A Space to Grow

In a quote often ascribed to Victor Frankl, great leaders find one of the most powerful spaces in their life’s journey: “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and power.” It is a space whose dimensions are confined only by the temporalities of the decision. It is space of conscientious deliberation or emotional reaction. It is a space in which man’s greatest power is exercised – the power of choice. It is an internal moment from which action will flow and our life shaped.

May great leaders hold that space sacred and recognize the awesome power it holds. As Caroline Myss writes: ”… the power to make choices is the dynamic that converts our spirits into matter, our words into flesh. Choice is the process of creating itself.” And it is so much more – choice is the process of creating yourself. Choose a self of being more than you ever dreamed you could be. Make your space in the world phenomenal. Life is so very good and so very, very beautiful.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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On the Power of Self-Knowledge

Self-knowledge is the magnificent cornerstone of leadership. Alfred Lord Tennyson writes: “Self-reverence, self-knowledge, self-control; these three alone lead to sovereign power.” Self-knowledge is the primal source that shapes the great leaders’ lives. It gives them access to their confidence, perspectives and choices. It is a magical key that opens their eyes to the infinite gifts and potential their life holds. It is also the internal voice that sits in quiet judgment of their thoughts, decisions, actions and words. As George Sand wrote, it opens the mind and soul to “giving without hesitation, losing without regret and acquiring without meanness.”

It takes courage for great leaders to explore the depths of who they are. May you be bold, brave and courageous each day as you explore the depth and meaning of all you are and to find and realize who you can be. Discover the unseen patterns in your life. Challenge beliefs to find new insights. Question perceived limitations to discover new freedoms. May you hear always the wisdom of Socrates speaking in your ears: “The unexamined life is not worth living.” May you hear also the words of Bishop Fulton J. Sheen: “Life is worth living.” May you truly live every moment of your beautiful life that at end of days, with a smile on your face, you will joyously say: “No regrets. I had a magnificent journey.”

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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On Macro Patience and Micro Speed

Leo Tolstoy writes: “The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.” The patience of which he speaks is not passive. Rather, it is a bold and active acceptance of what will be required to achieve a dream, goal or purpose. It is in the moments of time during which those requirements are executed with deliberation and purpose.

Gary Vaynerchuk tells great leaders: “Macro patience and micro speed are the only things that matter.” Whether it is setting out on a new path in life, forming a relationship. building a business, or achieving a dream, all those things take time, a lot of time and a lot of patience. Their realization requires a deep investment – hard work, passion and commitment to doing whatever it takes to achieve them. Vaynerchuk calls this “speed” which “allows you to do things. By doing things, you either win or you learn from your loss and it creates speed.” You are doing things, getting things done, executing, learning – not wasting time, not just dreaming, but passionately and tirelessly doing. This is the process, and it takes time. Again, lots of time.

Vaynerchuk’s message is simple and powerful: be patient in realizing  your long-term dreams, goals and aspirations; be passionately persistent in executing whatever is needed to realize them. Patience is the strength of a person of purpose. It is that inner fire which burns knowing that its fulfillment is just a matter of time.  It is the glow that inspires day-by-day ceaselessness in undertaking those things that will realize your macro view – your dream, purpose or meaning in life. Be relentless, my dear friends. Be active on the playing field of life. Be in your greatest and strongest do-mode. May you remember to be inspired by the words of Jean de La Fontaine: “Patience and time do more than strength or passion.” May the powerful warriors, Patience and Time, be at your side as constant allies on your magnificent life’s journey in achieving your life’s purpose and meaning.

So, simply said… if you or I were architects who were not only designing but also building the dream house of our life, it would be accomplished brick by brick, day after day, with a lot of hard, almost never-ending work. We would need patience along with the sweat and tears. We would, however, complete our dream house over time with patience and a fierce determination and commitment to our purpose demonstrated by our doing. Michele

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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On the Power of Dreams

Cesar Chavez tells great leaders: “To make a great dream come true, first requires a great capacity to dream; the second is persistence.” It is from dreams that visions arise, and from visions strategy;from strategy goals and from goals results. Dreams are the building blocks which expand and open the mind to new possibilities and ways of seeing things. The dream or idea becomes expandable, an almost self-generative process that instinctively goes beyond the edges and boundaries of our knowledge. Perseverance is the sister companion to the process serving to drive relentlessly to the next variation and innovation in the dream’s design and evolution. It is a magical process inexorably in search of the ‘what can be’ – a change that creates innovative technology, an original approach to business practice and even more importantly, the joy of a greater self.

Vincent Van Gogh beautifully captures the transition from dream to reality: “I dream my painting and then I paint my dream.” It is in the action. May we dream dreams that open our hearts, sousl and minds to possibilities in realizing our greatest potential. May they be so great that they keep us awake at night. May we then take up our brush with passion and love and paint our magnificent dreams on the canvasses of our life for the world to see and appreciate. Eleanor Roosevelt reminds great leaders: “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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From Obstacles to Greatness

In his book, Holy SweatTim Hansel speaks of a common thread that runs through the lives of great leaders.

“In 1962, Victor and Mildred Goertzel published a revealing study of 413 famous and exceptionally gifted people. The study was called Cradles of Eminence. These two researchers spent years trying to understand the source of these peoples’ greatness, the common thread which ran through all of these outstanding peoples’ lives. The most outstanding fact was that almost all of them, 392, had to overcome very difficult obstacles in order to become who they were. Their problems became opportunities instead of obstacles.” 

