The Gift of You

“One of the greatest gifts you can give to anyone is the gift of attention” wrote Jim Rohn. Hannah Brencher said, “The best gift you are ever going to give someone – the permission to feel safe in their own skin. To feel worthy. To feel like they are enough.” Brian Tracy wrote, “The greatest gift that you can give to others is the gift of unconditional love and acceptance.”

In the 1940s, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt wrote in her My Day newspaper column, “The really important thing is what you are as a person, what your character and your presence have meant to those you lived with, and what influence you have had on the atmosphere of your home or your environment…. That is what lives afterwards in the memories and in the hearts of those who knew and loved you. As you influenced these people, so your influence will spread , through their contacts and their activities.”

Your greatest gift to others is the magnificent gift of you – your love and passion for life, your role modeling of your highest principles and values, you selfless servant leadership and vulnerability, your magical belief and wonder of the boundlessness of life’s opportunities and potential and your commitment in helping them realize their own beautiful gifts to achieve their greatest potential. Your gift of you will be an enduring legacy in all you have touched and served… and beyond. Thank you for your beautiful you. Your best is yet to come.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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On the Gift of Self-Confidence

Believe you can and you’re halfway there” wrote Theodore Roosevelt. His words capture the critical importance of self-confidence in the great leaders’ journey. It is this that creates the mirror to others of who we are and of what we are capable. It communicates one’s likeability and capability. An unknown author wrote, “Self-confidence is the most attractive quality a person can have. How can anyone see how great you are if you can’t see it in yourself.”

Self-confidence starts from within. It is the recognition of the beautiful, boundless unique gifts yet to be discovered within you. There is only one magnificent you in this infinite universe. There is only one you who will look at something and see things no one else will see…  about life, opportunities and people. You have those incredible gifts. With them, you can and will achieve happiness and success beyond your wildest dreams.

The gifts you are given bring with them a great responsibility… a life of selfless giving to others that they, too, may find their self-confidence and belief in themselves. Stephen Covey captures this in his definition of leadership, “Leadership is communicating people’s worth and potential so clearly that they are inspired to see it in themselves.” With fierce determination and commitment, may you help others discover their worth and potential and the magnificent greatness they have to offer the world. It is there already, as it was in you. May your words and selfless giving inspire them to see it in themselves. In your giving, may you hear always the words of Booker T. Washington, “Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.”

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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Seeing and Believing

In a recent blog post, Seth Godin writes, “They say that seeing is believing. But it might be more true that believing leads to seeing. It’s often easier to discover the truth if we believe it’s there in the first place.” Yet, we have often heard, “You have to see it to believe it.” We have also heard ourselves say sometimes, “I can’t believe my eyes.”

Godin’s insight opens our eyes to a new reality, one that belief gives us. With belief comes knowing. If we believe it, we will see it. If we don’t believe something, we may not see the knowledge, beauty or richness that it offers. Albert Einstein wrote, “Blind belief… is the greatest enemy of truth.”

Seeing is believing as our eyes see the evidence of a reality. Plautus wrote, “One eye-witness weighs more than ten hearsays. Seeing is believing the world over.” A mindful caution, however, is given by Martin Luther King, Jr., “Seeing is not always believing.” And believing leads to seeing, as we open our eyes beyond seen realities. As the Conductor in Polar Express said, “Seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can’t see.

Jeffrey R. White said, “For some people, seeing is believing. For others, believing is seeing.” May your eyes, heart and soul capture life’s beauty, truths and realities, always knowing that there may be something more in what we see or believe.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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On the Value of Credibility

James Kouzes and Barry Posner write, “Credibility is the foundation of leadership.”  Credibility’s reality is found far beyond the words of its definition. It is evidenced in the great leaders’ actions, attitude, words and behavior. These are the actualization of the truth of their principles and values that are internalized and lived. John Maxwell suggests three things to achieve and continually strengthen credibility: “Initiative – You have to get up to go up. Sacrifice – You have to give up to go up. Maturity – You have to grow up to go up. If you show the way, people will want to follow you. The higher you go, the greater the number of people who will be willing to travel with you.” His words speak not only to professional life, but life as a whole.

Credibility is not only the foundation of leadership, but also the foundation of a highly successful and meaningful life for ourselves and those whom we touch and serve.  The following are other leaders’ insights on credibility to further open our eyes to its value.

