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“Impossible” Is Just An Opinion December 6, 2012

Posted by David Dirks in business strategy, Solving Business Problems.
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David Dirks

David Dirks

Impossible.  The word that has closed more minds, doors and opportunities than any other I can think of.  “Impossible” is often a frame of mind and an easy, convenient door stop for shutting just about any challenge, idea, project or thought down.  Cold.

Of course, it was impossible for us to think of anything replacing the horse and buggy.  It was impossible that candles or whale oil could be replaced.  Impossible it was to think that man or woman could fly from one point to another.  Impossible that much medicine could actually fix a bad heart. Impossible that a man could compete in the Olympics with mechanical legs.  Just lot’s of impossibilities out there.

Did you know that Margaret Mitchell was turned down 38 times before a publisher said yes to her manuscript for Gone with the Wind? Or the more recent Chicken Soup for the Soul was rejected 140 times before getting a publisher?  Steven King was turned down 30 times when he was trying to publish a manuscript titled as Carrie?  The great artist, Monet, had his artwork ridiculed in his day.

At what point do you think that any of these people thought it was going to be “impossible” to get that book published?  The first rejection or the 140th?  The answer is clear.  They didn’t see impossible at the first or last point of rejection.  What they saw in their minds was this:

What the mind can conceive, man can achieve.

Earl Nightingale

We can be thankful that there a few people in every organization that see beyond what many of us see as great, impenetrable walls of impossibility.  Next time you hear someone use the word “impossible”, just remember that what they really told you was that it is possible.

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Success with a mentor July 30, 2008

Posted by rickbron in Bronder On People, Getting a mentor.
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p5130012.jpg  Want someone to help you be more effective? The Big Dogz know about getting help! They have a mentor.

 

What is a mentor?

A mentor is a person who provides you advice, suggestions and acts as a sounding board for your ideas.

 

Who would make a good mentor for me?

Anyone you respect and trust can be an effective mentor for you. This person does not have to be in your chain of command nor even in your company. The prospective mentor is someone you view as a role model. Your mentor would be someone who wants to help you, knows about you and is willing to spend some time with you on a regular basis. A key characteristic of effective mentors is that they are honest with you. Usually mentors are not compensated, but you might consider hiring a personal coach to serve as your mentor.

 

How do I get someone to be my mentor?

This one is easy. All you need to do is ask! Most people are flattered that you would consider them a role model and would seek their advice and counsel. Do not be afraid to ask someone who has greater skill than you or has a higher position. In fact, this is the very person you could ask to be an effective mentor. An approach I have used successfully is to frame my request this way:

 

“Joe, I have watched you and want you to know I am impressed with your style. I think I could learn a great deal from you. Would you be willing to spend about an hour a month to work with me?”

 

How do I handle the mentoring sessions?

Setting up and keeping the appointments with your mentor are your responsibility. Think about how you want to spend that hour with your mentor, and create an agenda. Send the agenda to your mentor ahead of time to allow them to prepare.  Most mentors are turned off by the person showing up and asking “What do I need to do to be successful?” Specific situation analysis and question preparation will yield not only excellent counseling but also a strong desire on the part of the mentor to help you.

 

Once you have demonstrated a willingness to be coached on a scheduled basis, the mentor may suggest you could be more flexible in your contact, and may agree to meet with you more often or to handle ad hoc questions you may have.

 

My company has a mentor program, should I sign up for that program?

Usually these company sponsored programs are for career mentors. That is the mentor helps you decide on what assignments or career paths you might follow. These mentors often look out for you in terms of making sure you get considered for opportunities. They often perform a vital public relations function for you.

 

I would certainly participate in such a program if one existed. In addition, I would also have my own personal mentor.

 

How many mentors do I need?

Well, start with one in an area where you could use help. Perhaps you may have a mentor who helps you handle conflict more effectively; or you may have a broader topic like a mentor who helps you become a more effective people manager. Once you have established your skill is setting up a mentor, try to expand into other areas with multiple mentors. Here are some areas you may want to consider:

 

  • Dealing with office politics
  • Handling financial situations
  • Understanding technical subjects
  • Developing marketing or sales skills

 

The Big Dogz understand the value of having a mentor to help them become more effective. If you do not have a mentor, start looking around to see who you could ask. Set yourself a target of when you will approach them. Practice your request with others or in front of the mirror. When you make your request, make it count.

 

In my next entry, I will discuss being a mentor.

