The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective


Archive for November, 2016


A lot has been said and even more has been written about being authentic.  I attended a social media marketing for business MeetUp where the topic was Google’s plan to rank authenticity highest in their search; threatening that posers risk being bypassed in searches altogether.  Not sure how that applied to our recent Presidential elections; but I digress…

Dr. Travis Bradberry is one of my favorite and authentic bloggers.  His recent post, “10 Unmistakable Habits of Utterly Authentic People” caught my eye.  I particularly liked his Oscar Wilde reference:

Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” Wilde made it sound so simple, but living with authenticity is a real challenge.

To live authentically, you must own your actions and ensure that they align with your beliefs and needs. This can be a difficult thing to maintain when external forces pressure you to do something you’re not comfortable with or to be someone you’re not.

External forces… Beliefs and needs… be someone you’re not…  hmmm.  Check it out:

Dr. Travis’ reference coupled with my recent trip to Toronto reminded me of an authentic experience of my own.  In 2008, I interviewed for a Sales Rep role in Denver.  One of my interviewers was the local Sales Manager, Chris (affectionately referred to as “The Bear”) followed by his boss.  Chris now works in our Toronto office.

After the customary resume review and phone screening, I was invited for an in-person interview.  Sitting in a conference room Chris rumbled in; dramatically plopping my file down on the table.  He started the conversation about my application this way:

“Pokorn, what are you doing here?  You’ve done my job; Hell, you’ve done Danny’s job.”

In a moment of authenticity I reacted, “It’s because I have done your job and I have done Danny’s job.  At this stage of my career, taking care of just me seems like a pretty good option.”

That was good enough for Chris and his boss Danny – I got the job; turned out pretty well, too.  Over my career, I was an excellent sales manager; but I was an even better sales rep – one of the rare breeds – a “Hunter”.

Like many sales reps, I had spent a significant part of my career trying to play that Corporate Ladder Game.  Stephen R. Covey wrote about it:

Avoid the ladder against the wrong wall syndrome:

Meaning, we climb the proverbial ladder of success only to find that it’s leaning against the wrong wall.

So, in 2008 I (finally) had the opportunity to be authentic and returned to my roots of “Hunting”.  Not that such a role is a panacea.  One of the best Sales Hunters I know recently lamented:

Gary, I am done with hunting the proverbial whale only to have the villagers at my company drag off the carcass for a feast leaving me no other choice but to go back out on the hunt. 

John Kleinhenz

It’s OK – Such a moment of complaint wasn’t authentic for the John I know.  Everyone is entitled to vent now and then.  John is as authentic as they come; and Dr. Travis addresses that, too:

They don’t complain about their problems.

Complaining is what you do when you think that the situation you’re in is someone else’s fault or that it’s someone else’s job to fix it. Authentic people, on the other hand, are accountable.

Ah yes – “accountability”.  Lots has been said and lots has been written about that too… but I digress.


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Still Giving Thanks…

We are in the season of thankfulness.  Not that we should wait during the rest of the year to say, “Thank you”, but certainly November and December remind us of our blessings, don’t you agree?  So before going any further – permit me to say, “Thank you”!

Thankfully, I am blessed with family, friends, clients and colleagues who enrich my life beyond count.  Thankfully, I have readers who accept my periodic posts and reciprocate with responses of appreciation towards my little ditties.

Let me thank Chris Corcoran.  Because he knew how much it would mean to me, Chris bought me the book Softwar: An Intimate Portrait of Larry Ellison and Oracle ©.  Thankfully, I was fortunate enough to work for Oracle back in the day that the majority of this book was depicted.  And wouldn’t you know it?  My career is circling back as I prepare to rejoin Oracle Corporation twenty five years later.

Thankfully, I have been fortunate enough to work for some of the “all time” business leaders, including Josh Weston of ADP; Larry Ellison of Oracle; and Dave Duffield of Integral Systems (which preceded PeopleSoft and now Workday).  Each unique in their style; all the same in their impact.

John McCall is a reader, too.  He generously sent me a very special email:

Gary, about a year ago I tried to compile quotes from one of the most wise men in American history. I enjoy your site and emails and I hope these quotes (or most of them anyway) you will find to be as hilarious, spot on and useful as I do. I hope you are well.

John attached a compilation of Benjamin Franklin quotes for my enjoyment.  Thank you John!

So ready or not, its Thanksgiving week!  Hard to believe it’s here already isn’t it?  I guess time flies when we’re heads down, working during these challenging times.

With the recent snow in Denver we are reminded winter is upon us.  No worries, though.  With the kindness I receive from Chris, John, and all those around me, I will stay warm:

A kind word warms for three winters. 

Chinese Proverb

Thankfully, many are optimistic that we will have a successful “Black Friday”; “Small Business Saturday”; and “Cyber Monday”.  Thankfully, we have retailers who are able to brave the “Advertise & Hope” approach to sales.  That’s why I chose a Business-to-Business sales profession where with a semblance of control, we can go out and “sell somebody something” vs. waiting and hoping.

