Kindness Comes Back To You When It Matters Most

As I sit in the Paris airport I’m reminded again of the different cultures that span our world–thousands is truly an understatement. It’s so easy to just jump on a plane and find yourself as the minority in a foreign land.

Appreciation for kindness and patience from others grows leaps and bounds when YOU’RE the one that’s different; unable to speak the language while looking different and appearing confused. You become forever grateful for the kind soul that helped you order the pastery while the cashier looked at you as though you were a complete idiot (this was my experience just a moment ago).

Oh how perspectives change when the shoe is on the other foot. This weekend, choose to be kind and patient to those different than you–that kindness will come back to you when it matters most.

Turn Around And See All The People

I was asked by a client today, “Why do so many companies have problems with engagement?” 87% of US employees are disengaged to be exact.

It’s not rocket science… It’s because most leaders are faced in the wrong direction. Spending so much time appeasing “higher-ups”, Wall Street and making sure that the lastest initiative gets launched that they forget to turn around and see all the people….people who are the bread and butter to the company. Without people you have nothing.

The sure fire engagement strategy is simple. Every executive needs to model a “people first” management philosophy. Walk around and talk to people, care about them and recognize their value. If you’re thinking you don’t have time for this…then you don’t have time to be a leader and should take up a new individual contributor role. Harsh but true.

Today make your top priority taking Suzi out for a coffee to tell her how valuable she is to you and the company. Then everyday after that take a different employee out for coffee and tell them the same thing. Before you know it, I guarantee you’ll have higher engagement, greater profits and happier customers.

The Boomerang Effect

What you put into the world comes right back to you in strength. Be kind to your team and colleagues and they will be kind to you. Show respect and they will respect you. The Universe runs on a system of equal exchange. If you want engagement, performance, appreciation or loyalty from others, you must first take time to invest in them as a human being. There is no other way. So before you jump into fancy million dollar strategies…ask yourself, “How are my actions creating the current environment? How can I show up differently to inspire a different result?” It all comes back to you.

How to Make Love in the Boardroom

redefining-love-work-foster-sense-connectionPeople are looking everywhere for ways to feel valued and appreciated. We want to be surrounded by other people who are mindful of our needs in a way that says, “I hear you.” We want to be in the presence of other people who joyfully give us the freedom to be authentic and walk in our truth. We want to feel honored by other human beings with acts of integrity and compassion. We want our creative expression to be celebrated and recognized by others, to be forgiven easily without judgment, and to have other people take responsibility for their own actions. To sum it up in one sentence, in our personal lives we say, “I want to be loved.”

In business we don’t call it love. Oh no, that wouldn’t be politically correct. The word love may not go over well in the boardroom. Heaven forbid we use a word that might make people feel uncomfortable. Ironically, the very thing that makes people feel uncomfortable is the exact thing every human being in business is looking for from their leader and company. Rather, in business we call love “engagement”. You see, when people feel loved they want to give love. In business, we call this exchange of love “discretionary energy”—and this discretionary energy is evaporating from business faster than the speed of light.

Today people feel the void of love more than ever, and most businesses have yet to acknowledge the reality that the only way to have an engaged culture is to have leaders who show-up and live high-character values. Values that include: mindfulness, compassion, forgiveness, integrity, and responsibility. In other words, having leaders who are able to show acts of love. It’s only then that people will become fully engaged and the business can create a high-performing culture.

What gets in the way of leaders being able to show acts of love?  Fear of becoming vulnerable.

Vulnerability is the magic ingredient to showing acts of love and receiving the love that others show. Not only is vulnerability the magic ingredient, it’s the hardest thing for a business to attain because it requires not intellect but heart. Vulnerability is the willingness to do something without a guaranteed result, having the courage to be imperfect, having the ability to be kind to ourselves first, and believing that the things that make you most susceptible and weak to the world are what make you most beautiful. The key to joy, love, and happiness is vulnerability.

