Books, Fascination, and Even a Love Boat Reference

I read constantly. It is one of the great passions in my life.  I’m a Bibliophile. I collect books and to the chagrin of all who travel with me, am known to spend hours in book stores.   The Strand on Broadway and 12th;  The Tattered Cover in Denver;  Powells in Portland; City Lights in San Francisco;  Foyles in London – I’ve spent days of my life in each. I even own my personal Holy Grail of books – a signed and inscribed first edition of Norman Maclean’s A River Runs Through It. If not a collectible, I like to abuse my books. I highlight them, write in the margins, fold pages, take notes in a separate notebook and never travel with less than three different books. On the flip side, the statistical probability stemming from the sheer volume of the books I consume ensures that I also encounter the profoundly craptacular. Therefore, when I recommend a book to my inner circle, they usually take note.

One of the most enjoyable business books I’ve read this past year is Fascinate by Sally Hogshead.  This very cool book looks at the seven universal triggers of fascination and shows how people and companies not only understand themselves better, but also how they are viewed by others and subsequently how to put these triggers to use. When I took the simple Fascination test (also found at www.sallyhogshead.com) my primary trigger turns out to be Rebellion, (which my sixth grade teacher Sister Ruth from Rev. George A. Brown Grammar School in Sparta, New Jersey would clearly attest to.)   My secondary trigger was Power.  (Oh Yea.)

The Rebellion score indicating that I’m:

  • Innovative
  • Independent
  • Entrepreneurial
  • Edgy
  • Unpredictable (Yes indeed. That sounds like me.)

While the Power score indicates:

  • Confidence
  • Goal-Oriented
  • Influential (Once again, spooky-accurate.)

Some well-known Rebellion trigger Leaders include:  Andy Warhol, Stephen Colbert, Eminem, Anais Nin, David Bowie, Charles Darwin.   (This brought great hilarity to our household as I have more in common with Isaac the Bartender from The Love Boat, than I do with Eminem.) Continue reading

Productivity When You’re Working at Home

Working from home can be liberating, but also tricky: It’s difficult to stay focused in an unrestrained environment. There’s no one to ask you what you’re doing or remind you about deadlines. You may get sick of yourself in pajamas.

The Oatmeal did a very funny comic about the pros and cons about working from home. Take a look!

According to this Microsoft article, there are some easy ways on to avoid the pitfalls of working from home:

  1. Set up a separate work area, with a computer and a specific computer and a reliable internet connection
  2. Make sure to store and back up your files
  3. Try to stay connected with colleagues by being available by phone and instant chatting tools

By creating a more formal work environment, it’s easier to stay focused and productive.

Have you ever worked from home? How did you stay on task?

Ritu Walia is myGreenlight’s Member Coordinator.

Mini Mission Monday

One of the best parts of this time of year, aside from the opportunities to get together with friends, is the fact that everywhere you turn there seems to be an easy way to help the less fortunate.

Food donations, coat drives, Toys for Tots, the ubiquitous bell-ringing Santa, and an abundance of other chances to give back and be of service are around every corner.

Your Mission: Decide today which initiatives you will support this season and take the first step toward fulfilling that commitment.

Guest Blog: Igniting Generosity with Gratitude

There was a time when saying the words, “Let me know what I can do to help,” was almost always laced with the worry that I actually had nothing to offer.  The intention of generosity was there.  It was just squashed behind the secret fear that someone might call my bluff: “Oh yeah? What could you possibly do to help me?”

Growing up in a family of divorce, addiction and dysfunction created a recurring (and common) theme of “never enough” for me. Unfortunately when that mentality creeps in, it’s not only harder to give, but nearly impossible to receive as well.

So how do we overcome this unhealthy programming? The key for me has been to illuminate those paralyzing scarcity beliefs and replace them with a radiating sense of abundance. The spark is gratitude. When we both feel and express gratitude on a consistent basis, we inherently acknowledge and invite abundance. This nurtures the abundance mindset we need in order to generously give and receive.

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to get refocused on daily habits that ignite gratitude. Here are a few suggestions (no turkey required):

  1. Start on a high note.  Loretta Laroche once advised me to start the day with a hearty, “TAH DAH! I made it through the night!” If the first words out of your mouth are usually something more along the lines of, “Oh crap!” be aware of the tone you are setting for the rest of your day.
  2. Go on a “thank you” treasure hunt.  Look for opportunities to be appreciative. Thank everyone. Say “thank you” every time you get a green light during your commute, when something in nature catches your eye or when the printer works. Find the gifts.
  3. Let your cup runneth over. Find two minutes each day to indulge in intense thoughts of gratitude and abundance. My favorite time to do this is right after a workout. Visualize it. Feel it. Let it wash over you.
  4. Adjust your attitude.  Everyone has their moments. Recognize when you’re in a negative spiral so you can get back on a positive track. Here’s a clue: If you meet more than two jerks in one day, chances are pretty good you’re one of them.
  5. Make a list.  Keep a written gratitude journal or make it verbal. Exchange the best parts of the day with your partner or children as a bedtime ritual. Words add power. Knowing you’ll be doing this each night will also make you more focused on finding list-worthy moments throughout the day.

