Posts Tagged ‘Character’

Ok, so to the untrained eye it may have appeared I was just lounging by the Falls Pool at the Marriott World Resort yesterday in Orlando, Florida, but it was more than that. Much more, in fact.

I have spent the past 5 days getting refilled, recharged, re-energized by the John Maxwell Team and its outstanding, most generous faculty and staff (not to mention some fun and learning with John Maxwell, himself). Today, I gave myself permission to do nothing more than lounge by the pool to read, reflect, and connect with a dear friend, Chris Parker. The results are numerous, but I will share just one with you today.

Taking the time for myself gave me the gift of insight. I am reading The Power of Intention by Dr. Wayne Dyer. It’s profound, so not fast reading. Today’s nugget was this:

…you cannot see outside of you what you fail to see inside.

Take a couple of minutes to let that sink in and contemplate it.

Here’s my take…what we see around us — in nature, objects, and in people — is a reflection of what we believe to be true about ourselves. For example, if all we see is rudeness, arrogance, selfishness, and negative attitudes, it may be time to take a look in the mirror. For if we cannot see anything but bad stuff, it’s likely we don’t think much of ourselves.

On the other hand, if we are able to see the true beauty, generosity, kindness, and positive attitudes in everything and everyone around us, this, too, is a reflection of what we hold within. If we can see the good in others, it’s likely we see those qualities in ourselves, as well.

It was very eye opening for me and I’ve spent some time with the concept in my journal. Will continue to contemplate and consider what changes I may need to make in my life.

I encourage you to do the same. I would love to hear what insights you have, and I hope you consider them a gift.

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Yes, it’s true: I stink. The smell of sweat on my body is ripe today, and I am reveling in it!

I know, it sounds gross, but those of you who know how it feels to push oneself past the limits of what we thought we were physically capable of will understand what I mean.

I have been doing DDP Yoga pretty consistently (at least 3x weekly) since last July, which has challenged me on many levels. And, I can see and feel the difference it’s made for me, so far. But I reached a point where I needed help to get to the next level, so I’ve been going to a local Pilates class and the instructor is pushing me into new positions and repetitive motions I didn’t think I was capable of.

While I am certainly not old, my coming to consistent exercise has happened much later in life than it does for many. I’m thankful I’ve finally gotten to it. It’s teaching me so many things about myself, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Here are a few of those lessons:

We are creative, resourceful, and whole beings. This is one of the basic foundations of the coaching profession. Each of us has everything we need to be successful in whatever we endeavor to do (assuming we are gifted in those areas). We simply don’t reach deep enough to discover what we are truly capable of.

As a “whole” being, meaning Body, Mind, and Spirit, I understand now what difference it makes to take care of our physical being. I cannot do the things I am called to do if I do not have the energy or stamina to physically do the actual work. My brain works better when my body is fit. I sleep better — recharging my body and resetting my brain — when I exercise. I am significantly more confident in what I have to offer and how I deliver it when I feel good in my own skin.

10300679_10154121452395174_7750278747470352175_nI am strong. 
I’ve always been strong emotionally and intellectually. Now, I am becoming strong physically. I recently had the opportunity to do a brutal, butt-kicking work-out with the Igniting Souls Community, and I kept up fairly well. I was even able to do the rope pull by myself one time. Think of the kind of rope you’d see on a tug boat for attaching to other things, attached to a weighted sled, which you pull to you (laying flat on your back, hand-over-hand above your head for about 50 feet), then push the sled back to its starting point. (These are a couple of my Igniting Souls cohorts — pushing the sled back)

Persistence pays.  This will come as no surprise to anyone who has accomplished anything, because any accomplishment with any significance comes only to those who persist. Nothing worth having comes easily or freely. There is always a bump (or three or twelve) in the road, there is always a cost (often twice as much as you anticipated), and things often take much longer than we think they should (the Law of Gender — incubation period for any kind of seed — is at play here, and there are some things we cannot know how long will take to grow). Success comes to those who have a definite purpose, plans for acquiring the object of their desire, and are willing to do the work every day to get to where they dream of being, even when it looks and feels as if they are not making progress.

