Monday, June 27, 2011

Are We Willing to Focus on Others?

Winning with People: Discover the People Principles that Work for You Every Time

Are we willing to focus on others?  That is the "connection" question John Maxwell uses to organize the second section of his book Winning with People: Discover the People Principles that Work for You Every Time.  The "connection question" is made up of 6 principles which explore ways to focus on others and their needs instead of oneself.  In doing so, you become more desirable to others and build stronger relationships.

The Big Picture Principle:
"The entire population of the world- with one minor exception- is composed of others."
To break self-centered or self-serving behavior, focus on the big picture, which requires three things:
  1. Perspective- There are billions of people in this world who will never know you.  Most of them have needs far greater than yours.
  2. Maturity- Most people hit a stage in life where they feel unfulfilled and desire for more meaning in their life.  The key to finding meaning is to use your strengths to serve others.
  3. Responsibility- Entering a marriage or leadership position will expose ones' maturity and sense of responsibility.  Maxwell says that good leaders: put others first, serve others, take responsibility, are a good example, give others credit, and mend relationships.

The Exchange Principle:
"Instead of putting others in their place.  We must put ourselves in their place."
The two key elements of this principle are perspective and empathy.  Here are ways you can make the exchange:
  • See others in a positive light and give them the benefit of the doubt.
  • Get to know others by listening to their concerns, studying their culture or job, finding out their interests, visiting their home, or simply just asking questions!
  • Work to find the legitimacy in another person's viewpoint and acknowledge their valid point.
  • During times of conflict, work to see the similarities in others' viewpoints instead of the differences.  Don't focus on trying to win.

The Learning Principle:

"Each person we meet has the potential to teach us something if we have the right attitude."
  • We need many mentors.  It is impossible to learn everything from one person.
  • No one is too old, too smart, or too successful to learn something new.
  • Be passionate about learning, don't fall into an idle comfort zone, keep stretching yourself.
  • See the value in other people.  I recently met a woman with incredible wisdom who could easily be overlooked based on her physical appearance.
  • Surround yourself with people who will help you grow.
  • Look for people's uniqueness and strengths, then ask questions.
  • In order to show growth, there must be a change.

The Charisma Principle:
"People are interested in the person who is interested in them."
A Sanguine is a great example of a charismatic person.  Even if this isn't your temperament, there are 6 things you can do that will attract others.
  1. Show a genuine interest in others.
  2. Light up your face with a smile and draw people in.
  3. Make an effort to remember names and call people by their name.
  4. Encourage others to talk about themselves and be a good listener.
  5. Build conversations with others based on their interests.
  6. Go out of your way to sincerely make other people feel important.

The Number 10 Principle"
"Believing the best in people usually brings out the best of people."
Believe that each person you encounter is a 10.  Here is why:
  • All people have potential and can achieve it if they just believe in themselves.
  • Believing in others encourages them and brings out the best.
  • Everyone wants their life to matter and wants to feel significant.
  • When you help or believe in one person, it overflows to others.
  • Seeing others in a positive light makes your day more positive.

The Confrontation Principle:
"Caring for people should precede confronting people."
Nobody likes confrontation so most people try avoid it, however it's impossible.  Generally, if conflict isn't dealt with quickly and correctly, it just compounds!

Here is Maxwell's list of unhealthy approaches to handling conflict:
  • Win at all costs
  • Pretend it doesn't exist
  • Whine about it
  • Keep score
  • Pull rank
  • White flag it

Here is Maxwell's 6 step plan to healthy conflict resolution:
  1. Only confront someone if you care for the other person.  Keep the other persons interests in mind and try to make the outcome a win-win situation.
  2. To resolve a situation, meet together face-to-face as soon as possible.  Avoiding the issues or putting off a situation will just make it worse.  If a personal meeting is absolutely impossible, then use the phone but Maxwell says to never resolve conflict via email.
  3. Preconceived notions can cloud your judgement.  Your first goal should be to seek understanding, not necessarily agreement.
  4. Outline the issue causing conflict using a positive approach.  Describe your perceptions without making conclusions or statements.  Express clearly how the issue makes you feel without accusations.  Explain why the issue is important to you.
  5. Encourage a genuine response and truly listen.  Maxwell says that 50% of the time people don't even realize there is a problem, 30% of the time they knew there was a problem but didn't know how to solve it, and 20% realize there is a problem but don't want to resolve it.
  6. Agree on a positive action plan which focuses on change and the future.

