Monday, November 24, 2014

Excuse Me, Your Attitude Is Showing

Leaders are readers of people. They study a person like they would a book, by paying careful attention to words. If you listen careful to the words someone says, you will learn a lot about that person. Specifically, you’ll discover the person’s attitude toward life, which reveals his or her gratitude for life.
A positive attitude can be a person’s greatest asset. In fact, an upbeat attitude can take people to places that their ability could never carry them on its own. Attitude acts like a booster rocket, lifting people to a higher altitude than they could otherwise climb.
Oftentimes, motivational speakers present attitude like a magic tonic or cure-all for every ailment, but attitude isn’t everything. Some people have awesome attitudes and yet are awfully incompetent. While attitude alone won’t guarantee success, attitude is a difference-maker. All else being equal, attitude gives an advantage or edge over the competition. Therefore, whenever you have a choice to make between two business partners, vendors, or job candidates with similar credentials, pick the one with the better attitude.
A person’s attitude is more apparent in some conditions than in others. Here are three situations in which a person’s true attitude is likely to surface.

When they experience negative feelings

A gray, rainy day reveals a lot about a person’s attitude by showing how they respond to negative emotions. In the face of difficult feelings, some people are like tumbleweed tossed about by the wind; they go whichever way their emotions blow them. Positive people are not controlled by atmosphere but by their attitude. It provides a rootedness that prevents them from being susceptible to fluctuating moods. Whiners want to feel good before acting; winners do what’s right regardless of how they feel and then experience positive emotions as a result of their actions.

When they must deal with mundane details

It’s said that the devil is in the details, and some people behave like devils when they have to deal with the less-than-thrilling aspects of their jobs. Every occupation has its inglorious tasks, and how a leader handles them says a lot about her attitude. The more a person complains, the less he’ll attain. Conversely, by approaching even minor responsibilities with positivity and a sense of purpose, a person sets himself up for success.

When they face adversity

People either shrink from adversity or rise to meet it—largely on account of their attitude toward life. Thankfulness shines brightest during tribulation. Saint Paul exhorted his readers to “rejoice always” and to “give thanks in all circumstances.” When we encounter adversity, we can counter anxiety with appreciativeness. When we are grateful, fear disappears and faith appears.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Blindness to Blessings Impairs Our Influence

Blindness to Blessings Impairs Our Influence

An immigrant shopkeeper’s son came to see him one day. Observing the disorganization of his father’s shop, the son complained, “Dad, I don’t understand how you run this store. You keep your accounts payable in a cigar box. Your accounts receivable are on a spindle. All your cash is in the register. You never know what your profits are.”
“Son, let me tell you something,” answered his dad.  “When I arrived in this land all I owned was the pants I was wearing.  Now your sister is an art teacher.  Your brother is a doctor.  You are a CPA.  Your mother and I own a house and a car and this little store.  Add that all up and subtract the pants and there is your profit.”
Very few people fully fathom how far they have come in life, or are able to see the bountiful blessings right in front of them. Instead, people typically concentrate on life’s blemishes to the exclusion of its blessings. They focus on what they don’t have instead of being grateful for what they’ve been given. They worry about the road ahead instead of being thankful for the joys the journey of life has already brought them.
Our personal growth is tied to our professions of gratitude. Why? Because what we appreciate, appreciates. When we express thanks to others for their support, they’re more likely to assist us in the future. People enjoy working with those who acknowledge their contribution and affirm their value. As you heap gratitude upon people, they’re motivated to help you even more. As Dan Sullivan and Catherine Nomura write, “Resources are drawn to where they are valued most.  The world responds to gratitude by making more of everything we appreciate available to us.”
Conversely, what we underappreciate atrophies. People are repelled from relationships where their effort goes unnoticed or routinely gets overlooked. No one wants to work where they feel invisible or ignored.
Gratitude is the antidote to three deadly diseases that imperil a leader’s influence: pride, isolation, and selfishness. When we overstate our own importance, viewing our own hard work and wisdom as the sole source of our success, we devalue the support others have given us. On account of our arrogance, our relationships weaken, and we grow distant from others. On the other hand, when we thank people proactively, we’re reminded of our dependence on them and inspired to serve their needs instead of just expecting them to meet ours.
As Henry Ward Beecher said, “a proud man is seldom a grateful man, for he never thinks he gets what he deserves.” Conversely, a humble man is continually in awe that he gets to partake of the beauty of life and glad that he gets to share it with the ones he loves.
Article by: John C. Maxwell

