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  • June is Bustin’ Out all Over with Broadway Musicals

    Ahhh, the music of Rogers and Hammerstein in the production Carousel. I love that song. In fact, any music by those two notable composers lingers in my memory and heart. Broadway musicals were key to my youth.  Mom and Dad would take us to “Theater Under the Stars”, an outdoor venue in Atlanta that only opened in the summer. Sitting on those hard concrete benches or on a blanket spread on the lawn, we’d listen to (and probably fall asleep to) songs with melodies and words that still bring pictures to my mind. In fact, to get through the chore of drying dinner dishes, we’d sing. We’d start with the alphabet and try and come up with music from various shows:  Annie Get Your Gun, Brigadoon, Camelot, Carousel, and more… As a teenager, I knew more of those songs than whatever was the current rage among my peers. I had to be taught about The Beatles, Beach Boys and more. No wonder I didn’t quite fit in. This summer—in the middle of mosquitos, heat, flaming political rhetoric, and more—maybe it’s time to take a break. Remember music that made you smile, sing along, perhaps dance. Teach it to your kids even if they snicker.  Who knows, music could be a common denominator that brings us together!

  • Whatever happened to Personal Responsibility!?!?!?

    I read a report a few years back of a Hawaiian man who sued the makers of his favorite video game, claiming that he should have been warned it's addictive. The plaintiff says he spent about 20,000 hours playing Lineage II over the past five years. His addiction interfered with his “usual daily activities” such as getting up, getting dressed, bathing, or communicating with family and friends. First, without bathing in five years, who would want to communicate with him!  But I digress. There must have been a bonehead attorney out on the Islands who thought this case could be won.  Really? What has happened to personal responsibility? The Personal Responsibility of Accepting and Adjusting to All the Conditions in Life A Florida woman filed a $5 million lawsuit against Kraft, claiming its Velveeta mac and cheese cups took longer to cook than advertised. She claimed the packaging was misleading because it did not factor in time to open the packaging, add water, and stir in the cheese. Fortunately, a federal judge dismissed the case. It leaves me baffled. Are we a bunch of mindless idiots who have to be warned at every step of our lives? If I order coffee—not ICED coffee—it is SUPPOSED to be hot.  Still can’t get over that McDonald’s lost the case when a woman stupidly put the coffee cup between her legs at a drive in. How silly. The Personal Responsibility of Being Aware of Your Surroundings Or there’s the case where some teenager was texting while walking and fell into a water sewer. She sued the city. GIVE ME A BREAK!  Next thing you know, some idiot on a cell phone will sue the city because a traffic light turned red and he ran through it and was in an accident. Guess we need warnings that donuts can add pounds, eggs will break if dropped, and shower floors are slippery.  GEEZ. What do you think? P.S. Warning: reading my blog can be addictive

  • Is Empathy Dying?

    Pick up a paper, turn on the news, or glance at your smart phone. You’ll be flooded with all manner of stories filled with anger, hate, disparaging remarks, and cruelty. It makes me feel sick. This is NOT the world I want to inhabit nor the way I wish to live. I have a sense that you might feel the same. It’s why we are connected—we have an empathetic bond probably based on our conversations, my work with you and your organization, or that you resonated with some of my books. Sadly, I’m concerned that empathy might be dying. A study at the University of Michigan found that empathetic skills in college students have declined by as much as 48% over the last 8 years!!! Empathy is Uniquely Human A number of factors contribute to this decline. But there are two which really stand out: Smart phones are taking the place of in-person communication. Virtual meetings and remote work have replaced physical interaction. Think about it. How many times have you walked into a restaurant and found everyone looking at their phones instead of talking to each other? On a virtual call, how many people do not turn on their videos and all you see is a name? “Empathy is uniquely human. It cannot be mastered without face-to-face conversations.” Dr. Sherry Turkle, Reclaiming Conversation. Develop Empathy and Understand Here are some ideas to develop empathy and understanding—in your team, your family, and yes—your neighborhood. Schedule weekly meetings with informal, non-organizational discussions. Items can be: “my bravest moment”, “my dream vacation and why “, “If I could only…”. At home, make the dining table a no-phone zone. Same with bedtime. Model putting the phone away (on top of refrigerator, perhaps?) Create special events that are not related to work: an informal BBQ, board games, a trivia contest or a cooking class. To become more empathic, make these commitments: Listen deeply to others’ stories. Ask thoughtful, reflective questions. Seek to understand rather than be understood. Find what you have in common. One last thought: Greet a stranger. Notice something about them. Pet their dog (with permission). Smile.  I’m amazed at the positive reactions.

