Monthly Archives: January 2016

Never underestimate the power of persistence

persistencePersistence requires that you constantly sell yourself on the idea that you will accomplish what you set out to do. You may not always know how, but you will succeed.

Cavett Robert, founder of the National Speaker Association talked about persistence when he said, “You don’t drown by falling into water, you only drown if you stay there.” You fell, so what, get up and get going. You only have to get up one more time than you fall.

Persistence is what makes people successful. President Calvin Coolidge wrote, “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence… Nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent.”

There are three steps that you must take to tap into the power of persistence. Og Mandino authored a tremendous book titled The Greatest Salesman in the World. I have referenced some of his wisdom in each of the three steps listed below:

Take the first step – Determine to not stop until you succeed. Don’t start your journey until you are convinced you will reach the end.   Before you take a single action know that not every one will work out as planned, but that through all of your actions you will be successful,

“If I persist, if I continue to try, if I continue to charge forward, I will succeed.” – Og Mandino

Take one step at a time – Determine to enjoy the journey. The path to success is filled with wonders and opportunities to learn and grow. Be all in to every step, you never know what nugget of wisdom you will find.

“Always will I take another step. If that is of no avail I will take another, and yet another. In truth, one step at a time is not too difficult.” – Og Mandino

Take the next step – Determine to always look forward. Your full reward for persistence is at the end of the journey. Never stop and never settle for anything less than completion.

“The prizes of life are at the end of each journey, not near the beginning…Failure I may still encounter at the thousandth step, yet success hides behind the next bend in the road.” – Og Mandino



Stop chasing what doesn’t bring success

chasing successWhat you do should align with your goals for success or you shouldn’t be doing it.

Eddie Rickenbacker had an interesting career. Throughout his life he was a World War I flying ace, a comic strip and book writer, the President of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and the President of Eastern Airlines. When asked about the secret for his success he said, “I can give you a six-word formula for success: Think things through – then follow through.”

Rickenbacker had hit upon the simple truth of success that many have found, “Decide what you want to accomplish, then go do it.”

If you know what you want, but don’t do anything to get it, there can be no success. If you don’t know what you want, and do anything without regards to where it will lead, there can be no success.

Here is how you stop chasing what doesn’t bring success:

First define success (what do you want to accomplish).

Earl Nightingale was one of fifteen marines who survived the 1942 attack on Pearl Harbor aboard the USS Arizona. In 1949 he was inspired when he read Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill and decided that the six words, “We become what we think about,” were the answer to his questions. Nightingale became a motivational speaker and produced The Strangest Secret, the first spoken-word recording to achieve Gold Record status and went on to write and record over 7,000 radio programs.

When you define success by establishing goals, you will focus on those goals and become what you think about. Nightingale was so sure of this that he said, “To achieve happiness, we should make sure that we are never without an important goal.”

Second design success (a plan to reach your goals).

Tony Hsieh started an online advertising network called LinkExchange which he later sold to Microsoft for $250 million. He joined Zappos as the CEO and later sold Zappos to Amazon for $1.2 billion and remains as CEO. Even though Hsieh has achieved professional and financial success, he has said the secret is to, “Chase the vision, not the money.” Hsieh had a vision, and demonstrated as CEO of Zappos, that happiness can drive success, “Whether it’s the happiness our customers receive when they get a new pair of shoes…or the happiness our employees feel being part of a culture that celebrates their individuality.”

When you have a clear vision for success you need an equally clear plan to achieve it.   Here are the core values of Zappos, the plan, they use to achieve success through happiness:

1) Deliver Wow Through Service 2) Embrace and Drive Change 3) Create Fun and a Little Weirdness 4) Be Adventurous, Creative and Open-Minded 5) Pursue Growth and Learning 6) Build Open and Honest Relationships with Communication 7) Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit 8) Do More with Less 9) Be Passionate and Determined 10) Be Humble

Third align with success (adjust your plan and keep it focused on your goals).

