Category Archives: Social Skills

Luck is Not Real

How many times have you heard someone say, “Man, that team got lucky?” I’m willing to bet, you hear it at least once a weekend. For some reason, people associate things they were not expecting with good or bad luck.

What people don’t realize–luck, just like fear, is not a real. It does not have any physical properties. Luck is usually attached to 2 things:

  1. Excuses
  2. Bitterness

When people say, “She got that promotion because she’s lucky,” is it actually true? Is there evidence supporting how the stars were aligned and her employer was forced to give her the promotion? Of course not. Could it be, she got the promotion because she deserved it by putting herself in a position to win? It’s not luck, it’s preparation meeting opportunity.

When people fall short of a goal, their mind wants answers because it is their biggest critic. Therefore, to compensate, they’ll say almost anything to make themselves feel like they didn’t win because of external circumstances. “You got lucky.” This excuse and demonstration of bitterness doesn’t require any ownership.

You win by doing what’s required.

Whenever I discuss this with other people, they always bring up the lottery. “You have to be extremely lucky to win the lottery.”

Well, that’s necessarily true. To win the lottery, you have to play the numbers. Meaning, you have to participate. So when you participate, and pick the right numbers, you get rewarded for doing what is required. That is not luck.

Successful people are not lucky; they just work harder than the average person.

Regardless of the defensive coverage, do your job.

When a Quarter Back (QB) throws a Hail Mary on the final play of the game and the Wide Receiver (WR) comes down with the ball in the endzone, does it get listed in the luck stats? Obviously not. The QB gets a passing TD stat and the WR gets a TD reception stat. Why? Because it is not luck when you perform what is required. They did their job. [One guy throws the ball, the other guy catches it.]

At the end of the day, blaming things on (bad or good) luck does not serve you. It undermines people and circumstances. If someone gets a promotion instead of you, next time–put yourself in position to perform better. Blaming your shortfalls on luck is not competing.

https://www.tbvoybook.com

The Challenges of being a Male Advocate

I have been a sexual assault victim advocate for 9 years and a proud supporter of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). Helping people cultivate change is very important to me. However, being a male advocate in this field is very challenging. Therefore, I wanted to write this blog to help current and future male advocates. Please feel free to share this information.

Sexual Assault Awareness Month training – 2013

Congratulations on your decision to become a volunteer advocate. Advocacy is an instrument for change. As a volunteer, you will help facilitate the ambivalent and recovery phases of victims (survivors) of sexual assault.

Your commitment is a representation of the (Your Agency Name) and supporting agencies. Meaning, you are the face of multiple agencies that share one common goal: serve survivors of sexual assault without allowing any of your biases to interfere.

Whenever I am facilitating training, I always ask this question: “What is the number one thing you notice about me?” [Which is the best answer]

  1. You are committed to helping people.
  2. You’re a male advocate.
  3. You are just going through the motions and do not really care about this topic. (check-the-block mentality)
  4. You facilitate this training way too much.

If you answered 2, you are correct. Although answer 1 is valid, it is not a major factor. Wanting to help people and actually doing it are not always the same thing. I usually get a few laughs and an occasional shoulder shrug. “Why does that even matter?” With the way society is today—thanks to television shows, movies, magazines, music videos, advertisements, and social media—it matters a lot.

Being a male advocate in a female-dominated field can be incredibly challenging and exhausting if you are not prepared. Preparation is the key. Here are some examples of the stereotypes you might be up against:

  • “Wait—why are you here? You’re a male…”
  • “You’re an advocate? Why?”
  • “I’m sorry but—she is not going to want to see you because you’re a guy.”
  • “I appreciate you doing what you do. However, we normally recommend that a woman responds to these types of events. I’m sure you understand, right?”
  • “Are you trained for this?”
  • “Wait—you volunteered to be an advocate? But, you’re a guy!”

These are just a small sample of the obstacles you can face as an advocate. They might sound like the worst-case scenarios because they are. The reason why you need to consider the worst-case scenarios is because you need to prepare yourself to hear things that you’re not expecting. Keep in mind, these are comments that you might hear before you even see the survivor. When you’re talking to the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) or hospital staff, you are in a safe environment. Meaning, your body language and emotional reactions to these comments should not impact the survivor. However, once you receive permission to enter the survivor’s room—there is no room for you to demonstrate how uncomfortable you are with these types of comments.

