Connect! Connect! Connect!

As you’ve noticed, I often mine Alex Sanfilippo’s Creating a Brand podcasts for “golden nuggets”. I found a real gem to share with you this week, I think! I hope you agree.

Michelle Tillis Lederman and I have been connected on LinkedIn for some time. Her approach to communication and teamwork fits right in with mine. Michelle refers to herself as the relationship-driven leaders’ coach. When I saw her name on Sanfilippo’s website, I promptly listened to their conversation.

In this interview, Michelle focuses on 3 of the main points from her recent book, The Connector’s Advantage. I bought the book and read the introduction and first chapter. I recommend it! You can buy it at the link above ($9.99 on Kindle)

  • Connectors are open and accepting. Authenticity is a major part of this. You must be comfortable with who you are to be open and accepting. Hiding behind a false façade makes this impossible.
  • Connectors believe in abundance. A scarcity mindset makes deep connections impossible. An example she focuses on in business: When someone else lands the customer you wanted, what’s your reaction? Are you happy for the customer and the company they’re working with? Do you hope to learn something from what the other company did to win this client? A connector believes there are plenty of prospects in the market. They believe the customer that belongs with them will buy from them.
  • Connectors have a generous spirit. This goes with the abundance mindset. Connecting with someone is a gift. Connecting two other people is a double gift. Connections are gifts. Compliments are gifts. Of course, so are physical things. It’s important also to be generous to yourself. Be willing to say no, and be OK with it, when you can’t give as fully as you would like to.

Practicing gratitude with intention is a great way to help yourself exhibit these qualities. A great question to ask yourself often, especially when you’re having a tough day: “What’s the best thing about today?”

Michelle’s belief is that being a connector is always a learned skill. Nobody is born as a connector. No doubt it’s easier for some to learn than others.

When I heard her say this, I thought, “I’m a natural connector”. Reviewing my history though, I’d have to admit that I learned to be a connector. It’s something I learned quite easily. I seemed to recognize the benefits of being a connector without much urging from anyone. However, I wasn’t born with a “connection muscle”. Michelle is probably correct in saying no one is.

What I’ve written here is a mere sketch of what Michelle and Alex cover in their conversation. Check it out!

What Do The World’s Most Effective Leaders Do?

My continuous quest for ideas to help leaders do business better led me to this article by Justin Breen. Justin is the founder and CEO of BrEpic, a PR company that leverages a brand’s unique story to grow. In that work he interviews hundreds of high-performing entrepreneurs.

He’s identified 8 patterns of these leaders that appear repeatedly. I find these concepts appearing often with the coaches and mentors I work with.
Hopefully without stealing too much of Justin’s thunder, I’ll summarize the core concepts in these ideas:

  • Formulaic approach to difficulties and obstacles:

————-Identify, create an action plan, execute, get on with business

  • Simplicity
  • Abundance mindset
  • Vulnerability
  • Confidence (not arrogance)
  • Collaboration

I’ll leave Justin to flesh out these concepts and put them in action for you.

These all appear to be pretty simple ideas. It can be difficult to keep the discipline to apply them when things get tough. A somewhat crude quote I love, which illustrates this concept well, is:


“When you’re up to your ass in alligators it’s difficult to remember that your initial objective was to drain the swamp”.

The source of that quote eludes me. I think we can all relate to it.

Who’s Responsible for…?

Each month, I write a message of inspiration for the department managers of La Estancia de Cafayate. That’s the beautiful community in northwest Argentina where I’m fortunate to live. This month’s message seemed like a good topic for The Unity Community. Here’s what I offered them, and now offer you.

How are you getting along in the current state of the hysteria over COVID-19?

Here’s a concept that may be new for some. 

You are responsible! Whether or not you choose to accept it, YOU are responsible.

COVID-19 got you down? You can’t change the virus and the restrictions resulting from it. Accept responsibility for how you deal with it!

Dry weather, wet weather, hot weather, cold weather interfering with your plans? You can’t change the weather. Accept responsibility for how you plan, and function, around it!

Does a person, an event, or an obstacle make you angry? 

No! YOU make you angry! Decide not to! It’s always possible to decide how you’ll react to things. Make the decision not to get angry. Only you will be hurt by it if you get angry.

When you are angry it eats you up inside. It damages you more than anyone. Anger, and hatred, are harmful emotions – to the person who is angry, or who hates. Not only that – you usually make poor decisions when you’re angry or feeling hate. Poor decisions may compound the damage.

