Wear A WIG!

Hello my friends,

Unless you’re living on another planet,you know that this week adventurer Felix Baumgartner did something that no one had ever done before. He jumped from an altitude of 128,100 feet, broke the sound barrier by reaching 833.9 mph, all without the benefit of an airplane or spaceship. That, my friends, is living the high life!  This was hardly a death defying stunt by a publicity hungry fool.  It was five years in the planning, well-funded and flawlessly executed. It is also the realization of a Wildly Important Goal for Felix and other members of the team.Also last weekend, I went whitewater rafting with my sons on West Virginia’s Upper Gauley River, one of the best stretches of white water in the world. CNN was not there, 8 million people did not watch us on YouTube (as they did with Felix!), but it was exciting, a bit risky and a whole lot of fun!  I am also closing in on the first draft of my first full book, currently titled Ascend.  I will finish the book this month and find a publisher.  Period.

These have both been goals for over five years – there is no greater feeling than when a goal is accomplished.  When we set goals and write them down, we document our feelings and our need to make changes in our lives.  When when we don’t change, we stop growing.  Nature teaches us that when we stop growing, we stop living. I remember the scene from Braveheart when William Wallace is told that the King of England has sentenced him to die.

Every man dies. Not every man really lives.

                                                                         – William Wallace

That line still gives me goosebumps when I hear it, read it or see it. I am not suggesting that you must perform some death-defying feat, cure cancer or become famous to have really lived. I am saying that life is more interesting, more fulfilling, more purposeful and yes, way more fun, when we are pursuing Wildly Important Goals.  Soooo, what is your WIG?  If you can’t answer instantly, you don’t have a WIG!   Get one ASAP.We all know that growth happens outside the comfort zone.  So put your WIG on, uncomfortable or not, and get moving!

All the best,

Ed

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By the way, I don’t charge extra for typos. They are my gift to you. :-)

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To Soar You Must Get Sore!

Greetings and salutations,

I’m a big fan of patterns. I like patterns in words, and I really like to see patterns in life. One such pattern occurred to me this morning, and I instantly knew that it would be my blog for this week. In order to soar, you must get sore. Of course, this sentence contains homonyms, that is, two words that sound the same. That is not so intriguing to me. 🙂 Rather, it’s the truth in this statement itself. What am I talking about? Fundamentally, I’m talking about the fact that you must put in the work, often doing the difficult thing, before reaping the benefit of the work. I give you three examples, from three distinct areas of life.

First, the one that made me think of it in the first place. My legs are sore today, due to the fact that I exercised strenuously yesterday under the guidance of a personal trainer (Thanks Nate!). He made me work extra hard because he has my permission and he knows what my goal is. In order for me to reach that goal, he knows that I had to work especially hard. Now I know it too! I’m sore, but happy.

As an executive coach, I spend quite a bit of time with the owners and leaders of growing businesses. There comes a time in most organizations where the capabilities of current management are insufficient to reach the organizational goals. Have you ever heard of the Peter Principle? For the owner, it is quite difficult to replace a manager or staffer who occupies “the wrong seat on the bus“. After all, the employee has been loyal, has earned seniority, and deserves respect. This is all true. Nevertheless, managers or employees who can no longer get the job done must be replaced by people who can. This can create some sore feelings, of course, but is absolutely necessary for the company to soar. In my experience, these are harsh, brutal facts.

Finally, you may have heard of the Law of the Inner Circle. I learned it from John Maxwell, but others have spoken about it. It states that your capabilities, even your future, are greatly influenced by those with whom you spend the most time. If there is someone in your life that brings you down regularly, is a source of “stinking thinking”, they need to go! Once again, removing someone from your inner circle is likely to cause some pain (soreness). Like the other cases though, it is a nonnegotiable element of your future success. Painful or not, you must do it.

Patterns. Life is full of patterns. I hope that this one supports you in some meaningful way.

