How to start your day

From my good friend and Teacher Michael Reuter of SHU

It is the great leaders’ daily ritual in the quiet of the morning – their mind goes through the day ahead: family responsibilities to take care of, personal to-do’s, business schedule, evening commitments (a late night ahead?), then home again. With a smile of their face, they look into the mirror and jubilantly say, “This will be a magnificent day, the best yet.” Another day begins, and they know that the day will be filled with challenges.

Philip Humbert in his blog, Trouble and Triumph, writes about these great leaders, and shares his thoughts on a successful strategy that they can use in dealing with these challenges. He states: “High achievers expect challenges. They know that, as they move forward, problems will occur. Unexpected things will happen, and they maintain an attitude of optimism, humor, strength and resolve in the face of difficulties. They know that, as they become ever more successful, the size and complexity of their problems will only grow.” He suggests some solutions for solving the problems.

Expect difficulty! This is no surprise. It is not unfair or unusual. Life is complicated. Get good at it.
Keep a buffer around the edges of your life. Maintain a reserve of extra time, savings in the bank, and a bit of energy to handle the unexpected.
Attitudes of optimism and enthusiasm are essential.
View difficulties as challenges or learning opportunities rather than as problems. How we talk about our difficulties makes a huge difference in how we handle them.Words matter!
Have a team of cheerleaders, experts and colleagues on stand-by to help you overcome any challenge. “We get by with a little help from our friends.”
Be proactive. Take care of difficulties while they are small. Preventive maintenance is good for your car, your relationships and your heart.
Learn from every experience and (try) not to have the same problem twice. Learn from difficulties, make changes, and move on. Never repeat the same life-lesson!

Setting expectations, maintaining a positive attitude and seeing what life presents as opportunities to learn establish a powerful growth mindset. The morning ritual, far from being dreaded, becomes one of joy and excitement… the excitement that this beautiful and magnificent day we are given will be the best yet, because we choose it to be.
Fill every minute of your day with all the greatness and possibilities that only you can give. Return home each night knowing that you lived every minute of your magnificent life that day. May you remember and hold close the words of Henry David Thoreau that we “must find your eternity in each moment.” May you find your eternity in every moment. Life is so very, very good.

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It’s all perspective

As sent my friend and teacher Michael M. Reuter of SHU

Henry David Thoreau writes: “It is not what you look at that matters. It’s what you see.” These words provide great leaders a beautiful moment of reflection. They think of how wonderfully unique each of us is. We see life differently, not “right” or “wrong,” but with a rich abundance of diversity that brings new insights and meaning to everything we touch. They muse about how these words speak to the creativity that spawned from that different set of eyes, a creativity so beautifully captured by George Bernard Shaw in his words: “Some men see things as they are and say, why? I dream things that never were and say, why not.” They recognize also the caution given in these words: to be vigilant in their understanding that they don’t know what they don’t know – that there may be more possibilities in something that they are not seeing. As Anais Nin tells us: “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”

Like Riding a bike

In his recent blog post, Like Riding a Bike, Seth Godin provides great leaders a powerful insight and reminder of their journey of leadership growth and development – experiential learning… learning through doing.

Like Riding a Bike
People talk about bike riding when they want to remind us that some things, once learned, are not forgotten.
What they don’t mention is how we learned. No one learns to ride a bike from a book, or even a video.
You learn by doing it.
Actually, by not doing it. You learn by doing it wrong, by falling off, by getting back on, by doing it again.
PS this approach works for lots of things, not just bikes. Most things, in fact.

It is in the experience of something that learning is at its deepest and richest. It is real, hands-on, the sleeves rolled-up and the hands get dirty. Retention of the learning is most enduring because the experience becomes one of the memorable stories of our life’s journey, remembered in its finest, most riveting detail.

May you enjoy the full joy, excitement and beauty of your leadership ride – with all its turns, bumps, ups and downs and its detours onto life-changing new paths that deepen and broaden your leadership learnings. May you apply and share them as you change the world and serve others in their leadership journey. In doing this, may you remember always that life is a journey, with problems to solve, lessons to learn, and most of all, experiences to enjoy. As Tony Robbins tells great leaders: “The only impossible journey is the one you never begin.” Get on your bike and have the ride of your life!

Commit to Lifelong learning

From my friend and Mentor Michael Reuter, Leadership Chair at Seton Hall University:

Brian Tracy tells great leaders: “Commit yourself to lifelong learning. The most valuable asset you’ll ever have is your mind and what you put into it.” The great leader’s life is one of continuous learning filled with experiences that have been internalized to make them who and what they are. It is their beautiful life learnings that brings depth, richness, love and joy to their magnificent journey.
A friend shared with me learnings from Andy Rooney, former CBS 60 Minutes television writer, who had a magical gift for saying so much with so few words. May you enjoy their wisdom and beautiful humanity for your own learning.

