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April 2006

Take a leap

by Robin Sharma

Nothing happens until you move. It's so very easy to postpone personal greatness by spending more time hoping your life and career will get to world-class rather than taking some action-today-to move the dream forward. It's so easy to get seduced by all those little distractions clamoring for your attention and neglect to engage in those small steady movements that, over time, amount to giant gains and spectacular wins. And yet your days are your life in miniature. And as you live your days, so you create your life.

Big idea: a single decision, made today, can change your future. Alter your course-completely. Help you see a whole new world. The life you now see is not necessarily the life you will have in a year or two years or in a decade. And you truly can change it all with a decision. A decision to get fit. A decision to be more disciplined (it starts small). A decision to be a source of positive energy and inspiration to every one you meet. A decision to show leadership rather than play victim. A decision to beat your fears. A decision to shine. Getting to your best requires that you act and passionately make bold strides. No great human being reached their mountaintop just by hoping it would happen. Hope is important. Add focus, persistence and, above all else, action and special things happen. So take the leap. Today.


Setting Priorities

Efficiency is doing things right . Effectiveness is doing the right things. Your ability to plan and organize your work, in advance, so you are always working on your highest value tasks determines your success as much as any other factor. 

The ABCDE Method for Priorities 

The process of setting short-term priorities begins with a pad of paper and a pen. Whenever you feel overwhelmed by too many things to do and too little time in which to do them, sit down, take a deep breath, and list all those tasks you need to accomplish. Although there is never enough time to do everything, there is always enough time to do the most important things, and to stay with them until they are done right. 

Setting Better Priorities

The best method for setting priorities on your list, once you have determined your major goals or objectives, is the A-B-C-D-E method. You place one of those letters in the margin before each of the tasks on your list before you begin.

"A" stands for "very important;" something you must do. There can be serious negative consequences if you don't do it.

"B" stands for " important;" something you should do. This is not as important as your 'A' tasks. There are only minor negative consequences if it is not completed.

"C" stands for things that are " nice to do;" but which are not as important as 'A' or 'B,' tasks. There are no negative consequences for not completing it.

"D" stands for "delegate." You can assign this task to someone else who can do the job instead of you.

"E" stands for "eliminate, whenever possible." You should eliminate every single activity you possibly can, to free up your time.

When you use the A-B-C-D-E method, you can very easily sort out what is important and unimportant. This then will focus your time and attention on those items on your list that are most essential for you to do. 

Just Say No

Once you can clearly determine the one or two things that you should be doing, above all others, just say no to all diversions and distractions and focus single-mindedly on accomplishing those priorities. 

Much stress that you experience in your work life comes from working on low-priority tasks. The amazing discovery is that as soon as you start working on your highest-value activity, all your stress disappears. You feel a continuous stream of energy and enthusiasm. As you work toward the completion of something that is really important, you feel an increased sense of personal value and inner satisfaction. You experience a sensation of self-mastery and self-control. You feel calm, confident and capable. 


Action Exercises

Here are three ideas that you can use, every day, to help you set priorities and to keep you working at your best: 

First, take the time to be clear about your goals and objectives so that the priorities you set are moving you in the direction of something that is of real value to you. 

Second, remember that what counts is not the amount of time that you put in overall; rather, it's the amount of time that you spend working on high-priority tasks.

Third, understand that the most important factor in setting priorities is your ability to make wise choices. You are always free to choose to engage in one activity or another. 

Resolve today to set clear priorities in every area of your life, and always choose the activities that will assure you the greatest health, happiness and prosperity in the long term.


Importance of having a vision

by Zig Ziglar

In a major university, a professor of economics gave a test to his class. The test had several sections of questions, each of which contained three categories. He instructed the students to choose one question from each section.

The first category in each section was the hardest and was worth 50 points.

The second category was not quite as hard and worth 40 points.

The third category, the easiest, was worth only 30 points.

After the test was taken and the answer papers returned, the students learnt that those who had chosen the hardest questions, or the 50-point questions, were given A s. The students who had chosen the 40-point questions were given Bs, and those who chose the 30-point questions, or the easiest questions, were given Cs. Whether or not their answers were correct was not considered. Understandably, the students were confused and asked the professor the logic behind such gradation. The professor leaned back and with a smile explained, "I wasn't testing your knowledge, I was testing your aim."

As the noted English poet Robert Browning said, "Your reach should exceed your grasp, or what's a Heaven for?"

Langston Hughes wrote, "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die then life is like a broken-winged bird that cannot fly." Yes, we need those dreams or, if you prefer, a vision.

Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, said, "My people perish for lack of vision."

Helen Keller was asked, "What would be worse than being blind?" She responded that it would be infinitely worse to have 20/20 eyesight and no vision than to be blind but have that vision.

In the declining years of his life, Albert Schweitzer was asked, "How goes it with you, Dr. Schweitzer?" The aging medical missionary responded, "My eyesight grows dim, but my vision is clearer than ever."

Think about it. Develop your own dream, your own vision, and I'll SEE YOU AT THE TOP.


Defining Success

Welcome Address by Subroto Bagchi , Chief Operating Officer, MindTree Consulting on July 2, 2004 to the Class of 2004 at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore on "Defining success ".

"I was the last child of a small-time government servant, in a family of five brothers. My earliest memory of my father is as that of a District Employment Officer in Koraput, Orissa. It was and remains as back of beyond as you can imagine. There was no electricity; no primary school nearby and water did not flow out of a tap. As a result, I did not go to school until the age of eight; I was home-schooled.

My father used to get transferred every year. The family belongings fit into the back of a jeep - so the family moved from place to place and, without any trouble, my Mother would set up an establishment and get us going. Raised by a widow who had come as a refugee from the then East Bengal, she was a matriculate when she married my father.

My parents set the foundation of my life and the value system which makes me what I am today and largely defines what success means to me today.

As District Employment Officer, my father was given a jeep by the government. There was no garage in the Office, so the jeep was parked in our house. My father refused to use it to commute to the office. He told us that the jeep is an expensive resource given by the government – he reiterated to us that it was not 'his jeep' but the government's jeep. Insisting that he would use it only to tour the interiors, he would walk to his office on normal days. He also made sure that we never sat in the government jeep - we could sit in it only when it was stationary. That was our early childhood lessons in governance - a lesson that corporate managers learn the hard way, some never do.

The driver of the jeep was treated with respect due to any other member of my father's office. As small children, we were taught not to call him by his name. We had to use the suffix ' dada' whenever we were to refer to him in public or private. When I grew up to own a car and a driver by the name of Raju was appointed - I repeated the lesson to my two small daughters. They have, as a result, grown up to call Raju, 'Raju Uncle' - very different from many of their friends who refer to their family drivers as 'my driver'. When I hear that term from a school - or college-going person - I cringe. To me, the lesson was significant – you treat small people with more respect than how you treat big people. It is more important to respect your subordinates than your superiors.

Our day used to start with the family huddling around my Mother's chulha - an earthen fire place she would build at each place of posting where she would cook for the family. There was no gas, nor electrical stoves. The morning routine started with tea. As the brew was served, Father would ask us to read aloud the editorial page of The Statesman's 'muffosil' edition - delivered one day late. We did not understand much of what we were reading. But the ritual was meant for us to know that the world was larger than Koraput district and the English I speak today, despite having studied in an Oriya medium school, has to do with that routine. After reading the newspaper aloud, we were told to fold it neatly. Father taught us a simple lesson. He used to say, " You should leave your newspaper and your toilet, the way you expect to find it". That lesson was about showing consideration to others. Business begins and ends with that simple precept.

