Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Speed of Trust

Posted by Stephen M. R. Covey

Have you ever trusted someone--and gotten "burned?" Have you ever failed to trust someone and missed significant opportunities as a result? The practical issues with regard to extending trust are these: How do you know when to trust somebody? And how can you extend trust to people in ways that create rich rewards without taking inordinate risk?

When you're dealing with trust, it seems there are two extremes. On one end of the spectrum, people don't trust enough. They're suspicious. They hold things close to the vest. Often, the only people they really trust are themselves. On the other end, people are too trusting. They're totally gullible. They believe anyone, trust everyone. They have a simplistic, naive view of the world, and they don't even really think (except superficially) about the need to protect their interests.

Extending trust can bring great results. It also creates the possibility of significant risk. The decision to trust or not to trust is always an issue of managing risk and return. So how do you hit the "sweet spot?" How do you extend trust in a way that maximizes the dividends and minimizes the risk?

Life is filled with risk. However, as noted historian and law professor Stephen Carter has observed: "Civility has two parts: generosity when it is costly, and trust, even when there is risk." The objective, then, is not to avoid risk. In the first place, you can't; and in the second place, you wouldn't want to because risk taking is an essential part of life and leadership. Instead, the objective is to manage risk wisely--to extend trust in a way that will avoid the "taxes" and create the greatest "dividends" over time.

Learning how to extend what I call "Smart Trust" is a function of two factors--your propensity to trust and your analysis. "Propensity to trust" is primarily a matter of the heart. It's the tendency, inclination, or predisposition to believe that people are worthy of trust and a desire to extend it to them freely. "Analysis" is primarily a matter of the mind. It's the ability to analyze, evaluate, theorize, consider implications and possibilities, and come up with logical decisions and solutions.

As you think about these two factors--"propensity to trust" and "analysis"--how would you rate yourself on each? Do you typically tend to trust people easily--or do you tend to be suspicious and hold things close? Do you tend to analyze, theorize, and ponder over things--or do you give problems your cursory attention and then move on?

While extending trust to other people always brings with it some risk, the often greater risk that's frequently ignored is what happens when managers don't extend trust to others. These managers usually incur much larger taxes than they think--including bureaucracy, politics, disengagement, and turnover--and they often lose the dividends that flow from extending trust, such as innovation, collaboration, partnering and loyalty. Sadly, their suspicion sometimes even helps produce the very behaviors they fear, which further validates their suspicion. By treating people as if they can't be trusted, they help to create a collusive, downward cycle of distrust. And this is one reason why--in this "flat world" global economy--not trusting people is often the greatest risk of all.

With regard to "propensity to trust," I once knew a business owner who was so suspicious that his employees might be stealing from him, that he would literally interrogate them almost daily. He would even do occasional spot "frisk checks" when they left the office. This man was convinced that people were trying to steal from him. In reality, no one was, but his suspicious actions drove away his most talented people who wouldn't tolerate working in such a distrustful environment or for such a suspicious boss.

With regard to "analysis," it's helpful to consider three vital variables, which you can do by asking these questions:

1. What is the opportunity (the situation or task at hand)?

2. What is the risk involved? (Possible outcomes? Likelihood of outcomes? Importance of outcomes?)

3. What is the credibility (character and competence) of the people involved?

Smart Trust doesn't mean that you extend trust to everyone. Based on the circumstances, your judgment may be to not extend trust or to extend only a limited measure of trust. In extending trust, the general guideline is to extend trust conditionally to those who are earning it and abundantly to those who have already done so. Keep in mind that even when you extend trust abundantly, there should still always be clear expectations and accountability because those are principles that actually enhance trust.

I affirm that in our "flat world" economy, the ability to establish, grow, extend, and restore trust is the key professional and personal competency of our time. And the ability to exercise Smart Trust is a vital part of that competency. It will enable you to create a powerful balance and synergy between analysis and the propensity to trust, which, in turn, will produce the judgment that enables you to effectively leverage yourself and to inspire the talent, creativity, synergy, and highest contribution of others.

This posting is based on the book, The Speed of Trust, by Stephen M. R. Covey.

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

We Are All Connected - Children And Nature

When children and nature mix, something magical happens.

Sadly today, children spend 90% of their time indoors.

We evolved in nature -- if we become disconnected from the natural world we lose something magical, something so precious. We lose part of what it means to be human.

Only by embracing nature and claiming our place in the cycle of life can we truly free ourselves and find peace and serenity.

Take a moment and enjoy what Marghanita has done to bring sunshine to the issue. You're going to enjoy this.

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Letting Go and Moving Forward!

Posted by Karim Hajee

Let's face it. Many of us choose to hang on to things that at some point have hurt us, angered us, made us feel sad, or depressed us. If we choose to hang on to them, we will never move forward and we could even create physical or medical damage to our bodies. To prevent this from happening we need to let go...but no one really tells you how to let go and move forward. Sure it's easy to say: "Just let go, move forward, forget about it, just let go." But that really doesn't work. I'm about to show you how to let go and start moving forward.

Why You Need to Let Go and Move Forward

Throughout our lives we go through different experiences, some are positive and some we see as negative and unpleasant. When you hang on to a negative or unpleasant experience you are constantly thinking about it. And when you constantly think about that negative event you prevent yourself from healing. How many pleasant memories do you recall every day? Chances are you're like most people and you have a number of unpleasant experiences that you're holding on to, which is preventing you from moving forward.

