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Thursday, October 24, 2013

RestFest 2013 #fallbreak

It's fall break, which for those on the balanced school calendar has become the new spring break and beach trip extravaganza.  I must admit the first few days of Facebook posts from friends as they loaded up and headed to the beach had my jealously juices flowing pretty good.  I love the beach.  Really really love the beach. 

But the beach wasn't in my work calendar or our budget so I had to just let that one go.  I decided to really think about what I've been feeling since re-reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  This idea of your production and production capability really hits home.  If  we're the engine that drives our effectiveness, we're all running a little low on oil, gas and tire pressure around the Hession House.  Pond season is finally slowing down for Pond Life Consulting, The girl has two whole weeks that she doesn't have to be up before the farmers, and Dude was gettng a few days off too.  It was officially time for some rest.  So, like all good sales and marketing professionals we needed a good campaign and so RestFest2013 #fallbreak was born!

The girl and I went to the grocery store and bought her favorite lunch and snack foods and she went into the business of resting.  She slept till noon on more than one occasion and cleared the pantry in a matter of days.  I started to see my sweet wonderful girl emerge.  She laughs more, her emotional stability almost returning to a normal pre-teen and she just looks healthier.   Ahhh, rest, glorious glorious rest.  We need it, our kids need it, our families need it, our employees need it.  Yes, we should travel and explore and see the world, I'm sure come April I'll be ready to post a beach adventure, but for now, the final days of RestFest2013 #fallbreak are a sweet reminder of simpler times and a slower pace and more time to love and be loved. 

My girl said yesterday she'll be ready to go back to school on Monday.  Mission accomplished. Tank refilled.  Thanks Dr. Covey for the reminder "again" that sometimes the best thing we can do is just to lay down for a bit and charge that battery back up.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Pissed Off Catfish Review

Some things are so good you can't help but share your excitement.  Last Saturday night we hosted our 3rd Annual Fall Party.  We do this for customers of my husband's business, Pond Life Consulting. We invite customers, friends and family and for the last two years have had a live band.

In our backyard. 

Which is just as crazy as it sounds but that's kinda how we roll around here. 

In an act of God Given Marketing Perfection, this year's band was called Pissed Off Catfish. Almost too good to be true for a party to honor Pond Life Consulting.  This band was so much fun I had to write to tell you about them.  Their vibe was perfect for this event which was attended by everyone from under 6 to over 60.  Everyone loved them.  

They recently played as an opening act for Blake Shelton at Klipsch Music Center in case you needed some additional validation that they really are a cool band that has some street cred.   

Just a few comments during the evening:

These guys are amazing. 
Why aren't they living and recording in Nashville?
How did you ever find them? (this one hurt because it was said like we weren't cool enough to know a band like them. ouch.)
Where can I hear them play again? 
How do I get their music, do they have an album?
No, seriously, how do you know these guys?  (again slamming our cool factor) 

 I got so many texts and Facebook messages on Sunday, I totally didn't get my post party nap, which I desperately needed.  Thanks guys for that.  Which probably explains my lack of cool factor since I so desperately needed a Sunday nap after the party.  Aging sucks.

Not only are these great musicians, they are really great guys; both talented and humble.  So.... I wanted to share them with all of you.  Go to iTunes and grab some of their music and then tell whoever you know that's booking a wedding or a party to grab them quick.

iTunes link

Website Booking Link

Facebook Page

And for the record, I don't get anything for this reference other than huge satisfaction from sharing something really cool.  A desperate attempt to up my cool factor. 

Here are a few pics, one from their website, from our party and my personal favorite, Finn on drums.  Finn is the son of Colin Clark from the band. As you all know, I love those parents that support their kids toward musical greatness! 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Don't Buy Into That Stuff You Hear About Gravity - The 7 Habits - Principles

We continue our journey through The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  I hope you've been inspired to dust off your copy of the book.  We will be releasing an anniversary copy of The 7 Habits for the 25th anniversary next year.  The new forward is written by Jim Collins.  We at FranklinCovey, are honored to have such a well respected and influential man participate in our celebration with you.

Last post we covered paradigms, the way you see the world.  Today we look at principles.  There are so many things we read today and I often wonder if I should believe any or all of it.  The media rarely wants to just cover the facts, they want to influence how you feel.  It seems nearly impossible to know what's real and what isn't.  Except when it comes to principles.

A principle is a natural law.  It governs no matter who writes about it, no matter how much you believe it when you read it, even if the government tells you it's not real.  It just is.   Gravity is a principle.  If you were told as a small child that gravity was just something made up by the government to convince you not to jump off of buildings and you took on this paradigm, what would happen if you jumped off a building?  Yes, you'd still fall to the ground.  How's that for a paradigm shift.  Gravity is a natural law.  It governs in any state, any country, any decade.  It just is.

There are other natural laws.  The law of thermodynamics, this from the online free dictionary:
law of thermodynamics

1. (Physics / General Physics) any of three principles governing the relationships between different forms of energy. The first law of thermodynamics (law of conservation of energy) states that the change in the internal energy of a system is equal to the sum of the heat added to the system and the work done on it. The second law of thermodynamics states that heat cannot be transferred from a colder to a hotter body within a system without net changes occurring in other bodies within that system; in any irreversible process, entropy always increases. The third law of thermodynamics (Nernst heat theorem) states that it is impossible to reduce the temperature of a system to absolute zero in a finite number of steps. 
 There is the Law of Diminishing Returns, Law of Effect, Newtons Laws of Motion, I could keep going but I have to keep doing Google Searches because we've reached the end of my science knowledge. Natural laws, no matter what you believe about them, they are truth.

