I spoke to a group of salespeople in Kansas City last week as they kicked off their new team. It was exciting to see them get excited about making a difference through their work.
The topic they assigned me was "Simply the Best." So as I prepared, I asked myself, "What characteristics would help someone pass the "Best" test? That is, what are the characteristics of those who become the "best" at what they do?
Here are the thoughts I shared with them:
The Best are optimists. You can't get to the top if you don't think that there is a top or if you think you can't make it. One characteristic of those who reach the peak is that they always believe that things can get better or be done better. This pushes them on to be their best.
The Best have vision. They can see ahead of the pack. Their eyes aren't locked into the here and now. They see the bright future and what things will look like when they reach their destiny. While working hard for today, they live for the future! They do what Stephen Covey calls begin with the end in mind.
The Best relentlessly pursue excellence. The status quo is not for them. They want to be the best and experience the best. And that means giving their best. They go the extra mile so that in everything they do, in everything they say and think, they are striving for excellence.
The Best have a life long habit of personal growth. They don't want to stay at the level they are at. They want to grow in their work, their intellect, their spirituality, their relationships, and in every area of their life. And they discipline themselves to put themselves in situations wherein they grow. Personal growth doesn't "just happen." You choose to grow. I always suggest what Zig Ziglar does and that is to enroll in "Automobile University." Whenever you are driving around, listen to a personal or professional growth tape or CD. Over the long run you will grow. Also, read more. The old saying is true: Leaders are readers. So are those who pass the "Best" test.
The Best understand that the will be pushed by the competition - and the welcome it. Like the lead runner in the race who has someone on his heels, the best know that the competition is right behind them. They love it though because they know that the competition keeps them from becoming lazy and resting on their laurels. Instead, the competition pushes them to go faster and to achieve more - to remain the best by forging ahead.
The Best have a quest for leadership. Someone has to lead - it may as well be the best! Those who attain it get there because they want to. They want to lead and help make a difference. And they want to be equipped with the skills necessary to lead others on to a better place.
The Best leave a legacy. They aren't in it just for themselves, though they will surely reap the rewards of being the best. Rather, the build things that last beyond themselves, things that can be enjoyed by others as well.
The Best are adept at the two most important pieces of time and personal management: Prioritize and execute. Just like weight loss boils down to eat right and exercise, personal management boils down to prioritize and execute. First, prioritize your activities. The important stuff goes on the top. Then, execute: do them. The best have habits and discipline that get them to the top by doing the best things and doing them first.
The Best focus on building relationships. Success does not come alone. Everyone who achieves much does it with the help of countless others. How do the Best get others to help them? They treat them right. They embrace them and help them. People become the best because they help other people, and people like them.
The Best make no excuses. When they fail they admit it and move on. They get back up and do it right the next time. They let their actions speak loader than their words. They stand tall and do the right thing the next time. No excuses, just results.
The Best understand that the good is the enemy of the best. Yes, they could say, "this is good." But that would mean they have settled for less than the best. Many people think that good is good. Good is not good. Good is the enemy because it keeps us from the best. Choose your side: the good or the best. The Best choose, you guessed it, the Best.
The Best Dare to Dream. While others live the mundane and settle into a life they never bargained for, a rut, the Best dream of a better life. And then they take the risks necessary to achieve their dreams. They live by Teddy Roosevelt's quote: Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs though checkered by failure, then to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the grey twilit that knows neither victory nor defeat.
Want to be the best at what you do? Take inventory on the above characteristics and then start moving to bring your life in line with the characteristics of the "best." Then when you get to the top you will know that you have passed the "Best" test.
By Chris Widener
I spoke to a group of salespeople in Kansas City last week as they kicked off their new team. It was exciting to see them get excited about making a difference through their work.
I was at a dinner party the other night when someone posed this question: Who has influenced your life the most? I thought for a moment and said what no one else said, "My mother."
You see, when I was four, my dad died. At the time, it seemed like we were on top of the world. My dad was making over $80,000 a year (In 1969), we were living in the largest house in one of the most prestigious country clubs in Seattle. Then my dad came down with cancer and was gone in 6 months.
Then we found out that my dad had only $30,000 in life insurance (I don't sell life insurance, but I can tell you this - you need more!). My mom and I went from the upper bracket to the lower middle financial bracket almost overnight. A year after my dad's death, we were comfortably lower middle class.
As I reflect back on my life, most of what I am today I learned from a tough as nails woman who went to work and busted her tail to get me ready for life. I realize now how many success principles she displayed while living out her life. The following success principles, though they can be and should be applied by all of us, are dedicated to all of those single moms out there. You are doing a tough job. Keep plugging away, be tenacious, and love your kids. They'll see your life and turn out all right.
Don't whine during tough times. You know, my mom got a bad deal, but as I look back on it, I cannot ever remember her complaining about her lot in life. That spoke volumes to me and has been a lesson ever since. Two people working, one whines, the other makes the most of the situation and works harder - who do you root for? Successful people don't whine, they work harder and beat the odds.
Be creative. My mom immediately went to selling real estate. She did all right, but she also bought old houses and fixed them up and sold them. We would move in and she would hire the workers from the real estate office to fix up the house on the weekends. A couple of years later we would sell the house and pocket some much needed extra cash. I moved a lot, but you do what you have to when your back is against the wall. Successful people get creative when it comes to solving problems.
Sacrifice for others. I know we didn't have much growing up but my mom always found ways to give me the extras. We would cut back here and there so that we could take the mandatory trip to Disneyland or get new athletic shoes. Finding purpose by sacrificing for others is one of the highest calling in success. Successful people live not only for themselves but for those around them as well.
Be independent. My mom didn't cut corners or get a leg up in anything. She worked hard for what she got. And she taught me to do the same. I can remember being taught to do things on my own that other parents were doing for their kids. Many of those kids still need their parents to get the job done. Successful people don't rely on others to do for them what they can do themselves.
Believe in yourself. When I would say I wanted to do something but didn't think I could, my mom would ask me, "Has anybody else ever done it?" I would say "Of course, lots of people." Her reply? "Then you can too. You are smarter than them!" Well, I probably wasn't smarter than them, but point well taken. If someone else has proven it can be done, then you have a chance! Successful people believe that they can do it!
Have a dream and pursue it - even if it takes years. My mom kept a dream alive and pursued it on the side as I grew up. The year I graduated from high school, my mom graduated from college. She was 54 years old. She kept her dream alive and worked at it bit by bit and finally it happened! Successful people dream big dreams and then complete them no matter how long it takes.
Stretch yourself. I can remember my mom taking me to business and real estate seminars when I was a twelve-year-old kid. Not because she couldn't find babysitting, but because she wanted me to learn something! Most parents wouldn't even think that their twelve- year-old could learn something there. Mine did. And I did learn a thing or two. Successful people stretch themselves.
Experience is the greatest teacher. My mom used to pull me out of school all the time and take me on these wild trips and journeys. I would say, "Uh, mom, shouldn't I be in school." She would always answer the same way, "Chris, we can't let school get in the way of your education!" Successful people understand that going to school can get you some knowledge and a degree, but nothing beats actually doing it.
Some things are worth more than money. One of the greatest sacrifices my mother made for me was when I began high school. I did well in sports and played in the evenings, so my mom quit selling real estate, which takes up a lot of evenings, and took a lower paying job as a secretary at the University. She rarely missed a game all through high school. Successful people realize there are some things money can't buy.
By Chris Widener
Nobody becomes a success alone, period. There is no such person who is "self made." I know this because I have regularly involved myself with some of America's most successful people and as I listen to their stories I realize that all of them have had what I call their own "booster club."
When I think back over my life I realize that I have had my own booster club: People who gave me a boost, either through direct help, opening doors to others or opportunities, or through their belief in or encouragement of me.
I think of my mother who was left a widow at age 40 to raise me alone. She believed in me. She sacrificed for me. She gave up much so that I could become what I dreamed of. My mother was my booster!
I think of a man who is the CEO of a twenty five billion dollar a year company who, when I was only three years out of college and striking out on my own, sent me a check out of the blue. It wasn't an investment; it was a gift. Then he sent another... and another. Every month for nearly 7 years he sent me a check. Nothing large enough to live on but enough to be a sign that he believed in me. When I asked him why he did it, he said, "Because I believe in what you are doing and that you are the one to do it." To have someone of his stature believe in you! Wow - is he ever a booster!
I think of my good friends, Tony and Jenni. When they were married they moved in right next door to us. They have become our best friends. Every step of the way they have loved us, challenged us, and encouraged us. They have been there in the darkest hours and in the brightest days. They are definitely boosters!
I think of my two friends named Kevin. The first, my best friend, lives here in Seattle. He is a guy that I laugh with, talk about things with and thoroughly enjoy all of my time with. He always comes through for me. In fact, as I right this, he came through for me just yesterday! When I know that I need a boost, he does whatever he can. And being one of the most competent men I have ever met, he always gets the job done. Major booster!
The second Kevin lives in Atlanta. He is a "new" friend but has already been a big booster. He has been willing to open doors for me that I never would have been able to budge because those on the other side would have been unwilling to open them. But on his recommendation, they have. A great booster and a person I will get to know better throughout the years.
I think of Kyle, who I have never met in person, but have spoken with on a few occasions and swapped many emails with. Kyle has boosted me literally millions of times - ever time he publishes my articles he helps me bring my message to the masses. To know that a person like Kyle sees the value in my message is an incredible boost!
I think of my most fanatical booster, my wife Lisa. No one believes in me more than she does. In fact, there are many times I wonder who she thinks she's married to! She sees the best in me even when there is nothing good to see. She sticks by me through it all and encourages me to go for my dreams. What a blessing - what a booster!
