Aliveatwork's Blog

Education and Experience
March 26, 2012, 6:15 am
Filed under: Alive @ Work, Alive at Work, Aliveness, Leadership | Tags: , ,

American Folk Singer Pete Seeger was born on May 3, 1919.

For those of you who haven’t heard of him, Pete wrote  “Where Have All The Flowers Gone” and “If I Had A Hammer” both which were made famous by the Mamas & The Papas.

He also wrote “Turn, Turn, Turn.” which was made famous by The Byrds and quite a few other hits back in the 60’s.

This year … God willing …  Pete is going to turn 93.

Regardless of whether you agree with a person’s politics or their beliefs, you can always learn something from them … if you’re open- minded.

That said … living that long, chances are Pete has had some amazing experiences and he’s certainly learned some valuable lessons.

Apparently, one of the things he’s learned is the difference between education and experience.

Here’s what he said about them …

“Do you know the difference between education and experience? Education is when you read the fine print; experience is what you get when you don’t.”

Having an education is important. It can get you an interview, a chance to prove yourself, and maybe even a job.

Learning from your experiences can help you to keep it!

What valuable lessons might you learn from your experiences this week?

Open your eyes AND your mind … you might just get a great education!

Are You Achieving Excellence? No But …

At different times and with different clients when I ask them if they believe they are achieving excellence, too often I hear …

No, I wouldn’t say excellence … But we’re better than we were 2 years ago!

My first thought is always … What if you were mediocre 2 years ago?

So now you’re a little better than mediocre … and you’re okay with that?

Comparing yourself to what you did 2 years keeps you trapped in the past. It prevents you from taking risks (so you can feel safe) and it keeps you chained to average or poor past performance.

But what if you were doing really well 2 years ago?

Even if you were, comparing yourself to that point in time only tells you what you might have been capable of … back then.

It still doesn’t help you achieve your optimal level of excellence NOW.

Besides, your customers don’t care what you did for them 2 years, 6 months, or 6 days ago they only care what you do for them TODAY!

Achieving excellence means you continuously push yourself beyond where you feel comfortable and into new territory.

It means that you embrace change, fear, and new ideas.

Notice I didn’t say ACCEPT change, fear, and new ideas … I said EMBRACE change … Their is a big difference.

So are you achieving excellence? If not here’s a few thoughts:

6 Thoughts on Achieving Excellence:

  1. Excellence is not a place you arrive at. If it was, you wouldn’t be there very long because as soon as you stop striving for excellence … you lose it!
  2. Excellence is a state of mind (belief) that needs to permeate every crevice of your business and your life.
  3. It takes less than a nanosecond to decide to “be” excellent (that’s step 1).
  4. Once you decide simply start acting with excellence in everything that you do (and that’s step 2).
  5. And when you get stuck (not if, but when) simply ask yourself this question … What would an excellent (leader, sales person, parent, teacher, husband, wife, etc) do in a situation like this?
  6. And then as Nike says … JUST DO IT!

One last thought … If you want to be a student of excellence …

Remember what psychologist Warren Bennis said …

“Excellence is a better teacher than mediocrity.”

Now go “be” excellent!

Getta … iPad 3?

The Apple iPad 3 was released today!

1000’s of people waited in line to be some of the 1st  people on the planet to own one!

To those of you still waiting in line … just in case you’re bored and want to GETTA little something extra for your efforts …


Life (Yes a real one that includes some of the following … )

Job (You obviously have too much time on your hands)

Purpose (Something bigger than yourself that goes beyond wasting your time in a line waiting to buy an iPad, iPhone, iTouch, etc.)

Pet (Yes, it is a living breathing companion  and you don’t plug it in)

Friend (Preferably not someone you just met in line)





Energy Level … Going …. ?

The other night I had a potentially energy draining experience at the local Shell gas station.

After realizing that gas was .15 per gallon more than the local grocery store (I should’ve bought it when I was there)  I filled the tank up.

As I waited for the pump to finish processing the transaction so I could get my receipt, I wondered to myself …

So why the big price difference? Better quality gas? Better service? Hey wait a minute this is self-serve isn’t it???

The transaction was completed and up on the screen the message flashed … Would you like  a receipt – yes or no?

Why of course I would, so I pressed yes! Up on the screen a new message flashes … Please see attendant for receipt!

Are you kidding me!!!! I went inside and stood there for 6 minutes while the cashier who had giant discs wedged in his ear lobes tried to impress  the cute young lady in front of me as he slowly and painfully  rang up her single can of Red Bull.

He finally gets to me and says “Can I help you?” “Why yes you can … not only is your gas .15/cents a gallon more than Fry’s you inconvenience me by making me wait for a receipt that I should be getting at the pump!”

“Pump number?” he replies.  It was then I lost my cool. “Pump number?????? I don’t know … I don’t care … I don’t even want a receipt at this point … All I want is an apology for being inconvenienced!”

Just when you think it can’t get worse … “I didn’t inconvenience you sir … the company did!”

I could feel the anger rising in me and the negativity starting to drain any happiness or joy I was feeling 15 minutes prior to stopping for gas.