The third organizational question Maxwell uses is the "Trust Question:  Can we build mutual trust?"  By following me on Facebook, Twitter, or subscribing to the blog, you'll get notified when I share the five principles from the third question in Winning with People: Discover the People Principles that Work for You Every Time.  You can check out my first post on this book where I discussed the "readiness question" and it's five principles by clicking on this post:  Are We Prepared For Relationships?

WOW!  Maxwell's book is only $5.51 through Amazon today!  The list price is $14.99, that is a 63% savings.  I highly recommend picking up your own copy of this easy to read book!  Don't forget you can get free two-day shipping if you have an Amazon Prime.  Get a Prime account for free through Amazon mom.  See my post: Amazon Mom for more information.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Networking Success

Networking events are a great way to make new business relationships.  When I quit teaching years ago to work my direct sales business full time, I attended a weekly networking meeting on Thursday mornings for over a year in my community.  Each week everyone would give their 30 second commercial, we would have a short guest speaker, a sponsored breakfast, and time to chat at the end.  Monthly evening mixers were held at the sponsor's place of business.  If you are new to networking, here are some suggestions for getting the most out of your time.
  • You can find meetings in your area on, look in your local newspaper, or visit my networking page for networking meetings I have listed in the Tampa Bay area.
  • There are a wide range of events that meet through out the day.  Some may host mixers with no formal setting.  Other groups will allow you to attend evening events even if you are not an official member.
  • Go prepared with an interesting 30 second commercial that highlights what you do or what you are looking for.  It is best to change up your commercial if you attend regularly.
  • Bring business cards to exchange.  Brochures and product samples are also a good idea!
  • Don't be a fly on the wall!  Introduce yourself to others and ask about their business to begin a conversation. 
  • It is important to continually build on relationships, but be careful not to use the same people each week as your comfort zone!  You want to meet a wide range of people and keep building new relationships.
  • Understand, that the intention of networking groups is to build relationships with other professionals.  This can take time, you must earn trust within the group. 
  • Committ to attend regularly. 
  • You can schedule appointments or one-on-ones with professionals you meet in the group to exchange business information and grow your relationships.
  • Find out what you can do to help other professionals.  Often referrals are most important to them.  By doing what you can to help others, generally they will want to help you in return.
  • Volunteer to sponsor an event.
  • Ask to be a guest speaker at an event.
  • Make sure you dress professionally and have a positive attitude.
  • Joining groups in other communities where you wish to grow your business is a good move too!
Some of the people I got to know through this particular networking group, I still have relationships with today.  Others, I run into regularly within my community.  The key is in building relationships!

Related Articles:
What Message Does Your Look Convey?
A Lasting Impression

Best Wishes!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Which Are You?

Which Are You?

There are two kinds of people on earth today;
Just two kinds of people, no more, I say.

Not the sinner and saint, for it's well understood,
The good are half bad, and the bad are half good.

Not the rich and the poor, for to rate a man's wealth,
You must first know the state of his conscience and health.

Not the humble and proud, for in life's little span,
Who puts on vain airs, is not counted a man.

Not the happy and sad, for the swift flying years
Bring each man his laughter and each man his tears.

No; the two kinds of people on earth I mean,
Are the people who lift, and the people who lean.

Wherever you go, you will find the earth's masses,
Are always divided in just these two classes.

And oddly enough, you will find too, I ween,
There's only one lifter to twenty who lean.

In which class are you? Are you easing the load,
Of overtaxed lifters, who toil down the road?

Or are you a leaner, who lets others share
Your portion of labor, and worry and care?

Ella Wheeler Wilcox
From:  Custer and Other Poems, 1896

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Restaurant Gift Cards Cheap

Have you heard about  Find unbelievable savings on gift certificates to restaurants in your area.  There is a new promotion where you can save 80% off the already low prices.  Get $25 gift cards for just $2 or a $100 gift certificate for just $8!  Yes, I know, it sounds to good to be true!  They do work, we've used them!

Coupon Code:  DEAL for 80% off!
Click here to see the flier.

Search for available certificates in your area by entering your location or search for places where you'll be visiting.  Read the fine print before you purchase.  Usually there is a minimum you are required to spend in order to use the gift certificate.  For example, for the $25 gift certificates, you usually have to spend $35.  Sometimes, the certificates can only be used on dine-in purchases and many exclude alcohol.  There used to be expiration dates on the certificates but none of the ones I've purchased recently have had an expiration date.

