On Dreams

Great leaders are great dreamers. They realize that dreams are realities in waiting, the seeds that they will nurture, grow and eventually harvest. They take form quietly as they go about their daily interactions – seeing life as it is, then in a moment, seeing a new and exciting possibility of something that can be. It is the great leader’s mindset of curiosity, a challenging of the ‘what is’ for ‘what can be’ and the constant striving for positive change in people and things. As Carl Sandburg wrote: “Nothing happens unless first a dream.”

Dreams are paths to happiness and, ultimately, success. They are transformative in their joy and power as they provide inspiration to achieve more. They expand our mindset to future possibilities, the first steps to something even greater than we first see. On your magnificent journey, may you remember always the wise counsel of Colin Powell: “A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.” Never stop dreaming for the best is yet to come. Your greatest dreams are already within you awaiting their time for you to find them. You will go to the stars and beyond because you have the passion and courage to pursue them. Life is so very good.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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Learnings from the Story of the Touchstone… Intentionality

In the blog, A Gift of Inspiration, is found the story of the Touchstone. It speaks about a book that survived the burning of the ancient Library of Alexandria. A poor man acquired it and found within it a thin strip of vellum. On it was written the secret of the “Touchstone.” This Touchstone, a small pebble found at the seashore, was said to have the magical power of turning any common metal into pure gold.

The man was captivated and allured by this possibility and sold everything to spend time at the seashore to find the stone. One by one he raised a pepple to feel for warmth, discarding it into the sea if it was cold. He spent weeks and months doing this. One day, however, he picked up a pebble and it was warm. He threw it into the sea. He had formed such a strong habit of throwing each pebble into the sea that when the one he wanted came along, he still threw it away.

So it is, at times, in the lives of great leaders, when their resolute focus on a goal becomes so internalized and deliberate that it becomes a habit. Its pursuit becomes transformed into a rote activity whose special purpose and importance is minimized. The lesson learned from this for great leaders is be always intentional and vigilant to one’s purpose and goals. John Maxwell writes: “If you want to reach your goals and fulfill your potential, become intentional about your personal growth. It will change your life.”

It is this intentional mindset that adds vibrancy and intensity to the ordinary and seemingly mundane in life’s journey. It is this which is the great leader’s eternal flame that brings focus, clarity and priority in all that they be and do.  May you embrace it that you may be attentive and sensitive to the warmth of all the magnificent touchstones in your life.

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

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Because You Are Still Growing

In his book, The Sower’s Seeds, Brian Cavanaugh tells the story of Sir Edmund Hillary as a reminder to great leaders of the power of their commitment and steadfastness in achieving their life’s goals and purpose.

Sir Edmund Hillary was the first man to climb Mount Everest. On May 29, 1953 he scaled the highest mountain then known to man – 29,000 feet straight up. He was knighted for his efforts. He even made American Express card commercials because of it! However, until we read his book, High Adventure, we don’t understand that Hillary had to grow into this success. You see, in 1952 he attempted to climb Mount Everest, but failed. A few weeks later, a group in England asked him to address its members.

Hillary walked on stage to a thunderous applause. The audience was recognizing an attempt at greatness, but Edmund Hillary saw himself as a failure. He moved away from the microphone and walked to the edge of the platform. He made a fist and pointed at a picture of the mountain. He said in a loud voice, “Mount Everest, you beat me the first time, but I’ll beat you the next time because you’ve grown all you are going to grow… but I’m still growing!”

Simon Sinek writes: “Greatness is not born from one success. Greatness is born from persevering through the countless failed attempts that preceded.” Also, an unknown author wrote: “Someone once told me not to bite off more than I could chew. I said I’d rather choke on greatness than nibble on mediocrity.” May you live your greatness every moment of your life, knowing always that you are still, and always, growing… bigger than any mountain. The best is yet to come.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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On Magical Beginnings and Endings

What a wonderful thought it is that some of the best days of our lives haven’t even happened yet” wrote Anne Frank. Thousands of new beginnings and endings are yet to come in the lives of great leaders. They will open their minds and hearts to undreamed of possibilities, adventures and challenges that will enrich and deepen their life’s journey. Great leaders will embrace those moments with excitement and positivity, with the realization there is continuous learning and change that they bring.

