Archives for May 2014

Hugh’s Words of Wisdom Wednesday

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The most scathing and hyper-critical personal attack you’ll ever experience does not come from others. The most scathing and hyper-critical personal attack you’ll ever experience comes from yourself.

Businessman Yelling

Many people attack themselves with statements such as:

1. I’m not smart enough or I’m stupid.
2. I’m not skinny enough or I’m fat.
3. I’m not attractive enough or I’m ugly.
4. I’m not good enough or I’m a screw up.
5. I’m not worthy enough or I don’t deserve that.

These are not the words of people destined to be on medication for the rest of their life. In the world of work these are the words of people who are caught in the undertow of always doing more, doing it faster, doing it cheaper and most assuredly, doing it better than the competition…all while never being recognized or appreciated.

Here are three short strategies for quieting these personal attacks:

1. Notice yourself doing it. When you find yourself beating yourself up, the very best thing to do is not judge yourself, but to simply start noticing that you’re doing it.

2. Get curious. The next step is to ask yourself if you know where this criticism is coming from. If you can locate the origin you’re making considerable progress.

3. Be your own biggest advocate. Forget what your internal critic has to say and focus on your strengths and assets. For the majority of people, the words they use to describe themselves are far more focused on what’s wrong as opposed to what’s right. They hyper-focus on their liabilities and neglect their assets.

If you want to break this negative cycle and quiet your harshest critic, try following these three steps.

Standing Up For Veterans

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MMM 05-26-2014 from Hugh Blane on Vimeo.

Whose hand is on the tiller of your personal and professional life?

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Hand on Tiller Steering a Schooner Sailboat

“If your hand is not on the tiller you are simply along for the ride.” Bill Felkins (Father of John Felkins)

Hugh’s Words of Wisdom Wednesday

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Your mindset is everything. It can either help or hinder you in both your professional and personal life.

For example, some people’s mindset in the morning is that of greeting a fabulous adventure. Others have the mindset of slogging through enemy territory on their belly with bullets flying over their head.

Your mindset is not twenty, thirty, forty or even fifty percent of your success or failure. It’s ninety percent, maybe even one hundred percent.

My most successful clients believe:

1. They can do anything they set their mind to.
2. They can figure out any problem thrown their way.
3. That life is an adventure and not a slog through enemy territory.
4. That what happens to them is irrelevant. What matters is how they respond to events.
5. That they are 100% responsible for their thinking and attitude.

Do you want to change your personal or professional life? If you do, start by changing your mindset.

3 steps for communicating with executives who don’t have enough time

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3 steps for communicating with executives who don’t have enough time from Hugh Blane on Vimeo.

Video Notes:

Ladies and gentlemen, the number one lament executives have is that they don’t have enough time in the world of work. I want to share with you three easy steps you can use to more effectively communicate with someone who doesn’t have enough time.

Step 1. Always start with an executive summary. Don’t go into the details and don’t give the back story. Simply give an executive summary in two or three sentences.

Step 2. Give the executive three options about how they can engage you in a conversation. Option number one has A & B and has this upside and this downside. Do the same explanation for options two and three and give the person options for how they want to engage with you.

Step 3. Allow the person to chose how they want to engage you in a conversation.

If you follow these three steps ladies and gentlemen, it is short, it is sweet, it is to the point and it is a highly effective use of people’s time…not unlike the Monday Morning Minute!

Have a fabulous week everyone and I’ll see you again next week.

Take care,

What’s your story?

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Yesterday morning, while finishing up a workout at the gym, a man I’ve seen workout regularly approached and asked me to take a picture of him. Being that he was shirtless and shoeless I thought the request a little strange. Strange because I wouldn’t ask a stranger to take a picture of me in a state of partial undress, especially in a public place. Unless of course I was on an episode of Candid Camera.

He explained that he’s tracking his fitness progress. Being curious I asked how he’s doing. And that’s when things got very interesting.

