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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On the Joy and Power of Emotional Intelligence

Daniel Goleman writes: “IQ and technical skills are important, but Emotional Intelligence is the sine qua non of Leadership.” Leadership starts from within. It is a bedrock skill. All ideas, results, visions, strategies and goals, big and small, are operationalized through human interaction – communications, relationships, feelings and emotions. This skill becomes the transformative magic of moving from dream to reality. For great leaders, it is a transformative mindset that inspires and motivates the receiver to look beyond the narrow boundaries of one-time magnificent results to a world of selfless understanding and caring for each other.

Goleman tells great leaders: “Emotional intelligence emerges as a much stronger predictor of who will be most successful, because it is how we handle ourselves in our relationships that determines how well we do once we are in a given job.” May you remember the wise counsel of an unknown author: “IQ gets you hired. EQ gets you promoted.” May your joy, passion and love of life shape and give vivid expression to words, actions and behaviors that those whom you touch not only know but, more importantly, feel their meaning. As Maya Angelou tells us: “They may not remember what you said. They may not remember what you did. But they will never forget how you made them feel.” Touch the hearts, souls and minds of those whom you serve that they will always remember how you made them feel.

Have a beautiful day and a  magnificent week!!!

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A Life Built on Challenge

It is inevitable that the lives of great leaders are filled with great challenges. Albert Camus speaks to great leaders of those moments: “In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” These are the moments of growth and learning that build strength and character. The great leaders’ passion and enthusiasm give new perspective to these opportunities. They are new paths with new opportunities to achieve their life’s purpose. Martin Luther King Jr. tells great leaders: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy..

In moments of adversity, may we remember the counsel of Michele Leonard: “Life is a great obstacle course, with bends and turns, wins and losses. When you get to the high jump, always remember to throw your heart over the bar – and the rest will follow.” May your heart, passion and love of life be the beacons that light your way, the inspiration to meet a challenge and the aspirations that drive you to achieve your life’s purpose and goals.  Remember always to throw your heart over the bar first… and the rest will follow. You will be all in to another moment of greatness on your magnificent life’s journey.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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The Power of Consistency and Desire

“I never dreamed about success. I worked for it.” Words said by Estée Lauder that resonate in the minds and hearts of great leaders. It is not living a life on the sidelines, nor settling for mediocrity. It is about living with persistence and drive to achieve one’s meaning and purpose. They realize that hard work is the entrance criterion for achieving dreams, success, love, almost everything in life. Colin Powell writes: “A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat determination and hard work.

Yet, there is a complementary fuel that is a powerful enabler of hard work’s success. It is the discipline of consistency. An unknown author wrote: “If you are persistent, you will get it. If you are consistent, you will keep it.” May the words of the legendary baseball hero, Babe Ruth, echo in your ears on your magnificent life’s journey: “It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.” May you be ceaseless in your pursuit of your dreams and life’s purpose. As John Quincy Adams wrote: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” Be 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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One Moment in Time

In her song, One Moment of Time, Whitney Houston’s words capture key characteristics of great leaders, the drive to achieve their greatest potential, the desire to realize the best version of themselves, their pursuit to fulfill their life’s purpose and meaning.

She sings: “Each day I live, I want to be, A day to give, The best of me.” And through all that she faces on life’s journey – pain, rises and falls – there remains that relentless search to find that one moment in time “when I’m more than I thought I could be, when all of my dreams are a heartbeat away, and the answers are all up to me.” And when she does, “I will feel eternity, I’ve lived to be the very best…. You’re a winner for a lifetime if you seize that one moment in time.”

The words of this beautiful song give pause for a moment of quiet reflection… the great leaders’ continuing and ceaseless joy of creating those “one moment of time” each hour, day, week, month and year of their journey in their own life and in the lives of those whom they serve. May you, too, feel eternity, that you’ve lived your very best every beautiful and wondrous day of your magnificent life’s journey. And make those moments shine!

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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The Beauty and Joy of Trust

In his book, Leaders, Warren Bennis wrote: “An organization’s only unforgivable sin is the betrayal of trust. Trust is the emotional glue that bonds followers and leaders together. Whether it is a professional or personal matter, there is something that happens that never comes back together. Leadership only functions on the basis of trust.” Trust is the foundation and cornerstone of relationships. It is the beautiful mutual support system that enables risk-taking and empowers the other party to stretch and challenge themselves. It is the beautiful gift of knowing that the other person is reliable and committed to their word and to you. It is the thread that holds everything in place. We hold sacred the words of Stephen Covey: “Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.”

Whether leaders choose to give trust unconditionally or that it must first be earned, it is their choosing. Ernest Hemingway said: “The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” Seth Godin writes: “Earn trust, earn trust, earn trust. Then you can worry about the rest.” Whether given or earned, once established, that treasured trust is expected to be irrevocable. For once broken, it takes forever to repair. As great leaders know, words like: “I thought you would understand…,” “I didn’t think I needed to ask you….” or “It was something I needed to do….” don’t provide an excuse for a broken trust. John Maxwell calls the betrayal of trust one of the fatal flaws of leadership. On your magnificent leadership and life journey, may you continue to propagate the beautiful glue of trust with all whom you touch and serve. As William Paul Young writes: “Trust is the fruit of a relationship in which you know you are loved.”

