Posts Tagged ‘leader’

Jim Collins, the author of “Good to Great” and “Built to Last,” was speaking before a group of people, and in the last 10 minutes or so of his speech he addressed young emerging leaders. One of the ten things he advised young leaders to do was:

“If you woke tomorrow morning and discovered you inherited $20 million and had discovered you also had terminal disease with 10 years to live, what would be on your stop-doing list?”

The next point Mr. Collins made was “Start your stop-doing list.”

Stephen Covey had written in his book “7 Habits of Highly Successful People” to begin with the end in mind. You should reflect on what you would have people say about you at your funeral and begin to live out your day working toward becoming that person.

As I am reading through the book “Modern Buddhism: The Path of Compassion and Wisdom,” one of the meditations suggested focuses on death: “I may die today.” The fact is we all face death one day, but to assume we are given tomorrow leads us to a point of delaying the good we might otherwise do today. If I live with the knowledge that I may die today, the actions I take and the things I do would be far different than if I lived with the notion that I have tomorrow.

Christianity holds the same thought. In the book of James, it says,

Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will got to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”

It would seem that all these thoughts around death and the shortness of life would be discouraging. For some it would be. For those who grasp an understanding of our brevity of life on this earth, it motivates them to focus on what is truly important. We would express more gratitude, show more compassion, and live each day to its fullest.

Some might even say, “What’s the point of planning any long-term goals?”  It isn’t that we don’t plan for the future, it is that we live each day to achieve what we see ourselves becoming. If your goal is to be the CEO of a large corporation, you know that it takes daily actions to get there. You don’t put off reading that book one more day. If you goal is to be remembered as a loving spouse, you don’t put off those words of encouragement until tomorrow. If your goal is to be financially free at the age of 40, you don’t put off saving money now to buy that gadget that is the latest and greatest.

Normally, we would not associate death as being a motivator to LIVING life. Yet death’s ability to steal from us our potential for leaving a legacy is not a power I want to ignore. I choose to acknowledge my finite nature and LIVE today doing what will advance my goal of being the person I want to be remembered as.


Kayla Cruz shares some amazing insights as a recent college graduate and her experience in the workplace. Her drive to become the best she can be is an inspiration. A great post to share with my readers.

Gen Y Girl

Let me start off by saying that I’m a huge fan of these Ted Talks.

I saw this one today and thought I’d share.

Shawn Achor, CEO of Good Think, Inc., researches and teaches about positive psychology.

Positive psychology… It seems to be a topic of great interest lately.

There are thousands of books teaching people things like how to be happy… how to make the best out of really crappy situations… that your attitude determines your success.

Well it does, but that’s not what I want to write about at the moment.

Achor makes many great points in his talk, but the one that I really loved was his emphasis on the fact that we need to stop focusing on the average (start the video at about 4 mins).

You see, when it comes to business and success, it’s no secret that some people and some companies are…

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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 is one thing to WANT money–everyone wants more–but it is something entirely different to be WORTH MORE! Many people mistake their WANTS for their JUST DUES. Your financial requirements or wants have nothing whatever to do with your WORTH. Your value is established entirely by your ability to render useful services or your capacity to induce others to render such service.”

Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich

Successful people have learned how to bring value to the marketplace and to others. They know it isn’t all about the money, it is about WORTH. 

As we continue to look at the next 5 causes of failure that Napoleon Hill shares in his book, Think and Grow Rich, keep in mind, these can be corrected. You can increase your worth and it will increase your level of success as you have defined success.

16. OVER-CAUTION – There is a certain amount of risk you need to take in order to achieve higher levels of success. People who are over-cautious fall into the same category as those who are under-cautious. Both extremes will leave you in the wakes of failure or limited success. There comes a point in time where you have to step forward and risk something to gain.

