Understanding the Value of Life’s Obstacles and Challenges

In his Daily Discipline blog, Brian Kight reminds great leaders of the great value of obstacles and challenges for growth and learning . He writes: “Obstacles are not to be resented. Challenges are not to be feared. They are opportunities to build you up and accelerate you forward. Discipline is the shortcut. Do the work.”

The magic of the building comes to life when great leaders see opportunities and challenges through new eyes – as chances to grow, explore new possibilities and use them as stepping-stones in achieving their life’s purpose and meaning. Learnings begin immediately as they investigate, analyze, develop alternatives and implement solutions to resolve them. At the same time, new personal growth begins as the challenges provide opportunities for self-understanding – how they react both intellectually and emotionally to the problem, how their personal values come into play in the resolution process, how they utilize and help others develop in resolving the issue and how their emotional intelligence impacts the quality and richness of the results. It is experiential learning at its finest!

May you embrace, enjoy and grow from the gifts given by life’s obstacles and challenges remembering always the words of Joshua Marine: “Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” May we also listen to Fred Devito’s wise counsel: “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.” Be the person you always dreamed you could be… and more… so much more.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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On Becoming a No-Limit Person

In his book, No Limits, John Maxwell shares his insights about becoming a no-limit person, one who continually and relentlessly pushes their limits to find their greatest potential. The three keys in his pursuit are  awareness, giftedness and choices. He states that it works like this, “When I am aware in areas of my life where I need to get better and develop, and where I take my giftedness and abilities and grow in them and make the right choices, I’ll become a no-limit person and expand my potential.” Most people, he notes, know about the importance of giftedness and choices. He cautions, however, that many people are unaware of the huge downside of being unaware.

To grow and become that no-limit person, it is critical that we, first, have a firm self-awareness and understanding of who we are, our strengths, areas for improvements and blind spots. Maxwell captures this saying, “I cannot grow if I don’t know.” Finding this awareness comes not only from self-reflection and discovery, and also, from trusted others, people who care enough to share with us their reality of who we are. It is this learning that opens our eyes even wider to a deeper understanding of who we are. As Sheryl Sandberg writes, “We cannot change what we are not aware of. And once we are aware, we cannot help but change.

May you continue to grow to become the magnificent no-limit person you are. Explore the magic of you in all its known depth and breadth, and constantly probe to discover what is still there but you have still not seen. Take this understanding and apply your giftedness and choices to take you to heights undreamed of to a life of unlimited growth, joy and happiness in achieving your life’s purpose and meaning and caring for those whom you touch and serve. May you remember, always, the words of Aristotle, “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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Your Greatest Investment

Time’s fragility and preciousness is well-known to those who value, love and treasure life. Its reminders surround us – on clocks, phones and the calendar’s weeks, months and years. The reminders are also observed in our own lives and the lives of others – marriages, births, anniversaries, graduations and in the passing of loved ones. Time’s passing is inescapable. We want to make the most of it. In planning for our future, we question how we will spend the precious time we have remaining.

Stephen Covey suggests, however, a changed mindset in our question, “The key is in not spending time, but investing in it.” The question now becomes “how will we invest in our time?” It is a change in value proposition from simply doing to investing to add greater value. It is a commitment to ourselves to truly live every day of our life to its fullest. Seth Godin captures this, writing, “We’re not in a race to check off as many boxes as we possibly can before we are out of time. Instead, we have the chance to use the time to create moments that matter. Because they connect us, because they open doors, because the moments, added up, create a life.”

May we passionately take that chance, create moments that matter and create a life of absolute fulfillment, joy and wonder… for ourselves and those whom we touch and serve. It will be our life’s greatest investment!

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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On the Power of Affirmation

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “To know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” In their daily lives, one of the beautiful gifts that great leaders give to those they touch and serve is the magical gift of affirmation for who they are, what they do and the value they bring to those around them.

In a recent Minute with Maxwell blog post, John Maxwell speaks of affirmation, “People do best in an encouraging, affirming environment…. Encouragement, affirmation is the oxygen of the soul.” It gives the receivers of the gift a greater belief in themselves, a validation of their value and recognition that they are having an impact. This positivity is an encouragement, a reassurance of their gifts and abilities, an inspiration to do even better.

Maxwell shares his Affirmation Principle. He says that “When I find something that you are doing well, I use that to lead you.” His principle adds action to the affirmation creating a moment for interaction and growth when he says to the person, “I like what you did, let’s talk about it. Let’s talk about it and next time, you can do it better.” People grow and do better and everyone’s world changes for the better.

