Archive for 2007

Book Review: Never Eat Alone

December 17th 2007

Never Each Alone

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Author: Keith Ferrazzi

The tagline of the book is “One relationship at a time” and it is so true. I’ve been wanting to read this book for a long time and finally have. Its everything I expected it to be and it really reinforced what I believe about relationships. And that is the fact that everything you do and all your experiences in life that have any lasting impact for you and to others, is all because of and about the relationships you have with people. So knowing that, I was looking for ways to continue to grow my relationships with others and this book was a perfect fit to help answer some of the questions about how to do this.

219021_4195-160x120.jpg Ferrazzi has crafted a guide book to master the art of developing relationships. He writes to close the misconception of the term networking and uses his own definition as connecting. The idea is that you are creating a personal connection to each and every person you develop a relationship with. This is a much deeper and more personal level, which Ferrazzi delivers the message that having these meaningful connections is the key to a person’s success.

He reveals many of his own relationship blunders and realizations from his own life experience as examples of how not to ignore connections and where making connections can have an incredible benefit both in helping others and in getting help when the time comes where you need it yourself. He tells stories of the relationships that shaped his life as a young boy right through to his recent business success as CEO in several companies.

A theme through the entire book is about a mindset or attitude towards building relationships. He recommends to focus on what you can do for someone else and never to look at the benefit you can get from any relationship. The value in giving to others will generally not be returned directly, but indirectly. People you have helped will often respond by connecting you to others who can help you in return. I wrote about this earlier to not keep score in your relationships which is reinforced throughout the book.

The later chapters of the book cover a whole realm of other recommendations to managing your life and success. These include a great deal of ideas and tips for getting the most out of a conference and how you can establish more meaningful connections in a short amount of time. Also covered are mentoring, conversation starters and vulnerable story telling as well as tips to staying in touch, the notion of never eating alone. Its a timeless book with great personal stories and a strong message delivered as the recipe for success, which is to help make everyone around you successful.

Posted by Mike King under Book Reviews | 1 Comment »

One of the Most Effective Tools in Life

December 14th 2007

I’ve learned that one of the most effective tools in life is reading. Its not that long ago that I learned this either, which I wrote about here, but I’m amazed at the difference it has made in my happiness, career, spirituality and in my ability to help others. A few scary stats…

  • The average reader spends about 1/6th of the time they spend reading actually rereading words.
  • Good readers in 5th grade may read 10 times as many words as poor readers over a school year.
  • More than 20 percent of adults read at or below a fifth-grade level – far below the level needed to earn a living wage.
  • In a survey of 2,000 adults, a third had not bought a new book in the previous 12 months. 34% said they did not read books.
  • 58% of the US adult population never reads another book after high school.
  • 80% of US families did not buy or read a book last year.
  • 70% of US adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years.
Reference: http://www.readfaster.com/education_stats.asp
Reference: http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/Database/stats/readingstats.html

There are many other scary statistics about adult reading habits. What’s scariest to me however, is that children are never really taught to read in schools. They are taught to sound out the words, learn a vocabulary and to be able to read aloud text in class. After this, they are left to themselves to read and learn from it. The problem with this, is that it leaves a LOT of children reading in a audible way (called sub-vocalizing) which keeps there reading speed slow and well below the rate that the brain needs to stay focused. This leads to loss of attention and having to re-reading. Schools don’t teach anything about this, let alone scanning skills, training the eye muscles or any speed techniques. These could be taught in literally a few days and can make an amazing difference in one’s reading skill. Its no wonder if these are new to you, but I do encourage you to research reading skills a bit and to teach your children to read. Test their speeds, practice reading and measure for improvement. Its one of the best things you can learn or teach someone. I’ve pointed a few friends at these techniques and they have also helped them, so I can only hope this also helps you to improve your reading skills and gain access to a whole new world of knowledge with books. Some of these links should help to explore this subject further, please feel free to post your own online resources for reading. There are many other applications and reading courses available, this is a just a starting point!

More info and articles:

http://www.readfaster.com/speedreading/articles.asp
http://www.readingsoft.com/
http://www.bewell-dowell.org/sos/tips_speed.html

Software Applications:

http://www.eyeq.tv/

“No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.”
– Confucius
“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”
– Frederick Douglass

Posted by Mike King under Learning & Life | 5 Comments »

You Control and Manage Your Own Career

December 11th 2007

manageyourself.jpg A lot of people make up a world of reasons as to why they don’t have a career that they are happy with. It amazes me how often I hear excuses from people why they don’t have the perfect job and why they don’t have any control over their own jobs and career. This is just crazy! Everyone makes their own choices in life including those that build your career.