Being small children, we were always enamored with advertisements in the newspaper for transistor radios - we did not have one. We saw other people having radios in their homes and each time there was an advertisement of Philips, Murphy or Bush radios, we would ask Father when we could get one. Each time, my Father would reply that we did not need one because he already had five radios - alluding to his five sons. We also did not have a house of our own and would occasionally ask Father as to when, like others, we would live in our own house. He would give a similar reply, "We do not need a house of our own. I already own five houses". His replies did not gladden our hearts in that instant. Nonetheless, we learnt that it is important not to measure personal success and sense of well being through material possessions.

Government houses seldom came with fences. Mother and I collected twigs and built a small fence. After lunch, my Mother would never sleep. She would take her kitchen utensils and with those she and I would dig the rocky, white ant infested surrounding. We planted flowering bushes. The white ants destroyed them. My mother brought ash from her chulha and mixed it in the earth and we planted the seedlings all over again. This time, they bloomed. At that time, my father's transfer order came.

A few neighbors told my mother why she was taking so much pain to beautify a government house, why she was planting seeds that would only benefit the next occupant. My mother replied that it did not matter to her that she would not see the flowers in full bloom. She said, "I have to create a bloom in a desert and whenever I am given a new place, I must leave it more beautiful than what I had inherited". That was my first lesson in success. It is not about what you create for yourself, it is what you leave behind that defines success.

My mother began developing a cataract in her eyes when I was very small. At that time, the eldest among my brothers got a teaching job at the University in Bhubaneswar and had to prepare for the civil services examination. So, it was decided that my Mother would move to cook for him and, as her appendage, I had to move too. For the first time in my life, I saw electricity in homes and water coming out of a tap. It was around 1965 and the country was going to war with Pakistan. My mother was having problems reading and in any case, being Bengali, she did not know the Oriya script. So, in addition to my daily chores, my job was to read her the local newspaper - end to end. That created in me a sense of connectedness with a larger world. I began taking interest in many different things. While reading out news about the war, I felt that I was fighting the war myself. She and I discussed the daily news and built a bond with the larger universe. In it, we became part of a larger reality. Till date, I measure my success in terms of that sense of larger connectedness.

Meanwhile, the war raged and India was fighting on both fronts. Lal Bahadur Shastri, the then Prime Minster, coined the term "Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan" and galvanized the nation in to patriotic fervor. Other than reading out the newspaper to my mother, I had no clue about how I could be part of the action. So, after reading her the newspaper, every day I would land up near the University's water tank, which served the community. I would spend hours under it, imagining that there could be spies who would come to poison the water and I had to watch for them. I would daydream about catching one and how the next day, I would be featured in the newspaper. Unfortunately for me, the spies at war ignored the sleepy town of Bhubaneswar and I never got a chance to catch one in action. Yet, that act unlocked my imagination. Imagination is everything. If we can imagine a future, we can create it, if we can create that future, others will live in it. That is the essence of success.

Over the next few years, my mother's eyesight dimmed but in me she created a larger vision, a vision with which I continue to see the world and, I sense, through my eyes, she was seeing too. As the next few years unfolded, her vision deteriorated and she was operated for cataract. I remember when she returned after her operation and she saw my face clearly for the first time, she was astonished. She said, "Oh my God, I did not know you were so fair". I remain mighty pleased with that adulation even till date. Within weeks of getting her sight back, she developed a corneal ulcer and, overnight, became blind in both eyes. That was 1969. She died in 2002. In all those 32 years of living with blindness, she never complained about her fate even once. Curious to know what she saw with blind eyes, I asked her once if she sees darkness. She replied, "No, I do not see darkness. I only see light even with my eyes closed". Until she was eighty years of age, she did her morning yoga everyday, swept her own room and washed her own clothes. To me, success is about the sense of independence; it is about not seeing the world but seeing the light.

Over the many intervening years, I grew up, studied, joined the industry and began to carve my life's own journey. I began my life as a clerk in a government office, went on to become a Management Trainee with the DCM group and eventually found my life's calling with the IT industry when fourth generation computers came to India in 1981. Life took me places - I worked with outstanding people, challenging assignments and traveled all over the world. In 1992, while I was posted in the US, I learnt that my father, living a retired life with my eldest brother, had suffered a third degree burn injury and was admitted in the Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi. I flew back to attend to him - he remained for a few days in critical stage, bandaged from neck to toe.

The Safdarjung Hospital is a cockroach infested, dirty, inhuman place. The overworked, under-resourced sisters in the burn ward are both victims and perpetrators of dehumanized life at its worst. One morning, while attending to my father, I realized that the blood bottle was empty and fearing that air would go into his vein, I asked the attending nurse to change it. She bluntly told me to do it myself. In that horrible theater of death, I was in pain and frustration and anger. Finally when she relented and came, my father opened his eyes and murmured to her, "Why have you not gone home yet?" Here was a man on his deathbed but more concerned about the overworked nurse than his own state. I was stunned at his stoic self. There I learnt that there is no limit to how concerned you can be for another human being and what the limit of inclusion is you can create. My father died the next day.

He was a man whose success was defined by his principles, his frugality, his universalism and his sense of inclusion. Above all, he taught me that success is your ability to rise above your discomfort, whatever may be your current state. You can, if you want, raise your consciousness above your immediate surroundings. Success is not about building material comforts - the transistor that he never could buy or the house that he never owned. His success was about the legacy he left, the mimetic continuity of his ideals that grew beyond the smallness of an ill-paid, unrecognized government servant's world.

My father was a fervent believer in the British Raj. He sincerely doubted the capability of the post-independence Indian political parties to govern the country. To him, the lowering of the Union Jack was a sad event. My mother was the exact opposite. When Subhash Chandra Bose quit the Indian National Congress and came to Dacca, my mother, then a schoolgirl, garlanded him. She learnt to spin khadi and joined an underground movement that trained her in using daggers and swords.

Consequently, our household saw diversity in the political outlook of the two. On major issues concerning the world, the Old Man and the Old Lady had differing opinions. In them, we learnt the power of disagreements, of dialogue and the essence of living with diversity in thinking. Success is not about the ability to create a definitive dogmatic end state; it is about the unfolding of thought processes, of dialogue and continuum.

Two years back, at the age of eighty-two, Mother had a paralytic stroke and was lying in a government hospital in Bhubaneswar. I flew down from the US where I was serving my second stint, to see her. I spent two weeks with her in the hospital as she remained in a paralytic state. She was neither getting better nor moving on. Eventually I had to return to work. While leaving her behind, I kissed her face. In that paralytic state and a garbled voice, she said, "Why are you kissing me, go kiss the world." Her river was nearing its journey, at the confluence of life and death, this woman who came to India as a refugee, raised by a widowed mother, no more educated than high school, married to an anonymous government servant whose last salary was Rs 300, robbed of her eyesight by fate and crowned by adversity - was telling me to go and kiss the world!

Success to me is about Vision. It is the ability to rise above the immediacy of pain. It is about imagination. It is about sensitivity to small people. It is about building inclusion. It is about connectedness to a larger world existence. It is about personal tenacity. It is about giving back more to life than you take out of it. It is about creating extraordinary success with ordinary lives.

Thank you very much; I wish you good luck and Godspeed. Go, kiss the world.


Age is not a factor to succeed

Colonel Harland Sanders, born September 9, 1890, actively began franchising his chicken business at the age of 65. Now, the KFC® business he started has grown to be one of the largest quick service food service systems in the world. And Colonel Sanders, a quick service restaurant pioneer, has become a symbol of entrepreneurial spirit.

