5 Common Phrases That Create Failure (and What to Say Instead)

Replace these common workplace expressions with more powerful alternatives and you’ll succeed much faster.

Success

Words have power. The things you say reinforce how you think, which in turn determines what you do or are willing to do. These five common phrases generate attitudes and beliefs (in yourself and others) that make failure easy and success more difficult:

1. “I’m having a bad day.”

The difference between a good day and a bad day is literally all in your head. Every day has surprises, pleasant and unpleasant. It’s how you handle them that’s essential. When you’re in a resourceful mental state, you handle crises and opportunities alike with grace and aplomb. If you’re in a less-than-resourceful mental state, you flub even the easiest of challenges. Characterizing the problem as the “day” creates failure because 1) it absolves you from managing your emotions, and 2) it pretty much guarantees that the rest of your day will continue to be “bad.” What to say instead:“I’m not at my best right now, but I’m working to get there.”

2. “If I’m lucky, then…”

Serendipity–where seemingly random events create amazing opportunities–does indeed happen and so do unexpected disasters. Attributing either to luck or fate, though, makes your eventual success harder to achieve. What is, is. What happens, happens. Every result has multiple real-world causes. While you may not be able to perceive all causes or anticipate all results, there’s no flying spaghetti monster that’s sprinkling luck-dust over here but not over there. Believing in “luck” creates failure because: 1) it provides an easy way to shirk responsibility for your failures, and 2) it encourages you to rely upon the supernatural rather than take the actions necessary to become more successful. What to say instead: “What else can I do today to achieve my goal?”

3. “I’m stressed out.”

The term stress originated in physics, where it defines “the average force per unit area that some particle of a body exerts on an adjacent particle.” Too much stress, for example, is why a bridge collapses. Human beings, however, aren’t bridges. What happens to them is not at all like an impersonal force applied to an inanimate object. Human beings can grow and change and adapt to new circumstances. When you say, “I’m stressed out,” you’re identifying yourself as a powerless object upon which outside forces are acting. That attitude creates helplessness and hence failure. You end up “coping” rather than taking positive action. What to say instead: “I’m taking a breather before I take more action.”

4. “The priorities are…”

The word priority implies singularity. Multiple priorities is an oxymoron. This isn’t semantic quibbling, because if you have more than one priority you have no idea what to do first. At each moment in time, there is always something more important than everything else you could be doing. That is the priority and that’s what you should be doing–with your full attention. Having more than one priority creates failure because you end up mentally multitasking. When your attention is divided between multiple activities, you aren’t as effective as if you focused on the single action that matters most. What to say instead: “The immediate priority is…”

5. “Who’s at fault?”

There are few human behaviors less useful than finger-pointing. What’s past is past. What’s important isn’t why something happened but how to achieve a better outcome in the future. This is not to say that people shouldn’t take responsibility for their actions. Taking responsibility, though, is the exact opposite of finger-pointing. Finger-pointing creates failure because it 1) keeps you focused on the past, 2) creates unnecessary resentment, and 3) makes people more afraid to take risks. What to say instead: “Here’s what we must do differently next time…”

-Geoffrey James, Inc Magazine

Executives Learn from Navy SEALs – Game Changing Skill 3: Subjugation of Self to Mission

Safety trainingCould your executive team explain the corporate mission to a complete stranger? How do you deal with team members who are willing but unable? What about those who are able but unwilling?

The idea of “subjugation of self to mission” requires some definition of terms.

As defined by Merriam-Webster, subjugation strictly translates as “to gain control of by use of force; to gain obedience.”  Mission is defined as a “goal or activity given to an individual or group to accomplish.”

For the purposes of our work, we are defining “subjugation of self to mission” as the understanding and agreement that the goal we want to achieve is of greater importance than the individual team members who are charged with the task of  executing the strategy it takes to achieve the goal.

One should not assume that the individual is not important in this arena; quite the contrary.  The value proposition of the team is based on the collective contribution made by all members.  We often toss around the axiom that the “sum of the whole is greater than the sum of the individual parts,” and particularly in Military Special Ops such as our US Navy SEALs, the axiom becomes a foundational pillar of the strategic approach to mission.  All team members have a role that is strictly defined within the mission, a responsibility that is non-transferable, the authority necessary to complete their specific task, and the training and support necessary to be successful.  In this scenario, if an individual is incapable of completing their piece of the assignment, it does not mean the mission fails; instead, it means another teammate must complete their task as well as yours. -Ed Jenks, Sr Strategist for The Jenks Group, Inc.

