#695 Squeaky Wheel

Posted by frank February - 1 - 2016 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

I just watched (AGAIN!) a video of my 9 month old grandson Dean. Dean has learned that when he coughs the people around him give him attention. Someone will pat him on the back and everyone stops what they’re doing for a second to look at him with worried expressions and then someone, in a voice overdone with concern. says, “Dean, Are you OK?,”  So Dean, loving the attention, offers a few fake coughs followed by innocent smiles, and gets more extravagant attention from us.  It was really cute and funny.

 AND HE IS 9 MONTHS OLD.  So why is it that we still have employees and bosses doing their version of coughing for attention?

Complainers, moaners, and critics do get attention; most often though, it’s to shut them up, not necessarily to satisfy them. The paradigm they create is now one in which people only do what they need to do to avoid hearing them rather than thinking on their own and moving in a positive direction.

2016 Motto: Notice what’s good and raise a flag over it!

#694 Focus

Posted by frank January - 25 - 2016 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

Your mind is like a two year old at a playground.  You’re over stimulated and running from the swings, to the monkey bars, then climbing the rocks, and racing to the sand box.  How on earth can you expect to get anything done?

This is what I have found exists today in business; that two year old I describe above.  As you sit down to write a report, your email pings and the subject of the message goes flying across your field of view.  The phone beeps with a text message then an alert to let you know Joe has posted a video on Facebook.  Linked in chimes to tell you 3 people have looked at your profile and some Kardashian just tweeted another inane 140 characters that flash in your face and beg for your attention.  This doesn’t include the phone calls that come anytime (used to be you had to be at home or at work to get a phone call) and interrupt what you’re doing as you say “I have to get this, it should just take a minute.”

I’m pretty certain we’d still be sitting in the dark had Mr. Edison broken his focus every twenty seconds.

I love my smartphone.  I have three email accounts.  I work Linked in and I have a FB page.  I tweet and follow some others on Twitter and I struggle to keep them all at bay while I focus on the task in front of me.

Multi-tasking produces bad work.  I know because I am guilty of it.
As I write this, there is no TV on, my email alert is silenced and my phone is on vibrate and not visible to me.  Each week, I hope to write something you find useful and want to read and share and in order to do that to the best of my ability I have to be focused on this and only this.

What distractions are pulling you away from doing your best?  Whom have you insulted by allowing an interruption to take you away from a meaningful conversation?  Try this mantra out this week, “Do what you’re doing while you’re doing it”

2016 Motto: Notice what’s good and raise a flag over it!”

3 Discipline and Motivation

Posted by frank January - 18 - 2016 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

If your habits don’t reflect your goals you can either change your goals or change your habits.

No one can go to the gym for you. No one can read the book for you.

It takes discipline and motivation. That’s really easy to say though isn’t it?  If you lack motivation or discipline you should get some and everything will be OK…right?

So why do so many bright and capable people still approach life in such a desultory manner?

I find that it isn’t a lack of discipline of motivation for its own sake. I find it is the goal, vision or belief that lacks the clarity to inspire the motivation and discipline.

If the goal is big enough and important enough, and you truly believe it is possible and can clearly see the results of your accomplishment, you will be motivated.

Once you’re motivated, finding the discipline is much easier.

So if you aren’t reading the books, doing the exercise, eating right, earning enough, personally growing or improving, or accomplishing enough, go back and look at the “why”

Once you have a big enough why that inspires you, get clarity and see the end game. You’ll need to sit in that success in your mind meditatively and really feel it in your core as though it is done.

Clarity and inspiration are the precursors of motivation and discipline and the first steps on the path to where you want to go.

2016 motto: “Notice what’s good and raise a flag over it”



#692 Connect, Connect, Connect!

Posted by frank January - 11 - 2016 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

My motto for this year was almost Emerson’s great quote, “You can never do a kindness too soon because you never know how soon it may be too late”

I spoke to a man just after his 93rd birthday and asked him what he learned in all of those years that he could pass along to me.  He said, “Maintain your relationships.  As you get older you’ll find that the only thing that matters is the people you like to be around.  That, and of course, stay as healthy as you can so you get old!”

