On Beginnings

Every day is a new beginning. Those simple words bring excitement or dread to the possibilities the beginnings hold. William James wrote, “It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult task which, more than anything else, will affect its successful outcome.” It is your attitude at the front end that influences the results at the back end. “ John Maxwell reminds us of the saying, “All is well that ends well.” Acknowledging that this is true, he suggests another truth, “All is well that begins well.” It is this positivity of mindset and purpose that sets the foundation for ending well.

May you fill your days with joyous endings and new beginnings. Take learnings from the endings, and let go of the past. Begin a new page or a new chapter in your life’s magnificent journey. Fill it with excitement, challenge, possibilities and dreams. You have so much more to bring to yourself and life. “The start of something new brings the hope of something great. Anything is possible,” writes an unknown author. May Louis L’Amour’s counsel echo in your ears, “There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.” Let your life’s story be a relentless and passionate pursuit of new beginnings. And remember, all is well that begins well. Your best is yet to come.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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Words from the Ninety-Five Year Old You… to You Now

In his New Year post, Larry Center shared an article by Marshall Goldsmith in Fast Company magazine in February, 2004. It is an inspirational learning and reminder of how to live a purposeful and meaningful life. I encourage you to take time to read it. May your 95 year you help you reflect on the learnings of your past in serving you to achieve your dreams. Its value can be immeasurable. Again, please take the time… for yourself. It will make you think about life.

“By now, about half of all New Year’s resolutions have already been broken. It is probably a good time to revisit your goals and think about what you really want to change this year.

Take a deep breath. Take a deeper breath.

I want you to imagine that you’re 95 years old. Before taking your last breath, however, you’re given a great gift: the ability to travel back in time—the ability to talk to the person who is reading this column, the ability to help this person be a better professional and lead a better life.

The 95-year-old you understands what was really important and what wasn’t, what mattered and what didn’t, what counted and what didn’t really count. What advice would this wise “old you” have for the “you” who is reading this page?

Take a few seconds and answer this question on two levels: personal and professional. Jot down a few words that capture what the old you would be saying to the younger you that is here today.

My suggestion is simple. Just do whatever you wrote down. Make that your resolution for this year and next.

A friend of mine actually had the chance to interview people who were dying and ask them what advice they would have had for themselves. The answers he got were surprising.

One recurring theme was to “reflect upon life, to find happiness and meaning now,” not next month or next year. The great Western Disease lies in the phrase, “I will be happy when . . .”

The wise old you has finally realized that the next promotion, the next achievement, or the corner office really won’t change your world that much. Many older people say they were so wrapped up in looking for what they didn’t have that they seldom appreciated what they did have. They often wish they would have taken more time to enjoy it.

Another common response revolved around friends and family. You may work for a wonderful company, and you may think that your contribution to that organization is very important. When you are 95 years old and you look at the people around your deathbed, very few of your fellow employees will be waving good-bye. Your friends and family will probably be the only people who care. Appreciate them now and share a large part of your life with them.

Older people offer other valuable advice: “Follow your dreams.” Figure out your true purpose in life, and go for it! This doesn’t apply just to big dreams; it is also true for little dreams. Buy the sports car you always wanted, go to that exotic locale you always imagined yourself visiting, learn to play the guitar or the piano. If some think your vision of a well-lived life is a bit offbeat or even goofy, who cares? It isn’t their life. It’s yours.

Old people who pursued their dreams are always happier with their lives. Few of us will achieve all of our dreams. Some will always be elusive. So the key question is not, “Did I make all of my dreams come true?” The key question is, “Did I try?”

I just finished a major research project involving more than 200 high-potential leaders from 120 companies around the world. Each company could nominate only two future leaders, the very brightest of its young stars. These are the kinds of people who could jump at a moment’s notice to better-paying positions elsewhere. We asked each of them a simple question: “If you stay in this company, why are you going to stay?”

The following are the top three answers.

“I am finding meaning and happiness now. The work is exciting and I love what I am doing.”

“I like the people. They are my friends. This feels like a team. It feels like a family. I could make more money working with other people, but I don’t want to leave the people here.”

“I can follow my dreams. This organization is giving me a chance to do what I really want to do in life.”

The answers were never about the money. They were always about the satisfaction. When my friend asked people on their deathbeds what was important to them, they gave exactly the same answers as the high-potential leaders I interviewed.

