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Posts Tagged ‘Success’

I got the call one beautiful spring afternoon. Perhaps the most successful friend I know was in his back yard gardening. And that was a problem. One, it was the middle of the workday. Two, he doesn’t garden.

 

He called me because he was upset about a project he was working on. He felt as though he had made a mistake that put the project, and his team, at risk of failing. He called me to talk about what he should do and how to handle it. After years and years of tremendous success, he was finally facing his first failure. I was not sure whether to be flattered by his call, or upset that he thought of me when he thought of failure.

 

But the truth is, I had failed several times. Rather than take the normal course in life after leaving college, I took several measured risks. And yes, by my own standards, I failed at all of them. But in that failure, I was given a tremendous gift — I was now free. I was no longer afraid of making mistakes or failing.

 

One of the people I admire most is a woman who led an incredibly carefree life. She did what she wanted, she said what she wanted and she believed what she wanted. Talking with her, being in her presence, and hearing her stories of life was incredibly invigorating! Whenever I was with her, I always yearned for the life she had. Well, not all of it.

 

You see, the freedom she felt is not something you are born with. It is something you earn through your experiences. Prior to living the liberating, magnificent life she was living, she was a drug addict living in abandoned buildings and eating out of trash cans. It was not an easy or fun life. Yet, a life like that “holds a gift for you in its hands.” In her own words, “once you hit rock bottom and are looking for dinner in a trash can, you have nothing left to lose.” And that is when life opens up for you. In that moment, you are completely free of the fear of failing or worrying about what others may think of you.

 

In many ways I envied my friend and desired the freedom she felt. I wanted to live life as she was living it. Yet, every single time I felt that way, I also felt my fear and asked God to gift me the that kind of freedom, without having to experience rock bottom.

 

Unfortunately, I don’t think that is the way it works. True freedom is only gifted to those willing to risk it all . . . and who are not afraid to lose it.

 

“Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All of life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better.”
 

– Ralph Waldo Emerson
 

Spring is the season that reminds us that all is born again. Without fail, life is renewed and green shoots of grass, budding flowers and new leaves re-appear. Each year, the earth declares a do-over and gives us a new chance at life and growth. Every. Single. Year.

 

Why not take a hint from earth and try something new this Spring. It is the perfect time to take a risk, make a mistake and tempt failure.

 

I have always said that unless someone dies or get hurts, it is not a mistake. Too many of us are afraid to make a mistake and it paralyzes us. We stay stuck and our lives get stale. Let this spring be the opportunity when you take the risk you have always wanted and say yes to life!

 

READ HOW THIS APPLIES TO YOUR BUSINESS here.

 

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Most people start the new year setting goals conveniently disguised as New Year’s resolutions. However, people who do this are focused on the wrong thing. Before they set their goals or resolutions, it behooves them to first establish a North Star.

 

polaris-north-starJust as it is used in nautical terms, your North Star is a fixed point you can use to guide your life and ensure that you are heading in the right direction. It can serve as an unshakeable marker that will guide you through the turbulent waters of your life.

 

With that in mind, before setting your goals it is beneficial to think about and declare your North Star. If you don’t, you are essentially sailing rudderless, aimlessly floating in an ocean of possibility hoping you will reach a destination you desire. Or even worse, you may end up setting goals that are not aligned with your North Star, thus setting a course in the “wrong” direction.

 

My inspiring friend Dan Galperin (www.manpowerproject.com) once asked me a question that serves as a beautiful and fun way to establish your North Star. He asked:

 

What are the 5 impossible goals of a lifetime that would blow your mind?

 

Once you have declared these lifetime goals, they can serve as your North Star and guide your annual goals. Your goals each year should align with, support, and further your North Star – even if by just a few small steps at a time.

Here are the 5 Impossible Lifetime Goals I declared this year as I set my North Star.

  1. Plant 10,000 trees.
  2. Have $5 million in the bank.
  3. Become a Best-selling author.
  4. Be in a relationship with a stunningly attractive (inside and out), amazingly sensual, incredibly spiritual woman.
  5. Speak in front of 10,000 people.

Rather than struggle with your New Year’s resolutions this year, most of which are broken because they are not inspired by a person’s North Star, why not start 2017 by electrifying your life with a declaration of your North Star!

