Saturday, June 18, 2016

Remember Me By How I Handle Losing, Not By How I Handle Winning

Winning is great isn't it? When somebody wins something you can immediately sense the joy on their face. They love it. Who doesn't love to win and be praised for it? Athletes all over the world will be converging upon Rio for the Olympics to try to validate and create the payoff for all their years of work and dedication. They are coming to Rio to try to win gold medals and make their country and themselves proud. We love winners. There's nothing like watching the winner of an event stand on that podium with those big smiles and sense of accomplishment. However, the response to winning is easy if you really think about it. Its not hard to be happy when you win. Its fun! And people remember winners and measure their success based on their wins. Its just human nature. We love winners and the feeling behind winning. Its blissful, euphoric and as human beings we love to find reasons to celebrate. I totally get it!

On the other hand, when you lose anything its a terrible feeling. No one likes to lose. No one likes to feel rejected or inconsequential to others. When you lose people often cast you aside and forget about you. They certainly don't celebrate you. And how do people react when they lose? The feeling of losing not only elicits sadness, but sometimes it elicits feelings such as anger and denial. Winning just feels great! Losing in many ways is just more complex and challenging.

And that's why I want you to remember me by how I respond to losing versus how I respond to winning. The response to winning is easy. The response to losing is hard. Remember me by how I handle how hard circumstances and situations in my life. How you handle losing says so much about your character, values and attitude. Everyone loses something or someone in their life at some point. Everyone has to deal with hard situations in their life from time to time. Its how you handle the losing that makes you amazing. I truly believe that.

Remember me by how I handle losing, not by how I handle winning...

I remember in the early years of working at the club I run dealing with a very difficult situation. A consumer was greatly upset that we were enforcing rules related to club usage. Well, this consumer decided to berate my staff, but then he really came after me. He called me some of the worst things you can call a person. He threatened me and my job. It was really hard to sit there and hear those awful things he said to me. However, after he was done trying to tear me down verbally, I just told him I'm sorry he felt that way. We were just doing our job as a staff. He hung up the phone on me right after that. Now, I could have responded in several ways to that incident. However, my choice was to go to work and continue to do my job well and to be kind towards this person who greatly insulted me. After a few weeks of being genuinely kind to this person, he came up to me in the locker room and apologized for how he treated me. He gave me a hug and I accepted it. I truly believe that my actions during a difficult time where I felt like I was losing helped to turn around the situation. If I would have responded with anger and rage it would have escalated the situation and the outcome would not have been good for me.

Remember me by how I handle losing, not by how I handle winning...

One of my other big moments of losing was during the process of completing my doctorate. The whole process of earning a doctorate is grueling in my opinion, but it was made even more grueling by one thing in particular. I was nearing the end of my doctoral studies and I was ready to submit my dissertation to my committee. Unfortunately, my committee chair left the university during my studies and I had to change my committee. The new committee was filled with great people, but they saw a different pathway for my dissertation and wanted me to start over. Now, I had spent the last year writing this 100 plus page document and they wanted me to scrap it and begin with completely new research for my dissertation. That was hard to take and I knew that most people would say forget it, I'm not going to finish my doctorate. I can't start over. However, I knew that was not the right way to respond to a situation that felt like losing for sure. I refocused and picked myself up and created a research project that was even better than the one I did before.

Remember me by how I handle losing, not by how I handle winning...

What have you lost in your life? How have you handled it? I'm not perfect for sure. Those two circumstances I told you about were positive reactions I had to losing. When I was much younger I didn't handle losing the same way. However, getting older and gaining wisdom should help you see the bigger picture. It definitely has for me. And that bigger picture is that when you lose in life you have a tremendous opportunity to shape your legacy in a very positive way. Handling losing with class, dignity and a sense of determination to be get better will always lead you to a better outcome. I truly admire people who handle losing with grace, but also pick themselves up and burn with a fire to improve from that loss. There will always be obstacles in life. That's just living as my wife says to me all the time. Life is wonderful, but it can also have several moments of difficulty and loss. Definitely enjoy the good times, but make sure you come with your A game in how you handle losing.

Remember me by how I handle losing, not by how I handle winning...

