Leaders and Sacrifice

“Leadership is about inspiration-of oneself and of others. Great leadership is about human experiences, not processes. Leadership…is a human activity that comes from the heart and considers the hearts of others.”-
Lance Secretan

Simon Sinel bookIn his new book Leaders Eat Last, Simon Sinek says leaders must sacrifice for their people. They must be willing to put the needs of others before their own needs. It’s a choice: to look after the person on either side of us.

What Leaders Must Sacrifice:

• Micromanaging
Hire good people, trust your people, and check progress when appropriate. Having authority over their work is a key indicator for employee happiness. Give it to them and praise them when they’ve done well. Demonstrate your confidence in them.

• Self-Interest and Ego

Get in the trenches and work with your people at all levels. I read a story about a CEO who had succcessfully grown the business, and while it was doing well, sales had plateaued. He was advised to go down on the factory floor every week and spend time with his people, getting to know them. In six months, his profits took off because his people knew that he cared. They delivered better, faster service and higher quality. People respond when you know you care about them.

• Saving Face at the Expense of Your People
If you don’t back your people up when they are in crisis or conflict with vendors, clients, etc., then you send a very clear message of fear and mistrust. When you say you will support your people in difficult times and then fail to, your employees feel betrayed and abandoned. They will resent you and become cynical and fearful. None of that leads to high performance.

• Looking Good to Stockholders
At Next Jump in NY, CEO Charlie Kim spends significant money developing people- on training programs and mentoring- much to the chagrin of his investors. However, the results proved themselves and delighted stockholders. Many firms in this industry have double digit turnover rates, which can cost millions to replace. (Industry averages 150% of a person’s salary to replace them.) Because of the investment Charlie makes in his people, turnover is low single digit, and the quality of innovation, problem-solving capability, loyalty and engagement at the company have soared.

Keep expanding your capability as a leader! You will inspire others.

 

 

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How Leaders Fail

“Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to higher sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.” Peter F. Drucker

The Biggest Mistakes Leaders Make

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-hard-day-image22576797Breaking agreements and not keeping promises
Other people assume a promise from a leader will be kept. And when you fail to follow-through on any level, it breaks trust. It creates dis-ease and mistrust on all levels and calls into question your credibility. Don’t make commitments you can’t keep. Renegotiate them, delegate them, but do not break promises.

• Emotional outbursts. I had a boss who screamed at everyone, for no reason. I’ve seen other leaders do this, and all it does is alienate others around you. DO NOT VENT on your staff. They deserve better. Go to therapy, work out, get the anger out before you come to work.

• Lack of empathy: Not understanding how your people feel after a work crisis, not giving them comp time when they have worked overtime for many days, not being compassionate when your people have a family emergency. You must demonstrate compassion. Your staff are first and foremost people; treat them with respect and caring.

• Not Giving Appreciation or Praise
70% of American workers are actively disengaged. 88% of American workers NEVER receive thanks for the work they have done!  There’s a correlation. Praise people specifically in writing for a job well done. Say thank you publicly to others for their work. Express your thanks often.

• Not Being Transparent
More than ever, leaders need to tell the truth and address fear and rumors. Even if you can’t tell the whole story, acknowledge that yes, change is happening, and you are doing everything in your power to resolve issues quickly. Update your people often. Acknowledge their worries and be honest in responses. Maintain an optimistic approach and keep them updated every step of the way.

 

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Why Sitting is So Bad for You

14316798Many people are now sitting more than 9 hours a day- eek…! Our bodies were crafted for us to be upright, All this sitting is highly dangerous.

According to a new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, sitting for long periods increases your risk of all-cause early death.

In fact, it has been shown to increase risk for heart disease, obesity, diabetes, dementia, and some cancers.

• Sitting 6+ hours a day makes you 40% likelier to die within 15 years

• Obese people sit more than 2.5 hours a day than non-on=bese,

• Sitting results in a  drop in insulin effectiveness.

• Being sedentary (sitting) for long periods of time without moving increases inflammation (a leading cause of disease.)

The solutions :

• get a standing desk or treadmill desk like the one shown above, available at Target®

* get up once an hour and walk for 5 minutes. Use this time to get water, chat with others, go outside or look outside in nature. stretch, move.

• make it a habit to walk while you are on the phone. Most phones are cordless anyway.

The most important thing is to get moving…often.

 

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Guest Post- Feeling Overwhelmed

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-business-woman-cubicle-overworked-stressed-image5934154You are not alone. Many friends and clients have said they are feeling overwhelmed right now. I am right there with you too. This past month if not longer, time seems to be moving faster, opportunities are growing, projects to be completed are increasing, and the flurry of activity seems to be everywhere and growing at light speed. It has been challenging. I searched for and tried many different techniques to handle everything on my plate. What I discovered is the power of two seemingly opposite ideas: discipline and letting go.

