Winning Every Day – The Game Plan for Success

Lou Holtz, legendary football coach, said: “Virtually nothing is impossible in this world if you just put your mind to it and maintain a positive attitude.”  In his book, Winning Every Day: The Game Plan for Success, Holtz shares his thoughts on the basic strategies lived by highly successful leaders in their quest to be extraordinary in their personal and professional life.

  1. The Power Of Attitude. The attitude you chose to assume toward life and everything it brings you will determine whether you realize your aspirations. What you are capable of achieving is determined by your talent and ability. What you attempt to do is determined by your motivation. How well you do something is determined by your attitude.
  2. Tackle Adversity. You are going to be knocked down. I have been on top and I have been at the bottom. To achieve success, you are going to have to solve problems. If you react positively to them, you’ll be stronger and better than ever. You can assume that your competitors have problems too. If you react to setback more quickly and positively, you gain a distinct advantage. I’ve never encountered a person who achieved anything that didn’t require overcoming obstacles. Expect them.
  3. Have a Sense of Purpose. Understand what you are trying to do. Stay completely focused on your original and primary purpose. Do not be sidetracked. If you own a business, help the customer get what they want. If you want a promotion, give your employers what they want, somebody who delivers a first rate performance every day.
  4. Make Sacrifice Your Ally. You can’t be successful without making sacrifices. Most losing organizations are overpopulated with people who constantly complain about life’s difficulties. They will drain your enthusiasm and energy. Take pride in making sacrifices and having self-discipline.
  5. Adapt or Die. Things are always change, so embrace the fact that your life and career are always in transition. Yes, you will achieve your goals, but don’t fall into the mistake of thinking you don’t have to do anything further. Even when you become number one, you will still need to stay focused on the fundamentals.
  6. Chase Your Dreams. All great accomplishments start with a dream. Dreams fuel your enthusiasm and vision. They give you a burning desire to get up in the morning and achieve.
  7. Nurture Your Self-Image. A positive self-image grows out of having strong character: to be trustworthy, committed to excellence, and show care for others are the underpinnings of a successful person.
  8. Foster Trust. All relationships are based on trust. I can’t begin to tell you have many people I have seen ruin tremendous opportunities because they didn’t have the discipline and decency to do what’s right. Continually ask yourself, “Is this the right thing to do?” Do what you feel is right regardless of peer pressure or personal desires; success and confidence will not be far behind.
  9. Commit to Excellence. Do everything to the best of your ability. Everybody wants to be associated with people who set and maintain high standards. When you lower standards, you only invite mediocrity.
  10. Handle with Care. Treat others as you would like to be treated – with concern and care.

Holtz’s words underline the traits of being of extraordinary leaders, the actualization of leadership from the inside out. He poignantly captures this saying: “You were not born a winner, and you were not born a loser. You are what you make yourself be.”  Remember always the words of William Shakespeare: “It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.” May we add to this the wise counsel of Dewitt Jones: “It is not trespassing to go beyond your own boundaries…. Make the subtle shift from pushing ourselves to be the best in the world to allowing ourselves to be the best for the world.”

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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Life Lessons From a Man Who Walked on the Moon

Great leaders fill their lives each day with magnificent learnings and experiences. These are among the magnificent gifts they give forward to those who will follow them. In his book, No Dream Is Too High – Life Lessons From a Man Who Walked on the MoonBuzz Aldrin joyously shares his along with his stories of his life as an astronaut. He writes: “These are a few of my favorite life lessons that I learned as a result of walking on the Moon and the preparation that took us there – the guiding principles that have helped keep me going since returning to Earth.”

The sky is not the limit… there are footprints on the Moon!
Keep your mind open to possibilities.
Show me your friends, and I will show you your future.
Second comes right after first. (Always push to be #1.)
Write your own epitaph.
Maintain your spirit of adventure.
Failure is always an option. (There is great learning to be found in it.)
Practice respect for all people.
Do what you believe is right even others choose otherwise.
Trust your gut… and your instruments.
Laugh… a lot!
Keep a young mind-set at every age.
Help others go beyond where you have gone.

