“I Hope You Will be Treated Unfairly”

In his June 2016 commencement speech at his son’s graduation from a small boarding school for grades six through nine, Chief Justice John Roberts shared with the students the immense value of learning that can be found, if  one chooses, in life’s difficult moments.

“From time to time, in the years to come, I hope you will be treated unfairly, so that you will come to know the value of justice,” he said. “I hope you will suffer betrayal because that will teach you the importance of loyalty. Sorry to say, but I hope you will be lonely from time to time, so that you don’t take friends for granted. I wish you bad luck again, from time to time, so that you will be conscious of the roll of chance in life, and understand that your success is not completely deserved, and the failure of others is not completely deserved either. And when you lose, as you will from time to time, I hope every now and then your opponent will gloat over your failure. It is a way for you to understand the importance of sportsmanship. I hope you will be ignored, so you know the importance of listening to others, and I hope you will have just enough pain to learn compassion.”

He continued saying: “Whether I wish these things or not, they’re going to happen. Whether you benefit from them, or not, will depend upon your ability to see the message in your misfortunes.” Great leaders understand the importance of finding meaning and learning from life’s experiences. They have learned that from falling down, you stand up (e.g. Fall seven times, stand up eight.). There are no regrets, only lessons learned. You may forget what hurt you, but never forget what it taught you and that sometimes in life, your situation will keep repeating itself until you learn the lesson.

Leo Buscaglia wrote: ‘Change is the result of all true learning.” May you find life’s fullness in all of those opportunities when you are stretched and challenged by life’s difficult moments. May you be ceaseless in you pursuit of 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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The Power of Moments

We do not remember days, we remember moments,” writes Cesare Pavese. It is in these brief instances that our mind and heart capture something memorable and distinctive. The moment was different from all others. It glowed by its specialty and uniqueness. It may have been a moment of connectivity with others in celebration (a wedding or graduation), a moment of self-discovery (a choice of a career or career change, a decision to marry),a moment of personal achievement and pride in its accomplishment, or simply a moment of exception that was exciting, fun and memorable (our first roller coaster ride, a truly out-of-the ordinary and magical happening). These are moments that we remember and treasure and which create a mosaic of the joys of our life.

In their beautiful and powerful book, The Power of Moments, Chip Heath and Dan Heath share with great leaders how they can create more magical and special moments. They write:

“Every culture has its prescribed set of big moment: birthdays and weddings and graduations, of course, but also holiday celebrations and funeral rites and political traditions. They seem “natural” to us. But notice that every last one of them was invented, dreamed up by anonymous authors who wanted to give shape. That is what we mean by “thinking in moments: to recognize where the prose of life needs punctuations.”

“Think in moments” is their powerful message – to recognize thoughtfully that each moment gives us the opportunity to create a memory of a lifetime. All it takes is stopping and asking: how can I make this moment (be it a birthday, a meeting with someone, hiring a person, an experience for a customer, a surprise for a family member or loved one) so very special that they will remember it always? We have the power to create perfect moments that can last a lifetime. Think in moments! Make those punctuations!  You will change the world!

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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The Joy of Openness

Gerry Spense wrote: “I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than closed by belief.” What a beautiful reminder to great leaders… to always be open to seeing the world through different eyes and not be  constrained by the world and ideas they hold as truth now. It is the key to further growing in the value they bring to their professional and personal life as they continuously challenge their own beliefs and certainties to explore new possibilities and realities.

Tony Schwartz tells great leaders: “Let go of certainty. The opposite isn’t uncertainty. It’s openness, curiosity and a willingness to embrace paradox rather than choose up sides.” May we learn and take pause from his exhortation.  May we have a mind opened by joys of wonder and exploration… of possibilities unseen and dreams undreamed. May we remember always Steve Jobs’ words: ”Open your mind to every form of beauty.” In that openness, may we challenge our ‘what is’ in our relentless and passionate search of ‘what can be” as we change the world and the lives of those whom we serve and touch that they, too, embrace their own dreams undreamed.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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We Are That Profound Secret and Mystery to Each Other

In his novel, The Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens writes: “A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other. A solemn consideration, when I enter a great city by night, that every one of those darkly clustered houses encloses its own secret; that every room in every one of them encloses its own secret; that every beating heart in the hundreds of thousands of breasts there, is, in some of its imaginings, a secret to the heart nearest it!

