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“Good people are found, not changed. Recently I read a headline that said, ‘We don’t teach people to be nice. We simply hire nice people.’ Wow! What a clever short cut.”

According to various reputable sources a business will hire 80% of all its problems. That means that the remaining 20% doesn’t have to do with people. That is an alarming thought. What is even more interesting is that these people are qualified to do the jobs they are hired for. (read more…)

How are you dressing yourself today? Your clothes are the words you use. Do you want more success and happiness? Start using powerful, positive words that expand your thinking. Expand your positive thinking and it will enlarge your relationships. The results will be the positive growth of your business and life.

Choose carefully the words that you plant in the garden of life. You will reap what you sow.

“Your purpose is what kind of business you are as a person.” Kenneth Blanchard–I really like this perspective. Our focus on business and work is important. Very often we forget that in business and life that business is only a part of life. Look at your business as a person and you will see

your purpose and start conducting yourself not as much around what is important, but what really matters.

“Accepting responsibility for your life means understanding that YOU are responsible for creating the life you want to live. If you don’t do it, who else will? This is a tremendously empowering realization, or at least it was for me. When I realized I was responsible for myself, I stopped making excuses and I stopped waiting for others to help me. Instead, I started changing my life. I’ll say it again: YOU can decide what you want your life to be about.”– Ryan Murdock

As Stephen Covey says in “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” a large part of your effectiveness is understanding that you are response-able. All of us have circumstances, people and things that can cause some detours.

But all of us have one thing in common. We get to choose our response. That’s where we develop the art of building our response muscles to where we can meet a situation successfully because we are response-able.

But the first step to becoming response-able is to understand that if you think the problem is out there then that is the problem. As long as you are outer directed by situations or other directed by people as your primary means to get through life then you will have a problem being response-able and changing your life for the better.

When you choose to be inner directed you understand that there are problems out there but that you have a choice in how to respond. You have self-awareness. In the middle of how we are thinking or doing things we can change. That puts us at the top of the food chain.

All animals operate by instinct and react to certain cues. Only when they are trained will they react differently. For example, when a zebra sees that a Lion is about to attack it, the zebra doesn’t stop to think about how it is going to handle the situation differently. It doesn’t say to itself, “Wait a minute, maybe I can think of a better response than what I have used before.” It runs. And if it is lucky, with enough of a lead, it runs fast enough to escape.

One of the keys to success and happiness is to realize that you are response-able. That you have direct control over yourself and that with self-awareness you can choose your response. And as you become better at being response-able you increase your ability to take on greater responsibility and to grow into your potential which leads to a growing inner feeling of success, satisfaction and happiness.

Be response-able and take responsibility!

“Much has been written on making a great first impression. But there are three points that I believe all of us need to be aware of and practice to make a great first impression.

  • Always Be Positive

    Are you the one who brightens the room? Do you add to conversations? Or do you focus on negative things and hog the air time in conversations? When the opportunity comes to talk negatively about someone, turn it down. It leaves an amazingly positive lasting impression on others. Let your reputation and your brand become those of positivity, grace and class.

  • Recognize Others

    When you walk into a room have the attitude of “There you are” toward others. Too often, a person walks into a room and his or her attitude is one of “Here I am.” To be good at recognizing others we can learn a lesson from dogs. A dog makes you feel great because it greets you with a “There you are!” attitude. The dog gives you recognition and acknowledges your presence. With people we need to do the same thing and also find things to appreciate and acknowledge them for. Be a good finder. Find something good in others and compliment, congratulate or acknowledge them. When you are busy giving others recognition you don’t need any yourself.

  • Give

    Most people are after getting….and they wonder why they don’t. Look for ways to contribute, provide, help, offer and assist. This goes back to what Zig Ziglar said is the golden rule of relationships. “you can get everything in life that you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.

Give first or give often or give last or give first, often and last. Regardless practice give, give, give. The result will be many deposits of good will in your relational bank account. Interestingly, the more you deposit into someone’s bank account the more valuable you are to them.

This will keep most of your relationships on the positive side of the ledger. Are there times when you will make withdrawals? Yes. But when you build up a surplus of good will complaints very often turn into requests for better communication and service. Build a surplus of wealth in your personal bank accounts by making a good first impression and subsequently by making more good impressions.

Deposit as much as you can and as often as you can. To make that great first impression, keep these three points in mind.

  • Always be positive
  • Recognize others
  • Give

Build your reputation on seeking to help, give, assist, empower and support. In return, as Zig Ziglar promises, you will GET everything you want in life.

“If you set the bar at “amazing,” it’s awfully difficult to start.

Your first paragraph, sketch, formula, sample or concept isn’t going to be amazing. Your tenth one might not be either.

Confronted with the gap between your vision of perfect and the reality of what you’ve created, the easiest path is no path. Shrug. Admit defeat. Hit delete.

One more reason to follow someone else and wait for instructions.

Of course, the only path to amazing runs directly though not-yet-amazing. But not-yet-amazing is a great place to start, because that’s where you are. For now.

There’s a big difference between not settling and not starting.” – Seth Godin

Building on the thought between not settling and not starting…….If you never start nothing happens. Once you start something then you can decide on the level for not settling. The only way to get to “amazing” is to start at “not yet amazing.”

Starting is the key to any “amazing” endeavor. One person almost starts a project. The other person starts it. One person almost finishes a project. Another person finishes it. One person almost passes a test. Another person passes it. What’s the message?

