Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category



18
Nov
14

the kids are alright

With so much lamentation about the youth of today, it was encouraging to experience a fresh perspective on our future leaders, one that will restore your faith in humanity. I sat on a panel for our Congressional District where we interviewed candidates for the United States Service Academy nominations.

I reviewed each of the applicant’s resumes two weeks prior and was astounded by their many accomplishments. The panel took twenty minutes to speak with each candidate, asking a series of questions, and I took note of the recurring themes that defined these future leaders…

Adversity: When asked if they thought they learned more from success or adversity, 9 out of 10 of them replied adversity. I’m that I had figured that out by age 18. They all realized the role of struggle and challenge in making them better individuals. This was not a group of babies with the silver spoons still in their mouths. Some came from single-parent homes, blue-collar backgrounds, working as hard as they could in the public school system. As one candidate so aptly said, “Success could be just luck. Adversity motivates me to improve.”

Mentoring: They each had someone in their lives who guided them when they were younger. For some it was an uncle who served, for others it was a school counselor who praised them for their leadership potential. Never underestimate the role you can have in developing a future leader. Robert Frost said, “I am not a teacher, but an awakener.” Somewhere along the line, someone awakened the seeds of greatness in these individuals, giving them a desire to develop themselves to the fullest.

Discipline: Show me what a person does with their idle time and I’ll show you where they’ll be in twenty years. Each of these candidates had a resume more robust than most adults. They served on sport teams, in academic societies, in community activities. They ran fund raisers, mentored younger students, and worked a variety of jobs. To say these young people were hard workers would be an understatement. If idle hands are the tools of the devil, this group is nothing but divine. As one commented, “I try to keep my schedule full in all areas of my life.”

The closing question was, “why should we chose you over the other candidates?” My favorite answer was this: “I can’t speak for the others; I’m sure they’re all very highly qualified. All I can speak for is myself and tell you that I have done the very best I can and am ready to serve.” So next time you lament the millennials, remember this next batch of leaders on the horizon. The one thing we can all do for them is to take the time to encourage their greatness and model the discipline they’ll need to be the best of the best. And if we do just this, I can assure you the kids will be more than alright; they’ll be tremendous!

 

05
Nov
14

It’s not me; it’s you…or is it me???

Self Awareness 2Self-Awareness is a Paradox.  The more of it you have, the more you realize how little you actually possess. It’s like the guy who tried to be tactful by saying, “Somebody around here’s deodorant doesn’t work.” His friend turned to him and said, “It can’t be me; I don’t use any.”

We all love to imagine ourselves as incredibly self-aware, but when a story, a point, a sermon, or an illustration comes up we always assume that it’s our neighbor who desperately needs to hear it and not us. Our time is spent judging whether our neighbors, friends, co-workers, and family members are blissfully unaware of their deficiencies or just too self-absorbed to notice.

Despite 61 percent of Americans acknowledging that a gap does exist between the skills Americans have and those employers seek, 95 percent consider themselves to be either qualified or overqualified for the positions they hold. With such a disparity, one has to ask themselves if they are ignorant or egotistical.

It’s in our nature to think of ourselves as much more than we are and to find fault in everyone else. To avoid this trap we must constantly ask, “What am I not aware of about myself?” In doing so we can cross the critical threshold from unconsciously incompetent to consciously incompetent.

Self-aware individuals speak with candor, admit their mistakes, thirst for constructive criticism, and exude a quiet confidence. They can stay true to themselves because they know who they are. They can keep their ego in check because they are acutely aware of their ignorance.  Power is not a motivator for them. Individuals lacking self-awareness constantly place blame on others, fault-find like it’s going out of style, and possess a firmly entrenched victim mentality. Their base camp is the Isle of Denial and they intend to stay there.

There are two proven ways to increase your self-awareness. First, spend time learning from others. Seek their council and input. Consider everything they say and do and how you can apply it to your life. Second, read personal-development books. How can we develop if we don’t read the manuals?  Life’s too short to make all the mistakes there are to be made, so save yourself some time and heartache and read….and never stop. As Gandhi said, “Our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world as being able to remake ourselves.”