The more you carry the worse life gets. Why? Because you've filled your mind up with negative experiences, because you continually hang on to something that doesn't allow you to move forward, in short, you're carrying useless baggage that's really slowing you down.

Think of it this way: you're on a hiking trip and along the way you keep picking up heavy objects, things that really don't serve you. After a while, these objects begin to slow you down and unless you get rid of them, you'll never complete your trip.

To let go you have to get your mind to focus on different goals and different objectives. It's not about saying: I let go of the pain from my fight with -- and move on. That will help, but if you really want to start moving on, then you have to get your mind to focus on new things, in the process you automatically let go of the things that have been slowing you down.

How to Let Go and Move Forward

Researchers believe that that if you hold on to negative feelings, sad emotions or depressing memories there is a possibility that you could reshape the human cell to the point where your thoughts of the past have a negative effect on your cells and your physical health.

Hanging on to negative past events is a process that can destroy your life in ways you're not even aware of. Ask yourself these questions: Do the negative things you hang on to serve you any purpose? Do they help you move forward? Do they work in your favor in any way? If you said no to any or all of the above then tell yourself this: This emotion/feeling doesn't help me so I'm letting it go and focusing on what is important. Then begin focusing on what you want next, focus on what is important and what can improve your life. This is a simple process that gets the mind moving in a new direction and you stop building negative energy created from the negative events/emotions, which only attracts more negative situations. When you begin focusing on more positive things you begin attracting positive situations.

The next step is to create an action plan; the past is over. Where do you want to go now and how do you plan to get there? You may not have the answers but merely thinking about the options forces your mind to go in a new direction and you automatically let go of unwanted feelings and emotions.

The key to your success is to train your mind to move in a new direction so you send new messages to your subconscious mind, which then brings you the opportunities to move forward.

The final step is to live in the present moment, to start living in the now. Living in the now is different than living for the moment. Living in the now is the process of enjoying everything that is going on at this present moment. Take a look around you and appreciate those things that you once thought were trivial. When you are here now you can be nowhere else. You are not hanging on to something, you are here now. I know some of you may say the following: "But Karim, where I am right now really sucks, I don't want to think about it." It only sucks because you're looking at all the negative things going on. Focus on a few of the positive things anything from nature to the wonderful family you may have. This forces your mind to look at things differently and tells your subconscious mind that you're ready for new possibilities, then you'll begin to let go and move forward.

Karim Hajee is the author and creator of the Creating Power system - which teaches you how to direct the power of your mind and subconscious mind so that you achieve your goals and live the life you want. To learn more visit:

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Focus on What You Can Control!

Posted by Dr. Philip Humbert

As I write this, the sun is rising over the hills to the south-east, hidden behind a pillar on the corner of my home. When I sit at this table during the summer, the sun rises off my left shoulder, but now it has moved dramatically to the south and is almost in my eyes. It shifts slowly, and from one day to the next I see no difference, but gradually the earth changes from summer to winter and I am subtly influenced to change my chair, my schedule and sometimes I even end up moving to another room. All with "no change" from day to day!

Success and failure are often like that.

Obviously, we cannot control many of the things and events in our lives, including the tilt of the earth. What I DO control is whether I put curtains on the windows, arrange my furniture to take advantage of the light, and use the seasons to add variety and perspective to my office. Actually, I depend on the changing angle of the sun to "make" me move the furniture and dust behind my desk every few months. I use these predictable changes to enrich my office and make me look at the world differently.

In life, there are many things over which we have no control. Fortunately however, there are many things we can influence, and a few powerful things we can pretty much control as we see fit.

Highly successful people understand this and spend their time and energy where they can make a real and useful difference.

There is a wonderful quote from Marianne Williamson that says our real fear is not that we are powerless, but that in fact we are powerful beyond measure. We can influence more than we think. Given enough time, courage and determination, we can modify, impact, transform and re-invent almost everything in our lives. We are not in complete control, but that is no excuse to deny the power we have!

The new year will last twelve months. You will have 52 weeks in which to choose your priorities. You will have 365 days to decide where to focus your time, your attention and your efforts. You will have thousands of opportunities to choose, to try, and to learn. Twelve months is a huge amount of time! In twelve months you can achieve miracles.

In the coming twelve months the sun will move and the seasons will change. You cannot control these things. But you can control what time you get up in the morning. You can choose your attitude, your friends, your diet, your focus and your goals. You can, to a remarkable degree, create the life you want.

Choose well. Use your power. And change your life for the better!

Dr Humbert is a Success Strategist, author and popular speaker. Imagine what's possible! To inquire about having him speak to your group or organization, or to schedule an initial consultation, contact him or visit his site at

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Saturday, January 1, 2011

Honor Who and What You Are!

Well my friends, here we are on 01-01-11, and it is obvious that if you are fortunate enough to be reading this note, you are in a special place indeed. But just how special?

Take 1 minute and 45 seconds right now to start this new year off by recognizing your unique position at this time, and in this place, and then move into your new year from a place of gratitude. It will serve you well.

Make a difference this year.

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