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Is Negativity Ruining My Life?

What a blessing it is to wake up in the morning and to be experiencing gratitude and believing for ‘the so much more’ in life.  It makes me realize that this honestly is the ONLY way to live!

I anticipate that opportunity will come and think about what I need to do to prepare for it.  I believe in abundance and mentally visualize it.  This so often comes my way!

Life has not always been like this. I remember the days when I use to wake up dreading the day and feeling like I had to go to work and deal with the many responsibilities in life because I was obligated, and this does not create passion for life.

No purpose or passion… life needs to change!

Feeling stressed, not enjoying what I was doing, tolerating life, going one a hundred miles per hour, accomplishing a lot but never stopping to experience appreciation and gratitude for the breath of life that was given to me each and every day, I felt myself wondering ‘Is this living life?’

Life changed when I took inventory.  As I curiously examined my life I realized that I was ‘sick and tired’ of being ‘sick and tired’.  Negativity was ruling my mind and this was having an enormous impact.  I desired change but how?

The moment …

I enjoy reading and learning how to be well and do well so I can excel in all aspects of my life.   I remember reading research that was done on children that grew up in a critical home.  What I learned was that one of the most important times as a family is at the dinner table and that it should be a time of connection.  Children are greatly impacted by the conversations that takes place at dinnertime.

Do dinner conversations growing up have an impact on you?

I believe that they do!

I grew up in a large family of seven children.  My parents had gone through World War II and had come to Canada with absolutely nothing. They had to figure out how to survive and boy did they struggled!  There was no government assistance at the time, they worked hard just to pay the bills, which meant they worked all of the time.

So needless to say, dinnertime wasn’t usually the most joyous time.

I get it!  My parents were tired.  Mom was trying to manage a multitude of kids (one of us was sure to be acting out or aggravating someone), make the meals, pinch pennies, grow a garden, stay on top of the laundry and keep up with maintaining a home without all the conveniences we have today. Dad diligently worked hard framing houses and running his construction company, which required more than an 8 work hour day and it was physically exhausting.  At the end of the day, I often remember seeing my dad passed out on the carpet absolutely exhausted!

What I know now and didn’t know back then was that they were doing their best!

At the end of the day my parents were ‘done’ and they did not have much left to give or did they have the time or energy to deal with all of us kids.  Simply getting everyone to the dinner table was a major task.

Stressed and tired parents, rambunctious kids, dinnertime was often stressful.  There was never a lot of conversation and instead of it being a times of connection, it was often a time of correction.  To hear criticism, complaining, or punishing with ‘the silent treatment’ is not a positive experience.

Experiences in our childhood often impact us and influence the habits and patterns we establish in our adult life.

Sometimes these habits and patterns aren’t the best and this can cause havoc in our lives.  As good as good intentions are to be THE best and do THE best, that pure desire is not enough.  We want to be great parents/business owners/partners/spouses/friends— yet why is it that we have difficulty to make it happen and find it difficult to connect?  What patterns in our life need to be addressed?

A pattern in my life that needed to be addressed was that I had adopted a critical mindset pattern.  My default was negative thinking and realizing that this was not a healthy strategy, opened my heart to exploring new beliefs and perspectives.

What I realized is that negativity is never productive, there is no win-win or ever a solution.  This pattern (if you want to be successful)  HAS to change!

What are some of the patterns how negativity shows up?

  • Seeing what is not working rather than what is…
  • Double guessing…
  • Not trusting…
  • Reacting rather than responding (there is a difference)
  • Getting lost in the ‘stories/drama of life’—circumstances, which distorts reality…
  • An inability to confidently make decisions…
  • Lacking confidence…
  • Being hard on yourself and others…
  • Having too high expectations…
  • Focusing on what is not getting done rather than on what is…
  • Worrying too much…
  • Feeling overwhelmed…
  • Being afraid to step out of your comfort zone and to take risks.

Does this have an impact?  It sure does and it is not that positive.  Negativity causes limitations in life!
Becoming aware of how patterns of negativity impact us internally and externally is crucial.

It is important to examine the conversations we are having with ourselves and with others.

  • Who are the people we are hanging out with?
  • Do they think positively and live abundantly?

Creating the right environment that inspires LIFE and helps us grow is vital.

Like you, I want to live a bigger, more fulfilling and an abundant life EVERY day. This means making powerful choices and choosing a greater sense of being. We must make the choice to change, let go of old patterns and adopt ways of greatness that empower us. As we do, new neural pathways form which brings transformation in our lives.

TO CHANGE OLD PATTERNS THINK POWERFULLY!

Does negative thinking impact your life?  What is the cost?

You too can choose to create change by thinking more powerfully.

This is not always easy!  It requires a mental discipline that takes practice and it doesn’t just shift overnight.  It takes time, learning, awareness, consistency and we all need support.

  • Teachers are needed and mentors are required.
  • Hold yourself accountable to people that you trust.
  • Practice positive affirmations and engage in empowering conversations.

This will inspire you in your personal growth journey and it is the perfect environment for greatness to grow.

One step at a time, AWARE, one amazing choice at a time— greatness will shape your life!

Giving is receiving

Christmas is around the corner and it is the beautiful season of giving and receiving.

As delightful as this is, it can also be stressful. Especially when you have no clue what gifts to give.

Do you feel like you hit too many dead ends in your thought process and budget when you try to think of an original and unique gift for the special people you love? What do you do when you really have no idea where to start?

The Five Love Languages

There is a great book called the “Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman, which describes giving and receiving in an interesting way. He suggests that we all have our own way of showing and understanding love – when love is spoken in a language that we understand, we feel loved and appreciated.