He told me that five years ago he lost his wife and son in an automobile accident. His preferred coping mechanism was to drink and eat without any consideration as to what it did to his health. He’d lost two of the most important people in his life and understandably he lost any interest and or concern for his own well-being.

Within the last year though that’s changed. He has stopped drinking thanks to his church, he’s climbed Mount Rainer (14,424 feet) with the help of a former army boot camp instructor, worked out, changed his diet and lost eighty-five pounds. As he said, “I’m no longer a fat blob.”

Any discomfort I felt about taking a picture of a half-naked man who I didn’t know in a public place disappeared as soon as I heard his story. In place of my discomfort I felt empathy for the loss of his family and enthusiasm for him regaining his health and well-being.

I’ve thought about his request and my responses. He reminded me that context is king. When I know the context of someones request; if I know their back story, then I am considerably less willing to judge them and more willing to help them.

A key lesson for me, and a reminder for all of us, is that the lenses through which we see people are often distorted. It is only when the curtain of a persons public persona is pulled back that we learn about the real person: their disappointments, hurts, successes, hopes and dreams. When we understand these aspects of a person we are privileged to learn their story. And by learning their story we move beyond interpreting their behavior and slide gracefully into understanding them as a person.

What’s your story?

Hugh’s Words of Wisdom Wednesday

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Common Sense
Image courtesy of iStock photo

It’s common sense to eat more broccoli and less chocolate cake. It’s not common practice though.

It’s common sense to reinvent yourself and not rest on your laurels. It’s not common practice though.

It’s common sense to focus on value and return on investment. It’s not common practice though.

It’s common sense to play to your strengths and minimize your weaknesses. It’s not common practice though.

It’s common sense to love your customer and not frustrate and anger them. It’s not common practice though.

Let’s not make this too difficult. Closing the gaps between what is common sense and what is common practice requires desire and discipline. The burning desire to achieve a desired goal and the discipline to relentlessly pursuit the goal until it’s completed.

Successful leaders, teams and organizations recognize that common sense is just one piece of the puzzle. For them the real differentiator is taking what others know to be true and doing it.

But then again, that’s common sense.

Welcoming Challenges

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MMM 05-12-2014 from Hugh Blane on Vimeo.

Video Notes:

This week I want to talk to you about why you should welcome challenges into your professional life.

The harsh reality is that the world of work is full of challenges. Some people when confronted by challenges are overwhelmed by them and allow the challenge to overcome them.

Ladies and gentlemen, in exemplary organizations, in my best clients, I have found that when they are confronted with huge challenges they welcome the challenge into the organization. Why? Because they know that what happens after a tremendous challenge is that they will experience a tremendous breakthrough in performance. They recognize that without the challenge they would not have risen to the occasion and they likely wouldn’t have rethought how they needed to do things.

My best clients welcome challenges because they are the precursor to tremendous performance breakthroughs. Ladies and gentlemen, if you embrace the thinking that extraordinary challenges are the precursor to extraordinary performance breakthroughs you will have a much more effective workweek.

Hugh’s Words of Wisdom Wednesday

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WAlla Walla Landscape

Our ability to feel connected to people and places is hindered by our incessant busyness. We are busy on our phones, computers and mobile devices digesting information or searching for something that will make us feel better of make our lives easier.

After three days in Walla Walla, Washington; Walla Walla is one of the premier wine growing regions in Washington, I realized that all too often what I need to feel connected is time to be disconnected.

The above photograph is of the farmland that surrounds some of the vineyards. For miles on end there is not a building or person in sight. When I looked at this landscape I felt my need to be connected to an electronic device diminish appreciably and in turn felt a greater sense of connection to the people I was with and the place where I was.

If you want to feel a greater sense of connection spend time every day, week and or month disconnecting. The vistas you will see and the experiences you’ll have are far more rewarding than being plugged in electronically.

Running through the gate

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Run Through The Gate from Hugh Blane on Vimeo.