Category Archives: Success

What It Takes to Be a Leader

Category : Success

“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.” – Ronald Reagan

Have you noticed the lack of leadership around these days?  Whether it is in government, schools or any organization, it seems that vision is lacking and many do not have a clear idea of where they are going.  I don’t need to remind you (you are already aware) of how much “passing the buck” goes on these days. No one wants to take responsibility, it seems, and accountability plays second fiddle to an attitude of “taking care of self first”.

Confusion, delusion avoidism, escapism are all prominent everywhere. It really doesn’t matter what aspect of society we are talking about. This is not a “blame the government” post since we are all responsible for any government body we vote in. It is not about blaming schools or business or throwing out any accusations against anyone. It is a reflection on the problem and possible solutions.

Who Is the Leader?

First, we need to know what it means to be a leader. Many books have been written the subject with just as many variations. There are three sources I would like to turn to to help with the definition.

John Maxwell

John Maxwell is unarguably the world’s top expert in leadership and has written countless books on the subject. I will talk here about the 5 Levels of Influence, which John Maxwell builds upon one after the other. They are:

  1. Position
  2. Permission
  3. Production
  4. Personal Development
  5. Personhood

Position simply refers to the title a person has such as a boss, a teacher, or a coach. Just being the bearer of a positional title does not necessarily make them a leader. It simply puts the person in a position of authority. The person may certainly have leadership skills, but these are not because of the position he or she holds.

Permission means that the person has been given permission by one or more individuals to lead in a certain capacity. They have agreed that the person is to be the leader. This b person will be followed only as long as he fulfills the expectations the group or individual have of him. For example, In a team project, the team may elect one person in the group to lead the discussion.

Production refers to the leader’s ability to bring about results. When the leader (chosen or positional) brings about results, this increases his level of credibility. Those following have more faith in his ability to lead and get results.

Personal Development refers to the leader taking the initiative to develop his own skills as a person and as a leader to improve in both areas. Followers see a leader who is doing this as someone who is credible and “walks the talk” and someone who is humble and teachable.

Personhood is the top level of the five and refers more to the character of the person rather than his title. This person or a person at this level of influence has shown himself to be concerned with developing himself as a leader and being a credible person worth following. He is an influencer through example.

Jim Collins

Jim Collins talks about 3 factors of leadership:

  1. A Capable Individual
  2. A Contributing Team Member
  3. A Competent Orchestrator

Capable Individual refers to any individual who has core skills and competency, meaning that the potential for leadership is there, but development is necessary.

Contributing Team Member refers to the individual’s ability to not only be a part of a team but to see himself as an active member. This individual understands that any results (good or bad) are dependant on the combined effort of all team members.

A Competent Orchestrator is good at getting teams together and on the same page. He gets all the cats to walk in a straight line, so to speak. The competent orchestrator has a vision and communicates this vision to team members to get everyone working together towards a common goal.

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” – John C. Maxwell

Orrin Woodward & Co-author Chris Brady

In their book entitled “Launching a Leadership Revolution“, these authors examine 5 levels of leadership, which are:

  1. Learning
  2. Performing
  3. Leading
  4. Developing Leaders
  5. Developing Leaders Who Develop Leaders

Learning In order for someone to eventually become an effective leader, he or she must go through the learning phase with mentors. No title of authority or “wannabe” leader can ignore this important process (because it is ongoing). A leader who stops learning stops being the leader.

Performing is persevering through obstacles and failures. They go through the struggle, not just to it. They go through the process of dream-struggle-victory. These individuals focus on performance – their own performance, not the performance of others. They take on responsibilities and hold themselves accountable. Performing also means “tweaking” performance and results.

Leading means developing a broader ( and long term) vision. It means having the ability to communicate goals and vision to the group and orchestrate people to embrace the vision and work towards it willingly and together. The leader uses the past to learn from in order to affect the present and lead to an improved tomorrow. Clarity of vision, accountability, humility, teachability, and responsibility are all characteristics of an effective leader.

The effective leader is generous about giving credit to others for contributions and accomplishments and equally willing to accept responsibility for all failures. The effective leader will take the “hit” for the group.