Claude Bristol writes: “It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief, and once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.” Look for those moments in the lives of those whom you touch and serve. May your words of encouragement open their minds, hearts and souls in realizing their great potential. The seeds that you sow will grow, and the winds will take the seeds of that harvest to places unknown. Your encouragement has no limits. Give it profusely that others may flourish!

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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Never, Ever Give Up

Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will,” writes Mahatma Gandhi. Life is filled with challenges that sometimes test our fortitude, commitment and confidence. For a moment, we quietly reflect on what is not going right, and think more of past mistakes and the weakness of our humanity. Our negative thoughts occupy our mind holding us back even further from the true, real greatness of our life. Norman Vincent Peale said, “Negative thinking definitely attracts negative results.”

Winston Churchill wrote, “When you are going through hell, keep on going, never, never, never give up.” Babe Ruth said, “It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.” It is our positive mindset that resets our attitude reviving our belief and confidence in ourselves. It is our responsibility for our attitude that helps us reset our inner view. Albert Einstein wrote, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is though everything is a miracle.” May you live with that indomitable will that gives you the strength, resilience and passion to never give up, but to have a positivity to live a life of beautiful miracles. As Josh Groban, in his song, You are Loved, Don’t Give Up, sings, “You are loved.”

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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Your Best Is Yet to Come… a Continuing Journey

The great leaders’ exciting challenge and joy in life is to achieve their life’s purpose and meaning, each day to become more than they ever dreamed they could be and more… so much more. It is a process of ongoing positive growth and joyous and continuous becoming.  Tiger Woods captured this saying, “No matter how good you get, you can always get better and that’s the exciting part.” He also cautioned, “Winning is not always the barometer of getting better.”

Their journey goes far beyond the continuous improvement of what they have already achieved. They realize that there is more – realities which go far beyond their perceived  limitations and potential. They push themselves to reach for them, to open their eyes to new possibilities both in themselves and others. Their belief in themselves is the fire that inspires them and gives them the confidence and passion to discover their next best. They realize, also, that their best is just a moment in time. The next moment can be even better.

May you remember always Les Brown’s words: “Life has no limitations except the ones that you make.”  It is your life-long journey to move from good to better to best always knowing that your best is yet to come… and it will because you choose it to be so. You are the best!

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

NB: This week’s Three Minute Leadership note is dedicated to the Seton Hall University Stillman School of Business Leadership Class of 2021. Congratulations on your Graduation! You are the ‘best-of-the-best’. Your best is yet to come!
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On Living a Life of ‘What Can Be’… the Joy of Imagination

Robert F. Kennedy said, “Some people look at things as they are and ask, ‘Why?  I dream things that never were and ask, ‘Why not?’” His words capture the essence of imagination. It is the magical key that allows you to open your eyes, mind and heart to new possibilities as you daringly step beyond your own self-imposed limits or those of others  of life’s opportunities. You boldly move from the world of the ‘as is’ to something new, more exciting, more relevant and more filled with future options, a world of ‘what can be.’

Albert Einstein wrote, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there will ever be to know and understand.” He said, also, “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” His words suggest that step beyond – from knowing what we know to exploring dreams undreamed.

May your mindset be one of continuing exploration and searching, be it in your professional or personal life and relationships, those casual activities you do every day, as you look for new possibilities and opportunities. And with great boldness and daring, ask ‘Why not?’, and move from a place of ‘as is’ to that of ‘what can be.’ May you live passionately, caringly and confidently the words of Henry David Thoreau, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams, and live the life you have imagined.”

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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On Being Prepared

In his recent Minute with Maxwell blog post, Opportunity, John Maxwell speaks about intentional preparedness for the many opportunities that life presents. He quotes words from his mentor, John Wooden, who told him, “When opportunity comes, it’s too late to prepare.” He said that Coach Wooden was telling him that we don’t know or see the coming opportunities ahead, so when it comes “it’s too late to prepare.” Knowing this, Wooden was saying that if you grow every day, discover and actualize your incredible gifts, continually fine-tune and push your skills, talents and knowledge, when those opportunities do come, you will be prepared and have a better chance of succeeding.

Maxwell brought reality to the message relating a conversation he had with Jack Nicklaus about his career successes He asked Nicklaus that if he had a four foot putt to win the tournament, would he be nervous. Nicholas said, “John, I really didn’t because I prepared.  I practiced that four foot putt a thousand times, so that when I get ready to putt, it’s kind of like I’ve done this before.” What Nicklaus was doing was that he knew some day, some place in a tournament, he would have this four foot putt to win the tournament. If he practiced that, day-in and day-out, he would be ready.