“Your reputation is the most important thing you’ll ever have. Not clothes, nor money, not the big cars you may drive. If your reputation is good, you can achieve anything you want in the world.”  Maya Angelou

Credibility is lost when there are big discrepancies between what leaders say and what they do.”  Judith M. Bardwick

Without character, there is no credibility; and without credibility, there is no trust.”  Warren Bennis

Results matter! They matter to your credibility.”  Stephen Covey

Credibility is a leader’s currency. With it, he or she is solvent; without it, he or she is bankrupt.”  John Maxwell

Credibility, like virginity, can only be lost once and never recovered.”  Charley Reese

Credibility is a basic survival tool.”  Rebecca Solnit

Each day, may your credibility add depth and breadth to your caring and service to others that they, too, aspire to and find their greatest gifts. With your gift of this foundation, they will build magnificent edifices on it and achieve their life’s purpose and meaning. Your credibility and belief in them will change their world.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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Leadership Is an Activity, Not a Position

The great leaders can emerge from any part of any organization, whether they have a position of authority or not.  As Dan Ebener and Borna Jalsenjak write in their new book, Leadership for the Greater Good, “Using the word ‘leader’ to include everyone who makes it to the top is a disservice to the whole idea of leadership”, which they define as “a voluntary, interactive process that intends adaptive change”.

Ebener and Jalsenjak state that leadership is an activity not a position.  It is voluntary because coercive measures are never leadership.  It is interactive because it requires dialogue with the people who are closest to the problem to lead adaptive change.  It is adaptive because organizations must tackle the relentless challenges which Ronald Heifetz describes as having “no easy answers”.  Adaptive leadership calls for flatter structures, bolder strategies and a more open culture, all of which will encourage even more leadership to emerge organically.

Leadership for the greater good involves adaptive change that places people and purpose ahead of profit.  It inspires leaders to serve people as they serve a purpose.  It employs an adaptive leadership process that (1) involves people in the change process, (2) listens to their cares and concerns, (3) engages them in creating the change and (4) opens up the culture to encourage anyone to lead.

May you remember always the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “Be the change you wish to see”.  In your creation and realization of that change, search your heart for the courage, patience and resilience it takes to step up and lead.  If you have positional authority, do everything in your power to create the conditions so others can become that best version of themselves and lead the change they wish to see.  You are the best!

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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Make It One Heck of a Summer

With the beginning of summer for those of us in the northern hemisphere, Philip Humbert’s article, “Make It One Heck of a Summer,” and its message of “carpe diem” again comes to mind.  I share this at the beginning of each summer as it continues to serve us well as a moment of reflection of the great possibilities and joys of the coming summer.  In his article, he talks about how he and his wife seemed to always have the same conversation about summer in October:  “Oh, no!  Where did the summer go?”  Moments later the house was filled with whining and moaning, a few complaints and exclamations that, “I can’t believe we let it get away again!”  I believe his experience is similar to most of ours, and that, come October, we may look back with similar regrets… if we don’t purposefully choose a summer filled with fun, relaxation and infinite possibilities for joy and happiness.

Humbert reminds us that we are in control.  Our summer and how we will spend it are in our hands. It is about goal setting – a plan, getting things on our calendar and locking-in on them.  Human beings, by nature, he says, are “goal-setting and goal-achieving creatures.”  We set goals everyday – from the planning of our daily schedule to planning what we will eat during the week.  So, if we are to have the greatest summer yet of our lives, we need to plan to make it the greatest.  Start today.  Circle dates on the calendar and mark them with things you want and love to do.  Fill it up and let it overflow the brim. Live this summer as the greatest you have ever had!

It is your beautiful and special life to live to its fullest.  Stretch yourself to do new things and discover new possibilities and happiness – for you, your family and those around you. Set goals and make a checklist of all those things you want to do, and do them.  And in October, look back proudly with joy, happiness and extraordinary satisfaction at what you have achieved, learned and experienced.  Happiness and success are in your choosing and doing.  Choose wisely; choose well! Life is so very beautiful and good.  Make yours one heck of a summer, my very dear friends! May it be our best yet.

Have a beautiful day, a Happy Fourth of July, a fantastic week and a joyous, magnificent one heck of a summer!!!


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On Grit’s Winning Power

Grit is one of the key ingredients of a life of success, a magical elixir that gives life and drive to the great leaders’ perseverance and commitment to their life’s purpose and meaning. Assuredly, they have skills, talents and knowledge that they acquire that distinguish them, yet there is something more. John Maxwell says, “In most cases, races in life, grit, many times, wins over best, because if you’re just the best doesn’t mean you have the tenacity to continue on. You might just live off of your gifts. And if you live off of your gifts, you’ll never accomplish what you can. Let grit take you where others just don’t go. Grit wins over giftedness.”

Dr. Angela Duckworth adds to this, “Consistency of effort, over the long run, is everything”. That consistency, she says, is found in grit, “Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future day in, day out and not just for the week, not just for the month but for years. And working hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

An unknown author wrote: “Your dreams are on the other side of your grit.” Your grit is your raw, relentless endurance to never give up and to always be and find something more. Its evidence is found in  your courage, conscientiousness, perseverance,  resilience and passion. It is a marathon that you don’t want to miss, one that is beyond your wildest dreams. And the good part is that in this marathon, you don’t have to physically run. Life is so very good.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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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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