Thursday, November 29, 2012

Self Fulfilling Prophecy

" Whatever we expect with confidence becomes our own self-fulfilling prophecy".Brian Tracy

Have you ever heard of a Self Fulfilling Prophecy (SFP)? 

SFP according to one definition I found is "Any positive or negative expectation about circumstances, events, or people that may affect a person's behavior toward them in a manner that causes those expectations to be fulfilled". 

Does it work?   I can think of instances where I had expectations for a situation, and it turned out entirely different than I had anticipated. Same with some people who performed differently than what I expected.   So, if that is true, what is the benefit of discussing SFP ? 

The relevance is that awareness and belief in SFP may give you an advantage and more "wins"  in life.  How?  To me it is a cause and effect proposition - a force of sorts..... if your goal in life is to be more positive, to be a motivator, to encourage and teach others or to be opportunistic, the Self Fulfilling Prophecy concept is probably something you believe in and apply regularly....think "Visualization" and "Law of Attraction" .

Conversely, if you are a pessimist, are critical of situations or people, lack trust, shoot holes in the ideas or efforts of others, believe that everyone and everything in life is against you or that you always get dealt the low hand,  the SFP concept is definitely at work - although you may not recognize it at the time, and may not want to even acknowledge that the concept applies to your situation or your life. 

Remember that  this is an expectation concept that applies to others, but it also applies to one's belief in self!

Life is a numbers game....a salesman will tell you that they may make 100 pitches to sell a service or a product and close only 5 -10% of what they attempt.  But, a good salesman will tell you that in every single one of the 100 attempts they gave it their all- they qualified the prospect, they were prepared, personable, outlined the benefits, and knew when to attempt their close.  They know up front that they won't close 100% of the people they prospect, but they BELIEVE they can, they visualize success and they also recognize that failure is a given on the road to success.  They recognize a "No" puts them one step closer to a "Yes".  This is a good example of the concept at work....without their belief in themselves, a salesman would not have the correct mindset to insure the outcome of successful closings, and realize the success that is the fruit of their efforts. 

I believe there is great benefit in understanding and applying SLP ...positive expectations of ourselves, others and how we view situations we experience will increase the odds for a more successful, positive and happy life.

Please feel free to email me with your comments, stories, ideas or article or links to topics.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Appreciating the good in your life

“Sometimes we focus so much on what we don't have that we fail to see, appreciate, and use what we do have!”
Jeff Dixon

The holiday season is an especially great time to spend a few moments to reflect on what you appreciate and are thankful for in your life. Sometimes in our busy world it is too hectic to take a "time-out" to think about this, but let me share with you why it is important for well being.

We all have a unique perception about what is important in our lives.  For some, it's climbing the corporate ladder so they can better provide for themselves and their families....for others, it's helping others through volunteering, counseling or education.  I have several young  relatives that feel taking care of our environment "Mother Earth" is important, and they are not pursuing their life goals in a traditional, structured manner.  

Regardless of what is important to you, equally important is the ability to pause, to look around at what is good in your life, and give thanks for what you have in your life--
your friends, your family, your health, your home.

The "D" Word

In our civilized and structured society, we all take so much for granted.  Our expectations are high for ourselves and what we should get from our life, as if we are somehow entitled to what IT IS that we want......  we deserve a higher education, we deserve the finer things in life, we deserve a nicer home, car, boat,  vacation, job, computer, the list goes on, and on and on......but do we deserve IT, or is IT the things in life that we want and it would be nice to have IT , but we necessarily don't deserve, or even need IT to be healthy and happy in our lives.  

“I was angry because I had no shoes, but then i met a man who had no feet.”  Anonymous

Ask a cancer survivor about what is important in their life, and they'll probably tell you their family, their health and their friends.  Ask a child in an undeveloped third world county or a mother in a homeless shelter in our country what's important, and they will tell you warm clothing, shoes, food to feed them and their family, basic transportation and a roof over their heads.

“Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough”
Oprah Winfrey

Whatever our career, whatever our age and whatever our assets, I believe if we spend more time appreciating what we have, we will always be happier than if we don't. The trap we all face in life is always wanting more while not fully appreciating those precious  and unique things we already have. 