Leaders Developing Leaders has to do with legacy and continuing momentum. It is the ripple effect, which is that when you toss a stone into water, the stone makes a small splash, but the water ripples further and further out into circles. So leaders who develop leaders are developing circles of influence.

It is at these two last levels that the impact we have on those around us begins to be noticeable. We are all in some way a role model for someone else or for others. Some of us are teachers, business leaders, community organizers and many of us are parents and coaches. The ripple effect of our actions and choices spreads out far beyond the circle intended.

“Becoming a leader is synonymous with becoming yourself. It is precisely that simple and it is also that difficult.” – Warren Bennis

But, Am I A Leader?

Whether we realize it or not, we are all leaders to some degree. We also have people leading us, leading our children and leading our countries. We are Impacting people around us for better or for worse. Parents are leaders who are, hopefully, developing effective leaders. That is a huge responsibility. Employers are leading people, influencing them and impacting their lives. We are leaders in our neighborhood and in our larger community. It is not a matter of title, but of influence.

We are not always aware of how much influence we have on those within our close circles and in wider circles. We may think that our actions and our decisions only have a very short reach. The reality is that we are not only impacting the present all around us, but we are also playing an important role in the future. When you think about it, the responsibility is impressive. There is nothing small or insignificant about our contribution.

Effective Leadership – A Solution?

Coming full circle back to the beginning of this post, we can see how having a good understanding of what leadership is and learning how to be an influencer in our own sphere of influence can have a potentially significant impact in the world around us (in our communities, in our  schools, in our business communities, in our government leadership and beyond). If we consider the ripple effect of a stone in water and the ever-expanding water ripples and see our influence the same way, we can begin to see possible solutions to the lack of strong leadership.

The Takeaway

In light of the leadership crisis that is so prevalent around us, I wanted to shed some light on what effective leadership can look like. In today’s world, we give people the authority of leadership (a title), but too often these individuals do not give the impression that they understand what leadership is. Just being in a position of leadership does not make one an effective leader or even a good leader. Leadership is about the heart and not about Braun.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject of leadership.  Please leave a comment below.

Read Also:

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5 Essential Factors for Success

How to Fix a Toxic Work Environment

Secrets to Making Great Decisions

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Diana Lynne’s passions are family, travel, self-improvement, pursuing a debt-free/financially free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and being with her dog Skye. Diana is a Quebec City girl. who loves living life.  You can connect with her through Livingandstuff.ca

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25 Inspirational Quotes

Category : Life Tips , Success

 

Are there days when you need a pick-me-up? Are there times when you feel like nothing is working out or projects are taking longer than you thought or would like? Do you have dreams that you would like to see happen but you are not sure if they ever will? Do you sometimes wonder if everything will work out?

We all have these questions from day to day. We make plans, we dream, we get up, we live our day and we go to sleep. Sometimes we just need a little inspiration to remind us of who we are and what we can do if we really believe we can. Sometimes we need some inspiration just give us an extra push in the right direction and maybe even change the direction of our life. Here are some quotes to inspire you.

(1) Keep your face always toward the sunshine—and shadows will fall behind you.” —Walt Whitman

(2) Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.” —Maya Angelou

(3) I arise full of eagerness and energy, knowing well what achievement lies ahead of me.” —Zane Grey

(4) A No. 2 pencil and a dream can take you anywhere.” —Joyce Meyer

(5) My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.” – Jack Layton

(6) Some people dream of success, while other people get up every morning and make it happen. – Wayne Huizenga

(7) You never know when a moment and a few sincere words can have an impact on a life. – Zig Ziglar

(8) When you learn something new, especially something that’s not connected to your day job, it can be inspirational and life-changing.
– Norah Deay, How To Become The Go-To Person

(9) The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. – Steve Jobs

(10) May your troubles be less and your blessings be more.
Irish Blessing

(11) Sometimes later becomes never. Do it now – unknown

(12) Do something today that your future self will thank you for.

(13) It’s going to be hard, but hard does not mean impossible.

