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Welcome to ProcessImprovement.Me.  Each week we will post between one and three blog posts on change, how to improve at something in life or business, or learning something new.  Please join us and participate in the comments.  We would really like to hear your thoughts.  You cannot post a comment on the home page (just the way they set up the site.) All the other pages do afford the ability to post comments. We recommend you use the Blog Page for this.

Please join us, have fun, and interact with others in the same kindness that you would like others to interact with you.

A New Pilot Course

Many of you who read my blog regularly, have seen and participated in some of the lessons I have posted.  I am very excited today to announce a new pilot course I have developed to help people set and meet their goals. This course is a little bit different than most courses people take.

I have developed this new pilot course from things I learned over the last many years. I have taken that knowledge and set it into this new course which is called Reveille. Reveille, because we are working on new beginnings.

In the pilot, we will learn we can do what we want to ‘IF.’ If we are willing to work and do what it takes, we can go just about anywhere we wish and do just about anything we want. There’s very little that can stand in the way of a little elbow grease and determination

I have written this first pilot to help veterans. I am a veteran myself. I have gone through many of the problems those leaving or retiring from the service stumble on. I would like to help so that others can find a clearer path.

If you are interested in this, please email me mikebalof@readingsticks.com also, if you know someone who might be interested or benefit from a class like this, please pass this blog on to them.

Imagine what a gift this could be for someone. To find their right path and to learn and earn their way in life doing what they are truly passionate about.

Thanks,

Mike

Take Time

How are you doing?  Are you taking time for yourself?

We do so much for so many others, and often we forget to take time for ourselves. Sometimes, we demand so much from ourselves that when we cannot meet a goal or a deadline, we get upset…  with ourselves.

For being out there trying our best, I think we ought to give ourselves a break. After all, the bad news is, Hollywood already cast Superman and Wonder Woman, and we did not make the cut. We tend to give everyone else a break, and often we are much harder on ourselves.

Cutting ourselves some slack is not the same as backing off or giving up. It is the ability to take a step back, rest the body, clear the mind and rejuvenate the soul. If you can take 20 minutes a couple of times a day and possibly an hour or two a weekend, you will be amazed at what it does for you. Productivity you gain from that small time spent will more than make up the time you take to reset yourself.

What can you do in 20 minutes? You can take a walk outdoors and breathe some fresh air. You can walk up and down the hallway and do some stretches. You can sit in a quiet place and meditate. You can go watch a sunrise or a sunset. You could take a quick shower which would rejuvenate the mind and body. There are many things you could do, to take a step back from others, and the electronic world, and recharge a battery, your battery.

You get the idea. The thing to remember is, do not feel guilty to take care of yourself. After all, the good we do for others is important. Although, we should not destroy ourselves doing it.

Have You Ever?

Ever stared at a white sheet of paper knowing that you want to write something, and yet not quite sure what to write? Have you ever gone out to get one item, and returned home with everything except the one item you absolutely needed? Have you ever missed an important meeting, not because you did not want to go rather because you got tied up into any other things? These things do happen.

Why? Why, is an easy answer. We are human, and all humans have frailties. Mix that with a hectic lifestyle which many of us have and the danger of overlooking a need or desire becomes more prevalent. And yet, there is a multitude of possible cures and antidotes to improve the chances of completing what we really wanted to get done in the first place.

The biggest intervention we can use is our attitude. When things like this happen, we don’t want to go berserk or fly off the handle or get mad at ourselves. And at the same time, we don’t want to adopt an attitude of “Oh well,….” We need to find an approach that works for us, and no, not all approaches will work equally well for all people.

Each of us should find what works best for us. Many use a calendar and a to-do list. This works great for those who keep the list in the calendar up to date and in a small enough package to always have it handy. The smartphone works very well for this. The problem though is that we often fail to put things on our calendar or on our to-do list because in the back of our mind we believe they are too big to forget.

Others will write a sticky note at work and stick it to their ID badge, so they don’t forget. This works great until the note becomes unstuck and falls to the floor while walking down the hall. At that point, the note is no longer there to remind them. Four interruptions and one ad hoc meeting down the line, the person, may have completely forgotten about that important ‘whatever it was.’

Some managers will write themselves an email to remind them of what’s going on or why they did something in particular. If they don’t have a good system of filing their email, and if like most managers they get about 300 emails a day, it is easy for the facts to get lost in the electronic pile.

Does this mean that we’re hopeless, that we cannot overcome forgetfulness? We’re people, and people can overcome anything. In the last 5000 years how many things have threatened us, endangered us, tried to wipe us out? And yet, here we still are. To overcome this, we only need one thing. Habit.

We all have habits. Washing the car on a Saturday morning is a good habit. Playing games on the computer because I am bored and want to do something is a bad habit. We need to find habits that work for us, and we need to stick to them.

Can I tell you exactly which habits in which variations will work best for you? I am sorry I cannot. For most people reading this, we’ve never even really met face-to-face. What I can tell you is one habit I believe will work for you. As you are developing habits, try many things, drop those that don’t work, and keep those that do.