So today ....take a moment and reflect on those treasures you already possess...your family, your kids or grandchildren, your friends, your education,  your job, your home or apartment, your health. 

Because my friends, THAT is what will make you happy in life-- being thankful and appreciative of those things you possess that you simply cannot put a price tag on.

Please feel free to email me with your comments, stories, ideas or article or links to topics.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Erase Negativity and enjoy a Positive Life!

“Try giving up all the thoughts that make you feel bad, or even just some of them, and see how doing that changes your life. You don't need negative thoughts. All they have ever given you was a false self that suffers. They are all lies.”
― Gina Lake

Negative thoughts...we all have them, but why?   Habit?   Low self esteem?  Home Environment?  Work Environment?  Self Doubt?

Whatever the reason, they exist, and they exist in each of us to varying degrees.  I laugh because my family knows I do this blog, yet there are times that I will get home from work and just dive in with negativity about stupid things that really don't matter in life. Or, I'll be at work, same thing....something just kicks on that negativity button, and whether it is my inner consciousness talking to me about why I can't do something or my directing the thoughts outward to others.....these thoughts make us feel bad about ourselves, about others, makes those exposed to the behavior feel bad, etc.......No doubt about it, negativity can be a real downer internally and  it places a dark cloud over our relationships with spouses, children, friends and family.

Negative thoughts are not healthy, and we should all practice ways and methods to minimize and eliminate them them from our way of thinking.

I created a list of three simple  things we can do to address and control our exposure and reaction to negative thoughts in our lives.

1)  Many times negative thoughts are self-inflicted-- we need to make a pledge to ourself not to let negative thoughts into our mind, and if they do appear, we need to acknowledge them, be aware of them and banish them or replace them  with positive thoughts...practice willfully taking a negative thought that you encounter frequently and turning it around.

2) Dealing with Negative People:   Many times, if we are in an environment around negative people, we need to be prepared for their perspective before they open their mouth, and train ourselves not to overreact to their comments.  If the barrage is simply too much to take, we need to get away from it...unfortunately, just like positive thoughts breed positive thoughts, negativity breeds negativity.   Did you know that countering a negative with a positive can turn things around almost instantaneously?  Try it, it works really well in a group setting especially if the target is another person.

3) Remember who is in control of our life.  It's not our spouse, our boss, our's US!  Our persona is  defined not only by our actions, but also by our reaction to other's actions.  Use that knowledge to create a better self.
It's simple really....Positive thoughts allow us to flourish and be happier, whereas negative thoughts will make us feel terrible, depressed and dejected.  Take the following situation as an example: a friend or spouse is preparing themselves for a job interview, and they are self-doubting their abilities....prior to the interview you tell them how positive they are, how great they look, or that you know their abilities will shine in the interview...realize it or not, you've just planted a seed and my bet is they do better in the interview  than if you told them "You're right, you are not qualified, you haven't dressed well enough, you seem depressed"....see the difference? 

Live Positively...there really is no better approach to a happy life!

Friday, November 16, 2012

We all make Mistakes ...the key is to learn from them!

"I'd rather have a life full of mistakes than a heart full of regrets." ~Unknown

Mistakes.....we all make them, but what can we learn from them to enrich our lives?

As human beings, we all have intelligence and in our daily lives we usually make decisions that are rational, sound and well thought out.

However, it is inevitable that due to rushing, lack of experience or just plain 'ol brain fade we do something that afterwards, turned out to be the wrong decision, the wrong choice, the wrong way, and guess what?  We realize we've  made a mistake!

People will react to this realization in different ways. and  many try to explain it off....they blame an interruption, bad information, a co-worker, their spouse, kids, get the picture--there are a millions ways to attempt to justify or create an excuse as to why a mistake was made...regardless, there are 3 things one should strive to do when they realize it has happened to them.

#1:   Always own up to your mistakes.  At work, if your mistake affects your performance or your company's performance, own up to it and devise a plan to resolve or minimize it.   Everyone makes mistakes and nobody appreciates or respects those that blame others or circumstances on their bad decision or action.  On the other hand, everybody can relate to a mistake because its happened to them!

