Business As Usual And Other Facts Of Life

Business As Usual And Other Facts Of Life

Business as usual in the world of personal success is much more than simply believing that people are basically trustworthy. It probably comes as no surprise that merely trusting others is not the end of it. The question is not just, “Who do you trust?” It isn’t, “Who trusts you?” either, since even world class scoundrels likely are trusted sometimes by someone. The question is, “Is there any good reason why anyone should trust you?”

Now that gives it a whole new perspective. You say, “You can trust me. You have my word on it.” Well, okay, but so what? Seeing is believing, show me, talk is cheap, time will tell, and all that. Your being trustworthy is not one of those things you can just proclaim and think that is the end of it. It is not something you tell people about you. It is a judgment other people make about you. That is why you need to conscientiously work at being sure that you truly are trustworthy, every time, with everyone.

The next requirement is being candid. Actually, it is a double requirement, with being trustworthy and being candid sitting side by side. You can’t have one without the other in the world of personal success.

Consider someone who is blunt, direct, frank, and straight forward. There is someone who is candid, sure enough. Got the picture? Okay, erase that picture and consider someone who is neither blunt, direct, frank, nor straight forward. Is this someone you are going to trust? Not likely!

Now picture someone who is authentically candid and who combines that candor with trustworthiness, genuine sincerity, and a liberal splash of sensitivity. There is someone who is truly exceptional. People like that are also the people who become success superstars. If you’d like to join this elite company one day, just keep in mind that you must be committed to being candid, every time, with everyone.

Being focused is equally essential. Taking care of business can get very complex and complicated. If you do not stay focused, it will soon be all she wrote, as they say. While you are in the heat of the game, though, it is not enough to simply keep your eye on the ball. You have to keep it on the other players too. Since they have all got balls of their own, you will also need to keep your eye on their balls. In fact, the superstars at taking care of business are the players who have the uncanny ability to focus on their ball, the other players, and the other players’ balls simultaneously or at least that is how it looks to the unsophisticated observer. Strictly on a “from my mouth to your ear” basis, it is not necessarily so. The high flyers have mastered a secret technique. They only focus on one ball or one player at a time and never on a player and a ball at the same time. Now, that is focus! But there is more.

Players ready for the first string can predict from other players’ moves where their balls are going. Since they know where all the balls are headed, they do not need to know where other players or their balls actually are. Do you get it? You do not keep track of or worry about other players. The key to taking care of business is keeping focus on the balls and knowing where yours is in relation to where the other balls will end up.

A moral approach to taking care of business is certainly the next bottom line success requirement. This does not mean that people who do not take a moral approach are bad or evil people, though they may be. It simply means that they are not committed to personal success, I. e., they do not take a principle centered, value centered approach to business.

I would not presume to tell you what your principles and values should be, though I do have a few strong opinions about the subject. Having principles that direct your actions and values that force your choices are essential ingredients for developing PPS. For example, “I will never knowingly give a customer a product or service that is below the standard I promised.” That means you have to do it right, the first time, on time, every time. Now there is a principle to live up to, one that certainly directs your actions.

What principles direct your actions, direct how you take care of business? If you have three or four clear, non negotiable principles by which you always do business, you are up there with the success creme de la creme.

Values of course follow principles; but they are not simply a list of things you like. For example, your principle is that you will do the right things right, the first time, on time, every time. The missing question is, WHAT are the right things?” Perhaps they are products that reliably do what they are supposed to do or services that consistently accomplish what they are intended to accomplish. You value products and services that work, the first time, on time, every time. Having that “value” will then force many choices you need to make about products and services, about how you use your resources, and about people who produce or use those products and services. Think about your principles and about the values that follow from them. Coming to grips with that moral cluster is how you commit yourself to a moral approach to taking care of business, every time, with everyone.

Predictability joins the success equation and combines with a moral approach to taking care of business. There certainly are those unscrupulous types who are totally predictable: you can simply assume that they are only taking care of No. 1 and that they will screw you every chance they get. If you join predictability with moral principles and values, though, it is indeed a pleasure for others to experience. People do not always know what you are going to do or how you are going to do it; but they always know why you do it: you are following your principles and values. You are innovative, original, creative, and uniquely you, sure enough. At the same time, you are predictable and anyone who understands your principles and values knows that it is so. Does predictability sound like something you want to incorporate into your approach to business? If so, you need to understand that predictability is a product of pursuing your principles and values every time, with everyone.

