Archive for January, 2011


let’s get the “h” out of there!!!

Swearing was verboten in my house growing up. Decades later I still shudder thinking about the consequences if we had. The closest we ever got to profanity was using the letter “h” to refer to “hell”; such as in the spelling “h” “e” “double tooth pick” (which referred to Hades) or in telling someone “let’s get the “h” out of there!”

I’ve spent the last four weeks with my rescue dog, Ruby, unlocking all the secrets of her canine mind. She was scared of certain things. Due to my inability to pinpoint exactly what was frightening her, I met with a behavioral specialist who used relaxation protocol and a bag full of turkey hot dogs as positive reinforcement.

With each new sight or sound, I looked in Ruby’s eyes, spoke calmly, and plied her with treats. She slowly began to realize that things that had previously scared her were now harbingers of her favorite snack.

In short, Ruby quickly learned how to turn a “threat” into a “treat” by getting the “h” out of there. I wish I could be such a quick learner! One little change in your attitude leads to a whole different outlook on life.

Hans Selye said, “Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one.” Truer words were never barked!


unleash yourself


I recently adopted Ruby, a beautiful six-year-old red merle Aussie whose entire life, until now, has been spent having a succession of litters. So when I put a leash on her to take her for a trot around her new surroundings, my little rescue has some issues with taking it all in.

They say that dogs exhibit aggression due to fear or dominance issues. Sounds like the two biggest concerns that plague mankind as well! In an effort to assist her in adapting, and under the guidance of a dog-behavior specialist, I tried a variety of leashes.

I tried a harness which latched around her midsection and a short leash to keep her close to me; a halter collar, which looped high around the top of her neck and over her snoot; a prong collar that simulates the mother dog biting her pup’s necks to teach them respect.

All the while, I’m looking at her strugging unnecessarily while knowing the whole world is open to her. She is safe. There is a neighborhood of friends to be made and I will protect her from any threat. When she discovers this and learns to relax and to walk calmly beside me, we’ll enjoy a lifetime of exploring all of the wonders, sights, and smells the world has to offer.

And I was immediately reminded of myself. Until I learned to walk calmly beside the creator in complete trust, I had fear and dominance issues. I was in relationships that harnessed my heart in such a way that it caused me to pull away. I had gentle leaders that tried to guide me but I wasn’t ready to be tamed. And I’ve walked through life getting pinched as I repeatedly chose to stray from the desired path.

I know I’ll have relapses. I know Ruby may, too. But then I remember who I’m walking beside and it makes all the difference in the world. Hopefully, it will to Ruby as well in the years to come.


the cold, hard truth

There are three tenets that I must balance in my professional life: the employee, the customer, and the shareholder. In the event the company you work for is not publically traded, I use the term shareholder to refer to a corporate office as well.

I’ve been acutely aware of the delicate balancing act between these three entities and have often wondered if all three could be simultaneously happy with the way things were going. I personally was unsuccessful in locating this harmonious balance during my years in corporate America.

Although top-notch business schools and speakers have given a plethora of speeches and heart-tugging vignettes declaring that companies that don’t value people don’t last, in reality, they do. Sometimes, karma catches up with them, but in the meantime a lot of damage is done.

If you have entered an organization with happy shareholders, an angry customer, and laissez-faire employees, you’ve just been hired to fill the shoes of someone who was inept, indecisive, or both.

If you are in an organization where the share holders and the employees are happy and the customer is not, don’t worry. No one will be around for very long.

If you are in an organization where the employees and the customer are happy, but the shareholders are not, you are being set up by your shareholders. They may smile to your face, but trust me; they are plotting your demise at the corporate office.


feed your mind and the rest will follow

If we could “fix” ourselves for once and for all, we’d never have to make another New Year’s resolution. Resolutions fail because they are not backed up by deeds and, most importantly, a purpose that motivates you to continue a particular action.

Why is spending time in the gym or a place of worship not as high a priority as sitting on our couch or at our computer? Why can we watch hours of TV on end, but can’t settle our minds to read a book for fifteen minutes? Why can we find money to buy more “stuff” and none to tithe to deserving organizations?

They say that for an action to become an embedded habit you must do it repeatedly for at least 21 days. Well, there are some great habits I’ve done for years, only to stop, much to my detriment and disappointment. So I guess they weren’t truly embedded.

Why is that? I’ll never have the discipline in my life to consistently do any of the above resolutions unless I get to the root of what motivates me. My stomach will always say I’m hungry. My sense of want will always say I need something I don’t. My body will always say I’m too tired to go to the gym. We are all living, breathing examples of the path of least resistance.

So what’s going to conquer this inner conflict? As with all issues, you’ve got to resolve them in your head and in your heart before your body and wallet will follow. A resolution or goal can tell what you’re going to do, but the critical piece to making it all stick is to know why.

To find out the why, you’ve got to feed your mind. There are two ways to feed your mind: meeting people and reading books. Not just any people and books, but the ones that will put you on the path to success. The ones that will help you walk the walk, and not just talk the talk.

To know thyself is the ultimate New Year’s resolution. And nothing can get you on that path faster than getting yourself on a disciplined reading program.

Tremendous Tracey

CEO Tremendous Life Books. Book Evangelist

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January 2011

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