You must start something. You must finish it. And if you don’t like the results then you won’t settle for them. When you decide you won’t settle, you start again with the goal to finish at a higher level.

Start with “not yet amazing” and start the process. Finish what you are doing. Evaluate the results. If necessary, repeat the process. This is the road that will take you from “not yet amazing” to “amazing.”

You have to have some learning and education just to survive, let alone succeed. There are many ways to learn and to become educated.

You can learn from your own mistakes. You can learn from the mistakes or others. That is usually less expensive and time consuming. You can learn from what you read. You can learn from plays, music, books and what you watch on TV.

You can also learn by listening. But let me add a word of caution. Learn to become a selective listener. Just don’t let anybody dump into your mental and emotional garden.

Jim Rohn has some intriguing insights into education and learning.

“Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.”

For too many the education stops when they get out of school. Yes, people learn things as they go along the time line of life. But, more often than not, unlike school, there is no focus or purpose other than to just get by.

If you had the “just get by” mentality in school then you ran a greater risk of failure. The same is true for life. Learn enough to “just get by” and the grades for your life will be C’s, D’s and possibly a large number of F’s.

All of us will get C’s, D’s and F’s at times in life. But if you put your focus on learning how to live a better life the C’s, D’s and F’s will be fewer and the A’s and B’s will be more numerous.

You may have learned how to earn well. But have you learned to live well? Embrace self-education throughout your life and you will learn how to live well. When you learn how to live well you will embrace the truth that life is a ticket to the greatest show on earth. All you need is a focus on self-education to get on the stage, enjoy the acts and to leave a rich legacy to others of how to live well. That is your fortune.

The tried and true is beyond reproach. It’s been tried, and of course, it’s true.

True because it worked. In times of change, though, most of the tried is in fact, false.
False because what used to work, doesn’t, at least not any longer.

Sure, it might be what you’ve always done. But that doesn’t make it true, or right, or best. It just means that you already tried it.
The nature of revolutions is that they destroy the perfect and enable the impossible.

Seeking out the tried and true is the wrong direction for crazy times.

Some Thoughts:

The vinyl record was tried and true. The corded telephone was tried and true. The 8 track player was tried and true. The VHS cassette was tried and true. They are now tried and false. Now you can use your cell phone or tablet computer to do all of these things. You can listen to music. You can talk on it. And you can watch movies.

Tried and true does become tried and false. The companies who staked their business model on these things never changing are no longer around. The pace of change in our world is incredibly fast. As humans we have had more change in the last 50 years than since the dawn of man.

Here’s the take away. Change is inevitable. Growth is optional. This used to be a tried and true statement. In some manner it still is. But, if you decide growth is optional business and life will pass you by leaving you with a sense of emptiness and frustration. Then this statement becomes tried and false.

Here is the new tried and true. Embrace change and you will experience growth and a greater satisfaction and fullness in business and life because you will remain relevant in a fast changing world. Becoming irrelevant is being unhappy. That is a tried and true statement. And that will never change.

By Bob Proctor

Watching any professional perform is one of the most satisfying experiences in life. It makes no difference what the professional is doing; they fascinate you with their skill and precision.

Years ago I was employed by the Fire Department. I had a captain, Harry Taylor – we called him Scotty. I suppose by today’s standards he would not be considered very professional. Scotty never attended the fire college, but by my standards he will always be a professional.

Some of the other officers who did attend the fire college and left with high marks had no idea of how to lead people. Scotty was a leader; he knew how to draw the best out of his people. He was a pro.

Watch professional ice skaters, they leave you with your heart in your mouth as they go into some of their jumps and yet they land with ease. You would almost believe they were born with skates on their feet.

Watch the professional assistants. They move with the same calm and assurance that the gold medal skater does.
The professional sales person is poetry in motion. They go through their presentation calm and confident, overcoming objections, leave with the order and you never even heard them close the sale.

Professionals are a joy to watch. How did they become so good or should I say great?

They did little things in a great way every day.

They work towards being their very best, regardless. They know that amateurs compete with other people, professionals compete with themselves. They study, practice, simulate every move, every day – many times. They want to be better today than they were yesterday.

Professionals stay that way over time because they understand something else. They understand that change is inevitable, but growth is optional. In order to master the changes, that come along during a career, and remain professional and at the top of their field they must embrace the personal growth necessary to master the change.
Every professional is open to personal growth and learning how to master change to remain at the top of their field.

You have the brains in your head.
You have the feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
Any direction you choose.

From Dr. Suess book “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!”

Talent is God given. Fulfillment in life is playing well the hand of talent you have been dealt. That is determined by your choices. The right choices will empower you to become a talent-plus person and build upon the foundation of your abilities. Why does this truly matter? When you utilize your talents and amplify them you will experience more happiness. When you start closing the gap between what you are and what you can be through greater use of your talents and abilities, peace and the happiness and satisfaction it brings from striving to be all you can be will take you, your business and your life to a higher level.

Dr. Suess was right in “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!”

You have the brains in your head.
You have the feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
Any direction you choose.

Lasting success starts from the inside out and comes when you steer yourself in the direction of becoming all that you can be.