Persistence is the final requirement. Being worthy of trust, candor, staying focused, taking the moral high ground, and predictability are honorable and worthwhile pursuits. At the same time, none of them are easy, automatic, or guaranteed paths to success. Rather, they are sometimes slow and often tedious commitments to your success. Even so, intentionally and persistently pursuing personal excellence every time, in every way, with everyone is the cost and the opportunity available to those committed to personal success.

A final tip will help you along the way as you take care of business. Suppose you are hot on the trail of a great deal, a resolution to a nasty conflict, an answer to a tough question. Without a hint, it suddenly all goes sour. Have you been there, up close and personal? Sure you have. It is frustrating to say the least and is usually down–right maddening. The nearly irresistible temptation is to poke at it just one more time, take just one more shot. Sure, I know. The problem with resisting temptation is that it may be the only chance you get. Nonetheless, it really may be time to put the old dog in the truck and call it a day.

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It probably comes as no surprise that merely trusting others is not the end of it. The question is not just, “Who do you trust?” It isn’t, “Who trusts you?” either, since even world class scoundrels likely are trusted sometimes by someone. The question is, “Is there any good reason why anyone should trust you?” This article explores this and other principles of personal success.


Young people, like adults, have better days and worse days. Even so, they typically stay toward the middle between better and worse and seldom drift very far toward worse. They have many more up days than down, with the down days being reasonably described as feeling sad or just bummed out.

The point is that as dramatic as youngsters can sometimes be, they do not normally get seriously down or depressed; and when they do, it does not last more than a few days. They rebound fairly quickly.

The same holds for their behavior and adjustment. They keep it between the lines most of the time; and if they get a little out of bounds, it is unusual and temporary.

The following statements describe a well–adjusted young person. Although any youngster is unlikely to fit the descriptions all the time, the descriptions fit most young people most of the time. When a youngster’s behavior or adjustment noticeably deviates from the description, concern is appropriate. If the problem or issue goes on for more than a few days, something is going on that needs appropriate adult intervention. Talk with the young person about your concern. If that does not lead to positive change within a couple of weeks, consider consulting with a professional who has expertise in working with young people. If the problem or issue is more severe or serious, do not wait to initiate your intervention.

1. Is energetic and interested in what is going on around him or her.

2. Feels attractive.

3. Is relaxed and comfortable with himself or herself.

4. Likes himself or herself.

5. Is self–confident.

6. Has a normal appetite and eating habits.

7. Stays away from drugs and alcohol.

8. Is happy and in a positive mood.

9. Manages his or her temper and anger responsibly.

10. Is honest and truthful.

11. Is a good student.

12. Feels successful.

13. Likes school.

14. Finishes projects, assignments, or other things for which he or she is responsible.

15. Is well behaved.

16. Is easy for parents, teachers, and other adults to deal with.

17. Is a responsible person.

18. Is a dependable person.

19. Has friends his or her age.

20. Makes good choices when it comes to friends.

21. Gets along well with his or her friends.

22. Follows the rules and goes along with what is expected of him or her at school and at home.

23. Makes friends easily.

24. Is adventurous and willing to try new things.

25. Handles day–to–day stresses and tensions well.

26. Is healthy.

27. Will talk about things with parents or other adults.

Now you know so there you go.


I think we all know that things are constantly changing, whether or not we are paying attention to the changes. It may seem that everything is the same today as they were yesterday, but they aren’t. Even if we don’t notice, nothing is quite the same today as it was yesterday. Things change, people change, circumstances change, and we change too.

What this fact of life and living demonstrates is that change is a process and not an event. The outcome may appear to be spontaneous but never is. Fortunately, we can usually understand what happened if we stop to consider it carefully. Even if we don’t understand, we know that the change was a result of a process that is just not clear to us.

At times, we decide that we are not satisfied with the status quo and want things or circumstances to change. The change we want may be for us, our family, a specific relationship, our work team, our company or other organization, our community, or within any context where we think change is desirable or necessary. That is when we consider initiating the change process. We know we don’t like how things currently are, and we have a notion about how we would like them to be. Getting from where things are now to how we want them to be is an example of the change process that is always chugging away. For this change though, we intend to be the change agent.

