Relax and be yourself – People can smell when a person is desperate and is anxious. They can see it a mile away. Take a deep breath and show up. Smile and connect.
Pounding feet, thousands of sneakers, sweat, conversation, and a buzz in the air! This is what I witnessed while teaching a class at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.
During lunchtime I saw men and women walk past me, and then a few minutes later I saw the same people walk right by me again. I said to my host, “What is going on?” She said, “Those are individuals who are participating in the Blues’ ‘Dump Your Plump’ employee wellness competition.”
What is Dump Your Plump? It’s a 10-week team competition designed to help employees set and achieve a daily 30-minute exercise goal and a personal weight loss goal of up to 20 pounds.
Teams whose members each document their daily exercise and meet their preset personal weight loss goal can win prizes at the end of the competition.
Is that cool or what? I know there is a wellness movement afoot in America and what better way to enlist people to get proactively involved in their health than to partner with another colleague? That’s how to shift brilliance.
I noticed that the real key to the program was peer support. Employees were not doing it by themselves. They had another person walking with them, talking to them, and supporting them.
This reminds me of the experiment by psychologists to see how long a person could stand barefoot in a bucket of ice water. They discovered that those who lasted the longest were cheered on and supported by team members who said, “You can do it…yes you can!”
If you are ready to dump your plump then do the following:
- Find a friend that will support you in this endeavor and commit to meet early and often to hold each other accountable.
- Drink more water.
- Eat what is right. Visit www.ontargetliving.com and subscribe to everything Chris Johnson tells you to do. He is brilliant and I am love his program. It’s all natural. (As a disclaimer, I am recommending Chris without him knowing it and I do not have a financial interest or reward for mentioning his website. I heard him speak and tried out his simple suggestions. Well, they work.
- Get proper rest. I love to sleep and when I sleep, I enjoy every minute of it. You should do the same.
How do you unlock the wellness in your life and home? It’s starts with a desire to truly live healthy lifestyle.
Simon T. Bailey
I had lunch with Gloria, a friend of mine who is the living embodiment of brilliant creativity. During our conversation I sensed that she was living beneath her potential, i.e., “playing small.”
You are probably wondering if it was something she said that gave it away.
No — what piqued my curiosity was what I heard between the lines. There was very little energy in her voice about her current professional position. It was almost as if she was stuck in neutral at a green stop light.
I asked her what she would do if she knew that she couldn’t fail.
All of a sudden, she lit up like a Christmas tree, became very animated and began to describe all of the wonderful things that she enjoyed doing. Then our conversation shifted to what would be required in order for her to pursue her passions/core competency.
We identified that she would need to rise an hour earlier each day, eat properly, schedule two hours of quiet time (one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening),research online her diverse areas of interests and then put feelers out in the marketplace.
Furthermore, she would have to adjust her attitude in her current professional position if she intended to get unstuck.
In business as it is in life there are only two things that you do…enter and leave.
How you enter determines how you leave, and how you leave determines how you enter. It’s time to begin thinking and living brilliantly. Get unstuck and go for it.
An archery teacher placed a wooden bird in a field and asked his students to aim at the eye of the bird. Then he asked the first student, “What do you see when you take aim?”
The student said, “I see the trees and their branches and leaves. I see the sky. And I see the bird and its eye.”
The teacher turned to his second student and asked, “And what do you see?”
The second student said, “I see only the eye of the bird.”
“Very good,” said the teacher. “Take your shot.”
The arrow flew straight and hit the bird directly in its eye.
Until you focus, my friend, you cannot hit the target!
Whatever you are moving toward, that goal is also moving toward you. What are focusing on right now? Do you believe in it? Whatever you’re aiming for, please put your head, heart, and hands into it.
Here are five tips that will empower you to finish what you start, every time:
- Be big, think big, and act big. Benjamin E. Mays, former president of Morehouse College, once said, “The tragedy of life is often not in our failure, but rather in our complacency; not in our doing too much, but rather in our doing too little; not in our living above our ability, but rather in our living below our capacities.” What can you do to drive value in all that you do? Make it happen.
- Be open to happy accidents. Joe Jaworski, author of Synchronicity: The Inner Path of Leadership, says, “Serendipity is when you go to a place, a setting, or a meeting expecting a certain outcome and discover something entirely different because you are open and are present to the moment.” In “Perceptions of Serendipity,” published in the Journal of Counseling Psychology, we learn that “career analysts find that 83% of midcareer professionals believe chance (serendipity) played a significant role in their ultimate career path and that they highly value staying open for unexpected opportunities.” Keep moving forward. You never know what you might bump into, my friend.
