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December 2006

8 Ways to Make People Feel Like a Million Bucks

by Dr. John C. Maxwell

Ranking among the greatest Christmas movie classics, It’s a Wonderful Life tells a beautiful story about the priceless value of relationships.

The story follows the life of George Bailey, a man who sacrifices his dreams to travel the world, instead choosing to stay in his hometown and run the family-owned business after the sudden death of his father.

Throughout the movie, George’s humanity draws us into his life. As we watch him grow from a child to a young man, and then to a husband, father, and business owner, we see how George continually places the well-being of others ahead of his own interests. Yet, we can sense his frustration at being pent up in a small town, working long hours, earning a modest salary, and living in an old, renovated house.

When life’s circumstances push George’s business to the brink of bankruptcy, his frustrations boil over, and he contemplates taking his own life. At this crucial moment, a guardian angel is sent from heaven to prevent George from committing suicide. Through a series of supernatural events, the angel convinces George of the beauty of his life—even with his present troubles. With a renewed sense of gratefulness, George goes back to his home.

Upon his return, George’s family and friends rally around him in an overwhelming outpouring of support and generosity. In a show of goodwill, they take up a collection and donate it to George. With his business secure and his financial situation saved, George uncovers a note left by his guardian angel:

Remember George: no man is a failure who has friends.

WINNING WITH PEOPLE

Like George Bailey, most people can trace their successes and failures to the relationships in their lives. As a leader, you can’t be a loner. Your success is tied to inspiring a shared vision. In this edition of Leadership Wired, we’ll explore 8 practices whereby you can win with others.

1. Let People Know You Need Them

When your dream is bigger than you are, you only have two choices: give up or get help. Inspire others to join in the dream by letting them know they are needed. Every person has a longing to be significant; to make a contribution; to be a part of something noble and purposeful. Invite people into a vision, allow them to participate in making the vision a reality, and show them how their efforts are part of making a dream come true.

2. Create a Memory and Visit It Often

“Memory is the treasury and guardian of all things.”
~ Cicero

Instead of accepting life’s lot, take responsibility for pursuing dreams worthy of memory. Exercise creativity to push for memorable achievements even when times are tough. Commemorate defining moments through mementos, and use the mementos as symbols to celebrate accomplishments and perpetuate memories.

3. Give Others a Reputation to Uphold

“Treat a man as he appears to be and you make him worse. But treat a man as if he already were what he potentially could be, and you make him what he should be.”
~ Goethe

Form a high opinion of people and back that opinion by equipping and empowering those around you for critical assignments. When interacting with your people, don’t allow them to be distracted by past failure; instead, steer them toward a promising future. Paint a picture of the potential you see inside of a person, lead them toward the realization of that potential, and hold them accountable to be their best.

4. Share a Secret with Someone

“Conceal a secret from your friend and you deserve to lose him.”
-Portuguese Proverb

A Sicilian proverb says, “Only the spoon knows what is stirring in the pot.” When you allow another person to know what is stirring within you, giving them a “taste” of a plan or idea, you instantly make a meaningful connection with them. Sharing a secret with someone includes that person in your journey and enriches your own experiences.

5. Do for Others What They Can't Do for Themselves

“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”
~ John Bunyan

As a leader, you have the precious responsibility of taking your people to places they could never reach on their own. You can do this in three ways: connection, invitation, and impartation. First, take the time to connect your people into strategic relationships they would never otherwise form. Next, you’ll be able to offer opportunities for people to join a team which will achieve more as a unit than any of its members could individually. Finally, share your ideas, and by doing so, you’ll impart knowledge that others do not possess on their own.

6. Find the Keys to Their Heart

“Coaches who can outline plays on a blackboard are a dime a dozen. The ones who succeed are those who get inside their players and motivate them.”
~ Vince Lombardi

Uncover the passions inside those you lead by asking questions about each person’s dreams, values, and strengths. Accept and appreciate the fact that every individual is different, but constantly search for common ground to serve as a point of connection.

7. Practice the 30-Second Rule

Within the first 30 seconds of a conversation, look to say something encouraging to the person you’re speaking with. By doing so, you’ll give others the Triple “A” treatment: attention, affirmation, and appreciation. When you add to others, they’ll be drawn to you.

8. Write Notes of Encouragement

Encouraging notes have a personal touch and represent an investment by the writer. Such notes are remembered by the recipient long after the writer has forgotten them.

