• Chemical Brain Freeze

Announcing the launch of “The Adventures of Unstructured Time” radio program

It is with pleasure to announce the introduction of a new internet radio show that will start on Monday, September 10th airing from 11:00-12:00AM CST at 21.6 THE NET.  “The Adventures of Unstructured Time” will air every Monday during this time period.  Co-hosting the show will be author and speaker Chuck Inman along with author and radio host “Rancher Ron” Hoesterery.  We will be discussing the non-financial issues baby boomers deal with in retirement or as they get ready to retire.

A key component of the program will be discussing elements such as the impact retirement has on relationships, priorities, planning, default behaviors, decision making and much more.  You know all those things we wrestle with trying to figure out our best journey in retirement. There will be a key component concerning the effect of Chemical Brain Freezes and how to stay in the game during difficulty and stress.

Some of the most stressful situations we find ourselves entangled with in regards to retirement are dealing with facing the unknown of the future.  Retired or getting close to retirement there are plenty of unknowns which we encounter. Understanding how the brain works during stressful situations is key to positive self-leadership and providing a path through the unknown.

So be sure to tune into this new program “The Adventures of Unstructured Time” with your hosts Chuck Inman and Ron Hoesterey. The program will be aired on 21.6 THE NET 11:00-12:00AM CST on Monday mornings and a repeat of the recorded program on Wednesdays 3:00-4:00PM, Thursdays 6:00-7:00PM and Fridays 11:00-12:00AM, again at 21.6 THE NET.


Being Your Best on Your Next Adventure

No coastingHave you ever asked yourself the question “What would it look like if I became my personal best on my next adventure? Most people just rise to a level of acceptability and not excellence. A great question Mike Rayburn (www.MikeRayburn.com) raised during a recent presentation. “Have you resolved to be your best?” What do you think that would look like?
In today’s world most people coast through life and that’s fine. The one thing you need to recognize and understand is that the problem with coasting is that it’s all downhill. If comfort is your goal, success is not in your future.
So what does it take for you to become the best at what you do? Interesting question because most of us know what we need to do but we just don’t do it. This why a sense of purpose is so important to us. What are those goals and adventures that are so important we don’t want to approach them half-hearted or in a coasting mode? Do you really want to be a half-hearted spouse, parent, friend or co-worker? Every adventure we embark on has an impact on others and do we provide a positive impact? Anything worth doing is worth doing well. But sometimes we need help and this can be our biggest stumbling block.
You’ve heard people talk about being self-taught and we all teach ourselves quite a bit and the Internet makes it easier everyday. However sometimes when we are self-taught we fail to notice that our teachers aren’t great in every area. Take the time and effort to find good coaches to help you with you adventures. It can have a big impact.
Sometimes when we set out on a new adventure we start by compromising when setting our goals. We aim too low and wind up settling for mediocrity and second best. Instead, continue to work on asking the question “What if? What would this adventure look like? How could I make this happen and what would be the positive impact on those around me?”
Tough questions to ask, even tougher questions to answer when you are true to yourself. But by asking these questions and answering them truthfully, you define who you are as you embark on your next adventure.
Thanks for coming along!

Teaching and Learning Need to be in Sync

Michael J FoxTeaching and learning need to be in sync to be successful. Whether it is in school or the business world. To be able to learn and then apply your learning is even better. Sometimes we have material put before us and there is just not a connection nor an application. Simon Sinek has a very good TED Talk on How Great Leaders Inspire Action. It’s a few years old but if you haven’t seen it, it’s definitely worth watching.
Start with why — how great leaders inspire action | Simon Sinek | TEDxPugetSound

Exceptional Leaders don’t mumble

GrumbleWe have been discussing the difference between playing big and playing small. We generally see more people playing small than playing big. Playing small is the easy way out and it handles a situation on a short-term basis. Playing big takes some dedication and it’s looking the big picture and the long-term results. Sometimes it takes courage to play big and make an impact.