#2:   Learn from your mistakes.  OK, you know you've made one, now what?  Can it be fixed or minimized?  If so, how?  Spend some time thinking about the situation honestly, do a self-appraisal, and make a mental note as to why it occurred and what you will do differently next time a similar decision needs to be made.  This involves some frank honesty with yourself as well as some humility, but done right it will make you a better decision maker!

#3     Work hard not to repeat your mistakes.  See #2--it's all about training yourself to become more effective with experience and get that internal radar to kick in when a mistake is about to happen.  Training yourself will take thought and discipline, but the alternative is to repeat the mistakes again and again......  There is a saying that one cannot expect a different outcome from applying the same approach to solving a problem or is so true, but it is amazing how many never learn from experience!  You have to train yourself to think differently so that the desired outcome,  which of course is no more mistakes, occurs.

When others that own up to mistakes come to you, don't be too guide them through the above steps, and emphasize that you believe in them and their abilities and know they'll make the right decision next time!  People many times are much more sensitive than they let on and will appreciate you more for being reasonable and helpful to them in dealing with the dilemma at hand.

We all need to realize as humans that mistakes are a natural part of the learning curve, and since we are always learning, it is inevitable they will happen to each of us. 

We should not be afraid of making mistakes..they are a vital part of learning and gaining experience -- However,  it's how they are dealt with once they are made that determines the level of success one achieves in life.  Fear of making a mistake will limit the ability and effectiveness of a person, and they will have lost many opportunities in life if they feed that fear!

Not all mistakes have a bad ending...... conversely they teach us how to become a better person, a better decision maker and sometimes the end result is that  mistake  changes the world!

Consider this --  super glue, Champagne, Coca Cola, Teflon, Penicillin, Dry Cleaning, Potato Chips and the adhesive for  Post it Notes are all product examples of accidents or mistakes by their inventor! 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Compassion - The Story of Andy

The story of Andy is a heartwarming personal story about the power of caring and compassion, and I am happy to share it with you.

About 2 years ago,  I was walking around the parking lot of one of the office buildings I am involved in  leasing in Elk Grove and I noticed a strange car parked in one of the spaces.  It looked like it may have been abandoned  so I took a picture of it and tagged it for towing.

That same afternoon I received a call from one of my Tenants who told me the car had been parked at the same spot for about a week and that she thought someone was living in it.  I told her I had tagged it and would be towing it in the next day or so.   The next morning I received another call from the Tenant and she told me the owner of the car was in the car, so I drove to the building to confront the owner.   I never suspected what was about to happen would have such a profound effect on me and several others that got pulled into this situation......

I yelled out to the car owner as I approached the car, but no answer...I thought maybe he had earbuds on and could not hear me so I walked around the front of the car and he finally saw me and got out of the vehicle.  I started talking to him, and he stood there, listening to me, but I was not sure he was comprehending what I was saying.  After I explained that he had to move his car or it would be towed, he moved closer...I noticed he looked about 30-35, dark hair, slight build, clean cut, and as he started to talk I noticed he had a speech impediment.

His name is Andy, and as it turns out, he is deaf.  He told me the car was the only thing he owned and that  he had been living with his sister in a home in Galt, the next town to the South, but he found out she had been taking money out of a joint savings account (which represented all the money he had been able to save working a maintenance job over the last year).  When he confronted her, she got mad and kicked him out of the house.  I   asked him if he had any other family locally, and he indicated he had a Mom that kicked him out of her house when he turned 18 and he never returned. 

So here was this man named Andy, living in his car..abandoned by his own family, stuck in our parking lot.  His car broke down in the lot and he had no money to fix it.   Hopelessness.   He had been walking about 2 miles each way to work every day.   He seemed like a genuinely nice guy, so I told him to wait a moment......I went into my leasing office and called a friend of mine, Marie,  who happens to be the Executive Director of the Elk Grove Food Bank.  I printed out information on the Food Bank and its services and brought the printout to Andy and asked him to call them, they might be able to help him with food, shelter and a way to get his car fixed.

