Why Your Success Depends on Being Off Balance

Dan Thurmon is on stage, and I’m already wondering how I will describe this scene.  He’s completely different from other speakers, but I’m not even sure I would characterize this as speaking.  He moves effortlessly from motivational speaker to performer.  One minute I am furiously writing down nuggets of wisdom to review for later.  The next, I am gripping my hands together as I watch him balancing on a unicycle as knives are thrown his way.  After he leaves the stage, I intentionally eavesdrop on the others around me.  They, too, are trying to put it into words.

Dan Thurmon’s performance may be difficult to describe because he has blended his many interests and talents into a role that suits him uniquely and perfectly—roles that include speaker, author, juggler, and acrobatic performer.  Dan is a keynote speaker, a member of the prestigious Speaker’s Roundtable, and the president of Motivation Works, Inc.9781608320141

Dan dispenses advice that seems to contradict common wisdom.  He talks about life balance in a way that gets your attention: balancing atop a tall unicycle as he juggles sharp objects.

Here are five things you may not expect to hear from a motivational speaker:

  1. Forget balance.  The goal to have a life in balance in unattainable and also undesirable.  Life is off balance and you must be off balance to grow.  The key is to be off balance on purpose.  Embrace uncertainty to create a life you love.
  2. Let go to get a grip.  You need to let go of the necessity to control everything.  Let go of the need to do everything yourself.  Let go of negative emotions.  Letting go will free you.
  3. You won’t reach your potential.  It may seem strange to hear this from a motivational guru, but you have an infinite capacity to grow, learn and love.  Keep reaching higher.

Power Is Not A Dirty Word

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This is a guest post by Achim Nowak. Achim is the author of Infectious: How to Connect Deeply and Unleash the Energetic Leader Within (Allworth/2013) and Power Speaking: The Art of the Exceptional Public Speaker. An internationally recognized authority on leadership influence, Achim has coached entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 executives around the globe.

Yes, I used to think power was a dirty word. I had it all mixed up with ego, bravado, narcissism. The Donald Trump kind of self-flaunting.  And I was spiritual, after all …

Then I had a wake-up call.

It happened during a retreat in Arizona. For the first time in my life I had taken time off to look at myself. I was in my mid-thirties, a successful theatre director in New York, recognized for my work, pretty sure that I “was somebody.” Until Reverend Mona, the facilitator of my desert experience, looked me squarely in the eye one day, held the look way too long, and uttered the words: “You need to stop being a doormat.”

Boy, she pissed me off.

When I stopped reeling from Mona’s remark, I quickly saw all the ways in which I truly was not very powerful at all. And here’s the part I instantly “got:” Because I did not have a clue about what personal power really was, my effectiveness with everyone I worked with was diminished. Day in, day out. Ouch.

I have since learned that all of us have different sources of power. I like to call them power plugs. I also know that exceptional leaders understand these sources of personal power and use them to great effect. Here is a Power Plugs model (created with psychologist Margarita Gurri, Ph.D.) which I use in my work with leaders at every organizational level. The notion of a plug implies that we can access these sources of power. Plug into them. It’s a very practical path to something that can seem elusive and overwhelming.

Our 5 Power Plugs

Achim

Intelligent Leadership

I’m always on the hunt for great leadership books, thinkers, and ideas.  A few months ago, I was introduced to John Mattone’s work.  John is the author of Talent Leadership, and he has recently released Intelligent Leadership.

9780814432372Intelligent Leadership reinforces key success concepts and adds to your leadership arsenal with new tools developed from John’s research and extensive work as a leadership coach.  It’s one of those books that will help you better understand yourself and others, insuring greater success.

John, you developed a model for leadership you call the Leadership Wheel of Success.  I will point readers to the book for a detailed explanation, but let’s just focus on the outer core for a moment.   You identify nine specific leadership skills required for a successful leader.  How did you develop this model?

Skip, the notion that the definition of a target of leadership success is different for every leader and organization led to the explosion of competency-modeling work primarily in the 1980s and early 1990s. Every organization was creating its own targets of leadership success. Of course, this led to the rise of consulting and research firms who took advantage of real market needs to help these organizations research and define leadership success in their own unique organization for their own unique leaders. The result? We have learned that the definition of leadership success—the leadership success target comprised of leadership can-do, will-do, and must-do—is really not all that unique to a particular leader or organization. In the process, through years of research, we have gained tremendous intelligence about leadership success and the competencies that define success. The early leadership competency work done by David McLeland and McBer and Company, as well as the more recent work of the Center for Creative Leadership, John Kotter, Lominger, my own firm, and hundreds of other notable researchers and leading thinkers has added not only a unique perspective but also a corroborative perspective that there is value in creating a universal target of leadership success.

Would you touch on the inner core and why it’s so critical to focus on?

Improve Your Happiness At Work

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Kevin Kruse is a New York Times bestselling author, former CEO, speaker, and a blogger.  His newest book is Employee Engagement for Everyone.

Kevin, thanks for talking with me about your new work.  Previously, you’ve written for companies and managers.  Your latest book is aimed at everyone who wants to be happier at work.

What is “engagement” and why should anyone care?

Engagement is similar to being happy at work, but it’s a little deeper. Engagement is the emotional commitment someone has to their organization and the organization’s objectives. When we care more, we give more discretionary effort. Whether we are in sales, service, manufacturing or leadership, we will give more, the more engaged we are. Not only is this good for a company’s bottom line, but when we are engaged at work, we also end up being a better spouse and parent, and we have improved health outcomes.

How is commSpeechunication connected to engagement?

Communication is one of the top drivers of engagement. It is sort of the “backbone” that runs through the other primary drivers of Growth, Recognition and Trust.

What are your top three tips for improving communication?

3 Myths About Creativity

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Do you think of yourself as creative?  Or do you think you missed that gene?  You admire others who paint or sculpt or write or create, but it’s not for you.  Or maybe you remember a teacher encouraging you as a child, but that was long ago and you no longer think you’re very innovative.

David B. Goldstein and Otto Kroeger argue that everyone is creative.  In their new book Creative You, they give readers the opportunity to understand their creative potential.  When you take the quiz, you discover which of over sixteen personality types you are and how you can harness your unique creative power.

I recently had the opportunity to talk with David about his work and what he has learned about creativity and personality.

 

David, most people only use a fraction of their potential creative ability available.  What do you say to those who say they don’t care whether they are considered creative or not?  Why is it so important to understand your style and become more creative?frontcover_final_CU

Great question, Skip! Everything is changing quickly and each day we all have to solve unprecedented problems at home and at work. To survive and to compete we need to be creative. Creativity isn’t just about making art or music; it’s about inventing better ways to do our jobs, and if we leave creativity up to others, we will be left behind.

 

 

You bust myth after myth about creativity.  I think you list twenty myths.  Let’s talk about a few of them.  Would you share just three of these myths and why they are wrong?

Yes, there is much mystery around the creative process and the myths that many of us accept harm us by holding us back. Here are three:

1.  “There is only one type of creativity.”

A critical mistake many of us make is in assuming that we’re all the same. Did Henry Ford have the same kind of creative style as Picasso? Ford was conservative and created within a rigid model; Picasso was much more fluid. We all have unique knowledge, can learn techniques, and are capable of creating in our own way. Give a classroom of children a topic and ask them to write an essay, and then see how many variations you get. Each of us sees the world in our own way, and we act accordingly. Our creativity is as unique as our fingerprints and leaves an impression on whatever we make.

 

Creativity is about inventing better ways to do our jobs. -David Goldstein

 

2.  “Creative people are spontaneous, untimely, and unstructured.”