 

 

What US Navy SEALs can teach your Executive Teams

Strategic Operations Skills Training

Strategic Operations Skills Training

 

KFMB Channel 8 News reporter Alicia Summers filmed and participated in our S.O.S.T. training. Here is FAST Team 8, they were awesome!! Back row left to right, US Navy SEAL Steve Bailey, Master Chief Ret., Dave Sweeney, Room 5; David Foos, Meeting Match; Craig Goldberg, 6 Degrees Business Networking; US Navy SEAL Mike Cheswick; Faisal Kohgadai, Meeting Match; Matthew Arena, TGG Accounting; US Navy SEAL Kirby Horrell; Front row left to right, Sharon Jenks, The Jenks Group, Inc. and Alicia Summers, Reporter KFMB Channel 8 News. You can watch the video here:

Not Your Typical Corporate Classroom

To learn more about the Strategic Operations Skills Training (S.O.S.T.) go to http://www.sosttraining.com and find out how this unique program can improve your organization when your team learns the 6 Game-Changing Skills taught by the US Navy SEALs and The Jenks Group instructors.

 

10 Things Exceptional People Say Every Single Day

Want to make a huge difference in another person’s life?

Want to make a huge difference in your life?

Here are things you should say every day — to your employees, colleagues, family members, friends, and everyone you care about:

“Here’s what I’m thinking.”

You’re in charge but that doesn’t mean you’re smarter, savvier, or more insightful than everyone else. Back up your statements and decisions. Give reasons. Justify with logic, not with position or authority.

Though taking the time to explain your decisions opens those decisions up to discussion or criticism, it also opens up your decisions to improvement.

Authority can make you “right,” but collaboration makes everyone right — and makes everyone pull together.

“I was wrong.”

I once came up with what I thought was an awesome plan to improve overall productivity by moving a crew to a different shift on an open production line. The inconvenience to the crew was considerable, but the payoff seemed worth it. On paper, it was perfect.

In practice, it wasn’t.

So, a few weeks later, I met with the crew and said, “I know you didn’t think this would work, and you were right. I was wrong. Let’s move you back to your original shift.”

I felt terrible. I felt stupid. I was sure I’d lost any respect they had for me.

It turns out I was wrong about that, too. Later one employee said, “I didn’t really know you, but the fact you were willing to admit you were wrong told me everything I needed to know.”

When you’re wrong — and if you’re trying hard, you’ll be wrong a lot — say you’re wrong. You won’t lose respect — you’ll gain respect.

“That was awesome.”

No one gets enough praise. No one. Pick someone — pick anyone — who does or did something well and say, “Wow, that was great how you…”

And feel free to go back in time. Saying “Earlier, I was thinking about how you handled that employee issue last month…” can make just as positive an impact today as it would have then. (It could even make a bigger impact, because it shows you still remember what happened last month.)

Praise is a gift that costs the giver nothing but is priceless to the recipient. Start praising. The people around you will love you for it — and you’ll like yourself a little better, too.

“You’re welcome.”

Think about a time you gave a gift and the recipient seemed uncomfortable or awkward. Their reaction took away a little of the fun for you, right?

The same thing can happen when you are thanked or complimented or praised. Don’t spoil the moment or the fun for the other person. The spotlight may make you feel uneasy or insecure, but all you have to do is make eye contact and say, “Thank you.” Or make eye contact and say, “You’re welcome. I was glad to do it.”

Don’t let thanks, congratulations, or praise be all about you. Always make praise about the other person.

“Can you help me?”

When you need help, regardless of the type of help you need or the person you need it from, just say, sincerely and humbly, “Can you help me?”

I promise you’ll get help. And in the process you’ll show vulnerability, respect, and a willingness to listen — which, by the way, are all qualities of a great leader.

And are all qualities of a great friend.

“I’m sorry.”

We all make mistakes, so we all have things we need to apologize for: words, actions, omissions, failing to step up, step in, show support…

Say you’re sorry.

But never follow an apology with a disclaimer like, “But I was really mad, because…” or “But I did think you were…” or any statement that in any way places even the smallest amount of blame back on the other person.

Say you’re sorry, say why you’re sorry, and take all the blame. No less. No more.

Then you both get to make the freshest of fresh starts.