What are the five love languages?

  1. Words of Affirmation
  2. Quality Time
  3. Touch
  4. Acts of Service
  5. Gifts

How do YOU receive love?

It is important for you to know which love languages resonate with you. It is also your responsibility to teach the people in your life this language. When you do this, the people you care about will be able to understand you more completely and give you a gift that truly touches your heart.

So how do you identify your own love language?  Let me give you a hint – the way that you give love to the people around you is usually how you understand it.

Let me use my own love languages to illustrate this. I am a “Quality Time” person, but I also respond to “Acts of Service.” When I give love to others, I tend to express it by either doing something for someone, or by creating quality moments to connect.

How I receive love is when someone takes the time to help me with something that is really important to me, like loading pictures on my rotating digital picture frame (which I never seem to get time to do). This means so much to me.

When I spend quality time with a person and the conversation is captivating and engaging – where we connect and share great moments – I feel an impact. I am smiling from the inside out, I feel inspired and I am radiant!

Knowing and sharing how you receive love is the key to connecting more fully to the people in your life.

How do you think the special people in your life understand love?

This is a very relevant subject, especially at this time of the year. Who wants to just go out and buy another gift that might not mean that much to the person you are giving it to? Another pair of socks is not very exciting.

But mindfulness, as you exchange “presence,” brings treasures that money cannot buy.

Take a moment to think about the people in your life. What is their love language? What do you notice is important to them?

Creating unforgettable moments

When my kids were young, my son Jaron bought me the movie “The Kid.” It is a funny and touching story that I absolutely love. But what made this gift so special was that Jaron heard me express how much I appreciated this magical movie, and he remembered this when he purchased his gift for me.

I remember to this day how I felt when I opened that gift. We were spending some quality time together, and as I opened the gift, it brought tears to my eyes. I remember feeling loved and appreciated because he had remembered something that I thought was so insignificant to someone else.

This was a very special moment that I will never forget.

What do you remember?

As you are mindful of the people you love, what do you remember? What are the special things that make this person light up? What love languages do they communicate – verbally or non-verbally – that resonate for them?

I pray that this Christmas season will be a time that you remember the special little details that are meaningful to you and those you love. It’s not about spending money on expensive gifts, but creating meaningful and unforgettable moments for the ones you love. It is these moments that create the magical and unexpected surprises than bring serendipity to this joyous season.

 

Reboot your battery!

Do you live a busy and full life, and find it difficult to unplug and take time off?

If this is the case, you might just want to consider some ways to recharge.

My husband Darren and I juggle very busy lives personally and professionally, and we recognize that it is essential to  find balance in our lives.  One of the things we have learned over the years, that has been crucial to our success, is that we must take the time to reboot our battery on a regular basis.  Whether we take the time to wander for a few hours without a schedule, take a day or weekend to escape, or schedule a needed vacation, these times are absolutely crucial to our well-being.

A change of pace or scenery always seems to bring a fresh perspective.

Knowing this, why is it when you endeavour to take a needed break, and attempt to turn the switch off and set up the perfect situation to make this possible, that this is such a major challenge?  Why is it so difficult?

An article I read by John Tesh spoke to this so well.  Spending quality time, changing gears and simply getting away from it all, as necessary as it is, it can be so difficult.  The article was written with vacation time in mind, and I do believe it applies to every day life. Turning it off— as you know, is not that easy.

Here is —

Almost 60 percent of North Americans who get vacation time don’t use all of it, because they worry about the work that’ll pile up while they’re away. And another 10 percent are afraid they’ll be fired if they take time off.

But even those who take their vacation don’t disconnect from the office. A Harvard Business School study found that 98-percent of vacationers check in with work while they’re away! And almost everyone in the study said they thought their colleagues would look down on them if they didn’t.

But Joanne Cantor, who wrote Conquer CyberOverload, believes there’s more to it than that. She says that emails, text messages, and other electronic communications from work are addictive. Which means, unplugging can cause so much anxiety that we literally can’t relax and enjoy a day at the beach.

If that describes you, listen carefully: vacations make you a better employee.

Studies show that our brains can’t focus 24/7. And getting away allows us to recharge. In fact, a change of scenery often helps people find solutions to problems that had stumped them up until then.

Personal application in your life—

Maybe unplugging is not a habit in your life and you find it difficult to unplug.  As a result, that needed break doesn’t happen and you don’t ever feel completely recharged.

Consider establishing new patterns and doing something different.  “If you do what you’ve always done, you will get what you’ve always got.”  Is it possible that recharging might help you see life in a whole new way?

Here’s a few steps how:

  1. Prioritize what is most important – “The key is not to prioritize what’s on the schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”  (Stephen Covey).  Put yourself on the top of your priority list.
  2. Don’t multitask – Research conducted at Stanford University confirms that multitasking is less productive than doing a single thing at a time.  When you are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information, you cannot pay attention, recall information or switch from one job to another as well as those who complete one task at a time. Our brains are wired to only focus on one thing at a time.
  3. Learn to say NO more often – Honour what your existing commitments are by saying no to new commitments.  This will help you be more productive, experience less stress, avoid burnout and depression.
  4. Make a commitment to unplug and turn things off – Be aware that this might not be that easy.  For starters, begin with 15 minutes of no noise time.  Choose to be in the present moment and silence the distractions.  Give yourself permission to recharge.

Say yes to taking the time to recharge and unplug knowing it is essential to your well-being!  