- Be intentional with your time and energy. Vilfredo Pareto was an Italian economist who in 1906 observed that 20% of the Italian people owned 80% of their country’s accumulated wealth. Now to put this into context: 80% of your success is the result of 20% of your efforts. Determine how you can move the needle by becoming laser-like in your daily efforts, rather than being a floor lamp that diffuses its energy, or a strobe light that that can’t focus on any one thing.
- Be desperate. In his latest book David and Goliath (a must-read), Malcolm Gladwell shares an amazing story about University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino: “In 1978, when he was twenty-five years old, Pitino used the full court press to take the school to its first NCAA tournament appearance in twenty-four years. Pitino says he has many coaches come to Louisville every year to learn the press. They turn around and e-mail him and tell him that they can’t do it. He tells them, ‘We practice every day for two hours. The players are moving almost ninety-eight percent of the practice. We spend very little time talking.” The coaches who came to learn from Rick Pitino were not desperate enough to change. Gladwell makes the point that to beat the Goliath in your life, you have to be desperate enough to do the unconventional.
- Be a Storyteller. Contagious by Jonah Berger is one of my favorite books. He says, “People don’t share information; they tell stories. But just like the epic tale of the Trojan Horse, stories are vessels that carry things such as morals and lessons. Information travels under the guise of what seems like idle chatter. So we need to build our own Trojan horses, embedding our products and ideas in stories that people want to tell. Make your message so integral to the narrative that people can’t tell the story without it.”
When a person decides to focus, they heed the advice Robin Williams gives in the movie Dead Poet Society: “Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.”
Simon’s Side Bar
Well, I have awesome news for you. All the classic books we’ve written in the last ten years are now available as downloadable e-books. Yeah: we can finally make them available to anyone in the world! They are perfect gifts for the holidays.
Simon Says Dream: Live a Passionate Life – This was the first book I released when I left Disney. Serena and Venus Williams were some of the first celebrities to read it.
Success is an Inside Job – I wrote this book from a deep place and really had to live it. In other words, I had to live it from the inside out.
Meditate on Your Professional Brilliance – These are pithy one liners and soundbites that will help you get through the day.
Brilliant Service is the Bottom Line – Everything I learned from Disney and from working with over 1,000 organizations—everything I discovered about the awesomeness of customer experience—is included in this book.
Meditate on Your Personal Brilliance – This was written out of my struggle with wanting to know how to shift my thinking and live a meaningful life.
Recently, I’ve been thinking about cheetahs and hippos.
The cheetah is indeed a truly amazing animal. According to the Cheetah Conservation Fund, the cheetah is the swiftest land mammal on the planet and can reach speeds of 70 mph in mere seconds. It covers 20 to 25 feet in a single stride, with only one foot touching the ground at a time. In fact, at two points in the stride, none of its feet touch the ground! However, what most fascinates me about this protected species that lives primarily in Africa are its unique physical characteristics:
¨ Flexible spine;
¨ Oversized liver;
¨ Enlarged heart;
¨ Wide nostrils;
¨ Increased lung capacity;
¨ Black “tear” marks under its eyes.
For just a moment, reflect on these characteristics of the cheetah, and how they relate to humans:
- Flexibility is the key quality of all globalization and Life 2.0. As you encounter and experience change personally and professionally, can you mimic the cheetah? Can you contract, expand, bend and turn in any direction? Increase your personal productivity in business by being flexible in your decision making and moving swiftly to meet the needs of your external and internal customers. If you don’t, they will find someone else to do it for them.
- The liver has an almost miraculous ability to biochemically transform virtually any chemical it is exposed to. It not only breaks down, stores and eliminates toxins, but also produces beneficial chemicals the body needs in order to function. The cheetah’s oversized liver is a crucial component in its highly efficient and effective physiological system. What about you? Is transformation a part of your daily language and consciousness? Are you able to transform yourself so that you can efficiently and effectively adapt to any given situation? Never be satisfied with the status quo. Instead, be a seeker of the unknown and commit to ongoing transformation.
- While the cheetah’s enlarged heart pumps more blood to give it additional speed and power, an enlarged human heart overflows with abundance. It seeks to give rather than receive, to serve rather than be served. Enlarge your heart and infuse those around you with your spirit of optimism. Infuse your community with a spirit of service. Infuse your business culture with a “can do” attitude.
