Book Review: Hug Your Haters, By Jay Baer

My grandfather would have called Jay Baer “a gentleman, a scholar, and a judge of good whiskey.” In other words, the highest compliment he could give.

Jay is all of those things, and his latest scholarly work is his new book, “Hug Your Haters.”

I was not given a free review copy of this book (what’s up with that?); I purchased it with my own hard-earned dollars because I have been hugging haters for almost 18 years.

Haters come with the territory if you expose yourself by starting a business or promoting an idea. They will come in many different forms, both in-your-face, in person, and anonymously, online.

If you don’t have a strategy for dealing with them, you can find yourself distracted from your mission or worse, with a damaged reputation.

Hug Your Haters teaches you who complains, why they complain, and how to capitalize on those complaints. And the book is built on a solid foundation of data that Jay collected in collaboration with Edison Research.

Capitalize? On complaints?

Do tell…

The research showed that “answering complaints increases customer advocacy, across all customer service channels.

The book is packed with real-world case studies (refreshingly moving beyond Zappos and Nordstrom). You will be able to recognize your own “hater” situations, as well as some you may need to be prepared for down the road. It’s meant to be a reference book, and I already have highlighted numerous passages for my own future reference.

Below are two quick peeks into the strategies for dealing with offstage haters (private communication behind the scenes) and onstage haters (social media or public comments). You’ll just have to go buy the book to get the complete action plan (and I highly recommend it).

Dealing with OffStage Haters – H-O-U-R-S

  • Be Human
  • Use One Channel
  • Unify Your Data
  • and Resolve the Issue
  • with Speed

Hugging Onstage Haters – F-E-A-R-S

  • Find all Mentions
  • Display Empathy
  • Answer Publicly
  • Reply Only Once
  • Switch Channels

If you have a business, or if you are thinking of having a business, or if your job requires you to communicate directly with customers, you need to read Hug Your Haters.

You’ll thank me later.

And your customers might, too.

 

Author’s Bio: Rosemary O’Neill is an insightful spirit who works for Social Strata — makers of the Hoop.la community platform. Check out the Social Strata blog. You can find Rosemary on Google+ and on Twitter as @rhogroupee

 

7 Principles For Building Your Resiliency in Life and Business

By Zaheen Nanji

Resiliency means the ability to bounce back from misfortunes, challenges or setbacks. What does bounce back really mean? It’s not about forgetting all that happened and continuing in misery. Bouncing back is the ability to get unstuck from a problem by finding a solution and continuing to function. Bouncing back is the ability to feel the fear and do it anyway because you will come through with new learnings. In my research on resiliency, these seven principles are important to bouncing back.

1. Approach challenges with flexibility

When something doesn’t work, do you tend to give up after the first try and think you’ve failed? View a challenge like a chess game where you have to not only think ahead but come up with several different strategies. This demonstrates flexibility. Finding different methods to overcome a challenge keeps a person more in control of the situation. Having only one strategy is inadequate preparation.

2. Excellent communication skills

Think of a leader or manager whom you admire and notice how he or she interacts with you or with others at all levels in the company or when networking. You will notice that she’s listening to your words and your communication style and communicates back in your style. She’s looking for the underlying reason behind your communication so she can relate to you. Finally, she’s subconsciously picking up on your body language and tone of voice and mirrors it. These communication skills come naturally to resilient individuals because they want to create rapport with you.

3. Live life with positive attitude

When resilient individuals approach a difficult situation, they have an attitude of being curious, but a positive attitude also encompasses the following three traits:

Realistic Optimism – All the research on optimism says that people who are optimistic are happier, have great relationships and are good at problem solving. However, what makes a person happier? It’s when they maximize their strengths and accomplish what they want knowing there are risks involved.

Embrace Change – research has shown that change becomes easier when we have the resources we need or seek out the resources we lack. Most people hate change because they fear the unknown. If you seek out the resources that can help you, managing change becomes easier.

Sense of Humor – laughter is the best medicine and being able to laugh at life’s frustrations is a great way to bounce back and strategize your next move.

