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Smart Man Online: Phil Gerbyshak

Today is a truly GREAT day. I promised - some time ago - to bring you an interview with a guy who is so inspiring, just the sound of his name makes me smile. But, his effect on my day goes beyond the smile of affection. When someone says, "Phil Gerbyshak" I think - happy, I think - sunshine, I think - GREAT DAY! That's Phil's mantra - to have A GREAT DAY! He has a book, a blog, and a focus on life that I think we should all carry around with us on a day-to-day basis. Read on to learn more about Phil Gerbyshak...

Yvonne: Your Make it a GREAT Day mantra is uplifting and invigorating. Is that because you're a happy guy, or because the phrase gives people energy, just saying it out loud?

Phil: I am a happy guy, and I enjoy pumping myself up by thinking GREAT instead of nice. The fact that it's full of energy when you say it is a nifty side benefit.

Yvonne: What brought you to the realization that people should have a great day, as opposed to a "nice day"... which is what we usually say to each other?

Phil: Nice is like's stale, it's tired, and it's boring. I have a friend who says, when you ask him how he's doing, "Just this side of perfect, and getting better all the time." I liked that, but that's not my style. I thought great would be a more appropriate adjective, and let's not forget the first part is 'Make.' Make it important because if you make something, you are responsible for it. If you have something, you might have been given it and it may not be something you want. I prefer to create, therefore Make had to be part of my mantra.

Yvonne: Tell us 4 things we can do to make today a GREAT day.

Phil: Only 4?

1.Say thank you to everyone who serves you today, and be very specific about why you're thanking them.

2.Take time for yourself, even if it's only 15 minutes, and focus on what you really want to achieve in your life. Then tell everyone you know your goal, in an affirmation sentence, and you'll be amazed at how the people that you tell will find ways to help you achieve your goal.

3.Smile at everyone you meet for a whole day. Notice people's reactions. You'll feel better, and so will the people you meet.

4.Buy my book 10 Ways to Make It Great!, read 1 chapter, and do at least 1 of the action steps today.

Yvonne: How hard was it to write your book? Did you ever suffer from writer's block? Did you ever wonder if you were doing the right thing?

Phil: At times, the writing was tough, and I thought of giving it all up, especially when I got near the end and needed to edit my book for what seemed like the millionth time to make it clearer and more concise. That was tough. Not only did I question if I was doing the right thing, I also wondered why I was writing a book. I questioned my purpose many times.

Yvonne: What do YOU do to make your days GREAT? When you're having a tough time (day, week, whole year!), how do you pull yourself out of the doldrums?

Phil: I smile a LOT! I try to smile at everyone I know. That helps most of the time. When I'm having an especially tough day, I have to get away from everyone else and take a walk or if I have time, a nap, and I try to think of what a GREAT day would look like before I get away from it all, and especially before I fall asleep. I try to consciously focus on that GREAT day while I'm in this mode, and often I can help myself dream about it, and that helps me get in a much better mood, even if it's just a 2 or 3 minute break.

Yvonne: I think your blog, and your writing overall, is really full of energy. When I visit Make it Great, I come away with a whole different outlook on my day. Have you always had this effect on people?

Phil: You are kind to say this, Yvonne, and I'm glad I have that effect on you. I wasn't always a positive, kind person. I morphed into this person when I realized that I was surrounding myself with other energy suckers like me, and this isn't who I wanted to be. I would say it was probably 5 or 6 years ago I decided to be all-positive, all the time, and though I'm still trying to be more positive, I think I got good at being positive 2 or 3 years ago.

Yvonne: Other than your own book, what's the best book you've read this summer? What book can you truly say inspired you beyond anything else you've ever read? (tell us the truth - are you a Harry Potter fan?)

Phil: I must say, I am not a fan of any fiction books, and force myself to read 1 or 2 per year just to broaden my horizons. I focus on self-improvement, motivation, business, and leadership books. I can't say anything has inspired me beyond anything I've ever read, this summer or really ever, so I'll share a few of my favorites from the past 6 months.

Career Intensity by Dave Lorenzo - a GREAT book that can help you crank up your career.

Focus Like a Laser Beam by Lisa Haneberg - this is an awesome book with great recommendations to start doing what's important, instead of doing everything. I'm still trying to implement much of this book in my life, as I suffer from doing too much of everything, instead of focusing like I know I should. I wrote an article about this recently, called, "No More Mr. Yes."

