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Not Your Typical Fish Story

Not Your Typical Fish Story

As I walked toward his house, I kept asking myself would this be the day that I finally figure it out. I was nervous, it wasn’t the first time … but I was hoping it would be the last time. I arrived at his house. I knocked on the door. A tall man answered the door and looked down at me, and offered a hello and invited me in.  As I walked in, I had thoughts running through my head.  Would this time finally bring me what I wanted to achieve? Would I finally be able to repeat what I had been shown, and taught so many times before? Would this be the time when he finally lost his patience with me, threw his hands up, raised his voice, and gave up on me? I hoped for a better ending to this day.

His name was Richard DeWolf. He wasn’t just another man in my eyes, he was bigger than life.  He was an achiever, a leader of young men. He was my Scout Master. A gentle man, a noble man, a man of patience and character. He looked after a group of young boys who would soon be men, and it was his calling to bring these young men through a rite of passage, to manhood through self-improvement, hard work, and achievement. Today would be my day to experience what would be a life changing, lifelong lesson that has stayed with me to this day.

My challenge was to complete a ritual, to tie a bowline knot by myself. This was part of my journey to my second-class award. This award was much challenging than completing my tenderfoot, which was more about accountability, than completing challenging tasks. This would be my third two hour meeting with Scout Master DeWolf. My frustration level was high and quite contrary to my master’s patience and understanding. I felt a sense of guilt for not completing my achievement sooner and taking up much of my Scout Master’s time. I sincerely hoped this would be the day.

We settled in, the rope came out, and at that point, the only knot I could tie was the knot in my throat. But his confidence slowly helped me to untie my knotted throat and we took on the task at hand. Teacher and student with one goal in mind… to tie a bowline knot.

He meticulously tied the bowline knot, and explained each bend, weaving the white rope slowly toward it’s intended finish. As I watched him, just as so many times before, I told myself I could do this if I could just remember the specific steps that he showed to me. I vowed that today would be different, the day that I conquered the rope. I took the rope, and I started to my journey. A bend here, a tuck there… Oh, wait second, that’s not what he showed me. He stopped me and reminded me of what he showed me. “No, it doesn’t go like that”, he said.  Now, I’m frustrated again. 4 tries later I’m getting close.

With each try, I feel a sense of small elation as I move further along, and a feeling that victory is near. I had one big hurdle yet to overcome. I had to tie the knot from beginning to end without any help. Up until this point, Scout Master DeWolf was still guiding me. It was now time for me to show what he carefully and diligently showed me.  In this moment, I recall how, with all my heart, wanted to make him proud of me. That the prize for the teacher would soon be presented.

OK, here goes… I took the rope, a wrap here, around there, underneath here, back around there… Oh no, I always struggle with this part…I thought for a moment, as the knot in my throat was being tied faster than my fingers could tie the rope in my hand. I took a deep breath, and I started again.  I was feeling like I was close, and I began to gain confidence as I recalled Scout Master DeWolf’s painstaking instruction. Almost there… two more moves… one more wrap… through there…. Victory !!!!  I did it!!!  Finally. I could breathe. I looked up and Scout Master DeWolf was beaming. My achievement became his reward. This life changing experience brought a huge lesson to me at an early age, that would not be understood until my daughter was born so many years later. Helping others to achieve is something that will live long after we are gone and becomes our legacy. However, the much bigger lesson… showing someone how to succeed, is more important than just telling them how. Had I not been shown how to tie that knot, one twist, one tuck at time. I may have never learned how.  Teach a man to fish, so he can feed himself long after I have moved on. That day, Scout Master DeWolf, with love, understanding, and undying patience taught me how to fish for myself.  That my friends are what legacies are built on.

Behaviors and Motivations (Part 1)

Behaviors and Motivations (Part 1)

What’s your personality type?  Do you know?  Have you completed one of the many personality assessments out there, for better understanding yourself?  Many, who search for a better understanding of themselves have journeyed to know more about who they are so they may glean some connection to understand why they exhibit certain characteristics. The problem is that leaping from knowing your personality type and why you exhibit certain characteristics are more assumptive than conclusive. 

What we are looking for is an opportunity to understand why we behave the way we do, and what is the connection between how we behave and our motivations for behaving in the manner that we do? When we can understand these to elements, we can begin to create a clearer picture of who we are, and the relationship between our motivations and our behaviors.

If we take it one step further, since we strive to have certain things in our lives, which are natural to our needs, these strivings are likely being driven by a set of pathological behaviors that are unique to each individual. The motivations associated with these behaviors, and the behaviors themselves are consistent with maintaining one’s self-worth and are considered personal strengths which are unique to all individuals.

As we move beyond our understanding of our motivations and behaviors, we must understand that to function in the world we must learn to relate to others to be successful in our strivings. As such, we now must consider our behaviors when relating to others. How we see them, and how they see us. The challenge here is when we are free to pursue our gratifications, that we seek from others. Others will be seeking their gratifications as well. As we stated earlier, we all strive to maintain our self-worth and feel good about ourselves. 

When we face some opposition to our desire for our own needs and gratifications, that opposition becomes a threat to our well-being and creates a conflict with the person or persons that we are relating to. This conflict undermines predictable behavior and takes us to a place where we are observed as having varied behaviors, that are less predictable. We now relate differently, and at some point, wish to preserve some sense of self.

Next time…Strengths and weaknesses, and what we discover about ourselves help us to understand others.

Conformity and Leadership

Conformity and Leadership

Employees must wash their hands before returning to work. All construction workers must wear safety vests while on the job. Most of us have seen these signs posted in bathrooms, or are normal expectations required by law. Conformance in this case focuses on meeting the expectations of external scrutiny though compliance of various laws along with standards of governance.

Performance however calls for expectations about the achievement of the corporate objectives. Strategic activities seeking to maximize the benefits that flow to the shareholders and stakeholders. Conformance brings accountability, responsibility, and demonstrates a willingness in obeyance of laws. Performance has a strong leadership element attached to it, as it dovetails the executing of business activities, and consequently, it has  more of a business orientation attached to it.

Conformance is considered a value protecting pursuit, whereas performance governance is about value creating, to essentially create long term value for shareholders and to implement the corporate strategic plan. They both feed into the other.

Conformity in the Workplace – Advantages

A company who has uniform expectations of employees creates a basis for the offer of recognition. Conformance becomes a distribution activity for opportunities with success in a more even way. Employees are more apt to recognize and appreciate these opportunities, as a result. Rewards, and recognition are the result of conformity in the workplace.

Conformity in the workplace leads to significant cooperation among groups both small and large. Shared expression, the sharing of ideas become easier as the company lingo gets spread around. The collective works better as they embrace a shared vision. Harmony is another benefit of collective style focused businesses. They feel a stronger sense of identity with their teams and groups. Lastly, when attitudes attached to conformance exist and are applied, i.e. following an employee handbook or the posted set of rules in the lunchroom, the employees, make work run smoother, and much more efficiently.

Conformity and a Leader’s Influence

Organizations that require their employees or branch offices to maintain a company standard of achievement has substantial advantages over an organization that doesn’t. As leaders we must keep our focus on the goals, and hold the vision. Building relationships, enlisting key people to carry out the directives, and aligns with expectations of team members, in a way that empowers employees with the why of the vision, and how working together can bring about a solid brand, and enhance a sound marketing strategy.  The influence of the leader is supported through conformity of the expectations, building team unity, and creating other leaders by following through with expectations built on value for the team member.

Your thoughts=Your results

Your thoughts=Your results

The Law of Attraction states that what we think about becomes our reality.  But it also means that what we think about is drawn to us, and comes into our consciousness, by proportion to how much we think about it.

Have you noticed those people who are always negative?  Are always finding something wrong with everyone else, and judge them for it? No matter what is happening for them, they can always find something wrong or something to dislike about someone or something. If you’ve noticed these folks, then you may have also noticed that they complain about their lives as well. It’s likely they are attempting to make others look bad, so they won’t have to admit that their lives are not all that great. 
A life full of negativity, and resentment of others will lead to a negative life and resentment for the life one lives.

On the other hand, have you noticed that people who are successful are happy, or at least seem happy?  The truth is they see everything through a lens of happiness. They find the happiness or the goodness in the things they see. They find the good in all that they see. Gratitude, and no resentment go together. I life well appreciated is a life well lived.

We have a choice, every day. We can see the world through whatever lenses we choose to put on.  Finding something good in everything is not easy at times, and sometimes it really requires effort. However, finding goodness in everything will bring you and I goodness in everything. Its an attraction thing!