4. Have a mentor

When a resilient individual feels stuck and finds herself in a worrisome state, the first thing she’ll do is contact a mentor or pretend to be her mentor. Imagine you’re faced with an obstacle right now. Think of a mentor who’d be able to overcome that obstacle. Now pretend you are your mentor and step into your mentor. Ask, as your mentor, “What would I do to overcome this problem?” Make sure you are seeing life through his/her eyes and listening through his/her ears. You’ll notice that you’ll have solutions right away.

5. Turn a challenge into an advantage

When you focus on your failures, you dwell on the past and the problems you experienced, which in turn, drives the fear of failure even deeper. Resilient individuals don’t view failure as failure; instead they view it as learned outcomes. Why? They look for insights that can be used as great learning opportunities. They then use that learning to their advantage which leads to the creation of new possibilities and outcome.

6. Create an outcome mindset

Most of us get stuck in the “blame mindset” when we are faced with challenges. In this mindset, you may catch yourself saying things, such as:

• Why do I have this problem?

• How long will I have this problem?

• Whose fault is it that I have this problem?

When you use this type of questioning method, you’ll feel oppressed and you’ll lack choices. However, it’s possible to re-program yourself to an “outcome mindset” by asking alternative questions, such as:

• What do I want and when do I want it?

• When I get what I want, what else in my life will improve?

• What resources do I have available to help me with this challenge?

• Can I use these resources to the best of my ability or do I require extra help?

• What can I do now to improve this situation and get what I want?

Having an outcome mindset propels a person to start thinking of solutions right away.

7. Park negative emotions and live for fulfillment

Resilient individuals accept hardship and work through it instead of dwelling in negative emotions and thoughts. They have the ability to park these emotions by using positive language while simultaneously focusing on the current challenge and finding solutions. This principle of dominating their negative emotions allows them to shift their focus from feeling anxious to feeling hopeful.

Zaheen Nanji is a resilience champion and a business owner in Alberta, Canada.  Embracing change and fear is Zaheen’s trademark because she overcame her speech impediment, her struggles with weight and learned to live in a new country, at the age of 15, without her parents. Her book, The Resilience Reflex – 8 Keys to Transforming Barriers into Success in Life and Business, became an International Best-Seller on Amazon Kindle. Zaheen teaches people how to make resilience their first reflex using her 3-step system: Release, Re-program and Resolve. She can be reached at http://www.zaheennanji.com

Book Review: E.Q. Librium – Unleash the Power of Your Emotional Intelligence

cover of EQ Librium bookHave you ever had a colleague who was totally brilliant, but had no clue how to handle office politics?

Whenever humans are required to work together in an enclosed space, there is conflict. Those who can manage their emotions effectively become the leaders, and those who can’t, are always grumbling together in the break room.

E.Q. Librium, by Yvette Bethel, provides you with practical tools that can help you achieve balance through your emotions. The book offers a diverse array of case studies, stories, and examples that illustrate how emotional intelligence impacts every aspect of our lives.

The author draws on research as well as her own experiences over 20 years within a Fortune 500 company to offer guidance on how to improve one’s emotional intelligence. That’s the good news–while your IQ is pretty much determined at birth, your EQ can be lifted if you take the time to focus on it.

This book, along with the associated workbook, are no quick-read opinion pieces. You’ll want to take notes, read a chapter at a time, and put the ideas into action immediately. Be forewarned, though, you may catch yourself evaluating the emotional responses of others around you!

Value-Based Characteristics That Will Benefit You and Others

  • Integrity
  • Situational Ethics
  • Ownership
  • If you say you are going to do something, do it
  • Recognize biases
  • Demonstrate courage
  • Weigh as many sides as possible
  • Forgiveness
  • Communication
  • Responsiveness and resourcefulness

Ms. Bethel goes into detail for each of the above characteristics, providing a real-world case study and then research and explanation to go along with it. The chapter on resolving conflict is one I plan to refer back to in the future, as well.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who is interested in improving their relationships at work and at home. The principles outlined are applicable whether you’re a solo entrepreneur, a recent graduate, a small business owner, or CEO of a large company.

 

Featured image via Flickr CC: aboutmodafinil.com

Disclosure: I was provided a digital copy of the E.Q. Librium for review purposes. The opinions in this review are my own, unbiased reaction to the book.

