Begin Planning Your Retirement Party Now

The retirement party is in full swing. Associates from throughout the organization have gathered to celebrate and extend best wishes to Bob, a great leader who is retiring. The room is packed.

One by one people go to the front of the room, grab the microphone, and begin talking about the impact that Bob made on them. Some of the stories they tell are funny, some are serious, but every one of them is personal. One person talks about how Bob provided compassion and encouragement during a tough time. Another says that she is thankful that Bob demanded her best and would not accept mediocrity. Someone else states that Bob listened to him and changed his stance on an issue. Another person remembers the time Bob sent a personal congratulation note to her son for his graduation. Someone else talks about a time that Bob made a serious mistake but owned up to it, learned from it, and became a better leader because of the experience.

Other team members begin their speeches with: I remember . . . ; You took the time to . . . ; You helped me . . . ; Ill never forget . . . ; You cared enough to . . . ; and so on.

No one spoke about successful or failed strategies. No one mentioned a successful or failed marketing program. There were no toasts to celebrate winning an account. The evening was filled with personal stories of how Bob treated each person individually.

Meanwhile, in the same building, another retirement party is going on. The party is a not a retirement celebration. It is a celebration that a leader has retired. In fact, the leader who is retiring was not even invited to the party. He did the same job and worked just as hard as Bob. But he chose to do it differently. He was a jerk.

Which retirement party do you want?

Bob understood that leadership was not about him. His primary interest was not in the accumulation of power—it was in developing his people to become their very best. The other retiree was more interested in the accumulation of power and wealth than helping those around him become their best. Typically, jerks are greedy and interested in only themselves. They act and react without thinking. Jerks enjoy taking the easy road and are quick to blame others.

That is not you. You are a great person with honorable intentions, but sometimes you may come across differently than what you really are. Unfortunately, everyone occasionally and unintentionally comes across like a jerk. Even Bob appeared to be a jerk at times. The difference in the two retirees was how often they appeared to be jerks and how quickly they recovered when their jerk moment appeared. Bob’s jerk moments were rare, temporary, and he recovered from them quickly. His team knew that regardless of the temporary jerk moment, he had their best interest in mind. The other retiree’s team knew that his jerk moment was just another ordinary day.

You may be thinking that some jerks achieve extraordinary results. After all, you have heard that nice guys finish last. Yes, some jerks have achieved extraordinary results. You may be a marketing genius, fabulous communicator, and incredible visionary. Regardless, people in your organization will probably not stick around for long if you choose the bullying, arrogant, insulting, and uncompromising leadership route.

Excerpted from The First Two Rules of Leadership. Don’t Be Stupid. Don’t Be a Jerk by David Cottrell Wiley 2016

You get what you give!

Once there was a person who moved into a new town. He met a longtime resident and   said, “I’m new to your town. What are the people like here?”

“What were the people like in the town you came from?” the old-timer asked in return.

Well, they were pretty pessimistic and always complaining, and their glasses were half-empty,” the newcomer replied.

“Hmmm,” said the old-timer. “Sounds like the people who live here.”

A few weeks later, another person moved to the same town and met the same old-timer. “I’m new to your town. What are the people like here?” the newcomer asked.

“What were the people like in the town you came from?” the old-timer asked.

“Well, they were terrific. We worked together in the neighborhood, helped each other out, and were always there to support each other during tough times. We’re going to  miss them now that we’ve moved,” the newcomer replied.

“Hmmm,” said the old-timer. “I think you’ll like it here. That sounds like the people who live here.”

The old-timer’s message? You get what you give. If you want to be around people who are positive, optimistic, and eager to live life, your attitude must be the same. If you think the people around you are glum and pessimistic, check yourself because that may be what you’re reflecting, too.

Learn more about how to become an enthusiastic person. Order Quit Drifting, Lift the Fog, and Get Lucky today from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, CornerStoneLeadership, or through your local bookstore.

How optimistic are you?

Your attitude is important. It influences your approach to life and your relationships with others. It can be the catalyst to chart a new course for your life and help you become the person you want to be.

Here is a story about the same situation being looked at differently:

Two researchers working for a shoe manufacturer were independently dispatched to one of the world’s least developed countries. Their task was to evaluate the business potential for shoes within that country.

After several weeks, a report came back from the first researcher, and the message read, ‘No market here. Nobody wears shoes.’

A few days later, the second report came back from the other researcher. It read, ‘Great market here. Nobody wears shoes!’

Those two people saw the same thing differently. The first guy probably considered himself a realist. He fixated on one thing and could not see the bigger picture. Actually, he was not a realist. He was blinded by his own perception of the obstacles in front of him.

