Posted by: Susan Hendrich | September 21, 2017

How resilient are you?

Cast light every day…

Everything can be taken from a man or woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.  – Victor E. Frankl

re·sil·ience

noun \ri-ˈzil-yən(t)s\

  1. the capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress
  2. an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change

Throughout my adult life, for various reasons, I have been told that I am resilient. But my story isn’t relevant today. Oh, believe me, I’d like for you to know all the joys and challenges, triumphs and struggles I’ve experienced. But when I’m practicing resilience, sometimes that means casting aside wounds, wonders, worries and woes in order to allow the simplicity of a message to shine through. So in the spirit of simplicity, all I will say right now about my discovery of the power of resilience is that I believe it is important to cast light, every day.

Cast your light

By shining our inner light outward toward the world, we brighten all that we see. So if you are reading this, it is because you were willing to let this light be cast upon you for a moment.

 

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Posted by: Susan Hendrich | July 23, 2017

Humility + Iteration = A Leader’s Saving Grace

Being likeable will help you in your job, business, relationships, and life. I interviewed dozens of successful business leaders for my last book, to determine what made them so likable and their companies so successful. All of the concepts are simple, and yet, perhaps in the name of revenues or the bottom line, we often lose sight of the simple things – things that not only make us human, but can actually help us become more successful. Below are the eleven most important principles to integrate to become a better leader:

1. Listening

“When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.” – Ernest Hemingway

Listening is the foundation of any good relationship. Great leaders listen to what their customers and prospects want and need, and they listen to the challenges those customers face. They listen to colleagues and are open to new ideas. They listen to shareholders, investors, and competitors. Here’s why the best CEO’s listen more.

2. Storytelling

“Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.” -Robert McAfee Brown

After listening, leaders need to tell great stories in order to sell their products, but more important, in order to sell their ideas. Storytelling is what captivates people and drives them to take action. Whether you’re telling a story to one prospect over lunch, a boardroom full of people, or thousands of people through an online video – storytelling wins customers.

3. Authenticity

“I had no idea that being your authentic self could make me as rich as I’ve become. If I had, I’d have done it a lot earlier.” -Oprah Winfrey

Great leaders are who they say they are, and they have integrity beyond compare. Vulnerability and humility are hallmarks of the authentic leader and create a positive, attractive energy. Customers, employees, and media all want to help an authentic person to succeed. There used to be a divide between one’s public self and private self, but the social internet has blurred that line. Tomorrow’s leaders are transparent about who they are online, merging their personal and professional lives together.

4. Transparency

“As a small businessperson, you have no greater leverage than the truth.” -John Whittier

There is nowhere to hide anymore, and businesspeople who attempt to keep secrets will eventually be exposed. Openness and honesty lead to happier staff and customers and colleagues. More important, transparency makes it a lot easier to sleep at night – unworried about what you said to whom, a happier leader is a more productive one.

5. Team Playing

“Individuals play the game, but teams beat the odds.” -SEAL Team Saying

No matter how small your organization, you interact with others every day. Letting others shine, encouraging innovative ideas, practicing humility, and following other rules for working in teams will help you become a more likeable leader. You’ll need a culture of success within your organization, one that includes out-of-the-box thinking.

6. Responsiveness

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” -Charles Swindoll

The best leaders are responsive to their customers, staff, investors, and prospects. Every stakeholder today is a potential viral sparkplug, for better or for worse, and the winning leader is one who recognizes this and insists upon a culture of responsiveness. Whether the communication is email, voice mail, a note or a a tweet, responding shows you care and gives your customers and colleagues a say, allowing them to make a positive impact on the organization.

7. Adaptability

“When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.” -Ben Franklin

There has never been a faster-changing marketplace than the one we live in today. Leaders must be flexible in managing changing opportunities and challenges and nimble enough to pivot at the right moment. Stubbornness is no longer desirable to most organizations. Instead, humility and the willingness to adapt mark a great leader.

8. Passion

“The only way to do great work is to love the work you do.” -Steve Jobs

Those who love what they do don’t have to work a day in their lives. People who are able to bring passion to their business have a remarkable advantage, as that passion is contagious to customers and colleagues alike. Finding and increasing your passion will absolutely affect your bottom line.

9. Surprise and Delight

“A true leader always keeps an element of surprise up his sleeve, which others cannot grasp but which keeps his public excited and breathless.” -Charles de Gaulle

Most people like surprises in their day-to-day lives. Likeable leaders underpromise and overdeliver, assuring that customers and staff are surprised in a positive way. There are a plethora of ways to surprise without spending extra money – a smile, We all like to be delighted — surprise and delight create incredible word-of-mouth marketing opportunities.