More than a billion of the Colonel's "finger lickin' good" chicken dinners are served annually. And not just in North America. The Colonel's cooking is available in more than 80 countries and territories around the world.

When the Colonel was six, his father died. His mother was forced to go to work, and young Harland had to take care of his three-year-old brother and baby sister. This meant doing much of the family cooking. By the age of seven, he was a master of several regional dishes.

At age 10, he got his first job working on a nearby farm for $2 a month. When he was 12, his mother remarried and he left his home near Henryville, Ind., for a job on a farm in Greenwood, Ind. He held a series of jobs over the next few years, first as a 15-year-old streetcar conductor in New Albany, Ind., and then as a 16-year-old private, soldiering for six months in Cuba.

After that he was a railroad fireman, studied law by correspondence, practiced in justice of the peace courts, sold insurance, operated an Ohio River steamboat ferry, sold tires, and operated service stations. When he was 40, the Colonel began cooking for hungry travelers who stopped at his service station in Corbin, Ky. He didn't have a restaurant then, but served folks on his own dining table in the living quarters of his service station.

As more people started coming just for food, he moved across the street to a motel and restaurant that seated 142 people. Over the next nine years, he perfected his secret blend of 11 herbs and spices and the basic cooking technique that is still used today.

Sander's fame grew. Governor Ruby Laffoon made him a Kentucky Colonel in 1935 in recognition of his contributions to the state's cuisine. And in 1939, his establishment was first listed in Duncan Hines' "Adventures in Good Eating."

In the early 1950s a new interstate highway was planned to bypass the town of Corbin. Seeing an end to his business, the Colonel auctioned off his operations. After paying his bills, he was reduced to living on his $105 Social Security checks.

Confident of the quality of his fried chicken, the Colonel devoted himself to the chicken franchising business that he started in 1952. He traveled across the country by car from restaurant to restaurant, cooking batches of chicken for restaurant owners and their employees. If the reaction was favorable, he entered into a handshake agreement on a deal that stipulated a payment to him of a nickel for each chicken the restaurant sold. By 1964, Colonel Sanders had more than 600 franchised outlets for his chicken in the United States and Canada. That year, he sold his interest in the U.S. company for $2 million to a group of investors including John Y. Brown Jr., who later was governor of Kentucky from 1980 to 1984. The Colonel remained a public spokesman for the company. In 1976, an independent survey ranked the Colonel as the world's second most recognizable celebrity.

Under the new owners, Kentucky Fried Chicken Corporation grew rapidly. It went public on March 17, 1966, and was listed on the New York Stock Exchange on January 16, 1969. More than 3,500 franchised and company-owned restaurants were in worldwide operation when Heublein Inc. acquired KFC Corporation on July 8, 1971, for $285 million.

Kentucky Fried Chicken became a subsidiary of R.J. Reynolds Industries, Inc. (now RJR Nabisco, Inc.), when Heublein Inc. was acquired by Reynolds in 1982. KFC was acquired in October 1986 from RJR Nabisco, Inc. by PepsiCo, Inc., for approximately $840 million.

In January 1997, PepsiCo, Inc. announced the spin-off of its quick service restaurants - KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut - into an independent restaurant company, Tricon Global Restaurants, Inc. In May 2002, the company announced it received shareholders' approval to change its corporation name to Yum! Brands, Inc. The company, which owns A&W All-American Food Restaurants, KFC, Long John Silvers, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell restaurants, is the world's largest restaurant company in terms of system units with nearly 32,500 in more than 100 countries and territories.

Until he was fatally stricken with leukemia in 1980 at the age of 90, the Colonel traveled 2 ,50,000 miles a year visiting the KFC restaurants around the world.

And it all began with a 65-year-old gentleman who used his $105 Social Security check to start a business.


Qualities to look for in a person

Positiveness: The ability to work with and see in a positive way.

Servanthood: The willingness to submit, play the teamball, and follow the leader.

Growth potential: A hunger for personal growth and development; ability to keep growing as the job expands.

Follow-through: The determination to get done completely and with consistency.

Loyalty: The willingness to always put the leader and the organization above personal desires.

Resiliency: The ability to bounce back when problems arise.

Integrity: Trustworthiness and solid character; consistent words and walk.

"Big Picture" mind-set: The ability to see the whole organization and all of its needs.

Discipline: The willingness to do what is required regardless of personal mood.

Gratitude: An attitude of thankfulness that becomes a way of life.


Lessons from Michael J.Fox

by Robin Sharma

I saw television star Michael J. Fox being interviewed on NBC the other day. You probably know he has Parkinson's Disease. For most amongst us, the condition would knock us down. Not for MJF. He actually felt Parkinson's brought many blessings into his life and shared how it pushed out all the superficial things, making way for much richer ones like wisdom, understanding and love.

Powerful idea: life's most painful experiences are the very circumstances that introduce us to our best. During times of ease, it's easy to get caught up in shallow pursuits and pleasures. Hard times cause us to go deep. The unmeaningful stuff falls aside and we awake to what's most important. Things like family, friends, relationships, presenting our best to the world, enjoying each day's gifts, leaving the world better than we found it.

Big idea: every life is terminal. We are all headed for the same end - no matter how long we get to live. When you remember that before we know it, we'll all be dust, all the things that currently keep you small (like fear, pride and past disappointments) just fall away. And you discover that the time to shine - and be great - is now. (And if not now, then when?)

So thank you Michael J. Fox. For being an inspiration. For showing courage and leadership. For speaking the truth. For being a light in a world with too much darkness.


Persistence

"Keep trying" is the rule that must be followed if you want to be successful at anything.

Your success will always be connected with your actions. Just keep moving towards your goal.
You'll make mistakes along the way but don't ever quit. You may even have to hang on after others have let go.

Persistence means taking pains to overcome every obstacle, to do all that's necessary to reach your goal.

In the end, the only people who fail are those that do not try. All great achievements takes time.


Welcome change

The only thing that is constant is change; our efforts and endeavors must be to ensure that the changes are for the better; if they are not better, in terms of our perception, they may appear to be bitter. But is that really so?

Look at this tale of metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly. I would enthusiastically and gleefully acknowledge the author of this wonderful piece but am unable to trace the name of the author.

Here is the tale:

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there was a wonderful old man who loved everything. Animals, spiders, insects…

One day, while walking through the woods, the nice old man found a cocoon. Feeling lonely he decided to take the cocoon home to watch its beautiful transformation from a funny little cocoon to a beautiful butterfly. He gently placed the cocoon on his kitchen table, and watched over it for days.

Suddenly, on the seventh day, the cocoon started to move. It moved frantically. The old man felt sorry for the little butterfly inside the cocoon. He watched it struggle and struggle and struggle. Finally, he felt he should do something to relieve the insect of the torture. With a surgical scalpel he gently slit the cocoon so the butterfly could emerge.

Just one slice was all that was needed and the butterfly broke free from its cocoon only to lie in a motionless state. The old man was shocked. He never realized that the insect would be harmed. "Had I killed the butterfly?" was his worried response. Then he saw it moving a little. There was hope. He gently put it back in the cocoon.

The next day, he noticed that the cocoon was moving again. "Wow," said the old man, so happy to see the insect moving and moving and yet struggling and struggling. Finally, the butterfly broke from its cocoon and stretched its wings out far and wide. Its beautiful wings were filled with wonderful colours. It looked hither, thither and took off. What a sight. It was flying, making any number of rounds, settling on flowers only to take off and land.