As you do and as you make this a regular  practice, you will notice how much more effective and productive you are!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Drives Entrepreneurs to Win

What Drives Entrepreneurs to Win

Gallup uncovers the motivations, perceptions, and behaviors that

propel these exceptional businesspeople

by Sangeeta Badal and Joe Streur

 

We can thank entrepreneurs for much of the success of the global economy over the past half century. And if we’re going to emerge from the worldwide economic slump, entrepreneurs will lead the way.

Most leaders and policymakers don’t have a clue about what makes entrepreneurs successful.

These driven, creative individuals know plenty about battling adversity. They’ve overcome infrastructure and regulatory hurdles to start their businesses. Often, they’ve fulfilled an unsatisfied demand and, in many cases, actually built demand by introducing new products to the market.

But despite all that entrepreneurs have contributed to the global economy and to wellbeing and human development worldwide, most leaders and policymakers don’t have a clue about what makes them successful or how to help them thrive. In the U.S., for example, nearly half of all jobs are in the small-business sector, and small businesses accounted for 65% of the net new jobs created between 1993 and 2009. Yet fewer than half of new American businesses survive their first five years.

To drive startups, the U.S. and other countries have created an infrastructure of incubators and coaching programs to support entrepreneurs and spur business growth. Though these programs are useful and necessary, they often overlook a key element in a new enterprise’s success: the innate talents that successful entrepreneurs bring to the task of building a business.

The process of entrepreneurship

Because entrepreneurship is vital to the global economy, Gallup scientifically studied entrepreneurs and the role of human motivations, perceptions, and behaviors in explaining entrepreneurial decision making. We started by studying how successful entrepreneurs behave and the activities they engage in to drive new venture creation or business growth. Focusing on the task or the process of entrepreneurship helps identify the innate talents that are most relevant to success.

Most current models of the entrepreneurial process propose a standard sequence of events, starting with opportunity recognition, resource acquisition, venture creation, and finally business expansion and growth. This sequence of events covers two developmental phases in the life cycle of a venture.

The first phase is the early or new business stage (entrepreneurial startup or firm less than three years old), which is characterized by innovation and creativity, a high sense of mission, short-term orientation, minimal hierarchy, and an autocratic management style. Entrepreneurs must be able to perform multiple roles, live with ambiguity, and develop an idea very quickly.

“I look out and I see opportunity,” says Shawn Macken, president and cofounder of Edge Technologies, LLC, which creates and sells a health and wellness dashboard system. “My first client was someone I knew through networking. He came to me and said, ‘Do you think you can do something for me?’ Sure. That’s my answer! I don’t know how we’re going to do it, but we’re going to do it.”

The second or formalized/structured phase (entrepreneurial stability, firm three or more years old) is characterized by an emphasis on service, a slower rate of innovation, decentralized decision making, institutionalized procedures, functional specialization, and a team approach to problem solving. In this phase, the entrepreneur’s focus shifts from high creativity, ideation, and basic planning to managing a more mature company with a larger workforce. The entrepreneur must be able to delegate power and take a team-based approach to running the company.

“If we want to go to a $15 [million] or a $150 million company, we have to expand our vision,” says Tom Long, president of ISI Technologies, which creates sales messaging solutions for companies. “We aren’t just a family company anymore, so we’re bringing everybody along on those kinds of decisions. And [my business partner] Bob is a big part of that.”

Each phase has its own demands, and the entrepreneur must perform a specific set of tasks to be successful in each phase. Many of the activities performed in the first phase continue to be important during the second phase. For instance, cultivating relationships is critical to access resources to start a venture, but successful entrepreneurs must keep building relationships in the later phase to further their business goals. The relative significance of each demand may vary from one phase to the other, but there often is a carry-over effect.

The demands of entrepreneurship

Though the activities that successful entrepreneurs must perform change over time, Gallup research shows that there are 10 functional demands that are enduring and universal. These demands encapsulate the tasks of entrepreneurship and are highly correlated with both business creation and business success. They also measure an individual’s ability to perform in the role of entrepreneur.

A person’s inherent talent and acquired ability (skills, knowledge, and experience) will influence how successfully and by what means he or she responds to the demands of the role. These demands require a behavioral response from the entrepreneur, which is framed by the individual’s dispositions and traits. Usually, the more prevalent the trait, the higher the likelihood that the demand will be met, resulting in better performance in the role. (See sidebar “The 10 Demands of Successful Entrepreneurs.”)

Different entrepreneurs bring different strengths to the role; some may be highly creative and competent but low on focus and relationship building. Others may be astute business thinkers but have problems delegating. Often, the gaps in ability to meet a certain demand can be filled by acquiring skills or knowledge or by establishing partnerships with others who have complementary talents, thus enabling the entrepreneur to meet the demands of the role.

“My partner and I saw things differently. He was looking more at building something for the future, while I was looking more at profitability,” says Bob Harris, Tom Long’s partner at ISI Technologies. This is precisely why Long brought him into the company, and it was a smart move. Each partner was focused on meeting a crucial demand of the business — one on developing products and the other on ensuring profitability. Understanding how to meet the different demands of entrepreneurship by forming a complementary relationship has helped the business overcome hurdles and grow. “Bob is exactly the right person, and his talents are exactly what we need,” Long says.

Success or failure

Startups that are growing rapidly demand long hours of work and high levels of energy and stamina.

In his book The Coming Jobs War, Gallup Chairman and CEO Jim Clifton calls entrepreneurship the “scarcest, rarest, hardest energy and talent in the world to find.” Not enough people, or countries, understand who entrepreneurs are or how to develop them. Most leaders tend to overlook the entrepreneur when they discuss the factors behind the success or failure of an enterprise.

