Gems or Gravel?

Gems or Gravel? (Video Link)

dreamstime_xs_45482889When people give you advice, it is important to sift through the gravel to find the gems.

I learned this several years ago when I belonged to an association. The members were very friendly, helpful, and full of advice. I took in everything everyone told me and tried to apply it all. It did not work.

I realized that although everything they gave me were “gems” to them, because these things had worked for them, not everything was right for my situation. Of the advice I received, some could be considered precious gems and worthwhile to implement quickly. Some advice was more in the line of semi-precious gems, advice that was worthwhile to implement at some point, but not a priority at the time. And some advice, for my situation, was gravel and best discarded.

I spent quite a bit of time and money trying to implement everything. With the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, I realized that it would have been better had I analyzed every piece of advice first to see if, for me, it was a gem or gravel.

When people offer advice, be careful not to use the gravel. Do not discard everything without analyzing it first, however, because there probably will be some gems in there somewhere.

Personal vs. Positional Power

Personal vs. Positional Power (Video Link)

dreamstime_xs_50156327, resizedMany years ago I read about personal power versus positional power. The concept has stayed with me; the source, unfortunately, has not.

As I remember the concept, positional power is the power that comes with our position. It is the power we have over people because of the position we hold. We may have the power to hire, fire, and discipline employees. We may have the power to give or withhold pay increases and promotions.

Personal power is the influence that we have over others because of who we are as a person. We may have the ability to influence others because they trust us, because they believe in us, because they respect us.

Positional power is external. It comes from outside of us. It is bestowed upon us when we take a particular position. A difficulty with positional power is that when we lose the position, we lose the accompanying power.

Personal power is internal. It comes from within us. It comes from our character. We create it. No matter where we are, or what position we hold, we will always have our personal power with us. (Unless, of course, we do things so that people no longer trust or respect us.) No one can ever take our personal power away from us.

Which do you depend upon more, positional power or personal power? Is it time to make a change?


Adapt (Video Link)

dreamstime_xs_39505553I have read that the ability of a species to survive is dependent upon its ability to adapt. I think this is true. I think it is also true that our ability to succeed is in part dependent upon our ability to adapt.

The only constant is change. As things change, we need to be able to adapt.

We do this in very simple ways without even thinking about it. If the weather turns cold, we dress warmer. (Well, most of us do. I still do not understand flip-flops in the snow.)

Most of the time, though, adapting to change is not this easy. A new job, a new position, a new supervisor, a new owner, a new corporate culture all creates change and requires us to adapt to the new situation. We need to adapt to remain successful. The way we used to do things may not be acceptable anymore.

Frequently changes in our professional life are the result of changes in the economy and the world in general. We need to adapt to these changes.

We need to adapt in our personal lives as well. Changes occur. Our parents get older and require more assistance. Our children get older and require less assistance. Our lifestyles change and we need to adapt.

Change is often good and adapting can be fun. However, even when we do not want to adapt to a new situation, it is usually best if we do. The only other alternative is to leave the situation. We need to embrace the changes and adapt, rather than bemoaning the past.

“Why” vs. “What”

“Why” vs. “What” (Video Link)

studentI think that why we do things is almost always more important than what we do.

For example, if someone says something to us at work that we do not agree with, we can say something or we can say nothing. Either can be good or bad. The difference is why. If we say something because we want to clarify the issue, that is a good reason. If we say something to embarrass or humiliate the person, that is poor reason. If we do not say anything because it is not that important, that is fine. If we do not say anything because we want to avoid conflict at all costs, that can be a poor reason and may cause other problems later.

Before we do something, it can be very beneficial to ask ourselves, “Why would I do this?” An important follow-up question is, “And why else?” Asking this several times can help us determine the complete answer.

After that it is easy. Are those good answers? If yes, then continue. If not, then think again about what to do and why.