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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Top 10 Lessons in Leadership from Elon Musk

Randy Ottinger, Executive Vice President at Kotter International, said of Elon Musk: “Elon Musk is an inventor and builder wrapped into one; kind of like a combination of Benjamin Franklin and Steve Jobs on steroids.” Assuredly, Musk is a magnificent one-of-a kind leader in today’s changing world. In her Predictive Success article, Top 10 in Leadership, author, Kelly-Ann Lahey shares Musk’s top 10 lessons in leadership.

Lesson  #1. Lead by Example
Lesson  #2. Lead with Purpose
Lesson  #3. Be Creative
Lesson  #4. Be Collaborative
Lesson  #5. Encourage Innovation
Lesson  #6. Be Decisive
Lesson  #7. Be Comfortable with Change
Lesson  #8. Hire Carefully
Lesson  #9. Set Exceptionally High Standards
Lesson #10. Put the Right People in the Right Role

Musk’s lessons reflect his life learning from his personal experience of leadership. He has gone through the harsh realities of difficulties and failures to understand how each of these lessons has impacted his career and life and how they can affect others. His selfless sharing of these lessons allows both him and the recipient to continue to learn the lessons of leadership through his new-found perspectives. May his lessons serve as seeds to each of us to further grow and develop our own leadership skills, talents and knowledge that we, too, can be “an inventor and builder wrapped into one.”

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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Our Relentless Commitment to Never, Ever Give Up

Ceaselessness is a relentless passion to achieve. It embodies a mindset where obstacles are not perceived as insurmountable, but merely things to be overcome. It is a magical combination of resilience and persistence and one of the foundation pillars of great leadership.

In a recent leadership workshop at Seton Hall University, entrepreneur, motivational speaker and author, John Gallucci, filled the room with excitement and passion as he inspired his audience of future leaders.  His message was powerful and simple: Believe in yourself and your infinite possibilities and have a relentless self-commitment to never, ever to give up. Knowing your mission, passion and what you love to do, he said, are the keys to a highly successful  and happy life. He shared six essential elements that powerfully capture the ‘how’ of achieving that success: preparation, risk and sacrifice, networking and relationships, doing what others won’t, investing in our team and people and learning from mistakes.

He asked his audience: “Are you able?” What able-ities make you able?” His beautiful response to the latter question was a list of able-ities: adaptable, accountable, absorbable, capable, employable, impressionable, knowledgeable, marketable, presentable and valuable. These are the game changers that great leaders possess that not just tell people their dreams, but show them the realities of their dreams. He captured his own recipe for personal success in his words: “I have done what others have not. I can do what others could not. I will do what others will not.” In his concluding remarks, Gallucci cautioned the team: “If you don’t build a dream, someone else will hire you to help them build theirs.

Dream your dreams! Build them into extraordinary realities. May you also passionately and proudly say: “I have done what others have not. I can do what others could not. I will do what others will not.” Choose 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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On Purpose and Passion

An inspiring quote from an unknown author tells great leaders… Purpose is the reason for your journey. Passion is the fire that lights the way.” In their book, The Power of Moments, Chip Heath and Dan Heath share the research of Morten Hansen in his recent book, Great at Work: How Top Performers Work Less and Accomplish More. They write that Morten distinguished between purpose and passion: Purpose is defined as the sense that you are contributing to others, that your work has broader meaning. Passion is the feeling of excitement or enthusiasm you have about your work.” Morten wanted to know which contributed to greater job performance.

Morten grouped people into categories, e.g., people who were low and high on purpose, and people who were low and high on passion, and asked managers to rank their performance. The following are his findings.

The authors write about this work: “The outcome is clear. Purpose trumps over passion…. Passion is individualistic. It can energize us but also isolate us because my passion isn’t yours. By contrast, purpose is something that people can share. It can knit groups together.” Purpose is the beautiful “why” that inspires and provides direction to the lives of great leaders. Passion is the magnificent fire that lights the journey with excitement, joy and exhilaration. It is the magical blend that can change the world. Howard Schultz captures the magic in their synergy saying: “When you’re surrounded by people who share a passionate commitment around a common purpose, anything is possible.” Live your magnificent life with purpose and passion… every beautiful moment. They are all so fleeting.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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Asking a Better Question

Tony Robbins said: “Successful people ask better questions and, as a result, they get better answers.W. Edwards Deming adds to this writing: “If you don’t know how to ask the right question, you discover nothing.” Great leaders understand the power of asking the “right” question. They know that what you ask is what you get. A simple example helps demonstrate this. When confronted with an obstacle or wall that impedes progress, the question could be asked: “How can I get around this wall?” A better question could be posed as: “ Once I get around this wall, what new wonders will I be able to realize to fulfill my dreams?” The better question creates new possibilities and better solutions.

In his book, The Flight of the Eagle, Jiddu Krishnamurti tells great leaders: “To ask the right question is far more important than to receive the answer. The solution of a problem lies in the understanding of the problem; the answer is not outside the problem, it is in the problem.” The formulation of the “right” question is one of exploration, open-mindedness and big-picture thinking, one emanating from our priorities and purpose… what we think is what we are.  As Bernard Baruch said: “Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton was the one who asked why.” Be that one who asks why.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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