Friday, November 21, 2014

How Your Spare Time Should be Budgeted by Napoleon Hill

How Your Spare Time Should be Budgeted by Napoleon Hill

Now we come to the question which every thinking man should ask himself: What am I doing with my spare time?
If you are not using this time beneficially, you will never become an outstanding success.
Many people believe that everything one needs comes to him when he is ready to receive it. But this great truth is misunderstood by many to mean that everything comes to one when he thinks he is ready to receive it. Readiness calls for preparation through the conditioning of your mind to accept guidance from within. Remember this, fellow wayfarers on the highway to personal success!
Remember also that you will never be ready to receive the better things of life which you desire unless you put yourself under a strict system of self-discipline in the use of your time.
And it will have to be self-discipline, for our American way of life is so generously adapted to the habits of freedom and personal liberty that no one tells another what he should do or what he should desire. And no one interferes, regardless of whether a man’s desire is to accumulate riches, or to kill off his pride and go on public relief. This is truly a free country: free in the sense that every man may establish his own goal and attain it in his own way, or drift through life as a hopeless failure. But this very measure of personal liberty both provides one with an abundance of opportunity to achieve personal success, and deprives him of all legitimate excuses for the neglect to embrace and use his opportunities.
Source: PMA Science of Success. Educational Edition. The Napoleon Hill Foundation. 1961. Pgs. 483-484.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Modeling REAL Success

Modeling REAL Success

One of my favorite teachings from John Maxwell is his principles on How to be a REAL Success.  The foundation of this teaching came from John realizing critical components for success that were not overtly taught in the educational system. Through reflection, John realized that successful people excelled in four areas:
I have had 16 years and Mark Cole, CEO, has had 14 years in having a front row seat in watching John Maxwell excel at being a REAL Successful leader. Over the course of several blog posts we want to share specific principles and examples that we’ve seen John demonstrate.  Today’s post I’ll share on Relationships.
In Winning with People, John teaches “The Number 10 Principle” which states that believing the best in people usually brings the best out of people.  I’ve never met anyone with a higher belief in people than John.  It’s one of his greatest strengths.  Ten years ago John was in the process of figuring out who he wanted to have as his speaking agent. At the time I had been part of John’s team for 6 years and worn several hats and booked him for a handful of speaking engagements. John could easily have gone to any speakers’ bureau in the country which would have gladly represented him. However, because he had a high belief in me (even with my minimal amount of experience) he chose me to serve as his speaking agent. I was able to grow into the role and together we’ve had a very successful run of me serving as his speaking agent.  Just last year he demonstrated “The Number 10 Principle” again with me as he gave me the opportunity to serve as the President of The John Maxwell Company.  It is a blessing to know that I have a number one fan and cheerleader in John.  His high belief in me has inspired me to give my best and flourish under his leadership.
In Be a People Person, John debunks the fact that most people think that charisma is a trait that is mystical and elusive, a characteristic that people either have or don’t have.  Using the word CHARISMA he defines the outstanding traits of charismatic people:
Concern – the ability to show you care
Help – the ability to reach out
Action – the ability to make things happen
Results – the ability to produce
Influence – the ability to lead
Sensitivity – the ability to feel and respond
Motivation – the ability to give hope
Affirmation – the ability to build up
The most charismatic leader that I’ve had an opportunity to work with is John.  He embodies these characteristics.  What I’ve learned from watching John is that these traits are not simply innate; they can be developed by anyone that cares about people and wants to develop his or her relationship skills.
If relationships are one of the keys to being a REAL Success, I challenge you to evaluate how well you’re doing in the area of developing your relationships.  Following are two questions to reflect on:
  • Do you truly believe in your team and the people that you work closely with?
  • In your relationships, are you concerned about making others feel good about themselves or are you concerned with making them feel good about you?
Article by: John C. Maxwell.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Leadership Lessons from Job

Leadership Lessons from Job

In my new book, Learning from the Giants, I write about what it would be like to spend time with several giants of the faith, to ask them questions and hear them share the lessons they learned from their life experiences.
The following is an excerpt from my chapter on Job, whose full story is in the Bible’s Book of Job. Here I discuss three important leadership lessons that we can learn from this great Biblical individual.
We often think of Job as the person who suffered or the rich man who lost it all and gained it back. But he was a leader. He must have had hundreds of servants working for him to care for those thousands of animals and everything that went with them. It would be like running a major corporation today. You don’t succeed at that level without leadership. Yet the lessons I think we can learn from him are not in the nuts and bolts of leadership. The lessons come from the inside, from his character:

Good Leaders Don’t Allow Their Emotions to Dictate Their Decisions

If Job had given in to his emotions, he might have given up. He could have followed the hollow advice of his friends, even though he knew it was wrong, or he could have listened to his wife: he could have cursed God and taken his own life. But he didn’t.
Like all good leaders, he did what was right, and then hoped to feel good about it later. He didn’t do what felt good and hope it turned out right. When life and leadership get hard, we need to follow Job’s example.

