Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Who I am Today.

Some things have to be believed to be seen.

Have you ever stopped just to think about how you became who you are? Not simply what you do, or how many kids you have (we all know how that happens), but how you came to view the world like you do, how you came to think like you do, how your personality and self image came to be?

I have read so many self improvement books, tapes, speakers, and surrounded myself with successful people just to realize that none of that can make me become who I need to become to achieve what I would like to achieve. They are valuable, they are inspirational, they are helpful, but they are simply knowledge and virtually useless unless I can apply it to me and use it to change something about who I am becoming.

The type of change that truly changes people and gets results is never theory, or simply reading, it comes from experiencing and from doing. From living out who you are becoming.

This is why so many people can go to a conference, or a training, and hear a great speaker who is successful beyond imagination in your industry, and still leave virtually the same as when you went in. The wildly successful speaker tells you what they did and how you can do it in your business too, so why can't you do it too? The answer is often simply that you are not him. You are you.

His processes of thought and action may not work for you, and that speaker has developed themselves to succeed and then lived it. You can hear it, you can know it, you can think it, breathe it, and eat it for lunch, but until you develop your understanding of you and take action to apply nothing changes.

People will often ask me "how do I make more money," and the answer is you have to become worth more. That involves more than reading a book or going to a conference. More than knowledge and understanding. It means action, it means living it, it means taking the sometimess hard steps to change and become worth more.

It means more than knowledge it means:
  • Character
  • Courage
  • Action
  • Endurance
  • Knowing yourself and knowing others
  • Dreaming and Vision
  • Excellence
  • Balance
  • Belief in what you haven't seen yet
  • Living through the storm long enough to see the sun come out
  • It means listening and having an open and creative mind
  • etc.
It means you have to develop the intangibles, the things that you know about you - that nobody else knows, it means facing the demons, and developing who you really are, not simply what you do.

Are you developing the intangibles, the stuff that makes you who you are today and who you will become tomorrow?

To put it simply - To have, you must first become.

- Jon Bohm

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Self Evident Truth?

This is how humans are: we question all our beliefs, except for the ones we really believe, and those we never think to question. ~Orson Scott Card

Today I had a great conversation with a client and friend about what things are truly self evident. The thought was posed that if something is a common truth to all humans, then as an organization you really shouldn't have to write it down, and if you did write it down, well, that speaks negatively of your organization.

A couple extreme examples might be:
  • If you have to put, "Do not murder fellow employees" as part of your values. Well, then you have a very scary place to work considering you actually have to list that on your values.
  • Or, if you are ever watching the news when they uncover a case of child neglect, and they find a witness or passer-by to give their thoughts on the situation and the passer-by responds with "I take care of my kids!" loudly and proudly as if they should win some kind of reward.  And all of us watching at home are thinking, well of course you take care of your kids, right? I mean what parent has to proclaim that kind of obvious value?
So, if an organization puts honesty as a Core Value, is that the same thing? I mean, isn't that obvious? We don't have to write that down... do we?

I would argue that very few things, if anything, is so self evident that we can avoid to communicate it as a truth.

As an organization your Core Values are things that are non-negotiable, the very moral compass all decisions are measured by.  Which means that if honesty is a core value, and the CEO tells the secretary, to tell a caller, that he is not there, then the board would have to fire their CEO.

Values are things you hold onto, whether they are a strategic advantage or disadvantage for you to do so. You hire and fire based off of them. When an organization views values for what they are, as non-negotiable, then honesty usually falls right off the list.

So, are values really that self-evident that we can avoid writing them down and assume they are commonly known? Unfortunately, a resounding "No" is my response. It is not merely enough to have them, but they must be clearly and regularly communicated, no matter how common they may seem.

One of the greatest examples I have found of Core Values is in our Declaration of Independence as it states; "We hold these truths to be self-evident..." and what followed became the very basis for what America is.  Those values are stated to be "self-evident" by their very authors. Yet, they had the forsight to write them down and clearly communicate them.  May we learn from their example, both in our organizations and personal lives.

