Make It One Heck of a Summer

With the beginning of summer for those of us in the northern hemisphere Philip Humbert’s article, “Make It One Heck of a Summer,” and its message of carpe diem again comes to mind.  I share this at the beginning of each summer as it continues to serve us well as a moment of reflection of the great possibilities and joys of the coming summer.  In his article, he talks about how he and his wife seemed to always have the same conversation about summer in October:  “Oh, no!  Where did the summer go?”  Moments later the house was filled with whining and moaning, a few complaints and exclamations that, “I can’t believe we let it get away again!”  I believe his experience is similar to most of ours, and that, come October, we may look back with similar regrets… if we don’t purposefully choose a summer filled with fun, relaxation and infinite possibilities for joy and happiness.

Humbert reminds us that we are in control.  Our summer and how we will spend it is in our hands. It is about goal setting – a plan, getting things on our calendar and locking-in on them.  Human beings, he says, are by nature “goal-setting and goal-achieving creatures.”  We set goals everyday – from the planning of our daily schedule to planning what we will eat during the week.  So, if we are to have the greatest summer yet of our lives, we need to plan to make it the greatest.  Start today.  Circle dates on the calendar and mark them with things you want and love to do.  Fill it up and let it overflow the brim. Live this summer as the greatest you have ever had!   It is your beautiful and special life to live to its fullest.  Stretch yourself to do new things and discover new possibilities and happiness – for you, your family and those around you. Set goals and make a checklist of all those things you want to do, and do them.  And in October, look back proudly with joy, happiness and extraordinary satisfaction at what you have achieved, learned and experienced.  Happiness and success is in your choosing and doing.  Choose wisely; choose well! Life is so very beautiful and good.  Make yours one heck of a summer, my very dear friends! Make it one heck of a summer.

Have a beautiful day, a fantastic week and a joyous and magnificent summer!!!

Posted in Three Minute Leadership | Tagged | Leave a comment

A Vigilant Mindset

It is the great leaders’ daily ritual in the quiet of the morning – their mind goes through the day ahead: family responsibilities to take care of, personal to-do’s, business schedule, evening commitments (a late night ahead?), then home again. With a smile of their face, they look into the mirror and jubilantly say, “This will be a magnificent day, the best yet.” Another day begins, and they know that the day will be filled with challenges.

Philip Humbert in his blog, Trouble and Triumph, writes about these great leaders, and shares his thoughts on a successful strategy that they can use in dealing with these challenges. He states: “High achievers expect challenges. They know that, as they move forward, problems will occur. Unexpected things will happen, and they maintain an attitude of optimism, humor, strength and resolve in the face of difficulties. They know that, as they become ever more successful, the size and complexity of their problems will only grow.” He suggests some solutions for solving the problems.

  1. Expect difficulty! This is no surprise. It is not unfair or unusual. Life is complicated. Get good at it.
  2. Keep a buffer around the edges of your life. Maintain a reserve of extra time, savings in the bank, and a bit of energy to handle the unexpected.
  3. Attitudes of optimism and enthusiasm are essential.
  4. View difficulties as challenges or learning opportunities rather than as problems. How we talk about our difficulties makes a huge difference in how we handle them.Words matter!
  5. Have a team of cheerleaders, experts and colleagues on stand-by to help you overcome any challenge. “We get by with a little help from our friends.”
  6. Be proactive. Take care of difficulties while they are small. Preventive maintenance is good for your car, your relationships and your heart.
  7. Learn from every experience and (try) not to have the same problem twice. Learn from difficulties, make changes, and move on. Never repeat the same life-lesson!

Setting expectations, maintaining a positive attitude and seeing what life presents as opportunities to learn establish a powerful growth mindset.  The morning ritual, far from being dreaded, becomes one of joy and excitement… the excitement that this beautiful and magnificent day we are given will be the best yet, because we choose it to be.

Fill every minute of your day with all the greatness and possibilities that only you can give. Return home each night knowing that you lived every minute of your magnificent life that day. May you remember and hold close the words of Henry David Thoreau that we “must find your eternity in each moment.” May you find your eternity in every moment.  Life is so very, very good.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

Posted in Three Minute Leadership | Tagged | Leave a comment

On the Value of the Stupid Pill

In a Blue Bloods TV episode, Garret Moore, the public information officer to the Commissioner says: “A wise woman told me that anytime I started to doubt my abilities I should take a stupid pill. Because then I could believe that I could accomplish anything.

These words are a strong reminder to great leaders of the importance of sometimes reframing their mindset – to forget what they believe and know, and open their mind to new possibilities, to see the world through a different lens and not be bound by their worldview. It is a proactive action filled with excitement and movement – a suspension of belief in search of something new and never dreamed. The same thought is captured differently in the words “the willing suspension of disbelief” – a choice for great leaders to admit a possibility and take action to explore it further.

The end result of both approaches is an openness to stretch and grow themselves and others, an opportunity as Max De Pree writes to “give each other space so that we may both give and receive such beautiful things as ideas, openness, dignity, joy, healing, and inclusion.” Remember always the words of Brianna Wiest: “If you carry the bricks of your past with you, you will build the same house.”