 

“Most people overestimate what they can do in a day, and underestimate what they can do in a year.”

– Matthew Kelly (& Bill Gates)

 

When dealing with goals, especially lifetime goals, don’t get overwhelmed by the magnificence you are declaring for yourself. You do not need to accomplish everything by tomorrow. Thinking that way is a sure recipe for frustration, which will likely lead to you giving up.

 

Rather, take your time and design a thoughtful, measured plan taking you from Point A (January) to Point B (December). Break your goals into smaller milestones which you can accomplish over the course of the whole year. By doing so, you will ensure your success and witness exhilarating progress toward your dreams.

 

This is the best way to succeed for the year . . . and your lifetime!

 

READ HOW THIS APPLIES TO YOUR BUSINESS here.

 

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I don’t know about you, but this time of year I take the word Thanksgiving literally. I am more grateful for all I have in the world. I silently send thanks to someone for who they are in my life. I am forever grateful for all my possessions, as simple as they may be. And I stop to acknowledge the truly amazing machine my body is and the fact that it keeps going with every breath.

 

In the presence of all this gratitude, I found myself thinking about my Dad and his “buddies” – all over 80 years old. Among them, they had 345 years of experience on this planet. With their fantastic perspective, I wondered what wisdom they had to share about life and gratitude.

 

So I set up a lunch with all of them to hear the wisdom of the ages.

 

I should have known better. 🙂

 

Not surprisingly, the conversation did not go as planned, but I was surprised . . . and touched . . . by what emerged.

 

The conversation turned into a LOVEfest! Each one of them acknowledged and appreciated the others for what they bring to the friendship and the group. More than anything else, they spoke about the strength and importance of the relationships and friendships in their life.

 

They appreciated their families, their kids, their wives, their grandchildren, and each other.

 

Interestingly, their jobs, success, businesses and accomplishments were all secondary to the relationships in their life.

 

While I wasn’t surprised by this wisdom, I let their words really sink into my soul after our conversation. All too often I find my life gets sidetracked or my peace is disturbed by my ego, which is more concerned about my superficial successes or accomplishments.

 

Their lifetime of wisdom strongly suggests otherwise.

 

That one jewel of wisdom – that our relationships, friendships and family are the most important thing in our lives – is worth repeating over and over and over again . . . and perhaps that is the true wisdom of the ages.

 

These are all great men with amazing life stories. But in the end, what matters most is WHO they love, not WHAT they have done.

 
boyz7

No matter your age, young or old, take a moment this month to hug all those people who mean something to you. It is clear to me that it is the most important and valuable thing you can do in all your life.

 

Rarely do the members of one family grow up under the same roof.

– Richard Bach, Illusions

 

I love the expansiveness of this quote. There is an abundance of love to be received, and given, in the world . . . if only we allow for it. It is always our own heart that gets in the way of either. And that is our challenge as humans.

 

There is another wonderful quote by Rumi that states, “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”

 

May this year be the year you practice the wisdom of our elders and fully feel the love around you, and give it back to the world tenfold.

 

READ HOW THIS APPLIES TO YOUR BUSINESS here.

 
 
Below is a beautiful video of an incredibly successful campaign that spread love, caring and connected-ness throughout the world. May it inspire you to give someone a hug this Thanksgiving.
 

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I always wanted to master the ability to do HANDstands. They just seem like so much fun and an expression of strength and balance.

 

However, before I could do a HANDstand, I decided I should probably master a HEADstand. I felt it was a stepping stone since you have to be upside down for both. And I decided to master this one step at a time. First I would master HEADstands using the wall as a support, then I would master free-standing headstands, and finally I would move on to handstands.

 

I accomplished the first step pretty easily. I gave myself 3 months to figure it out, but I had it down inside of a week. I felt quite confident knowing the wall was always there to support and “catch” me.

 

Step two I found much harder. I could be free from the wall for a few seconds at a time, but then my balance would falter and my feet would always fall back to it for support and reassurance.

 

I spent at least 3 months in this space, making little, if any, progress. I would last a few seconds away from the crutch of the wall, but without fail, my feet fell back to it, or worse, I fell out of the headstand all together. I was getting quite discouraged and wondered if I would ever succeed.

