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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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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