Aldrin’s learnings tell great leaders: Your life is in your hands..  He gives his life as an example of living life to its fullest. At age 86, he tells us: “I am not afraid of dying, but what concerns me is that I may run out of time before I get everything done that I want to do. And there is so much more I want to do! There are so many things I want to accomplish and people I want to impact. I’m not done yet. I have more to contribute. As a matter of fact, keep your eyes on me; you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet!

These are the words of great leadership. They are yours. Tell the world: “Keep your eyes on me; you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet!” Yes, for you… for all of us… the best is yet to come. Be more than you ever dreamed you could be… and more… so much more. Life is so very good.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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Leadership Learnings from Golf

Life, in all its beautiful richness and breadth, continuously provides lessons in great leadership. The game of golf is no exception. Sara Doell, Coach of Seton Hall’s Women’s Golf Team, three time Big East Coach of the year and LPGA National Coach of the Year, shared nine lessons about life and leadership she learned from golf.

In introducing them she said: “As a college coach, my role is not just to teach the team the mechanics of the game of golf. It is my job to lead them through the trials and tribulations that this sport gives you, and teach them to be tougher, stronger, smarter, positive and to build their character through sport. I believe that true leaders help others to see the good in everything and teach them to embrace growth and change. So I share with you 9 lessons Lesson I have learned and am hopeful that the athletes that I am fortunate enough to coach are learning the same lessons through this humble game we call golf.”

Lesson #1

Golf: Sometimes you hit the perfect shot right down the middle of the fairway and your ball ends up in a divot. How you react to that ball in the divot can define the rest of your round.
Life: Some days, you have an adverse situation and how you react to that adverse situation, can define the rest of your day, your week or even your year.

Lesson #2

Golf: A two foot putt counts the same as a 300 yard drive so take your time when “tapping it in.”
Life: Pay attention to the little things because they matter as much as the big things.

Lesson #3

Golf: People won’t remember what you shot but they will remember the character you showed on the golf course.
Life: In life, people may not remember how many of a product you sold, how much money you made or what your accomplishments were but they will remember the way you made them feel.

Lesson #4

Golf: If you shoot 80 for 18 holes, you only spend 1 minute and 20 seconds of actual golf swing execution. You better find a way to keep your mind and body calm for the other 3 hours, 58 minutes and 40 seconds!
Life: Staying calm in strenuous situations can lead to the best results. Know when to focus and when to give your mind a break!

Lesson #5

Golf: The best round of golf are full of good misses as not every golf shot can or will be hit perfectly. It is the golfer that manages the mishits the best, wins.
Life: Stop striving for perfection and start striving for excellence.

Lesson #6

Golf: The shot you are hitting must be hit with the next shot in mind.
Life: Decisions you make now will effect what you do next.

Lesson #7

Golf: You hit the best golf shots when you have the least amount of thoughts in your head and can keep your focus on the target.
Life: Overthinking can cause worry, stress and doubt. Keep your mind clear and focus on what matters.

Lesson #8

Golf: You are not your golf score. You can shoot 68 on Saturday and 88 on Sunday so do not define yourself by what you shot. Define yourself by the effort you put out.
Life: Be Humble when things are great and hopeful when things are tough.

Lesson #9

Golf: You can hit a great golf shot and a gust of wind comes up and moves your ball off target and into a bunker. You cannot control the wind. You can control your reactions.
Life: Focus on what you can control, not what you can’t.

Quoting Bobby Jones, Doell said: “Golf is the closest game to the game we call life. You get bad breaks from good shots; you get good breaks from bad shots – but you have to play the ball where it lies.” No matter what life hands great leaders as the result of their decisions and actions, they know they own it and they continue to improve to play their best game ever. As Sam Snead said: “In golf, as in life, you get out of it what you put into it.”

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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Seeing the Invisible, Knowing the Truth

In his recent blog post, Philip Humbert speaks of the volumes of data and information to which the world today is exposed. Great leaders don’t need more information he writes, they “need filters to cut through the clutter, identify the KEY piece in a world of random data, and take action.” He believes that human beings already have his ability, something that Malcolm Gladwell, in his book Blink, calls “thin slicing.” It is what the world calls intuition or instinct. Humbert suggests that to be successful, “In the 21st century, peak performers will understand and hone this skill to a razor’s edge.” … by seeing the invisible and sensing the truth.

