Sunday, January 31, 2010

on Leadership

I recently attended a Leadership conference with the United States Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycees - find out more at It was awesome!! I can not begin to tell you how motivated it has left me. 2010 is the year to do all those things we've always said we wanted to do.

I'm in no way going to capture all of the points I learned about, but I'd like to give you all a taste, so that you too can be the person you desire to be. There's only one rule - if something stands out and is really helpful than share it. Because what's the point of having a world of information but only one person knows it?

The motivational speaker for the weekend was Matt Booth (MB). I encourage you to check him out - - he's got some great things to say.

First we learned that attitude is in fact everything. As cliche as it sounds your attitude will affect the way you look at things and that will affect your actions. Think about it. The example Matt used is people saying they hate Mondays. If you think that you hate Mondays then everything associated with Monday will ultimately be negative. For instance a lot of people waste half of Sunday thinking about Monday instead of enjoying the rest of Sunday. So right there you have a couple of hours of these negative thoughts. You probably were a bit laid back with waking up over the weekend so Monday is the first day that you have to wake up early again. You might have forgotten to set up the coffee because you didn't need it on Sunday so now you have to make coffee and you are always late on Monday. You probably come home tired because you didn't get much sleep because your body was used to sleeping longer over the weekend. So now everything that happened gets associated with Mondays, even though they are independent of eachother. See how that works? MB says to continually Check Your Attitude (CYA).

A nice exercise we did was to write down the names of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Now write a (+) or (-) if the person is mostly positive or negative. There's nothing wrong with having a (-) or two, but if everyone that you hang out with for the majority of your time is negative, that is ultimately going to reflect in your attitude and therefore your actions.

We talked about goals and goal setting. The main idea is to write down what you would like to accomplish. It is much easier to materialize something that 'exists' i.e. putting it on paper makes it real. "Things that are easy to do are also easy not to do (MB)." So write down your goals for the year - not new year's resolutions, realistic goals. Be as specific as you need to in order to accomplish it, i.e. instead of saying run more, say run a 5K before July. Once you write down your goals carry them around with you in your wallet or purse, so that you always have them in case you need to remind yourself of why you are going to the gym 3 times a week. Lastly, review your goals once a month. We tend to write things down and have every intention of doing them but we don't look at them again. If you review your goals every month and 3 months have passed and you still aren't reading more, well maybe that really isn't a priority for you any more. And if it is, maybe it's time you pick up a book.

Similar to what they tell you on a plane - in the event of an emergency put your [air] mask on before putting someone elses. Or in simplified terms - In order to help other people you need to help yourself first. Why would someone listen to you if your life is in shambles and you are doing nothing to stop it? Or if are a big goal setter but you never achieve your goals? Take a step back and work on doing the things that you need to be doing.

We talked about professionalism. Image is really everything. The image you portray affects that attitude of outsiders, and insiders for that matter. When we think of the things that are major factors for a professional image they are things like outward appearance, speech/grammar/language, hospitality, organization, and punctuality. It's true. If people look sloppy or are not very welcoming, you are not likely to go back and/or feel comfortable. Obviously this is different for a more casual setting, but what attracts you to a group is first how they appear, so it is important not to sell yourself short from the door. Because then no matter what you say your first impression has already been decided. Things that the group thought showed an unprofessional image were vulgarity, poor grammar, poor hygiene/outward appearance, non-punctual timing, and a forceful or bossy group.

This is only a snippet of the things that I learned but I hope you learn from it and get out there and start making things happen.