Tuesday, October 27, 2009

BOOK REVIEW: "Split Second Choice: The Power of Attitude

Much of the everyday fabric of our lives contains patterns and connections. In this, his first book, Jim Winner (yes, that’s his real name) identifies significant patterns that influence every aspect of our lives. These patterns eventually become habits for us and often are followed with no conscious thought. They are interwoven into our daily routines and our personalities. Winner, a professional trainer for over thirty years, helps us to become aware of these patterns, take control of the behavior they cause, and find connections to the solutions that make these patterns work for us instead of against us. Winner is a man of dreams and goals, someone who has learned to deal with fear, and a mentor whose career is convincing evidence that what he offers in this book is effective.

Philosopher William James proposed that when we see a bear approaching, we run. He says (and this is simplified) that we feel fear because we run, not just because we saw a bear. Winner builds his success pattern on a derivative of James’ bear theory – we can alter our lives by altering our attitudes of mind. Winner writes, “Many authors have written about how attitude makes the difference…” but that “…they leave us on our own for the most difficult part…” and “…they don’t really tell us how to control our attitude.” This book explores the power of attitude and our personal obligation to control our own emotions. Winner encourages us to learn how to identify the decision point, make the right choice, and be successful in all our endeavors; then make a habit of the process.

Ninety-six pages long, written in workbook format, Split Second Choice takes barely more than an hour to read. It could be a reference that you consult for years to come which is why I wish it was available in hard cover. My own experiences in the self-help field have taught me that you cannot learn to ride a bicycle by reading a book, listening to a tape, or watching a video online. You learn to do by doing and this book is the recipe. The book, filled with flow charts, diagrams, and inspirational stories concludes with an indispensable chapter on dealing with frustration, something Winner says is as inevitable as ants at a picnic.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Find Out What It Means to Me

A seven-year-old holds up his cell phone with his finger on a pre-set number and threatens to call social services in response to his grandparent’s attempt at discipline.

A pharmacist tells his supervisor, “If my vacation is not approved, I’ll call in sick!”

An arrogant senior citizen ignores the queue and steps to the front, with no regard for those who have patiently waited in line.

A college football player runs to the sideline, rips off his helmet and gets in his coach’s face, screaming.

A teen announces to the waiter that he won’t be eating because the restaurant he preferred wasn’t chosen.

A speeding driver passes in a school zone – in a curve with double yellow lines.

A football official begins the game with an arrogant attitude towards the coach.

We’ve all been victims.

When children are not taught to be respectful of others, as they should be at an early age, they are disrespectful to teachers in school, other people who might be able to help them, and children they might like to have as friends. Because so many children are not taught the value of respect, schools become anarchic. And when the parents are brought in, their response? "Not my child." “We’ll put him in another school.” Or better, "I'll sue." There is no respect for authority, institutions or others. Parents who don't teach their children self-respect, raise children who respect nothing. They do their children a great disservice.

Many of the baby boomer generation may feel that they were raised in too strict an environment and thus the rebellion of the sixtes. In our family, it was considered disrespectful to simply disagree with my parents. Respect was an important facet of our social relationships. When respect is no longer valued, negative behaviors are the result. Respectful people do not use obscene or other objectionable language in hearing range of others. People who respect no one, nothing, not even themselves are not on the top of the list of potential job candidates. Actually, they are not choice anything.

A person suddenly thrust into a management position in our culture feels that the position itself brings a certain amount of respect. The honeymoon for that attitude is usually short-lived. A good leader will work hard to earn the respect of the team, to build on the “position respect” with “personal respect”. It's not that there are no longer people who appreciate the value of being respectful, it's that disrespect is just so flagrant. Remember the old saying, "familiarity breeds contempt"? Well, it certainly breeds contemptible people. As the boundaries between each of us fade, people become overfamiliar, often with the result that they think that they can say or do anything in front of others (perhaps a select group of others, perhaps all others). They lose respect for others' boundaries, and with it, respect for others (if indeed they had either).

Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, the Dalai Lama, all the world’s great minds have advocated a similar philosophy. Love one another. Treat others as you wish to be treated. If we followed this directive we would treat everyone with respect, because that is how we wish to be treated. We should treat every person as we would want someone we loved to be treated.

[The author thanks Bob Etier, dear friend and muse for her contributions. Image is copyrighted by RFWLLC and may be purchased here: http://www.royalflamingoworks.com ]

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Never leave home without it!

I found myself in front of a distinguished gentleman. He was professionally dressed in a dark suit and wore a solemn but pleasant expression. He was standing on the driver’s side of a sleek white hearse with the door opened. The hearse was parked in front of a small white clapboard church which was the dominant structure in a clearing in the woods that lined the road. This solitary attendant was awaiting the beginning of a funeral.