This ignorance is unhealthy and unproductive, because ultimately, it takes people to drive entrepreneurial activity — men and women who bring resources together to create new products and services. But personal characteristics and psychological factors play a crucial role in business success or failure. Those factors must be recognized, understood, and maximized if entrepreneurs are to succeed.

The 10 Demands of Successful Entrepreneurs

1. Know your personal brand. Entrepreneurs must interact effectively with others. Successful entrepreneurs know themselves well and can perceive others accurately.

Having strong talent in this domain enables entrepreneurs to connect and interact with employees, customers, suppliers, and investors in a way that results in positive business outcomes. This demand is relevant when the business is established and entrepreneurs are likely to conduct negotiations, influence others, and motivate employees.

2. Take on challenges. There is an inherent risk involved in venture creation. Entrepreneurs must constantly make decisions in complex situations and often operate without complete knowledge of the factors that could positively or negatively affect their ventures. Moreover, most businesses are created with scarce resources, high uncertainty, and ambiguity. These conditions would deter most people from taking on the task of starting or growing a venture.

Entrepreneurs with strong talent in this domain stretch themselves, raise the bar, face their fears, and are willing to experiment. They resist constraints and have an overly optimistic perception of the risk involved. They are willing to seek out challenges and take the risks associated with venture creation and growth. This demand is most relevant in the early stage of business creation.

3. Think through possibilities and practicalities. Entrepreneurs must be creative and think beyond the boundaries of what exists. High scores in this domain lead entrepreneurs to stretch their imagination while absorbing existing facts to blend the present with the future.

Successful entrepreneurs take an existing idea or product and turn it into something better by looking at it with fresh eyes. Their creative minds typically fire with many different ideas. This demand is more relevant in the early stage, but its relevance continues into the later phase of the business life cycle.

4. Promote the business. Successful entrepreneurs are their own best spokespeople. Strong talent in this domain makes it easy for them to persuade others. This enables them to convey a clear and compelling message that promotes their point of view and their business. This demand is relevant in the early and the established stages of business.

5. Focus on business outcomes. Running a business requires focus. Profit orientation is a spontaneous, moment-to-moment mental activity. Highly successful entrepreneurs judge decisions as good or bad based on their observed or anticipated effect on profit. Successful business-focused entrepreneurs set goals and live by their commitment to them.

Entrepreneurs with high business focus set goals that are important to their business and that they can objectively measure. This demand is relevant in the early and the established stages of business.

6. Be a perpetual student of the business. Successful entrepreneurs are ongoing and active students who are preoccupied with their business and constantly seeking knowledge to grow their venture. This obsession is crucial to ensure business survival. Continually gaining input and acquiring the knowledge and skills required to grow the business are essential to an entrepreneur’s success. This demand is specifically relevant in the established stage of business.

7. Be self-reliant. In the early stage of business creation, entrepreneurs often fill multiple roles to address the needs of a startup. Successful entrepreneurs are prepared to do whatever must be done to see the business succeed. This demands high levels of self-reliance.

Though it takes many people to grow a successful venture, an entrepreneur’s sense of responsibility and levels of competence play a critical role in the early stage of venture creation. A word of caution: Entrepreneurs need self-reliance in the early stage of business development. But entrepreneurs who cannot contemplate a shift in style from self-reliance to delegation may ultimately hamper the growth of their business.

8. Be a self-starter. Startups and businesses that are growing rapidly demand long hours of work and high levels of energy and stamina. Successful entrepreneurs are passionate doers who push to make things happen. They show initiative and possess an enduring sense of urgency because there is never enough time to do it all. They see opportunity where others see roadblocks. This demand is relevant in the early and the established stages of business development.

9. Multiply yourself through delegation. As businesses grow, the autocratic, unilateral decision-making style of early-stage entrepreneurs must change into one in which the entrepreneurs delegate authority and take on the role of a team manager. Norman R. Smith and John B. Miner (1983) suggest that the transition point is around 30 employees and $750,000 in assets.

Entrepreneurs who are successful in leading their enterprises to the established stage recognize that they cannot do everything themselves. They are willing and able to contemplate a shift in style and control, thus accelerating the growth of the firm. This demand is specifically relevant in the established stage.

10. Build relationships. Starting or growing a business involves interacting with many people. An entrepreneur may be the originator of the idea, but almost immediately, he or she must interact with others to secure resources, engage with potential customers and suppliers, or hire and manage employees. The ability to build strong relationships is crucial for survival and growth.

Successful entrepreneurs are adept at building relationships. They have strong social awareness and can attract and maintain a constituency. The enthusiasm and positivity of strong relationship builders make it easier for others to interact with them. These entrepreneurs also have high standards of personal conduct that enable others to trust them and form strong relationships with them. This demand is relevant in the early and established stages.

 

Find Happiness When Times are Tough

 

Pay It Forward

I was touched by a story of a man who was impacted by a very small gesture of kindness. As he told me the story reliving the moment, I could see how it impacted his life.  Kindness leaves an imprint.

Here’s the story—

Just to give this person a name, let’s call him Bill.

Bill was an accomplished businessman that had been quite successful in his career. He had a beautiful family he was most proud of and just like most people, his ability to provide was extremely important to him.

When the economy turned which significantly impacted his life, Bill found himself feeling quite discouraged.  Bill was someone that worked very hard at having a positive attitude in life.  No matter what he faced, he trusted that good would come.   He was diligent and proactively pursued many leads, trusting that one of them would be a potential possibility.

Yet in spite of all his efforts things were tough. The competition was fierce and everyone else in the same line of work was experiencing this reality.  Experiencing a limited income, Bill saw his finances dwindling as he found himself financially getting further and further behind.   This was very discouraging!

