The Lack of Grace – By Sharice D. Harris

“Give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.” -Thomas Jefferson

Has anyone noticed that negatively directed criticism seems to be the number one divider worldwide? How many hearts actually keep their dreams a secret because they are aware that the environment they live in doesn’t support cheerful optimism? Mother Teresa once said “If you judge people, you have no time to love them”. It is so easy in a second to speak hateful or hurtful words but it’s takes careful time and consideration to actually understand what someone else might be going through in their own life. It requires that we dig deeper and do the hard inner work.

The Greek word (kritikós) or critic is a person who offers reasoned judgment or analysis, valued judgment, interpretation, or observation. However, many times the people who are criticizing our dreams or beliefs on our personal self discovery journey are not in fact expert judges or even experienced connoisseurs, most times they are people just like you and me having a human experience as well. They are usually people who live within our immediate social circles, our spouses, parents and many times even friends. Yet they can be the harshest critics many of us will ever cross. Ideally, these same people are suppose to positively want our success, right? So what happened? Why is it when you joyously leap through the air and announce your brilliantly self inspired plan to arrive at a successful destination in your life, the people closest to you seem less than enthusiastic? Are they all out to get you?

Hasn’t negative criticism been forewarned to us in almost every great text from the bible to Judaism and even in Buddhist practices? So why are we still throwing stones directed at hurting others chances of personal success? Shouldn’t everyone be allowed to harness their innate power to create the life that they want? I mean we are not the ultimate decision makers in their lives and we have enough challenges living our own lives to our highest success. So why do we send out these hopeful failures upon others, when we could just as gracefully send them loving supporting thoughts that could help them help themselves and maybe someone else on this journey through life? Are we crabs in a bucket desperately doing our best to pull the next crab down so they won’t succeed? If we are, we must now ask deeper questions, such as: Am I a negative person? What happened to me? When did I stop smiling? When did I stop enjoying and loving life? Why did I start hating people? and what can I do now to change?

Negative criticism is almost always the shadow of some success looming, rather it be spiritual or emotional growth. And yes, everyone from Jesus to Gandhi was criticized even although their entire life’s work was to expose the power of virtues such as love, tolerance, dignity, grace and compassion. Compassion, discernment and understanding are all wise tools of grace. We can practice using our tools of grace in combination with our power of positive focus during times of any prolonged negative critical attack. Whether it is verbal or nonverbally aimed at bringing down our psyche.

Another loss for negative criticism is that it comes from an insecure state of mind. That is why it lashes out on others it considers ‘weak’. In the moment of negatively criticizing another, the person who is criticizing doesn’t have to focus on the non-incessant and regular negative self talk they hear going on in their own mind. In those moments of negatively criticizing another person, the negative criticizer is able to escape working on themselves by redirecting their negative energy on you. That is why there seems to be so many negatively pessimistic people. It’s a lot easier to criticize someone else than it is to look inside of ourselves and start cleaning up our own mess.

Nevertheless, this ignorant closed hearted state of mind has the capability to cut down your dreams if you are unconscious about when you will arrive at them. Fool proofing your success is always a sure way to counteract such negative critical attacks. What’s more is when we witness negativity, we learn that the giver is many times unknowingly shining light on their insecurities, they are shining light on their lack of faith in life, their lack optimism and lastly their belief in their incapacity to love unconditionally. So basically, all of their negative criticism is in fact a sign of their own inner suffering.

Keeping light on negative criticism we can also notice that nine times out of ten people who subconsciously throw these hate directed daggers of failure, usually feel threatened by even the slightest possibility of your success. That’s right, that means if you are reading this and experiencing a negative critical event in your life, you are most likely harnessing your power to positively change not only your life but also, positively affect those around you! This use of your personal power will immediately make the critical attacker aware that you are using something they feel they don’t know how to use.

So why all the ruckus over your success in life? Well, when you achieve the success that others swore you would never be able to do, and we have all heard the word ‘never’. People in your immediate circle are forced to ask deeper questions and change. That’s a lot of inner work! Your success is a critical factor in determining how far other people within your circle of life feel they can go in their own lives. Seeing someone on T.V. who is already successful in their personal or financial life makes many people feel comfortable with complacency. That person is far away or at least on a screen which doesn’t look back at them. But your successes are so tangible and so close to home that you are literally shaking up their whole perception about what they thought was possible.
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About the Author:

Sharice D. Harris is an American born writer/entrepenuer from Chicago. She is currently working on her new book ‘A Permanent Summer’, which aims to help others overcome debilitating states of mind that keep them from living their higher purposes in life.

