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August 2006

Work on your daily habits

The beginning of a habit is like an invisible thread. Every time you repeat the act you strengthen the strand. You add to it another filament with each repetition, until it becomes a great cable and binds you irrevocably to each thought and act.

First you make your habits and then they make you.

Your thoughts lead you to your purpose.
Your purpose always manifests into action.
Your actions form your habits.
Your habits determine your character,
and your character fixes your destiny.

Your habits are either the best of servants or the worst of masters.

Everything begins with a dream

You know what you are today but not what you may be tomorrow. Use your imagination and look at things as they can be.

You can do anything you wish to do,
have anything you wish to have,
and be anything you wish to be.

You don't know what you can really do until you try. All you have to do is to act on your dreams.

You have the power within you to do things you never dreamed possible.
You would amaze yourself if you did all the things you're capable of doing.
This power becomes available to you as soon as you change some of your beliefs.

Success begins in your mind.


Your success is not a matter of idle chance,  it's a matter of making the right choices. Success is not something you wait for, but rather something you achieve with effort. Things won't turn up in this world until you turn them up.

Success is neither magical nor mysterious. The people that truly succeed in the world are the people who look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can't find them, they make them.

Don't sit on the sidelines, get in the game. Your access to success has no real limits. The great opportunity in your life is where you are right now.

Every situation, properly perceived, becomes an opportunity for you. You have grand opportunities all around you.Open your eyes, and you will find it.

If you have the desire, you have the power to be successful. Taking continuous action is all that is required.

Facing the Fears

by Dr. John C Maxwell

Remember when you were a kid and just knew there was a monster lurking at the foot of your bed?  How did you get over that fear? Most likely someone turned on the lights and pointed out that your monster was nothing more than a sweater hanging on a chair. Once the lights came on, the monster was no longer frightening.

The same principle applies to overcoming our fear of failure.When we look at our fear in the light of day, we discover that what we are afraid of isn't so frightening after all.

The following acrostic gives us a handy tool for remembering the steps to take in order to shed light on that which we fear most.


We often admit defeat simply because we failed to achieve the results we had anticipated.  Those results may not be failures at all.  Spencer Silver, a chemist at the 3M research laboratories,was trying to invent a stronger adhesive in 1970.  The results were exactly the opposite of what he had intended.  The adhesive stuck to objects, but could easily be pulled away.  It was super-weak instead of super-strong.

Four years later, another 3M scientist named Arthur Fry put some of Silver's adhesive on slips of paper to mark pages in his hymnal as he sang in his church choir.  From Silver's failure, Post-it notes were developed in 1980 and have become one of the most popular office products on the market.

Take another look at your failures.  You may find that, from a different perspective, they open the door to a whole new market for you.


Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, reportedly told of a time when he climbed into a taxicab in Paris.  Before he could utter a word, the driver turned to him and asked, "Where can I take you, Mr. Doyle?"

Doyle was flabbergasted.  He asked the driver if he had ever seen him before.

"No, sir," the driver responded, "But this morning's paper had a story about you being on vacation in Marseilles.  This is the taxi stand where people who return from Marseilles always come.Your skin color tells me you have been on vacation.  The ink-spot on your right index finger suggests to me that you are a writer. Your clothing is very English, not French.  Adding up all those pieces of information, I deduced that you are Sir Arthur Conan Doyle."

"This is amazing!" the writer exclaimed.  "You are a real-life counter-part to my fictional creation, Sherlock Holmes."

"There was one other clue," the driver said.

"What was that?"

"Your name is on the front of your suitcase."

If only all clues were that obvious!  I've found that those who cannot overcome their fear of failure are often those who walk away from a failed attempt without making any effort to discover why they failed and how they can avoid the mistake next time around.


Somewhere in your network is someone who has information you need to solve a given problem.  Someone in your network can offer you encouragement when you struggle.  Someone in your network has been where you are now and can suggest ways to get to where you want to go.  What's keeping you from calling them right now?


Persistence is really the only difference between those who finally reach their goal and those who just talk about it.  Who can forget the image of Rocky Balboa, the boxer who overcame a more skilled adversary simply because he refused to stay on the canvas after being knocked down?

