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.

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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.

Aug 132013
 
Leadership correlates with education, education with freedom, and leadership engenders freedom: Connections

A couple months ago, I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to hear a very moving talk from a well regarded, influential servant leader #. His ability to interweave leadership principles, liber education (self-directed/leadership), & the meanings of freedom seamlessly together is quite impressive. I’ve noticed that such an ability to synthesize concepts is often missing from today’s schooling, although its value is hard to underestimate in any context once you’ve experienced it.

That talk inspires this post. My wishes for the reader are to think independently; to understand that it is very important to grow his/her leadership abilities — in the ‘soft skills’ — and, lastly, that schooling and education are far from one in the same.

It’s been proven throughout history that freedoms that citizens enjoy are connected to their education. And, that information learned, studied, and applied is where wisdom originates. We cannot depend on faux ‘experts’ to determine anything — businesses large and small, schools, public, private, and home based, and other institutions crave and are clear need of leaders who are honeable, hungry to learn, and are humble, realizing that for every book they read, there are thousands yet to be.

Our freedoms, best described through the lens of either the ‘eight meanings’, or the ‘three types’ ( DeMille & McEwen, respectively ), rest with embracing the age in which we presently live, while renewing our past, and looking evermore into the future. A business model that combines servant/replacement leadership with education, and which filters out the best information from the noise and mis-information in our world today, is beyond priceless. It is troubling when so many citizens are struggling when we have more info at our fingertips today than even 10 years ago; so, let’s connect these together and serve first, to address our problems at their very root.

Businesses which are cutting edge often are very abstract and intangible —  it can be argued that Microsoft, let alone Facebook in the present time, are very much in this category. So, information that isn’t pure, which is not based on fundamental concepts and principles of leadership, nor which encourage any of the types or meanings of freedom, can get out into the marketplace through such an outlet. Think of all the banner ads, the advertising in the news feed, and such as cases in point.

Enter into the marketplace of our global world a similar model, based strictly on information and connecting people together who share a like-minded vision. Going further, the model teaches the soft skills to those who are hungry to invest their 86,400 seconds a day into those who own a share of it; let alone, existing to reach out to others who don’t yet own a share, but wish to do so since they realize that doing the same old, same old in the familiar zone just won’t get them ahead in life.

What may restrain the growth of such a fused model of self-directed education, servant/replacement driven leadership, & the impartation of freedom principles?  Alexander Tytler saw many of them coming centuries ago:  Complacency. Cynicism. Apathy. Dependence [ in this case, on big institutions, words instead of action/deeds ]. Bondage [ here, speaking of debt – spending much of your time plying a trade to pay creditors instead of focusing on what really matters ]. However, can anyone change this?  Of course!  Should you have some healthy skepticism that you can?   Sure. Just use the latter as fuel, and don’t catch the dreaded disease known as ‘excusitis’.

Dr. Schwartz taught us about this disease years ago in his landmark book ( a MUST read.); being “busy” and broke, let alone leaning back on your health as a crutch, all fit into this category of mediocrity. Breaking free from it by solving the idea and ambition problems is exactly what this type of fused model solves!  Leadership requires independent thought, & a different lens and thinking pattern. Education requires the same, and dispenses with much of the (more subtle) programming that schooling includes. And, freedom is precious, and requires one to lead from the front, educate constantly, and think in depth.

Don’t find yourself on the outside looking in while the “experts” attempt to solve problems in your town/city, county, province/state, or nation. Don’t let yourself be distracted from the real issues. Avoid living vicariously through others’ successes, inc. a favorite sports team(s). Curtail excessive entertainment that can become entrenched in your lifestyle, which will neutralize your potential to be great, instead of just average. Be extraordinary!  As Don Soderquist taught us in his book, live, learn, and lead to make a difference. This type of internet age model gives you the intangible tools to do all of the above & much, much more.

Thank you for taking the time to visit this blog & may your life be filled with all the things that you have earned by service before self.

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# Sending many kind regards to Mr. George Guzzardo. Please take the opportunity to visit his blog; he updates it frequently and his posts are filled with wisdom; the link/URL is in my blogroll.

