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

The Twelve Laws of Karma

Karma is the Sanskrit word for action.  Great leaders know the meaning of this magical and elegant word as the law of cause and effect or, as Isaac Newton’s third Law of Motion states: “For every action there is an equal but opposite reaction.” For great leaders, karma simply means that their life is in their hands – there is an accountability for every action, behavior, attitude or thought they have. The Twelve Laws of Karma beautifully suggest critical choices of awareness and being that guide the journeys of great leaders.

The Twelve Laws of Karma

The Law of Cause and Effect – What you sow is what you reap.

The Law of Creation – What we focus on is what we create.

The Law of Humility – Accept what is, let go of what was, and make changes towards what will be.

The Law of Growth – Our own growth can happen over any circumstance.

The Law of Responsibility – Our lives are of our own doing, nothing else.

The Law of Connection – Everything in the Universe is connected, both large and small.

The Law of Focus – One cannot direct attention beyond a single task.

The Law of Hospitality and Giving – Demonstrating selflessness shows our true intentions.

The Law of Change – History repeats itself unless changed.

The Law of Here and Now – The present moment is all we have.

The Law of Patience and Reward – A patient mindset will reap the highest reward.

The Law of Significance and Inspiration – The best reward is one that makes an impact.

The Twelve Laws, in their beautiful and profound simplicity, speak to the great leader’s being: who we are creates what we do – an action and an equal and opposite reaction. They are powerful reminders of the impact that our choices make on ourselves and those whom we serve. As Jean-Paul Sartre writes: “We are our choices.” J. K. Rowling reminds us: “It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” Our choices create the mosaic of our life. May it be resplendent with joy, beauty, wisdom and love that those who see it are inspired also to choose a life of greatness.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

Posted in Three Minute Leadership | Tagged | Leave a comment

The 10 Laws of Trust

In his article, How Smart Leaders Build Trust, Theodore Kinni writes about Joel Peterson’s, CEO JetBlue, book, The 10 Laws of Trust.  Peterson, he writes, defines trust as a “giving up of control, at some level to another person…. Trust is the operating system for a life well-lived… trust is more powerful than power itself…. It supports innovation and flexibility and it makes life more enjoyable and more productive. People who live in high-trust environments thrive.” Trust is the glue that binds people and organizations together enabling them, and their people, to achieve their greatest potential. Peterson suggests the following 10 Laws of Trust.

  1. Start with personal integrity
  2. Invest in respect
  3. Empower others
  4. Measure what you want to achieve
  5. Create a common dream
  6. Keep everyone informed
  7. Embrace respectful conflict
  8. Show humility
  9. Strive for win-win negotiations
  10. Proceed with care

Trust is also a building block of an organization’s culture. It is a principle and value that, when lived and shared in a community allows, as Peterson writes, “people to thrive.” May we take counsel from the words of an unknown author about the five things we can’t recover in life: “A stone after it is thrown. A word after it’s said. Time after it’s gone. An occasion after it’s missed. Trust after it’s lost.” As Johann Wolfgang von Goethe tells us: “Trust yourself, then you will know how to live.” May trust be your life’s operating system on your magnificent journey.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

Posted in Three Minute Leadership | Tagged | 1 Comment

You Already Have Everything You Need… Now Just Stretch

In his Time Magazine article, How to Create More from What You Already HaveScott Sonenshein  challenges the traditional belief that more is better, that more means greater success. He suggests that with this approach “We overlook the value of what’s already in hand…. Over time, the ‘more’ approach makes us less adaptive and less satisfied.” There is an alternative, he suggests: “Stretching offers an effective, more fulfilling alternative that invigorates us to do more without needing more.” When we stretch, we tap into our own resources and excitingly challenge ourselves to do more with them, not seeing what we have as a limitation, but seeing what we have through different eyes and realizing their full, unleashed potential.

To start stretching Sonenshein suggests asking ourselves a simple question: “What can I do with what I have?” In asking this, we take ourselves beyond our perceived constraints of needing more. We are now free to explore the power and potential of what we have already. We open ourselves to become innovative with what we have, experimenting and finding new uses for our skills, talents and knowledge. We experiment and we grow. We adapt to a new normal as we realize the potential of the gifts we have. All this is ours as we are freed of the burden of constantly pushing for a more that is never satisfied, a more that drains more than what it gives.

Sonenshein concludes his article counseling great leaders saying: “You already have everything you need to succeed. Just stretch. Imagine how liberating it would be to stop worrying about what you don’t have and start engaging with what you already have in more productive and satisfying ways.” Stretch, my dear friends. Yes, more is good… and now we have stretching… another magnificent tool of great leadership.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

Posted in Three Minute Leadership | Tagged | 1 Comment

The Leader as Architect

Jim Rohn writes: “Whatever good things we build end up building us.” A friend shared a story which captures the role of great leaders as architects of their magnificent lives.

An elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer-contractor of his plans to leave the house-building business and live a more leisurely life with his wife enjoying his extended family. He would miss the paycheck, but he needed to retire. They could get by.

The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter said yes butin time, it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end a dedicated career.

When the carpenter finished his work the employer came to inspect the house. He handed the front door key to the carpenter. “This is your house,” he said, “my gift to you.” The carpenter was shocked! What a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently.

This simple story is a gentle reminder to great leaders: Each day, in each act, word and thought, we choose to build our life, the home in which we will live. Magical castles, grandiose and elegant structures,  impervious fortresses or simple abodes – whatever our selection, the choice is in our hands at each moment. As the story writer tells us: “Each day you hammer a nail, place a board or erect a wall. ‘Life is a do-it-yourself project.’ Your attitudes and choices you make today build the “house” you live in tomorrow. Build wisely!”

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

Posted in Three Minute Leadership | Tagged | 3 Comments