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Your Past. Your Present. Your Future.

Meeting an old friend is like looking into your past, reminding you of what you love and how you got to where you are. Tweetable.

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When I tweeted this I did not expect the number of positive emotions to come from this sentiment. I began to think deeper about how I felt that night. There are a few friends that some people have that you may not see or talk to in years. However, when you get together, you are transported back to a time that is very different from now. You are yourself, but an outdated model if you will. When I met this friend I was back at the Motorola Razr version of myself – before the Blackberry and multiple versions of iPhones.

Thinking about it in terms of phone upgrades made me think how far I have upgraded myself. My mindset was of a more limited functionality. In a world where everything is so fast-paced and changing rapidly it reminded me that I am achieving my goals. My past has shaped my present and my present is shaping my future. My goal of continual education is paying off.

My present is right here, right now. I am focused. I am focused on learning as much as possible about everything I come in contact with. I am focused on my family. I am focused on my job. I am focused on being my best possible self. For years I have stood firm with this mindset. To see a prior version of myself made me understand that even though my general goals and values have remained the same it has propelled me to new heights.

Do you have a friend like this or have had a similar experience recently? If so, share it with me below. I want to hear about it.

In my tweet I used the word love. I love life. I love my wife, family and friends. I love nostalgia. I love ice cream before dinner. I love to laugh. I love to play complex jazz music at obnoxiously loud levels next to the guy who’s speakers are thumping with hip hop loud enough to rattle the tires clear off your car while stopped at a red light. Sorry for the run-on sentence. But seriously, I love the little things. The thing I discovered was that while my mindset had been upgraded, my love had remained the same. Sure love may evolve, but the specific things that are true to your heart always remain the same.

In business, sometimes brands lose site of what they love and/or what their audience loves. They lose their focus on divert from the plan. Personally I have been down on myself that maybe I am not growing as fast as I should be. Looking back those 5-6 years changed my mind. Look back into the last 5-6 years of your brand. Is your underlying love and focus still there?

Action item: A mentor of mine once told me this and I think it may help you better understand my point. Put your goals, your hopes, your wants and anything else on a piece of paper. Have your spouse do it with you for fun. Tuck the pieces of paper in a jar and stash it away. In five years, open it. You may want to put an expiration date on it or open it on a special day like an anniversary or new years day. When you finally open it you will be amazed at how far you have come.

The Ultimate New Year’s Resolution

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2013Do not put off until tomorrow what you can do today. Growing up, this is something I have heard time and again from my parents. You may have heard it yourself, but if not listen up.

Whether you would like to think it or not our days on Earth are limited. The only thing that will allow us to maximize the amount of time we spend at work, at home, at the gym, or at life in general depends on our internal self-motivation. Think about what your goals are in life. Every year, in preparation for New Year’s Day, we hear people claiming they will get out of debt, strive for a promotion, be nicer to others, or the infamous lose weight. What are you doing this very moment to get closer to that goal?

Actionable Goals

The key is to take steps to move forward and set yourself actionable goals. Personally, I set an actionable goal that I would grow my company’s social media accounts and the hits to our website by 100% in 2012. I spent the entire year working towards it and making little steps forward. I can proudly say I have now surpassed that goal.

An actionable goal is one that can be met, is measurable and has a time frame associated with it. Losing weight, for example, is not an actionable goal. An actionable goal for losing weight would read something like this: To lose 10 pounds by June 2013 in time for my best friend’s wedding. Set. Work. Achieve. Set again.

Move Forward

Moving forward is the key point. If you want to lose weight you may have to get up an hour earlier and work out before work. If you want to become a better public speaker a wise first step would be going to the web-site of your local Toastmasters club. If you are working towards a promotion at work you may not be able to clock-in at 9 and clock-out at 5 every day. Whatever the case may be, it takes creativity and a passion for making yourself better to succeed. If you sit idle and wait for something to happen to you, it probably will not.

Personally  Productive

Consider the level of personal productivity if things were not put off. Say you get a request at 4:45 and figure it can wait until the morning. Then morning comes and you have 3 more requests that came overnight that all need to be resolved today. Now you have made it more difficult on yourself. You could have stayed an extra hour, if that, and finished the task last night, but now since you are so swamped you will have to stay considerably longer today. It is a never-ending process unless you stay motivated.

Internal motivation is not easy. It is ingrained in some people more than others. However, once results start coming through it is easier and easier to continue the motivational trend.

So what is the ultimate New Year’s resolution? Do not put off until tomorrow what you can do today. That is my resolution. What is yours?

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This is Kaizen for your goals – continuous improvement.

Kaizen is about continuous improvement. Japanese automakers used this process to improve processes created by American automakers to steal market share. Now I have created a series entitled Kaizen for Your Goals. It’s about continually improving yourself to make your goals a reality quicker and more effectively. Small steps now = big results later.

Kaizen for Your Goals Part 3: Wake Up and Smell the Cheese!

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Are you in a cheese-less situation? Although the critically acclaimed book “Who Moved My Cheese?”
who_moved_my_cheeseby Spencer Johnson, MD has been out since 1998, I finally read it yesterday. Yes, in one day. The book is only about 94 pages long and the type is large. It is by far the quickest read I have done since I was a young boy. Nevertheless it gives you a great understanding of what is important not only at work but in life.