I think of my kids. They boost me every time I leave in the morning and when I come through the door at night. They boost my life and my career! Above all, they boost my happiness and my spirits each and every day. Big boosters in little bodies!
I think of God - the ultimate booster. In a scene from The Count of Monte Cristo, the Count, still in prison, tells the old man prisoner who is with him, "I don't believe in God." The old man replies, "That's okay. God believes in you!" While I don't understand all that God is I do believe that if God is for me, then it matters not who or what is against me!
So where does this leave us? Is this just a trip down memory lane? No, in fact, I have two specific actions for you as it relates to boosters:
One, make a list of your boosters. Then take a moment to send them a note to say thanks for what they have done and been for you!
Second, decide for yourself that you will be someone else's booster! Be very specific and begin to invest yourself into that person's life. Encourage them. Open doors for them. Challenge them. Give of yourself to them so that they can soar. Be their booster!
Bring on the boosters!
By Chris Widener
"The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly." -- Theodore Roosevelt
1. I Am - the Arena of Values
2. I Should - the Arena of Responsibility
3. I Could - the Arena of Possibility
4. I Would - the Arena of Negotiation
5. I Want To - the Arena of Vision
6. I Will - the Arena of Dedication
7. I Do - the Arena of Accomplishment
In this article we are going to be looking at the "Arenas" that every person, organization, or business can operate out of. They are Values, Responsibility, Possibility, Negotiation, Vision, Dedication, and Accomplishment. The degree of our success is directly related to the degree in which we excel in and balance these arenas. As you go through each segment, think practically, because these are intended to be more than intellectual ideas. They are intended to help you solidify them into your life and turn your potential into performance. Though this article is specific to business and industry, the principles here are easily translated into personal application.
I Am - The Arena of Values.
Every person, organization and business has values. They may not know what they are, or they may not be able to articulate what they are, but they have them. The values of a business are what they believe in. What do they think is important? What do they hold as dear to the organization? Customer satisfaction is a simple value that a business may hold, for example. What a company values will affect the way the business runs and the employees act and work, so it is important to know what your business values are.
Here are some questions for you to ask. I would encourage you to involve as many top-level people in this process as possible, as well as others, even down to the lowest levels of the organization. What do we think is important? What do we hope to accomplish? What do we believe in as we go about our work? Another item to deal with is Values Dissonance. That is when you state your values and find that they are not in action in the company.
This then, takes teamwork and leadership to make sure that everybody is on the same page with your corporate values. The first step in a successful organization, or for your own life for that matter, is to determine your values. I would encourage you to spend some time on this if you haven't already. And if you have, continue to make sure that everybody in the organization knows and believes in them.
Two excellent books on the subject are Leadership Jazz, and Leadership Is An Art, both by Max DuPree. Is there clear indication in your place or work that you are operating in the Arena of Values? Can you say without a doubt that "I Am," or "We Are"? Hopefully you can, and if not, you can be, with a little work.
I Should - The Arena of Responsibility
I understand that responsibility is in some people's minds a four-letter word, but not in those who want to achieve true, lasting success that benefits not only themselves, but a great number of people around them. Those who would lead the way to accomplishment must also understand that they have responsibilities. And the man or woman of honor, integrity, and success, lives up to those responsibilities. So what are these responsibilities that we must live by? While I want to encourage you to think about them specifically for your own life and business, there are a few that I believe are for all of us.
1. To be a person and company of high integrity. Ultimately, we are only a success to the degree that we are honorable people. This means that we are honest, hard working, and forthright. I don't think it matters how much money one accumulates if the are not a person of integrity.
2. To live by the "golden rule." And the golden rule isn't what one of my best friends grew up thinking it was: He who has the gold, makes the rules! No, it is that we will treat others as we want to and expect to be treated.
3. To our families. Regardless of the work we do, it is of utmost importance that our families sit atop the priority list. Sometimes I think of all the people I help and work so hard for day by day and realize that none of them will be at my side when I breathe my last breath. My wife and children will fill those spots. Therefore, they get the most from me. I owe it to them. They are important to me and it is my responsibility to be there for them, no matter what my opportunities are elsewhere.
4. To give to charity. The more you hear from me, the more you will realize that I am big on the idea of charity. I think one of the things that rounds us out as healthy, successful people is to give away money, time, and possessions, free of all strings. Simply give it away to a cause that you believe in. Make it big. Make it a sacrifice. Instead of a $10 check every now and then, put it into your budget to give away a certain amount every month. At first you will think it is impossible but it will come around. And one of the great benefits to this is that at the end of your life, you will be able to look back and see the difference you have made.
These are just a few areas, but they are the umbrellas that cover the rest of our lives. If we get these right, we are 95% there.
I Could - The Arena of Possibility
Now we cover the arena of possibility.
It seems to me that many businesses, and schools and organizations often get so caught up in the day to day that they lose their zest for life. They get the nose to the grindstone, and may even be doing important work, but they forget to dream. They forget to think of what could be. (for more on achieving your dreams, see my article "Dare to Dream Again)
How is your business in the arena of possibilty? What would happen if at your next staff meeting, whether you have 30 people or it's just you and your partner, you asked the question "What could we really do if we put it all together? If we really stretched ourselves as far as we could?" Or how about "What are the possibilities for this business to really do something great or dynamic?" I think that you would probably be astounded at what you would hear.
People have great ideas, dreams, and possibilities inside of them. They just need someone to stop the treadmill and ask the question, surrounded by an atmosphere of acceptance.
Here are some areas to think about possibilities in:
The office atmosphere
Community service projects
I Would - the Arena of Negotiation
After you have recognized your corporate values, understood your responsibilities and then had your staff possibilities session, there comes a time of reflection upon those possibilities. Every possibility has a cost associated with it. At this point an organization not only says "we could" but they also need to determine what the cost will be and whether or not the successful implementation of the possibility is worth the cost. This is the arena of negotiation. It isn't negotiation in the traditional sense of the word, such as negotiating a price with a client or vendor, but is primarily an internal negotiation. This is where you ask qualifying questions. "I would if..."
If this is to come about, what will the cost be? Is it worth it? If this comes about, what will the ramifications be in other areas of my business? What other adjustments would have to be made, and are they worth it? What would the reward have to be in order for me to pursue this possibility? How long will it take me to reach this possibility? In light of that, do I want to readjust the organization for that period of time? In other words, would the outcome be worth it? What trade-offs will I have to make with my time, finances, staff, customers, or family? Are these trade-offs worth it?
These are all examples of negotiation questions. You are negotiating internally, with yourself or your staff.
For example, you may find that your possibilities include substantially more profit for an extra five hours of your time per week. But your family life may be such that it wouldn't be the overall best situation for you to increase your workload five more hours a week at this point in your life. Perhaps it is still a possibility, but should be delayed for a year or two You may see the possibility of giving better customer service by adding two new employees, to bring the ratio of employees to customers down. What would the cost be? What would the reward be? Perhaps you will find out that the reward, be it financial or otherwise, is more than sufficient in your mind to spur you on to pursue the possibility. You may want to get a comprehensive view of your current customers' satisfaction.
There is any number of ways to go about obtaining that information. Giving a response card to each person that visits. Calling past customers on the phone. Visiting each client personally. What are the costs of these? Which ones are right for you and your staff at the current time? Every possibility has a cost associated with it. Take some time this week to measure the costs of your possibilities. Then, when you find those that are good for you - go for it!
I Want To - The Arena of Vision
Sometimes one of the best ways to determine what you or your company or organization should do is what you want to do! A sections back we asked what the possibilities were for your business. We decided to dream a little. Now, of those possibilities, what ones would you really like to do? The reason for this is simple: Because those ideas that stir our passions for excellence become things that we can easily "see." They can become our "vision." Vision is a word that is used a lot in leadership development these days, and for a good reason. In order for something to happen, someone has to first see it happening long before it actually does. Sure, there are lots of things you could do (possibilities), but what do you want to do? What can you see yourself doing? If money, and time, were no object; if you knew that you couldn't fail at your attempt; what would you want to try? Then, why not try? This can become your vision. And a vision is a powerful thing.
Vision is what drives success and accomplishment. Just think of the great accomplishments of mankind and about what vision must have been behind them. So, what do you want to do in your life? What would you like to accomplish with your business or organization? Great things come when we dream, when we gain a vision of a better tomorrow. Vision drives us to attempt things far beyond where we are right now. Here is one of my favorite quotes from old Rough and Ready, Teddy Roosevelt. I hope it encourages you to stretch for greater things.
"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy, nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."
I Will - The Arena of Dedication
They say that the three most important things in real estate are "location, location, location." That may very well be true, but I have decided, after being involved in numerous start-up ventures (both for profit and non-profit) that the three most important things in work, especially during the start-up process, are "perseverance, perseverance, perseverance." I have come to believe that much of what separates the successful from the unsuccessful is simply determination. The successful are not always the brightest, the best looking, or those with the most prestigious diplomas. Instead, they are the ones who say "I will do this!" and "Hardship will not deter me!" These people have entered into and continually live in the arena of dedication. Staying there long enough usually puts them on top. Dedication is a key to success. So far, we have had you determine your corporate values, and had you dream and think of the possibilities for your life, work, and organization. What now? Hard work! Once you and your staff have determined what your possibilities are, you should also spend some time to recognize all of the hard work that will be involved in achieving your dreams. Then spend some time preparing to meet the challenges. Here are some questions to help you get through the process, prepare yourself for the job ahead, and come out on the end of success.
1. What are the obstacles we will face?
2. How will we overcome those obstacles?
3. What kinds of attitudes and dedication will we need to exhibit when the time comes to face difficulties and up-hill battles?