Not everything is about you. Leave your ego (h-ego) out in the waiting room.

The fact is, if you are not willing or prepared to take criticism——due to the fact you are a male—then this is not for you. That might sound very harsh but it is true. Allowing your pride and ego to get in your way does not serve survivors. If anything, it insults them. It is not always about you.

How do you get better at handling these types of situations? I highly recommend you incorporate Push Back scenarios into your training. This will help condition you to handle real-time resiliency.

What will using Push Back scenarios and exercises do for you as a male advocate?

  • It will condition you to handle circumstances that you are not expecting.
  • You will become a better advocate.
  • You will become a better facilitator and leader.
  • It will help you understand how other people feel about this topic, to include how they feel about male advocates.

Resources:

Ohio Men’s Action Network (OHMAN): https://ohman-ohio.org/

A Call to Men: http://www.acalltomen.org/

The Next Generation of Manhood (A Call to Men): https://youtu.be/GG9fefzuFWs

Recognize What You Love | An Attitude For Gratitude

The world would be a better place if we focused on things that we love, instead of what hate or dislike. That is why I highly recommend you develop an attitude for gratitude. Here are just a few things to consider:

  • I love people regardless of their gender.
  • I love people regardless of their age.
  • I love people regardless of the color of their skin.
  • I love people regardless of their sexual orientation.
  • I love people regardless of their political affiliation.
  • I love people regardless of their abilities and disabilities.
  • I love people regardless of their looks.
  • I love people that have a different opinion as me.
  • I love people for their uniqueness.
  • I love people for their originality.
  • I love people that challenge me and other people.
  • I love people that are obsessed with success.
  • I love people that are comfortable in their own skin.
  • I love people that value doing what’s right.
  • I love people that understand and practice selfless service.
  • I love people that choose not to conform to society.
  • I love people that support equality.
  • I love people that take ownership of the failures and success.
  • I love people that don’t settle for their comfort zones.
  • I love people that crave self-development and self-improvement.
  • I love people that understand when love is not always the answer.
  • I love people that recognize when something is not for them.
  • I love people that welcome the next chapter in their life.
  • I love people that are not afraid to take a stand.
  • I love people that challenge themselves.
  • I love people that can control their confirmation bias.
  • I love people that can identify their thinking traps.
  • I love people that own their happiness.
  • I love people that can fight off the comparison trap.
  • I love people.
Love, happiness, and positivity create winning streaks.

This list could go on and on because once you recognize what you love or what you’re grateful for, you will begin to notice more and more things. Love, happiness, and positivity create winning streaks. Set yourself up to win.

People Don’t Notice as Much as You Think They Do | Negative Self Image

Be honest: how many times have you thought to yourself, I look like a fool right now and people are laughing at me? If you’re anything like most of the people on this planet, this has probably happened to you at least 5-6 times. As much as we don’t like to admit, we are way too hard on ourselves (Negative Self Image) and we put words in other people’s mouths. (Mind Reading)

“They’re laughing at my shirt.”

“My coworkers think I’m an idiot.”

“The panel probably noticed when I accidentally used the wrong word during my interview.”

“Nobody trips over their own feet while working.”

These are just some of the examples of things people say to themselves. For some reason, people have a tendency to gravitate toward negative aspects of themselves. At least, what they believe to be negative.

Focus on what matters.

The truth is, 80% of the things you’re stressing or worrying about, other people don’t even notice. Why? Because they’re too busy stressing and worrying about themselves. People are not perfect. They’ve never been perfect and they never will be. Yet, our comparison trap leads us to believe they’re perfect and we’re insufficient. In fact, everything about us is subpar.

[Read more about the comparison trap in my upcoming book: The Best Version of You.]

“Someone’s opinion of you does not have to become your reality.” — Les Brown

Here are 3 things to help calibrate your thinking:

  1. Stop stressing. People honestly don’t notice when you say something wrong or trip over your own feet. If they do, that’s ok — they’ll eventually do the same thing.
  2. Stop overthinking and mind reading. Unless you have evidence to support your concern, stop overthinking and mind reading. For example: “John, I heard what you said and you sounded ridiculous.” Did they actually say that or do you think they said it? Information changes the situation. Ask yourself: What information do I have and what am I missing? Assumptions do not = reality.
  3. Focus on what matters. What people think of you should have no impact on your goals, daily activities, beliefs, and life in general. Worrying about other people is a waste of your valuable time. It serves no purpose and will simply elevate your stress. (You will catastrophize.) Focusing on what will create winning streaks is how you will take your life to the next level. Small things are the secret. Do the little things every single day.
What evidence do you have?

