Positive Life Lessons from “Fat Boy – Express”

“Ever tried? Ever failed? No matter. Try Again. Fail Again. Fail better.”
Samuel Becket

I came across a guy riding a bike the other day, and he had a yellow riding jersey with “Fat Boy – Express” written on the back. So, of course, when I saw the guy stopping to take a break I had to stop and talk. He explained the meaning of the jersey he created. “Fat Boy” is for the abstract anatomical weight of a middle aged man who has a larger waist than he wants. “Express” was the attitude that he possess. In short, “Fat Boy” is for weight, “Express” is an attitude. In reality as he continues to ride he loses weight and his speed continues to increase. But, “Fat Boy Express” is more of analogy for someone who will not give up; that failure does not mean quick, it simply means to get up and do it better next time.

It all started when his doctor told him he had to get in shape, or he would die years earlier than he should. He had problems with weight all of his life. As a child he was ridiculed by the other kids for being different. Now it is life or death, not simply teasing. He realized he couldn’t run the weight off; his knee and ankle joints couldn’t take the relentless pounding. He joined a gym, but found cardio machines boring. One day a friend recommended he try biking. To his amazement, he really enjoyed going out and riding. He saw things around him, at a slower speed, that most people never notice riding 55 mph in their cars. He said it felt great to get back to nature even if he was just passing through at 10 mph. He used to be terrified of large hills, knowing they would wear him out and leave him gasping for air. He had seen the Tour de France and saw how hills wear out even the best trained athletes.

He began to look for new ways to develop self-motivation and learn how to overcome those “hills in his life”. Then one day he changed his outlook on hills, and on life. When you change your perspective on something, what you are looking at also changes. He had already begun to transform his life when he changed his attitude about exercising and found an activity he was beginning to love. Now, he set out to change his attitude towards hills. They were no longer challenges to be feared, they are opportunities to be experienced and overcome. He used each hill as a test of his ability to first create and then test a strategy to defeat the hill. He would determine how much speed he would need as he approached the bottom of the incline. He would predetermine the best time to switch gears. What combination of gear changing would he use, the front or rear gears first. He would stay on the seat as long as possible; because once you get off to pump your legs you actually lose momentum. As his strategies developed he began to look for larger hills to “attack”. It was now a war between him and the terrain. With each hill defeated another victory racked up. Riding helped him develop the attitude that he could overcome all challenges. He began to lose weight and his co-workers noticed it. They began to encourage him to ride and ask him where he had ridden over the weekend or after work. On a day he felt down and did not want to ride, his coworkers first encouraged and then “ordered” him out for ride. His co-workers were beginning to feel the same pride of “Fat Boy – Express” after a long grueling ride. “Fat Boy – Express” made the connection between who he is and who he could become. He recreated a positive outlook on life. His mantra became, “If he can do it, anyone who is willing can do the same thing in their lives.”

Very few people are gifted at everything, and most people have something they struggled with during their life. It could be a weight problem like “Fat Boy – Express”, shyness around people, difficulty with math or science in school, or a host of other physical or mental problems. Success or failure is not if you have a problem, but your willingness to try and overcome the problem. Like “Fat Boy – Express”, once you change how you look at something then the things you look at change. Challenges become opportunities to rack up victories. Small victories add up to life altering events. “Fat Boy – Express” will soon loose enough weight that his jersey will be considered false advertising, but he will never change it. It is a reminder of his past challenges and the changes in his attitude that helped him transform into a new person today. In the end, we are all “Fat Boy – Express”. We all have the opportunity to transform our lives; the question is when we are ready to take the first step. “Fat Boy – Express” became a leader to many, not because he began to ride a bike and transform his life, but though the changing of his mindset. Remarkably, he moved from being a victim of life’s circumstances to the man who realized anyone can conqueror the problems in their own lives. If you have what you think is an insurmountable problem you can overcome it. Try to come up with a solution. If it fails, try again. If it fails again try a different tactic. Try harder. By taking the first step you begin to realize success. You will come up with the correct solution and that will transform your life.