The second guy looked beyond the obvious and saw possibilities. Optimistic people see opportunity. Negative people can’t see through their own fog to the potential right in front of them.

Which guy best describes you? Learn more about how to become an optimistic person by ordering Quit Drifting, Lift the Fog, and Get Lucky today from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, CornerStoneLeadership, or through your local bookstore.

Lift the Fog!

Have you ever been in a fog so thick you could barely see beyond your windshield? It is not a great feeling to be stuck until the fog lifts.

How much water do you think it takes to create a fog so dense that you can’t move forward?  Hundreds of gallons? Thousands?  

Did you know that setbacks can accelerate your success? Those failures help you discover that continuing to blame someone or something else for your imperfections prevents you from becoming the person you want to be.

According to Dr. Google, a dense fog covering seven city blocks, one hundred feet deep, is composed of about one glass of water. One glass! The dense fog is a temporary state created by a very small amount of an ordinary substance. 

Often we create our own fog. The most common self-created fog generator is worry … which makes fog so thick you can’t see how to move forward.

How can you lift your fog?

Earl Nightingale, one of the first personal development gurus, studied the effects of worry. He concluded that forty percent of the time, people worry about things that will never happen. Thirty percent of worries are in the past and cannot be changed, and twelve percent are worries about criticism from others that is mostly untrue. We worry about our health ten percent of the time, which usually only makes our health worse. Only eight percent of our worries are real problems we’ll have to face—and out of those, only half of them are under our control.

Those numbers are almost unbelievable. What if his numbers are off by double, triple, or quadruple? Regardless, worrying is a bad investment in how you spend your time. Worry will paralyze you. That is why when someone tells you they are worried sick or worried to death, they are probably right.

Being stuck in worry is like having your wind knocked out. It creates fear, drains your energy, and prevents you from being your best.

Regardless of your situation, something can be done, and there is something you can do. Begin lifting your fog by ordering Quit Drifting, Lift the Fog, and Get Lucky today from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, CornerStoneLeadership, or through your local bookstore.

Time for a Kick in the Teeth!

Walt Disney once said, “You might not realize it when it happens and I would not recommend it, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” 

Well, that may not be the most inspirational thing I have written. After all, doesn’t everyone want to hear about positive, sensational comeback stories? Sure, we do. Unfortunately, there are no comebacks without at least one and, more often, many setbacks that help you discover your unique road to becoming who you want to be. 

Did you know that setbacks can accelerate your success? Those failures help you discover that continuing to blame someone or something else for your imperfections prevents you from becoming the person you want to be.

Walt Disney’s kick in the teeth comment was teaching us to salute the truth, quit believing something is true when it is not, and quit kicking reality under the rug while trying to ignore it. That doesn’t do you any good.

Once you understand reality, you can make corrections and improvements. Then, your road to success will be a little straighter, the challenges will seem less overwhelming, goals become easier to reach, and you will have fewer surprises along the way.

The kick in the teeth may do you good!

Learn how you can salute the truth. Order Quit Drifting, Lift the Fog, and Get Lucky from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, CornerStoneLeadership, or through your local bookstore.

Give Yourself a Break!

Have you ever been hounded by someone who was a constant critic of almost everything you do? Regardless of what you do, it is wrong in their eyes. Their criticism is persistent, ruthless and harsh.

That persistent critic reminds me of a story:

Once there was a farmer who advertised his ‘frog farm’ for sale. The farm, he claimed, had a pond filled to the brim with fine bullfrogs.

When a prospective buyer appeared, the farmer asked him to return that evening so he might hear the frogs in full voice. When the buyer returned, he was favorably impressed by the symphony of enchanting melodies springing from the pond. He bought the farm on the spot.

A few weeks later, the new owner decided to drain the pond so that he could catch and market the plentiful supply of frogs. To his amazement, when the water was drained from the pond, he found that one loudmouth bullfrog had made all the noise.

That story may reflect the person who relentlessly criticizes you. Don’t allow the critical noise of one, or even a few, ‘bullfrogs’ keep you from doing what you need to do.

Maybe it’s time to gig that frog and move on. However, before you grab your multi-pronged spear and start gigging, consider exactly where the noise of that one old bullfrog is coming from. Many times, we are our own “loudmouth bullfrog” and we’re obstinate in our own self-criticism. 

Aren’t we the most critical of ourselves? If you want to close the gap between who you are and who you want to become, you must learn to forgive yourself for your own gaffes. Find peace within yourself so you can enjoy living and become the person you want to be.

Give yourself a break! That is just one tip from Quit Drifting, Lift the Fog, and Get Lucky. Order your copy today on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, CornerStoneLeadership, or through your local bookstore, to read more about what you can do to become the person you want to be.

