Archive for the 'Dealing with Failure' Category

Are Your Strengths Under Control?

Wednesday, January 31st, 2007

An excerpt from the book “IT AIN’T OKAY TO FAIL”
By Brian Strachan

I first learned of this particular concept of strengths and excesses in the context of annual performance appraisals. Periodic performance feedback, coupled with an annual performance appraisal, is an integral part of a well-run business. Honest appraisals which inform the employee of his or her development needs are critical to helping the employee improve. They also help the business improve because its employees are improving their performance. It’s a “win-win” proposition.

Unfortunately, not all appraisals are honest. The one for the outstanding employee is easy to conduct and is a pleasure. The one for the marginal employee can be difficult because the discussion can become argumentative and contentious. I have seen too many managers avoid the tough performance appraisal by simply deeming an employee’s performance to be satisfactory and avoiding any discussion of development needs.

This is unacceptable because it is unfair to the marginal employee. Sooner or later the true assessment will come to light and it will be a shock to the employee. Perhaps it will come in the form of a layoff notice. Perhaps it will come with a new manager who believes in giving honest performance assessments. Whatever the form, the day will come and it won’t be pretty.

I never understood why many managers don’t give honest appraisals. Again, the employee deserves honest feedback. If a manager can’t conduct an honest discussion, he should not accept a position as a manager.

In one particular staff discussion this subject was being discussed. The general manager stated that he expected his managers to conduct honest performance appraisals with their people. He further stated that there is no need for the discussions with marginal employees to be contentious if the discussion is in terms of strengths and excesses.

The theory he was discussing is that no one inherently has any weaknesses. We develop weaknesses when we carry strengths to an excess.

Self-confidence is a trait we admire, we strive to have, and we count as a strength. If we carry the strength of self-confidence to an excess, it becomes arrogance, and a weakness.

Consider one’s ability to trust others. This is a strength and one which you need to develop as you need to delegate more to others. If you carry trust to an excess it becomes gullibility.

Being strong and forceful are strengths.
Carry them to an excess and you become a bully. nike outlet store

Being cautious is a strength. Carry it an excess and you become indecisive.

Being cooperative is a strength. Carry it to an excess and you become a pushover.

Taking risks is a strength and a necessary ingredient to being an entrepreneur. If you carry risk-taking to an excess you can become reckless.

Having ambition is a strength. In this case I’m thinking of the person with the desire and ambition to get ahead. You’ve recognized that in some people and you admire their drive. However, I have seen some people carry their ambition to an excess. They become obsessed with getting ahead and start doing some pretty dumb things which have hurt their chances. They carried their strength right into a weakness.

Again, this was presented in the context of having performance discussions with marginal people in a positive manner.

Like many of the lessons I’ve learned I have thought about them long after and have extrapolated them beyond their original context. In this case I have tried to self-assess my weaknesses to see if they are indeed strengths carried to an excess. Not surprisingly, the theory fits the case.

I feel one of my strengths is the capacity to speak out when I don’t agree with something being said. In other words, I am not a “yes-person.” I think of this as a strength which adds value to the organization.

In my later years I came to the realization that this strength was of value to me if I utilized it in moderation. If I carry my outspokenness to an excess I become argumentative. I have learned to speak out more sparingly and with more caution. I will speak out when I think something is wrong or if I think something can be done in a better way. However, I don’t play devil’s advocate as much as I used to and I’ve learned to pick my fights.

I think it is a very healthy exercise for everyone to periodically make a list of his or her strengths. You should know yourself pretty well and should be able to easily list your strengths. Which of your characteristics make you proud? What do you do well and which characteristics contribute to your doing that well?

Once you have your list spend some time thinking about what those characteristics would become if they were carried to an excess. Then ask yourself, “is there any characteristic on the list that I might be carrying to an excess? Are any of these strengths becoming weaknesses?” If there are, you need to consider what you are going to do about them.

From time to time you must ask yourself, “are my strengths under control?”

Visit for more information about “IT AIN’T OKAY TO FAIL”

Top 10 Reasons for Failure

Tuesday, November 21st, 2006

Failure is never a bad thing. Its what you do after you failed that determines your success. Kano Ayala has put together a great list of ten common causes for failure and lists a few tips on avoiding or at least surviving them.