“When weeds come up in your garden, it does no good to say, ‘There are no weeds, there are no weeds, there are no weeds…’ It doesn’t help to pretend they’re not there. It doesn’t matter how much you focus on the beautiful plants that are growing. The weeds aren’t going to disappear until you get on your hands and knees and pull them out. – In your own life, you can’t just ‘focus on the positive, focus on the positive, focus on the positive’, and expect your problems to go away. If there are some weeds, you have to deal with them.”Nick Ortner

What’s the solution? Notice that a positive focus or positive wishing isn’t the answer. Positive focus or positive wishing is the start of the answer. Positive thinking is one step beyond positive focus and positive wishing for it says I must do something about the weeds. And the bridge between positive thinking and its accomplishment is action. You must develop the discipline of action to get rid of the weeds.

Many years ago there was a survey done of thousands of people. The survey wanted to find out what percentage of people were positive thinkers. Interestingly, almost everyone said they were a positive thinker. Yet, when you got into the details of the survey and dug down it turned out that ninety percent of the people were in truth, positive wishers. Positive wishing is the formula for, “not much is happening around here.”

Only ten percent of the people were positive thinkers. Why? They were the only ones who took their positive thinking, and had the discipline to build a bridge of action to make a focused effort to turn their positive thinking into reality. Develop the discipline of “doing” and you will be pleased with the results of your positive thinking.

“Action is a great restorer and builder of confidence. Inaction is not only the result, but the cause, of fear. Perhaps the action you take will be successful; perhaps different action or adjustments will have to follow. But any action is better than no action at all.” – Norman Vincent Peale

Action is the foundational key to all success. Action not only brings success in measure able accomplishments but it brings something more important. It brings high self-esteem and a can do attitude that allows us to become more, attract more.

One person almost starts a project. Another person starts it. One person almost finishes a project. The other person finishes it. Failure can come from not taking action, in this case, getting started. It can come from not taking enough action to complete a project. Or it can come from taking the wrong action such as having an accident because we failed to stop at the red light.

If we fail, which we will, the formula for success demands that we take more action. It asks us to be creative and find a way that works. As Jim Rohn said, the miracle of the soil and the seed didn’t happen because of affirmation. It happened because someone took the action to plant the seed. Keep planting and you are taking the action for success. Your seeds won’t always find fertile ground. But when they do, you will reap a bountiful harvest.

In the previous week’s post we started to talk about assets you can build as opposed to assets you can buy. It is the assets that you build that allow you to utilize the assets you buy.

Three assets you can build are:

Your brand.

Permission

Expertise

If you haven’t built these assets then you are always starting over from scratch.

Seth Godin offers some more insights that can help you get where you want to go.

“Think about the individual, the entrepreneur or the small organization that has built up trust with a given market, that has permission to talk to that market and that has the expertise to execute on what it promises…. Once you have those three, you call the shots. If, on the other hand, you’re merely a hard-working employee, doing what you’re told, you’re never going to get what your effort ought to produce.

Other assets companies can build include processes or machinery and a loyal and talented workforce. Individuals, though, can pay attention to, protect and amplify the first three as they do their work. They don’t take care of themselves, because there’s always pressure to trade them in for short-term rewards.

One of the biggest changes the connection economy has brought is that assets are no longer reserved for companies and organizations. Now that everyone has the an ability to own a slice of the attention paid to media, now that everyone can build and nurture a network, assets are no longer off limits to people who work for a living.

Your choice: intentionally build and nurture your assets, or ignore them in the pursuit of the next thing…..”

In today’s fast paced hurry up world it is easy to move onto the next thing and not build and nurture our assets. The adventure that is success requires that we build and nurture our assets. Too often, in looking for newness or the next sure thing we stop nurturing what we have. As long as you are creating newness in nurturing and building your assets then the adventure that is success is much more likely to create the pathways to the business and life you desire.

“Do work and get paid once.” Build and asset and you get paid for as long as it lasts.”—Seth Godin—If you are a self-employed business owner, entrepreneur, solo professional or in the corporate world you certainly have bought assets.

But the most important assets are not the ones that you buy. They are the ones that you build because they allow you to use the ones that you buy.

According to Godin here are some of the assets you can build, not just buy.

Your brand. A brand isn’t a logo. It’s a promise and an expectation. When you over deliver, you earn trust, trust that can bring you repeat business, access to new opportunities and the privilege of being able to count on your customers coming back.

Permission. The privilege of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to the people who want to get them. People who would miss you if you were gone.

Expertise. You might lose your job, but they can’t take away what you’ve learned. If all you’ve done is what you’ve done before, you might get paid but didn’t earn an asset.

In just three words, then, there’s the huge chasm between the trusted, experience freelancer, the one you’re happy to hear from when she has a new idea, and the newbie or the short-term maximizer. Those guys have to start from scratch, each and every time.

To be continued next week….

We can dodge our responsibilities but we cannot dodge the consequences of dodging our responsibilities. To be a good leader whether it is in your own personal life or in an organization you must embrace responsibility.

It is interesting that good leaders never embrace a victim mentality. They recognize that who and where they are remain their responsibility—not that of their parents, their spouses, their children, the government, their bosses or their co-workers. They are inner directed, not outer directed. They face whatever the challenges are that life throws at them and give their best, knowing that they will get an opportunity to lead the team only if they proved they can carry the ball.

Gilbert Arland has a quotation that gives a good perspective on what it takes to be a leader. “When an archer misses the mark he turns and looks for the fault within himself. Failure to hit the bull’s-eye is never the fault of the target. To improve your aim, improve yourself.”

Are you on target when it comes to responsibility? Do others see you as a finisher? Do people look to you to carry the ball in pressure situations? Are you known for excellence? If you haven’t been performing at the highest level, you may have been dodging your responsibilities. The consequences for you and those around you will keep the team from functioning at optimal efficiency and effectiveness. To get started on the right track now begin by cultivating a stronger sense of responsibility.

