Category Archives for Learning

Facilitating at ARM

We were in Pittsburgh last week working with ARM - Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing. We had the opportunity to facilitate ARM's first Solutions Summit centered on regional training resources as they relate to robotics in manufacturing.  The Mill 19 facility is a great place to convene and get excited about the future of robotics for manufacturing. ARM's membership really engaged during the Solutions Summit and provided expertise, out-of-the-box thinking, and a vision for the future. Thank you to the participants for bringing your passion and creativity to this initiative. We are excited to see what happens next!

Day 1 of the ARM Solutions Summit in Pittsburgh!

Day 2

Mill 19

Millennials, Gen Zs, and Customized Training

So, I will admit it, I am intrigued by Millennials and Gen Zs, maybe it is because I have three boys, one is a Millennial and two are Gen Zs. Or maybe it is because I find these two generations so darn refreshing, but I really like hearing what they have to say! Millennials and Gen Zs are changing the way we view work, play, and life. Watching my sons navigate technology is astonishing, and I work with technology every day! 

Did you know that Millennials and Gen Zs are 2.5 times more likely to adopt new technology than preceding generations? I think this translates to a true love of learning, millennials just want to know stuff and they don't care if the stuff they learn gives them a degree at the end of the day. I think this attitude is amazing, I mean it seems like the younger generation may have some things figured out, like 

understanding that the journey is more important than the end result. As far as training goes, the younger generation prefers quick, chunkable information that is available on-demand. The transfer of knowledge is important, but the pathway and the discovery of new information is equally important. 

Leadership, Excellence, and Philosophy

Good leaders need to strive for excellence, but how? Is philosophy the answer? Well, maybe...Many philosophers have written about how to live a good life, how to be a good person, how to behave excellently? As a business leader, there are many expectations placed upon you each day, so how do you act rightly, lead well, maintain your cool, and support your team? We think that you do this by studying philosophy and applying these principles to today's problems. Let's dig in...
Plato wrote a great deal about living a good life and making proper decisions.. His student, Aristotle, also followed suit in attempting to define what it means to live a good life and it can be argued that Aristotle went a bit further in his investigation of what it means to achieve happiness. 
Both Plato and Aristotle agree that achieving a good life requires virtuous behavior and thought. Do you believe that being a good leader requires virtuous behavior and thought? We think so too! By reading some of the ancient philosophers' theories, you will discover that Aristotle thought great habits lead to virtuosity. It is the establishment of correct habits performed again and again that makes us ethically fit. If you choose rightly the first time, then another time, and so on, once you get to the 100th time making the same kind of decision, it is a no brainer! You will make the right choice and in so doing, Aristotle would proclaim that your good habit is helping you to achieve a good life. What do you think of this discussion so far? Tomorrow, we will delve a bit more deeply into Plato's thoughts, but for now, we would love to hear what you have to say. Is philosophy the answer to right thinking?

What Kind of Leader Are You?

We really like the principles of transformational leaders...however there are so many different types of leaders that we think it is probably best to assimilate characteristics of a few and create your own leadership style that best fits your authentic self. 

We recommend reading a few different books and culling together some common-sense ideas about what makes a good leader. Conscious Capitalism by John Mackey and Raj Sisodia is a great read. Not only will you become more eco-conscious, but you will also learn about making ethical choices and helping people progress both economically and with greater social conscious. 

Check out our blog post on Leading with Compassion

Personal Worth Above Self Worth

At Erudite Ingenuity staying current and relevant takes a great deal of time. We try to read a lot, ask questions, watch TED Talks, attend conferences, and just generally stay 'in-the-know'. To that end, we are starting a series on some of our favorite reads over the years. I am going to begin with a book that is fairly dense and not for the meek and mild. Awareness by Anthony De Mello is one of my top picks and has become sort of a reference book for me, meaning that I find myself rereading passages, grabbing it when I want to relax with a book, and just keeping it on my nightstand for comfort. It is written in the first person in short chapters with very simple points, which sounds pretty basic, but the book is pretty life-changing. I know, kind of dramatic, but it is...Somehow the author knows that we are all sleeping through life and he wants us to wake up! 