(14) Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. –Maya Angelou

(15) It’s your place in the world; it’s your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live. –Mae Jemison

(16) Remember no one can make you feel inferior without your consent. –Eleanor Roosevelt

(17) It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop. –Confucius

(18) Do what you can, where you are, with what you have. –Teddy Roosevelt

(19) I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. – Nelson Mandela

(20) If you believe it will work out, you’ll see opportunities. If you believe it won’t, you will see obstacles. – Wayne Dyer

(21) If you set goals and go after them with all the determination you can muster, your gifts will take you places that will amaze you. – Les Brown

(22) Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible. – Francis of Assisi

(23) Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all. — Dale Carnegie

(24) I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions. — Stephen Covey

(25) Learn from the past, set vivid, detailed goals for the future, and live in the only moment of time over which you have any control: now. – Denis Waitley

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Diana Lynne loves travel, self-improvement, living a debt free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and her dog Skye. You can connect with her through livingandstuff.ca

 

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25 Quotes About Success

Category : Success

 

“The foundation stones for a balanced success are honesty, character, integrity, faith, love and loyalty.”Zig Ziglar

Success, of course, is not just about business or monetary success. There are probably about as many definitions of success as there are people. What is good for the goose is not necessarily good for the gander where success is concerned. But there are some common themes; there are passion, dreams, goals, happiness. Everyone has something that they want to be or do. There is something of a “success” spark in everyone. I hope that these 25 success quotes will inspire you to be all you can be.

(1) “The Pessimist Sees Difficulty In Every Opportunity. The Optimist Sees Opportunity In Every Difficulty.” – Winston Churchill

(2) “It’s Not Whether You Get Knocked Down, It’s Whether You Get Up.” – Inspirational Quote By Vince Lombardi

(3) “We May Encounter Many Defeats But We Must Not Be Defeated.” – Maya Angelou

(4) “Security Is Mostly A Superstition. Life Is Either A Daring Adventure Or Nothing.” – Helen Keller

(5) “A No. 2 pencil and a dream can take you anywhere.” —Joyce Meyer

(6) “There are two types of people who will tell you that you cannot make a difference in this world: those who are afraid to try and those who are afraid you will succeed.”– Ray Goforth

(7) “Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really: Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all. You can be discouraged by failure or you can learn from it, so go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember that’s where you will find success.”– Thomas J. Watson

(8) “If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.” — Jim Rohn

(9) “Don’t be distracted by criticism. Remember–the only taste of success some people get is to take a bite out of you.” — Zig Ziglar

(10) “I never did anything worth doing by accident, nor did any of my inventions come indirectly through accident, except the phonograph. No, when I have fully decided that a result is worth getting, I go about it, and make trial after trial, until it comes.” – Thomas Edison

(11) “Success isn’t just about what you accomplish in your life; it’s about what you inspire others to do.” – Unknown

(12) “Life is what we make it, always has been, always will be”. – “Grandma” Moses

(13) “A strong positive self-image is the best possible preparation for success”.  -Dr. Joyce Brothers

(14) “I attribute my success to this: I never took nor gave any excuses”. – Florence Nightingale

(15) “I am thankful for all of those who said NO to me. It’s because of them I’m doing it myself.”– Albert Einstein

(16) “In the end, it’s not going to matter how many breaths you took, but how many moments took your breath away”– Shing Xiong

(17) “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”– Mark Twain

(18) “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”– Alexander Graham Bell

(19) “Everything you want is out there waiting for you to ask. Everything you want also wants you. But you have to take action to get it.”– Jack Canfield

(20) “Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, or worn. It is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace & gratitude.”– Denis Waitley
(21) “Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.”– Carl Bard
(22) “Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.”– Harvey Fierstein

(23) “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” Henry Ford

(24) “Develop an attitude of gratitude. Say thank you to everyone you meet for everything they do for you.” Brian Tracy”

(25) “Always do your best. What you plant now, you will harvest later.” Og Mandino

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Diana loves travel, self-improvement, living a debt free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and her dog Skye. You can connect with her through livingandstuff.ca

 

 

 

 

 

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How to Have More Confidence With People

Category : Life Tips , Success

Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster. Your life will never be the same again”.
Og Mandino

If we are honest, most of us would say that we lack confidence in some areas of our lives. Sometimes we don’t feel that we are good enough to go after the job position or career that we would like. Maybe we feel that we don’t have the smarts or the ability to do so. We compare ourselves to others who seem to be much better than we are at relating to people and seem to have it together academically. Some of us may prefer to stay at home in our cocoon rather than go out and face people and have to speak with them.

