Archives for the month of: February, 2011

[Note: This is the 3rd in  a 12-week series of posts that will discuss “choices” from the book Monday Morning Choices by David Cottrell.]

A wise man learns more from his enemies than a fool from his friends. – Baltasar Gracian

The complete chapter title for week three is “The Values Choice…Choose the Right Enemies.”  In doing a bit more research on Mr. Gracian (quoted above) I came upon his collection of maxims Art of Worldy Wisdom. Skimming through this book I understood better why the author decided to select a quote from Gracian.

Gracian’s maxims speak of taking the high road, living with a strong value system,  leading a good life. keeping your friends close and your enemies closer.

Values are defined as accepted principles or standards of an individual or group.  Do you know what your values are? Are there times when you have had to make decisions which conflict with your values?

Cottrell writes that knowing what your values are and living by them are different – and living by your values will eventually lead to enemies who share a different value system.

Here’s an example. I have a very strong family-first value set. This has often conflicted with some co-workers and managers who didn’t understand my decisions to not take assignments or even jobs that would require me to be away from my family for more time than I was comfortable with – whether it was travelling or long work hours.  These were uncomfortable discussions, but knowing I was living by my chosen values made me happier and more confident (and trust me everyone – more productive!)  Sure, I chose my enemies in a way, but that is the point of this week’s choice.

Cultivate those who can teach you – Balthasar Gracian


[Note: This is the 2nd in  a 12-week series of posts that will discuss “choices” from the book Monday Morning Choices by David Cottrell.]

“When work, commitment, and pleasure all become one, and you reach that deep well where passion lives, nothing is impossible.” – Anonymous

New Year’s Resolutions are ridiculous. There I said it. I understand I’ve probably offended a good number of people who chronically set these goals each year and then, in most cases, reset them again exactly one year later.  Now, I’m not saying these people are ridiculous, just the goal setting mechanism of resolutions.  If you want to change, get something done, make a difference, you have to be more than just interested in getting it done – you need to be committed.

Commitment is not set by a turn of a calendar page. It created by passion and drive and set in the heart and mind. I, like all of you, have been interested in many goals. When I was younger I was interested in becoming a magician, and a pilot, and an inventor, etc.  As an adult I am interested in getting in shape, losing weight, learning a language, etc.

But, I am committed to being a caring father and loving husband. I am committed to keeping myself educated and my mind sharp.  The difference between commitment and interest is that when we are committed to something we believe it is important enough that we are willing to stay the course.

David Cottrell shares some of the attributes of passionately committed people:

  • They do what they say they’ll do because they have made the commitment to do it.
  • They believe strongly they can achieve a goal that they can envision themselves crossing the finish line.
  • They write and verbalize their commitments.
  • They’re realistic.
  • People who choose commitment invest in achieving their goals.
  • Committed people don’t beat themselves up for falling short.
  • People who choose to commit always plan their lives around what it takes to achieve a goal.
  • Most committed people don’t understand the term “fail.”
  • People who commit themselves to a goal have an impact on the lives of those around them.

This Monday Morning  look around you, check your goals, evaluate your “commitments”.  We can’t be passionately committed about everything. Choose what you are passionately committed about and compare that passion against Cottrell’s list above.

[Note: This is the beginning of a 12-week series of posts that will discuss “choices” from the book Monday Morning Choices by David Cottrell.]

“The greatest power a person possesses is the power to choose.” – J. Martin Kohe

Is it possible to accept total responsibility to the things that happen to us? Does the buck really stop with us? Take a minute to think back on a work or personal situation that has happened recently in which you failed to accept responsibility. Instead, you may have thought, “If so-and-so didn’t do this-or-that we wouldn’t have this problem.” Is it possible to rethink that situation and take full accountability for what happened? Is it possible to not play the victim, but choose differently?

One of my main responsibilities is running projects.  I’m relatively new to my role in my current organization and my approach to project management is new to the project teams with which I work.  We are definitely learning together. There have been a few occasions recently where I have taken the “victim” role and placed blame on someone else when things went astray on the project. If I look back now I believe that in a number of those cases there was an opportunity for me to take on full accountability and not play the victim. I did have the choice and upon reflection I chose wrong.

We limit our own growth and opportunity when we attempt to use our “victimization” to not take risks or to remove ourselves from blame.