Oct 282013
Habits, Traits, & Principles of the Successful

Successful people are not lucky.

They simply follow a different ‘guidebook’ of habits, traits, and principles which Mr. & Mrs. Average do not either choose to or know about. Chances are, they are living far too much of their lives awash in the conventional wisdom, advertising/PR, and/or mass media entertainment sources to have dug far enough below the surface to hit the gold veins that would transform their lives from the inside-out.

However, let it be said that its never too late to grow into these!  I’m living proof, as it took me several decades post graduation from traditional schooling to have struck the gold. And, now that I have, the veins continue to appear: all over the place!  There is no shortage of world class information to make these veins produce additional gold; in fact, there’s so much that quite some time ago, I made it a large part of my life’s purpose to spread & share what I’ve learned with as many humble, honeable, & hungry people that I am able to build relationships with.

And, with the above mission in mind, here are ten to study, learn from, and live each & every day:

[1]  Have a Focus & a Purpose in Life.

+ Focus like a laser, and not like a flashlight.

+ Know your “Why” – this is imperative!

+ Define your purpose. Mr. Orrin Woodward thought so much of this, he used it as foundational Resolution 1 in his landmark book, ‘Resolved’  (!)

+ Keep in mind that purpose, legacy, and destiny are Level 3/highest of the high/ motivators. Once you find yours, your life will feel far more complete and fulfilling.

[2]  Always strive for Excellence

+ Self explanatory, yes?   However, one would be surprised, mildly, or perhaps more so, to find how many aren’t. Mediocrity and same-ness are prevalent in mainstream culture. “Home to work”, “home to work” …  is the mentality. And, when not working, you may find these same folks who are not living up to their potential holding their favorite sports teams to a super high standard.

+ Be the example. You’re the project. Not someone else – unless you are living intentionally for excellence in all areas of your life, you cannot in good stead point out others’ perceived imperfections or attempt to correct them.

+ Rise above the crowd. The crowd has fallen prey to a little known (yet becoming more clear) factor called ‘Sturgeon’s Law’ –  One has to read NYT Best Seller, ‘LeaderShift’ to be educated in depth on this law, however, in short form, it means that the crowd, defined as the 90%, will be average at best.

[3]  Always leave people better off than before you met them.

+ Every interaction you have with someone else can be scoreboard’ed on a scale of 1-5. Keep yours at 4 or 5 always.

+ Study books like ‘The Great Connection’, ‘Personality Plus’, ‘The Five Love Languages’, & ‘Positive Personality Profiles’

+ Be an encourager & a cheerleader. The world has too many discouragers, cynics, unhealthy skeptics, & correctors.

[4]  Take Responsibility

+ Look in the mirror. You are always the final responsible party. If you have/own a ‘victim card’, toss it in the trash, never to be played again.

+ Sometimes, taking responsibility means you accept fault when something is out of your control. However, leadership entails such high levels of ownership of situations, people/followers, and the resulting circumstances.

[5]  Always take on new challenges.

+ Living in one’s familiar zone won’t result in the success that is earned by those who are in the pool and moving against the current. The current will be given new life by those who stretch and grow in all areas. A challenge is an open opportunity; don’t pull down a shade over it.

+ The mindset of a winner and a climber is that of someone who takes things on with ambition and determination. Create the new reality by tapping into your vision. Overcome the goliaths and achieve the private/personal, public, and leadership victories that are yours for the taking.

[6]  Produce, regardless of the situation you’re in

+ Excuses are useless. Don’t ever make them. Find reasons to produce something remarkable.

+ Never whine. Never complain. Never make excuses.  Wooden’s set of three’s is just as applicable today, a few years after his passing at age 99, as it was when he was growing up.

[7]  Have a strong work ethic

+ You’re entitled to nothing except life, liberty (freedom), and the pursuit of happiness. Natural laws, as so brilliantly espoused by Patrick Henry in his 7 Resolves { 1765 } , are the governing ‘rules of the road’ for true leaders.

+ Laws that encourage anything remotely resembling entitlement are those which successful people repel. Earn your stripes by what you do to make yourself better, and then, thereafter, to go out and serve others.

[8]  Invest in yourself.

+ The monies one earns should be paid to ‘You, Inc.” first ahead of anything else. No one can take away wisdom, knowledge, and learned truth(s) from you unlike they can a house, a car, electronics, or sports gear.