Aug 112013
 
What you do MATTERS -- Serve. Pay forward. Give. Bless Others.

Ripples in the still water…

They are caused by something which breaks the stillness; something which serves as the cause, while the effect is palpable to the naked eye …

Who among us, likely while with your parents on a hike, a camping trip, or at a retreat, hasn’t tossed a rock into a pond, a lake, and watched with glee as your act caused something so obvious?  Raising my hand, I am one of them 😀

So, why would we, as adults, not apply this same principle to your life?

What you do MATTERS.

Here’s the principle I speak of. This is not a new idea, yet I wished to cover it today, as earlier this summer, I was privilved to hear a moving talk from an accomplished business owner ** ( w/ her husband ) who re-told the story that I’ve linked back to at the bottom of this post. The story is a core of the ‘Butterfly Effect’ , and is synonomous with ripples from a smooth stone tossed as a young child. Rather than re-tell that story, let’s use it as inspiration – print it off, and refer to it often …

Let’s apply this to our lives today. Stop spending so much time on obligations that only benefit ourselves and which have limited value to our families, trusted friends, and our society. Our families are the cornerstone of our culture – thus, the butterfly effect, the ripples, matter – and our culture is in dire need of an infusion of leadership that rises from organic growth of our own thinking. Our friends are valuable, so why would we not spend time and effort cultivating those relationships?  That will ripple.

And, social capital can only be rebuilt by conscious focus on restoring values which will bring satisfaction in our business ownership (or our careers/jobs), our faith/spiritual development, our marriages/parenting, and in our time spent community building (anything from the YMCA, PTA, church youth groups/VBS, et al.)

Yes, what you do MATTERS. Focus on priorities! Match your calendar to them at all times. No excuses, please. If you rank something as #1 in your life, it should be #1 on your calendar in terms of the time you spent on it, as often as possible. Sure, urgencies will arise; so long as you remember Covey’s ‘Big Rocks’ vid clip, the visual should stick with you  to guide you back onto the path in case you are knocked off of it.

It is a privilege of mine to serve others, paying forward world class/gold medal information which has the highest potential to lead to the butterfly effect in others’ lives. Help one person/family/entrepreneur fix an issue and grow their servant leadership?  Define their purpose? Sharpen their vision?  Up their adversity quotient?  Fix their finances at the deepest roots?  Those are ripples. They are priorities for those folks, right?  So, the stone and rock tossed is the information, that which, once learned & applied, will effect the change.

How amazing a feeling to shake hands, hugs, fist bumps, and pats on the back with the people whose lives you bless!  Up your count. Give of yourself & pay forward transformational info that has benefited you/your family/your business. And, you will have  your own opportunity to be the Moses, the George W. Carver, the Henry Wallace, and the Norman Borlaug in your own ways.

+ + +

** Thank you so very much, Laurie Woodward, for your ability to inspire through stories! The story that she cited can be found elsewhere; however, here’s a great source that is found easily online > http://lifetoday.org/connect/words-of-life/the-butterfly-effect/  <

Aug 032013
 
Mindset -- Thick skin, soft heart > Soft skin, hard heart --

Your mindset is a very large input factor – its impact is much like a rock that ripples the standing, still waters on a lake once a person skips it across the surface.

So, after hearing a talk by a very accomplished business owner/entrepreneur about 6 weeks ago, and re-visiting my notes from her ** talk, I was inspired to blog about some of the contents of her talk, adding some of my own color to her words.  It was a very enlightening perspective!

First >

Being offended.

Have thick skin & a soft heart when it comes to being offended. Our culture is far too close to the soft skin, hard heart than it should be, which causes needless friction in relationships. Let alone, one’s mindset is impacted, as he/she is always either carrying a chip on his/her shoulder(s), or is always being overly concerned about what to say & when to say it. Manners matter, yet having empathy and grace are better.

Second >

Credentialism.

