On the Value of Being Challenged

Henry Ford said, “When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” His words speak to the importance of challenges, difficulties, problems and complications to the great leaders’ growth in achieving the heights of their dreams and ambitions. These are the opportunities that allow you to stretch your wings to move forward. They teach you to maneuver and find new paths on your journey ahead. They test your courage and willingness to change. They teach you resilience. They enable you to find wisdom in the learnings enjoyed in their resolution. They are the magical keys that open your mind, heart and soul to your greatest potential.

It is said that we don’t grow when things are easy. Seneca wrote, “Difficulties strengthen the mind, as labor does the body.” May you face your life’s challenges and obstacles with confidence, positivity and excitement knowing that they are the beautiful stepping-stones to achieving your life’s purpose and meaning. As Ralph Waldo Emerson counsels, “Bad times have a scientific value. These are occasions a good learner would not miss.” May you take off into the winds and fly higher than you ever dreamed. Your best is yet to come.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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On the Joys of Being Comfortable with the Uncomfortable

In a discussion with a friend, Jillian Swogier, about key learnings on the great leader’s career journey, there was passion and excitement in her voice when she spoke of the joy of getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. It means, she said, daring to try new things because you believe that there is always a better way. It means not sticking or settling with something because the alternative is a challenge. It’s being comfortable with consistently breaking perceived personal and professional boundaries to be and do more.

She shared a quote from Katie Couric that captured this, “Be fearless. Have the courage to take risks. Go where there are no guarantees. Get out of your comfort zone even if it means being uncomfortable. The road less traveled is sometimes fraught with barricades, bumps and uncharted terrain. But it is on that road where your character is truly tested. And have the courage to accept that you’re not perfect… nothing is and no one is, and that’s okay.”

The ‘why’, Swogier explained, is simple, “If you don’t search and find that comfort with the uncomfortable, you will never grow and know that of which you are truly capable.” Kristin Armstrong’s words beautifully capture Swogier’s sentiment, “I want to get more comfortable being uncomfortable. I want to get more confident being uncertain. I don’t want to shrink back just because something isn’t easy. I want to push back and make more room in the areas between I can and I can’t.”

May you get out of that comfort zone and take the road less traveled, and enjoy the excitement of pushing your limits and finding and 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 Joy of the Every Moment

Writing about the importance of each of life’s moments, Eckhart Tolle says, “Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time, but the one point that is out of time: the Now. That is precious indeed. The more you are focused on time – past and future – the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.”

He adds deeper meaning to his words writing, “Nothing ever happened in the past; it happened in the Now. Nothing will ever happen in the future; it will happen in the Now.” The Dalai Lama writes, “There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow, so today is the right day to love, believe, do and mostly live.” Each Now moment is a precious singularity, one to be embraced and lived with intentionality and passion. This uniqueness is captured beautifully by Leonardo da Vinci, “In rivers, the water that you touch is the last of what has passed and the first of that which comes; so with the present time.”

May you live, maximize, treasure and enjoy each beautiful and precious Now moment understanding that it is, as Thích Nhât Hanh says, “the doorway to all moments.” Hold closely Wayne Dyer’s counsel, “Present-moment living, getting in touch with your now, is at the heart of effective living. When you think about it, there really is no other moment you can live. Now is all there is, and the future is just another present moment to live when it arrives.” With a joyous realization of its profound significance, may you live each Now moment passionately, boldly daringly and courageously. As Horace tells us, “Carpe diem”. Life goes by so quickly. May you live each and every moment to its fullest that at end of days you may say, “I truly lived every day of my life.

Have a beautiful day, a magnificent week and a joyous and Happy Thanksgiving!!!

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On Life’s Journey

Confucius said, “Roads were made for journeys, not destinations.” His words are a gentle reminder to great leaders that each day of life is but another beautiful step on their mgnificent journey in achieving their life’s purpose and meaning. There will be bumps, cracks and obstacles along the way, yet also, moments of extraordinary joy, learning and beauty. The roads may take unexpected turns onto new paths which will be life-changing in their possibilities for growth, development, renewal and, sometimes, redirection. As Helen Keller said, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.