In business, vulnerability is overshadowed by fear and shame. As a means of survival and protection from fear and shame people have become experts in denial. We pretend things that are uncertain are, in fact, certain; we pretend we are what we’re not; we put ourselves on a conquest to prefect our existence. All the while, at the core of our human nature, we want to be vulnerable and feel connected. We want to feel loved.

Together, vulnerability and living high-character values is the way forward in business—it’s the solution to employee engagement. Vulnerability is the only way people feel loved, and living high-character values is how love is shown. That said,vulnerability always follows character–it will never happen the other way around. When leaders show up living high-character values, exhibiting acts of love, the culture begins to feel safe. When a culture feels safe people are willing to let their guard down, become vulnerable and give love right back to the business.

Gina Soleil, is a speaker and acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profits. She blogs and speaks about how to create a business where people are energized, feel good and are happy. Visit Gina Soleil at ginasoleil.com and follow her on Twitter.

The Benefits of Having a Positive Attitude

By: Kristian “KG” Goldsmith 

imagesI’m sure there some skeptics who will read this and probably not agree with me. However that’s great because these are the people that holds us back from reaching our goals. Otherwise referred to as the naysayers. There is so much we can benefit from having a positive attitude, not to mention the profound effects it has on our quality of life.  Some peoples attitude towards life is also a reflection about their attitudes towards themselves. There has even been scientific studies done proving that the benefit of have an optimistic or positive attitude contributes to many health challenges. Like cancer and health problems creating  personal joy on a day to day basis means we live happier and healthier.

When you think about gratitude it gives you a powerful influence on your outlook. No matter how bad things get focus on the small blessings. This helps you shift your thought process and focus in a positive direction. You will begin too worry less about anything you currently don’t have or want.

Choosing happiness and being happy is not about circumstances or any other uncontrollable forces. It’s about making a decision. Then making up your mind to be happy about the decision you have made, plus not dwelling on it.

Take a look at your view on problems. Instead of looking at them as problems view them as challenges. The definition of the word problem means:( something that is difficult to deal with: something that is a source of trouble, worry. difficulty in understanding something: a feeling of not liking or wanting to do something). If when you hear the word problem and your view is like this your energy is already drained before you make any attempt to repair what has happen. By substituting the word challenge here is what you hear:(a call or summons to engage in any contest, as of skill and strength.) Seeing an experience as a challenge will focus your attention on a positive outcome with very little effort.

As we go through life with many challenges and being pulled in many different directions we forget to stop and smell the roses as they say. We are always rushing to get to some place where we still have to get in line and wait again. We have to remember to embrace the journey we have taken to get where we are at today and reflect on life’s simple pleasures. Focusing on simple pleasures allows us to have a sense of balance in our life.

Surround yourself with optimistic people and their influence will feed your sense of optimism. The positive attitudes of people around you can be very powerful force for you and them. Try to list the things you are truly grateful for daily before going to bed each night. Then last but not least, minimize your exposure to negative influences around you. This could be friends family or even coworkers or simply stop watching, reading or listening to the news. You will find it to be much easier to be optimistic and focus on the positive things in you life. Here is one of my favorite quotes: “Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose” Lyndon B. Johnson

60 Life Lessons I’ve Learned in (Almost) 60 Years

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAVnAAAAJGQ3NDk2ZmQwLTQ2NTQtNDFhOC1iOTg0LWRkODBmNDJmYjg0YQBy: Maria Shriver
Journalist, Author & Activist at Maria Shriver
Original Post

I’ve been thinking about birthdays…especially mine as it’s this week!!! In our family birthdays are a big deal. There is always a homemade cake, balloons, cards, a fun celebration of the gift of life.

The truth is, I love any excuse to have a party and I especially love to celebrate others. But it’s always been a bit harder for me to celebrate myself; it pushes me outside my comfort zone. But with the encouragement of my friends and family, I’m changing that. I’m allowing myself to be celebrated…even writing that feels weird…but I’m going with it and going for it!

