Category Archives: Tracey C. Jones

The Science of Success

By Tracey C. Jones

Tracey C. Jones

For many, success is an elusive goal. They feel powerless and resort to blaming their circumstances for the condition of their lives. But success is more scientific than you think. It follows the same universal laws found in natural science. When you look at it this way, you can take concrete steps to ensure you practice the science of success and create an experiment of excellence in your very own life.

The Function of Followership: How engaged are you as a follower? Contrary to popular belief, the job doesn’t make you; you make the job. The more engaged, authentic, and proactive you are, the greater your rewards. Every time you engage in effective followership, you exponentially increase your chances of success.

You may feel that your organization doesn’t value your active followership. This may be true. It takes an authentic leader and a collaborative culture to value active and engaged followers; however, the type of follower you are today determines the type of leader you’ll be tomorrow. They are two sides of the same coin.

The Exposure to Experience: You truly grow under adverse circumstances. Trials are not noble; they are character building. Pressures forge and solidify our core, and a mind stretched can never go back to its previous form. Remember, a diamond was once a lump of coal, and a pearl was a grain of sand.

The quickest way to success is to cram fifty years of failure into fifteen. An intern once asked a seasoned executive how he became so successful. The executive replied, “Good judgement.” The intern asked how he got good judgement, and the elder replied, “Experience.” The young man then asked, “Well, how do you get experience?” to which his mentor replied, “Poor Judgement.” Every experience, good, bad, or ugly, adds a key to unlocking a future door. Make sure your key ring is full.

The Momentum of Motivation: Do you feel stuck? The reason could be the Law of Inertia, which states that all objects tend to “keep on doing what they’re doing.” Each one of us generates our own motivation. This is why people with the same opportunities experience different outcomes. Force equals mass times acceleration; therefore, if you want a greater force to “get you off your mass” you have to apply a higher degree of acceleration. When you dial into your internal cheerleader, you will be a body in motion that stays in perpetual motion.

The added benefit of motivation is that it is has a highly transferable quality. Thus, the more of it you generate, the more it multiplies. People also refer to this as “atmosphere.” Atmosphere doesn’t just come out of nowhere; someone has to generate it. You can be a thermometer that merely reflects what’s going on around you, or you can be a thermostat and set the temperature in your organization.

The Vector of Vision: Vision is simply seeing what needs to be done and doing it. Often people fool themselves into thinking vision is some type of mystical prophecy only a genius can see, when in reality the great visionaries are people who took action and got things accomplished when no one else would or could. Vision is what directs your everyday path and decision. Vision also has a moral quality that aligns with your values and convictions. Vision is a constant drip, a directional plumb line that centers everything we do.

Vectored vision is what keeps us on course in life. As a proverb says, “Where there is no vision; the people perish.” So if you want to stay on the path to success keep your GPS calibrated to your true north.

The Physics of Failure: The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that an effect can never be greater than the cause. The universe tends toward an increasing state of disorder, and that includes you. To defeat the forces of natural chaos, you must implement a series of internal transformations. These include healthier eating, becoming a better thinker, and increasing your positivity. A robust body, mind, and soul are foundational to a successful life.

Many people think that life gets better by chance when, in fact, it only gets better through change. Emerson stated that cause and effect are two sides of the same coin. You cannot create a different outcome, nor even maintain the status quo, without injecting your life with some empowering forces. There’s no smoke without fire. If you do what you always did, you’ll get what you always got. So if you want to escape the black hole of failure, drill down to that root cause, commence countdown, and launch yourself out.

The Tension of Time: Everything you do is woven into the fabric of time. Existentialists go so far as to say you do not exist in time; you are time. So what are you doing with your life clock? Are you killing time or filling time? Do you have a sense of the potential that each second of life affords you? The pain of grief can stop the clock and freeze you in place, but the pleasure of passion can make the time fly. As Albert Einstein said, “That is the way to learn the most, when you are doing something with such enjoyment that you don’t notice that the time passes.” When you dial into your passion, the tension of time fades away. We are aware of it, but not stuck in it. Every action looks to the future, but enjoys the here and now. So find what you love, do it, and transcend time.