Fear not the temporary setback.  It will fade as soon as you attempt success again.  Fear instead a life spent thinking, what if...?

Face your fear of failure, my friend.  You'll discover it is no more frightening than that imaginary monster of your childhood.

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

Life Lessons

Lessons on Life

There was a man who had four sons. He wanted his sons to learn not to judge things too quickly. So he sent them each on a quest, one by one, to go and look at a pear tree that was a great distance away.

The first son went in the winter, the second in the spring, the third in summer, and the youngest son in the fall.

When they had all gone and come back, he called them together to describe what they had seen.

The first son said that the tree was ugly, bent, and twisted. The second son said no it was covered with green buds and full of promise. The third son disagreed; he said it was laden with blossoms that smelled so sweet and looked so beautiful, it was the most graceful thing he had ever seen. The last son disagreed with all of them; he said it was ripe and drooping with fruit, full of life and fulfillment.

The man then explained to his sons that they were all right, because they had each seen but only one season in the tree's life. He told them that you cannot judge a tree, or a person, by only one season, and that the essence of who they are and the pleasure, joy, and love that come from that life can only be measured at the end, when all the seasons are up. If you give up when it's winter, you will miss the promise of your spring, the beauty of your summer, fulfillment of your fall.

Moral :
Don't let the pain of one season destroy the joy of all the rest.
Don't judge life by one difficult season.
Persevere through the difficult patches and better times are sure to come some time or later.


Harvard  and  Stanford  Universities  have reported that 85% the  reason a person  gets  a  job and gets ahead in that job is due to Attitude; and   only 15% is because of technical or specific skills.

Interesting, isn't it?

You spent how much money on your education? And you spent how much money on  building  your  positive  attitude?  Ouch.  That hurts. Now here's an interesting thought. With the "right" attitude, you can and will develop the necessary skills. 

So where's your emphasis? Skill building? Attitude  building?  Unfortunately,  "Neither"  is the real answer for many people.  Perhaps if  more  people knew how simple it is to develop and maintain a  positive attitude they would invest more time doing so. So here we go.

Five steps to staying positive in a negative world:

1.       Understand  that  failure  is  an  event, it is not a person. Yesterday ended last night; today is a brand new day, and it's yours.  You were born to win, but to be a winner you must plan to win, prepare  to win, and then you can expect to win.

2.    Become a lifetime student. Learn just one new word every day and     in  five  years you will be able to talk with just about anybody about     anything. When your vocabulary improves, your I.Q. goes up 100% of the   time, according to Georgetown Medical School.

3.   Read something informational or inspirational every day. Reading  for  20  minutes  at just 240 words per minute will enable you to read     twenty  200  page  books  each  year.  That's 18 more than the average   person  reads!  What an enormous competitive advantage . . . if you'll just read for twenty minutes a day.

4.    The  University  of  Southern  California  reveals  that you can acquire  the  equivalent of two years of a college education in three  years  just  by listening to motivational and educational cassettes on  the way to your job and again on the way home. What could be easier?

5.   Start the day and end the day with positive input into your mind.  Inspirational  messages  cause  the  brain  to flood with dopamine and  norepinephrine, the energizing neurotransmitters; with endorphins, the    endurance     neurotransmitters;     and     with    serotonin,    the   feel-good-about-yourself  neurotransmitter.  Begin  and end the day by  reading or doing something  positive!

Remember: Success is a process, not an event.

Invest the time in your attitude and it will pay off in your skills as well as your career. Think about it .......

What is your plan of action?

Wanting success isn't sufficient enough to get it. You have to ask yourself,
"What am I going to do to get the things I want?"

Your problem is how to bridge the gap which exists between where you are now and the goal you intend to reach.

You cannot fail with a definite step by step plan, because each step carries you along to the next step, like a track. All you need is the plan, the road map,and the courage to press on to your destination.

You cannot get lost on a straight road.

Sowing and Reaping

It's a universal law: You have to give before you get. You must plant your seeds before you reap the harvest. The more you sow, the more you will reap. In giving to others, you will find yourself blessed.