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Sage advice from a true American success story.

American Dream

by

Mike Phibbs

 

“In America, you can have anything you want if you are intelligent and have courage.”  ~ Reza

 

I want to be a millionaire and so do many of you. Three sage questions arise when we admit that we want to be millionaires. First, how do we get the money? Second, what will we have to give up getting the money? Third, will money truly make us successful and happy?

I met Reza many years ago while visiting Miami with my wife. We met through a chance encounter and have been friends ever since. He is the model of the self-made American success story. As a group, driving through Miami, Reza’s phone wrong, it was a business deal in the final stages of negotiations. Reza told the guy on the other end of the line that 20 was the final offer. He continued by telling the other party if he kept trying to push the number lower then Reza was going to start climbing again. I thought they were talking about thousands of dollars. I was wrong, very wrong. I was shocked when Reza told the caller that he was going to ask my opinion. Not knowing the game I aloud, “make it 25 or nothing.” I could hear the guy on the other end choke a little and then agree to the 20. When I learned it was millions and not thousands of dollars I instantly knew I was not in Kansas anymore.

The story of the deal was interesting, but the man behind the deal is far more interesting than can be posted in a blog. We have all met those people, larger than life and with the personality to bring any room to life. Reza came to America in 1979, a week before the Iranian hostage situation began. Reza was born in Iran and left to come to American and make a better life. He brought just enough money to get to New York and buy a bus ticket to somewhere else. He could only say “Florida” in English, so he bought a ticket to Florida. Before he left the station the American Embassy fell. People were outraged and someone had to pay for the American humiliation. It was Reza. He was constantly being assaulted by people on his trip to Miami. Only one person helped him out, the bus driver. The driver tried to protect him and ensure he got to his destination alive.  Even the police turned a blind eye to the assaults. People seem to find this behavior acceptable when their country has been humiliated, the President is ineffective, and the citizens are scared. We are shocked when we see such behavior in other countries and ignore it in our own.

Reza has a charming personality, but he has something else:  A drive to succeed. He worked odd jobs and ended up working at a gas station. Unknowingly, fortune was about to show its face. One day a friend who owned a limousine business mentioned to Reza that he had too many jobs that night and not enough chauffer’s. Reza took the chance and asked if he could take one of the shifts. History is made during these types of serendipitous encounters and this was the case. Thus the rise of Reza began. He continued to work the gas station during the day and drove at night. He eventually bought his own limousine company and made customer loyalty and service the hallmarks of the company’s success.  He could have sat back running a lucrative business and been regarded as successful. But no, he continued to branch out into different areas and continued to make the South Florida financial empire he has today.

One night, while eating dinner at a restaurant overlooking the water with the Miami skyline in the background, Reza put his fork down and pointed out into the bay. He looked back and said, “Look at the billions of dollars out there. Why don’t you have any of it?” I replied that I didn’t have anyone rich enough to knock off. He then spoke the sage words that I use in seminars today, “In America anyone can be as successful as they want if they are intelligent and have courage.” He is completely right. Many people don’t have the intellectual acumen to develop a product idea which people will want to spend money on. More likely, in America has lost the will or courage that brought our forefathers here in boats that would be illegal by today’s Coast Guard standards. We have lost the desire to do what it takes to make a better life. Most Americans are not willing to risk what they have to fulfill the possibilities that America presents.

Does this mean you have to be a millionaire to be successful? If you want to be on the Discovery, TLC or Bravo Channels then yes, yes you do. But in the world of reality, success is something that is enjoyable, fulfilling and builds self-worth. For Reza the money is a by-product of enjoying the running of successful companies. He enjoys providing services and money is just a score card to gauge his own success. The companies he owns are centered on making both his clients and employees equally happy. He knows when you are happy at what you do then it is not a job or a profession, it is something deeper with more meaning.

