Are you a Role Model around Children? Some Important Questions to Ask Yourself.

One of the funny things in life is that kids like to play “grown up” while grown ups wish they could be kids again!

Kids are highly impressionable creatures. They mimic their heroes through the clothes they wear, the way they talk, the music they listen to, and the hairstyles they choose. In honor of Father’s Day approaching, I urge you to consider the person you are around younger children (even if you’re a teen!). Are you a role model? Ask yourself these questions… READ MORE….

1. Are you an example of healthy living to the young people around you?
2. How do you handle hard times? Are you an example of how to constructively handle adversity?
3. What kind of language and manners do you project around children?
4. Do you put others first before yourself? Is kindness a way of life? Are you an encourager to others and see the best in people?
5. How’s your attitude? Do you face life with optimism and joy, or are you pessimistic? Children will notice this!

If kids are impressionable and prone to imitate, we who are older (and presumably wiser) ought to be on our best behavior when we’re around them. After all, they look up to us! Kids will automatically assume that what’s good enough for us is good enough for them. And, why shouldn’t they?

Unfortunately, many of today’s younger and less mature stars, athletes, and celebrities fail to appreciate or even accept this role. Sadly, you can see it reflected in the crude behavior of their fans and followers…whether at games, concerts, or the mall.

I have special admiration for Taylor Swift’s recent comments in this regard. When asked how she felt about being a role model to younger girls, she responded:

“I’m not uncomfortable with it. You have to be conscious of that. If you’re choosing to put out music and be out there in the public, you have to be conscious of the fact that you are a part of the raising of the next generation and you do have an impact on that. So, choose your outfits and your words and your actions carefully. I think it matters. I think it really does. You can pretend it doesn’t, but it does.”

I wish all entertainers would take this to heart.

You have the power to positively influence younger people through your behavior and mentoring. There’s no substitute for positively impacting a kid. Seize those opportunities, but remember: they’re watching you like a hawk!

How did you rate yourself on the above questions? Do you make it a point to be on role model behavior when kids are around? In what ways? Share your experiences and ideas with our online community!

3 Important Reasons to Preserve your Reputation

What is a prized possession you can rarely get back once you lose it?

The answer is your reputation.

These days, one of the growth industries is brand management. (In fact, branding “experts” are seemingly everywhere—ask any business owner!) At the core, the “brand” is what the company represents and constituents (e.g., customers) can expect to receive. Any successful business must develop and sustain its brand and view it as a core asset. Companies spend enormous sums each year refining and marketing their brands to do just that.

So, what’s your brand? What values and attributes are at your core? After all, a great brand applies equally to people, doesn’t it? That means to be our best, we should consider our brand or reputation as a priceless asset. Here’s why:

  1. Good reputations give you something to strive for. How do you develop a good reputation? Be a person who is deserving of one. This means considering the person you want to be and the characteristics you want to embody (generosity, honesty, kindness, determination, leadership), and focus on modeling them.
  2. Good reputations help you market yourself. When looking for a new job or to advance in your career, your reputation will precede you and give you a leg up on the competition. They also build an invaluable network of ambassadors!
  3. Good reputations set an example and inspire others. People will want to be around you, glean wisdom from you, and take your advice.

I was fortunate to have worked with George Russell, the Chairman Emeritus of Russell Investments. He always took pride in saying, “Our company operates with non-negotiable integrity.” He meant it. George always said, “If you’re wondering whether or not to do something, ask how you would feel if it became tomorrow’s headline in the New York Times.” It challenged all of us to preserve the company’s reputation!

What a great rule to live by as individuals, too. When you’re faced with a tough decision, consider how you would feel about your choice being published in a newspaper for all the world to see? How would it affect your reputation? Remember, it’s a priceless asset!

No matter what you do, preserve your integrity, values, and reputation with every ounce of strength. Be the person who is deserving of a great reputation.  You will absolutely, positively, and totally regret it if you don’t!