When we instinctively feel that there is an infinite amount of goodness to go around, we give freely. When we see ourselves as authentically generous, we receive deservedly.
What helps your attitude of gratitude?

Charlene DeCesare is the co-founder and Senior Director of Tuition Advisory Services, an advising and technology firm that helps companies maximize ROI on corporate-sponsored education.  She is also working on a book about personal and professional balance.  Check out her insightful and entertaining blog, The Balance Beam

The Greenlight Highlight: Agribusiness Leader Sees Real Gains from Intimacy and Candor

MyGreenlight’s monthly community member spotlight interview.

Mark Jewell
LaCrosse, Wisconsin
Greenlight Member Since:  July, 2010
Company: Agribusiness Market Leader, Russell Associates

Elevator Pitch: I’m passionate about creating real impacts and real change through training programs. I work with companies to find out what is truly happening – and what needs to be fixed within their organizations to sustain growth.

What incident from your past do you recall being the moment it clicked for you that relationships make the difference to your success in business?
During my first real job out of college, December of 2005, I received a call out of the blue from a guy named Roger, who was seeking a consultant for a U.S. AID project in Macedonia. He was looking for a leadership trainer – and he sat on a board with a mentor of mine who recommended me.  I had never worked on something that large or important, so I was flattered.  This was the first time I realized how my network could truly work for me.  At that time, I wasn’t event thinking about working on a project like that, but it was a great fit.  It became very relevant for me in that moment, that having people in my corner to speak up on my behalf would be invaluable to my success.  I developed a great relationship with Roger – was hired back several times, and to this day when he is stateside we make time to catch up and share some time together.

Favorite Relationship Mastery Mindset and why?
A year ago it would have been generosity. That one is pretty well ingrained now, so today I would say it’s intimacy.  I’ve developed lots of relationships that I’d like to take to a deeper level.  When I travel for clients that I’ve developed a high level of trust with, I’ve started making a purposeful attempt to have dinner with them at their homes, and have often been invited to stay with them.  The stay over is like the long slow dinner times two!  One time I was even able to stay with a major super-connector from my industry.  We shared dinner, drinks, stories, family pictures – and continue to have a great relationship today.  Asking good questions that are unexpected has helped to accelerate my relationships to this level such as asking them to tell me about their families, or struggles.  I open up sometimes too, which makes me vulnerable, but it builds trust.  As a result, I have an easier time getting the connections I need, as well as greater ease in setting meetings. Continue reading

Bill Taylor’s Advice for Success Today

Check out an excerpt from the transcript for The Social Capitalist interview featuring Bill Taylor. Please access the audio recording here. Click here for the full transcript: Social Capitalist Transcript – William Taylor. Enjoy!

TAHL RAZ:     So you do make a point, so let me push you on that and just say, it’s not just enough to be smart and it’s really actually I think you make a point that it doesn’t – this economy doesn’t reward you to be smart at many little things.  You make a point of saying you need to be the most of something to stand out.

WILLIAM TAYLOR:    Yup.

TAHL RAZ:     Can you talk about that?

WILLIAM TAYLOR:    Well, I think this is true of organizations but it’s also very true of individuals.  It’s very easy, particularly in these kind of fast-changing, risky times, to get comfortable operating in the middle of the road.  That’s kind of what feels safe and secure.  That’s, in theory, where all the action is.  So you say okay, I’m in the hospital business or I’m in the airline business or I’m in the banking business.  And we know there’s kind of a conventional playbook for how to be in that business as a company, a conventional playbook for what an executive or leader in that industry looks like, and that’s what I’ll do.  But then I’ll just try to be three percent smarter or five percent faster.  We’ll chip away at the margins.  But everybody wants to be kind of in the middle of the road.  But today, where so much change, so much pressure, so many new ways to do just about everything, the middle of the road really has become the road to nowhere.  So what I urge organizations and individuals to do is to say to this, it’s not good enough anymore to be pretty good at everything.  You really have to become the most – it could be the most elegant.  It could be the most simple.  It could be the most exclusive.  It could be the most affordable.  It could be the most brash and colorful.  It could be the most easily accessible.  You know, for you as a person coming, you’ve all go to make your own choices.  But today, being successful requires getting outside of – the you know we had Rick Perry have his famous brain freeze last night at the debate.  One of the funny but true kind of homey pieces of wisdom from Texas is the only thing in the middle of the road are yellow lines and dead armadillos.  And I think that’s true on a Texas highway and it’s also true for all of us as leaders, innovators and individuals today.  You’ve got to figure out, why am I interesting and compelling to people?  Why should people want to hurry up and get energized and figure out how to help me succeed at whatever endeavor I’m trying to do?  How do I conduct myself as the kind of smart person that other smart people want to rally around support and contribute to?  And that requires you at some level to be the most of something in whatever environment you’re after. Continue reading