If someone has more credentials, certifications, or other ‘flair’ than the person next to you, please don’t have the mindset that this individual is more intelligent, smarter, or more impactful to society. There’s nothing at all amiss about pursuing these as you go after what you want ( ‘Define’ step ), however, your mindset must be centered on the value of people as far more than their career/occupation/job. The latter is just a small part of our lives. Let alone, the fact that self-directed (liber/leadership) education doesn’t bring with it any of these “tokens”, however, this path is just as valuable,and unquestionably so.

Third >

Being an employee & lacking understanding of being an owner/entrepreneur.

As with the second, neither of these pathways are “wrong”, however, oft-times, with the last century having been a force-shift culture rather than the previous 125 years, there is a mindset that someone who is an owner has to put their entire life on the line by signing a stack of papers, or having a name on a building. Let alone that entrepreneurship is ‘risky’, or requires a ton of time to get ahead versus a 40 hour employee’s average week. Not the case!  Here, again, mindset makes all the difference. Have thick skin if you are an owner facing questions like this; have a soft heart if you are dealing with an owner who is chasing his/her dream of freedom

Fourth >

The desire to always win an argument.

Dale Carnegie taught us all about four score years ago that one never really wins an argument. Sage wisdom from the past, as usual, is timeless. However, when your skin is not thick, you may be far more defensive, less humble, et al., so I can clearly can tell why she included this in her talk about mindset.  Instead of winning an argument, and losing the battle, let alone the’ ‘war’, how about digging into people skills books, audios, and surround yourself with those whom will make you better?

Fifth >

Image.

One possible way to approach image is to compare it to one’s reputation, as opposed to what one truly is, inside-out. A person is far more than how he looks on the surface, how much schooling/education she has, etc. Being materialistic, judgmental of someone’s choice of clothing without knowing details, critiquing his way of talking; all of these are image-conscious. It’s far more valuable to re-focus your mindset on something that will edify and glorify others.

and, lastly, Sixth >

Excuses.

We’ve all made them; in fact, Dr. David Schwartz, in his landmark book, ‘The Magic of Thinking Big’, dedicated a whole chapter to ‘Excuse-itis’!  So, let’s not reflexively judge others, nor beat ourselves up if we’ve come up with excuses. These are signs of the latter from this blog’s subject – a hard heart and thin skin. Rather, turn the excuses into reasons! And, have a thick skin and grace when it comes to dealing with others who have not yet reshaped their mindset to one of solutions, rather than problems.

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** – all credit for the outline/core themes from this post to Mrs. Terri Brady. Her talks are always a value add to my life. Visit her blog @ http://terribradyblog.com for an excellent dose of success, wealth, and interpersonal development thinking.

Jun 092013
 
Three Keys - will you learn from & apply them?

Just today, I had the privilege to be able to attend a book signing event at which numerous inspirational and encouraging messages were shared which served to add doses of wisdom,  education, and humility to the proceedings.

Encouragement can often take the form of truths that one may not want to hear, yet it is often the truth that one doesn’t hear that can make the difference between everlasting personal change & growth and mediocrity. Mentorship, being the highest level of service to another, puts the student (mentee) in a position of required understanding of a quote that’s been attributed to Sir Issac Newton:

What we know is a drop, what we don’t know is an ocean.

So, what are some keys that are life changing truths, if understood, learned from, and applied?

There are many. No question this topic could comprise a book all by itself, let alone a thesis, or a dissertation in the credentialist world. In the creator/builder world, these keys equally apply, and in fact, hold more water as someone who owns something has more stake in growing personally in order to satisfy the demands of the free enterprise economy that he/she lives.

For the purposes of this post, thought, the subject is on point; there are 3:  The one message I heard tonight rang like a tuning fork as it applies so very well to life, to the success / significance that many would like to achieve, let alone to a leadership/coaching/education business designed around the purpose of serving others, and serving them to the utmost levels. A visiting pastor from Detroit * delivered this message and these cores are:

<1> Take 100% Responsibility for yourself

The opposite?  Making excuses, whining, complaining, pushing issues into the hands of others.