- How big is your nose? Smile! Having wide nostrils is in vogue. Why? It means that you can pick up on the scent of opportunity and the smell of possibility. You must sense where things are heading and make split-second course corrections that will take you into the future. Improvise and innovate. Stop waiting for someone to give you the green light. You have to make something happen for yourself.
- The cheetah strategically stalks its prey. It carefully maneuvers into a position to pounce and then gives chase with a burst of blinding speed made possible by its increased lung capacity. Do you methodically stalk what you want? Are you expanding your capacity so that when the time is right, you can muster the speed and the skill to give chase and capture your dreams? Expand your capacity by improving yourself one day at a time. Identify the cheetahs in your life and learn from them. Do what is in front of you with all your might. Take on what you have rejected in the past for what you will become in the process.
The Cheetahs are coming – into your organization, your community, your social circle – and they are hungry, focused and willing to step up. Will you be one of them?
If you’re not one already, decide today to become a cheetah. Move it…Move it…Get to it! If you don’t, you will forever stare at the rear end of a Hippo!
Simon T. Bailey
Love is the most powerful force on the planet. When an employee believes in a brand—when he loves it—and feels investment in it, he will go above and beyond the call of duty, not because he has to, but because he wants to.
I recently shared with an international bank board of directors in Sao Paulo, Brazil, that when you improve the employee experience, you will see customer satisfaction scores soar.
According to a recent survey by Right Management, 84% of employees said that they sometimes feel trapped in their job and want to find a new position elsewhere. Do you think there’s a connection between how employees feel and what customers spend? I say yes.
Many of the employees who want to leave might be working for a bipolar boss— one who says all the right things in front of senior management but demonstrates behavior that’s less than stellar. There are plenty of bosses out there like that. Ask me how I know: I was that boss at Disney before I changed my ways. I had to change. If I hadn’t, Disney would have invited me to find my happiness elsewhere.
I was talking with a colleague of mine recently and she shared a fingernails-on-the-chalkboard moment that she was having with her maniac of a boss. He was a control freak, verbally abusive, and at times a little too slick—in her words, he was not to be trusted. Sadly, senior management knew that he was a pitbull of a leader and they chose to bury their heads in the sand rather than deal with him. My friend decided after much distress to leave the organization instead of pulling her eyes out.
Now, the flip side to this is that, as an employee, you need to step up and own what you do. Give 100% every day. Be a high performer. Go beyond what you are paid to do, and trust that the company will do right by you.
For employers, here are five ways to make employees feel the love in this transformational economy:
- No more ice cream socials, outdoor barbeques, or after-work drinking fests just to butter employees up prior to employee survey time. People are not stupid and they cannot be hoodwinked into conjuring up good feelings for a bad leader. When I worked for a certain leader years ago, he would religiously encourage his direct reports to schedule a social time to get the team together about three days in advance of the employee survey. I didn’t know any better. I just went along with the program. Then one day it hit me: OMG…He didn’t really care about me; he just didn’t want my employees to ding me on the survey because it would be a reflection on him.
- Invite managers to reapply for their job every six months. Just because a manager gets the results (revenue or cost savings) doesn’t mean that he is a brilliant leader; it just means he or she knows how to get things done at the expense of other people. In cases like that, you have to ask: Is there a psychological cost that the organization is unaware of and needs to address? Ask employees to vote whether to keep or get rid of their leader. I know some of you are raising your eyebrows right now, so pick up a copy of the book called Maverick – The Success Story Behind the Most Unusual Workplace by Ricardo Semler. This book is a must-read for all management.
- Leaders, ask your employees every 30 days, “What can I do to help you become better?” Your employees are your number one customer. Once you have their answers, decide what you will do. Your employees will jump through hoops for you and make you look good when they know you authentically care.
- Teach employees your purpose, and the profit will follow. In one of my favorite books, Firms of Endearment: How World Class Companies Profit from Passion, the authors studied companies that employees and customers LOVED. Here’s what they found in their research: There 30 publicly traded businesses (Firms of Endearment) that returned 1,026% for investors over a 10-year period, compared to 122% for the Standard & Poor 500. Unlike Jim Collins’s Good to Great book, which started with financial performance and work backward, the authors of Firms of Endearment started with humanistic performance—meeting the needs of stakeholders instead of shareholders—and worked forward. Download a copy of this book. It’s brilliant.