4. What are the rewards our dedication will bring to us as individuals and corporately?
Focusing in on these questions will help you prepare for the times when you will need to show dedication, perseverance and inner fortitude. The mental preparation now will strengthen you to succeed later.
I Do - The Arena of Accomplishment
As we close this series, it is important to remember that these phases are all constantly rotating through different areas of our lives. In some areas we will be in the values formulating arena, others the dedication arena. And of course we will at times be in the accomplishment arena. It comes when the job is complete. What is important at this stage? Well, a few things actually.
1. A little rest. Notice I said a "little." It isn't time to sit back for good, but resting can be a much-needed reward for all of the hard work you have shown up until now. After the pace of pursuing your dreams, your body and mind need some well- deserved rest.
2. A little celebration. Celebrations are great for us. What is all the work for if one can't enjoy the fruit of his labor? Maybe it is a small dinner out. Maybe it is a huge celebration like a party for a hundred of your closest friends and business associates. Maybe it is an exotic vacation?
3. A sense of fulfillment. The greatest reward is, as the old saying goes, "the satisfaction of a job well done." Not many people make it to the accomplishment arena very often. Enjoy the satisfaction!
4. A new high bar. One of the great things about life is the challenge of new heights. You have accomplished your task, and that's good, but...
Now, What's Next?
By Chris Widener
Sometimes success is found through the things that you don't do. Here are some ideas for what we shouldn't do.
Don't say "I can't." There are two words that we don't allow in the Widener household - I can't. The fact is that most of what we say that we can't do can actually be done, if only we put our mind to it. My mother taught me from an early age that if someone else had already done it, I could too. And if no one else had already done it, I could certainly be the first! Good advice!
Practical application: When you are up against a problem, and you are tempted to say "I can't," begin to think of all of those who have already done it. When you see how many already have, you'll be encouraged. For instance, if you want to write a book but think, "I can't get this published," you should take a trip to the local Barnes and Noble. Walk through and ask yourself if your book wouldn't be better than even just one of the books that is already been published and stocked. You will find yourself saying, "Surely I can!"
Don't give up. If you are going to achieve anything in life, you are going to get knocked down along the way. Those who succeed are those who get back up and forge ahead. My oldest child is in gymnastics and the other day on the way to practice we were talking about determination. I am convinced that more often than not, success lies on the other side of the river hardship. Determination, and a "don't give up" attitude will see us through the hard times and onto victory!
Practical application: The next time you feel like the wind has gone from your sails, and you feel like quitting, take awhile to rethink the situation. Remind yourself again why you started out in the first place. Remind yourself of you will feel when you get there. Then, reassert yourself and set a goal of another month (or whatever time frame is needed). In one of my ventures, early on I was weary and felt like giving up. Instead, I kept telling myself, just show up for one more week. Good news - it worked! Don't get discouraged. Discouragement is an attitude. Instead of going to the depths of the dumps, tell yourself you are going to do great. Choose to be courageous! One of the greatest powers we have been given as humans is the ability to choose our attitude. All people experience hard circumstances. Yet some say to themselves that they will learn from them and forge ahead a better person. These people, who do not allow themselves to get discouraged, are those who become successful.
Practical application: Find the most positive person you can and take them to lunch. Make sure they are someone who believes in you already. If nobody else, get your mother - she will always believe in you! When you get them out to lunch, tell them that you are discouraged and in need of some encouragement. If you have picked the right person, they will do the rest. Chances are, they will even do some follow-up calls with you. And by all means, pick up the tab for lunch.
Don't be a lone ranger. Anybody who has achieved greatness has done it with the help of many others who bought into the vision and pushed the cart. The most famous and accomplished achievers in the world all had a cast of others who helped them along. You may not be able to name A.J. Foyt's pit crew, but they were there. Joe Montana had an awesome front line to protect him, but I can't name one of them. If the greats need others, then so do we. The sooner we realize that we need others, the quicker we will achieve our dreams.
Practical application: Sit down and write down the answers to the following questions: What partners do I already have? What ways are they already helping me? What ways could they help me? Who are potential partners who would make me better? What workers do I already have? What ways are they already helping me? What ways could they help me? How many more workers will I need to achieve my dreams? How will I go about gaining them?
Don't accept anything less than excellence. Good gets along, excellence succeeds. Have you ever heard anyone say of the greats "Yeah, they were pretty good." No! They were excellent! We should never, under any circumstances, accept less than excellence. We should constantly be striving to better ourselves, our situations, our relationships, and the people around us, helping them to become excellent.
Practical application: First, evaluate. Is ______________ excellent? Second, determine what would qualify as excellent. It would be excellent when ____________ is true. Third, set a course, step-by-step, toward excellence.
Remember, when it comes to the above - Just don't do it!
By Chris Widener
1. They are hard working. There is no such thing as easy money. Success takes hard work and people who are willing to do it.
2. They are honest. Those who are successful long-term are the honest ones. Dishonest people may get the first sale, but honest people will get all the rest!
3. They persevere. How many success stories will go untold because they never happened? And all because someone quit. Successful people outlast everybody else.
4. They are friendly. Have you noticed that most successful people are friendly and people oriented? This endears them to others and enables them to lead others to accomplish the task.
5. They are lifelong learners. Successful people are people who stretch themselves and grow continually, learning from all areas of life, including from their mistakes.
6. They over-deliver. The old statement of under-promise and over-deliver became famous because it made a lot of people successful, including the richest man in the world - Bill Gates
7. They seek solutions in the face of problems. Problems are opportunities to do the impossible, not just complain. Successful people are the ones who find solutions.
By Chris Widener
I want to focus our thoughts on each of these four elements of success. While these were originally written for a business audience, the principles can be easily translated to cover yourself or any group or organization you belong to.
Before one begins down the road of success, they need knowledge. Today, even jobs that once required little working knowledge or intelligence now see the need for training as those jobs become more dependant on technology. We will cover the importance of knowledge and ways to get more for yourself and the others in your business or organization.
One element that you see over and over again in our country is that we are indeed the "land of opportunity." It is great to be able to live in a country where people can pursue their dreams, and where it is possible to reach them. But some people have a hard time seeing opportunity. We will focus on ways to find and take advantage of opportunities.
Once a person sees opportunity, it is up to them to step through the open door and go for it. Yet many stop at the edge, unwilling to take a risk. Many times, often actually, taking advantage of opportunities requires risk. We will cover the importance of taking risks and to understand the difference between taking risks and being "risky."
Businesses, organizations, and people who succeed are the ones who operate from a base of excellence. Think of Nordstrom's as a perfect example. We'll cover the importance of excellence and ways to raise your excellence quotient.
The starting point in the elements of success is Knowledge. This is becoming increasingly so as we continue deeper into the information and technology age. There simply is no turning back now. Even jobs that used to take very little knowledge require some because of automation etc. So here are some thoughts on ways to increase your knowledge and become more successful.
Become a self-learner. I have met very few successful people who were not also self-learners. They love learning. Are you a reader? Reading is one of the most enjoyable ways to learn more. Or you can join what Zig Ziglar calls "Automobile University." All you do is go to the local library and check out some tapes on a topic of your choice and start going to school on your way to work. As you grow personally you will begin to rise above others who simply are not in the process of learning.
Job-specific training. I think everybody, regardless of his or her level in the organization, should be continually trained in their job. Someone once said that it is more expensive to not train employees and let them stay on the job than to train them. How true. What kind of ongoing job-training are you taking. If you aren't the boss, then go to your boss and ask him what kind of training he or she would like you to have and then tell them that you would be glad to go get it. If you are the boss, then what kind of training should you give to each of your employees? Maybe it is time to revisit the budget for employee training. Chances are, your competitor is.
Advanced education. Many of the local schools, both undergraduate and graduate, are increasingly tailoring programs for those who are working full-time jobs. Maybe it is time to go back to school. They have programs that are one night a week or one week every four to six months. They even have programs where you go to the campus for six weeks a year. Maybe one of these is appropriate for you right now.
Is this possible or even reasonable? It sure is. I know many people who are actively involved in all three of the above. Increasing you knowledge will not only help you perform better on the job, it will help you become a better person.
In the summer of 1996 I was able to tour a country that is not democratic. While I loved the people and the cultures, I was struck again by a deep appreciation for the fact that we are free here in the U.S. We are indeed the "Land of Opportunity." And that is the second element of success. Not so much having opportunity, as that is rather inherent to our American system, but that we see opportunity, and then take advantage of opportunity.
The successful people who I have met and worked with are people who have an eye for opportunity. Is that something they are born with? Absolutely not!
If anything, being able to see opportunity is an attitude. Yes, wisdom is an important part, but if you believe there is nothing good under the sun, that there is no opportunity, then you won't achieve much.
Instead, it is an attitude that does not see any circumstance as a problem, but sees it as, you guessed it, an opportunity. A great achiever said, "There is never a money problem, only an idea problem." He saw opportunity, not a lack of funds, and he simply needed to find the way to take advantage of the opportunity!
So where do you begin? Right where you are. Take inventory of who you are, as an individual, a business, or an organization. Then ask the following questions. When you get the answers, it is simply a matter of follow through. That comes next when we talk about risk.
What opportunities do we have to get better? This is the growth question. When you look for how you can grow, and then pursue it, you're on your way!
What strengths do you have? What skills, talents, or personalities are your strong points? How can those be seen as an opportunity to grow? When you operate out of your strengths, you have a much better chance of seizing opportunity and being successful.
What does your market need? This is a perfect question to ask. If you can answer this, you will have enough opportunity to last for the rest of your life! Can you, with your strengths, meet any of the needs of the population you are trying to reach or serve? Their needs are your opportunities!