+ The poor have big TV’s; the wealthy have big libraries. A generalization? Sure. Are there exceptions? Sure. However, for the clear majority of cases, this holds true. Study spending & investment trends to find out.

[9]  Persevere.

+ Jack Canfield & Colonel Sanders come to mind – both were extremely successful. Yet, each man found rejection after rejection until someone said ‘yes’

+ Adversity quotient is incredibly valuable; in the aforementioned book, ‘Resolved’, it ranks as number 12. What is your IQ x EQ x WQ = AQ ?

+ Failure is simply an event, and not an individual. Failure is a huge part of success. Be sure you know how to reframe & how to learn from each setback.

[10]  Ability to prioritize.

+ Stephen R. Covey taught this crucial success principle the best in his Habit 3.

+ Have you drawn out your entire life and segmented into ‘priorities’, ‘obligations’, and ‘urgencies’?   Or, at least, done this by the day, week, month, quarter, or year?

+ Priorities should align with your mission(s), purpose, and your dreams. They will get you from “A” to “B” fastest of all, while your obligations and the urgencies will act as anchors.


Hope this post, like all others, has added value to you. Comment if you’ve been especially impacted – always welcome feedback at all times.

And … a huge & heartfelt …

… Thank you to Mr. Alex Nickerson for inspiring this content!  Having met him once in person & seen him another time, his credibility in putting forth this kind of content is clearly reflected in the successes he has realized thus far in his life.

Jan 242013
Monthly Movie Recommendation for Eagles & Climbers - VI

Great day to all!

This month’s (and year) kick off movie for those folks in the blogosphere who are, or want, to live intentionally for excellence as an eagle, and climb the summits of their vision and dreams is a very well known multiple Oscar winner from 1995, ‘Braveheart‘.  In my view, this movie was/is a classic of the first magnitude; having a history background, I surely realize that some of the script’s characters, chronology, and scenes were not exactly what happened in the 13th and 14th centuries, however, this should clearly not detract from this film’s amazing upside.

My specific intent with this recommendation is the same as with the other previous blog posts in this ongoing series: To tie this movie into either or both of the fundamentals for LIFE, those being the eight cornerstone, foundational F’s and the thirteen resolutions. Otherwise, as this movie has been reviewed by an army of folks over the past 17+ years, no new ground will be discovered 🙂

William Wallace, the central character and a real life hero, simply defines leadership. There are so many definitions of leadership, however, I’ll point the reader to the one in the early pages of ‘Launching a Leadership Revolution‘ to flag what is one of the very best, if not the best, summation. He had no positional rank in the Middle Ages hierarchy/aristocracy of England/Scotland; he had no official bestowed from on-high title; he was not schooled formally, nor did he ask to lead. In the end game, over the roughly 40 years that the script covers in 3 hours, he simply LEAD. And, his leadership was world class!

Robert the Bruce, another central character, and also a real life hero, defined leadership in a somewhat more circuitous direction. His growth as a man was evident throughout the film:  He realized the value of keeping his word, the definition of courage, how to overcome the handicaps of  positional authority, and the power of words.

The examples and illustration of the resolutions, which incidentally, are simply outgrowths of latter day Western world leaders Ben Franklin, George Washington, & Jonathan Edwards, are in abundance throughout the scenes in this movie. To wit:

Resolution 1, Purpose –  Wallace’s original purpose was to return home, having grown up in his formative years with his uncle’s mentorship, and stay out of the limelight, being a non aristocratic farmer while marrying and raising a family nearby his original home. However, events changed everything for him;  his purpose did nearly a 180, and he was knighted.

Resolution 2, Character – As Wallace grew up in a violent era, where battles fought with crude weapons like spears, axes, and broadswords was the norm, character was definitely earned on a battlefield in most instances. Unquestionably, William’s was!  Coupled with his uncle Argyle’s wise mentorship as he grew into young adulthood, there’s no doubt that Wallace exhibited this resolution to a ‘tee’.

Resolution 3, Attitude – The movie goer will notice that Wallace always brought out the best in his army, and he kept them focused on ever greater heights. He was an encourager & spoke from his heart. The cards he was dealt ( Scots not being allowed to train with weapons, divided clans, et al. ) could’ve led to him being resigned to the English ruling his homeland ad infinitum, however, he listened to his positive voice far more often.

