Success with Team In Training

Run Coach for TNT

This past Sunday, April 25 2010, I ran the Glass City Marathon in Toledo, Ohio.  I had the honor of running as the coach for our local Team In Training for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in support of cancer research and patient care.

It turned out to be a good day for a marathon and a great day for our Toledo TNT group.  All of our runners did well and finished the marathon better than or close to their goal time.  They also raised about $20,000 for LLS!

All of this came after a long winter training schedule.  These runners came out and ran double-digit miles in single digit temperatures on more than one occasion.  They put in 16 mile, 18 mile, and 22 mile runs and found time to smile about it.  They fundraised and fundraised some more.  They took the lead and ran with each other when someone couldn’t make a team run.  They encouraged each other when it got tough.  They never gave up no matter how tired and sore they got.  These runners are heroes with heart!

Here’s a quick rundown on their Race Day Performance:  We had 8 runners completing this race for their LLS fundraising campaign and we had 3 runners running this race in preparation for another race and their LLS fundraising campaign.  We also had 5 other runners that are alumni of the TNT program or great friends in support of a TNT’er.  Many of them had personal record (PR) finish times.  It was a great showing all together! 

TNT’er Lynne Forsythe completed her first full marathon in 4:29:27.  TNT’er Erin Baker completed her first full marathon in 5:39:35.  TNT’er Scott Sandvik completed his first full marathon in 4:05:33.  Liz Roberts completed the 1/2 marathon as a friend of TNT.  TNT’er Beth Grafing completed her first full marathon in 4:32:25 as part of her TNT training for a triathlon in August.  Jim Hunt completed his 16th marathon as a friend of TNT.

TNT’er Laura Lehrian completed her second half marathon in 2:31:24 with a 16 minute PR (despite working 80 hour work weeks.)  TNT’er Bob Bethel completed his 8th full marathon in 5:03:26 (after straining his back the day before.)  TNT’er and Team Mentor Corey Monarch, completed the 1/2 marathon as part of her TNT training for the San Diego marathon in June.  Don DeSloover completed his second marathon as a TNT Alumni in 4:19:33 with an 8 minute PR.

Kathy Sloan completed her first full marathon in 4:26:45 as a friend of TNT.  TNT’er Jenny Carpenter completed her first full marathon in 5:17:27.  TNT’er Kevin Drouillard completed his second 1/2 marathon in 2:19:23 with a 6 minute PR (and he just started running last November.)  Monica Drouillard completed the 1/2 marathon in 2:19:24 as a TNT Alumni (and let Kevin win by 1 second.)  TNT’er Kimberly Hasapes completed her second full marathon in 5:03:26 with a 15 minute PR.

And last but definitely not least, our old man of the team distinguished himself at the Glass City Marathon which was in preparation for his actual TNT event which is the Cleveland Marathon in 3 weeks…

His name is Frank Cody and he’s a long time runner and a good friend.  He completed the marathon in a blazing 4:01:55 which was his first full marathon since 1998 and a 25 minute PR.  He also finished 3rd in his age division which is a bunch of old guys.  And better yet, he ran a 1 minute negative split which means he ran the second half of the race 1 minute faster than the first half!  Not too many people can run a negative split marathon!  In short, Frank was awesome!

Everyone on the team and our alumni and friends did a great job!  I was honored to be their coach for this season.  Hopefully, there will be many more seasons to come!  Thanks for all of your support and encouragement and thanks for helping fight the good fight!

Empowerment Made Simple

Time and again people ask me how they can get more out of their employees.  How can they get them to go the extra mile, take the initiative, to care…

Here are 3 simple steps to helping employees find empowerment:  

1. Create a supportive environment and communicate what the organization is about.  Let employees know what we are trying to create and do for our customers.  Share your thoughts and feelings and encourage employees to do the same.  Listen to their ideas…after all, they probably know what’s working and not working better than we do! 

Fundamentally, when they know we care, they will care too.

2. Work to build relationships based on trust and respect.  To build trust, do what you say you are going to do.  To build respect, listen to people.

In a survey of 3500 organizations, it was asked: “What’s holding back quality?”  The top two answers (70%) given by Sr. Management were lack of trust and poor communication and the link between respect and communication is simply, if we don’t respect each other, we’re definitely not going to listen to each other.  If we’re not listening to each other, we’ll have diffferent ideas and expectations of what each side said they would do…and when it doesn’t happen, we lose trust.

 3. Come to agreement with employees on the results we want and then get out of their way.  Give them the right tools, the right guidance, the right training and let them do the best they can.  They won’t usually do it our way and they’ll make mistakes, but in the end the results will be the same and they’ll be able to take pride in what they helped create.

Three easy steps, not really so easy, but if we can give ’em a try and get out of our own way, it works great!  If you need some help with employee empowerment, send me a note: ernest@ealewisconsulting.com

Best Regards! – E

Connecting Beyond Texting and Emailing

I just left a voicemail on Rachel’s phone.  She’s pretty important to me.  In fact, she’s the love of my life so that would make her top of my list!  I left her a voicemail for two very good reasons…1) she didn’t answer and,  2) I find myself texting and emailing too much!

Now, there is nothing wrong with texting and emailing.  They are great ways to say, “hello,” “that’s cool dude,” “here’s the info you need,” “i love you,” “get in here,” and many other things.  The problem I am finding personally, and that many other people I work with find with texting and emailing, is that they are so impersonal.

When I started texting not very long ago, I thought it was great.  I still think it’s great.  You can quickly and easily send info, reach out and say hello, send a joke, whatever, with just a few very tiny key strokes and minimal time investment.  Technologically, it’s a beautiful tool and it can certainly enhance comunication.  Email is the same.  The problems arise when we rely on them too much which is what happens to many of us.

Text and email is like other written communications.  It’s difficult to convey meaning, emotion, and intent.  You lose the advantages of seeing body language, facial expressions and hearing tone of voice.  Communication can be even more difficult with texting since the messages are typically short at 160 characters or less, i.e. there’s little or no depth.  For the silly or day to day stuff, text or email away.  

However, if you really want to connect with someone in terms of relationship building, once in a while instead of hitting the keys for a bunch of letters and an email or text message, dial a phone number and say hello…personally!  Even if you have to leave a voice mail, it will have more meaning and more depth.  Better yet, if they are really important to you be they family, friend, employee, the love of your life, or a client, set up a meeting so you can meet face to face. 

There is still no better way to connect than by shaking hands, breaking bread, and by looking someone in the eye!  The time and energy invested will be worth it…

Get Out Your Toolbelt!

I work with a lot of business owners who wish their employees would do more and do better.  They wonder how to boost morale, gain their employee’s respect, and how to get employees to take the initiative.  All too often, the company culture is one of us vs. them, management vs. employees.  Over the years, I’ve found one thing that works wonders for gaining employee respect, involvement, and boosting morale.  It’s simply to get out the toolbelt! 

Many business owners spend so much time managing the business they get stuck behind the desk.  They consequently lose touch with employees and the work that needs to be done.  When they lose touch, the gap between management and employees widens causing poor communication, misunderstandings, and other roadblocks to performance.  Trust decreases, morale decreases, and performance suffers.

Most employees want to do a good job.  They also want to be respected and heard.  A business owner can’t do that unless he’s there and listening.  If you’re stuck behind a desk, you can’t be there and you can’t listen!  However, when you get out the toolbelt and go to work side-by-side with employees, you can’t help but be there to listen and to see first hand what’s working and not working.  When employees see that you are willing to do what you ask them to do and that they are being listened to, they gain a new respect for you as the business owner.

You in essence become one of them not just a suit, or the owner, or that guy signing their paycheck.  You become a human being.  What’s even more important is that they are no longer just employees, but they are Joe and Sally and Steve…real people!  So if you haven’t in a while, get out your toolbelt and go to work and you’ll change your company, guaranteed!

Focused Transformation in The Moment

Most of us want to do more and better.  We want to become more skilled, more knowledgeable, more capable.  We want to become rock stars, legends and superheroes.  We want to transform ourselves!

So, how is it some people seem to easily become all they want to be and do all they want to do and others struggle day in and day out? 

