#HappyNewYear #LifeIsGood #optimism
Happy New Year!
You would think that Bert and John Jacobs, brothers who founded the Life Is Good T-shirt company, had a very happy childhood.
Despite their parents being in a near-death car accident, and their father facing difficulty recovering from it, their mother would always ask them at dinner each night: tell me something good that happened that day.
“That optimism was something that our family always had, even when we had little else,” the brothers write.
Natalie Walters wrote a piece on the two brothers for Business Insider Dec. 17, 2015.
The two brothers ask their employees the same thing whenever they gather: tell me something good that happened today.
Happiness and optimism don’t always come naturally.
Life can throw bad things at us, some of which we can’t control. But we can ALWAYS control how we deal with them. Sometimes, we must work at our optimism and happiness, but it is always achievable.
As we move into 2016, we can take stock of all the good that has happened in the past year. We can use all that good to make the next year even better.
Impossible for some? Well, some may have to work harder to find the good and build on it, but there is always some good to build on.
For those who can’t find it, they must look harder.
If you’ve lost a job, or have other financial issues, there are many ways out there from which help could come. For one of the best, visit If you find optimism difficult, begin by looking for it.
If you’ve lost a loved one, grieve as you must. But remember, that person wants you to move on. To find the courage to do so, one must look for it.
Those who wait for something to be given may never receive it. Those who look for what they want eventually find it.
The world around us can provide a litany of reasons we should be afraid, or we should worry that goodness is in short supply. But goodness is everywhere. Some see it plainly. Others have to look for it.
One can make the next year better than the last, just by believing that life is good.
For the Jacobs brothers, Life Is Good is not just their $100 million company name. It is their outlook on life, Walters writes.
Not everyone can take a positive attitude and build a big, profitable company from it. But a big, profitable company will NEVER be built on a negative attitude, or gloomy outlook on life.
So, in the new year, ALWAYS find something good that happened to you each day. Build on that goodness to see where life takes you. You could be amazed.


#SantaClaus #SantasWorkshop #LeadershipSecrets
Imagine Santa Claus as the CEO of his workshop.
He has to hire elves, reindeer and other workers to manufacture toys, and deliver all of them on one night every year.
He has to put the right elves, reindeer etc., in the right jobs. He has to be acutely aware of the growing and changing toy demand. He has to make sure that deliveries are made, on schedule, every time on that one night – the same night EVERY year.
Eric Harvey, in his book “The Leadership Secrets of Santa Claus: How to Get Big Things Done in Your Workshop … All Year Long,” writes about running a business from Santa’s perspective. The book contains all the things you might expect in a how-to –be-a-leader book.
Two of them, however, are noteworthy. Harvey advises to teach people not just how to do a job properly, but also how to be successful. He uses Ian, whom Santa hired as the EICOT (Elf In Charge of Training) to illustrate the point.
As Harvey tells it, Ian asked Santa a few questions before he was hired. “Is an elf really successful if he or she just makes good toys, but doesn’t get along with others and communicates poorly? Is a reindeer really successful if he or she pulls hard but isn’t a team player who helps others succeed? Are any of us truly successful if we’re good at our crafts, but display negative attitudes or fail to solve problems effectively?”
In other words, being good at what you do isn’t just about mastering the skill to which you are assigned. Being successful means being part of a team, and teams accomplish more than individuals. You’ve probably run into or worked with people who were good at what they did, but you would never choose to work with them.
Or, you’ve run into a manager that didn’t treat you as you would want to be treated. That person may have been “good” in his or her boss’ eyes, but he or she didn’t help you improve, or treat you with the respect you deserved.
A second illustrative point in Harvey’s book talks about red wagons. Decades ago, a red wagon was on many children’s Christmas list, and the elves became good at making them. Suddenly, demand changed and computer games became more in vogue. The workshop had to be retooled to make the video games, much to the chagrin of the elves, who were great at making wagons.
The point here is that change will come. You don’t know when or how in advance, but it will come. Even the best wagon maker will have to do something else, because the market for wagons has dried up. If that something else doesn’t suit you, you may need a Plan B for the rest of your life. To check out one of the best, visit Not only will you see examples of people changing their lives, you will learn principles of success for you, and how you can help others succeed.
You can be the leader that Santa is, as Harvey illustrates. It will come with ups and downs. You may not have to gear up for a single night every year, but you can learn what it takes to run your own workshop in a manner that will lead to the most success.
At this time of year, we reflect not only on what we have done, but also what we have done, and can do, for others.
So Merry Christmas, happy holidays and the best for 2016. May you get your workshop humming in a way that brings you, and others, success.


“Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.”
Voltaire, philosopher
#TryDifferent #change #reorganization
If change comes to your workplace, and you are expected to be part of it, how do you embrace it?
Karl G. Schoemer discussed this in his book, “Try Different, Not Harder: 15 Rules for Mastering Change.”
So let’s set up the scenario: Your company is reorganizing. You will be placed in a job which you never expected to do. Your boss tells you to figure it out. You are scared to death. What do you do?
Schoemer says, ”Step on the gas. Don’t just improve the process, look critically to see whether the process is necessary anymore. … Don’t study it to death. Forget perfect. You need to be fast and good enough.”
In other words, if your organization is changing, EVERYONE will be working on the fly. Many people will be new in their roles. Many won’t have a clue where to begin, yet they MUST begin.
Complacency is worse than fear. Don’t be afraid to ask questions like, “how did they do this before and why was it done that way?” Then, if that question is answered, find a better way to do it.
Just as jobs become different from what you may have been originally hired for, processes become outdated or obsolete. You embrace change not by sticking with the old, but by finding the new.
When looking for the new, you may find opportunity. Opportunity comes to those who don’t necessarily look for it, but to those who look for other things that can make the work easier, cheaper and better. To say it another way, as Schoemer writes: when you put yourself out there and embrace change, solutions can find you. If you hide behind what was, the solutions remain hidden from you.
Suppose you are one of those whose company has changed, and you are not a part of it? You have to embrace your own change, rather than complain about what you have lost.
You have to put yourself out there. Look for your own solutions. They may come from people and places you would never expect. If you keep looking, eventually you will find what you need and what you want.
If you need some help looking for such solutions, visit You may find something you never thought you would look for. But that’s part of embracing change – finding the unexpected and realizing what you have found.
“Opportunities today are so widespread that the challenge has become sorting through them,” Schoemer writes.
To find the opportunities to sort through, one must look. Sometimes, it may be uncomfortable to look. Perhaps it’s even difficult to do something you’ve never done before. Still, you will know that you can do what you need to do, even if it’s uncomfortable, even if it’s not perfect, even if it’s not ideal.
So become flexible like putty, rather than hard like concrete. Be curious and ask questions, rather than presume you have all the answers. Be open to learning new things, rather than closed by only what you know.
Embrace change, rather than hug the past. Though the latter seems more comfortable and cozy, the former will propel you to success.


“The only sense that is common in the long run is the sense of change – and we all instinctively avoid it.”
Author E.B. White
#TryDifferent #change #reorganization
We avoid things that hurt. We sometimes avoid things that take effort. We often avoid things we don’t know.
Change can be all of those things. One of the 15 rules that Karl G. Schoemer points out in his book on change is its title: “Try Different, Not Harder.”
In discussing this, Schoemer cites this common complaint during times of change in the workplace: “I can’t work any harder. I’m already working harder than I ever have.” As he points out, we sometimes are more comfortable redoubling our efforts than changing them. Thus, the instinctive response: “The way we’ve been doing it has always been good enough, so more of the same should be better.”
In the modern world, organizations have to change. Workers can be part of the change, or excluded from it through layoffs and other downsizing. If you are part of the change, your role in the company could, and probably will, change.
If you are new to a company, and they are hiring you for a certain job, know this: what they are hiring you for today may not be what you will ultimately be doing a year from now, five years from now, 10 years from now.
Job situations change – some might say deteriorate – over time. Perhaps you have been in a job which, after a few years, had no resemblance to what you were hired to do. Or, your job now INCLUDES what you were hired to do, plus something else. You may feel you are doing the work two or more people should be doing.
In the past, unions, or even companies themselves, protected employees by keeping them in jobs that are no longer needed, relevant or could be done by machines or other technology.
In today’s world, companies can’t afford that. So here’s a rule of thumb: presume your job will change, even deteriorate, over time. You won’t be able to do much about it. By the same logic, promotional and expansion opportunities will be fewer, and farther between.
What to do?
As Schoemer and others advocate, learn new skills. Take advantage of additional training your company, or other institutions, may offer.
Don’t presume that working harder at what you’re doing will get you farther. It could get you out the door.
A better option might be finding another source of income, just in case you get shown the door before you want to be. For one of the best of many such options, visit
Most of all, don’t complain that your employer just doesn’t see how valuable you are. No matter your age, or how good you are at what you do, you are expendable. You are an expense to your employer. If you see that what you are doing is becoming less important to the business as a whole, or you – God forbid – are having trouble filling up your day at work, a red flag should go up in your head. If you don’t have a Plan B, you should get one quickly. Remember: if you see instances in which your employer might be able to live without you, your employer will soon see them, if he or she hasn’t already.
In short: work with change. Evolve with the job situation. Get better at different. Become fluent, and fluid, with change.