Author’s Bio: Rosemary O’Neill is an insightful spirit who works for Social Strata — makers of the Hoop.la community platform. Check out the Social Strata blog. You can find Rosemary on Google+ and on Twitter as @rhogroupee

How to Promote Your Self-Published eBooks: Checklist

By Jessy Troy

When it comes to self-publishing an ebook, authors are afforded all kinds of freedoms that they’d never be able to achieve when releasing a book through a traditional publishing house, allowing them to retain all of their profits even as they take pride in the fact that the good job done was all theirs.

Unfortunately, they also lose the typical advertising team that comes hand-in-hand with a publishing house, forcing them to play marketer all on their own.

Luckily for all of you self-publishing ebook writers out there, the internet has made it possible to do just that, and to do it well, with social media leading the way in that regard.

I highly recommend that you first read this article: 5 Myths About Writing an E-Book, by Ovetta Sampson.

Here are six creative steps to promote your self-published eBook:

1. Set up a Separate Website

It’s easier to brand your eBook if you have a separate mini website for it. It will rank easier for the eBook name and will accumulate links and exposure naturally. Plus you can use branding colors, calls-to-action and logos to make sure people remember the eBook and will be more likely to convert next time they hear about it.

SiteGeek can help you find the cheapest hosting for it. Plus it has all those user reviews so you can make sure you are making a good choice.

And here are some essential basics for you to easily build a website.

It’s amazing that we can actually handle website development ourselves these days!

2. Be Informed

First things first: when it comes to social media marketing, like any other task, a bit of planning is in order; while you’re very likely familiar with major social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, have you ever really considered how to utilize them for business purposes?

Reading this article is a great start, but making the most out of what social media has to offer to you and your ebook means taking the time to do some serious research on each platform that you plan to tackle.

For example, tweeting your latest goings on simply isn’t the same as capturing an audience for a book in 140 characters or less, just as maintaining a personal Facebook account isn’t the same as leveraging a Facebook page to promote a product.

3. Be Informative

In order to get your campaign off on the right foot, start things off by tackling the big players in the niche. You’ll need to create thorough, in-depth, and always engaging social profiles that give your visitors – a fickle bunch, to be sure – a reason to stick around and learn more about who you are and what you have to offer them.

To achieve this, be sure to create fleshed out profiles that give visitors a good idea about who you are and, more importantly, why they should take an interest in your ebook.

4. Push Your Content Far and Wide

No matter what kind of content you find yourself adding to your social media streams, it is invariably true that the further it reaches, the more effective it is. With that in mind, it’s very important that you utilize all aspects of the social web in order to help your content grow wings and fly.

One excellent example of a social tool that can help you to achieve just that is Viral Content Buzz, a platform that brings together content creators in order to help each other to like and share content on the social web at large.

5. Engage Your Fans and Followers

One of the biggest tricks that needs to be utilized by any social marketer, especially one pushing a product as intimate and personal as an ebook, is to present yourself as a living, breathing human being to your followers.

The social web is full of content that looks as if it came straight from a spam bot and falling into that game, even inadvertently, is an easy way to turn off fans – and potential buyers – for good.

In order to stay approachable and engaging, be sure to always present your content additions as something deeper than simply trying to sell another copy of your ebook, and always make a point to engage one-on-one with fans and followers who take the time to ask questions and leave comments.

6. Stay on Top of Your Social Game

Even when the fans, followers, and sales start to roll in, be sure to stay on top of your social game, continuing to indulge your social enthusiasts by engaging them on a daily basis. This should continue to include the posting of content relevant to your ebook, one-on-one and group discussion, and teasers about your upcoming work.

More useful ebook marketing ideas:

Besides allowing you to continue to successfully push your existing work, these efforts will also help you to build a platform with which to generate interest in and sell future works!

Author’s Bio: Jessy Troy is a creative writer and editor at Social Media Sun. She Tweets as @JessyTroy.

Book Review: Content Code, by Mark W. Schaefer

I suppose it was Mark Schaefer’s responsibility to write this book after he set off the earthquake that was his original post about “content shock” last year. He terrified huge swathes of marketers who were happily cranking out useful, relevant content and hoping for the best. After all, what can a small business or entrepreneur do when they’re up against big brands with agency resources, editors, and video crews?