 

Then the happy accident occurred.

 

HeadStand 1One day while I was doing a headstand, it just felt right to stretch out my body as long as I could make it. As I was inverted, I decided to lengthen and tighten my core, and stretch my legs as far to the ceiling as I could make them go. And that’s when it happened.

 

I suddenly felt a balance, strength and centeredness I had never felt before. The next thing I knew, I could do a free standing headstand away from the wall for several seconds, maybe even 10 seconds!

 

Something about stretching my body out, tightening my core, and reaching for the ceiling with my feet was the secret to finding balance and mastering this next stage. I hardly noticed it when it first happened, but then I realized this was the key to achieving the next stage.

 

Often, success does not happen with a big epiphany or a grandiose “Eureka!” moment. More times than not, success happens with a barely perceptible, small, incremental difference or shift you make in your efforts.

 

If you have been struggling with a success in your life, rather than frustrate yourself by trying to make a big leap, I encourage you think about a small change you can make. Then pay close attention to the results, for it may produce a surprising result.

 

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not ‘Eureka!’, but ‘Hmm, that’s funny…

– Isaac Asimov

 

Too often we focus only on the big eureka moment, thinking that taking big steps will get us to our goal faster. But more times than not, the small, almost imperceptible changes are the ones that open the doorway to the success we desire.

 

Often times, we stumble across these successes after many, many attempts. One of the the biggest differentiators between success and failure is determination. It took Edison thousands of tries to develop a battery. But he never was discouraged by his failed attempts. Instead, his perspective was, “I have not failed. I’ve just found thousands of ways that won’t work.”

 

READ HOW THIS APPLIES TO YOUR BUSINESS here.
 
 

To see how these small, barely perceptible incremental differences matter and can be the difference between a champion and . . . whoever comes in second, check out the video below.

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Here in America we are obsessed with winning. Obsessed with stories about persevering against all odds in order to finally, after great struggle, win the day. These stories are thrilling and inspiring, but they overlook the less glamorous, very un-Hollywood-like path to happiness and satisfaction – quitting to win.
 

A recent Psychology Today magazine published an article about three well-known entrepreneurs and businessmen who quit to win – Steve Jobs, Howard Schultz (Starbucks) and Henry Ford. They all quit and left behind some aspect of their life in order to focus on another more passionate avenue that called to them. The article went on to point out that when faced with “complexity and uncertainty, most people lack the mental acuity to kill pet projects or close doors on distracting opportunities.” Yet, it is this exact quality that often opens the door to greater success for people.

 

Sometimes you have to quit to win in your life.

 

It could be that you are in a bad job, a bad relationship or a bad financial situation. Whatever it is you are suffering through, the true challenge is mustering the courage to quit that path for something you think, feel or believe is more favorable.

 

Often, we feel as if we need to persevere and endure the hardships of life, as if that pain and suffering will be what earns us the reward we seek. But this suffering more likely just gives us great dissatisfaction and stress, which actually begs a much simpler question:

 

Do you want to be a hero, or do you want to be happy?

 

Personally, I like to follow The Rule of Water: When confronted with obstacles in life, water gracefully chooses the path of least resistance and flows around the obstacle, leaving the fight and struggle behind.

 

Some would say this is taking the easy way out. But to those who see the water reach its final destination, they see it as victory.

 

Quitting is letting go of things (or people) that are sucking the life out of you so you can do more things that will bring you strength.

– Osayi Osar-Emokpae, Impossible Is Stupid

 

Too many of us wear struggle and suffering as a badge of honor. It is as if that suffering makes the end result more rewarding. In elementary school, we all learned that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Every time we engage in suffering of some kind, consider it a deviation from that straight line and a detour from the end result you truly wish to achieve in your life.

 
Today, why not take a moment to reach into your heart and find the courage to quit that one thing that is sucking the life from you. There is no doubt that in doing so, tomorrow’s sunrise will seem much brighter!

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It’s no secret that conditions change quickly. Whether they are conditions in your life or business, what is true one moment may not be true the next.