[What if ‘Aging Gracefully’ Isn’t Your Style? (And How to Discover What Is)]

So as I stand on the cusp of a new decade, I’m focusing on all the gifts in my life and on all the lessons I’ve learned throughout my life. I’m happy to say I’m looking forward to the next frontier, even though I admit I don’t really have a master plan for what that entails like I did when I turned 30…that’s okay though, because since then I’ve learned that life interrupts the best of plans.

Friends and family die without warning. You can end up disappointing yourself and others. People you counted on don’t come through, but then again — total strangers can also show up and guide you to places you never imagined. Life is indeed a magical mystery.

[6 Simple Ways to Incorporate Giving Into Everyday Life]

So in its honor, here are 60 life lessons I’ve learned along my journey. I shared some of them with my kids this New Years, whereupon they burst into tears and asked me if I was dying. Lordy Moses.

I share them with you now in the hope that they might help you on your own journey to live more authentically, to live more of life without judgement of yourself and/or others, so that when the time comes for you to go, you have fewer regrets about what you didn’t do and more pride in what you did.

[Watch Maria Shriver’s Architect of Change Conversation with Ann Romney]

  1. There is nothing about life that’s predicable, so stop trying to predict it.
  2. Find every excuse you can to celebrate it.
  3. Love the age you are and stop wishing you were a different one.
  4. Stop worrying about what others think. It’s a huge waste of your time.
  5. Stop wondering if God is listening, just have faith He/She is.
  6. Be grateful to anyone who has ever loved you or tried to love you. I know I am.
  7. Know that shit will happen in life. You think you will not be able to withstand, but you can and you will.
  8. Be kind to your body, it will be with you for life.
  9. Believe me when I tell you: diets are a waste of time. I’ve tried them all.
  10. Don’t believe people who tell you they can eat anything and still be so skinny! They are fibbing.
  11. Moderate everything but laughing.
  12. Don’t be scared to be a parent, trust your heart.
  13. Make friends with your children’s friends. They’ll make you laugh and give you valuable intel.
  14. Keep a pair of clothes from high school. Not to check if you can still fit in them but for the memories they hold.
  15. Hold your children over and over again and then let someone hold you.
  16. Get smart about money as early as possible.
  17. Save money from every paycheck.
  18. Buy comfortable sheets, you’ll spend a lot of time in them.
  19. Know that no matter how smart you are, you cannot change someone else.
  20. Stay out of other people’s business. Dealing with your own is a full-time job.
  21. Be kind, cause everyone is struggling.
  22. Don’t engage in gossip, it always bites you in the ass.
  23. Don’t mistake gifts for love.
  24. Stay in connection with your childhood friends and introduce them to your grownup friends. Make yours a generous tribe that’s connected not only to you, but to each other.
  25. Spend time alone when you are young so it won’t scare you when you are older.
  26. Write thank you notes to people for their time and their wisdom. See both as a gift.
  27. Look people in the eye when you talk to them. And at least once, look into someone’s eyes for five minutes straight. You will learn something.
  28. Sit down to family dinner every night. If you can’t do it every night, make Sunday night family night.
  29. Play games with your kids (my favorites are Capture the Flag and Uno).
  30. Give your kids a Get-Out-Of-School pass to use for a special day with you.
  31. Keep an open table and an open mind.
  32. Be of service.
  33. Travel with your kids. It will broaden their horizons and strengthen their bonds.
  34. Don’t assume anyone is better than you or you are better than anyone else.
  35. Don’t ever sit out of an election. You have the gift of living in a country where every vote matters. Use yours.
  36. Learn how to turn off the critical voice in your head as early as possible.
  37. Every year write down your regrets then burn them and leave them where they belong: In the ashes.
  38. Listen to your gut. It knows more than anyone else you are asking for advice.
  39. Practice prayer/meditation. It will keep you in check with yourself.
  40. Never think your work life is more important than your family.
  41. Don’t think bad stuff won’t happen to you. Learn how to push through. Head up, shoulders back.
  42. Don’t allow anyone to shame you.
  43. Get good at forgiveness. You will need to practice it throughout life.
  44. Know that forgiving doesn’t mean going back to what was. It means going forward with love. You get to decide what that looks like.
  45. If you want forgiveness, ask for it.
  46. Get good at letting go.
  47. Don’t expect people to be perfect. You are not…neither are they.
  48. Learn how to communicate in your own home. If you can’t find your voice get help.
  49. Don’t think that reaching out for help is a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of strength.
  50. Therapy isn’t a waste of time. It can save a friendship, a marriage, your life.
  51. If you marry and it comes to an end, don’t let anyone tell you you have failed. Be grateful for the love you had, the memories you made, the lessons you learned.
  52. If you have a pity party, make it short and then move on.
  53. Don’t see yourself as a victim, see yourself as brave.
  54. Be brave enough to write your own story … and then rewrite it.
  55. Be brave enough to try love after you heart has been broken.
  56. Spend time in nature, it calms your mind.
  57. Spend time around people who see you, who celebrate you, who want the best for you.
  58. Stay connected to your siblings and don’t come between them and their partners. My four brothers are my past, my present and my future … and I like all of their wives.
  59. Take care of your parents when they age, it’s a privilege.
  60. Have faith that your best days are ahead of you. That your next frontier will be your most fulfilling time. And that you deserve to be seen as good enough just the way you are.