The Glue of Leaders

The Glue of Leaders

Have you worked for a leader who you loved for who they were, warts and all?  It’s likely the component that brought such loyalty was trust.  Leaders who build trust with their teams are more likely to succeed. Furthermore, the team much more likely to perform at a higher level, and even praise the leader for who they are, even with weaknesses because they know in their heart of hearts, they can trust the leader.  Let me share an illustration of what I mean.

Years ago, I was heading back from California after completing a satisfying Toastmaster conference in Cambria.  I had to work the next day, and I wanted to make sure I returned home early enough to settle in, get some things done, and relax for a fresh start on Monday. Needless to say, I was a person who often exceeded the speed limit on the freeways in order to reach my destination sooner when urgency required it.

As I came down  the hill toward the Nevada Stateline, I always look for CHP’s (highway patrol) as I enter the valley. All was good until I glanced back into my rear-view mirror and suddenly saw a CHP in a Dodge Challenger in my rear-view mirror. He was close enough that I could read his license plate. He came out of nowhere. At this point I was pretty much done!!  Nowhere to go, nowhere to hide, and about to get cited for doing well over 90 mph. How would I handle it?  The only thing I could think of was to tell the truth and take my lumps. 

As I had done many years of leadership training, the only thing for me to do was accept responsibility for my actions. Essentially taking leadership for my transgression. I thought to myself this is going cost me a bunch, as the officer was slowly walking up to my car. I already had my license, registration, and proof of insurance in hand, ready to take my lumps.

He asked me where I was headed in such a hurry. I had no excuse, so I surrendered and explained to him that I was coming home from a Toastmaster event and wanted to get home so I would get some things done before the weekend was over. He went on to tell me that he had clocked me at well over 90 miles an hour. “Yes, I know”, I responded. I had to be honest with him.  He went back to his car, checked for warrants, and came back to me and asked me for my name, and address and if I wouldn’t mind filling out a small form with my signature.  He then told me he wouldn’t be writing me up. He told me he appreciated that I was honest with him and was willing to accept responsibility for my actions. He reminded me to drive the speed limit the rest of the way home. The last thing he said was to enjoy the rest of your weekend. I thanked him for letting me off the hook, and that I was grateful.

Here is a peace officer in a position of authority, and certainly a leadership figure. This could have easily ended much differently. However, I believe because to trust and respect for the truth, this officer was willing to let me off with a warning.

As a leader it is important to build relationships based on trust in order to bring about the best possible  result in any situation. A leader who sees something that must be corrected can beat up the person committing the error, and likely would,  if authority and a reminder of who is in charge is preferred. However, I transformative leader would likely have already created a level of trust with employee’s allowing for their people to openly admit a failing or transgression… out of loyalty and respect. Trusting that the leader would do what was best for all concerned.

Trust, it is the glue that holds all leader-follower relationships together.

4 Reasons why you’re not leading an effect team.

4 Reasons why you’re not leading an effect team.

As a leader, do you often feel like your doing it alone?  Are you feeling alone because you believe you must lead alone? Many leaders believe that as a leader you must separate yourself from your team. But how do you do that if you have a business where you have many processes and system’s in place that must be managed? Furthermore, it’s been said that most successful leaders utilize their people by creating a team of folks who are strong at the things that the leader is not. An effective leader can enhance their leadership influence by using such a strategy. If you’re not using this strategy, your standing alone based on some common misconceptions associated with leadership, and your potential as a team is being stifled. The following are pitfalls that will undermine your team’s potential and sabotage your leadership.


Not many people are willing to admit that they don’t know everything and can’t do everything. No leader can do it all. So, the question to ask is not whether you can do it all yourself, but when you realize and accept your inability to do it all.  I have a saying I like to use when leading “ Check your Ego at the door”. This is the first major step in a person’s development as a leader.


Some folks struggle with the concept of a team because they feel threatened by the people, they put around them. However, you should know that you can measure a leader by the people they put around themselves. An insecure leader will often have weak people around them. If you are insecure as a leader, you are much less likely to give power to others, and the results are a weak team that often are middle managers who will bring insecurity to their subordinates. There are one or two reasons that leaders fail to build teams or build weak teams.

