Posts belonging to Category Social Skills and Character

New Year’s Resolutions: The Simple Key to Success

New Year's is always an interesting time.  "Out with the old, in with the New," many proclaim. It's the time where we take stock of where we have been, assess where we'd like to be, and make plans to change.

How many of you actually make New Year's Resolutions? How many of you are able to keep them, if only for a week, two weeks, a month? Are your New Year's Resolutions a springboard to permanent change?

While most of us truly believe we will keep those changes we promise ourselves -- and others -- we will implement, the reality is most of us are not that good at making change.  And, why is that, do you suppose? Well, we frequently lack a critical element required for change: self-discipline.

Corinne has shared the stage with celebrities such as world-renowned motivational speaker Brian Tracy

Corinne has shared the stage with celebrities such as world-renowned motivational speaker Brian Tracy

I recently had the luck of finding a copy of New York Times Best-Selling Author and management guru, Brian Tracy's book, "No Excuses." Several years ago, I had the amazing fortune and honor of not only meeting Brian at a seminar, but I also shared the same speaking stage with him.  I had just written my book, "It's Not Who You Know, It's How You Treat Them," and was sharing my presentation on the topic with the audience. Brian speaks very eloquently about how successful people become truly successful and one of the big "secrets" he talks about is self-discipline. Brian defines this vital trait very simply: "the ability to do what you should do, when you should do it, whether  you feel like it or not."

While no one is likely going to argue with the importance of self-discipline, the reality is, many of us struggle with its actual practice. Brian's book takes a realistic, practical approach to implementing greater self-discipline in every aspect of your life, personal or professional.

What particularly intrigued me about the book, and where it dovetails with my own work is in Chapter 2 where he launches into a discussion of "Self-Discipline and Character." Self-discipline is truly one of the great "virtues" and it's one that we cover in our SocialSmarts curriculum extensively.  Brian explains how the self-discipline principal is vital to one's success as a person when he writes...

The person you are today, your innermost character, is the sum total of all your choices and decisions in life up to this date. Each time you have acted rightly and chosen consistently with the very best that you know, you have strengthened your character and become a better person. The reverse is also true: Each time you have compromised, taken the easy way, or behaved in a manner inconsistent with what you knew to be right, you have weakened your character and softened your personality.

Again, I don't think anyone would argue with this. But, once again, it's easily said, and not so easily done. Tracy continues in the chapter with talking about the importance of training ourselves (more…)

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On Being Selfishly “Selfless”

10% Happier Dan HarrisEvery once in a while, I come across something that smacks me upside my head with a great big "Ah, ha!  I KNEW it."  Something so obvious, but I'd never heard it put that way before that it just leaves this lasting impression. Today, as I was finishing Dan Harris' book "10% Happier," I had just such a moment.

In the chapter entitled (I'm writing it as it reads folks) "The Self-Interested Case for Not Being a Dick," Harris recounts a story where he is interviewing the Dalai Lama. They are exploring the idea of self-cherishing and the link between that and the "development of concern for [the] well-being of others."  Harris himself has a huge lightbulb moment based on the revelations of the Dalai Lama and comes to the conclusion that "...there is a self-interested, or selfish, case for being compassionate?"  His Holiness responds, "Yes. Practice of compassion is ultimately benefit to you. So I usually describe: we are selfish, but be wise selfish rather than foolish selfish."

In the decade-plus timeframe that I've been coaching children, parents and professionals on the value of SocialSmarts, this is exactly a point I've been trying to make: (more…)

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Missed Opportunity: “It’s How You Treat Them!”

It's funny where you pick up life lessons. In my case, it was this past weekend as my partner and I were out camping. While it's still early Spring and relatively chilly and damp in Western Washington, we thought we'd take advantage of a little "adult time" and head out into the wilderness for a little nature and relaxation.  Who would have thought we'd experience a lesson in "missed opportunity."

This time of year, most of the National Park campgrounds are active yet. We were aware that there might be issues with closed campsites, but my partner, being the son of a  renowned nature interpreter, author and long-time member of the Forest Service, decided he would call the National Park Service directly and inquire about the possibility of occupying a camp site in a closed campground.  You see, we didn't want to run afoul of the authorities...

Well, we were told that, while the campsites were closed, it is possible to "pack in" our gear and stay at the site, but that we might be subject to some questioning or even a potential fine, depending on our conduct, trash left behind, etc.  With that knowledge, we set out.  As luck would have it, we found a terrific campground we'd never visited, and while the road to the campground parking spaces was closed, there was no sign anywhere that said the campsite was off-limits. In fact, there were other people already there, having set up their campers and tents. We learned later that this was part of a "work party," and even offered to assist in the campground cleanup if help was needed, but the gal we spoke with was not the organizer of the work party. We were going to have the joy of meeting her later... (more…)

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