Great leaders deeply understand and treasure the beautiful and wondrous richness within each person: their values, perspectives , the individual uniqueness in how someone sees the world, their magic in seeing and connecting dots that no one else sees. It is the great leaders who inspire and motivate those whom they serve to explore, find and realize their greatest possibilities and potential that they rise to the stars and beyond.

It is this wondrous ‘inside of us’ that great leaders choose to fill and nourish. Rumi tells us: “The universe is not outside of you. Look inside of yourself; everything you want you already have.” May your gifts, passion and love of life fill the mosaic of your own profound secrets and mystery.  As you discover and bring them to life, may you whisper to yourself the words of Sydney Carton from The Tale of Two Cities: “It is a far better thing that I do than I have ever done….”,  and know always that the best is yet to come.

Have a beautiful day, a Happy Easter and Passover and a magnificent week!!!

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There Need to Be Things That Inspire You

In her recent blog post, Ali Montag, Elon Musk Explains His Motivation to Succeed: “There Needs to Be Things That Inspire You”, writes about Elon Musk and the mindset that inspires and fuels his success. As founder of SpaceX,  Musk’s current endeavor is to bring life to Mars. In a South by Southwest Conference in 2013, he humorously said: “I’ve said I want to die on Mars, just not on impact.”

To provide a framework  for her discussion, Montag introduces the article with the story of Ernest Shackleton, the famed Antarctic explorer: “When famed explorer Ernest Shackleton was recruiting men to come along on his 1914 Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, the story goes that he published this ad for the job: ‘Men Wanted for Hazardous Journey. Small Wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in case of success.’” The search for these early explorers, Musk says, will be much the same: “difficult, dangerous, good chance you’ll die, excitement for those who survive.” So are the challenges for great leaders on their journeys.

Montag captures Musk’s exciting, adventurous and success-focused mindset in the words: “focusing on optimism and rejecting limitations”. Musk has said: “You want to wake up in the morning and think the future is going to be great…. It’s about believing in the future and thinking that the future will be better than the past.” It is about “finding  purposeful work and focusing on the positive changes you can effect.” It is this inspirational  spirit of daring, risk-taking and ceaseless – of never, ever giving up – that drives the achievement of their life’s purpose..

Musk may be going to Mars as one stop on his journey. But he and other great leaders have their eyes on something greater… the stars and beyond. May this be the spirit that fills every morning wake-up in your life – to think and believe “the future is going to be great.” And it will be, because you will choose it to be.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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On Delighting in Sacrifice

“The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” wrote Henry David Thoreau. Great leaders know that success is about hard work, going the above-and-beyond and making sacrifices for longer-term goals. In his blog post, Delighting in Sacrifice, Seth Godin writes about the rewards of sacrifice:

“The journey toward that worthy goal, though, is a key part of the goal itself. We are never certain we’ll reach our goal, one significant reason that so few people persist. But if the journey involves sacrifice, we’re paying for that goal, the goal we’re never sure to reach, every day. Hence delight.

The act of sacrifice, of foregoing one thing in our journey toward another one, one more generous, virtuous and useful, is actually a little piece of the satisfaction of the goal itself. If it comes easy, it’s not the same.”

Gordon Hinckley tells great leaders: “You will come to know that what appears today to be a sacrifice will prove instead to be the greatest investment you will ever make.” May you fill your life with extraordinary investments whose return will fulfill your greatest aspirations of joy, happiness and success both in your own life and in the lives of those whom you touch and serve.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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The Greatest Distance for a Person to Travel in the World Is 18 Inches

At HR.com’s LEAD2018 Conference participants were inspired by a rich and dynamic program of motivational speakers. Ashanti Branch, in his discussion, The Mask You Live In, captured the audience with his words: “The greatest distance a person travels in life is 18 inches, the distance from the head to the heart.