Garret’s friend called them ‘stupid pills’ for fun. Perhaps a more fitting name is the ‘Enlightenment Pill.’ Regardless of name, they are non-prescription and can be purchased over the counter. Just one pill, and you can believe that anything is possible. Try one… it may change your life forever… into something more beautiful than you ever believed or dreamed.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

Posted in Three Minute Leadership | Tagged | Leave a comment

What Would You Stop Doing?

In his book, Hungry! Fuelling Your Best Game, hockey great Ryan Walter shares his experiences and learnings while a “hockey expert” in the Disney film, Miracle. His work with Director Gavin O’Connor provided a great insight to his leadership teachings – the importance of framing in great leaders’ lives, the choices of what should be in focus and what should not be in focus as they create their life’s epic film.

Maintaining focus on priorities, current or forthcoming, is the daily life-blood of great leaders. This is the in-focus stuff. One of the greatest challenges they face is keeping things out-of-focus – their “Ignore List.” Walter’s research of eleven companies that turned themselves from good to excellent found that “the big decisions were not what to do, but what to stop doing.” Walter brings this to life quoting Jim Collins who wrote in USA Today the article: “Suppose you woke up tomorrow and received two phone calls. The first phone call tells you that you have inherited $20 million, no strings attached. The second tells you that you have an incurable and terminal disease, and you have no more than ten years to live. What would you do differently, and, in particular, what would you stop doing?”

You are the Director of your life’s beautiful and grand masterpiece. Choose to make it magnificent in what you choose to include in it and what you will not include. Most important, what will you stop doing that will take you to yet higher levels of happiness, success and joy beyond your wildest dreams.  As Peter Drucker reminds us: “If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old.”

Have a beautiful day, a Happy Memorial Day and a magnificent week!!!

Posted in Three Minute Leadership | Tagged | Leave a comment

Your Legacy Is Every Life You’ve Touched

In her Commencement Address at Agnes Scott College in Atlanta, Oprah Winfrey’s message to the graduating class was “The biggest reward is not financial benefits, though it’s really good, you can get a lot of great shoes! Those of you who have a lot of shoes know having a closet full of shoes doesn’t fill up your life. Living a life of substance can…. Substance through your service, your offering of your whole self… whatever is true for you, whatever you stand for.” She suggested three things to live a life of substance: a deep compassion for others; a life committed to service through your work and your life’s purpose; and being constructively engaged in life to change the world in “respectful conversation with others… be open to hear the truths of others and open to letting the process of changing the world change you.” Be a person of substance!

She captured the profound depth and beauty of her message sharing the counsel that Maya Angelou told her:  “You have no idea what your legacy will be. Your legacy is what you do every day. Your legacy is every life you’ve touched, every person whose life was either moved or not. It’s every person you’ve harmed or helped. That’s your legacy.” Winfrey concluded her address with the words: “Feel everything with love, because every moment you are building your legacy.”

May you often pause and reflect on these words knowing always: “Your legacy is every life you’ve touched.” So, feel everything with love and live your beautiful life of substance and purpose.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

Posted in Three Minute Leadership | Tagged | 1 Comment

The Size of the Person Is More Important Than the Size of the Problem

In his book, The Difference Maker: Making Your Attitude Your Greatest Asset, John Maxwell writes about problems and how great leaders see and deal with them. “Our perspective on the problem,” he states, “not the problem itself, usually determines our success or failure (in addressing the problem).” He brings emphasis to his statement with the words of Alfred Armand Montapert: “The majority see the obstacles; the few see the objectives; history records the successes of the latter, while oblivion is the reward of the former.” It is how the great leaders perceive problems that determine the success of their outcomes.

The size of the person is more important than the size of the problem,” Maxwell writes. The great leaders’ mindset, confidence, character, passion and enthusiasm are among the key drivers that enable them to accept the excitement and challenge problems present, reminding us of that well-known statement of seeing things as problems or opportunities. For great leaders, problems are always opportunities for great learning, opportunities to challenge themselves and others to push their boundaries and grow. Maxwell’s message is beautiful in its simplicity:  It is the lens that great leaders choose to look through that determines their approach, response and actions.

Maxwell shares his personal definition of problems that has served him on his life’s journey:

P redictors – helping to mold our future.
R eminders – showing us that we cannot succeed alone.
O pportunities – pulling us out of ruts and prompting us to think creatively.
B lessings – opening doors that we would otherwise not go through.
L essons – providing instruction with each new challenge.
E verywhere – telling us that no one is excluded from difficulties.
M essages – warning us of potential disasters.
S olvable – reminding us that every problem has a solution.

