ROCKY ROADS

IMG_1668“I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.” Is 42:16

Careers are not always an easy path. We are asked to do things we have not done; go places we have never been; achieve what’s has never been achieved and to go against those who seek to keep us from all that we aspire to do. One sign of weakness and the boss doubt your abilities while adversaries take every opportunity to use it for your destruction. A simple oversight or mistake can be turned into a mountain of loose boulders shifting beneath the feet of each step threatening to crush you beneath a rolling avalanche.

 

When we can’t see what is ahead, are not sure how to approach a new project or are attacked by forces beyond our control we as believers can find comfort in that our destiny has a guide who will help navigate and clear obstacles, some of which we never see.

 

When faced with challenges, whether they are things that exceed your current capabilities/experience or that are beyond your control, one can breathe a sigh of relief in that God has made us a promise to guide and smooth our path of obstacles and debris.

 

When things at work get rough, when you have no idea how you are going to achieve the task that is set before you, when that person who wants to taint your reputation and undermine your achievements comes along, have peace that God is in control. He sees what is ahead and has already fought the battle. All we have to do is trust and watch Him work in our lives.

what challenges do you face that need to be handed over to Him?

 

PLAY IT SAFE OR TAKE A RISK?

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When I look back at my professional career the best moves were the most risky. Each risky move came with an entourage of friends screaming, “don’t do it!”

Jumping from my comfortable hometown job of working in a warehouse to a career in the Marines brought wagers from friends who bet I would wash out.

Retiring from the Marines after 24 years came with people shaking their heads in doubt that I would find a job.

Switching from logistics to being a process improvement Black Belt within the company came with warnings I would be out of a job within a year.

Making yet another career change from manufacturing to healthcare left friends in shock just waiting on my demise to come.

The truth is each risky step took me to a new adventure. Every move from comfort found me further from the boredom and fear that kept those who said it couldn’t be done paralyzed. Many of the Nay-Sayers still sit in seats of miserable comfort while each day I enjoy meaningful work that has purpose.

I look forward to what I do each day all because I was willing to take a risk when opportunity showed itself. Had I played it safe I’d still be in some warehouse picking orders from a shelf having never known the adventures that I missed. I’m so very thankful I listened to opportunity and jumped each time it showed itself.

What about you? Are you comfortable? Are there things you want to do, but for some reason don’t pursue? Why not take a step of faith today and begin moving toward that something that you have always wanted to do?

 

 

Live Life! It’s time to take a risk! www.coachrobertsimmons.com

Leaders Look for Greatness

Lake Greatness“Bad leaders excuse away greatness; good leaders look for excuses to recognize greatness.”

 

We have all heard it. “John is a good employee, but…” or, “Yes, Susie does a good job and is productive; it is just that sometimes she…”

You can fill in the end with many things, but the end result is that a leader has put a negative spin on someone who was otherwise a good, perhaps even a great employee. Now they have placed doubt in someone else’s mind about that person needlessly.

Bad leaders have a tendency to want to push their employees down in order to feel important. Insecurity, negativity, and feeling threatened are a few of the reasons these leaders feel the need to respond this way. Employees want to shine and be their best but become discouraged and dismayed when they are constantly placed in the “yea but” category.

Good leaders find ways to find greatness and express it out loud and often. They see things, even the smallest of nuggets and have the ability to put them on a showcase for the world to see. The effective leader is constantly building his or her people up. There are not “yea buts” in their language. Their people are rock stars and as a result each one strives to be even better. The more employees shine the more they want to shine.

“All negative comments leave a sticky residue on the one sending the message”

What leaders who excuse away greatness in their people do not understand is that some of that negativity is left on them as well. People see the leader who constantly belittles or downplays their people, as also being less than adequate. The leader believes that their comments are making themselves seem superior; however the opposite is true. To push someone down they must go down with them…and they do.

Yet the opposite is true for the leader who always has positive words for their employees. They are seen as great leaders; positive people. The more a leader talks their people up, the more opportunities to move up comes their way. Leaders who lead by criticism generally become bitter because when they minimize others they are minimizing themselves. As a result the critical leader does not get promoted and opportunities don’t come their way creating a vicious cycle of continual sourness exuding from every word and action. People don’t want to be around them and certainly are not going to place them in higher positions of influence.

People are looking for positive people who can build good teams. No one builds good teams who can’t see or communicate the greatness within each member.Good teams become great teams when they are built up with a continual battery of encouragement and positiveness.

Practice saying, “(Insert your employee’s or a colleague’s name here) is great!

Find other positive words to describe your employee and look for opportunities to speak publicly and privately. Stop at the end of the adjective that describes them as being wonderful. Don’t add any “buts” to the sentence. Walk off leaving them as being a great employee in the listener’s mind.

