#607 All of the People

Posted by frank July - 21 - 2014 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

Last week, after Weekly Thought came out I had two quick replies in my email.  One said “Wow Frank, I’m going to print this and hang it on my wall.  Thanks!”  The other said “UNSUBSCRIBE FROM WEEKLY THOUGHT”

There was a time when the unsubscribes rankled me; a time where I may have sought to sooth my injury by writing back to the” unsubscriber” to ask what I did that offended him to the point of clicking that cleaving link.   But, gladly, that time is behind me.  While any comment or rejection piques my desire to improve, I have learned the meaning of an expression my Mom used often; “One man’s food is another man’s poison.” 

Bill Cosby once said “The surest way to fail is to try to please everyone.” I understand Mr. Cosby to mean that you have to choose a direction and move toward it.  You can and should read the signs and adjust your course often, but the direction is up to you and lots of people would prefer that you go to other places.  I choose my subject each week and I know from the comments that I can only please some of the people some of the time.

Of course I prefer “Wow Frank, I’m going to print this and hang it on my wall.  Thanks!” to, UNSUBSCRIBE FROME WEEKLY THOUGHT but in the end, I’m just happy to have the continual desire to observe and write each week and have an audience to share with.

2014 Motto: Mindful in every moment and grateful for everyday

 

Wherever you go, you take yourself with you

Posted by frank July - 14 - 2014 - Monday 1 COMMENT

“Wherever you go, you take yourself with you.”

 

I have been inside many companies and have spoken to thousands of employees and without fail those who have a negative approach believe that their company is the worst; that the levels of backbiting and incomprehensible management decisions are somehow peculiar to their place of business.  “Wherever you go, you take yourself with you.”

Happiness is not about what is going on around you; it is all about what is going on inside of you.  There are some people you bring into a million dollar mansion and the first thing they point out is that a picture on the wall is crooked.  This is what I believe,  If you aren’t happy in a one bedroom apartment you won’t be happy in that mansion either. 

 

All of these expressions are about the same thing.  Happiness comes from within, as does success.  You have no doubt heard “Success breeds success.”  That is what you can take away from today’s message.  It starts with YOU.  If you have a winning attitude, you will win.  It is as simple as that.  So how do you develop this?  There are a number of ways but I will just site one for now.  Have you ever noticed how many people go around looking for what’s wrong like we were giving out a prize for finding it?  How do you feel around those people?  Do you think that attitude can bring long term success?

 

Try this:  Notice what you like and talk about it.  Give a few sincere compliments.  See what people are doing well and point it out to them.  YOU will walk away feeling better and the better you feel the more you will like what you are doing and the more you like what you are doing the harder you work at it and the harder you work the more success you will have and the more success you have the better you will feel and the better you feel, and on and on and on and on.

Hard Work Wins! #605

Posted by frank July - 7 - 2014 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.  My good friend Barry Farber said that as he introduced my first CD entitled Are you Lazy or do you Simply Lack Talent?”

Barry hit the nail on the head with that expression.  No matter what you do, you will find that there are people who just naturally seem to do it a little better.  Some things come easier to some people than they do to others.  The secret to success though is not to be born with talent; we don’t get to choose that.  Success is all about the work.  You may not have the same natural ability as another person but you can choose to out-work and out-hustle anyone they put next to you.  If you put in the work the talent will come.  I know that there are those who are naturally gifted.  Michael Jordan, Mohammed Ali and Jerry Rice come to mind, but the truth is that superstars are that rare combination of hard work AND talent.  These guys are known for their talent but if you read about each of them, their work ethic is what brought them to super-stardom. 

You can choose, every day, to put out a Jordan-like effort.  You can decide to train in your field as hard as Ali and Rice did in theirs.

I promise you that if you put in this kind of effort in your endeavors, you will be a superstar in your field.

 

2014 Motto: “Mindful in every moment and grateful for every day”

The Amazing Joe Sclafani #604

Posted by frank June - 30 - 2014 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

Joe and I have been business associates for about twenty five years.  Our relationship has transcended business and through our friendship I have learned what a quality person Joe is.