All the best,

Ed

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By the way, I don’t charge extra for typos. They are my gift to you. :-)

Posted in Business Coaching, Leadership, Living With Passion, Professional-Personal Balance, Self-Mastery, Success | 4 Comments

Eating Your Own Dog Food

Hello there,

One of my favorite phrases, and I’m not sure why, is “eating your own dog food”.  Sooo, that’s the name of today’s post.  You may have heard the idiom before, a somewhat colorful if not distasteful way of saying that that leaders need to be consistent in what they say and what they do.   Sometimes we say “practice what you preach”, or “walk your talk”.  Different way of making the same point.

Well, I’ve recently had an opportunity to eat my own dog food.  See, I routinely work with my coaching clients on planning their work in working your plan. This is not news to my faithful readers!   Clients often report that ‘something came up’, something that took them away from their priorities, often something urgent or beyond their control.  In such circumstances, we often discuss a strategy whereby they go back to their highest priorities, their highest purpose and ensure that their “plan B” is consistent with those values and priorities.   Last week, it happened to me:  I came down with a bad chest cold and bronchitis. There’s probably never a good time to get sick, but this was particularly challenging because I had so many big events on the calendar. As hard as I tried to get better quickly, I was left with little choice but to rearrange my schedule and not get everything done.

I boiled my priorities down to a) taking care of myself in order to get better and b) to go ahead with the launch of my first online product, Ascend.  Everything else got pushed to the side, no matter how painful it was for me.  I didn’t like the dog food, but I ate it!

Eating your own dog food is also about integrity, at home and in the office.   When we teach our children how to behave, are we leading by example?  Do we consistently demonstrate the behaviors that we want our children’s to exhibit?  Similarly, think about your employees or co-workers or other people that you influence in the business world. Mark my words: they are watching you! If your words and your deeds differ, which do you believe most people will assign the most value to?  You know the answer.

Actions speak louder than words.

Heard that one before?   We are all human and I’m not suggesting that perfection is necessary to be a leader of a family or a business organization.  Nevertheless, we leaders must hold ourselves accountable, must look in the mirror and ask the tough question; Am I leading by example?  If your answer is “no”, time to set a goal! Get better … get better again … get better even more … until the answer to that question is a resounding “yes”!

It is a supremely satisfying feeling to know that you are setting a good example for others to follow.  That dog food will taste pretty good too.

All the best,

Ed

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By the way, I don’t charge extra for typos. They are my gift to you. :-)

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Two Simple Steps to Reaching Goals

Hello faithful readers,

I like simple.  Complicated, of course, is necessary sometimes.  Putting a man on the moon, brain surgery, making a souffle … all complicated.  But there are too many academics, to many self-proclaimed gurus that have a vested interest in making things seem harder than they actually are.  If you’re one of those people, please save yourself the frustration and stop reading now.

Setting yourself up to be successful in reaching a goal should not be complicated.  Like I said, I’m a big fan of simple.  As such, I’d like to propose to you a two-step process for goal attainment.

Step 1:  Expressed Intentionality

We all know that you must have a real intention to accomplish a goal, a true desire for what you will be, have or feel like when you reach the objective – regardless of the area of your wheel of life that the goal resides.    But “good intentions” alone are most often not enough.  You must express your intention to one or more persons.  You can tell them in person, on the phone, text it, tweet it or write it in the sky, but you’ve got to tell someone.

Express Intentionality has two distinct positive impacts on your chances of success.  First, you get to hear yourself express the intention which starts a chain of events in your brain that builds momentum.  Don’t underestimate to power of this “self-talk”, accomplished while you are communicating to someone else.  Secondly, you have just recruited a candidate for accountability partnership.