I didn’t gain an extra 20 pounds or acquire a few extra inches on my body overnight and no matter what I do today, I will not be 20 pounds lighter or a few inches smaller tomorrow…but if I keep at what I’m doing, I will be over time. In fact, I am down about 10 pounds and enough in inches that I’ve dropped two sizes in clothing.

Investing in yourself is the best investment you will ever make. This is why I pay for it; “it” being coaches, mentors, and a self-proclaimed Pilates Diva! I pay for time, energy, attention, encouragement, and wisdom from people who have traveled these paths before and are getting the kinds of results I desire. No one else will do this for me; I must invest in myself and add value to myself before anyone else would even consider it.

So my challenge to you today is this: How are you investing in you?

What is the “it” that you should be paying for?

When will you take that next step, the first one that will move you that much closer to your dream, and invest in your future?

Share your answers in the comments box below; I truly want to hear from you.

In the meantime, have an intentional day; I’m off to the shower!

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I recently awoke from an odd dream, that got me thinking about how we think and its impact on our lives.

In the dream, I was walking through a train station, filled with people, as you would imagine. There was a young woman (in her 20’s I would guess) asking people for money. She asked a woman who was walking near me for money. The second woman said she didn’t have any cash. The first woman said “That’s ok, your bank is right here. Let’s go in and you can get some.”

Looking a bit bewildered, the second woman was ushered into the bank and I followed (curious to see what would happen next). The woman approached the teller and said she needed some cash from one of her accounts. The first woman, overhearing this — ‘one of her accounts’ — demanded the teller write down the balances in all of the woman’s accounts…presumably so she could determine how much money she could extract from her confused “benefactor.” The teller wrote the amounts out on a chalkboard (yes, things are sometimes strange in dreams!) and the account holder stood there silently, while the first woman decided how much money she should be given. She came up with some number, and the teller began to do what he needed to do, while the second woman looked on.

This was when I felt the need to step in and object. It was a ridiculous scenario to be sure…and it was certainly none of my business what some other person chose to do with their own money.

My objection sprang from the fact that simply giving this young woman money would not solve her problems. When you have a dysfunctional relationship with money, having more of it will not solve anything; you will simply blow through it as you usually do. It’s only when you are able to change your thinking about what money really is — a tool — and how you use it that you are able to make changes in your circumstances.

I felt compelled to explain this to the first young woman, although it would probably have fallen on deaf ears. Here is just one story of a person who came into a cash windfall, and it didn’t miraculously “fix” her life…in fact, it led to a lot of other issues and challenges, and wouldn’t you know, she is no longer a millionaire!

Here’s the bottom line. If you have the yearning to become a millionaire, great! But simply acquiring the money will not make you different. If you focus on the journey and invest in the process, the more important outcome is who you become on the way to earning the money.

It’s the same principle with anything else you desire to achieve, have, do, or be…the wisest people understand it’s not about actually accomplishing the goal, it’s about who you become on your way there. If you truly want to change your life…you must change your thinking. More specifically, you must actually ENGAGE in THINKING, not simply resorting to habitual ways of thinking or allowing others to think for you.

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Time to spend more time in self-awareness. Get out your journal and spend some time with yourself…

Here are some thought starters:

Who am I? Can you describe yourself with just three key words?

What are my strengths and talents?

What experiences (just a couple) have shaped me in a positive way?

What experiences (just a couple) have set me back?

What key things would I like to accomplish (just two or three)?

What characteristics will enable me to succeed?

Who can I count on to support and encourage me on my journey?

Now that you’ve given this some thought, write a couple of paragraphs describing yourself and what you believe to be true about you.

I’ve gone through a similar exercise, and if you’re interested in seeing the outcome, leave a comment or send an email and I’ll share with you!

