Monthly Archives: September 2013 - Page 2

The Qualities of Skillful Leadership

by Jim Rohn

If you want to be a leader who attracts quality people, the key is to become a person of quality yourself. Leadership is the ability to attract someone to the gifts, skills, and opportunities you offer as an owner, as a manager, as a parent. I call leadership the great challenge of life. What’s important in leadership is refining your skills. All great leaders keep working on themselves until they become effective. Here are some specifics:

Learn to be strong but not rude. It is an extra step you must take to become a powerful, capable leader with a wide range of reach. Some people mistake rudeness for strength. It’s not even a good substitute.

Learn to be kind but not weak. We must not mistake kindness for weakness. Kindness isn’t weak. Kindness is a certain type of strength. We must be kind enough to tell somebody the truth. We must be kind enough and considerate enough to lay it on the line. We must be kind enough to tell it like it is and not deal in delusion.

Learn to be bold but not a bully. It takes boldness to win the day. To build your influence, you’ve got to walk in front of your group. You’ve got to be willing to take the first arrow, tackle the first problem, discover the first sign of trouble.

You’ve got to learn to be humble, but not timid. You can’t get to the high life by being timid. Some people mistake timidity for humility. Humility is almost a God-like word. A sense of awe. A sense of wonder. An awareness of the human soul and spirit. An understanding that there is something unique about the human drama versus the rest of life. Humility is a grasp of the distance between us and the stars, yet having the feeling that we’re part of the stars. So humility is a virtue; but timidity is a disease. Timidity is an affliction. It can be cured, but it is a problem.

Be proud but not arrogant. It takes pride to win the day. It takes pride to build your ambition. It takes pride in community. It takes pride in cause, in accomplishment. But the key to becoming a good leader is being proud without being arrogant. In fact I believe the worst kind of arrogance is arrogance from ignorance. It’s when you don’t know that you don’t know. Now that kind of arrogance is intolerable. If someone is smart and arrogant, we can tolerate that. But if someone is ignorant and arrogant, that’s just too much to take.

Develop humor without folly. That’s important for a leader. In leadership, we learn that it’s okay to be witty, but not silly. It’s okay to be fun, but not foolish.

Lastly, deal in realities. Deal in truth. Save yourself the agony. Just accept life like it is. Life is unique. Some people call it tragic, but I’d like to think it’s unique. The whole drama of life is unique. It’s fascinating. And I’ve found that the skills that work well for one leader may not work at all for another. But the fundamental skills of leadership can be adapted to work well for just about everyone: at work, in the community, and at home.

Jim Rohn reveals how to implement these qualities of skillful leadership in “The Art of Exceptional Living,” available on CD at JimRohn.com.

Problem Solving

by Zig Ziglar

Fortunately, problems are an everyday part of our life. Consider this: If there were no problems, most of us would be unemployed. Realistically, the more problems we have and the larger they are, the greater our value to our employer.

Of course, some problems are small, like opening a ketchup bottle. Others are monumental like a seriously ill or injured child or mate, which present ongoing, daily complications. Successful living comes when we learn to handle those business and personal problems with as little fanfare as possible.

The successful business executive can handle challenges and solve problems at a remarkable clip. He/she makes quick and final decisions as a result of years of experience.

Many people use counterproductive methods to deal with problems: They refuse to recognize them, deny responsibility for them, pretend they will go away if they ignore them, or are just flat insensitive to them.

The first step in solving a problem is to recognize that it does exist. Next, we determine whether the problem is our responsibility. If the answer is yes, we must determine how serious and/or urgent it is. When that last determination is made, we either take immediate action if the problem is simple and quickly solvable or develop a plan of action and prioritize it if the solution is more difficult and time-consuming.

Problem solving becomes a very important part of our makeup as we grow into maturity or move up the corporate ladder. I encourage you to take the time to define the problem correctly, learn the skill of quick analysis, and remember—if it weren’t for problems in your life, your position might not be necessary in the first place. Ironing out the wrinkles and solving the problems is what most jobs are about.

Creating Your Character is Like an Artist Creating a Sculpture

by Jim Rohn

Could creating your character be likened to an artist creating a sculpture? In my opinion, I believe that character is not something that just happens by itself, any more than a chisel can create a work of art without the hand of an artist guiding it. In both instances, a conscious decision for a specific outcome has been made. A conscious process is at work. Character is the result of hundreds and hundreds of choices you make that gradually turn who you are, at any given moment, into who you want to be. If that decision-making process is not present, you will still be somebody. You will still be alive, but may have a personality rather than a character.

