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July 2011

Honesty is the best policy….right?

by mikemack on July 25, 2011


This is a very old saying, but timeless.

It can hurt or feel uncomfortable, but usually a good thing to do…..(more about the “usually” comment in a moment)

The classic song by Billy Joel, “Honesty” serves us well with this week’s Blog message.

“If you search for tenderness
it isn’t hard to find.
But if you look for truthfulness
You might just as well be blind.
It always seems to be so hard to give.

Honesty is such a lonely word.
Everyone is so untrue.
Honesty is hardly ever heard.
And mostly what I need from you.”

Is honesty really that hard to give? Perhaps in some cases! I do agree that most of us need honesty from others.
There is alot of truth in the words from the song. (It’s ironic that there is truth in a song titled, “Honesty”) 🙂

Now back to my comment about honesty, “usually” being a good thing.

There are times when revealing the whole truth and nothing but the truth, may not necessarily serve everyone’s best interest.
This is delicate, because in some examples when you state the exact truth you are guaranteed to hurt someone. As you reflect and ponder on the decision to share the truth, think for a moment. Will the net impact of using honesty as the best policy serve only you, at the expense of someone else?

I must admit that I have one of these tucked away for safe keeping. Its a case of me feeling better, but it would likely end up hurting others and have long term ramifications. Just to be clear, I am not talking about deception, doing something illegal or immoral. I simple mean that sometimes, things may be better off, when they are not shared or commented on.

In certain situations, being totally honest can cause you or someone else pain, so we tend to skip it or procrastinate.

Sometimes we say hurtful things to someone else, by telling them something or giving feedback. Wow, that new guy you are with doesn’t seem too good, or your type. Or, the job you just landed seems pretty boring. …or, gee you really have put on weight. In these examples, we may think that we are just being honest, but in reality, we are simply just offering an opinion. It is only our point of view. Could we be better off not saying anything?

I have reflected on how I have been able to effectively use this message as a guiding principle and must admit that I am getting better at it.

Use common sense as a guide. If I use honesty as the best policy it is usually about doing the right thing, not always about being right.
When we feel that honesty is not the best policy, it usually occurs when we don’t want to hurt someone. In this case, we simply avoid saying anything and avoiding the issue.

“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” -Thomas Jefferson

Have a great week!

“Helping you to the next level”

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Assessing your business plan of life

by mikemack on July 18, 2011


This seems like a fitting topic, as our company launches a new Business Assessment tool today.

As a Business Strategist, one of the key aspects is to help companies with their business plan and all the moving parts that connect to their plan, ensuring that the plan is actually implemented and realized.

While some of my Blog readers are business owners, many are not. That is all good! 🙂

Life and business are much the same. Lots of moving parts and the items that get your attention seem to thrive the most.

I want to apply some simply business assessment concepts to our lives and see how you may rate yourself.

Let’s get started…

1. Do you have a written and current plan to get you to where you want to go in life?……and you believe in it and actually use it.

This one is a common challenge for many. They usually say that they don’t have time to do it, yet to actually capture it on paper; even in point form is quite simple. When we go to the grocery story we write a list and organize it in order of items and priorities. If we are planning a vacation with the family we create a list and plan when and where we are going. Interesting?

2. Each member of your family has specific and agreed objectives that support the family plan.

If you have a family of one, or four, the concept is the same. What are your specific objectives that support your family, or life?
The key words here are specific and agreed objectives. What do you want? What do other members of your family want? Sometimes we go through life and never truly ask your partner or spouse what they actually want. If we found out, would we support them and conduct ourselves in a way that adds value to their objectives, or would we try to convince them to not go after what they really want to accomplish or do?

3. You have a fully engaged family at all levels.

Does each member of your family become engaged in what they are doing from day to day? This is critical and key to any business or family. A common link to achieve this is “purpose”. Why we do what we do is very important and generally keeps us on stride and living with purpose, and engagement.

4. Our culture includes some allowances for failure in pursuit of excellence.

In business, the culture of an organization is related to the values and behaviours of the people within and how they conduct themselves to get things done.
In life, do we allow our kids, partner or spouse to make mistakes in their own pursuit of excellence? Sometimes we stifle this step and discourage family members from making decisions or taking risks. While they may not fail because of this, they weren’t allowed to grow and develop to get better.

5. Our Long term vision is clear, compelling and rallies the family to greater success.

Most successful business owners think 5 years out, and more. From a life perspective, I see so many people with lack of clarity on their long term vision.
They have worked hard and have the resources to do many things in the years ahead. The sad reality is that they have not planned out their long term vision. For example, what does retirement look like exactly? What will we be doing together? What are the plans when the kids leave home?

6. We review key indicators every month and act promptly to implement adjustments needed.

Most businesses have measurements “key performance indicators” that they keep track of throughout the year. For some it may be financial (revenue), customer satisfaction levels, growth/expansion plans, employee development, etc.
We must adopt a similar concept in our lives to get us to where we want to go. If we don’t create these measurements, we will likely end up where we didn’t intend to be.