One of the things that Bill loved to do was to stop at Starbucks and have a coffee especially when he felt discouraged.  Unfortunately treating himself when money was tight aroused guilt being reminded that coffee money could be spent in more beneficial ways.

Feeling guilty he stood in the lineup anyway, and waited for his turn.  Reading the menu board his appetite was drawn to the specialty drinks.  Starbucks is famous for enticing you as they market their delicious seasonal drinks however ordering a specialty coffee didn’t make sense when it was way more money.

Bill convinced himself that  regular coffee was just fine!

Bill’s turn came and he found himself at the front of the lineup. When asked what he would like to order, Bill told the clerk he would absolutely love a large Frappuccino, but today it was not in the budget.

The clerk’s response surprised him—

“Sir, today is your lucky day and you get to have your drink of choice.  You see the man who was in front of you wanted to share his birthday with someone and he left money to pay for a drink for whoever was next in the lineup.  That just happens to be you!  One Venti Frappuccino compliments of the birthday boy coming up!”

Moved with emotion as Bill was sharing his experience, he started to cry.

“You know,” he began, “this man had no idea how his gift would bless and impact someone’s life.  His random act of kindness is something I so needed today! His kindness gives me hope.”

It melted my heart as I witnessed Bill trying to keep his composure. One little thing turned out to be a major deal in this man’s life!

So often, isn’t it kindness that goes a long way.   The little things that we do and often don’t even think about truly does make a difference!

The rest of the story—

Giving reaps giving and reward!

The story didn’t stop there.  Over the years Bill took this experience to heart and has sown many seeds and given to others.   Being mindful of the needs of others has brought much joy and abundance in his life.

Doing his due diligence, his business continues to expand and grow larger than he could have ever imagined.  Bill is investing and planting seeds that will continue to reap a bountiful harvest.

Investing in the extraordinary things in life means giving which reaps many rewards.  It can be simple as as buying a stranger a cup of coffee.

 

 

 

"Good is the enemy of great"

Good is the enemy of great!

“And that is one of the key reasons why we have so little that becomes great.

We don’t have great schools, principally because we have good schools.  We don’t have great government, principally because we have good government. 

Few people attain great lives, in large part because it is just so easy to settle for a good life.  The vast majority of companies never become great, precisely because the vast majority become quite good—and that is the problem.”

“Good is the enemy of great is not just a business problem.  It is a human problem.”

 

Known to be “the student of enduring great companies”, Jim Collin’s extreme dedication and research team, have brought a wealth of knowledge and research to the world that can be learned from.

Jim Collins is recognized as leader, researcher and a teacher.  He is a former faculty member at Stanford University Graduate School of Business, where he received the Distinguished Teaching Award.

When asked what motivates him to undertake huge research projects, his answer is simple—curiosity.

It was the question—“Can a good company become a great company, and, if so, how?” that inspired Jim Collins to assemble a team of researchers to take on the task and tackle one of the biggest questions business has to offer.  “Is the disease of just being good incurable?”

One great question became the source of inspiration for a profound research project that has brought astounding information!

Over a fifteen-year period, the research team gathered extensive research that met “rigorous standards”, to determine what made companies great. The results were surprising, and they were quite contrary to conventional wisdom.

Business Week comments that, “Collins has written a book that seems built to last.”

The principles that Jim Collins and his research team uncovered, about the fundamental differences between great and good, between excellent and mediocre, is timeless and applicable in every aspect of life.

Have I sparked your interest?  I hope so!

We are so blessed to live in an age where information is made widely available and that it is so easily accessible.  Having a book like this, to help us achieve success, truly is a gift.  We can learn to be extraordinary!

Why have ordinary when you can have extraordinary?

A lot of people give up on “extraordinary” because it absolutely requires deep commitment, constant learning, focus, and a plan of action.  They “makeup” the story, that this is too hard.

The reality is—the opposite is true.  When you focus like a laser beam on what is important and what aligns with your core values, nothing is more fulfilling.

You must be your best!

“If you cannot be the best in the world at your core business,” Collins writes, “then your core business absolutely cannot form the basis of a great company”.

BE your best—and have greatness!

There are a few key principles that stood out as I read the book.  The author speaks about a “transformation” process that happened to great companies.

  • One of them was that companies had to ignite the spark by first getting the “right people on the bus”, and then figuring out where to drive it.  Collins calls this—“First who and then what!”
  • They also had to “confront the brutal facts (yet never loose faith)”.
  • And they had to also practice a “Culture of Discipline”, which evidence indicates, leads to “breakthrough”.  What is this “culture”?  It is—disciplined people, discipline thought and disciplined action.

 

Now this has got me thinking!

I have a personal story I related to when I read the first chapter.  Several weeks ago, I went for lunch with a dear friend to “catch up”.  As we shared openly about our lives, I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude when I talked about my business and the success I was achieving.

I know that I had to learn how to “confront the brutal facts” and realize that this is necessary to run a successful business.  I also recognize that hard work, discipline and sacrifice does pay off, when your work has been invested wisely.  Payday does come— and when the day comes and you get a return on your investment—and when you achieve sustained growth—it is a grand time to celebrate!  (If you are an entrepreneur, I know you know exactly what I am talking about!)

Acting not one bit surprised by what I was saying, I had to chuckle when my friend blurted out,  “Of course you are successful!.  Your commitment and dedication to your work has been impeccable.  You have worked extremely hard from the “get go”!  That’s why you are successful. YOU made this happen!”

