Archive for June, 2012

Life lessons are easy to learn at The Grand Canyon.

Posted in Balance, Management, Organize, Planning, Self-management, Teamwork, Time management, Time management/Self-management on June 24, 2012 by Chuc Barnes

I’ve said previously that hiking in The Grand Canyon is the ultimate time management experience. I say this because the canyon is so vast that you quickly realize how important it is to:

●Plan – where to go
●Prepare – what’s needed
●Schedule – the best time
●Prioritize – what to take
●Eliminate – what you don’t need
●Team – with someone to share the experience

Please permit me to explain each item in greater detail.

My son, Brett, along with his wife Amy, my granddaughters Sophie and Abby, and my son Scott, PLANNED to hike several miles down Bright Angel Trail. I pointed out in a previous post that my sons and I had done this before and we wanted to share the rich experience with my granddaughters.

We all knew that the trails would be steep so we all PREPARED by exercising for many weeks in advance of the hike.

It can get very hot at the canyon (You are in a desert) so we specifically SCHEDULED our hike on Memorial Day weekend in order to be ahead of the hot summer temperatures.

Look carefully at the above photo and you might see the straps on my shoulders, which held a pack on my back that contained food, water, and medical supplies (PRIORITIZING). Each one of us carried our own pack of supplies.

Clearly, I couldn’t take the above photo myself. My son, Brett shot the photo (TEAMWORK) when we were one and ½ miles down Bright Angel Trail from the rim. Thank you, Brett.

As for ELIMINATE, I would love to have carried my laptop, binoculars, etc., yet we knew that climbing back up the trail is very difficult so each of us ELIMINATED items we would like to have carried with us so we could enjoy the experience, rather than worry about distractions and excess items.

Now please consider this: I suggest that the lessons I’m describing are not just Grand Canyon considerations. They are life lessons too.

Disagree with me if you want, but by planning, preparing, scheduling, eliminating, and teaming, we were able to watch not just each specific step, but more importantly we could admire and gasp at the awe-inspiring ever-changing beauty of The Grand Canyon itself.

Best of all, we were able to create a memorable experience for each one of us. After all, isn’t creating memorable experiences—experiences that last–for family, friends, customers, and associates the ultimate value of time?

I propose that time passes, yet experiences and memories last!

Does this make sense to you? Please leave your comments here.

Want to waste a lot of time? Here’s a common time-wasting question.

Posted in Leadership, Management, Self-management, Teamwork, Time management, Time management/Self-management on June 16, 2012 by Chuc Barnes

“Why did you do that?”

Our parents asked the above question so many times that we often use the same question when correcting other people.

I hope you’re not using the same question.

Please realize that the “Why did you do that?” question solicits an answer for something that occurred in the PAST (de-motivating), whereas good motivation is about the future, not the past. Not only that, the question puts the other person on defense.

Picture a basketball team who wants to go to the Final Four. Will they be better off if they work on strategies for next week’s game or last week’s game? Clearly, they’ll be better off investing their time in preparing for next week’s game (the future). You’ll also notice that when the other team is on defense, you have to work even harder and that takes more time.

Here are four timesaving suggestions:

#1: When correcting someone, move your question to the future. Example: “We know what happens when that occurs (the past) so, if it happens again, how would you see yourself handling it? Note that you’re moving the thinking from the past to the future.

#2: When you’re being introspective, do you ask yourself, “Why did I do that” questions? Or, do you ask yourself, “If that happens again what strategies would help me? Clearly, you’ll be better off if you focus on strategies for the future.

#3: Replace “Why?” questions with “What were you accomplishing by ____?” questions. This will help you learn specifics and prevent de-motivating, defensive explanations.

#4: Reserve “Why?” questions for information about creative matters (Why are you telling me this, Chuc”).

I’m telling you this because when you focus on the future, you’ll come up with better ideas that help you move forward—and you boost motivation.

Does this make sense? Please write you comments here.

Here’s a “Listening” lesson from the Grand Canyon.

Posted in Leadership, Management, Planning, Self-management, Teamwork, Time management, Time management/Self-management on June 3, 2012 by Chuc Barnes

Two of my sons and I just fulfilled a dream.

We believed that two of my granddaughters now are old enough to hike in the Grand Canyon, and we love the canyon so much that we have wanted to share it with them for a long time.

Please permit me to explain that my sons and I have hiked at the canyon many times. We’ve even floated on a raft for 179 miles through the canyon on the Colorado River.

In our opinion, The Grand Canyon is so vast and has so much nature to look at that hiking and climbing there has practically become a spiritual experience for us. Please picture this in your mind: For every meter you descend at the canyon, you go through one million years of geological history. Just think, a million years for each meter.

Sophie (15 years old) and Abby (almost 13 years old) are great sports and they hiked all the way down Bright Angel Trail to Plateau Point where they were able to see the sights of the canyon that most people never get to see. They later hiked back up to the rim with their mom and dad, Amy and Brett, and my son Scott, and I was very proud of all of them.

For your quick reference, Plateau Point is 5.7 miles from the rim, and a round trip (descending and ascending) is 11.4 miles. And consider this: climbing up the trail from Plateau Point is almost the same as climbing floor by floor to the top of the Empire State Building. See why I’m so impressed with Sophie and Abby’s abilities.

I wanted to hike all the way to Plateau Point myself, but my sons were worried about me since I had open-heart surgery four months ago. Thus, after hiking with them for 1 1/2 miles, I followed their advice and turned around to hike back UP to the rim by myself. (Round trip: 3 miles).

If you’ve ever hiked in the Grand Canyon, you know that it’s easy to go DOWN the trails, but it’s very difficult to CLIMB back UP to the rim.

When hiking UP the trail by myself, I walked slowly and enjoyed meeting, talking, and joking with the people on the trail who were descending into the canyon. Nearly everyone on the trail is friendly. No matter who we are, we all tend to laugh, pay attention, and help each other, if need be.

And the closer you get to the rim, the more difficult the climb seems to become because of steep inclines. Thus, it’s smart to stop from time to time to rest and drink water. (It’s very hot on the trails because you are in a desert).

I stopped several times to rest and catch my breath (the altitude at the top of the South Rim is 6,000 feet). Each time I stopped to rest a person who was descending on the trail looked at me and said, “Are you ok?” or “Do you need water?” or “Do you need anything?” Notice how caring they were. This was true of every nationality, age, color, sex, and size.

I’m writing about the caring of other people because I want you to realize, as I did, that each person was LISTENING constantly, not just with their ears, but also with their eyes. They see you stopped and they show their caring by asking a question and then they listen with their ears. I consider this to be a good “Listening” lesson for all of us.

Conclusion: When you are with your family and friends, why not put away your cell phone, iPad, book, etc. and LISTEN to them with your eyes? Notice what you see about the other people and, if and when you see that one of them is concerned or struggling, ask them a question. I propose that, when you do this, the listening you do will tend to build a bond with the people around you–just like the people on the Bright Angel Trail did with me.

Does this make sense? Please put your comments here.