So do the reverse New Year’s resolution. Don’t look ahead. Look behind. Know that you need to be happy now, to enjoy your friends and family, to follow your dreams. This is good advice for everyone who wants a fulfilling career.

It’s also great advice for everyone who wants to live a meaningful life.”

May you find renewed, refreshed and revitalized commitment to your life’s journey. Make this year your best yet. Life is so very precious and so very, very good.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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Your Gift to You This Year Ahead… Peace of Mind

In this year ahead, may you grant yourself joy, happiness and peace of mind. With bold intentions, seek that inner space of quiet where you free yourself of the constraints of ‘have to’s’ and ‘should do’s’ and be released from problems and concerns that absorb your happiness. Rumi suggests, “Be like a tree, and let the dead leaves drop.

About its value, John Wooden said, “Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction knowing you did your best to be the best you are capable of becoming,” In this quietude, you will rejuvenate your body and mind. May you remember Buddha’s wise counsel, “Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.” It is your choice for joy and happiness. To achieve your peace of mind, Eckart Tolle suggests, “You find peace not by rearranging the circumstances of your life, but by realizing who you are at the deepest level.”

Fill this New Year with a sublime peace of mind, with joyous positivity knowing that your best is yet to come, and this new year will be your best yet. Commit to filling your life with limitless possibilities. Find beauty, joy, happiness and learnings undreamed. May your peace of mind create an energized positivity in each precious moment of your life. Bring peace of mind to others who struggle to help them find, as you have, the gift that this peace offers. Hear always, the words of Mother Teresa, “Peace begins with a smile.” Smile brightly every day, and let peace bring you successes undreamed.

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

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Peace and Love to You and Yours

It is that wonderful time of year when the holiday spirit again fills our minds and hearts and gently moves us. For the moment, we are away from the hectic pace of our lives and the world we experience now. Yes, this year is different given the challenges impacting the world and our lives. Yet, despite this, may we choose to see and live beyond these temporary constraints and enjoy the spirit of this special time. Let us pause and step back for a moment to reflect on the meaning and spirit of the season.

May we remember the joys and happiness it brings so that we again can share it with others, while also making it so very special and memorable for those celebrating it for the first time. May our mindset be strongly intentional in making this Holiday Season the best one yet for ourselves, our families, and our friends. May we recall those beautiful words from the song, Believe, from the movie, The Polar Express, sung by Josh Groban: “Believe in what you feel inside, And give your dreams the wings to fly, You have everything you need If you just believe.” Yes, we have everything we need… if we just believe.

The world around us contributes gently to the joy of the season: stores are wonderfully decorated; holiday music streams from videos and iPhones; home decorations appear. Our world is transformed around us into 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 our youthful joys and the people who were and are integral parts of our lives and happiness. There is a sad 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 captured this wonderful spirit of the season: “Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.”

Enjoy and take great learning from this magnificent and beautiful time. Be embraced in this conspiracy of love. As Eva Logue writes, may you be like a candle that “makes no noise at all, but slowly gives itself away.” Make 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.

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. 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.

I wish you and yours a joyous and beautiful Holiday Season, a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and 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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On Releasing Yourself From the Limits of Ego

Self-esteem is one of the precious tools great leaders have in the pursuit of their dreams. It is a driver of self-belief and confidence. It communicates to others strength and positivity which they translate into a sense of trust in their leadership.

Yet, an overabundance of self-esteem, self-importance and self-worth may give rise to the leader’s exaggerated ego. Louis Carter writes, “One of the biggest reasons ego is the enemy of good leadership is that it distorts our sense of reality. Leaders with inflated egos struggle to take on any constructive feedback. They might also overestimate their abilities while underestimating the skills, efforts, and people required to achieve a goal.”

May you always pause and reflect on your self-view. Be grateful for all that you have achieved in your great being and doing while also bringing humility to the ego’s door. An unknown author wrote, “When ego is lost, limit is lost. You become infinite, kind, beautiful.” May you release your ego, open yourself to everything, and continue to become that infinite, kind and beautiful you.

Have a beautiful day, a magnificent and Happy Hanukkah Week!!!

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On Being Relentless

Patience, perseverance, tenacity, resolution… the beautiful forces and boldness of mindset that moves you forward in your pursuit of your life’s purpose, meaning and goals. You realize that, at times, things don’t come quickly and easily. You know that you must move forward despite these times. It is your commitment to be relentless in your pursuit that achieves the rewards and accomplishments you pursue.