Good Leaders Know Outside Reputation Should Never Be Greater Than Inside Character

Who people think we are will not sustain us and keep us going when pressures and trials come upon us. Reputation is like a shadow. It has no substance. What will help us to stand up to the press is what we are on the inside. It will determine how we handle the outside.
Only God saw the inside of Job, so He knew Job would be faithful when he was tested. If we want to be faithful too, we need to keep growing on the inside.

Good Leaders Realize That Victory Does Not Come Quickly or Easily

It may seem an obvious thing to say, but the best things in life aren’t fast, cheap, or easy. We know this intuitively. We know we have to be patient and work hard. Yet somehow we keep forgetting it, and we hope for victory to come at no cost. It just doesn’t happen.
When we forget this truth, we should think of Job. His apparent defeat was crushing and looked impossible to overcome, yet in the end he still achieved victory with God as his helper. When we have God, we are always still in the game. That is the big picture.
Article by: John C. Maxwell.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Learning from the Giants

Learning from the Giants

No, not those Giants. (Although I’m sure there are many lessons we could learn from this year’s World Series winners the San Francisco Giants.) Instead, I’m talking about the giants of the faith whose stories are captured in the Bible.
Imagine you could spend a day being mentored by some of the giants of the faith, the men and women of the Old Testament who fought and won great battles, served kings, endured great hardship for God, and came out on the other side transformed. What if they could sit down in a chair across from you, and you had the privilege of spending a few precious minutes with each of them? What would that be like?
That was the intriguing idea that drove me to write my upcoming book, Learning from the Giants.
I have been studying the leaders of the Bible for more than fifty years. Truth be told, everything I know about leadership has come from Scripture. I shared some of the insights I gained about life and leadership in Running with the Giants. For many years, people have been asking me to write another book like it. I’ve spent another ten years reading, meditating on, and studying the major figures of the Bible. And I’m finally ready to share what I’ve learned.
Today I want to share leadership lessons from the great prophet Elijah (whose entire story can be found in the Bible’s 1 and 2 Kings):
There is much we can learn from Elijah’s story. The primary lesson in my book is that God Loves You on Your Bad Days. In addition, three leadership lessons stand out to me:

Even God’s Best Leaders Are Human

It’s very easy for us to read the Bible and believe that the great leaders whose stories we read were somehow beyond life’s normal trials, temptations, and failures. We want to see these giants of the faith as superhuman, but they were not. Their gifts were greater than they were. And they were asked to do things beyond their own capacity. They were in many ways ordinary men and women, but they served an extraordinary God!

Leaders Make the Greatest Impact When They Lead

As obvious as it may sound, leaders must remember that they make a positive difference when they lead. As leaders, we can get caught up in many things that aren’t the main thing. Elijah was at his best when he was leading on Mount Carmel. Good leaders remain focused on what God has called them to do.

God’s Desire for Discouraged Leaders Is for Them to Get Back into Leadership

Every leader fails. Every leader becomes discouraged at some time. Every leader becomes disappointed and wants to run away or quit. Often other people look at a leader’s failure and think, They’ve blown it. They are disqualified from ever leading again.
But that’s not how God thinks. When these things happen, what is God’s desire for these leaders? He wants them to be restored to Him and to get back into the game. After God connected with Elijah and restored their relationship, He told Elijah to go back the way he came, because He still had things for him to do. We should continue to serve God in whatever way He asks. We’re not finished until He says so.
If you enjoyed this excerpt, you might want to read the rest of the book. If you do, you will be able to join me as I imagine what it would be like to meet nine giants of the faith as they share the lessons they learned about life and leadership.
Article by: John C. Maxwell.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Should Encouragement Be Discouraged?

In an era when all children get a trophy—regardless of performance, are told they can do anything they want to in life—even if they obviously cannot, and are showered with applause for even the most meager achievement, perhaps leaders should give less encouragement, not more. After all, when youth leagues stop keeping score to avoid hurt feelings, what incentives do players have to hone their skills? If employees are rewarded simply for showing up, what motivation do they have for working with ever-increasing excellence? Maybe celebrating mediocrity invites average behavior. Quite possibly, passing out unearned praise harms people by conditioning them to live in a make-believe world where success comes automatically to anyone who tries.
Some would argue that employees need fewer ear-tickling compliments or pats on the back. Instead, most of them could use a “reality slap” in the face. That is, they could do with a healthy dose of the unvarnished truth. They would benefit from having a Simon Cowell in their life—someone willing to deliver feedback unfiltered by undue concern for their feelings.
Just because some persons have been excessively coddled and improperly pampered does not mean they should therefore receive less encouragement. Everyone needs to be affirmed in their abilities and shown appreciation for what they do. However, encouragement must be authentic to achieve its purpose. That is, encouragement must be:


Some leaders employ encouragement as a manipulative device. They say what their people want to hear in order to get them to perform as desired.  Eventually, inauthentic encouragement rings hollow, as people recognize that it’s a management tactic rather than heartfelt affirmation. Over time, people can differentiate feel-good platitudes from actual praise.


