top choice (or send a letter) to gauge their interest. You might be surprised at how flattered some people are that you asked; however, if a mentoring relationship doesn't work out, move to your second choice. I've always lived by the "nothing ventured, nothing gained" theory, and selecting a mentor is one place to put it to the test.

    I also suggest you read books specifically about mentoring relationships, but for now I hope I've helped you take that first step. The right mentor can change your life in many positive ways.

    Mondays With Mac: Use Emotional Triggers

    April 22, 2008 2796 Views

    What is an "emotional trigger?" Simply put, it's a deliberate act that can stir your emotions and change the way you feel. It can be a very powerful and effective technique if you understand how and when to use it.

    Different triggers will work for different people. Your main trigger might be a love letter from your spouse, a card from your child, or a passage from your favorite book. Your triggers are personal, as unique as you are.

    One of my most powerful triggers is music...words and sounds that speak to my soul and affect the way I feel. I've created a special tape that I use if I sense my attitude heading in the wrong direction. On this tape are three songs, and each has a very personal meaning. I'll get in the car, put in the tape, turn it up as loud as my eardrums can manage, and then...sing along. And by the way, even if you can't sing (and I definitely can't), singing along is key, because hearing and expressing the words has a "double barrel" effect on attitude.

    Try it. Make your own personal tape or CD to stir your soul when stirring is needed. Here's one important key, however...use it sparingly, only when you need it, or it will lose its effect.

    Mondays With Mac: Passion Fuels Enthusiasm

    April 14, 2008 2403 Views

    A bellman made my day recently. After checking into an Atlanta hotel, Sam (his name was on his badge) picked up my two bags, gave a big smile, and said, "Isn't it a gorgeous day today?" I nodded and said, "Sure is."

    He then said, "I just spent the entire weekend with my two grandkids, and I can't remember when I've had more fun. Aren't kids great?" I nodded again, and said, "They are special," and then I added, "Sam, it seems like you're having a great day." He then looked up with a grin I'll never forget and said, "Mr. Anderson, every day above ground is a great day!"

    I walked into my room feeling recharged by Sam's enthusiasm. It was obvious that he had chosen to live life to the fullest, and given the opportunity to touch someone's life in a positive way, my bet is that he took it, every time.

    Every day we all have that same opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of others. We can choose to mope about our lot in life, or we can decide to live in awe, touching hearts along the way.

    Ah, yes...we all know ducks who make lots of noise, quacking and complaining about their problems in life. And then there are eagles who go about their business and consistently soar above the crowd. Thanks, Sam, for soaring into my life.

    Mondays With Mac: Patience is bitter, but the fruit can be sweet

    April 7, 2008 2218 Views

    Leo Tolstoy said, "The two most powerful warriors are patience and time."

    If I had read that quote 25 years ago, it would have meant little to me, but today I have a few "business battle scars" that could have easily been avoided had I listened to what Tolstoy said.

    A few years ago, I had a speaking engagement in Hawaii. I arrived about midnight and a driver met me at the airport to take me to my hotel. He was young man with a real passion for life. On the way to the hotel, he shared his love for surfing. I asked him if it was dangerous and he said, "Very dangerous, if you don't know what you're doing."

    He said that many people drown when a large wave takes them under and instincts tell them to fight to get back to the surface. The key, he said is to do just the opposite; let your body go limp and the currents will bring you to the surface.

    As a leader there are times to act, and there are times to wait for the right answers to surface. Remember the quote from a very wise man...Benjamin Franklin,

    "He that can have patience can have what he will."

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