A Choice of Human-Being or Human-Doing

You are a human being, not a human doing.  Marianne Williamson wrote: “The highest level of creativity consists in being, not doing. When the being is intense enough, when the words are spoken enough, when the thoughts are thought enough, the doing will automatically follow.”  Great leaders recognize these words as leading from the inside out. The doing is the outer expression of their leadership. It is who the great leader is which drives what they do.

Inner leadership is the real, authentic and genuine core – the principles, values and extraordinary standards – by which great leaders have chosen to define themselves. It is this leading from the heart through which great results are achieved.  It is this inner realization and living of one’s purpose and values which sets an internal fire ablaze… a being burning brightly. To remind ourselves of the power of leading from within, remember always the wise counsel of an unknown author: “If an egg is broken by an outside force, life ends. If an egg is broken by an inside force, then life begins. Great things happen from the inside out.” Choose to be an extraordinary human being, and all your great human doings will follow naturally.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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The Great Leader as Artist

Stroke by stroke the artist creates her work. Each precise movement of the brush on the canvass is part of a grander design. Images, colors, intensity and shadows bring depth and meaning to the magnificent portrait -another treasure added to the magnificent mosaic the artist creates as she joys in her life’s purpose. This work completed, the artist begins her search for her next brush stroke, perhaps the one that will be her life’s masterpiece.

The artist’s journey is a beautiful metaphor of the great leaders’ own journeys. Each word, action, thought, decision and behavior is another brush stroke to their life’s work and purpose. Wilferd Peterson powerfully describes these strokes: “There are the bold, sweeping strokes of one increasing, dynamic purpose. There are the lights and shadows that make your life deep and strong. There are the little touches that add the stamp of character and worth.”  Each day, fill your canvas with the glorious strokes creating your own awesome masterpiece, strokes filled with fire, passion and beauty that say to the world: “I live every day of my life to its fullest.” You are the artist of your life. Make it a work of art! Life is so very good.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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As a Man Thinketh…

In his Leadership E-Bulletin Greg Thompson brings poignant emphasis to Stephen Covey’s words: “We see the world, not as it is, but as we are??or, as we are conditioned to see it.” He writes of the impact of James Allen’s book, As a Man Thinketh, in which he writes of the transformative power of thinking positively and its impact on character, health and relationships.  Allen wrote: “As a man thinketh in his heart, so he is…. A man’s mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild; but whether cultivated or neglected, it must, and will, bring forth. If no useful seeds are put into it, then an abundance of useless weed-seeds will fall therein, and will continue to produce their kind.” 

Recognizing the power and influence positive thinking has on leadership, Thompson invites great leaders to ask questions about what they think about various facets of their life.

Are your thoughts your ally or your enemy?

  • What are your thoughts about your organization? Do you think about it as a chaotic, messy institution or a diverse, creative community? 
  • What are your thoughts about leadership? Do you think about it as an entitlement to power, privilege and wealth or as a calling to serve others? 
  • What are your thoughts about others? Do you think of them as flawed pawns on your chessboard or as wonderfully gifted and unique partners? 
  • What do you think about your work? Do you think of it as an inescapable chore or as a way to live out your purpose and legacy? 
  • What are your thoughts about the future? Do you think about it as a road lined with countless perils and menacing enemies or as a once-in-a-lifetime adventure?

As a leader, when you change the way you think, others will change the way they act!” Thompson states. It is our garden to grow, to seed, to nourish. Thompson writes: We are the masters of our own mind… we are the authors of our day-to-day thinking patterns.” Let’s plant a magnificent garden and be awesome authors of our thinking. As Barry Kaufman tells us: “The way we choose to see the world creates the world we see.” May we choose wisely and well.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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On Being Remarkable

John Green asks the profound question of great leaders: “What is the point of being alive if you don’t at least try to do something remarkable?” They understand that to do something remarkable, they need to be remarkable – daring and risk-taking, discontent with the “as is” and passionate dreamers in the relentless pursuit of “what can be.”

In his recent blog post, Dan Rockwell shares his thoughts on 7 Ways to Become Remarkable:

  1. Take every opportunity to connect with remarkable people. Poke and prod them. Remarkable seldom happens in isolation.
  2. Do less of what you did yesterday. Remarkable is about change, never more of the same. There is a caveat. You must never change your passion to do things that matter. You can’t simply chase the latest shiny new object and be remarkable.
  3. Reject excuses. Do the scary thing.
  4. Do what makes you happy in service to others. Serving yourself makes you forgettable. Serving others makes you remarkable.
  5. Dig in for the long haul. Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg’s attempt to fly a solar airplane around the world began 14 years ago. Bertrand has raised over 140 million dollars.
  6. Act your way into clarity. Dreaming is useful only when it inspires action.
  7. Lean into dissatisfaction with optimism, not despair.

Be remarkable! Do remarkable! 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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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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