I’ve learned….That the best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.
I’ve learned….That when you’re in love, it shows.
I’ve learned ….That just one person saying to me, ‘You’ve made my day!’ makes my day.
I’ve learned….That having a child fall asleep in your arms is one of the most peaceful feelings in the world.
I’ve learned….That being kind is more important than being right.
I’ve learned….That you should never say no to a gift from a child.
I’ve learned….That I can always pray for someone when I don’t have the strength to help him in any other way.
I’ve learned….That no matter how serious your life requires you to be, everyone needs a friend to act goofy with.
I’ve learned….That sometimes all a person needs is a hand to hold and a heart to understand.
I’ve learned….That simple walks with my father around the block on summer nights when I was a child did wonders for me as an adult.
I’ve learned….That life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.
I’ve learned … That money doesn’t buy class.
I’ve learned … That it’s those small daily happenings that make life so spectacular.
I’ve learned … That under everyone’s hard shell is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved.
I’ve learned … That to ignore the facts does not change the facts.
I’ve learned … That when you plan to get even with someone, you are only letting that person continue to hurt you.
I’ve learned … That love, not time, heals all wounds.
I’ve learned … That the easiest way for me to grow as a person is to surround myself with people smarter than I am.
I’ve learned … That everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile.
I’ve learned … That no one is perfect until you fall in love with them.
I’ve learned … That life is tough, but I’m tougher.
I’ve learned … That opportunities are never lost; someone will take the ones you miss.
I’ve learned … That when you harbor bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere.
I’ve learned … That I wish I could have told my Mom that I love her one more time before she passed away.
I’ve learned … That one should keep his words both soft and tender, because tomorrow he may have to eat them.
I’ve learned … That a smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.
I’ve learned … That when your newly born grandchild holds your little finger in his little fist, you’re hooked for life.
I’ve learned … That everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.
I’ve learned … That the less time I have to work with, the more things I get done.

The learnings touch our life with their wisdom in all its elegant simplicity – about self-knowledge, aspirations and relationships, the learned realities of living life. These are among the learnings of great leaders. Benjamin Franklin wrote: “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” Capture and embrace every precious moment in life. Learn from them. May it be said of you that you lived every day of your life. Life is so very good.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week

Remembering Zig Zigler

My friend and mentor writes:

The glass is not half-full, it is overflowing in every moment in the lives of great leaders. John Baldoni, in his Forbes article, Zig Ziglar: Encouraging Others to Believe in Themselves, writes:
“The success of Ziglar perhaps is not so much in what he said or wrote, but in how he challenged people to think differently about themselves and their lives. He also pushed the idea of taking personal responsibility and working with others rather than against them. ‘You can get everything in life you want,’ said Ziglar, ‘if you will just help other people get what they want.’ That moment of introspection, coupled with an awareness of what I might do differently, is the secret to personal renewal.”

Ziglar’s life and teachings are beautifully captured in his words:
“Desire is what takes the hot water of mediocrity and turns it into the steam of outstanding success.””
“You cannot climb the ladder of success dressed in the costume of failure.”
“We cannot start over, but we can begin now and make a new ending.”
“Remember that failure is an event, not a person.”
“Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.”
“If you want to reach a goal, you must ‘see the reaching’ in your own mind before you actually arrive at your goal.”
“There are no traffic jams on the extra mile.”
“Confidence is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking tartar sauce with you.”

Greatness begins from within and works itself outward in our doing. In fitting tribute to Ziglar’s life, the Washington Post chose to close his obituary with words that reflected and honored his life’s teaching – “Yesterday ended last night. Today is a brand-new day and it’s yours.” – a loving message to those who follow him that each day is ours to be lived in the joyful, beautiful magnificence that we choose to make of it. Yes, get in the rowboat, and bring the tartar sauce. It will be one heck of a day. Life is so very good.

Are you an Eagle?

To: The Great Leaders Who Have a Passion for Continuous Learning

My friend and Mentor Michael Reuter Leadership Professor at SHU shared this

Allegories are those beautiful stories and poems that capture our imagination and open our eyes to new insight and meaning about ideas, concepts and realities. Great leaders enjoy the richness that they offer. The allegory of the eagle invites great leaders to reflect on the meaning of change.

The Eagle has the longest life span of its species. It can live up to 70 years but, to reach this age, the eagle must make a very difficult decision. In its 40th year, its long and flexible talons can no longer grab prey which serves as food. Its long and sharp beak becomes bent. The feathers become old, thick and heavy. The thick and heavy feathers stick to its chest and makes it difficult to fly. Then, the eagle is left with two options: die or go through a painful process of change. The process lasts for 150 days (5 months).

The change process requires the eagle to fly to a mountain top and sit on its nest. Then, the eagle knocks its beak against a rock until it plucks it out. Then, the eagle will wait for a new beak to grow back and then it will pluck out its talons. When the new talons grow back, the eagle starts plucking its heavy and thick feathers. And after this….. the eagle takes its famous flight of re-birth and lives for another 30 years. Why is the change needed? To survive and live.

The allegory is powerful and dramatic in its message fervently captured in the words of W. Edwards Deming: “It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.” Great leaders have a deep realization of the world around them. They know and feel the weight of their own feathers and the sharpness of their beaks – their approaches, tools, beliefs and visions. They continuously reassess what is and will be needed to achieve their life’s purpose. They know that change is a choice, and also a necessity. They understand and have internalized the words of Charles Darwin: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” In their life they have chosen to be, as Mahatma Ghandi said, the change they want to see in the world.

