Posts Tagged ‘catalyzing leaders’

Dear Student,

I am positive that you have probably heard from from your parents, those in your community, your teachers, and so many others the importance of getting an education. You were probably told that a college degree is a must if you want to earn more money and get better positions and more pay.

“83% of college students and parents strongly agreed that higher education is an investment in the future, college is needed now more than ever (70%), and the path to earning more money (69%).”

How America Pays for College 2012 Study by Sallie Mae

Yet despite this strong sentiment toward higher education, the glaring problem of unemployment or underemployment of those holding college degrees poses a serious problem.

“A weak labor market already has left half of young college graduates either jobless or underemployed in positions that don’t fully use their skills and knowledge.”

1 in 2 New Grads Jobless Or Underemployed” by Hope Yen

As a student, you are or will be spending a lot of money for a college education and taking on student loans to pay for it, only to be left with a 50/50 chance of landing a job in your chosen field of study.  Do you like those odds? What if you could do something to beat those odds and increase your chance of getting the job you want or begin building the skills necessary to creating your own business?

The time has come for a change. A change from a mindset that an education by itself is enough to get you where you want to go. You have to make a decision to do something that will make you stand out from all the rest of the graduates.

Something remarkable is worth talking about. Worth noticing. Exceptional. New. Interesting. It’s a Purple Cow. Boring stuff is invisible. It’s a brown cow.”

Seth Godin, Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable

What is true for a business to succeed in today’s world is true for individuals who want to succeed in this world. You need to be REMARKABLE. Let’s face it:  What is remarkable about graduating from college? Yes, it is an accomplishment worthy of being proud of accomplishing; but, using Seth Godin’s words, “It’s a brown cow.”

I am offering you an opportunity to do something over the next four years of your life that will make you remarkable. We have created a mentoring program designed to make you stand out like a “purple cow” in the midst of a herd of brown cows. Take a look at the first year’s program objectives.

In the first year, you will learn a foundation of leadership principles as we study The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell. We will study the laws and discover how each one of them applies in your own interactions as a leader.

You will be required to serve in a leadership role with an organization or create a project to make a positive impact on the community where you live. You will be able to take the principles we discuss and apply them directly to your experience. As you serve, you will also be making valuable contribution to your community and start building a network of people who will see you in action.

We will study Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. It has been included to help you create a framework to build a life of success. The principles Napoleon shares in his work come from a study of thousands of people to find out what made some successful and so many fail. The principles in this work, if put into practice, will set you apart from the majority of people, who refuse to do what successful people do.

And the final component of the first year is The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann. This small yet powerful book will share principles that will shape your character and give you a set of principles upon which will steer you toward “stratospheric success” in business and life.

Over the course of nine months, we will have 32 live one-hour-long sessions to discuss the material for the week via teleconference. There will be a private forum to connect and share ideas with other participants. You will have 24/7 email access to our mentoring team.

If you want to stand out as “remarkable” and accelerate your success, then consider being a part of our mentoring program. Sign-up for our newsletter to stay connected and be notified when open enrollment begins. Invest in your future, build a network of connections, and be the one people will choose first over all the rest.

LIVE your dream,

Greg “Big Z” Zander
Cultural Architect and CEO ~ EPIC Journey, Inc.
Founder ~ Catalyzing Leaders


As I was preparing my breakfast this morning, it dawned on me how many food items we now buy with labels of what is NOT in the product.

“No High Fructose Corn Syrup,” “Unsalted butter,” “Reduced Fat milk,” “Low Sodium bacon”…what does that say about the foods we eat? Now before you go and think I am going to go on a rant about all the bad stuff we eat, just hear me out on this.

We have so far removed ourselves from raw, natural foods that we have to advertise what we are not putting into the products to convince people it is a healthier choice. We do that in our lives as well, don’t we? We put on masks to hide our true genuine self and rarely let people see the real, natural you. Leaders have a tendency to do that far too often.

