Not just for Dads

Intentional Influence – Thoughts for Leaders and Fathers…and anyone who knows some!

Archive for the month “July, 2013”

Getting a clue from the clueless

I’m currently looking for a job.

So naturally, I have been looking at a few job postings in the process. One thing I noticed (nothing spectacular, as you will see) is that companies often add phrases like:

  • minimum experience of X years in … required
  • At least X years of experience with …
  • Degree in … considered an asset

These companies are looking for people with many years of experience, people who know what they are talking about, who have been there and done that. In other words: they are looking for experts.

And that is great. There is nothing wrong or bad about that. Experts are awesome.

But it made me think. It made me think of the quote*: “If you do what you always did, you’ll get what you always got”.

In some cases that is exactly what we want. We want what we always got. We want proven quality. We want reliability. If so, ask the experts.

But sometimes what we need is inspiration. We are looking for innovation. We are stuck and need a new way, some brilliant idea to solve a problem. What we always got is no longer good enough. We need a new perspective.

In that case I would suggest asking a Non-Expert. Someone who hasn’t been there and hasn’t done that. Someone who “doesn’t have a clue”. Someone who “doesn’t really care”. Someone who can offer a fresh look…

Ask someone who “probably doesn’t have a clue” about something they “probably don’t care about” and you will get a response you probably didn’t expect. 
But it might be just the answer you were looking for!

Ask the high school student about his opinion on taxes…
Talk to the mother of five children about project management…
See if the manager next door has some thoughts on meal planning and home cooking…
Start a conversation with anybody about anything…you’ll likely learn something…

They probably won’t give the answers the experts in that field would give.
They may not have the answers needed to solve the problem.
But they might just give you that bit of insight or new perspective you need.

*This quote has been attributed to Abraham Lincoln, Henry Ford, Albert Einstein and a few others. If you know who it came from and have credible evidence I’d love to hear it.

Anyone can do this for 30 days…

“Think of something you’ve always wanted to add to your life (or subtract from you life) and then stick with it for 30 days”

That’s the simple idea shared by Matt Cutts in his TED-Talk in 2011.  And this simple idea literally has the potential to change your life. How do I know? Because I tried it and it has changed mine!

I have been doing this “30-day-challenge-thing” since last December and it has helped me grow, mature, learn and become more focused. Every month I pick something I want to work on in my life, some area I want to grow in. That could be something like:

  • Write a blog post every day for 30 days
  • Get up at 5am every day for 30 days
  • Spend quality time with my son every day for 30 days
  • No Chocolate for 30 days

You get the idea. Health, productivity, hobbies, social skills, leadership… the options are endless. The room for growth is as well.

Just 30 days.
It’s simple – not always easy, but totally do-able.

I believe we all have something in our life that we are pushing off, avoiding, procrastinating…Something that would make our lives more enjoyable, productive or meaningful – if we just got started.

I am not sure what you want to get out of life. I want to make a difference for the better. I want to have a positive influence on those around me. This is a small way to start that. It’s worked great for me so far.

Imagine what you could look back to after 30 days. Imagine what you will have accomplished by the end of the year…If you just got started today.

So what are you waiting for?

I am pretty sure there is something specific on your mind as you are reading this, that you should do (or stop doing) for the next 30 days. The temptation for you right now is to quickly close this website and get on with your busy life. DON’T DO IT. What are you afraid of? What at you waiting for?

It’s only thirty days.
But these thirty days can change your life!


It’s worth repeating yourself!

If you have something important to say, it’s worth repeating yourself! 
If your message should stick, it’s worth repeating yourself!
If you want people to remember, it’s worth repeating yourself!

Repeating yourself is important in good communication. But often our attitude gets in the way of good communication:
If I said something, it was said. No need to repeat myself. After all: they heard it. They should have listened. They could have asked if something was unclear. They should know. It was clearly communicated! I shouldn’t have to repeat myself.

To which I would simply say: No, you dont HAVE TO… There’s no law about it. You won’t go to jail. And yet: It’s worth repeating yourself.