No matter how hard it gets, you have to keep moving forward. People are not thinking about you as much as you think — they’re honestly not. The more time you spend on trying to please them, the less time you’ll have to work on yourself.

Self Discipline vs Self Destruction

Self Discipline: Focus on yourself and ignore external noise.

Self Destruction: Focus on other people and listen/accept external and internal noise.

LGBT Pride Month – 2018

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month (or LGBTQ) is currently celebrated each year in the month of June in honor of the 1969 Stonewall riots in Manhattan.

To read about the full story: https://www.loc.gov/lgbt-pride-month/about/

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month

Every year the LGBT community is faced with difficult questions and comments, such as:

  • “Why don’t we have a heterosexual Pride Month?”
  • “Why is this even a thing?”
  • “Why do I always have to see this stuff?”
  • “This is ruining social media and television.”
  • “Why do they have to remind me of this, every year?”
  • “These people are annoying…”

Although everyone has the right to ask questions and express their opinion — it is still important to think before you ask or comment. Information changes the situation. As discussed in the About – LGBT link, everything has a meaning. Plus, regardless of what people think or believe, everyone deserves something to celebrate and be happy about.

As a sexual assault victim advocate, a man, a father, a husband, a human, and someone that values basic human rights: supporting LGBT rights are extremely important to me. This community holds a very special place in my heart. For that reason, I am a proud member of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).

Human Rights Campaign (HRC) logo

For more information about this great organization, visit: https://www.hrc.org/

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) community uses the rainbow flag

(commonly known as the gay flag or pride flag), which has different colors to represent the diversity of the community. Here are a few examples:

At the end of the day, LGBT Pride Month is about the celebration of people loving other people. Even if you don’t believe in this, due to religious or personal beliefs, it doesn’t matter because everything can’t always be about you. There are 7 billion unique people on this planet and it would be a tragedy if we were all the same.

Seeing people happy or in love, regardless if they’re heterosexual or LGBT, should bring a smile to your face. That is what life is all about. No, it is not teaching children something bad. Judging, labeling, or even committing a hate crime because you disagree with someone’s sexual orientation is what’s teaching children bad things. I would rather my children grow up in an environment where everyone is happy in their own unique way, then have them grow up in an environment filled with hate or worse — the fear of them self-identifying as LGBT. To me, this world has no place for that. After all, it is 2018, not 1418.

Additional helpful links:

GLAAD: https://www.glaad.org/sites/default/files/GLAAD-Social-Share.jpg

Lambda Legal: https://www.lambdalegal.org/

The Advocate: https://www.advocate.com/

Social Media is Not Free

Social media has come a long way over the last 10+ years and it is an excellent way for us to connect with new people and reconnect with old friends. Especially because platform’s like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat are free, right?

What if I told you they’re not free, would you disagree?

The fact is: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and even YouTube are technically free. However, if something is taking your time, it is actually costing you something. Usually, it is costing you valuable time that can be allocated toward more important things.

The Pew Research Center recently conducted an interesting survey about Social Media Use in 2018. I recommend you take some time to read about their findings: http://www.pewinternet.org/2018/03/01/social-media-use-in-2018/

Pew Research Center

If the average person visits these sites each day, it makes you wonder: what are they not doing while navigating these sites? Obviously, we can’t make any assumptions about anyone because the “Information changes the situation” principle always applies. But we do know that what people do with their time always has a cost to it. Everyone has 2 choices when it comes to time and money:

  1. Be a producer
  2. Be a consumer

Unless people are operating an online business, chances are — they are a consumer while scrolling through the lives of other people on their timeline. It is perfectly normal and acceptable to be both. However, figuring out how to balance this can take some time. Meaning, you should probably spend more time on things that produce income for you, not Facebook and other people.

What can you do moving forward? Figure out how much time you want to spend on social media, when you want to spend that time, and what you want to spend the time on. For example: instead of watching YouTube videos about dancing cats, try finding self-help YouTube channels that can educate you on taking your life to the next level.