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming really interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you. Which is just another way of saying that the way to make a friend is to be one”.
Dale Carnegie

Some of us dread speaking to others or socializing with them because we are afraid of what people will think of us. There are those of us who are so terrified of speaking with someone of the opposite sex for fear of looking like a fool and being rejected. Lack of confidence can hold us a prisoner of our own mind and prevent us from being all that we can be and doing all the things we would like to do.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others”. – Marianne Williamson

In his book How to Have Confidence and Power in Dealing with People. author Les Giblin deals with this very issue of confidence and explores how to go about developing the confidence we need. The first section of the book is entitled: Making human Nature Work for You and I would like to focus this post on this point.

Les Giblin states that ” one of the big reasons people lack confidence in dealing with others is that they do not understand what they are dealing with”. He adds that ” We are always unsure of ourselves when we are dealing with the unknown”. (p.xxii) The key to success with people is understanding people; not just being able to get along with them. According to the Carnegie Institute of Technology regarding success:

85 percent of success is due to personality factors, to the ability to deal with people successfully”.

More people fail in the job market for a deficit in people skills than competence. More people are fired for their inability to deal with people than for their professional (technical) skills. Most of our “personality” problems are really people problems – our skill in dealing with people. Many people will categorize themselves as shy, timid, reserved, self-conscious or uncomfortable in social situations when, in fact, the reality is a deficit in people skills. People are here to stay; they are not going away. We all have to deal with them whether we want to or not. So it is better to hone the skills and use them to our advantage.

Some Human Nature Basics

There are four “facts of life”, author Les Giblin points out, to know about people:

  • People are all egoists (all of us are).
  • We all care more about ourselves than anything else in the world.
  • All of us want to feel important and “amount to something”.
  • We all crave approval from others so that we can approve of ourselves.

So being egotistic is actually normal even though this trait was scorned in the past and people who were considered self-centered were told to just stop being “like that”. Today we know that our ego helps us to self-preserve. In fact, we cannot be altruistic or sympathetic to others if our basic ego has not been “filled”, so to speak. We must first take care of ourselves. Jesus said to his disciples:

“And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself”

If we are to love our neighbor as ourselves, then it is clear that we must first love ourselves (self-esteem, healthy ego).

Share Freely

We all have human relations potential and so much relational wealth to share. All around us people are starving for the need to feel important and to count. People are famished to be noticed and appreciated. So the fastest way to get better at people skills is to understand what people are looking for and share the goodness. Les Giblin highlights Three ways we can do this.

  1. Be Convinced that Others Are Important

It is a choice of attitude. We simply decide once and for all that everyone, no matter who they are or what they are like or what they do (or don’t do) has importance. Dr. Rhine of Duke University stated:

“Our treatment of people depends on what we think they are, as does our treatment of everything else. No other way would be intelligent. Our feelings for men depend on our ideas, our knowledge about them”.

2. Notice Other People

Generally, we tend to notice only that which is important to us and since people crave being noticed, we are actually paying them a big compliment by noticing them; it makes them feel important. The opposite is also true – when people ignore us (ie: pay more attention to their cellphone, their computer or other activities going on) we tend to feel as if we don’t matter very much to that person.

Les Giblin suggests ” Turning the spotlight on everyone”  and also treating each person as an individual in a group. Even a small amount of attention will be enough to make a person feel like he is important.

3, Don’t Lord It Over People

We all have the need to feel important and this often comes through loud and clear in our conversation. Some of us, in an effort to feel important, prefer a monologue to dialogue and preaching over listening. Whether intentional or not, the fact is, we want to make a good impression. We want people to acknowledge our presence, but the best way to create a good impression is to show another that we are impressed by him.