What is currently working? This is the "ride the wave" point. Take advantage of momentum. Don't settle for the good that you are experiencing. Ask if you can stretch further. Don't look at what ought to be successful, but go further with what is successful!
"A naval aviator told me that many pilots have died because they stayed with disabled aircraft. They preferred the familiarity of the cockpit to the unfamiliarity of the parachute, even though the cockpit was a deathtrap. Many people have seen their careers crash because they preferred the familiar but deadly old ways to the risky but rewarding new ways." So says Nido Qubein in Stairway to Success.
It is true that many people who have knowledge and the opportunity to see success, never do, simply because they are unwilling to take risks. As young people we are usually long on risk-taking but short on knowledge and opportunity. This is probably why you don't see many successful teens driving their own BMW's.
But by the time we are able to do something with our knowledge and opportunity, most of us are in relatively comfortable situations and decide that to pursue our dreams would be to simply risk too much. So we put off what lies in our hearts. Yet most successful people achieve what they do because somewhere along the line they stepped out in faith and took a risk. Yes, many fail at this point, but at least they attempted greatness. And while many fail, many succeed tremendously and receive the reward, often helping many others as well.
Here are some thoughts to help you take risks and see great achievement in your life.
Count the cost of not risking. Most of us think of what we might lose if we risk, but what will we lose if we don't risk? Realistically understand the worst case scenario. It usually isn't nearly as bad as we might assume, making it all the more worthwhile to risk. Most risks don't end up at the worst.
Calculate your risk. Since the risk isn't as much as we usually think it is, it helps to lie out the strategy beforehand. Then you know what you're up against and have a plan of action. Prepare fully. What most often keeps us from risk is fear. One of the best ways to fight fear is to be fully prepared. This helps our minds to be rooted in fact rather than swayed by emotion. Follow your dreams. They did a study and asked elderly people what their biggest regrets were. One of the top ones? That they didn't take more risks to follow their dreams. Go for it now!
Richard Bach says this in A Gift of Wings: "Remember the high board at the swimming pool? After days of looking up at it, you finally climbed the wet steps to the platform. From there it was higher than ever. There were only two ways down: the steps to defeat or the dive to victory. You stood on the edge, shivering in the hot sun, deathly afraid. At last you leaned too far forward, it was too late for retreat, and you dived. The high board was conquered, and you spent the rest of the day diving. Climbing a thousand high boards, we demolish fear, and turn into human beings."
Most people, if they have the drive and know where to look, can get knowledge. Everyone can take advantage of opportunity. A select few, relatively speaking, will take the risk needed to launch out to succeed. But what really sets the successful apart from the unsuccessful, or even just the average, is excellence.
In his book Raving Fans, Ken Blanchard says that many businesses have a false sense of security, thinking that they are successful, when in reality their customers don't view them as excellent, but rather as merely "no worse than the rest."
I would agree. Many of us settle for average, while a few choose excellence, in all areas, and go on to succeed far more that the rest of the crowd.
So what are some ideas to have excellence be you shining mark? Here are a few:
First, cultivate an attitude of excellence. Excellence must be your stated goal. Everyone in your business, school, or organization should know that excellence is the benchmark. You should desire it.
Second, define excellence. What does excellence look like for you or your group? This then, is the goal.
Here are some areas to begin looking at:
My personal life. Do I strive for excellence in my personal life? Do I know what areas I can improve upon, and do I try to achieve excellence in those areas? What about these specific areas: Financial, spiritual, physical, emotional, intellectual?
Customer service. Excellence is defined here not in how we think we are doing, but in how the customer thinks we are doing. Have you asked lately how you are doing in this area? Ask for suggestions on how to excel. Then you can work on achieving it.
Employee satisfaction. You will more likely achieve excellence if you have deeply satisfied employees. How can you make it an excellent place to work?
Product. Is your product excellent? Is your whole line? Perhaps you may want to sell fewer, but much better, items. It's great to be associated with excellent products.
Atmosphere. What does your home, store or office look, sound, and smell like? Is it a help or hindrance?
I encourage you to think about these things, and even brainstorm with your family or staff. The results could be excellence!
By Chris Widener
A company entitled "Made for Success" begs the question: Just what is success? So, join me as I wax philosophical and pursue this question in this brief article.
Success has been an elusive term since the beginning of time. For ages, men and women have pursued that which would make them happy and fulfilled. At the same time they have tried to determine that which would make them feel as though they have achieved success. Some have defined success themselves, while others have been content to have others, or societies at large, define success for them. We would most certainly all agree that to a large degree, "success" is defined by the individual or group that is pursuing it.
Is there an objective definition of success? I do think that there are some general principles, shown throughout history, which measure true success. I would like to give you some principles that I believe are helpful when thinking about the subject for yourself, your family, and your career.
Before we begin, I need to say that I am excited about the direction that much of the recent success literature has taken. While I don't agree with all of the viewpoints that are expressed, I am glad that more emphasis has been placed on what I call "whole-life" success, including such things as family, health, and spirituality. Success literature that is centered on financial wealth and the attaining of material possessions only, is not truly success literature in the broadest sense of the term. While financial success is good, it is certainly not the final measurement of the fulfilled life.
To truly understand success, one must first understand the nature of human beings. I believe that you would agree with me that humans are in their very nature a trichotomy, that is, they are made up of three parts: Body, Soul (the mind, emotions, and will), and Spirit (that part of us that transcends this body). To achieve whole-life fulfillment, "Success," each of these areas must receive special attention in order to bring balance to our lives and achieve true success.
In the past, success has come to be measured by a basic core of measurable objectives, all of which, in and of themselves are fine, but in and of themselves are totally inadequate to fulfill a person. Some of these are:
Money. The accumulation of money has always been a pursuit of man. The more money the better, it has been believed. And yet many who have achieved this end have looked back at the rest of us and warned that it isn't all that it is cracked up to be. Now, don't get me wrong, having money is not a bad thing. Many people misquote the New Testament when they say, "Money is the root of all evil." In fact, the N.T. says "The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil." Money is neutral. What people allow money to do to them, is not. So the pursuit of money, in the right frame of mind, can be a good thing.
Power. Power, like money, is high on the list of success goals. And, like money, power is bad or good based on the use it receives in the hands of people. Power, whether political or simply untitled influence, can be a good thing. If you achieve power, that is good, as long as you are good with it.
Happiness. This is almost entirely subjective and usually includes one or all of the other success goals. People define their version of success and then pursue it. Usually it means a sense of fulfillment and peace, which I will discuss later on.
Freedom. Whether as individuals or groups, freedom has rightly been a pursuit and definition of success. America, even with its faults, is still the epitome of freedom. This is why so many people from around the world long to come to America or other fine democratic countries. As individuals, they want to be able to choose their own destiny, to wake up every day and do what they want, to as opposed to what someone else chooses for them.
Healthy relationships. Let's face it, life is not lived alone. We are in a plethora of relationships, from the very superficial to the most intimate. Let's also agree that unhealthy relationships are not good. Nothing can bring a person down quicker or for a longer time than trouble in a cherished relationship. And yet, millions of people have realized that the pursuit of some goals have been to the detriment of their personal relationships. This is what John R. O'Neil calls "The Paradox of Success."
Health. The joy of success is not in the achievement of it, but the experience of it. It is the conscious knowledge of your success, the fruit of your success, which brings fulfillment. And if you are not healthy, you can almost certainly not enjoy your success. Your health is perhaps the most cherished of all possessions. Without it, you cannot enjoy your other possessions.
A relationship with God. For most people, eternal questions are important, even the most important. To be sure, we live after this life a lot longer than we do in this life! Having a belief in God and an understanding of his ways has long been a pursuit and goal of people, regardless of age, nationality, race or gender.
So, how can we sum this all up? What is success? Is it one of the above? All of them? Others? I have found something that helps me understand the concept of success very well. It is the Hebrew word "Shalom." Most people have heard this word interpreted as "peace," and, in its simple definition, that is indeed what it means. But the understanding of the word peace to those who originally used this word meant something very broad. When someone said "shalom" to you, they were wishing you peace in every area of your life. They meant success to you. This incorporated all areas of your life. It meant wholeness. They were saying, "May your finances be well. May your health be well. May your mind and heart be at rest. May your relationships be good. May you know and understand God. May you be blessed in every area of your life."
So what is success? It is wholeness in every area of your life. It isn't the achievement of one area to the detriment of one or more of the others. This isn't balance and won't bring us peace.
This is what Made for Success is all about, to challenge and encourage you to true success, to peace in every area of your life. This is why you will find articles on a very broad range of topics. Articles on health, finances, spirituality, relationships and the like will fill the pages in the months and years to come. I hope you find them helpful. Shalom!
By Chris Widener
As I have worked with people over the years I have seen an amazing thing. People often get frustrated because they aren't achieving "success." There are lots of possible reasons for this but one reason I have found that sticks out is that many people allow their definition of "Success" to be driven by someone or something else.
Instead, we ought to be looking at our own, skills, opportunities, life situations, etc. to determine what it would mean for us to be a success in our own mind rather than someone else's.
Thus, the key to "Success" is all in the head - our head! We develop our own thinking about what it will mean to become a success.
The frustration comes in when we look at what someone else thinks is a success and try to attain it, only to find it elusive.
For one person, being a success may mean to make $100,000 a year. For another it may be $250,000. Another may not be concerned with the yearly income but be more concerned with a net worth.
Still another may not be motivated by money and may consider himself a success by how many street kids he gets pointed in the right direction and into a productive life.