If you are miserable at your job and have a desire to do something else then ask yourself three questions:

  • Am I an intelligent person who can research my own idea?
  • Do I have the courage to take the actions necessary to fulfill my life’s calling?
  • How happy will I be when I am in charge of my own destiny?

Only you can answer these questions. The answers are scary for most people. But when in doubt remember Reza. He came to a strange land with nothing, not even knowing the language. He became a proud American citizen and through intelligence and courage he became an American success. Put down the fork and look out the window. What is stopping you from living the American dream? Reza lives it and so can you.

ABC Philosophy of Leadership

ABC Philosophyby

Mike Phibbs

The greatest challenge to anyone is not the ability to look at someone else and accurately assess their strengths and weaknesses. It is far more difficult to look inside and determine where you stand and what drives you to success or failure. At the macro level of existence, the measure of a leader, manager, guru, or anyone who looks back and has followers is gauged in the impact they have on the lives of those who choose to follow him.  But there is much more to the story than the sum of the group of individuals who want to follow someone else.  The grander picture is the internal story of knowing oneself that compels that person to drive forward to complete a vision and connect to the greater masses. The ABC philosophy of leadership and knowing oneself creates the foundation for people to understand and connect to their inner person. Then, armed with these insights one can improve their ability to lead and make a greater impact on the people who follow them.

A: Ability and Ambition

Where ever you are in life, be it at work, a parent, or anything else, try to accurately gauge your ability at what is important to you right here and now. You probably already realize you are better at some tasks and worse at others. It’s simple, no one is perfect. However, in reality you are probably not as good and probably a little worse than you think at tasks. Take an internal look and realistically gauge your abilities. Look at the real you, warts and all, not just the imagined you. The take the leap and ask your peers, subordinates, and friends how effective you are a different tasks. Create the overall picture and determine what you truly need to change. Then do one thing better each day till you become the person you aspire to be.

What is your ambition? What is the internal desire which drives you to take action and reach the next level?   Do you know? If you are a store clerk, manager, or senior executive we all have ambition. The difference comes through the knowing where you want to go, and then developing a realistic plan which compels one to overcome their fear to take the first step. No one can force someone else to take the first step, but only show then the path and reassure then that it is safe to walk on. Again, what is your ambition and what is stopping you? By taking the first step, you at least know you made the attempt and will not go through life in wonderment of what could have been if you only tried.   

B: Beliefs and Behavior

Somewhere in the deep reassesses of your mind your beliefs are secretly influencing your decisions is the belief pattern that developed over a life time. For every act that is presented to you, solicit and equal response based on your customs, traditions and beliefs. It’s automatic. Most of the time there are no consequences. Other times you are praised or condemned by your reactions. By taking an introspective look into your own belief patterns you can better understand why you do what you do and why you react the way you do. Maybe your beliefs are based in an outmoded mental program that you will realize needs to be updated. Maybe you realize that your beliefs are sound and need to be reinforced. Sometimes they evolve and you didn’t know you had gone through the transformative process. Regardless of the version of your brain operating program, understanding your beliefs allows you the mechanisms to tailor your interactions with the people around you. 

How do you behave around people when you are happy, sad, or confrontational? Are you consistent in action or do you harbor emotions until they boil over? Do you know what sets you off? The answer to these seemingly simple questions greatly impacts the people around you. By understanding one’s behaviors allows for the anticipation and mitigation of unwanted reactions to situations as they arise. Then, instead of acting inappropriately, one can act in such a way to mitigate negative events and amplify positive ones.   

C: Courage and Commitment

It takes tremendous courage to take a look inside oneself and examine to the deepest corners to see what drives us. The most effective and truly influential people took the leap and observed what causes them to think and act the way they do. Some made remarkable transformations, while others simply accepted who they are with a clearer understanding of themselves. But they all stopped waiting for something to happen to them. They went on the offensive to take charge of their own destiny. The no longer held their emotions in check to explode at a later time. They utilized the power stored in their emotional batteries and focused the energy to resolve problems in a positive a positive manner. 