Master Your Fears

By Brian Tracy
Perhaps the greatest challenge you will ever face in life is the conquest of fear and the development of courage. Fear is, and always has been, the greatest enemy of mankind. When Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” he was saying that the emotion of fear, rather than the realty of what we fear, is what causes us anxiety, stress, and unhappiness. When you develop the habit of courage and unshakeable self-confidence, a whole new world of possibilities opens up for you. Just imagine-what would you dare to dream or be or do if you weren’t afraid of anything in the whole world?

Develop the Habit of Courage

Fortunately, the habit of courage can be learned just as any other habit is learned, through repetition. We need to constantly face and overcome our fears to build up the kind of courage that will enable us to deal with the inevitable ups and downs of life unafraid. The starting point in overcoming fear and developing courage is to look at the factors that predispose us toward being afraid. The root source of most fear is childhood conditioning, usually associated with destructive criticism. This causes us to develop two major types of fear. These are the fear of failure, which causes us to think “I can’t, I can’t, I can’t,” and the fear of rejection, which causes us to think “I have to, I have to, I have to.” Our fears can paralyze us, keeping us from taking constructive action in the direction of our dreams and goals.

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The More You Know, the Less You Fear

Fear is also caused by ignorance. When we have limited information, our doubts dominate us. We become tense and insecure about the outcome of our actions. Ignorance causes us to fear change, to fear the unknown, and to avoid trying anything new or different. But the reverse is also true. The very act of gathering more and better information about a particular subject increases our courage and confidence in that area. You can see this in the parts of your life where you have no fear at all because you know what you are doing. You feel competent and completely capable of handling whatever happens.

Analyze Your Fears

Once you have identified the major factors that cause you to feel afraid, the next step is to objectively define and analyze your personal fears. At the top of a clean sheet of paper, write, “What am I afraid of?” Remember, all intelligent people are afraid of something. It is normal and natural to be concerned about your physical, emotional, and financial safety and that of the people you care about. A courageous person is not a person who is unafraid. As Mark Twain said, “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear—not absence of fear.”

Action Exercise

Begin your list of fears by writing down everything, major and minor, that causes fear, stress, or anxiety. Think about the parts of your work or personal life where your fears might be holding you back or forcing you to stay in a job or relationship in which you are not happy. Once you have written down your fears, arrange them in order of importance, and then pick them apart one by one.

Perverse Motivation

Perverse Motivation
By Brian Tracy

Everyone likes to buy, but no one wants to be sold. People don’t like to feel that they are the recipients or the victims of a sales presentation. Most customers are independent in their thinking, and they don’t like to think that they are being manipulated, pressured, or coerced into doing anything. They like to feel as though they are making up their own minds based on good information that has been presented to them.

Sales Helper

The best salesperson is perceived as a helper who assists prospects in getting what they want and need. Remember, it is the perception of the customers that, more than anything else determines how the customer behaves toward a salesperson. You must do everything possible to appear to be helping rather than selling.

Salespeople are Teachers

Top salespeople are teachers who show their customers how products and services work to satisfy their needs. The more you are perceived as a teacher, the more likely it is that you will also be perceived as a consultant or an advisor. You will be seen as a trusted counselor who can be depended upon to help customers get what they want by means of the product or service that you are selling.

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Don’t Pressure the Customer

If ever your customers feel, even for a moment, that you are trying to sell them into buying something, they will instantly resist and withdraw. The most important part of selling is the quality of the trust bond that exists between you and your customers. You can’t afford to do anything that threatens that trust bond. It is important that the customer feels that they are being informed about something that will benefit them, rather than feel pressured to buy a product that is being pushed upon them.

Design Presentation

Design your presentation in such a way that you are always showing, explaining, and asking questions to assure agreement and understanding. See yourself as a teacher with a willing and able student, eager to learn.

Action Exercise

Think of yourself as a teacher and your sales presentation as a “lesson plan.” Always begin your presentation with agreement on the value or benefit that the customer seeks that your product or service can deliver.

Thanksgiving or Thanks-Receiving? – By Karen Monroy

Take a minute to imagine:

You are in a dirty, cold place. You are infested with all kinds of critters and parasites. Your clothes are thread bare. There are holes in your shoes, and nothing much to eat. The harsh living conditions have claimed many of your loved ones and friends. You are sure that you will be following them to the grave shortly. Your mind keeps drifting back to past times when you were surviving, when life was “better”.

