Inspirational: Inspires others to be their best by setting the example.

The newly revised competencies of a TRP include five key qualities. Each of them describe important aspects of our highest ethical character. This month we’ll explore the quality of Inspirational. You can see all five qualities here.

Below is a picture of Rodney Smith Jr., the founder of Raising Men Lawn Care. If you haven’t heard Rodney’s story, click the image below to see the 2.5 minute YouTube video. He and his colleague have just cut this lady’s lawn. All three are residents of Huntsville, Alabama, home of Rodney’s business. That business is about giving young men a job that builds character: cutting grass for elderly neighbors, without charge.

raising-men

What do you see in this picture? Here are a few things we’ve picked out:

  • Rodney and his team view their own youthfulness as a responsibility. Because they are young and able, they can and will give back and serve older people.
  • People of diverse backgrounds can have meaningful, common connections.
  • His team mentors young men to stay “busy” with production and service.
  • When busy with the above, young men also learn to be focused.
  • They observed a PROBLEM with older people not being able to take care of their lawns.
  • They observed a PROBLEM with young people giving in to negative habits for a lack of positive opportunities.
  • They offered a solution to both problems that has an exponential impact. Not only does it solve the above two problems but it fosters hope and inspiration that can ripple out far beyond their neighborhood. On their facebook page, they end all of their posts with, “Making a difference in our community.”

Thanks Rodney and the folks at Raising Men Lawn Care for inspiring us to do our best by setting the example. To our readers… pass it on!

Enthusiasm!

mqdefaultSusan is fun to be around. She works for MEA (MidAtlantic Employers’ Association) near Philadelphia, PA. Last Fall, she got her TRP trainer certification and now she’s sharing what is powerful about TRP for their members in this youtube video. She’s enthusiastic! Watch her video and see if you don’t want to be in one of her classes after hearing her talk about TRP. It’s hard not to want to sign up for the class right away!

Enthusiasm is persuasive. It’s catchy. It lights a fire within. When I hear someone else talk about what they are interested in and they are enthusiastic, I become interested myself.

The quality of enthusiasm seems to naturally shift our perspective. It can take things from daunting to do-able, from boring to fun, and from hopeless to possible. It’s a trans-formative quality that boils down to a simple choice we make in how we look at any situation.

So if enthusiasm is this good, what could be better? More enthusiasm! Here’s a worksheet that is designed to reveal where I am strong and carry a can-do or enthusiastic attitude in life. It also reveals areas where I display less enthusiasm. Can I bring fresh perspective to those areas of life? Can I adopt a more enthusiastic attitude towards things that are perhaps boring, or challenging for me? What would be the benefit of doing so? Download a copy of the worksheet and see what insights can be gained from it.

An enthusiastic attitude is a choice. Some people seem to naturally be enthusiastic. They are fun to be around. Some display enthusiasm in out-going and verbal ways while others are more quiet in their display. One is not better than the other, and the point is not to become a high-energy extrovert. The point is to see where this quality may help me in my own life, and help me be of greater service to others.

Be Mine

Valentine’s Day is Sunday, February 14. This is a TRP reminder to let your loved ones know that you love them. Chocolates, Hallmark cards, sweet posts on their Facebook pages… all these certainly work. One of the best ways to say “I love you” though, is to listen. That’s right, listen.cup_hires

Listening is hard. In The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey writes, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Truly listening to someone else requires a deep focus on what he or she is really saying. We often hear what we think they are saying, or think what we will say next. To listen requires much more interest in THEM, and less interest in me.
Here’s a cool tool. This simple test rates our listening skills. You don’t need to register on the site to read your results. It only takes a few minutes, and the questions as well as the interpretation are thought provoking. The test will offer some practical tips to increase listening skills.
Listening to the ones we love is a heartfelt Valentines gift. The romantics can do it all year-round too. What if we listened not only to those we love, but to those with whom we disagree? What kind of world would we create? What kind of company culture would we create? What about family culture?
In a rare meeting of talents, Destin Sandlin talks about listening in his interview with the President. Destin is a 32 year-old rocket scientist who happens to run a YouTube channel with over 3.5 million subscribers called Smarter Every Day. Destin interviewed President Obama a few weeks ago as part of the innovative #YouTubeAsksObama project.
In this 8 minute video, Destin talks about what he learned from that experience. It contains snippets of the actual interview and how he decided on which questions to ask. Destin said,

“I could tell him how I think he should run the country, or I could accept the fact that he might see things differently than I do and try to have a meaningful, respectful, intelligent conversation.”

 

The resulting conversation was powerful. Powerful in the obvious effect it had on the President, and what impact it had on Destin, and now his viewers.
This Valentine’s day, have fun listening. Listen to those you love and to those with whom you disagree. It might just change the world.

