Thursday, February 23, 2012

Seek Creative Solutions

Seek Creative Solutions
Seven Characteristics of Unstoppable People
Part 6 in a Seven-Part Series
Based on the book Unstoppable by Cynthia Kersey

In the movie Apollo Thirteen the three astronauts are forced to gather into the lunar landing craft for most of their journey back to earth once the mission was declared aborted.  Facing multiple crises, one of their more creative moments came when they were on the verge of putting back into their space craft more poisonous carbon dioxide than their current filtration system could handle.

The creative solution was that they had to fashion an air filter out of the available materials at hand, which included duct tape, the cover from a flight manual, plastic, a hose from a space suite and a few other odds and ends found within arm’s reach.

What they ended up creating was less than adorable.  It was crude and ugly, but it did the trick by filtered their expelled air and gave them a fighting chance to get back to earth safely. 

It’s called creative problem solving.  Most of us perform this every day of our lives in some form or fashion. 

Problems crop up out of the blue in the course of our everyday lives and often it is up to our abilities to perform the seemingly heroic and unusual that makes it a matter of life and death. 

Unstoppable people down through the ages have mastered the art of creative problem solving.  There are a hundred ways to find creative solutions.

Here are just a few ideas that have become favorites for many people.

Think outside the box:  Avoid the tried and true and find different ways of doing and saying the same thing.

Paint outside the lines:  It’s good to follow orders and well-established guidelines, but sometimes we have to go beyond the normal way of thinking and doing.  I love to create as I go sometimes, and I have had good success in this.

Go where no man has gone before:  Be an explorer.  Chart new territory.  Adventures can be fun.

Try the impossible:  It is only impossible because no one has ever done it before.  Want to be the first to break new ground?  Go for the new, the novel, and the untried.

Look at it up-side-down:  Sometimes all it takes is to look at a problem from a different perspective.  Try standing on the other side of the table.  Your game of chess will look entirely different to you from over there.  And you just might discover some moves you would never have considered otherwise.

Write it backwards:  Yet another way of looking at the problem.  It’s not going backwards to write it backwards.  It just might get you unstuck. 

Write down every possible combination:  Some call this “doing a mind dump”.  I love this method because I can get all of my ideas on paper which helps keep my mind free to chase other ideas.  Then comes the fun task of forming all sorts of connections, combinations and strings of ideas until the perfect ones come to the top and there you’ll find your solutions. 

I wish you much success in your pursuit of your creative solutions.  Remember what Steve Jobs once said? 

Now THAT is creative problem solving!

Next week our topic will be Perseverance - The stuff champions are made of. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Ask for Help

Ask for Help
Seven Characteristics of Unstoppable People
Part 5 in a Seven-Part Series
Based on the book Unstoppable by Cynthia Kersey

Lance Armstrong, seven-time winner of the Tour de France has made a huge impression on me.  In 1996 he was diagnosed with testicular cancer that had spread to his brain.  That would stop most normal people, but not Lance.

He sought the treatment and surgeries needed and in 1999 won his first of seven consecutive Tour de France races. 

Notice I said he “sought” help. 

In his bicycle racing career he was famous for Team Lance which included his own chef, other teammates with whom he coordinated their racing efforts, bicycle maintenance crews, spotters, and others who were all there for one purpose – to help Lance Armstrong win. 

He asked for help!

Betty Ford knew something about teamwork.  She once said – “You can make it, but it’s easier if you don’t have to do it alone.”

Sometimes you just have to say the words – “Will you help me?”

You will be amazed at the people who will step up to the plate on your behalf. 

My wife got her BS degree in Sociology in 2010, many years after raising her three grown kids.  Along the way she needed help with algebra.  She had to take it three times and finally was successful in passing it, but she had to ask for help.  Between our son-n-law Erich and some tutoring sessions at school she made the grade. 

She had to ask for help. 

I have a book idea that is burning on my mind, and I have formed a Beta test group to read select chapters and give me feedback.  I had to ask each person to be a part of that group. 

You might be amazed at the people you already know who are standing in the wings just waiting to help you with your plans and projects, yet they have never been asked. 


This message today is simple.  ASK!

The second part of this thought is to BUILD A SUPPORT TEAM. 
I have already mentioned that I have a Beta test group of individuals who have read select chapters of my book.  They all stand ready to read other chapters as I am ready.  They are my key support team on this project. 

When it comes time to publish my book, I have offers from three others who will help me make contact with the right agents and publishers to take me to the next step.  Their offer is simply, “when you are ready I’ll do what I can to get you in front of the right people.”

That is help of an amazing kind.  And you can have it too.  Just ask.

So now you have Step 5 in the Seven Characteristics of Unstoppable People.

Ask for help and build a support team.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Prepare for Challenges
Seven Characteristics of Unstoppable People
Part 4 in a Seven-Part Series
Based on the book Unstoppable by Cynthia Kersey

Life happens.  We plan, we prepare, we dream, we move in the direction of our goals, and BAM, along comes a challenge. 

Big or small, challenges happen. 

Our topic this week is preparing for challenges. 

How does one prepare for challenges?

Maury Wills, famous short stop and base stealer for the Brooklyn Dodgers, was not The Maury Wills in his early days.  He couldn’t hit, he was afraid of the curve ball and these challenges kept him in the minor leagues for over eight years. 

He realized that his dreams of playing in the big league were destined for failure unless he addressed his challenges and overcame them.  And that’s what he did.  He sought help from coaches, he put in extra practice time and he became a world-class player.  He faced his challenges and conquered them.

