The Best of L2L Blogazine 2011-2012 (Top #1 and 2)

This week L2L is bringing you a recap of the Top 10 most popular blog posts over the last year. Enjoy Top #1 and 2!

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#2 | On Seeding and Weeding – A Way of Leading | by Hayley Tomazic

Seeding and Weeding

Growing your business is both an art and a science. It involves so many moving parts, changing conditions, and threats from all sides that it almost seems like a company is “an actual living organism.”

But rather than diving too deep into a super-complex living organism like a bumble bee to explain group and financial dynamics, let’s start off with broccoli.

On Leadership and Vegetables

The inspiration for this article comes from my humble vegetable garden, which has suffered quite the recession this year.  Located in St. Louis, MO, it saw nothing but high temperatures and very little rain.

However, my labor of love in gardening is finally starting to come back as the weather has cooled off,

And in the next few days or weeks, I should be eating fresh homegrown tomatoesarugulaswiss chard and more.

While I am definitely not one to give gardening advice (can anyone tell me what to do about the green bugs eating my broccoli?), I have noticed some basic gardening concepts that apply to the way I run my business and the way I live my life.

Rule #1: Plant Many Seeds

If you have ever tried to start a plant from seed, you know that planting one seed does not usually do the trick.  You must plant multiple seeds to increase your chance of getting a healthy seedling to grow.

In business, you should follow the same principle.

Thank You CardMy profession in Real Estate is not only a sales profession, but is about building long-lasting relationships.  I keep my referrals strong and my customer-base happy by planting seeds.  My seeds are small acts of kindness that take me little time and cost little money, but evoke a positive feeling from my clients.

A recent example is thank you cards I sent out to people that allowed me to feature them on my blog as part of a neighborhood feature.

When featured on my blog, people shared their favorite local spots with me and reasons they loved their neighborhood.  In turn for allowing me to share this with the world, I sent them a $10 gift certificate to one of their favorite local places.

The first person that received the gift immediately emailed me to thank me and said this:

“Thank you SO MUCH for the gift card! You DID NOT have to do that!!! I must start sending you more referrals!”

Leadership Lesson: Plant MANY seeds

When you do this, some will grow and some won’t. The lesson here is “The more you plant, the more successful you will be.”

For other terrific ideas on how to wow your customers and client base by going above and beyond, I highly recommend reading the “The Thank You Economy” by Gary Vaynerchuk.

Rule #2: Weed Early and Often

You know the feeling… Its been hot, or rainy, or you’ve been busy…. But whatever the reason may be, you and your lawn have been on a friendship break and now you are kicking yourself.

Weeds have taken your grass hostage and all you can think is, why didn’t I attend to this sooner?

Many problematic issues we have in business (and in life) start the same way: They start as a little weed that could easily be pulled out.  Many times, we don’t want to deal with the burgeoning issues in front of us in hopes that they will go way.

But alas, they find that if we had simply dealt with the issues sooner, and simply done the work to pull the weeds, that our lives would be much easier.

Now going back to Real Estate, I see this issue many times with homes that have suffered neglect:

  • What starts out as a small roof leak has now turned into a ceiling collapsestained carpetingmold issues and more.
  • What was once a home with a small repair is now a home that needs “We Buy Ugly Houses” to come to the rescue.

Its a simple principle, but easy to forget:

“Weed EARLY and OFTEN!”

Rule #3: Don’t Kill The Butterflies

I am still sad thinking about a particular situation of despair… 

American SwallowtailAfter a week-long trip, my husband and I returned to our vegetable garden to find our parsley plant completely eaten.  In its place were dozens of long black and yellow bugs that were pretty gross!

My husband didn’t want the bugs to spread on to other plants, so he immediately pulled the parsley plant out of the garden.

That night, I went to do some research on our little infestation only to find that the bugs were black swallowtail caterpillars that turn into beautiful black swallowtail butterflies.

I read countless stories of how people specifically plant parsley to attract the caterpillars to their garden.  If we had only known!

The moral of this story is this: Do some research and think before you act.  Many times, issues arise that we think may be a problem, but could really be a great opportunity.  All it takes is a little research and before you know it, you could be surrounded by butterflies.

