The Value of Authenticity

This last April, my husband and I took a trip to Orlando, Florida and had the opportunity of visiting EPCOT theme park, one of 4 Theme Parks at Walt Disney World Resort that  includes the World Showcase.   The World Showcase is an incredible collection of shops, attractions and restaurants that represent the culture and cuisine of 11 countries:  Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, United States, Japan, Morocco, France, United Kingdom, and Canada. What I was struck with was how authentic each of these countries were.  Indeed, as we visited each of the countries, people who served us ere actually from that country!  Everything was authentic – the dress, the food, the music, the architecture and the language.  For a few moments, we felt like we were visiting each country (without having to travel there). 

How does this concept apply to our leadership?  Authenticity is one of the most powerful ways that we can build trust as a leader. Think about it.   When you are able to admit your mistakes and honestly share to a fellow team member, you are saying to your team, “You can trust me.”   What can you do today to be a more authentic leader to your team?

Break the task into smaller chunks

If you want to get overwhelmed with de cluttering – then see your office as a gigantic mess with seemingly nowhere to start.   However, if you want to feel like you are taking concrete steps to accomplish your dream of having an organized office – then see if you can do what many project managers say “break the task up into smaller chunks!”  Here are some ways you can apply this philosophy to your office organization:

  •  Start small. Start with one pile – Begin someplace.  Perhaps it is one pile of papers or one filing cabinet or one part of your desk. 
  • Put the timer on for 5 minutes (see previous blog)
  • Celebrate your success!

I hope you got some practical ideas on how to declutter your office…it is a constant battle for some of us.  But these tips work!  Here’s to an organized office!

Commit to doing something 5 minutes a day

I know what you are thinking. How can 5 minutes really accomplish much of anything? You are right – you won’t totally de clutter your office in 5 minutes one day. But 5 minutes over a series of days may get you that much closer to your goal.  Just think, it is 20 minutes in a week (I’m not counting Sundays) – and in a month – you would have organized and de cluttered your office 125 minutes.   But guess what – most likely you will spend more than 5 minutes a day some days.  You’ll get into the groove of the task – you’ll likely want to finish that one pile. Or go through that one folder. Or recycle a bunch of papers… So put your timer on and go for it!

Envisioning your future

Dr. Stephen Covey identifies his 2nd habit in his famous book, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” as “Begin with the end in mind” and envisioning the future is a great motivator to get our offices organized!  Here are some ways you can envision your “organized” future:

  •  How will you feel when you have space in  your life?
  • What are some things you envision yourself creating in your “new space?”
  • How will you act relatively to this “new found freedom?”
  • What can you do to continue to keep your office organized?

All the best to you as you “clear the clutter” and stay tuned for my last tip!

The Daily Discipline of Investing in yourself

John Maxwell, leadership expert and best-selling author and author of his latest book, “The 15 Irrefutable Laws of Personal Growth” talked about the choice we make every day on self-improvement.  As he said, ‘Growth doesn’t just happen – we have to grow on purpose – it has to be intentional.”  One of the interesting things that happened in John Maxwell’s family is that he got an allowance every time he read a book. (See my previous blogs concerning the importance of reading!).

Here is one tip that John Maxwell shares that may be helpful for all of us: 

Proactively schedule self-improvement in your calendar.

I try to think of attending conferences, reading books, talking to mentors, or taking a class as an investment in myself – that I schedule in advance.   How many of us schedule vacations, TV programs, or important social engagements?  How much is it worth to us to schedule those activities that will improve our minds and our professional lives? 

Indeed, if we don’t invest in ourselves –we may be moving backwards. Let us strive to improve ourselves, for we cannot remain stationary; one either progresses or retrogrades.   Mme. Du Deffand

The Daily Discipline of Investing in yourself

The Chick-Fil-A  Leadercast that was held on May 4th of 2012 was all about choices – and how the choices we make will determine the leaders that we ultimately become.  John Maxwell, leadership expert and best-selling author and author of his latest book, “The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth” (which will be released October 2012), talked about the choice we make every day on self-improvement. 