A recent study released by the Center for Applied Linguistics came out with this interesting fact. Nearly two-thirds of all human speech transpires under people’s breath. I found that very interesting. Exceptional leaders don’t mumble under their breath. Researcher Erin Wightman said, “Our data indicates that, whether in the form of hushed grumbles of anger, a half delivered retort, or quiet self-berating, the majority of all spoken language is delivered in barely audible mutters.” She went on to note that a sizable quantity of human vocalizations are imperceptible insults made while walking away from an argument, a meeting with one’s supervisor, or a pleasant conversation with someone the speaker does not care for. Talk about playing small.

Do you or do you know of someone who is constantly peppering in low-volume sarcastic comments when interacting with others? Several people I’ve encountered pop into my mind as I’m writing this. And to be totally honest, I can remember when I have done my fair share of sarcastic comments while playing small. Think about how different your work, family or social environment would be if people spoke up and played big and told you what was bothering them. (What a relief not to have to try and be a mind reader!) But it takes courage to speak up and express yourself and empathize with others. It’s much easier to mutter and grumble while interacting with coworkers or family members.

Take time today to watch for people mumbling and grumbling. You’ll be surprised how many you will see. If you see someone close to you doing this, take time to talk to them and see what they may be experiencing. You can start with a simple question like, “I saw you grumbling just a moment ago, is there something you would like to share?” Then play big and listen with empathy. You may be surprised with what you hear.

Thanks for coming along.

Change and Fear of the Unknown

Last week we talked about unmet emotional needs and the impact they play on our behavior.  We had talked about the five key emotional needs consisting of: Safety, Power, Acceptance, Respect and Value.  When we feel one of these needs is not being met, our brain sends out warning signals and our behavioFear of the unknown Ar can change.
Let’s take a look at how change can affect how we are feeling about ourselves, especially when dealing with the fear of the unknown.

I had a discussion with a surgeon who was complaining about a piece of equipment he had bought.  It had cost him $80,000 but his staff wasn’t spending the appropriate amount of time learning how to use the equipment and getting it into the patient flow process.
Think about why people struggle with change.  In the current mode people are recognized for their performance. Their rewards are based on this performance.  They know the process, can multitask, balance out the workload, understand the patient flow and all the various intricacies of the process.  Now you ask them to introduce a new piece of equipment that will interrupt the process as the staff goes through the learning curve.  The staff is not familiar or confident in running the machine and even less confident in answering questions by patients.
They begin to question their value.  Will they be as effective and be able to provide the same performance as they have in the past?  They second-guess quite a bit about having to use the equipment.  The piece of equipment begins to take on a negative nature.
As the surgeon watches the piece of equipment gather dust he realizes that if it doesn’t get into the process quickly, he is going to have a very expensive boat anchor on his hands.
The amygdala portion of the brain picks up warning signals about this piece of equipment and the staff ‘s struggle with getting trained on the equipment and getting it into use.  Many times one of the key warning signals is the fear of the unknown.  How will this equipment affect our process?  How will it affect our workload?  Will we be able to process more patients faster or fewer patients?  Will someone lose a job because this equipment is utilized?
The best way to soothe the amygdala is at the beginning of the change process.  Communication is key at this point and the time spent explaining why the equipment is coming into the practice is time well spent.  Don’t assume the explanation has to be done only once.  Get someone trained on the equipment fast enough so they can help train others and take away the fear of the unknown.  So many times sales reps show staff what the equipment can do but don’t allow for hands-on-training.  The hands-on-training takes the fear of the unknown away.
Anytime you can remove a fear,  you’re moving in the right direction.
Thanks for coming along.

How to Lead During Difficulty and Stress – The Value of Gratitude

Last week we talked about what you can do when you feel a Chemical Brain Freeze (CBF) coming on during stressful times.  One of the things I mentioned was gratitude.  This is a very powerful tool for two reasons.
1.    Your mind can’t hold fear and gratitude together at the same time.  Gratitude wins out every time.
2.    With gratitude you release some great chemicals (serotonin and dopamine) that combat cortisol and it’s adverse side affects.