Winning with People by John Maxwell - Maxwell is my favorite author of all-time, and this book is full of tips about what's really important: people. This is the "How to Win Friends and Influence People for the 21st century," in my opinion.

Yvonne: You're connected to some fantastic people, via your blog. Care to share - cite some good blogs and why you think they're good.

Phil: I'll share 3 that give me my boost when I am down. As a leader, I realize my life is all about the people I serve, so these 3 blogs best help me serve the people that report to me, and the people around me.

Talking Story at Say Leadership Coaching - This blog is my all-time favorite, for many reasons. First and foremost, it's a community. Rosa Say is amazing at building community and making everyone feel welcome at Talking Story. The stories told there, either by Rosa or by commenters or by folks who contribute to her forum always inspire me. Also, Rosa talks about life, leadership, and management (and other stuff too) and I always learn a thing or ten.

Hello My name is Scott - That Guy with the Nametag, Scott Ginsberg. When I'm looking for the best way to connect with people, I read Scott's blog. It's uplifting, it's fun, and it's easy on the eyes to read. it's always full of energy and pictures, and stories we all can relate to.

The Chief Happiness Officer - Alex Kjerulf. Alex is so dang happy, he makes me smile every time he posts. He not only tells us we need to be happy at work (duh!) but he shows us why it will help us and offers little tips we all can do.

Those are 3 out of 40 that I love. All the blogs on my sidebars at Make It Great! are among my favorites, Lipsticking of course being among them. (aww...thanks, Phil! I am truly honored - as I so agree with your choices, here, and feel GREAT being among this outstanding group of bloggers - yourself included, of course!)

Yvonne: Do you think blogging is here to stay? Should CEOs blog?

Phil: I think blogging, or things like blogging, are here to stay. The quick post about the news, self-improvement, marketing, and really just about anything is an amazing way for people to rapidly share ideas that was not possible before. While it's far from perfect, I think blogs give us all a voice, for better or for worse. I think that'll keep it around for a good long while.

Should CEOs blog? If they care enough to share their input, they should blog, but really, CEOs should spend more time finding out what their customers are saying about them on their blogs, and find ways to implement the best ideas offered, and fix what's broken. They don't have to do it themselves, but they should take the time to learn about things before they spin out of control.

Yvonne: A big question a lot of people have about blogging is wondering how to get traffic. What do you do to bring more traffic in to your blog? Or, don't you track your traffic?

Phil: I love to link out to other sites that I find interesting, and leave comments on other blogs that I think are worthwhile. Most bloggers will at least go check out my blog once based on the quality of my content. This gives me some traffic.

I also try to post frequently on my blog, with high quality content and links. My message seems to resonate with a lot of people, and the more I write, the more people stay connected to my site and the more they keep coming back.

Honestly though, I find that huge traffic is not all that people think it is. I'd rather have 1 insightful comment that helps me and my readers out than 500 hits a day. I keep track of my comment plus trackback to post ratio (currently above .5, which makes me VERY happy) far more than I worry about how much traffic I'm getting. I completely missed my 10000 visitor, my 15000 visitor, and my 20000 visitor, but I did notice when the old odometer rolled over to 25k. That's pretty cool!

Yvonne: If you could change one thing about your best friend (whoever that may be), what would you change? If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Phil: Change one thing about my best friend...That's a tough question. My best friend is my wife, and I am very happy with how she is. The only thing I would change is I would wish that she was 100% happy with everything she touches, in life and in her career.

The one thing I would change about me...Another toughie! Let's see, I wish I were more disciplined to do some of the hard things I know I need to do to get things to the next level. I sometimes get bogged down in the minutae and forget about the important stuff, and before I know it, it's already 2005, I mean 2006. Phil_gerbyshak

Yvonne: Last question: who's better at making it a great day - women or men?

Phil: Based on the commentary I get on my blog, and the folks I read that motivate me the most, for me personally, I would say the women I have been able to interact with are making it better by about a 55 to 45 margin. Not insurmountable, but still leaves a lot to be desired for the guys. Don't settle for nice...Make it GREAT!


Ladies, take a bow! And, help the men in your life learn from Phil's example. Whenever I read his blog, or see his book, I realize that it's up to ME to make it a GREAT DAY. Knowing that, I also know that a little advice or help now and then doesn't hurt - so, I read Phil's book. Try it, you might like it!


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