What are you focused on? I may irritate some people with what I am about to say. I have a friend and she is deathly afraid of germs. She does everything to be healthy yet she has more incidence of sickness than most people I know.

She is always afraid of getting sick. Several years ago, when in her mid-fifties she had a traumatic experience and went to see a psychologist. One of the things that came out of her time with the psychologist was that her focus on getting sick and doing everything just right for her health was creating an abundance of worry that was impacting negatively her relationships, her business and her life.

He encouraged her to focus on health. This was difficult to do after focusing for years on sickness. Yet amazing things started happening over time. She had always worked out. But she now incorporated into her routine what I call cheeseburger and beer therapy. After years of being fearful of any meat and alcohol, she now on occasion would have a cheeseburger and beer, something she had enjoyed in her twenties. Interestingly, over time her health improved and outside of the occasional cold or allergy the sickness that was part of her life is gone.

Our mental health is the most important component to our physical and emotional well being. It is too easy to think we are on a good course with our behavior, yet we are drifting off course and bringing more of what we don’t want into our lives because of the wrong mental focus. Check yourself. What are you focused on? If you have areas where it is negativity and scarcity see if you can start focusing on the positive and abundance. You will love the positive effect that it will have in your relationships, your business and your life, not to mention your health.

“Do you need something? Do you desire something? There is a huge difference. First let’s look at need. You cannot attract what you need if you have a sense of urgency or desperation. Why? You are radiating fear. And fear repels the very thing you need. On the other hand when you desire something you are in a more relaxed, positive state and are much more likely to attract what you desire.

If you go to the soil and say give me a crop. The soil will say, “Don’t bring me your need. Bring me your seed.” If you desire to have a crop you will have to develop the skills or disciplines to have seeds and to be able to plant them. The result is that the soil will respond with a bountiful crop.

The key is to become what you must be in order to attract what you desire. And when you attract what you desire you need very little. Why? Because you understand that whatever you desire first has to be internalized, believed and manifested from within in becoming the person you want to be for those things to be attracted to you that will fulfill that desire.

“Life moves on, whether we act as cowards or heroes. Life has no other discipline to impose, if we would but realize it, than to accept life unquestioningly. Everything we shut our eyes to, everything we run away from, everything we deny, denigrate or despise, serves to defeat us in the end. What seems nasty, painful, evil, can become a source of beauty, joy, and strength, if faced with an open mind. Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such.”– Henry Miller

All of us have heard that our perspective is our reality. And that is true. And life does move on. We get to choose the role we are going to play. We get to choose how we think about what is happening to us. The important thing is this. Everything we shut our eyes to, everything we run away from, everything we deny, denigrate or despise, serves to defeat us in the end. Why? Hate and fear never lead to a positive, fulfilling life. Get rid of hate and forgive. Get rid of fear by taking action to overcome it. Action cures fear. Or, instead of pushing against fear, learn to work with it as an impetus to grow. Your life will be your choice.

“It doesn’t matter if the song of life that you sing is simple or complicated. All that matters is how much you put into that song. Your life is controlled only by what you give to it. You won’t get anything from it if you don’t put feeling into life. That’s why people fall in love. If they give that feeling, they get it back. Put all you’ve got into this life, and when the day comes for you to pass on, you won’t regret what you did.”– Author unknown

Passion and enthusiasm make things 1,000 percent better. Life is an echo. What you send out, comes back. Passion and enthusiasm build momentum. Just as an airplane on the runway must build momentum to take off, you must do the same with your life. Building momentum takes time and effort. The key is to develop new skills or disciplines to build momentum. All of us are born with certain gifts and abilities. But it is our ability to develop new skills or disciplines that are the great equalizer and allow us to build momentum to take off to the business and life we desire.

“If you really want world-class success, decide today to stop caring what other people think and keep your own counsel. Others may or may not have your best interests at heart, but you always will. Calm down and listen to the little voice inside and have the guts to follow it. Trust yourself and know that if you’re wrong you have the ability to bounce back. Caring about other people is an asset. Caring about what other people think is a liability.”– Steve Siebold

Here are some key points around his quotation. More often than not, and not through any sinister plan, most people don’t have your best interests at heart only because they truly don’t know you. They offer compassion and well intentioned wisdom, but unless they truly know you it is better to move on.

Listen to the small voice inside that is guiding you on your success path. Very often it is hard to hear among the loud promptings of failure that you hear from outside sources.

Trust yourself and take the risk. If you are wrong and fall flat on your face at least your face down experience will cause you to face up to what you need to do to be successful.

After all, we are not judged by the number of times we fail, but by the number of times we succeed. And the number of times we succeed is in direct proportion to the number of times we can fail and keep trying. Failure is in the performance, not the performer.

Have you ever faced a challenge marketing your product or service? If you have, as I have, there are some important questions you want to ask. And when you have the answers to these questions you truly can have a marketing breakthrough. First, you have to be clear about your target audience. It is amazing how often I ask about a target market and I will get answers as broad as people.

For your target market to buy from you, you have to effect a change to where they see value and make the decision to buy based on that perceived value.

The following comes from Seth Godin considered to be one of the foremost thinkers on a variety of subjects from business to personal.