I knew she was right.  As her words resonated, I smiled and felt a sense of pride and gratitude for my accomplishments.  Something so obvious, I needed to remember and celebrate!

How does this relate to the book “Good to Great”?

It is important to remember that:

Breakthrough happens when there are “Disciplined people, disciplined thought and disciplined action”.

I have spoken to many people who believe that discipline is “taboo” and that it is too restricting.  Discipline is an incredible strength!

Ask the university student that successfully graduates after years of having to apply themselves—or the couple that fights for intimacy and never gives up —let’s not forget that employee, who worked their butt off to excel, and one day is promoted.   Parents have great kids and stay in relationship with them because they choose to spend time together and choose wholeness.  Leadership is discipline and discipline is powerful!

A GREAT life requires belief, excellence, a deep commitment and the utmost discipline.  Discipline is one of the most positive words you can act on. 

It is discipline that brings results!

 When you say a firm “YES” to what works in our life, and to what brings abundance —-this is “greatness” in action.

When you say a firm “NO”—to settling, and just being “good” enough—to compromise —and to distractions, you are able to focus on what really matters!

Settling for “good” or mediocre when excellence and greatness is achievable just does not make sense!  Discipline paves the way.

 

Applied Learning:

  • What are the “disciplines” that you must practice to claim your freedom?
    • What must you commit to so you can have the extraordinary results you want?
    • What is one small step that you will commit to, to make this happen?

 

Make your success a priority!

Commit to positive thoughts that work for you and surround yourself with people that inspire and challenge you.

Take action and move forward!

When you start, KNOW that there is no turning back—like the general who set out to sea, burning the boats when he landed, leaving only one option—succeed or die!

Know that with “belief”—you have the “will” to do it— and “wisdom” will help you find it!

Commit to your personal path of success!

 

 

 

INTEND… to succeed!

 

 

In last months Newsletter, I wrote about the power of intentions.   When you commit to your dream with full intention to make it a reality, and then take the necessary steps to achieve this, you will always get results!

An intention is “a deliberate plan and purpose to succeed.”   What is your intention?

  • How is your life working for you?  Have you positioned yourself to be in the “winners seat” of your life?  What steps are you taking to achieve the success that you desire?

It is quite common that as the month of January comes and goes, so do all those great intentions.  They head straight out for “never-never-land” if we did not take deliberate action and commit to a plan.

  • Has the dial on your “potential thermostat” been dialed down? Have you slipped into autopilot and have you resorted to comfort?  Are you been caught by the enemy called “average” and compromised your self?  Have you adopted the belief that being and doing just “okay” is good enough?

Well honey… it is time to stop the krap… see the trap… and wake up and smell the coffee!

And… this is not just for “Pete’s sake”… but for the your sake and the sake of your Greater Self!  YOU matter!
When YOU matter, it is absolutely true that mediocrity is not what you want!  You want a game plan that means experiencing life the way that you really want!  Settling may be a familiar pattern but familiarity does not bring you the growth you need.  You’ll be bored and unfulfilled in a matter of no time…. doing what has not worked in the past and you will be totally unsatisfied.

So stop the “none sense”… get your head out of the sand and step out of your comfort zone.   This “quick sand” perspective of complacency will bring you nothing but deep disappointment!

 

Let’s shift the FOCUS:

Imagine attaining the results you really want in every aspect of your life:

• Having that spark back in your relationship(s) and feeling alive.
• Sharing deep friendship.
• Having the life that you love.
• Seeing the reward of your hard work.
• Waking up to a day full of meaning and purpose.
• Having the positivity that sees and believes in the endless possibilities.

What is the “large” life you dream about?  What is your vision?
If you lost sight of your dream and vision, you can once again bring this into focus.  This all begins by committing to the plan… YOUR plan to succeed!

 

SO BEGIN AGAIN!

• What is really important to you?
• What areas of your life do you desire more fulfillment?
• Where do you need to refocus and align your priorities?
• How will you go after what you so desperately desire?

When you make this a priority… take action and design the strategic steps to make this your reality… you are setting yourself up for success!   You don’t have to have all the information of what to do and how to start. You just simply have to commit to take action.

 

“You don’t have to be great to start, you just have to start to be great!”

I have worked with many people who have a deep desire to accomplish their goals yet “when the going gets tough”, they give up.   When “push”  comes to “shove” they choose not to fight back and this is how they sabotage their greatest potential.  This is almost always because they have not made their dream a priority in their lives.  Not committing and making excuses is what will keep you from having the success you desire.

There is only one way to move forward… and that is by moving your limitations out of the way!

Most things that are really valuable in life don’t come easy!  Hasn’t this been your experience?  What is most valuable requires hard work, discipline and a deep commitment to the process.  There is no short cut.

An example of this is my goal to be physically fit.  It is absolutely important that I stay healthy and fit especially as I age.  I have a personal insurance plan that I continually have to invest in— to stay well, be energized and to enjoy life and appreciate the people that I love.  This is so important because I have dealt with serious health issues that have debilitated my life.  I know that your life looks very different when your health is compromised.  My mom has always said,  “If you don’t have your health, you have nothing!”  She is absolutely right.  My health is what I deeply value and when this is compromised, it is costly.

My proactive practice is to discipline myself to workout, stay active, eat right, and to address “the stuff” (if you know what I mean).  This is not always that easy.  There are days when I don’t feel like it especially when I am tired, and when I would much rather be doing other things.

This is the time I must be mindful of my goal and of what is really  important to me.  Remembering my vision, knowing how important this is to me, and having a “commitment plan”, is how I take action!  This is how I achieve the success I desire.