Now the temptation would be for the person working with street kids to think they aren't a "success" because they don't make much money. The temptation for the person making $100,000 may be to think they aren't a "success" until they make $250,000. And the temptation for the person making $250,000 may very well be to think they aren't a "success" because they aren't helping street kids! And 'round and 'round it goes when we are gauging ourselves by another's measure of success.
So my advice is this: Set your own course, and stay on course. Don't measure yourself against any other standard of success. Do what you do best and the rest will take care of itself.
Here is the truth. Being a success is doing your best, not being the best.
When we get to that point, we will experience a lot more joy and a lot less frustration. That sounds good to me!
Are there any universal laws that most successful people seem to follow? Great question, huh?
With that in mind, Gregory Scott Reid, well-known speaker and two-time #1 best-selling author of, "The Millionaire Mentor" and "Wake Up: Live the Life You Love," listed some common denominators in order to share them with others.
"I've been very fortunate to have had some success in my life, as well as the opportunity to meet with some very powerful and influential people over the years," said Gregory Scott Reid. "These are the common laws that each seemed to follow, and I now wish to share them with you."
UNIVERSAL SUCCESS SECRETS
1. Always maintain a positive, solution-seeking attitude.
2. To truly succeed at anything, your chances increase when you enjoy the task. When you do what you love and love what you do, you'll have success your whole life through.
3. The only limitations you really have are those you give yourself.
4. The only expectations you need to fulfill are those you give yourself.
5. Nothing is as powerful as a positive attitude, and nothing is as detrimental as a negative one.
6. Morally speaking, if you have to wonder whether something is right or wrong, chances are it's wrong.
7. When you focus on other people's success, yours is sure to follow.
8. Live your word. Lead by example.
9. Share. (Wealth + Information + Glory = Success)
10. You have the best chance of reaching a goal by simply giving yourself one to reach.
11. Observe every obstacle as a learning experience. The greater the challenge, the greater the reward.
12. Do the hardest thing first, and the rest will be easy.
13. Treat others the way that they want to be treated.
14. Few great accomplishments have ever been achieved by anyone alone; seek support from those whose talents exceed your own.
15. You are the reflection of the five people you associate with most, and your income is the average of those five people. Choose your friends wisely.
16. A dream written down with a date becomes a GOAL. A goal broken down into steps becomes a PLAN. A plan backed by ACTION makes your dream come true.
17. You can learn more about someone's character on one bad day than on all their good days put together. The true measure of all great leaders is how well they weather storms.
18. It's better to invest time doing what pleases you, rather than to waste time trying to please everyone else.
19. In the end, the extent of your own success will be measured by the accomplishments that you have helped create in others.
20. Having potential simply means that you possess talents and abilities you aren't applying.
21. Things are the way you think they are, because you think they are that way. Your perception determines your experience.
WAKE UP SUCCEED SUMMIT
Reid will be a speaker at the "Wake Up Succeed Summit" at San Diego's Bahia Resort Hotel Sept. 10-12. The product of Steven E and Lee Beard, co-creators of the, "Wake Up, Live the Life You Love," the three-day event will feature keynote speaker Mark Victor Hansen, co-creator of "Chicken Soup for the Soul." Motivational speakers such as Cynthia Kersey, author of "Unstoppable;" John Assaraf, author of "The New York Times" best seller, "The Street Kid's Guide to Having It All," and Eric Lofholm, a leading trainer and motivational expert from California will also be presenting.
Several co-authors of the book, "Wake Up, Live the Life You Love: Living On Purpose," will attend for a special meeting, but the seminars and luncheons are open to the public. Interested persons can call 800-664-3610, or visit the website http://www.wakeuplive.com.
You have permission to publish this article electronically or in print, free of charge, as long as the bylines are included. A courtesy copy of your publication would be appreciated - send to: firstname.lastname@example.org & GregReid@AlwaysGood.com.
By Gregory Scott Reid
Most of us fear change, because - as we've all experienced - most change seems to be imposed upon us, originating outside of ourselves.
The only thing that each of us can really change is OURSELVES. A rule to remember, then, is: "The only thing you can change is YOU." Therefore, unless you change...NOTHING CHANGES.
But once you've changed yourself, your perception of the world has, by definition, changed...and, as a direct result, EVERYTHING CHANGES...at least as far as you're concerned. In other words, when you see things differently, things are different...AND THE DOOR TO CHANGING YOUR ATTITUDE AND BELIEF SYSTEMS OPENS.
Here, then, is the vital question.
WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO MAKE CHANGES IN YOURSELF??
Every ounce of effort you've got to give - that's what it'll take. That's the real answer. You need to put out whatever it takes, accomplish whatever change is needed to meet the challenges of personal, social, employment and career development these days.
As my friend Ken O'Brien used to say, "You don't necessarily get what you want or what you desire. You just get what you get -- and that depends on what you do and who you are!" It's true that actions are up to you, but events in the world aren't under your control. You're constantly faced with having to respond to the world as it changes, which means that you often have to change rather quickly or suffer some kind of loss. So let's take a look at change...another rather heavy subject.
Many centuries ago it was noted that change is something of a constant. Today things are different. No, change hasn't stopped. Quite the opposite. It's happening faster than ever.And not only is change occurring more rapidly these days, but also the degree of change is increasing?even in this shortened time frame.
Change, it seems, is a function of technology, which brings us new challenges along with new knowledge.
Back in the early 17th century, Francis Bacon wrote this famous line: "Knowledge is power." At that time, the total store of the world's knowledge was rather meager, and only a few people possessed it...clerics, academics, a few military men. Today, knowledge is doubling about every four years, and, thanks to mass media, computers and other communications devices, many people possess the knowledge.
Today, the power comes from appropriate application of knowledge. Of all the skills you could learn in your life, the knowledge of WHAT WORKS in a GIVEN SITUATION is probably the most valuable.
Here, though, is the rub. The more we know, the less we know how to apply the knowledge we have. Far from the old logic that says that the more we know about the situation the better we'll be able to handle it, today's knowledge bank is so extensive and requires so much sifting and sorting, that we experience uncertainty more now than ever before. So let's take a few minutes to look at CHANGE as KNOWLEDGE -- or SKILL.
You know, making changes in your life isn't easy. And often it's not a matter of choice; it's a matter of urgent necessity, even to the extent of being life-preserving. Does a person change personal habits after a severe heart attack? If life is the goal, then change is the order of the day! There are five stages to the change process.
1. The first is CRISIS. The wake up call comes, and we've got to change. The minute we make this decision we've completed the first stage.
2. Then comes the HARD WORK. Most of it is mental. What will the nature of this change be? What form will it take? What is the objective, the goal? What must be done - a step at a time - to get from where I am to where I believe I need to be? Most people really enjoy this stage, because there's a sense of control in these exercises. The danger, of course, is that the planning descends into pure fantasy, or that a sense of being overwhelmed sets in because of all that must be decided and done. It's a tough time, but necessary to the process.
3. Once the thinking part is over, the TOUGH DECISION moment comes...the instant in which you commit to DO IT. You haven't even made the first move, but a feeling of relief sets in. Believe me, this is a difficult moment, but when it occurs, take careful note of it. How do you feel? Whom do you tell? (It's a good idea to tell some trusted friends about your decision; this reinforces your commitment to actually DOING IT.)
4. The fourth stage, which almost invariably occurs -- but sometimes doesn't -- is THE MOMENT OR MOMENTS OF UNEXPECTED PAIN. These are times when things don't go as you've planned. They're the frustrating moments when you want to give it all up. When this happens, remember the old cliché, "Don't quit five minutes before the miracle occurs." Or tell yourself, "There's got to be a breakdown before there's a breakthrough!" These reminders will help you hang in there and keep on moving forward.
5. Finally, there's THE MOMENT IN WHICH YOU REALIZE THAT THE CHANGE HAS ACTUALLY OCCURRED! Payoffs are arriving! This is the moment of joy and the instant of integration. Enjoy it. It may be the most satisfying reward you'll get -- the knowledge that you've succeeded in changing! One thing you may realize in that moment is that more has changed than just events and outcomes. You may realize that YOU have changed, in a very fundamental way.
Congratulations in advance.
By Paul McNeese
Imagine that right now, right here, today? there is within your grasp not one but several opportunities to redesign specific aspects of your life so that the sum total is a life you absolutely love. Then imagine that the only thing standing between you and your opportunities is a closed mind, fear, habits, concern, worry, drama, or perhaps mental, physical, and emotional clutter. Do you know what a default is? It's what you get when you don't choose to get something else and for most of us a default life is average and mediocre with sprinkles of joy in between. A default life is living for the weekend. A default like is hanging on 'til retirement. A default life is waiting for the kids to grow up, move out, and finish college. A default life is waiting, and waiting, and waiting for things to get better someday?one day.
Most people don't accidentally have a great life, a great job, a great marriage, a great body, or great children. I don't know about you but I am not touched, moved, or inspired by mediocrity. I don't aspire to live an average life, with an average job, and celebrate twenty-something anniversaries in an average marriage. My spirit longs for relationships and experiences that cause me to love deeply, grow profoundly, and see the magnificence in all of life. I can't have that kind of life if I am settling for the default. My name is Robin Harris and I am a coach, an author, a certified Highlands Natural Abilities Counsultant, and I am the CEO of DesignerLife, a transformational business dedicated to helping individuals live by design; not by default. And today I just want to talk to you about designing a life you absolutely love. I call it the DesignerLife.