I also recommend turning off ALL of your smartphone notifications. Those notifications literally rob your attention every time they alarm, flash, or vibrate. Is a Facebook comment really worth you stopping what you’re doing? Try to train yourself to check your smartphone when you’re ready, not when Facebook or Twitter says you’re ready.

Don’t Apologize for Your Originality

Regardless if people disagree with your lifestyle, your hobbies, your likes, your dislikes, your character, and even if your personality — don’t you dare apologize for your originality. It doesn’t matter if you’re: a man, a woman, weird, popular, religious, an atheist, white, black, straight, LGBTQ, a hard worker, a lazy individual, short, or tall — you are unique.

Not a single human on this planet has the exact same thumbprint as you. They might be close but they’ll never be exactly like you.

That means you’re incredibly special. Yes, there will be days where you might question yourself and your purpose. You might have to make necessary changes and updates, depending on where you’re at in your life. However, those are usually just external things.

Stop letting the world stick a finger in your face and determine your value. You are a brilliant creation. This is your story and you need to be the only one that continues to write it.

The Real Version of You Doesn’t Require a Filter

With the popularity of social media platforms such as: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn–we are now seeing an epidemic of people using filters to hide their identity. Although fake profiles/accounts are a real issue, that is not the purpose of this blog.

Fake accounts – don’t believe everything you see.

This blog is about the real version of you. For some reason, both women and men feel like they have to create a fake version of themselves, just to satisfy the social media world. What happened? Are they unwritten laws and arbitrary (unachievable) standards that we choose to accept? I hate to be the one to break the news but–this is not healthy and definitely a contributing factor for depression.

Woman filter – Example

Sure, this woman is very attractive but you have to wonder, how many attempts and filters were used to create this finished product? Some additional questions to consider:

  1. What message does this send to other women that are focused on physical fitness? Some women are motivated and inspired, some feel worse about themselves. I love that my wife is serious about fitness [and very beautiful] but that does not define her.
  2. Does this create a false sense of reality? If you wore this outfit and worked out like her, you could look like this…
  3. What if she were more masculine? Would other women and men unfairly judge her based on masculine features? She’s still the same woman that someone loves.

Unfortunately, women are held to standards that are insulting at times and not fair. A woman doesn’t have to look perfect to be accepted by society. If a woman looks masculine or likes things that are labeled guy things–so what? She’s still a woman and is entitled to like whatever she wants. That’s called freedom.

Man filter – Example

Again, this is an attractive man but you have to wonder, how many attempts and filters were used to create this finished product? Some additional questions to consider:

  1. What message is this sending to other men? Are they required to be fit/slim in order to be considered attractive? I work my a** off in the gym and although I want to look fit, I do it mainly for my health. My health is my priority.
  2. Does this create a false sense of reality? If you pick up these tires, you too will look like this…
  3. What if he demonstrated effeminate characteristics? With the double standards put on men, he would probably be insulted, threatened, and labeled. Effeminate men are dehumanized due to the arbitrary standards that society created. Personally, I have some effeminate qualities but they do not define me. Why does it matter?

Just like women, men are held to standards that undermine their character based on made up standards. Things like the man card and man rules are the grade card regardless if men choose to accept those standards or not.

Bottom line: I am certainly not picking on people or calling anyone out. I’m also not targeting the woman and man I used for examples. These are good pictures and they should be proud of the results.

What I am trying to convey is that filters are ruining our society. They are causing us to forget about what’s important: our character. Using filters for certain pictures is important. I would be lying if I said I don’t ever do it. We just have to remember that we can’t use a filter to hide everything about ourselves. In fact, you shouldn’t want to do that because we’re all unique. The fact that you don’t look like Jessica or Paul is a good thing. You have value and your looks and character are an important piece of the puzzle.

People Hire You | Not Your Resume

Spending most of your time preparing your resume does not compensate for your lack of social skills. A company wants you to tell them why you’re the best qualified person for the position, not read about it. Your bio does not illustrate your value, you do. Plus, companies buy paper, they don’t hire it. They hire you.

Is your resume important? Absolutely. It is a quick way for employers to categorize people they believe have the potential to fulfill the vacancy.