May you leave no path untaken. Take the roads less traveled and make your own. Live your life’s journey to its fullest enjoying each day’s gifts and joys, as you remember the words of an unknown author, “The best view comes after the hardest climb.”

May you make your journey an extraordinary exploration of life’s opportunities and its undiscovered possibilities and riches that your feet may bless the ground and leave your footprints that others may follow. Each morning, may you quietly say, “The rest of my life will be the best of my life… my best is yet to come.” Choose to make your life a daring adventure.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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The Paradox of Impatiently Patient

In his recent blog post, Gary Burnison shares his insights on dealing effectively “in this frustrating time of perpetual uncertainty.” He suggests that “the answers are often found in the paradoxes and opposites. It’s time for impatient patience.” Or, in the words of Emperor Augustus, ‘Festina lente’ – make haste slowly.” He cites the findings of his Korn Ferry team of more than 70 million assessments of executives.

“Here’s what we know when it comes to this elusive quality known as patience. First of all, the best leaders are often impatient—they can’t afford to be complacent. And most of them also have a need to achieve, which makes taking on challenges a particularly strong motivator. But patience also shows up in more subtle, nuanced ways—like having empathy for people and exhibiting composure during times of high stress and crises. It’s a tall order, but that’s the yin and yang of leadership.”

The paradox is a living one for great leaders, the simple impatience to meet and achieve the many challenges and opportunities they explore, yet, also, to have the patience to step back, prioritize and assess the impacts they represent.  Success is found in a balance of being impatiently patient. Burnison adds further depth to this looking at a broader context… the world and time in which we live. Everyone needs to know and understand this balance of impatient urgency and the patience to deal with it.

On your journey, may you be impatiently patient, and bring this learning to those you serve. Remember the words of a Chinese proverb, “One moment of patience may ward off great disaster. One moment of impatience may ruin a whole life.” As Edmund Burke wrote, “Our patience will achieve more than our force.”

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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The Butterfly Effect

Chaos Theory states, “It has been said that something as small as the flutter of a butterfly’s wings can ultimately cause a typhoon halfway around the world.” This has come to be known as the “Butterfly Effect.” Said more simply, the smallest change can be the stimulus and trigger of greater ones.

The Butterfly Effect is an effective metaphor for the impact that our behaviors, words, actions and attitudes have on others. Each one is a stimulus, a ripple effect, to what follows. The repeated fluttering of your wings sends and reinforces messages of what you believe, the values you live, and your life’s purpose and meaning. It is this magnificent ripple effect that changes the lives of others through its optimistic outlook, the boldness and daring of its pursuits and its depth of caring and serving.

Shawn Achor writes, “Each one of us is like that butterfly. And each tiny move toward a more positive mindset can send ripples of positivity through our organizations, our families, and our communities.” It is the tiny moves that you make on your journey that have major impacts. May you remember the words of an unknown author, “Sometimes when I consider what tremendous consequences come from little things, I am tem’ wings that their vibrations, too, are felt halfway around the world. The little things that you do have that much influence. Flutter your wings proudly that others may feel and experience your magnificent impact, and that they, too, will continue your extraordinary ripple.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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In Humble and Joyous Recognition of a Role Model of Great Leadership – Colin Powell

Colin Powell is an extraordinary man who served with love. For him, both in his professional and personal life, it was all about people. His was a journey of success by surpassing. It is evidenced in his commitment to his life’s purpose and meaning, his exceptional values-based leadership which found its roots in people, his courage, passion, unconditional caring and serving of others. His words, below, capture his legacy of leadership and selfless giving.

Books on leadership abound. Powell’s words, below, however, beautifully and succinctly capture its essence. I humbly encourage you to take five minutes to read his thoughts, ones that may open your eyes and take you to new levels of leadership excellence.

