Tuesday, January 14, 2014
A well-known author/poet was working and vacationing at the coast. Very early one morning he was walking along the beach just as the sun was rising to ready his mind for a day of writing. While enjoying the beauty around him, he glanced down the beach and saw a lone human figure dancing about between the surf’s edge and the beach.
Fascinated by this other person, celebrating the day that was about to dawn, he moved closer. As he came nearer, he realized that the young man was not dancing, but with graceful movement was picking objects up from the beach and was very gently tossing them out into the sea. Approaching the young man, he saw that the objects were starfish.
“Good morning! What in the world are you doing?" the author asked. The young man paused for a moment, looked up, and replied, “I’m throwing these starfish back into the ocean. You see, if I don’t throw them back in, they’ll die here from a lack of oxygen.” With this, he returned to his work, tossing them back into the sea.
The smooth damp sand was littered with starfish, washed up onto the beach during high tide and stranded there as the tide ebbed. Struck by the apparent futility of the task, the man responded, "I understand, but there must be thousands of starfish on this beach. You can’t possibly get to all of them. There are simply too many. And don’t you realize that this is probably happening on hundreds of beaches all up and down this coast? Don’t you see that you can't possibly make a significant difference?"
The young man picked up another starfish, paused thoughtfully and remarked as he tossed it out beyond the breaking waves, returning it to the safety of the sea, "Maybe not, but I made a difference to that one."
-- Who have you made a difference to recently?? --
Many of us are familiar with some version of the "Starfish Story". The story, originally from the book "The Star Thrower" by Loren Eisley, appeared in an article in Reader's Digest back in 1991 and later was included in the first addition of Chicken Soup for the Soul in 1993. One adaptation of the story is recounted above.
Thursday, January 09, 2014
Try this quiz:
1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
2. Name the last five men’s singles Wimbledon champions.
3. Name the last person to reach the summit of Mt. Everest.
4. Name ten people who have won a Nobel or Pulitzer prize.
5. Name the last half dozen Oscar winners for best actor and actress.
6. Name the last 5 countries that hosted the Summer Olympics.
How did you do?
The point – none of us remember the headliners of yesterday, and these are no second-rate achievements. They were the best in their fields – “world-class”. But, eventually, applause dies, awards tarnish, accomplishments are forgotten, accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.
Now try this quiz.
1 teacher who aided your journey through school.
2 friends who have helped you through difficult times.
3 people who have taught you something worthwhile.
4 people who have made you feel appreciated and special.
5 people you enjoy spending time with.
6 real-life heroes whose stories have inspired you.
The point of these quizzes – the people who make a difference in our lives are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones that most care.
People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care!
So, today show someone how much YOU care!!
Sunday, January 05, 2014
I’ve been a Sales Manager and/or Sales Trainer for most of my adult life. As such, much of my time has been spent observing experienced sales people or trainees and giving them feedback on their activities and efforts.
Before I give my feedback, I always first ask them, “What did you do well?”. Only after that conversation, do I move to, “What’s one thing you’d like to try to do differently next time?”.
The problem is, they almost always go to “the dark side” – in other words, they almost always begin with things they don’t feel like they did well. I often have to almost force them to speak, specifically, about the things that went well. I then only allow them to name one thing, or at most two, they would like to try to do differently in a similar situation.
My point to them [and to you if you feel like this applies] is that in almost every instance, we do MANY more things well than things we did poorly. But if we only focus on the changes we want to make, then we could forget to continue doing the things we’re already successfully doing. Plus, it’s nearly impossible to change/correct more than one or two things at a time.
So, let’s celebrate all the things we’re doing well and limit our corrective actions to one thing at a time. That way, we’ll be building on our successes and making steps forward, whether they be large or small.
Saturday, January 04, 2014
Growing up, a frequent saying of my Father was "Don't mind the mule, just load the wagon!" - meaning, "Don't worry about me, just tell me what you need me to do!" [understand that he - and I - grew up in the South, where we're big on similes and metaphors - LOL].
I thought about this saying earlier today while working with my trainer. She told me about a new exercise she wanted me to attempt and asked what I thought about it. She smiled as I began my reply [because she's heard me use it so often before] - "I'll give it a try, 'cause one thing for sure, I either can do it or I can't and we won't know which until I try!"
Occasionally I'm surprised to find that I can't do something I thought I could do, but often I'm surprised [pleasantly] to find that I can do something I didn't think I'd be able to do.
I'm so appreciative to my Dad [and my Mom] for helping me learn that there's no shame in failing at an attempt, only in failing TO attempt.
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