How have you mistakenly jumped to conclusions thinking that your solutions are disguised as problems? How have you failed to take the quick actions to root out problems in their infancy as small weeds? How can you work to identify emerging problems as “weeds” so that you either eliminate them before they emerge or pull them early before they strangle your business? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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Never miss an issue of Linked 2 Leadership, subscribe today.
Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

——————-

Hayley Tomazic is a real estate agent with JF Meyer Realty in St. Louis, MO. 
She serves her clients with Beautiful Homes that Bring Them to Life
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Web | Blog

Image Source: pumpkinorange.co.nz, picsondvd.com.au, en.wikipedia.org

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#1 | 4 Secrets For A Strong Mind | by LaRae Quy

Mental toughness is an important characteristic in our heroes. The reality is, you and I must also be strong-minded if we are to overcome the obstacles we meet every day.

Jim Rockford was a hero who pushed the limits. He was mentally tough in order to do what he did, day after day. His exploits had a huge following in The Rockford Files, an American TV drama that followed the misadventures of an ex-con private investigator played by actor James Garner.

Heroes and tough guys on TV and in movies let us feel what it is like to have the mental toughness to break out of a seemingly boring existence, and enter into a much bigger world—one that is full of possibility.

Four Important Characteristics

What secret characteristics do heroes possess? They embody these elements:

  • Confidence
  • Persistence
  • Dedication
  • Control

Ok—so maybe the characteristics of a hero are not-so-secret after all. But how can you and I harness their power? How can we create the strong mind that is the trademark of those who live large in a world full of possibility?

Confidence

When I took the physical fitness (FIT) test at the FBI Academy, I was the bottom 1% that made the top 99% feel better about themselves. I failed miserably, so my challenge became twofold: maintaining confidence in myself, while training to pass the rigid FIT test. I worked with a coach at the Academy, who taught me the secret to building confidence.

“When you improve a little each day, eventually bigger things will come. Not tomorrow, not the next day, but eventually a big gain is made. Don’t worry about shortquick improvements. Seek out the small improvements, one day at a time. And when it happens—it lasts.”

The result? I passed the FIT test and worked as an FBI agent for twenty-four years.

TIP:

Confidence is a belief in yourself and your ability to meet your goals.

Persistence

Every day at the FBI Academy involved some kind of physical activity. As a trainee, I put in extra training for the FIT test. On top of that, as a class, we boxed each other, engaged in arrest scenarios, and ran around the basketball court holding 5 lb medicine balls. I was tireddepressed, and under pressure. Yet I knew that if I gave up, I would regret it the rest of my life. So I straightened my back and dug deeper. A strong mind is not built on something slapped together on a shallow foundation. It needs solid rock.

Like a skyscraper, the higher you want to go, the deeper you must go.

TIP:

Persistence is the tendency is to see life’s obstacles as challenges to be met, rather than as threats.

Dedication

In the deepest part of me I knew that I would make the FBI my career. It was not a stepping-stone to something better that might come along. I was a disciple of my own deep values and beliefs. I had the will to subjugate my feelings to those values. In his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey writes,

“If you are an effective manager of your self, your discipline comes from within.”

TIP:

Strong-minded people have a dedication that comes from a purpose in alignment with their deepest values.

Control

Push-ups were the most difficult aspect of the physical fitness test for me. After several of them failed to be counted, I began to “psyche myself out,” worrying whether I could do at all!

A strong mind shuts out feelings of fear and inadequacy, focused on reaching the goal.

TIP:

Control is having a certainty that you are able to shape your destiny and not passively accepting events as fate.

How do you approach difficult situations? What has been most helpful to you in developing a strong mind? How do you differentiate between being hard-headed and strong-minded? How can a strong mind help you help others through their daily journeys? How can it impact your leadership? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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Never miss an issue of Linked 2 Leadership, subscribe today.
Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

——————–

LaRae Quy is former FBI Agent and Founder at Your Best Adventure
She helps clients explore the unknown and discover the hidden truth in self & others
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Web | Blog

Edited by Mike Weppler

Image Sources: blogs.guardian.co.uk

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One response to “The Best of L2L Blogazine 2011-2012 (Top #1 and 2)

  1. Two great posts! Thanks for sharing the Top 10. I just recently followed so am enjoying these for the first time. Two points that really jumped out for me.

    1. Sowing seeds of kindness is an inexpensive, effective way to make someone’s day a little brighter, including your own.
    2. Weed early applies to pretty much every aspect of our lives. Avoiding difficult conversations at work and at home, putting off a decision just one more day, etc, etc.

    Like

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