 

What is your desire?  What do you need to commit to make happen in your personal or profession life to have more of what you want?

  • Imagine finding a solution to what keeps you awake at night.
  • Imagine setting that benchmark of success you desire and achieving it!
  • Imagine seeing your life very different 6 months or one year from now!

It is “all” possible if you begin and have results in mind!

 

FAITH = Having the courage to take the necessary steps you need to take in your life right now!

Have faith in you and begin!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A new experience

When you start something new, it is a positive experience when the past is left in the past and when you have clear intention to move forward and make your life grand!

So here’s the bright forecast, if you choose:

  • YOU get to make life happen, personally and professionally, when you choose a “bring it on” attitude.
  • Opportunities are available if YOU are determined to seek them out and look outside of the box.  It is not the circumstance that makes life happen— It is YOU!
  • YOU get to take responsibility for your life and make your life what you want it to be!

So let’s evaluate where are you at right now. Personally and professionally, in this season of time, are you where you want to be?

It is important to know the seasons of life and to know when they begin and when they end,  When you complete things well, this creates the momentum that is needed to begin a new season with motivation, optimism, and tenacity, so you can go after your dreams and make them a reality.

As I think about completing, for example, this year well, this means reflecting on the wins of the year so that I have an empowered perspective.  This perspective means celebrating what has been accomplished and focusing on what has been learned.  This is what helps you be able to focus on what is priority and set clear intentions to achieve success.

An intention is –  a deliberate plan or purpose to succeed.

 

What “wins” are you celebrating?  What have you learned and accomplished this past year?

  • Look at the growth that has happened in your life, how have you changed and evolved over the last year?
  • What do you know now that you didn’t one year ago?
  • What steps have you taken to expand your world?

When you are able to celebrate your accomplishments and see your progress, you look forward to your future with optimism and strength!  You are then able to anticipate the opportunities that will come because you are willing, ready and open. You are then able to eagerly step up to the plate and position yourself to succeed!

If you believe you can— you will achieve what you desire!  When you put yourself in the game by stepping up to bat, you are taking action and positioning yourself for your opportunity to hit a home run.

 When you are really ready to play hardball, and when are committed to your dream, it is just a matter of time and the right opportunity before your dream will become your reality!

What you focus on and believe is what you become. Knowing this is crucial, because this is the key to achieving success.
Putting the past in perspective is what grants you power.  Focusing on your evolving success story rather than the negative stories of the past, is how you are able to find clarity, focus and believe in your amazing future.  You can’t move your life forward if you are trying to drive by looking in the rear view mirror.  You must look forward!

You are what makes your dream a reality— and believing in your greatest potential is how you will hit the home run you most desire!

 

Create the leverage that you need— by using your past to empower you.

I reflect on my past for one purpose and it is this, it helps me appreciate where I am right now.

It took a lot of discipline, hard work and hard “knocks”, to get to where I am today.  Going through tough times was easier, when I believed that everything that I experienced, was unto something.  It was gratitude that always brought perspective and taught me that bitterness and regret are never an option.

I use to spend a lot of time wishing that I had a brighter future.  I was often preoccupied with the unfavorable circumstances of life.  I compared my life to people who I perceived had more than me and my gremlin regularly pulled out the measuring stick to remind me that I had once again fallen short.

I had many stories that I believed.  I wasted many valuable hours on worry and doubt, feeling I was unworthy, imagining negative outcomes, and pining over what I had not accomplished.  My heart longed for so much more.  This left me living a life of regret and longing, and I was unable to comprehend the possibilities.

The painful cost of living a life of regret is that you loose sight of the riches that ARE right in front of you!

Unwilling to live in this deprived state, I knew it was up to me to change my life.  I wanted positive change and it was time!

A new year was beginning and I was motivated to make it a year of intention.  My intention for the year was to expand my world, think outside of the box, and when opportunity came, to make sure that I was prepared to go for it.  I knew that the key to life was to have a positive mindset. Clarity was what I needed so I decided that I would choose a theme for the year that empowered me and kept me focused.  I decided to claim— “YES I CAN”— as my mantra.

My strategy was to set goals that challenged me to grow, to be willing to be uncomfortable, to take the words “I can’t” out of my vocabulary and to stay conscious about my intention.

As the year started, I realized that this was not that easy.  It felt like learning a new language and I was really clumsy at it.  Old habits die hard.   I found that when I said the words “Yes I Can”, I questioned myself.  “YES, I CAN” was not yet my belief— it was merely a concept.

As I persisted, weeks went by and small changes began to happen, as I planted seeds of positivity and inspiration in my heart.  I realized that this was a major effort because it was unfamiliar to me. The negative wayward patterns definitely were a stronghold in my mind, and the key was that I had to continually stay conscious around my intention.

Competency is learned over a period of time and patience is required. It felt like I was reprograming my thinking and in reality, I definitely was.  I was learning how to believe!

When you apply diligence, consistency and patience to any aspect of your life, positive change comes!

I knew I had to take consistent steps by having grace towards myself and to not expect perfection.  I accepted that I was a beginner and mastery would come as I gained experience.

I also had to keep myself motivated and inspired.  I was committed and determined to not give up.  I chose to see challenges as opportunities, which motivated me to find a solution.  When you are focusing on a solution rather than the problem and when you take action, you move forward!

I kept my vision and dream as my focus.  The more I could see it, feel it, touch it and smell it, I began to believe it and I chose not to waiver.  I knew this was what was most important and it was what I so wanted.

Practice, practice, practice— over time, brought results.  This is what changed my reality and I believe that this changed my destiny.