According to Mark’s newest book, The Content Code, the secret is that content marketing doesn’t end when you create the content. That’s only the beginning.

Content Code book, by Mark W. Schaefer

Mark is, at his heart, an excellent teacher, and that shines through in this very approachable book. Each chapter lays out one of the ways you can “ignite your content” and crack the code.

He explores concepts like how to differentiate your voice, get attention for your brand, and be the go-to resource for your customers.

He has actually lived through the experience of cultivating his own community and successful consulting business, so he is speaking from direct knowledge, not from hypothetical concepts.

Here are the six factors of the content code:

  • Brand development
  • Audience and influencers
  • Distribution, Advertising, Promotion, and SEO
  • Authority
  • “Shareability” embedded into each piece of content
  • Social proof and social signals

There are so many concrete ideas for you to implement, but here are a few great ones just to whet your appetite:

  • Get emotional. Find a way to weave inspiration, laughter, awe, or entertainment into your next blog post.
  • Don’t abandon your older content. That great thing you wrote two weeks ago is still relevant and engaging, and useful to your customers, right? Build in a mechanism where you can re-share older content down the road, and watch it get shared more! Go one step further and re-share content that accrues lots of shares the first time you post it.
  • Comment on new research or ideas. Many of your readers want to share your content because it makes them helpful to their own readers (double karma). Be the one who reads the whole trend report for your industry and makes incisive commentary first.

I strongly recommend this book for anyone involved in marketing, regardless of where they are in their career. There are tidbits in the Content Code for the new marketer as well as the seasoned veteran.

Get the book now, before your competitors do.

Author’s Bio: Rosemary O’Neill is an insightful spirit who works for Social Strata — makers of the Hoop.la community platform. Check out the Social Strata blog. You can find Rosemary on Google+ and on Twitter as @rhogroupee

Disclosure: I was provided with a digital copy of the book for review purposes.

Book Review: The Art of the Start 2.0, by Guy Kawasaki

Have you ever wished you could pick Guy Kawasaki’s brain?

Like, sit down with a pitcher of beer and just pepper him with questions until the pub closes or his head explodes?

This is your lucky day. Guy has done a “brain dump” in the form of an update to his 2004 book, The Art of the Start.

However, The Art of the Start 2.0 is not just a quickly busted-out update, it’s a complete overhaul. It covers everything you want to know about starting a new business, from idea to exit, written by someone who has literally been-there, done-that.

I would recommend it for anyone who is considering answering that little voice in their head, telling them to start something.

Art of the Start 2.0 book review

Guy Kawasaki was the first person I ever knew to hold the job title “Evangelist.” He has been on the giving and receiving end of pitches, and advised companies large and small. He’s seen the heights of the tech boom and the lows of the bubble burst.

He’s the person who will stand over your shoulder and remind you to spend more time on the product than on the furniture in your conference room.

The style of the book brings you right into Guy’s world. There are pithy stories, lessons-learned, exercises, and Q&A galore. It’s not the type of page-turner that you spend a weekend curled up with; it’s a manual that you dog-ear, highlight, and refer to over and over again.

Each chapter ends with recommended reading, so you can dive deeper into any subject as necessary.

“Customers don’t care if you want to destroy the competition. They want to know what benefits they derive from using your product. Also, evangelism is about what you do for your customers–not about what you want to become.” Guy Kawasaki

There is solid business advice in The Art of the Start 2.0, but by far my favorite bits were the hard-won little insider tips.

Remember to bring two thumb drives to your presentations, pick a company name with “verb potential,” and find your Morpheus (someone who will tell it like it is).

Some of the major topics covered include:

  • The Art of Starting Up
  • The Art of Launching
  • The Art of Leading
  • The Art of Bootstrapping
  • The Art of Fund-raising
  • The Art of Pitching
  • The Art of Building a Team
  • The Art of Evangelizing
  • The Art of Socializing
  • The Art of Rainmaking
  • The Art of Partnering
  • The Art of Enduring
  • The Art of Being a Mensch

In my own 20 years of business experience, I’ve been in many of the situations described in the book. It can be intimidating navigating conversations with potential investors, knowing when to hire more staff, and figuring out how to get the word out about your project.