Encouragement should be given proportionately, with more lavish compliments reserved for more extraordinary feats. It should also be given in a timely manner so that people know immediately the value of their contribution.


To be credible, encouragement must be merited by identifiable achievement or discernible potential.


If encouragement is to help others grow, it shouldn’t be one-sided. Recognition of exceptional work should be offset by constructive feedback that points to opportunities for improvement.


Overly generalized encouragement doesn’t hit home. For encouragement to make a difference it must be connected to concrete deeds or behaviors.
Article by: John C. Maxwell.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Time is Money–Budget It Carefully by Napoleon Hill

Time is Money–Budget It Carefully by Napoleon Hill

All of us have a single denominator in our fight for success. All of us have an equal amount of time in which to achieve it. Simple rules of health demand that eight hours of every day be spent in sleep. Eight hours more taken up in earning at least the bare necessities of life. That leaves us eight hours more of free time that can be used for whatever purpose we desire.
This is the period you can use to achieve success. Since you work so hard eight hours for the boss, why not put in a few hours more working for yourself instead of spending it idly? Benjamin Franklin once said, “Show me what a man does with his free time and I will tell you accurately whether he will be a success or failure in life.”
The man or woman who doesn’t need to hold down a regular job is doubly blessed for they have twice as much time to devote to their own ends.
Richard Monot found himself in that position. For more than a year, he spent his days in idleness and found–as so many have–that it really isn’t fun to loaf continually. Being a lover of flowers, he bought a tract of land and began growing peonies. His gardens soon became a showplace. More important, they began making more money for him than he’d ever been able to earn in his regular work-hour labors.
You should constantly try to “go the extra mile” during the period of the day the boss pays for your service. This brings promotions and pay raises. But it’s even more important that you go the extra mile for yourself during your free time. How are you spending these hours now? Do you fritter them away or do you use them to achieve success?
First, of course, you must decide upon a definite goal in life and lay out a plan for achieving it. Then use your free time to put your plan into action. Remember, whenever you waste time, you are wasting your life.
Source: Success Unlimited. August 1963. Pg. 31.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Decisions You’ll Be Thankful You Made

Decisions You’ll Be Thankful You Made

“Life is a one-way street. No matter how many detours you take, none of them leads back. And once you know and accept that, life becomes much simpler.”
~ Isabel Moore

Choices have consequences that stalk us like a shadow. The effects of decisions made early in life affect our wealth, relational health, and emotional wellbeing. Since it’s incredibly difficult to elude or escape them, the wisest course of action is to make choices early in life that have helpful rather than harmful repercussions.

Continue to grow throughout your life.

Many people stop studying once they finish school, but learning pays dividends beyond earning a diploma. Growth positions you to take advantage of opportunities and grooms you for ever-increasing responsibility. Growth also brings happiness; it’s fulfilling to feel that we’re tapping into our potential. Moreover, growth enables you to give. The more you grow, the more seeds you have to sow into the lives of the people around you.

Give and serve on the front end.

It’s common to approach relationships cautiously, asking “what’s in it for me?” before extending a helping hand. However, it’s far more rewarding not to wait until you’re certain of getting something out of a relationship before you’re willing to invest in it. When you serve on the front end, you unlock the benefits of reciprocity. Occasionally others will take advantage of your goodwill, but far more often people will respond to your support with grateful generosity.

Exhibit a great attitude regardless of the situation.

Attitude isn’t everything, but it is one thing that can make an incredible difference in your life. As Virginia Satir said, “Life is not the way it’s supposed to be. It’s the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference.” We cannot always choose what happens to us, but we can always choose what happens in us.
We can control our thoughts, and our thoughts eventually give shape to our emotions. Thus, we can take responsibility for our feelings by changing one thing: the way we think. Attitudes are nothing more than habits of thought. The key, then, is to dwell on life’s blessings and not its burdens, to see life’s possibilities over and above its pain, and to look for the best in people rather than finding their faults.

Care for your family

When leaders put their family first, their spirit prospers and their community benefits. When leaders put their community first, their family, community, and personal wellbeing all suffer. The most lasting legacy you can leave is the one you build at home. Success in life comes when those who know you best, love and respect you the most.
Article by: John C. Maxwell