What happened next amazed me and reinstilled my faith in humanity...Marie has a large network of friends, and within a day not only found an anonymous donor to commit the funds to get Andy's car running and get new tires on it, she also indicated  in a call to me she had met Andy personally and immediately decided to take him under her wings and help him get back on his feet.  The anonymous donor spent over $5,000 for a new engine and tires for Andy's car, he was put up in lodging, and was provided a ride to get to work and back each day. Another donor bought Andy two new hearing aids, worth about $2,000, which allowed him the hear well for the first time in his life. 

To hear Marie explain her assistance afterwards, she said it wasn't a hand out...instead it was  a hand upMarie and all of Andy's donors are all heroes in my book!

Andy subsequently landed a better job, and moved into his own apartment after being homeless for almost 3 years!  He also to this day volunteers at the food bank a couple of days a month.    A couple of months ago, I recieved a call from Marie---she told me Andy wanted to have lunch with me, Marie and his donor/mentor, a very generous local resident who I won't name here.  When Andy saw me, he came up to me, gave me a hug and a sincere "thanks" for helping him out that fateful day.  We had a very enjoyable lunch and promised to do it again real soon....

Who would have imagined the time spent to listen to a stranger's seemingly hopeless situation and make one phone call for someone down on their luck could have such a profound positive  effect on several lives?  I didn't , but after that experience, I will never take for granted those that I come across in need...I sincerely believe compassion towards those less fortunate is a virtue......besides, one never knows when they will come across the next "Andy"!

Here is a link to the Food Bank blog  article about Andy:

Please feel free to email me with your comments, stories, ideas or article or links to topics.

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Empowerment Process

“Some men have thousands of reasons why
they cannot do what they want to,
when all they need is one reason
why they can”

Empowerment is a multi-dimensional social process that helps people gain control over their own lives. It is a process that fosters power (the capacity to implement) in people for use in their own lives, their communities, and in their society, by acting on issues that they define as important.

We all want to believe that we are in control of our lives, but we all realize there are macro forces that always seem to interfere with our desired outcome given particular situations. I refer to these forces as "obstacles".

Why is Empowerment important and what is "Self-Empowerment?

As leaders at work or as owners of our company, we want to empower our employees so that they become competent self-starters and contribute benefically to our operation.

As parents, we want to empower our children to assure us that they believe in themselves and their abilities and will be able to fend for themselves and contribute to society once they leave the nest.

As individuals, we need to empower ourselves and eliminate doubt, fear and self-inflicted (and often times, not so flattering) negative beliefs in ourselves that ultimately limit our productivity and therefore success in our lives. (This is referred to as "Self-Empowerment").

We all tend to forget the FACT that each of us are capable of accomplishing great things in our lifetime! Many times our biggest obstacle is ourselves.

Once a person tosses aside fear, excuses, worry and self-doubt, they gain a better ability to not only see their goals and aspirations in clearer perspective, they have much better focus on what is important and subsequently, which actions they need to take to pursue those things that matter in their life….a better job, starting a company, more travel, better relationships, more exercise, the list goes on, and on……

As a unique individual in this world with talents that only you possess, what’s holding you back from achieving your dreams? Time keeps on ticking, and you deserve success as much as the next person, but..... you HAVE to truly commit to believe in yourself and your abilities first!

Remember, ultimately, you owe it to yourself not to settle for anything less than what you deserve—you become what you sow!

Here are links to 2 websites that I believe are good resources for people desirous of achieving their maximum potential. This site has a great daily” Promise List” you can print out. ...great quote site! 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Community Commitment and the Rotary 4-way Test

Giving back to community is probably one of the most rewarding things we can do to feel like our efforts are going directly to something benefical and tangible - to many, volunteering is much more rewarding than writing a check.

I believe in giving back of my time, money and talents--throughout my life I have always had the desire to give back to assist those less fortunate and to organizations that improve our way of life.  In High School I was involved in the American Red Cross working in assisted care homes, and in my college years assisted Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Junior Achievement and KVIE Public TV  with phone banks and events ......Over the last decade  I  served on the Advisory Board for The Elk Grove Food Bank, and the Board for the Elk Grove Chamber of Commerce and the Chamber PAC and Elk Grove Economic Development Corporation. 