When reading Awareness, you will feel like you are getting help with daily life in a bigger way than a self-help book might help you. The author attempts to deal with the bigger picture issues in life. The author commands that you are honest when delving into this read, and then he explores happiness and our desire for happiness. One of the best things that he recommends is that you stop worrying about what others think and simply spend time observing yourself. It sounds so simple, but it truly is not. 

We are so taken up with what everyone thinks, what everyone recommends, how everyone else lives his/her life, that we miss the point of living and observing our own selves. Take the time to explore your own mind and don't let anyone else's mind interfere with that exploration. This book is one of Tim Ferris' favorites as well and he discusses it in his podcast. I recommend a listen. (Awareness by Anthony De Mello)

Are you busy?

“Some identify happiness with virtue, some with practical wisdom, others with a kind of philosophical wisdom, others add or exclude pleasure and yet others include prosperity. We agree with those who identify happiness with virtue, for virtue belongs with virtuous behavior and virtue is only known by its acts.” - Aristotle

I haven't posted on the blog in a while...I have been busy or have I been engaged in a business?  Well, who knew that both of these words have the same etymology? Did you know that the word 'business' is actually from the archaic word, 'busyness'? 

 I am a bit surprised. The word 'busyness' clearly means to be active or in the words of Merriam-Webster, "purposeful activity". So, how did the word 'business' come to mean "a usually commercial or mercantile activity engaged in as a means of livelihood". I am quite familiar with this definition, I mean, this is how we speak about our business; it is an activity that we pursue daily in order to make a living, but it is so much more.  

At Erudite Ingenuity, our business means:

1. Coaching

 We coach our clients and we coach each other to improve, try new things and focus on the right activities each day, every day, all the days.

2. Family

 Our family is the primary reason that we want our business to succeed, so it is a vital and daily consideration in all of our activities. 

3. Meetings

Since we both hail from corporate America, we are extremely cautious about meetings. Is the topic important enough to require a conversation or will an email suffice? Is a phone meeting required or should we schedule a face to face call? How should we present the agenda to garner the most benefit to our clients?

4. Discussions

Discussions might be 'on the fly' in the car or at a coffee shop..we may pause a TV show to discuss a topic we forgot to bring up earlier in the day.  No matter the place or time, discussions are an important part of the everyday and we take the time to touch base every single morning.

5. Debates

Debates is the kind word for arguments...sometimes we disagree about an approach or a writing style or a new product design. Whatever the reason, we debate very well! 

6. Writing

We have our expert writers and then we have our ideas...sometimes those ideas are way ahead of our written expression and when that happens #7 comes into play.

7. 'Heads Down' Work

I often use this expression to help my children understand that putting one's head down and simply 'doing the work' is one of the most important skills to learn. We must know how to create a deliverable, whether it is finishing a manual, writing a blog post, producing a new coaching document, creating a business process improvement map or working on billing...'Heads Down' is important!

8. Collaborating

Sometimes, we need to get out of our own heads and sit down for a collaborative session. When we take the time to collaborate, we always produce something noteworthy. 

9. Thinking

Do you ever just sit and think?  We have read all the self-help books about meditating and thinking...but putting that into practice is very difficult and requires a great deal of discipline.  Our background is in philosophy and yet, we still have trouble with this one. The notion of simply thinking is not a revered quality in our country.  Just think if your boss stumbled upon you sitting at your desk 'thinking'!

10. Blogging

I love blogging and it is hailed as one of the most effective (and free) means of earning business, so I try to stay on top of my blog posts, but sometimes I push it to the back of the list of things to do and then, I find myself a little lost, because blogging makes me smile.

 11. Making

To me, 'Making' means that we are producing new things to sell and new documentation for clients...we 'make' a lot!

12. Word Talk

Sometimes, we debate (read argue) about what word is right on a document or how we should say something on a product. Words are important and conveying the right meaning with the right word is something we take very seriously. 

13. Travel

Our business requires 'Travel', so figuring out how to navigate our way is very important as we cross the globe for our clients. 

14. Coffee

Well, doesn't 'Coffee' always belong on every list!

15. Freedom

I know that entrepreneurship is exhausting and requires endless hours of time outside of the workday, but it is also incredibly freeing.