16
Oct
14

The Mystery of Self-Motivation

MOSMConsider how hard it is to change yourself and you’ll understand what little chance you have of trying to change others.
My father, Charlie “Tremendous” Jones, told me that you don’t find motivation, motivation finds you. But there are things you can do to ensure the rays of motivation shine down upon you. Motivation is attracted to positivity, kindness, humility, meekness, and selflessness. If you keep surrounding yourself with books and people that model and amplify these, you will actually begin to morph, one motivated molecule at a time.
It starts slowly, and then it explodes. The more motivation you spread, the more comes back to you. My father literally burst at the seams, so powerful was his lifelong transformation. Once motivations takes hold in you it must find an outlet, and this is where the magic happens.
This is why the person who has solved the mystery of self-motivation is unstoppable. We cannot rely on any physical presence on this planet to be there for us. That’s why I am always so repeatedly surprised when people’s hopes are devastated by a person or event. The only guarantee you have in life is your belief in yourself.
When you have matured to the point where your own motivation is built-in and self-recharging, you will begin to experience life in a way few others have. Learning the dynamics of motivating yourself far exceed that of being able to motivate others. And in actuality, you can’t have the latter without the former.

Today marks the six-year anniversary of our founder’s—and my father’s—homegoing. To celebrate, we’ve published his timeless wisdom in our latest Life-Changing Classic, The Mystery of Self-Motivation. Go online today to get your copy and enjoy a 30-percent-off sitewide celebration until the end of the day. Thank you for helping us change the world one book at a time!

26
Sep
14

that’s gonna leave a mark

RobertLouisStevensonThe natural growth of a leader is from doer to developer. But it is so rarely put in these terms. Those that are good as individual contributors are promoted to positions of leadership, but the skill set required is quite different.

In my younger years I made my professional mark as someone who got the job done. I was an executor of various tasks. But when I moved up the ranks I found that my job revolved around developing those underneath me. Some in positions of leadership lament that the majority of their time is spent “baby sitting” adult behavior.

But if we find ourselves in this funk, we need to re-evaluate the criticality of our roles. In, Leaders Without Borders, author Doug Dickerson points out teamwork should be a blessing, not a burden.

Leading a team takes a blend of coaching, disciplining, and motivating. In essence, we are the sower of the seeds into the fields of those whose development we are entrusted with. If we resort back to the role of reaper, as is often the case, we leave the role of leader vacant and future fields barren, incapable of bearing any fruit.

At the dedication ceremony of Disney World in Orlando, Mrs. Disney was asked to give the comments as her husband had already passed. The emcee commented he wished Walt could have been there to see this development. Her response, “He did”. Leaders see the possibilities of future developments long ahead of everyone else. It’s called discernment and is the rarest of leadership traits.

Do we see the potential in those we are leading and sow the seeds accordingly? We are responsible for the eternal harvest that they will eventually reap. Making sure your team continues bearing fruit long after your departure is the surest mark of a true leader. Your legacy is your eternal harvest as a leader. Make sure it’s a bountiful one.

11
Sep
14

full of knowledge or just full of it?

10347643_10154390695845296_5449585575170190089_nAs a publisher and personal-development enthusiast, I hear varied opinions about the influence of reading such material. Much to my surprise, I had two highly-successful individuals tell me on two separate occasions that they don’t read it. Their reasoning? They already know it.

While I agree there is nothing new under the sun, it’s also true that the facts don’t change; we change. When we deafen our ears and hearts at one time, at another we have the capacity to see through the glass darkly and be transformed.

Clifton Fadiman said, “When you re-read a classic, you do not see more in the book than you did before; you see more in yourself than there was before.” But if you already think you know it all, this continuous self-awareness is not an option.

If you have any issue going on in your life right now I implore you to open a book on the subject matter. Pain, like pleasure, has the capacity to get us to listen and to seek out the truth, to find a way to either eliminate the negative or accentuate the positive.

We are not programmed robots who perform based on a singular input. We are not “one and done.” It takes some of us a lifetime of hearing and re-hearing, reading and re-reading the same basic principles before they finally take hold. And even then it’s a constant discipline to make sure the transformation sticks.

Those who are genuinely high achievers know all too well how much they still have to learn. Muhammad Ali said, “A man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life”, and the legendary cellist Pablo Casals, when asked why he continued to practice at ninety years of age, replied, “I’m beginning to notice some improvement.” Don’t turn a blind eye to self-improvement. Chances are the more you think you know the more you have to learn.

04
Sep
14

It Doesn’t Have to Be Hell to Sell

Making the leap from service to sales doesn't have to be terrifying.

Making the leap from service to sales doesn’t have to be terrifying.

The management classic Who Moved My Cheese makes it clear: change is going to happen regardless of how you feel about it. In fact, you can bet your bottom dollar that it’s happening right now in your organization in ways you’ve never even imagined. Change doesn’t need us to acknowledge it; it does what it does because that’s the nature of change. And as the moral of the story goes, the sooner we accept and embrace it, the better off we’ll be.