But my absolute favorite volunteer organization is Rotary.

In 1999, I was invited to a Rotary meeting by a friend of mine and past District Governor.  By the end of the first meeting, I realized Rotary's mission in my community, in our country and in the world closely aligned with my values,  and I subsequently became a member.  Now, Rotary does much good in the world, from their huge push to eradicate Polio  (The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has commited hundreds of millions of dollars in support of the campaign) to providing wheelchairs or fresh water to people in 3rd world countries.  Locally, our clubs in the 5180 Disctrict do much good around the region such as building park enchancements, assisting families at Christmas and building gardens at Elementary schools so children can learn the skills needed to grow their own vegetables.

But the lure that Rotary dangled that I bit on was the 4-way Test of the things we think, say and do.  This is so powerful, and on a daily basis I try really hard to meet this standard.

1. Is it the Truth?

2. Is it fair to all concerned?

3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships?

4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

That's it, 4 simple questions.  If you already meet this standard in your daily dealings, good for you!  What this test challenges me to do every day, with every interaction I have with co-workers, clients, family, friends, etc... is to live my life as honestly and fairly as I am able to.

You do not have to be a Rotarian to live by this standard; many of you are religious and live your lives according to the above test already. But it is nice to have an easy standard to help guide us through our days, assist us in our daily dealings and decisions, and sets us up for solid long term relationships with clients, coworkers and friends that know who we are, what we're about and most importantly, trust us. 

For more information on Rotary go to

For more information on the 4 way test, go to

Have a great week!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Random Acts of Kindness


We have an interesting culture here in America -- many of us wake up early each day, get ready for work, commute to our job,  put in our 8-12 hour commitment at work, go home, eat, spend some time with our families,  watch some TV or maybe spend some time on the computer, get ready for bed and do it all again the next morning.....oh, and added to that if you are a parent... deal with  kids to wake up,  feed, dress and drop off/pick up from daycare or school, homework, sports, clubs, etc.  On top of all that,  schedule in working out, shopping, preparing meals, cleaning our homes, dealing with car issues, paying bills, volunteer work and other stuff we all need to somehow manage to eek into our schedules each day.

We are an extremely busy culture, and it seems that everyone is in a rush these days--you see it on the road, at the market, at restarants and pretty  much anywhere people gather together for a service or product....  It's even more pronounced in big cities like San Fancisco or New York.  It's all about squeezing as much as you can into as little time as possible, and our collective patience for things like lines at the supermarket and downloads from our smartphones is waning.  It has gotten to the point where we are an "on demand" society in many ways, and  I think we'll all ackowledge--Life can be stressful!

By Friday afternoon, we are looking forward to our weekends, maybe a trip, some yard work, dinner with friends or family or a movie, and many of us are exhausted!  Of course, the weekend zips by way too quickly and Monday morning is here before we know it and the cycle starts all over again...

However, as busy as we are, we all have opportunities in our day to make a difference to someone we may not even know through random acts of kindness. 

What exactly is a random act of kindness and why should it be important to us?  Well, to me a random act of kindness defines those that offer it and benefits those on the receiving end....without expectation by the Offeror of any reciprocation whatsoever. 

These acts are important to me, because  many times as the Offeror, it simply makes me feel good as a person knowing my act helped someone..  At that  moment an act occurs, the person receiving the act realizes they actually matter to someone else, which is a very powerful pick me up.  Of course, being on the receiving end of an act of kindness also feels good and is always appreciated and makes my day better!

Some examples of random acts of kindness are:
  • Donating money to a family dealing with a hopeless or tragic situation.
  • Giving the other car that parking space closest to the building.
  • Letting that person that appears to be in a rush go ahead of you at the market.
  • Mowing your elderly neighbors yard.
  • Complimenting someone on their hair, clothing, work performed, etc...
  • Buying an extra turkey and bringing it to your local shelter during the holidays.
  • Doing your significant others chores as a surprise to them.
  • Letting that car cut in in front ouf you from a driveway during a busy commute.


There is actually an foundation that promotes Random Acts of Kindness...below is the link.

There are some inspiring stories in their web site and also ideas, quotes and links that you may find interesting.