Stop Blaming Others

People love to push blame to others and this is so obvious with people when they talk about their careers. Have you ever heard some of these complaints?

  1. I didn’t get that promotion because my boss doesn’t like me.
  2. I don’t like my work, but hey, who does?
  3. Everyone but me seems to get the lucky opportunities.
  4. No one notices the good work I do, just the bad things, so I can’t get anywhere in my career.
  5. I don’t have the time to work extra and make a great impression.

These are just a few examples. All of these are pointing the finger, where one should be accepting responsibility.

You Control Your Career

Now, am I suggesting that you should simply love your work and be happy in your career? No. Work is still work and most people have other things in life they would rather be doing. You should enjoy your work however and my only point here is that you have a lot more control over enjoying your work than you might think. If you don’t like your job, find a better own. If you are missing out on opportunities, it’s probably because your actions or work are the cause of that, you need to make your own opportunities. And its not your bosses job to make sure you get that raise or new position, its yours. You need to take ownership and manage your own career. Make those tough decisions to change things when they aren’t how you want them to be. Know what you want and act on it. Set some career goals and take action everyday to work towards those goals and make the most of them .

Get connected with the people you want to work with and learn about the businesses and jobs you do want. Stop wasting time at work, analyze and prioritize your day to only spend time on the things that will make a difference to you and your career. Focus on your own growth and don’t expect someone else to do it for you. Find a mentor to share ideas with and learn from them to help advance your career. Help others in their own quest to have a more fulfilling career and discuss how to do this with your colleagues. All these things contribute towards you successfully managing your career and it will bring more joy to your daily life at work with a strong sense of control that will energize you forward!

Posted by Mike King under Business | 2 Comments »

A usual (for me only) snow day in Calgary on the Unicycle

December 10th 2007

Well, there was a fair bit of snow last night leaving a couple inches on the roads and whenever it snows a lot I am probably one of the very few people who actually LIKE getting to work.  Why you ask?  Because I’m am an offroad unicyclist and I love to ride in the snow, especially when driving would be slow, risky and just not much fun.  Its also warmed up today for the first day in a few weeks where its actually just up to the freezing mark.

So, today I hopped on the unicycle before work and enjoyed a nice relaxing (but still quite cold) ride into the office.  It takes me about 25 minutes to commute nearly 5 km.  Its great exersize and more fun in the snow than just a normal bike trail ride in. I just throw on the ipod and listen to a book or some music and try to avoid being seen too much by the traffic as I really don’t like to attract any attention on my ride in.  Now, that seems like a bit of a oxymoron for a unicyclist but since I normally only ride offroad in the mountains where there are VERY few people, I think I can still honestly make that claim.

However, I was unable to avoid the attraction from motorists today as someone felt the need to call into a morning radio show (the EyeOpener on CBC) and warn people to watch out for the unicyclist on there way to work.  I’m really not sure why I would be any kind of threat, its not like I was riding down the middle of the freeway!  I keep to myself off the sides of the road and take as many back streets as possible.  They warned not to be distracted by the unicyclist.  I and my colleague who heard this on the radio, got quite a kick out of this and thought it was a funny story.  So, there you go.

Posted by Mike King under Personal | 1 Comment »

Book Review: Mere Christianity

December 9th 2007

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Author : C. S. Lewis

Even though this was written over 50 years ago, its still entirely true and Lewis delivers just a brilliantly simple and clear outline of what Christianity is all about and how it impacts our lives. He doesn’t quote a bunch of scripture, preach about his own interpretation or opinions and he doesn’t try to sell you on Christianity in this book. He simply writes a clear and convincing set of facts, stories and truths that are essential to learning the essential principles behind the Christian faith.

He delves into an area of exploration on the concept of morality and how God is the center of that moral body of knowledge in every human being, regardless of our perception of right or wrong. This steers every choice that’s made and is the backbone of where mankind finds an obligation to oblige (to varying degrees) this moral derivative in our lives. This concept of morality streams through several chapters leading into Lewis’ explanations about the serious impact to our lives and how Christianity shows such relevance with these moral issues.

