Be an Employer’s MVP!

By my senior year in college, my two summer jobs consisted of being a grocery stock boy and a paper mill worker. Those jobs were simply a means to funding my college education rather than long-term career interests. As long as I was reliable and my work was of high quality, my bosses were happy. Although I didn’t care much for the work, it was valuable experience and enabled me to pay my way through college. A worthy cause!
Back in those days, jobs for high school and college students were plentiful; most of my friends were able to pay at least part of their way through college. More recently, however, jobs for teens and young adults have become tougher to come by.
Because of this scarcity of jobs—and the challenge of advancing in a job after landing it—it’s important for young people to demonstrate the character qualities most highly valued by employers. By modeling these qualities, they’ll increase their chances of getting hired and achieve greater career success. Here are the traits of a true workplace MVP in the eyes of employers:

Enthusiastic                                     Accurate
Reliable                                           Courteous
Honest                                             Adaptable
Innovative                                        Positive
Motivated                                        Globally Aware
Timely                                             Independent
Excellent Communicator                  Team Player
Leader                                             Good-Humored
Are you in a position to influence young adults who might benefit from this list? Ask them to consider these valued qualities and rate themselves on a one-to-five scale. To confirm their impressions, invite them to ask someone who knows them well (but who is not a peer) to rate them in the same manner and compare notes.
Do others see them the same way they see themselves? Have them identify the top three qualities they think could stand improvement, and develop a game plan. They’ll be well on their way to a winning career—and to being an employer’s  MVP!

Are you an employer who wants to see these qualities increased in your employees? A teacher who would like to see them modeled by your students? Share your comments below; we’d love to hear your insights and ideas!

Thank You, ACTE EXPO Educators!

It was a joy to meet you last week at the ACTE EXPO and share our What I Wish I Knew at 18 leadership/life skills program with you! We are humbled by your overwhelming response to our book and student guide, designed to equip young people with essential life wisdom modeled by honorable and successful leaders.
All of us at LifeSmart Publishing are grateful for your tireless investment in the younger generation and the significant impact you are having on their future. Your stories confirmed that many of today’s students lack the necessary life skills and personal leadership qualities to reach their full potential. These comments are regularly echoed by employers. Certainly, we all have a stake in turning things around.
At LifeSmart, we believe a comprehensive approach is needed to prepare students to thrive in the “real world,” one which:
1) articulates an overall vision of an honorable and productive life,
2) defines positive outcomes across all aspects of life, and
3) provides practical, before-the-fact wisdom for the key decisions they   
    will face as adults.
This is the essence of our innovative leadership development program. We believe students will view it as one of the most beneficial and fun courses they will ever take!
We recognize the vital role you play in achieving these important outcomes and would be honored to partner with you in preparing our next generation of leaders. Let us know how we can serve you—whether as a book in the hands of staff and students or as our complete leadership curriculum. We look forward to hearing from you! 

Dennis Trittin
and the LifeSmart Team


Take Charge of Your Worries!

I had a conversation once with a student who was deeply concerned over her math test. This bright young lady was always concerned over her tests and yet was a straight A student. (In this case, she would score a 95.) I asked her whether she worried a lot, and she replied, “All the time.” Then, I asked her to reflect on all of the worries she’d ever had and how many actually turned out to be justified. She promptly admitted with a look of surprise, “Hardly any.” I said I figured as much and told her I wanted her to think long and hard about our conversation. For her sake, I hope she did.
Have you ever noticed that some people are chronic worriers while others take things in stride? I’ve often wondered how hard life must be for worriers. They face the same uncertainties as more easygoing types, but somehow manage to focus on what could go wrong. It shows up in their stress level, appearance, and disposition.
Very early in life, I decided to minimize worry because it rarely did me any good. I learned to adopt a phrase my mom always said: “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” I realized that things generally worked out fine anyway and even when they didn’t, I somehow managed to deal with them. I learned that the best approach is to focus on the problem and on what I can control.
If you happen to be the worrying type, I encourage you to reflect on the following questions:

  • How often have your worries actually been justified?
  • If things didn’t work out, did you still deal with them well?
  • Can you remember what you worried about a year ago?
  • What do you tend to worry about and why? Can you instead channel your worries into a productive plan?
  • What can you do to worry less and trust more?