“So the first, most important question is, “who do we want to change?” If you can’t answer this specifically, do not proceed to the rest. By who, I mean, “give me a name.” Or, if you can’t give me a name, then a person, a tribe, a spot in the hierarchy, a set of people who share particular worldviews. People outside this group should think you’re crazy, or at the very least, ignore you.

Then, be really clear about:

What does he already believe?

What is he afraid of?

What does he think he wants?

What does he actually want?

What stories have resonated with him in the past?

Who does he follow and emulate and look up to?

What is his relationship with money?

What channel has his permission? Where do messages that resonate with him come from? Who does he trust and who does he pay attention to?

What is the source of his urgency—why will he change now rather than later?

After he has changed, what will he tell his friends?

Now that you know these things, go make a product and a service and a story that works. No fair changing the answers to the questions to match the thing you’ve already made (you can change the desired audience, but you can’t change the truth of what they want and believe).

“You cannot convince someone to see something that they do not want to see, no matter how much you know it would improve their lives. You have to love and accept them exactly as they are today. If you cannot do that, you have to let them go and find their own way, in their own time, if they ever choose to do so. Otherwise, you’ll be giving them the power over your happiness, too.” — Doe Zantamata—

Letting go of a relationship that is not working can be one of the most difficult undertakings in business and life. How do you do that? You must develop the skill of quitting and letting go. Just as a tree cannot grow unless it sheds its leaves, we cannot grow until we shed those relationships that after many efforts on our part to make them work, don’t work. And, when you hold onto relationships that are not working they will pollute your existing relationships and hinder you from developing new and healthy ones. The worst part is that we become angry with ourselves when we know we are holding on to something that isn’t working. Forget the saying, “A winner never quits and a quitter never wins.” That’s true in competitive sports. But relationships are not a competition. They are a narrative. They tell a stories about us. What stories are your relationships telling about you? If you don’t like the stories quit the relationships. Only then can you grow new relationships, like new leaves on a tree, will you put you, your business and your life in a healthier condition.

“Time is an equal opportunity employer. Each human being has exactly the same number of hours and minutes every day. Rich people can’t buy more hours. Scientists can’t invent new minutes. And you can’t save time to spend it on another day. Even so, time is amazingly fair and forgiving. No matter how much time you’ve wasted in the past, you still have an entire tomorrow.” — Denis Waitley—

We can spend more money but we can’t spend more time. Once a minute, an hour or a day is over with it is gone. When it comes to time and life there are no do overs. But, you can always start over. Why not start today to do something to change your business and life for the better? Create the vision of what can be and leave behind what is. When you do a different feeling will come over you. You will start to build momentum. You will start to focus on what you got from the day which brings a whole different energy than thinking about getting through the day. Without an exciting vision of our future our daily lives become a slog through the mud. Our time becomes measured in what we have to do to get through the day. With your vision of what can be you start investing your time in the most exciting enterprise of all, improving you, your business and your life. And the best part is that when you get to the end of the day you will see that your time wasn’t spent just getting through the day but more on what you got from the day to take you closer to your vision of what can be and the good life that it promises.

In Secrets of a Working Dog by Ellen Galvin and Patrick Galvin, Bella the Boxer outlines these canine principles of success in this dog-eat-dog world.

Dogs have a protocol for playtime. When they’re ready to play, they stick their butts in the air, plop their front legs on the ground and prick up their ears. Take some time out of your day to unwind, but take the necessary steps to ensure that it’s scheduled productive play, not simply a waste of time.

Become a better listener by wagging your tail more than your tongue. Great listening skills are an integral part of being a good communicator and leader. Many times, a frustrated individual just needs someone to listen to them, not necessarily to offer advice. Learn what your audience’s listening needs are to lend an open ear.

Assemble your pack. The most successful people are those who surround themselves with a network of colleagues, mentors and good friends. And if you don’t want to catch any fleas, a good place to start is to surround yourself with people whose habits you would like rubbed off on you.

“There are two kinds of people—those who come in a room and say, ‘Well, here I am’ or those that come in a room and people say “There you are.” Dogs are great at making us feel needed and valued, a trait we should learn to pass on to coworkers, employees or family.

Enjoy the simpler things in life. Whether it’s taking the time to sniff the flowers or enjoying the wind in a car ride, dogs have a genuine appreciation for the tiniest joys found in life. Take a page from our canine friends by looking for or treating yourself to something that makes you smile.

Our words have the power to lift people up or push people down. We can say something to make others feel better about themselves or make them feel worse. It’s amazing what a simple compliment will do. When you tell someone “You look nice today,” or “Great job on that presentation at the office,” or “I really enjoy working with you,” those simple words will put a spring in their step and brighten their day. It doesn’t take much time and doesn’t cost you anything, yet with your words, you can bless their life.

That’s the power God has given each one of us. Every day we should have a goal of finding at least one person that we can encourage. Let’s be free with our compliments. Point out what somebody is doing right, not what they are doing wrong. There is already enough pushing people down. Let’s make it our business to lift people up, to brighten their day, to make them feel better about themselves. Remember, your words are seeds. When you deposit life and blessing into others, that’s what you’ll reap in your own life in return!