“Can you show me?”

Advice is temporary; knowledge is forever. Knowing what to do helps, but knowing how or why to do it means everything.

When you ask to be taught or shown, several things happen: You implicitly show you respect the person giving the advice; you show you trust his or her experience, skill, and insight; and you get to better assess the value of the advice.

Don’t just ask for input. Ask to be taught or trained or shown.

Then you both win.

“Let me give you a hand.”

Many people see asking for help as a sign of weakness. So, many people hesitate to ask for help.

But everyone needs help.

Don’t just say, “Is there anything I can help you with?” Most people will give you a version of the reflexive “No, I’m just looking” reply to sales clerks and say, “No, I’m all right.”

Be specific. Find something you can help with. Say “I’ve got a few minutes. Can I help you finish that?” Offer in a way that feels collaborative, not patronizing or gratuitous. Model the behavior you want your employees to display.

Then actually roll up your sleeves and help.

“I love you.”

No, not at work, but everywhere you mean it — and every time you feel it.

Nothing.

Sometimes the best thing to say is nothing at all. If you’re upset, frustrated, or angry, stay quiet. You may think venting will make you feel better but it never does.

That’s especially true where your employees are concerned. Results come and go, but feelings are forever. Criticize an employee in a group setting and it will seem like he eventually got over it, but inside, he never will.

Before you speak, spend more time considering how employees will think and feel than you do evaluating whether the decision makes objective sense. You can easily recover from a mistake made because of faulty data or inaccurate projections.

You’ll never recover from the damage you inflict on an employee’s self-esteem.

Be quiet until you know exactly what to say — and exactly what affect your words will have.- Jeff Haden

6 Secrets to Success Only Early Birds Know

early bird

 

It’s been proven time and time again that the most successful people tend to be early risers. The person you spy out your window going for an early morning jog while you’re still in your pajamas probably knows some secrets to success.

Is there a correlation between early birds and future success? If so, what secrets are morning people discovering before you’ve had your first cup of coffee? Before we dive into early bird behavior, let’s first look at some of the reasons why some people just naturally find it easier to get out of bed with the first morning light:

Why are some people early risers?

Why exactly do some people dread the rising sun, while others welcome it? First of all, our sleep cycles are regulated by circadian clocks, which is an internal mechanism letting you know when to wake and when to tuck in for the night. Modern technology and artificial lighting has played a bit of havoc with the circadian rhythms, which is just one of the reasons you’re often advised to avoid the bright lights of your computer screen directly before bedtime.

If you just can’t seem to drag yourself out of bed in the morning, don’t feel too bad. It’s possible you’re just a natural night owl. Research has discovered about 10 percent of people are early birds, while about 20 percent are night owls. Called a chronotype, it turns out there might be a reason you keep hitting the snooze button every morning.

What’s the link between early mornings and success?

While studies show evening people can often be more creative — and sometimes even smarter — than morning people, there’s one major reason the early bird gets the worm. Why? It might just come down to our modern society. Our working lives just naturally cater to early risers, who are beginning to groove into their day before a night owl’s first cup of coffee has fully kicked in.

The Success Secrets Early Risers Already Know

While about 50 percent of your chronotype is due to genetics, it’s not impossible to change your attitude towards the sunrise. Here are a few reasons to do so:

1. There are less distractions in the morning.

A typical day can get crazy, fast. You have family obligations, friends, your career, your expanding inbox, and a to-do list a mile long. It’s easy for the personal items to fall off your list, like that book you’ve been dying to read, the meditation you want to do, or even the jog you’ve been meaning to take.

These personal items, however, can help you de-stress and carve out some time for yourself. For most people, it’s easier to carve out this personal time in the morning then it is after work. When the rest of the world is quiet it’s easier to find the time and space for some much needed “me” time.

2. Exercise gets your blood pumping.

Exercise has so many health and emotional benefits, yet it can sometimes seem impossible to squeeze into your day. If you start the morning out with some yoga, a run, or even a brisk walk, you’ll be diving into the day refreshed and ready to take on the world. Finding time for exercise in your day can also make you more productive, which means a morning jog might help you get in shape to climb your career ladder.

3. Successful people are already doing it.

Early birds know greeting the day early is the key to success, which is why morning people tend to be so successful. Apple CEO Tim Cook is known for sending emails at 4:30 a.m., while both Richard Branson and Vogue Editor Anna Wintour get up around 5:45 a.m., which is when Wintour plays a round of tennis. Successful people have limited time in their day to accomplish tasks and take personal time, which is why they get an early start.