Many will waste time bemoaning the pointless question, “Is this change necessary?”  The answer is yes; now don’t ever ask that stupid question again. Variety is the spice of life and a rolling stone gathers no moss. You’ve got to itch your niche. What’s in style one season is out the next. What once used to pinch now fits like a glove. Things change, markets change, people change. Continuous reinvention is what makes us successful. It’s the nature of evolution and survival of the fittest. This is not just a physical or genetic phenomenon. The same holds true for businesses. Change also keeps us relevant. The legendary cellist Pablo Casals was asked why he continued to practice when he was ninety years old. His reply? “Because I think I’m making progress.”

So now that it’s come to your attention that you must “do” sales, let’s talk about what sales really is and isn’t. The basis of living life is to be of service to others. It’s at the core of the Golden Rule, the very fiber that ties us all together to live in a civilized and peaceful manner. Sales isn’t a spiel or a canned talk. As they say, “If you’re telling, you ain’t selling.” Sales is about meeting a need. Sales happen because someone offers a solution to a problem.

Make no mistake about it, sales does take work. The 20% who go back after five rejections gain 80% of the sales. And it’s tough to take that much rejection. But as I learned from selling books door to door during my college years, A Rejection = A Dead End, but An Objection = An Opportunity.

Last, and perhaps most important, you need to believe in what you’re offering. A customer can smell inauthenticity a mile away but it’s impossible to say no to someone who is passionate about what they offer.  If you don’t like your company, your boss, your product, your customer, or yourself, it’s going to bleed out into the conversation and kill any chance of building a relationship. People do business with those who solve problems. If you don’t believe in it, how can they? I have been faced with this dilemma several times. But it all boils down to this: if you can’t get excited about what it is you’re selling, it’s time to move on to something you can get excited about selling. Sales is all about making relationships and that requires passion. Make yourself irresistible to your potential clients and enjoy your new role!

The bottom line is unless the cash register rings the factory whistle won’t blow. The leap from service to sales is not as scary and vast as we have imagined. Sales are our lifeline and we are all salespeople at the cores of our being: people helping others to have a better life. So embrace your new role, it has the potential to be much more exciting and satisfying than you probably imagined.

 

21
Aug
14

Acrimoniously Yours

Civil Discourse-thumb-360x245-1046There’s nastiness on the tips of everyone’s tongues. Our language is more blatantly bitter, decidedly divisive, and our mouths runneth over with hate. The one thing hailed as separating us from animals, our speech, has devolved to its lowest form because its intent is to hate, not communicate. This allows our behavior to bypass thought and reason and tap directly into emotions such as rage and anger. Nothing good ever, in the history of mankind, comes from these places.

The world is slowly caving inward under the constrictive World Wide Web devoid of facts, tolerance, accountability, compassion, and truth. The Golden Rule is tarnished by people who don’t know how they want to be treated because they are so busy feeding their rage by hurting someone else.  Remember as children when we were taught to “Stop and think how you would feel if someone did that to you” and it taught us empathy and self-control?

I once had an employee who screamed at everyone all the time. Although it had been tolerated for years by prior management, when I came on board I could not allow this type of toxic language. When I asked the employee why they insisted on speaking in a hostile manner to customers and team members, they looked at me with complete bewilderment. Their answer: “That’s the way I talk to everyone, even at home!”

Are you losing your faith in humanity because you are surrounded by people who interpret “Do Tell” as “Do Spew”?  How can you exist as a peaceful, positive person in a world filled with rage? I have a couple of tips that I personally use in a valiant attempt to never let the bastards wear me down.

  1. Stop watching the news (local and global) on TV.
  2. Do not read blog posts/social media comments pertaining to local or international news.
  3. Do read books on critical thinking and/or communication. Thinking and speaking are two skills that are learned just like everything else and are honed with usage.
  4. Recognize that standards do not vacillate depending upon their application. If you begin talking to someone who advocates the same thing they are ranting about, cease communication.
  5. Present your facts from a point of humility, not of hostility, i.e., “it ain’t what you say, it’s the way that you say it.”
  6. Realize most people fixated on justice actually want revenge. Recognize the difference.
  7. Violence, yelling, ranting, beheading, looting, threatening, and mud-slinging never moved anyone over to see things your way.
  8. Just because someone is offended, doesn’t mean they are right.
  9. Quit tokin’ the hashtag pipe. Don’t try to stir things up with a tic-tac-toe sign. If you feel compelled to action, find something positive within your sphere that you can do to make a real difference in making the situation better.
  10. My new chant: Stop Venting! Start Relenting!

Thank you to those who diligently work to tame their own tongue and enhance their abilities to listen, reason, think, and act in a way that brings about a solution, not an exacerbation.




Tremendous Tracey


CEO Tremendous Life Books. Book Evangelist

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