What were you thinking to get in that ship anyway? There are many reasons to despair, you don’t know the land, and you don’t know how to be successful in your hunting or farming. You might even be wondering for what sins is God punishing you. You might be praying to this God for relief, for an intercession, for a miracle.

In the midst of this you are introduced to someone who is living in the SAME place as you–yet is having a completely different experience. They are happy and healthy. They are well-fed, they prosper. The cold doesn’t put them asunder and they certainly have enough to share.

You fall to your knees upon seeing the bounty of a dozen stalks of corn and a bird and some flat bread. The same food you would have turned your nose up to (we feed corn to the pigs after all) a year ago, is now the most delicious food you ever tasted. Your belly actually hurts when you eat because it was so empty–but you eat anyway–joyfully, thankfully. Giving thanks becomes important to you. You understand the “loft” of gratitude. It makes any circumstance transform. It transforms you.

This isn’t the Thanksgiving story from my childhood. Mine was funny construction paper pilgrim hats and Indian headbands. It was gaggles of people, days of cooking, planned excursions into the kitchen to pilfer the desserts. When it came time to eat, we each took turns expressing gratitude. I always heard the tried and true thanks for family, friends, life, and love from the adults. The children were more direct, “my new horse, my new bike…you get the drift. My grandfather used to call us kids “soft”. We certainly had no idea how “hard” life could be, and we had no sense of the story of the pilgrims. How could we? We had always had plenty, never knew starvation and all of our problems were the kind you wanted to have.

The intercession the pilgrims experienced might be where the first “when I was a kid…” stories originated! Parents have been trying to top that story for hundreds of years–but none come close. Why?

Unlike all of the other, “when I was a kid” stories, the Thanksgiving story puts us amidst a Universal Truth: The Mind can only serve one Master, either gratitude or despair–but not both.
What is your most important prosperity organ? Your brain! Your choice to be grateful for the gifts you receive–even if the gifts appear humble.

Imagine for a moment you are that pilgrim:

You realize that if you are a good student, you too can be at peace and one with your new home–just like with your new found neighbor. While life here may appear to be harsh–it has promise, opportunity, and you now are changed: open and willing to receive the gifts of the Universe, willing to be a good student, willing to Prosper. While everything on the outside had remained the same, gratitude for what you have received has radically altered the landscape of your life.

In our own way, each of us is replaying this Thanksgiving story. We say goodbye to old situations and circumstances–set sail for the “better life” and encounter hardship along the way.

If you are in the position right now that you feel you need an intercession or miracle, remember they do happen. Give up your notion you know what the miracle looks like, act like or should be like. What if those pilgrims, said “no” to the Indians because they were expecting the ship to save them?

If you have been on cruise control, lying low, feeling good–remember we all need to take rest, because the top of one mountain is the bottom of another. I have learned there are some angels whose only job is to make certain you do not get too comfortable and miss your life. If you feel the gentle tapping of the angels, listen to it.

I have a client who knew the answer to a question I asked, but said, “I don’t know”. I reminded the client they did know, and not owning what you know keeps you where you are. You know, getting more of what it is you do not want. It was hard, but they owned it, all of it. Shortly after that session I received an ecstatic phone call detailing the amount of business they had been given in the last week–more than the previous 6 months.

The Universe always works this way. It is always willing, wanting and capable to give–”pressing down into us for good measure” what we are capable of receiving. The Universe needs us to be the kind of person capable of holding the gifts sent our way.

If you have been “hanging-in there”; waiting for something to go wrong and fearful of your future, spend the holiday counting your blessings and then counting them again. A Universal Truth: we are only given what we can handle.

If you are not where you want to be, then ask yourself, “What do I know that I am not owning? What is it I am trying to pretend I don’t know?”

If you have it good right now, be thankful! And invite others to join you, sharing in your bounty. Remember your invitation for others to join you in being a good receiver is a beautiful gift. How we wear our happiness and prosperity can be a healing balm to those in need, or a beacon of light to call others higher.

An Invitation for You!

I invite you to join me this Thanksgiving to practice what we know. As we commit to compassionate accountability for ourselves, we will not “should” our self or feel guilty if we take a misstep. We will simply affirm our willingness to be good receivers. Responsible containers for the good Divine Universal Source Energy is always sending. We affirm the gift of thanks is made manifest in our lives. Always.