I mention this because last week Joe was entertaining a member of his company who was visiting New York from Europe.  Joe asked if he could bring the man in to see me since the purpose of his trip was to interview customers in the US. 

What I want to relate here has nothing to do with the meeting and everything to do with a recurring theme here on weekly thought; listening.

When Joe stepped out of the room for a moment his guest, Valentine, said to me.  ‘Thank you for allowing me to come and visit.”  I wanted to make it clear to him that Joe was the reason he was there because this guy worked for the home office and I wanted to “Hoist Joe’s flag” a bit if I could.  So I said, “No problem Valentine, I would do anything for Joe as, I’m sure, most of his customers would.”  Valentine looked at me and smiled and while his English was pretty damn good, he said something with his quaint accent, and slightly improper choice of words that captured the essence of good listening.  He said, “Yes I understand.  Joe is a terrific guy.  When I talk to him he listens like he is really interested.  Not like a trick, but really.”  I surreptitiously took a note so I could share it with you. “He is interested; not like a trick, but really.” 

Kinky Freidman once said, ‘If you could fake sincerity you’d rule the world.”  That line always made me laugh because the definition of sincerity is that it isn’t faked!

That’s what Valentine meant when he complemented Joe and I can attest to his assessment.  Joe does listen with genuine interest.  That’s a big part of what makes him the number one ranked rep at his company and a man with a life rich with good friends and good relationships.

This week, listen with sincere interest…NO TRICKS!

2014 Motto…“Mindful in Every Moment and Grateful for Every Day”

# 603Listen, Listen, Listen!

Posted by frank June - 23 - 2014 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

I ran a little experiment over the past couple of weeks.  It all started with my daughter, Christine.  I had called her for something at a moment when she was, evidently, about to call me.  She answered and when she realized it was me she began telling me the news she was going to call to impart.  After about a sentence or two she said, “Oh my God.  So sorry Daddy-O; you called me.  What’s up?”

 

I was really impressed by this because on many calls I make throughout the day the person who answers starts talking without regard to what I’m calling for and doesn’t stop after two sentences (like Christine did) to ask why I called.

 

After Christine’s observation, I decided to keep track.  This isn’t by any means a scientific study, but 8 out of 10 business associates I called either took off talking without asking why I called or gave me 30 seconds of courtesy-speak before dominating the conversation.

That falls in line with Pareto’s principle, commonly known as the 80-20 rule, which applies to so many things in life.

In my experience, only 20% of the people I encounter are what I would call good, active listeners (Toni, you know you could give classes on this!)  I watch this in sales calls, brainstorming sessions, board meetings and interviews.  I see it with high-end professionals and minimum wage workers.  I know parents who don’t listen a lick and adult “children” who still think it’s Mom’s place to listen and not to be heard.

Listening; real listening, with no axe to grind or alternative agenda is a rare and wonderful thing.  In my experience, people who do this well excel in business and in relationships and have more friends than they can count.

Remember, you never heard anyone say, “I hate that guy.  All he ever does is listen!”

 

2014 Motto:…”Mindful in Every Moment and Grateful for Every Day”

#602 In Honor of Father’s day

Posted by frank June - 16 - 2014 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

 

The father of a daughter is nothing but a high-class hostage. A father turns a stony face to his sons, berates them, shakes his antlers, paws the ground, runs them off into the underbrush, but when his daughter puts her arm over his shoulder and says, “Daddy, I need to ask you something.”  He is a pat of butter in a frying pan.”

Garrison Keillor

“Sherman made the terrible discovery that men make about their fathers sooner or later…that the man before him was not an aging father but a boy, a boy much like himself, a  boy who grew up and had a child of his own and, as  best he could, out of a sense of duty and, perhaps love, adopted a role called Being a father so that his child would have something mythical and infinitely important: a Protector, who would keep the lid on all of the chaotic and catastrophic possibilities of life”

Tom Wolfe, The Bonfire of the Vanities

 

I killed the monsters.  That’s what fathers do.  FK Wallace, Stormfront

My mother protected me from the world and my father threatened me with it.