That wonderful butterfly flew and flew and soon was out of sight of the old man. "What joy," the old man exclaimed. "I was only helping the butterfly in the cocoon. Why did it almost collapse? What wrong did I do?" He went to the town. He went straight to a library and read every book he could on butterflies. The answer emerged.

The butterfly has to struggle and struggle in the cocoon. That’s how it gets it strength. That’s how they are designed to overcome in order to be strong and beautiful.

We are all beautiful butterflies; we have our apparent struggles in life. The more struggles we have, the stronger we emerge.

So, trials and tribulations, difficulties and disasters, we welcome you, as you build us strong.


Decision making

You're in control of your life to the degree that you make decisions. It's your life. You decide what you're going to do with it. If you don't run your own life, someone else will.

To control the outcome of anything, you control the action at the point of decision making. If you let others make decisions for you, you give up control. When you control the decisions, you control the actions.

Take charge of your life, so there is no longer a need to ask permission of others.
When you ask permission, you are giving someone veto power over your life.

Only you are responsible for your life. Make your own decisions.


Importance of having Goals

The indispensable first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: decide what you want.

You must first establish your objectives if you are to accomplish anything in a big way. Goals give you a starting place and a destination. People with goals succeed because they know where they're going.

Determine what you want. Decide on your major objectives, targets, aims, and destination.
If you don't know where you're going, how can you expect to get there?

Goals are dreams that are written down. Plant your dreams, nourish and begin to live them.
The most important thing about a goal is having one.


Believe you can succeed

There are no real barriers to your success. You must simply overcome any doubts you have about your ability. Your self image prescribes the limits for your accomplishments. It prescribes the area of what is possible for you.

"If you expect the best, you will be the best. Learn to use one of the most powerful laws in this world; change your mental habits to belief instead of disbelief. Learn to expect, not to doubt. In so doing, you bring everything into the realm of possibility."

-- Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

Stop and be aware! Have you been thinking about what you want or what you don’t want?

It’s so easy to lock our minds onto problems rather than opening to receive solutions. But what we think is what we get. This is so important! If we continually focus on problems and negatives, that’s where we’ll stay.

"No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new heaven to the human spirit."

-- Helen Keller

Don't be afraid of living. If you believe that life is worth living you will create that fact around you.
If you see yourself as prosperous, you will be. If you see yourself as broke, that's exactly what you will be. You will never succeed until you believe you can succeed.


Your habits

First you make your habits, and then your habits make you. You become a slave to your constantly repeated acts.What at first you choose, at last compels.

Your habits are either the best of servants or the worst of masters. Your thoughts lead you on to a purpose, your purposes go forth in action.

Your actions form your habits.Your habits determine your character,and your character fixes your destiny.

Once in motion, a pattern stays in motion.


Experience

"Experience is not what happens to a man; it is what a man does with what happens to him."

-- Aldous Huxley

What was your peak experience of this past week? What was your most challenging experience?

Stepping back to review your week can offer many insights. Normally we can’t see the forest for the trees. Now back away and see the whole forest. Review your week. Now write a short summary -- whatever comes to mind for you. If action is required, plan how you will accomplish it in the next week.

"Ask the experienced rather than the learned."

-- Arabic proverb

"Experience is that marvellous thing that enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again."

-- Franklin P. Jones


Preparation and Confidence

There can be no great courage when there is no confidence or assurance. Half the battle is in the conviction that you can accomplish what you undertake. With practice you'll come to a point of competence in anything. You'll find yourself accomplishing your goals with grace and confidence.

It's then that you'll do things that you never dreamed you could do. You'll discover powers you never knew existed.

Confidence doesn't come out of nowhere. It's the result of constant work and dedication. When you're prepared, you're able to feel confident.


Know your market well

A disappointed salesman of Coca Cola returns from his Middle East assignment. A friend asked, "Why weren't you successful with the Arabs?"

The salesman explained, "When I got posted in the Middle East, I was very confident that I will makes a good sales pitch as Cola is virtually unknown there. But, I had a problem. I didn't know to speak Arabic. So, I planned to convey the message through 3 posters...

First poster, a man crawling through the hot desert sand... totally exhausted and panting.

Second poster, the man is drinking our Cola... and Third poster, the man is now totally refreshed.

Then these posters were pasted all over the place" "That should have worked," said the friend.

The salesman replied, "Well, not only did I not speak Arabic, I also didn't realize that Arabs read from right to left...


Dream Big

The first ingredient of your success is to dream a great dream. You must dream big and think big to be big.

You're as small as your controlling desires, or as great as your dominant aspirations. Once your mind stretches to a new idea it will never go back to its original dimensions.

If you dream of little goals you can expect little achievement. If the goals you dream of are big ones, you'll win big success.

High expectation always precedes high achievement.


Check your attitude

Michael is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, "If I were any better, I would be twins!"

He was a natural motivator.

If an employee was having a bad day, Michael was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.

Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Michael and asked him, "I don't get it!

You can't be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?"

Michael replied, "Each morning I wake up and say to myself, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or ... you can choose to be in a bad mood.

I choose to be in a good mood."

Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or...I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it.

Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or... I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life.

"Yeah, right, it's not that easy," I protested.

"Yes, it is," Michael said. "Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people affect your mood".

You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It's your choice how you live your life."

I reflected on what Michael said. Soon hereafter, I left the Tower Industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.

Several years later, I heard that Michael was involved in a serious accident, falling some 60 feet from a communications tower.

After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Michael was released from the hospital with rods placed in his back.

I saw Michael about six months after the accident.

When I asked him how he was, he replied, "If I were any better, I'd be twins. Want to see my scars?"

I declined to see his wounds, but I did ask him what had gone through his mind as the accident took place.

"The first thing that went through my mind was the well-being of my soon-to-be born daughter," Michael replied. "Then, as I lay on the ground, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or...I could choose to die. I chose to live."

"Weren't you scared? Did you lose consciousness?" I asked.

Michael continued, "..the paramedics were great.

They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read 'he's a dead man'. I knew I needed to take action."

"What did you do?" I asked.

"Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me," said Michael. "She asked if I was allergic to anything. 'Yes, I replied.' The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, 'Gravity'."

Over their laughter, I told them, "I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead."

Michael lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude... I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully.

Attitude, after all, is everything.

After all today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.

Remember this quote:

"Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude".
Thomas Jefferson, 1743-1826, 3rd President of the United States


Quotable Quotes for today

Ordinary riches can be stolen, real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you. Thinkexist.com Quotations

-Oscar Wilde

"After climbing a great hill, one finds many more hills to climb."

– Nelson Mandela, president of South Africa

If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there. Thinkexist.com Quotations
- Lewis Carroll.

"When one door closes another door opens; but we do often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us."


Quotable Quotes for today

"Your only limitations are those you set up in your mind, or permit others to set up for you."

-- Og Mandino

"There is no point at which you can say, “Well, I’m successful now. I might as well take a nap.”"

– Carrie Fisher, actress, writer

"Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared."

-Buddha


Do not blame

"My days of whining and complaining about others have come to an end. Nothing is easier than fault finding."

-- Og Mandino

We often expect other people to meet our needs. When they don’t give us what we want, we may feel anger, resentment and even revengeful. Rather than blaming others, we could choose to get in touch with our needs and then fill them ourselves.

"Take your life in your own hands and what happens? A terrible thing: no one to blame."

-- Erica Jong

"Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity or registering wrong."


Do not be judgemental

Everything in life holds both a blessing and a curse. We deny this when we label the events of our lives as either good or bad. The following old Zen story illustrates this lesson most effectively.

