#711 Just My Luck

Posted by admin May - 23 - 2016 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

A friend of mine was telling me about her Dad. She said he was a miserable guy; perpetually unhappy.  She said he always spoke about having the “Bernstein Luck” which was no luck at all or constant bad luck.  He blamed anything that didn’t go his way on “The Bernstein Luck.”  He said his Dad had it and his Dad talked about his grandfather the same way.

If it rained on his golf day, It was “The Bernstein Luck.” If the boiler broke, It was “The Bernstein Luck. If the car got a flat or there was a traffic detour or the restaurant ran out of the dish he ordered, it was “The Bernstein Luck.”

I’ve had a flat tire and some broken appliances. I’ve been stuck in traffic and rained out of an events but I don’t fundamentally believe that I caused those things to happen or that that happen more to me than they do to you.

This man, THESE GENERATIONS OF MEN, espoused this philosophy to their children to the point that their legacy is of hapless men who got what they expected; a raw deal in life.

There is so much to be learned from this; but most of all, as I think about my Darling Alicia due with her little girl due any day now, I think about the example I’ve tried to set for my family and the responsibility she and her husband are about to take on in setting the example for their little girl.

This friend of mine remembers her Dad first by his self-defined ill-fated, life. That’s bad enough but what about her world view?  How much did he poison her well before she moved out and dug her own?

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

#710 I Don’t Like My Face

Posted by frank May - 16 - 2016 - Monday 1 COMMENT

I don’t like my face
A few weeks ago I went to a seminar. It was an all-day affair in a secure building in the east forties in Manhattan. In the morning I checked in with security. I had to give them my license and take a picture. A peal and stick label came out of the machine with my name and picture on it and I put it in my jacket and went to the elevator.
I left the building during the hour the seminar broke for lunch. When I returned, I went fishing in my pocket for my pass as I asked the security guard if I needed to go through the whole process again. She said, “Don’t worry about it. Go on through. I remember you.” Now, mind you, I am just another nondescript businessman in a suit among hundreds of businessmen in suits who passed through that busy lobby. So I said, “Wow you have some memory to remember me from this morning. Was it my red tie?” She said, “I remember you because you looked so serious walking in, like you were thinking really hard about something. Well, that and your ear buds are black and most people have the white ones.”
I thought about that a lot. Is a scowl my regular countenance? I think it is. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard that. I have worn that look of concentration so long it has become my face-posture and I don’t like it. I don’t like it that while I feel welcoming and friendly, I may look unapproachable.
During the next week I focused on this and tried to have a slight smile and a more welcoming face. I made an effort to turn off the voice in my head and focus on the moment because ruminating about business issues and to do lists, steals me from where I am and puts that look on my face.
I’m sure it will take me some time to adopt a better face-posture, but I am determined to get there.
2016 Motto. Notice what’s good and raise a flag over it!

#709 What’s Your Story?

Posted by frank May - 9 - 2016 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

What’s your story?
I’ve heard that, in police matters, eyewitness accounts can vary greatly from person to person even when no one is lying. Lying, in this example, means not intentionally masking the truth; believing what you are saying is true.
I think about this as a key element in personal development and one I am trying hard to improve upon. Let me explain:
I tell myself stories about the world and the people who surround my life. The narrative is one I have created based on my life experience. I then look for evidence to support what I believe. Like the eyewitness accounts, I see through my personal lens. For example, if we walk together through the streets of Manhattan we will see a myriad of things, yet we only mentally narrate a few. You may narrate how crowded the street is or how wide the sidewalk is or how many police are out while I may narrate how dirty the streets are and how many homeless people are lying about. You see, if my view is that NYC is a dirty place with an out of control homeless problem, I look for evidence to support what I believe. I certainly could have self-narrated the same way you did. The streets are wide and crowded with many police.
The way this relates to personal development is related to my 2016 motto, Notice what’s good and raise a flag over it. My good friend Paul, wrote me last week, after reading my Monday blog, and told me about how he makes a conscious effort to walk the floors of his business and stop by a few desks when he sees or knows of good work being done and sincerely compliment the work those people are doing. If his self-narrative was that his employees were careless or lazy, or that no one knows how to do things but him, he would see mistakes and messes and have to “fix” those rather compliment. It isn’t that his employees never make a mistake or goof off, it is his self-narrative that has him see what supports that narrative.
So what’s your story?