Relentlessness is your game changer. While others stop, you move forward as you turn problems and obstacles into opportunities. Tim Grover writes, “Being relentless means demanding more of yourself than anyone else could ever demand of you, knowing that every time you stop, you can still do more. You must do more.” Your best is yet to come… because you choose to be relentless in becoming more than you ever dreamed you could be… and more… so much more. Life is so very, very good.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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Living Your Story

John Maxwell said, “It’s easier to tell a story than to live a story. Most people go through life just telling a story…. To tell a story is to be in the second or third person. To live a story is to be in the first person.” Simply telling a story lacks vibrancy, strength of message and the realism that experience brings to it. Living your story is about you. It is the feeling, purpose and passion that you put into your story’s creation that makes it come alive. It is your beautiful one you fill with passion, great learning and selfless giving. Kerry Washington writes, “You and you alone are the only person that can live the life that writes the story that you were meant to tell. And the world needs your story because the world needs your voice.”

I don’t want you to read your story. I want you to write your story. The best you is what the world needs to see, that’s what the world needs to hear,” Maxwell counsels. The greatest gift you have to offer others is the magnificent you. God created you with a message that only you can share. Tell your story by living your story in that beautiful first person. Give the world the best you have to offer. The story you write is being read and will be read by many. May its learnings change and fulfill the lives of others as you make a difference by being a difference. May you leave no story untold, and may your story be one the greatest stories ever told. An unknown author writes, “Your life is your story. Write well. Edit often.” Your story is in your heart, mind and soul. The world needs your voice. Let it be heard.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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On the Art of Living

The art of living a joyously successful and meaningful life has many beautiful definitions. The art you choose could be in your ability to learning how to hold on and let go. It could be your joyfully living each precious moment to its fullest, not living in the past or over-focused on the future. It is about living now. It may be in your realization of the beauty and value of our differences and what they bring to each other and life. Your art may be in the expression of joyous optimism and positive attitude. It may be in a life of continuous learning and growth that opens your eyes to undreamed of possibilities and visions of new realities. Or, very simply, it may be smiling at all that life’s situations and challenges offer and finding love and learning in experiencing them.

James Michener writes, “The masters in the art of living make little distinction between their work and their play, their labor and their leisure, their mind and their body, their information and their recreation, their love and their religion. They hardly know which is which. They simply pursue their vision of excellence at whatever they do, leaving others to decide whether they are working or playing. To them, they are always doing both.” In all that you are and do, may you live life to its fullest in pursuing your life’s purpose and meaning. May you remember the wise counsel of S.N. Goenka, “One learns the art of dying by learning the art of living: how to become master of the present moment.” Choose to be a master in the art of living, a role model to all, and live every precious moment to its fullest.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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There Is Only One You

Each of us is a unique piece in the infinite universe’s mosaic. There is only one of us. How we see the world is the unique gift we bring to the world. We are beautifully and singularly different. An unknown author wrote, “The universe is filled with countless stars, each star has an important place in the universe, they are unique. Like a star, every single person has a special place in this world. Every one of us, no matter who we are is equally important, simply because we are all a shining star in someone’s life and universe.” Just as the billions of planets are unique, so are we. Harold Becker tells us, “Life is a cosmic unfolding, and we are here to add our unique loving energy.”

May your unique loving energy and the radiance of your light shine brightly and fill you and the lives of others. You are so beautifully and amazingly different in this entire universe, a piece that can never be replicated, and one that is needed to complete its full picture. There will never be another you. May you live your life to its fullest. Push your boundaries and perceived limits to discover the incredible gifts within you. Do it daringly and boldly as you remember Anthony Rapp’s wise counsel, “There is only one you for all time. Fearlessly be yourself.”

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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I Am Whom I Choose to Become

“I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become,” wrote Carl Jung. Each choice is a step in your becoming. Each choice is the product of prior choices in whom you chose to be. Whether it be the selection of your life’s purpose and meaning, a mindset through which you see the world or the people who surround and influence you, all of these choices have contributed to your defining the magnificent you.

Throughout your journey, may you think continually of the extraordinary person you choose to become. Realize that every choice has consequences. May you remember that you are not what happened to you, you are what you chose to become. Bob Proctor counsels, “See yourself where you want to be and then be there. Don’t be in the past. Be there. Act like the person you want to become.”

Choose wisely; choose well. Be more than you ever dreamed you could be… and more… so much more. Your best is yet to come.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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