Knowing something and committing to it are two different things. The knowing is an intellectual understanding. Transforming that knowledge into reality, however, involves an emotional commitment. Michael Formica writes: “It is not until we feel a thing – moving from the head to the heart – that we become invested in it.”  It is a cerebral digestion that takes place through feeling – from head to heart. Getting there, sometimes, is what makes the distance long.

As an example, Andy Fastow, former Enron CFO, also spoke at the conference on Leading with Ethics. He said that all that he did was reviewed by accountants, lawyers, internal auditors and members of the organization. Everyone agreed that he was following the rules (the ‘head’ at work). He said, however, that at the trial the judge asked him: What you did, was it right? (a question of the ‘heart’). He spent six years in jail – a long distance.

Great leaders embrace the power and gifts that both the head and heart bring to them in serving their organizations and the people whom they serve. They remember, always, the words of Martin Luther King Jr.: “One day we will learn that the heart can never be totally right if the head is total wrong. Only through the bringing together of head and heart – intelligence and goodness – shall man rise to a fulfillment of his true nature.” May we build a super highway between them both that mind and heart find the magic and beauty of our greatest thoughts and feelings that we may bring great change to the world and those whom we touch and serve.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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Lessons in Leadership – Colin Powell’s Thirteen Rules

Colin Powell reminds great leaders: “A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work…. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help them or concluded that you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.”  Powell’s thirteen rules of leadership capture the force, reality and simplicity of highly effective, caring leadership:

  • It ain’t as bad as you think. It will look better in the morning.
  • Get mad, then get over it.
  • Be careful what you choose. You may get it.
  • Don’t let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision.
  • Check small things.
  • Share credit.
  • Remain calm. Be kind.
  • Have a vision. Be demanding.
  • You can’t make someone else’s choices. You shouldn’t let someone else make yours.
  • Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your positions fall, your ego goes with it.
  • Don’t take counsel of your fears or naysayers.

The rules speak to self-awareness and control, attention to detail, focus on results, vision and humility. They are about being in the game and on the field. May your leadership inspire confidence and trust in those whom you serve. Your magnificent being is the key to the magnificent doing. 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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It Is Already Here

This is a simple story of life’s special moments. While having coffee, I heard two friends talking to each other. One mentioned that he had found a joyous, peaceful moment over his weekend. It had snowed and he said that he enjoyed one of life’s beautiful moments as he walked quietly in the snow. There was no one around, a gentle solitude. He enjoyed the quiet hush of the snow falling to the ground… a moment of peace. His happiness was seen on his face and heard in his voice. His friend said to him: “I need to find that some time for me.” His friend looked at him and said: “It is already here.”

Occupied and sometimes overwhelmed by the rush of responsibilities of their professional and personal life, great leaders sometimes forget to pause and “smell the roses.” Don’t wait to find “some time” for you. Grasp it now. Those moments are truly “already here.” Steve Goodier tells us: “Wherever you are, be there. If you can be fully present now, you’ll know what it means to live.” Life is so very good!

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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Celebrating the Beauty of Your Self-Worth

Robert Brault, freelance writer, shares words with great leaders which gives them a moment to pause and reflect on how they see themselves: “Looking back, you realize that a very special person passed briefly through your life and that person was you.  It is not too late to become that person again.”  So often we forget to realize the importance of how we see ourselves and its impact on our life and who we are.  We forget to remember that what we feel about others is a reflection of what we feel about ourselves. We forget that how we see ourselves and our talents and abilities creates our own world view. We forget to realize the impact that our view of our self-worth has on how people respond to us   If we choose to see ourselves as among God’s and life’s greatest gifts, truly a one of a kind individual with infinite possibilities, we find an incredible individual who can change the world.

Wayne Dyer, American author and motivational speaker, tells us:  “Self-worth comes from one thing – thinking that you are worthy.”  Every morning, may you look in the mirror and tell yourself:  “I am worthy!”  Take time to reflect on how great and wonderful you are.  Believe your words and let them fill you with excitement… for you are a magnificent and beautiful gift.  May you remember the words of Friedrich Nietzsche:  “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.” Realize that ‘very special person’ in your life… it is you. Enjoy your beautiful uniqueness and magnificence… there will never be another you.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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