With Guy’s advice in your arsenal, you’ll be ahead of the game.

Author’s Bio: Rosemary O’Neill is an insightful spirit who works for Social Strata — makers of the Hoop.la community platform. Check out the Social Strata blog. You can find Rosemary on Google+ and on Twitter as @rhogroupee

Disclosure: I was given a digital copy of the book for purposes of this review. My opinion is my own.

Book review: Joy, Inc., by Richard Sheridan

Corporate joy? Is that an oxymoron?

It doesn’t have to be, according to Richard Sheridan. His company, Menlo Innovations, is devoted to “ending human suffering in the world as it relates to technology™.”

Sheridan’s book, Joy, Inc., (which was originally released in 2013), is a fascinating look inside his team’s “joy factory.”

book cover Joy, Inc. by Richard Sheridan

The casual reader might be tempted to approach this book with some healthy skepticism. The title conjures up a mental image conjured of a bunch of forced-wacky Kool-Aid drinkers.

In reality, the book provides a detailed explanation of systems, methods, and daily processes that are intended to result in joy. Joy for the employees, for the clients, and for the lucky end-users of the software being created.

Learning and teaching are at the core of the Menlo system, where colleagues work in pairs and progress is quite visibly measured on the walls. Humans need to feel that they are making progress in order to be happy, and that need is systematized at Menlo.

Here are just some of the ways Sheridan and his crew build joy:

  • Avoid having “knowledge towers,” employees who are the sole repositories of certain information.
  • Eliminate bureaucracy, and unnecessary meetings wherever possible. Consider having a daily standup where only those with useful information to share speak.
  • Use what Sheridan calls “High-Speed Voice Technology.” Talk to each other, openly and frequently. Stop texting and emailing people who are in the same building. Build relationships, which build value.
  • One of the key elements of a joyful culture is having team members who trust one another enough to argue. Stop hiring people who all agree with each other.
  • Consider reverse show and tell. Rather than presenting your client with a progress report, ask the client to tell the team what is going on with the project.
  • Use physical artifacts for planning and task execution, so that everyone can immediately see progress and status.
  • Hire for joy and build that into the entire process. Look at the human, not the resume.
  • Whatever you’re making, build in the delight/joy for the end-user as well. Find a way to build links between your staff and whomever will be using the work product. Menlo has a special position called “high tech anthropologist,” which is the link between programmers and end-users.
  • Create an atmosphere free of fear. You can fail, you can experiment. Don’t get stuck on something just because you’ve already invested a lot of time in it.
  • Break important HR rules, etc., like having babies or dogs in the office, as long as it’s part of your authentic culture.
  • Share leadership, and be vulnerable. Share your vision and encourage new leaders.
  • Strive for clarity and discipline.
  • Incorporate flexibility as part of the culture, as much as possible. This makes it easier to start new initiatives.
  • Accountability is important, but only when everyone is accountable, top to bottom.
  • Employees need the “ability to go to work and get meaningful things done.” Values must be pervasive and visible in every aspect of the business, from the work space to contracts, to partner agreements.

Menlo is serious about transparency. The conclusion of the book punctures the idea that it is utopia. There are problems, as there always will be when humans are involved. The key difference is that here, problems are openly acknowledged and tackled as a team, not behind closed doors.

I’d strongly recommend this book to anyone who is considering building a business, and especially those who are already running a business. There are ideas galore, and even if you aren’t producing software, Sheridan challenges you to find the joy in your daily business.

Do you look at joy as a business value?

Disclosure: I was provided a digital review copy of this book. My opinion is from the heart.

Author’s Bio: Rosemary O’Neill is an insightful spirit who works for Social Strata — makers of the Hoop.la community platform. Check out the Social Strata blog. You can find Rosemary on Google+ and on Twitter as @rhogroupee

Book Review: The Mobile Commerce Revolution

The timing of this book couldn’t have been better.

Yes, we’ve been talking about “mobile” for a few years now, but recently Apple jumped into the fray for real, offering Apple Pay to its millions of iPhone users.

This is one of the first salvos in what will become a war for your credit card. (WalMart, CVS, and others have already fired back with their own system.) And let’s not ignore Taco Bell’s “all-in” approach, launching its own unique payment app.