When making any changes the test comes to your commitment to make the changes over time. Like a New Year’s Eve resolution it is easy to backslide to behaviors that stifle your growth as a leader. It takes 28 days to make new neural connections in the brain that allow you to automatically behave in your new positive manner. But, it takes a life time of commitment to self-evaluate and ensure you are making the necessary changes that allow you to be the synergetic catalyst that makes a positive difference in the people around you.

You are only as good as you choose to be using the ABC method of leadership. Instead of looking at your followers or people you influence and look internally at what drives you to think and act the way you do. Then, you can make the changes that create change in your life that positively impact those of people around you.

Linking your present, past and future through the symbol 8

Past Present Future. revised jpg
by

Mike Phibbs

I have never met anyone who didn’t want to make a difference with their lives. No impact at all, just coast through to the end. But what is stopping 2 billion people from having an amazing life and impacting everyone else to greater good? Many make excuses. Others simply say, “Life is too hard”. A small group will explain that they didn’t have the power to make changes; other people have all the power. So, are you also powerless? Did I mention excuses? To tap into your power and ability to change your life, your business, or anything else lets introduce you to the number 8 where your past and future merge into your present.

The number 8 represents the unfolding of your life in the present, past and future. Everything is congruent through two never ending circles with the only connection being the present. The bottom circle is your past from which you cannot hide. The top circle is your future which you have the power to influence every second of the day through thought, feeling, perspective values, and the processes used to bundle it all together to become: You.

When you understand the power and reality of the figure 8 you begin to understand how much control you do have over you own life and destiny. No more excuses; success and abundance or the continuation of your present life is in your own hands to shape and enjoy. Excuses begin when common wisdom that you have no control over the future is exacerbated by the ignorance that the past is always longer than the future. Through quantum physics we know that the past and future are different perspectives of the same thing. The figure 8 represents the unfurling of the eternal universe onto itself.

When you were a child the past loop appeared small and the future loop enormous. As you grew the past loop grew bigger and the future loop smaller. Truth is, the top and bottom loop are always exactly the same. They grow in proportion to each other as you grow and experience the universe. The future never exceeds the past. Well, let’s take a deeper look at the idea and change your perspectives for the better. You are linked to your past. Even your first seconds of life are still apart of the loop. As you move along the loop is every second you lived and what you did with it, lessons learned, passions, excuses, all coming together to converge at your present. You future starts with your present and moves forward. As you read this line you have added to your past, and anything you learn in the article adds to the potential of your future. You future is bases on your past and where you intended to go. It loops back around to your present. You decide how fast the 8 will expand. If you sit idle the 8 expands slowly. If you take control of you future, by adding new experiences to your present, and as they are experienced they go to your past, and then you are setting new experiences up for your future. Your 8 expands every quicker because you continually stoking the fuel of the universe. So how do you tap into the power of 8?

Start looking at the number 8 as equal halves. One side is not larger than the other. When one side expands the other will equally. If you are stuck in a rut your 8 is probably not expanding very much. When you see people flamboyantly enjoying their lives their 8 is rapidly expanding to accommodate their past and potential formations of their future. Let the universe expand by changing your thinking and trying new things out. Eat something different next time you are out. When you go to the book store get a different book than you normally wood. Whenever you try something new you build upon your past and your future equally. If you didn’t like something then the future will respond and he experience will not be offered again. When you look at your past, if you found taking on new experiences and challenges was exciting, fulfilling, or important to you development you will try to have similar experiences then your future. With this in mind, other similar experiences will come along as well. If you want a variety of experiences in your future then you must make an equal number of experiences to be a part of your past. Clearly, you can see how trying new ideas, thoughts, and activities, provides the blue print for your future. The key is present in the now to take advantage of the potential that the future provides to you.

If you want to take the concept even future simply fold the 8 in half. Then you see how the past and present are one through your perspective of the present. In order to make an impact on your own life and those around you simply tap into the power of the 8. Remember, if you want to make and impact you must first expand your future through expanding your past by actively living in the present.