#707 The Doing of Deeds

Posted by frank May - 2 - 2016 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

My least favorite expression has to be “No good deed goes unpunished.”
Part of it has to do with the philosophy behind it, part has to do with the act of complaining and part of it has to do with the subtle self-aggrandizing; “Aren’t I wonderful? I do lots of good things for people even though they poop on me.”
The truth about this expression is that the noticing of an unrequited deed , or even one that results in inconvenience to the good deed doer, speaks to the focus and self-narrative of the one noticing, not the universe at large.
In other words, the complainer is looking for reasons to complain.
The self-aggrandizing part saddens me too. My pyramid of a healthy attitude, related to this subject, is built in five levels:
Bottom – Doing favors and complaining about being unappreciated or “punished”
Next level up- Doing favors and overtly seeking appreciation in return
Next level up – Doing favors and publicizing them
Next level up – Doing favors and keeping quiet about doing them
Top – Living life, helping others, and not considering the acts favors at all.
2016 Motto: Notice what’s good and raise a flag over it!

#707 How to Worry

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

This message is taken from Dr. Rob Gilbert’s Success Hotline
Success hotline delivers a 3 minute motivational message, 7 days a week, 365 days a year I call daily!


From an old family recipe

WORRYING: The attempt to solve problems in the future by tormenting oneself now about possible bad results then.

1. Pick a topic (any topic).

2. Imagine something bad happening in relation to that topic.

3. Replay this negative scenario over and over again in your mind.

4. As you replay this AWFUL THING (whatever it is), breathe very shallowly or, for maximum discomfort, stop breathing altogether.

5. Simultaneously, hold your body completely still while you:

6. Furrow your brow and clench some muscles.

7. Think, “It’s hopeless. I’ll never be able to handle this.”

8. DO NOT, under any circumstances,

a. Breathe deeply.

b. Move your body.

c. Laugh.

d. Ask for help.

e. Problem-solve with one or more sympathetic human beings.

f. Take concrete action.


#706 Trust and Leadership

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

Welcome to all of my new subscribers from Shirvanian East coast realty and thank you for the warm reception and your kind attention at our meeting.

Trust and leadership are earned through behavior, not grated by position or connections. It takes character, competence and caring not titles or entitlement.
In one of his cool novels, Kinky Freidman said, “You can’t fake sincerity.”
Just saying you care or acting like you care will be transparent. It’s like Trump feigning humility.
My old boss Joe Weiss used to say, “The higher you ascend in position the more you are required to serve”. (Which is actually a spin on something Jesus said.)
So how do you care and show it? This is a complex question but for the moment, let me lay out a few behaviors that any caring person should avoid.
-Don’t take a call while we are meeting. Make it clear that this time is for the
person you are meeting with.
-Don’t work your phone, (texting, email, FB, whatever) during a meeting.
It infers that your communication is more important than mine
-Don’t look at your computer screen when you are meeting in your office.
Physically turn it out of your field of view or turn yourself away from it. Quick glances toward the screen every time a new email message comes in chips away at your rapport.
Essentially, you need to be in “up time”. Up time is the NLP term for total focus on the other person. In up time, you have good eye contact, you are listening well (not waiting for your turn to talk) nodding and giving other non-verbal and verbal cues to show you are in tune. You are also paying attention and calibrating the other persons physical cues to be sure you are getting the entire message.
Caring and rapport building are not the whole enchilada when it comes to trust and leadership but without them, the rest of the recipe amounts to nothing.
2016 Motto: Notice what’s good and raise a flag over it.

#705 Giving from the Heart

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

OMG Frank, this reminds me so much of an experience.

Working in the local food pantry I would cook for the volunteers that assembled baskets of food for those in need in our community. In the morning, donors would drop off food and packages, and in the afternoon the recipients would be on line waiting to pick up their blessing. Ordinarily, over 200 recipient families.

I took a phone call from a woman that day of the event, who asked if it was too late to provide food for a family, and of course, my response was it is never too late, there is always the need. She then asked about logistics, and when the receiving family would be retrieving the basket, so that her and her children could take a photograph with the family. Ugh!!! I wanted to shout a response of how insensitive this was! I kept my response brief and asked her to merely switch her perspective, imagining what it would be like if she were waiting on a food line with 200 other recipients, and if she believed she would be happy or humiliated by the photo opportunity. She hung up the phone.