Obey these laws of success and increase your choices in life. Choices equate to opportunities. Disobedience only leads to diminishing our choices, and diminished choices can lead to a life of regret. So if you want success to be a factor in your life, remember: it’s not luck, chance, or fortune…it’s science!

Tracey C. Jones is a US Air Force veteran, entrepreneur, speaker, and publisher. She speaks to audiences across the nation on leadership, accountability, business success, and other topics. Her latest book is Beyond Tremendous: Raising the Bar on Life. To learn more visit www.tremendoustracey.com.

SOB or ESP: What’s your Communication Style?

By Tracey C. Jones

Tracey C. JonesTexan: “Where are you from?”
Harvard Grad: “I come from a place where we do not end our sentences with prepositions.”
Texan: “OK — where are you from, smart-aleck?”

We are rapidly losing the art of communication. The very trait which separates us from the animals is about to be our downfall, but fear not! There are ways we can rally and save humanity.  First and foremost, ask yourself: Do I communicate to serve myself or do I communicate to serve others?

In other words, when you communicate, are you an SOB: (Self-Oriented Behavior) or do you use ESP: (Emotional, Spiritual, Personal)?

In order to get to the heart of the issue, you have to get to the heart. Communication is not simply the external circuitry of words transmitted from your mouth to others’ ears, but rather an internal reverberation of thoughts between your mind and your heart. Communication is simply the golden rule. It’s part etiquette, part ethics, and part just being a decent human being. That means delineating boundaries for your emotional side so everyone can play in the sandbox nicely without getting into fights.

You can’t expect people to see your point of view if you can’t see theirs. When we get squeezed what’s inside comes out. All too often this takes the form of uncivil discourse. People are polarized by their tendency to see communication as a battle: somebody wins, somebody loses; too bad, so sad; in your face; suck it up, butter cup. It seems to be forgotten that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. And if you can’t get comfortable floating in the fluidity of humanity, it’s sunk.

Opinions are not a competitive sport. They are deeply held convictions. So here’s a quick and easy way to assess if you are practicing great communication skills or if you are just being an SOB.

SOB: Self-Oriented Behavior. Let’s face it: A lack of compassion is downright distasteful and has nothing to do with who or what is right and wrong. If you constantly feel the need to seize and to preach the “ministry of me” then you are an SOB communicator.

SOBs exhibit the following traits in their communication:

  • Aggression
  • Seeking sympathy
  • Manipulation
  • Clowning or mocking tone
  • Competition
  • Domination
  • Labeling
  • Bullying/cyberbullying

If you’re an SOB, you view communication as a battlefield. Your level of indignation grants you the right to go from silence to thermonuclear in your content and tone. You have a hard time with dissenting points of view because you assume anyone who doesn’t agree with you is a bigot. This type of behavior has been amplified by technology and mainstream media which grants unfiltered, unchecked, and ample coverage to an unending parade of poltroons. Winston Churchill said it best, “A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.”

Now let’s look at the flip side of the coin: How can you best communicate with another in a way that affords the respect and civility that binds you to others in deeper and more knowledgeable ways? Here are the ways to win friends and influence people and ensure that you can talk to someone’s heart, thus guaranteeing an open and honest dialogue sure to leave both parties enlightened and valued.

ESP: Emotional, Spiritual, Personal. It’s like extrasensory perception on steroids. They say it ain’t what you say, it’s the way that you say it. Truer words were never spoken. The manner in which you connect is the most important factor in communication. If you do it well, the details are superfluous. Someone can completely disagree with everything you say, but still totally respect you as a person. The truth, no matter how hard it is to hear, should always have an element of love accompanying it. As the saying goes, a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. The person who can accomplish this is a leader of unparalleled magnitude and a true uniter, not a divider.

ESPs exhibit the following traits in their communication:

  • Individuality
  • Respect
  • The Golden Rule
  • One-on-one
  • Private
  • Peace maker
  • Acceptance
  • Civility

The ESP communicator also understands that strongly held convictions do not necessarily classify someone as a “hater.” They respect the other person’s emotions and personal beliefs. Communication isn’t some sort of Darwinian survival of the fittest. The ESP communicator firmly believes that we are not to trample one another out of existence with the butts of our heels and the slices of our tongues, but rather to be kind to one another, especially when during disagreements. Churchill had another great quote about this type of communicator, “Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip.”