Whenever you intend to be the change agent, there are twelve questions you should ask and answer before initiating the change process that leads to the change you want; and the bigger or more important the change is for you and for others, the more critical it is for you to ask and answer the twelve questions.

Here are the twelve questions. Answer each “Yes,” or “No,” in relation to the change process you intend to initiate. For these questions, “yes” is only “Yes” if you are quite sure. If not, the answer is “NO,” until you are sure.

1. Do you expect the change process to succeed, to make a positive difference?

2. Do you have a realistic vision of or perception of success – how things will be when the change succeeds?

3. Are you personally motivated by the likely payoff or outcome of the change?

4. Do you understand that – in the long run – it would take as much time and energy to maintain the status quo or current situation as it will to get the payoff from the change?

5. Are you prepared to take full responsibility for your participation and interaction throughout the change process?

6. Do you understand your active role and influence in the change process?

7. Do you understand and are you committed to what will be required for the process to succeed?

8. Are you confident in your ability to do what is necessary to realize the expected change?

9. Are you comfortable working with the others involved in the change process?

10. Are you looking beyond simple self–interest in the change succeeding?

11. Do you see each participant benefiting from his or her participation in the change process?

12. Are you being realistic about your ability, skill, and capacity to function effectively within the change process?

Did you answer “Yes” to each of the twelve questions? If so, you are good to go. If not, you would be well advised to give a little more thought to it be fore initiating the change process you are contemplating.

Now you know so there you go.


1. What do you think it means to have good mental health?

2. What do you do to help your mental health?

3. What do you like about yourself?

4. What helps you feel happy, excited, satisfied? What kinds of people, situations, things help you feel good, help you be emotionally positive?

5. When do you feel unhappy? What kinds of people, situations, or things get you to feeling afraid, angry, sad, confused, or feeling emotionally negative?

6. Sometimes our negative emotions get out of balance and sort of take over. When this happens, we sometimes have problems with our behavior and adjustment. When your emotions get a little out of balance and the negative emotions take over, what kinds of problems does it cause you with your behavior, your adjustment?

7. Our feelings are okay. This includes feeling afraid, angry, or sad. How we deal with our feelings makes a difference, though. How do you deal with it when you feel angry, when you feel afraid, when you feel sad?

8. It is important to understand our anger and to express it appropriately. How do you express your anger? How do you let people know when you are angry?

9. It is important to understand our fears and to talk about them. What do you think is going on with you when you feel afraid? With whom do you talk about your fears?

10. Being sad is normal. Understanding why we are sad and sharing our sadness with someone else is an important part of good mental health. With whom do you share your sadness?

11. When our negative emotions get out of balance, it is important to try to understand and share those emotions with others. It is also important to get our emotions back into balance. When you are experiencing negative emotions, what kinds of things do you do to get things back into balance, to help yourself feel more emotionally positive?

12. The first person who can help you is you. You do this by being nice to yourself. What do you do to be sure that these nice things happen for you? – Sharing your feelings with others – Being positively involved with other people – Being cheerful with other people – Being helpful to other people – Enjoying a well balanced diet – Getting plenty of sleep – Trying new things – Keeping a good balance of work, rest, and play – Getting held when you need it – Giving and getting hugs – Not abusing or misusing alcohol or drugs – Being as nice to others as you would like them to be to you.

13. Feel good about yourself and others will feel good about you. Be nice to yourself – you deserve it. What have you done today to be nice to yourself? What will you do tomorrow to be nice to yourself? You are a special person. You are a person with style, all the time, on purpose.

Monkey Bridges And PRIDE

Monkey Bridges And PRIDE

The monkey bridge loomed monstrously between us and success. If perchance you do not know about monkey bridges, picture and learn.

Jim and I were twelve and had our sights on being Eagle Scouts. Back then, you could not get there without a hiking merit badge; and that came a few miles after a mandatory twenty mile hike.

The monster hike day started early and was going well for the first five or six miles; and then came the monster hill. Twelve–year–old boys like to refer to most anything as monsters. For example, monster sandwiches, monster hits into left field, and monster anything else that meets their varying standard for big. But the monster hill really was a monster.

Jim and I just sat there for a while, saying things like, ‘There’s the monster hill,’ and ‘It’s a monster sure enough.’