Robert Graves wrote: “Intuition is the supra-logic that cuts out all the routine processes of thought and leaps straight from the problem to the answer.” Albert Einstein told us: “The only real valuable this is intuition.” Holbrook Jackson wrote: “Intuition is reason in a hurry.” Jonas Salk said:  “Intuition will tell the thinking mind where to look next.” And Deepak Chopra tells us: “Our intuition eavesdrops on the mind of the universe, giving us access to the infinite source of possibilities.”

Great leaders have that beautiful and precious gift within them. It is that inner voice that unlocks treasures yet dreamed. Listen to its magical voice. As Mahatma Ghandi wrote: “Everyone who will can hear the inner voice. It is within everyone.” Listen to yours … see the invisible, know the truth and change the world.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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On Excellence

Confucius wrote about excellence: “The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential… these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.” Erica Brown in her book, Take Your Soul to Work, writes that “excellence does not come in a one-size-fits-all-package” and shares her thoughts on the four difference ways excellence can be understood using the perspectives of four famous people.

Relative Excellence: We are probably not excellent, but we’re a lot better than any other game in town (Dolly Parton: “It’s hard to be a diamond in a rhinestone world.”)

Instrumental Excellence: We are not committed to excellence for its own sake but for the same of efficiency (John Wooden: “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have the time to do it over?”)

Aspirational Excellence: We set our standards so high that they become unattainable. (Vince Lombardi: “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.”)

Focused Excellence: We cannot accomplish every goal, so we need to determine what we really can do best and be laser-focused. (Steve Jobs: “We don’t get a change to do that many things, and everyone should be really excellence. Because this is our life.”)

The perspectives suggest a slight situational look at excellence and this may apply throughout the journey of great leaders. Martin Luther King Jr., however, paints a portrait of the excellence to which all great leaders strive and role model in their lives: “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.’” Excellence is a commitment to giving oneself completely, unconditionally and passionately to everything, great and small, that we do in life.

Hold closely the words of Ronnie Oldham: “Excellence is the Result of Caring more than others think is Wise, Risking more than others think is Safe, Dreaming more than others think is Practical, and Expecting more than others think is Possible.” It is being more than you ever dreamed you could be… and more… so much more.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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Enjoy Every Sandwich

In an interview with David Letterman, song writer Warren Zevon, who had been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, was asked by Letterman if his approach to life had changed and if there was anything that he understood now that he did not know before. Zevon replied: “You put more value on every minute … You know I always kinda thought I did that. I really always enjoyed myself. But it’s more valuable now. You’re reminded to enjoy every sandwich and every minute.”

Great leaders have a passion for life and all that they do. This is the beautiful burning fire that opens their eyes to new possibilities, stretches them to dream the unimaginable and fuels their drive to achieve their life’s purpose. The passion is expansive and limitless, not confined to one aspect of their life. It embraces the deep joy and love of family and friends, their professional and business life, a selfless servant leadership for all whom they touch and the in communities they serve. This passion brings a realization of the precious value and meaning of each moment they are given.

It is their choice to live life to its fullest. It is a choice they have made to “enjoy every sandwich and every minute.” Remember always the quote from an unnamed author: “Life is not measure by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” Make every day of your life breath-taking, and have fun doing it. Enjoy every sandwich! Life is so very good.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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On the Joy and Need for Rest

Muhammad Ali words capture the passion, commitment, focus and drive that great leaders put into their life and their career: “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’” It is an exciting and sometime grueling pursuit of excellence, and it is all worth the awesome prize.

In her book, Take Your Soul to WorkErica Brown, counsels great leaders to take care of themselves on their journey: “Life is a muscle that is worked hard, you cannot forever sustain heavy lifting. Leadership is not an endurance test to demonstrate your limits or a competition to see who can work harder.” Time is needed to refresh themselves if they are to avoid burnout. She shares Maya Angelou’s advice on rest:

“Every person needs to take one day away. A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future. Jobs, family, employers, and friends, can exist one day without any one of us, and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence. Each per deserve a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.”