-Jon Bohm

Monday, July 28, 2008

Reality Vs. Negativity

Carole Doi was born during WWII in one of America’s internment camps for Japanese Americans. She grew up in America and married a man of Japanese descent. They were thrilled when they had a little girl.
At birth, however, the child’s feet were severely twisted so that her toes faced inward. Carole was determined to help her baby grow up to have a normal life, so she decided that the child’s feet would not ever be an issue in her life. They bought her orthopedic shoes, and encouraged her to build up her feet and legs. They even supported her when, at a young age, she wanted to try out ice skating.
The hard work and encouragement paid off. In 1992, these proud parents watched as their daughter, Kristi Yamaguchi—the little girl born with the twisted feet—won the Olympic gold medal for ice skating.
- Excerpt from the One Minute Motivator

Staying positive and focused on your dreams can be a daunting and difficult task. You have to have an iron will, thick skin, or be oblivious, right?

I often hear people say I am a realist, I don't always look at the positive. Well, so are Kristi Yamaguchi's parents, that really happened. Focusing on the negative doesn't make you a realist, it simply makes you negativist.  

Right now, because of the state of our economy, people are so quick to say why everything is failing.  That is simply not reality, everything is not failing, and in every slow economy at least one company in every industry finds a way to rise to the top.  The difference is while so many are saying why things don't work, can't work, and why it won't happen (easy to do, there are always a lot of those reasons), there are those succeeding, who are saying why things do work, why they can happen, and how they will make it work.

Will you shape the reality of what happens to you through the negative or through the window of positivism?   Both will become reality, one is just more helpful than the other.

Since the time we were kids we are told:
"Don't bite off more than you can chew"
"Don't go where you're not wanted"
"Don't talk to strangers"

One of the biggest things I deal with when helping professional sales people is call reluctance.  And can you think of any 3 worse phrases for a sales person to think then the above listed phrases?

How many sales people start their days by listening to the news or reading the paper about who died, got shot, or robbed, and how bad the economy is?  Is it any wonder how easy it can be to be negative?

That is why forming habits of thought that are positive and affirming your strengths, the good you see in the world, and good you see in yourself is on of the most powerful things we can do.

Everyday we can choose the positive or the negative, for the sake of the known world, may we always choose the positive.  Then we can find a way we can make it work, look for reasons why it will happen, and then work smart to see it become reality.

Making the sun shine on cloudy days with you-

Jon Bohm

Friday, July 25, 2008

Habits and our Unknown Pleasures

If you would attain what you are not yet, you must always be displeased by what you are. For where you were pleased with yourself there you have remained. But once you have said, “It is enough,” you are lost. Keep adding, keep walking, keep advancing; do not stop, do not turn back, do not turn from the straight road.
— St. Augustine

Have you ever wondered where it is that you took that wrong turn?
Often when you take a wrong turn it is very hard to find your way back, and as St Augustine says, "you are lost."

Habits can keep you lost. They are incredibly powerful things. You have habits of thought that shape your attitude and personality. You have physical habits that shape your body and health. You have spiritual habits that feed or can starve your soul. We all have them.

The questions is, why are habits so hard to start at some times, and so hard to end at others?

Have you ever had a habit you wanted to get rid of but couldn't seem to stop doing or thinking it? You want it gone, but it just doesn't go away. There are some reasons for this phenomenon, but the bottom line is that every habit, whether good or bad, whether wanted or unwanted gives us some sort of pleasure.

Let me share a short story about a person you have probably met before. This person is always letting everyone at his workplace know how hard he works. He often stays late and he he arrives early. He makes sure everyone knows that he is putting in the extra hours. You may even feel like he is a star employee and you're just not that committed.

This person who works so late and so hard is really finding pleasure in it, because he finds his importance by letting everyone know what a great worker he is. This person may not even want to stay late, he may not want to make a big deal of his hard work, but yet he does. One day he decides to quit, but he finds it to hard to go home on time, to keep his mouth shut about his hard work, and thus continues in his role as the employee who works the longest hours.