Did the “YES I CAN” theme pay off?  ABSOLUTELY!

It became my philosophy for life, changed my thinking, and changed how I now do things.  I attribute this as being the key to my success!

  •  In business… this was the time in my career where it really started taking off, providing opportunities that I had never imagined.
  • As I invested in meaningful relationships, my world was blessed with amazing people that deeply enrich my life.
  • What I love the most is that I developed a confidence that goes deep.  Increased confidence continually is a gift, as I challenge myself, as  I strive to stay on my authentic path, and as I courageously choose to simply be me.

How great it is now to experience abundance in my life and be absolutely fulfilled!

 

Do you want to see change in your personal or professional life?— It all starts with intention and commitment.

 Life’s journey is a process and you are right where you should be in this season of time!  Knowing what you want, believing in who you are, and having the confidence to commit and take action is how you will make it happen.

INTEND for this to be your season of great beginnings.

  • Commit to your dreams and take action!
  • Don’t just settle for ordinary— go for extraordinary!
  • Invest in yourself and believe in your greatest potential!

WITH INTENTION…  you will make this a year you will never forget.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Magical Moments

It was a beautiful evening… the first snowfall had freshly covered the ground with white… and a small child, the cutest little boy you could ever imagine… was busy playing with his fleet of cars in the home of his parent’s friends.

It was a delight to hear him talk as his imagina­tion ran wild.  He was happy and so content.  As he played so amazingly… all on his own… he was a wonder to watch!

He was delighted with the snow… as he chat­tered away like a parrot.  He had so much to say.  What an entertainer he was!

The innocence and preciousness of children is always something that captivates the soul.

Several people were in the room watching. How could you not notice and engage with this sweet child?  Every time you interacted, he would ea­gerly respond… and you never knew what magi­cal words would flow.

Children win people’s hearts.

Yet… not everyone noticed.

When there Is so much love, appreciation, laughter and delight in the air, how can some­thing that is so precious and inviting… hardly even be noticed?

 

DISTRACTIONS… is the silent robber that lets the beauty of these magical moments pass by.

I was very sad as I noticed a man, who I knew was very close to this young lad, pass by this magical moment simply because he was distracted and not present.

He was busy fiddling with his iphone and syncing his computer.  There were new tunes that needed to be downloaded and text messaging to be sent.  His priority was technology and not the “little” life of this precious human being.

The moment passed… never to be repeated again!

I could not help but wonder if he had stopped for just a short while… what delight he might have experienced!

 

Too often it is so easy to get wrapped up in “things” that aren’t that important.  We miss out on one of the greatest gifts that life has to offer us… enjoying the magical moments we get to experience with those we love.

 

How do you stay present and bring the gift of YOU to those you love?

  • Notice the little things and stop often.
  • Focus on what really matters.
  • All those distractions… choose to put them aside, even just for a moment.
  • Really see and connect to the people in your life that mean so much to you…. and make YOU the gift you are giving.

 

“Stay present” with “your presence” and REMEMBER… YOU ARE THE GIFT!

Life begins when you do

As grand as our hopes and dreams are, everyone postpones them for one reason or another.
We say things like…”WHEN I finish my degree…when this project is complete…when I settle down and have a family…when I am financially secure…when I am married…when I am divorced…when I get a promotion…when I am well…when there is time” … What is your fill-in the-blank as to what your specific reason is for postponing your dream?

The reality is when you postpone the yearning within your own soul to see your vision become your reality…as you wait for that favorable time to make it happen…there is a constant restlessness within you. This cannot be denied.

LIFE BEGINS WHEN YOU DO

I remember as I young adult how I wanted to make a significant impact in people’s lives. I have always been fascinated in human potential…what people believed and how it affected their reality…the keys to success…and I have always believed that seeing began by believing.

I wanted to be a speaker and a motivator for “the so-much-more” in life. I was preoccupied about this constantly. Doing something about it never happened…I was busy getting married, raising kids, trying to have a life and live a life…and I kept putting it off. I finally took some steps towards what I felt I was purposed to do…dabbled in “”the doing” aspect of it, battled the fear, educated and achieved my professional certification in many areas…

Yet it wasn’t until I actually said “I AM

I AM a coach…a powerful speaker that loves to inspire people…I AM a leader of “change” who does make a difference… that life changed for me!

MY LIFE’S PATH BEGAN WHEN I SAID…“I AM!”

There is something that significantly happens when you believe in what you do, when you are ignited by your passion of why you do what you do, and most of all…when you begin.
You don’t have to be great to start…you are great because you started!
As you begin, wisdom will come when you are open.

I began by simply opening the door…believing that I could live my dream and then by seeing it actually become my reality. I took ownership of my destiny.

GREATNESS IS WITHIN EACH ONE OF US.

You are wired for more…desire so much more…and this relates to your sense of purpose. You are “fearfully and wonderfully created” and it is your deepest desires and yearnings within your own soul that has so much to say about who you are and what you are meant to do.

Can I encourage you to focus on who you ARE…rather than what you aren’t..and to focus on what you DO know…not on what you don’t?

I will promise you that when you tap in to your greatest resource…which is you…you will find you are more amazing than you ever thought. You have all kinds of potential that is waiting to be unleashed.

If you can dream it…you CAN do it!
If you believe it…you WILL see it!
If you have an idea…ACT on it!
If there is a resource…USE it!
If there is abundance…SHARE it!

Life begins with you…believing and committing to making your dreams come true.

When is it time to make it happen?
When you say it’s time and take the necessary steps to make it your reality!

So simply begin and you will do it!
You are destined for greatness because magnificence lies within you!

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