Showing posts with label Passion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Passion. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Personal Strengths of a 12 Year-Old Boy

Ned, watching birds with his camera (photo by Charm Peterson)
Last weekend I was in charge of a bird-watching (aka “birding”) field trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The 100 participants ranged in age from 12 to 92. Talk about diversity!

Often when preteens or teens attend, they’re accompanying parents who are eager to introduce them to the world of birds.

In this instance, two 12 year-old boys brought their mothers along. I knew one of the boys, Ned, because he’s a member of our local bird club. He’s been an avid birder for two years and has accompanied my husband Lee and me for Audubon bird counts.

Ned is not like most boys his age. As I watched him in action over the weekend, I was awed by his maturity and the personal strengths he exhibited.

Ned doesn't use binoculars to look at birds. While this is a must-have piece of equipment for most birders, Ned uses his camera exclusively. He’s taught himself to expertly zoom in and out to view a bird and take a picture at the same time. Pretty ingenious. I've never seen anyone else do that.

People who are serious birders keep a list of birds they've seen. When they encounter a new species, they call it a “life bird.” Some folks count birds that they barely see because they’re eager to add to their numbers. Not Ned. He holds himself to a very high standard. He only counts birds that he can photograph. He wants documented proof that he’s seen a specific species. As handy as he is with his camera, he’s been able to get a shot of almost every new species he encounters.

The host hotel offered a hot breakfast every morning, starting at 6:00AM. My husband Lee and I arrived at 6:10 both days. Ned was already there, by himself (his mother and buddy slept in), finishing up his morning meal. No one had to prod this kid to get up. He wanted to make the most of his time, so he arrived at the earliest possible moment. After clearing his table off, he scurried out the door to stand on the large deck just outside the breakfast room, looking for birds and capturing pictures of the sunrise.

Unlike many kids who have the attention span of a gnat, Ned was able to be still for long periods at a time and just WAIT. Whether he was sitting on a bench waiting for the sunrise or out in the field waiting for birds to show up, he seemed to just enjoy the moment and relish in whatever came next.

Because of the number of attendees, we divided into smaller groups for the field trips. No matter which group Ned was in, he brought an infectious enthusiasm that spread to others. This young man LOVES birding. He’d rather do that than almost anything else. You won’t see him with any electronic gadgets, playing video games or texting his friends. When we’d mention species that we might see on a particular trip and it was a new bird for him, Ned’s excited face lit up the room.

Yes, Ned left quite an impression on everyone, a very positive impression. You might say he was a phenomenon.

He certainly inspired me to appreciate the beauty around me - and life in general - in a more profound way.

"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better." - Albert Einstein

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Chet Holmes - A Life of Passion and Accomplishment

Chet Holmes, author of the best-selling book, The Ultimate Sales Machine, was diagnosed with leukemia last year. During the months that followed, he used his “pigheaded discipline and determination” to rally and return to work. But on August 12, 2012, he lost his battle to that disease.

Although I had never met Chet in person (we often corresponded on Twitter), his writing and interviews had a profound impact on my thinking and my actions. In fact, through his work, he positively influenced hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of business people around the world.

As I reflect on this amazing man and his contributions, I realize that I took away much more than specific strategies or tactics when I studied his book or listened to him speak. Chet had a conviction and confidence that immediately captured your attention…and held it. He was clearly passionate about the work he was doing to empower businesses to greater success. His enthusiasm and positive energy were contagious.

But I believe the legacy that endures will be about the man himself – who he was to the core. These qualities came through loud and clear in his stories and case studies. Every time I was exposed to his words, I was inspired to become a better version of myself.

Just a few examples...

Self-development – Chet was a relentless lifelong learner. He never felt he had “arrived,” even after he achieved levels of success in his business that dwarfed others’ accomplishment…

“The best of the best are always seeking to be better” so when you’re interviewing new hires, find out “how dedicated they are to self-improvement. Ask them what was the last self-help book they read or CD they listened to or DVD they watched.”

Focus your efforts – From identifying your “dream clients” to managing your time, Chet’s advice was dead-on about harnessing your energy for best results…

“Concentration is like a muscle and it strengthens as you concentrate more. If you stop concentrating every time an email comes in or the phone rings, you actually lessen your ability to concentrate and you become less effective in any situation that requires concentration.”

Focus on the other person – It’s the rare individual who consistently seeks to help others, and you’ll set yourself apart if you heed this wisdom…

“Most people live their lives surrounded by mirrors, focusing on themselves. They think about how they are coming off to other people and whether or not they will get what they want…So turn those mirrors into windows and you will be a much better presenter, salesperson, trainer, executive or leader. The most mature person in a relationship is the one listening the most. He or she is thinking about the other person’s needs and how to meet them.”

Perseverance – NEVER give up, if you believe that what you're offering has value for the other person.

“How important could your product be if you go away after a single rejection or two? Everyone respects persistence in the face of resistance.”