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How often have you heard someone say, “People are your most valuable asset.” I’ve heard it spoken countless times in interviews…and frankly, I’ve said it myself countless times. There’s a subtle difference here, though, and I’m certain you are already aware of it. Often, the people who say this are not sincere…they may want to believe it and may want to behave as if it were true, some even truly believe they treat their people as such, but it simply isn’t the case.

I truly do believe it. Technology can be bought and sold; the same can be said of machinery and equipment. The key difference maker in any business is the people. They build, run, and maintain all the “stuff” and have a choice, daily, to show up with 100% effort or not. They can choose to nurture your business or sabotage it. They can choose to take good care of your equipment, damage it deliberately, or allow it to fall into disrepair. They are the face of your company in your community, with your customers, vendors, and other partners.

All others things being equal, they can be your secret weapon! All that is required is treating them well…offering trust and behaving in a trustworthy manner; treating them with respect and behaving in a respectable manner; getting to know who they are and treating them as individuals with lives outside your business; and showing them genuine appreciation for what they have to offer and what they do for your business. This is as true for your vendors, customers, and other partners as it is for your employees.

If you haven’t given this much thought lately, I encourage you to spend some time with this today; get out your journal and answer these questions:

How would your partners, vendors, customers, and employees say you are showing you appreciate them?

How would they say you are at building trust with them?

What words can you use — backed up by consistent behaviors — that will help you demonstrate your appreciation, trust, and value for each of these groups of people who have the power to make or break you and your business?

What steps can you take today, and in the coming weeks, to ensure you are on track here and to make adjustments if needed?

What’s holding you back? Now that you are focused on this, and have some clarity around it, get started!

Taking excellent care of the people connected with your business is one of the best business strategies you can have!

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I don’t know about you, but this week seems to have gone by fairly quickly. Yes, I know, some of us had Monday off for the Labor Day holiday, so it makes sense, as the “work week” was shorter than usual…but my days felt as if they went by slowly, so how it’s Friday already is a bit of a mystery to me!

I did accomplish a lot, however; I am caught up with my Maxwell Growth Plan, and have finished re-reading The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth. It really is a great book; in fact, I think I’ll organize another Mastermind Group on this one soon, as there is much to be gained from it, if one is willing to do the work. In reviewing the 15 chapters, here is where I think I’m at:

Laws of Intentionality and Awareness — feeling pretty strong with these two, as they are the two key topics I teach on as the foundation for growth, leadership, better communication, building healthy teams, and greater success and satisfaction in whatever you choose to do with your life.

Law of the Mirror — I used to expect others to add value to, or invest in, me before I did so myself. This may seem like a good plan; in fact, we might think it’s someone else’s responsibility — like maybe our employer’s. Let me tell you, though, if you wait for someone else to value you, you may be waiting a long time. If you set a low price/value on yourself, you can’t expect others to raise it. So, now I am well aware of the value I bring to any situation and I am the first to invest in me.

Law of Reflection — surprisingly, I need to invest more time in this area. I do take time to think and reflect, but not often or long enough, of late. I’ve been feeling a little scattered and overwhelmed. I think it’s for good reason, at some level, as I have access to so much great content to teach, material to learn from (I have no fewer than 45 books on my bookshelf today that I’ve not read, yet, and am in the middle of four books right now), a talented and generous team of mentors and coaches to learn from. I need to spend some quality time in reflection and get myself back on a focused, purposeful path.

Law of Consistency — another area I am working on. I do many of the things I need to do to move myself forward, but not always as consistently as I know I can.

Law of Environment — I am blessed in this area. Being part of the John Maxwell Team, I am surrounded by approximately 2,700 coaches around the globe who share my passion, are also in growth-mode, and are at varying stages of progress in building businesses and serving clients.

Law of Design — another area I’m working on. I have some great systems in place in some areas of my business, but have opportunity to develop and implement a few more that will greatly benefit me.

Law of Pain — managing bad experiences for growth. Have had my share of these, to be sure, and my philosophy is this simple: If I’m still waking up every day, even after something happens that I may have thought was devastating, then clearly I have work to do, so I better learn the lesson and get back at it! I’m not saying it’s easy or painless, but I simply don’t know what else to do!