How would you describe your brand or reputation? Which aspects are you proud of and which could use some improving? How have you handled situations where you were tempted to compromise your integrity or your values? Join the conversation with your comments!

This Father’s Day, Give the Gift of Confidence

Moms! Dads! Did you know you can CONFIDENTLY raise your teenager?

If you have put thought into “launching” your children and releasing them into the real world as an adult, you probably have a few qualms.  Our book, Parenting for the Launch, will prepare and equip you for this extremely monumental milestone.

Consider this as a Father’s Day Gift for the dads in your life, or grab a copy for yourself.  Parenting for the Launch equips you with all that you need to develop confidence, while battling the anxiety many parents encounter when it’s time for their children to be launched.

You might be thinking: Have we covered our bases? Will my child still like me? Will they make good decisions? These are weighty questions for parents at this landmark event. So, when it’s our turn, will we confidently release an eagle to soar, or hold on for dear life?!?

How successfully we launch our children into adulthood is based on the preparation that comes before. In Parenting for the Launch, you’ll learn these three keys to a successful launch, plus MUCH MORE:

  • Developing a personal leadership foundation and instilling wisdom and principles for key life decisions (Destination Preparation)
  • Valuing their uniqueness and building an enduring relationship (Relationship Preparation), and
  • Setting them up for a smooth transition into independence and moving from the driver’s seat to the passenger seat (Transition Preparation)

The good news is this isn’t rocket science. But, it does take a game plan and effective strategies for tackling the above. This is what Parenting for the Launch is all about—strategies to set our sons and daughters up for every success in life.

For parents at launch time, our most common anxiety is whether we’ve taught them all they need to know and prepared them well for the real world. In many respects it’s the test of our own “performance” as a parent! While no parent is perfect, we can cover most of the bases by:

  • Having the right attitude. This requires a mind shift from “raising kids” to “raising future adults.” It means empowering them to live their dream rather than overly controlling their lives. It means giving them wings, not strings.
  • Setting goals together. What are your teen’s goals in life? What are his or her special gifts, talents, interests, and passions? It helps to develop a list of goals that are both intrinsic (personal and values based) and extrinsic (accomplishments based). Compile your goals individually and then share your thoughts together. You’ll gain new insights into their dreams and plans.
  • Sharing practical, before-the-fact wisdom, for key life decisions involving college, career, marriage, family, and finances. How do the most successful and admired leaders make decisions and live life? The more we can offer these perspectives in advance of their decisions, the more likely they’ll succeed in life. And, by sharing your own experiences with humility, your relationship will soar.

You Can Do It!

Parenting for the Launch is the perfect gift to give to a father of children any age. It is never too late to begin a strategy. Being fully equipped to launch your child, as well as having the confidence to battle the anxiety that comes with releasing your child into the real world, is a priceless gift. You don’t want the fathers in your life to miss out on this pivotal book and its strategic insight!

Be Your Best Self

Are you your “best self” in everything you do? Are you committed to excellence?

Consider this scenario: A young man (let’s call him Joey) finds a job opening in his chosen career field. He lands an interview and arrives for it ten minutes early, dressed to the nines. Joey wants this job, so he is determined to be on his “A game.” He sells himself in the interview and lands the job with his knowledge, gregarious personality, and unique skillset. He is told that there is a 30-day probationary period for the job, at the end of which they will determine if his position will become permanent. Joey does a great job during his 30-day “trial run.” He takes initiative, is excited to work with his team members, and pushes himself to excel. He thinks outside of the box and goes above and beyond all required tasks. At his review, his superiors tell him the job is his for good.

However, something isn’t quite right. Once Joey is given the permanent position, things go downhill. His performance in the workplace greatly suffers—he begins showing up late to work, becomes increasingly uncooperative with his co-workers, and misses important deadlines. Because of his sudden change in performance, his team members also suffer. Projects are unfinished; meetings are cancelled. When Joey realized the job was his and he didn’t need to try and “impress” anyone anymore, he got lazy and content. His efforts were on winning the trophy, not keeping it. He lost the motivation to continue being his best self.