He explores how God is a personal God and how the human concepts of time and space do not apply to God and what that means in recognizing obedience to God and acceptance in faith. He describes these difficult and touchy subjects amazingly well and the entire book as a challenging, yet easy to read introduction and explanation of many areas of Christianity. Its a timeless book and I look forward to reading many more of Lewis’ books (as this was my first one)!

Posted by Mike King under Book Reviews | Comments Off on Book Review: Mere Christianity

Making the most of your goals

December 8th 2007

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Goal Setting

Goals are not easy. There is a lot to read about setting goals and how important they are. Even though this is a VERY common topic, it really doesn’t set in with many people since there are less than 4% of people in North America actually writing down any goals. That is just staggering. I guess people don’t do goal setting because they just don’t believe all the people writing about how important they are and how they can massively and positively affect your life. Well, I’m one of those believers, I’ve seen it, lived it and never going to stop using goals in my life. And this is for those that actually DO set goals. This is not about setting the goals themselves, but getting something out of them once you have set them.

Write them down

A lot of folks believe that they have set goals but then say they are in there head and are not written down. I’m sorry, but a goal not written is not a goal at all. Writing it down puts it to paper so it can’t be ignored, changed (without intention), or even falsely accepted (if its a well written goal). You MUST do this to get anything out of your goals.

Review your goals

Whether you wrote your goals one time in school, at work or are more active and writing goals yearly or even monthly, they won’t do you much good unless you review them. You need goals to be your focus and I suggest reviewing them at least weekly to track progress and to refresh your mind into thinking about achieving those goals continually. Daily review is even better. Our busy lives distract us into a terrible cycle of just “doing fine”, getting buy, paying the bills and forgetting to really live for the things we want to live for, the things in our written goals.

Make a habit of reviewing and reading your goals on a regular basis. Think about what steps you’ve taken to meet each one, put estimates of progress completion if it is a lot of work to get there and consider some simple actions to get you moving toward your goal. Use outlook or another calendar application to remind your and schedule some time to pay attention to reviewing your goals.

Adjust your goals

After reviewing your goals, it might be appropriate to adjust them. If you’ve missed a target date for a goal, adjust it. Don’t just leave it! Change goal and rewrite it so it is again something to work towards instead of a reminder of failure or excuse to not act on other goals. Everyone’s lives change frequently and so should your goals. You can’t plan everything in your life, so don’t try. You learn to live under different circumstances so you should do the same to adjust your goals to properly fit your life and circumstances. You’ll be much happier working on goals that are appropriate than some old goal you no longer believe in.

Be accountable to goal progress

You should always be making some steps towards your goals. When reviewing your goals, make note and records about the steps you make toward achieving the goal. This works best by having a goal partner, boss, spouse, friend or mentor to review your goals with. If you are willing to share your goals and the action plans and commitments to meet them, your goal partner will be able to expect progress towards these goals. Having some accountability in someone else you trust and respect goes a long way to keeping your focus on your goals. It can also bring forth discussion about the priority and measures of each goals to make them align better with your life and things you can actually work towards. There are also steps to take towards any goal and another person can help with planning ideas with you.

Write about and share your goals

Reviewing your goals is a great way to focus on them and a partner helps with accountability. Another technique that can really push you to get the most out of your goals, is to write about them or share them with other people. There are s many ways to write about your goals to others such as in letters, reports, email, instant messaging, social network sites, blogs, books, articles, etc. All of these force you to think about the goals and it often brings more accountability since your audience will have some expectation that the goals are something important to you. They might ask and look for some kind of progress themselves so you will feel more obligation to complete them and please your audience.

Take joy in the goals you meet

Keep track of goals that you have met. Keep them handy as you review current goals to help remind you of the many goals already accomplished. Enjoy and celebrate the completion of any goal, big or small. Completing goals is very satisfying and can bring a lot of joy and sense of accomplishment in life. Take hold of that.

And when your done celebrating and being satisfied, use these completed ones to remind you of your success when struggling with other goals. Also, when you complete a goal, look at what new goals to set in that same area of your life and review your other goals to see if things need to be adjusted. Keep moving forward and get right back to working on the other remaining goals.

Posted by Mike King under Success | 2 Comments »

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