But if you take that person and help him set goals to be around his family more, and he sees how important it is for his kids to have their Dad around. Then he can replace the pleasure of feeling important at work with the pleasure of feeling important at home.

The moral of the story is if you have a habit you want to break, then ask yourself:

-What pleasure am I getting from this bad habit?
-How can I replace that pleasure with something healthy?
-Address the obstacles that could keep you from making the change, and write out the action steps you need to take to get past those obstacles and on the road to breaking the habit, or better yet replacing the pleasure.

You unfortunately will have a very difficult time simply stopping a bad habit, you have to replace the pleasure first. If you want to stop smoking, address the pleasure. And in comes more food, more gum, more toothpicks, or Nicorette.

If you are always late, is it because you enjoy taking your time leaving the house? Is it because you like to arrive fashionably late and make an entrance? Is it because you hate to feel rushed so you show up when you feel like it? Is it because you enjoy skipping small talk and the awkward feeling of arriving to a social event when nobody else is there?

Identify the pleasure you get and replace it. if you enjoy taking your time before you leave the house; then get up earlier and take it slow- make some coffee, take a long shower, have breakfast, and then roll out nice and slow but on time.

If you arrive late because you like to make an entrance; then dress sharper, meet more people once you arrive, memorize some good conversation starters, and look for other positive ways to stand out besides being late.

Habits give us pleasure, no matter how small it may be, identify the pleasure then replace it with something enjoyable and personally satisfying. Then grab those nasty habits by the neck and throw them to the ground.

-Jon Bohm

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Comparison Trap

Success is to be measured not by wealth, power, or fame, but by the ratio between what a man is and what he might be.
— H. G. Wells

By what measuring stick do you measure yourself?
How do you measure if a business, or staff, or even if you are being successful?

Success is often measured by how the boss feels about you at any particular moment. Have you ever had a job when you felt that way? You just never know, for sure, if people are pleased. If you are getting "it done," unless someone is patting you on the back. But then, is it the right person patting you on the back? Do you have people that are telling you the truth about your performance, or just trying to keep the waters calm?

All these questions build insecurities and inevitably lead to comparing yourself to the closest availble persons in your field, in your life, in your class, in your work place, in the local paper, or across the globe. Often this leads to thoughts that you won't be successful unless you can be better than whomever you are comparing yourself to at that moment.

After all, it only makes sense, right? When you apply for a job, you are compared. When you play in sports you are compared to the other team. When you place a bid you are compared either by value, price, service, or political gain. If we are always compared it only makes sense to compare yourself to others, right?

I would say wrong. And this is why. When outside influences compare you they are making a judgement, a gamble, on who will do the best job. They are not measuring your future success, they don't know that yet. They are simply judging your past achievements and guessing on the future. Developing who you are is the process of pulling your future successes into your present. That can only be done by you. And when you are measuring success by what you know you are capable of, not by what someone else placed your value at.

The best definition of success (I believe in this principle so much I use it with all my clients) is the continuous achievement of your own predetermined goals that are stabilized by balance and purified by belief.

Let that sink in for a minute, and ask yourself. Do you have predetermined goals? Are you reaching them? Are they inline with your beliefs? Are they bringing total success to all areas of your life, or just one or two?

If you can make that your model for success, then you can, and will escape the comparison trap and begin pulling your future successes into your present.

Remember the person in the mirror knows what you are capable of, and reaching to develop that person always pays the biggest ROI.

- Jon Bohm

Monday, July 14, 2008

Believe What you See?

“Always walk in a place like you belong — and most people will believe you do!”
—Ed McMahon

I am becoming more and more convinced that the secret to becoming great is surrounding yourself with thoughts and people of greatness.

It seems that the more someone is told they are stupid, or they are too short, too tall, too nerdy, too athletic, "too" anything to do swhat they want to do, the more they are going to believe that those "too this or that" statements are true.

If someone with a small nose is told consistently they have a large nose they will start to believe it is true.

And conversely if you are told that you are great, or handsome, or beautiful, or successful you will eventually believe that. People will believe whatever is in front of them the most.