  • Exhausted? Let’s Unpack It!

    Blame it on the dog. Eddie is an adorable, fluffy American Eskimo, 17 years old, very deaf and blind in one eye. When my sister got an emergency call that they needed to go to Tucson, the regular dog sitters were unavailable. “Can you meet me halfway between Dana Point and Los Angeles and get Eddie?” I’ll never say no to my wonderful sister. We loaded his bed, a massive box with kibble, bone broth, dog treats, two kinds of pills, eye drops, and his leash.  Oh yes, and a folder with an Excel spreadsheet of instructions. Although Eddie has been at our house multiple times, he always had Susan and their husband, Tom, in attendance.  It never occurred to me that without hearing and limited sight, poor Eddie’s only remaining sense was smell. Susan and Tom were not here to sniff. Thus, “bedtime” was not on the agenda. I was up every hour for the first two nights when he barked. I don’t speak “dog,” so it was always a guessing game: food? Potty break? Or a walk? Or just outside to look at the stars? By day three, I was dragging. My brain was fuzzy. I was exhausted. How do parents with newborns do it?  I gave up my regular run and walked Eddie instead. I ignored one late evening bark and was rewarded with three piles of you-know-what on the beige Berber carpet.  Not Eddie’s fault. He tried to tell me! On day seven, the wonderful dog sitter was available so I could drive Eddie back to the home he knew so well. Happy camper on all counts. Let’s Unpack What I Learned About Exhaustion Think first. Then act.  If I had realized that my little four-legged buddy would be in a strange environment, I would have asked for Susan's clothing to put on his bed. It got me to question how often I say “yes” without looking carefully at what might be entailed.  I’ll bet I’m not the only one who jumps first and thinks later! Reframe the exhaustion as a learning experience. I met new people just by walking the dog. I found a fantastic carpet cleaner (Impressive Results) –yes, the company’s actual name) I discovered I do NOT have to run daily if I do serious walking. The world will not end if I leave emails unanswered for a day. Celebrate naps. I used to think of them as a sign of weakness. Now, I see them as refueling my body. I also started pondering good exhaustion: the completion of a long-dreamed project, the successful party for friends, the day’s end from exploring new cities, and … you can complete the list. Bottom line: Exhaustion runs the gamut. It’s the lessons we take from it that matter.

  • Become Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable

    I heard three amazing women last night: Katrina Foley, the only woman on the Orange County Board of Supervisors; Sheerin Larijani, Senior Deputy District Attorney in the Office of the Orange County District Attorney; and Heidi Zuckerman, CEO and Director of the Orange County Museum of Art. There was so much takeaway as I listened to their tales of how they came to their respective positions. Consider this: Foley came from severe childhood poverty, Price was the firstborn of Iranian immigrants, and Zuckerman was the first woman to build two art museums. The constant refrain that came through was a willingness to seek good for a larger community, for the marginalized, and the uneducated. And to do that, they all had to speak truth to power.  Their sense of service left many of us thinking, “What can I do?” It starts by becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable, stepping into the unknown, and taking a risk.  It means saying ‘Why not me?” instead of  “Why me?”. No wonder I had a hard time falling asleep last night.