How do you bring out greatness in those around you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

PURGING OUT THE DARKNESS OF NEG-FACTOR

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Do you ever find yourself getting negative? Spitting out negativeness about a person, place or thing? Perhaps it is someone you work with who gets under your skin. Sometimes it might be an organization or church that has rubbed you the wrong way. There may even be times when a person becomes negative and they do not even know why!

If we were all to be honest we have all done it. I have been there and quite frankly probably will again. It happens. Something comes into our life that, if we are not careful will consume our every thought and word. These are Neg-Factors that can change a person from being the life of the party to the person everyone hopes stays home. If we are not mindful negativity can lead us to a dark and lonely place with us wondering how we got there.

So how do we avoid the Neg-Factor? What can we do to pull out should we find ourselves in a nosedive into becoming a Negative Nancy or Undesirable Dave?

Here are a few ideas that help me when I am free falling into the Neg-Factor. I am not always successful;  we can all go negative. Even so, if we take action to go against the slippery slope of negativeness we will find ourselves in a much better place more often.

RECOGNIZE IT: The first step in changing anything is to acknowledge there is a need for change. Whether it is a person with an addiction or a process at work, nothing changes until a desire to change has developed. Take time to write down the warning signs that you have begun to go down the wrong road and keep them in a place where they can be reviewed on a regular basis as a form of self-accountability. You could even get a close friend who you share these with and ask them to let you know if they see these behaviors, because most times others see them long before we do ourselves.

ROOT CAUSE: Sometimes we are irritated and do not even know why! We don’t like someone, but can’t put our finger on it. Take the time to analyze what it is that has got under our skin. Is it the person or something they are doing? Are they doing it on purpose or is it just something that is different than what we are accustomed? Perhaps it is our own insecurities or even that they are taking us to a place where we are not comfortable and we are therefore simply fighting against something we know is more personal? The list is endless, however it is important to ask ourselves what it is that is at the root of the matter. Again, get someone you trust to help dissect and give honest feedback on your thoughts.

REMEMBER IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU: Most times that root cause is placed somewhere in the fact that we have become self-focused. What is happening is not what we agree with; we don’t like it. The problem is fleshed out in the Neg-factor because we are not in control. Our minds believe whatever is occurring needs to change to our way of thinking and when it is out of our control, in other words we can’t change it, the first response is to begin the attacks. We might attack in words, body language, gossiping, criticizing, and even rebelling by refusing to follow or have contact with someone. All of these behaviors are signs that we have possibly arrived at a place of looking at what we think should be, but feel out of control because we can’t change it. We have to remember, the world does not revolve around us no more than it revolves around the other person, business or company that has gotten under our skin. Everyone is a player in this game and harsh truth of the fact is that we are simply a piece of the puzzle like everyone else.

REMEMBER IT IS  ABOUT YOU: The only person you can change is you. This is counsel my wife and I give in almost every situation. Even in marriage, neither can change the other which is where most arguments develop. People want everyone else to change while we remain the same. The fact that we have to remember is that the only person we can truly change is ourselves. What is amazing about this is that when we change, there is some kind of cosmic magic that happens in which the world around us begins to change. When a wife or husband starts working on themself, the other is affected and a change begins to occur. When a leader focuses on how he or she is leading, their team changes. A church member begins to grow in their faith; the people around them are affected and begin to change. When we work on ourselves our perspective of others change as well. Work on you and watch the world around you begin to have a fresh new look.

REBUILD: When we have gone down the Neg-factor road there is a chance that some damage has occurred. The faith the team had for the leader has been questioned. Friends no longer want to hangout. Perhaps it even grew into a more volatile state where words and actions tore down relationships; even resulted in a loss of a job or position. If that is the case it is time to rebuild. Begin to rebuild by replacing words of negativity with positive thoughts, comments and accolades. Start building others up. Not only should we see things from the bright side, we should express them in public. Through writing a positive email or making a phone call to encourage someone, understand that your actions can change others. Build others up, build relationships; build positive environments, build, build, build!

 YOU ARE THE ONLY CHANGE YOU CAN CONTROL-CHANGE YOU AND THE WORLD AROUND YOU WILL CHANGE

The Neg-Factor happens to us all. It can be a lonely and dark place leaving us all alone; however the good news is that the darkness can be overcome by light. We all have a light to shine, it is our choice turn it on. How do you shine light and avoid the darkness of the Neg-Factor?

LEADERS ARE MINERS

diamond mining

It’s dirty, but a worthy job. Mining for diamonds. Man has been digging into the earth since the fourth century B.C. The beauty and value of the precious diamond are something admired by both men and women across the world.