Believe in your self to succeed April 28, 2008

Posted by rickbron in Bronder On People, self esteem and success.
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p5130012.jpg Want to improve your chances of success in whatever you do? The Big Dogz know how to do this. They use a systematic approach to improving their self esteem. An unknown author once said:

“Believe in your dreams and they may come true; believe in yourself and they will come true”

It is difficult to believe in oneself with all the pressures, competition and criticism we experience every day. The Big Dogz focus on two major aspects of self esteem — self respect and self confidence. Let’s see what we can do to bolster our self respect.

 

Many of us constantly engage in negative self talk. We say things like:

“I can’t do that”

“I am not good at that”

“I am not very talented in that”

 

Sometimes when we make a mistake, we exclaim “What an idiot I am!” This negative self talk has a devastating effect over time. The antidote is positive self talk. When you make a mistake, say “That is not like me.” And when you do really well, exclaim “Now, that is like me!”

 

Another technique to help build your self respect is positive self affirmations. This technique is a favorite of the Big Dogz.  You start by identifying a state you want to be in, and then phrase it in the present tense. Here is an example.

“I am an excellent presenter”

 

Repeat this phrase over and over; for added effect say it out loud while looking in a mirror. You can find out the psychology behind positive self affirmations by using Google. Positive self affirmation is a powerful tool.

 

Building your self confidence is even easier. Every person who is outstanding in their field got there by practice, practice, practice. Yes, it helps to have talent, but each of us can get more from the talent we have. Practice is best done using a coach who is proficient in feedback. Most people believe practice makes perfect. It does not. Feedback makes perfect; practice makes permanent!

 

If you do not have access to an effective coach, you can practice and observe your own results. For better results, consider practice in front of a mirror. If you can not practice in front of a mirror, then use video to capture your practice, and then give your self feedback. The Big Dogz know that practice is the key to high self confidence.

 

Another technique the Big Dogz use is called visualization. Basically, you go to a quiet place, close you eyes and visualize yourself doing the action and achieving the result you want. You can vary the action to see how you would handle surprises or unplanned events. Visualization is a powerful tool for building self confidence. However, it is very difficult and requires commitment and practice. If you want to know more about visualization, Google it. You will find a plethora of successful people who are using this technique. It is worth the effort to become proficient in visualization.

 

Start today to work on your self esteem. Adopt the practices used by the Big Dogz and you too can achieve your dreams.

 

 

I don’t know it all…and I’m so thankful for that! March 18, 2008

Posted by David Dirks in Confidence, Creativity, Grow your skills, Solving Business Problems.
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dirksphoto.jpgAnyone who believes they have arrived and know it all, are just about DOA in my book. I don’t what your age is, you can always learn, do, read, think, and ask more about anything in life. Pity the people, and you probably know more than a few, who just can’t seem to invest anything into their business life that would give them an edge. The Big Dogz, at least the majority of them, invests in making themselves even sharper on the business edge.

Taking some time each week to read, watch, or study about some dimension of your business world is key to your long-term survival. Want to learn how to deal with a recession successfully? Then find out what the Big Dogz do to succeed in tough economic times.

I read a lot. In between career and kids, I read everything I can get my hands on.  Recently, I’ve been spending a lot of time readying books on leadership and innovation. These are two topics that I’m investing more time in understanding and learning about. Why? Because I’m interested in them and, while I know a lot about them, I don’t know it all. Not even close. So, while I do my morning commute, I’m listening to audio books on those subjects.  Thank goodness for Audible.com!

To stay on top of the latest marketing and sales trends, I read a lot of business magazines. I relish the opportunity because invariably, I’ll get some fresh insights into these subject areas. Ideas begin to pop up as I move along. It’s my SONY digital recorder that captures certain ideas/concepts as they come along in my reading time. Capturing thoughts and ideas has become a necessity; otherwise I’d lose most of those thoughts to memory loss of some kind!

Workshops or seminars are another great way I learn and invest in myself. It’s an opportunity to get out of the business mayhem and into a learning environment. Exchanging ideas with those who take those courses are invaluable to me.

What topic could you pick that if you invested some time for yourself to learn more about, would help enrich your overall business experience and success? If you can’t answer that question, you have other problems.

Find the time, no matter how small in amount, that each week you can call your own. Life is too short to have called it ‘quits’ on learning. When you finally check out of this world, you can stop learning (at least here). Until then, get going and get learning.