“You can be the most beautiful person in the world and everybody sees light and rainbows when they look at you, but if you yourself don’t know it, all of that doesn’t even matter. Every second that you spend on doubting your worth, every moment that you use to criticize yourself is a second of your life wasted, is a moment of your life thrown away. It’s not like you have forever, so don’t waste any of your seconds don’t throw even one of your moments away.” – C. Joy Bell –

You may doubt others, doubt the government, doubt your friends but never doubt yourself. You can question yourself. That is not doubt. Doubt is fear. A fear that our self-worth is not what we feel it should be or what others may think it is. When you doubt yourself you are criticizing your self-worth. Doubt can stop us from asking questions, seeking answers and changing our course when needed. Doubt can drain our energy and momentum. In your mind, at all times, keep a positive picture of yourself and the future you desire. And when mistakes or situations arise that may cause you to doubt yourself remember this: Mistakes are the road blocks and challenging situations are the necessary mountains that all of us must climb on our path to success and the good life. The road to the good life demands that we overcome the mistakes and challenges and the doubt they can create to become more and to be all that we can be.

“One of the difficulties we face in our industrialized age is the fact we’ve lost our sense of seasons. Unlike the farmer whose priorities change with the season, we have become impervious to the natural rhythm of life. As a result, we have our priorities out of balance. Let me illustrate what I mean:

For a farmer, springtime is his most active time. It’s then when he must work around the clock, up before the sun and still toiling at the stroke of midnight. He must keep his equipment running at full capacity because he has but a small window of time for the planting of his crop. Eventually winter comes when there is less for him to do to keep him busy.

There is a lesson. Learn to use the seasons of life. Decide when to pour it on and when to ease back, when to take advantage and when to let things ride. It’s easy to keep going from nine to five year in and year out and lose a natural sense of priorities and cycles. Don’t let one year blend into another in a seemingly endless parade of tasks and responsibilities. Keep your eye on your own seasons, lest you lose sight of value and substance.” – Jim Rohn

As you move along the time line of life know your priorities and your seasons. Spring can come many times in a life time as can summer, fall and winter. Know where you are at and adjust accordingly. If we choose to give our life to one thing, very often our work, we get to experience a splinter off the block of wood that is life and no more. This is sad. There is so much to the experience that is life.

Know your seasons. Know your priorities. Time is the only thing we can spend and never get back. Life isn’t a practice session. There are no do overs. But the good news is that you can always start over.

“The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours – it is an amazing journey –and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins.”
–Bob Moawad —

Taking ownership of your life is about declaring to yourself and then to others what you want. Don’t talk about what you don’t want. Throwing out the negative will insure that negativity pushes back against you. Then go about getting what you want. Don’t blame people, circumstances or things. See them as stepping stones or obstacles to overcome on your way to having your own life. These become learning opportunities. You learn that you must become bigger than your challenges. If the challenges remain bigger than you then you really haven’t committed yourself to having a life of your own. And, even worse you will never experience success which is the fuel for momentum and more success. In the end, the people who have decided that their life is their own have one thing in common. All of them had certain people, circumstances and things they didn’t like. Then they made a decision. They got up, decided to become bigger than their challenges and changed them. Your life is your own when you start changing it to be what you want.

Is your mindset to win in business? Every self-employed business owner would say and emphatic—“YES!” Yet, in looking at their actions many are more interested in creating a job that fills time and the result very often is that their business is their life and their life is their business. They may earn a good income but they are in bondage to the very thing they created to give them more freedom. Here are some thoughts on success in business and life. You must play to win.

The art of business is the art of war. Just as you go into war with the idea of winning. You must do the same in business. You don’t go into war with the idea of becoming a hostage to your enterprise. Don’t become a hostage to your business. You are fighting for your territory…and your life. Your marketing plan is your military strategy. To protect your hard won gains and to advance you must have a solid ground strategy. How are you and your product or service connecting with customers on the ground? Also, you must entertain other strategies as you grow. Your strategy to win the air part of the war can be advertising on radio or TV. Direct mail can be like your navy…..firing missles of advertising into people’s homes. Regardless just like war, you are in it to win. And just like war, when you win you get to go home and enjoy life.

“People who only have good experiences aren’t very interesting. They may be content and happy after a fashion but they aren’t very deep. It may seem a misfortune now, and it makes things difficult, but well – it’s easy to feel all the happy, simple stuff. Not that happiness is necessarily simple. But I don’t think you’re going to have a life like that, and I think you’ll be the better for it. The difficult thing is to not be overwhelmed by the bad patches.

You must not let them defeat you. You must see them as a gift – a cruel gift, but a gift nonetheless.”—Peter Cameron—Feeling stuck, overwhelmed and experiencing defeat is the price of progress. The key is to have a clear vision of what your success will look like. With a vision of our success we understand that being stuck, overwhelmed and experiencing failure are part of the process and that they are merely stepping stones to a better business and life. Without a clear vision of success and a good outcome each setback reinforces the feeling that we are stuck and overwhelmed, robbing us of the energy to move forward. We can feel that we are going nowhere. Craft your vision today of the successful future you desire. Once the future is finished in your mind, then what you need to do in the present becomes absolutely clear. And with a clear vision of success the detours, times we are stuck and overwhelmed are the weights we have to lift to strengthen ourselves to have the future we desire. In reality your success is not determined so much by what you accomplish but by what you have to overcome in order to accomplish.

“You say, “The country is messed up.” That’s like cursing the soil and the seed and the sunshine and the rain, which is all you’ve got. Don’t curse all you’ve got. When you get your own planet, you can rearrange this whole deal. This one you’ve got to take like it comes.”—Jim Rohn—And, you have a choice. Either you get bigger than your challenges or the challenges remain bigger than you.