The diamond in its natural state is not the precious gem that it will eventually become. The miner has an eye for the stones; however it is the jeweler who is able to take the rock in its roughest of form and then chisel, cut and polish it into a sparkling jewel.

Leaders, good leaders, are both miners and jewelers. Each day he or she goes out looking for those diamonds in the rough. They are seeking the work that is done by those who work for them that can be put on display. That work may seem and perhaps even is normal task and responsibilities; however the good leader is able to chisel and polish away the imperfections making the individual(s) under their charge shine for the world to see.

The joy in elevating others is a sign of a true leader.

Leadership Mining

  • Go Looking: As a leader go out daily to look for the good things your people are doing. The good leader knows there is enough negative dirt that their employees have to deal with on a daily basis. Good leadership goes out to find the value their employees bring.

 

  • Have an eye for gems: It takes a special leader with an eye for recognizing the good things their people are doing. It means having a positive attitude; a mentoring approach.

 

  • Collect: It is not enough to notice the good things your people do, but it has to be collected; recorded. Make note of each thing they do no matter how big or small.

 

  • Clean & Cut: This is where the leader becomes an artist. Being able to communicate the work of employees in a positive fashion is a talent, yet essential part of leadership. Whether articulating in words in a memo or putting them in for an award, it is important to be able to make them shine more beautifully than even they could imagine.

 

  • Display: Find ways to showcase your people’s work and work. Send out emails to the team highlighting accomplishments, send messages to senior leaders, give small gifts, or awards. It is important to let your people know on a regular basis that their work is not only valued, but is noticed.

 

  • Go digging for more: Mining is not a one-time event. Going out and digging around in the efforts of your people and placing the special things they do on display is a regular part of leadership. The leader who understands the importance of this can’t settle for just one diamond. They become obsessed with putting the work of their employees on display. The joy in elevating others is a sign of a true leader.

#soulsmatter

Today I walked from the parking garage to my office building in Dallas. The streets I walked was less than a mile from the tragic ambush where Dallas officers were murdered last Thursday. For most of us headed into the office it was the first time back since the shootings since most of the area was locked down from the incident.

As I headed my way down the street I met up with some of the DPD and thanked them for protecting us. I passed an African American man with whom we both smiled and said Good Morning. I walked into the building where our normal doorman had his usual smile and a pleasant greeting that is always different, an African American. I stopped by for my usual morning coffee and a muffin on the second floor and had my usual conversation with the lady who warms my breakfast, a sweet Hispanic lady. Within the brief journey from my car to the conference room I came in contact with half a dozen different ethnic individuals, all friendly, and smiling, but also still bewildered with unbelief at what occurred just a few days ago in our streets.

As I sat in the conference awaiting my colleagues I thought about the few blocks I walked today. It was a bit different; I was more aware of those I met than usual. My thoughts took me back to a lesson a Marine Corps officer once taught me. He said, “You have to believe in your people and understand that most people want to do good. Most want to do the right thing.”

None of us are going to stop the media from skewing stories to gain viewers, promote their agenda or to create animosity. What I have to understand is that those who live in hate; those who wish ill will toward others, they are not the majority. In fact, their numbers are few in comparison. They have a platform called the media who is able to use their magic to make a bee hive look like a Biblical plague. But that is not the case.

America is at a crossroad, but it goes much deeper than any kind of #_______ lives matter (you fill in the blank). The hashtag for us should all be ‪#‎soulsmatter‬. It is a spiritual awakening we need. Our nation has experienced such blessings and abundance for so long we actually believe we don’t need God. We even believe that we ourselves generated the great wealth and blessings we have today. Our nation is experiencing blessings of those who sacrificed lives and much more on our behalf. Leaders who had a vision for this great nation went through much sacrifice and took us through hard-times to allow us to enjoy the harvest we have had for many years now. But there is one thing we must not forget. Though none were perfect; all had their flaws, but at the root of their soul and the ultimate drive that led them to endure was a faith based on God, the one true God.

At this crossroad in our nation’s journey we are at a great place. I say great because there is an opportunity to make a change. The majority of Americans want to do what is right; they want to do the right thing. The state of our nation has brought an awakening that we do indeed need God. More call to prayer has occurred this past week since 9/11. Americans hit their knees asking God to change the course of our people.

God promises that if His people (not those who don’t believe or “bad people”) turn from their wrong ways, and call on him, that He will indeed heal their country and put them back on the right track.

America is the land of opportunity, but it is not the opportunity of wealth and prosperity this time. It is the opportunity to turn our nation back over to God. A people wanting to do the right thing and then DOING the right thing. What an opportunity to see God protect what He has given us and do something that will place the world in awe of our country once again. What an opportunity!dallas