Quentin crisp

 

When I was a boy of fourteen my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around.  But when I got to be twenty one, I was astonished by how much he’d learned in seven years.

Mark Twain

#601 Worry

Posted by frank June - 9 - 2014 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

I was listening to Dr. Rob Gilbert’s Success Hotline Sunday and his message bears repeating.  But first, let me say, if you don’t listen to Success Hotline daily (as I have most days for the past twenty years) you are missing a great opportunity to hear a great motivational speaker and to gather some excellent tools and ideas.  Dr. Rob’s Success Hotline is a 3-minute inspirational message which changes every day, seven days a week and costs you absolutely nothing.  Call (972) 743-4690.

 

On Sunday Rob, tongue in cheek, called the hotline “Failure hotline” and said its purpose was to explore ways to fail.  The number one topic on how to fail was this:

How to Worry

  1. 1.        Pick a topic, any topic in your life.
  2. 2.       Imagine something bad happening in relation to that topic.
  3. 3.       Replay this negative scenario over and over in your mind.
  4. 4.       As you replay the negative scenario over and over take shallow breaths or for maximum discomfort, stop breathing all together.
  5. 5.       Hold your body tightly as you…
  6. 6.       Lower your brow and clinch your jaw, grind your teeth, and tense your muscles
  7. 7.        Think It’s hopeless I will never handle this.
  8. 8.       Do not take concrete action, relax your body, talk to someone who can help, laugh, problem solve, or breathe deeply.

That is a great blueprint for “How to Worry” and while we’re here, let’s remember the great quote from Marcus Aurelius:  “I am an old man and I have had many worries, most of which have never come to pass.”

2014 Motto:  Mindful of every moment and grateful for everyday

Abundance Vs. Scarcity #600

Posted by frank June - 2 - 2014 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

I was speaking to my long-time friend Mario this past week about the mindset of scarcity vs. abundance.  Sometimes we get so caught up with holding on to what we have that we fail to see what we might have.  Sometimes the might have is a far sight better than what we have but letting go seems counterintuitive.
I have a pond in my yard and was feeding the fish when I saw this principle acted out.  I feed with Koi logs, which are small, cylindrical, hunks of food that float so that I can watch the fish come to the surface to eat.  One particular fish (who is one of the largest) is the one who brought this thought to life right in front of me.
As I threw a handful of logs (maybe 75 or 100) on the surface the feeding frenzy began, but this big fish I mentioned didn’t cruise with the school.  He was focused on four or five particular logs which were attached to each other.  Rather than open his mouth and skim across the surface consuming a dozen or so logs in a minute, he hovered around the attached logs and chased off any fish that came near them.  He rose to try to eat the attached logs but they were bigger than his little Goldfish mouth.  The attached logs must have looked like the mother of all fish logs to him and he was not giving up!   As the rest of the fish ate their fill he guarded his little cache for all he was worth, charging and chasing fish as they happened to come near.  He totally ignored lots and lots of single logs that we within easy reach if he would just leave his post.  In the end, I am sorry to say that he didn’t even get the logs he was guarding.  They became waterlogged and sank while he was chasing another fish away.
At that moment, I wished I could speak Goldfish.  I wanted to remind him how he got to be a big fish to begin with.  Back when he was first put in the pond he came the surface and ate everything he could, going from one to another and searching the entire surface of the pond knowing there was plenty for him if he just looked for it.  He was too small then to chase anyone else away so he hustled and got his share and then some.  How could he have forgotten?
Perhaps little fish brains don’t learn lessons too well.  It’s a good thing our brains are much larger.

Communications Seminar Part V

Posted by frank May - 19 - 2014 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

Communications Seminar Part IV

 

Four Do’s and Four Don’ts for Stronger Communication

 

Be Engaged: Look a person in the eye and wear a pleasant expression.  Let your mouth lean toward a smile and keep your eyebrows up.

Give cues: Both verbal and non-verbal.  Nod with encouragement, show surprise, and interest with your facial expressions, and use the verbal equivalent of these facial cues to show you are IN the conversation.

