BBETTERDAILY: Empowering Ourselves Through Others

“In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.”– Charles Darwin

It’s what we take from both the wins and woes that enable us to best understand how to fend off future failures and sustain success. The one consistent lesson always comes back to people: The right people make you. The wrong people break you. This applies to any enterprise and experience.

It doesn’t matter what we do, where we do it or how well we create a product or offer a service. We don’t succeed without the right people on our teams. I have come to believe that to survive and ultimately thrive we must effectively create ‘partnerships’ with everyone around us, from family to colleagues to society in general.

Connecting with Others
The word partner conjures up many connotations, such as collaboration, equality, teamwork, trust, alliance, support and reliability. These are qualities that we look for in both personal and professional relationships. Here are six principles I have learned that helps us to connect with others:

1. Honesty Matters
It’s the best and only policy when communicating with a potential customer, client, colleague, employee, supplier, distributor, contractor or even an industry rival. And it’s the same policy whether we’re speaking face-to-face, across the board table, or via email, text, video or any social or digital platform. We must be honest with our audience, our mission and ourselves. Effective leaders are honest in order to invoke trust and respect from their team and anyone they encounter. You never know whom you will have to rely on or turn to in the future. Nobody forgets and forgives dishonesty.

2. Message Matters
Leadership requires many qualities, including focus, passion, confidence and integrity. But success depends on our ability to effectively, honestly, and directly communicate our message. The digital age makes it easier than ever to get our message out immediately via myriad platforms. But we can’t lose sight of our goals and our message, which must be consistent and clear. It requires an ability to communicate every step of the process to everyone we meet or may meet. Direct communication leads to direction, meaning the path we set as a leader. Nobody wants to follow someone with a muddled message.

3. Inspire and Influence
The most successful leaders are able to inspire and influence everyone from their executive team, employees, customers, clients, partners, investors and people outside of their enterprise and social circle or demographic. Communication is key for inspiration. People connect with those who show their ‘human’ side. Leadership success can quickly inflate egos and alienate people, including those who are most critical to our ongoing ability to survive and thrive. The best and brightest will be toppled if they can’t inspire and influence other people. It takes a person with a positive, honest, forward-looking attitude to inspire and influence the people involved in building and growing enterprises and communities.

4. Think Ahead
No matter how successful we are, we won’t continue on that golden path if we stop anticipating what’s next. We need to surround ourselves with forward-thinkers. A single team member that’s complacent, lazy or rests on his or her laurels can send everyone involved on a downward spiral. We need to make sure our people are ready for any changes, including the most unexpected, even unprecedented challenges, which have become the norm in a rapidly changing global marketplace and society.

5. Create a Community
Like any community, a healthy business ecosystem must be nurtured to achieve long-term and continual success. As with any secular, social or other organized community, a sustainable ecosystem is the structure we form around us to get through the bad times as well as the good times. It’s that environment that allows us to partner with differing individuals and groups who bring unique perspectives and skills. All this enables collaboration, whether it’s with our neighbor, our C-suite counterparts or people across the world. This is what I focus on every day within my own organization and with everyone I encounter. We must always be open to inviting new people into our extended enterprise.

6. Think Long Term
‘Partnership’ is an integral part of the long-term pursuit of mutual fulfillment. All parties must remain committed to the same goals and collaborate to achieve those goals by adhering to sound and established principles, as long as those fundamentals are working. Each partner must be agile and recognize any changes that require a shift in focus in order to stay on track for the long haul. Everyone involved must recognize how he or she contributes to the greater good of the partnership itself.

Why Rely on Others? A true partnership is a mutual investment. A relationship. A voluntary collaborative agreement. We no longer work in an era where we’re trying to make everything as efficient as possible; rather, we’re trying to be more agile, more innovative, to move quicker with our iterations. This means that we need to work together.

Partners work together to achieve a common purpose or undertake a specific task while sharing risks, responsibilities, resources, competencies and benefits. It’s a voluntary collaborative agreement that must evolve to meet the needs of everyone involved.

The Pareto Principle (also known as the 80-20 rule) asserts that 80 percent of outcomes can be attributed to 20 percent of the causes for a given event. To achieve more with less, one needs be selective, not exhaustive.

Leaders must strive for excellence in the few key areas they can master, rather than seek good performance across many. We need to focus our own resources on what we do best to create a sustainable competitive advantage, while relying on the resources of others for the rest.

Power of the People. It doesn’t matter how smart or savvy we are when it comes to technology, product development or any single skill. Nobody succeeds in a silo. Whatever we venture — personal, professional, philanthropic, political or private – we must remember the people involved in and essential to our success. Learn from our own mistakes and mastery, and learn from the people around us: those we admire now and those we may learn from just by listening. We never know whom we may inspire or influence, or who may inspire and influence us. Today’s stranger may be tomorrow’s partner.

BBETTERDAILY: Watch your mouth!

The words you use are more powerful than you imagine. Most people greet each other with words that have no power. Think of the last time you heard someone else (or even yourself) respond to a greeting of “How are you?” with “Oh, I am doing so-so,” “Hanging in there,” “I’m surviving” or “Not too bad.” It probably wasn’t much past yesterday.

Try this: use words to change your situation, not to describe it.

First, the next time anyone asks, “How are you?” whether it’s someone at work or a cashier at the store, respond with strength. Give them an energetic, enthusiastic, “Great!” or “Terrific!”

It will be hard to do without a smile on your face, and you are likely to get one back. Second, you will likely feel a physical response of increased energy. Third, your words will send a message to your mind that will be consistent with feeling Great! or Terrific!

