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Archive for the ‘Getting Ahead’ Category

Who Is Great In Your Life

We all need to look at those around us and decide who is good for you and who is not.

People you need in your life:

Positive Reinforcers

Those that give you guidance and direction and you trust their honesty

Those that know you and still love you

Those that will come to the hospital to be your advocate

Those that tell others your talents

Those that keep in touch because they value the relationship even when you’re not good at communicating

Those that don’t tell your secrets because you needed an ear to talk to

Those that believe you can accomplish your passions and help you recognize what they are

Those that are cheerleaders for you in every way

Those who would stand up for you in a discussion because they trust you and want others to know your talents and character

Top 10 “Bad” people for you:

Those that put their own needs above anyone else’s

Those that need to have the credit for whatever accomplishment there is

Those that talk behind your back but not to your face

Those that have no ability to consider others feelings

Those that make excuses

Those that put money above all else

Those that use misinformation or any information as a stepping stone to power over others

Those that don’t know the meanings of “trust” or “loyalty”

Those that use negative comments and innuendo to gain alliance and influence

Those that have ulterior motives


I bet you wouldn’t have guessed !

Recently I heard (or read) the same statement made by three different reliable sources but I was still surprised.

It seems that for every negative thing that is said or done to you it takes five positive things to balance it out! Not one, not two — but five!

That’s a lot to ask.

Apparently it has to do with our brains and how they work. The book “How We Decide” by Jonah Lehrer was one of the sources of my revelation. It says, “Loss aversion is an innate flaw. It’s part of a larger psychological phenomenon known as negativity bias, which means that for the human mind, bad is stronger than good. This is why in marital interaction it generally takes at least five kind comments to compensate for one critical comment. ………The only way to avoid loss aversion is to know about the concept.”

So what are we do to? This will definitely take a group effort. Since we can’t give ourselves the positive comments in this particular situation we will have to form teams.

I need to form team “Joy“. Just like in kickball we get to pick our players; so I’ll choose my true friends, the family members who like me, the associates who respect me, the acquaintances who don’t know any better, my nailtech, my hairdresser and maybe anyone else I pay because they “should” be nice to me.

Team “Joy” gets points by saying five nice things to me each time I interact with them  in person, in writing or on the phone.  Then I must do the same. The game is won when we are all blissfully walking around and performing to our highest potential in all that we undertake; and no negative comment can undermine our day or our feeling of well-being. (Did I mention they have to be sincere compliments?).

This game however is never-ending. It is a constant give and take (give praise – take praise).

Team Joy also needs to recruit constantly and there is no limit to the number or value of the players we can amass for our team. (Unlike some professional football teams.)

We recruit by complimenting others and one by one we pick up players who are dedicated to winning. Daily they are being a positive force for Joy and recruiting others to join us. They can even be members of as many teams as they choose as long as they are active in all of them and following our basic goal of complimenting as many people as we can in a day, month, year — all while warding off our natural “negativity bias”.

Mission accomplished. We have enough good to outweigh the bad!

Have fun playing — you are welcome on Team Joy anytime!


Where does your dream lead you?

Some people have a lot to say all of the time. This is a good thing especially when they are your favorite author, writer, speaker or any number of talents that attract your attention.

Some people are great listeners and after thoughtfully listening to your story provide encouragement, strength, enlightenment, comfort, hope or any emotion that may help us to move forward toward our goals.

Some people can do both well and provide the world with wisdom and winners.

I admit my dream is to become both a great listener and communicator. The listening can help me understand what people want; and the communicating can help me express to people what tools may be important to them to attain their dreams.

I also admit I have not reached my dream and often fall short of the intended mark. However I realize it is a constant education on my part to listen better and keep up with new tools available in our ever-changing world.

From every experience I have I gain new information to bring me closer to my dream. I learn to listen and communicate in a more beneficial way to my audience whether it’s one person, several or many.

I continually want to be better at helping others and in return helping myself. I want to encourage others as well as provide information that may help them. I want to give praise while helping them identify their unique talents. I want to give support while they are on their way to victory. I want to give them hope so they can hold onto it for their own.

But to accomplish this I must keep practicing.

I have to practice being present and asking questions. I have to ask them to describe their dream. I have to help them discover their unique talents if they have not done so on their own. I have to actively think of what I can personally do to assist them in attaining their dreams and using their talents.

I have to listen, learn and do something.

That something could be as simple as a heart-felt note to express my appreciation and belief in them; or as complex as setting up a difficult introduction to someone who could help them with their dream.

I want to be of help to others (my dream – it also includes writing meaningful articles that encourage people).

Just like those I want to help I must hold onto hope. The hope that I can become an outstanding mentor to others in attaining the strength and happiness they deserve in this life.