If we apply the above items in our personal lives, we have a greater chance of living on purpose, with purpose and moving in the general direction of our choosing, and not ending up at a place where we didn’t want to be, or plan to be.

No worries if you are not there. Take steps today to get you on the path to where you want to go. Act like a great business leader, who makes corrective steps and reviews where they are at on a regular basis, to achieve their plans.

“Helping you to the next level”

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Take time to realize…..

by mikemack on July 11, 2011


There are two angles to this week’s blog.

The word realize has a few definitions.
1. To become fully aware of something as a fact; understand clearly.
2. Cause something desired or anticipated to happen.
Do you take time to realize and become fully aware to understand clearly what has happened, or what is happening at a particular moment?
This is so hard for many people, and for the few that truly grasp this, it can be precious and significant.
Perhaps its a challenge that occurred in your life years ago, but one day it clicks in and you actually get it. You fully understand why it happened to you and what you learned from the experience. It can be pretty amazing when it happens to you.
When I reflect on the challenges that I have experienced in the past number of years, I have gained new perspective and feel that I have learned alot.
The loss of my Mom in 2007 was very hard for our family. While it is not something that you get over, I realized a few key and very important lessons.
Our family was truly present in her life when she was living. We connected always and we did so out of love and caring. While there was tremendous sadness, there was no regret from my perspective. I looked back and could say that I was glad I did all the things with Mom that I wanted to do, vs. saying I wish I had done certain things. Our family was close back then, and even closer today, because we know that Family is #1. Take time to realize!
The second angle looks at the other definition of the word realize. Have you ever caused something that you desired to happen? Did you manifest something great, special or incredible?
Too many people don’t take time to realize these incredible gifts. There are a few reasons, in my opinion. First of all, they may not feel that they deserve something incredible to happen nor do they believe it could be possible. Another factor is that they don’t take time to “allow” special things to happen. Is it due to lack of patience or life’s distractions?
If you truly want good things to happen and be realized in your life, you must allow time for it to happen. It might take longer than you had hoped, but don’t underestimate what is possible with time.
Here is a great quote that I enjoy and try hard to live by.

“Once you have mastered time, you will understand how true it is that most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year – and underestimate what they can achieve in a decade!” – Tony Robbins

I have many goals and dreams that I want to accomplish in my life. When I think back at the goals that I realized over the years (eg. starting my own business, completing an MBA, joining Toastmasters, becoming a Rotary President, or writing a Blog) I can’t help but smile. These goals seemed impossible or huge to accomplish and so far away. The above goals for me have been realized in the past one to nine years. I guess I didn’t underestimate what could be achieved in a decade!

Take time to realize what you have learned from past experiences, whether they were good, or bad.

Take time to realize your goals and dreams in the future!

Have a great week ahead.

“Helping you to the next level”

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When the going gets tough……

by mikemack on July 4, 2011


What has been the most challenging life experience that you have gone through?

For some, it may be one or more of the following:

-Loss of a loved one

-Loss of job or major career change

-Health challenges (personally or a family member)


-Financial challenges

It has been said many times that adversity makes you stronger. We tend to learn more and become wiser as a result of the challenges we experience in our life.

“If you are going through hell, keep going.” -Winston Churchill

This quote was originally shared with me by my nephew Brian a few years ago. At that time, Brian and his family were going through significant challenges that you would never wish on anyone. What amazed me was the way in which they handled the major waves of challenge. The quote really resonated with me and I interpreted it to mean a few things. When times are tough, you must keeping moving forward to get through it. If you don’t do this, you can stay stuck in that spot, or situation and never get out of it until you get going again.

When I think of this week’s Blog, certain words come to mind.

Resilient, Positive mental attitude, survivor, overcoming fears, belief, perseverance, and many more.

When the going gets tough, do you keep going? How does is make you feel? Do you ponder? Do you feel sorry for yourself? Do you persist without exception?

I am a fan of the work of Andy Andrews, “Seven Decisions for Success”

Decision 7 is titled: The Persistent Decision (I will persist without exception)

An excerpt from the Seven Decisions for Success….

“A sailor who fearfully watches stormy seas lash his vessel will always steer an unproductive course.

But a wise and experienced captain keeps his eye firmly fixed upon the lighthouse. He knows that

by guiding his ship directly to a specific point, the time spent in discomfort is lessened. And by

keeping his eye on the light, there never exists one second of discouragement. My light, my harbour, my future is within sight!

I can think of many examples of how people that I know have conquered significant challenges, because of choices they made in times of challenge. They decided to keep going!!

Remember, when we hit a wall, and rest assured that we all will from time-to-time, we have a choice. Climb over it, build a door, or seek someone else’s help to get us over. Perhaps we need to rest awhile, so we can build enough strength to get over on our own.

Life is not always easy………..but, take it from me, keep going! It’s worth it.

“Helping you to the next level”

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