Opinions and being right don’t really matter much and are not even the point of conversation. We don’t have to win every argument and we don’t need to let people know that they are wrong. When we focus on ourselves being right and correcting others, then we are once again putting ourselves in the limelight and not sharing the goodness.

The Takeaway

Understanding the basic nature of people – the need to feel important, noticed, appreciated and focusing on meeting these needs helps us to take our eyes off ourselves and our insecurities. Most, if not all of our people skills insecurities come because we choose to highlight them and avoid honing the skills that would make social interactions smoother and even more enjoyable. All areas of our lives will benefit from “turning the spotlight” on others.

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Diana Lynne enjoys travel, self-improvement, pursuing a debt-free/financially free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and being with her dog Skye. Diana is a Quebec City girl. who loves living life.  You can connect with her through Livingandstuff.ca

 

 

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25 Quotes on Making Life Choices

Category : Life Tips , Success

Photo credit: Nathan Dumlao @nate_dumlao -unsplash

Decisions can be tough and emotionally charged. Minor or major consequences are often at stake. Other people can be impacted positively or negatively. Our integrity and courage are called into play. Decisions are most often something we do not like to make. We struggle with the right thing to do, we worry about how we or other people will be affected. We worry about people getting mad at us for our decisions and more times than not, we choose the path of least resistance. No one wants to rock the boat. 
Decisions come with inherent risk. Do I denounce the dishonesty of my co-worker? Do I leave this well-paying job for one I am not sure about yet? Should I marry this person? Should we have one child or several? Should I move to another city or country? Should I confront this person about an issue? Should I confront my boss? There are so many decisions we have to make in life that it can be stressful and overwhelming at times. How can we find our way through the murky waters of decision-making?
Here are some quotes from divers sources to help you in the decsion-making process.

 

(1) “Sometimes it’s the smallest decisions that can change your life forever.” —Keri Russell

(2) “Life presents you with so many decisions. A lot of times, they’re right in front of your face and they’re really difficult, but we must make them.” —Brittany Murphy

(3) “It doesn’t matter which side of the fence you get off on sometimes. What matters most is getting off. You can not make progress without making decisions” —Jim Rohn

(4) “Life is about choices. Some we regret, some we’re proud of. Some will haunt us forever. The message: we are what we chose to be.” —Graham Brown

(5) “We are the creative force of our life, and through our own decisions rather than our conditions, if we carefully learn to do certain things, we can accomplish these goals”. —Stephen Covey

(6) “You are one decision away from a totally different life”. – Anonymous

(7) “You and only you are responsible for your life choices and decisions.” Robert T. Kiyosaki23. 

(8) “Indecision is a decision.” Anonymous

(9) “You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change direction overnight.” Jim Rohn

(10) “Don’t base your decisions on the advice of those who don’t have to deal with the results.” Anonymous

(11) “The key to making healthy decisions is to respect your future self. Honor him or her, treat him or her like you would treat a friend or a loved one. A Stanford study showed that those who saw a photo of their future self made smarter financial decisions.” A.J. Jacobs

(12) “Decision is a sharp knife that cuts clean and straight; indecision, a dull one that hacks and tears and leaves ragged edges behind it.” – Gordon Graham

(13) “If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.”- Jim Rohn

(14) “Did you know that to worry about a situation you are making a conscious choice to do so?” – Mike C. Adams, How To Stop Worrying and Be Happy

(15) “If you don’t have the information you need to make wise choices, find someone who does.” – Lori Hil, 5 Gifts to Give Yourself

(16) “The risk of a wrong decision is preferable to the terror of indecision.”- Maimonides

(17) “Why do we have to listen to our hearts?  Because, wherever your heart is, that is where you all find your treasure.”– Paulo Coehlo

(18) I believe the single most significant decision I can make on a day-to-day basis is my choice of attitude. Charles Swindoll

(19) Give a solid answer when you accept or decline an offer, making decisions based on your calling, not on what others want of us. Beth Beutler, Time Management, Jesus’ Way

(20) Remember when your dad said, ‘Always sleep on an important decision?’ Some ideas need to marinate. You may not believe it but your mind is still tinkering away at your project at all hours of the day. N.C. Harley, Active Patience

(21) Poor decision making I think, is the number one cause for most of our mistakes. So to make fewer mistakes means to make better decisions, and to make better decisions you must train yourself to think more clearly.’ – Rashard Royster, Mistakes

(22) “Very often, when you change your perspective, you see things differently, make different decisions, and get different results”. – Brian Tracy Get Smart!