May we be ever so humble to receive the blessings of the Universe.
May we use what we are given gratefully.
May we share what we are given lovingly.
May we all be Peace, share Peace, and receive Peace.

** To comment on this article or to read comments about this article, go here.


About the Author:

Dr. Karen Monroy holds a PhD. in psychology, and a Masters Degree in Economics and Business.

Dr. Monroy explains to clients the structure of their minds–from a neurological, psychological and spiritual perspective clients learn to work WITH their own nature, not AGAINST their nature.

Dr. Monroy teaches Money IQ Skills, Money EQ skills and a spiritual basis for moving through the world of form. Dr. Monroy believes all of us learn about these concepts in the world of form (or Earth School as she calls it) as one aspect of our spiritual path.

Dr. Monroy is also the author of two upcoming books: Mommy, What is Rich? and Expanding your Money IQ– Spiritual and Emotional Intelligence for Earth School.

Learn more about Karen at her website: http://www.KarenMonroy.com

The Laws of Money

The Laws of Money
By Brian Tracy

One of your major goals in life should be financial independence. You must aim to reach the point where you have enough money so that you never have to worry about money again. The good news is that financial independence is easier to achieve today than it has ever been before.

The Law of Abundance
We live in an abundant universe in which there is sufficient money for all who really want it and are willing to obey the laws governing its acquisition. People become wealthy because they decide to become wealthy. People are poor because they have not yet decided to become rich.

The world is full of thousands of people who have had far more difficulties to overcome than you could ever imagine, and they’ve gone on to be successful anyway. So can you.

The Law of Exchange
Money is the medium through which people exchange their labor in the production of goods and services for the goods and services of others. The amount of money you earn is the measure of the value that others place on your contribution. To increase the amount of money you are getting out, you must increase the value of the work that you are putting in.

The Law of Capital
Your most valuable assets, in terms of cash flow, are your physical and mental capital—your earning ability. How much time you put in and how much of yourself you put into that time largely determine your earning ability. Time and money can be either spent or invested. If you invest your time or money in becoming more knowledgeable and better skilled, you can increase your value.

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The Law of Time Perspective
The most successful people in any society are those who take the longest time period into consideration when making their day-to-day decisions. Your ability to practice self-mastery, self-control, and self-denial, to sacrifice in the short term so you can enjoy greater rewards in the long term, is the starting point of developing a long time perspective.

The Law of Saving
Financial freedom comes to people who save 10 percent or more of their income throughout their lifetime. Savings today are what guarantee the security and the possibilities of tomorrow.

The Law of Conservation
It’s not how much you make but how much you keep that determines your financial future. The true measure of how well you are really doing is how much you keep out of the amount that you earn.

The Law of Three
There are three legs to the stool of financial freedom: savings, insurance, and investment. One of your major responsibilities, to yourself and to the people who depend on you, is to build a financial fortress around yourself over the course of your working lifetime. To be fully protected against the unexpected, you require liquid savings equal to two to six months of normal expenses.

The Law of Investing
Investigate before you invest. This is one of the most important of all the laws of money. You should spend at least as much time studying a particular investment as you do earning the money to put into that particular investment. The only thing easy about money is losing it. If you think you can afford to lose a little, you’re going to end up losing a lot. Invest only with experts who have a proven track record of success with their own money.

The Law of Magnetism
The more money you save and accumulate, the more money you attract into your life. The Law of Magnetism has been written about for more than 5,000 years. It explains much about success and failure in every area of life, especially in the financial arena. The more positive emotion you associate with your money, the more opportunities you will attract to acquire even more.

Action Exercise
Take time every day, every week, and every month to reflect on your financial situation and look for ways to deploy your finances more intelligently. The more time you take to think intelligently about your finances, the better decisions you will make and the more money you will have to think about.

The Wall of Doubt and Fear

by anthony on October 29, 2009

There is a wall that separates each of us from our most important goals in life. The strange thing about this wall is that it is a barrier which we create for ourselves.

wall of doubt and fear

We construct this wall in our minds using bricks of doubt and fear.