The Man Who Found Solutions

Saturday night in Rochester, New York, the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ABVI) presented the annual Visionary Award. Each year and individual is chosen to receive the award. The person chosen is one who embodies the mission of ABVI: to prepare and empower people who are blind or visually impaired to be self sufficient and contribute to their families and communities.

This year’s award was presented to Jarret. Jarret became legally blind in his mid 40’s. He was an ordinary man. He had a good job and didn’t mind working hard. When vision problems prevented him from doing his job, he found a solution by focusing on the things he could do, and not the things he couldn’t. He worked with his employer and stepped back from his role as chief financial officer to take on a role of systems development, working with computers.

He loved riding a bicycle, so he adapted and learned to ride on the backseat of a tandem bicycle. With his son James, he rode that tandem from Seattle to Rochester in the summer of 2001.The next summer his daughter Mary rode with him from Maine to Rochester, completing the final 500 miles of that coast-to-coast trip.

Through learning to adapt and solve problems for himself, he found he had a passion for helping others do the same. He began volunteering with the organization that counseled him, the Rochester-based Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ABVI).

While advising the group financially for years, Jarret became a member of its board in 1994 and was chairman from 2000 to 2002.

This man Jarret, was my father. When my mother received the visionary award on his behalf this past Saturday night, nearly 300 people were gathered together for the ceremony. They gave her an immediate standing ovation. With grace and poise, she delivered an eloquent “thank you” speech to ABVI and those who support its’ mission. And to all those who honored and loved my father.

I give thanks today to my parents who have given my siblings and me a great example. And to my father Jarret who taught so many of us that no matter what obstacles we are presented with in life, when we look for one, there is always a solution.

Reversing the Flow Illustrated in Downton Abbey’s 2014 Premier

Fans of the PBS hit, Downton Abbey, were entertained by season four’s first episode this month. It seems that the series writers may have had some connection with the TRP® ideas as there were several references in the first episode of ideas similar to TRP®’s Reversing the Flow.

Those who have attended a TRP® training know page 20 of the workbook introduces Reversing the Flow as a process of channeling negative emotional energy into service for others. The result is transformative and helps change the negative feelings of fear, anger, grief, etc. into a positive expression.

During this first episode we find the characters grieving over the death of Matthew Crawley which occurred shortly after his marriage to Lady Mary, daughter of the Earl of Grantham, the head of the Abbey. In addition, Matthew was half owner of the Abbey. Matthew’s death occurred in the last scene of the last episode of season three.

The two people most impacted by Matthew’s death are his wife, Lady Mary (who also gave birth to their child after Matthew’s death) and Matthew’s mother, Isabel Crawley.

Season four begins with several scenes with both of these ladies seemingly paralyzed by their grief. Mary is angry and Isabel feeling useless.

Through the efforts of Mary’s brother-in-law who is involved in management of the Abbey and the head Butler, Mr. Carson, Lady Mary begins the process of reversing the flow of her attention away from her grief to paying attention to the operation of the Abbey.

An interesting exchange occurs between Mrs. Hughes, the head housekeeper of the Abbey, and Isabel Crawley, Matthew’s mother. Mrs. Crawley is grieving and feeling useless. Mrs. Hughes has discovered a homeless man (an old acquaintance of Mr. Carson) who is in need of assistance. She goes to Mrs. Crawley and asks her to take this man in saying he has potential. The dialogue between the two is instructive:

“To be honest, Mrs. Hughes, I don’t see that, it [the homeless man] is any of my business.”

“That’s something I never thought I’d hear you say, ma’am. A wretched man is in the workhouse and he reaches out to us for rescue.”

“He reached to Carson. I don’t see what you want me to do.”

“Mrs. Crawley, I wondered if I could bring him here.”

“Here?”

“If you and I would vouch for him to the authorities, I’m sure we could get him away from that place.”

“But why here? Why not the Abbey? Isn’t he Carson’s responsibility?”

“I’m sorry to say it but Mr. Carson has turned his back on his old pal.”

“I see. So, you want to risk Mr. Carson’s wrath by rescuing this Mr. Griggs.”

“He’s a pitiful being. But, he’s not beyond work. He’s not beyond a decent life if he could find it.”

“You see, in my present state I don’t believe I’m strong enough…”

“But, you are, ma’am. If you could just set aside your grief, and use that strength for another’s good.”

Shortly thereafter, the homeless man was broght into Mrs. Crawley’s home and was on his way to recovery.

Mrs. Hughes is right on. Let’s collect some more examples in our lives.

Feedback Can Unleash Creativity

Feedback usually consists of some form of praise or censure. Focusing solely on someone’s faults can have a negative effect: the recipient can become demoralized and develop an attitude of “Nothing I do is ever good enough”—even if the intent was to provide “constructive criticism.” This can result in a state of despair and decreased effort, since increased effort would seem futile.