 16. Family Dinners

 'Family Dinners' are definitely part of our business...we talk about erudite ingenuity at the dinner table..we give kudos to anyone at the table with a new idea, we engage in debates (read argue) about the direction of products, but most of all, we rely on our family to keep us grounded.

 17. Money

I put money at the bottom of the list because even though it is vitally important for survival, we have discovered that placing too much importance on the pursuit of money leads us in the wrong direction.

 18. Flexibility

Flexibility is difficult to attain and even more difficult to remember to practice day in and day out...we are always looking for new ways to do things, faster, better, more reliably, you get the idea, but the single most important factor of flexibility is to not grip things too tightly, to understand that clients change, needs change and so we must change.  
At Erudite Ingenuity, our business might just mean busyness after all..I mean, we are certainly engaged in "purposeful activities". I can't help but wonder if Aristotle would like my list, perhaps he would adopt a few of these as virtues? Remember, virtue is only known by its acts. 🙂

Is Excellence An Act or a Habit…


"Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit."


The original quote is much longer, but sometimes I think it is helpful to break things down a bit. Can the word excellence really not denote an act, but actually be understood as a habit?  What does this mean?  The idea here is that by acting appropriately each and every day, we will achieve excellence. So, if excellence is ‘won’ by acting rightly again and again, then it follows that excellence is actually a habit, not one act, but a habit. 
 I can’t resist circling back to business here…in business; one stellar moral action does not create morality. In the same way, one great phone call with a client doesn’t mean that you have given the client excellent service, it only means that you had one great phone call and it should be followed by another and another and another.  
Repeated excellent phone calls, thereby creating a habit, will then make your service worthy of being called excellent. Even one charitable contribution does not make you a charitable human being, it simply means that you have committed one action that is good and repeated good actions may lead to an achievement of the virtue of being charitable. Do you see where we are going here? Excellence is only achieved if you choose the right action again and again, each and every time. Check back soon...We are going to stay on this topic!

Do Good Habits Really Lead to a Good Life?


"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” Aristotle


Personally, this is my favorite quote by Aristotle, I just love the emphasis on consistency.  Again and again, all that we read points to the notion that in order to be successful; one must stay the course, follow a routine, be consistent, etc. I hearken back to one of my original blogs, Aristotle had it right all along, no self-help books needed, the secret to the good life is to read philosophy! Seriously though, the secret achieving excellence in work and life is to do the right thing, make the right choice, again and again.  So, are you ready for this exploration, here we go!

“Moreover, we take the human function to be a certain kind of life, and take this life to be activity and actions of the soul that involve reason; hence the function of the excellent man is to do this well and finely.” Aristotle

Everyone is purporting the secrets to a good life, but I always shake my head and think, Aristotle had it right all along.  We give credit to self help books, entrepreneurs that made it big, celebrities that give back and all sorts of other folks along the way, but the real credit belongs to philosophers. Aristotle identified the idea that happiness is what we all seek at the onset of his examination of man. If we move from this premise that we all desire happiness for happiness sake alone, we are better able to ascertain how we should live.  If happiness is the goal, it should follow that all of our activities should be in the pursuit of happiness.  
Now, wait a minute, don’t run in the direction of hedonism believing that you are now living Aristotle’s definition of a good life, you are not. It is a bit more complicated than that…Aristotle believes that you must first define what it means to be happy, and a little hint here, it doesn’t mean that you should pursue pleasure at every turn. Happiness is defined as the "best good” according to Aristotle. So, what would make you happy may not make me happy, does that follow then?  Well, perhaps, but the real crux here is that if you pursue your life rightly, you will behave properly each and every day, thereby becoming consistent and excellent.  How did he make that leap? A minute ago we were talking about happiness and perhaps you were thinking that you should forego work and relax on the beach each day, not so, says Aristotle. You need to identify what makes us human, or more succinctly put, what is the function of being human? Aristotle believes it is "the activity of the soul in accord with reason or requiring reason.” Okay, back to our beginning quote, read it again and this time, think about each word in the quote, are you able to summarize the meaning? Aristotle wants us to understand that we are here for a purpose, that we all share the same goal, happiness…however the path to truly achieving happiness begins with an understanding of our function as humans.  He identifies reason as our uniquely human function, and to achieve excellence, we must learn to reason well. So, let’s go with this pursuit of knowledge and see where it leads.