The other thing I could mention, cut back on electronic game playing. It’s always the frustrating ones that eat most of your time.

Happy High Road

Would you like to know if the fact that will not only set you free, it will help you to work with anyone, anywhere, at any time, feel great, and get great things done? Impossible you say? Read this blog, and if you still don’t believe it’s possible, write me in the comments section, and I’ll call you, and we can talk for half an hour.

So, what’s the fact? If you can be happy and feel great, the majority of the time those feelings will transfer to the other person and be found in their responses. I hear a question already, about all the people out there who are so negative. Many times, that negativity and wish for dominance that others have for you, has nothing to do with you. The truth is often they don’t even know you.

Folks who display immediate negativity and desire to dominate others are those who have been hurt by other people. The neat thing is (and here is where the real secret lies,) they cannot dominate you any more than you can dominate them. For them to do so, you would first have to give them permission. You do that by starting off acting like they do.

The trick is to find your balance, your happiness, your drive for the path you want to walk in life. And then when negativity shows up in the forms of other people, be nice to the people, and don’t let the negativity in.

Easier said than done? Try this. Keep your positive attitude and your happiness. Then when you have to say something less than absolutely positive to anyone always start off with telling them three good things about themselves or three good things that they are doing. And then you can tell them something less than positive just do so in a positive way. Afterword’s, tell them one more thing very positive about themselves. It is often very hard to be mad at someone the when they’re telling you good things about yourself.

We all have some days that are better than others. However, you do get to choose. If you choose a happy high road, imagine all the others that you could bring with you.

Time Woes

Have you ever noticed how fast time moves?

Time moves forward one second at a time in a relentless fashion. Seconds become minutes, then hours become days, and months become years, and finally, here I am in November wondering whatever happened to the Fourth of July. I am shocked that time never takes a timeout. What is that all about.

There’s something that we have to learn, and many do not learn this until it’s too late. The thought is ignored even though the warning signs, statements, and cute kitsch are found everywhere. The simple truth, each second, minute, hour, day, or year can never be retaken.

This leads us to another simple truth. Time leaves us whether we use that are not. You can’t save it up for an emergency or that planned future vacation. And no one else can control your reaction to time. You use it on something important to you, or you lose it. All of this is up to you.

Take a couple minutes and write down everything that’s important to you. Then put priorities to the list. Ask yourself, are you sitting in a room for days looking at how messy it is and how unkempt? Or are you taking 10 minutes to put pick everything up, throw the trash away, and put everything else back where it belongs? So how much time are you really going to spend in a dirty room, 10 minutes or days?

Please don’t think I’m preaching. Actually, I believe I’m talking to myself.

Complacency

Complacency is something that will sneak up on all of us.

People love habits. They like the feeling of accomplishment. They love knowing that things are done. And they like the ease of living that good habits will give the people who use them wisely. More often than not many of us will also fail at long-running good habits.

If you don’t believe me, please take a poll about six weeks after New Year’s day. How many people you talk to set up goals for the new year, and within six weeks, have already failed at them? Did they not care? Did they not believe? Did they not try? The truth is they did care, they did believe in they did try.

In teaching new forklift drivers, safety and control are taught and preached for hours both in the classroom and during driver training on the forklift. You would think that most accidents would happen within a few weeks after the training, while the new drivers are still what behind the ears. Not so.

Most accidents for new drivers of forklifts, according to the statistics, happened about three months after training. Why? Complacency. Brand-new drivers are very cautious. They stick to every safety rule. And, they keep the speeds very low. About the three-month mark, new forklift drivers become complacent. They start to get a little sloppy in their safety, speed increases a little and the next thing you know, they bump into something. Sometimes they bump into someone.

Are they bad people? Do these accident-prone drivers not care? No. They did so well for three months driving the forklift that they started to let their guard down. Often, they don’t even recognize it.

These drivers were taught well. Were watched to ensure good habits were being formed. And, did a good job. Complacency just sneaks up on them.

The trick is if you like the results a habit gives you, pay attention and keep it up. Don’t  become complacent.

More Control within

We hold more control than we ever know.

We’re pushed on by forces beyond our control every day. We do not have to bend to those forces. And most times, it is better if we do not. The forces at play are concerned about themselves, what their needs and desires are, and how they achieve through the skillful use of others.

We have to do this because of the money. We should really be doing that because of politics. We should be doing the other because of the neighbors… It seems as though demands are never-ending and resources are often meager at best.

With all of the above going on in our lives, I would just like to offer a thought. What if we didn’t? What if we gave up on letting others tell us to do this, that, and the other?

I’m not saying not to do anything. I’m talking about finding new voices to guide you. We always follow voices different than us, mainly because they’re different than us. We assume their difference makes them better. I believe I have found something even better than them.

I’m not saying to forget conventional wisdom. I am saying to look inside find that quiet voice within you. Not the one screaming in your head saying you’re doing everything wrong, rather the quiet voice, and consider it.

Do good for yourself and your family, and others. Strive to better yourself. And, help others to find that good within themselves. The real treasures in life aren’t things, the real treasures are the times we share with each other.