  • Lessons From The Rain

    Have you ever watched the rain pour down and wondered what lessons it might teach us? The recent torrential rains in Southern California have given me ample time to ponder this. My heart aches for the homes lost, cars washed away, and more than one fatality. I'm not minimizing the danger of Mother Nature because it is by ignoring the warnings that one gets in trouble. Resilience is About Learning, Adapting, and Growing As the CEO of The Resiliency Group, I've learned that resilience is not about bouncing back, as the dictionary says. "Back" implies the original position. That can cause problems. Rather, resilience is about learning, adapting, and growing. The same can be said for our environment. The rains, while disruptive and undeniably dangerous, are a stark reminder of the power of nature and the importance of adaptability. The Rain Reminds Us of the Importance of Preparation Just as the parched earth soaks up the rain, we, too, must absorb the changes and challenges that come our way. The rain may cause temporary discomfort, but it also brings life and growth. Similarly, challenges in our lives or businesses can lead to growth and innovation if we approach them with the right mindset. The rains also remind us of the importance of preparation. Just as we prepare our homes and communities for the onslaught of rain, we must also prepare our businesses for the inevitable storms. This could be a business continuity plan, a risk management strategy, or simply having a resilient mindset. The Rain Teaches Us the Power of Community Finally, the rains teach us about the power of community. In times of crisis, communities come together to support each other. As leaders, we should strive to foster community within our organizations and not wait for "the rains" to pull people together. So, instead of cursing the weather next time it rains, let's take a moment to reflect on the lessons it's teaching us. What are your thoughts on this? How do you apply the lessons of nature to your leadership style, life, or business strategy?

  • The Power of a Story

    Once upon a time… These words alone can take us back to childhood and perhaps bedtime stories, stories around campfires, or reading under the covers at night with a flashlight. But storytelling has a far greater power than just a childhood imagination. The Power of Story Using Great Storytelling Have you ever thought about the power of storytelling? It's an art form that has been around since the dawn of time, and it's still as relevant today as it was thousands of years ago.  All great teachers—from Jesus to Buddha, from Mohammad to Confucius—used stories to make wisdom come alive. We all have stories to tell, stories that come from real events, real people, and real observations. These stories have the power to inspire, to educate, and to connect us in ways that nothing else can. Storytelling Must Have a Point with Meaning But here's the thing - a story isn't just about creating characters and setting a scene. It's about having a point. Without a point, a story is just a collection of words, a narrative without a purpose. As the CEO (Chief Energy Officer) of The Resiliency Group, I've seen firsthand how powerful storytelling can be in the business world. It can help build trust, foster a sense of community, and inspire action. So, remember to make it meaningful the next time you're crafting a story, whether for a presentation, a blog post, or a conversation with a colleague. Please give it a point, a purpose, because that will make your story come alive. Let Me Help Your Story Come Alive! I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. What are some of the most impactful stories you've heard or told? How have they influenced your life or your work? And if you are interested, contact me. I can help your story come alive. PS: I just found this interview I did with Doug Stevenson. I re-learned things I had forgotten. How to Become the Story with Eileen McDargh: Storytelling That Sticks for Business and Life Enjoy!

  • Time To Reclaim What Presidents’ Day Is All About

    I write this post for my fellow citizens on this Presidents' Day. Listening to the violent rhetoric, the hate speech, and the cowardice of elected officials, I imagine Washington and Lincoln rolling their eyes in horror and grave concern. Consider Washington’s words: “It is far better to be alone than to be in bad company.  If the freedom of speech is taken away, then we may be led to dumb and silent, like sheep to the slaughter ...” Think of voter restrictions, redrawn voter rolls, and draconian requirements.  We sound like sheep! Or consider Lincoln. His Gettysburg Address is hailed as one of the most important speeches in U.S. history. Lincoln delivered his brief 272-word address at the dedication of the Gettysburg battlefield, the site of more than 50,000 casualties. I am particularly drawn to its final words: “With charity for all and hatred for none…” How far have we come from that? My challenge to myself and my colleagues is to reclaim our ability to be the nation we can be. No dictators. No kings. No tyranny.  Yes, to the rule of law. Yes, to justice for all. Yes, to call forth our better angels. Washington and Lincoln are watching.