“This young lady has a history of public speaking, that is a plus for what we’re looking for.” (They will still require evidence of this skill.)

“This man hasn’t worked in over five months, this makes me question his work ethic so we’ll cross him off the list.” (Even if this not true, the perception tells a different story and the company is not willing to waste their time.)

You definitely want to make sure you annotate accurate information that can tell your story, without you being present. Remember, this is just the introduction. You must be prepared to verbally convey the next couple of chapters of your story during the interview process. “Sir, let me tell you about the course I facilitated for thirty-five people.”

Your social skills are the number one selling point for you during the interview process. If you annotate something on your resume and you’re not prepared to talk about it, why did you annotate it? If an employer asks you, “I see you were employed at XYZ company for five months. Can you tell me why you decided to leave that company after a short period of time?”

This is not an opportunity for you to say, “They didn’t see my full potential and I just couldn’t work for a company that doesn’t show me respect.” When you reference negativity to justify leaving a former position, you are telling this company you will do the same thing if you’re not happy with the environment, there. This will usually eliminate any possibility of you being hired for the position.

You need to learn how to respond to all forms of questions. In the same scenario, this would be a better response, “I really enjoyed working for that company but I was presented with an opportunity I couldn’t refuse.” Even if you were not happy in the position, there’s no reason to introduce it into the conversation. Employers want to know you’re professional and capable of adapting to adversity. Why? Because they are focused on the future of the company. When you’re not able to adapt to adversity, you don’t grow. When you don’t grow, the company you work for does not grow, either.

“Bob, your resume referenced that you have facilitated several courses for the ABC company. Can you tell us about your experience as a facilitator and how you prepare yourself?” (This is an opportunity for you to sell yourself.)

“Yes, being a facilitator is a passion of mine. I have been doing it for ten years and I feel that I’m very good at it. I could have easily stopped learning how to be an effective facilitator after completing my training. However, I have continued to sharpen my skills by reading, listening to, and watching videos on how to become a better facilitator. I recognize that how I led a course in 2017 might not be the most productive way to lead the same course in 2018. Why? People change and in order for me to be effective, I have to change with them.”

“Regardless of how many times I’ve led a particular course, I always prepare my notes, video presentations, PowerPoint slides, and breakout sessions at least two to three weeks out so I have plenty of time to rehearse. Money is time, and I don’t want to waste anyone’s time. If they are attending one of my courses, they deserve to get the best training possible.”

To some, this might be overselling yourself. Be honest though, would you rather undersell yourself? How is this company going to recognize your potential if you’re not telling them enough information? This example demonstrated you’re able to think outside of the box and you’re constantly adapting to change. This tells the interviewer, “I can adapt to whatever direction this company is going.”

It is also very important for you to make eye contact with the person asking you questions. Eye contact helps convey authenticity. If you’re not able to look at your potential employer, how can this company trust you’ll be able to look at its customers? Plus, looking away demonstrates self doubt and possible deception. Employers that are skilled in non-verbal cues will easily pick up on this.

Verbal-and-non-verbal-communication-during-job-interviews

Other Examples:

Leaning back in your chair – “I want out of this interview as fast as possible.”

Shifting your feet toward the exit – Again, “I want out of this room.”

Covering your mouth when you speak – “I’m not sure about my answer or I’m probably lying to you about my previous work history.”

Rubbing the back of your neck – “I’m uncomfortable with this question or topic.”

Crossing your arms across your chest – “I am guarding myself because I’m uncomfortable with my environment, I’m being deceitful, or I am arrogant and you’re wasting my time with these particular questions.”

Bottom line: Companies are looking for people that can produce results. Annotating your qualifications in a Microsoft Word document is only a small percentage of you landing a job. Double-down on your social skills and rehearse as much as possible. I can’t even count how many times people have told me, “I’m not good at speaking in front of people. I get too nervous and don’t know what to do.”

My response, “Do you actually get out and try it?”

“No, I’m not good at it.”

“That’s why you’re not good at it.”

People forget that nothing beats experience. You can read all day about how to do something but until you apply what you’ve learned via action, you’ll never be good at it. Steve Jobs was terrible at public speaking in his earlier years. But people forget about that because they just remember how skilled he was before he passed away. He could have landed any job he wanted based on his social skills. It takes patience and consistent action.

Good luck.