What's a DesignerLife? Think of a piece of art that is not only beautiful but extremely functional. Just like a beautiful warm and cozy home provides sanctuary and focus for a family, a DesignerLife provides sanctuary and focus for the soul. Just like each room in that house has its own motif and purpose, each area of the DesignerLife has its own motif and purpose. Just like all of the rooms together, even the hallways and pantry make up the house, all of the areas of our lives make up the DesignerLife. A DesignerLife has been lovingly designed and architected to honor your best and your highest good and it includes spiritual hallways and pantries, too. Mmm, it sounds wonderful, doesn't it?
I want you to consider a show home that has never been lived in. Everything is just so beautifully pristine and sterile. That's because it's for show but when the family moves in they bring their energy, their style, their nuances, their touch and the house becomes a home. It's not perfect?but it is. It's not immaculate buts it's naturally inviting. The DesignerLife is a life you design that is natural, expanding, and very, very inviting not only to you but to other sojourners, also. We have so long been looking to the system, the companies we work for, the businesses we have built, the country we live in to sustain our way of life. Today is a new day, and the comfort of what we knew has passed away, it's time to excavate, renovate, and develop our most precious resources: our soul's dreams, our natural gifts, and our talents. It's time for us to evolve to the next level and some sojourners are going to go kicking and screaming, and some won't go at all. You probably thought the creation was completed millions of years ago, oh no. Human's are still in process and every so often life says "hold on, wait a minute, it's time to shift and leap baby". You can plod along for only so long before life demands that you run fast or get eaten. The new paradigm is not for survivors, it's for thrivers; people who are ready to unleash their potential into the world.
You see, the magnificent being that you are is not your doing. You didn't design it, you didn't create it, so there no reason to be arrogant about it. It's a gift. Don't just say thank you. Gratitude is only the beginning, there's also a measure of responsibility and accountability that fall on the shoulders of the gifted. And we all are gifted. It is our responsibility to nurture our magnificence, to develop it, and express it profoundly in the world that we live in. Your magnificence is not only going to give you a life you love, it's going to touch, move and inspire others. Divine intention will have your be great in ways you cannot even imagine. Divine intention will have your biggest mistakes sow seeds of wisdom and contribution to other. Divine intention will have you become the student and the teacher in life's next evolution. The next evolution will have human beings manifest the Creator's abundant, loving, creative nature.
What would it look like to have a life you absolutely love? When you really think about it, I mean see it with your minds eye, in living Technicolor, it should be so awesome it sends chills up your spine. I'm not talking about a superficial life where people are pretending to be happy, pretending that the marriage is working, pretending that the kids aren't driving them crazy, pretending that life is in order when chaos is actually the king. I'm not talking about having more, more, more while feeling less, less, less. I'm talking about a life where your soul is satisfied. This is a life where you have peace of mind, finances in order, and a healthy mind, body, and spirit. This is a life with relationships that inspire and stimulate you, intimacy that heals and thrills you, and family and community for mutual love and support. This is a life complete with meaningful and fulfilling work that uses your gifts and talents and honors your uniqueness. This is a life where there is adequate time for self-nourishment, self-investment, fun and relaxation. And? this is a life where you receive an abundance of joy by contributing to the well being of others who are on the planet with you now, as well as those who will be coming in the future.
I can't tell you the details of your DesignerLife. I can't tell you how living a life you absolutely love will show up for you. I only know that the process of designing that kind of life will rock your world. I know somebody out there is saying, pfff you must be dreaming? and my response is "yes, and your point is?"
You see if it were left up to the practical people, the realists of the world, we'd still be huddled in a cold cave without a fire to warm us. I'm not just a dreamer, oh no: I'm a possibility chick with a plan. You see a designer life is not just about dreaming about it, thinking about it, longing for it, hoping for it, praying for it. A DesignerLife is about intention; the kind of intention that produces action, the kind of action that produces results.
The road less traveled is full of uncertainty, but the other road, the popular one can only take you where you've already been. Having an extraordinary life, a life you absolutely love is gonna seem like way too much work to the average person. It's not going to appeal to the person courting mediocrity. It's not going to excite the person who is content with waiting for some day, one day. It doesn't call to the practical or the realist. So if you fall into one of these categories, cover your ears cause this message isn't for you. I'm talking to the people who caught a glimpse of possibility for their own life, for the sojourners who are ready to unleash their potential out in the real world, and for the people who can't stand the thought of settling for the default life.
The message I want to bring to you is simple. Your most challenging obstacle is not the present or past circumstances of your life, the things you did or didn't do, it's not your age, your gender, your race, it's not the naysayers or critics or the practical realist who are convinced your dreams and aspirations are a waste of time, oh these are all challenges to be dealt with on their own terms but by far the biggest challenge you will face is your own self doubt, lack of commitment, and fear. Getting over yourself is the single most forwarding action you can take to move toward your own magnificence. I want to ask you for a huge favor and here it is?Get over yourself and just be magnificent.
By Robin Harris
Back from my amazing summer excursion, a month long drive through Spain! Well, I mean, I didn't do any of the driving, my partner did. See, I only know how to drive an automatic and since we have a stick here in Belgium, my partner kindly agreed to do all the driving. In total it ended up being close to 5000 kilometers and he did beautifully without so much as a complaint. Nice, huh?
My part in this adventure was to be the navigator. A role that I take with great relish and responsibility! I had my several large maps along with the trip planner for each leg printed out from the internet. I would sit in the passenger seat with the big detail map open on my lap and the turn by turn internet guide at close reach (oh, and I was also in charge of the CD's - but I digress).
Everything all prepared for, right? No surprises, right? Well, not exactly. While we were totally prepped about 80% of the time, there were still a few glitches. Occasionally, the signs on the roads - I mean even the road numbers - were different than what they were supposed to be. We would be going along just fine and then everything would change suddenly and without warning. No names or directions or numbers matched anything remotely familiar. I, of course, went into a tizzy. Flipping pages, shuffling papers, barking at Brad all because I was venturing into uncharted territory.
I mean I was ticked! This was absolutely not the way it was supposed to be. Those silly traffic people putting up these confusing signs - I mean, didn't they know what I needed? Thus I began the "blame game" - the stupid internet map people, the stupid sign people, the stupid government and finally, stupid me. (Hmmm, coaching opportunity here? Read on.)
Then there was the event of entering a new city for the first time. More often than not, while our maps were terrific they did not give the detail that we needed in each individual city to be able to totally navigate where we wanted to go. The internet map was our savior here, but still... in every city the street signs were in different places and the names for the streets weren't always what we were expecting. Picture this: two guys and their dog, in some big city in Spain circling on one of those "roundabouts" over and over trying to figure out which off-shoot we should take and which direction all the while dodging incoming and out going drivers who grew up on these roads and are late for work. I hope that image makes you smile, it does me - at least now looking back.
Inevitably, we always made it to our destination and usually without a hitch. In fact sometimes, when things would look hopeless and nothing was familiar, we would wander and see what came up and strangely enough all of a sudden we would be right where we needed to be and in a better spot than we could have ever planned with all the maps in the world.
I learned several things from this that actually shook me up a bit. Here are a few of the lessons that I got:
? If you stare at the route on the map too much you miss some amazing scenery.
? Most of the time, the signs are very clear and point you in the direction of the destination. When they don't, you can choose to a) get all agitated and scared fearing that you might "fall of the edge of the earth," or b) adventure into the unknown, look for things you recognize and back track when necessary - remember the world won't come to an end.
? When you are stuck on a roundabout and you feel the pressure of everyone else zipping in and out on familiar territory, remember that a) with time, this can become familiar territory for you too; b) the roundabout is there to help you get where you want to go; c) after a couple spins around, make a decision and go for it - after all you can always back track!
? New situations can be disorienting. Accept that and relax into the adventure as best you can.
? Learn to drive a stick when you are young - not profound but simply the truth!
Next time we will talk about the joys of wandering and finding unexpected gems! Below you will find some experiments to help you enjoy the journey more and worry less!
Are you so focused on the "route" and how you will get to your goals that you lose sight of the scenery around you? Plan for the future with focus and determination but LIVE in the moment. Journal regularly on what is happening now and pick out the special lessons that you learn on the way to your goals. Often they are more valuable than the goal itself.
When things aren't as they should be what or who do you blame? Circumstances, others, situations, even yourself? Sure there are reasons and explanations that we can use to learn for the future but sometimes we use blame as an excuse to stay suck right where we are. What if for this month you promised not to blame anyone of anything? Instead, all you did was use your non-judgmental self to collect the information that comes in and then made a choice. Look and see what kind of freedom that gives you and keep a journal to see the results.
What lessons do YOU see for yourself that come up around this article? Put together a program for this month that is tailor made to what you need to learn. E-mail me what exercise you come up with.
By Roger DeWitt & Life Artistry Coaching.
* Perfectionism is a time waster.
Strive for excellence on important issues and ordinary best for everyday tasks. Do not waste your time on needless details.
* Be flexible.
Organize things the way they work for you. The principle of organizing is to be able to find what you want when you want it.
No matter how much you seek change, it is impossible if there is no room for change. Busyness and over spending leaves you feeling overwhelmed, stressed and yearning for a simpler life. Letting go of clutter and attachments can be painful. Ask for help. Consider a trusted friend, family member or professional organizer who can keep you focused. (Telephone and email coaching are available. For more information contact: Judith@OrganizingResources.com)
* Clean out your closets.
Take time to remove what you no longer wear or use. Statistics show that we wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time. That means that there are a whole lot of clothes just waiting for the infrequent occasion to wear them. Do you really need to keep so many?
* Measure progress in terms of percentages.
The point of Self-Improvement is to increase your batting average. Changing a habit 10% of the time is a positive step in the right direction. Give yourself credit for the progress you are making. (Ty Cobb, baseball's legendary all-time leading hitter, had a lifetime batting average of 367, which means nearly five out of eight times at bat he made an out.)