What is your dream ?

Success is not a mountain to climb; it is a path to follow all the days of our life.

Our gifts and our values lead us down the path. They are our road map (our GPS) to the destination of fulfillment. We can never get lost or give up hope that we will fulfill our dreams.

Have you thought about how to accomplish your dream?

Do you have advocates to support and encourage your dreams?

Have you done something about moving toward your dream today?

Have you assisted others in accomplishing their dreams?

Have you kept hope alive even through tough learning experiences and difficult economic times?

Rekindle your dream and never lose hope in its’ inevitability.

It has been said:

A person can live forty days without food; four days without water; four minutes without air but only four seconds without hope.

Be the hope you need and give hope to those around you and as they say ” may all your dreams come true”.

What Does Your Workspace Say

Have you ever looked around your work environment and seen a lot of  “different environments”?

Some desks are clean surfaces with workable tops. No stacks, no clutter and no paper in sight at the end of the day.

Others are filled with stacks of papers.

And yet others are not only filled with uneven stacks but strewn with clutter on floors, cabinets and any available surface with no apparent place to perform a task.

In this age of  “paperless” communication  there seems to be even less reason for this workspace’s seemingly chaotic environment. However it still exists as it always has perhaps to a lesser degree. (This same philosophy applies to computer files, emails, social media, etc.)

Our professional workspace is a microcosm of how we interact with and manage the “things” in our life and how we “think”.

Consistency and order are reflected in the spotless workspace. There is a sense of having and needing control. Control over our work, its output and how much we accomplish. Structure brings this person gratification. The quality of the output is consistent. Daily processes and procedures are met rigorously. Interruptions to routine are met with resistance. Piles are not required because when work is put in its proper place it will be taken care of in its ordered time.

Spaces where piles reside do not indicate any less desire for control but perhaps a sense of “urgency for all tasks”. All work is considered equal. Everything must be done at once. Decisions about order are not made easily. Things become sorted by: 1) Must do 2) I might be able to do and 3) It might be something extra I will be able to get to later. The daily work is done with skill and pride but there might be more I can do and by having it in sight I’ll remember to “get to it”.

Chronic chaos is just that. Work is done as the need arises. The more urgent work comes to the surface through deadlines (both internal and external). When the work is done it posses exceptional concentration and thoroughness. The person devotes their whole being and brain when performing any task. The work is detailed and insightful but not done in any consistent order or any predetermined schedule. The chaos does lead to things being “forgotten” or not attended to without assistance, but the work is so valuable when done that the aid of an assistant to set priorities can be worthwhile as a tool for this individual.

In all three cases it is always imperative that the person’s work is exceptional and they are the best person to perform certain jobs for the company.

Given that prerequisite, how does a leader (or parent, or teacher, or companion) relate to and embrace these differing styles of work and behavior?

You have the responsibility of bringing the BEST work out of each person and the group as a whole.

Each of these individuals brings different values that combined should bring excellence.

Your goal is to know how to assign jobs, roles, projects and responsibilities. Your job is to put the pieces together in such a way that the outcome  is beyond what any one person could accomplish.

The “organized” worker or “deleter” in computer terms, is excellent at knowing  and meeting their deadlines and the deadlines of others. Use this strength. Work that is repetitious and needed weekly, monthly, etc should become their responsibility. In addition they can be in charge of prompting others for deadlines they need to meet and usually cannot on their own. Their work is communicated well so everyone understands what their part is in order for the deadline to be met.

The “piler” or “file folder winner” in computer terms, is invaluable at seeing a bigger picture, formulating process and procedure, looking for new or better ways to do things or how change can occur. They can see to the end of the puzzle and work backwards to the steps that need to be taken along the way. They are not rigid but more flexible in reorganizing priorities as the need arises. They do adhere to and understand deadlines and are usually willing to help others achieve the results required in the time allotted. Their talent at problem solving can be used throughout the company.

The “chaotic” or “ram user” can bring genius. Innovation is usually more important than following tradition. They can be more “thinkers” than “doers”. They can be invaluable in getting others to see new possibilities. They can help sales by looking at new products or services. They can streamline production. They can use methodology to simplify process. They can assist the company in keeping up with technology.

Of course not all people exhibit their strengths through the state of their workspace or the way they manage their computer files, but when you get to know their work product and their abilities it is always up to you – the leader – to provide them with the opportunities to use their talents to their fullest potential.

Pay attention to your team as a group and as individuals and you will never be disappointed in the outcome.

What does your workplace normally say?

How can you look around and better redistribute duties to strengthen the team? ( Who should really be responsible for that monthly report? Who should be in charge of monthly sales quotas? Who should be responsible for social media? Who should be editing my blog? Just checking you got to the end.)