Let’s take a look at how this wall is created:

When you set a new goal, it is natural to have a small amount of doubt about your ability to achieve your objective.

goal starting point

Initially as you start to work on your goal, you get a boost of self confidence because you are taking action and your level of doubt decreases. However, after you’ve worked on your goal for a little while, you come to the Point of Clarity.

goal wall2

The Point of Clarity is the point at which you first fully understand how much work and effort is actually involved with achieving your goal. It is usually at this point that the bricks of doubt and fear start to build.

The next thing that happens is that you encounter a significant problem and immediately your doubts and fears increase which adds to number of bricks in your wall.

goal wall3

You then become aware of another problem:

goal wall4

And then problems seem to come at you from every direction

goal wall6

With each problem you encounter, your doubts and fears increase. You start thinking things like:

“I’m not smart enough to do this”
“I’m not capable of doing this”
“I don’t have what it takes to achieve this”
“I’m too old for this”
“I’m too young for this”
etc.

If you ever catch yourself saying things like this, it’s important to remember that

“When you doubt your power, you give power to your doubts.” – Author Unknown

Unfortunately, many people give so much power to their doubts that the wall in their mind becomes insurmountable and they walk away from their dream.

However, something truly remarkable happens to the small group of people who continue to meet these problems head on and persevere in the face of adversity.

Eventually they come to realize that facing and solving these problems is an important part of the process of achieving their goal. With experience they also realize that they ARE capable of meeting and overcoming these challenges.

With this realization, they cross over to the Point of Self-Confidence

goal wall7

Once you reach the Point of Self Confidence, everything changes.

You continue to face problems, but now each problem you solve makes you more confident in your ability and you begin to eliminate the bricks of doubt and fear from your mind.

You solve a problem and remove a layer of bricks

goal wall8

Then you solve another problem

goal wall9

Each time you solve a problem your remove another layer of doubt and fear.

goal wall10

Finally you solve the last problem that stands between you and your goal – Your self confidence soars and the final bricks of doubt and fear disappear.

goal wall11

You then look back to find that the wall of doubt and fear is gone – In fact it never really existed at all.

So today I’d like to encourage you to never give in to the doubts and fears that stop most people from achieving their goals. Always remember that the wall that stands between you and your objective only exists in your own mind.

Instead of walking away from your dream, focus on solving one problem at a time. As you gain experience, your self confidence will grow and the wall of doubt and fear will gradually disappear.

Until next time,
Dare To Dream!
Anthony

What You SAY is What You Get

Written by Jack Canfield | Friday, 12 March 2010 15:25

saying-is-believingIn order to be successful, we must first define what success means to us; and that means getting CLEAR about what you want, writing it down, and thinking BIG!

If you are going to be successful in creating the life of your dreams, you have to believe that you are capable of making it happen. You have to believe you have the right stuff, that you are able to pull it off. You have to believe in yourself. Whether you call it self-esteem, self-confidence, or self-assurance, it is a deep-seated belief that you have what it takes – the abilities, inner resources, talents, and skills to create your desired results.

Ultimately, you must learn to control your self-talk, eliminate any negative and limiting beliefs, and maintain a constant state of positive expectations.

Control Your Self-Talk
Researchers have found that the average person thinks as many as 50,000 thoughts a day. Sadly, many of those thoughts are negative — I’m not management material… I’ll never lose weight… It doesn’t matter what I do, nothing ever works out for me. This is what psychologists call victim language. Victim language actually keeps you in a victim state of mind. It is a form of self-hypnosis that lulls you into a belief that you are unlovable and incompetent.

In order to get what you want from life, you need to give up this victim language and start talking to yourself like a winner — I can do it… I know there is a solution… I am smart enough and strong enough to figure this out… Everything I eat helps me maintain my perfect body weight.

You Are Always Programming Your Subconscious Mind
Your subconscious mind is like the crew of a ship. You are its captain. It is your job to give the crew orders. And when you do this, the crew takes everything you say literally. The crew (your subconscious) has no sense of humor. It just blindly follows orders. When you say, “Everything I eat goes straight to my hips,” the crew hears that as an order: Take everything she eats, turn it into fat and put it on her hips. On the other hand, if you say, “Everything I eat helps me maintain my perfect body weight,” the crew will begin to make that into reality by helping you make better food choices, exercise and maintain the right metabolism rate for you body.

This power of your subconscious mind is the reason you must become very vigilant and pay careful attention to your spoken and internal statements. Unfortunately, most people don’t realize they are committing negative self-talk, which is why it is best to enlist another person — your success partner — in monitoring each other’s speaking. You can have a signal for interrupting each other when you use victim language.

