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Global Leadership Speaker and Premier Work-Life Balance Speaker
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You’ll Fall Down

Ski instructors will tell you a very true fact about the sport: If you look at the dangerous route below you and try to figure out how the heck you will be able to maneuver it, you’ll fall down.

Just ski.

Do it, don’t overthink or over analyze it. Move forward.

We don’t do that with our lives, do we? We see what looks like a treacherous path ahead of us and talk ourselves out of trying it before we even start. We are so afraid to trust ourselves that we choose instead to limit ourselves.

free gunfight at the o k corral movie download Some of us think we are “average” or “middle class” or “worker bees” or “mid-level managers.” As we label ourselves, we limit ourselves. We set ourselves apart from those who succeed at the highest levels. It’s almost like we are mentally delineating the career “haves” and the career “have nots,” and are literally choosing to place ourselves with the “have nots” because we don’t see ourselves with the same potential and possibility that the superstars exhibit.

Why?

The power of repetition

The tapes inside your head are powerful. If you repeat a negative remark enough times, it will load itself into the permanent memory on your personal internal hard drive. I don’t believe you have the power to completely erase those tapes because it does seem like they are ready to play themselves again, as soon as you stop repeating your revised versions through affirmations. But, you have great control over the tapes and possess the ability to write over the bad ones, recording positive, constructive and productive affirmations that your psyche will absorb and use if you repeat them enough.

Like I said, I am no different from anyone else. I have had good times and bad in this life. When I am in a bad spell, I have to remind myself how easy it is to fix things by saying the right words to myself. It’s so easy, but it can be so hard to get started.

So, make up your mind. You want an easier way? You can have it.

Fawn Germer is the best-selling author of four books and speaks to corporations and organizations about courages and creative leadership strategies.

Unstick yourself. Your rut is your prison.

The last day at my job in Denver was especially memorable because one of my colleagues confided, “You are so lucky to be getting out of this place. I’ve been so miserable for the last ten years here that I can’t stand to come in. I feel sick every time I walk in the door.”

“You’ve got to get out of here,” I urged.

But she never did. More than ten years later, she is still working at the same job for the same abusive boss — and it is tragic. Another decade and she can retire with what has to be the worst pension in employment history. What a sad way to waste a life.

She lacks the confidence to take charge of her destiny and instead sacrifices all the possibility her life holds in hopes that she can hang in there long enough to get a sheet cake and pension check. Plenty of people live like that.

Extended misery is a choice from which you are always free to liberate yourself. Just cure yourself of your inaction.

Most of us fear change, but change is the one thing that leads to greater opportunity and success. Make the decision over what you want, then figure out the steps you need to take. Check them off, one at a time, and don’t psyche yourself out of the unpleasant tasks because, if you just buck up, they don’t take much time. Think of how often you have put off doing your resume because it is such a pain. Well, how long does it really take? A couple of hours? A day? Just do it.

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Whether it is a resume or any other first step, just commit to the idea, then carry through one step at a time. Once you walk a little, you’ll be ready to run. But, you won’t go anywhere if you won’t put on your shoes.

shelter online Fawn Germer is the best-selling author of four books and speaks to corporations and organizations about courages and creative leadership strategies.

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Too Busy to Live

I went to a small dinner party where someone who is in the Fortune 10 most powerful women in business. She was warm, accessible and kind. But she didn’t have much to offer our conversation about life balance except her regrets that she has no time to golf or hang out or do any of the things she would really like to do. It’s as if she’s too busy to live.

I asked, “Why don’t you just do some of those things so you don’t burn out?”

She looked at me like I just didn’t get it. “I have the weight of the world on my shoulders,” she said. And, she meant it. Then she said, “When I accepted this job, I made a commitment to the company and the stockholders. I have no other option.”

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Truth is, I didn’t get it. Why would anyone choose to give up life for work? Even a temporary sacrifice like that is too much because, living in one dimension, you will challenge your physical and mental health to the point where you stop living in a colorful world. We’ve all seen colleagues humbled by heart attacks and strokes, or even extended bouts of depression. The one thing I think we are all called upon to do is live in the moment. Live a vibrant, colorful life in the now.

I think of two veteran journalists who loved my newspaper so much that they had their ashes encased in the walls after they died. Instead of having their ashes spread in the glorious Rocky Mountain around them, they chose the newspaper lobby? It said everything about what the paper meant to them and, probably, what they thought they meant to the paper. But, theirs was a sad choice, because decades after their deaths, people didn’t care about who they were, what they’d done or what they meant to the history of the newspaper. It was a bit of a joke that there were ashes in the wall. And, aggravating the insult, when the paper was moved into a new building, the remains were removed and buried in a cemetery. Management didn’t even extend the courtesy of letting them make the move with everybody else.

You can give and give and give and give, and the business will take and take and take and take. In the end, who you are matters so much more than what you did.

The business won’t love you back.

Fawn Germer is the best-selling author of four books and speaks to corporations and organizations about courageous and creative leadership strategies.