When it’s a person, forgive them! You don’t even have to tell them if you don’t want to. Truly forgiving releases the negative emotion within you. To help assure your forgiveness is genuine, write a message to the person. Send it or not, as you choose. The biggest benefactor of that message will be you, whether or not you send it to the other person.

Do you like to complain about:

Weather?

Your aches and pains?

COVID-19?

Other people?

Whenever you do that, you are seeking to avoid, or shift, responsibility. If it’s something you can fix, fix it. (This might include discussing it with someone who can control it). If it’s something you have no control over, get along with it the best you can – quietly. No one else wants to hear your complaining. It just makes you unpopular, and signals that you view your life as controlled by outside influences – a pessimistic view. Avoid complaining!

Here’s a slightly different slant on these ideas from Jim Smith, a coach I’ve recently connected with.

What are You Blind to?

Several years ago, I worked with a coach who had endured and partially overcome severe optical problems. (Hi, Tom!) Many people whose eyes don’t work so well (think Helen Keller) have clear views in other areas of life. Tom helped me gain incredible insight into many things i couldn’t see. My eyes see better than most people’s, but I was blinder than I knew! Still, I know I have many blind spots.

You do too!

As I work with coaches, I gradually discover some of those blind spots. My vision is improving – yours can too!

Several years ago I worked with Landmark Education. I was a participant in some of their programs and a volunteer assistant to their production of several programs. Landmark is a first-class organization helping people see their blind spots. Here’s what I wrote about it three years ago.

Recently I re-connected with Brian Wagner, a couple-of-years-ago LinkedIn acquaintance. I spoke with Brian on Zoom last week. He’s overcome, to some degree, total physical blindness. Does that mean he sees everything? Of course not! I’ll let him tell you his story in this TED Talk.

Recently I re-connected with Brian Wagner, a couple-of-years-ago LinkedIn acquaintance. I spoke with Brian on Zoom last week. He’s overcome, to some degree, total physical blindness. Does that mean he sees everything? Of course not! I’ll let him tell you his story in this TED Talk.

As Brian recovered from brain surgery, which restored some physical vision, he realized…

He began to truly recover only when he began to admit that he was blind. He points out that we usually can’t identify our blind spots by ourselves. Meditation and journaling provide some insights. We often need outside counsel to find the deeply hidden ones, though.

Brian says he went from blindness to sight to vision. He’d love to help you on that journey. Look him up on LinkedIn or at his website.

The world needs much more of this work. Brian Wagner is among those helping people open their eyes. If you are a coach you surely do as well. My hat’s off to you!

Great Productivity Advice from 10 Women Leaders

During the past 20 years I’ve striven to understand ways to make my life more productive. Of course that also makes it more rewarding. Here we often discuss my own and others’ methods for improving mindset, attitude, work routines, and other ways of improving productivity. This issue continues that. We check out Anna Meyer’s assembly of success tips from women business leaders. Anna is an assistant editor with Inc. magazine.

Lately it’s in fashion to focus on women business leaders. My view is that good leaders’ techniques are always worth studying, no matter the leader’s gender, race, skin color, etc. The tips in this article are valuable for all business people. For that matter, they’re valuable to anyone wanting to live a more rewarding life, business or not.

One of the elements of a fully functional life style is an organized morning routine. In a minute I’ll share my own. Among the leaders discussed here, Jeanne David discussed her morning routine in more detail than the others. The great importance I find in morning routines leads me to focus on her section of this article.

Ms. David discusses her morning routine as a means of staying focused when life brings unimportant things into her view. The mind is most receptive in the first hour or two after waking. She suggests reading, praying, journaling, and making notes of gratitude during this time. I can only say “Amen” to that.

My own routine includes those things plus a cold shower, drinking 20 oz. of water, and some light exercise. Not being religious, my forms of prayer are meditation and journaling (including gratitude). The shower and drinking water are in the first 5-10 minutes after waking at 5 AM.

All of these leaders have great suggestions for ways to succeed in business. My focusing on Jeanne David needn’t detract from the value the others offer. I happen to believe morning routines are especially important so that’s where I focused.

Check out all the other great suggestions here.

The coronavirus and the huge amount of discussion around it have occupied many people’s attention. Since few of us can do anything about it, it deserves less of our attention than many people give it. Our focus needs to be on things we can affect. Many of the articles I’ve written in recent months discuss mindset and its importance, especially now.