How will we ever learn to reason well and what does this have to do with business anyways?

I like the exploration of what makes us uniquely human because it provides a framework for our behavior. If we learn to reason well, we will do well in our personal and professional pursuits. But achieving excellence, doesn’t that seem a bit daunting?  Aristotle understood that the pursuit of excellence was a lifelong activity and he put it eloquently when he stated, “For one swallow does not make a spring, nor does one day; nor, similarly, does one day or a short time make us blessed and happy.” (Nichomachean Ethics) 

The point is that it takes a complete life to measure one’s excellence and proper behavior must be exhibited again and again. So, back to business for a moment; if we behave virtuously again and again, what might happen in our business relationships?  How might this consistent application of virtuous behavior affect our professional associations?  What sort of a world would we be living in if reliance on receiving the most virtuous and excellent dealings in business is expected? A satisfactory and pleasant business life would surely ensue.  Aristotle purported that happiness requires an excellent pursuit of our function, namely reason, so it follows that happiness is derived from proper reasoning, which leads to the pursuit of excellence and by proxy, virtuous actions. We haven’t quite answered the leading question yet, it takes a while to dig through this philosophy stuff, stay with us!

5 Ways To Increase Contract Training Sales

Top 5 Ways To Increase Your Contract Training Revenue

1. Find Your Top 50

Strategic selling requires knowing your geographical area, so spend time researching the top 50 businesses that you should contact. Focusing on your top 50 helps to narrow your message and better understand your audience. For example, perhaps you are surrounded by manufacturing facilities...Well, then it might be a good idea to understand the deficiencies that exist in the manufacturing industry today in terms of employee skills. Use this information to customize a program that focuses on upskilling manufacturing employees. 

2. Make Phone Calls

Many people are afraid to make phone calls to potential clients or they have convinced themselves that phone calls are not a productive use of their time.  This isn’t true! Phone calls are a great way to connect with your prospects. Phone calls are personal and 

effective. Your approach and preparation prior to making phone calls is key to making this work. You need to have an idea of what you are going to say, you need to rehearse a bit before diving into a phone call blitz, and you need to smile.  That’s right, it has been said again and again, but people are able to tell if you mean what you say by your tone, so smile, and relax!

3. Being Part of a College Matters, Use The Advantage!

It is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day activities and forget that we are part of something bigger. Our college or university has prestige and knowledgeable people on campus, share this knowledge with your community. Send an email to all of the department chairs inquiring about who has published recently, check out their books and articles, and apply that newfound information to one of your programs. Sharing information is key to creating value. 

4. Campaign Strategically Via Email

You probably have a marketing department to help you with this step, but it is critical that you generate content ideas. Part of being able to get meetings with top businesses in your area relies on your knowledge of the trends in business...You need to know what is happening and you need to let area businesses know that your department can help with training needs.

5. Host Your Own Events

One great way to generate opportunity and create buzz around your department is by hosting your own event. Colleges are a hub for exceptional talent. Consider asking faculty and other subject matter experts to speak at your event. Many of these individuals have tremendous experience, knowledge of best practices, innovative ideas, and groundbreaking technologies regarding our marketplace. 

Want more information like this? Join Community Coaching, our subscription service that offers TWO live calls per month with a business development expert!

Community Coaching

Did you ever wish you could just ask someone which direction to take with your newest program launch? Or how you might be able to motivate your business development team to make sales calls? 

A subscription to Community Coaching provides you with two LIVE 1-hour phone calls per month and if you keep your subscription for 3 months, you will receive access to our newest class launching Summer 2019 for FREE! During the live calls, Brian will share his proven process to win new business. 

Many of our clients have said that just talking to Brian is energizing and inspirational. Now, you have the opportunity to chat with Brian in an open forum twice a month. Each call lasts one hour and together, with your colleagues across the globe, you will have the chance to brainstorm business development ideas and put plans into action to win new business.

Act today so you will be able to join our next call. Calls are scheduled the first and third Friday each month at 11 a.m. ET. 

Subscriptions will renew monthly after your first month's purchase, however you may cancel your subscription at any time with no penalty.