“He who knows others is learned. He who knows himself is wise”
-Lao Tsu

Ninja Leadership Training for $39.99. Call now and we’ll throw in a set of steak knives.

“One step Ninja Leadership Training programs for $39.99. Call now and we will throw in a set of steak knives for free; just pay separate shipping and handling. At the end of the 4 hour video, you will be able to Ginsu your way through any leadership problems. When you walk into a room a soft light will shine down on you, and tranquil music will fill the air. You will instantly be able to ‘WOW’ people with your enlightenment.” You see commercials like these on television, usually on weekends, and during late night reruns of B-movies.

Well, I’m here to tell you, there is no one stop leadership training program in the world. Each program must be tailored to the needs of the student leader. A very few people are near the pinnacle as leaders and only need a little polishing. Some have no leadership skills and need an entire program. Most people in leadership positions already possess some level of competency as a leader. These are the people who truly need custom training programs to develop their leadership skills, without wasting time rehashing skills they already have.

A custom made leadership training program creates a higher rate of return for your training dollar. Custom training programs are just that, custom. They assess your current skill sets and create pathways to take you to the next level. However, to save money, you can still attend a large seminar and learn all sorts of leadership techniques that are not worth the price of admission. Its your call to make. Find a certified leadership trainer or call the 1-800 numbers for the instant enlightenment video with steak knives. That simple decision may truly gauge your Splash on the Matrix.

In case you didn’t realize it, and some people apparently didn’t, the Ninja Leadership Training was a parody to get my point across and not a real product.

Ninja 2

Build your public safety organization’s brand through social media.

How can social media help build your agencies brand?   Organizational branding is a new concept for public safety.  Every organization had a brand which encompasses more than its reputation. The organizations brand represents everything it values and how it operates.  In your mind, picture the Texas Rangers, Virginia State Police, FBI and images automatically come to mind. The image may, or may not, be an accurate representation of the organization.  Your organizations brand brings words to describe how your citizens see and feel about your officers and organization.  Therefore, it is an accurate statement to say: You control your organizations’ brand, or you are relinquishing control to someone else.  Social media can help you take ownership of your organization’s brand and increase your overall effectiveness and employee engagement.

To have an effective social media branding campaign your organization must be completely transparent. If your organization is misleading on how it operates or what it values, the negative impact can be insurmountable damaging.  By being honest, a “This is who we are, warts and all” attitude, you can make the connections that develop an effective brand. The conversation started during your organization’s social media branding campaign can help shed light on areas that you need to strengthen or change.  If your past had been difficult, but you made major changes, social media is a great platform to get your message out.

Now, let’s examine how social media can impact your brand in just two areas. As just mentioned, the first area is getting your message out.  Before you can build your brand and share it through social media, you must truly know what your organization values.  Does your agency focus on highway law enforcement, strict enforcement of laws over solving problems, community policing, zone policing, sector policing, or another traditional  style?  There are many more styles; however, each one of those listed has their own unique attributes.  What works well in one community may not work well in another.  When the style of policing fits the needs of the community, agency, and officers, a synergistic connection is created that improves the lives of all.

Congratulations.  You created synergy, but does anyone outside of your region of the world know about your success?  An active social media campaign can take you to the second level of organizational branding.  Your website is your brochure to the world.  Facebook, Twitter, and the others Social Media sites are your connectors that get your message out to your customers, also known as citizens, and the rest of the world.  As your message goes out, you receive information from others back through the same Social Media pipeline. You may receive questions on the success of a particular program, or suggestions to make improvements.   New South Wales Eye Watch Facebook program has been a great success and help build the organizations brand for outside the box thinking.