Character is not something you were born with and can’t change, like your fingerprints. In fact, because you weren’t born with it, it is something that you must take responsibility for creating. I don’t believe that adversity by itself builds character and I certainly don’t think that success erodes it.

Character is built by how you respond to what happens in your life. Whether it’s winning every game or losing every game. Getting rich or dealing with hard times. You build character out of certain qualities that you must create and diligently nurture within yourself. Just like you would plant and water a seed or gather wood and build a campfire. You’ve got to look for those things in your heart and in your gut. You’ve got to chisel away in order to find them. Just like chiseling away the rock in order to create the sculpture that has previously existed only in your imagination.

But do you want to know the really amazing thing about character? If you are sincerely committed to making yourself into the person you want to be, you’ll not only create those qualities, but you’ll continually strengthen them. And you will recreate them in abundance even as you are drawing on them every day of your life. Just like the burning bush in the biblical book of Exodus, the bush burned but the flames did not consume it. Character sustains itself and nurtures itself even as it is being put to work, tested, and challenged. And once character is formed, it will serve as a solid, lasting foundation upon which to build the life you desire.

Dare to Dream Again

by Chris Widener

Do you remember when you were a child and no dream seemed too big? Some of us thought we would walk on the moon; some dreamed of riding with Roy Rogers; others imagined stepping to the plate in a big-league game. Every one of us, when we were young, had a common trait: we were dreamers. The world hadn’t gotten to us yet to show us that we couldn’t possibly achieve what our hearts longed for. And we were yet still years from realizing that in some cases we weren’t built for achieving our dream (I realized about my junior year of high school that I was too short and to slow to play professional basketball. The dreamer is always the last to know).

Eventually we started to let our dreams die. People began to tell us that we couldn’t do the things we wanted. It was impossible. Responsible people don’t pursue their dreams. Settle down, get a job, be dependable. Take care of business, live the mundane, be content.

Do you know what I say to that? Hooey! It is time to dream again! Why?

Avoid regret. The facts are in, and someday we will all lie on our deathbed looking back through the history of our lives. We will undoubtedly think about what we wished we had done or accomplished. I for one don’t want to regret what could have been, what should have been. So I am deciding today to pursue my dreams.

The world needs people like you to dream of something great and then to pursue it with all of your heart. Maybe you belong to a business, school or organization that started out with good intentions but has settled into the same ol’ same ol’. Shake them up and remind them of how they could really help people if only they would dream!

Personal and family fulfillment. One of the things that happens when we stop pursuing our dreams is that a little piece of us dies and we become disheartened, if only in that area of our lives. Stepping up and pursuing your dream rekindles that passion and zeal that everyone has the capacity for and lets us experience fulfillment. Having a purpose puts the zip in our step and the zing in our emotions!

Making the world a better place. All of the great accomplishments that have ever happened began with a person who had a dream. Somebody rebuffed the naysayers and said to himself or herself, “This can be done, and I am the one who will do it.” And in many instances they changed the world for the better. It isn’t just the Martin Luther King’s and the J.F.K’s either. Think of all the people we have never heard of who have started things large and small that help people worldwide every day.

Leaving a legacy. How will your children remember you? As one who sought all that life had to offer, using your gifts and talents to their fullest extent, leading the family with a zest for life, or as an overweight couch potato who could have been? Our children need to see that we dream; that we search for something better. They in turn will do the same!

The Rose

by Jim Rohn

Lifestyle is style over amount. And style is an art—the art of living. You can’t buy style with money. You can’t buy good taste with money. You can only buy more with money. Lifestyle is culture—the appreciation of good music, dance, art, sculpture, literature, plays and the art of living well. It’s a taste for the fine, the unique, the beautiful.

Lifestyle also means rewarding excellence wherever you find it by not taking the small things of life for granted. I wanted to illustrate this with a personal anecdote:

Many years ago my lady friend and I were on a trip to Carmel, California, for some shopping and exploring. On the way we stopped at a service station. As soon as we parked our car in front of the pumps, a young man, about eighteen or nineteen, came bouncing out to the car and with a big smile said, “Can I help you?”

“Yes,” I answered, “A full tank of gas, please.” I wasn’t prepared for what followed. In this day and age of self-service and deteriorating customer treatment, this young man checked every tire, washed every window—even the sunroof—singing and whistling the whole time. We couldn’t believe both the quality of service and his upbeat attitude about his work.

When he brought the bill, I said to the young man, “Hey, you really have taken good care of us. I appreciate it.”

He replied, “I really enjoy working. It’s fun for me and I get to meet nice people like you.” This kid was really something!