Law of the Ladder — this one is focused on building one’s character. I’m certainly not perfect. As John Maxwell often says, “Each of us is just one step away from stupid!” I’ve made a number of blunders throughout my life, and I’m sure I’ll make more. I strive to be a person of integrity, honor, and authenticity. I do my best to do it right (with increased self-awareness and intentionality!) the first time, and am quick to acknowledge and make amends for my goofs.

Law of the Rubber Band — I recognize that if I am in a place of no tension, then I am not growing. Rubber bands are useful only when they are stretched, and I am not growing if I am not stretched. I think I’m pretty well in this area.

Law of Trade-offs — one must give up to grow up! I do well here, as well. I’ve traded what many might consider “fun” time (camping, bar-b-ques, outings, etc…) to study, train, coach, teach, read, write, etc…I’ve also invested a lot of money into my growth, especially over the past couple of years, rather than spending it on material things, trips, or even putting it in savings. It’s an investment in me and my future, which I have full confidence will return great dividends over the course of my life.

Law of Curiosity — let’s just say that my level of inquisitiveness has been annoying to some! But I refuse to stop exploring, seeking truth and understanding, and, yes, continuing to ask “why?” until I understand something!

Law of Modeling — finding a model or mentor to learn from. Again, I have the faculty on the John Maxwell Team, John Maxwell, the other 2500 John Maxwell Coaches, a number of gifted authors, and others I actively learn from daily.

Law of Expansion — is about increasing one’s capacity for growth and, in turn, for serving others. This is my calling, my passion, my focus.

Law of Contribution — be a river (let what comes into your life flow thru you to serve others) rather than a reservoir (keeping everything that comes to you only for yourself). Again, my purpose, passion, calling…I seek opportunities daily to pour into others.

So, there’s my assessment of my progress and areas of focus within my growth plan at this point. That may be more than you are interested in, but there it is!

So, on this Friday, I will be meeting some new people whom I anticipate being able to add value to in the areas of communication, conflict resolution, and team-building. I have a coaching session in the afternoon. Then, I will be looking to the weekend. I plan to jump onto a conference call with a number of other coaches who are also teaching the Empowerment Mentoring lesson series to learn more about teaching through story-telling. I have some writing to do, will build in some reflection time, and have some family time.

Of course, there’s the need to look ahead, planning for the week, so I am set up for success when Monday morning comes, and I have a couple of workshops to plan for in the coming weeks.

What about you? How will you spend your weekend?

What and who need your attention?

What do you need to do to nurture yourself?

What could you be doing to prepare yourself for success next week and in the coming weeks?

However you choose to spend your weekend, I hope you make it intentional and with a positive attitude!

“See” you Monday!

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Do you have your journal handy? We’re going to follow-up on yesterday’s exercise.

Review your answers to the questions from yesterday. When you’ve done this, do you find your attitude is most negative in your personal or professional environment?

Once you’ve determined that, write down three specific ways you can choose to respond (remember, responding to something is thoughtful and intentional, rather than immediate and emotional) positively, instead, in those situations.

For greater accountability, make a copy of this list and share it with someone close to you. Ask that person to check in with you from time-to-time over the next month.

Remember, you can answer them anyway you like, but the proof is in the pudding, as they say…and if you aren’t actually doing what you say, it will be evident in your behaviors!

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John Maxwell reinforces the need to ensure you have a values match when you join an organization. This is worth serious consideration, because is you don’t heed his advice and join an organization with which you don’t share values, you will soon find yourself in an uncomfortable position, having to decide whether to stay true to who you are and what you value or take actions that are contrary to your convictions in order to be considered a “team player” and move forward with a direction you don’t necessarily believe in our support.

This is also true when you are choosing people to carry on your legacy. When you have a values match, it’s easier to commit and what you’ve built has a much better chance of lasting.

So what do you value?

Take some time to write down your tip five values. Keep in mind, these are the things you would not trade or compromise for anything…including the last seat on the last lifeboat off the Titanic!