Use Affirmations to Build Self-Confidence
One of the most powerful tools for building worthiness and self-confidence is the repetition of positive statements until they become a natural part of the way you think. These “affirmations” act to crowd out and replace the negative orders you have been sending your crew (your subconscious mind) all these years. I suggest that you create a list of 10 to 20 statements that affirm your belief in your worthiness and your ability to create the life of your dreams.

Of course, what to believe is up to you, but here are some examples of affirmations that have worked for others in the past:

I am worthy of love, joy and success.
I am smart and make wise choices
I am loveable and capable.
I can create anything I want.
I am able to solve any problem that comes my way.
I can handle anything that life hands me.
I have all the energy I need to do everything I want to do.
I am attracting all the right people into my life.

Believing in Yourself is an Attitude
Believing in yourself is a choice. It’s an attitude you develop over time. It’s now your responsibility to take charge of your own self-concept and your beliefs. It might help to know that the latest brain research now indicates that with enough positive self-talk and positive visualization combined with the proper training, coaching, and practice, anyone can learn to do almost anything.

You must choose to believe that you can do anything you set your mind to – anything at all – because, in fact, you can!

Five Ingredients of Personal GrowthBy John C. Maxwell

As any farmer knows, the growth of a crop only happens when the right ingredients are present. To harvest plentiful fields, the farmer has to begin by planting the right seed in rich topsoil where sunlight and water can help the seed to sprout, mature, and bear fruit. If any of the ingredients (seeds, topsoil, sunlight, or water) are missing, the crop won’t grow.

Growing as a leader also requires the proper ingredients. Unless the right attitudes and actions are cultivated an aspiring leader will sputter and fail rather than growing in influence. Let’s look at five basic qualities essential for growth in leadership.

1) Teachability

Arrogance crowds out room for improvement. That’s why humility is the starting point for personal growth. As Erwin G. Hall said, “An open mind is the beginning of self-discovery and growth. We can’t learn anything new until we can admit that we don’t already know everything.”

Adopting a beginner’s mindset helps you to be teachable. Beginners are aware that they don’t know it all, and they proceed accordingly. As a general rule, they’re open and humble, noticeably lacking in the rigidity that often accompanies experience and achievement. It’s easy enough to have a beginner’s mind when you’re actually a beginner, but maintaining teachability gets trickier in the long term especially when you’ve already achieved some degree of success.

2) Sacrifice

Growth as a leader involves temporary loss. It may mean giving up familiar but limiting patterns, safe but unrewarding work, values no longer believed in, or relationships that have lost their meaning. Whatever the case, everything we gain in life comes as a result of sacrificing something else. We must give up to go up.

3) Security

To keep learning throughout life, you have to be willing, no matter what your position is, to say, “I don’t know.” It can be hard for executives to admit lacking knowledge because they feel as if everyone is looking to them for direction, and they don’t want to let people down their people. However, followers aren’t searching for perfection in their leaders. They’re looking for an honest, authentic, and courageous leader who, regardless of the obstacles facing the organization, won’t rest until the problem is solved.

It took me seven years to hit my stride as a communicator. During those seven years I gave some boring speeches, and I felt discouraged at times. However, I was secure enough to keep taking the stage and honing my communication skills until I could connect with an audience. Had I been insecure, then the negative evaluations of others would have sealed my fate and I never would have excelled in my career.

4) Listening

Listen, learn, and ask questions from somebody successful who has gone on before you. Borrow from their experiences so that you can avoid their mistakes and emulate their triumphs. Solicit feedback and take to heart what you’re told. The criticism of friends may seem bitter in the short-term but, when heeded, it can save you from falling victim to your blind spots.

5) Application

Knowledge has a limited shelf life. Unless used immediately or carefully preserved, it spoils and becomes worthless. Put the lessons you learn into practice so that your insights mature into understanding.

Taking Your Leadership to New HeightsBy John C. Maxwell

As a child, did you ever wish that you could fly? The longing to escape gravity seems ingrained in our imaginations. Fictional characters from Superman to Mary Poppins to Aladdin have soared across the sky on adventures. Michael “Air” Jordan’s fame rested, in part, on his seeming ability to glide above his opponents on the court to slam-dunk the basketball. Kite flying remains a popular pastime and air shows draw crowds to watch planes perform acrobatic aerial feats.

Our longing to take flight transfers to our careers. We don’t want to be stuck on the bottom level; we want to soar. We desire to be on top, to excel in our work.