  • The Surprise of a "Thank You"

    At the close of 2023, I received a hand-written thank you. Out of the blue. Unexpected. And it lightened my entire day, week, and maybe months. I’ve known Mark LeBlanc for years. We are dear friends, and I am thankful for that role, but this card—well, it just was over the top.  It was spontaneous, not necessary, and therefore even more meaningful. He said I have been a force of good in his life for so long. He thanked me for being me, for what I stand for, and for being a gift to the world. Pull out the tissue—it’s time to start crying. My lesson: gratitude that comes out of the blue without an incident to prompt it carries a considerable weight. How often do we take for granted that the people in our lives must know how much they are valued? I plead guilty. When was the last time I told my assistant that her presence in my life and caring attitude about what we put out in the universe took a burden off my shoulders? When was the last time I told my neighbor of some 30 years that her presence and care helped me get through lonely days? When was the last time I told my sister and brother that our ability to help each other shoulder burdens is a gift beyond measure? So, think about it. Managers and leaders, when was the last time you individually told each person what you valued about them? Parents, when was the last time you pulled your child aside and told him what you treasure and see in him (or her)? It might be a lovely way to move into 2024.

  • How Would You Like A CEO Or A Thought Leader To Personally Chat With You?

    You’re a solid professional. You have delivered dozens of speeches, written hundreds of articles, given interviews, and written books. You have a legacy to leave but how do you do that?  How do your clients and future clients access this incredible amount of wisdom that you have generated in your field, or about your product? And how do you do that in a way that captures your voice and your essence? To me, these are marvelous questions to jump start this new year. As if he read my mind, my colleague John Baldoni recently emailed me his latest and greatest: the Baldoni ChatBot.  You will find an amazing consolidation of John’s wide range of management insights through a new technology called InfluencerKit.AI. Furthermore, when you visit the Baldoni ChatBot, you’ll find a small blue bubble in the bottom right corner. Type in a question. Almost any question related to leadership, management, grace under pressure, and more. The questions will give you a wide range of responses… all echoing Baldoni’s unique voice. InfluencerKit.AI is the brainchild of Mahesh M. Thakur, a seasoned tech leader, entrepreneur, and highly recognized executive coach. Baldoni sought out Thakur because of his extensive work in the world of AI and coding. Thakur is a former engineer and has been a product manager for Microsoft Bing Search. Thakur designed this platform to help convert visitors into customers and to improve the satisfaction of existing clients and users. The analytics demonstrate how the Bot is delivering value for the brands and the businesses. The owner of the CEO's style and content in a ChatBot is unique. Imagine being able to chat with Steve Jobs or Tim Cook about the new iPhone or iPad you are researching! Pulling together Baldoni’s vast storehouse of knowledge was no easy task. After all, Global Gurus has ranked Baldoni for years among the top leadership coaches and the International Federation of Learning and Development named him to its Hall of Fame in 2021. With 16 books and hundreds of interviews under Baldoni’s belt, capturing his insight and voice was an incredibly difficult task. The Baldoni Bot builds a human-like connection with its personalized responses to the questions the Bot users have. John has found the Bot bringing together his body of work in unique and engaging ways. Each day, John is surprised with how the Bot continues to get sharper and smarter. As a non-techie person, I instantly want to understand these questions: How do I build a deeper connection with every visitor on my website or social media page? How do I answer online questions that reflect my expertise and draw from my body of work? How do you do this and integrate this Bot into my website? How long does this take? How much material must one have to make the chatbot viable? And of course… What is the minimum investment? If these are also your questions, contact the expert. Mahesh can answer any questions and provide you with guidance on how AI can unlock new opportunities for you. His email is Mahesh@InfluencerKit.AI Stay tuned and follow me on Linkedin to learn more…

  • A Clue for Balance: PATIENCE, NOW!!!!!!