10. Simplicity

“Less isn’t more; just enough is more.” -Milton Glaser

The world is more complex than ever before, and yet what customers often respond to best is simplicity — in design, form, and function. Taking complex projects, challenges, and ideas and distilling them to their simplest components allows customers, staff, and other stakeholders to better understand and buy into your vision. We humans all crave simplicity, and so today’s leader must be focused and deliver simplicity.

11. Gratefulness

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” -Gilbert Chesterton

Likeable leaders are ever grateful for the people who contribute to their opportunities and success. Being appreciative and saying thank you to mentors, customers, colleagues, and other stakeholders keeps leaders humble, appreciated, and well received. It also makes you feel great! Donor’s Choose studied the value of a hand-written thank-you note, and actually found donors were 38% more likely to give a 2nd time if they got a hand-written note!

The Golden Rule: Above all else, treat others as you’d like to be treated

By showing others the same courtesy you expect from them, you will gain more respect from coworkers, customers, and business partners. Holding others in high regard demonstrates your company’s likeability and motivates others to work with you. This seems so simple, as do so many of these principles — and yet many people, too concerned with making money or getting by, fail to truly adopt these key concepts.

Which of these principles are most important to you — what makes you likeable?

Posted by: Susan Hendrich | July 4, 2017

Four things to say to the people who matter most

Tree Birds
Nostalgia is following me lately, partly because some important and precious things are changing (more on that next time).
Not knowing what the future holds, we humans tend to turn backwards to review those memories and moments and people that have made our lives meaningful.
I’ve always been close to my family. During the past several years, more than ever, I’m aware of our mortality. Given a heightened awareness of the clicking of life’s clock, I’m in the throes of this retrospective reflection on my family, friends and others who have impacted me.
Tonight I came across the notion of “four things” we should be sure to say to the people important to us, while we still can. This simple list pulled together loose ends that have been dangling in my heart for some time. I thought I’d share the list with you.

Four things to say to the people who matter in your life before it’s too late

  1. I love you
  2. Thank you
  3. Please forgive me
  4. I forgive you
~ From the Hawaiian practice of Ho’oponopono, a cleansing ritual of reconciliation and forgiveness.

What is Ho’oponopono?

“Hoʻoponopono” is defined in the Hawaiian Dictionary as:

(a) “To put to rights; to put in order or shape, correct, revise, adjust, amend, regulate, arrange, rectify, tidy up make orderly or neat, administer, superintend, supervise, manage, edit, work carefully or neatly; to make ready, as canoemen preparing to catch a wave.”

(b) “Mental cleansing: family conferences in which relationships were set right (hoʻoponopono) through prayer, discussion, confession, repentance, and mutual restitution and forgiveness.”

Literally, hoʻo is a particle used to make an actualizing verb from the following noun, as would “to” before a noun in English. Here, it creates a verb from the noun pono, which is defined as: “…goodness, uprightness, morality, moral qualities, correct or proper procedure, excellence, well-being, prosperity, welfare, benefit, true condition or nature, duty; moral, fitting, proper, righteous, right, upright, just, virtuous, fair, beneficial, successful, in perfect order, accurate, correct, eased, relieved; should, ought, must, necessary.”

Ponopono is defined as “to put to rights; to put in order or shape, correct, revise, adjust, amend, regulate, arrange, rectify, tidy up, make orderly or neat.”

 Ira Byock discusses those Four Things to say to people in your life who matter in his book, “The Four Things That Matter Most: A Book About Living

COMING SOON:

  • The Last Time
  • The Terrible Secret
  • Story Corps: StoryCorps changed my life. If you haven’t heard of StoryCorps, it’s time.
  • Necessary Losses
  • Biily Joel – Captain Jack
Posted by: Susan Hendrich | June 23, 2017

Kintsugi: The art of embracing damage.

Is it possible to be more beautiful in the broken places?

Recently, I sent a message to my friend who was struggling, in hopes of lifting her spirits.

My friend had been feeling down. Defeated. Convinced that she wasn’t capable or deserving of success. I knew better, of course. I’ve known her more than half my life. I’ve watched her rise from an aspiring writer to international best selling author. Countless reasons, I could offer, as to why she’s more than capable and perfectly deserving of success.  With indignance, I wanted to shout at her, “You’re already successful! Do you know how many people would dream to live your life for even just one day?”

I had really good intentions that day. It was a thrill, in fact, to think that I could be of help to a hero. Here was little old regular me, being asked to Help…Fix…Repair…Heal…this amazing role model of mine, who happened to be struggling. Being able to nurture and support this person who has served as a model of excellence for me for decades. Here was my chance to make a difference!