Vivian Greene captures the excitement and joy of beginnings and endings saying: “Life is not about waiting  for the storm to pass… it’s about learning how to dance in the rain.” May you dance wildly in the rain holding closely the words of Louis L’Amour: “There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.” Know always that every ending is a new beginning. There is always something more to find and love in life… and you will, because you choose to.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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The Choices You Make, Make You

Life is like a piano. What you get out of it depends on how you play it.” wrote Albert Einstein. Great leaders know that their life is the reflection and consequence of the choices they make each day on their magnificent journey. John Wooden poetically captures this reality: “There is a choice you have to make in everything you do. So keep in mind that, in the end, the choice you make makes you.”

Each choice adds a touch of paint to the exquisite mosaic of who they are and what their living represents. Many are their choices: personal priorities, health, financial situation, learning, friends, character, career and service and the myriad of choices in their business and professional life requiring attention and focus. Each choice is a moment of preparation, a stepping stone… forward, backward or sideways… defining who they are and the direction of their life ahead.

Robert Louis Stevenson tells great leaders: “There will come a time when we will sit down to the banquet of our consequences.” May your banquet be extraordinary in the depth and breadth of its rich contributions, in the lives you have changed in your caring and servant leadership, in the joy, beauty and value of the legacy of your life’s purpose and meaning.  May you remember that each word, action, behavior, look, attitude is a choice that will have its consequences. Choose wisely, and choose well, realizing always that “the choice you make, makes you.”

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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Lessons from an Arrow

It is said that to launch an arrow it needs to be first pulled back before it can soar. In this simple metaphor, great leaders see the immeasurable value of stepping back before moving forward as they undertake another part of their magnificent journey. It is that precious moment of pause they take to inhale, laugh or reflect before proceeding. It is that magical erratic movement on the path of continuous growth. The experience of each drawback and pull deepens, hones and broadens their skills as they stand as master archers of their destiny. It strengthens their confidence as they see and feel the tangible evidence of their abilities grow with each pull of the arrow.

Henry Thoreau wrote: “You must not only aim right, but draw the bow with all your might.” May you fill your life’s quiver with precious moments of steps back… to retrench, reevaluate, rejuvenate and rejoice. An unknown author wrote: “No one has ever won a game of chess by taking only forward moves… sometimes you have to move backwards to take better steps forward. That’s life….” May this life be yours also. Launch your arrows to bold and daring goals becoming 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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A Leaders One Word of Advice… and a Request for Your Advice

In his recent blog post, My One Word of Advice – V3.1, Dan Rockwell shares the responses he received from leaders to the question: “What advice would you give if you could only give one word of advice?” Their responses were:

“View the success of those you lead by the value they provide to the organization, not the amount of time they ‘put in’ each day.”
“When you want to be critical of others, critique yourself first.”
“Practice humility, because it can open doors, soften resistance and create solutions that would not otherwise be possible.” 
“Operate with integrity and sincerity.  It may not always feel like it in the moment but staying on the high road will eventually take you where you need to be.”
“Show up, lift up and never give up. Speak greatness into people and situations. Give trust.”
“Manage your energy and that of your team.”
“My mentor told me, ‘No one is going to pin a rose on you just for doing your job.’  His point was work smarter, not harder – focus effort on where I can get the biggest return or gain for the business.  Stop trying to do it all.  Be careful about letting others pile their priorities on you.”

Their advice can be summarized in the following: the need for the leaders’ self-knowledge, living their ethical principles and values, a selfless serving of others, practicing humility, never giving up and knowing their purpose and priorities. Life provides great and beautiful experiential learning that can serve others as they progress successfully on their journey.