Beautiful people see beauty; hateful people see hate. Someone once said, “Those who spend their time looking for the faults in others have no time to correct their own.” Once you get serious about discussing and not just cussing, you’ll take your communication to a new realm.

Be kind to humankind because it’s all you’ve got.

Tracey C. Jones is a US Air Force veteran, entrepreneur, speaker, and publisher. She speaks to audiences across the nation on leadership, accountability, business success, and other topics. Her latest book is Beyond Tremendous: Raising the Bar on Life.

Does This Excuse Make My But Look Big

Tracey C. JonesBy Tracey C. Jones

One day, during lunch break, a construction worker opened his lunchbox, pulled out two sandwiches, hoisted them aloft, and cried to the heavens in anguish, “Not peanut-butter sandwiches again!”

The next day, he opened his lunchbox, peered inside, and wailed in agony, “Not peanut butter sandwiches again!”

Day after day, the same scene played out: open lunch box, extract contents, “Not peanut-butter sandwiches again!”

Finally, after thirteen days of unchanging lunchtime drama, his coworker said, “Say, mister, if you don’t like peanut-butter sandwiches, why don’t you ask your wife to make you something else?”

“You leave my wife out of this,” he replied. “I MAKE MY OWN LUNCH!”

We all make our own sandwiches and too many of us make sandwiches that we don’t like to eat. Negative elements often take root in our lives because we allow ourselves to get caught up in an endless cycle of excuses instead of taking action. Here are a few ways to take control of what’s in your lunchbox.

Prune the word but from your vocabulary: It’s just as important to weed your mind as it is your physical surroundings, and the most powerful and effective way to accomplish this is to prune the word but from your vocabulary. Excuses are mental weeds that strangle any chance of new growth regardless of how many seeds you plant. Excuses are virulent vines that strangle everything in their vicinity. Excusatory words can be just as venomous as accusatory ones. Steer clear of both. They are two strains of the same weed.

When you expunge but from your vocabulary an amazing thing happens: where you used to see unfairness and lost chances you will find fortune and opportunity. What you say and what you think affects your circumstances in a very real way. Changing what comes out of your mouth—and what you say to yourself in your head­—can give you a whole new outlook. You can create a life of possibility and potential by avoiding a simple three-letter word.

Don’t be an excuse enabler: Excuses come in two categories. The first derives from things we will not do despite the direct negative impact of inaction, such as developing a healthier lifestyle or pursuing a more fulfilling career. These buts are insidious and pervasive when you just don’t care enough about yourself to take action. If you want it bad enough you’ll find a way; if you don’t you’ll find an excuse. The second category derives from things we will not stop doing. It could be an addiction, or allowing negative people to stay in your life. This but thrives on the guilt-and-fear excuse and an enabling personality. As much as we like to blame others, the fact is that you are the master of what goes on in your own head. That’s right, YOU. It’s that simple, and it’s that difficult.

There is nothing positive or productive to be gained by making excuses or by repeating them. Repetition gives them credibility and allows them to continue to drain you and others. Let’s face it; life is tough, even for the healthiest and wealthiest of us. Making excuses exiles you to a perpetual rut, while choosing to take responsibility for your happiness and your attitude frees to you to move on to bigger and better things.

Learn to recognize cognitive dissonance: Oftentimes the only way to get off your but is when the results become so positive or so painful that you are forced to take action. Psychologists refer to this as the Cognitive Dissonance Theory: either something brings you so much joy or causes you so much pain and sorrow that you have no choice but to change your behavior. If you keep repeating the same excuses rather than taking action then you aren’t at this point yet. It’s that simple. Benjamin Franklin said, “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” And you definitely don’t want Excuse Master on your headstone.

The endless cycle of repeating excuses could be described, in the words of Alan Watts, as “all retch and no vomit.” How grossly appropriate! When we allow ourselves to associate with thankless, negative, or even unethical people we become poisoned by them. It’s not their fault; it’s ours. When we lack the discipline or self-esteem to break a negative habit, instead clinging to our big buts, we poison ourselves. Better to be silent than to regurgitate the same old thing over and over. Albert Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” This includes making excuses. For things to change, first you must change, so eliminate the three letter “b” word from your vocabulary because a big but doesn’t look good on anybody.