Steve Jobs was just lucky!

I don’t think so.

Steve Jobs created his own luck and pursued it vigilantly. After only six months at Reed College, Jobs quit attending classes. After dropping out, he hung around the school and noticed that posters and labels displayed on campus were beautifully hand-calligraphed. He decided to ‘drop in’ on a calligraphy class, where he learned about typefaces, leading and kerning (the space between different letter combinations), and other tips that make great typography.  

If he had followed the path of most dropouts in those days, he would have been a barefoot wanderer meandering around the school, moping about how life wasn’t fair. Instead, he ‘dropped in’ on a class that provided him information to begin thinking like an artist. His new knowledge would ultimately change the course of his life and our lives as well.

Think about what he did. He visited where luck was and then got lucky when he learned to ‘think different’ by increasing his knowledge, taking a risk, and seizing his opportunity.

You, too, can visit where luck is. Find out how by ordering Quit Drifting, Lift the Fog, and Get Lucky today on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, CornerStoneLeadership, or through your local bookstore.

Escape Someday Isle!

‘Someday I will,’ and ‘Someday I’m going to’ are the rallying cries of the residents of Someday Isle. However, never in history has a situation improved on its own while people sat basking in the sun, doing nothing. If you are stuck on Someday Isle, you can escape!

Calvin Coolidge stated, “We cannot do everything at once, but we can do something at once!” You, too, can do something at once – beginning right now. 

Are ready to escape Someday Isle? There is no good reason to sit around contemplating what your next move should be.  It could be to read 208 pages of Quit Drifting, Lift the Fog, and Get Lucky and learn how you can close the gap between where you are and where you want to be.

Order Quit Drifting, Lift the Fog, and Get Lucky today on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, CornerStoneLeadership, or through your local bookstore.

What makes a great mentor?

In addition to knowledge and experience, here are seven common traits of the mentors in Quit Drifting, Lift the Fog, and Get Lucky… How to Become the Person You Want to Be:

  1. They had each been on a unique journey of their own and were willing to share their knowledge without asking for anything in return. And they weren’t afraid to give away any of their success “secrets.”
  2. They understood the power of their choices and learned to look into the future to see the consequences of the choices they were making.
  3. They worked hard.  Winning may have seemed easy, but winning only came after hard work.
  4. They loved their work yet maintained balance in their lives. They chose to invest their careers in something that engaged their hearts as well as their minds.
  5. They had a healthy blend of humility and confidence. They were grateful and readily gave credit to those who had helped them along the way.
  6. They projected a positive image, and their appearance reflected their success.
  7. They enjoyed life because they lived with purpose and understood the difference between existing and living.

Learn how to close the gap between where you are and where you want to be. Order Quit Drifting, Lift the Fog, and Get Lucky from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, CornerStoneLeadership, or through your local bookstore.

FREE! Quit Drifting, Lift the Fog, and Get Lucky Book Study Participant and Facilitator Guides!

You can lead your discussion group at work, home, school, or church through Quit Drifting, Lift the Fog, and Get Lucky with our free, five-session, small-group guide and reproducible handouts

You don’t have to be an expert in facilitation to lead your group. The FREE small-group guide provides everything you need.  

A professional PowerPoint presentation is also available for purchase. 

Visit CornerStoneLeadership.com to download your free guides.

Wisdom from a Mentor

Here are seven samples of the mentor’s advice in Quit Drifting, Lift the Fog, and Get Lucky… How to Become the Person You Want to Be:

“The challenges you face are not there to destroy you; they are there to redirect you to the path that’s right for you.” 

“Regardless of what is going on, something can be done, and the next move is yours.” 

“Everyone is one blood test, stress test, x-ray, or serious accident away from a life-changing moment. There’s no good reason to put off becoming the person you want to be.” 

“When you don’t know the facts, the tendency is to imagine the worst—things you fear will happen—and then you make assumptions based on your imagination. Those assumptions are almost always wrong. Quit imagining and reacting to what you don’t know.” 

“You can’t just want, hope, or wish for luck to show up. You must actively throw yourself in luck’s path.” 

“’Someday I will, or someday I’m going to’ are the cries of the residents of Someday Isle. Never in history has a situation improved on its own while people sat basking in the sun, doing nothing on Someday Isle.” 

“Don’t be so busy making a living that you forget how to live.” 

Those are just a few of the lessons you will learn from in Quit Drifting, Lift the Fog, and Get Lucky . Learn how to close the gap of where you are and where you want to be. 

Order it today on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, CornerStoneLeadership, or through your local bookstore.