* Treat yourself kindly.
Positive self-talk produces better results than degradation. ("I have missed more than 9000 shots in my career; I have lost almost 300 games; on 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot...and missed; I have failed over and over and over again in my life, and that is why I succeed," states Michael Jordan, basketball's greatest.)
* Someone once said, "It is not how much you make that counts, it is how much you KEEP."
Pay attention to where you are spending and start a savings plan with spare change. It will mount up and your abundance will grow.
Stress depletes the immune system. Seek balance in your life and learn deep breathing exercises. Press your tongue onto the roof of your mouth and slowly breathe in through your nose continuing until you are fully inflated. Hold and notice how much oxygen you bring into your starving tissues. Release your breath by exhaling through your mouth. Repeat as often as necessary.
Why does it feel so good to laugh? Because endorphins are released from the brain every time you do it. Endorphins have a morphine-like affect and are often referred to as the body's own opiates. Endorphin pushers: smiling and laughing, exercising, positive thinking, connecting with family and friends, celebrations, receiving recognition and experiencing nature up close and personal.
* Get a life!
This cliché is usually said with sarcasm. However, it is actually very good advice. Are you among the multitude that invests in an abundant lifestyle? Do you think you need that new car, boat or expensive vacation to feel successful? Would life be perfect if you had that new suit, a diamond ring or a bigger TV? Our homes have become a warehouse for possessions that enhance our lifestyle but fall short of enhancing our life.
* Choose to be happy.
Happiness is not found in ownership of material possessions. Rather, it comes from deep within. Each morning make a conscious decision to have a good day. Instead of waiting for things to get better, be grateful for what you already have. "Success is getting what you want; happiness is wanting what you get," stated Dale Carnegie, 1888-1955, American Author and Self-Improvement Trainer
By Judith Kirk
If you've been walking this earth for any length of time, it must be pretty clear by now that if you want to make changes in your life, the first thing that needs to change is YOUR MIND! But here there's a problem - maybe a lot of problems - called LIMITING BELIEFS...ideas about yourself and the world that keep you from forging through change.
How often have you wrestled with some behavior or attitude that you know doesn't suit you? Why is it so hard to change it?
It starts for all of us in our heads -- with pessimistic thoughts -- and it moves to pessimistic or negative conclusions like, "I can't do that...it won't work!"
The real difficulty we all have with limiting beliefs is that we have so many of them...and we've had them for so long. They are, in part, the outcomes from the 20,000 or so "NO" or "NAUGHTY, NAUGHTY" criticisms we heard as young children.
These limiting beliefs -- "I can't," "they won't," "it won't work," "there's not enough," "I'M NOT ENOUGH" -- keep us, in a way, safe from having to do anything (because, after all, what's the use!?) but they set us up to be victims of our own self-fulfilling prophecies! In effect, our limiting beliefs assure that we won't get what we want. At the end of this article is an exercise on "Limiting Beliefs". It's called "Changing...Your Mind."
Notice that at the top of the page is the quotation, "You'll get exactly what you think, not what you deserve?but you'll deserve exactly what you think!"
What does that mean? Simply, it means that if you think negatively you'll get negative results?and you'll deserve them.
The only conclusion that makes sense, then, is: "If you believe you deserve something better, you'd better think something better!" And that, folks, is the essence of how the change process begins.
The first part of the exercise is to look at your current belief system...at the ideas that could get in the way of productive, positive change. Write down a list of negative - or limiting - beliefs that you hold right now. They can be about yourself, your work, your family. An example would be: "I can't get ahead on my job."
The opposite of a LIMITING BELIEF is -- and here's a word that's overused but in this context is absolutely appropriate -- an EMPOWERING BELIEF. It's really all about POWER -- personal power -- and at the bottom of it all is who we believe we ARE.
What will get us through major changes with the least discomfort and in the shortest time is a positive approach to the future.
Now, this is an unnatural state for some of us -- perhaps even for most of us -- because of how our society has set things up. Look, for instance at the educational system. How do we measure progress? We get GRADES and GET PROMOTED. We PASS or FAIL (ouch!)
And how about the media. What do we usually see on news broadcasts? BAD NEWS! Negative stuff.
And how do we feel about taxes, politics, traffic, crime and virtually every other facet of life today? We don't feel good. And nobody wants to be a Pollyanna, now, do they? It wouldn't fit with the society. So we go along with the crowd, and eventually we believe what they're saying and thinking...and it's pretty negative.
Once we're in this boat, it's difficult to get out of it. But for our purposes, getting out and getting on are the major objectives. So let's go back to what you wrote down as YOUR limiting beliefs. Now it's time for you to construct some contrary statements that can move you toward more personal power. Beneath each limiting belief you wrote down, write what you think would be an "Empowering Belief"...a Positive Statement that offsets the Limiting Belief you already hold All right, got it? Now you have a set of empowering statements. They're not beliefs YET, just statements that you can begin to work on as agents for change in your life.
Remember, part of the value of this exercise is what you do with it afte ryou've completed it. Be prepared to come back to it on your own and flesh it out as things come up for you.
What you're doing here is starting to change your mind. But this takes practice. Here's one way to do this.
On little 3 by 5 cards or "Post-It" notes, print in big letters your empowering beliefs -- one per card -- and post them somewhere?on your mirror, on the refrigerator, on a bulletin board, or on your computer (as I do).
You need to have them in your face time after time, day after day. And each time you invent a new one, make it the "belief of the week" and post it everywhere. You'll feel awkward with this at first, but hang in. It gets better. Looking at these reminders, day after day after day, will help you to reduce the struggle to change. You'll wrestle less with the challenges, and you'll see and feel the changes as they occur. Once you're confident that a belief has changed -- that you're actually doing things differently -- move that belief card to the top of your mirror. And each time you do this, give yourself a little reward. You've earned it. As this new behavioral/attitudinal pattern begins to take shape, you'll be surprised at how fast the belief cards will accumulate. Almost before you know it, the wrestling match will be over?and you'll be the winner.
By Paul McNeese
This article is about a subject that few people think of when "change" is mentioned. The topic is COMPETENCE.
Just what does competence have to do with change? A lot! First we'll outline a series of very vital compentences. Then we'll evaluate their relevance.
I can't discuss competence without involving the ideas of veteran career counselor, lecturer and author Adele Scheele, who is the director of the Career Center at California State University at Northridge (in southern California near Los Angeles). In 1979, in her book called "Skills for Success," Adele developed a scheme of six competences. The concepts certainly hold up today, and it's our opinion that they're vital to your understanding of just how you can profit from change management, particularly - although not exclusively -- in the career and job area. There are six of these competences. Adele Scheele shows each of them as an active verb phrase so as to express how they're related to the behaviors and attitudes you'll need to be successful in the new world of rapid change and increasing complexity.
The six competence phrases are:
1. Experience DOING
2. Risk LINKING
3. Show BELONGING
4. Exhibit SPECIALIZING
5. Use CATAPULTING, and
6. Magnify ACCOMPLISHING.
Before we look at each of these in some detail, let me make a distinction between skill and competence. It's important because a skill may be part of a competence, but a competence isn't a skill. In fact, the major distinction is that a skill is something one does, while a competence is something one is.
To be able to paint is a competence, and it implies that one knows how to do it and has probably had experience in painting -- or at least has training. But the skill is the act of doing painting...and the degree of skill is a subjective measurement of how well we do it. With that in mind, let's look at the six critical career competences one at a time and see how each relates to building a basis for career or job change or advancement.
We all do stuff every day. But often we do it on autopilot. This competence - DOING - involves consciously EXPERIENCING DOING - being acutely aware and conscious of our behaviors, the feelings they engender -- or the ones that drive the behaviors.
More importantly, it means making a judgement about all this and changing behaviors when they don't serve our best interests or fail to lead toward our goals. This could mean doing different things. It could also mean doing the same thing in a different way, or in a different spirit. A simple and small change in the method, the display or the intention can make an enormous difference in the outcome.
A very successful friend of mine, a PhD. psychologist with a flourishing private practice in which she works mostly with artists and entertainers, defines insanity as: "doing the same things over and over, in the very same way, and expecting different results."
If you want to see how this works, try an experiment with some of your friends or family members. Make some change in your behavior. Because these people are familiar with your habits and patterns, they'll notice even small differences rather quickly. You'll be able to tell when this happens. You'll see it in their eyes. Or they'll change the way they relate to you (it's just a response to the change you've initiated). The minute you notice this happening, comment on it. Say something like, "Hey, I just noticed something different in you. What's that all about?" Then shut up and listen. You'll hear about YOU -- and it'll be an honest response or comment, because you'll have caught these people off guard.
Be warned, though, this may create a little tension. People generally don't like departures from the familiar. It's a little uncomfortable for them. So be sure to thank them for their comments and express your love or gratitude in some way. That'll reduce or remove the discomfort, and it'll open the door for you to experiment further -- in a relatively safe environment -- and to expect honest feedback.
The objective in developing this competence is to expand your behavioral horizons. As you work with this concept, you'll use it in your business life, in your social life, and in your personal life, because we do tend to become habit-bound, even with the people we care most about. So start thinking about new behaviors...and begin trying them out in small, safe ways. Once you're comfortable with "experiencing doing," take it into work or social situations and...
RISK LINKING. Risk? As we've all learned in our lives, that's usually not a comfortable word. Ask yourself these questions, and answer honestly. Do you enjoy taking risks? What kinds of risks do you take? From your answers do you notice that you probably don't really seem to cotton too much to the idea. Why?