Discipline is the obvious choice for handling chaos. The more things get out of control, the more one needs to be disciplined in their actions. This is a time for routine, checklists, scheduling, and time management. This is a time to be aware of distractions and to recommit one’s focus to what is important. This is a time to maintain those practices which aid execution and resist the easy bandage quick fixes which actually slow things down.

This is also the time for letting go. Let go of the idea you need to do it alone. Let go of the idea that you are solely responsible for the results. Let go of any emotional investment in the outcome. Let go of the thought that it has to be hard. Let go of the attitude that it is too much. Let go of thinking that once this is all over then you will relax. Let go of the belief that you have to put your life on hold to take care of the tasks at hand.

Discipline and letting go are about listening to your needs. When things get busy, it is an easy choice to give up those things that are for our wellbeing in exchange for time to accomplish something of value. Let me be clear. Taking care of your self is the highest value. Do not give up lunch for a meeting. Do not give up your exercise routine to make more time for work. Do not exchange good healthy food for quick and easy junk food. Trading what is good for your wellbeing may give you a temporary boost in productivity, but it will not last. The healthier you are, the more clear and productive you are. I often quote Gandhi who said, “There is so much to do today. I must meditate twice as long.” The better we take care of ourselves, the more we can accomplish.

Next time you are feeling overwhelmed. Regain your discipline. Note your true priorities. Ensure your daily practices of self care are in place. Then let go of everything else. You can only accomplish so much. Trust you will finish what truly needs to be done by you at this time. Oh, and don’t forget to breathe.

Guest blog by stress reduction expert Melissa Heisler. Download a free chapter from her new book From Type A to Type Me: How to Stop “Doing” Life and Start Living It

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No More Excuses

Overwhelmed man with too much work from Stress ExpressNot long ago, I met a gentleman who was downtrodden and beleaguered. He explained to me all the reasons his business was not doing well and declared that he was just no good at that Internet stuff.  He also went on to say he had avoided a certain market because he was afraid what they might do.  He had all the perfect excuses for why he couldn’t succeed. I felt sorry for him and had compassion for him.  But ultimately, he made his own choices and he is now sitting in his discontent.

Excuses- we all make them and we all have them.  And ultimately, they mean nothing. NOTHING.  They are just rationalizations as to why we think we can’t do something.

In this man’s case, he could have taken courses to learn the Internet,  hired a college kid to do it for him, or used his own kids.  There are so many different ways he could overcome his fear of the Internet but instead, he just gave up.

Don’t give up.  And NO MORE EXCUSES!

You can overcome almost any challenge.  Ask for help. Take courses. Check and see if your assumptions are true.  Network with others in your field and learn how they handle these issues.  Just don’t sit around whining. Take action to overcome these challenges.

I once heard Christopher Reeves speak  after his debilitating accident.  He talked about control and how he had lost so much of it when he became paralyzed.  But then he realized the one area he could take control was how he treated his caregivers.

If someone like that can take control, take action and move forward, you can, too.

 

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Never Be Late Again

Clock from Stress ExpressAre you one of those people who is chronically late?  Who always rushes from place to place and leaves people waiting on you, creating tension before you even start?  Do you realize that being late is actually a broken agreement, that it says to the person you are meeting “You are not important enough to me to be on time.”  It’s unfair, insulting and unprofessional, and that’s so not like you.

How to Be on Time

Choose and prioritize.  Make the decision to be early instead of late. Set your clock 15 minutes ahead, set your phone alarm to beep you 15 minutes before you have to leave and then 5 minutes so that you make it on time.  Use whatever little tricks you have to get out the door in plenty of time.

Plan on delays, in traffic, in elevators, in subways, etc.  Life is like that, so build in a time cushion.  I have a meeting this morning that takes me 1/2 hour to get to- without traffic glitches.  So I will leave at 45 minutes before to give myself a 15 minute cushion. If you’re early, stay in your car and get things done before you go in.  Showing up 5 minutes early is fine, 15 is probably too much.

Call when you are running behind.  Demonstrate respect for the person you are meeting. Give them an accurate assessment of when you will arrive.

• Prep for meetings and events the night before.  Have everything you need all set to go. That saves scrambling around at the last minute.

Have one place in your house for keys, cellphones, etc.  Leave your keys there.  This prevents last minute rushing and looking for lost items.

Once you make the commitment to be on time, you will find the quality of your relationships improves and you will feel better about yourself, instead of guilt and ashamed.  You’re capable and competent, you know how to handle this.  Just do it and reap the rewards.