Rest assured that all of us go through challenges and worries. In fact, our greatest character growth comes from enduring trials, which often prove to be for our own good. So if you’re a worrier, do yourself (and those around you) a favor: take charge of your worries rather than letting them take charge of you!


“Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.”
Leo Buscaglia


In uncertain situations, do you tend to worry a lot? What steps can you take to worry less and trust more? Share your suggestions by commenting below; we’d love to hear your input!


Welcome, ACTE Educators!


All of us at LifeSmart Publishing are anxious to meet you at the
ACTE Career Tech Expo in St. Louis November 16-18!

We are excited to introduce you to our Leadership/Life Skills course. Join us at our exhibit booth (#437) and our Exhibitor Workshop on Friday morning at 10:00 a.m. We will be presenting “What I Wish I Knew at 18: Positioning Students for Real World Success.” You’ll learn about practical, effective, innovative strategies for launching students successfully into lives that impact their world. We look forward to seeing you there.
Be sure to stop by and receive your free book! We will be providing complimentary copies of our curriculum at the workshop, and free copies of the book What I Wish I Knew at 18: Life Lessons for the Road Ahead at our booth. We’re confident that our innovative and comprehensive leadership/life preparation program will speak to your school mission.
Here’s to a wonderful convention and to your tireless efforts in preparing the leaders of tomorrow. See you in St. Louis!

A Dream Come True: Speaking at KHS

One of my all-time favorite movies, Field of Dreams, includes a scene where the ghost of Ray Kinsella’s father asks Ray whether they’re in Heaven. Ray responds that they aren’t in Heaven…but in Iowa…at “a place where dreams come true.” Such was the case for me when I visited my hometown of Kimberly,  Wisconsin this week to share with the students and parents of my high school about how to be a truly successful person and parent.
I started the day meeting with students with a talk called “Life: Bring It On!”
Next, I shared my “Preparing Your Star in the Making” talk in the evening with parents. Through the generosity and co-sponsorship of Kimberly High School and Capital Credit Union (where I opened my first savings account back in 1970!) each Junior and Senior student received a free copy of my book, What I Wish I Knew at 18. It was a blessing of a lifetime and a day I’ll never forget.
My day began with a special invitation and appearance on the Good Day Wisconsin morning program on Fox 11 in Green Bay. Ironicallly, after writing my book, I had once imagined how fun it would be to be interviewed on that show (we watch it all the time when we visit Door County)! Now, through the PR prowess of Marketing/PR expert Cindi Witt (of Capital Credit Union), I had received an invitation to appear with co-anchor, Rachel Manek.
It was so much fun…my first TV appearance in a studio! Those three minutes flew by and I didn’t even make a fool out of myself! Here’s a link if you’re interested in watching it:
Then, it was off to KHS for my student talk, where I shared with the upper class students in the auditorium and then spent the rest of the day visiting classrooms. I was so impressed by the commitment to life skills development at my school, which has been recognized as one of the best schools in the nation! After visiting with the administration and classrooms, I can see why. It was a joy to share about life on the road ahead and I hope my talks and books will give students some practical pointers to prepare for an amazing life.
Wouldn’t you know it but it started to snow heavily during the day (even though it’s still early November!!), but we still proceeded with the evening parent program. While that affected turnout to some extent, I’m so glad we held it! I was blessed with one surprise visitor after another from my younger days in Kimberly…friends, classmates, and neighbors I haven’t seen in some 40 years, but where it was just like yesterday. That included my best neighbor friend Tom Wolter (whom I even mentioned in my book! Wait until he sees that!).
In addition to sharing with parents about preparing their children for that milestone launch into adulthood, we sang “Happy Birthday” to my special sister Julie, which was a festive way to begin. I greatly enjoy giving my talk to parents because it’s quite an adjustment to launch your teen into the “real world.” The feedback was overwhelmingly positive and I greatly enjoyed the book signing afterwards and the affirming comments from my audience.
It’s hard to imagine a more incredible day in the life of a new author who has written a book for teens, parents, and schools and is invited back to his hometown high school! It truly was a dream come true—in the wonderful village of Kimberly, Wisconsin.   