Build A Revenue Producing Contract Training Department

Want to learn How to Build a Revenue-Producing Contract Training Department? For the first time, we are offering an online course that offers a step-by-step process to get you on your way! We have experience working with over 90 different community colleges, helping them become revenue-producing entities. This course is specifically created for the continuing education market, we are not approaching sales from a corporate perspective, we are approaching sales with the foreknowledge of how Contract Training Departments work.

Brian Mallory Will Teach Your Business Development Team How To Increase Your Revenue In The Contract Training Department!

Check Out Brian's Video Below!

Why Companies Need to Offer Customized Training

Customization is the idea that learning is modified to meet the learner's style, perhaps even giving the learner the opportunity to change how content is presented. When we focus on offering a personalized journey for the learner, we take into consideration the individual learner's pace, perhaps even altering the offerings based on responses to activities. In the corporate environment, the intent is on identifying the areas that need improvement and pivoting the training to meet that identified need. 

Last year, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative jointly funded a 12 million dollar initiative to support new ways of tailoring classroom instruction in the K-12 environment. Since 2009, the Gates Foundation has given more than $300 million to support research and development of personalized learning. If the concept of personalized learning is expanded with the younger generation, the expectation will be that businesses will need to provide the same kind of nurturing to employees and clients as the workforce begins to accept recent graduates. 

So far, personalized learning has grown in popularity and sparked interest, but we have only just begun to see this trend in action. The idea of providing a learning path that integrates a person's interests, style of learning, responses to questions, and previously acquired knowledge is intriguing for the business learner. If we can create a learning journey that progressively builds on knowledge and keeps the learner's interests because we have personalized the curriculum to change based on interest, progress, or responses, then we are really nurturing and educating our employees and clients. 

Do you want that customized?

A couple of weeks ago, we wrote about our bespoke work with curriculum development and business development. We offer customization to meet your team's unique needs. We will continue to see this bespoke trend growing in 2019. We have noticed in our work with clients that learners respond the best when the training is created with not only the end in mind, but with a focus on what will engage the learner. We are not into the 'one size fits all' mentality because it isn't effective. 

Learners, especially Millennials and Gen Zs want companies to invest in training that is personalized and engaging. Both of these groups expect companies to care about the world at large and how we all fit into said world. Gen Zs focus on developing personal connections, so learning must take that into account. These digital natives are very used to stimulation coming from many different points all at once, so engagement is key to making an impact. 

The idea of developing curriculum that is customized begins by gaining an understanding of who is in the room and what do we want to achieve. Simply put, we develop using a backwards model of thinking, meaning that we review the knowledge we wish to convey and then step back and analyze the learners to determine how best to convey said knowledge. Customization comes into play when we gather data on the learners, play to their interests, create pathways that allow a learner to go in a different direction based on interests, but with the same end result in mind regardless of which pathway was chosen. If we develop using this criteria, we will have employees that feel supported in the workplace and are incentivized to improve and develop. 

Coming Soon...Pre-Order Today and SAVE!

What do we mean by bespoke?

The word bespoke has really become popular in the last few years and for good reason...We all want something specific, something just for us. So, what do we at EI mean by bespoke? Well, hearkening back to the definition of bespoke: "Make for a particular customer or user," we mean exactly that! And we mean it in all areas of our business...

Curriculum Development

Our curriculum developers specialize in taking your own unique ideas, content, and desires and turning it into stellar courses. We understand that you don't want generic training that won't resonate with your clients or staff. Our work focuses on what you want to convey, we are invested in the concept of the transfer of knowledge, so to that end, we sit down with your subject matter experts and glean as much information as possible to turn that knowledge into curriculum. 

Business Development

And the bespoke work doesn't stop there...Our business development team customizes our training and techniques to meet your team's unique needs. We teach your team how to uncover new business, market effectively, and provide excellent solutions, always keeping in mind the personalities and strengths of your team. 

We get to know how you think, so that our work responds to your needs. 

Find Your Tribe with Simon Sinek

"The modern-day tribe is the company." - Simon Sinek

Love Simon's message...We wrote about his TED Talk and one of his great books awhile ago on our blog, check it out here. Simon recently sat down on the Jordan Harbinger Show to discuss how the best companies are values-based. He believes that the best way to foster this idea is to be authentic at work and at home. At Erudite Ingenuity, we are big fans of discussing authenticity, think Brene BrownJames McCrae, and Barry Schwartz. I really liked when Simon discussed how a leader must take the risk to trust first...I think many good leaders do this naturally, but if we desire to become better leaders, it is a great message for intentional growth of our leadership skills.