Until next time...

Dr. D

Sunday, June 12, 2016

The Power of Positive Touch and Positive Words

My wife loves to watch NBC Nightly News. I'm not much of a news guy. While I know its important to pay attention to whats going on in the world, so much of the coverage is negative. Its hard for me to watch something where story after story is about crime, violence and people tearing each other down. However, my wife said to me that she loved NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt because they did a lot of positive and inspirational stories. I watch with her from time to time and she's right. Its definitely a more positive spin on the world. And I love that they always end with a positive note.

While I believe its important to be knowledgeable about even the negative things going on in the world, I believe its even more important to focus on what's going right. We should be focusing on places and things that make the world a better place. And most importantly we should be reaching constantly to understand and appreciate human beings who are doing good things consistently in our society. To often we focus our time and energy on negative people and stories about them. You rarely get huge interest in uplifting stories in main stream society. Feel good stories are largely outweighed by pop culture drama based crap.

Social media coverage has delved deep into the negative pool as well. For example, Twitter has become a tremendous opportunity for negative people to have a direct negative voice to anyone who is on there. Its just too easy to be negative these days and have that message spread across the world. However, it doesn't have to be like that. Because the same power behind negative words can be neutralized by the amazing power of positive words.

Now maybe you are reading this thinking...Darian, that's just wishful thinking to believe that positive words can overcome the negative influence of our news cycle and other things. And to that I say you may be right on a large scale, but you have the power to make a hugely positive difference on a small scale which could then be a big difference on a large scale.

Regularly I do my best to project a positive image and actions to my family, friends and staff. I believe that being in a leadership role in my environment gives me a great opportunity to be a light to others and to guide them towards a more positive way of living. And guess what, everyone reading this is a leader in some way in your own environment. If you have kids you are definitely the guiding example of what it means to be a positive human being in this world. YOU are one of the biggest reasons for your child's overall success. I always tell people...look at a person's parents and their friends and that will tell you quite a bit about why they act and live the way they do. YOU have the power to be a positive guiding light to others every single day.

And I promise you, if you spend more of your time being around positive people and doing positive things then you will grow a positive life. And the same can be said for negative things. If you spend time around negative people and do negative things then you will grow a negative life. Period. Whatever you do consistently...positive or will grow exactly that.

So, what's your choice? Will you go out today, tomorrow and beyond and choose good things regularly or bad things regularly? Ultimately, its up to you. No one else can live your life for you.

And here's my last thing. I have a challenge for my readers. If you don't do this already then give it a try. Have action to these two things everyday for at least one whole week. One, give everyone in your family at home a high five and hug every time you see them. After that tell them something good about them that will make them smile. You will have then provided the power of positive touch and positive words consistently to someone. Now, watch what happens to those people in your life that you pour positive touch and positive words into. Watch them blossom and grow in a beautiful light. Its truly amazing.

Thanks for reading my blog everyone. I am truly blessed and honored that many of you take the time to read my words. I'm giving you a high five and a hug virtually right now! Bask in the goodness of your day and be a light to others.

Until the next time...

Dr. D

Monday, May 9, 2016

The Line Between Connection and Disconnection

Working in a gym all day, you get to see so many human behaviors. Some good, some bad, some just neutral. I've noticed a particularly disturbing habit in the gym that I manage and I believe its indicative of a larger problem in our society. It started a few years back when people began using their smart phones to play music while working out. Now, its nothing new that people like to listen to personal music devices when they workout. I remember when that yellow Walkman came out. It was like a breath of fresh air for people who love to listen to music when they workout. As time advanced so did the technology. However, while technology has united us in many ways it has also disconnected us greatly as well.

Now, in the case the gym I'm in almost every day, and I'm sure is the case for many gyms, so many people are becoming stagnant participants or prisoners to the connection of their phones. Nine years ago a few people came to our gym with ipods and just played music while they worked out. About five years in people were discarding their ipods for smartphones which would allow you to not only play music but operate other functions on your phone. Currently, I'm seeing people just spend time on their phones checking emails, texting and more while they mindlessly walk on the treadmill/elliptical, etc. I see people doing resistance training and then taking sometimes 10-20 minute breaks to mess with their phone, shoot videos, call colleagues and more. As a life long exerciser and student of both the art and science of fitness, this just rubs me the wrong way.