In the financial world, there are investments that are riskier than others. Safer investments, like a CD at a bank, are low risk resulting in smaller returns. Commodities and options trading are high risk investments with a chance for huge returns but also susceptible to huge losses. The key is finding the middle ground where there is still risk with the chance of making a great return on your investment.

Be willing to step out and take a chance. That next step may be the one that catalyzes your success.

17. WRONG SELECTION OF ASSOCIATES IN BUSINESS – Whether you are building your own business or looking to advance your career in a company, be wise in who you choose to work with or for. If we are the composite of the five people with whom we spend the most time, make sure those people are worth emulating. If you are in a position where your manager or supervisor is holding you back, begin to plan how you can change departments or companies to work with people who will help you succeed.

I have worked in environments where negativity was abundant and it wears you out quickly. I prefer to have the choice of who I will working alongside. For that reason, I have chosen an entrepreneurial path to accommodate this choice. I will be highly selective in who I hire and who I partner with. This is a vital part of success.

18. SUPERSTITION AND PREJUDICE – I have been around people who are highly superstitious and rarely do they succeed. There is always a fear of something and that fear holds them back. Superstitions create failure mindsets that are triggered by some action or event. Once those triggers are activated, the mind begins to play out the upcoming failure. You need to remove superstitions from your life.

Prejudice will also hold you back as you make judgments prior to having the facts. Acting in ignorance is a sure cause of failure. Be willing to withhold judgment until you obtain more facts and information about an issue, a person, or a group of people.

19. WRONG SELECTION OF A VOCATION – Andre Aggassi, a great tennis player, admitted in his autobiography that he hated tennis. The really striking thing about that is he was still able to accomplish great things playing tennis. Not many people become great doing something that don’t like. Imagine if he took all that energy and discipline and applied it to something he truly loved.

Are you doing something you love? Are you able to give a wholehearted effort into your job, your career, or your business? Be sure you are pouring yourself into something you have a burning desire to achieve. Only then, will you truly find yourself on the path of success.

20. LACK OF CONCENTRATION OF EFFORT – At times, I feel like I have become a jack-of-all-trades and a master of none. Here is a partial list of all the things I have done:

  • Carpentry work
  • Dairy farming
  • Landscaping
  • Youth Ministry
  • Sorter at UPS
  • Management
  • Direct Sales
  • Retail Sales
  • Event planning
  • Medical Technician
  • Auto Sales
  • Financial Services

Those are highlights out of my job experiences. Each experience taught me something about myself, and I have learned valuable lessons that I am able to apply to my life and career. What I have come to realize is I have common threads that run through each of my previous jobs that point out where I need to concentrate my efforts.

The key to remember is rather than trying to be everything to everybody, concentrate your effort on one “definite chief aim.” Then you will become a resource and an expert for others in that particular area. This concentrated effort will keep you on the path of success.

If you find any of these causes of failure holding you back, begin to make the corrections necessary so that you can LIVE your dream.

“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.

“Someone asked me if I thought I was a genius. I decided to say yes. Why not? Try it out. Tell yourself that you are a genius. Right away you will probably wonder why and in what way you are a genius. And right away you will have opened your mind up to wonder–and to asking questions. That’s a big first step to thinking like a genius…”

Donald J. Trump, Think Like a Champion

If someone were to ask me that question, my first response would have been no. I don’t know if it would have been out of humility or that I didn’t see myself as one. Now that this thought has been presented to me, why not be one? So I am going to try it out and be a genius.

What if someone were to ask you:

Are you the top salesperson in your company?

Are you the best in the world at what you do?

Are you a best selling author?

Are you a genius?

How would you respond? Rather than laugh it off, and say, “Yeah, right,” try it. What do you have to lose? First figure out what it is you want to be known as a genius. Once you identify the area you want to be the genius, you need to start asking questions. Begin by answering the what, where, who, how, why, and when questions. Let your mind begins to understand what it will take to make it so.

Then start acting on the things you need to do to become a genius. Before you know it, people won’t have to ask, they’ll just know.

“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.