On Giving 100%

Give me 100 percent,” said John Wooden, “You can’t make up for a poor effort today by giving 110 percent tomorrow. You don’t have 110 percent. You only have 100 percent, and that’s what I want from you right now.”

In his article, Give 100%, 100% of the Time, Ty Bennet writes: “Too many people coast through life, only doing what is required to get by. Giving 100%, 100% of the time is the effort required to stop getting by and start getting ahead. It is the difference between playing not to lose and playing to win. Living by design and not default. Giving 100% will separate you from the rest.”

Great leaders give 100% every day, in everything they do, in every thought that they have, in every feeling they experience. There is no wasting or short-cutting. It is their magnificent 100% investment in life and in who they are… for what they can and will be.

May you live passionately with design and purpose. May you have a ceaseless fervor for embracing every precious moment of your magnificent life’s journey giving 100% of you in everything that you are and do. As Wooden told us: “Make each day your masterpiece.” Life is so very, very good. Let’s just do it.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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Good Intentions Aren’t Enough

An unknown author wrote: “Your intentions don’t matter. Perception is reality. If people perceive you the wrong way, it doesn’t matter what your intentions are.”

In his recent blog post, Daily Discipline, Brian Kight speaks to great leaders about perception versus intention.

People can’t measure intentions.

Good intentions are an excellent start and a terrible excuse. Intentions are a private, internal choice. No one else really knows. No one else really cares. Only you know. When there is misalignment between your intentions and what people experience, the impact of your behavior says more than the quality of your intentions.

People know what you say, what you do, and how it makes them feel. They care about the experience you deliver, the value you provide, and the impact it has.

Nothing replaces quality execution, refined skill, and committed resolve. Set your intentions to that standard and align your behavior to match. Discipline is the shortcut. Do the work.

Another unknown author wrote: “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” People only know us by the words, behaviors, attitudes and actions we have chosen and how these make them feel.  They know nothing of the beautiful intentions behind them. It is the great leaders’ responsibility and ownership to set their intentions to the highest standards of their personal values and align their behaviors to match. In doing so, they will change the image above to one in which both individuals will be standing side-by-side looking down and seeing the same number… and intention and perception will be one.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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The Impossible Dream

It was a late Saturday evening when a dear friend, Bill Bartzak, shared a video with me. It was The Impossible Dream. He wrote: “This is beautiful and reminds me of what we do and why we love doing it.” The words of the song are inspiring and beautifully capture the great leaders’ daily and lifelong quest to achieve their dreams and fullest potential. My you take a brief and quiet moment of reflection to listen to the song and read the words to continue to inspire your impossible dreams.

The Impossible Dream
To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go

To right the unrightable wrong
To be better far than you are
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star

This is my quest, to follow that star,
No matter how hopeless, no matter how far
To be willing to give when there’s no more to give
To be willing to die so that honor and justice may live

And I know if I’ll only be true to this glorious quest
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm when I’m laid to my rest

And the world will be better for this
That one man scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star

May you fill each day with dreams undreamed. May you be unrelenting, brave and courageous in your pursuit of them. At the end of days, may you look back with peace and calm knowing that you achieved your unreachable stars and beautifully served others in reaching theirs. This is your quest… to follow your star, no matter how hopeless, no matter how far. You will achieve yours because you choose to do it.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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On Greatness

Kobe Bryant was once asked: “What is your definition of greatness?” In his beautiful simplicity and humanity, he said:

“I think the definition of greatness is to inspire the people next to you. I think that’s what greatness is or should be. It’s not something that lives and dies with one person. It’s how can you inspire a person to then, in turn, inspire another person and then inspire another person. And that’s how you create something that, I think, lasts forever. And, I think that’s our challenge as people is to figure out how our story can impact others and motivate them in a way to create their own greatness.”

Bryant’s life was about inspiring people to find and create their own greatness. He did this through the daily living of his own story – his role-modeling of the mindset, behaviors, attitudes and actions that served to inspire and teach others that what they dream, they can achieve. He did it one person at a time, then another and another. It was his relentless pursuit to help people “create their own greatness.”