Similarly, the recipient of high praise may become so prideful about his/her accomplishments, that further effort might seem unnecessary. He/she may become complacent by thinking “I’ve already arrived.” Note that future effort is thwarted in each case. Thus, TRP® seeks balance between these two types of feedback. We all need at times both correction and encouragement—mistakes should not be overlooked and good work should not go unrecognized.

In TRP®, mistakes and failures are seen as essential and ordinary parts of life; they create opportunities to learn and grow (they are O-FLAG’s—Opportunities for Learning and Growth). In fact, a large part of life is about learning from and correcting our mistakes; also, trying new things and failing, and then trying again. This indeed is how we learn competence in any field of endeavor or any area of life. Failures are necessary along the path to success—and we often learn more from failure than success.

Take for example this anecdote from the life of Thomas Edison: upon hearing from an assistant that 10,000 experiments had failed, Edison is reputed to have remarked, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” This is the TRP® attitude.

Excerpted from TRP Participant’s Workbook, page 109. (C) TRP Enterprises, Inc.

Now That’s Service

Inspired by a few frustrating experiences with hearing impaired passengers, this New York City bus driver decided to learn sign language.

Now that’s service! It is not expected that a bus driver would ask a passenger how his or her day is. Edwin Cora not only sees that simple greeting as part of his job, but he sees that he can raise it to another level of inclusion. One of his hearing impaired passengers said, “You can’t overestimate what these exchanges mean to a deaf rider.”

He is expressing the quality of empathy. It can be as simple as this example. Thanks, Edwin. Read An Introduction to Empathy in the TRP Participant’s Workbook, pages 51-54.
Read the full story on Edwin in the New York Daily News.

More on Reversing the Flow

(Excerpt from the TRP Participant Workbook, Appendix T)

Reversing the Flow is about consciously choosing to change our perspective from “me” to “we,” from negativity to joy, from taking to giving, from selfishness to selflessness—all expressed in service to others. Most of us would agree that we spend the bulk of our time thinking about ourselves—our personal growth, our salary, our reputation, our looks, our health, our happiness and so on. This self-focus limits our growth and effectiveness. Reversing the Flow greatly benefits our professional, personal, psychological and spiritual lives. Indeed, its benefits have been recognized throughout the ages and expressed in many ways.

HOW TO DO IT
Reversing the Flow requires the use of our minds and will power—
To move from selfishness to selflessness, from focusing on oneself to focusing on service.

  • To redirect our thoughts from personal agendas, desires and negative emotions to an out-flowing, service-oriented activity.
  • To constantly ask oneself—especially during times of emotional distress and strong desires—“How can I serve?” and then act on the answer.
  • To choose to express our inner “best” in service to others, even when we do not feel like it.
  • To substitute positive, character-based behavior for negative, self-centered behavior.
  • To consistently and persistently do all the above until it becomes a habitual and spontaneous expression of our inner goodness—our “natural” response.

The result of Reversing the Flow is like lifting a weight from our shoulders. When we shift attention from ourselves to others, it “lightens” and transforms us. If we are honest, we realize that most if not all our negative emotions result from too much self-focus; either not getting what we want or getting something we don’t want. It all has to do with us. But by reversing the flow outward, toward others, we discover the beauty of a transformed life. This is true no matter what we may be facing. Recall how Victor Frankl reversed the flow—even in a Nazi concentration camp, and made life more bearable by serving others.

Therefore, when we find ourselves in an emotional funk, or any difficult circumstance, we can simply choose to engage in an act of service; for example: help a neighbor with their lawn work; take food to a co-worker’s family during a time of sorrow; volunteer to clean the animal shelter at the local humane society; mentor a younger co-worker; arrive to work early to help finish a major project; or volunteer with hospice or another service organization.

Each of us has talents, gifts and strengths. When we use these in service to our workplaces, communities and families, we develop a clearer sense of life’s purpose and meaning. Moreover, as we serve without expectation of anything in return, we actually “want” to do a good job rather than “having” to do a good job. Doing a good job becomes a part of who we are rather than what we do. It becomes the outer expression of our inner character.

For example, we may view our work as an IT professional to be “aggravating,” “meaningless” or “trivial.” However, we can begin to see it as an important service to our co-workers, who need their computers to make their jobs easier and more productive. In this way, our enthusiasm and commitment to our work is strengthened.

An oft-cited example is that of the bagger lady at a grocery store who was bored with her job. But as she began to use her substantial people-skills to interact with and bring a little happiness to customers going through the line, she became much happier and more satisfied with her job. In other words, she used one of her strengths as a service to the customers and it transformed her work.

