Weeding Your Daily Habits

Weed garden habit.I spend a few minutes each morning and evening in my garden. I find it relaxing. I’m not a great gardener, but it is fun for the whole family.

The other day my youngest questioned why I was pulling these little plants from the garden.

I told her they were weeds, and that if unattended they would overcome the garden and hurt our crops.

I think many of us, including myself, have a lot of weeds in our daily productivity. We could benefit from being a little more intentional about removing some bad habits that act like weeds and overcome the goals in life that would bring us the most happiness.

They are easy to spot, like the weeds in our gardens, and they are pretty easy to pull out when they are small. When they grow into daily habits, however, and have taken root in our lives, they are much more difficult to eliminate. It is hard to distinguish the diversion from the goal, just as it is difficult to distinguish the full grown weed from the crop.

There is no spray or tool in life that will do the work for you. That would be great! You must identify and yank those weeds out to be more productive. You must do it with intention and consistency. It isn’t painful and it doesn’t take any time. Rather, it is a reallocation of time, or making the next best choice with your time. It’s that simple.

Don’t beat yourself up about how the garden has been over run, just get in there and yank a few out today, then a couple more tomorrow.

Diversions, like Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, video games, and our hobbies are important. We need them to make life fun and worth living, but too often we get lost in our diversions and give our true goals the minimum of our day, week, and sadly life.

If we want the gardens of our life to be plentiful and healthy we must put some daily intention to getting those results.

The greatest goals in life are not  met with a single, massive action, but rather small, daily habits.

Take a look at your day and ask yourself one very simple question: What negative habit have I developed, that if eliminated could free up some time for something I have always wanted to accomplish?

Leaders Promote Others!

WE Promote others; leaders promote othersWhether you are the owner of a business, a manager of a team, a parent, or just a good friend, know that leaders promote the work of others.

I had a wonderful neighbor years ago that I  loved to talk with while she tended her flower gardern.  One day she said to me, “Do you know what I like best about you? You speak so well of others. You talk so well of your wife. You share the joys of your work. You recommend your friends to others. That’s a wonderful quality.”  While I enjoyed the compliment, I also thought long and hard about her words, and I wondered why more people don’t do the same.

One of the greatest joys of being a leader comes when we have an opportunity to  recognize others for their hard work. Recognizing is important and something all leaders should do.  Recognizing and promoting are not, however, the same. Recognizing could be accomplished in private, but when we promote someone, well, that is the ultimate form of recognition because you are attaching yourself to it and sharing it publicly.

My mom would always compliment my artwork, but the greatest memories I remember were when she hung it on the fridge, or told her friends about it. I loved that.  I still do. So… hang someone’s work on the proverbial fridge and promote them.

Don’t promote others expecting something in return for yourself.  It very likely will happen, but that is the wrong reason to do it. Promote others because you are genuinely impressed with their work.  Make note, however, when you promote the work of others routinely it always benefits you down the road. It doesn’t benefit you occassionaly, it benefits you regularly, but again, that’s not why you do it, and you can’t do it occassionally. Your promotion of others needs to become a part of your leadership style.

And once you get a reputation for promoting the work of others, you won’t believe the work people do for you!   (Click “Read More”  to find out how to really apply this leadership skill.)

One Simple Change for a Lifetime of Results: The Kaizen Way

Kelly Croy Productivity Speaker Writer Artist kaizen

The Kaizen Way is a concept that I believe can dramatically impact your personal and professional life without stress, guilt, and anxiety. It’s simple and effective. It leap frogs fear and procrastination and gets results. 

I recently asked a friend if he had any resolutions for the new year and he replied, “Yes, I plan to do one push-up a day.”

I smiled, knowing there had to be more to the story, and I asked, “One? That’s a bit small isn’t it?”

My friend then introduced me to the concept of the Kaizen Way. He explained to me that when he gets down on the floor to complete his one push-up for the day that he always does a few more than just the one.  He doesn’t overthink what he has to do. He doesn’t worry about how he is going to fit three sets of forty pushups into his schedule, or anything like that.  He just gets down on the floor and does his one push up aiming for improvement.  It’s simple. It’s neat. It works.