Now, who do you know who shares your values and in whom you can invest to carry on your legacy? Keep in mind, they don’t have to do it all exactly as you would, and ideally will think different thoughts than you (this is why diversity in healthy teams is so critical…otherwise, you end up with tunnel vision and miss all kinds of opportunities and don’t see obstacles before you hit them!). List at least three people you need to start investing in on a regular basis to give your legacy a longer life.




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When you think of the word “legacy,” what person or organization comes to mind? Are you thinking of someone or organization because they left a positive legacy, or a negative one?

Why do you think their legacy made such an impression on you?

Think of it in terms of the ripple effect; envision the concentric circles formed in a pool when you drop a stone into it. The center-most circle is the first impression the person/organization made on you. The next ring is when they did or didn’t earn your trust. The third ring is what they did to maintain (or break) your trust and respect. The fourth ring is their current impact — what they are doing now, in real time. The outer-most ring is their future impact, and this one reaches the farthest.

What was your first impression?

What initially earned your trust and respect?

How does the person continue to earn/maintain your trust and respect?

What is the current impact of this person or organization?

How will tomorrow be different because of this person’s/organization’s impact?

Yesterday, I introduced you to one of my former leaders, Tom Stokes, CEO of Tree Top, Inc. My first impression of him was that he was a regular guy. When I interviewed with him, he was clearly comfortable in his role and in his skin. He was open, welcoming, treated me with respect and as if I had expertise the organization needed. While my position would be a couple of layers beneath his in the org chart, he treated me as if we were equals — equally valuable and with much to offer.

He was open, honest, transparent about the challenges facing the organization, and about its strengths. He had a vision and a plan for what he needed to do, and was building his inner circle to ensure he had competent, confident people around him to carry out the work. He was supportive and straight with me, even when circumstances called for difficult conversations. He conferred with his inner circle, gave serious consideration to the various inputs he received, and did not shy away from making the hard decisions.

While I’ve been away from the organization for five years, I understand he has not changed in these respects. I maintain my connections and friendships with former co-workers, and they respect him, as well. He’s done enormous good within the communities where the company operates, both in terms of financial support and through staff expertise and collaboration.

Personally, aside from everything I’ve said about him so far, he has proven to me that functional, healthy organizations do exist. And having worked for a number of them, I’ve personally experienced the opposite in terms of dysfunction and poor leadership.

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Can’t believe we are starting the second half of this year, already. It seems like it was just January!

I’m sure you can think of leaders who have left a lasting legacy; some positive and some not so much!

When I ponder this concept, I think of Tom Stokes, long-time CEO of Tree Top, Inc. I worked with Tom a number of years ago, and have a great deal of respect for him. Over the course of my career, I’ve worked for 10 different companies, and Tom stands head and shoulders above any other executive I’ve worked for or with over the past 20+ years.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t put him on a pedestal as the perfect leader, but he did a number of things I’ve not personally experienced to-date. First, he worked his way up through the company, so he knew the organization from all angles. He was/is conscientious about building strong relationships with the people around him, both inside and outside the organization. He hires the talent he needs and empowers them to do what they were hired to do, respecting their expertise and listening to their advice before making decisions. He’s open, humble, has a good sense of humor, and knows what he’s there to do and who he’s there to serve.

I’ve been hearing he may be thinking of retiring in the next few years. If that’s the case, he’s certainly earned it, as he has carefully steered the company through many years — some quite prosperous and some quite bumpy! I imagine the Board will be hard pressed to replace him with someone of equal caliber.

There’s no doubt in my mind, Tom will be leaving a positive, lasting legacy.

As a leader, it’s critical that you behave in accordance with your espoused values. If you merely pay lip service to them, it will become quickly apparent, and will have a damaging affect on your effectiveness, credibility, and potential for accomplishing anything. However, when you are in sync with your value, and authentically model them over time, the ripple effects of your influence can be felt over the course of several generations.

Take some time today to consider how well you have modeled the values you claim to hold dear. What effect are you having on those around you?

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