I had been traveling the back roads in rural Louisiana on my way to help cover a store one morning, when I passed this most unusual scene. I stopped the car and turned around. As I walked up to meet him, I made sure my camera was prominently displayed so that he would have no doubt as to my intentions. He answered my request without speaking. The sentinel agreed to let me take his photograph with a barely noticeable smile and a slight nod of his head.

At this point in my pursuit of photography I had not considered selling my work, so there was no model release available. Would this image have become a best seller? That will never be known. It has become a personal favorite, occupies a space of distinction on my wall, and is an effective educational tool, as well as a potent reminder.

Never leave home without your camera and a few model releases!

(see more of my work at: http://www.royalflamingoworks.com

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Control the Game

In Jerry Kramer’s book, INSTANT REPLAY, he makes several references to Vince Lombardi’s exhortations to play with “reckless abandon”. I’m not sure I agree.

I believe that football is a game of control.
Control the line of scrimmage.
Control the ball.
Control the clock.
Control the man you are blocking.

How can you control any of these facets of the game if you cannot control yourself?

Two examples of when a player must stay in control of himself:
1)On kick coverage: If the player sprinting down the field goes all out and cannot make a quick turn or adjustment in direction, the ball carrier can easily slip by untouched.
2)A safety blitzes and goes untouched into the backfield at full speed while the runner sprints right by him, untouched because the safety was moving too fast and out of control.

If players didn’t maintain control, there would be late hits on every play, neutral zone violations on every play, holding on every play, face mask fouls, and roughing on most downs.

Where do kids learn self-control? Hopefully, they get some training in self-discipline at home. In many cases, kids get additional lessons in self-discipline in the class room.
Where do athletes get self-control skills? Hopefully, they benefit from their coaches and teammates.
Where do coaches get self-control? Maybe they developed good habits from their childhood, student experience, and their own athletic endeavors. (Judging from the number of times I see coaches slam a headset or clipboard onto the ground, I wonder how much self-control coaches really have.)

We already hear a lot of discussion about the “excessive celebration” rule in NCAA football. There is adequate room on the sidelines for unlimited celebration so the game is not delayed. Part of the job of being a coach is to control the sideline. Do your job!

Many of our culture’s more popular sports are contact sports in which aggressive behavior is expected and rewarded. My wife doesn't like sports in general, but she does like hockey. She says, “Any sport that involves men hitting each other with sticks can’t be all bad!” Have we progressed much from the gladiators or the lions and the Christians? Paul Simon said, “Zebras are reactionaries.” I’m not a reactionary – I take control! As a referee I believe that with preventive officiating and maintaining control of the game, there will be fewer penalties.

Friday, October 2, 2009

I'll take one of those "irregular jobs" please!

When I enrolled in pharmacy school, I had no idea I was signing up for a lifetime in sales! In 1969 the majority of pharmacists were in retail and most of them yearned for their own store. It quickly became apparent that the outgoing, friendly pharmacists who could establish trust with their customer/patients became the most successful in building a large business. It isn’t just pharmacy. Paul Witherspoon reminds us, ” I've always wanted to be a business owner. And if you are the owner of your company, you are the #1 salesperson in most cases.” People like to do business with the person whose name is on the sign out front.

Paul got his degree in business management …” but for some reason I thought I was above a sales job. Sales jobs are for the people who can't get regular jobs. Interestingly enough after six months of searching and not finding anything...guess what? I couldn't get a regular job. So, sure enough I went into sales. And now, i don't know how I could turn back.”

I’m with Paul, although my stage where I perform is inside a big box retail outlet and I manage the pharmacy. When the curtain goes up and I walk out with my white smock on, it’s SHOWTIME and I feel like a rock star! I pretend that every customer came to see me and I don’t want to let them down. This isn’t like outside sales where you have to go out and find your prospects. They come to me and often are attracted by convenience and price. Just like outside sales though, I’ve still got to get their attention, show them the benefits of doing business with me and the company I represent, enhance their desire, convince them they’re making the best choice, and then close the sale.

Paul is inspired by someone he considers to be a great salesman. “My favorite is Jesus. He had 12 disciples and somehow these 12 men had the responsiblity of telling the world that he was the son of God. What a job that was...huh? And now The Bible is the best-selling book of all time!”

So, whether you own your own business or operate one for someone else, go out there and sell something. Be honest. Show people that you have integrity and how they will benefit from your product and you’ll be successful, too.

Paul Witherspoon is an entreprenuer and minisite owner including http://www.laptopsspec.com