There are also natural laws of human effectiveness.  Each of the 7 Habits is based on a natural law of human effectiveness.  Dr. Covey didn't just get his smart friends in a room and brain storm what they thought the 7 Habits should be.  In every single talk I ever saw Stephen do, he always made the point very clear, "I didn't create these habits."   What Stephen did was do the hard work and the research to bring these natural laws to us in a user friendly format that we could follow.  Face it, we wouldn't have gone to that trouble.  Right?

So here's the big point, the grand plan, the way to make this work for you.....

(insert drum roll)

If you want to realize true effectiveness, align your paradigms with natural laws of human effectiveness.  

Page 36:
We know and accept this fact or principle of process in the area of physical things, but to understand it in the emotional areas, in human relations, and even in the area of personal character is less common and more difficult.  And even if we understand it, to accept it and to live in harmony with it are even less common and more difficult.  Consequently, we sometimes look for a shortcut, expecting to be able to skip some of these vital steps in order to save time and effort and still reap the desired results.

There are lots of books about the shortcuts and those don't stand the test of time.  In the words of another Dr., "How's that working for ya?" as Dr. Phil would say.

This means you will have to do the important but sometimes difficult work  to challenge old beliefs and paradigms that you may have held for many years, and maybe things that you thought to be true but are no longer serving you well.  Be willing and able to let go of those old paradigms.  This also means that The 7 Habits is not a quick and easy fix.  It's a life long journey to effectiveness.  As your life changes, your paradigms change and sometimes you have to revisit The 7 Habits to see how you're lining up.  That's why this book has endured with great success for 25 years.

Just yesterday someone said to me, "Do you think the 7 Habits are still relevant?"  These habits are more important than ever before.  In this time of mis-trust, and in this fast paced world, we desperately need to revisit the natural laws and work on ourselves and our relationships.  And we need to do it for ourselves, not wait for someone else to fix things. 

If we think the problem is out there, our very thinking is the problem.  

Dr. Stephen R. Covey.

Next up in our journey ......... habits.   Be thinking about those that are serving you well and those that aren't serving you so well.

It would be great if you'd post your experience with The 7 Habits in the comments!  We can learn from each other.  Stephen would've liked that.  He loved a rich discussion.

In this TED talk Dan Cobley shows the connection between physics and marketing

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Want to Join our Book Club? The 7 Habits, 25 Years Later.

Last month I attended my annual work conference.  I work for FranklinCovey, a company firmly focused on enabling greatness in people and organizations everywhere.  Yes, that's our mission and unlike most companies, we mean it.  We work diligently to live it out with each and every employee across the world.  Sometimes it's a daunting task burdened by sales goals that keep investors investing because as the late great teacher, Dr. Stephen R. Covey taught us, "No margin, No mission". And sometimes the task of enabling greatness isn't really a task at all, it's pure joy and satisfaction rolled up into a career that I love.

Next year will be the 25th anniversary of the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  Twenty Five Years.  The most influential business book of all time according to The Wall Street Journal. Still in the top 10 of business books on  Read by Kings, CEO's, Oprah and Jim Collins and also read by millions of every day people like you and me.

We at FranklinCovey were asked to each re-read our copy of The 7 Habits and some of us were assigned to lead book clubs to talk and share our experiences revisiting our roots.  I thought maybe you'd like to be a part of our club so I'll be sharing some insights here as we move through one of the classics and continue to see things differently so we can do them differently and ultimately lead a more effective life.

Part One: Paradigms and Principles

Inside Out
In my twenty years of studying The 7 Habits this is the "secret sauce".  This is what makes this book and this approach so special.  Dr. Covey took us away from just looking at our personality and asked us to look in the mirror and really look at our character.

A quote from Emerson, "What you are shouts so loudly in my ears, I cannot hear what you say."

And one of the most profound, "Into the hands of every individual is given a marvelous power for good or evil - the silent, unconscious, unseen influence in his life.  This is simply the radiation of what man really is, not what he pretends to be."

We have a lens through which we see the world.  Our lens was shaped by our upbringing, our experiences with parents, teachers, coaches, peers.  Every experience shaping the lens that we now use to see the world.  This lens is called our paradigm.  A paradigm is our map, our lens, our perspective.  We each have many maps of the way we think things should be.  These maps become the source of our attitudes and behaviors.

When attempting to make changes in our lives, people want the "to do" list, the "how to" book. Dr. Covey reminds us, "To try to change our outward attitudes and behaviors does very little good in the long run if we fail to examine the basic paradigms from which those attitudes and behaviors flow."

My personal favorite about paradigms:  We see the world, not as it is, but as we are-or, as we are conditioned to see it.

In order to create real change in ourselves, we must understand that not all of our paradigms are accurate.  Luckily we have this great power as humans that allows us to step back and examine our paradigms and remove those that are not really accurate.  Some of us were raised that the world was out to get us, that we must constantly protect ourselves from our boss, our teachers, or our neighbors.  Over time we may struggle with relationships and opportunities.  We can stand apart from our current perspective and say, "Is this really serving me well?" and if the answer is no, then we can go about the hard work of changing how we see the world.

The opposite can also be true, we could have been raised to believe that the world is a place of infinite opportunity, ours for the taking.  And when troubles and challenges arise, we cower under their weight because we hadn't prepared or believed that the challenges would come to us.  We can believe our inaccurate paradigms or we can change them.

Here are a couple of videos that illustrate the power of our paradigms.  Next time we'll explore principles.  Not the head of school kind, the gravity kind.

So what do you need to see differently?  Your husband, your teenager, your weight, your challenging project at work?  

I would absolutely love to hear your comments and stories about The 7 Habits.  Please place them in the comments.  And if you're so inspired, dust off your copy of the book, or put it on your Kindle and join the book club.  I promise that the habits are more important today than when Stephen wrote the book 25 years ago.  Yes, that's Stephen with a ph, not a v. : )