Whatever your occupation and regardless of your position, here are three habits of excellence which, when attained, will get you off the ground.

Work with Your Whole Heart

I’ve never met a halfhearted leader who sustained excellence. The successful leaders I know are ablaze with desire to see their vision come to fruition. Having an end in mind, they approach work with joy and expectancy.

What should you do if you feel unmotivated on the job?

1) Seek self-awareness of your strengths and find ways to express them. What do you do well? What captures your attention? What have you enjoyed doing in the past? If your role at work doesn’t provide an outlet for your strengths, volunteer them in another capacity.
2) Monitor your attitude. Cease complaining and weed out negativity from your thoughts. Instead, concentrate on opportunities to learn and grow.

Devote Undistracted Attention to Your Job

Excellent leaders have laser-like focus. They fix their attention on top priorities and refuse to be diverted from accomplishing them. They work purposefully and strategically, doing what’s important instead of what’s easy.

How can you regain focus when your vision seems fuzzy?

1) Prioritize your time. If you don’t budget your time, others will spend it for you. Control your calendar so that your hours are spent on what matters most.
2) Protect your environment. Distractions creep in and hold our attention hostage. Take steps to eliminate interruptions. This can be as simple as turning off your phone during times of focused thought or sealing yourself off from others for a few minutes in the morning so that you can plan for the day.

Give Maximum Energy to Your Team

Leaders who excel give full commitment to their team. They offer their best day after day, always devoting maximum effort to their responsibilities. They understand what’s required to complete an assignment, and they don’t rest until every detail is in place and the project is finished.

1) Eat well and exercise. Your health determines your quality and quantity of life. Don’t view your physical health in isolation; it connects to your emotional and mental health.
2) Make rest a must. Leaders are generally driven, outcome-oriented people. As such, they can have a hard time seeing the value of rest and relaxation. In truth, you actually accomplish more when you discipline yourself to unplug and recharge periodically.

Leading with Excellence: Setting Personal Standards of Success by JohnC.Maxwell

“Success means doing the best we can with what we have. Success is the doing, not the getting; in the trying, not the triumph. Success is a personal standard, reaching for the highest that is in us, becoming all that we can be.” ~ Zig Ziglar

Wise leaders set personal standards of excellence rather than allowing external forces to define success or failure for them. They set their standards above and beyond what others require, consistently delivering results that surpass expectations. In honoring their standards of excellence, credible leaders go first and give the most, modeling the work ethic they desire to see from teammates.

On the other hand, when leaders accept standards placed upon them by others, they sacrifice self-control. They begin to live inauthentic lives, chasing after “goals” they didn’t set and violating their values in ways they never would have thought possible. In my experience, there are four common culprits that leaders foolishly allow to override their personal standards.

1) Competition

Allowing the competition to set your standards pulls you off mission and away from your unique strengths and values. Being overly concerned with your rivals may cause you to copy their unethical tactics or to engage in unprincipled behavior in an effort to win at all costs. In leadership, you have to chart your own course. Never allow the competition to choose the path for you.

2) Circumstances

Since there are so many factors beyond our control, in leadership we cannot gauge excellence solely on short-term results. Outcomes are important and goals have merit, but at times circumstances will conspire to block our progress. Consider the economic downturn. For leaders with standards of success tied to stock prices or bottom line profits, the last two years must seem like miserable failures. Keep your personal standards independent of life circumstances so that no matter what is going on around you, you can still achieve excellence.

3) Critics
As a leader, you will be criticized. You’ll be scrutinized, second-guessed, and disparaged. Don’t confuse excellence with pleasing others. If you do, you’ll always feel like a failure, because it’s impossible to please all of the people all of the time. Stay true to your personal standards and don’t sacrifice them to pacify your critics.

4) Cheerleaders

When you’re successful, you gain the applause of everyone around you. The applause massages your ego and begins to substitute for the fulfillment of meeting personal standards. If you’re not careful, you can develop an addiction to applause. Instead of pursuing excellence you play to the crowd, craving their adoration. Seeking popularity over principle, you allow others to measure excellence for you and to define your worth.

To avoid the trap of pandering to applause, surround yourself with people who tell you what you need to hear rather than what you want to hear. The higher you go in leadership, the harder it becomes for your teammates to give you honest feedback. Make a point to stay humble and approachable so that you do not become self-deluded.

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