Shouldn't exercise be about disconnecting from the everyday calls, texts, emails and more that you are in constant connection with? However, equipment manufacturers and other technology innovators are asking us to connect more and more to our devices. They tell us that its supposed to make us closer to those around us, but I've actually seen the opposite. Human beings need time to dive inward and be away from the noise of life. Exercise has always been a great vehicle to consistently do that. However, we are pushing further and further away from that.

Now, I'm not here to say that technology is bad. Don't get me wrong...I enjoy the convenience and ease that technology has provided in my life. However, I know when its time to put it away so that I can focus on what's important. I purposely leave my phone at home when I'm out with my family, I never check any messages or mess with my phone when I'm working out and so on and so forth. There's a time and a place for using the wonderful technology of smartphones in our world. The true power in wielding the technology is when you understand when to let it go. And really, that's a great lesson in life. Connection is critical for human beings in life, but so is knowing when to disconnect.

Until next time...

Dr. D

Friday, March 18, 2016

Death by SOP's

If you knew me in college then you new that I had this legendary process that I would complete at the beginning of every academic semester. As a collegiate athlete I knew that my time was very precious. I certainly did not have enough hours in the day to complete everything that was being thrown my way. So, I figured that when I received the syllabus from each class that I was taking that I would complete all of the reports/papers/projects that were listed in the syllabus for each class. That meant I would hunker down for exactly two weeks in the beginning of each semester and knock out all of the work for each class. I would then neatly put each item in each folder I had for each class. When the assignment was due, all I had to do was take out the appropriate one and hand it in. I know, I know...this must sound crazy. However, it worked for me. I was able to achieve high marks while also limiting the stress I had during the semester. It was awesome to be able to go to track practice and not worry about staying up late to do assignments each night. 

However, the other side of this process I developed was that I didn't necessarily retain a lot of the information in my undergraduate studies. As I progressed to graduate school I backed off of this practice because it was really killing the joy I had in the process of building something and taking my time in doing it. Additionally, when I was doing everything by the "T" and focusing so much on the end result, I didn't allow myself time to work on projects with classmates and develop those special bonds with people on that level. I was just a machine pumping out the product without any emotion. That's why I had to change. I was missing out on the real process of growing relationships in the collegiate school environment. 

After I graduated from my doctoral program at UNLV, I entered the public workforce in a full time capacity. It was then that I really understood the value of developing culture versus developing end result reports and procedural documents. Everyday I was faced with spending more time in the vocational academic environment on either procedural/academic documents or spending time with my students. 

While I certainly completed the formal documents that were required of me, I felt the need to turn them in later (yet still on time) versus earlier. I wanted to spend the majority of my time blossoming meaningful personal relationships with co-workers and creating strong social/emotional rapport with students. This resulted in my "aha" moment which was that people matter more than reports. I learned that the discussions you have over a beer with a colleague are way more important than the droll attendance of meetings in boardrooms and classrooms with my superiors. Now, again...I attended the meetings and fulfilled the requirements, but it never satisfied me. 

Fast forward again and now I'm the General Manager of Club Ridges, which is still my current job
with WTS International. In June I will be celebrating my ninth year with the company. Did you know that before WTS I didn't stay in a job longer than a year and a half? You know why? It is much like Richard Branson says in his amazing book, "The Virgin Way." He says that just because someone has jumped jobs several times doesn't mean they can't keep a job. He says maybe its because those jobs couldn't keep them. This was the case for me. Every job I had before WTS never invested into my growth as a human being. I was just another worker and that didn't work for me. 

At WTS and in particular at Club Ridges, I have been able to as the GM, cultivate a people first mentality. That mentality has grown into one of the most unique, fun and successful work environments in the country. I truly believe that. We don't focus on doing things by the book and we surely don't focus on sitting in an office writing reports and SOP's over and over again. Now don't get me wrong. I believe SOP's are valuable and the need to be done, but I'm not going to spend a ton of time investing into writing an SOP for everything I do. 