Ask yourself this:
What was my intention for communicating in the first place? Why did I even bother mentioning it?

Because it was important. And if it is important, it’s worth repeating. Not just once, or twice, but every time. Until it sticks! It’s worth repeating yourself!

Now, just repeating yourself isn’t all it takes to communicate well. But if you want to communicate well it’s worth repeating yourself. It’s worth repeating yourself. It’s worth repeating yourself.

Telling your wife you love her…
Telling your team the plan of action…
Telling your fans the details of your next concert…
Telling your company your vision…
Telling your kids you’re proud of them…

It’s worth repeating yourself. Every time!

Let’s not assume people heard the first time. Let’s not expect they understood the first time. Let’s repeat ourselves and make sure they hear it…again and again.
Until they recall. Until they remember. Until they repeat.

You may start sounding like a broken record. Your family, your team or your friends might start finishing your sentences for you, because they’ve heard them so many times.
But that’s exactly what you want!
That’s exactly what you want.
That’s exactly what you want.

They recalled it. They remembered it. They repeated it.
Message delivered.
Mission accomplished.

It was worth repeating yourself!

Time to say goodbye?

Dear Andreas,
It’s so sad you are leaving. You’re such a great guy. We will miss you.
Wish we could have gotten to know each other better while you were here.
Love, Bob

Recently I quit my job. We also moved away from the town we were living in. That meant a lot of “good-byes”.

Something I noticed when I was leaving was all the kind words people said to me. Kind words, similar to that fictional goodbye note at the beginning of this post.

It was an emotional time and I, too,  started thinking about how to encourage my friends, neighbors and colleagues before we left. I actually wrote over 20 handwritten letters with kind and encouraging words to various people I had worked and lived closely with.

Isn’t that great? Am I not a thoughtful, encouraging guy?

The problem: It was the first time I had done that in all the years I had lived there. The people I had spent so much time with; the same people I could think of so many positive things about, now that I was leaving. But before that: not once.

I also hadn’t received so many kind words when I wasn’t leaving. I had never received a note from Bob that read:

Dear Andreas,
It’s so sad you are leaving. You’re such a great guy.We will miss you.
Wish we could have gotten to know each other better while you were here.
I am glad you are not leaving. Looking forward to more great times together.
Love, Bob

Are you surprised? When have you last received a letter of encouragement for “no specific reason”? Have you told someone what you appreciate about them, although they weren’t leaving?

I have. But not very often. Definitely not often enough.

I have left before. I have moved and said goodbye many times in my life. And I have noticed a pattern: people start appreciating things in others, when they realize they won’t be around much.

Now moving away is one thing. The end of our life is another. One of the biggest regrets at funerals may be: I wish I could have told him how much I love him and what a great guy he was.

Why wait until its too late?
Why not write a goodbye card, without anyone actually leaving?
Why not tell someone they are awesome, just because they are?

Words are so simple and yet they can be so powerful.

I want to make it a habit to say good things to people. But habits start with the first step. So right now I am going to write a short note of encouragement to a friend. Just because he’s cool and I haven’t told him in a while!

And you?
What are you waiting for?


“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place”

That quote by the Irish playwright Georg Bernard Shaw is one that every person should memorize and internalize. It would avoid a lot of hurt and confusion!

I was going for a walk with my 2 year old son and he was getting bored of walking. I needed something to distract him.

I told him to go and pick up the stick. I meant the one ON the sidewalk. He thought I meant the one BESIDE the sidewalk.

We communicated. Both of us thought we understood. But we were talking about completely different things. Sadly (for my son), the “stick” next to the sidewalk was a thorn bush…

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place”

That quote is one that every person should memorize and internalize. It would avoid a lot of hurt and confusion.

My sons hand is fine again…

A Daring Definition of Love

This post is about love…

(Ladies, I know you’re interested. Just hold on for a second while I make sure I don’t lose the men on this one. Men, this post IS on love, but it’s not about the cute, sweet, pink kinda love you might be dreading. It’s about the real deal. True, real, luv-is-a-verb kind of love. I’m almost tempted to say: manly love! So stay with me. You won’t regret it…)

So, as I said: this post is about love.