On your magnificent journey, remind yourself always of the words of s Soren Kierkegaard: “Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.” May you experience life’s magnificent reality in its full joy, beauty and richness… beyond your wildest dreams.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

Posted in Three Minute Leadership | Tagged | Leave a comment

“It’s Not What You Look at That Matters. It’s What You See”

Henry David Thoreau writes: “It is not what you look at that matters. It’s what you see.” These words provide great leaders a beautiful moment of reflection. They think of how wonderfully unique each of us is. We see life differently, not “right” or “wrong,” but with a rich abundance of diversity that brings new insights and meaning to everything we touch. They muse about how these words speak to the creativity that spawned from that different set of eyes, a creativity so beautifully captured by George Bernard Shaw in his words: “Some men see things as they are and say, why? I dream things that never were and say, why not.” They recognize also the caution given in these words: to be vigilant in their understanding that they don’t know what they don’t know – that there may be more possibilities in something that they are not seeing. As Anais Nin tells us: “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”

Friedrich Nietzsche wrote: “At bottom every man knows well enough that he is a unique being, only once on this earth; and by no extraordinary chance will such a marvelously picturesque piece of diversity in unity as he is, ever be put together a second time.” May you revel in your  own magnificent uniqueness and the abundance of richness of diversity and differences of those whom you serve. May you be the reflection of your passion and love of life, of dreams undreamed and a love and joy of life that will inspire the hearts and souls of those whom we serve.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

Posted in Three Minute Leadership | Tagged | 1 Comment

Wisdom of John Wooden for Great Leaders

John Wooden’s life continues to be a magnificent inspiration to great leaders. May each of us pause a few brief moments to reflect on his words that we may find in them a gift, a learning – one that will enrich the meaning and joy of our day and our life’s journey.

Winning takes talent, to repeat takes character.
Don’t give up on your dreams, or your dreams will give up on you.
It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.
Talent is God-given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.
You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.
Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.
Consider the rights of others before your own feelings, and the feelings of others before your own rights.
When opportunity comes, it is too late to prepare.
Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.
Never mistake activity for achievement.
Don’t let making a living prevent you from making a life.
It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.
Be more concerned with your character than your reputation because character is what you really are, while reputation is merely what others think you are.
Discipline is just choosing between what you want now and what you want most.
Make each day your masterpiece.

Dreams, talent, character, opportunity, respect for others, attention to the little things  – all elements of a magnificent mosaic of personal and professional greatness that are guideposts to the great leader’s journey. Wooden’s life and achievements give testimony to the value and effectiveness of their pursuit and actualizing. May we, too, incorporate his inspiration and learnings into our lives that we, like Wooden, will say: “I’ve been blessed in so many ways.”

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

Posted in Three Minute Leadership | Tagged | 1 Comment

On the Other Side of Terror… the Best Things in Life

On the other side of your maximum fear are all of the best things of life.Will Smith speaks these words in his video, Will Smith Talks About Fear, in which he shares his first skydiving experience: “Terror, terror, terror, terror!” Fear that was the threshold of the experience became transformed into a “blissful experience” of a life-time. His learning was great in its simplicity  – he had allowed fear to consume his life for days and hours before the jump happened. During those times there was no immediate danger, only the thought of it – a consuming thought that he wouldn’t let go of. Finally, the moment arrived and the unexpected happened: “that moment when you should be terrified is the most blissful experience of your life.”

Rachel Huber wrote: “Fear is the brain’s way of saying there is something important for you to overcome.” Great leaders view fear as a call to action and understanding, not as their inhibitors. It is believing that something can be achieved rather than avoided. It is a joy to be embraced, and not a dread to be dismissed. Nelson Mandela tells us: “The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

Smith’s concluding beautiful and inspirational words are: ”And God placed the best things in life on the other side of terror.” May your eyes, heart and soul see always beyond the daunting challenges, trials and fears that life presents. May you boldly seize those moments and find in them the “most blissful experience of your life.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

Posted in Three Minute Leadership | Tagged | Leave a comment

Like Riding a Bike

In his recent blog post, Like Riding a Bike, Seth Godin provides great leaders a powerful insight and reminder of their journey of leadership growth and development – experiential learning… learning through doing.

Like Riding a Bike
People talk about bike riding when they want to remind us that some things, once learned, are not forgotten.
What they don’t mention is how we learned. No one learns to ride a bike from a book, or even a video.
You learn by doing it.
Actually, by not doing it. You learn by doing it wrong, by falling off, by getting back on, by doing it again.
PS this approach works for lots of things, not just bikes. Most things, in fact.

It is in the experience of something that learning is at its deepest and richest. It is real, hands-on, the sleeves rolled-up and the hands get dirty. Retention of the learning is most enduring because the experience becomes one of the memorable stories of our life’s journey, remembered in its finest, most riveting detail.

May you enjoy the full joy, excitement and beauty of your leadership ride – with all its turns, bumps, ups and downs and its detours onto life-changing new paths that deepen and broaden your leadership learnings. May you apply and share them as you change the world and serve others in their leadership journey. In doing this, may you remember always that life is a journey, with problems to solve, lessons to learn, and most of all, experiences to enjoy. As Tony Robbins tells great leaders: “The only impossible journey is the one you never begin.” Get on your bike and have the ride of your life!

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

Posted in Three Minute Leadership | Tagged | 2 Comments