After you have stopped and taken a couple of deep breaths its time to work on gratitude.  If you can quickly recall a story about something that you are truly grateful for, something that has an impact on your life, you can get your mind to release these chemicals to counter the CBF.  Here is my favorite gratitude story:

It is one of those beautiful spring days where the butterflies are testing their wings on the breeze and the grass blades are making their way up through the warm ground. My five-year- old daughter, Lindsey, and I are at the park for some exercise. She is on her girly-girl bike and I am on my roller blades. We get to the end of this long path and stop for a water break.
There is a huge oak tree with big limbs going out in every direction. One big limb goes out over this little creek, and someone has tied a rope around the limb and left it hanging. Lindsey sees the rope and asks, “Dad, can we swing across the creek?”
Of course being the prudent father I say, “No. We don’t know if the rope is strong enough much less the branch. Plus if something happens, we fall into the mud and gunk in the creek.” These all seemed to be good fatherly reasons that little girls understand so well.
Her response was “We never get to do anything fun!”
I’m standing here thinking, “Here we are in the park on a beautiful day riding and skating and she thinks we aren’t doing anything fun!” Then it hits me “So when do you do something fun like this?”
I said, “Ok, let me try it out and see if the rope and branch
will hold us.” I get out of my skates and find a long stick and pulled the rope over. I gave it a good tug or two and then preceded to jump out over the creek, everything holds fast and I swing back and forth a time or two. Lindsey was squealing with delight on the bank.
I tell her, “I’m going to bend down, you put your arms around me and then wrap your legs around my waist and hold
on tight. We’ll go on the count of three. Ready? One, two, thhhhrrrreeeee,”
There is nothing sweeter in the world than a 5 year old giggling hysterically as you swing out over a creek. She is holding me tight around my neck. When we get done she is just grinning from ear to ear. Later that night when I put her to bed she is still talking about the swing. I leave her room and walk down the hall and I hear her calling me. I walk back into her room and ask “What’s up?”
She says, “Daddy, I was still thinking about swinging over that creek with you and I can’t get this smile off my face!”

This is my story that helps me do the chemical battle to rid myself of the toxins from a CBF.
You need to come up with a story you own which will allow you to go deep about being grateful and be able to do some chemical battles against the toxins. In times of stress, the story and gratitude that you conjure up should be so strong that you don’t have to go through the entire story. With the story just shared, I only have to think about Lindsey’s arms being around my neck and I can feel a calmness come over me within moments.  It’s the ability to stay in the game during difficulty and stress that allows leaders to excel and lead on to great things.
Thanks for coming along!

Conquering Fears

What scares us?CBF
It’s interesting to watch some of the cable shows about ghost hunters, big-foot hunters and other things that go bump in the night.  We all have fears of different kinds but what is interesting to note is that we are only born with two fears.  Do you know what those are?  Take a moment to think about it, what two fears would we be born with that would help us survive?  The two fears are the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises.  Every other fear we have is a learned fear.  Amazing isn’t it?  However our brain will respond to our learned fears exactly the same way it will respond to the fears we are born with as a species.
Think of the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises.  One occupation that comes to mind where they have to deal with this combination of fears on a daily basis is a dental practice.  What is one of the first things that is done to you as you sit in a dental chair?  You are lowered backwards in the chair, fear of falling.  One of the other things if you’re having work done on your teeth is that a noisy instrument is placed inside your mouth about as close to your eardrum as you can get, the fear of loud noises.  Dental practices struggle with patient retention and sometimes just the factor of dealing with the two born fears have can a major impact.

Most of our learned fears come from other people and what scares them.  We learn from watching them behave when they encounter a spider, snake or even a difficult discussion.  Talk around a campfire with a group of people about ghost stories and people will scare themselves silly.  You never see a couple of homicide detectives standing looking at a corpse and proclaiming, “It looks like another ghost murder.”  Do you know of anyone who has ever been killed by a ghost?  Me either.
There is a part of our brain called the amygdala that deals with our fears, whether they are the 2 born fears or the learned fears we have. We are going to explore how the amygdala responds to these threats, whether real or perceptive in the next several blogs.  We’ll also put it into perspective on how exceptional leaders deal with conquering fears.
Thanks for coming along.