Love to hear from you!

Mother’s and Mentor’s Day

I am so grateful to have a dear friend who among other gifts and talents does relationship coaching/consulting. ( Understanding relationships is vital to both your professional and personal growth. )

Years ago I heard her give advice to a group of women as Mother’s Day approached.

Her message was heartfelt and impactful. Mother’s Day is a reminder to thank not only your Mother but your Mentors as well. The people in your life who have served as surrogate “mothers” throughout your life.

Writing a note to someone ( female or male ) who may or may not know how important they are to you, or how they have helped you along the way, is a great way to say thank you.


Some things you may want to say:

Thank You for being in my life.

Thank you for your guidance, your caring and your support.

 Thank you for the unconditional love you have given me. ( Sounds like Mom doesn’t it ? )

Thank you for your shoulder to lean on, your words that soothe, your insights and your unwavering belief in me.

Thank you for your example of strength and courage, your ability to see the true me and your trust in my success at whatever I choose to do.

I’d like to thank you today as I do every day when I remember the things I am grateful for in my life.

Through your example I have learned to “mother” and mentor those who I have had the privilege to know and love.

Every word I speak, sentence I write and action I take has been positively influenced by knowing you.


There is no better way to live life than to be an inspiration and advocate for others.

Don’t wait — write your notes today. You will be giving the gifts of recognition, praise and gratitude.


Relationship Coaching/Consulting:

Cottor Consulting Ltd., Sharon Cottor —


The Nay-sayers; Don’t listen

A few encounters recently lead me to reflect on how I react when others are negative about an idea or plan I have developed.

A friend of mine Jackie Dishner first pointed out the word “Nay-sayer” in a presentation she gave to a group of business women. (I would highly recommend her as a motivational speaker.) It was the way she said it with so much disdain combined with laughter that first caught my attention.

A Nay-sayer is anyone who does not believe. They don’t believe in you, your ideas, your abilities and most likely don’t believe in change or creativity.

When I encounter a Nay-sayer my first reaction is usually doubt in myself. It takes a lot of work and self-esteem to just let it roll off your back and proceed straight ahead.

I have worked very hard at letting this occur and I have found that each time I regroup, revisit, clarify my goal and plow ahead I come out even more determined to reach my desired outcome.  

Then I share my plan or aspiration with more people and dismiss the Nay-sayers until eventually I find someone willing to give encouragement. The moment I have been waiting for – someone who believes.

Right after the first believer my enthusiasm and determination begin to ascend. I add to my plan. I can envision the outcome. I can get more people to believe and they in turn share their belief – and so the ball starts to roll.

Eventually the ball becomes so big that it takes everyone involved to carry it up the hill to the top of the mountain – where we can all see clearly the final outcome or result. And as a group who have supported and encouraged each other we are very proud of our accomplishment and the result we’ve attained.

This pride both individually and collectively ironically was part of the original plan. Pride in our contributions. Pride in our determination. Pride in our ability to change, to grow and to help each other along the way.

And so the journey begins again. We develop a sustainability plan. We develop the next growth plan. We look around for what we can improve or what gives us more joy and satisfaction.

Then we dismiss the Nay-sayers and find our new group that will help us on our next journey just as we will help them.

I’ll see you along the way in the valley and meet you at the top of the next mountain.


Kate Rakoci

Reference:  Jackie Dishner

Recommended reading: “Our Iceberg Is Melting” by John Kotter and Holger Rathgeber


Stand a head above the crowd and say “I”

If you’d like to differentiate yourself from everyone else around you, use the word “I” and use it properly!

It is not “me and Kate Middleton” , nor “me and my friend”.

It is not “me and Colin”, nor “me and the rest of the attendees at the Academy Awards”.

It is “my friends and I”,  “Saint Patrick and I”, “my boss and I, “my fellow constituents and I”, “the whole gosh darn world and I”.

It’s a simple formula to remember when you actually want to sound like you know what you are talking about and how to express it appropriately.

You always come last — and you refer to yourself as “I”.

Our forefathers apparently understood courtesy and manners. They gave us a language that showed respect and regard for others. Others come first.

If you truly want to be different and value others as much as yourself a simple start would be to use the English language correctly.

It shows your determination to be the best you can be at whatever you do. And, those people who appreciate effort will take notice.

It is not our place to “correct” others. Everyone has a choice on how they want to be perceived and how they choose to communicate.

But I guarantee if you consciously make an effort to go back to proper grammar others will notice, and if they notice maybe they will copy. Set the example.

They say imitation is the best form of flattery. Let yourself be flattered.

Show how you stand apart from the pack.