Body posture.  The feet never lie.  Don’t turn your feet away from the conversation in anticipation of your exit.  People are hard-wired to pick up these subtleties.  They may not say “I see your feet are already leaving us” but they intuit the break in your attention.

Be present; Listen without thinking of your retort.  Some people are so bad at this you actually see their lips working while you’re speaking.

 

Never interrupt. No explanation necessary

Never look past someone when they’re talking.  Have you ever had someone look over your shoulder at people passing by and thought, “What are you a fish?  Did something shiny just pass by and you reflexively need to chase it?

Never look at your phone (or you computer if your at your desk.)  Talking to someone who constantly looks at texts or incoming email while your talking is most unpleasant and doing it is disrespectful.

Never sneak glances at another part of their face or body while their talking (Think John Candy in Uncle Buck talking to the woman with the mole, “Yes Mrs. Melanoma…er I mean…)

 

 

2014 Motto: “Mindful in Every Moment and Grateful for Every Day”

 

#598 Communications Seminar part IV

Posted by frank May - 12 - 2014 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

Over the past three weeks we have covered Taking responsibility; “The result of your communication is its meaning”, Listening well, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood”, and some Stylistic differences (Big Chunkers vs. Small Chunkers”  If you’ve missed any you can go back through the past three weeks at www.franksomma.com and click on the blog.

This week I thought it would be fun to cover another style challenge;  “Matchers vs. Mis-matchers.”  In a general sense matchers tend to agree while mis-matchers tend to disagree but there is more to it than that.  Let me give an example.  You’re driving into a parking lot with a passenger and as you go to pull in to a spot they point to a different spot and say “why don’t you park over here?” That’s a mis-matcher.   If it’s someone you know well and spend a lot of time with, you’ve envisioned having a big “world clock” and turning back time just so that you could aim for the parking spot they are now pointing to KNOWING FOR SURE that they would point to the spot you originally chose because it isn’t about the better spot it is about changing your choice and you’d be right.

Mis-matchers are often thought to be naysayers because they disagree so often and work in a language pattern that incorporates a lot of no, not, can’t won’t and don’t.  It is not negativity however, it is creativity.  Mis-matchers want to change everything they see.  They don’t take a suggestion as is, they think, “what could go wrong here? “ Or “How can I make this work better.” 

A more sophisticated mis-matcher will control their tongue and let the parking space go, saving their creative suggestions for more important things. A knee-jerk mis-matcher will disagree with almost everything often starting sentence with the work no.

Matchers are easy to point out as they will tend to nod their heads in a yes motion as you speak.  They look for ways to relate their own experience with what you are telling them.  When you tell a typical matcher about a book you are reading on the civil war she will come up with a story about watching a battle reenactment in Gettysburg. Matchers may seem to be desirable company, agreeing with your suggestions but a matcher in the extreme is pretty boring and adds very little to the equation.

Offering suggestions not thought of creates a good synergy between thinkers and simply agreeing flattens that process and takes the power out of it.

The purpose here is to help you recognize these two styles so that you can adjust your style to get the most out of each encounter.  Here’s a quick story to illustrate.  My good friend is a knee-jerk mis-matcher needing to change almost everything that comes his way.  He lives about 40 minutes south of me.  Each year we take a trip to upstate New York (north of me.)  I called him and said “Joe, you’ll drive to me and leave your car here and then we’ll head up there, right?”  He said, “No, I can’t leave my car there.  What if my wife has trouble with her car?  It’s kind of old.  Can you come and pick me up?”

 You see what happened there?  I proposed something and he immediately found a valid (in his mind) reason to change/improve my suggestion.

So I learned.  The next year I called and said, “Hey Joe, when we go next week you don’t want to leave your carhere and then head upstate…rihtgt?”  And I let that sentence hang there.  He said, Yeah.  I will come up to you.”  The opposite of the idea I’d floated.

That may seem manipulative to you (because it is) but it is also useful to understand these two styles and to draw ideas out of the matchers you know and temper the mis-matchers you encounter.