1. “Leadership is all about people. It is not about organizations. It is not about plans. It is not about strategies. It is all about people-motivating people to get the job done. You have to be people-centered.”
2. “Good leaders set vision, missions, and goals. Great leaders inspire every follower at every level to internalize their purpose, and to understand that their purpose goes far beyond the mere details of their job. When everyone is united in purpose, a positive purpose that serves not only the organization but also, hopefully, the world beyond it, you have a winning team.”
3. “Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them.”
4. “Great leaders are always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate and doubt, to offer a solution everyone can understand.”
5. “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure. A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.”
6. “If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters.”
7. “Every organization needs to be introspective, transparent, and honest with itself. This only works if everyone is unified on the goals and purposes of the organization and there is trust within the team. High-performing, successful organizations build cultures of introspection and trust and never lose sight of their purpose.”
8. “The less you associate with some people, the more your life will improve. Any time you tolerate mediocrity in others, it increases your mediocrity. An important attribute in successful people is their impatience with negative thinking and negative acting people.”
9. “Never receive counsel from unproductive people. Never discuss your problems with someone incapable of contributing to the solution, because those who never succeed themselves are always first to tell you how. Not everyone has a right to speak into your life. You are certain to get the worst of the bargain when you exchange ideas with the wrong person. Don’t follow anyone who’s not going anywhere.”
10. “The most important thing I learned is that soldiers watch what their leaders do. You can give them classes and lecture them forever, but it is your personal example they will follow.”
11. “Never get so close to your position that when the position goes, your ego goes with it.”
12. “A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work.”
13. “Surround yourself with people who take their work seriously, but not themselves, those who work hard and play hard.”
14. “You don’t know what you can get away with until you try.”
15. “Dig up all the information you can, then go with your instincts.”
16. “Bad news isn’t wine. It doesn’t improve with age.”
17. “Give me the right people and I don’t much care what organization you give me. Good things will happen. Give me the wrong people and it doesn’t matter what you do with the organization. Bad things will happen.”
18. “There is no end to the good you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit.”
19. “Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.”
20. “Always be looking for that which you do well and that which you love doing, and when you find those two things together — man, you got it.”
21. “Respect for leaders by followers can’t be mandated; it must be earned. It has to be given to leaders by their followers.”
22. “Effective leaders are made, not born. They learn from trial and error, and from experience.”
23. “All children need a laptop. Not a computer, but a human laptop. Moms, Dads, Grannies and Grandpas, Aunts, Uncles – someone to hold them, read to them, teach them. Loved ones who will embrace them and pass on the experience, rituals, and knowledge of a hundred previous generations. Loved ones who will pass to the next generation their expectations of them, their hopes, and their dreams.”
24. “Always show more kindness than seems necessary, because the person receiving it needs it more than you will ever know.”
25. “Trust is the glue that holds people together and is the lubricant that keeps an organization moving forward.”
26. “Look for intelligence and judgement and most critically, a capacity to anticipate, to see around corners. Also look for loyalty, integrity, a high energy drive, a balanced ego and the drive to get things done.”
27. “Never neglect details. When everyone’s mind is dulled or distracted the leader must be doubly vigilant.”
28. “Trying to get everyone to like you is a sign of mediocrity.”
29. “When we are debating an issue, loyalty means giving me your honest opinion, whether you think I’ll like it or not. Disagreement, at this stage, stimulates me. But once a decision has been made, the debate ends. From that point on, loyalty means executing the decision as if it were your own.”
30. “In prosperity our friends know us. In adversity we know our friends.”
31. “Treat people kindly. When you are kind to somebody and I don’t mean necessarily buddy-buddy, just show kindness and consideration. Show that people are worthy and you respect them and you are glad they’re with you.”
32. “Faults are yours to fix, not to curse.”
33. “The freedom to be your best means nothing unless you are willing to do your best.”
34. “Always do your best. Somebody is watching you.”
35. “I think whether you’re having setbacks or not, the role of a leader is to always display a winning attitude.”
36. “Only by attracting the best people will you accomplish great deeds.”
37. “If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.”
38. “None of us can change our yesterdays but all of us can change our tomorrows.”
39. “The less you associate with some people, the more your life will improve. Any time you tolerate mediocrity in others, it increases your mediocrity. An important attribute in successful people is their impatience with negative thinking and negative acting people.”