  • Desiring to maintain control over everything that they are responsible for.
  • Or, being replaced is a real fear by someone who they believe may be able to do the job better.
  • Or Both.

When I look back at times when I was given leadership, and I tried to do too much of it myself. Getting help and delegating or trusting others can be a major stumbling block, and as I reflect on some past leadership experiences, this concept has been a major challenge for me. Being naïve about team building in nearly all cases effected my tenure as a leader because my naivete put me in a position to have to do more on my own, and my results were deeply affected. “What happens is the leader has a big dream, and it ends up being beyond his capabilities”, according to John Maxwell. Some adjust, build a team, and it turns out OK. Other times, the leader realizes their mistake too late.


Some people aren’t extraverted enough and don’t think about team building or participation beyond themselves. Challenges arise, but it doesn’t occur to them to ask for support to reach a goal. I’ve done it both ways, and invariably, every time I took on something big and took it on by myself, it turns out to be something that hasn’t come close to my vision. I’ve learned that anytime I take on a project, I immediately look for others who can support my vision. I understand that the potential for something wonderful cannot be achieved if I don’t embrace the potential contributions of others that only a strong team can bring to a project.

You’ve heard it said that “Teamwork makes the dream work”.  This couldn’t be a truer statement.  As a leader, if you desire to bring about great things, based on a sound vision, you must have a team, and be strong enough to lead that team, without strangling your team and stifling creativity. Besides, bringing on others communicates to them that they are valued, and valued team members will always be inspired to not only contribute to the team on a high level, but your team will help you as a leader tenfold to help you to realize your vision! 

What’s Possible

What’s Possible

“I can’t do this, I’m not smart enough. I’ll never amount to anything”, said the student.  Stop!  As a person who may have stopped dreaming or maybe you’ve never started, it is easy to understand why someone might believe that. As a coach of life, I have one question, is that really true?  Is it a proactive move or a reaction to life’s events? Life happens, and when it does, we can either react in a manner that aligns with our belief about ourselves, or we can move to a place where we want to use our life events to learn from to propel us in the direction of our desires, goals, and dreams.

Negative thoughts based on your belief about yourself can get in the way of what is possible. It becomes the glue that holds us in one place. These thoughts become a wall that keeps our dreams away from us. Challenges can cloud our vision of what is possible, to the point where we shutdown, and don’t move forward, or worse yet, we don’t believe we know how.

Often times, the wall seems so immovable that asking for outside support is necessary to break through the wall.  A life coach or mentor are great resources to help you get on track and build some momentum, so you can break through that wall.  

A Strategy for Action

Think of something you want; what resources are available to support your desire?  Can you see your dream? In the case of our student, they had no dream or desire to learn or grow. A vision of what you want will be your strongest resource. Without a vision to propel a dream, we are just out taking a stroll with no direction.

What started out as an idea, must become a vision, and a clear dream makes an idea a strong companion. You must know what you want, if you don’t know… you will likely not know that you arrived.

A dream or objective must be specific, but it won’t come to fruition unless we tell ourselves that we must take actionable steps toward our vision. If we want to be successful, we must do what other successful people have done. One course of action is to seek out others who have accomplished what it is that you want to accomplish.

Lastly, break up your goal into small parts. Smaller elements of a larger goal seem more doable, and once you have achieved one small goal, your sense of accomplishment and an increased level of self-worth become the momentum you need to break through and move beyond those limiting beliefs that can stop us before we get started.  It’s time to stop letting negative thoughts steal you from your dreams!



I rolled around the corner to merge into traffic, I looked into my rear view mirror to make sure it was safe. Were there any obstacles that would slow me down, or cause me to wait? And what about my vehicle?  Was my vehicle in a condition that I could accelerate effectively and move into the flow of traffic?  Was my lane clear? Would my vehicle be able to maintain a speed necessary to keep up with the flow of traffic, or would my vehicle sputter and slow down at the first sign of mechanical trouble? Would my vehicle even make it to my desired destination?  All legitimate concerns …. However, were not really talking about a car trip.

When you decide to take on a goal, it is like going on a trip to a far off destination. A desired destination that creates a change of scenery for us. Once we’ve picked a goal, its time to plot a direction, with a plan to reach out destination.  Now it’s time to move.  When it is time to merge into traffic, do you slow down, or become very careful?  Or do you confidently move into the flow of traffic, glance in the rear view mirror and commit to moving toward your destination.

