Category: Personal Development

Are you a Decathlete or Specialist at Work?

At work, do you do one thing really well or have you developed the ability to do many things with a high level of proficiency?

I look forward to watching the Olympics every four years – not only to watch the amazing athletes who have trained so hard to get to this point – but to also observe how the athletes manage the pressures and intensity of the competition. How they express “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat”. While locked in battle, how well do they work together and demonstrate respect?

This past week I was glued to the track contests and noticed the difference between what I would call the specialists (athletes who train solely in one sport) and the decathletes (who are required to master 10 different sports).

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Improve your Presentations with an Actor’s Moves

When we go to the theatre and see actors on the stage communicating a story we get wrapped-up in the action and forget that the lines that are spoken are scripted and the movement on stage is choreographed. If the production and talent are good it all looks and feels organic and yet it was orchestrated well in advance.

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Leadership Lessons from the Boy Scout Handbook

Sometimes what is old is new again. The Boy Scout Handbook was first published in 1910 and it has recently been used to turn around a troubled school and transform boys into men.

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In a recent episode of 60 Minutes that aired on March 20th, St. Benedicts Prep School in Newark, New Jersey was featured. The school, once a mostly white, prestigious prep school had fallen on hard times. Today the all-boys school is 50% African American and a third Hispanic – with the remainder white. The majority of the student population live in poverty and gangs, violence and drugs rule their neighborhoods. The odds are against these kids.

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Bryan Cranston on How to Fake It

You’ve all heard the expression, “Fake it ‘til you make it.” In essence it’s a technique to avoid the trap of a self-fulfilling prophecy related to a lack of confidence. For example, you are getting ready to deliver a big speech at your company’s conference. You are nervous but that won’t help you. Instead, you “pretend” to be confident. You “act as if” you’ve got this one nailed! To accomplish this you might reach out to a mentor or coach to get some last minute advice.

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Professional Presence is just a Tweet Away

You are new to the organization. You are learning the ropes and trying to figure out the culture and the politics of the company you are now working for. You wonder how to fit in while standing out. You begin to find yourself in networking situations, company meetings and hallway conversations where it is important to be your authentic self while also demonstrating your professionalism.

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Resuscitate your interpersonal acumen in the digtal age

Over this past weekend, visiting with family friends, I noticed my friend David’s 10-year old son, Carter, immersed in his iPad during the entire afternoon’s get-together. Carter sat in the living room surrounded by guests but in his own separate world playing games on his device, never really interacting with the group. In an attempt to engage him, I presented him with a good-natured challenge – for every thirty minutes he did not engage with his technology, I’d give him a dollar. Excited to earn some money, Carter took the challenge and by the end of the afternoon, devoid of the temptation of technology, he was interacting with guests, played outside with friends and even managed to do some homework. He earned five dollars and remarked that it was “more fun than I thought it would be.”

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Something to Ponder by George Carlin

A colleague shared this great piece written by George Carlin which reminded me how brilliant he was and such a keen observer of the human condition. Enjoy.

George Carlin’s wife died early in 2008 and George followed her, dying in July 2008. It is ironic George Carlin – comedian of the 70’s and 80’s – could write something so very eloquent and so very appropriate. An observation by George Carlin:

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

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