Wilma Rudolph was nothing but a wanna-be small black girl wearing braces in the late forties.  She saw other girls running and jumping and she longed to join them in these fun times.  Yet she wore heavy, cumbersome braces on her legs.

Against her Mother’s orders, she began taking her braces off around the house and learned to walk as best as she could.  Soon she was walking and running with ease.

In time she tried out for sports and was noticed for her quick speed in running Before long she was invited to train for the Tennessee Tiger Bells track team.  In 1956 she got her bid for the Summer Olympics.  Even though she won a bronze medal, she vowed that she would do better next time.

When the 1960 Olympics came along, Wilma found herself standing on the winner’s podium in Rome and received three gold medals.

She faced challenge after challenge and overcame them.

Wow!  What a concept - overcoming challenges.

Remember Apollo 13 and its mission to the moon?  That was one of the most problem-plagued space missions NASA has ever faced, yet they overcome every challenge and successfully brought home those three astronauts. 

How does one prepare for a challenge?

You analyze, you plan for contingencies, and you find ways around, over and through the mountains you face. 

And in the case of Apollo 13, you use the materials at hand to accomplish what needs to be accomplished.  You really do need to watch the movie again to see what I mean. 

I am experiencing this in my own life at the moment.  My medical reports are not as good as I desire.  My high blood pressure and high blood sugar numbers need to be brought under control.

I am determined to live a more quality life and for me this means several things

--First, I now make exercise a prominent part of my day. 
--Second, I monitor my numbers so that I know every day, morning and night where I am and where I need to be.
--Third, I am proactive in evaluating every bite of food that I consume. 

Is it working?  You better believe it is.  My goal is to be off all meds and lead a healthy and long life.  I want my blood sugar numbers below 100 and my blood pressure at 120/80, 

I have a challenge and I’m meeting it head on. 

What is your challenge?  What are you doing about it?

Challenges can be managed and overcome.

Go, meet your challenge.  Be an overcomer.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Believe In Yourself (Part III)

Believe in Yourself
Seven Characteristics of Unstoppable People
Part 3 in a Seven-Part Series
Based on the book Unstoppable by Cynthia Kersey

Earl Nightingale said it in his multi-million-selling recording.  The Bible promotes it.  Every well-known and novice speaker and writer who seeks to enrich people’s lives promotes this concept.

What is the concept you ask?

“As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”
“You become what you think about. “

And there are dozens and hundreds of other ways to say this. 

I’ve heard this concept perhaps ten-thousand times in my lifetime, yet for many years I rushed by it without much deeper thinking and contemplation on the subject. 

You see, I “thought” I believed in “me” yet there were some deeper issues residing inside of my mind that I had to come to grips with in order to set myself free and really allow this concept to sink down deep inside of me.

But it all comes back down to the question of “Do You Believe in You?”

During my growing up years I lived under a stern discipline-minded father.  His word was the law and I dared not step outside the boundaries he established. 

Along the way I allowed my own image of myself to diminish and be ground down.  Oh, I put on a good face for the world, yet I practiced a hollow philosophy of true heart-felt belief in myself.

One fine day along came a phrase that I grabbed onto and it has changed my life. 

The phrase?


For too many years I sought approval from family, co-workers, church members, and everyone else and never accepted me and my goodness and talent pool.  I always deferred to others and their will and way because I felt I had nothing much to contribute. 

The irony of this story is that in my professional life I had some pretty amazing measures of success along the way.  I performed well, people liked me, I could plan and organize events and productions with amazing skill apparently, yet there was this hollow and emptiness inside that I never addressed. 

When I read those four words – I APPROVE OF MYSELF – it was as if blinders fell from my eyes.  I saw with such clarity the damage I had been enduring at my own hand, or rather my inner voice, and from that day forward I have been walking upward and out of the mental hole I had created for myself. 

This is a bit painful for me to reveal in such detail, yet I feel it is such an important concept and I am certain others have struggled in the same way. 

Let me be quick to point out that I am not promoting a philosophy of haughtiness, self-sufficiency or trying to come across in a braggadocios way. 

I am simply relating something that happened deep inside of me and it was a freeing moment when I finally acknowledge that I approved of myself.

I always felt I was …
Too fat
Too bald
Too awkward
Too shy
Too noisy
Too impulsive
Too showy
Too obnoxious

I have a unique gait to my walking and often I’ve been made fun of for that.  Even though I would laugh it off with my friends, I internalized those jokes as something bad and not worthy of approval.

Do you see how these kinds of self—condemning thoughts can do a person in?

The day you begin to believe in your innate goodness is the day you take your first steps toward living a freer, more fulfilling and more sound life. 

Brian Tracy, speaker and writer is famous for saying “I like myself.  I really do like myself.”

That is good and wholesome. 

After all, you and I are unique individuals.  Never has this world seen an exact replica of us, nor will it ever see one after we are gone.  We are created with certain unique abilities and talents and our creator expects us to use all that is within us to design the best life of which we are capable. 

I don’t know if my mantra is the perfect one for you, but I do know that at some point in your life you must accept who you are, what you are and realize that you are all you need to be.  Sure, keep learning, keep reading, keep becoming better, but realize you are you.  You are made as you should be. 

It’s up to you to decide what you are going to do with you.

My advice? 

Believe in You. 

That is what unstoppable people do. 

Believe in you!

Only you can become the best you this world has ever seen.