To see the results, you have to do this often and with sincere enthusiasm (not robotically). When you do, your subconscious mind will begin to act on what you are saying and begin to design your reality to be consistent with your thoughts and words.

Yoda from Star Wars, understood this when he commanded Luke Skywalker, “Do or do not. There is no try.”

Speaking with power also creates a sense of accountability and commitment to get the best from yourself and others. Your challenge is to consciously avoid using words that are power killers. These words sap energy and commitment from your interactions, and ultimately, your actions.

First, eliminate these words from your vocabulary:

  1. I can’t
  2. If
  3. Doubt
  4. Try
  5. I don’t think
  6. I don’t have the time
  7. Maybe
  8. I’m afraid of
  9. I don’t believe
  10. It’s impossible.

Omitting these words is not enough. A sports team needs more than just a good defense to win; it also needs a powerful offense. So, mobilize your own offensive assault with the words you choose.

Build positive mental connections and commitment by using these power builders:

  1. I can
  2. I will
  3. Expect the best
  4. Commit
  5. I know
  6. I will make the time
  7. Positively
  8. I am confident
  9. I do believe
  10. All things are possible.

The power of your actions is preceded by the power of your words. Speak with power to bring out the best in yourself and others.

BBETTERDAILY: Words of Wisdom from a 12-yr Old

The father of a 12-year-old girl who lost her battle with cancer last week says he was shocked to find she had left behind a long, handwritten message on the back of a mirror.

“It was a stand-up mirror in her room, and it was always lent up against the wall so we never saw behind it,” Dean Orchard, of Leicester, England, told the Leicester Mercury. “She never mentioned it, but it’s the kind of thing she’d do.”

Athena Orchard was diagnosed with cancer in December after discovering a lump on her head and collapsing in her home. She died on May 28.

“She was a very spiritual person, she’d go on about stuff that I could never understand — she was so clever,” Dean recalled.

Dean was moving things around in Athena’s room when he discovered the message.

“When I moved the mirror after she died, I couldn’t believe it,” the 33-year-old said. “I saw all this writing — it must have been about 3,000 words.”

Here are just some of them:

Happiness depends upon ourselves.

Maybe it’s not about the happy ending, maybe it’s about the story.

The purpose of life is a life of purpose.

The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra. Happiness is a direction, not a destination.

Thank you for existing. Be happy, be free, believe, forever young.

You know my name, not my story.

You have heard what I’ve done, but not what I’ve been through.

Love is like glass, looks so lovely, but it’s easy to shatter.

Love is rare, life is strange, nothing lasts and people change.

Life is only bad if you make it bad.

Remember that life is full of ups and downs, without the downs the ups don’t mean anything.

I’m waiting to fall in love with someone I can open my heart to.

Love is not about who you can see spending your future with, it’s about who you can’t see spending your life without.

Life is a game for everyone, but love is the only prize.

“When I first saw it, it just blew me away,” Dean Orchard said. “I started reading it but before long I had to stop because it was too much — it was heartbreaking.”

The message, written in marker, also makes reference to her cancer diagnosis:

Every day is special, so make the most of it. You could get a life-ending illness tomorrow so make the most of every day.

Athena’s funeral is scheduled for June 12.

“She was the bravest person I know,” her mother, Caroline, told the paper. “She was always trying to make sure other people were OK before worrying about herself. She was always being positive.”

BBETTERDAILY: Words of Wisdom from a 12-Year Old

The father of a 12-year-old girl who lost her battle with cancer last week says he was shocked to find she had left behind a long, handwritten message on the back of a mirror.

“It was a stand-up mirror in her room, and it was always lent up against the wall so we never saw behind it,” Dean Orchard, of Leicester, England, told the Leicester Mercury. “She never mentioned it, but it’s the kind of thing she’d do.”

Athena Orchard was diagnosed with cancer in December after discovering a lump on her head and collapsing in her home. She died on May 28.

“She was a very spiritual person, she’d go on about stuff that I could never understand — she was so clever,” Dean recalled.

Dean was moving things around in Athena’s room when he discovered the message.

“When I moved the mirror after she died, I couldn’t believe it,” the 33-year-old said. “I saw all this writing — it must have been about 3,000 words.”

Here are just some of them:

Happiness depends upon ourselves.

Maybe it’s not about the happy ending, maybe it’s about the story.

The purpose of life is a life of purpose.

The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra. Happiness is a direction, not a destination.

Thank you for existing. Be happy, be free, believe, forever young.

You know my name, not my story.

You have heard what I’ve done, but not what I’ve been through.

Love is like glass, looks so lovely, but it’s easy to shatter.

Love is rare, life is strange, nothing lasts and people change.

Life is only bad if you make it bad.

Remember that life is full of ups and downs, without the downs the ups don’t mean anything.

I’m waiting to fall in love with someone I can open my heart to.

Love is not about who you can see spending your future with, it’s about who you can’t see spending your life without.

Life is a game for everyone, but love is the only prize.

“When I first saw it, it just blew me away,” Dean Orchard said. “I started reading it but before long I had to stop because it was too much — it was heartbreaking.”

The message, written in marker, also makes reference to her cancer diagnosis:

Every day is special, so make the most of it. You could get a life-ending illness tomorrow so make the most of every day.

Athena’s funeral is scheduled for June 12.

“She was the bravest person I know,” her mother, Caroline, told the paper. “She was always trying to make sure other people were OK before worrying about herself. She was always being positive.”