May Bryant’s life and words be a reminder to great leaders of the inspirational value of their stories in the lives of others. These stories give testimony to the importance of character and living by values in creating their dreams. They underline the need to be disciplined and have a ceaseless perseverance and passion for all they want to achieve. They speak to bold daring and risks that launched their successes. They speak to the reality that if you believe in yourself, everything is possible. May your life, also, be the inspiration to all whom you touch and serve and create something that lasts forever.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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On Getting a Bigger Frying Pan – the Power of Expectations

In a recent Minute with Maxwell blog, John Maxwell speaks to great leaders of the importance of creating a bigger world of expectations in their professional and personal life. He brings this thought to life in the story of an older and younger man fishing in a pond.

While fishing, the older man was watching the younger fisherman who was throwing the larger fish that he caught back in the water while keeping the smaller fish. He was intrigued by this and asked the younger fisherman why he was not keeping the bigger fish. The young fisherman replied saying that he only had a seven inch frying pan.

Maxwell states that people with seven inch frying pans “never can get bigger than the world that they have created for themselves…. Throw that frying pan away,” he suggests. “Get a bigger world. Get around bigger people. Get bigger experiences. Get bigger exposure.”  This ‘getting bigger’ will generate greater expectations of your life and all the possibilities it holds for you. May you get a bigger frying pan – an enormous one – one that will allow you to fill your life with richness, learning, prosperity and happiness beyond your wildest dreams. Life is so very, very good.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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What Lies Behind Points to What Lies Ahead

In his recent blog post, What Lies Behind Points to What Lies Ahead, Dan Rockwell focuses on the value of our past life as the source of valuable learning in building  an extraordinary future.

Rockwell writes: “Pushing away a painful past limits joy and hamstrings potential. Accepting and integrating what lies behind informs and enriches leadership.” The keyword is “accepting”. It implies learning from what was experienced and using that learning to improve going forward. It is a caution to not hold onto something that may limit or constrain our development. They may be things said or done that unconsciously limit the mindset of our potential or capability.

An unknown author wrote: “The past is where you learned the lesson. The future is where you apply the lesson.” Dr. Steve Maraboli, however, adds a touch of caution to those words: “The past will be your teacher if you learn from it; your master if you live in it.” May you live each day as a living lesson knowing that the learnings you experience will open your eyes to new possibilities, paths and dreams in realizing your life’s goals and purpose. As Mahatma Gandhi so beautifully told us: “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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Lessons from Cows and Buffalos

In his blog post, Be the Buffalo and Face Life’s Storms, Rory Vaden shares a metaphor on the learnings that the actions of cows and buffalos bring to great leaders in how they react during storms.

Growing up in eastern Colorado where storms come from the west to east, Vaden writes, he noticed that when a storm approached, the slow-moving cows would move east to retreat from the storms. The storm would eventually catch-up and run along with them increasing the duration of this unpleasant experience. His question: “Isn’t that stupid?” Buffalos, he writes, take a uniquely different approach. When faced with an oncoming storm, they run into it, thereby minimizing their exposure to its impact.

In this simple story, Vaden finds a timeless metaphor for great leaders – the “how” great leaders choose to address their professional or personal storms… avoid and run away or confront and deal with them. Are you a cow or a buffalo? Be that mighty buffalo who courageously confronts the storm, finds learning in running (and dancing) in the rain and enjoys the beautiful sunshine and rainbows that follow.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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Energy, Not Time, Is the Fundamental Currency of High Performance

In their book, The Power of Full Engagement, Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz remind great leaders about the power of energy in living a life of purpose and success. The following statement brings surgical focus to their message: “Energy, not time, is the fundamental current of high performance.” They write: “The ultimate measure of our lives is not how much time we spend on the planet, but rather how much energy we invest in the time that we have… The number of hours in a day is fixed, but the quantity and quality of energy available to us is not. It is our most precious resource. The more we take responsibility for the energy we bring to the world, the more empowered and productive we become.”