Here are some of the top reasons why people fail. Sometimes we have to look at that ugly side of ourselves before we can grow past it. You need to take an honest inventory of yourself. Why are you not successful? It does not take much to change any of these negatives into a positive. You just need to reach inside and take the necessary steps.

1. No Definition
There is little hope for the person with no idea of where they’re going. That’s like getting into a car and starting to drive with no destination. You need a destination so you can know what map to use. If you take nothing else from this article, I want you to take out 10 minutes right now and think about your life’s purpose. Seriously, get out a pad and pen and get to scribblin’. If you don’t know where you’re going, then you ain’t getting there.

2. No Drive
If the person is not wanting or willing, there is little can be done about that. You have to want it, more than anything. This usually relates to number one. If you have no aim, no reason for your existence, then you’ll probably have no ambition to get anywhere. So, if you’re stuck in neutral, you need to fire yourself up about something. Decide on your life purpose and set off that spark.

3. No Discipline
You have to be strong enough to truly ‘know thyself’ and still strong enough to forge ahead even when the obstacles are plenty. You have to get that fire burning inside so that it can generate enough power to make you disciplined. It takes discipline to not ignore my asking you for the third time to sit there and contemplate your life’s purpose. Be disciplined with yourself. Make yourself do it, now.

4. Procrastination
Hardest part is getting started. You have to listen to Nike when they say “Just Do It”. NOW! Strongly related to the previous reason. It takes discipline to not put things off. It’s the easiest thing in the world to say “I’ll do it tomorrow.” We all do it, for all kinds of reasons. We have to stop, though, if we want to be successful. Successful people get the job done, quickly and efficiently.

5. No Follow Through
While some have a hard time getting started, others just can’t seem to keep it going. They have a hard time keeping the fire burning. A lot of us have drawerfuls of marketable ideas that we just didn’t follow through on. The best things you can do to counteract are; a) keep your eyes on the prize and b) surround yourself with supportive people who will encourage you when things get tough. There is strength in numbers.

6. Negative Mindset
Should be closer to the top of the list. Some people are just stuck in a rut. Walking around with a dark cloud over their head. This is a tough one. They really have to focus on developing a reason to go forth. These folk, more than any, need to have a support group to help them if they’re ever going to break free of the quicksand they trudge around in.

7. Indecisiveness
Can’t make up their minds which way to go on anything. Or they might jump at one idea or another for fear of appearing indecisive. Thus not really making any real decisions. To be truly successful, you have to be able to make decisions, right or wrong. When you’re right, great, keep on trucking. But when you’re wrong, you have to be able to decide to change course.

8. Cautiousness
This could actually count as two, but they’re two sides of the same coin. One is over-cautious, afraid to take any risks and thus missing out on opportunities. The other is the crazy risk taker who takes too many chances and thus winds up falling too often. You have to be able to walk the fine line between the two. When scary opportunities come up, do your homework and check it out. Don’t be afraid to look into the lion’s den before you walk in.

9. Entourage
You surround yourself with people who bring out the worst in you. You marry the wrong person. You take on shady business partners. You won’t let go of relationships that need to be out of your life. Let them go. You can’t help them unless you break free. You have to be able to get somewhere before you can give your in-laws all that attention that they’re wanting.

10. Shadiness air max 90 You yourself are a shady, dishonest person. True, some people make money being shady, but they’re not really successful. They are failures of the worst kind. For you, all I can say is, repent. You’ve got to change your evil ways, baby. It’s the only way you’ll get the real blessings you crave for. Be a better person.

If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll find a couple of these to be true for you. Don’t just read…ACT! Start to work on these issues. I promise, if you take those first few steps there will be an avalanche of positive energy coming your way. You’ll be blessed with the strength to win and succeed. Hope this is useful to you. Would love any feedback you may want to give. Have a truly blessed day.

Kano Ayala, author of “Stop Now and Succeed!”, went from smug thug to hug bug through the power of positive thinking. He believes that all people are capable of remarkable transformation. His book is a great introduction to stopping the world and manifesting your true destiny: