Archive: June, 2019

Post from Transformation Tom™- Be Yourself—the Paradox: Chapter from “The Transformation of a Doubting Thomas”

Posted by tomdowd - June 24, 2019 - News
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Be Yourself paradox

Dress to impress. You are told you are constantly onstage and people
are constantly paying attention to you. Your manager is watching your
every move. Now, just try to be yourself. We panic and get uptight when
our boss’s boss asks for something. Thoughts go through our mind, such
as, “Will this be good enough for them?”, “I need to impress them,” and
“What do I need to do to get noticed?” When we have senior leaders visit
our building, everyone seems to panic. Messages go out to clean up the
work areas, and all of a sudden our business-casual dress code goes away
and the ties come back out. If the suits and ties aren’t on, there are at least
blue blazers everywhere.

I used to wonder if I didn’t get that last promotion because my shirt
was wrinkled that one time. I now can’t remember what I wore yesterday,
let alone keep track of everyone else. This isn’t about how you dress, it is
about how you present yourself…everyday. You shouldn’t put on an act
just because there are special guests. In fact, what message does that send
to people who work for you and work with you if you suddenly change?
There are higher ranked people out there, so what? The key is to find your
personality and be consistent with it. If you like to create a fun-looking
environment with decorations all around, why can’t your upper management see it? If you made the decision to put it up, why can’t it stay up? If you maintain a clean and safe environment all of the time, there shouldn’t be a panic the night before someone comes. I learned to rarely fret over my environment because I maintain it on a regular basis and attempt to teach everyone the importance of presenting themselves respectfully every day, anyway.

I had to learn to stop trying to impress everyone, all the time. I
wanted to take care of my manager, take care of my peers, and take care
of the people who worked for me. I wanted to be everywhere, all the
time, and give everyone what they wanted when they wanted it. I got
disappointed in myself if my boss requested changes or offered suggestions.
I took it personally because they were not impressed with my work.
I found I tensed up during presentations, used words that were not natural
to me, and tended to be over the top in making the effort to ensure
that I was noticed.

When we were in the midst of my former company being bought
out, I had a choice to work harder and impress more people, or just do
my job to the best of my ability. I was concerned about the unknown, but
had confidence in my own ability. I found that the stress of this transition
brought out personalities I had never seen before. I saw selfishness
in some people who wanted all of the glory, I saw people give up, and I
saw people who I thought had loyalty to the company turn their heads. It
was an interesting time for everyone. However, the ones who impressed
me the most were the ones who never changed along the way. I learned
a valuable lesson about the importance of being myself. What did I have
to worry about? I was comfortable in my own skin and my confidence
had been growing. I was always commended for my hard work, so what
needed to change? I had feedback given to me on how to improve, and
the only challenge I now had was how to implement the feedback and still
be myself. I began to understand how I could do that.

I can’t tell you how much more satisfied and content I was with
my job and the company when I let down my guard enough to be Tom
Dowd. I was not Tom Dowd the Banker, or Tom Dowd the Manager, or
Tom Dowd (place label here). I was starting to be more engaging and
had more personal conversations to get to know people. It wasn’t wasting
time like I had always thought in the past. I could carry a conversation
and I could also balance it with my business needs. I was relating to
people, because they were starting to relate to me.

I could attend my child’s play, concert, or game on my own terms
because I wanted to be there, because I was being myself, knowing that
the job would get done. I was building a stronger bond with the people I
worked for and worked with, because they knew exactly what they were
getting with me. I had the confidence to know what needed to be done
at work and when it had to be done. If there was a conflict, I used my
strong relationships to talk to my manager about it. I would instill in
them enough confidence to know the job would get done, whether it was
by delegating or working different hours. That’s not trying to impress,
that’s just getting your job done the right way.

I have never whipped my cell phone out to look busy in the hall, and
have never intentionally sent emails at all hours of the night to impress
someone. I have also never been accused of not getting my job done on
time and I am always cited as doing it with the utmost quality. There is a
balance to what I do now. I ensure that I am conscious of my work quality
from the beginning and I don’t have to panic at the last minute. Work
hard. Work smart. Success will take care of itself if you work in the right
company and for the right people. If you work in a place where you are
constantly on guard, ask yourself, “Is this the right culture for me? Can I
be myself?”

Thomas B. Dowd III’s books available in softcover, eBook, and audiobook (From Fear to Success only):

  • Now What? The Ultimate Graduation Gift for Professional Success
  • Time Management Manifesto: Expert Strategies to Create an Effective Work/Life Balance
  • Displacement Day: When My Job was Looking for a Job…A Reference Guide to Finding Work
  • The Transformation of a Doubting Thomas: Growing from a Cynic to a Professional in the Corporate World
  • From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide received the Gold Medal at the 2013 Axiom Business Book Awards in Business Reference
  • The Unofficial Guide to Fatherhood

See “Products” for details on www.transformationtom.com.  Book and eBook purchase options are also available on Amazon- Please click the link to be re-directed: Amazon.com

MP3 Downloads of “From Fear to Success:  A Practical Public-speaking Guide” are available at Apple iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, Emusic, Nokia, Xbox Music, Spotify, Omnifone, Google Music Store, Rdio, Muve Music, Bloom.fm, Slacker Radio, MediaNet, 7digital, 24-7, Rumblefish, and Shazam “From Fear to Success” MP3 on CD Baby

Post from Transformation Tom- Know the Whole Story: Chapter from “The Transformation of a Doubting Thomas”

Posted by tomdowd - June 17, 2019 - News
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know whole story

I have had far too many examples of instances when I allowed my emotions—such as frustration—to dictate my mood, my decisions, and my
interactions. There have been plenty of times when I needed to practice
one of Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and “seek first
to understand, then to be understood.” You can’t reinforce this enough
in both the workplace and at home. I thought I would share a personal
experience to illustrate how easy the concept is and how conscientious we
need to be to practice it.

I have a neighbor of over eighteen years with whom I rarely had any
issues. We are not close, but have a cordial relationship. He has been a
good and helpful neighbor. He does, however, have a dog that I have often
worried about when it was near my kids. Admittedly, the dog has never
barked loudly enough to scare me, charged after anyone or anything that
would have caused my angst. Instead, I didn’t like the look or the breed,
and simply had a bad feeling about it.

Late one night, the dog was out in his yard barking loudly. It was
atypical and was getting on my nerves. The barking and whining wouldn’t
stop and went on for many hours. I was tired and cranky, and I couldn’t
sleep. Yet, I didn’t do anything to check on it or fix the problem. It became
obvious that my neighbor was not home so in my eyes there was no one
to call; I guess it was just easier to stew over the situation and periodically
complain to my wife.

After hours of this barking, my wife couldn’t stand it any longer and
walked across the yard in the dark. The dog was tangled and stuck, and
was calling in its own special way for help. Although I had a predisposed
nasty and angry attitude about this dog before this event, it was only exasperated as the barking continued. My wife quickly understood the situation, untangled the dog, provided him water, and said he was the sweetest thing. We later found out that another neighbor was supposed to let him out and had forgotten.

I’m sure that there are more professional examples that I could share,
but the innocence of an animal made this example stand out. We need
to fully understand situations prior to judging and overreacting to them.
There are more sides to a story than just our own.

Thomas B. Dowd III’s books available in softcover, eBook, and audiobook (From Fear to Success only):

  • Now What? The Ultimate Graduation Gift for Professional Success
  • Time Management Manifesto: Expert Strategies to Create an Effective Work/Life Balance
  • Displacement Day: When My Job was Looking for a Job…A Reference Guide to Finding Work
  • The Transformation of a Doubting Thomas: Growing from a Cynic to a Professional in the Corporate World
  • From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide received the Gold Medal at the 2013 Axiom Business Book Awards in Business Reference
  • The Unofficial Guide to Fatherhood

See “Products” for details on www.transformationtom.com.  Book and eBook purchase options are also available on Amazon- Please click the link to be re-directed: Amazon.com

MP3 Downloads of “From Fear to Success:  A Practical Public-speaking Guide” are available at Apple iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, Emusic, Nokia, Xbox Music, Spotify, Omnifone, Google Music Store, Rdio, Muve Music, Bloom.fm, Slacker Radio, MediaNet, 7digital, 24-7, Rumblefish, and Shazam “From Fear to Success” MP3 on CD Baby

Post from Transformation Tom- Get Involved at Work, at School, or at Life and Find Out How Contagious It Is: Chapter from “The Transformation of a Doubting Thomas”

Posted by tomdowd - June 10, 2019 - News
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get involved

I have to admit that I participated in the obligatory walk-a-thons, bowl-a-
thons, and everything-else-a-thons because I was asked—or told in
some cases—to attend. I worked for a company that encouraged involvement in the community and helping others, almost to a fault. I felt forced, at times, to participate. Many times, I just went through the motions. I donated money to causes and donated my time based on whichever path
the company took me. My heart was not in it early in my career because,
selfishly, I did not see what was in it for me. I saw many smiling faces from
appreciative people and saw large amounts of money raised to help special
causes. However, I could not see, yet, what I got out of those events.