Tracey C. Jones is a US Air Force veteran, entrepreneur, speaker, and publisher. She speaks to audiences across the nation on leadership, accountability, business success, and other topics. Her latest book is “Beyond Tremendous: Raising the Bar on Life.” To learn more visit www.TremendousTracey.com.

Leakproof Leadership: The Security of Character

Tracey C. JonesBy Tracey C. Jones

In a time when everything is someone else’s fault and serious wrongdoing often goes unpunished, it often seems as though we’ve lost all sight of what it means to be a business person of character and integrity. Every day, from community leaders to elected officials, from clergy to corporate executives, it seems like we hear about a major character lapse from someone so trusted by the public that they definitely should have known better. These are leadership leaks. They rob leadership of its power and moral authority in the same way that a pressure leak can rob an engine of its motive force. Each and every day we are faced with easy choices that may lead us down the wrong path, but real leaders know that we have to rise above the temptation to cut ethical corners and take the easy way out.

It can be a cold, hard world for those who strive to always do the right thing no matter the circumstances and despite questionable opportunities for personal gain. Never fear; here are three ways to achieve leakproof leadership, to stay above the fray, and to keep your character and integrity in shape.

Responsibility: Peter Drucker said, “Leadership is not magnetic personality. It is not making friends and influencing people. Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to higher sights and raising performance to a higher standard.” Yet with every violation of trust, those in the perpetrator’s chain of command continue to circumvent and pass the buck, saying “There are no rogue operators on my team!” Just because you don’t know, or you turn a blind eye, does not absolve you. You cannot dodge responsibility. Doing so only shows that you are truly unfit for leadership.

If you take the position, the title, the power, the prestige, and the salary then you have to take the responsibility too. And that means that everything, to include things that were in motion before you got into the seat, and things you didn’t even know were—and are—going on, are yours and yours alone to deal with.

Respect: Elbert Hubbard said, “If you work for a man, in heaven’s name work for him! If he pays you wages that supply you your bread and butter, work for him, speak well of him, think well of him, stand by him and stand by the institution he represents. I think if I worked for a man I would work for him.”

There’s an old adage that says a wise traveler never despises his own country. There is no shortage of organizations that seem to operate according to their own rules, organizations that do things that we might even think of as unsavory or unfair. If you work for one of these and you draw a paycheck, then work as hard as possible to uphold their standards, even if your own boss doesn’t. No one can make you do anything illegal, immoral or unethical. If your employer tries to make you do such things, seek employment elsewhere and use the chain of command to bring the issue to the attention of others. To respond in kind to such behavior is unacceptable. Two wrongs never make a right.

Reading: Jim Rohn said, “The book you don’t read won’t help.” Let’s face it, you are what you read. If you are not reading books that help you grow and realize your own personal convictions and develop your courage, you are wasting your time. What a person has on the bookshelf is a far better indicator of what’s really going on inside their head than any polygraph could ever be. You can lie through your teeth and no one will ever suspect a thing, but your actions—and your reading—will eventually reflect exactly what is going on at the core of your character.

Many of us read only what helps us with the mechanics of our jobs. While knowing how is definitely a key to success, knowing why is the only way to achieve true greatness. Knowing why is the crowning benefit of reading books by those who went before us, those who excelled in their lives and careers without compromising their character. All leaders are readers. If you’re not reading you’re not leading. It’s as simple as that.

A solid ethical foundation is equally essential at work and at home. The bottom line is that only commitment can ensure compliance. No amount of non-disclosure agreements, background checks, or polygraphs can do that. If your character isn’t totally squared away to the point that you are ready to fall on your sword to protect what is moral, ethical, and legal, then you’d better not accept one iota of responsibility. Leakproof leadership is choosing your thoughts and actions based upon your values and not upon personal gain. Your convictions mirror your character. So take a good look at yourself in the mirror to make sure you are fit to report for leadership duty!

Tracey C. Jones is a US Air Force veteran, entrepreneur, speaker, and publisher. She speaks to audiences across the nation on leadership, accountability, business success, and other topics. Her latest book is “Beyond Tremendous: Raising the Bar on Life.” To learn more visit www.TremendousTracey.com.