Other examples include the mother, who, after an unsettling discussion with her husband, resolved to cook her family the best Saturday lunch they had ever had. She reported that the moment she made this decision, her whole demeanor changed from irritation to joy.

The Myths of the Jack-O-Lantern

Last night my son and I had great fun carving a pumpkin. He asked why do we carve jack-o-lanterns, what does it mean? A fan of transparency, I told him I did not know. Thus we began to consider, what is this tradition about?

Google returns many prevailing myths about the origin of the modern day jack-o-lantern. While all of them have their persuasive elements, none are so compelling as the symbol we considered of the lighted candle within the carved pumpkin. We like it because it is the most TRP explanation, of course.

No smile is complete without the fire from within. Once the fire is lit, the smile is radiant. Whether the fire is the passion of the artist whose brush strokes add the color to life, the leader who inspires his followers, or the homemaker who creates harmony for a family – no smile is complete without that fire.

So, go set the world a-fire. So to speak. Happy Halloween!

Daniel and the TRP Team

What is the TRP Concept?

5 minutes with Carl

Carl was 35-years old, tall and muscular, a salesman on the fast track in a large company. His assertiveness and quick mind earned him a big salary and a reputation as a star performer—and reinforced his inherent impatience.

Carl heard that the company had started teaching classes on something called “TRP.” Always wanting to be on top of things, he decided to find out about it. One day he strode into the training department and learned that a man named Howard taught the TRP classes. Carl located and walked directly into Howard’s office.

Howard, a quiet man of slight build in his 60s, was writing at his desk.

“I’m Carl, from the sales department. I heard you teach a program called TRP. I have about five minutes between meetings and would like you to explain the concept to me.”

Howard looked up from his work and said, “How dare you barge in here with your pompous demands! Who do you think you are, anyway? Get out of my office!”

On hearing this, Carl’s jaw tightened and his neck veins bulged. His fists clenched and his eyes narrowed as he glared at the small man, thinking of what he might do to him.

Now Howard spoke in a quiet, friendly tone, “What you are experiencing at this moment, Carl, is called ‘victim mentality.’ It is part of the TRP concept.”

Carl’s quick mind kicked in. His body loosened; his eyes lit up with recognition and he broke into a broad smile. “You’ve taught me a valuable lesson, and one that I’ve needed to learn. I truly thank you.”

Then Howard leaned forward, as if to share a secret. “And what you are experiencing now, Carl, is called ‘TRP.’ It is the second part of the TRP concept. It means that each of us can learn to respond positively—no matter what the circumstance–and use it as an opportunity to learn and grow.”

***

With TRP we learn a new, powerful way to stay positive and effective in all situations. We learn, as Carl quickly grasped, that valuable lessons are sometimes disguised as surprising or unpleasant events. We learn to recognize and penetrate the disguises and capture the life-changing lessons.

***

Frank’s Test

Our long-time friend and colleague, Frank, describes how he used the TRP concepts.

“Several years ago I was a hospital administrator and occasionally worked with a certain surgeon. He was notorious for getting upset with people, especially those of lesser professional stature, yelling, screaming and being verbally abusive. In these encounters with him I sometimes became defensive or lashed back, or walked away sulking. Around the same time that this was happening I learned about TRP; how to recognize my own ‘victim mentality’ in these situations and how to respond positively instead.

“One morning the surgeon stormed into my office red-faced and began to yell louder than ever, just inches from my face. People in the hallway outside my office were shocked.

“For a moment I reacted in the old way. But I caught myself and shifted out of my victim mode. Then I could listen to his words, and see behind them, to the truth of what he was saying. He was asking for something for his patients, not for himself. And he was right—it was a situation that needed correction and I was the person in charge of that area.

“When he finally paused I said, ‘You are right. I apologize and will work with you so the situation does not happen again.’  He was shocked and walked out of my office. A few minutes later he returned and quietly said, ‘As you can see this really does upset me.’

“In the next few weeks we handled what was needed, by working together.

“Soon afterwards the surgeon was hired away by a prestigious hospital in another city, a real honor for him and a confirmation of his surgical skills.

“A year later he came to my office when visiting here. He asked if I had a moment to speak with him, and said, ‘Frank, I just want you to know how much I appreciate your listening to me and helping me. When I was here I was a real jerk—I know that, and I am not like that any more. I was under lots of pressure that I wasn’t handling well, so it was really helpful to have someone actually listen and try to assist me in resolving the patient problems and surgical issues I was working with.  It meant a lot to me and it helped me learn some important lessons.’”

***

Have you ever wished that, like Frank, you could stay effective in the middle of difficult situations?  Or deal with difficult people, or improve a relationship? Have you ever wanted to learn some “secret” that would make life clearer, happier and more fulfilling?