Learn how to be an overcomer of challenges. That is the path to the good life. How do you do it? Develop new skills and disciplines. If we bring the same old skills and disciplines to new problems, our progress will stop. It’s like using a hammer that drives nails to cut down a tree. You may eventually get the tree down with the hammer but when you are finished you will be exhausted and have missed out on many other opportunities in the forest of business and life. Learn how to be an overcomer of challenges. Develop new skills and disciplines. That is the path to the good life. It’s not about overcoming everything. That happens for no one. It’s about your willingness to become more in your present circumstance. In the process of becoming more you enlarge yourself and will have the opportunity to receive more of the good things life has to offer.

“Everything is a life lesson. Everyone you meet, everything you encounter, etc. They’re all part of the learning experience we call ‘life.’ Never forget to acknowledge the lesson, especially when things don’t go your way. If you don’t get a job that you wanted or a relationship doesn’t work, it only means something better is out there waiting.

And the lesson you just learned is the first step towards it.”– Author Unknown—Life’s lessons are our personal guidelines to the good life. They are there to teach us how to have the business and life we desire. Always be open to learning. Success is the degree we receive from our own school, the school of being self-taught.

“Before success comes in any man’s life, he’s sure to meet with much temporary defeat and, perhaps some failures. When defeat overtakes a man, the easiest and the most logical thing to do is to quit. That’s exactly what the majority of men do.”– Napoleon Hill

I remember so well the sign over the door to our high school locker room. “A winner never quits. And a quitter never wins.” In athletic contests that certainly holds true.

Yet, in the rest of life learning when to quit and how to quit are essential skills that must be developed to have the growth we desire.

The truth is, that unlike the trees in nature that shed their leaves every year, we as human beings have been given a choice. Very often we end up holding onto or staying involved with people, things or organizations that are pulling us down, not lifting us up.

Yes, almost everyone has something or someone they would like to limit or delete. Take a look at your business and life and quit those things that aren’t working. It could be ideas that you have, processes you are involved with, a way of thinking or a relationship.

Regardless, you must master the art of quitting in order to grow. As the tree would tell you, it is impossible to grow when you are holding onto the old that is no longer working for you.

Become a quitter. If you look around, the most successful people know how to practice the art of quitting and make it part of their businesses and lives. Quitting is the first step to personal growth. When you quit you are saying I am ready for something new. I am ready to be challenged. I am ready to grow.

Going back to the quotation by Napoleon Hill: Quit not because something is hard and takes time. If you are on the right road to success persistence is the necessary ingredient.

Look at all areas of your business and life and find the roads that are leading nowhere. Only when you quit traveling down these roads will you be ready to be open to more of the possibilities that life has to offer.

Lifestyle And Developing a sense of urgency—Success or failure depends on 3 things:

  1. What we know—Our Personal Philosophy
  2. How we feel—Our Attitude
  3. Our Activity—What we do with, and about, all that we feel and all that we know
These three determine our lifestyle and results. One of the greatest obstacles to living the life you want is the comfort zone. It can cause procrastination. It can become the zone of mediocrity. To have a sense of urgency you must learn to see a picture of the future in advance. We must be able to see the consequences of drift and personal neglect. Examine your current drift. Life is not a practice session. There are no do overs. We are in the game of life and our opponent is human mediocrity. We must run the risk of going to far in order to discover how far we can go.

Lifestyle is important because it reflects directly on us in terms of how we choose to live and how we design our lives. The question to ask ourselves is: Are We Living Well? Many of us have learned to earn well but have not yet learned how to live well. To live well we must pursue the art of sophistication.

Sophistication is as much a cause of wealth as it is a result of wealth. What is sophistication? It is becoming more knowledgeable, refined and cultured about what is important to us about our lives and how we lead them. We learn to find our own happiness. Failure to find happiness in the past affects our current income. Happiness is part of the cause and wealth merely an effect.

  1. Assets – Adjust the philosophy and attitude. It may be necessary to change the seed and the soil and more likely than not – the sower.
  2. Look at what we have become. Everything that we have acquired is a result of past efforts and past thoughts.
We are either gathering intelligence or ignorance. What are you gathering? Personal value is the magnet that attracts all good things to our lives. Success must be attracted, not pursued. We must pursue acquiring more value. Our objective must be to work harder on ourselves than anything else. Better results come from being a better person. When we become, we attract. Promises must be matched by performance.

“Life isn’t about keeping score. It’s not about how many people call you and it’s not about who you’ve dated, are dating, or haven’t dated at all. It isn’t about who you’ve kissed, what sport you play, or which girl or guy likes you. It’s not about your shoes or your hair or the color of your skin or where you live or go to school. In fact, it’s not about grades, money, clothes, or colleges that accept you.

Life isn’t about if you have lots of friends, or if you are alone, and it’s not about how accepted or unaccepted you are. Life just isn’t about that. But life is about who you love and who you hurt. It’s about how you feel about yourself. It’s about trust, happiness, and compassion. It’s about sticking up for your friends and replacing inner hate with love. Life is about avoiding jealousy, overcoming ignorance, and building confidence. It’s about what you say and what you mean. It’s about seeing people for who they are and not what they have. Most of all, it’s about choosing to use your life to touch someone else’s in a way that could never have been achieved otherwise. These choices are what life’s about.”– Nike Ad—Touch lives positively and you will plant the seeds to have others lift you up to the success and life you desire.

Thoughts on Success – First, we must have a clear picture of the future we desire. We must see the final outcome. The more we push in that direction, the more the future begins to pull. Our daily activity and discipline provides us with the push to propel us toward success. How to accomplish success? All we need is a simple plan.