This is a new area of focus for him. He doesn’t already have a massive amount of upper body strength, so doing some pushups every day of the year will be a big boost. The word “kaizen” is the Japanese word for improvement. It was once poorly applied in the workplace as forcibly making employees discover and apply constant improvement, all the way from the head of the company down to the newly hired, to a point of creating a work environment of stress and undue pressure. Kaizen, or constant improvement is a great concept, but I like my friend’s version better because it eliminates the stress and allows the participant to self-assess and reflect on how deeply to apply the improvement. This contemporary version of The Kaizen Way is personal and enchanting. In essence, the Kaizen Way asks you to take one small step each day to make an improvement in your life. 

I decided to try this concept of the Kaizen Way in my own life. You see I own a guitar, but I do not know how to play it. I have always wanted to learn. I have thought about lessons, and books, and YouTube videos, and other educational tools, but success always eluded me. 

Why haven’t I been able to learn anything on the guitar? Easy.  I haven’t really tried. The process itself stops me cold: get the guitar out of the closet, take it out of the case, use the tuning app on my iPhone to tune it, start the lesson, practice, put it all away, etc. No wonder I have never learned even a little bit of how to play the guitar. The key of course has been to simplify the process and redefine what I need to do.  Yes, this is a mind trick. 

This year I applied the Kaizen Way to my desire of learning to play the guitar. I decided I would learn to play just one chord a day. Just one chord. That’s it.  Guess what happened?  In a matter of a few weeks I have learned a couple of chords! They aren’t the greatest sounding chords in the world, but it is more than I have learned in my entire life of owning that guitar due entirely to my friend’s simple explanation of this Kaizen concept. 

Five Steps to Building Leadership in Your Organization

Fill in the moat KC speaker motivate team

Low productivity and morale can surface within any organization, and it’s really not that difficult to get everyone back on track. Every workplace is different, and there isn’t always a one-method-fixes-all solution. In this post I’m offering five great techniques to implement to get your organization from complaining to leading.

1) Show You Care: If you want to end morale issues in your organization and build leaders, then you need to build a rapport with your team. When you show your team kindness, that you care, and develop a genuine and consistent rapport, morale issues will fade. In its place, you will find team members looking out for one another, representing your agency with pride, and leadership at every transaction. Show you care.

2) Provide Leadership Opportunities: A lot of people read leadership books, watch clips on leadership, and talk about leadership, however, they don’t always put to action what they’ve read, heard, or discussed. If you want your organization to be full of solid leaders, you have to provide team members with leadership opportunities.  That’s right, you have to give them the authority to lead. You can’t expect a perfect outcome either, and I suppose that’s why a lot of people are afraid to let others take the lead on a project, but that is what it takes to build leaders, genuine opportunities and responsibilities. You can always sit a distant second-chair or check-in and let them know you can mentor and counsel, but you have to allow real opportunities with real consequences. You will be happy with the short term results, and you will be elated with the long-term impact on your organization. Provide leadership opportunities.

3) Take Action: The biggest morale buster in any organization is when committees are formed, meetings are held, and surveys are taken and then there is no follow-up or action.  It’s frustrating.  You might as well send a handwritten note to each member saying, “I don’t care what you think.”  Yep, it’s that bad.  If you ask for someone’s feedback, honor it.  Even if you can’t provide what they’ve requested, let them know that the feedback was important and it helped shape the outcome. Let them know they are important. When they offer feedback that you don’t like, don’t go to their supervisor trying to “get to the bottom of it” and smear some make-up over the blemish. Be thankful that they were honest and upfront. Don’t surround yourself with people who only tell you what you want to hear.  Leaders take action.

A List of The Most Influential Books to Read

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I love to read.  I’m one of those people that has more books than I have time, yet I always reserve a portion of my day for reading. Reading is my workout for my brain. 

I have a stack of books that I am looking forward to reading later, a list I am reading now, a wish-list of books to checkout and I am always adding to my “books to read” list in my journal from the recommendations of friends and people I admire.

I am thankful for my middle school English teacher, Mrs. Romick for providing me with a list of books that made me fall in love with reading. I am thankful for my mother for being a great model of the importance of reading. I am thankful for my father for surrounding me with good books. Books change lives.

I wanted to share with you a list of books that I believe are life-changers. I have read every one and recommended them to others many, many times. Perhaps you can add them to your list or order a copy as a gift for a friend. Books are wonderful.