Someone once asked me to write an SOP for our culture at Club Ridges. They wanted me to write this SOP as a way to standardize how we did things. My response was I'm not doing it unless you want me to write out some script that says when you walk into the club you will get a hug and get the hard high five. The person on the other end of the phone laughed when I said that. The point is that you can't bottle or operationalize love, camaraderie, partying and sincere passion for the people and the consumers we work with. Its something you can't grasp or write down and have someone follow. You just have to experience it, feel it, touch it and take it in. When you devote the majority of your time in any business towards lifting up the people in that business then you will receive a result that is greater than you could have ever imagined. 

And I'm not alone in this approach. More and more of today's workforce, especially millennials, are not standing for the old school work environment where the boss is in the Ivory Tower sending out memos about procedure and where you just clock in and clock out. They don't want and I don't want meetings upon meetings that lead to no where. They and I want to experience work in its full and vibrant color. That's why I will continue to lead the charge much like powerful heads of innovative companies like Richard Branson (Virgin Companies) and Larry Page (Google). Its the future, but really its beginning to be the now. Don't be beaten to death by SOP's, memos and the such. While they have a place, its much better to focus on being front and center with your team and growing a beautiful flower of positive flow in the workplace. I say this all the time to anyone who will hear makes money. Believe it!

Until next time...

Dr. D

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Positive Disruptions

Traditions are wonderful elements of life. As human beings we spend a lot of time developing, cultivating and maintaining a variety of long standing traditions. Many of those traditions are related to holidays or family gatherings. Traditions such as Thanksgiving originated hundreds of years ago and continue to have significant relevance to the lives of millions of people. Traditions bind people together under a common cause often associated with goodness and kindness. I'm all for traditions because they deepen the relationships between people. 

However, sometimes traditions do get people in the mindset of being stagnate. They can sometimes cause people to feel obligations to things that are outdated or forced. That's why I love the concept of positive disruptions. What is this? Well, its really a counter culture approach to tradition in that you are looking for ways to expand or think outside the box to create something new. Often when someone tries to create a positive disruption people see it as a negative thing. I never look at it that way. Progress towards something positive, new and widespread usually begins with dissension and skepticism. That is until the implementation of the idea reaches a critical point where the majority of people tag along and make it mainstream. 

A great example of companies setting the trend towards critical mass in positive disruption are Southwest Airlines, Google and Zappos. These companies have deliberately created a positive disruption in work culture. These companies focus on employee centered businesses. The goal is to create a better work environment for employees so that they will create a better feeling and vibe for the consumer. These places provide the comforts of home at work and encourage play at work. This is very different from the customer is always right culture that many people grow up with. This positive disruption is gaining tremendous traction with more and more companies. In fact, these companies have heavily influenced how I run the fitness facility I manage here in Las Vegas. I place the majority of my focus on empowering, uplifting, educating and loving my staff. 

An example of the infancy of positive disruption is solar energy. The positive idea of using renewable energy from the sun has been met with so much negative commentary and actions from traditional energy companies. Why the negativity? More than likely its because it challenges their established monetary gain and ideals about fossil fuel. I get it. Its hard to change when you have created something that people have used for generations that funds your life as well. Change is difficult, but companies like Solar City are starting the fire of positive disruption and making it plausible for everyday families to do something that is a better option for the planet and for people. Change is messy sometimes, but in the end...what if that positive disruption has the ability to truly change how we function and live in a society in a positive way? I want to be a part of that. 

In the end, positive disruption has always been a part of our DNA as human beings. It has been the driving force behind leaps in our progress in society. Someone or a group of people have always decided to question "they" and think outside the limitations that people often put on each other. Those innovators have changed how we view and function in our lives for the better. You have the ability to positively disrupt your life on a daily, weekly and yearly basis. 

While traditions are amazing and help bind us as humans, task yourself in 2016 to shake up those traditions with a positive disruption that will ultimately enhance it and turn it into something even more beautiful. It's what we do as human beings. We climb mountains, run races, search for new planets, make new gadgets and so on and so forth. Make your mark.

Until next time...

Dr. D