This went on for a while when I asked, ‘How are we ever going to get all the way up that monster?’

Without a second thought and with the certainty of all twelve–year–olds, Jim said, ‘We’re going to just do it;’ and do it we did.

Things went fine for a few more miles until it started to rain. The further we hiked, the more it rained, and the more soaked we got. Even that was not all that bad until we were about half way across a field and up to our canteens in mud. Between us and the trail into the woods was a creek, nearly out of its banks and rushing south, if you know what I mean.

I asked Jim, ‘How do we get across this monster creek?’

His approach had not changed. ‘We just do it;’ and do it we did.

A few miles along the path into the woods, we suddenly understood that not all monsters are created equal. There it was: the monster monkey bridge looming terrifyingly between us and our goal.

A rope was stretched across a deep ravine, with two more ropes stretched side–by–side above the first. The only way across, the only path to our success was to walk the bottom rope while holding on to the other two. If the picture is not clear, just think of the monkey bridge as the mother of all monsters.

Well, suffice it to say that we were both brought up short and forced to seriously consider our options. Whatever our choices, neither of us was going to be the first to just sit down and cry. Perhaps our best strategy would be to trudge back through the mud and see if we could get away with simply telling everyone that we had hiked twenty miles.

Jim flinched first. ‘How can we ever get across this monster? We’re going to die.’

My barely contained terror was about to consume me; but I said it anyway. ‘We’re going to just do it;’ and do it we did.


Learning about PRIDE came for me sometime after the mother of all monkey bridges. It did not come as a revelation or sudden insight but rather as a growing understanding of the process of getting on with getting on.

PRIDE starts with Preparation. To successfully cross life’s monkey bridges, you have to be prepared. This means that you read and learn about monkey bridges, talk to people who have crossed them before you, and practice every day as you face the challenges that confront you.

Preparation combines with Responsibility as you begin to master your monkey bridges. The key is to accept them as yours. They are your responsibility, not someone else’s. You cannot expect others to move them out of your way or cross them for you. More to the point, not crossing them or trying to convince people that you have when you have not is to fail the challenge, to surrender to the monster.

Imagining is the next element of PRIDE. You are prepared, you have accepted personal responsibility. Now imagine success. You see yourself across the monkey bridge. But remember, for Jim and I, getting across the ravine was not the success we had in mind. Success was being Eagle Scouts. What is success for you? That is the outcome you must imagine as you stand at the brink of your monkey bridge. That image is the one that will draw you forward.

As you imagine success, you must imagine failure too. What would it be like if you do not cross the monkey bridge, if you are not up to the challenge, if you do not succeed? Just as your image of success draws you forward, the image of failure will keep you from falling back.

Now add Determination to your developing PRIDE. Crossing your monkey bridge is not an ‘if you feel like it’ kind of thing. It is not something you will do when you get time or if something else does not interfere. It is there now and determination is the extra push you must have. It is the ‘Just do it,’ that makes the difference between success and failure.

PRIDE ends with Eagerness. If it is time to do it, then do it. You are prepared, you have accepted responsibility, you have imagined success and imagined failure, and you are determined to succeed. Now get on with getting on. Just do it, with eagerness, with all the gusto you have in you. Anything less runs the risk of not giving it your best; and not giving each of life’s monkey bridges your best is the surest way to failure.


Your personal monkey bridges are easy to see. They loom monstrously in the path to your success. Others are less visible and easier to avoid. These are the monkey bridges and challenges facing your family and community. They are nonetheless yours.

Each person in your family has his or her personal monkey bridges. They stand as monsters in the path to their success as do yours for you. But they do not have to cross them by themselves. They can count on you to help them across just as you count on them. That is what a family is all about.

That also is what your community is all about: people helping people. You must Prepare for the challenges, accept personal Responsibility for how things turn out, Imagine your community’s succeeding and what it would be like if it fails, be Determined to succeed, and be Eager to get on with getting on.

Life’s monkey bridges are many and varied, standing as monsters in the path to success. The challenge is to approach each one with PRIDE and then reach down deep inside for the strength and confidence to just do it.

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Your personal monkey bridges are usually easy to see. They loom monstrously in the path to your success. Your challenge is to approach each one with PRIDE and then reach down deep inside for the strength and confidence to just do it. This article shows you the meaning of PRIDE and how to handle those nasty monkey bridges.