You Can Do Better

“You can do better than this.”

I can still hear my mother’s voice.

I was in the tenth grade and I had brought home a report card that boasted a few As, a couple of Bs, a C and the only  D I’d ever gotten – in geometry. I didn’t see anything wrong with that report card because it wasn’t much different from what my friends brought home, except for that little episode with geometry, for which I still don’t apologize.

But, Mom did see something wrong with that report card.

“You are not average,” she said, “So you can’t bring home a report card like this. If you were average, it would be all right. If I knew this was the best you could do, it would be all right. But, it isn’t the best you can do and you know it. You can do better.”

I hadn’t really thought about it before, whether I was smart or talented or anything else. I was just a kid who wanted desperately to fit in despite being hindered by a major case of nerdiness. I wanted to be average because then I would blend in with the others. Teenage life would be so much easier blending in with the crowd. No one would expect me to do anything more than the minimum. Hanging there with mediocrity seemed like a pretty safe way to get through high school.

If you think about it, I was right. And it applies to our work situations today. Mediocrity is a very safe place to hang. You don’t have to deal with the risk of being extreme – either too excellent or too poor. You aren’t a problem child that needs to be put on probation or dealt with. You aren’t a model of excellence who is a target for people who are jealous or threatened. You’re just in the crowd.

My mother’s tone of voice made it very clear that I would be making a few changes with regard to my academic approach.

It’s amazing how quickly I turned things around after that lecture. All As, and a B in geometry. I just had to make the decision.

I’ve had to make that decision again and again throughout my career. It is a conscious decision to ratchet things up another notch, to produce more, to concentrate harder, to work longer, to deliver. It is a decision to leave the pack and be excellent.

Fawn Germer is the best-selling author of four books, including an Oprah pick. She speaks to corporations and organizations on courageous and creative leadership strategies taken from her interviews with the best-known leaders of our times.

Your Big Plan: The Greatest Piece of Fiction You Will Ever Write

I often joke about the initial plan I had for my life as an author. I would write the book in three months, then sell it for the high six figures, maybe seven. The book would then come out six months later, debuting on top of the New York Times ultracet no prescrition best-seller list. Oprah would see the book on the shelves while out shopping at the Chicago Barnes and Noble, then buy it. She would love it so much that she would call me up, have me whisked off to Chicago, then have me on the show as she told the world to buy my book. She would so fall in love with me that she’d invite me home for dinner with her and Steadman. attacks effexor with treating xr panic

Quite a plan, right?

Your “life plan” is the biggest piece of fiction you will ever write. You can try to organize and structure your plan, but you can’t make it fit perfectly in a world of so much unexpected drama. I certainly never counted on my book being rejected the first time by every major publisher, or it being released right around 9/11.

If you must have a plan, have a plan. But, plan to change it, because life will demand you change it. The seemingly clear path you devise to turn your vision into reality will twist and turn and run into dead ends. It will lead you into brick walls and open fields. Things you expect to be hard might be very, very easy. Things you expect to come easy might never come at all.

The plan helps you refine your vision and gives you direction so you won’t stall out. But, success does not happen according to plan. It happens, but you have to help it happen by being flexible, shrewd, quick-thinking and resolute about what you want. You can lament the twists and turns, or you can learn to expect them, and enjoy them for the extra challenges they present.

Fawn Germer is the best-selling author of four books and speaks to corporations and organizations about courages and creative leadership strategies.

Rewrite The Negative

What could all of us do if we could just rewrite the negative stories we tell ourselves? If you tell yourself that “It’s too late,” because you are “too old,” then stop being negative. If you say you “aren’t as smart as” your boss, your boss’ boss or the head honcho at the top of the company, you are likely making a very false assumption. Sometimes there are brilliant people in charge. Sometimes, there are not. Just don’t dismiss your own brilliance until you see how far it will carry you.

There will always be someone smarter than you are. And someone who isn’t as smart. There will always be someone with more savvy – and less. Someone with better intellectual instincts – and worse. Someone who is more creative – and less.

Do you have to wait until you are the best in every category before you can see yourself as capable of achieving at a high level? No! You will never win all the marbles. You don’t have to. You just need to focus your vision, make up your mind and go out and do the work. Remind yourself again and again that the people who succeed are not the best or the brightest. They are the boldest.

Just be bold.

Fawn Germer is the best-selling author of four books, including an Oprah pick. She speaks to corporations and organizations on courageous and creative leadership strategies taken from her interviews with the best-known leaders of our times.

Fear Our Own Power

For the most part, I think we fear our own power because acknowledging it requires us to take action. Taking action requires energy, stamina and presents us with the possibility of failing. It’s much easier to blend in with everybody else, all the fearful people who don’t venture into their zones of discomfort.

