December, 2013
Joys of the season!
Nancy Hardaway photo
 It's a good time to explore how optimism and generosity will bring satisfaction and success when you use them with awareness. Also my gift of visual and musical delight. And finally a video of my book reading
Optimism Theory Excerpt
Nancy Hardaway reading about optimism 
from her book The Awareness Paradigm 
Ironically, I seem so serious in this video, but it was "take 6" and I was done!  I'm really an optimistic person by "practice." I practice optimism as a choice living with someone with Parkinson's Disease. It takes intention and awareness to look for what's working in our lives each and every day.
Optimism, the POWER at work
Pollyanna statue
Optimism is the best measure of success for sales people - more than intelligence, or experience. Why? Three reasons:  creating possibilities, encouraging the best in others, and reframing tough situations to see what is working and what you can learn.
Possibiities:  Whether you believe you can or you can't - you'll be right!   If you believe something is possible, you'll keep trying. You'll explore new ways to find success. You'll take risks. 
Research shows belief makes action possible in your brain, and in others.  Many broke the four minute mile once they knew it was possible, right?
Getting the best from others:  Heard of the '
self-fulfilling prophecy'? When teachers and army sergeants were told their students or recruits were high potential (regardless of their actual potential), those students or recruits performed at high levels. 
Do the same for your people.  Believe they have potential. Believe that what people are doing is the best they can do, given the circumstances. If you do, you'll then focus out how you can help change the circumstances so they can do even better.  Believe the same for yourself.  
Reframing:  Create a new habit for yourself. When you get frustrated or upset by a situation, ask first "
what is working here?"  "What is going well?"  "What could I be pleased with?"  "What do I need to learn?"  Then use those answers to be energized and prepare for your next success.
Charles M. Schulz
Perils of Optimism
 My colleague Stuart Simon once gave a lecture called Relentless Hope.  It's stuck in my mind for many years.  Think of Charlie Brown still hoping Lucy will hold the football for him to kick despite repeating evidence to the contrary.  Or in the extreme - the battered wife, hoping against evidence her husband won't do it again.

At work, relentless hope is the boss continuing to give the failing employee the benefit of the doubt and not insisting on accountability. It's throwing good money after bad on a product or project that's not working.

Relentless hope is optimism without awareness.  Optimism without data and measurement.  Optimism without action. Repetitive behavior without change.  Don't let yourself be caught by it!

In This Issue
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If any of these are your issues:
  • Team creation
  • Change process
  • Presence
  • Accountability
  • Meeting skills
  • Conflict 
  • Saying no
  • Trust building 
  • Developing staff
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Can you help me?

Part of generosity is the flip side - being able to ask for help, so here I go:

I am looking for venues to speak about my book, on topics of developing new generations of leaders, awareness, optimism, or any of the other content areas listed above. If you belong to a company or a professional organization that needs speakers, please think of me and connect us by email or phone.

Thanks so much!

Givers are at the bottom of the success ladder AND also at the top, according to Wharton researcher and author Adam Grant in his new book Give and Take. Givers give without expectation of anything in return. Takers take without offering anything in return. Matchers give, expecting "tit for tat."It's the givers who are generous with awareness and intent, who can manage to maintain a balance between preserving their own interests along with those of others, who rise to the top.  
Givers end up more successful because of many reasons - they build better networks and draw people to them, they build better collaborations, by focusing on creating value for all they create a bigger pie to be divided, they develop successful people around them, and they encourage others to give.

TIDBITS:  Here are a few interesting ideas from the book:

** In tracking the flow of energy through organizations by asking people to rate their interactions with one another as energizing or de-energizing, takers were black holes - sucking energy from others, and givers were suns, "injecting light around the organization... creating opportunities."

**Givers are more likely to admit mistakes and to be open to negative feedback, giving them more opportunity to learn and grow.

**In mountaineering terms, givers use expedition behavior, which puts the group's goals and mission first, showing the same concern for others as you have for yourself. That behavior makes others welcome them into a group, rather than feeling threatened by them. The groups they're in experience more success.

**In negotiations, givers create value. In working to understand the needs of the opposition, givers are able to create a bigger pie to divide, thereby satisfying everyone's needs more effectively.


Simple music in the woods
Simple music in the woods
In the woods of Japan a giant wooden xylophone was constructed (for a commercial selling phones) to play Bach with the falling of a single wooden ball.   It's truly magical.  Watch and enjoy.  May you be nurtured and enriched this season!
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