Of course. Risk is an anxiety-ridden process. It makes you uncomfortable. Depending on the degree of risk, it can even make you fearful. Right? So what do we do? NOTHING! We don't take risks, even little ones...especially with people.
Remember when you asked that first love interest of yours for a date...or got such an invitation? Anxious moment? Well, maybe it was just EXCITING! How many of you can tell the difference between anxiety and excitement? The two emotions are often mixed up in the same situation...you're anxious about whether you can do whatever it is, or say whatever you must, but you're excited about the possible successful outcome. But at the same moment you're worried about perhaps NOT having a successful outcome...Right?
The competence here is to LINK UP with another person or with other people in ways that can further your career goals and job objectives. And that's not easy. We've been conditioned not to risk in this way . Wasn't it our parents who told us over and over: "Don't talk to strangers" and "Don't speak unless you're spoken to" and "Don't join unless your invited." This conditioning often carries over into the workplace. You drive to work alone, speak only to those you have direct business with (other than the "Good mornings", of course), maybe eat lunch alone, and then drive home at the end of another day. And the chain of command in business makes it risky to reach out, too. After all, the boss is the boss; and you can't talk to his boss.
Now, I'm not advocating any particular behavior here, I'm just making an observation, and for some of you it's not the case. It probably isn't the case for those of you who are already willing to take risks. But in most cases, the risks you're able to take with people today came only after you had taken some risks with things and impersonal situations, and had successful outcomes.
Example: High school sports, particularly contact sports, are risky. But it's been my experience that men and women who participated in sports in high school or college are more outgoing, more willing to risk than the rest of us. Why? Because they've faced risk in an impersonal situation -- and often with the full support of an entire team -- and they've been successful, which leads them to a higher degree of confidence that success is possible. Ergo, risk is OK.
The next competence -- BELONGING -- has to do, fundamentally, with how you appear to others, based upon how you relate with and to them. The reason we don't often see this as a competence, much less a career-influencing competence -- or even as a skill or skill-set -- is that we take it for granted that we are, indeed, relating with others and that we belong in the relationship. In other words, we tend to see our relationships from the inside out (us looking at us) rather than from the outside in (as others see us).
To develop this competence, then, we need to get outside of ourselves. We need to suspend our self-judgment and move away from any ego-based appraisals and into an objective (but not self-critical) posture. How to do this? Make a conscious effort to offer praise to a co-worker who's done something praiseworthy. Send a note; or call and say, "Congratulations."
Recognize the need every organization has for unity and solidarity, and play to that. After all, it's part of the job and career game, isn't it? How many ads have you read that ask for a "team player"? Start being one now. And if you're not employed at the moment, do the exercise with a church group, a social club, or with your family and friends...use any group and look for ways to contribute to its solidarity. By the way, this might simply be by refraining from being critical, by not carrying gossip or spreading rumors, by respecting confidences, and so forth. The word will soon get around that you're a real "team player" and can be trusted.
The second component we see is enthusiasm. Be aware that there's a fine line here. If you've been a sourpuss up to now, don't suddenly get smiley and "rah-rah." But if you slowly practice supportive behaviors, the picture you present to others will change, and so will their response to you. Finally, there's support. Ask for it when you need it. People will feel good about giving it, even though they might be reluctant to offer it unbidden. Your asking proves that you value them and the group and that you're willing to be advised - that you're teachable.
That doesn't mean you have to do what they recommend; it only means that you give them the opportunity they really wanted -- to be of assistance, to demonstrate their own "belonging," and to give support. Look for ways in which to encourage others, then express that encouragement with a word, a call, a note -- sometimes just a glance and a smile will do it. But it's all part of the game, and it's a great way to enhance feeling good about yourself The general idea about the next competence - SPECIALIZING -- is that it's possible -- even likely -- that you have some skill or knowledge that is not directly related to your job but that could help you in the workplace. By discovering, inventing or creating ways of using that "outside" skill in the context of your job, you will create a "value-added" perception of yourself throughout the organization - you'll become someone "special". Years ago, when I was working in a large investment advisory firm, my secretary came to me one day with an idea she had for offering local artists a venue for their work by hanging it in our corporate offices, which were visited by many wealthy and influential people. Clearly, her workplace job had nothing at all to do with art, but she is an amateur painter and an accomplished sculptress and potter, so she had a natural interest in art of all kinds.
We wrote a brief proposal, submitted it, and -- lo and behold -- management not only bought it, but they put her in charge of it and paid her a bonus for doing it. The next year, having tested her wings in our organization, she left us to take over as a vendor of art to corporations, and she's now one of the most successful artist's representatives in the West, with headquarters in Portland, Oregon and influence in eleven states and Hawaii. She's admitted to me that all she really wanted was to get a raise and that she couldn't think of a single way of doing that as a secretary. So she went to her "value-added" skill, art and artistic knowledge, and found a way to relate it to the company.
Take an inventory of your special skills, interests, background and experience -- stuff that doesn't relate directly to your job. Can you find ways to use those skills at work (clue: it may not be in your job but in somebody else's).
Also, if you look ahead to your next job or career, you may discover that these skills and interests you don't consider as job-related may tie in to something you'd like to do rather than to what you're doing now.
OK. The competence called CATAPULTING is difficult, because you may not be comfortable with what I'm about to say. You see, Catapulting is the competence of allying yourself in some way or other with people who can move you ahead in circumstances where you'd be stalled if left on your own. See? It harks back to "It isn't what you know, it's who you know." And we all know that's not quite so. But remember, I didn't ever say that you shouldn't know -- or even use -- the people who can get you ahead...just that you'd better have the knowledge. And the fact is, one way of using catapulting is to get the knowledge you need from the very people who can help you get ahead.
That's called "mentoring." And it's an honorable, honest and ethical pursuit. For the mentoree, it's using people in the best sense. It's giving people who want to help you the opportunity to do so. How you do this is simply to pick out the people you believe could be most helpful. Approach them, tell them what you'd like. Say "please." Then take their advice, use it, benefit from it, report back to them on how it worked, then say "Thank you." That's pretty simple, isn't it? And it works. It really does. Do you have any problems with all this? One frequently expressed problem is that the people who can help are "above" in the pecking order. You may be reluctant or afraid to ask, or you may feel uncomfortable asking for help from people who seem to be so clearly "superior" to you. Forget it. As long as they're human, they're approachable. And what's the worst thing that could happen? They'd say NO. Well, then, time to move on to someone else who might help and repeat the process. Remember, eventually, someone will say YES. So each time you hear NO, say thank you?and mean it. After all, you're one NO closer to a YES!!
Finally, now, what will make this all work for you is to let yourself be used in the same way. Let me give you an example?a personal example. I once had a boss who literally trained me to assume his job. He did this with the full knowledge that at some point, if I chose to do so, I could undermine him and perhaps leverage him right out of his position. But he took the risk, and with me it worked. I never even thought of dislodging him. I just saw his generosity as a succession plan for himself. He wanted to give the company the best successor possible, and I was already on the doorstep. I did take over the slot when he moved on, and I kept it for three years. My successor, by the way, was a co-operative education student who came to work for me even before he was through undergraduate college and before I became director of the department. When I got promoted, I talked with him, found that he wanted to be both a journalist and an academician (which was, in essence, what I was), and we decided that he would train to take over. He's still there -- and has been since 1969, when I left to go into a corporate job in advertising and sales promotion -- where I also stayed for the next 17 years!
So use catapulting. It's OK, and it's a great way to smooth the transition from level to level within a company or from job to job within an industry. And note that your mentor doesn't have to be someone in your company or even in your industry. Use your imagination. Think of all the interesting, influential and powerful people you know?or could know. Then pick some and begin approaching them. Direct contact is always best, but sometimes you can even attract attention with a letter or phone call.
The final competence is ACCOMPLISHING. But more than any of the others, the descriptive verb, MAGNIFY, is what gives it power.
Here's how to magnify your accomplishments. Think of something you've done in your life that you were proud of. Let's just say that it was organizing a sales meeting for your company. You made or were in charge of all the arrangements -- hotel, meals, conference site, speakers, agenda, travel. And it worked out very well. You may have even received a nice letter from some of the speakers or from your company president, saying how good it was. Now, how could you magnify this (even if you weren't particularly interested in doing this sort of thing for a living)?
OK, you perhaps could offer to serve on the convention committee of your professional association or society. Don't belong to one? How about working with your church or synagogue on its annual carnival or picnic or rummage sale or retreat or trip?
What does that have to do with work, career and business? Nothing -- on the surface. But by involving yourself in your community and outside of work you'll begin to build a reputation that will serve you well on a résumé, could get you recognition at work or in your business or profession, and will give you a great deal of satisfaction.
On the flip side of this, if you've developed a skill in the community, you can Exhibit Specialization by finding ways to use that skill at work. Your efforts on a church planning committee could work for you as you serve on your company's annual picnic committee.
The more of this you can do, the more you'll be thought of as a leader. And the more you're thought of as a leader, the more opportunities you'll have to apply all the other competences and to be seen, recognized, rewarded, renewed and reconstructed. And when the time comes to look for a new job, or to change levels or responsibilities at work, or to face any situation containing change (hence, the possibility of fear), you'll be ready, willing and able to take on the challenge and to assume the responsibility. It's a process. It's called personal growth. And you can do it.
So, here they are again...the Six Critical Career Competences.
Doing, Linking, Belonging, Specializing, Catapulting and Accomplishing. This, in our opinion, is the best model we've seen for recognizing, utilizing and profiting from non-technical skills -- COMPETENCES -- or states of being that can propel you to successful job, career and life. We hope you take this with you into your world?that you review it, do it, and report back.
By Paul McNeese.