Here is my advice.

-Send the note

-Mail the card

-Bring the gift

-Strike up the conversation

-Beam the smile

-Make the call

-Carve out time for the visit

-Be kind and…Connect, Connect, Connect!

2016 Motto: Notice what’s good and raise a flag over it!

#691 Can I have a smile with that latte?

Posted by frank January - 4 - 2016 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

It’s Happy New Year! While I am a believer that everyday can be a fresh start day, there is something magical about a new year isn’t there?

So I am going to ask you to join me in one shared resolution this year. Be happier.  That’s it; just decide to be happier.  Square your shoulders, think a pleasant thought, put a smile on your face and offer happy greetings to the people you encounter all day.

It’s all about setting a tone and spiraling in one direction or another and setting the tone is totally up to you. I walked into a Starbucks in Manhattan a few weeks back. The girl taking the orders looked like she’d rather be having dental surgery than ringing up my coffee. I said, “Can I have a smile with that latte?”  She bared her teeth in a mock smile and grumbled something about being on her feet all day and rude people rushing her etc.  She actually believes that the job or the customers are responsible for her attitude, as if attitude is something pushed onto you rather than something pushed out from you.

Viktor Frankel credited being a holocaust survivor with maintaining a good attitude in the Nazi death camps so don’t tell me you’re miserable because some tourist  bitched that her vanilla chai latte didn’t have enough whipped cream on it.

It’s 2016, Decide to be happier this year.

2016 Motto: Find what’s good and raise a flag over it!

#690 Big Brother

Posted by frank December - 28 - 2015 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

Last week, on Success hotline, Dr. Rob told a story that really got to me. I asked him if I could share it with you here because I knew you would love it too.

He had some emotional issues and lived alone. He’d managed to hold a job at the local A&P for the past 10 years or so and lived a simple life.  The A&P was close by so he could walk to and from work.  Most days that is all he did; he went to work and came home.

When the A&P announced they were closing he was upset. His life, as he knew it was over.  At Christmas he was home wondering what to do when his older brother came to see him.  His older brother was wildly successful and lived in a big house in the suburbs.  When he showed up this time it was in a gleaming black Mercedes 500SL.  The car cost more than most of the homes on the street where he pulled up to visit his little brother.  They got in the car together and went for breakfast at a local diner and got caught up. When they’d finished and gone back to the car the big brother threw him the keys and said, “Why don’t you drive me back to my house?”  The little brother said, “Why would I do that?  You’d only have to turn around and drive me back.”  His big brother smiled and replied, “No I won’t.  This is now your car.  Merry Christmas little brother.”  The little brother was in shock.  He’d never even owned a car let alone one as fancy and expensive as this one!  When he got home he immediately grabbed a soft towel and started polishing the already shiny car, not wanting to leave it just yet.  One of the little kids in the neighborhood came by and looked at him beside the car and said. “Wow that’s a really nice car.  Whose is it?  The man said, “It’s mine.  My big brother gave it to me for Christmas.”  The little kid’s eyes got as wide as saucers and he said Wow!  I wish…”

How would you complete that story? What did that little boy wish? You’ll probably say the expected line is “Wow I wish I could have a big brother like yours!” and you’ll be wrong.


The conclusion of the story is, “Wow I wish i could BE a big brother like yours.”

Dr. Rob Gilbert started Success Hotline around 25 years ago and has been providing a 3 minute motivational talk or story 7 days a week, 365 days a year for all this time, free of charge. You just call 973-743-4690 any time, day or night to listen. I have made that call, most days, since the early 1990’s and I encourage you to get in that habit too.

2015 Motto: Life is change. Your very next moment can be different if you choose it to be


#689 The Best Intentions

Posted by frank December - 21 - 2015 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

People don’t experience you intentions. They experience your behavior.