- Change, or be changed by change. One of my favorite stories is from the book Firms of Endearment is about a mid-level executive who worked for one of the largest U.S. financial services firms. He said, “We’d never make the Firms of Endearment cut. We’ve been going through ‘culture change’ workshops for almost a year and everybody knows it’s a bunch of crap. You sit through a workshop in the morning about open and honest communication, and then you witness power jockeying and data ‘massaging’ to alter the true picture that same afternoon. Everybody gives politically correct lip-service to culture in workshops, but we all know our dog-eat-dog culture is here to stay, and everybody behaves accordingly.”
Love is a choice. Love your team members because that’s what leadership is all about. “Love”—by which I mean the action of love, love as it’s shown through positive actions and the way you treat your employees. Now showing the proper love for my employees is one of my greatest failures during my tenure at Disney, and I don’t want you make the same mistake, O Brilliant One.
In the song “Fly Like an Eagle,” first written and produced by the Steve Miller Band, you hear this incredible line: “Time keeps on slipping into the future.”
Well, here we are. We have reached a half-mark in the year where we must evaluate the ROI (Return on Investment) of our time, energy, and relationships over the last twenty-six weeks.
If there is anything that looks or feels out of sync with your intended destiny, then, my friend, it’s time to Make Your Move. By which I simply mean, Go for it! It’s now or never.
Let me remind you that T (Time) + E (Energy) + R (Relationships) = Brilliant Living. As you commence this assessment, please consider the following:
Time is one of your most priceless resources. How have you used it?
The ultimate direction of your life, business, and relationships is determined by who you spend your time with and what you gain in the exchange. If there is no positive reinforcement of your brilliance, then it’s time to Make Your Move.
Ask yourself: Is this the highest and best use of my time? If not, then it’s time to Make Your Move.
A gentleman sent me this e-mail:
For the last 6 months I have been leading a small group of 8 guys every Thursday night and we are reading Release Your Brilliance. One of the guys shared with the group how much his life had changed.
It has also exploded my business went from having one assistant part time helper to having 4 full time and 7 different people doing major internet back bone work to my web site, that in the past I could not afford which is the life blood to my site hence the explosion. Thank you for giving me the nudge to step into my brilliance.
Another gentleman wrote me an e-mail that said the following:
Over the past 30 days, I’ve learned to reconnect with my employees on a whole different level. That allowed me to discover the things I was passionate about and how I could draw from my past experiences to help others.
During my workday, I make it a point to interact with as many people as possible. I find myself laughing more often and most employees appreciate the sincere approach. I will continue to use my professional influence to help others release their brilliance.
Here is what others are doing to Make Their Moves:
This past weekend I put aside differences with my sister, whom I had recently sworn off for how she has treated me, so that I can build a strong relationship with my nephew. (From an e-mail from a brilliant woman.)
A gentleman sent me an e-mail that I just had to share with you:
Simon, I have decided to shut the Blackberry off until the kids go to bed in order to spend more time helping them with homework and being a good dad. And I also have begun discussions with my boss about future advancement and steps I would need to take to get to the next level in the company. I was hesitant about broaching the subject.
I could go on and on, but I think you get the drift now. My friend, give yourself permission to Make Your Move!
As you assess where you are, what are you going to do differently or better in the next six months to get the outcomes you want? I would like to suggest the following:
- Take a timeout each day and evaluate what you did today and how you grew as a person.
- What new relationships do you need to surround yourself with, and what will you give to those relationships? How can you demonstrate that you seek to serve your relationships, rather than just take from them?
- Protect your energy by doing things that strengthen your inner core: reading, writing, singing positive songs, saying nice things about others, seeking to make someone’s situation better.
Live, Love, and Lead Brilliantly,
Simon T. Bailey
As human beings we become conditioned to behave a certain way by repetition.
To change a particular behavior, you have to reprogram or rewire the brain by repeating a new, different behavior over and over and over again until new synapses are created.
Eventually, if the new behavior is repeated often enough and long enough, you begin to see results. Although it’s been said that it only takes 30 days of repeated behavior to develop a habit, research indicates that it actually takes at least three to six months to create a solid habit.
You will know you’ve successfully developed new behaviors when other people start noticing the change in you. One of the most crucial things you can do to improve your life is to develop high-impact habits.
These are the behaviors and actions that will move you farthest and fastest in the direction of your heart’s desire.