Whenever you lose someone whose life mattered to you, you come face-to-face with your own mortality…and what you want your own legacy to be.

If you’re not achieving what you’re capable of, or living life in a way that brings fulfillment to you and enrichment to others, what one thing could you do differently today that would put you on the path to greater happiness, joy and satisfaction?

It’s important to start today, because there are no guarantees about the number of days, months or years you have left to accomplish what you most deeply want to do.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Barbara Corcoran’s Recipe for Getting Out of a Funk

Barbara Corcoran, star of Shark Tank

No matter how much you believe in yourself and the value you bring to your work, you’re going to have moments when you temporarily lose your spark. You’re human, after all, and it’s impossible to sustain consistently high levels of enthusiasm 24/7.

So when you do find yourself in a bad place, how do you get out of it?

I recently listened to an interview where some sage advice was shared by Barbara Corcoranstar of the TV show, Shark Tank, and a mega-successful entrepreneur herself.

First, recognize that a slump is a period of feeling sorry for yourself. You probably feel badly because you haven’t come as far as you wanted to be at this point. Either you’re doing the wrong things and not getting results, or you’re doing things you don’t enjoy doing. It’s often both.

Then block out a day in a location away from your office or home, where you’re isolated from people and distractions. It doesn’t have to be an exotic place. The local library works well. Your goal is to make two lists.

If you own a business or are in sales, on List One, include all the business you’ve gotten to date. Then next to each, record where it came from. Barbara discovered that most of her business came from similar sources, and she compared that to where she’d actually been focusing her time and energy. The two rarely matched. Based on what she learned from the comparison, she answered these questions: What three new things can I do to get MORE of that kind of business? What is my sweet spot?

For List Two, take a sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle. At the top of the left column, write: What I LOVE and on the right: What I HATE. On the left, record all the activities and tasks you’ve been doing the past few weeks that you’ve loved doing.

For Barbara, that included advertising, marketing and talking with reporters. It turns out the left side never changed, but there were always new things on the right side that she hated. She detested dealing with bankers and handling minutiae like a messy desk. When she returned to her office, she immediately delegated everything on the Hate side and filled her schedule with more of the activities she loved and did well. This action re-energized her.

Complete this exercise yourself, and you’ll quickly discover why your passion wanes at times. Fuel it by focusing most of your time on the activities that bring you the greatest joy and the best results. Wherever possible, find of way to delegate, outsource or simply stop doing the tasks that you don’t enjoy or that don’t produce the outcomes you need.

"Look for a long time at what pleases you, and a longer time at what pains you." – Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, French novelist (1873-1954)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Do You Have a Passion for What You Do?

Meredith with Denny Coates, her business partner since 1990
"A man can succeed at almost anything for which he has unlimited enthusiasm." 
- Charles M. Schwab, American business leader (1862-1939)

When I met my business partner, Denny Coates, for the first time in 1990, it was for a breakfast meeting. That initial conversation lasted more than three hours and almost ran into the lunch hour. I was struck by his passion about a new personality test he’d created based on two areas of brain science – cognitive psychology and neuroscience. I’d never met anyone who knew so much about the brain, and his enthusiasm for the topic was contagious.

At that point he’d already consumed hundreds of books on the subject, and he was constantly on the look-out for the latest research. More than twenty years later, Denny still has the same insatiable quest to learn more about what really goes on in the brain.

His deep understanding of these processes formed the foundation for the creation of our software products – 20/20 Insight, a customizable assessment and development platform, and ProStar Coach, an online virtual coaching system for personal development.

Today his writing is focused on helping teens and parents of teens understand the crucial development that happens in the brain during the ages of 12-22. His unwavering dedication to learn about the brain has simply become more specialized over the years. It’s a testament to what people can accomplish when they’re driven by an intense interest, coupled with a desire to change lives.

Think about your interests in your business life and personal life. Would you describe them as topics you’re passionate about? Many people never experience that depth of emotion. But if you don’t feel boundless enthusiasm and obsessive motivation to excel in a particular area, interest alone won’t carry you far. Even if you do have that kind of intensity initially, it’s difficult to sustain over time.

That’s because the most worthwhile things in life are the hardest to achieve. They typically involve major challenges. Only a highly committed individual would endure the hard work, delays and discouragements involved in getting to the final destination.

So how do you discover this passion, if you haven’t felt it before?

Take time to be quiet and listen to your heart. Think about what energizes you. What kinds of work or play cause you to lose track of time? What would you be doing if you got to engage in these activities on a regular basis?

You may have to listen for a while, but eventually you’ll discover what gives meaning and purpose to your life, what matters most to you. Then you can do what most people never do—commit to getting heavily involved in what you’re passionately interested in.

When you follow your heart, these words from the architect Buckminster Fuller will resonate with you: "The minute you choose to do what you really want to do, it's a different kind of life."