The world needs great leaders; you are very important to all of us. We gently ask you to take time for yourself, to make yourself a priority once in a while. It is not selfish. It is necessary. As Parker Palmer wrote: “Self-care is never a selfish act – it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer others.” We need you as our champion. We want you to be more than you ever dreamed you could be… and more… so much more.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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Leadership Is Not a Race

In his recent blog post, It’s Not a RaceSeth Godin gives greater depth and meaning to the great leaders’ understanding of “winning” and “being a winner.”

Some things are races, but not many.
A race is a competition in which the point is to win. You’re not supposed to enjoy the ride, learn anything or make your community better. You’re supposed to win. 
At the end of a race, people congratulate the winner, and point out how well she did by winning. The rest of the field, the losers, well, hey, you tried.
Once you see it that clearly, so many things are clearly not races. And when we treat life that way, we cheat our customers, the people we seek to serve, as well as ourselves.
We sometimes abbreviate, “he won a particular race,” to, “he’s a winner.” They’re not the same thing.

In the metaphor, the winning of a race can be equated to a simple act of doing – the exercise of successfully completing a goal-oriented task. This winning is the “what” that is accomplished. To make the bodacious leap from winning to being a true winner, Godin suggests that there is much more, and it is found in “how” the winning was accomplished. Winners are fired by their “secret sauce,” their magnificent being: passion, engagement, focus and commitment to their life’s purpose, principles and values. These create a habit of excellence that is internalized in all that they think and do. This is the stuff of greatness!

No, leadership is not a race a one-time event. It is a lifelong journey of being. Denis Waitley reminds us: “The winner’s edge is not a gifted birth, a high IQ, or in talent. The winner’s edge is all is the attitude, not aptitude. Attitude is the criterion for success. ” Remember always that winners are not people who never fail, but people who never quit. Continue to be more that magnificent winner who is more than you ever dreamed you could be… and more… so much more.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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A Journey Mindset Changes Everything

Great leaders know Ralph Waldo Emerson’s famous words about life’s journey: Life is a journey, not a destination.”  Greg Anderson adds to this writing: “Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.”

Pause for a moment in these words: “Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.” Intellectually, great leaders know their truth and value. Unfortunately, the doing drive in the great leaders’ lives sometimes overshadows this reality, and precious moments of life are lost to the focus on the ultimate goal of completing the act. It could be the action of a physical exercise: I need to run today, or I need to go to the gym. It may be a visit to see someone to say hello. It could be a dinner commitment or a meeting. If the mindset is simply focused on checking the activity off of our calendar, we will have missed the joys, learning, love and beauty of those precious moments.

Anderson tell great leaders: “Only one thing has to change for us to know happiness in our lives: where we focus our attention.” This is the simple key to incredible joy and happiness – to stop, pause and say to ourselves, “It’s about my journey. Enjoy each precious moment.” It is that simple. In all that you dobe mindful of each precious moment of your magnificent journey.” Remember always, life is a journey. Make it your mindset. In everything that you do, start with the reminder to yourself: Life is a journey. Enjoy the ride.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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On the Gift and Joy of Vulnerability

In her book, Daring Greatly, Brené Brown speaks of the power of vulnerability and the courage required to achieve it. She writes: “Nothing requires more courage than vulnerability. Leaders are afraid of revealing what we all know: We are so very human; we are continuously prone to error. We are inadequate. We feel we are imposters. We are terrified of exposure. We do not want to make ourselves susceptible. We cannot afford to lose our credibility.”

The joy and beauty of daringly taking that step to be vulnerable, however, has a joyous gift that great leaders give to those whom they serve: “Our capacity to be vulnerable helps open others up; it creates our joint humanity… We do that by making a small hole in the heart that lets others see what we have overcome.” We bravely tell them that they, too, can reinvent themselves, be resilient and be stronger than they had dreamed.

Remember always Brown’s words about the authenticity paradox: “Vulnerability is the last thing I want you to see in me and the first thing I look for in you.” Be daring is revealing the beautiful fragility of who you are, and the courage you have in continuously becoming who you will be. You are not inadequate, but the magnificent bearer of gifts that you alone possess that can change the world and the lives of everyone you touch. Choose to be vulnerable and make that small hole in the heart to let others see the strength and power of your journey and what they journey can be.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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