Maxwell’s message to great leaders is, “Don’t wait for the opportunity to come to you, work for the opportunity so when it comes, you can do something good about it.” Denzel Washington said, “Luck is when opportunity comes along and you are prepared for it.” May you prepare yourself for the world of opportunities that lie ahead, and make them all holes-in-one.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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I Wish You Enough

Best wishes! Wishing you a bright and colorful future in which all your dreams come true… all the best! Words and wishes for the best in people’s lives. They are our expressions of our greatest hopes for joy, happiness and success for those whom we touch and serve. We use the word ‘best’ to push the boundaries to the extreme because we care that much.

Yet, there is another wish whose wording is less formidable, but, perhaps, even more powerful in its gifts. The wish is, “I wish you enough…”. Its magic is found in its expression of opposites and the balance it brings. A friend shared with me a story that captures this thought. It took place at an airport between a mother and daughter who were sharing last moments together before the daughter’s departure.

A mother and daughter are in their last moments together at the airport. They had announced the departure. Standing near the security gate, they hugged and the mother said, “I love you and I wish you enough”.
The daughter replied, “Mom, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too, Mom”.
They kissed and the daughter left. The mother walked over to the window where a woman was seated. The woman could see she wanted and needed to cry. She tried not to intrude on her privacy, but the mother welcomed her in by asking, “Did you ever say good-bye to someone knowing it would be forever?”.
“Yes, I have,” the woman replied. “Forgive me for asking, but why is this a forever good-bye?”.
“I am old and she lives so far away. I have challenges ahead and the reality is – the next trip back will be for my funeral,” she said.
“When you were saying good-bye, I heard you say, ‘I wish you enough’.” the woman said. “May I ask what that means?”.
She began to smile. “That’s a wish that has been handed down from other generations. My parents used to say it to everyone”. She paused a moment and looked up as if trying to remember it in detail and she smiled even more. “When we said, ‘I wish you enough’, we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them”. Then turning toward the woman, she shared the following as if she were reciting it from memory.
I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright no matter how gray the day may appear.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun, even more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive and everlasting.
I wish you enough pain so that even the smallest of joys in life may appear bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye.
She then began to cry and walked away.

The story’s message reminds great leaders of the great value found in the tension of opposites and the power that ‘enough’ has in bringing balance to them. That ‘enough’ is that magical reminder of the gifts you have already achieved, their beautiful value and inestimable worth. We don’t need the world, we just need enough to achieve our purpose and meaning in life. May you remember always Maya Angelou’s words, “You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.”

To you, my very dear friends, I WISH YOU ENOUGH… always! Your best is yet to come.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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Should You Live Your Resume… or Your Eulogy?

David Brooks, in his TED Talk, Should You Live Your Resume… or Your Eulogy?, poses a profound question of focus to great leaders about how they choose to live their life – the powerful question of what they do and why they do it. He introduces his discussion saying:

“So I’ve been thinking about the difference between the résumé virtues and the eulogy virtues. The résumé virtues are the ones you put on your résumé, which are the skills you bring to the marketplace. The eulogy virtues are the ones that get mentioned in the eulogy, which are deeper: who are you, in your depth, what is the nature of your relationships, are you bold, loving, dependable, consistent? And most of us, including me, would say that the eulogy virtues are the more important of the virtues. But at least, in my case, are they the ones that I think about the most? And the answer is no”.

He shares the thoughts from Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik who, in his book, The Lonely Man Of Faith, describes what he calls the two sides of our nature – Adam I and Adam II. Brooks writes:

“Adam I is the worldly, ambitious, external side of our nature. He wants to build, create, create companies, create innovation. Adam II is the humble side of our nature. Adam II wants not only to do good but to be good, to live in a way internally that honors God, creation and our possibilities. Adam I wants to conquer the world. Adam II wants to hear a calling and obey the world. Adam I savors accomplishment. Adam II savors inner consistency and strength. Adam I asks how things work. Adam II asks why we’re here. Adam I’s motto is “success.” Adam II’s motto is “love, redemption and return.”

Brooks refers to these two virtues as being in confrontation. I suggest, however, that in the great leaders’ lives, it is more of a balancing of both virtues, and that each can be lived fully. Adam II provides the foundational balance, the internal self and character in guiding the well-lived life of Adam I. Adam II is the model of the great servant leader. The question, however, in this balancing is: Should you live for your resume… or your eulogy? Which resume will you choose to guide your life? Will the answer be “success”? Or will it be “love”? I humbly entreat you to consider love. A life of love will bring success beyond your wildest dreams. Love first, and success will follow. May your life, eulogy and legacy be one of love. As England Dan and John Ford Coley sing, “Love is the answer.” Make your song one to be remembered.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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