Simon goes on to discuss, "Why we all deserve (just) a styrofoam cup." Take a listen to Jordan's show with Simon and discover what he means. Simon's message is all about finding your "why," which incidentally is the basis of much philosophical writing and something we love to blog about. We all desire to know our why and the only way to understand what motivates us, what makes us who we are, and how to live is by looking inward.

5 Ways to Define Your Audience For Continuing Education Departments

College Marketing

When we first got started in the marketing game, I was stumped by the audience conversation. It seemed so pointless to me, I mean, I felt like I knew our audience, so why did we need to spend time creating a persona of our ideal audience? Also, whenever we had a meeting to create our audience personas, I was unable to come up with a single descriptor, it was very frustrating. In an effort to save you from similar frustration, I would like to offer 5 ways to define your audience. 

1. Draw Your Persona

I know it sounds silly and I am not much of an artist, but drawing your persona is a great way to get this 'character' in your mind. Is your persona male or female? While you might be saying, "Well, that doesn't matter, our programs are great for either gender." While this may be true, when you are creating your marketing strategy, it is absolutely necessary for you to have one persona in mind. Does your persona favor jeans and a 't' 

shirt or business attire? Again, perhaps clothing choices seem unnecessary, but in order for you to have a person in mind, you need to have all of these questions answered. The details are what is important here. Give your persona a name and really start to recognize him/her in other people. If you are able to recognize your persona's attributes in other people, you will truly have a sense of your audience.

2. Family & Work Habits

Now that you have drawn your persona and have a strong sense of who he/she is, it is time for you to create a narrative as well. Try to describe your persona's family life and work habits. Ask yourself questions like what kind of family is my persona part of? Is my persona part of a family that values higher education? Does my persona desire a job that is very structured? Or, is my persona wanting a flexible workplace? You get the idea, you need to know how this person works and what his/her expectations might be regarding family life, workplace, and daily life habits.

3. Your Persona's Goals

This might seem really difficult to ascertain, just remember that this is an internal exercise and it is only to help your marketing department speak to the right audience. Understanding your persona's goals will help you position your programs and courses effectively. Let's say that your persona wants to achieve a higher salary in the manufacturing industry. Perhaps you have a leadership program that has been recognized by area businesses as a nice stepping stone to achieve a management position...If you are speaking to a persona that is in the manufacturing industry already, you might decide to position your marketing language to identify with that industry and discuss how leadership classes will improve his/her chances of moving up in the company.

4. Know the Obstacles

This step is a bit more difficult, but it is important to spend some time thinking about what is holding your persona back from moving forward with his/her education. Consider your persona's economic standing, buying decisions, and family obligations. For example, is your persona likely to be the first one in his/her family to pursue an education beyond high school? Does your persona have a fear surrounding advanced education? What sorts of things might incentivize your persona to pursue a program?

5. Where Does My Persona Hang Out?

Okay, we are on the last step...Let's brainstorm a bit about where your persona might hang out! Try to guess who might influence your persona? Do you think your persona would enjoy any specific podcasts or blogs? Make a list of all of the influencers in your persona's life. What kinds of books does your persona enjoy? What about online reading material?

At this point, you should have quite a bit of information written down regarding your persona's likes, dislikes, habits, and behavior. You should feel comfortable describing your persona and answering questions about whether or not your persona likes this or likes that! Remember that you are actually writing a story when creating a buyer persona. And if you approach this more like a creative writing exercise, I think you will find it much easier to complete. 

Coming Soon...Pre-Order Today and SAVE!

4 Philosophy Books You Should Read to Improve Your Work Life


Is philosophy the pathway to a better work life? At Erudite Ingenuity, we believe that it is important to explore topics that might seem esoteric or unfamiliar to help you see things from a different perspective. If you read only business books in your quest to get ahead at work, you will miss out! We are big proponents of studying philosophy to change our perspectives, encourage out-of-the-box thinking, and help us perform better at work. Philosophy really is all about living well and instead of heading to the self-help section, I implore everyone to instead peruse the philosophy section of your local bookstore and discover what the great thinkers had to say about living a good life. Grab these books off the shelf and discover what I mean...

