The Magic of Belief

The life of Thomas Alva Edison has many great learnings for great leaders. There is a little known story, however, of the impact that his Mother had on his life and the great lesson it holds for great leaders.

One day, as a small child, Thomas Edison came home from school and gave a paper to his mother. He said to her, “Mom, my teacher gave this paper to me and told me only you are to read it. What does it say?”

Her eyes welled with tears as she read the letter out loud to her child. “Your son is a genius. This school is too small for him and doesn’t have good enough teachers to train him. Please teach him yourself”

His mother did just that, until she fell ill and passed away. Many years after Edison’s mother died, he became one of the greatest inventors of the century.

One day he was going through some of her things and found the letter that his old teacher wrote his Mom that day. The message written on the letter was “Your son is mentally deficient. We cannot let him attend our school anymore. He is expelled.”

Edison became emotional reading it and then wrote in his diary: “Thomas A. Edison was a mentally deficient child whose mother turned him into the genius of the Century.”

Stephen Covey beautifully defines leadership as: “Communicating to people their worth and value so clearly that they come to see it in themselves.” It is in this act of leadership that great leaders selflessly serve others to realize the greatest potential and possibilities their life can give to the world and those whom they touch. Your belief in someone, your one word of encouragement and deep caring may be that one, beautiful spark that will bring out another “genius of the Century.”

 Have a beautiful day and a magnificent and wondrous week!!!

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On the Joy of Living Your Potential

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” His words speak to the power of one’s potential which awaits release in the moment of our decision. Our potential is not something of our past, but a gift awaiting realization at every moment of life. It is that magical instant when great leaders choose to maximize their human potential by escaping the fears and limitations of others and stretching beyond their own believed limits into a new becoming. Zig Ziglar beautifully captures this moment writing: “When you catch a glimpse of your potential, that’s when passion is born.”

May we remember always the wise counsel of Confucius: “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.” Will, desire, urge – the fires to be stoked with passion and purpose. It is our choice. May we choose to not let our dreams just be dreams. Rather, may we rally to Hal Elrod’s call: “Let today be the day you give up who you’ve been for who you can become.” Become the person you decide to be! The best is yet to come. Let’s enjoy the journey to its fullest. Life is so very beautiful and good.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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On the Value of Rejuvenation

Great leaders’ lives are filled with endless challenges and opportunities, seemingly interminable days after which they push even harder to achieve more, greater results. These days are filled with joyous achievements, the tangible realities of extraordinary results, the forming and bonding of rich human relationships and planning for the future. During these days, their feelings may range from exhilaration to burnout. There are great successes and humbling losses, emotional highs and lows. This, they know, is part of their magnificent journey. Their life is their creation. It is one fired by their ceaseless passion and joy for what they do and whom they serve.

In this endless sea of commitment to what they love, there comes time when they lose sight of all that they have done, because their minds and hearts are in the present moment, not looking back but at the now and what is coming. Great leaders realize that rejuvenation is an integral part of their journey. It is needed to sustain and prepare their minds, hearts and bodies for the days ahead. The secret sauce of this rejuvenation is found beautifully in chosen moments of reflection – the brief pauses in which they remind themselves  of the small steps, the small wins and achievements that give evidence of the value of their efforts and the progress attained. It is in these moments that they reinvigorate their personal satisfaction and gratitude for what they have achieved.

May we remember always the wise counsel of Johan Wolfgang von Goethe: “We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves; otherwise we harden.” May you pause at each day’s end with joyous gratitude for its gifts – the good and the not-so-good – for they are all learnings for our magnificent journey ahead.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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When Dreams Turn Into Goals

A friend recently shared with me his reflections on his visit to Italy. He wrote: “From this trip, I learned so much about the culture and history of Italy, but also learned a lot about myself.  I learned how to soak in every single moment, as I don’t know if I’ll ever be back.  I appreciated each day, each meal, and each business visit.” He went on to write that it was always a dream to take his parents to Italy for all that they had done and sacrificed for him and pay for it himself. He knew it was now possible. Of this he said: “It is no longer a dream of mine, but a goal.  It will happen, and now I have a clear focus of what I need to do on my end in order to make this a reality.”

The lives of great leaders are filled magnificent dreams of what can be. These are the precious pieces of the beautiful mosaic they paint of their life’s journey – a journey of purpose and meaning.  Greg Reid wrote: “A dream written down with a date becomes a goal. A goal broken down into steps becomes a plan. A plan backed by action makes your dreams come true.Tony Robbins writes: “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.”