Energy is in the hands of great leaders. But how to further maximize its strength and power? John Maxwell, in his book, No Limits, writing about energy capacity, suggests his own five questions which he uses to maximize his energy capacity:

The Plugged-In Question: “When am I fully charged?” – doing the things that turn you on (e.g. living in his gift zone of doing what he loves to do; investing with family and friends; adding value to others)
The Depletion Question: “What wears me out?“– identifying those things that deplete your energy (e.g. living in the past; living someone else’s life)
The Proximity Question: “How Accessible are my energy pluses?” – surrounding yourself with those things that energize you (e.g. people, music, experiences, places)
The 100 Percent Question: “When do I need to be full of energy?” – being aware of those special moments which Jeffrey Gitomer calls “showtime moments” when you need to be absolutely at the top of your game
The Margin Question: “Where is the space for things I need but haven’t planned?” –  preparing time for the unexpected

Five simple questions that provide a reservoir source for the great leader’s energy. It is you who are in control of finding more. May you fill the precious hours and moments of your life with “show-time moments.” Be fully charged by the things that you love to do and the people you love to be with. As Helen Keller wrote: “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” Choose to live your life as a daring, exciting and magical adventure!

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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There Are No Ordinary Moments

In Dan Millman’s book, The Peaceful Warrior, he tells of his personal journey of self-discovery.  One of his great learnings happened by accident following one of his t’ai chi practices.  During his exercise, his motions were fluid and purposeful.  His mind was emptied as he focused on each movement. Afterwards, as he was preparing to leave, his attention was drawn to some students who had been watching him exercise.  As his awareness drifted to them, he clumsily put both legs into one pant leg, and he fell.

Later on as he thought about the incident he said:  “I was struck by a realization so profound it was to change the course of my life;  I realized that I had given my full attention to the movements of t’ai chi, but not to the “ordinary” movements of putting on my pants. I had treated one moment as special and the other as ordinary.”

His learning was: “There are no ordinary moments.”  As we enter this New Year, may we learn to capture and relish the incredible beauty and possibilities that each moment of our lives present. May we learn from them and continue to grow to be more than we ever dreamed we could be… and help others to do the same. May we always remember that there are no ordinary moments. May this new year be our best yet… one filled with extraordinary, magical and life-growing moments of love, learning and selfless giving.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent and Happy New Year!!!

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Peace and Love to You and Yours

It is that wonderful time of year again when the holiday spirit fills our mind and heart, and gently moves us away from the hectic pace of our lives… when we pause, reflecting in the quiet of our souls, and find a warm and soothing peace within ourselves. While results and commitments are no less important, holiday activities – gift buying and preparing for family and friends get-togethers – begin to take precedence in our list of priorities.

The world around us contributes to our change: stores are wonderfully decorated; holiday music streams from radios and iPods; home decorations appear. Our world is transformed around us to one of festivity and joyful tranquility. It is a time of peace. As Norman Vincent Peale, minister and author, once said, it is as though the holiday season “waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.” Yes, it is a time of “joy to the world.”

Memories fill us. We remember the joys of our youth and the people who were and are integral parts of our lives and happiness. There is sadness in remembrance of those we loved who are no longer with us. This gentle memory of them, however, is our lasting gift to them, and theirs to us.  It is our way of saying to them: “I love you forever and will never forget you… never.” We embrace those around us and share with each other a very special gift of love. Hamilton Wright Mabie, essayist, captured this wonderful spirit of the season: “Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.”

Let us enjoy and take great learning from this magnificent and beautiful time. Let us all be embraced in this conspiracy of love. As Eva Logue writes, may you be as a candle which “makes no noise at all, but slowly gives itself away.” May this be your greatest gift to others and yourself – that in quiet reflection, you see with brilliant clarity the happiness and joy in the endless possibilities that life offers to which you will aspire.

May we pause in gratitude for all that we have, for what others have given us – our family, friends, those whom we serve, our God – and remember fervently that ours is the joy of giving, serving and caring. These are our greatest gifts. Let us join together every moment of our lives in a beautiful and magnificent “conspiracy of love.” Life is so very precious. Capture and embrace it with passion, joy, exuberance and love.

May you and yours have a joyous and beautiful Holiday Season, a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, and may this New Year be the best yet – for you, your loved ones and the many people whom you touch and serve.

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!

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