The law works to give you back more than you have sown. The giver's harvest is always full.
Those that obtain have little. Those who scatter have much.

Nature does not give to those who will not spend.

Whatever it takes

by Dr.John C. Maxwell

A faint but discernable dividing line separates achievers from dreamers. At first glance this line may be difficult to distinguish. You may be tricked into believing that talents, titles, or resources draw the line between the doers and dreamers. However, if you spent a significant length of time with a group of leaders, the line splitting the achievers from the dreamers would become crystal clear.

What makes the difference? Attitude. Achievers have a can-do attitude that sets them apart from mere dreamers. Achievers are sold out to success—no matter the obstacles—and they are willing to put forth the effort and pay the price of success.

In my days observing leaders, I have identified four main groups.

  1. Cop-outs
    These people set no goals and make no decisions.
  2. Holdouts
    These people have beautiful dreams, but they are afraid to respond to challenges because they lack the self-confidence to overcome difficulties.
  3. Dropouts
    These individuals clearly define their goals, and, in the beginning, they work hard to make their dreams come true. However, when the going gets tough, they quit.
  4. All-Outs
    These are the stars. They want to shine out as an inspiration to others. Once all-outs have set their goals, they never quit. Even when the price gets high and the challenges mount, they’re dedicated. Their can-do attitudes carry them to greatness.

Here are 10 keys to cultivating a can-do attitude.

Key #1: Disown Your Helplessness
Can-do people aggressively pursue solutions, and, in the process, uncover creative solutions others never even try to find. Can-do leaders take responsibility for the future, whereas lesser leaders blame circumstances or other people when facing roadblocks. Rather than wallowing in helplessness, can-do leaders search diligently to overcome the obstacles in front of them.

Key #2: Take the Bull By the Horns.
Can-do people are fearless. They go straight to the source of their solution. Their very effort commands attention as they wrestle a problem to the ground with expediency. I have discovered that people with a can-do attitude have an aggressiveness about them. They take the bull by the horns. When they enter into the arena of action, they don’t wait, they initiate.

Key #3: Enter the No Whining Zone.
Can-do people abstain from complaining. They recognize its futility and guard their minds and mouths against indulging in this time-wasting activity. As George Washington Carver observed, “Ninety-nine percent of failures come from people who have a habit of making excuses.”

Key #4: Put On Another’s Pair of Shoes.
Can-do people empathize with others. They attempt to see any predicament from the other person’s perspective in order to make the best decisions. In my book Winning with People, one the 25 People Principles is the Exchange Principle, which says that instead of putting others in their place, we must put ourselves in their place.

Leaders see the world from their perspective and others’ perspectives. They use their own perspective to give direction, and they use others’ perspectives to forge relational connection. Both direction and connection are indispensable to taking the team on a successful journey.

Key #5: Nurture Your Passion.
Can-do people are immune to burnout. They love what they do because they’ve learned how to fuel the fire that keeps them moving. In leadership, the prize is not given to the person who’s the smartest, nor to the person with the advantages in resources and position, but the prize goes to the person with passion.

Key #6: Walk the Second Mile.
Can-do people exceed expectations. While others settle for an acceptable solution, they aren’t satisfied until they have achieved the unimagined. They set expectations for themselves higher than what is dictated by the people or situations around them.

Key #7: Quit Stewing and Start Doing.
Can-do people take action. While others are crippled by worry, fear, and anxiety, they have the fortitude to press forward. The perfect moment when all is safe and assured may never arrive, so why wait for it? Can-do leaders take risks.

Key #8: Go With the Flow.
Can-do people can adjust to change. They don’t get caught griping about an unexpected curve in the road. They accept transition with an optimistic outlook. They realize it’s less important what happens TO them, than it is what happens IN them.

Key #9: Follow Through to the End.
Can-do people not only initiate, they finish. They are self-starters with the capacity to close the deal.