Thankfully, we have smart people to put things in proper perspective.  You see, I’m not the smartest guy in the room.  But I am coachable; listen well; and have an excellent memory.  The next best thing to being a genius is to mingle with those who are:

Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count;

everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted. 

Albert Einstein

I can’t count all that I am thankful for; nor all of the times I have wanted to thank someone for their kindness or courtesy.  But I am thankful for sure.

Thankfully we will spend time with family, friends, food, and fun with a little football during the Thanksgiving holiday.  We will have a few quiet moments to reflect on all we have to be thankful for, too.

Thankfully, I have readers who read my posts and offer me occasional replies of encouragement.  And thankfully we have the opportunity to experience the peace and power of a positive perspective this holiday season.


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Mandatory Mondays…

Good morning everyone; it’s Monday – yeahhhh!  How do you start your week?

A good beginning is half the work. 

Irish Proverb

Is it important to you to GET MOTIVATED?  What’s your favorite routine?  For many of us Monday is still the traditional start of our work week.  Not for Moms with toddlers however; for them there is no such thing as the “start” or the “end” of a week.

Same can be said at the other end of the spectrum I suppose.  I remember my Dad during his years in assisted-living would often ask, “What day is it?” After working for over 50 years and being retired for over 20 years, I guess the day of the week was no longer something important to keep track of.

How do you start your week?  I remember Lisa Kwiecien, one of the top sales professionals on my team, who liked to schedule client visits for Monday mornings.  She would fill her morning up with appointments.  The clients were happy to see her; the meetings were easy to prepare for; and she would almost always come away with an order for additional business.  Besides, she said it got her up on Monday mornings and started her week off on the right foot.  Her positive attitude was FIRED UP by noon so she was ready to face the cold realities of cold prospects and cold calling.  Mondays – yeah!

What’s your routine?  Reading the paper?  A work-out is the favorite week-starter for many.  Hitting the gym at 6 a.m. Monday mornings keeps our engines running throughout the day.  I’m an early riser, but the thought of working out first thing Monday morning is not on the top of my list.  How about you?  Are you a Monday morning work-out fanatic?

Some of my colleagues are lucky enough to have a flexible schedule.  That lets them have breakfast with their kids and drive them to school.  I envy those with their priorities in order and control over their day, don’t you?  When my kids were young it seemed I was always running behind at work.  No time to eat – gotta go – have a nice day!  Paranoia I suppose.  But to me, the concept of eating a sit-down breakfast was foreign and a routine of driving my kids to school Monday mornings was unfathomable.  An Unknown Sage quotes Wolter:

Wolter’s Law:

If you have the time, you won’t have the money. 

If you have the money, you won’t have the time.

Starbucks is a favorite stop on the way to work Monday mornings, yes?  Fodder-4-Thought heard someone place this order:

Venti, sugar-free, non-fat, vanilla soy, double shot, decaf, no foam, extra hot, Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha with light whip and extra syrup, please.

(Taking a breath now.)  Perhaps it’s bagels and cream cheese from Panera Bread.  Do you bring a box in for the office?  Maybe breakfast burritos!  Back in the day, my favorite was Dunkin Donuts.  Not quite the popular, health-conscious cuisine today, I guess.  Do you have special Monday morning menu morsels?

Yes, motivation; particularly important for “Mandatory Mondays”, agreed?  What helps me GET MOTIVATED is loud, heavy metal, hard rock music.  And if it’s Monday morning, then it’s mandatory Metallica. Fast-paced, head-banging – really revs up my engine!  The louder the better; and some of their lyrics can penetrate one’s soul:

Forever trust in who we are, and nothing else matters.

Trust me; it’s simply who I am.  What’s your favorite Monday morning musical mantra?


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Assessed to the max…

I know there is one, popular narrative in the workforce today, “My manager/company doesn’t care about me.”  It’s one of those mind sets that typically feeds bad attitudes, bad performances, and ultimately employee turnover.

In my case… under the banner, “careful what you ask for”… I have recently experienced the opposite end of the spectrum.  Before going into the details, permit me to say it has been a very positive experience (I think?).

Starting with our Human Resources Department, my Manager completed my quarterly performance review.  It was a mix of “Exceeds Expectations” coupled with “Outstandingly Awesome” ratings.  Nice start!

Next, the leader of our functional area is making a big commitment to the professional development her staff.  And she is an active participant:

If you’re in a leadership position, how you spend your time has enormous symbolic value.  It will communicate what’s important or what isn’t far more powerfully than all the speeches you can give.  Strategic change doesn’t just start at the top.  It starts with your calendar.

Andy Grove

Her calendar started with launching an internal book club, and the first book we read was The Challenger Sale ©.  On a team call, each person was asked what profile detailed in the book we aligned with.  I stated I aligned with the “Lone Wolf” – and noticed no one on my team disagreed.  I wasn’t sure if that was good or bad.

We moved on to reading and discussing The Challenger Customer ©.  Again, there was an opportunity to align with the buyer personas described in the book; I aligned with the Skeptic.  Hmmm, is there a pattern developing here?