When we participate in anything, whether it’s a class project team, job, sports team, volunteer effort, etc., we contribute two things: our TALENT and our ATTITUDE. In this situation, Joey’s talent was constant but his attitude was variable. His loss of motivation caused his performance to suffer, even though he had all the talent to do an excellent job.

When you’re involved with anything individually, your own dignity and self-respect is at stake. However, when you’re operating as part of a team, you shoulder the additional responsibility of contributing to the group effort—the end result. When you choose to let your negative attitude overshadow your talent, these things are compromised.

Never take lightly the responsibility of being your best self. This does not mean that you’re not allowed to rest, sit down, relax, or treat yourself for a job well done. It simply means to remain aware of why you’re in the role you are. You’re at your job because of your specific skillset. You’re on the sports team because of your talent and athleticism. You’re in the church choir because of your natural gift for singing. Maintaining a conscious and thankful mindset will help keep your attitude right and showcase your greatest talents, helping you be your best.

Whether in the workplace, at school, or on the field, if you always be the best you, regardless of whether it’s a major project or minor task, you’ll be respected and admired. That’s the hallmark of a true winner.

Do you find yourself “slacking off” in certain areas of your life? Why or why not? What helps you give your best performance when it comes to working with others?

5 Ways to Help Teens Build Self-Awareness

Many of you may not realize that May is National Teen Self-Awareness month. (Where was this in 1970 when I needed it?!?) Regardless of your family or career role, you probably know some teenagers you’d like to see thrive. How can you help them become self-aware?

As busy as teens are with schoolwork and activities, home responsibilities, jobs, college prep, family and social life, and more, self-reflection is probably the last thing on their minds. However, being self-aware and cultivating healthy self-esteem will help them in life more than they can fully realize. Here a few suggestions to help encourage the teenagers in your life to become self-aware:

  1. Journaling. Does your teen journal? If not, encourage them to take a couple moments a day to quietly reflect. Have them write down what they’re passionate about, what they value, who they aspire to be. Suggest they write about their emotions, too. They’ll be surprised at how cathartic it can be!
  2. Set them up with a mentor. We all need mentors! Mentorship relationships provide great learning opportunities for people both young and old. They allow us to model our life after someone we admire and aspire to be like, and learn practical life wisdom from the pros. Your teen’s mentor could be a relative, friend, pastor, or someone in their desired career field.
  3. Be open about your own life experiences. A huge part of being self-aware is the ability to identify key people and events that played a role in creating our worldview and life perspective. Talk to your teen about the people who played essential roles in your own life (i.e. your parents, grandparents, a favorite college professor, an author, etc.). One of the greatest gifts we can give the young people in our lives is encouragement and wisdom from our own life experience (the good and the bad!).
  4. Don’t always gloss over mistakes. When your teen messes up in a relationship or in school, it’s easy for us to gloss over the shortfall and boost their self-esteem because we want to see them happy. However, it is important for our teens to know their strengths AS WELL as their weaknesses. Knowing areas of needed improvement will help your teen improve his or her character and mature.
  5. Have them develop a “Personal Balance Sheet” of their assets (special qualities they have to offer) and their constraints (things holding them back). This exercise is both revealing and inspirational as teens reflect on themselves and receive invaluable input from others. The assignment is found at:

Self-awareness is a product of careful introspection. When teens focus on their own personal character, including her values, beliefs, heroes, goals, struggles, shortfalls, etc., they soon reap the benefits of being self-aware. People who are self-aware learn to act intentionally and deliberately instead of being reactionary. They are able to redirect negative thoughts, be true to who they are, and be a positive light to the people around them.

How would you rate your own level of self-awareness? What have you done to encourage the young people in your life to become self-aware?  Are there any tips you would like to share? We’d love to have you join in on the conversation!