#PassItForward

The Power in Putting Your Phone Down

The Power In Putting Your Phone DownI did something crazy last night. A complete act of the subconscious. Before I went to bed, I turned my phone off and plugged it into the charger. That’s not the crazy part. Here it comes… I never turned it back on.

Like most people I have my morning routine. After waking up I immediately grab my phone. I do this because there may be pressing news that I should know about. After I read the texts that came in after I went to bed, I check Facebook (of course), LinkedIn, Twitter, and email. Sometimes this is a good 30-minute time suck before my day even starts. Then I look at the clock and say, “Oh shit! Look at the time.” I get out of bed and begin my day. No worries, I still have my trusted companion with me at all times.

As my morning progresses sometimes I find myself getting a neck cramp because I’m looking down at my phone so much. Yep. No judgement. At the rate our society is going the Chiropractic industry is going to be booming with new clients. We’re all going to be walking around with a hump on our back and a phone stuck to our forehead in the next 20-years. A scary reality.

My daughter tells me I have two favorite sentences, “Just a second… I’ll be right there.” This apparently comes out of my mouth repeatedly throughout the morning as I’m catching up on the latest social media updates. She also has a favorite sentence, “Mom, did you hear me?” This sentence is usually said with some frustration 5 (sometimes 10) minutes after she heard me say, “Just a second… I’ll be right there.” Ah, the normal morning routine. And I wonder why we frequently miss the bus and I end up having to drive my daughter to school. Hmmmm. No need to go into the details of my afternoon and evening… It’s pretty much the same.

So last night I did something crazy… I never turned my phone back on. This morning I woke up, realized what I didn’t do, and then intentionally didn’t turn my phone back on. I left my love companion on the desk all by itself. I did gasp a bit and thought, huh, I kinda feel free. 

This morning was different–better. My daughter and I took our puppy for a walk and we talked. We hung out at the local coffee shop and we talked. We strolled through the neighborhood and we talked. When we sat down to have our breakfast I asked her what she was grateful for. Her response, “I get to hang out with you.”

Thank you Universe for the wake-up call. My phone is still turned off.

Author, speaker & coach, Gina Soleil is acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profit. She blogs and speaks about how to create a business where people are energized, feel good and are happy.  Visit Gina Soleil  and follow her on Twitter.

Be F#%@ing Brave

12107802_538565726300676_4173133001635049253_nI love this image. Bravery. It’s the playbook for a joy filled life. It’s your ticket to happiness. And it’s the answer to overcoming fear and reaching your dream. Sometimes bravery is silent and sometimes it echoes from a mountaintop for the world to hear. It comes in all different shapes and sizes, but the end result is always the same… confidence, empowerment, strength and an earned right of passage to a place where life is lived to its fullest.

