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Make successful choices

At a conference some years ago, a speaker told the story of a traveler who was moving to a new town. The traveler saw an old man who lived there and asked, “Old man, what are the people who live here like?” The old man responded, “What were people like where you come from?” The traveler answered, “They were mean, nasty, negative and depressing. They couldn’t be trusted.” The old man said, “You will find people the same way here.”

A week later a second traveler came to the town and approached the old man with the question. “Sir, what are the people who live here like?” The old man responded, “What were people like were you come from?” The traveler answered, “They were friendly, kind, positive, happy and trustworthy.” The old man said, “You will find people the same way here.” What we see all depends on our attitude and how we look at others and the world.

Lynnda and I were in Kohler, Wis., with our daughter and her husband recently. We remarked at how friendly the people of Wisconsin were. The resort staff was happy, very friendly, helpful and easy to talk to. Maybe, they just hire happy people or train them on how to interact with the guests. We also saw the same friendliness at the airport, the Kohler Design Center and from the strangers we met while we were there.

Our perception of the staff at the Gaylord National Harbor in Washington where Select USA was held was very positive. Their staff, at least those we interacted with from housekeeping to the parking and dining people, were friendly and helpful. Lynnda has no problem smiling and striking up a conversation with a total stranger. I’m probably less likely to start a conversation with someone I don’t know but I will hold a door or elevator open for someone or smile at a total stranger and say “Good morning.” If the opportunity presents for a positive comment or an encouraging word, I’ll take it.

A long time ago I learned from the great author and speaker, Earl Nightingale that our attitude is reflected by those we interact with. People usually respond in kind. We can change the attitude of people around us or our situation for better or worse. Our attitude determines how we interact with others. It determines how they interact with us and ultimately the actions we take.

Last week we attended the National Speakers Association Influence 22 Conference. The opening session last Saturday was led by Nido Qubein, successful business leader, motivational speaker, author and President of High Point University since 2005. Nido said, “Everything starts with the fundamentals.” Just as in sports the fundamentals like passing, tackling and shooting are essential and don’t change. The fundamentals to success don’t change. Here are some of the fundamentals he shared with us:

* Who you spend time with is who you become.

* Your income is the average of the five people you spend the most time with. If you don’t like your income spend time with different people.

* What you choose is what you get. Choices are married to habits.

* How you change is how you succeed.

* Give with a loving heart without expecting to receive anything in return.

* Be kind to everyone.

To be successful in business or in our relationships we must work with people. This begins with our attitude. If we see people as generally mean, nasty, negative, stupid and dishonest those will probably be the people we attract. Because of their life experiences, people have different beliefs and attitudes. We live in a very polarized country. There are many issues that can divide us if we let them. In business and our personal lives we need to be able to work together to be successful, in spite of our differences. This is possible. Here are some ideas that may help you.

The National Speakers Association is a large diverse group of speaking professionals with different national origins, races, gender, religions, ages, political views, abilities and disabilities. They are able to work together and help each other because of common core values members agree to, like Intentional Language. Members communicate with intention, care and respect. Members agree to Uplift Humanity. People can disagree with others and still uplift them. Differences are embraced without bullying, abusive language or harassment. Inclusion is practiced. We can learn from diverse viewpoints by having civil, respectful discussions. Incredible events like last week’s conference are put on by volunteer members who work together on a common goal in spite of any differences they have.

Lynnda and I have been married for 47 years. We agree on our core values but don’t always agree on specific issues or situations. We choose to discuss rather than argue. We respect each other and never attack each other personally. We find compromises in most situations. Where we can’t find agreement, we agree to disagree. I’m big on exercise. Lynnda isn’t. We focus on what we have in common. Differences make our relationship stronger.

Diverse viewpoints are essential to business. As a business leader if everyone agrees with me all the time I have a problem because I know I’m not the brightest bulb. There are skills I do not possess and need assistance from others. We have a lot of problems in business and in the country that require a solution. Solutions require collaboration, honest discussions, variety of skills and especially diversity of thought. Organizations where people only share ideas they think the leader wants to hear are never as productive as they could be.

At Shale Crescent USA our attitude, collaboration and diversity of thought helps our prospects and is bringing industry and jobs to the region. It is also shortening supply chains improving profitability, eventually lowering cost to consumers and creating a cleaner planet. “What we choose is what we get.” We can choose our attitude. Choose wisely.

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Greg Kozera, gkozera@shalecrescentusa.com, is the director of marketing and sales for Shale Crescent USA. He is a professional engineer with a master’s in environmental engineering and over 40 years’ experience in the energy industry. Greg is a leadership expert, high school soccer coach, professional speaker, author of four books and numerous published articles.

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