 

I often walk through the woods near my home on a path that passes several streams. Until a few days ago, everything seemed fairly normal with these streams. Then, as if it happened overnight, the water levels dropped noticeably. One particular stream stopped flowing. It may just be my awareness this year, but I don’t recall seeing this occur in the previous 2 years I walked this path.

 

Then, just as suddenly, that one stream that stopped flowing went from a small pond, to a small puddle. Overnight. As I stopped and took advantage of this unusual opportunity to explore the rarely exposed stream bed, I noticed a great deal of movement in the puddle. It was filled with several small fish that did not swim to safety when they had the chance before the stream began to dry up. Now, they were stuck and left vulnerable in an ever-shrinking mud hole, which by my guess, gave them only 1 or 2 days left to live, especially if rains did not come soon.

 

Watching them frantically swim in the little puddle of muddy water, coming to the surface every now and then to gulp some air, it was hard not to reflect on the situations in my life where I perhaps did not act as quickly as I should have, and my indecision left me in a very vulnerable position with very few, if any, options.

 

Watching this lesson in life unfold before my eyes reminded me of one of my favorite quotes I heard at a business seminar, “Hesitation is the leading cause of road kill.”

 

The next day when I walked past this puddle, the water, and the fish, were gone. All that was left in its place was a drying stream bed and tracks from a smart raccoon who easily feasted on the fish that were left so vulnerable.

 

Where in your life have you, or are you, hesitating when you know you should take action? Are you doubting your instinct and not trusting yourself to make a certain move? The Universe rewards action; even more so if it is immediate action. Don’t delay and get caught in the mud hole. Chances are, that will only lead to you becoming someone else’s meal.

 

The tragedy of life is not that it ends so soon, but that we wait so long to begin it.

– W. M. Lewis

 

Stop waiting for your life to begin, or for conditions to be just perfect before you do something you know you need to do or have always wanted to do. Take action now. Your life will feel uniquely rewarded and enriched by doing so.

 

Or, like the wise men in this video, and in corporations across the globe . . . you could just have a meeting.

 
 

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A few years ago I started working with a company called City Fire here in NJ (www.cityfire.com). They provide fire safety services (sprinkler systems, alarm systems, fire extinguishers, etc) to schools, apartment buildings, office buildings, small businesses, etc.

 

Among the many amazing things I’ve had the privilege of witnessing at City Fire has been their strong and steady growth through one of the most difficult economic times in recent history. While there are several factors contributing to their success – “getting the right people with the right skills in the right jobs”, setting goals, establishing stronger communication and communication channels – probably the single greatest contributor to their success has been their commitment to measurements.

 

Once they establish their annual goals they track them on a quarterly basis and, here’s the important part, they hold every manager accountable for achieving their goals. At every quarterly meeting each manager reports on their progress, areas of success and issues where they are challenged.

 

Their success is not a magic bullet they mysteriously uncovered and are not telling anyone else. Their success is a function of the simple concept of setting goals, continually measuring them, and taking creative, proactive action when they see a deviation from their targeted goal.

 

While some people and companies attribute success to luck, natural talent or being in the right place at the right time, most lasting success is a function of hard work, focused dedication, a commitment to a goal, and being willing to be held accountable.

 

In my continued belief that life is not rocket science, here are 5 simple steps to achieving the success you desire in your life or business.

 

1. Declare your goal – If you don’t know where you are going that’s exactly where you will arrive.
2. Set a plan – “A goal without a plan is a dream”
3. Take action – Do at least one thing everyday that contributes toward that goal.
4. Measure your progress – Be willing to track your progress and see how you are doing against your goal.
5. Recalibrate – If you are not hitting your target, take creative, proactive action to re-adjust your aim and actions.

 

Following these simple steps will have you meet with the success, happiness and satisfaction you seek in your life.

 

Most people use statistics the way a drunkard uses a lamp post, more for support than illumination

– Mark Twain

 

The greatest thing about measurements is that they can help illuminate our lives. What are we really doing on a day to day basis? Are our actions truly making a difference? Are we getting closer to our goals in life? By measuring, we can answer these important questions. Without measurements, we run the risk of floating through life aimlessly, never truly being satisfied.

 

And, if you want to discover perhaps the most important measurement of all, give a listen to the video below.
 

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