A farmer had a horse but one day, the horse ran away and so the farmer and his son had to plow their fields themselves. Their neighbors said, "Oh, what bad luck that your horse ran away!" But the farmer replied, "Bad luck, good luck, who knows?"

The next week, the horse returned to the farm, bringing a herd of wild horses with him. "What wonderful luck!" cried the neighbors, but the farmer responded, "Good luck, bad luck, who knows?"

Then, the farmer's son was thrown as he tried to ride one of the wild horses, and he broke his leg. "Ah, such bad luck," sympathized the neighbors. Once again, the farmer responded, "Bad luck, good luck, who knows?"

A short time later, the ruler of the country recruited all young men to join his army for battle. The son, with his broken leg, was left at home. "What good luck that your son was not forced into battle!" celebrated the neighbors. And the farmer remarked, "Good luck, bad luck, who knows?"

"Do not judge, and you will never be mistaken."

-- Jean Jacques Rousseau


Success is all yours

You can start at any time if you want to be successful. But you have to start.

You won't accomplish anything if you wait for all the possible objections to be overcome. Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear most.

Don't be afraid to live. Don't wait for things to change. Don't wait until you have more time, until you are less tired, until you get the promotion, until you settle down, until, until, until. Don't wait for a major event in your life to occur before you begin to live.

Begin where you are. Work where you are. The hour you are wasting now, dreaming of some far off success, is crowded with tremendous possibilities.

When you take the first step, your mind will mobilize all its forces to assist you. Once you have started, all that is within you and unknown forces around you will come to your assistance.

The only way to start down the road to success is to move your feet, one step at a time.
Success is waiting for you.


80% of success is showing up

When you're sure you're on the right road to attaining success you don't have to plan your journey too far ahead. Don't burden yourself with doubts and fears as to the obstacles that may bar your progress.

You don't need to know all your answers in advance. Just have a clear idea of the goal you want to reach. You can only take one step at a time.

Once you muster up the courage to begin, you'll find the courage to succeed. You'll get what you want if you go after it.

It's the job you never start that always takes the longest to finish.


Wanting to Win is Everything

Success is connected with continuous action. It's largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go. You're not finished when you're defeated, you're only finished when you quit.

The most important quality essential to success is perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature.

You can have a fresh start any time you choose, for "failure" is not in the falling down, but in the staying down. It's not over until it's over.

If you've got the courage to stick it out, you'll attain your goal. Winning isn't everything, but wanting to is.

If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try again.


Forgiveness

"The greatest evil that can befall man is that he should come to think ill of himself."

-- Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Do you feel worthy of having joy? Do you feel you deserve it?

The first step to activating our inner joy is to eliminate the blocks to it. We can start by truly forgiving ourselves and all others. Forgiveness calls for a shift in our perception. It is easier to forgive ourselves and others when we really understand that each of us has always done the very best we knew to do at that time.

"If we don’t forgive ourselves for our mistakes, and others for the wounds they have inflicted upon us, we end up crippled with guilt. And the soul cannot grow under a blanket of guilt, because guilt is isolating, while growth is a gradual process of reconnection to ourselves, to other people, and to a larger whole."

-- Joan Borysenko


See the World as it is

The truth is what it is. It's neither good nor bad. It's simple reality.

Tailor your concepts to fit reality, instead of trying to stuff reality into your concepts.
No matter what you believe, it won't change the facts.

If we all worked on the assumption that what is accepted as true is really true, there would be little hope of advancement in the world.

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it's still a foolish thing. Successful people are realistic and aren't trapped by false appearances.

Stay realistic on the road to success.


Success is all yours

You can have anything on earth that you want, once you mentally accept the fact that you can have it.

If you want to be successful, begin by thinking of yourself as being successful. The feeling of being successful has to come first. If you have a deep inner conviction that you will always have all that you need, if you actually feel prosperous, it will be so.

The only thing that stands between youand what you want from life is simply the will to pursue it and the faith to believe that it is possible.

Success on any major scale requires you to accept responsibility. Your life to a large extent is what you make of it. Nothing will happen by itself. It will all come your way once you understand that you have to make it come your way.

Choose the thoughts and actions that will lead you to success. Nobody can do it for you. Only you can make it happen.You're the only one that has to live your life.

The day you take complete responsibility for yourself, the day you stop making any excuses, that's the day you start on the road to success.

You have the power to succeed at anything. The power to fulfill your dreams is within you.


See the Brighter side of things

You cannot have success without failure. Any experience, even failure, can be transformed into something of value. Everything depends on the way you look at things.

What are stumbling blocks and defeat before you can be stepping stones to victory if you remain determined.

In all of your adversities lies the seeds of greater benefit. In every defeat there is a lesson showing you how to win the next time.

View your problems as opportunities. When it's dark enough you can see the stars.


The Meaning of Failure

by Dr. Annette Colby

Failure is one of those life experiences most of us would rather not encounter. Generally we tend to connect failure with intense self-judgement and inner criticism. The fear of failure is so strong, we often become hesitant to focus on inner dreams because of past failures.

We would rather not fail again. It’s easier to say, "Oh well, I tried" then to view failure as what it really is: an expected component in the process of change. Failures are so difficult because they trigger and initially reinforce limiting beliefs that we already hold about ourselves.

Beliefs which may include:

I’m not good enough to have what I want (unlovable, undeserving, unworthy). Related life issue of love.

I can’t have what I want (different, an outsider, alone, nothing, should not be on earth at all). Related life issue of belonging and acceptance.

I’m not good enough. I am basically a bad person, and this is the reason for my failure (defective, flawed, imperfect, bad, fat, guilty, imperfect, failure). Related life issue of esteem.

I’m powerless to effect change (hopeless, useless, defeated). Related life issue of survival, self, empowerment, perseverance.

My needs and desires will not ever be met (vulnerable, helpless, afraid).
Related life issue of security.

Failure in itself isn’t so bad; it’s the belief that gets triggered along with the associated uncomfortable emotions that we wish to avoid. It’s often painful to face a belief rising to the surface that suggests we are unworthy or unacceptable. Somewhere in our lifetimes, the word failure became synonymous with the word "loser." There’s often great embarrassment and even shame for grownups to have this experience of failure. Yet as children we repeatedly allowed ourselves to fail. Without failure none of us would have learned how to walk, talk, write, or even ride a bicycle. As adults, we shy away from new experiences to avoid risking failure.

Truth about Failure

"Knowledge rests not upon truth alone, but upon error also."

Carl Jung, 1875-1961, Swiss Psychiatrist

Failure is not bad. Actually, it’s probably the only way to become successful. The obstacles, setbacks and stumbling blocks are an anticipated aspect of any journey. Failure is really just feedback telling us to adjust the plan or to try a new approach. It is essential to success. While it’s certainly a giant leap to welcome failure with open arms, perhaps we can begin with acceptance that failure is a natural aspect of every ultimately successful journey.

The only true failure is when we concede defeat and absolutely give up. Failure is when we beat ourselves up and learn nothing from our setbacks. Confucius is quoted as saying, "Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall." If we embrace our failures along with our successes, learning from each, we will grow and achieve. The only people who do not fail are those who fail to try.

A little known formula for success is that success happens because of failure. Legend has it that Thomas Edison attempted 10,000 different filaments before successfully creating the electric light bulb. When asked if he ever felt discouraged with so many failures, he answered none of his attempts were failures. They were each successful experiments in finding what didn't work!

Henry Ford went bankrupt 3 times before he created a car that worked. Colonel Sanders was 65 years old when he tried to sell his chicken recipe. He took this recipe to over 1,000 restaurants before he found a buyer. Walt Disney spoke with over 297 banks before he was able to attain a loan for his successful dream.