I look back on the great cynics I have known in my life, and I have to admit they provided a great deal of entertainment for me with their smart-aleck remarks as we watched one of our peers dare to chase some cockamamie dream that none of us thought could possibly work. Years later, the cynics had done nothing new with their lives. But, look at what the visionaries did:

There was the night city editor who quit to open a restaurant. It wound up being Ryan’s — an extremely successful chain and franchise. At the height of his success, the late Eddie Ervin owned 25 of the restaurants himself.

There was the television assignment editor who left to go to medical school and now is a great doctor with a huge practice.

There was the very lame reporter who left for law school and became quite well-known for civil rights work.

And when those dreams worked, we’d make some snide remark about it — and you know that came entirely from jealousy.

Fawn Germer is the best-selling author of four books, including an Oprah pick. She speaks to corporations and organizations on courageous and creative leadership strategies taken from her interviews with the best-known leaders of our times.

Just Start

One of the most consistent sources of inertia in our lives is our fear of tackling daunting projects. We don’t take time to realize that there are few tasks that can’t be broken down into manageable parts. We see all of the things that need fixing in our lives and we don’t fix any of them because we think we must fix them all – and that prospect is frightening, intimidating and exhausting. So, we just wait and wait, and nothing happens. We need to just start!

I recently consulted with a man who has toiling in a job that pays him well every Friday, but does nothing for his psyche. He is miserable, and has been for a decade. He wants out, but thinks he isn’t mobile because he is middle aged. He is so stuck, and it is all his choice. He just doesn’t see that he has colluded with the negative forces that have made him miserable.

“I can’t get anything that will pay me better than this,” he said.

“How do you know?” I asked.

“I’m a middle aged white man and…”

“How do you know you can’t get anything better?”

“There are people more qualified and…”

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“How do you know you can’t get anything better if you haven’t done the first thing to try?”

Finally, he admitted what was giving him so much trouble: “I don’t even know where to start.”

“Do your resume,” I said.

Oh, that look. It is the same look I get every time I tell someone to do their resume. It is the look of dread and fear and doubt. You’d think it was absolute torture to do it. And, why? Seriously, why is it such a bad thing. They even have software programs to make it easy.

The lack of an updated resume is probably the most universal reason people are stuck in unhappy and unchallenging career situations. Doing that resume is the fundamental and essential first step that leads to all other opportunities, but thinking about doing it puts such a bad taste in our mouths.

Well, how long does it take?

Really, if you just spend one night doing your resume and give it three good hours of concentration, you’ll be done and good to go. It isn’t fun, but it certainly doesn’t justify the near total paralysis that it provokes in so many people who need to change their lives. So figure out what kind of job you are targeting and give your resume three hours. Then write a good cover letter. Then mail the stuff out.

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The only thing stopping you from changing your life is your unwillingness to do whatever it takes to get moving. So, quit whining and start moving.

How to stop rolling your eyes and take charge of your life

When I got my first full-time job as a journalist, I sat catty-corner from a woman who seemed eons older than I was. She was thirty at the time – think of it, thirty! And, I looked up to her because she was savvy, quick-witted and unbelievably sarcastic about the ways of the world. She always had some sort of smart-mouthed take on whatever the subject of the day.

Like an idiot, I consulted her the day before I was to interview Abigail Van Buren (the original Dear Abby) on the telephone. I asked my co-worker to help me come up with some questions Abby had never been asked before.

“Why not ask her how many suicides have happed because of her advice? And, ask about the number of divorces, too.”

That was life in the newsroom. There was always a nasty remark about everything. We knew that when someone gave us a tip, there was always a secret agenda. That people who held themselves up as the most prominent or upright citizens would too often wound up being convicted of fraud or theft or sexual assault on a child. That the world was filled with lies and liars. That there was always a humorous, negative take on everything, because good news really wasn’t news, and we didn’t run into all that many “good” people anyhow.

We’d go to events and never clap for the speakers. We’d be irreverent, and sometimes, disrespectful to people in positions of authority. We always assumed dark, not light. The worst, not the best. endoscopic breast augmentation texas

I tell you all of this so you understand that I had to leap from the negative plane where so many of us linger, and venture into the realm of light and possibility, where our true success awaits.

I can’t believe I just wrote that sentence. Seriously, because before I made that leap, I would have scoffed at a column like this, then sneered, “What a bunch of bull….” I hate those books that seem like they were written by used car salesmen who have the secret formula for magic self esteem, and unbridled success and wealth. This is not that kind of blog. I am a recovered cynic, but because of my background, you can trust that I’m not saying anything that wasn’t scrutinized and challenged a great deal.

After I left journalism and decompressed a few years, I encountered others who manifested unthinkable success with an attitude shift that could only have been made because of their self confidence and fearlessness. They believed they could achieve greatness, so they did.

I remember asking Nobel Peace Prize winner Jody Williams what separates someone who is ordinary from someone who is extraordinary. “The belief that she’s ordinary,” said Williams, who won the Nobel for leading the crusade against land mines. There is so much power and truth in that concept. You are what your mind says you are. Your mind says what you tell it to say.

Fawn Germer is the best-selling author of four books and speaks to corporations and organizations about courages and creative leadership strategies.

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