The Mobile Commerce Revolution: Business Success in a Wireless World, by Tim Hayden and Tom Webster, is a deep-dive into the changing landscape of mobile business.

Mobile Commerce Revolution book cover

If you’re ready to pull together a coherent mobile strategy for your business, this book needs to be on your nightstand.

If you are scrunching your eyes together and just hoping this whole mobile thing will just go away, you need to stop reading this blog post and go one-click this book on Amazon.

The mobile revolution is well underway, and it’s not just academic. It’s affecting lives around the world:

“According to a documentary produced by Dr. Steven Shepard on some of Cisco’s efforts to bring mobile Internet to previously off-the-grid areas in Costa Rica, the results are dramatic indeed. According to Shepard, a recent study for the World Economic Forum indicated that an increase in a country’s mobile telephony penetration by 10% leads directly to a 2% increase in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), an increase in life expectancy of 15 months, and education for 600,000 children in that country.”

Be forewarned—this is no quick-read overview. You’ll want to highlight sections, dog-ear some pages, and come back to re-read certain chapters.

One of the most important observations of the book is that “mobile is a behavior, not a technology.”

Think about it. Businesses that want to reach you on your mobile device are really walking with you through your daily life. They’re coming to the restaurant, out on the soccer field sidelines, and (in some cases) into the bathroom with you. Therefore, when you design your own business mobile strategy, you absolutely must consider where, when, and how people are accessing your messages.

Mobilize Your Business: A Summary

  • Look at your online presence. Ensure that your website and your content truly address the needs of the mobile visitor. This goes beyond cramming your same site down into a tiny format.
  • Look at your payment systems. Remove any barriers or friction that make it more difficult for customers to give you their money, regardless of where they are.
  • Look at your message channels. Review your options for outbound messages. Will SMS work? What do your emails look like?
  • Look at your offline presence. Billboards, direct mail pieces, signage, and live events are all part of the mix. Inject some creativity into those traditional outlets.
  • Look at every department in your company. Your mobile strategy can’t begin and end in the marketing department. Reach out across the entire organization and bring in customer service, sales, and everyone else during the planning process.

The authors do an excellent job of describing the current state of affairs, where mobile is heading, and how to address it, including an excellent chapter called “Ten Steps to Mobilize Your Business.”

Bottom line: you’d better get on this now.

Disclosure – I had the great pleasure of attending the book launch party, and received a free copy of the book. However this review was not solicited, and my recommendation is straight from the heart. The link above is not an affiliate link.
Author’s Bio: Rosemary O’Neill is an insightful spirit who works for social strata — a top ten company to work for on the Internet . Check out the Social Strata blog. You can find Rosemary on Google+ and on Twitter as @rhogroupee

Book review: Smartcuts by Shane Snow

We all know people who seemed to have popped out of nowhere into a career, a gig, or an experience that they had no business doing.

How did they do it?

Smartcuts book cover

In Smartcuts, Shane Snow attempts to explain why and how some people figure out these “lateral jumps.”

The subtitle of the book is “How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success.”

It’s not accidental that it says “accelerate success,” rather than “achieve success.” If you picked up this book expecting a handbook on how to make your dreams come true, you’d be disappointed.

Snow chooses fast-paced stories to illustrate many different ways of “hacking” the system to make massive success happen faster. Typically, these methods make it look as though the person appeared out of nowhere, since they don’t come from an expected direction or path.

So if you’re already primed for success, how can you pour gasoline on your performance?

The author highlights 9 primary ways to accelerate success:

  • Hack the ladder
  • Train with a master
  • Get rapid feedback
  • Find a platform for your art
  • Watch and capitalize on patterns
  • Harness the power of a super-connector
  • Keep momentum going
  • Simplify your life
  • Dream big. 10X big.

Each concept is illustrated with fun, interwoven stories, making for a quick read. However, the ideas contained in the book will stick with you.

You know that old optical illusion image that looks like an urn, until they tell you that it contains two faces? This book gives you that same feeling, as you may have seen the “accelerators” at work before without recognizing them.

But the key takeaway is that you must be willing to challenge the conventional wisdom about how to become successful. Dare to say you want to go to Mars.

