• Emotional Intelligence: Finish to Success

    finishingWhile shoveling the snow from my driveway a couple of weeks ago, I was tempted to quit at several points. You see, I have a very long driveway. I had cleared enough to get my car through the toughest spots, and it probably would have been fine if I had quit mid-way through. Probably.

    But while out there, I came up with several reasons to keep going. First, shoveling snow is good exercise, and after being cooped up with the flu for a week, it felt good to work my muscles a little. Secondly, shoveling snow provides good thinking time, and I don’t get as much of that as I would like these days (I seem to spend too much time doing and not enough time thinking about why or what I’m doing). Third, shoveling snow requires layers of clothing. If I had gone inside, I would have had to strip down those layers; and the likelihood that I would re-suit up after doing that was slim. I was also motivated by the thought that any guests would be forced to navigate a half-shoveled driveway, which would not be as easy for them as for me, since they don’t know the drive as well.

    Most importantly, though – and this is what really kept me going for the final stretch – was the underlying value in finishing what I started. My parents instilled this in me at an early age, to the point that I feel compelled, even when I don’t want to, to see something through to the end.

    Anyone can be a starter. We all do it. We start a project; we buy an instrument or a fancy camera; some of us even start the Great American Novel… with the intention of learning, of mastering, of completing. But so often, when the energy, enthusiasm and creativity wane, so does our commitment. We are good at starting, but we are not so good at finishing.

    Finishing must become a habit for those who want to be successful. For that reason, I want to be as good at finishing as I am at starting. Finishers are successful; finishers are winners; finishers are motivators and role models. They have perseverance and character and wisdom. Yes, I am a finisher. My body may ache, and my clothes may be wet through… but my driveway is clear. And I am content with another job completed.

    Happy shoveling.

    – Clifford Bailey
    speaker, CEO

  • Emotional Intelligence: Givers and Takers

    Emotional Intelligence Givers and TakersI believe that in every interaction between people, there is a transaction of energy. In healthy relationships and normal transactions, there is give and take on both sides. Participants oscillate back and forth between being energy givers and energy takers. We give and we receive ideas, counsel and encouragement. We lean on others, and they lean on us.

    Some people are inherently energy givers. They light up a room, they ask good questions, and they are good listeners. They are thoughtful, thankful, sincere and wise. They empower and serve, excite and inspire. Time spent with one of these people leaves one feeling energized and positive.

    On the flip side are the chronic energy takers. We all know them, and chances are, you work with one. They shoot down ideas, dominate conversations and have a ready complaint at all times. They are often unhappy and angry, and they consider themselves victims of the passive injustice around them. Time spent with these people is draining; too much time spent with them can be toxic.

    I use the word toxic because chronic energy takers can suck the energy out of even the brightest energy giver. Energy takers are black holes; there is no end to the amount of energy they can consume. One energy taker left unchecked can suck the energy out of a department and eventually erode the morale of an entire organization.

    Perhaps you are nodding your head, relating all too well with having a chronic energy taker in your personal or professional life. Maybe you have experienced first-hand the drain; you dread the phone calls and maybe even take a different route to avoid that certain individual. We can all identify an energy taker, but what I have come to realize is that few chronic energy takers can identify themselves. As such, perhaps we should all ask ourselves: “Is it possible that I could be someone else’s energy taker?” It’s not a comfortable question, I know, but it’s one I think we all need to ask objectively.

    Who we choose to surround ourselves with will impact who we become. Seek out energy givers, and aim to give them at least as much energy as you take from them. The result is a brighter world for all of us.

    – Clifford A. Bailey
    speaker, CEO, energy giver

  • Effectiveness: Vision for Effective Future Leaders

    a new chance smallerThe first few days of a new year are a special gift. Once the fuss of the holidays dies down, a quiet sense of reflection surrounds the beginning of a fresh year. We are all gifted with a new chapter, a new chance. Most individuals I know begin each year with purpose, making resolutions and setting goals.

    Personally, I have spent quite a bit of time ruminating on how to make 2013 one of my best years yet. I have set some goals for my personal and business life, but this year I want to do more than set personal goals. I want to cast a vision for a way that we, as a community, can come together as conduits and advocates of positive change. My next few blogs will share that vision with the hope that others will embrace and own it with me.

    One way we can strengthen our community for both today and tomorrow is by intentionally investing in the younger generation. We, as business and community leaders, are currently in the positions which our youth will one day hold. It is in our best interest, and the best interest of society, to nurture, mentor and teach them.

    Consider the impact you can have in shaping these young people. Play your part by being a positive role model for the children and young adults in your life. This could include small gestures of reaching elementary-aged children with positive words of affirmation and encouragement or committing a portion of your personal time to mentoring a teenager who is poised for a life transition.

    Whatever you choose to do, I implore you to not passively sit by and let these children go unnoticed. Eventually, these young minds will transition into various leadership roles, applying primarily the skills they have seen modeled for them. We have been given the unique opportunity to “step up to the plate” by investing and preparing these young people to lead effectively. As you set goals for the coming months, I encourage you to consider your part in molding and training the next generation.

    – Clifford A. Bailey
    speaker, CEO, conduit of change