At first, I thought , wow, if I had stated this differently, at least one more family would have been fed, and because of me, they weren’t. Surprisingly, at the end of the drop-off period, I was informed of a basket that arrived, fully prepared, signed “Anonymous”.

#704 The Supporting Narrative

Posted by frank April - 3 - 2016 - Sunday ADD COMMENTS

To support what we believe we sometimes take a snippet or a limited view of something and create the rest of the story to suit our own notions or beliefs.

A friend of mine, Anton, who is now a very successful business owner, was known to be prone to outbursts of temper from time to time when he was a young man. Another, fledgling middle manager I know, in the same industry, manages with fear and intimidation and when challenged on it will say, “Don’t you see? Anton’s company is successful because he doesn’t take any crap.  If someone doesn’t perform for a second, be blasts them and even fires them.  I heard he once threw a guy out of his office and docked him a days pay for being one minute late to a meeting!”

While the story may be true, the connection of this story and success is not. Anton does not owe his success to draconian management and the mistreatment of his employees and vendors. Anton is actually a really nice and charitable man who, as I said, had a bit of a temper as a young man.  To say that Anton’s temper built his business is like saying Babe Ruth was a great homerun hitter because he drank a lot.

The fledgling manager is frustrated. He doesn’t have the managerial or interpersonal skills to figure it out.  He is not a really nice guy so he grabs a piece of Anton folk lore that supports his narrative and makes it the whole story.  This allows him to run rough-shod over people and feel justified about it in the name of improvement

You may want to ask yourself what narratives about your family, friends, or coworkers are running in your head. Are they slanted toward what you want to believe and in need of some editing?


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

#703 Be where they are

Posted by frank March - 28 - 2016 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

To continue where we left off last week…Meeting people where they are is a concept I learned from the great Dr. Dan Shafer. Dan is a bereavement psychologist who has morphed into a great speaker, coach and business consultant.  I explained to Dan that although my intention is always to be uplifting, some interactions with friends who were down, felt strained to me; almost like I was speaking the wrong language.  I’d see a friend or a family member in a bad way and want to help them to feel better.  What was happening was that my interactions with those people felt shallow.  It was like we were respecting each other’s words but not really getting to genuine feelings. It seemed like they would show me that “stiff upper lip” because of me.  Not because they actually felt any better. Dan, who is also educated in NLP, taught me that in order to lead someone to a better place you first have to meet them where they are.  If someone is extremely sad, or hurt, he explained, you first need to sit in that emotion with them.  You need to honor and respect how they feel even if it feels like you are reinforcing a negative.  Once you have met them where they are,  and been genuinely sad or hurt with them, then you can try to lead them to a better place.

This was one of the best life-lessons I’d ever learned and, at the time I felt it was completely counterintuitive.  I didn’t want to reinforce negative emotions.  What Dan explained was that it was about trust and rapport.  You have to sit in the bad place with someone in order to really empathize.  This is what creates trust and rapport.  It didn’t mean I was agreeing with their doom and gloom and getting sucked down the drain with them.  It meant I truly wanted to understand how they felt and that I respected that.  Once I had done that I could think about trying to help.

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


#702 What about ME?!

Posted by frank March - 21 - 2016 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

Sorting by self is a term I learned in NLP that describes a kind of selfishness that stems from maintaining a myopic view of the world that only sees you and the effect the world has on you. Looking out for yourself and being self-aware is good, but this isn’t that.

Sorting by self defines people who view the events in the world around them EXCLUSIVELY by how those events affect them. An egregious example would be:

“John, did you hear about the earthquake in India that killed fifty thousand people?”

John: “Oh my God! I get my organic tea from India.  Do you think this will stop them from exporting?”

Sorting by self in a more mundane example might be more like this… “Hey John, I’m going to go help Mary (the old woman next door) bring in her groceries. She has trouble lifting things.”  John:  “I guess that means I’m doing the dishes alone.”

Understanding personality types can help us to communicate more effectively by offering information in a way that anticipates the response or simply by understanding the response on a different level. Sometimes, meeting people where they are, first, will allow you to lead them out.

Maybe we can explore that idea next week.

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