And the way I chose to help this supersuccessful person to feel better? I denied her feelings. Not a good thing, turns out.

I countered every single negative thought she was having with a reason why she was wrong and “should feel great” or “ought to forgive” herself or “was being too hard” on herself.

Thinking I was helping, actually I was making it worse. I took away her right to suffer. In fact, I teetered on the cusp of shaming her for feeling down.

With all the best intentions, I missed the whole point. She was feeling broken and needed to let the pieces fall on the floor in front of her.

Realizing that I was making things worse by only focusing on the sunny side and by denying her need to feel broken and fall apart, I suddenly remembered a concept I once heard about the importance of being able to “fall into” pain rather than simply denying it. This concept, I was now remembering, was about honoring and highlighting the broken parts. Drawing attention to the damage, even!

So, what is this radical-acceptance-like process of honoring and even highlighting our failures and broken parts?

It’s called Kintsugi, and it’s a beautiful way of turning damage into beauty.

The Japanese practice of “kintsugi” is the art of embracing damage. Check out this Kintsugi video:

“Now you shall transform to a new level, my friend. Think wabi-sabi and kintsugi: the art of embracing damage!”

Now remembering this concept of being stronger in the broken places, I stopped my barrage of “happy thoughts” and apologized mid-conversation to my friend. I acknowledged that I’d been trying to deny the fact that she felt broken. I was trying to pretend the cracks weren’t there. I told her that I’d suddenly remembered this Japanese art of Kintsugi, and that I would send her a video to illustrate the concept right away. We ended the conversation awkardly, and I seriously questioned whether I knew how to be a good friend.

Pushing past my disappointment in myself, I sent her the Kintsugi video, hoping that she was still open to my support, even after I’d botched and Pollyanna’d my way through our earlier conversation. After I sent the note and video link, I started to question myself.

“Who am I to tell this highly successful and internationally recognized thought leader how to live?”

“Why do I always appoint myself as the ambassador of all that is positive?”

“What if she resents my message and sees it as patronizing?”

There I was, spiraling to all my places in my head where my own brokenness lurks.

Worrying about how my friend might feel after I’d missed the point with her suffering, I was spinning in my own broken parts, thinking…

I’ve spent my whole life embracing the broken, the not quite, and the almost…

  • Saving birds with broken wings
  • Fixing toys with broken parts
  • Cheering for the underdog
  • Coaching those who don’t yet believe in themselves
  • Coaxing sunshine from clouds

Just as my negative self-talk was reaching a fervent pitch in my head, the phone rang.

There was my friend, laugh-crying through the phone line, telling me how she finally felt understood. The video just spoke to her. Captured her. She told me how she felt connected to this concept of embracing damage. How she IS kintsugi. How this concept of mending the broken pieces with gold and proudly displaying them was exactly what she’d needed. It was a great moment, and not just because my friend was feeling better or because I’d been able to help her. It was a great moment because she and I were creating Kintsugi in real time. We were piecing back together a set of broken shards of a conversation and making the resulting product even better than when we’d started.

I knew on that day that I would never look at broken pottery in the same way again.

Now, whenever either of us faces a rough patch in life, or when things fall apart altogether, a single word helps us both begin to put the pieces back together and to anticipate an even more beautiful outcome than the original situation could have intended.

Kintsugi.

Embracing the damage. More beautiful in the broken places.

 

Posted by: Susan Hendrich | June 8, 2017

Momentum: Two tips for accelerated success

Time“I could be so successful, if only I had more time…”

Have you ever heard yourself saying, “If only I had more time…” then finishing that sentence in your head with a sad realization that if you had more time you’d probably fill that gifted time with more harried, hassled, stressful tasks that would leave you even more exhausted than you already are?

Time, precious time

As author Harvey Mackay taught us, time is the one commodity that we can’t reproduce, alter, capture or revisit. Each of us is afforded the same quantity of time on a given day, day after day. Yet how we use that time makes all the difference.

Think about the Food Network television show, “Chopped,” where several chefs are presented with a mystery box and a tiny window of time with a mission to create fabulous food fare. Invariably, one of the contestants groans after the clock runs out and Chef Ted marks “Time’s up!”  The contestant stares at the unfinished dish below and states as if it’s the first time this has ever happened, “I ran out of time” as their reason for not including all of the required ingredients on their plate, or for not cooking their dish to the judges’ satisfaction. But remember, each chef had the same ingredients, the same cookingtimesup station, the same pantry, and the same amount of time. Why were the other chefs able to finish on time with the intended delicious outcome, while Joe Too-Late is still standing there with a raw slab of pork on his station?