There are a couple of reasons. 

First, the ones who succeed learn how to focus.   They pick the one thing they want the most and go after it.  That’s difficult for many of us in this day and age of multi-tasking.  The problem with multi-tasking is that when we try to do many things at once, no one thing gets done well. 

The secret to focusing is to define your priority task that will help you create what you want for yourself.  Work on that first.  Give it your utmost attention, do it the best that you can!  Then no matter how long your to do list, the things that make the most difference and give you the most bang for your buck get done first.

Second, live in the moment.  Worrying about the future or dwelling on the past saps our energy for no good reason and we actually find reasons to not succeed:  “It’s been done before,” “It’s too hard,” “It will never work.”  But, every moment we step into is a moment that we can step out as someone totally brand new.  Live in the moment and you’ll actually be able to eliminate the excuses and mental roadblocks, get busy, get something done, and over time accomplish more than you ever thought possible!

The opportunity to transform ourselves is right here and right now.  We just need to focus right here and right now!

Test Your Belief In Your Value

We all have fears and doubts.  We’re afraid of the unknown, new places, change.  We doubt our skills and abilities, even our own experiences.  We question whether or not we’re good enough.  Getting past these internal roadblocks is key to success.

Successful people are able to stand tall and firm in the face of scary things.  So, how do they do it?  It starts with belief.  You have to believe in yourself more than anything.  You have to believe deep down that you have the right knowledge, the right skills, the right vision and if you don’t have it, you have to believe you can get it.

If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will either.  When talking to others, you’ll hesitate.  Your voice will quiver.  Your body language will give you away.  You’ll be less enthusiastic.  When you hesitate, people will stop to wonder what’s wrong with this picture.  They’ll see your fear and doubt every time and right away.

Successful people learn all they need to learn, experience all they can, and get out of their comfort zone.  They do their homework so to speak and they are diligent.  They build their credibility and their skill base and do all the basic things we expect to see successful people do.  Most importantly they face their fears.  They look inside and question why they are afraid and why they doubt themselves because they know that when they discover the source of their fear, they can quench it.

One simple test I often use to help people learn to believe in themselves is to ask them,”How much are you worth?”  How they answer this question is very telling.  When they can answer right away, it shows they know their value, they have a measure of self-repect, and they believe it.  When they hesitate, I know there is work to be done.

I ask them to start to quantify their value and learn to describe it in words.  It might be $100 per hour, customer service second to none, or even, “just awesome!”  I have them start to practice saying it, “I charge $100 per hour and provide awesome customer service second to none!”  Then I have them implement it. 

When we practice it and live it, even if we don’t yet believe it, we learn to say it with confidence.  We don’t hesitate.  Over time, we begin to internalize it.  When we get it right in our behavior it follows in our head, and vice versa…

Leadership Is

 Leadership is

commanding yet amiable
inclusive yet solitary
demanding yet forgiving
in front yet unseen
knowledgeable yet naive
passionate yet serene
visionary yet present

a balance of all that lies within

If You Want to be Happy…

We frail humans are at one time capable of the greatest good and, at the same time, capable of the greatest evil. Change will only come about when each of us takes up the daily struggle ourselves to be more forgiving, compassionate, loving, and above all joyful in the knowledge that, by some miracle of grace, we can change as those around us can change too.
– Mairead Maguire

We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.
– Viktor Frankl

A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
– Albert Einstein

Love life and life will love you back. Love people and they will love you back.
– Arthur Rubinstein

How far you go in life depends on you being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and the strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these.
– George Washington Carver

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
– H.H. the Dalai Lama

Find Your Purpose

It’s not just what you are thinking or doing, it’s the way you are being that matters…be aware, be good, be trustworthy, be accepting, be happy!

Let yourself be yourself…and you will find your purpose…and your joy.

Let Things Be

“Man at his best, like water,
Serves as he goes along:
Like water he seeks his own level,
The common level of life.”
– The Tao Teh Ching

If you struggle in quicksand, you will sink and perish. If you relax, you can rise up and be free.  Let life be easy…accept, forgive, seek harmony. – Ernie

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