4. You’ll be more productive.

In 2008, Harvard biologist Christoph Randler discovered morning people were also more proactive. They were more likely than their night owl counterparts to agree with statements like, “I spend time identifying long-range goals for myself.”

Early risers know to keep an eye on the future, and to never stop looking for ways to better themselves and keep their abilities sharpened. A proactive attitude leads to more productivity, since you’re never waiting in the wings for someone to tell you how to tackle a new challenge.

5. You will have time for breakfast.

Everyone says breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but how often do you really have time for a good breakfast? Or any breakfast at all? Early risers have more time in their mornings, which means fewer excuses not to eat a healthy breakfast. A survey from the Harvard School of Public Health recently found skipping out on breakfast may increase coronary heart disease risk, so having the time to schedule in a good breakfast is more important than you might think.

6. You’ll be happier.

Not to knock night owls, but research has actually shown morning people tend to be both happier and healthier. The health component makes a certain amount of sense; as we’ve seen, morning people tend to make time for breakfast, themselves, and exercise.

According to a University of Toronto study, however, morning people also self-report higher levels of happiness. Considering the well-researched link between happiness and work performance, it’s not hard to see why happier early birds often find themselves flying higher than their late-rising counterparts.

Early risers have discovered a few secrets to unlocking success while the rest of us are in bed snoozing. It might be time to change your sleep patterns, stop hitting snooze, and see what greeting the day earlier can do for your career.

-Ilya Pozin

6 Toxic Behaviors That Push People Away: How To Recognize Them In Yourself and Change Them

Toxic behavior

 

 

In my line of work, I hear from hundreds of people a month, and connect with professionals in a more public, open way than ever before. Through this experience, I’ve seen scores of toxic behaviors that push people away (including me). And I’ve witnessed the damage these behaviors cause – to relationships, professional success, and to the well-being of both the individual behaving negatively, and to everyone around him or her.

Let’s be real – we’ve all acted in toxic, damaging ways at one time or another (none of us are immune to it), but many people are more evolved, balanced, and aware, and it happens only rarely in their lives.

Whether your toxic behavior is a common occurrence, or once in a blue moon, it’s critical for your happiness and success that you are able to recognize when you’re behaving badly, and shift it when it emerges.

The 6 most toxic behaviors I see every day are:

Taking everything personally

In the powerful little book The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz talks about the importance of taking nothing personally. I teach this in my coaching programs and my book Breakdown, Breakthrough as well, and there is so much pushback. “Really, Kathy – don’t take anythingpersonally?”

People are toxic to be around when they believe that everything that happens in life is a direct assault on them or is in some way all about them. The reality is that what people say and do to you is much more about them, than you. People’s reactions to you are about their filters, and their perspectives, wounds and experiences. Whether people think you’re amazing, or believe you’re the worst, again, it’s more about them. I’m not saying we should be narcissists and ignore all feedback. I am saying that so much hurt, disappointment and sadness in our lives comes from our taking things personally when it’s far more productive and healthy to let go of others’ good or bad opinion of you, and to operate with your own heart, intuition and wisdom as your guide. So yes – don’t take anything personally.

Obsessing about negative thoughts

It’s very hard to be around people who can’t or won’t let go of negativity – when they dwell on and speak incessantly about the terrible things that could happen and have happened, the slights they’ve suffered, and the unfairness of life. These people stubbornly refuse to see the positive side of life and the positive lessons from what’s transpiring. Pessimism is one thing – but remaining perpetually locked in negative thoughts is another. Only seeing the negative, and operating from a view that everything is negative and against you, is a skewed way of thinking and living, and you can change that.

Treating yourself like a victim

Another toxic behavior is non-stop complaining that fuels your sense of victimization. Believing you’re a victim, that you have no power to exert and no influence on the direction of your life, is a toxic stance that keeps you stuck and small. Working as a therapist with people who’ve suffered terrible trauma in their lives but found the courage to turn it all around, I know that we have access to far more power, authority, and influence over our lives than we initially believe. When you stop whining, and refuse to see yourself as a hapless victim of fate, chance or discrimination, then you’ll find that you are more powerful than you realized, but only if you choose to accept that reality.