Have you read Smartcuts yet? Please share you thoughts in the comments!

Author’s Bio: Rosemary O’Neill is an insightful spirit who works for social strata — a top ten company to work for on the Internet . Check out the Social Strata blog. You can find Rosemary on Google+ and on Twitter as @rhogroupee

Whole health series for business owners: reading The Difference Maker, by John C. Maxwell

By Teresa Morrow

In his book, The Difference Maker, John C. Maxwell offers tips and tools for not only living differently but questioning our attitude toward life.

He challenges the reader to discover a new way to define ourselves in this world. He shares that “much of what we do every day comes from habitual behaviors. Over the course of time, we have developed a way of approaching life”. This book is described as “one-on-one coaching” from one of the nation’s top leadership experts, John C. Maxwell.
 
Here are just a few segments in the book that struck me (there are many):
 

Your Attitude is Your Responsibility

Maxwell is talking about taking responsibility for your attitude. He shares a story from the singer Roberta Flack and how her parents didn’t make it far in school. She continues to say that despite this, each of them was literate, spoke well, and their values were high. She says, “they drummed into our heads that the situation you live in doesn’t have to live in you.”

Teresa’s Tip: Don’t allow what happened to you in your past define who you are today. Those things in our past can be like a weight dragging us down; however, we have a CHOICE to let go of the weight.

Negative Breeds Negative and Positive Fuels Positive

Maxwell offers a simple but poignant idea. Negative thoughts leads to negative action. He says, “…negative thoughts lead to negative beliefs. Those beliefs become the basis of wrong decisions, which lead to wrong actions.” He goes on to state that it can be a vicious cycle. However, we can break the cycle by forming better thoughts and positive habits.

Teresa’s Tip: This is the basis of law of attraction– what you put out, you get back to you. It doesn’t mean you will never have a bad thought or not do something wrong. However, this can help you understand that you can change your thoughts and not allow them to linger on. You can turn around a bad thought or belief and make it a positive one.

Change; it’s a Part of Life

Maxwell shares tons of great information in this section on change. He offers this quote from Andy Warhol, “they always say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” – Andy Warhol
 
Maxwell adds five reasons people resist change: 1) People resist change because of personal loss 2) people resist change because of fear of the unknown 3) people resist change because the timing could be wrong 4) people resist change because is feels awkward 5) people resist change because of tradition.

Teresa’s Tip: He’s right about change—we don’t enjoy it. But what if we (and I include myself in here) don’t fear it but embrace it more. Let’s try and see change as an adventure to new possibilities. I’ve embraced change in my life (when I met the love of my life) and it was a great experience (we have been married for 10 years!) But I’ve also been resistant to change (recently my mom passed away and it is hard to live without her physically in my life). But one thing is true about change—it is going to be a part of our life whether we like it or not. It’s better to find a way to work with it instead of pushing against it.

Failure is an Opportunity

Near the end of the book, Maxwell shares his thoughts on failure. He offers this, “most people don’t need to learn more about how to overcome their rivals. They need to learn how to get out of their own way.”
 
He goes on to talk about how to profit from failure. He talks about an earlier book he wrote, titled, Failing Forward. The focus of that book was “that the difference between average people and achieving people is their perception of and response to failure.”
 

Teresa’s Tip: Hey, it’s going to happen–you and I are going to not succeed at something. But I like the last line of the above statement….”their perception of and response to failure.” Again you and I have a CHOICE in how we deal with what happens to us…including when we fail. We can have our time to react initially—be angry, be sad, be disappointed; however, we don’t have to dwell in the failure but use it to fuel us for the next stage of what is going on in our life.

 
In this book, The Difference Maker, the author John C. Maxwell challenges us with the question, “Is attitude everything or nothing?” What do you say?
 
To get your copy of The Difference Maker by John C Maxwell go to Amazon The Difference Maker: Making Your Attitude Your Greatest Asset (Affiliate link)
 

Author’s Bio: Teresa Morrow is an inspirational author, blogger, poet, and author of ‘Life Lessons from the Heart’ and ‘Healing from Broken Trust: A Journey of Transformation.’ Visit her website at http://TeresaMorrow.com.