This is the same reason that your friends will determine the quality and direction of your life. Because when around your friends, you see your friends certain qualities and life directions more than anything else.

So this begs the question, what are you seeing the most in your life? Is it negative thoughts and directions, statements, and feelings? Or are you surrounding yourself with positive statements, affirmations about who you know you are, and more importantly who you know you can become?

Because you will believe whatever you see the most. We need to see truth and visualize who we know we can become. Then we need to put it in front of our face more than anything else. Surround yourself with great people, thoughts of greatness, and then go to sleep dreaming about who you can become. And you will eventually be walking in greatness like you belong, and the rest of the world will know we are standing in the presence of greatness.

“The greatest discovery of our generation is that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.”
- William James - The Father of American Psychology

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Motivation and the Blame Game

Awhile back in the Peanuts cartoons, Snoopy had broken his right leg. And with his white cast, while he was hanging out on top of his dog house, Snoopy began to think about his situation and said; “My body blames my foot for not being able to go places. My foot says it was my head’s fault, and my head blames my eyes. My eyes say my feet are clumsy, and my right foot says not to blame him for what my left foot did . . .” Snoopy looks towards the audience and confesses, “I don’t say anything because I don’t want to get involved.”

Today while speaking on motivation and habits of thought to a group of professionals we had a dialogue about motivation. Motivation has 3 arenas it can really be generated from:

1. Fear/Force: This type of motivation is external and it is temporary. When a manager forces their people to work late hours or do something unexpected, or else! This type of motivation will only work while the manager is standing over their people. And since it is external, it becomes temporary, and as they say; "When the cat is away the mice will play."

2. Incentive: This type of motivation is the most common motivation source I find in business. Often companies use incentive bonuses, trips, rewards, or recognition to provide motivation for reaching a particular level of production or sales. This is also external and temporary. Which means when that incentive is gone the motivation to keep up the same level of work is also gone.

3. Attitude: Or habits of thought, is a type of motivation that is both internal and permanent. Which means, when it comes to performance or excellence your attitude (which is controlled by you) is your source for motivation.

When either Fear/Force or Incentive are removed, people will begin to blame and point fingers at the lack of force or incentive as the reason for a lack of motivation. Things begin to slow down, and eventually people and managers get tired and just like Snoopy want to avoid the whole thing and stay out of it.

But the managers, companies, employees, or individuals who can successfully develop the attitudes of themselves, and those around them, will find the secret to permanent motivation and a true and pure way to avoid the blame game.

When we are motivated by our own internal attitudes there is nobody left to blame, no more excuses to make, and no more responsibility to dodge. We are forced to take ownership of our thinking, our attitudes, and our motivation.

Behavior is always shaped by attitude, change the attitude and begin the process of improving results.

-Jon Bohm

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Dream Menu

"We grow great by dreams. All big men are dreamers. They see things in the soft haze of a spring day, or in the red fire on a long winter’s evening. Some of us let these great dreams die, but others nourish and protect them; nourish them through bad days until they bring them to the sunshine and light which comes always to those who sincerely hope that their dreams will come true."
— Woodrow Wilson

Besides winning the lottery, very few people will ever grow bigger in their successes than they can dream. Dreaming is a developed skill. You have to be able to stop and visualize in your mind's eye what it would be like, feel like, and taste like to reach your dreams.

To build a great dream inventory try to start small and let your dreams build on each other.

Start by opening the door to the closet of your mind. Have fun. Let yourself go. Add to your dream inventory regularly.
Get out a sheet of paper and list everything you've ever wanted - to go, to do, to have, to become. Take off the blinders of possibility and probability. Throw out the filters of whether you need it, deserve it, or are worth it.

Start a page of dreams. Every great accomplishment starts with a seed, an idea, a dream.

After you build a list of 25-50 dreams you have a menu of things to choose from. And when the time comes for you to order, then you can decide whether your appetite calls for a full-course meal or a snack.

But you can't hardly order without a menu, so pull out the stops and dream big.
- Jon Bohm