After I got married, I watched my incredible wife selflessly give up
her time and effort to help out children, neighbors, communities, and
schools. All were done unconditionally and with an admirable eagerness.
I, again selfishly, did not appreciate her efforts all the time and found
myself getting upset when she would invest significant amounts of her
time to a cause I did not truly understand. I had yet to identify with the
contagious nature of voluntarily getting involved. I mean getting involved
not because I was told I should, but because others needed the helping
hand and it was the right thing to do.

We have a company dedicated to helping developmentally challenged
individuals right across the street from my house. I slowly started
to understand the meaning of some of the smiles on my neighbors’ faces
when my wife spent a lot of her time helping to raise money for their
facilities. They, in turn, went through a daily ritual to feed my dog biscuits.
It was comical and hit a chord with me. My message here is to not
necessarily find the one cause and dedicate all of your time (although this
is a great option). The message is to find a place in your heart where the
unconditional aspects of your involvement come flooding out.

My first real taste of pure enjoyment in volunteering came when I was
asked to participate in a small town group of people interested in bringing
the sport of lacrosse to our community. I had played in high school
in Pennsylvania at a time when there were approximately twenty teams
playing in the entire state. My high school coach learned the game from
clinics and from a book he carried in his back pocket. He dedicated his
time to teaching us something we all grew to love. We weren’t very good,
but we became a team of great friends, learned about sportsmanship, and
were able to give a virtually unknown local sport a little attention.
The new volunteer group created a nonprofit organization, received
donated equipment, and held clinics for young kids. I had a blast for the
year of my involvement. When I taught the younger kids how to play, I
saw a look on their faces that showed me how excited they were to begin
something special. Less than five years later, the effort grew to a club team
at the high school level, prior to becoming a varsity program for boys and
girls. As my kids grew older, I started to assist with the youth soccer programs. The pure enjoyment of watching kids learn and play an organized event is unbelievably contagious.

On the work front, I previously noted that I joined Toastmasters
International to boost my own résumé. Part of my reasoning was the pull
to get more involved in newly developed groups at work. Toastmasters
was one of a few new clubs that came as an offshoot of a small group of
grassroots leaders from the company who felt we had to do more on site.
The goal of this grassroots group was to advance diversity and get more
people involved in things they believed in. I knew that I could lead the
new Toastmasters group after it had stalled for almost a year since originally being chartered.

The company encouraged Toastmaster’s participation, so I knew
it would be a positive step for me professionally. I was almost instantly
obsessed with the start-up Toastmasters operation. I was amazed at how
quickly people started to get caught up in the benefits of Toastmasters.
There were multiple people who were hesitant to even show up as guests,
let alone stand up in front of a group of people. Yet, when they did, their
mistakes turned into learning, which turned into greater confidence in
ability. I saw people who said over thirty “um’s” and “ah’s” in their first
four-minute speech, provide a perfectly organized and formulated seven-minute speech with proper grammar (and no filler words) less than three
months later.

Toastmasters challenged my abilities to effectively balance work,
family, and other obligations. I found, with smart planning, that I could
do them all effectively. My wife unconditionally supported every move
I made with the club. I started to emerge as a respected leader on the
work campus, and I found that my communication skills improved and
were getting noticed. I was getting something out of it, but that was no
longer my sole motivation to be there. I saw the value of teaching others
and watching them gain self-confidence. Because of Toastmasters, I even
wrote a speech about my first visit to the Maine State Special Olympics
that turned into befriending the company’s Special Olympic team and
becoming a committed volunteer.

Our Toastmasters club had an active military person who had presented
his manager with a prestigious national award. He was embarrassed
for himself and knew he could improve his presentation skills. He
joined our group and went after his personal goal to achieve his communication
certification with fervor and impatience. He had a lust to learn
and improve. He was called to active duty and brought his Toastmasters
manuals with him and still pursued his goals to get certified. He was the
third person in the club to achieve this certification. He achieved his own
personal goals, and I burst with pride watching the drive to accomplish
something that meant so much to him and his family.

I saw people in our club get involved in order to build up their leadership
and communication skills, and then became successful club officers.
The club grew from the original two people to a fairly consistent level of
twenty five members in less than eighteen months. Our club partnered
with other internal work groups to assist them with their communication
and leadership skills, and soon we found ourselves expanding beyond
our original vision. I joined for myself, and found myself staying for others.
It was contagious.