 

 

 

So how can we make the most of this precious, limited resource? How do the super-successful time managers seem to breeze through their tasks and still have time to show up at the kids’ soccer games or catch a concert in the park?

One way to optimize your moments, days, weeks and months, is to make time work for you by transforming your time into a force multiplier by harnessing its power in an intentional direction. I’m talking about creating and sustaining momentum.

What is momentum?

While considering the recent passing of my favorite sports writer, Frank Deford, I recalled what I consider to be his most poignant commentary, a short NPR radio article on “momentum.”  It talked of the power of perceived momentum in a competitive sports game. Momentum can be so powerful that it’s like having an extra player on the field. An extra player on the field?  Hmmmn, I thought…like having more of you…or more time…or both! So I decided to look up the definition of this momentum, ’cause I needed to get me some. Then good ol’ Merriam Webster did it again. Dishing out inspiration from the dictionary. Check out the definition of momentum:


mo·men·tum

mōˈmen(t)əm, məˈmen(t)əm/
noun
noun: momentum; plural noun: momenta
  1. Physics. The quantity of motion of a moving body, measured as a product of its mass and velocity.
  2. The impetus gained by a moving object. “The vehicle gained momentum as the road dipped

Momentum – How to get it

If you’re looking for momentum in your life, you can achieve it in two ways:

 

  1. LAUNCH FORWARD FROM THE BAD: Transform negative energy into positive momentum
  2. HARNESS AND MULTIPLY THE GOOD: Capitalize on positive energy, making it a force multiplier

Tip #1: LAUNCH FORWARD FROM THE BAD: Transform negative energy into positive momentum

Gaining momentum from the dip in the road

The first way to bring momentum into your life is by turning a “downturn” into positive energy toward a better situation.

Recall the above example from the dictionary that illustrated the use of the word momentum: “The vehichle gained momentum as the road dipped.”  Positive energy from a negative downturn. That’s it! As life has its ups and downs, we can actually use the negative, uncomfortable road-dipping experiences and energy to generate momentum!  Impetus, gained by moving forward! 

So, positive momentum can be generated by transforming negative energy and experiences into a force multiplier, propelling us forward toward our next goal. “Use the pain!” as my exasperated physical trainer might say to me as I whine through yet another set of 20s.

This concept of using the power of a negative experience to generate positive life force is a familiar one to me. It brings me back to an old addage I used when I was a clinical psychologist trying to help patients find hope when they felt like they were drowning in life’s troubles…”Sometimes, hitting bottom provides you a solid base to push off from, and allows you to gain upward momentum to fresh air above the water’s surface.”

Tip #2: HARNESS AND MULTIPLY THE GOOD: Capitalize on positive energy, making it a force multiplier

Sustain

momentum by adding fuel to your positive fire

child-on-swingThe second way to harness momentum in your life is by taking a positive expeirence, moment, feeling, achievement,  relationship forward with additional positive energy.  I’m sure you remember the junior high school gym teacher explaining that “energy begets energy,” and that the more you exercise, the more energy you will feel.”

 That’s the power of a force multiplier. It’s like adding a gentle push to a child on a swing as they are moving forward. Just enough added energy, and the child is beaming with delight as the swing reaches higher toward the sky.

Take a positive element of your life, say a successful workout session or a well-received presentation at work. Multiply that energy by sharing your success with a loved one. Journal it. Get in your car and jam to your favorite tune in celebration of that success. Take a selfie to show your progress from your workout. Place a memento of your success into an “emotional bank account” folder that you can dip into on rainy days when you aren’t feeling so great. Take that positive momentum and make it last longer by sharing it, celebrating it, crystallizing it and honoring it.

What the Experts Say

Consider these thoughts on Momentum from Thrive Global’s Benjamin P. Hardy in his article, “The 2 Mental Shifts Highly Successful People Make:

Momentum is essential

“When you experience positive momentum, you’ll never want it to stop.” — Dan Sullivan, founder of Strategic Coach

Finally, people who have experienced this first mental shift really care about momentum. They’ve worked hard to develop their momentum and know what it feels like to not have momentum.

Being without momentum is rough. It’s how most people live their lives. And without momentum, results are minimal, even with lots of effort.

Consistency is key to developing momentum. You get it by putting intentional effort toward a singular goal or vision, and eventually the compound effect takes over. It’s as though several outside sources are working for your good. Because, they are.

Keeping momentum once you have it, then, becomes very important. Hence, you must maintain a thirst for continual learning and growth.

Okay, now it’s your turn.  It’s your opportunity to make the most of the precious, limited time we have.  Enter a comment below to share how you will create and sustain momentum in your life.

Carpe momentum!

Susan

Susan E. Hendrich

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