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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John Wooden’s Reflections on Leadership

John Wooden, legendary basketball coach, is well known and remembered for his short inspirational messages. Despite their brevity, his words were rich and deep in their wisdom.  They enter the eye or ear and then set fire to the mind, heart and soul. May you pause briefly in reading these ten messages, and reflect on how their doing can bring greater joy, effectiveness and caring to your already magnificent being.

“A strong leader accepts blame and gives the credit. A weak leader gives blame and accepts the credit.”
“The most powerful leadership tool you have is your personal example.”
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, you need a team.”
“Success is never final. Failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.”
“You really have to love your people to get the most out of them.”
“Leadership is the ability to get individuals to work together for the common good and the best possible results while at the same time letting them know they did it themselves.”
“Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”
“Whatever you do in life, surround yourself with smart people who’ll argue with you.”
“Be more concerned with your character than with your reputation. Because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”
“Make each day your masterpiece.”

Wooden defines success: “Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best you are capable of becoming.” As you make each day your beautiful masterpiece, may you frame it in your every effort “to become the best you are capable of becoming.” This is the joy of life… of being 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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The Books of Great Knowledge

When great leaders have walked into libraries, they find there diverse treasures of great knowledge, wisdom and insights. There is so much to be learned. They know, also, that there is another magnificent library of learning in each encounter they have with the people they meet and serve. For the life of each of us is a book, a story that we write and share. Grenville Kleiser beautifully captures this writing:

“Your life is like a book. The title page is your name, the preface your introductions to the world. The pages are daily records of your efforts, trials, pleasures, discouragements, and achievement. Day by day,your thoughts and acts are being inscribed in your book of life. Hour by hour, the record is being made that must stand for all time. Once the word ‘finish’ must be written, let it then be said of your book that it is a record of noble purpose, generous service, and work well-done.”

An unknown author tells us: “Life is like a book. Some chapters are sad, some happy, and some exciting. But if you never turn the page… you will never know what the next chapter holds.” Yet, we are the author. Each day, we write another page of own beautiful book, one that is being read daily by those whom we touch. May each of our pages be filled with great learnings that that others may grow and be inspired to achieve their purpose and meaning in life.

May you read and learn, also, from the books of others. They open our eyes to new and beautiful ways to see the world. They push our limits and boundaries in their diverse differences – not right or wrong, just differences. The world is our magnificent living library of great learning.

And may you dare to live the life you always wanted as you become more than you ever dream you could be… and more… so much more. Your pages are your daily record; make them extraordinary… filled with a ceaseless passion, love, caring and giving to add value to everyone and everything you touch and serve.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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The Gift Experience Gives to the Unseen

In his blog post, The Trap of Insightful Selection, Seth Godin reminds great leaders of the value of experience in decision-making.

“Which one do you want?” There were 100 quarts of strawberries at the farmer’s market yesterday. In answer to the farmer’s question, the person ahead of me in line spent a full minute looking them all over before picking one. The thing is: 90% of the strawberries in a quart are hidden from view. They’re beneath the top layer. There’s no strategy to tell which quart is better than the other.

If all you’re seeing is the top layer, you’ve learned nothing. Maybe less than nothing. Con men are particularly good at seeming trustworthy, and the outfit worn to a job interview tells you nothing about someone’s dedication, work ethic or honesty. The real information comes from experience. If the farmer is the sort of person who won’t put the clinkers on the bottom, she’s earned our trust.

Our decisions require a moment of pause to inquire beyond what is seen, heard or presented. Experience or exposure adds another dimension and qualifier that brings value to a decision. Knowing is expanded by reality, and even one step beyond… feelings.  May your eyes, heart and experience help you better know the 90% of those hidden strawberries of life and people.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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The Preciousness of a Moment

Leo Buscaglia wrote: “Life lived for tomorrow will always be just a day away from being realized.” The Dalai Lama complements his words saying: “There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow, so today is the right day to love, believe, do and mostly live.”

Great leaders live for the moment with all the passion, joy and zest their mind and hearts hold. For them, it is a celebration not of a destination, but a recognition that the best is yet to come. It is relished by the understanding that, while wishes and hopes may be wonderful, the reality is that the future is not guaranteed. The present day is when their life is happening, when changes and growth can be made, when living their purpose in life is exercised to its fullest. It is a beautiful consciousness of life being lived purposely and passionately now.

May we always remember the gentle counsel of Mahatma Gandhi:Look at the sparrows; they do not know what they will do in the next moment. Let us literally live from moment to moment.” As Dr. Seuss said: “Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” Life is so very beautiful!.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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