Cruelty – lacking in empathy or putting yourself in others shoes

One of the most toxic and damaging behaviors – cruelty – stems from a total lack of empathy, concern or compassion for others. We see it every day online and in the media – people being devastatingly cruel and destructive to others just because they can. They tear people down online but in a cowardly way, using their anonymity as a weapon. Cruelty, backstabbing, and ripping someone to shreds is toxic, and it hurts you as well as your target.

I had a powerful learning experience about this a few years ago. I came into the house one day in a nasty mood, and shared a mean, sniping comment to my husband about the way a neighbor was parenting her child through one of his problem phases. In less than 24 hours, that very same issue the parent was dealing with came home to roost in my house, with my child. It was as if the Universe sent me the message that, “Ah, if you want to be cruel and demeaning about someone, we’ll give you the same experience you’ve judged so negatively, so you can learn some compassion.” And I did.

If you find yourself backstabbing and tearing someone else down, stop in your tracks. Dig deep and find compassion in your heart, and realize that we’re all the same.

Excessive reactivity

An inability to manage your emotions is toxic to everyone around you. We all know these people – men and women who explode over the smallest hiccup or problem. Yelling at the bank teller for the long line, screaming at your assistant for the power point error he made, or losing it with your child for spilling milk on the floor. If you find that you’re overly reactive, losing it at every turn, you need some outside assistance to help you gain control over your emotions and understand what’s at the root of your emotionality. There’s more to it that appears on the surface. An outside perspective – and a new kind of support – is critical.

Needing constant validation

Finally, people who constantly strive for validation and self-esteem by obsessing about achieving outward measures of success, are exhausting to be around. Those men and women who get caught up in the need to prove their worth over and over, and constantly want to “win” over their colleagues or peers, are toxic and draining.

Overly-attaching to how things have to look and be, and to achieving certain milestones and accomplishments rather than going with life in a more flexible, easy manner, can wear you out and bring everyone else around you down . There is a bigger picture to your life, and it’s not about what you achieve or fail at today. It’s about the journey, the process, the path – what you’re learning and applying, how you’re helping others, and the growing process you allow yourself to engage in.

Stop stressing over the particular outcomes like, “I need that promotion now!” or “My house has to be bigger and more beautiful than my neighbor’s.” Your desperate need to prove your success and build your self-esteem through outer measures of success is (sadly) apparent to everyone but you, and it’s pushing away the very happiness outcomes you’re longing for. -Kathy Caprino

Five Things Every Leader Should Do

Number on the wooden plate

I was recently asked what I saw as major focus areas for leaders. There are many things a leader needs to balance, but here are a few key things that they should always keep front of mind.

Create Focus: A leader should strive to paint an inspiring vision. Most people don’t want to run from something, but rather they seek to run to something. As individuals, we want to be a part of something greater than ourselves. A leader should paint this inspiring vision, and then articulate the priorities to help people know how to make progress against that vision.

Fall in Love with the Problem, Not the Solution: It’s human nature to love our own ideas. But sometimes that means that we hang on to them too long. Along the leadership or innovation journey, you must ask: Are we making sufficient progress to believe that our original hypothesis is correct, or do we need to make a change? If you never lose sight of the problem, how you attack the solution can remain more flexible, iterative and ultimately, be more likely to succeed.

Lead With Questions Not Answers: The best leaders don’t need to have all of the answers. They surround themselves with great people, and ask the right questions. It’s not what you know. It’s the questions you ask that help you become a more effective and inspiring leader.

Build Capability Through Principles & Frameworks: Leaders must unpack “why” a decision has been made, and not just the “what” the ultimate decision is. This practice makes explicit the principles or criteria that you applied to reaching a conclusion. These principles can then provide teams with a compass to navigate uncertainty and make their own decisions when you are not available or able to assist, moving beyond your individual ability, and building organizational capability.

Cast a Tall Shadow, Not a Dark Shadow: All leaders cast a shadow. The question is whether yours is blocking the sun, or inspiring others with its silhouette to strive for more. As a leader, we must all walk the talk. Leaders need to role model the behavior they want their organizations to emulate. The two greatest indicators of what we view as important are (1) how we spend our time and (2) the questions we ask. Organizations watch these cues to determine what leaders “really view as important”. So be clear on your say/do ratio, and ensure the shadow you are creating is the one you aspire to project. – Brad Smith, President and CEO of Intuit