The second way an active social media branding campaign impacts your organization is who you attract, retain, and repel for employment.  A study completed in 2010 revealed that 30% of public safety officers did not know a significant amount of the host organizations culture before being hired.  Imagine the impact on engagement of a person who up-roots their family and moves several hundred miles to join your organization, only to find that the organization’s culture does not match their expectations or desires.  The new employee’s engagement levels will drop immediately.  Social media can prevent this by creating a realistic job preview of your organization.  This will help ensure prospective employees have as much information about your organization as possible before applying.  The statement has been made, “If we put the information on the web then no one will apply.” This is more of statement about the host organization than the impact of social media.  Your organization may not be socially connected however, the officers are and they talk around the world.  Not telling applicants up front about the culture has a significant impact on employee engagement, as well as fiscal impact on the community when officers give up and only perform the necessary requirements to keep their job.  By not being honest, your organization builds an international brand as a place to avoid.  Proactive organizations build a brand by being introspective and transparent creating a positive international image and become employer of choice.

It is imperative for an organization attempting to get its organizational brand out to strategically use Social Media to connect to its customers, employees, and prospective employees around the world.  The brand is more than the reputation; it is a summation of what the organization values and foundation it rests upon.  Social media makes the connections and creates the synergy that will allow your organization to continue to build on its success.

A fun and reliable way to score your leadership and management talents.

90 for leadership blog

Ever thought about the perception of your effectiveness as a leader or manager of your team? No? Your team loves you right? Perception is reality when you’re in charge of a team. Everyone in a supervisory role believes they have great leadership and management skills, but the truth is most are not that gifted. It’s not that we’re delusional, we simply judge ourselves in the best light possible, namely, from own perspective. Our egos don’t want to look at the bigger picture, therefore, we resist feedback. In order to facilitate, if not force supervisors to see the perceptions from their teams perspectives consultants developed the 360 evaluations. The 360 combines perspectives from the top down, sideways, and from the bottom up. Great, however, with all of the data the 360 provides, it is still easy to overlook your team’s perspective on your ability to lead and manage. Notice I said, “Team”. If you don’t refer to the people you supervise as “Team” you, my friend, are in deep trouble as a leader. Your boss and friends may think you are great, but if you team has a dissimilar perspective you are not as effective as you could be. You may be what is keeping your “Team” from not just being at the next level, but stopping them from being effective at their current level. Now for the fun part, there is a new tool that allows you to rate your leadership splash and post it to social media. Using the Matrix from Integritas Leadership Solutions, LLC, you can rate yourself, or someone else, on leadership and management aptitudes and directly post the scores to face book. When you receive multiple scores from your team members you can plot them and see your splash as a leader and manager.

First, understand both management and leadership positions are diametrically opposed. They are always trying to get ahead of each other. They both have an important part to play in any organization but most people confuse the divergent skills and abilities required for management for leadership. Leadership is about breaking out of the box and taking your team to a new level. Leaders, create a vision, overcome the inertia of status quo, and bring the team to life to meet new challenges. Management is about policies and procedures, following the rules. Basically, managers keep you in the box. When you were back in school, the leader was the high school rock star and everyone wanted to follow him or her. The manager was the chemistry geek who had to follow the rules or his test tubes would blow up. You asked the chemistry geek how to do your homework, but went to the rock stars house to hang out. Hint, the chemistry geek never forgot, or forgave, you and is now retaliating for your transgressions through their management roles.

Now, fast forward to today and learn something about yourself. The Integritas Leadership Solutions Matrix rates you on your leadership and management abilities. The basic program allows you to answer the questions and then places your score on a graph for you to see. You can then post your score to Facebook. When you have your team complete the basic program you can see your splash as a leader and manager. Let’s take a look at how at how they developed the score:

Leadership can be rated on your ability to create a vision and inspiration. Can you create a vision that is compelling and can you inspire people to follow you. When you look back are people following?
Management is more mundane, but just as important. Do you have the basic knowledge to perform your job at the level required and do you have the ability to perform.

The Matrix is a fun way to receive your score as a leader or manager. More importantly, it is a way for you to gauge your effectiveness. Now, go to the Matrix site and get your score on these four basic skill sets, Vision, Inspiration, Knowledge and Ability. www.integritasleadership.net/matrix