Key #10: Expect a Return as a Result of Your Commitment.
If you make an all out commitment with a can-do attitude, expect a return. Passionate commitment is contagious, and resources follow resolve. Committed leaders will reap rewards and find open doors as others are drawn to the excitement and energy emanating from them.

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

Master of your own destiny

You are the master of your own destiny. You and you alone shape and mould the world you live in. If this were not true, you would be a mere mortal controlled by the external world, like a feather in the wind, blown this way and that way. But this is not the case. You are the master of your own ship.

When you realize this, you will never blame another, because not only are you the master of your own destiny, you are the master of your own emotions. There is no one inside of you, to control you, except you. But you must realize this, because this realization is the first step in self liberation. Isn’t this liberating? To realize that you never have to blame another again. You can move forward now, in complete confidence. Remember this….what you focus on expands, so start focusing on where you want to be, instead of blaming the world for where you are, because whatever you focus on will eventually engulf you.

When you are focused and have a goal in mind, the Universe makes way for things to happen, in a certain way, which may seem miraculous at first. You don’t have to be concerned with the details of how to get there, or how things will happen. You only have to have a goal. The way to achieve this goal, is not your concern, it will all fall into place…..This process is called “synchronicity”. When you are in tune with the Universe, and in tune with your self, everything is taken care of for you. Everything will happen in a perfect way.

You were born to set goals….not for the goal as an end in itself, but so you can marvel at how it all unfolds, and how the Universe wants you to know how powerful you are. What would you do with your life if you knew it was impossible to fail? Would you change the way you looked at the world? Of course you would! You would realise, the sky is the limit. You can have, be and do everything you’d ever imagined. The only reason why most people are where they are at, presently, is because of fear of failure.

Today, go out into the world and do something differently, and do it as though you cannot fail…failure is a choice, so is success. You will be pleasantly surprised at the outcome….Most people place limitations on themselves. Today, try raising the bar another notch. Extend yourself. Push the envelope. Learn to fly. You are a caterpillar, becoming a butterfly. Let go and let God. This is the quickest and easiest path to complete peace in a hectic world. When you let go of negative energy in negative situations, it makes room for peaceful and positive energy. Negative and positive emotion cannot occupy the same space, so you must let go of one, to experience the other.

Forgiving another usually means you have let go, and it is you who gains the benefit of letting go….once you realize this, you will never hang on to useless negative emotion for long periods of time. Look at children, they never seem to hang on for long, they let go very easily, then completely forget. Try and make a conscious decision today, to let go. Watch your emotions and interactions with others, and take control of yourself. Stick to the conscious path of self observation, you’ll be glad you did because the rewards are tremendous….I guarantee it.

Visualizing and thinking with concentration, desire and faith, and repeating these thoughts often, unleashes powerful energy. Your thoughts get radiated and broadcasted, influencing the minds of other people, and attracting to you people who think along the same lines as you do and who can help you with your plans. This process also heightens your awareness and perceptiveness of any opportunity connected with your thoughts that comes your way, and fills you with the inner power and initiative to utilize it. Why not become conscious of your thoughts, choose to think the ones that are beneficial for you, and consciously and advantageously utilize the power of attraction?

You can attract people, circumstances, events, possessions or a life style with the magnetic power of attraction of your mind. Remember, what you think about intently, with attention and feeling is attracted to you. It can be material and it can be spiritual. The power of attraction is a universal power and manifests everywhere and in everything. It is the power that holds the Universe together. Without it there would not be any world.

Revolving door

by Dr. John C. Maxwell

"Sports Illustrated" published a feature not too long ago on the greatest sports dynasties of all time.  And as you might expect, it prompted considerable debate among sports fans across the country.  In fact, when sports talk show hosts face a slow day, they can always ask callers that simple question - what's the greatest sports dynasty ever? - and the phone lines inevitably light up.

Fans from UCLA and North Carolina will want to talk college basketball.  Pro basketball fans, depending upon where they grew up and how old they are, will make cases for the Celtics, the Lakers or the Bulls.  Some will talk about football, college or pro.  Others will defend the cause of more obscure sports teams - Iowa's wrestling program or Arkansas' track and field squad.