I have been thinking of these two issues:  the value of daily discipline and the benefit of intentionally pursuing self-growth.   Let me talk about one of these – the value of daily discipline.  My next blog will focus on the importance of self-improvement. John Maxwell says that the law of diminishing returns comes to play when we aren’t doing something daily.  “We don’t do what we should do – it is less likely that we will do it.”

Anne Ambrose, a pioneer in televised physical fitness and one of the nation’s most successful wellness authorities, (and graduate of California State University, Long Beach – Go Beach!) – recently was quoted in the Spring 2012 issue of Breach Review (the magazine of California State University, Long Beach),  “I make sure I get a good 30 minutes of exercise every single day, getting my heart rate up, stretching and toning.  It could be fast walking one day, yoga the next day, or using light weights.” 

What can you do on a daily basis to increase your effectiveness at work and your vitality in your energy and life?   Reading Anne’s quote, I’ve decided to increase my exercise activity from 3-5 times a week – to every day!   What about you?

What is a story?

Let’s talk about what a story is.  In an essay entitled, “Praise of Stories,” Daniel Taylor writes, “A story is the telling of the significant actions of characters over time. Each element is important, both in the stories of literature and in those that shape our own lives.  Remove or fail in any of these elements and you no longer have a story.”    As Mr. Taylor says, “The central things that happen in important stories don’t happen to a character, but within a character. This is why significance is part of our definition of stories – the telling of significant action.  Most writers on stories would agree that the best stories are about morality, values, and choices that we can relate with.

So stories are the telling of significant journeys with meaningful characters whose principled choices help us see ourselves.     

Think about the stories you cherish.  Did they not stir something within you?  I would venture to say that stories can ignite us to think about things in new ways, ignite our spirits and emotions to actions, and enable us to see ourselves.  

If you are feeling stagnant in your career or life…if you are desiring a boost to your service to your customers…if you feel the need to get out of your rut…if you are looking for new perspectives… I would encourage you to read a story. 

Get reading!

What Stories Teach Us

“Tell me a fact and I’ll learn. Tell me a truth, and I’ll believe.  But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever.”  -Indian Proverb from Marlo Thomas & Friends, The Right Words at the Right Time

 From the time we were small; stories capture our imagination and hearts and can ignite us to action.  As a professional speaker, I know first hand the incredible power of story telling and have been enthralled by speakers through the years who were able to – through their choice of words and delivery style, catapult me on a roller coaster ride of emotions, imaginations, and engagement. 

But I have come to believe that story telling is not just reserved for those of us in the communication industry (speakers, writers, entertainers, or authors).   The ability to tell a story can help anyone gain more persuasive power, be a more influential person, and gain credibility for your idea.  The next 5 BLOG postings will help unveil the mystery of stories, how reading and telling stories can expand your mind to new ways of thinking and seeing the world, and how stories can make you a better influencer no matter what your job or life role.

Getting Ready…Set…GO!

So you’ve got someone to hold you accountable and you have set yourself for the best possible success….what else do you need to tackle that big project in your work or home life?  My last tip:

 Do something.  If it is writing – write one word.  If it is filing – pick up one piece of paper and file it.  If it is a financial analysis report, save your excel report with the name of the project. If it is a team project, create your team’s distribution list in your Outlook.


And it is interesting – whether it is a filing project or a writing project –once I get in the flow of the activity – it is easier for me to keep going. 


As Eugene F. Ware said, “All glory comes from daring to begin.”  So what are you waiting for?

Get Set…

In my last blog, I spoke how accountability can help us deal with this perpetual “getting ready” mentality.  And yet – sometimes accountability isn’t enough for us to move forward. And even when we are making strides towards our goal, we may not be able to sustain our momentum.  Here’s another idea:

Set yourself up for success.   Yes, we can use all sorts of excuses to not start a project. But there is something to be said for knowing what we need. For example, I like to write in our study – that overlooks our beautiful garden.  Being able to see outdoors seems to “open my mind up” to new ideas, creativity, and expansive thoughts.  You may find that doing work at a coffee shop can be a productive space for you.  Or you may find that having your favorite beverage is what you need to get the juices flowing.  (Pardon the pun!).

 For your next project, what can you do to set yourself up for success?