What about your vehicle, YOU?  Are you in a mental state to move in a forward direction? Able to commit to your destination?  Will your doubts slow you down? Will you start to sputter, and get off at the next convenient off ramp, and travel back to where you started? 

Setting a goal, and going after it is just like taking a trip to a new destination.  Make sure you are clear on your destination, don’t let distractions get in your way. Notice the flow your must maintain in order to reach your goal.  And, make sure your vehicle is in good working order. This includes your mindset.  Being committed to your goal is necessary to reach it. Focus on it, and don’t pay attention to how fast the other traffic is moving.  Just because someone else might stop along the way, and do something you may not agree with doesn’t mean you should stop moving. It’s YOUR journey….

Merge confidently, and Emerge victorious ! 

Point A

Point A

What is it that you want? A new career? A relationship? Maybe you want to quit your J.O.B.! Is it even possible? Of course, it is. However, you may not be setting yourself up to reach your goal if you don’t know where you are. What do I mean by knowing where you are? Have you ever heard of the saying; “you can’t get there from here”? Your starting place will determine how you navigate yourself toward your destination. Are you in the perfect position to reach your goal? Have you built a solid vessel for your journey? The vessel I speak of is YOU!

Some questions you must ask yourself. Am I up for the journey? Am I grounded in who I am? Am I really certain I want to make such a journey, and am I mentally and emotionally strong enough to take this journey? Do I have any limiting beliefs that could sink me before I reach my goal? Am I clear about my purpose? These are just a few questions you must ask. Why is your starting place so imperative?

Let’s look at an analogy. You are a soldier, your test is to be dropped off in the middle of the desert, and make your way to the pickup point to meet up with your team. You have been given exactly enough food, exactly enough water, and you have a compass. Everything you need to get you to your appointed destination is in your possession. If you don’t make it to the pickup point by a certain time, you will be left behind. With all this in mind, what is the one thing you must know in order to make it to the pickup point? Remember, you have the exact amount of food and water to get you to your meeting spot. You must know where you are. If you are off by more than a couple of miles, you will die. The desert heat will kill you. You ran out of water, or you ran out of food, or you were late to the pickup location. Left stranded, you will likely perish.

The same holds true for you, if you aren’t clear why your making the journey, you may just be going out for a walk. Are you creating limiting beliefs that can stop you from getting your goal? Many of us do, and it leaves us stranded in the middle of a chasm known as self-doubt. It’s an emotional desert that can destroy us from the inside out.

Lastly, in our story you had a compass to help you to get clear on where you were. It is also useful to help you to guide yourself to your goal. The compass for you is a life coach. A coach can help you get clear on your goal, and how to navigate your way through the journey, avoid obstacles, and make sure you don’t stay stuck in the chasm. Are you working toward your purpose, or long term goal? Is it time to break out the compass? The road is paved with good intentions, but intentions alone won’t get you to where you want to go. A coach is your compass that helps you to establish your starting point, so you can make it to where you say you want to go.
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Personal Optimization

Personal Optimization

Personal Optimization

Search Engine Optimization has become increasingly important to the growth of a business. Simply stated, if someone can find your business easily, it is a much greater likely hood that people looking for your service will call.  There are tools to support the Optimization process to make it a great likely hood that your business will stay in the mind of someone looking for you and your service.

Much like SEO, you and I personally and professionally can increase the growth of ourselves thru what I like to call SELF ENGINE OPTIMIZATION.  Want to be more successful through the process of personal SEO?  Some key things to consider:

  • Am I taking a daily assessment of what and what is not working?
  • Am I prioritizing my time? Am I focused on what is required, what brings the greatest return, and what brings me the greatest reward, in that order?
  • Are my efforts creating my desired results?
  • Do I have a personal mission statement?
  • Are my results moving me closer to my vision?
  • Do I have clearly established goals?
  • Do I believe I am worthy of creating my results?
  • Are there hidden opportunities to found?
  • What past and present relationships could I utilize to support me in creating my results?
  • Do I wake up excited and ready to embrace my day with gratitude?

Using these 10 steps regularly will lead you to SELF ENGINE OPTIMIZATION. Creating your results so you can be as successful as you wish to be!