Beyond these words is the man who lived their reality at every moment of his life’s journey. His life is a treasure he left for us in all its wisdom, inspiration and motivation of which he is the role model. Let us continue to live the gift of his learnings. May the legacy of his life and words be an inspiration to us and future generations. May we be as he is, role models of leadership excellence, servant leadership, selfless-giving and caring.

Thank you, Colin Powell, for being a magnificent leadership role model… a joyous legacy that continues in the lives of those whom you touched and served, and which will be passed on by them to others and to the generations to come.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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Learnings from Pygmalion

In his book, The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor reminds great leaders of the great learnings from the Roman poet, Ovid, in his story about Pygmalion. Pygmalion had the gift of looking at a piece of marble and seeing the sculpture it held. Pygmalion’s story tells of his vision of his ideal and how the power of his gift made it a reality.

Pygmalion had a vision of his ideal, the zenith of all of his hopes and desires – a woman he named Galatea. One day he began to chisel the marble, crafting it to his vision. When he was finished, he stepped back and looked at his work. It was beautiful. Galatea was more than just a woman: The statue represented every hope, every dream, every possibility, every meaning – beauty itself. Inevitably Pygmalion fell in love.

He realized that he could not love a stone, and asked the goddess Venus to grant him a wish to bring the stone to life. And she did. His vision became reality. The lesson of this story, today, is known as the Pygmalion Effect: “when our belief in another person’s potential brings that potential to life.”

May you always be someone’s magical Pygmalion, seeing in others their magnificent and unique gifts and treasures, and helping them see it in themselves. May you remember Albert Einstein’s wise counsel, “There are only two ways to live your life: one is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” Fill your life with making miracles, and help others in making theirs. Your expectations, the priceless keys to those you serve, are magnificent catalysts to their growth.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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Going Back to the Beginning to Find Your Way

St. Augustine reminds great leaders of the importance of continuing growth of their self-knowledge writing, “Men [and women] go abroad to wonder at the heights of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motions of the stars, and they pass by themselves without wondering.”

Deepak Chopra heightens this importance writing, “By becoming self-aware, you gain ownership of reality; in becoming real, you become the master of both inner and outer life.” Stephen Covey brings impact to its importance, “In our personal lives, if we do not develop our own self-awareness and become responsible for first creations, we empower other people and circumstances to shape our lives by default.”

May we remember always the wise counsel of Laozi, “Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power.” In each moment of your magnificent life’s journey, continue to discover the wonderment of you and the immensity and awesomeness of the gifts you bring to life and others as you fulfill your life’s purpose and meaning that will be your legacy. At end of days, may you look back and say proudly, “I carried my own water, and learned the value of every drop.” Life is so very, very good.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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On Daring Greatly

There is a flame burning deep within all of us,” writes Tracey Osborne, “It is up to you to turn your flame into a roaring fire.” Each of us holds the keys to finding and living dreams undreamed. It is this continuous search to explore ourselves, life and its infinite possibilities. It is that magical step we take to do things we have always wanted to do, should do and have not yet done… to be the who we want to be, should be and have not yet become. The journey begins in that exciting and precious moment of daring, daring to be more than you ever dreamed you could be… and more… so much more.

Helen Keller wrote, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” May you live each moment of your life as a daring adventure, an opportunity and challenge to find and give the gift of your magnificent self to the world, your organization, community and the people whom you touch and serve. May you turn your flame into a magnificent roaring fire. Dare greatly!   Dare to be more than you ever dreamed you could be. Your best is yet to come.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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