Rather, if you change your belief, your belief system can itself be completely changed. Additionally, you can achieve your dreams by putting the responsibility in your hands, and not looking outward, but rather inward, for owning your own life.

<2> Live your life on Purpose

Discover, and be doing it!  You have the responsibility to do the job right, as you have more control over your life than anyone else possibly could. The great achievers have vision and purpose, and the extraordinary have strategies to use both. Never allow your dreams to die — wrap them around your purpose.

<3> Go the EXTRA mile

Render more services than for which you are paid. Until you begin to give, you won’t get; God profits the doer, and believing in expending effort and hard work while being completely responsible and focused on one’s purpose all work in concert as keys to a growth journey.

We cannot ‘pretend’ a lot, or at all, since it effects our future directly. Be cognizant of Newton’s quote, be anchored to your vision, and be faithful. The results will astound you!

———

* With much appreciation to Pastor A.F. Adeniji for inspiring this post —

http://www.rccgwcd.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=36&Itemid=70

Sep 262012
 

A few months ago, I was fortunate to be watching, listening, and taking notes from a live stream webinar where the topic of “momentum” as applied to one’s mental fitness, was the cornerstone of the speaker’s talk. He surely hit a grand slam with his research findings!  I do have to agree with him; he said that he didnt know of much discussion in leadership/self-help/personal growth/life coaching circles on this topic, and I haven’t seen anything to contradict his take.  So, with that in mind, and in the interests of paying great information forward in the blogosphere, here’s what I took away from the webinar on my trusty iPad 3  🙂

Feel free to comment & share, and regardless, thank you for taking some time to visit my blog!

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Physical momentum is preceded by your psychology. You must get a positive current in the pool ( i.e., with your finances, job/career, thoughts/thinking, family )

Mass & motion = two big factors.  How many are moving forward in life?

 

Jim Taylor –  Momentum Chain  – 5 steps

1. Precipating or game changing event
2. This game changing event causes a change in attitude for those involved –>  increase hope, energy, & confidence
3. The change in attitude = leads to change in behavior
4. The subsequent change in behavior will lead to a change in performance  ( an offensive / thriving mindset takes hold. )
5. Lastly, the change in performance drives a change in Results

 

Even a person who is, in all respects, a fish floating downstream (no purpose, lack of vision, just looking to the next day or next weekend) – can & does come upon a game changing event once in a while;  i.e., an unexpected shift in his/her financial outlook, a promotion, a chance to open a new business.  Therefore, he/she must create & capitalize on it.

 

Two Key / Different Ways :

1. Be the Example  ( Leaders lead from the front )
– with purpose , attitude , strong adversity quotient –

 

2. Law of Buy-In  ( getting the big ‘mo )
– get others bought in to what we’re doing –

a.  Excitement
b.  Encouragement – exhorting others
c.  Edification – be a ‘good finder’ in those whom you encounter

 

What’s your purpose?  Living just for the upcoming weekend?  What’s your goal(s) in life?

What do you want?  What’s the price?   PAY it.   ( Resolution 5 )

Developing the right attitude ( Resolution 3 )

– Must constantly crank down the volume on the negative  voice(s)

– Are there bugs on the windshield or are you looking in rearview mirror , be sure to you are cleaning your ‘glass’

– Have to re-frame & get a different perspective all the time.

 

3 Choices :   Give up, give in, or give it all you got.

 

Action – Starts w/ Courage : always a choice there. What holds us back ?   Could be the …

 

Fear of Man
Fear of Loss ( hunker down.; chase freedom, will get security )
Fear of Failure ( only way we learn! )

 

In sum, don’t be a captive of your fear, say no excuses, & have no regrets.  🙂
Making it a romantic battle beats the alternative = going thru the motions / getting into a rut !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deepest appreciation to well regarded business owner/entrepreneur and devoted family man, Kirk Birtles, for taking the time to put together such an inspired, educational, and informative talk!  The content is his from his research & is mixed in with my note taking / added verbiage; it is my privilege and desire to share it here in the blogosphere – if we, combined, can help touch even a single life and make it better, the mission is accomplished.