I said, “We’re on our way to Carmel and we want to get some milkshakes. Can you tell us where we can find the nearest Baskin-Robbins?”

“Baskin-Robbins is just a few blocks away,” he said as he gave us exact directions. Then he added, “Don’t park out front—park around to the side so your car won’t get sideswiped.” What a kid!

As we got to the ice cream store we ordered milkshakes, except that instead of two, we ordered three. Then we drove back to the station. Our young friend dashed out to greet us. “Hey, I see you got your milkshakes.”

“Yes, and this one is for you!”

His mouth fell open. “For me?”

“Sure. With all the fantastic service you gave us, I couldn’t leave you out of the milkshake deal.”

“Wow!” was his astonished reply.

As we drove off I could see him in my rear-view mirror just standing there, grinning from ear to ear.

Now, what did this little act of generosity cost me? Only about two dollars—you see, it’s not the money, it’s the style.

Well, I must have been feeling especially creative that day, so upon our arrival in Carmel I drove directly to a flower shop. As we walked inside I said to the florist, “I need a long-stemmed rose for my lady to carry while we go shopping in Carmel.”

The florist, a rather unromantic type, replied, “We sell them by the dozen.”

“I don’t need a dozen,” I said, “just one.”

“Well,” he replied haughtily, “it will cost you two dollars.”

“Wonderful,” I exclaimed. “There’s nothing worse than a cheap rose.”

Selecting the rose with some deliberation, I handed it to my friend. She was so impressed! And the cost? Two dollars. Just two dollars. A bit later she looked up and said, “Jim, I must be the only woman in Carmel today carrying a rose.” And I believe she probably was.

Can you imagine the opportunity to create magic with those around you, and all for the cost of a few dollars, some imagination and care? Remember, it is not the amount that matters but the thought and care that often has the greatest impact upon those you love.

 

The Two Choices We Face

by Jim Rohn

Each of us has two distinct choices to make about what we will do with our lives. The first choice we can make is to be less than we have the capacity to be. To earn less. To have less. To read less and think less. To try less and discipline ourselves less. These are the choices that lead to an empty life. These are the choices that, once made, lead to a life of constant apprehension instead of a life of wondrous anticipation.

And the second choice? To do it all! To become all that we can possibly be. To read every book that we possibly can. To earn as much as we possibly can. To give and share as much as we possibly can. To strive and produce and accomplish as much as we possibly can. All of us have the choice.

To do or not to do. To be or not to be. To be all or to be less or to be nothing at all.

Like the tree, it would be a worthy challenge for us all to stretch upward and outward to the full measure of our capabilities. Why not do all that we can, every moment that we can, the best that we can, for as long as we can?

Our ultimate life objective should be to create as much as our talent and ability and desire will permit. To settle for doing less than we could do is to fail in this worthiest of undertakings.

Results are the best measurement of human progress. Not conversation. Not explanation. Not justification. Results! And if our results are less than our potential suggests that they should be, then we must strive to become more today than we were the day before. The greatest rewards are always reserved for those who bring great value to themselves and the world around them as a result of whom and what they have become.

The Power of the Start

by Robin Sharma

There is great power in the start. One of the things I have learned is that you have to expect the unexpected. So many of us have long-term plans but life happens and we don’t turn those plans into reality. Yes, planning is important. And remember that this day will never come again and what you do in the remaining hours of this day could move your life in a whole new direction.

For example, today is the day you could pick up the phone and forgive that person who, you know in your heart, needs to be forgiven.

Today is the day you could start getting into world-class health.

Today is the day you could pull out your journal and reflect on what’s not working for you in your life.

Today is the day you could articulate a new set of personal standards.

Today is the day you could decide to be a world-class learner.

I believe that your days are your life in miniature. As you live your days, so you craft your life. Ultimately, time management leads to life mastery.

Yes, Success is Everything

by Jim Rohn

Someone once said to me that success isn’t everything and I think I know what they really meant. I believe they really meant that money isn’t everything, and I certainly agree with that. But I do believe that success IS everything.

First, you need to succeed to survive. We must take the seasons and learn how to use them with the seed, the soil and the rain of opportunity to learn how to sustain ourselves and our family.

But then second is to then succeed to flourish in every part of your life. Good question to ask mature people: “If you could do better, should you?” And I think almost everybody would answer the question in the affirmative. If you could improve your health, shouldn’t you do that? If you can learn more, shouldn’t you do that? If you could earn more and share more, shouldn’t you do that? If you can improve your relationships and spirituality, shouldn’t you do that? And I think that is what success is really all about.