One thing all of these teams have in common is that they maintained success over time even when the makeup of their personnel changed.  They didn't rebuild; they reloaded.

In "The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork", I wrote about the "revolving door principle," which is simply a way of pointing out that all organizations have gains and losses.  Just like a revolving door in a busy office building, people are always coming in and going out of most organizations.  Leaders who understand the dynamics of this principle build and maintain the best teams - the teams some might classify as dynasties.

Anybody want to build a dynasty?

As a starting point, let's look at the phases of every team's revolving door.  This will provide the foundation needed for building and maintaining a great team.

* Gain-Lose Phase.
When you start a team, your gains are greater than your losses - at least when it comes to numbers.  After all, you start with nothing.  When a professional sports league adds teams or when a university athletic department adds a new program, finding players isn't a problem.  But the gains are not always good.  In the beginning of a journey, some people join simply because they see movement.  They don't know what's at the end of the line; they just hope there's a drinking fountain along the way.  So while more people are coming in the revolving door than going out, some lack all-star potential and others are playing the wrong game.

* Lose-Gain Phase.
As a team begins to take shape, a good leader makes expectations clear and the people on the team understand the commitment required.  When this happens, the losses are greater than the gains - at least when it comes to numbers.  But while more people are walking under the exit sign, the team actually benefits.  It loses the uncommitted, the people who don't really want to be there.  And the team often picks up speed because it no longer carries so much dead weight.

* Gain-Gain Phase.
As a team picks up momentum from success, more people want to join.  When a college football team goes to a post-season bowl game, its coaches use that success to recruit the best high
school players in the nation.  "Come here and play for a proven winner!"  So not only is a growing team adding numbers, it's adding quality - the best want to work with the best.

* Lose-Lose Phase.
The irony here is that the lose-lose phase generally happens to the most successful teams.  Because of their success, they begin to lose people - their best people.  Why?  Because their best people decide to start their own organizations or because they become the target of headhunters.  In sports, this looks like a college basketball team losing its best player to the NBA draft - after his freshman season.  In business it looks like General Electric under Jack Welch.  Because it develops such great leaders, GE also loses great leaders.  If you're successful, everybody's going to come after your best people.

If leaders understand these phases and know where their team is in the cycle, they can take steps to better manage the revolving door - to keep the best coming in and others moving out.  Leaders who recruit well, train well and treat people well still lose people from time to time.  But their team stays at the top.

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

Replacing Complacency

by Dr. John C. Maxwell

One of the biggest temptations leaders of successful organizations face is to stop thinking big.  After a taste of success, even the best and brightest leaders suddenly start to think complacently. When a company gets on a roll, some leaders tighten up and start playing it safe.  They stop playing to win and begin playing not to lose.  Where they once thought big and new, now they think incrementally.

This temptation is a reality with a lot of sports teams. How many times have we seen teams lose their momentum and then lose the game because instead of playing to win, they began to play not to lose?  They get ahead, but then they pull back and stop playing with the intensity that earned them the lead.

The same temptation traps company executives.  With the organization exceeding expectations and making record profits, the leadership gets excited.  The organization appears to be cruising toward its best year ever, when all of a sudden the focus shifts from gaining momentum to sustaining  momentum. The moment leadership changes focus, momentum vanishes.

I like to think of momentum as the great exaggerator.  When you have it, people think you're better than you are. You're on a roll and everybody is amazed by your success.  When you lose momentum, people think you're worse than you are.  Momentum magnifies your performance, and positive  momentum can be a potent force to push you forward.

When things are on a roll, don't sit on the ball—run up the score!  In other words, when you've got momentum going for you, put the pedal to the metal.  Take off.  Ignite momentum.  As I wrote in "Thinking for a Change", "We are today where our thoughts brought us, and we will be tomorrow where our thoughts take us." When we stop thinking big as leaders and dwell upon protecting past successes, we start to think conservatively. The big thoughts that gave us a big year are replaced by conservative thoughts which will give us a mediocre year.

Let me give you four strategies that will keep your momentum moving in the right direction.