The National Weight Control Registry is a research study established in 1994 that seeks to gather information from people who have successfully lost at least 30 pounds and kept it off for at least one year. They investigate long-term successful body weight-loss maintenance. They report that everyone who successfully loses and maintains this loss has tried to achieve success before. Part of their success was what they had learned from past failures.

The Lesson of Failure

What’s the lesson in this? Successful people fail more often than unsuccessful people. In fact, they fail over and over and over again. It’s the failures themselves that provide learning experiences. Wisdom and enlightenment to succeed come from failure. Successful people don’t give up because they’ve failed. Instead they sit back and view these experiences as learning opportunities.

As we go about the process of achieving a goal or dream, we will run into all sorts of obstacles, limitations and setbacks. Why? Because we don’t know how to do whatever it is we are trying to do. On top of that, we don’t believe we can actually have what is wanted. Encountering obstacles, even a seemingly insurmountable obstacle, doesn’t prove we can’t have what is wanted. We’ve simply reached the edge of a boundary. Not knowing how to do something can threaten self-esteem and confidence. This is where expansion of the spirit is possible. What do we tell ourselves when we find ourselves facing a failure? This is the point where we teach ourselves new leadership skills of converting threats into opportunities. We can learn how to allow support from above and below. Admitting we don’t know the next step (but we’ll know soon) demonstrates faith in ourselves and faith in being supported.

To be successful, we need to design an alternative paradigm for failure. In other words, redefine failure in a manner allowing ourselves to see whatever happens not as failure, but as "information." From there, it becomes possible to gather and access this new information and include it in a revised plan. During the momentary failure, we must be able to recall the excitement of the long-term big picture vision while intentionally choosing to listen to the supportive inner voices. Then we can stand strong once again in our original desire and dream, while determining how to best adjust the plan and the next action step.

Failure can be used as another tool on the continuous journey to a deeper appreciation of self and love for self. We have choices: Failure can be utilized either as a way to close our heart down even more to ourselves and others, or the experience can be a stepping stone to opening our heart even further. We can view failure as evidence of our inherent internal flaws as a human being. Or we can look to find the emotional and spiritual lessons embedded within the failure. To be human is to experience failure. Nothing is, or ever was, wrong with who we are.

Failure can guide us toward a leap of faith. We are capable, ultimately, of overcoming any obstacle, any problem or any situation connected with our dream. Why else would we have a particular dream unless it was ours to manifest? From within we can find the courage to walk toward what we really want in life. We can learn to encourage and support ourselves through the good times and especially the bad times. Love that you are overcoming fear and attempting something new -- no matter what the outcome. Of course there will be failures along the way. An entire new set of skills is being learned. When an occasional failure is experienced -- get up, dust yourself off, access the new information, believe in yourself and begin again.

About the Author:
Helping people let go of self-destructive thoughts, emotions and behaviors has been the life work of Dr. Annette Colby. Her fascination with the power of the mind, emotions, spirituality and physicality has led her to become a leader in the field of personal growth and consciousness. She is a valued counselor and an inspiring teacher, as well as an independent writer, mentor and guide. She is a highly sought-after trainer with a unique ability to inform and inspire individuals to open their hearts, love more openly and pursue their dreams.

Dr. Annette Colby, RD Nutrition Therapist & Master Energy Therapist.


Quotable Quotes for today

A man's errors are his portals of discovery. Thinkexist.com Quotations
- James Joyce.

"No great performance ever came from holding back."

– Don Greene, motivational coach, former Green Beret

"Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody's going to know whether you did it or not."

Oprah Winfrey, American Television Talk Show Host/Actress/Entrepreneur


Keep Believing in Yourself & your Special Dreams

There may be days when you get up in the morning and things aren't the way you had hoped they would be. That's when you have to tell yourself that things will get better. There are times when people disappoint you and let you down, but those are the times when you must remind yourself to trust your own judgments and opinions, to keep you life focused on believing in yourself and all that you are capable of. There will be challenges to face and changes to make in your life, and it is up to you to accept them. Constantly keep yourself headed in the right direction for you. It may not be easy at times, but in those times of struggle you will find a stronger sense of who you are, and you will also see yourself developing into the person you have always wanted to be.

Life is a journey through time, filled with may choices; each of us will experience life in our own special way. So when the days come that are filled with frustration and unexpected responsibilities, remember to believe in yourself and all you want your life to be, because the challenges and changes will only help you to find the dreams that you know are meant to come true for you.

-Deanna Beisser


Quotable Quotes for today

"If you always do what you always did-you'll always get what you always got."

"People who say it can't be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."

"To laugh is to risk appearing a fool. To weep is to risk appearing sentimental. To reach out for another is to risk involvement. To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self. To place your ideas, your dreams before the crowd is to risk their loss. To love is to risk not being loved in return. To live is to risk dying. To hope is to risk despair. To try is to risk failure. But the risk must be taken, because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing. The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, and is nothing. He/She may avoid suffering and sorrow, but she/he simply cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love, live. Chained by his/her certitudes, she/he is a slave, he/she has forfeited her/his freedom. Only a person who risks. is free."

-Anonymous


Dreams will come true

You can be all the things you dream of being if you are willing to work and if you believe in yourself more. You have special understanding of people; Why they do the things they do, why they are hurt and why they hurt others. Learn from the mistakes of others-accept them; forgive them.

Don't use the roles others have had in your life as excuses for your mistakes. Take control and live your own life, continue the journey you have begun, which is inside you.

It is the most difficult journey you will ever make but the most rewarding. Take strength from those you love and let those who love you help you.

Open your heart. Put aside your image and find your real self.

Keep your pride, but don't live for it. Believe in your own goodness, and then do good things.

You are capable of them. Work at being the you that you want to be. Sacrifice desires of the moment for long time goals.

The sacrifices will be for your benefit and you will be proud of yourself.

As you approach life, be thankful for all the good things that you have. Be thankful for all the potential that you are blessed with.

You are a wonderful person, so do wonderful things.

True happiness must come from within you.

You will find happiness by letting your conscience guide you- listen to it, follow it. Your conscience is the key to your happiness.

Don't strive to impress others but strive to impress yourself.

Be the person you were meant to be.

Everything else will follow;

Your dreams will come true.


Power of Focus

by Robin Sharma

Henry David Thoreau shouted “Simplify. Simplify. Simplify” in his breathtakingly good book “Walden”. Nice point. One of the primary reasons that people and organizations fail to get to greatness is that they try to be too many things to too many people. I'll use the Confucius quote I often use here: “Man who chases two rabbits catches neither.”

The most successful human beings are wildly focused. They have a very clear picture of what it is they want to create by the time they reach the end of their lives and then they have the discipline (and courage) to stick to their knitting – saying “no” to everything that is not mission critical.

So my gentle suggestion to you is to simplify your life. Strip away all that is unimportant – these are the things keeping you from getting to your dreams. And then once you do your clean up, focus, focus, focus. You'll be surprised how good you will then get at being great.


Practice Habits

by Robin Sharma

I'm up early. Drinking a cup of the good Columbian stuff and reading about basketball legend Michael Jordan. One line struck me: “my practice habits were great.”

When I do workshops or attend book-signings, people sometimes say to me: “Robin, you make personal mastery and business leadership sound so easy to achieve in your books but it's a lot harder to do in reality.” Here's my reply: leadership comes from doing the tough things rather than by doing the easy stuff. Gandhi got to greatness by engaging in difficult pursuits (the kind that no one else was willing to tackle). So did Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King Jr. and every other leader in society, business and life. So important to do the uncommon things to rise above the ordinary. Which brings me to your practice habits.