What if Love Became the New Measure of ?Success??

“All you need is love.” – The Beatles
The hit song “All You Need is Love” was first performed by the Beatles in June of 1967 on the first ever live global television link, Our World. Its debut was watched by 400 million people in 26 countries, an unprecedented technological feat at that time.
To those of us who grew up in the Sixties, these words were inspiring. The song continues to be a favorite of Beatles fans to this day. Its challenge and message are timeless, asking us to look within our hearts and see if we can find something that might change the world.
In those days as a young Boy Scout, I was similarly challenged to develop strong character. Almost four decades later I can still recite the Scout Law. It called us to be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. These served as guiding character qualities to me and I tried hard to live up to them. While I’ve long since forgotten how to tie a slipknot, I remain challenged to obey the Scout Law and its enduring virtues.
Here’s a timeless truth: It’s impossible to live a life of impact without demonstrating strong character and a large capacity to love. People may achieve great success in their careers and other areas in life, but if they lack strong intrinsic values and goodwill toward others, their legacy and reputation will have a hollow ring.
Can you imagine what our world would be like if our lives were defined by the virtue and love we demonstrated toward others? What if—instead of by our winning percentage, job titles, or personal wealth—we were measured in terms of units of love, kindness, generosity, compassion, and encouragement offered to others? One thing’s for certain. The world would be a far better place. And, amazingly, it wouldn’t cost us anything.
People I admire most demonstrate an incredible capacity to love. In addition to their inherent kindness, they have a special way of showing others that they’re worthy of being loved—especially when they’re not feeling very deserving. What an extraordinary gift to give others!
Fortunately, this isn’t rocket science. It simply requires a deliberate mindset (and “heartset”). It requires a commitment to use every opportunity to demonstrate strong character and show you care.  After all, isn’t that how you would like others to treat you?
If your life were measured by units of “love given,” how do you think you would rate? What changes could you make to improve your score and how would you live your life differently?

An Attitude of Gratitude

I worked in a career where, generally speaking, great results were expected and disappointing results were met with wrath.  I know I’m not the only one who has experienced this. You see it in service businesses all the time. More often than not, the moment service is below expectations, heads start to roll. Even if the customer service person is not to blame, he or she takes the brunt and ridicule on behalf of the entire company. That’s an unfortunate and unhappy position to be in!
At some point, probably later than I care to admit, I realized this isn’t right. Granted, we ought to expect good service, but we can still treat people with respect when we’re disappointed. We can also go out of our way to express our appreciation when things go well!
Consider the following proven benefits of gratitude:

  • Just 15 minutes a day focusing on the things you’re grateful for will boost your body’s antibodies and contribute to a strengthened immune system
  • Grateful people are more focused mentally and measurably less vulnerable to clinical depression
  • Gratitude induces a physiological state of mind called resonance, associated with healthier blood pressure and heart rate

When you’re grateful, you focus your mind on pleasant, positive thoughts. It helps you appreciate the things that are happening around you. It prevents you from developing an “entitlement” mindset (the feeling that everyone owes you something). It also raises your happiness quotient!

By regularly showing appreciation and gratitude, your outlook will become more positive and you’ll be much more fun to be around. After all, who wants to be around a complainer? Thankful people make the people around them happier too, and ultimately attract more friends and opportunities as a result.

If I’ve changed for the better in recent years, it’s that I make a more concerted effort to express appreciation and gratitude to others. Their reactions make it all worthwhile! Whether it’s a simple compliment, call, card, note, or email, expressions of gratitude are uplifting and deeply appreciated. I regret taking so long to embrace this, not only because of how it makes others feel, but also for how it has changed me. Imagine how the world would be if we all took this to heart!

So, this week, be on the lookout for opportunities to show your gratitude. Then, make it become a way of life!
Do you routinely compliment others and express your appreciation? How has it affected you and others?