What does bravery look like to you? How can bravery conquer the movie in your head, change that relationship or improve your job? How can bravery settle the turmoil in your gut or give you energy to stand tall? Whatever bravery looks like to you, do it. You deserve it. You’re worth it.  And no one else is going to do it for you. Be fucking brave!

Gina Soleil, is a speaker and acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profit. She blogs and speaks about how to create a business where people are energized, feel good and are happy. Visit Gina Soleil and follow her on Twitter.

How You Add Value to the World

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What is your value?

We live in a society that more often than not predicates success and value based on physical achievement, materialism and societal placement. From childhood on we’re swept away with rules and silent norms about fashion, body image and possessions. We often become so fixated on how to accumulate more “stuff” or pay for the “stuff” we have that we forget about the value we ourselves add to the world.

It often takes great catastrophe for someone to shed away enough of the facade to see their true value. Death, life transition, sickness, financial downfalls, these are just a few significant tragedies that have the power to open our eyes and help us understand that we alone are enough. In fact, we alone are not only enough, we are brighter, more beautiful and contribute to the world in more meaningful ways once all the noise of made-up societal expectation is silenced. One might say that it’s in our suffering that we’re given an opportunity to come alive and experience real life.

Value is measured by how you show yourself to the world. It’s in the kindness you show to another human being who’s making the journey through his or her own suffering. The time you spend with someone who needs your words of wisdom to give them an extra boost in life. The compassion you show in times of adversity, and your ability to forgive someone–including yourself. Personal value is measured through acts of love.

It’s in our moments of suffering that we understand the truth of personal value. Because it’s in our moments of suffering that we need someone to show his or her value to us. So today, take time to reflect on the moments of suffering that you’ve been gifted with throughout your life. Have gratitude for those moments of silence. Then ask yourself, “How did the value of someone else help carry you forward? And what is your value to the world?”

Gina Soleil, is a speaker and acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profit. She blogs and speaks about how to create a business where people are energized, feel good and are happy. Visit Gina Soleil and follow her on Twitter.

Rejection Is Protection

rejection

Are you getting caught in the box of “what must be”? Or are you allowing life to deliver unexpected surprises with ease?

Life is full of twists and turns, ups and downs and spiral staircases. Contrary to popular belief, there’s no such thing as a straight and narrow path. And if you take a step back and review your life thus far, you’ll certainly remember moments of unexpected change that created the amazing person you are today.

I like to call these moments of change, “Thank God Moments”. Usually these moments come after a lot of heartache, tears, struggle and fear. One moment it appeared life was going in the exact direction you desired, and then all of a sudden, POW! You didn’t expect that to happen. Maybe it was a layoff, a demotion, a lost promotion or a relationship gone wrong. Regardless the experience, as time moves on you realize how thankful you are that life took a surprising turn and you say, “Thank God I didn’t get that job! Man, I would have been miserable if I married that person. Wow, if I didn’t get laid off I wouldn’t be in a career I love.”

Rejection is almost always how the Universe protects us. It never feels that way at the time. In fact, it usually sucks! Sometimes you feel like you’re not going to make it. Moving forward appears like a pipe dream. And quite frankly, you feel disappointed, damn tired and even unmotivated at the thought of trying to stand back up and keep going. Bottom line, change, let alone unexpected change, is hard, scary and exhausting.

Then there’s that moment when you look back and realize you made it. Not only did you make it, you’re better, stronger and happier than you could have imagined. Life is good. And one day you sit back and say, “Thank God for that…”

If you’re reading this and reflecting on how far you’ve come, congratulations! You made it. If right now you’re in the darkness going through another scary twist and turn, remember this too shall pass. The lesson for us all is that rejection is life’s protection from what could have been, and it’s in these moments of rejection that your life has an opportunity to exceed your dreams.

Gina Soleil, is a speaker and acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profit. She blogs and speaks about how to create a business where people are energized, feel good and are happy. Visit Gina Soleil and follow her on Twitter.