Today I would like to give you a definition of love you have probably never heard before, but that has the potential to change the way you view love. It’s simple. It’s short and yet it’s extremely profound. But we will get to that in a few moments…

First let me ask you a question:
How many of you are familiar with the phrase: “It’s not you, it’s me”? calls it “a great excuse for breaking up with someone while trying not to hurt their feelings”. An example might be: “Our time together was so special, and I didn’t want this to happen, but it’s best for both of us. It’s not you, it’s me!”

I don’t really know what your take on that phrase is, but I like it. I think it’s fitting. In fact, I can’t imagine a better way to formally end a love relationship than with that phrase. It’s brilliant. The reason I like it so much, is because it is the exact opposite of the definition of love I am about to share with you in a few moments.

“It’s not you, it’s me!”
Another way to put that would be:
“It’s not about you, it’s about me.”
“I’m not about you, I’m about me!”
or maybe even
“I don’t care about you, I care about me!”

Don’t you agree that this phrase is fitting to end the so called “love” relationship? Because it has absolutely nothing to do with love. At least not with love for the other person. What that person is saying, is: “Not you, ME!”

So if that is NOT love, what is?
Let me get to the definition I promised you. I have been studying about love for the last little while, and the more I read about it and think about it, the more I like this definition. So here it is:
Love is: “YOU, not me!”

I know it sounds simple. It is. You might think that’s making it too easy. It isn’t!

Think about it for a moment. It is simple and short, but it is also extremely profound. When you start exploring love – true, real, luv-is-a-verb kind of love – you discover it is so much about giving, about humility, about sacrifice, about hard work. It’s about the other person. It’s about “YOU, not me!”

It took me some time to understand the definition, it took me even longer to really appreciate it. And I am a long way away from making it at least a small part of my daily life (and love). But the definition has helped me to see love differently already. And it has helped me see the people I am trying to love differently as well. And it’s hard work…

So maybe next time you think about love (or hear about someone break up with the sentence “It’s not you, it’s me!”) you can think about this little definition that has the power to change the way we live and love.

Love is: “YOU, not me!”

You’ll never forget this one!

Experiences create memories.
Great Experiences create great memories.
And memories connect people.

A few weeks ago I was in England for my Grandparents 60th wedding anniversary. While we were there, a group of us went to visit my cousin and her husband for chocolate fondue, fun and fellowship. Just as we were starting the chocolate fondue, my cousin’s husband suggested a “fondue fight” – a family tradition where he comes from! (fondue fight = make the other people lose their fruit in the chocolate bowl while dipping. Rules: None!)

Now most people know how messy chocolate fondue can be without a fight. So you can probably imagine what we got ourselves into. We left their place a mess… with dirty dishes and loads of chocolate on the table-cloth, but with huge smiles and great memories.

Experiences create memories.
Great Experiences create great memories.
And memories connect people.

I have known this principle for ages… I think everyone has… subconsciously. But I only really understood it a few months ago, when I read about it in John Maxwell’s excellent book: “Everybody Communicates, Few Connect”. In Chapter 8 he explains the following principle: “Connectors Create an Experience Everyone Enjoys.”

Maybe you’ve wondered why “inside jokes” are so special to those who are “in” on them (and annoying for those who don’t have a clue…)? Because those who are “in” shared a special experience! That experience and those memories drew them closer. And everybody can see it.

Experiences create memories.
Great Experiences create great memories.
And memories connect people.

So why not take it a step further and learn to actively use this principle to our advantage?

If you’re a parent and you want to bring the family closer together…
If you are a team leader and you want to strengthen your team…
If you are a manager and you want to help you employees bond and feel connected…

Create experiences!
Think of ways to have fun, be silly, have an adventure in your context.

Because experiences create memories.
Great Experiences create great memories.
And memories connect people.

You’re people will thank you!
They’ll never forget this one! And they’ll grow a bit closer to those who share those memories with them.

What about you? Do you have any special memories that created a special bond with other people?

Post Navigation