Zig Ziglar was one of twelve children raised by a single mother, who he said thrived on adversity, after his father died when Ziglar was five years old. At the age of twenty-one he became a cookware salesman and manager where he learned and practiced techniques for success over the next twenty years. He published his first book, See You at the Top, when he was Forty-Nine, after it was rejected by thirty publishers. Ziglar went on to publish over twenty books with millions in print, as he traveled the world speaking and motivating audiences for nearly forty years.

If you want long term success you have to be able to adjust your plan without ever adjusting your goal. Zig Ziglar stayed focused on his goal of spreading the importance of a positive self-image even though his plan may have changed. He is quoted as saying, “When obstacles arise, you change your direction to reach your goal, you do not change your decision to get there.”

How to help your team believe in themselves

i-believe-in-youYou are a leader with experience. You’ve accomplished a lot in your career and want to give back and help encourage your team to achieve the success that you have. You can see their potential and believe in them – you know they can do it.

Just because you can do it, and believe they can do it, that doesn’t lead to your team’s belief in themselves. For your team to believe in themselves, your belief needs to lead to their belief. They won’t believe until they learn it, know it and experience it. Your part is to teach them, develop them, then let them.

In The Last Lecture, Carnegie Mellon professor Randy Pausch talked about believing in yourself (he called it self-esteem). He said you can’t give it to someone; it has to be developed. His process for developing belief is this, “You give them something they can’t do, they work hard until they find they can do it.”

Here is that process laid out in three steps. Follow these and your team will believe in themselves.

Individuals learn when leaders teach them.

What am I supposed to do to be successful? In order to believe in yourself you have to know what is expected so you understand the definition of success. The only way that this happens is when the individual listens to what is being taught by the leader.

“I have learned a great deal from listening carefully.” – Ernest Hemingway

Individuals know when leaders develop them.

How do I do what I am supposed to do to be successful? Knowing what is expected doesn’t mean you know how to achieve it. This is where leaders show the individuals through side-by-side coaching and mentoring.

“A man only learns in two ways, one is by reading, and the other by associating with smarter people.” – Will Rogers

Individuals experience, when leaders let them.

What does it feel like when I do what I am supposed to do to be successful? Knowing what to do and how to do it is cemented in when you actually do it. Leaders let their team do it on their own so they work through their mistakes and get it right.

“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes

Leadership – Back to Basics

back to basicsEveryone wants to work on the next innovation, the next cool project, and the next big challenge – it’s easy to see why: it’s fun, exciting, and invigorating. We all want to be part of something bigger than ourselves – it’s easy to see why:   the impact is greater, the recognition is greater, and the reward is greater.

If you want to achieve the next fun, exciting, and invigorating goals – get back to basics.

If you want to have a greater impact, greater recognition, and a greater reward – get back to basics.

“Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequences of consistently applying the basic fundamentals.” – Jim Rohn

Leadership: Back to Basics

The basics are the same but every project is different

Success comes from doing the basics right – one step at a time: How will you do it, who will do it, and when will you do it? Some may say those things are best left for others to think about – let’s focus on the big ideas. While big ideas are essential, executing the big ideas makes them real and not just ideas. Big ideas will remain just big ideas unless you get back to basics and implement them.

The key to making even the basics exciting is to be aware that even though the basic steps are the same, the project is different. Like a bike ride, or hiking, the actions are the same each time but the scenery is different at each location. Leaders need to celebrate the new success through the same steps.

Remember the Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, who said, “You could never step twice into the same rivers; for other waters are ever flowing on to you.”

The basics get you started on the path to success

You have great ideas, you are going to change the world – ok, now what? You have to do something to start to change the world. Getting back to basics will get you started. How will you do it, who will do it, and when will you do it?

Doing something big requires you to start with something small. Vaclav Havel, the first president of the Czech Republic said it like this, “The vision must be followed by the venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps – we must step up the stairs.”

The basics are best done first so you can savor victory last

When you start something new it is hard to know exactly how it will turn out. You don’t know all the steps you must take to succeed. That’s why getting back to the basics is so important. It takes time and energy to think it through. How will you do it, who will do it, and when will you do it?

The Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu is quoted often in saying, “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with single step.” Wise advice for sure. But lesser known is the first sentence in his guidance, “Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small.”

Taking care of the basics first, will allow you to savor the victory last.


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