Nineteenth century writer Walt Whitman struggled for years to get anyone interested in his poetry. In the midst of his discouragement, Whitman received a life-changing letter from an admirer of his work. The note read: “Dear sir, I am not blind to the worth of the wonderful gift of Leaves of Grass. I find it the most extraordinary piece of wit and wisdom that America has yet contributed. I greet you at the beginning of a great career.” It was signed by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

If you want to reach the top, don’t run over others. Likely, the only way you’ll reach the top is to be carried there by others.

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


Take yourself off Auto-Pilot

The great benefit of heightened awareness is that we have more choice in how we live our lives. At any moment, we can purposefully choose a new experience for ourselves. We can choose to pay attention, breathe more deeply, laugh, rest, play, appreciate, do something different - the possibilities are endless.

Whenever you remember, TAKE YOURSELF OFF AUTO-PILOT and really examine your situation. Take charge and make a choice that will enrich your experience. At the end of the day, reflect on what happened and how you felt when you chose a new line of thought, feeling or action.

"We cannot tell what may happen to us in the strange medley of life. But we can decide what happens in us -- how we can take it, what we do with it -- and that is what really counts in the end."

-- Joseph Fort Newton


Make your Mark

by Robin Sharma

I was reading an issue of Best Life this morning as enjoyed some gorgeous Colombian coffee. Came across a line from George Clooney that reminded me of what's most important. He said: "You only have a short period of time in your life to make your mark." So very true. It's so easy to get caught up in the daily administrivia that you forget about building your legacy. So easy to become so focused on your problems that you forget about chasing your dreams. So easy to get pulled into the ordinary pursuits of life that you lose sight of The Extraordinary. Yet, life spins by at an alarming rate. And if you don't use each day to do even one thing to make your mark and to advance your vision and to become your brilliance, you just might be avoiding what truly counts.


Master of your fate

While your character is formed by your circumstances, your own desires can do much to shape those circumstances. What is really ennobling in the doctrine of free will is the conviction that you have the power over the formation of your own character.

Nature is at work around you. Character and destiny are her handiwork. She gives you love and hate, jealousy and reverence.You have the power to choose which impulses you will follow.

You can at any time decide to alter the course of your life. No one can ever take that away from you. You are the master or your joy and your sorrow. The greatest power you possess is the power to choose. You are the master of your fate. You are the captain of your soul.


Persistence

'Keep trying' is the rule that must be followed to be successful at anything.Your success will always be connected with your actions.Just keep moving towards your goal. You'll make mistakes 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 achievement takes time.


Gameplanning for the future

It isn't enough to just want to be successful. You've got to ask yourself:
'What are you going to do to get the things in life you want?'

Your problem is to bridge the distance which exists between where you are now and the goal you intend to reach. Planning brings your future into the present so you can do something about it now.

Somewhere there is a map of how it can be done. All you need is a good plan, and the courage to press on to your destination.

A well built house started with a definite purpose and a set of blueprints. Your plan should provide the pattern for the actions you'll take.

Take time each day to study, think and plan. Plan your steps, then implement your plan, then review your results. Do this frequently and make the appropriate alterations to your plan, and you'll develop the power that will bring you to success.

No one was ever lost on a straight road.


Power to live your dreams

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

No one else can do it for you. Only you can make it happen. You're the only one that has to live your life.

Success on any major scale requires you to accept responsibility. It's up to you to choose the thoughts and actions that will lead you to success.

Your life will be what you make of it. Nothing will ever happen by itself. Success will come your way once you realize that you have to make it come your way by your own actions.

The power to succeed is yours alone.


Attitude

Your attitude is not determined by circumstances, but by how you respond to your circumstances. You can respond positively or negatively to any situation.

It's how you react to events, not the events themselves, that determines your attitude.

Any challenge facing you is not as important as your attitude towards it, for that will determine your success or failure.


Dreams come true..

Reality forms around your commitments. The achievement of your goal is assured the moment you commit yourself to it.

Obstacles don't matter very much. Pain or other circumstances can be there, but if you want something bad enough, you'll find a way to get it. Plant the seed of desire in your mind and it will form a nucleus with the power to attract to itself everything needed for its fulfullment.

You're never given a wish without also being given the power to make it come true.


The byproduct of achievement

Happiness is a byproduct. You cannot pursue it by itself.

You were built to conquer your environment, solve problems, and achieve goals. You'll find no real satisfaction or happiness in life without obstacles to conquer and goals to achieve.

Happiness is in activity. It's a running river not a stagnant pond. Happiness is not in having or being,
it's in doing something you love.

The secret of happiness is in having something to do.