Any human being can live an extraordinary life. But you need to fight for it. You need to want it - with a deep degree of passion and a breathtaking level of commitment. I've never said it was easy. If it was easy, everyone would be world-class. Getting to your own unique personal and professional mountaintop takes focus, discipline and dedication (3 key traits of personal and organizational leadership). It takes daily practice around your best habits just like the great athletes derive their high performance from the practice habits.

You'd laugh if Jordan said he became the best without daily practice. Yet some of us wonder why we need to practice and work hard to build a beautiful life. Everything great takes effort. Actually, the greater the effort and sacrifices involved in the creation of something, the greater the rewards that flow (just my take on it).

The good news is this: by sticking to your “practice habits” and devoting yourself to getting a little bit better every day (and taking small steps towards your ideals consistently), within a shorter amount of time than you can imagine, exceptional results will show up in your life. Just a law of life.  Being world-class isn't easy. But you will reach that league if you stay on game and put in the effort required to get to your best. And we both know you deserve to arrive at your best.


Seven Steps to Success

By: Brian Tracy

Discipline yourself to do what you know you need to do to be the very best in your field. Perhaps the best definition of self discipline is this: "Self discipline is the ability to make yourself do what you should do when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not." It is easy to do something when you feel like it. It's when you don't feel like it and you force yourself to do it anyway that you move your life and career onto the fast track.

What decisions do you need to make today in order to start moving toward the top of your field? Whatever it is, either to get in or get out, make a decision today and then get started. This single act alone can change the whole direction of your life.

Seven Steps to Success
There is a powerful seven step formula that you can use to set and achieve your goals for the rest of your life. Every single successful person uses this formula or some variation of this formula to achieve vastly more than the average person. And so can you. Here it is:

Decide What You Want
Step number one, decide exactly what it is you want in each part of your life. Become a "meaningful specific" rather than a "wandering generality."

Write It Down
Second, write it down, clearly and in detail. Always think on paper. A goal that is not in writing is not a goal at all. It is merely a wish and it has no energy behind it.

Set A Deadline
Third, set a deadline for your goal. A deadline acts as a "forcing system" in your subconscious mind. It motivates you to do the things necessary to make your goal come true. If it is a big enough goal, set sub-deadlines as well . Don't leave this to chance. 
Make A List
Fourth, make a list of everything that you can think of that you are going to have to do to achieve your goal. When you think of new tasks and activities, write them on your list until your list is complete.

Organize Your List
Fifth, organize your list into a plan. Decide what you will have to do first and what you will have to do second. Decide what is more important and what is less important. And then write out your plan on paper, the same way you would develop a blueprint to build your dream house.

Take Action
The sixth step is for you to take action on your plan. Do something. Do anything. But get busy. Get going.

Do Something Every Day
Do something every single day that moves you in the direction of yo ur most important goal at the moment. Develop the discipline of doing something 365 days each year that is moving you forward. You will be absolutely astonished at how much you accomplish when you utilize this formula in your life every single day.

Action Exercises
Here are two things you can do to put these ideas into action immediately.

First, decide exactly what you want, write it down with a deadline, make a plan and take action - on at least one goal - today!

Second, determine the price you will have to pay to achieve this goal and then get busy paying that price - whatever it is.

Credible Communication

by Dr. John C. Maxwell

Before jumping into this edition's lesson on credibility, I'd like to thank John Baldoni for the wonderful thoughts he provided in Great Communication Secrets of Great Leaders. His ideas helped to shape this lesson, and I would recommend his book to LW subscribers studying communication.

Credibility is a leader's currency. With it he or she is solvent; without it he or she is bankrupt.

Consider this metaphor: A leader with credibility has a pocketful of coins. As long as the pocket is full, the leader is believable, worthy of respect, and able to be trusted. Each time the leader breaks a promise or acts inconsistently with professed values, he or she must pay out some of the coins in their pocket. When the coins are gone, so is the leader's credibility. No amount of persuasion or personal appeal will be able to buy it back. Once lost, respect and trust take years to regain.

Here are the four keys to establishing credibility in your leadership:

1) Speak the truth.

Be honest and upfront. Transparency breeds legitimacy—make it a priority to be open with financial statements, policies, and decision-making rationale.

When I began my pastorate in San Diego, I followed the founding pastor who was retiring after having led the congregation for 27 years. He had a tremendous amount of trust in his bank account with the people, and he deserved it because he was a phenomenal leader.

As a young man, coming in after the departure of such a well-respected and admired veteran, I knew my success hinged upon my ability to earn the trust of the church. So, one Sunday night a month, for several months, I would invite congregants to the church and spend a full hour answering any questions they had for me. At the first Q&A session, 600 people came. My sincerity and openness in fielding questions disarmed them, and it laid a solid foundation of credibility from which I could operate.

2) Don't hide bad news.

With corporate scandals at Enron, WorldCom, and Arthur Andersen seared in our collective memories, we have entered an era in which transparency is demanded like never before. With multiple information channels available, bad news always becomes known, so it behooves management to be candid right from the start.

Winston Churchill is a classic example of a leader who communicated bad news frankly and honestly. In the midst of World War II, he let the British know they were in their darkest hour, their backs were up against the wall, and that democratic civilization rested upon their ability to win the war against Hitler. He never sugarcoated anything, and his sincerity instilled a grim determination in his people to sacrifice and persevere.

3) Never over-promise.

Do not make promises you cannot keep. Why do you think politicians have such a poor reputation? It's very simple. They promise the world and seldom deliver.

I am naturally optimistic, and as my children were growing up, I found over-promising to be a weakness of mine. I would talk with my kids about going to exciting places and doing fun activities, but then my schedule wouldn't allow me to follow through with my intentions. I had to be very careful about what I said so that my children would be able to trust my words. Remember: A highly credible leader under-promises and over-delivers.

4) Do what you say you will do.

Follow up and follow through. Unfortunately, many in the corporate world politely make offers with no intent of carrying them out. After meetings and phone calls, follow up with a reminder email outlining the action items discussed and agreements made.

How many times have you been in a business meeting that ended with warm handshakes but empty commitments? When you say you'll pass along a friend's contact information to a business associate, do it. When you agree to meet with a potential partner, make it a point to schedule the meeting onto your calendar. Diligent follow through will set you apart from the crowd and communicate excellence to those you meet.

Credibility is the bond between the leader and the follower, and it forms the bedrock of why people will do what the leader asks of them. Even the best leaders may suffer a blow to their credibility. This may be the result of a mistake or error in judgment. Or, circumstances may conspire against the leader, such as adverse market conditions or the failure of a supplier or partner.

As a leader, how can you restore damaged credibility? Let me give you three steps.

1) Acknowledge the mistake

When decisions turn out unexpectedly, the leader owes his or her followers an explanation. The egos of leaders can make them quick to assign blame or make excuses, but the problem compounds when a leader does not acknowledge mistakes. The acknowledgement should be on the front end, and should be voluntary. A forced acknowledgement ("Because I got caught, I'd like to acknowledge this") does nothing to reestablish trust.

2) Apologize

Admit what you did was wrong, accept responsibility, and say you are sorry. To do it may be painful for the moment, but it will shorten the agony and enable the leader to put the incident behind him or her.

3) Make Amends

Find a way to make amends to the people you've wronged. Make restitution to those you've harmed. You may not be required to do so, but a trustworthy leader goes the extra mile to remedy strained relationships.

This article is used by permission from Dr. John C. Maxwell's free monthly e-newsletter 'Leadership Wired' available at www.MaximumImpact.com.