Many of the answers will take time and be discovered as we go through the process of activity. To succeed, activity must be disciplined. You must be consistent and persistent. The development of new disciplines is where success really starts. We must become a master over the small details in our lives. And we must use the power of imagination to remind us of what is possible.

Value-How To Become More Valuable? It is not what we get that makes us valuable. It is what we become in the process of doing that brings value to our lives. Activity converts an idea in actuality giving us personal value that comes from no other source.

To add value and means to get there must be filled with intense activity. To have intense activity we must be obsessed by the ends, by the promise of the future. The end does not merely justify the means. The inspiration we get from seeing the ends clearly in our minds will enable us to produce the means. Once again, discipline and developing new disciplines is a requirement for progress. Change to becoming more valuable begins with choice. Let’s choose and act. We don’t want to spend too much time in the process of acquiring intelligence.

Rewards: Life is not fair. Life is not designed to give rewards in proportion to our level of need. Life gives rewards in proportion to our level of deserve. Our level of deserve in the present, with meaningful activity designed to give us a better future, will not reflect our ultimate future.

Do not get discouraged in the present as long as your activity is on purpose and taking you to the future you desire. With our goals firmly in mind we must remember that whether or not we achieve our goals is determined by our activity. Our level of activity must equal our level of intent to succeed. And to have the activity that leads to success we must be willing to experience the pain of discipline. Only when we develop new disciplines can our activity change and take us to the rewards we seek in our businesses and lives.

Activity – The application of all that we know and all that we feel, combined with the desire to have more than we have and to become more than we are. Activity gives purpose and results to our philosophy and attitude. Only with activity can we begin to measure the effectiveness of our philosophy and attitude.

Too often though, people are timid or over cautious. They will get into activity someday, sometime. Someday, sometime is not in the formula for success. Someday, sometime is procrastination. Procrastination is a five syllable word for NO. Say yes to activity. The key to having success in business and life is to remember that nothing is accomplished sitting on the sidelines.

Continuing with the topic of our associations the most challenging aspect for many of us is to determine the effect our associations are having on us. The wrong associations can lead us to failure. What is failure? Failure is the slow and imperceptible accumulation of small errors in judgment repeated every day over a period of time.

Look at your associations. Are they part of the formula for failure? Are they part of your formula for success? Where are they leading you? The even more important question is: What do they have you becoming? Why? What you become will determine your level of success and happiness.

“Success comes in a lot of ways, but it doesn’t come with
money and it doesn’t come with fame. It comes from having a
meaning in your life, doing what you love and being passionate
about what you do. That’s having a life of success. When you

have the ability to do what you love, love what you do and
have the ability to impact people. That’s having a life of
success. That’s what having a life of meaning is.

“-Tim Tebow

“Life is an opportunity, benefit from it. Life is beauty,
admire it. Life is a dream, realize it. Life is a challenge,
meet it. Life is a duty, complete it. Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it. Life is sorrow, overcome it.

Life is a song, sing it. Life is a struggle, accept it. Life
is a tragedy, confront it. Life is an adventure, dare it. Life
is luck, make it. Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it.”

— Mother Teresa

“The best way to measure how much you’ve grown isn’t by inches or the number of laps you can now run around the track, or even your grade point average — though those things are important, to be sure. It’s what you’ve done with your time, how you’ve chosen to spend your days, and whom you’ve touched this year.

That, to me, is the greatest measure of success.”– R.J. Palacio….What is your personal philosophy? As each day goes by you choose to do whatever you think is valuable. All of us have 24 hours in a day. How are you choosing to use your 24 hours and are you touching others in a positive way? The answers to those questions will tell you how you have grown.

Where have you pitched your tent today? In other words, what are you expecting to happen in your life this year? What kind of attitude do you have? If your thoughts are stuck and you’re focusing on what’s wrong or what’s not working, then it’s time to dig up your tent stakes! It’s time to pack up your belongings and move out of the land of discouragement. (Continued in next post)

Continued from previous post….It’s time to move out of the “Not-going-to-happen” subdivision and move out of “Can’t-do-it-ville.” It’s time to pack your bags and move into the land of hope, faith and expectation! Every time you catch a negative thought and choose not to dwell on the positive, it’s like you are packing your bags to go back to “Not-going-to-happen” subdivision. Stay positive and live in a better place.

Our destinies in life will never be determined by our complaining spirits or high expectations. Life is full of surprises, and the adjustment of our attitudes is a lifelong project.

The pessimist complains about the wind The optimist expects it to change.The leader adjusts the sails.
Adjust your sails. Let go of old attitudes and ways of doing things. When you let go of the old can you lead yourself to the new.

When you affirm people’s dreams you help their dreams become more real than their doubts. Like the repetition of a weight-lifting regimen, routine compliments build up people’s qualities and strengthens their personalities.

“There are high spots in all of our lives,” wrote author George Matthew Adams, “and most of them have come about through encouragement from someone else.” Encouragement is oxygen to the soul.

“We lift ourselves by our thought. We climb upon our vision of ourselves. If you want to enlarge your life, you must first enlarge your thought of it and of yourself. Hold the ideal of yourself as you long to be, always everywhere.”

O. S. Marden…Have thoughts about and seeing yourself in a better place. Only when you have a willingness to go through inner change can you see the vastness beyond your present position.

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward…”Apple Inc.

And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

— Apple Inc.

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