Step 2: Benevolent Accountability

An accountability partner helps to keep us on track, using a variety of tools and techniques.  These are the people who, with your permission, ask you about your progress, encourage you when you’re feeling overwhelmed, cheer you on when you overcome an obstacle or reach a milestone.  They can also speak candidly to you when you are not living up to your commitment.  This is why I use the term benevolent.  We’re not talking about a drill sergeant who will yell at or berate you.  Effective accountability partners have your best interest at heart (i.e. benevolent) and areboth honest and kind.  They see the gap between your intentions and your actions, then help you to close the gap.  They won’t nag you, but they won’t “blow sunshine” either.  When recruiting accountability partners, TRUST is a MUST.  You must trust the person to safeguard your intentions.  Emotional stability is also “nice to have” in an accountability partner too.  🙂
Once you’ve expressed a well thought out, deeply felt intention to at least one trusted accountability partner, you are well on your way to attaining what you desire.

EXPRESSED INTENTIONALITY    +    BENEVOLENT ACCOUNTABILITY = GOALS REACHED!!

All the best,

Ed

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By the way, I don’t charge extra for typos. They are my gift to you. :-)

Posted in Business Coaching, Leadership, Productivity, Self-Mastery, Success | Leave a comment

Believing Is Seeing: Self-Confidence In Action

Hello my friend,

Self-confidence, as you may know, is a state of mind based upon your belief system. When you’re confident, you’re able to perform better in life, regardless of the circumstances. You’re able to maintain your calmness of mind and clarity of thought, even during difficult times. Your belief, in this case belief in yourself, becomes your reality. In other words, you see what you believe …  not the other way around as it is in the saying “I’ll believe it when I see it”.    No my friends, the saying should be I’ll see it when I believe it.

If you believe strongly enough and act with boldness and confidence, the world will conform to your belief. Let me illustrate this with a story told to me by my friend and famous success expert Brian Tracy.

There was a businessman in dire straits; lost sales, deeply in debt and under tremendous pressure. He was considering declaring bankruptcy and thought himself a tremendous failure. As it was the end of a long day, he decided to go for a walk in the park to get some fresh air and to decide what to do. While on his walk,  he encountered an elderly man who demanded to know why the businessman appeared so melancholy. For some reason, he decided to pour out his soul to the elderly gentleman, telling him all about his dire financial situation and how his company was on the verge of collapse – despite the fact that it was a fundamentally sound business.

The older man listened carefully, and at the end of the story ask the man his name and pulled out his checkbook. He forced the check into the man’s hand and said “meet me here in exactly one year and you can pay me back”.  The elderly man then disappeared into the darkness.  When the businessman looked into his hand, he was shocked to see a check for $500,000, endorsed by John D. Rockefeller, the wealthiest man in the world at the time.  At first, he thought to cash the check immediately and instantly resolve all of his financial problems.

Instead, he decided to put it in his safe, knowing that he could get the money at any time. He decided instead that he would use the knowledge of the check’s existence to deal more confidently with his business situation.

With renewed enthusiasm and confidence, he plunged back into his business. He was able to settle with his creditors, land several large contracts and turned his business around in just a few months. One year from the initial meeting, he went back to the park with the uncashed check to return it to Mr. Rockefeller. He could hardly wait to tell his new story of success! You can imagine how he felt, right?

When he saw the elderly man approaching, he was surprised to also see a nurse running up to the two of them.  She frantically took the old man by the arm and apologized to the businessman, saying “I’m so glad I caught him. I hope that he hasn’t bothered you. He is always escaping from the rest home and telling people that he’s John D Rockefeller”.  She then led the bewildered old man away.

The businessman, as you can imagine, was stunned. Over the past year, he had been wheeling and dealing thinking he had a $500,000 check to save him if necessary. It suddenly dawned on him that he had made his business a success based upon his beliefs, even though the information causing these particular beliefs turned out to be inaccurate.   Smiling, he realized that it was his self-confidence in action that had been responsible for the turnaround in his fortunes.

Great story,isn’t it?  My challenge to you is to face the world with this level of self-confidence. Believe me when I tell you, the world will accept you at your estimation of yourself.   Again, the world will accept you at your own estimation of yourself. The irony is that it is you that you must convince yourself first.  Once you’ve got self-confidence, and put it into action, the world will accept you. Your beliefs will become your reality.