A humble request to our Three Minute Leadership Family: “What advice would you give if you could only give one word of advice?” I would love to hear your thoughts and share them in one of our weekly notes. If you choose to, please let me know if you would like your name with your advice or leave it anonymous. I look forward to your advice that others may grow… to be more than they ever dreamed they could be… and more… so much more.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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Because of You…

In his blog post, The Daily Dose, Devin Hughes reminds great leaders to reflect on the impact their words, actions, gestures, attitudes and behaviors on those whom they touch and serve in the course of their magnificent journey.

You might think that you don’t matter in the world, but because of you,

Someone has a favorite mug to drink their tea out of that you bought for them.
Someone hears a song on the radio, and it reminds them of you.
Someone has read a book you recommended to them and gotten lost in its pages.
Someone remembers a joke you told them and smiled to themselves on the bus.

Never think you didn’t have an impact.

Your fingerprints can’t be wiped away from the little marks of kindness you’ve left behind.

Stephen Covey writes: “What you do has far greater impact than what you say.” The lives of great leaders are lives of influence. They create joy, inspiration, reflection, belief, insight and change. Who they are, what they do and how they are perceived become the droplets of water that create the ripples of extraordinary change in the lives of those whom they touch and serve. Each day, may you reflect on the impact you bring to the world and see its magnificent wonder… because of you. May you hear the words from Tony Bennett’s song Because of You: “Because of you, the sun will shine.” May you light up the world with your beautiful sunshine.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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Beyond the Bridge

A friend, a university professor, recently shared a story with me about how a mis-spoken sentence turned into a great learning and insight. Toward the end of his class, he was reviewing the course syllabus about what was ahead in the coming weeks.  When he got to talking about the final exam, he said: ” “We’ll get there when we cross that bridge.” With the class laughing, he realized that he had messed up this quote. He apologized and corrected himself saying, “I apologize. I meant to say, ‘we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.’

The next evening, he was laughing to himself thinking about his mix-up in words. At that moment, he had an enlightening thought that “we’ll get there when we cross that bridge” actually has a stronger meaning… we will only get there when we accomplish the challenges that lay ahead and that we will only get there if we are prepared and we finish what we set out to accomplish.

So simple is the message: the bridge isn’t the objective, it is stepping stone to what is beyond it that is the goal. Arthur Clarke wrote: “The limits of the possible can only be defined by going beyond them into the impossible.” So it is in the life of great leaders – to challenge and stretch beyond their known limits and dream dreams undreamed and realize them… to get to the other side of “what is” to “what can be.” Yet, may we remember always the words of David Russell: “The hardest thing in life is knowing which bridges to burn and which bridges to cross.”

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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The Last to Speak

“You will be told your whole life that you need to learn to listen. I would say that you need to learn to be the last to speak.” This is Simon Sinek’s advice to great leaders in his video, How to Be a Leader. Here is his simple counsel.

“The skill to hold your opinions to yourself until everyone has spoken does two things. One, it gives everybody else the feeling that they have been heard. It gives everyone else the ability to feel that they have contributed. And two, you get the benefit of hearing what everybody else has to think before you render your opinion. The skill is really to keep your opinions to yourself. If you agree with somebody, don’t not ‘yes’. If you disagree with somebody, don’t nod ‘no.’ Simply sit there. Take it all in. And the only thing you’re allowed to do is ask questions so that you can understand what they mean and why they have the opinion that they have. You must understand from where they are speaking, why they have the opinion they have, not just what they are saying… and at the end you will have your turn.”

Sinek’s words are captured in one of Stephen Covey’s Habit #5: “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”  As Sinek says, one of the greatest impacts on the listener is the feeling that their idea or perspective is being listened to, that they are respected. It tells them that you are open and vulnerable to new ideas. You have taken the time to stand in their shoes and see the world as they see it. This simple act of emotional intelligence enables the conversation and builds the relationship… all because you chose to be the last to speak. May this practice be part of your beautiful life’s journey – always seek first to understand.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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