Great leaders have to learn how to be genuine, to be themselves. While some leaders like to BOAST about what they have (degrees, advanced training, etc., nothing wrong with having those things) or what they have accomplished (record breaking sales, high income, company growth, etc., good track records are good things), there are others who like to boast about their own weaknesses as if that makes them more relatable. What people really want are genuine leaders who don’t have put labels on themselves to convince people of their leadership.

“In contrast to the very I-centric style of comparison leaders, we were struck by how the good-to-great leaders didn’t talk about themselves…It wasn’t just a false modesty. Those who worked with or wrote about the good-to-great leaders continually used words like quiet, humble, modest, reserved, shy, gracious, mild-mannered, self-effacing, understated, did not believe his own clippings; and so forth.”

Jim Collins, Good to Great

Jim describe great leaders as having a compelling modesty and unwavering resolve. Great leaders are recognized for who they are naturally not with labels describing what is in them or not. As you continue to grow in your leadership, learn how to be yourself. Lead in such a way as to draw the attention away from yourself to the greater cause which you have chosen to lead. Then you won’t need any labels describing what makes you more like a true leader.

“It’s important to remain open to new ideas and new information. Being a know-it-all is like shutting the door to great discoveries and opportunities. Keep your door open every day to something new and energizing. Sometimes I wonder what will show up, which is a terrific way to start every day.”

Donald J. Trump, Think Like a Champion

I distinctly remember as a high school student hearing a good friend of mine, Henri “Harry” Oudshoorn, who was 77 years old at the time, express his concern for the people in our local church who were not willing to try anything new. Harry exemplified this notion of being open to new ideas and information. I remember being in his home and noticing the 5-disc CD player he had in his home stereo system. I was still listening to cassettes and he was already making the transition to CDs (we’re talking mid-to-late 80s). Harry had a thirst for what was new.

Knowledge is the currency of success. Over the last century, we have transitioned from being an industrial and manufacturing based nation to a service and information based provider. According to EMC, “the world’s information is doubling every 2 years.” If you are not actively acquiring new knowledge, you are quickly being left behind. Obviously, you won’t be able to keep up with all of that change, but you do need to stay on top of areas that have an interest for you.

As you begin your week, keep your eyes open for something new each day. Thirst for more knowledge that will help you be a more successful leader in today’s world. You never know what will show up when you open the doors everyday to learn something new.

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”

Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People.

Dale Carnegie in his book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, shares numerous principles of human interaction. Each of these principles when weaved together creates a solid basis for creating influence as a leader. While each of these principles may stand the test of being useful without applying the whole, the best results come from an integration of all of them.

In a previous post, I shared the principle of beginning with praise and appreciation prior to confrontation. This principle has been used and abused by many. People who hear a manager start to compliment them out of the blue become suspicious of what is to follow. That manager would have been better off to confront this issue without trying a to compliment or praise before. No matter how sincere the manager may have tried to be in giving the compliment, it will fall on deaf ears if there has been no prior history of genuine interest in the receiving party.

As a leader, it is important to gain the trust and demonstrate your concern for those who follow you. Carnegie highlights six principles in the book to help people like you. All six principles center on the idea of focusing on the other person. Here are the six principles:

  1. Become genuinely interested in other people.
  2. Smile.
  3. Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
  4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
  5. Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
  6. Make the other person feel important –  and do it sincerely.

A person who truly lives out these principles, would have no problem approaching someone with true praise and appreciation and then confronting the issue at hand. The receiving person would know that the praise and appreciation was genuine from all the other interactions that have been displayed.

A leader who begins with others first will have far more influence than the person who just pushes forward with their own agenda. As you begin the week, make an effort to truly get to know the people you are leading. The more genuinely interested you are in them, the less difficult it becomes to confront mistakes and issues that arise.


We will officially kickoff Catalyzing Leaders Chat May 7th. Enrollment will begin in April. We have some great leaders lined up already. Sign up today to make sure you receive the latest updates and list of leaders we will be interviewing.


We are preparing to launch Catalyzing Leaders Chat! On the first Monday of each month, subscribers will be able to listen to a live interviews discussing leadership, developing leaders, tips on being a better leader, and so much more!