Thomas B. Dowd III’s books available in softcover, eBook, and audiobook (From Fear to Success only):

  • Now What? The Ultimate Graduation Gift for Professional Success
  • Time Management Manifesto: Expert Strategies to Create an Effective Work/Life Balance
  • Displacement Day: When My Job was Looking for a Job…A Reference Guide to Finding Work
  • The Transformation of a Doubting Thomas: Growing from a Cynic to a Professional in the Corporate World
  • From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide received the Gold Medal at the 2013 Axiom Business Book Awards in Business Reference
  • The Unofficial Guide to Fatherhood

See “Products” for details on www.transformationtom.com.  Book and eBook purchase options are also available on Amazon- Please click the link to be re-directed: Amazon.com

MP3 Downloads of “From Fear to Success:  A Practical Public-speaking Guide” are available at Apple iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, Emusic, Nokia, Xbox Music, Spotify, Omnifone, Google Music Store, Rdio, Muve Music, Bloom.fm, Slacker Radio, MediaNet, 7digital, 24-7, Rumblefish, and Shazam “From Fear to Success” MP3 on CD Baby

Post from Transformation Tom- Take Time for Yourself—You Deserve It: Chapter from “The Transformation of a Doubting Thomas”

Posted by tomdowd - June 3, 2019 - News
0

take time for yourself

We say we need to work hard, work smart, do more with less, and burn the midnight oil. It is physically and mentally not feasible to keep doing it over and over without some type of break. Remember when the idea was for all the new technology—such as mobile devices and the Internet—to make our jobs easier and allow us to spend more time with friends and family? It turns out that the new technology adds to our ability to constantly connect with work. Besides the fact that cell phones have somehow created a new breed of louder talkers in airports, it has also allowed work to creep into our personal lives and blur the line between personal and professional time.

We all want to do well, possibly advance, and get confirmation from our boss that we are doing well. Some people like to send emails with a late night timestamp to create the question, “What were you doing working at midnight?” However, burning the midnight oil will cause burn out.

Our jobs are important. So are family and friends. Don’t forget that. We all deserve a break from work. In the short term, do something for yourself, like walking away from the desk. Grab lunch, clear your head, and get a little breather. In the long term, take the vacation you have earned and enjoy it without checking in to the office. You should spend time with your friends and family to unwind. When I talk about unwinding,

I mean turning off all connections to the office. Believe it or not, the business will run without you. Although there is no such thing as eight to five anymore, you have to recharge. It is good for you and it is good for the business. If you have established the right relationship with your boss and set the right expectations for your team, you might even gain more respect as your team shows off what you have taught them.

You don’t want to say later in life, “I wish I didn’t miss that event with my kids.” I feel like I did early in my career. I have gone back and thought about the things I missed. I have had difficulty trying to remember why I wasn’t there. Was it a “critical” meeting? Most times, I can’t remember. When I do the opposite and remember the kid’s events I have attended, I can’t remember what I missed at work. It tells you something. The business will run without me, whether I truly believe it or not. In fact, if I do my job well, it should run smoothly without me. I have built up enough trust in the people doing the job in my absence. I will cover for them when they are out, and we both get the ability to recharge our batteries.

For those people who think they are the only ones who can do their job, most times they are wrong. Hoarding responsibility only creates stress for those depending on you and creates stress for you as the sole owner. When you leave for what you may call a vacation, it probably isn’t as relaxing as you want it to be. If you leave the impression that you not being in the office will leave huge holes if you can’t be contacted, you are creating a potentially harmful dependency. Creating this type of dependency is not good for anyone. You have to make a concerted effort to create independence for your sanity.

Give in to the fact that you work hard (and smart), and you will take the time to enjoy it. None of your family and friends needs to watch you continuously on your cell phone while you should be with them, and you are most likely not engaged in whatever is happening anyway. The point of time away from work is to enjoy yourself, the people around you, and to relax—you deserve it.

Thomas B. Dowd III’s books available in softcover, eBook, and audiobook (From Fear to Success only):

  • Now What? The Ultimate Graduation Gift for Professional Success
  • Time Management Manifesto: Expert Strategies to Create an Effective Work/Life Balance
  • Displacement Day: When My Job was Looking for a Job…A Reference Guide to Finding Work
  • The Transformation of a Doubting Thomas: Growing from a Cynic to a Professional in the Corporate World
  • From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide received the Gold Medal at the 2013 Axiom Business Book Awards in Business Reference
  • The Unofficial Guide to Fatherhood

See “Products” for details on www.transformationtom.com.  Book and eBook purchase options are also available on Amazon- Please click the link to be re-directed: Amazon.com

MP3 Downloads of “From Fear to Success:  A Practical Public-speaking Guide” are available at Apple iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, Emusic, Nokia, Xbox Music, Spotify, Omnifone, Google Music Store, Rdio, Muve Music, Bloom.fm, Slacker Radio, MediaNet, 7digital, 24-7, Rumblefish, and Shazam “From Fear to Success” MP3 on CD Baby