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by Doug Hanson on Wednesday, September 15, 2010 at 8:14:48 AM | 1 comment

Now more than ever, we are being bombarded with messages of fear; fear of the unknown as our media pumps out the latest negative economic trends; fear of failure as companies and families feel they just can’t cut back anymore; and fear of change, as things that once seemed commonplace now appear uncertain and fleeting.

Fear, however, is simply our reaction to uncertainty. But would you agree that Hope is also a reaction to uncertainty? Well I sure hope so!

It is time to overcome our fears, and it starts with our ability to change the way we think and manage our state of mind.

Can you define your emotional state right now? You may be tired, frustrated, excited, happy, stressed, or optimistic about your day. Do you know why? Your answers affect the way you interpret everything going on around you, including what you get out of this message.

The average person traverses through the thousands of emotional states at breakneck speed every day, without consideration of the consequences. We wake up nervous about today’s business meetings and then become frustrated at the rush-hour traffic. We get excited when we learn our best customer just placed a large order only to feel stressed when we find out we can’t deliver as promised. Later, we feel appreciated when the boss acknowledges our value to the company but then become worried we won’t make it home in time for our son’s game. As we watch him play we feel many emotions from pride to anticipation, and even possibly a little anger at an unruly parent. All of these mood swings are exhausting and leave us feeling out of control.

What makes all of this even worse is that most people never stop to consider how they would like to feel because they have come to the conclusion that they can’t control it. Most people think their emotional state is simply a byproduct of what the world is dishing out. If good things happen, I feel good. If bad things happen, I feel bad. It’s as simple as that. But people at a higher level of thinking know better. They know that they can influence their future by simply changing their state of mind.

In fact, it is not our circumstances at all that determine our future, it’s always our choices! Even when your circumstance appears grim, sour, or negative, it’s the meaning you give that event that ultimately determines the effect on your life. And that meaning is our choice. No one can make you hate or love someone, you have to choose to do so. No one can make you happy, angry, stressed, energetic, romantic, competitive, or compassionate either. You alone have that choice.

The ability to manage, and even adjust, your emotional state based on your situation can provide a distinct advantage in life. So how do you do it? It’s easier than you may think, but it does require an open mind, a flexible approach, and practice! Throughout the day simply ask yourself three questions,

  • “What state am I in right now?”
  • “What state would serve me best in this situation?”
  • “How do I get myself into the correct state?”

Be conscious of your emotional state of mind, and be courageous enough to change it for the better. It will have a dramatic impact on your life.

Tags: economy emotions fear

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by Doug Hanson on Thursday, June 17, 2010 at 2:10:12 PM | 1 comment

I just arrived home from an amazing journey to Shanghai, China!

Since returning, I have become quite a fan of the Chinese culture. The food at times, however, was a little outside my comfort zone … I had never experienced fried "duck tongue" or "jellied pig's blood" before! (Can someone please get the American some Chicken Fried Rice or Moo Goo Gai Pan!)

While delivering a teambuilding program for over 100 Chinese citizens, I began to notice that, despite our many differences in culture, we all had something important in common. Everyone wants to feel something. We may express emotion differently depending on whether we live in Texas or Brooklyn, or Shanghai or Singapore, but a few things are universal, like love, laughter, meaningful relationships, and the pursuit of happiness. Here’s the point: Those who can influence how others feel always have an advantage – a GLOBAL advantage.

What was most intriguing though, was the Chinese culture of SERVICE. Everywhere I turned, someone was there with a smile (and a nod), more than willing to carry my bags, offer a refreshment, or simply help with directions. In fact, every single person I encountered was fully prepared to drop everything to make sure I was happy. Did they serve because they had to or because they wanted to? Maybe a little of both. But quite simply, it was astonishing.

When I returned to the states, how long do you think it took to find someone who wasn’t giving 100%? You got it. About 30 seconds. The very first airport employee I encountered began barking orders with total disregard for providing a cordial welcome home to U.S. citizens or how she was representing our country to our foreign guests. And it didn’t stop there. The airline representatives at baggage claim, the parking shuttle driver, the fast food cashier, all treated me as if their goal was to give as little effort as possible. It's like they were pacing themselves, saving their energy so they could be at their best in case someone important came along.

So here’s my question. Are you and your team giving 100%?

Tags: china service teambuilding

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