May your dreams fill you with inspiration, and your actions your fulfillment. Wherever your imagination and dreams take you, remember always the wise counsel of Confucius: “Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” And hold closely the beautiful words from the movie Titanic: “My heart will go on.” Yes, always. The best is yet to come… and it will come from your dreams.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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Our Individual Definition of Success

Great leaders each have a unique definition of what success in life means. Writing about success, Anne Sweeney beautifully captures this uniqueness writing:  “Define success on your own terms, achieve it by your own rules, and build a life you’re proud to live.” There are many different definitions, each with its own inspiring focus that touches a different facet of life and the human experience. Here are a few examples:

Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” ? Maya Angelou

My definition of success is to live your life in a way that causes you to feel a ton of pleasure and very little pain – and because of your lifestyle, have the people around you feel a lot more pleasure than they do pain.” – Tony Robbins

Success is clarity of my intention… and reaching that intention while being true to myself and with joy.” – India Arie

The definition of success is getting many of the things money can buy and all the things money can’t buy.” – Zig Ziglar

I see women going anywhere they want to. And I do mean want to. Because a lot of people measure success merely by position, title and salary. I think women feel comfortable enough in their own skin to put that secondary to what they want. The don’t have to define success by the measure of society.” – Charlene Li

Two things that define success in life: The way you manage when you have nothing and the way you behave when you have everything.” – Akon

These thoughts stimulate our thinking of our own definition of success. Ralph Waldo Emerson brings grandeur, humanity and inspiration in his own definition of success:

“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”

Whatever our definition, may it reflect our joyous life’s purpose and meaning. May we jubilantly exclaim at the end of our magnificent journey: This is to have succeeded!

May you and yours have a joyous and Happy Easter and a Happy Passover!!!

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!


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Change Is Nature

In a recent Holstee Reflection blog, Dave Radparvar shares the story of Remy from the Pixar film, Ratatouille. In it, great leaders are reminded of the living presence of change as part of their life and the world in which they live.

Remy, a rat with an incredible sense of smell and taste, dreams of becoming a chef. But his father, Django, wants him to stay within the rat community and not risk his life (or their lives) by meddling in human activities. Django thought Remy’s skills were best suited to sniffing out rat poison. Remy had bigger dreams, but it meant charting an unknown and possibly dangerous path on his own.

Halfway through the film, is the memorable quote that captures the joy of change. Django, the fathers says to Remy, “You can’t change nature.”  to which Remy responds: “Change is nature.”

Radpavar writes: “It’s a simple and beautiful reminder that — whether we like it or not — the world is constantly changing. We can either stick to our old ways while the world evolves around us — or we can be a part of, and positively influence, that change.

Socrates tells great leaders: “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”  May your choose your life to be limitless in its breadth and depth – a life expanded in all its beauty by a ceaseless and relentless pursuit always moving from the ‘as is’ to our dreams and passion for ‘what can be.’ JD Houston captured this beautifully writing: “ If you want something in life you’ve never had, you’ll have to do something you’ve never done.” Enjoy every moment of newness on your magnificent journey.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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We Become What We Think

In his weekly blog post, Philip Humbert speaks to great leaders of the power and magic their thoughts have in shaping their life. Drawing from the life of Henry David Thoreau, he writes:

“In many ways he was the poorest person in Concord, poorer even than the Irish immigrants living in hovels by the railroad. And yet he considered himself rich. If his little cabin burned to the ground, he could rebuild it in a few days. He fed himself by hoeing beans and raising corn, and nourished his soul on books and conversation. He considered himself among the most blessed of people and wondered that so many people live ‘such mean and tortured lives.’”

This was Thoreau’s mindset. He made his own world – no dependency on the outside, no fear of limitations or perceived dangers that would deplete his energy and happiness and his own possibilities. Building on Thoreau’s experience, Humbert asks great leaders: “How much out there really matters?” His answer was: “Not much!” It is what one holds and thinks on the inside that makes us who we are.

Humbert then poses a challenge to great leaders:

“I challenge you to dream bigger and better dreams, and to act with greater courage. Live the life you truly want and leave the small thinking, the fear and hesitancy to others. Resolve to do one thing that makes you happy and do it today! Laugh more. Love more. Have more fun and live with daring! Make more mischief, be outrageous, be who you truly are! Be fearless and ‘go for it!’”

These are words to hang on a poster to be read every day. May you take the challenge every moment of your life. May you live every moment of your life and be who you truly are. Dale Carnegie writes: “It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think you are.”

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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A New View of Hope

So often we hear people say the words: “I hope that I….” To those words is an immediate response from great leaders: “Hope is not a plan.” These words beg a call for action – to move from simply wishing and hoping for something to an actionable response for that which is desired. It is in these brief feedback moments that great leaders teach and serve others to embrace movement toward a dream rather than simply a speculation about it. It is a mindful shift from hope to attainment, from dreams to reality.

Alexandra Trenfor writes: “The best teachers are those who show you where to look, but don’t tell you what to see.” Great leaders serve others by opening their eyes and heart to possibilities they can create and dreams they can achieve. Stephen Covey’s definition of leadership beautifully captures the role of great leaders: “Leadership is communicating to people their worth and value so clearly that they come to see it in themselves.” As you serve others in helping them discover the magnificence of their gifts and life, may you remember and share with them the words of Rumi, 13th-century Persian Sunni Muslim poet, jurist and Islamic scholar: “You are not a drop in the ocean. You are an entire ocean in a drop.”

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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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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