As far as I could tell I had 3 choices:

  1. Jump over the counter and rip the giant quarter size gauges out of his ear lobes.
  2. Walk out and never buy gas there again.
  3. Decide that I would not allow an external factor (person, situation, etc) drain me of one of my most valuable resources … MY ENERGY!
Door #3 please … yes the box where Carol Merrill is now standing!!

Every day we are faced with decisions and how we respond to those decisions determines whether our energy level increases or decreases.

Giving negative situations or people access to our energy supply will most certainly rob you of this precious resource. Negative factors drain energy at a very rapid rate.

Protecting your energy supply by responding in a positive manner can actually increase your energy level. Sometimes you just need to laugh and let it go!

So what about you …

  1. Are you aware of the energy draining people or situations in your life?
  2. What if you only had a lifetime limited supply of energy (units) in your life? Would that change how quickly you let go of  those negative situations or people?
  3. Imagine what your life would be like if you made a conscious decision to let go of the negative people, situations, customers, and beliefs that are robbing you of your precious energy? And you did it in a positive, loving way?

I think Aristotle had it right when he said … “The energy of the mind is the essence of life!”

So what direction is your energy headed … going up?

Need A Lift?

“I dare you to move …                           I dare you to move,”

“I dare you to pick yourself  ….            up off the floor”


Have you ever had an amazing day where you felt like everything was going your way?

Until it wasn’t …

You get the first bit of not-so-positive news and you say, “No worries… this must be happening for a reason … right?”

And then another not-so-positive event comes up behind it and you say, “Hmmmmm … what the heck am I doing to attract this stuff?”

And then you get hit one more time with another frustrating event, an event that in-and-of- itself, wouldn’t be an issue at all.

And because it is the third not-so positive one today you collapse under what feels like the weight of the world that has just landed … on top of you!

Once your down there the questions start coming from that little voice inside your head … Why me? Why today? What else can possibly go wrong?

And then it takes a wicked turn … What’s wrong with me? You know maybe I’m just not X enough … or Y enough or …. XYZ enough?

Oh my God … I’m not L-M-N-O-P enough either!

And then from some place inside a voice screams out … STOPPPPPPPPPP!!!!!!

Gut Check Time

Okay what would I tell a Coaching client at this moment in time?

I would say …ask yourself these 3 questions:

  1. What are you afraid of losing? (Fear is about loss and it’s obvious I am in a place of fear)
  2. What is the truth (Knowing 93% of the things I worry about never happen)
  3. What needs to happen right now? (What action do I need to take get moving forward and back on track)

Answering these questions will move you from an emotional state of reaction in the future and into a more logical state of reason in the present. In other words from victim to victor!

Here’s what I know:
  1. If I lose a deal, a client, a gig I will find more because the world is a place of abundance … there is always more!
  2. If plans don’t unfold exactly the way I want them to I can still have a great time … as long as I stay present in the moment and open myself up to greater possibilities or gifts!
  3. When I trust (embrace) the process exactly as it unfolds … I am free! Free to stand back up and move forward!

And one last thought …

Never ever forget who you are (your authentic self)!

Never ever forget what you do (your mission)!

Never ever forget why you are here (your purpose)!

Remember those things … and you will always get back up!

Somebody Hold Me Accountable .. PLEASE!!!!

Most of us want to be successful …

Most of us want what we want …

Most of us want more …

And the truth be told … we want it to be easy!

Have you ever wished you could simply wave a magic wand and create your dream life?

What would you wish for … exotic cars, amazing houses, fabulous vacations, traveling the world …  of course you would give a portion to charity … right?

Whatever your dream is, you know that success doesn’t happen just because you read  “The Secret” or that it will simply knock on your  front door while you’re inside watching American Idol on the couch!

Well maybe some folks do … and most of us know that if we want to be successful we need a few things.

We need: 

  1. Clarity –  of our vision or goal – what we really want.
  2. A Plan – that is well defined, attainable, and measurable.
  3. Consistent Execution – over a long period of time.
  4. Accountability – that keeps us on track or helps us get back on track when we slip a little or a lot! 

Of course all four components are needed in order to be successful. But if I had to admit which of the four I find the most difficult to achieve … I would say Accountability. Why?

First, I think it is difficult to commit to being held accountable. It requires a willingness to be vulnerable, a surrendering of sorts … and surrendering or asking for help typically isn’t in my vocabulary.

Second, I think it is rare to find the right person or group of people who challenge you, question you, praise you, guide you, help you get back up on your feet when you fall down, and love you enough to tell you the truth … the whole truth and nothing but the truth!

We can all sit down and write out our goals … we do it all the time. We can create a plan, and start executing our plan. We can even hold ourselves accountable … for awhile.

However, I have found that without checking in with another person or group on a daily or weekly basis I easily start to slip off the path …

And when I slip off the path my actions become erratic and inconsistent …

And when I am inconsistent with my actions I am not following my plan so well …

And when I don’t follow the plan … I don’t achieve my goals or the level of success that I want … basically I miss the target.

Accountability is the glue that holds it all together. It is what gets you back on track, It’s the pat on the butt when you succeed and a kick in the a** when you need to stop feeling sorry for yourself and play bigger!

So what about you … who’s holding you accountable?

Need a little help?

If you need a kick in the a** email me, call me, or respond to this blog, and I will help you find a system that can help you achieve more success than you ever thought was possible!

And you were waiting for … ?