The book outlines four characters: Sniff, Scurry, Hem and Haw. Without describing each of the characters you get the idea of where it is going. It is a story that seems more like a child’s fable than a lesson on managing change. Whether you admit it or not, everyone is one of these four characters in regards to dealing with change at work. By cheese Johnson means anything you want or have in life in regards to your level of comfort and status. Dr. Johnson outlines 7 key points in this story in regards to change.

  1. Change Happens They Keep Moving The Cheese
  2. Anticipate Change Get Ready For The Cheese To Move
  3. Monitor Change Smell The Cheese Often So You Know When It Is Getting Old
  4. Adapt To Change Quickly The Quicker You Let Go Of Old Cheese, The Sooner You Can Enjoy New Cheese
  5. Change Move With The Cheese
  6. Enjoy Change! Savor The Adventure And Enjoy The Taste Of New Cheese!
  7. Be Ready To Change Quickly And Enjoy It Again They Keep Moving The Cheese.

Out of all seven key points what is the common denominator? Change. Change happens, and we need to know how to deal with it and how to evolve. Change is not always evident so you must have a keen eye. In fact, you may be the one that needs to initiate the change. So let us start now. Read the book. Change your way of thinking to understand how you deal with change and how you need to improve. Change is not always easy but it is ultimately good even if it may not be evident immediately. As we all know, nothing ever stays the same.

Kaizen focuses on continual change for the better. My series, Kaizen For Your Goals, is about continually improving yourself. You can only do this with positive change. Sniff it out and don’t let your cheese get moldy.

How will you improve yourself to better deal with change?

This is Kaizen for your goals – continuous improvement.

Kaizen is about continuous improvement. Japanese automakers used this process to improve processes created by American automakers to steal market share. Now I have created a series entitled Kaizen for Your Goals. It’s about continually improving yourself to make your goals a reality quicker and more effectively. Small steps now = big results later.

Kaizen for Your Goals, Part 1: Fashion Matters for Men at Work

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Kaizen is about continuous improvement. Japanese automakers used this process to improve processes and most notably to steal market share from American automakers. Now I have created a series entitle Kaizen for Your Goals. It’s about continually improving yourself to make your goals a reality quicker and more effectively. Small steps now = big results later. Part 1 starts now.

Fashion Matters for Men at Work

You are what you wear. It may sound like I’m judging a book by its cover but that is what the majority of people do. People inherently make judgments right away about what and who you are all about. I say “you” because you ARE judged daily. Here’s a story to get you thinking.

suitA Tailored Suit v. Cowboy Boots

A graphic designer friend of mine came to me last week and said “I felt so awkward on the elevator today.” He went on to explain that the owner of the company, let’s call him Tom, got on the elevator with him and the two of them took it the 7 floors down to street level. Tom was wearing an impeccably tailored suit, had finely polished Italian leather shows, and a fine timepiece. My friend happened to be going to a ball game after work and decided to wear jeans, a t-shirt, and cowboy boots to work that day.  You can imagine his embarrassment. It was rare that he would run into Tom, let alone have solid time with just him in the elevator. You see, as much as we think it will save time to just wear “going out” clothes to work, it can be a very costly mistake for your future.

Look Better = Get Rewarded

When you look better, you feel more confident. When you feel more confident, you perform better. When you perform better, you get noticed. When you get noticed, you get rewarded.

I pride myself on how I dress. I started wearing ties to work because nobody else in my office was doing it anymore. Slowly more male co-workers started wearing more ties. To me I think of everyday as an interview. I always want to perform at the top of my skill level because you never know what may be presented to you in the moment. Dressing well increases your confidence. And don’t think people don’t notice. I was once sitting in a meeting and the Vice President called me out by saying, “Don always dresses well. He is a fine representation of the company.” Always dressing well assisted my efforts to shape the marketing the organization. I felt confident in what I was wearing and they, in turn, felt confident in me. Taking from the Vice President’s words, what you wear represents your company. I wouldn’t expect a clerk at my favorite surf shop in Hawaii to wear a suit. So dress for the environment but if you question it, it’s better to dress up than down.

It’s all in the Details

You don’t need to wear a tie or a dress to get noticed at work. What you should consider is to add details. Why do you think tie bars have become so popular among males again? Females have lots of options for accessories but males have let this slip over the years. Metro-sexual is a term that people have come up with for guys that actually care how they look. I don’t think it’s the correct term because it’s all part of being a gentleman. Focus on life’s details and pick up a copy of How to be a Gentlemen. I picked it up at Brooks Brothers over the summer and I highly recommend it. One or two nice details in your style makes a $10 shirt look like a thousand bucks. I am not a style expert by any sense of the term but I do suggest you find what suits your style and make it work, at work. How to be a Gentlemen doesn’t just focus on style but the total package. In the end, these details matter and its all part of the incremental approach to better yourself.

You ARE judged daily, as I said before. Think of each day like its your first day on the job. Read that last sentence again. And, the next time you think that you don’t need to do your hair or take the extra few minutes to press your shirt, think again. Everything matters down to the detail. Nobody is perfect but there is always something one can do to better his/herself. This is Kaizen for your goals – continuous improvement.

Do you have the drive to continually take small steps to make the most of your potential?