She then scheduled each of us to complete a DISC© assessment (which I’m sure we will discuss in an upcoming team gathering).  And wouldn’t you know that the Lone Wolf, Skeptic performing at an Exceeding Expectations/Outstandingly Awesome level profiled out as a “C” – Conscientious?

Our next assignment was reading Networking on UBER Steroids: How to master a more powerful way to network © with an emphasis on how we can better leverage our personal brand.  Ahh – the personal brand thing.  How others perceive us and all that.  Quite a challenging “ask” for this Lone Wolf, Skeptic, Conscientious, socially shy type.  Like others, I don’t always “play nice” in my company’s sand box:

Stanley Gault CEO of Rubbermaid:

He responds to the accusation of being a tyrant with the statement, “Yes, but I’m a sincere tyrant.”

However, my Conscientious profile pressed me to improve my “Elevator Pitch” for better networking.

We were then assigned the book Emotional Intelligence 2.0® which begins by having the reader take an emotional IQ assessment – what a surprise!  My score of 74 meant… well, I could use a little work.  Actually, I was strong in the Self-Awareness and Self-Management quadrants.  Hooray for the Conscientious, Skeptic!  But in the Social Awareness and Relationship Management quadrants?  Do those apply to Lone Wolves?

Then I read the detailed report.  It occurred to me that since I took this assessment so close to the DISC© assessment, I may have been overly conscientious in answering some of the questions resulting in a weaker score than I probably deserve.  Skeptically speaking that is.  Leading me to ponder whether I should even care – Lone Wolves rock!

Well, I certainly can’t say my Manager/Company has been ignoring me.  With the book club combined with a battery of assessments, and social/team interactions, I think I’m going to schedule a colonoscopy and finish the job.


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We’re wired…

I was reading an article recently about how our brains are “wired”.  Our brain is an absolute wonder of the world, true?  In this article, the author zeroed in on the topic of negativity.  Here’s a critical fact:

Research shows that most people complain once a minute during a typical conversation. 

Dr. Travis Bradberry

Ishkabibble!  Once per minute?  No wonder we come across so many people that are in that negative, poop-in-the-face mood.

The Doc continues to explain in a medical context how our brains have developed a neuro-path swaying us towards negativity.  He summarized one origin of our continuous, negative attitudes stemming from deep in our brain “wiring” this way:

Neurons that fire together, wire together.

I think this is a fascinating, albeit a bit unnerving read.  Check it out:

But beware: The facts, realities and impacts of constant complaining get worse.  Dr. Bradberry states:

Complaining shrinks the hippocampus.

I say again, Ishkabibble!  Shrinks our hippocampus?  Is that why we live in a time where there is such an effort to avoid negative outcomes?  I mean, just look at our commercial products world where legal liability avoidance is such a big thing:

In case you needed further proof that the human race is doomed through stupidity, here are some actual label instructions on consumer goods:

On a Sears hairdryer:

“Do not use while sleeping.”

(That’s the only time I have to work on my hair.)

On a bag of Fritos:

“You could be a winner! No purchase necessary.  Details inside.”

(The shoplifter special?)

On a bar of Dial soap: Directions:

“Use like regular soap.”

(And that would be how?)

On some Swanson frozen dinners:

“Serving suggestion: Defrost.

(But, it’s just a suggestion.)

On Tesco’s Tiramisu dessert (printed on the bottom):

“Do not turn upside down.”

(Well…duh, a bit late, huh?)

On Marks & Spencer Bread Pudding:

“Product will be hot after heating.”

(…and you thought?)

On packaging for a Rowenta iron:

“Do not iron clothes on body.”

(But wouldn’t this save me more time?)

On Booth’s Children Cough Medicine:

“Do not drive a car or operate machinery after taking this medication.”

(We could do a lot to reduce the rate of construction accidents if we could just get those 5-year- olds with   head-colds off those forklifts.)

On Nytol Sleep Aid:

“Warning: May cause drowsiness.”

(And… I’m taking this because?)

On most brands of Christmas lights:

“For indoor or outdoor use only.”

(As opposed to…what?)

On a Japanese food processor:

“Not to be used for the other use.”

(Now, somebody out there, help me on this. I’m a bit curious.)

On Sunsbury’s peanuts:

“Warning: contains nuts.”

(Talk about a news flash)

On an American Airlines packet of nuts:

“Instructions: open packet, eat nuts.”

(Step 3: maybe, uh…fly Delta?)

On a child’s Superman costume:

“Wearing of this garment does not enable you to fly.”

(I don’t blame the company. I blame the parents for this one.)

On a Swedish chainsaw:

“Do not attempt to stop chain with your hands.”

(Was there a lot of this happening somewhere?) 

Unknown Sage

Dr. Bradberry does offer solutions to “re-wire” our brains towards a more positive perspective.   One suggestion he emphasizes is remembering to be grateful.  I’m always grateful to receive practical advice.  Like this Facebook example posted by my son – who, coincidentally, is an electrician:

You can’t always control who walks into your life.  But you can control which window you throw them out of.    

Unknown Sage

Thanks Eric!  I think I feel my hippocampus growing.


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