That’s it for this week!  I hope you found this enlightening or helpful.

All the best,

Ed

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By the way, I don’t charge extra for typos. They are my gift to you. :-)

Posted in Business Coaching, Leadership, Productivity, Professional-Personal Balance, Self-Mastery, Success | 2 Comments

Focus is the Key To Success

Hello my friend,

Rome wasn’t built in a day, so the saying goes.  But what is the point?  Success is built daily, not in a day.

So what unique capability is possessed by those that achieve their highest goals, their true purpose?  They possess the power to focus their efforts on the objective for the longest period of time.  Controlled attention is the act of coordinating all the faculties of your mind and directing their combined power to a specific end. Against such a focused mind, distractions have little to no chance.

Success and progress towards achieving your goals in life begin with knowing where you are going – I’ve spoken about this before.

As the late, great Napoleon Hill taught us,

“Any dominating idea, plan, or purpose held in your conscious mind through repeated effort and emotionalized by a burning desire for its realization is taken over by the subconscious and acted upon through whatever natural and logical means may be available. “

What does Mr. Hill mean?  Your mental attitude gives fuels to everything you do. If your attitude is positive, your actions and thoughts further your ends!   If your attitude is negative, you are constantly undermining your own efforts.   Positive and negative thoughts and emotions cannot occupy your mind at the same time.

You’ve got to focus your mind ON the things you desire and OFF the things you don’t! 

Remember my friends, this is not some highbrow theory from an academic journal that has no connection to the real world. On the contrary! These are down to earth reports from the front lines of the battle for effectiveness, productivity, achieving goals, fulfillment and success. You’ve heard me say it many times probably. Plan your work, then work your plan.

In this ADHD, hyper-driven, interruption infested world, it is absolutely necessary to stay focused. Need headphones with classical music?  I did!  It works!  To this day, I read better, faster, with more comprehension when I have classical music playing in the background.  The music shields me from other thoughts, from a loss off focus on what I’m reading.

Here’s another key to focus. It is much easier to focus your attention on something you believe will happen than on something you believe is unlikely. You must believe that your plan is achievable

So do you use daily affirmations? I hope that you do. They work! For those of you unfamiliar with daily affirmations, they are conscious thoughts that you repeat out loud during the day, in order to program yourself to achieve your desired results. Among my daily affirmations of the following statements:

  • my life is a beautiful, enriching experience, and I am filled with wonder at life’s magnificence. I am surrounded by people who love and care for me. I love them unconditionally.
  • Today I will honor my clients, students and partners by providing outstanding service to them.
  • I will be a source of positive energy and inspiration to my family, friends and the people I meet.

These affirmations, and others like them, serve as a compass to the millions of people who use them. You focused on your definite major purpose, what you want to accomplish in a given day and why it is important to you if you don’t have daily affirmations, I challenge you to try them.

Write them down, but the more you can see them, and then read them out loud in the morning and possibly at several other times during the day. My strong suspicion is that it will help you to focus your efforts and to better reach your goals for the day, for the week, for the month, year and yes, for your entire life.

All the best,

Ed

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By the way, I don’t charge extra for typos. They are my gift to you. :-)

Posted in Business Coaching, Living With Passion, Productivity, Professional-Personal Balance, Self-Mastery, Success | 3 Comments

Desired Things

Hello my friend,

Desiderata, written by American attorney and poet Max Ehrmann in 1927.  Wonderful credo (I believe) for life.

This poem was given to me by my father when I was very young and I’ve loved it ever since.

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible,  without surrender,  be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.

But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life …  keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

I read this on a regular basis and feel no need to explain its meaning.  In any case, its relevance and meaning to you will be uniquely yours anyway.  I hope that you find wisdom and comfort in the words.

All the best,

Ed

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By the way, I don’t charge extra for typos. They are my gift to you. :-)

Posted in Living With Passion, Professional-Personal Balance, Self-Mastery, Success, Uncategorized | 2 Comments