It is this magnificent gift that differentiates great leaders – a mindset focused on problem solving and goal accomplishment. One which sees doors where others see walls. One that sees learning where others see trials. One that embraces the excitement of the challenge and the growth that it brings. Obstacles are the building blocks of the great leaders’ emotional, spiritual and intellectual strength. Remember always the wise counsel of Mahatma Gandhi: “ Strength does not come from winnings. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” Never, ever surrender. May you always see opportunities and not obstacles and change the world.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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On the Joy of Aspirations

Aspiration is dissatisfaction with the gap between now and not-yet. Aspiration is dissatisfaction with who-you-are-now and who-you-hope-to-be in the future” writes Dan Rockwell. Another way of saying this is that aspiration is the fiery goal inspired by passion and commitment to realize one’s greatest dreams and possibilities. Great leaders set and embrace aspirational goals in their professional and personal lives. They continuously inspire them to push their limits and boundaries. Aspirations are the great leaders’ possibilities. 

Henry David Thoreau counsels great leaders: “Do not lose hold of your dreams or aspirations. For if you do, you may still exist but you have ceased to live.” May your aspirations set fire to your passion and inspiration to live more, achieve more and be more than you ever dreamed you could be and do. Never be satisfied with the ‘as is’ in life, but dream and achieve ‘what can be.’ May you fill that gap with great achievements, selfless giving, miracles and magic for those whom you serve and, then with new eyes, find more possibilities to fill and enrich your magnificent life’s journey.  Life is so very beautiful!

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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It’s All Interrelated

In a recent Reflections from Holstee blog post, It’s All RelatedDave Radparvar reminds great leaders of life’s “inescapable network of mutuality” through the powerful words of Martin Luther King, Jr.

“In a real sense all life is interrelated. All persons are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.”

Great leaders understand the depth and meaning of King’s words: “I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be.This is the interrelated structure of reality.” This is a call and reminder of the value we bring to each other when we live to our fullest potential – opening our eyes to new possibilities, different perspectives and undreamed of dreams – as we become the greatest version possible of ourselves. It is then that our greatness fully explodes as we open ourselves to seeing and communicating with the greatness of others who, too, have discovered what they ought to be and are.

Radparvar writes: “We all share an undeniable interdependence. When we seek to raise others up, we rise with them. Each act of kindness, be it for ourselves or for another, strengthens our souls and the bonds that bring us together.” It is the great leaders’ life’s purpose and joy to bring oneness to the people, business, community and family whom they selflessly serve. 

This is the joy and beauty of life… to know:  “I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be” and recognize our magical interrelationship of oneness.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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On the Power of Optimism

In their book, The Truth About LeadershipJim Kouzes and Barry Posner suggest that forward-looking ranks second only to honesty as the most admired characteristic of great leaders. They write: “The capacity to imagine and articulate exciting future possibilities is the defining competence of leaders.” It is they who look at current trends and look for the paths to the future. It is their beautiful optimism that opens their eyes, minds and hearts to possibilities. They paint a future vision that excites and engages people taking them from the ‘what is’ to ‘what can be.’

Helen Keller tells great leaders: “Optimism is that which leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” May your joy and optimism for life and all its possibilities be a defining competence in your professional and personal life. May a forward-looking mindset take you off the well-trodden path. May you joyously wander and explore new wonders and bring the once unimaginable to life-changing realities. 

May you always remember the gentle counsel of Albert Schweitzer: “The joy of life comes with our encounters with new experiences and, hence, there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.” May you fill your days with the excitement and beauty of endless suns, finding in each a new and wondrous miracle in which you will find another experience of joy in your life.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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Don’t Just…

The only way of finding the limits of the possible is going beyond them into the impossible” writes Arthur Clarke. It is this that differentiates great leader from their peers taking them from just meeting expectations to delivering the extraordinary, from a mindset of limitations to one of infinite possibilities, from a belief that the ‘what is’ is the start of ‘what can be.’ It is the great leaders’ aspirational mindset and focus going beyond and giving more than the expected.

This sentiment is beautifully captured by Roy T. Bennett in his book, The Light in the Heart. He tells great leaders to Don’t Just:

Don’t just learn, experience.
Don’t just read, absorb.
Don’t just change, transform.
Don’t just relate, advocate.
Don’t just promise, prove.
Don’t just criticize, encourage.
Don’t just think, ponder.
Don’t just take, give.
Don’t just see, feel.
Don’t just dream, do.
Don’t just hear, listen.
Don’t just talk, act.
Don’t just tell, show.
Don’t just exist, live.”

Kevin Cashman writes: “If leadership is the act of going beyond what is… it begins by going beyond what is within ourselves.”  May you just not dream, but do! May you just not exist, but live every precious moment in your beautiful life to its fullest! The is so much more in yourself to discover… don’t just think but ponder – what more you can do to find and give purpose and meaning of your life.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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On the Power of Small Wins

Legendary coach, John Wooden, wrote: “When you improve a little each day, eventually big things occur…. Don’t look for the quick, big improvement. Seek the small improvement one day at a time. That’s the only way it happens – and when it happens, it lasts.”  

In addition to its beauty, joy and excitement, the great leader’s life journey is filled with a continuing stream of opportunities, challenges and, sometimes, seemingly impossible obstacles and problems. It is the treasure of their “small win” mindset that enables them to successfully address these  growth and change opportunities.

Karl Weik, in his paper, Small Wins, Redefining the Scale of Social Problems, writes: “A small win reduces importance (‘this is no big deal’), reduces demands (‘that’s all that needs to be done’), and raises perceived skill levels (‘I can do at least that’).” This mindset that creates confidence by minimizing the perceived magnitude of a situation and, in its achievement, builds in the great leaders further belief in their own abilities and potential. 

May you celebrate joyfully each of your “small step” achievements remembering always the words of Henry Thoreau: “What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” Become 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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