You won't find any big chains listed on the site; most of the restaurants are independently owned local spots!  The available restaurants range from lower priced family places to high end gourmet fare.  Giordano's Pizza is one of our local favorites that we buy gift cards for on   Here are a few other examples:  Shula's steakhouse, Fly Bar, Crabby Bills, Ashley Street Grille, The Empress Tea Room, and Cherry's!

Treat yourself to a date night!


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Are We Prepared For Relationships?

Winning with People: Discover the People Principles that Work for You Every Time

All of our successes and failures in life can be traced back to relationships with specific individuals.  These relationships create a ripple effect reaching beyond us to others with whom we interact.  This is the basis for John Maxwell's book Winning with People: Discover the People Principles that Work for You Every Time.  "Are we prepared for relationships?" is the first of five questions outlined in his book.  Here are the five principles Maxwell uses to address our readiness factor when it comes to relationships.

The Lens Principle:  Who We Are Determines How We See Others
  • Several people sitting in the same room may all describe a situation differently.  Our perception is influenced by who we are on the inside. 
  • It is possible to assess a lot about a person's personality just by watching how they speak and interact with others.
  • "We all have a personal frame of reference that consists of our attitudes, assumptions, and expectations concerning ourselves, other people, and life."  These factors determine our personality and "color not only how we see life, but also how we let people treat us."
  • "Our thinking and our attitudes are as much a part of us as our talents and abilities.  They also determine what we do."

5 Things That Determine Who We Are
  1. Genetics-  We are born with a specific temperament.
  2. Self Image- How we see ourselves affects who we surround our self with and how we treat others.
  3. Experiences in Life- Our experiences prepare us for how we handle life both positive and negative.
  4. Attitude and Choices About Those Experiences-  We control our world with our attitudes and the choices we make.
  5. Friends-  The people you spend time with are the ones who shape who you are.

The Mirror Principle:  The First Person We Must Examine is Ourselves
  • Having a realistic picture of yourself and liking who you are is critical.
  • We often are our own worst enemies and create our own problems. 
  • To make a positive change, start by changing yourself.
  • "If you do not believe in yourself, you will sabotage relationships."
  • "In most situations, I am the problem.  My mentalities, my pictures, my expectations, form the biggest obstacles to my success." -Ralph Stayer.

The Pain Principle:  Hurting People Hurt People and Are Easily Hurt By Them
  • One in four Americans is imbalanced.
  • When someone lashes out it is more about an internal conflict than the external circumstance.
  • "Hurting people overreact, over exaggerate, and overprotect.  They also over influence.  By that, I mean they control the relationship."

Dealing With Hurting People
  1. Don't take it personally.
  2. Look beyond the person for the problem.
  3. Look beyond the situation.
  4. Do not add to their hurt.
  5. Help them find help.

The Hammer Principle:  Never Use a Hammer to Swat a Fly Off Someone's Head

Respond, don't react! 
Here are some tips on how to avoid overreacting.
  1. Total Picture- Slow down, ask questions, and take in the whole picture.
  2. Timing- Knowing when to speak or act is more important than what you do or say.
  3. Tone- Our tone of voice can change a situation.
  4. Temperature-  Overreacting to a problem will generally make it worse.  Responding coolly can help diffuse a problem.

Tips for developing a softer touch:
  • Let the past stay in the past.
  • Ask yourself, is my reaction part of the problem?
  • Remember that actions are remembered long after words are forgotten.
  • Never let the situation mean more than the relationship.
  • Treat loved ones with unconditional love.
  • Admit wrongs and ask for forgiveness.

The Elevator Principle:   We Can Lift People Up or Take People Down in Our Relationships

"You hold the power to make another person's life better or worse by the things you do today."  What kind of person are you?
  • Do you add something to life making it more pleasant?
  • Do you subtract something from life becoming a burden?
  • Do you multiply something in life by intentionally, strategically, and skillfully adding value to others?
  • Do you divide something in life by intentionally hurting others to make yourself look or feel better?

These are merely quotes and tidbits taken from each of John Maxwell's points.  Each chapter is really fabulous, I encourage you to read the book!  The next post from Winning with People: Discover the People Principles that Work for You Every Time will address the connection question:  are we willing to focus on others? 

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