Be the One

BE THE ONE…
§ Who doesn’t blame others before gaining engagement from the team to resolve the crisis… and then asking what could have been done differently
§ Who doesn’t define success through the eyes of others
§ Who is humbled by accomplishment and understands that leaders give credit far more than take it
§ Who doesn’t accept the status quo… just because things have been done this way a long time
§ Who has the courage to ask… whatever the question should be
§ Who chooses to embrace failure to let you get better
§ Who leaves a mark on everyone you connect with and who is a catalyst for change
§ Who seeks to make a difference each and every day you walk this earth
§ Who doesn’t give up… who perseveres
§ Who always walks the truth
§ Who always encourages honesty, inspires passion and lives with integrity…

We see the world, not as it is, but as we are

This was sent to me by Michael Reuter of SHU director of Leadership Development

To: The Great Leaders Who Have a Passion for Continuous Learning

In his Leadership E-Bulletin Greg Thompson brings poignant emphasis to Stephen Covey’s words: “We see the world, not as it is, but as we are??or, as we are conditioned to see it.” He writes of the impact of James Allen’s book, As a Man Thinketh, in which he writes of the transformative power of thinking positively and its impact on character, health and relationships. Allen wrote: “As a man thinketh in his heart, so he is…. A man’s mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild; but whether cultivated or neglected, it must, and will, bring forth. If no useful seeds are put into it, then an abundance of useless weed-seeds will fall therein, and will continue to produce their kind.”

Recognizing the power and influence positive thinking has on leadership, Thompson invites great leaders to ask questions about what they think about various facets of their life.

Are your thoughts your ally or your enemy?

What are your thoughts about your organization? Do you think about it as a chaotic, messy institution or a diverse, creative community?
What are your thoughts about leadership?
Do you think about it as an entitlement to power, privilege and wealth or as a calling to serve others?
What are your thoughts about others?
Do you think of them as flawed pawns on your chessboard or as wonderfully gifted and unique partners?
What do you think about your work?
Do you think of it as an inescapable chore or as a way to live out your purpose and legacy?
What are your thoughts about the future?
Do you think about it as a road lined with countless perils and menacing enemies or as a once-in-a-lifetime adventure?

“As a leader, when you change the way you think, others will change the way they act!” Thompson states. It is our garden to grow, to seed, to nourish. Thompson writes: We are the masters of our own mind… we are the authors of our day-to-day thinking patterns.” Let’s plant a magnificent garden and be awesome authors of our thinking. As Barry Kaufman tells us: “The way we choose to see the world creates the world we see.” May we choose wisely and well.

Leadership Excellance

My friend and Mentor Michael Reuter Leadership Professor at SHU sent this to me.

Confucius wrote about excellence: “The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential… these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.” Erica Brown in her book, Take Your Soul to Work, writes that “excellence does not come in a one-size-fits-all-package” and shares her thoughts on the four difference ways excellence can be understood using the perspectives of four famous people.

Relative Excellence: We are probably not excellent, but we’re a lot better than any other game in town (Dolly Parton: “It’s hard to be a diamond in a rhinestone world.”)

Instrumental Excellence: We are not committed to excellence for its own sake but for the same of efficiency (John Wooden: “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have the time to do it over?”)

Aspirational Excellence: We set our standards so high that they become unattainable. (Vince Lombardi: “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.”)

Focused Excellence: We cannot accomplish every goal, so we need to determine what we really can do best and be laser-focused. (Steve Jobs: “We don’t get a change to do that many things, and everyone should be really excellence. Because this is our life.”)

The perspectives suggest a slight situational look at excellence and this may apply throughout the journey of great leaders. Martin Luther King Jr., however, paints a portrait of the excellence to which all great leaders strive and role model in their lives: “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.’” Excellence is a commitment to giving oneself completely, unconditionally and passionately to everything, great and small, that we do in life.

Focus on the Journey

Words from my wise friend, Michael M Reuter Leadership Development Director as SHU.

Great leaders know Ralph Waldo Emerson’s famous words about life’s journey: Life is a journey, not a destination.” Greg Anderson adds to this writing: “Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.”

Pause for a moment in these words: “Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.” Intellectually, great leaders know their truth and value. Unfortunately, the doing drive in the great leaders’ lives sometimes overshadows this reality, and precious moments of life are lost to the focus on the ultimate goal of completing the act. It could be the action of a physical exercise: I need to run today, or I need to go to the gym. It may be a visit to see someone to say hello. It could be a dinner commitment or a meeting. If the mindset is simply focused on checking the activity off of our calendar, we will have missed the joys, learning, love and beauty of those precious moments.

Anderson tell great leaders: “Only one thing has to change for us to know happiness in our lives: where we focus our attention.” This is the simple key to incredible joy and happiness – to stop, pause and say to ourselves, “It’s about my journey. Enjoy each precious moment.” It is that simple. In all that you do, be mindful of each precious moment of your magnificent journey.” Remember always, life is a journey. Make it your mindset. In everything that you do, start with the reminder to yourself: Life is a journey. Enjoy the ride.