It is not just a destination that is set for everybody to try and go for. It is like Zig Ziglar said, “improving in every area of your life to see if you can’t say with satisfaction at the end of the day, week, month and year, ‘I have made excellent progress this year, for myself, for my family, for my business, my career and my health.’” I think that kind of success everybody recognizes is legitimate and something we should all strive for.

Interesting phrase in the Bible that says strive for perfection—not that we can ever reach it. But it is in the striving, to be a little bit better today than yesterday, in our speech, our language, our health, everything we can possibility think of.

So yes, in my opinion, Success Is Everything!

ABC’s of Loving Your Job

by John C. Maxwell

People who want to retire so they can sit under a coconut tree watching the grass grow baffle me. We were created for meaningful work, and one of life’s greatest pleasures is the satisfaction of a job well done.

And yet, there are millions of people who don’t like their job. There are over 600,000 ways to make a living in this country, yet job satisfaction surveys tell us that more than 50 percent of the working population claim to dislike their job. Something’s wrong with this picture! I’ve discovered that loving the job you have, or finding a job you can love, is dependent on three things. I call these the “ABC’s of Loving Your Job.”

Associates—Work with people you enjoy.
For years, my INJOY friends have heard me brag on people like Dan Reiland, Tim Elmore and Dick Peterson. It has been my privilege to work alongside these men, and many other wonderful people, for years. For me, going to work is like going to a party—all my best friends will be there! I realize that not everyone is surrounded with my kind of staff. The good news is you can develop one. When I talk to leaders about hiring people, I advise them to hire first for affinity, second for character, third for specific skills. If you bring on someone you like whom you can trust, you can teach him or her whatever skills they need for the job. Regarding your existing staff, don’t forget that people skills can be learned as well. If you are willing to make the investment, you can cultivate the right kind of people skills in them, helping them become the kind of people that everyone wants to be around.

Belief—Trust that your work is worthwhile and making a vital difference.
Legendary Indy 500 racecar driver Andy Granatelli said once, “When you are making a success of something, it’s not work. It’s a way of life. You enjoy yourself because you are making your contribution to the world.”  Bob Buford has written that many people spend the first half of their career pursuing success. When success alone is found to be lacking, they give the second half to the pursuit of significance, which is far more satisfying.  If your job is not making a difference in this world, by all means, get out there and find something else. But in many situations, you’ll find a sense of making a difference through your work if you simply look for it.

Challenge—Find a job big enough to keep you growing for the rest of your life.
Like too-small shoes pinch the feet, too small of a job pinches a leader’s spirit. Cole Porter used to sing, “I want to ride to the ridge where the West commences. I can’t look at hobbles and I can’t stand fences. Don’t fence me in.” If the job you have now offers no opportunity to grow, decide to grow anyway. Invest in your own personal development, sharpening leadership skills, interpersonal skills, and technical skills. What you’ll discover is that your organization will find a place for a person who has made a priority out of growth. And if they don’t, the competition will! And keep this in mind when you consider your top performers: Are you providing room for your top performers to grow? If you don’t, someone else will.

Finding joy in your work, or evaluating a lack of joy, can be found by considering associates, beliefs, and challenges.

Doing the Remarkable

by Jim Rohn

When it comes to meeting and conquering the negativity in your life, here is a key question: What can you do, starting today, that will make a difference? What can you do during economic chaos? What can you do when everything has gone wrong? What can you do when you’ve run out of money, when you don’t feel well and it’s all gone sour? What can you do?

Let me give you the broad answer first. You can do the most remarkable things, no matter what happens. People can do incredible things, unbelievable things, despite the most impossible or disastrous circumstances.

Here is why humans can do remarkable things: because they are remarkable. Humans are different than any other creation. When a dog starts with weeds, he winds up with weeds. And the reason is because he’s a dog. But that’s not true with human beings. Humans can turn weeds into gardens.

Humans can turn nothing into something, pennies into fortune, and disaster into success. And the reason they can do such remarkable things is because they are remarkable. Try reaching down inside of yourself; you’ll come up with some more of those remarkable human gifts. They’re there, waiting to be discovered and employed.

With those gifts, you can change anything for yourself that you wish to change. And I challenge you to do that because you can change. If you don’t like how something is going for you, change it. If something isn’t enough, change it. If something doesn’t suit you; change it. If something doesn’t please you, change it. You don’t ever have to be the same after today. If you don’t like your present address, change it—you’re not a tree!

If there is one thing to get excited about, it’s your ability to make yourself do the necessary things, to get a desired result, to turn the negative into success. That’s true excitement.