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Stress Can Make You Fat

Stress Slows Down Metabolism

obese cat from Stress ExpressA new study from Biological Psychiatry shows that women burn fewer calories under stress and are more likely to reach for the wrong food when they are upset.  For many people, that means indulging in sugary carbs, which elevates blood sugar, contributes to diabetes and makes you put on belly fat.

This gets further complicated by lack of sleep.  If you get less than 7 hours of sleep a night, you are more likely to carry an extra  20 pounds of weight.

The solution: eat breakfast early, much on several small healthy meals throughout the day (think nuts, salads, veggies) and go to bed early.  Your overall health will definitely improve.

 

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Can Meditation Help You Beat Cancer?

meditation as stress reliever from Stress ExpressBelieve it or not, yes.  New research in the Journal Psychoneuroendocrinology shows results of a study done on mindful meditators.  Researchers in the US, Spain, and France report the evidence of specific molecular changes in the body following a period of intensive mindfulness practice.

The study investigated long-term meditators.  After 8 hours of mindfulness practice, the meditators showed genetic and molecular differences, including reduction in levels of pro-inflammatory genes, which is related to speedier physical recovery from stress.

The Way You Think DIRECTLY Influences Your Health

Dr. Bruce Lipton says that gene activity can change daily. “If the perception in your mind is reflected in the chemistry of your body, and if your nervous system reads and interprets the environment and then controls the blood’s chemistry, then you can literally change the fate of your cells by altering your thoughts.” (Michael Forrester’s article in Tuned Body)

This is a revolutionary concept for many people, and yet those in the fields of psychology, personal development and self-help have long known that what you put your attention on manifests.  Your thoughts have a direct impact on your outcomes.

Implications for Serious Illness

Dr. Lipton believes that your body will come into alignment with your belief systems.  If you are battling cancer and you believe you only have 6 months to live, you probably will.  The opposite is also true.  If you have a strong belief that you can conquer whatever illness you are battling, that can go a long way towards your recovery.

Bottom line: meditation can help you  relieve stress on a genetic level and your thoughts, subconscious or not, have a huge impact on your health.

For more information, go to www. wisc.edu, www.brucelipton.com.

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Heroes Among Us…

There are Good People Everywhere

You may have read about her or seen her on Ellen®. The story of the the young waitrScreenshot 2014-06-09 08.31.54ess in Concord, NH who paid the bill for two furloughed women from the National Guard. That meant she made only $8 in tips that day, which did not cover the struggling single mother’s gas.

The soldiers posted the kind note Sarah had written them on Facebook® and Sarah ended up on Ellen, where she received an amazing surprise.  Ellen gave her a $10,000 reward for her kindness.

Or maybe you read about Adam Warwick, a biologist with the Wildlife Commission, who saved the life of a black bear in Florida, who had been shot with a tranquilizer and almost drowned in the water.  Adam fearlessly jumped in and saved the bear, without regard to his personal safety.

There are stories like this everyday, but you probably don’t hear them much because the news focuses on the bad and sensationalist stories.  There are real heroes among us.  If you don’t think so, check out this video on youtube about 5 heroic kids. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QrT5Iizviw

Acts of kindness give your life meaning and bring incredible joy to your life. Focus on the good you are doing, others are doing and celebrate that.

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It’s Not about YOU!

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-business-woman-cubicle-overworked-stressed-image5934154Other People’s Behavior is ALWAYS about Them!

I  recently had lunch with two great women who have achieved substantial success in life and business.  However, like so many people, they were taking way too much responsibility for others.  As I speak around the country about burn-out, I see this trend over and over.

You are NOT responsible for the actions of others.
 If someone comes into work in a bad mood, it’s not your fault.  Nor do you have to fix it.  Women in particular are great “fixers.”  Stop.  Focus your energy and attention on being the best you can be, and let go of worrying about the behavior of others. You can’t control them anyway, and you certainly cannot change them.  Let every individual make their own choices.

How to Stay Clear of Over-Responsibility

• Don’t Take it Personally  If someone is rude, short-tempered or curt with you, recognize it’s about them.  They may have been in a fight or lost a loved one or been cut off in traffic. It’s not about YOU.

 Take a Good Look at Your Schedule  How much of it is taking on others’ tasks and responsibilities?  Have you over-committed?  Are you doing the work others should be doing?  Stop, renegotiate those commitments, and don’t take on anything that isn’t yours.

• Lighten Up  Life is so hard if you continually worry about others’ opinions and problems. Yes, it is appropriate to give back to the community and do service work.  But not at the expense of your health and well-being. Focus first on your life, your needs and your issues, and allow yourself to relax and have joy, freedom and peace of mind.

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