Twenty five years ago I loaned a guy at work some money. He was to give it back to me on the day before I was leaving for a family vacation.  He didn’t and I had to scramble at the last minute to have enough cash to leave. (This was pre-ATM and I had to wait for the bank to open the next morning and delay my start.)

When I called him on it he said he really meant to get me the money but this and that happened and he couldn’t. He kept going on about why I shouldn’t be so upset because he really intended to get it to me in time and the circumstances weren’t really his fault.

I said “John, intention went out the window as an excuse once you finished kindergarten. Children can say I really meant to… not adults.”

People don’t experience you intentions. They experience your behavior.

Sometimes people get this mixed up in their own minds. They always know what they intended and, therefore, have difficulty understanding their own reputations.  This is because a reputation is based on collective actions but remembering good intentions clouds the reality and they don’t realize all that they’ve failed to do.

Here’s a great rule; when you think of something that would be nice to do, do it right away. Send the gift, do the favor, mail the card or make the call…now.

Remember what Emerson said: “You can never do a kindness too soon because you never know how soon it will be too late.”

2015 Motto: Life is choice. Your very next moment can be different if you choose it to be.”


#688 A Blank Canvass

Posted by frank December - 14 - 2015 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

I looked at my grandson, Dean, last night and thought about what a blank canvass he is. His opinions of himself are yet to be formed and a lot of what he thinks will come from how his mom and dad raise him.  If I had realized what an awesome responsibility that was when my girls were born I probably would have been frozen in place second guessing my every move.

We all want our kids to grow up to be the best they can be and in an effort to make that happen we tend to course correct all the time. The problem is, we often look for what needs correcting more and more and encourage what is going well less than we ought to.  It’s normal to want to save them from the pitfalls we see ahead.  After all, our hindsight can be their foresight; can’t it?  But focusing on improvement and correction can backfire.

Compliments lead to confidence and confidence leads to competence.

I’m not here to tell you how to raise your kids. I mention my grandson as a corollary to managing people in all parts of your life.  Dean was a blank canvass seven months ago and the opportunity to build his personality was, and is, wide open.

It may not be that way with employees or others you have to relate to but I still feel strongly that if you find what’s right often enough and say it out loud, your results will far exceed those who look for what’s wrong like we were giving out a prize for finding it.

2015 Motto: Life is change.  Your very next moment can be different if you choose it to be.

#687 Monday Moratorium

Posted by frank December - 7 - 2015 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

I’m certainly not what  I could be or what I’d thought I’d be or even what I should be; but I am glad I’m not what I used to be.

That’s the point; to think about personal development and improvement AND to give yourself credit for where you’ve come to so far.

I’ve had good moments and bad.  I’ve been proud and embarrassed.  I’ve produced noteworthy work and work I hope stays buried.

This is life.  Even Einstein blew a multiple choice question once in a while.

Some of us have a tendency to focus only on what needs to be improved both in ourselves and in others.

I’d like to propose a Monday moratorium on that kind of critique.  Let’s not do that today.  Let’s focus today on finding what we like and raising a flag over it.

Here is how I’d like you to start the day today.  Sit for a minute and think about all the good things you do then find someone else doing something well and compliment them.

Compliments lead to confidence and confidence leads to competence.

2015 Motto:  Life is choice.  Your very next moment can be different if you choose it to be


#686 My Two Favorite Quotes

Posted by frank November - 30 - 2015 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

Two of my favorite quotes of all time are written below.  Both speak volumes, albeit succinctly, and the end of each touches my soul.  Shaw ending with “A feverish little clot of ailments and grievances,” and Roosevelt with; “His place shall never be with those cold and timid souls.”  That’s all I’ll say since nothing I can add can bring any more value to the genius that you are about to read.

This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of Nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. George Bernard Shaw

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes up

short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Teddy Roosevelt


Remember, 2016 is just around the corner.  If you are going to develop a motto for the upcoming year, (and I strongly encourage you to do so) now is the time to begin crafting it.

2015 motto; Life is choice.  Your very next moment can be different if you choose it to be