Indispensable Quality

By: Brian Tracy

Dare To Go Forward
Winston Churchill once said, "Courage is rightly considered the foremost of the virtues because upon it, all others depend." Courage is the chief distinguishing characteristic of the true leader. It is almost always visible in the leader's words and actions. It is absolutely indispensable to success, happiness and the ability to motivate other people to be the best they can be.

Follow Through On Your Vision
In a way, it is easy to develop a big vision for yourself and for the person you want to be. It is easy to commit yourself to living with complete integrity. But it requires incredible courage to follow through on your vision and on your commitments. You see, as soon as you se t a high goal or standard for yourself, you will run into all kinds of difficulties and setbacks.

Refuse To Compromise
You will be surrounded by temptations to compromise your values and your vision. You will feel an almost irresistible urge to "get along by going along." Your desire to earn the respect and cooperation of others can easily lead to the abandonment of your principles, and here is where courage comes in.

Stick To Your Principles
Courage combined with integrity is the foundation of character. The first form of courage is your ability to stick to your principles, to stand for what you believe in and to refuse to budge unless you feel right about the alternative. Courage is also the ability to step out in faith, to launch out into the unknown and then to face the inevitable doubt and uncertainty that accompany every new venture.

Avoid Your Comfort Zone
Most people are seduced by the lure of the comfort zone. This can be likened to going out of a warm house on a cold, windy morning. The average person, when he feels the storm swirling outside his comfort zone, rushes back inside where it's nice and warm. But not the true leader. The true leader has the courage to step away from the familiar and comfortable and to face the unknown with no guarantees of success. It is this ability to "boldly go where no man has gone before" that distinguishes you as a leader from the average person. This is the example that you must set if you are to rise above the average. It is this example that inspires and motivates other people to rise above their previous levels of accomplishment as well.

The Attack of Alexander The Great
Alexander the Great, the king of Macedonia, was one of the most superb le aders of all time. He became king at the age of 19, when his father, Philip II, was assassinated. In the next 11 years, he conquered much of the known world, leading his armies against numerically superior forces.

Lead the Action
Yet, when he was at the height of his power, the master of the known world, the greatest ruler in history to that date, he would still draw his sword at the beginning of a battle and lead his men forward into the conflict. He insisted on leading by example. Alexander felt that he could not ask his men to risk their lives unless he was willing to demonstrate by his actions that he had complete confidence in the outcome. The sight of Alexander charging forward so excited and motivated his soldiers that no force on earth could stand before them.

Action Exercises
Here are two things you can do immediately to put these ideas into action:

First, set big goals for yourself and force yourself out of the comfort zone by acting boldly - even when there is no guarantee of success. Go boldly where no one has ever gone before.

Second, resolve to act quickly and decisively when you are confronted with a difficult or dangerous situation. Dare to go forward. Practice audacity in all things. Acting with courage builds your courage and confidence higher and higher.


Enjoy the Coffee

A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor. Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life.

Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups - porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite - telling them to help themselves to hot coffee.

When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said: "If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for each of you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress.

What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the best cups and were eyeing each other's cups.

Now if life is coffee, then the jobs, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain Life, but the quality of life doesn't change. Some times, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee in it."

So, don't let the cups drive you... enjoy the coffee instead.


Quotable Quotes for today

"Aerodynamically, the bumblebee shouldn’t be able to fly, but the bumblebee doesn’t know it so it goes on flying anyway."

– Mary Kay Ash, entrepreneur

"When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure."

-Peter Marshall

"Posterity: you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it."

– John Quincy Adams, 6th U. S. president

Every problem has in it the seeds of its own solution. If you don't have any problems, you don't get any seeds.

-Norman Vincent Peale

Courtesy: Cynthia Ybarra


Taking care of parents

An 80 year old man was sitting on the sofa in his house along with his 45 years old highly educated son. Suddenly a crow perched on their window.

The father asked his son, "What is this?"

The son replied "It is a crow".

After a few minutes, the father asked his son the second time, "What is this?"

The son said "Father, I have just now told you "It's a crow".

After a little while, the old father again asked his son the third time, What is this?"

At this time some expression of irritation was felt in the son's tone when he said to his father with a rebuff. "It's a crow, a crow".

A little after, the Father again asked his son the fourth time, "What is this?"

This time the son shouted at his father, "Why do you keep asking me the same question again and again, although I have told you so many times 'IT IS A CROW'. Are you not able to understand this?"

A little later the father went to his room and came back with an old tattered diary, which he had maintained since his son was born. On opening a page, he asked his son to read that page.

When the son read it, the following words were written in the diary :-

"Today my little son aged three was sitting with me on the sofa, when a crow was sitting on the window. My son asked me 23 times what it was, and I replied to him all 23 times that it was a crow. I hugged him lovingly each time he asked me the same question again and again for 23 times. I did not at all feel irritated I rather felt affection for my innocent child".

While the little child asked him 23 times "What is this", the father had felt no irritation in replying to the same question all 23 times and when today the father asked his son the same question just 4 times, the son felt irritated and annoyed.

So..

If your parents attain old age, do not repulse them or look at them as a burden, but speak to them a gracious word, be cool, obedient, humble and kind to them. Be considerate to your parents.From today say this aloud, "I want to see my parents happy forever. They have cared for me ever since I was a little child. They have always showered their selfless love on me. They crossed all mountains and valleys without seeing the storm and heat to make me a person presentable in the society today".

Say a prayer to God, "I will serve my old parents in the BEST way. I will say all good and kind words to my dear parents, no matter how they behave".


Kindness and Solutionfinding

By Swami Sukhabodananda

 
Kindness is defined as the ability to be considerate toward one’s enemies. Is nature a kind enemy? A question that haunts people is, “Why should there be so much unkindness in life, in the world?” If life is to be seen as a purposeful phenomenon and not as a random sequence of accidents, we have to understand the place and meaning of difficulties in life.

The only way to erase unkindness is to be kind. We should not lose this eraser.

How do we deal with difficulties?

We have to understand that life is not going to be according to our likes and dislikes. The rise and the ebb of sea waves are not determined by the wishes of those using its waters. The sun is not going to rise or set in ways desired by those affected by light and darkness.

Wisdom consists in choosing to swim or surf when the waves are favorable, in working and resting in harmony with the day-night cycle. The waves are not cruel or unkind to the surfer or swimmer. In fact, the higher the waves, the greater is the surfer’s joy, but more perilous to a swimmer.

Creatures of the night prowl, prey, and mate in the darkness of the sunless sky when other animals slumber. Nature by itself is neither kind nor cruel.

We can look upon difficulties as nature’s acts of kindness. In the face of difficulties, we develop survival skills that otherwise would lie dormant, much as the sweat and fatigue of weight training lead to developing tough muscles. In fact, life would be terribly dull if everything went according to a pre-written script.

Most of the negative feelings we associate with difficulties are of our own making. We perceive a situation as difficult, and thus the situation shows up as difficult. A hunter associates a sense of adventure with venturing into the forest and encountering dangerous animals. Thus, hunting appears and appeals to him as a fun activity.

Nature teaches us in similar ways, in and through difficulties, i.e, experiences that appear unwelcome, and cures us of our arrogance and vanity. We ought to recognize the kindness inherent in requiring us to pass through difficulties.

How do we get rid of problems?

First, don’t view problems negatively. Look upon them as training grounds in vital skills, and enjoy them even as you learn from them. When you face a problem, turn your attention to ways of its solution. Be the source of a solution to the problem rather than its victim.