Resolution 4, Vision / Alignment –  What a vision that this great historical leader had!!  He epitomized attaching one’s reality to his/her vision!  He aligned his facts/logical mind (conscious) with his images/metaphorical mind (unconscious/subconscious) like no one else in his era did – and the results were clear to all. A leader’s influence has a strong component of vision, and ending the ‘war‘ between the two sectors of the brain is imperative to have lasting success.

Resolutions 5 & 6 , PDCA’ing / keeping score –  William Wallace surely knew the importance of this combo; he realized that if he did the exact same as his forerunners, he would surely lose as they did, and his vision of a free & independent Scotland would not come to pass. So, he planned ahead how he would defeat the English:  He consolidated the clans together in one common cause; he reached out to the nobility ( Council of Edinburgh ); and he came up with different tactics both for hit & run battles and for the major battlefield encounters. Then, he did what he said he would do, checked the progress, and adjusted as necessary.  He avoided living vicariously through others, he didn’t make excuses and pass the buck when he did come up short, and he knew that the price of winning was always worth it.

Resolution 7 , Friendship – What can be said about Wallace’s inner circle that wasn’t quite obvious by watching the film?  Not all that much. It is beyond clear that he was tight w/ them. He built relationships and bonded w/ Hamish & Stephen, let alone others that were with him through the down times & the up. Sharing agape love with them developed his heart & fortified his will.

Resolution 8 , Finances – Not much focus here, however, while it wasn’t directly mentioned in the script or viewable on screen, Wallace’s leadership and uniting the clans quite likely led to a major hit on Edward I’s treasury!  On a more personal level, Wallace leveraged the power of compounding, he delayed his gratification (i.e., wanting to simply raise crops & build a home nearby where he grew up), & he invested his own capital by putting his country ahead of his personal peace & affluence.

Resolution 9 , Leadership – A true no-brainer. William Wallace = Leadership. ‘Nuff said. He served others at all times; he had a BHAG / huge dream! ; he was a visionary, anchoring the reality of Scotland’s situation to his future vision; and, he brought out the best in people: his inner circle loved him, the clans rallied to him, and like anyone who leads from the front, he polarized.

Resolution 10 , Conflict Resolution – Admittedly, Wallace’s idea of resolving conflict was crude:  Fight & kill them 😉  However, let’s also call a spade a spade:  He did not practice the deadly sins of conflict avoidance, silence, or triangulation either.

Resolution 11 , Systems Thinking / Holism – Thinking in systems is a trait that lacks in so many corners of society; it also did in this era. Wallace, though, was ahead of his English enemies on several fronts related to holistic thought. First, his battle plans were ahead of their time, turning the last few centuries on their head. Second, he understood that if Scotland “had no sense of itself” , his homeland couldn’t be free. It required thinking as a system, getting to the root level to bring warring clans together in a common cause for a higher purpose.

Resolution 12 , Adversity Quotient –  Wallace fit this so very well. He surely experienced a lot of adversity — family wise, growing up in a country with very few freedoms, & seeing friends die on the battlefield. However, like 20th-21st century men & women such as Jack Canfield, Margaret Thatcher, Lou Holtz, & Frank Bettger, his iron will x his emotional intelligence x his intellect ( the latter borne through his growing up with a strong self-directed education ) put him on a level unlike anyone else in his era.

Resolution 13 , Legacy –  Another easy one. When you think of Scotland & even if you know only a little about European history, I’d bet that the name ‘William Wallace‘ isn’t too far from the forefront of your mind. His legacy echoes and ripples to this very day. In fact, once the Scottish Parliament was re-convened, some of the MP’s referred to Wallace as their inspiration! Additionally, Wallace’s amazing leadership helped change the current of decline and statis in Scotland by putting a check on the FLD (‘Five Laws of Decline‘).

In summation, may I conclude that Mel Gibson did an extremely admirable job both in front of , and behind, the camera. His portrayal of Wallace as an actor, and his director role brought out the human qualities of a man that history’s books had not done prior to 1995. I am privilged to be able to offer up my review, and clear recommendation, to this blog’s readership to not only watch this film, but to view it through the filter of resolutions.

May your days ahead be bright, filled with cheer, laughs, & smiles. Nothing but success as you soar like an eagle and climb the mountains to your destiny 🙂