High-impact activities accelerate the process of opening the vault and releasing your brilliance.
Low-impact activities, on the other hand, drain your energy, your enthusiasm, and your efforts, and prevent you from maximizing your brilliance.
Develop a habit of being a steward of your time and energy. What you do with these two resources will determine the outcome of your life. Time is the most precious asset on the planet, and yet you tend to let it slip away on activities that don’t move you forward.
How much time do you spend watching TV, answering email, responding to texts, instant messages and surfing the Internet? I’ll be the first to admit that I waste way too much time on these things alone. I remind myself daily that if I’m going to reach my financial and life goals, I can’t let these low-impact activities consume my day.
To help get control of the time develop a new habit or only checking your email only twice a day. Create two time blocks – one in the morning and one in the afternoon – to answer all your emails. You’ll be astounded at the amount of time you’ll free up for the crucial high-impact activities.
One of the best habits I developed grew out of those extra 15 minutes I found each morning, and it’s literally transformed my life. I suggest you give it a try: Create a habit of guarding your energy and protecting your spirit with your own personal Hour of Power every morning – 20 minutes of meditation, 20 minutes of exercise, and 20 minutes of reading out loud.
Meditation focuses your energy and intention on how your brilliant day will unfold.
Exercising invigorates your body and creates energy and momentum for your entire day. Reading focuses your mind. We live in an electronic world that moves at light speed. We have instant access to virtually any kind of information. Unfortunately, that’s created in us an attention deficit, and we’ve forgotten how to focus our minds. Reading out loud not only keeps you focused, but also expands your vocabulary, increases your confidence, and allows you to interact with the author’s message.
Aristotle said, “It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth, and wisdom.” When you focus on the high-impact activities in your life and commit to making each of them a habit, your brilliance will shine like never before.
One day I received a call from my mother, and I heard something different in her voice. She said that my father wanted me to come home right away. I knew that he had been hospitalized but thought that he was on the mend. Well, I arrived the next day and walked into his hospital room at the moment the doctor said, “We give him a few hours to a maybe a week to live.”
When he said it, my first thought was, Are you kidding me? Something instantly froze inside me. Time stood still as the thought passed through my mind that this could be the last time I ever saw my dad. I wanted to cry, but there were no tears. My heart was heavy. My hands were numb. I touched my dad’s feet, and they were ice cold. Chills went through me as I began to think this could it for my pops.
There were a dozen or so people who came forward when we laid my father to rest—people who shared tidbits and factoids about my father that I’d never known, stories about how he’d positively impacted the lives of others. My frozen tears slowly began to thaw as people shared tales of the countless lives my father had touched during his seventy-one years on earth. We said goodbye to him that day, but his spirit forever lives through me and my three brothers.
Yes, life is incredible. It has a questionable beginning and an amazing end.
While I was recently reflecting on my dad’s transition, my son, Daniel, said to me, “Can we go on a trip together—just the two us?” I said sure. I had an upcoming business trip to Toronto and decided that this would be a perfect opportunity.
There were three specific business meetings I had to attend, and Daniel accompanied me to each one. He surprised me by introducing himself to the other attendees and by sitting attentively—watching and soaking up the moment. This was a huge sacrifice for a 14-year-old who loves video games and playing basketball, and one day wants to own his own business. My clients enjoyed meeting him and, hopefully, this will leave an imprint on his heart.
It just dawned on me that he is learning how to be a man by watching me.
This begs the question: Is masculinity taught or caught? How does a man learn to be a man? How does he learn to love a woman and be a productive citizen in society? How does a woman raise a son in a fatherless household?
Here are a few thoughts for you…
- Seek out moments to do things with your children. Let them see how you think, process, and conduct yourself.
- Talk to your children. Ask them questions. Listen to them. If you don’t have children but want to make the world a better place, find a way to positively impact the lives of tomorrow’s leaders. The Gallup Organization says that the leaders of tomorrow are sitting in 5th-12th grades right now.
- Tell your kids why you appreciate them and give them an example of what they are doing right. What gets recognized gets repeated.
- Jim Valvano said it best: “My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person: he believed in me.”
Before he died, my father came out of his coma-like state for just a few seconds to voice what would turn out to be his last words to me: “I love you and believe in you. Whatever you do, put God first.”
Now that my dad is gone, I realize that it’s just the two of us—me and my son Daniel—as my father watches from heaven. I sure do hope that I will make him proud.