Our leadership chats will include interviews with those in management, executive leadership positions, association leadership, non-profit leaders, and those who train and coach leaders. We will talk about the challenges of leading, the lessons learned, and ideas you can use to be an effective leader. We will talk with people who are in the trenches living this out day after day.

As a subscriber, you will have access to listen in on the live calls on the first Monday of each month. You will have an opportunity to submit your questions to our guests ahead of time. You will also receive the recorded call in downloadable format so you can listen to the chat whenever you want as a refresher to inspire you.

A part of each Catalyzing Leaders Chat, we will include the library builder. We will share with you our favorite must have books for your leadership library. We will even throw in a few of our favorite blogs as well.

To be a part of our soft launch and receive updates as we roll out this program, simply click  this link or the one on the right to stay connected. We have some bonus features that we will be including as well. So don’t miss out!  Sign up today to learn more!

Action cures fear.”

David J. Schwartz, The Magic of Thinking Big

We all have been in a place where we let fear get a hold of us and, as a result, we froze. We stopped doing what would push us further along as if fear had frozen us in time and space. Once fear begins to take over, it seems like so many things begin spiral downward. We begin to doubt who we are and our abilities. What can we do to free us from fear’s icy grasp?

The first thing we must do when the paralysis of fear begins to take hold is to isolate the fear. Identify the fear that stops us from proceeding. Some common fears people have center on things outside of their control. Fear of what others might think or say. The negative “what if” fear raises its ugly head planting doubts and thoughts of failure. Identify the fear holding onto you.

Once you know what it is you fear, you can begin to take action. It doesn’t have to be big steps but it has to be a step. Once you start taking action, you will see fear losing its grip on you. Create positive thoughts about the outcomes of what you want to accomplish. Those thoughts will be stored in your memory banks adding more positive reinforcement to propel you forward.

What fear is holding you back from doing something you really want to do in life? Take some time to identify it and take one action step to overcome that fear. Once you take that step, fear will begin to loosen its grip. Then you take the next step, and the next, and the next. Keep going until you break free from fear’s paralyzing grasp.

Opportunities to advance to the next level may come at a moment’s notice.  People move.  Promotions leave vacancies.  Growth opens new doors.  Firings happen.  Great leaders are always preparing for the next opportunity while others are trying to catch up or scramble to look qualified to move up.

There are several ways leaders ready themselves for opportune times. First, leaders are always learning more to increase their knowledge base.  Whether it is learning about systems within their company that are outside their normal scope of responsibilities or acquiring more knowledge about their product/services, there is a hunger to know more. Leaders understand that knowledge is power in the information age. Those who have no desire to invest in further knowledge will be passed up and passed by when opportunity presents itself.

Acquisition of knowledge is not the primary goal of the leader. As leaders accumulate more knowledge, they search for ways to apply that knowledge to improve skill sets or add new skill sets in order to become a more valuable asset to the company or for their own personal development. They don’t wait for opportunities to improve their skills; they take the initiative. Great leaders are often found serving in volunteer roles in their community as a way of sharing what they have learned and giving back. Leaders live with eyes wide open.

Opportunities open up for those willing to do more than what is asked of them as well.  No matter how frustrating it may be to watch others try to do the least they can do for the time they are being paid for, leaders will continue to press on knowing their efforts don’t go unnoticed.  There is an old saying that if you need something done, give it to a busy person.  Those who go beyond their expected duties, will usually be given more responsibility and their value will have increased.  Wise leaders will know their boundaries when asked to go beyond their expected role as well.

Finally, leaders who know where they are going can act decisively when opportunity presents itself. There is no need for long, drawn-out delays to ponder an opportunity at their doorstep. When a leader has a focal point, all that they do, every interaction they have, all of it has been for a purpose or a goal that is always top of mind. Decisions are made faster as there is a foundation of understanding of the destination and that keeps the leader’s intuition ready at a moment’s notice.

Jump-start the week by creating opportunities for yourself. Pick up a book and begin reading. Look for ways to do more than is being asked. Know decisively where you want to go so when opportunity knocks, you can open the door.