1. When you're doing well, go shopping.
When you're doing well, instead of patting yourself on the back, go shopping.  Look around for somebody that's bigger, better, faster, and smarter than you are.  Study their successes and
benchmark your results against theirs.  I did this as a young leader, because very quickly in my field I had successes. Instead of being content as the number one leader in my organization, I started going to other organizations where I wouldn't be in the top 100.  It was an exercise in humility; but I immediately realized the way to refocus wasn't to compare myself against everyone I was beating, but to compare myself with somebody better than I was.

2. Stir up inspirational dissatisfaction.
Inspirational dissatisfaction does not mean you are never pleased or satisfied.  Nor is it a license to beat yourself up or come down hard on your people.  Instead, it's a creative awareness that you can do better. You can do more to improve personally and to invest exhaustively in the growth of your team. This state of mind unlocks your comfort zone and prompts you to keep on stretching.

3. Develop a daily dose of paranoia.
There's a difference between a daily dose and an overdose of paranoia.  An overdose makes you and everyone around you miserable.  A daily dose is an inner rustling—a pebble in the shoe—that creates just enough discomfort to keep you continually alert and engaged.  In fact, the best leaders act as though someone is out to get them, like they're on the verge of losing every customer every day.

4. Continue to set goals that stretch your team.
If you can reach your goals with a "business as usual" approach, then your goals are too small.  A goal is only effective when it forces changes, big decisions, and bold action.

The thinking of a leader is contagious to the team.  As a leader, you broadcast your way of thinking to your people, and they are going to pick up on your signals immediately.  Unsuccessful leaders focus their thinking on survival—"If I can just make it through the year."  Average leaders focus their thinking on maintenance—"If I can just hold on to what I have."  Successful leaders focus their thinking on continual progress.

If you're a manager who concentrates more on holding your own than on moving forward, then it's time to seize the offensive. Don't settle for what conditions force upon you.  As Marcus Buckingham says, "The only thing that leaders have in common is leaders break all the rules." Great leaders don't just buy into what everybody else is saying, and they don't follow the beaten path.  Great leaders are constantly creating their own conditions for success by blazing new trails.

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

Quotes: Initiative

"Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved."
- William Jennings Bryan

"All glory comes from daring to begin."
- Eugene F. Ware

"One of the strongest characteristics of genius is the power of lighting its own fire."
- John W. Foster

Maintaining Inboxes

-Scott Reeves

Monday morning has barely begun before we find ourselves buried under a barrage of emails awaiting attention.  Instead of a fresh start to a new week, a feeling of disquiet creeps upon us. A cluttered inbox can have the same unsettling effect as an unkempt room, making us feel disorganized, messy, and overwhelmed.

In a September 2005 article for, Scott Reeves shares secrets to trim down overstuffed inboxes.

Many mistakenly blame a high number of incoming messages on their overcrowded inboxes.   However, volume has little to do with email management.  A user with an organized approach to emails may receive 100 emails a day without undergoing an unhealthy buildup. On the other hand, a worker with poor inbox management may only receive 10 new notes yet suffer from an untidy email account.

Separate personal email from job-related messages.  Notes from friends and family can quickly fill a work account and make an inbox seem unmanageable.  Set aside a few minutes to check a personal account and respond to messages.  Ask your buddies to use your personal account and avoid emailing them from work.

Sort your email so that the oldest messages show on top.  The temptation is to read and reply to messages as they arrive.  This can be a dangerous habit since old messages tend to become buried at the bottom of the inbox.  Also, instead of focusing on priorities, people who immediately respond to new emails can get caught spending too much time on insignificant items.

Rather than browse a number of newly received messages, read and respond to email that can quickly be completed and deleted.  Mike Hurst, president and founder of Creative Good, a consulting firm in New York recommends the 2-minute rule.  If a message requires a reply of two minutes or less, then immediately answer it so that the email can be filed or trashed.

Never go more than a day without emptying your inbox.  Develop an organized plan to place emails in appropriate files that can be easily searched and located simply.  For messages demanding time-consuming tasks or responses, prioritize them and block off time on your calendar to chip away at them.