The Art of Living is a collection of Epictetus' quotes and you will be amazed at how current his thoughts are in today's world. “We are not privy to the stories behind people’s actions, so we should be patient with others and suspend judgement of them, recognizing the limits of our understanding.” - Epictetus

This is a tough read, however there are so many golden nuggets in Aristotle's philosophy that I encourage you to plod your way through. Aristotle is a bit of a misogynist, so know that up front, forgive him, and focus on his beautiful thoughts on ethics and friendship. "My best friend is the man who in wishing me well wishes it for my own sake." - Aristotle

Plato's dialogue-style writing is a great read. “I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.” - Plato

Descartes' writing may not resonate with everyone, however I purport that his standard for knowledge is noteworthy. “To know what people really think, pay attention to what they do, rather than what they say.” - Descartes

Do You Lead With Compassion?

Ever since Chade-Meng Tan gave his TED Talk in 2010, compassion has become an important characteristic in the workplace. Are we comfortable discussing compassion? Webster defines compassion as "a sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it." I hope that exists in the workplace, but I am just not so sure. Maybe we have 'a sympathetic consciousness of other's distress,' probably because we can sympathize and in some cases, even empathize, with what people might be going through, but do our leaders and coworkers really have a desire to alleviate our distress? I think that some people recognize the importance of helping others alleviate distress, but how far are leaders willing to go?  Oh, I so want to delve into the question of whether or not it matters if our reasons are selfless when we offer help, but that will have to wait for another day! Are compassionate leaders encouraging their teams to care about the greater good? Chade-Meng Tan tells us in his TED Talk that caring about the greater good is a key ingredient in creating a compassionate workplace. Companies that put an emphasis on caring for communities and have a passion for the greater good are quite successful at creating a workplace where people show they care about one another. Autonomy is also cited as a necessary component in creating a compassionate atmosphere.  In my experience, autonomy requires a level of trust that some companies have difficulty affording to employees, but when companies let go of control and trust, people tend to flourish in their roles. Self-awareness and a focus on inner growth also plays a large role in creating a compassionate workplace. According to a recent article in the Harvard Business Review by Adam Robinson, a study of over 1000 business leaders found that leaders who led with compassion produced teams that were superior. "Teams led by compassionate leaders exhibited better intra-team collaboration, stronger commitment to the company, and far lower turnover rates than those led by less-compassionate leaders"(https://www.inc.com/adam-robinson/according-to-harvard-this-1-leadership-trait-separates-exceptional-leaders-from-rest.html). Take a listen to Chade-Meng Tan's TED Talk, he makes a compelling case for compassion and ends his talk with this wonderful quote! 

"If you want others happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion." - Dalai Lama

10 Unconventional Habits

I love quick tips about how to improve your life, don't you? I like this list because it seems so counterintuitive...Sleep More, Quit Being Nice, Play More Video Games, etc.  Did the author of this article consult with my 14 year old? It does bring up some interesting points and the overall sense is that we need to relax and spend more time just being, rather than the go, go, go lifestyle we are all so committed to these days. 

#9 "Quit trying so hard."

It is no surprise that exercise is on the list, but I had to smile when I read #8, 'Don't Trust Yourself.' It is something we don't often think about, but it is so true, we are the best liars to ourselves, aren't we?  I probably lie most to myself about my eating and exercise habits.  That portion was very small, so adding another dollop of whipped cream to my peach cobbler won't ruin my diet. I ran three days last week, so I only have to run once this week. You can probably relate, right? The last two made me laugh out loud, I definitely need to take myself less seriously, smile more, and laugh! Give this article a read


Great List of Habits for a More Productive Life

It is always a good reminder to practice daily habits, check out this article. I especially like to rise early, it is always refreshing how much more can be done when establishing a morning routine. I have struggled with following the Pareto Principle, it seems like each year I remind myself to once again focus my efforts on the aspects of my business that produce the greatest results. So, this month, I am asking myself which 20% of my efforts are producing the best results. Another habit that I would add to this list is developing an understanding that we learn by doing, so getting our content out there or producing a work product is more important than tweaking and tweaking and never actually producing anything.