Exceptional Leader traits

In the last couple of blogGenuines we have been talking about the three traits of exceptional leaders.  The final trait to finish out this series is the often-used term “Genuine”.
We have an understanding of genuine as being something that is real and not false. In regards to products, you see examples of genuine used in situations such as: “With counterfeit software being prevalent in the marketplace, buyers often presume they have the genuine article.”  It defines things as being true and authentic, like “genuine leather”.
When discussing leadership, being genuine has to do with being sincere and up front with issues. I personally like the description of being free from hypocrisy or dishonesty and being sincere. Genuine things are true such as a leader being true to their word.  We talked about being transparent as having no hidden agendas and authentic as lining up your actions with your intentions for the best impact.  When you piece together the traits of being authentic and transparent the sum of the characteristics is the description of genuine to describe the exceptional leader.
When you look at the traits people use to describe you, have you heard the use of the words transparent, authentic and genuine?  If you have heard these comments continue to grow and lead. If you haven’t heard them, maybe its time for a leadership checkup to get a feel for what may be missing or not coming across to the people you lead.

Thanks for coming along.

The Difficulty of Being a Transparent Leader

Genuine, authentic and transparent are the traits consistently used to describe exceptional leaders.  Yet making these traitTransparencys a part of your daily life is not so easy to make happen.  Let’s take a look at transparency.  Why is it so difficult to be transparent?  The main reason is that you have to hold yourself accountable for your actions.  We judge ourselves based on our intent.  Most of us have really good intentions.  I personally don’t know of anyone who gets up in the morning and tells himself or herself they are going to go out and just stink it up for the day.  Sometimes they get to work and step in it big time and create quite the stink, but not intentionally.
So we all have good intentions but that isn’t enough, because others judge us based on our actions.  It is our actions, which determine the impact we have on others.  To be transparent we have to ensure our actions line up with our intent so we have the impact we want on our customers, employees, vendors, family and friends.  If our actions routinely don’t line up with our intent we can be seen as hypocritical.  Not a good word to be used to describe you if you are working on becoming an exceptional leader.          Thanks for coming along.


What are you trying to create?

What are you trying to create?
A doctor wanted to transform his business into a patient-valued medical practice. In his staff meeting one day, he introduced this concept and the vision he had of creating this exquisite patient-valued center.  He kept referring to patients being treated the same way customers are treated at the legendary Four Season’s Hotels.  This hotel chain redefined luxury as service for the customer.
For the first couple of staff meetings the doctor kept talking about the service-oriented management of the Four Seasons until one lady on his staff raised her hand.
“We were talking amongst ourselves and none of us have ever experienced a Four Season hotel type of service.  We really don’t know what you are referring to in regards to that type of service.”
The doctor decided a field trip would be appropriate so he could share his vision with them.  He felt a comparison would be the best way to show the difference in service.
First he took the staff to a gourmet hamburger joint where they had really good hamburgers served on picnic tables covered with paper tablecloths and paper napkins.  Everyone loved the great hamburgers.
The next week they went to the Four Season’s restaurant for hamburgers served on white cloth tablecloths, white cloth napkins and service with an attention to the details.
The doctor then asked the group the following week,
“We went and had hamburgers at two different restaurants.  Both served good hamburgers. Did you notice a difference? “
The staff finally understood what it meant to provide value added service to your customers.
When you share your vision make sure that those coming along for the journey understand and can visualize what the end result will look like for them.  It’s not only enough to ensure they know what it looks like but they should be able to touch it, feel it, taste it, squeeze it or whatever it takes to make it tangible for them.
As in the example of the staff at the doctor’s office, they now understand what the impact of a smile will do for customer satisfaction and service. More importantly they understand what the lack of a smile can mean. Once they understand the vision then they can get enthused, can be supportive and prepare for the journey.

Thanks for coming along.