The Customer Service MUST that Even the Best Companies (cough, Amazon) Sometimes Mess Up

I think I am probably not alone in believing that I am special. What I mean is, we all want to believe we are special. And we want to be treated as if we are.

And it hurts a tiny bit when we aren’t. Right?

So, when I went to Amazon the day before the launch of the Kindle Fire to check on the status of my order (which I was super excited about), and saw this graphic – I thought “Woo! They are shipping them early!”

Then I went and checked my order status, and what to my wondering eyes did appear but…an unshipped Kindle Fire. A still-cancelable because it wasn’t in the shipping process yet Kindle Fire.

What?

I am an Amazon Prime member. I pre-ordered my shiny new gadget on October 11th. I am SPECIAL. Yet, apparently I am not.

Now, I know that they probably had people who ordered before me.  And they are special, too. Or at least THEY think so. But my “Woo!” faded away pretty quickly. And then I was disappointed. Why were they advertising that they were shipping when my order was not yet shipping?

Around 11PM that night I received a message that my Kindle Fire was shipped. If I hadn’t checked the site earlier, I would have been psyched that it shipped the day before the launch date. But I was already feeling oh so un-special – so the “early” notice was a little too late.

All Amazon would have had to do to avert my evening of un-special-feeling-ness would have been to hold off on posting that “Shipping Now” graphic until the next day. One day.

I am sure they wanted to start capturing the crowd that doesn’t like to wait-list. I get that. And they probably sold a ton of low-priced tablet hybrid thingamajigs that night.

I received my package right when I originally thought I would. All commitments were met.

But as shiny and fun as my brand-new toy is, it is still a little tarnished with disappointment.

How do you manage your relationships with customers so that you never make them feel un-special?

Instant Mood Booster- Record Your Gratitude

In true holiday tradition, this past week we had our NY team Thanksgiving potluck. Since we didn’t take a picture – whoops –  here’s a pic of Ferrazzi Greenlight LA’s food fest.

But we did eat – a lot – and play the gratitude game.

Your turn to chime in: What are you most thankful for this year? Taking 30 seconds to reflect and write it out can have a profoundly positive effect on your day.

Ritu Walia is myGreenlight’s Member Coordinator.

Mini Mission Monday

One of the key ways that you can show generosity to your network is by connecting people to the contacts and resources that will help move them toward their personal and professional goals.

Your Mission:

MyGreenlight needs your help! We are building a resource guide to help future myGreenlight members reach their learning goals.  Share your experience and expertise and recommend your favorite learning resource in the comments below.

Books, online or live communities, workshops, courses, apps, etc.  Anything is fair game.

Thank you!

Relationship Roundup

This week in the Relationship Roundup: how to build relationships over the digital divide, best practices for accountability and generosity, and a new way to share your currency.

Roping in Remote Workers – Great tips for making remote workers feel part of the office from Mashable.com. Read the article here http://on.mash.to/ryxXnf.

The shelf life of feedback – Thanks to @Thoughtleaders for this important note to remember about effective timelines for feedback. Read the quick tip here. http://bit.ly/uVdsm7.

Gen Y Needs Your Generosity – According to a recent poll taken by CBS Money Watch, Generation Y could use the help of seasoned entrepreneurs to get their dreams off the ground. See the stats here http://bit.ly/tRDoDa.

Purpose fuels passion and productivity – Leaders looking to spark engagement amongst its employees could pick up a tip or two from this HBR article on instilling purpose into their organizations. Read it here http://bit.ly/twFEvc.

Curate experiences as currency – Next in the world of offline social interaction, a social tool is on the horizon that can help you offer a series of experiences to your network.  http://bit.ly/uziL3T.

Kibibi Springs is myGreenlight’s Community Manager.