    I admit it: I am a jackrabbit. I like to hop to it and get things done. Give me a project and I'll start immediately just so I can get it off my to-do list. The problem is, sometimes in my haste I make mistakes. I admit that I have no tolerance for voicemail doom loops. I have been known to bang a phone against the desk and scream, "Give me a real person!" (Surprise, it doesn't work). I went through some surgery in the past and even though they told me it would be four weeks before I could exercise, that was not good enough for me. I gritted my teeth and impatiently started back before I was supposed to. I found myself gasping for breath and wondering where my muscles went. Too fast, too much, too soon. Here is a startling discovery: Impatient people are prone to obesity, according to a study at the University of Munich in Germany and the University of Michigan at Dearborn. Impatient types are also shown to have a high risk for hypertension later in life. To add insult to injury psychologists at the University of Bonn in Germany discovered that with a simple test of patience, those who put off doing something seemed to have higher IQs than the get-it-done-now group. Oh, brother, I'm in trouble. Experts have described this kind of behavior as time-urgency impatience, or TUI. So, is this a behavioral flaw? A personality trait? Answer: it's not a flaw but it is behavior that has no genetic bearing. It can be altered. Explore why waiting makes you uncomfortable. Sometimes it is our ego that demands everything happen right away. Impatience comes from living in a 24/7 chaotic world. And it is caused by trying to control things over which we have no control. Manage expectations. What can you reasonably expect? Remember that my needs are not the most important things in the universe. Go with the flow. While this sounds like something from the marijuana smoke filled days of the 60s, it is also quite true. Learning to let go, and to stay in the present moment, can be helped through deep breathing and even reciting a phrase over and over again much like a mantra. Even though sometimes that phrase is "I'm going to kill that voicemail." Remember to laugh. It can be actually quite humorous to watch customers compete for the shortest line at the cashier counter. I actually owed my downtime a note of gratitude. Because I couldn't exercise, I rediscovered the wonder of easily walking along the beach. Because I couldn't hop on the computer, I discovered that e-mail still waits and what had seemed so urgent is relegated to the trash. I'm reminded that flowers are forced to bloom before their time dies faster. So, I'm working on changing my time-urgency impatience (TUI) into PUI patience intelligence. This takes patience.  I’ve watched the man who works to build rock art on many occasions. He spends hours getting the rocks to balance.  The rocks stay this way until a high tide knocks them over.  He starts again. To think that I am often quoted as saying “Balance is Baloney!”

  • If Your Get Up and Go Got Up and Went…

    Do you look at your calendar and feel overwhelmed by appointments, meetings, children's activities, family gatherings, etc? Stop! It’s time to plug into something that YOU choose—something that can renew your batteries and refresh your interest in work AND life. Unlike the bobble-headed figures that nod “yes” at every touch, you DO get to declare “time out” and place yourself first. 1: Retreat to advance. Take yourself away for at least two nights and three days to a place for a silent retreat. Yes-silence! Forbid yourself from using the phone, the television, or the radio. It’s time to listen instead to the voices in your head that have been trying to get your attention for ages. Write what you sense. Think on paper. And make resolutions that speak to what matters most. 2: Experience something far afield from your profession. Take a class or read a book that is NOT in your chosen line of work. Select something that piques your curiosity. The notion is to look for connections or ideas that might stimulate a new way of looking at your work or your life. Former elementary teacher Gail Wenos studied ventriloquism and discovered a new way to teach adults! 3: Stretch yourself. If you take an exercise class once a month, try going two more times. If you cook the same food the same way, alternate with a new cookbook. One father saw himself as totally ill-equipped to ride anything that had less than four wheels. But he took motorcycle lessons with his teenage son and his sense of personal accomplishment grew along with the bond to his child. 4: Practice your art every week. Everyone has an art. It might be hammering nails or singing in the shower. It might be designing a garden or counseling a friend. But it uses a talent you’ve got and when this talent is engaged, you burn brightly. You leave the time refreshed. Put this down as a personal “no matter what” on your day timer. 5: Throw out what weighs you down. Read only those things that are meaningful to you. Can the clutter as well as the people who are the constant complainers and gripers. Ditch the weight of unnecessary purchases and their financial burden. Give clothes you haven’t worn in over a year to Goodwill. Remember, every ounce counts. Think of this as the time YOU take control over what charges your batteries and renews your energy field. Guaranteed, it won’t cost $100 per barrel. If you need more help charging your batteries, consider my book "My Get Up and Go… Got Up and Went: Simple Ways to Recharge Your Batteries and Renew Your Life!" It's a simple read and you can take with you wherever you go.

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