(23) “A real decision is measured by the fact that you’ve taken a new action. If there’s no action, you haven’t truly decided.” – Anthony Robbins.

(24) “…the H.A.L.T. method. Never make a decision when you are Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired”. – David Notaris

(25) “All my life, whenever it comes time to make a decision, I make it and forget about it.” – Harry S. Truman

The Takeaway

Life will always be an ongoing process of decision-making; some will be easy and some will be gut-wrenching; some will have a long-lasting impact and some a temporal impact. Being equipped and prepared to help ourselves make effective decisions will go a long way toward making our life path smoother.

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Diana Lynne

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Would You Do This For You?

Category : Life Tips , Success

“One of the greatest regrets in life is being what others would want you to be, rather than being yourself.”
– Shannon L. Alder

How often do we think of all the things we could do, we would like to do, but then find all sorts of reasons to put them off.  We see that things need to change in our family, at our work, with the friends we socialize with, or maybe there is something that needs to change in our community. Sometimes, we see that a destructive cycle needs to be stopped in a relationship or a municipal decision in our community needs to be overturned. Maybe we just feel that there is something more we can do with our lives.  We want to make a difference and start a change.

Would You Dare to Begin?

Change begins with an idea and often a catalyst event. Something happens that tells us that change needs to happen. It may be that the game-changing event is the proverbial “last straw” or simply a wake-up call to tell us that the ball must start rolling. In the sports world, we see this phenomenon a lot. A team is falling behind and can’t seem to get their act together during the game. Then comes a realization that a new game strategy and an attitude fix are needed to win. A timeout and a solid talk from the coach or captain whips the team into shape and the team comes out ready to tackle the world.

It may be that you are sick and tired of being sick and tired of the same old, same old. Maybe you are tired of life passing you by while you watch it go by from the front porch. Maybe you just need that push to get you started. Maybe you are beginning to realize that that dream, that idea is possible after all. If others can do what they dream of doing, why not you? Maybe it is your turn to shine. Maybe it is time for you to stand up and do something you ahve always felt called to do.

Do You Believe?

A single idea can blossom into something so much bigger than you imagined. As an example, I began this blog on the wing of an idea. I have been doing it for 5 months already and it all began with the question “Can I really do it?”  I had all sorts of doubts in my mind. I wondered if people would even care about what I write. Blogging is an activity that takes a lot of time and I put my heart into each post. But I am willing to trust the process and believe that i can do it and i can make a difference.

Would You Trust the Process?

And what is the process? It’s a chain of events that can bring someone from the point of  “dragging their feet” to eventually getting results doing what they have always wanted to do. It is about being consistant, being present, day after day and having the faith to carry it through in the face of obstacles  and disappointment. The process is:

A catalyst event that leads to a change in attitude, which leads to a change in behavior, which leads to a change in performance, which ultimately leads to a change in results.

We all have events that happen in our life that we might call game-changers: events that cause our life to take a sudden turn in the road and go a different direction (good or bad), but what we do with these events – how we handle them can make all the difference. We can just sail along with them -or sink with them or we can use them to our advantage. We can capitalize on them. In my case, I was looking for something creative, something that I could personally bring to the table .

So how do we turn these events, these momentous points of decision into action? How can we capitalize on them to bring about a positive change? What is that key that will be the difference between whether our idea, and the catalyst that fermented it, stays in our head or whether it will blossom into something much bigger and more beautiful?

Would You Trust Your “Why”?

It is rae that we will begin anything without having a reason why. Our “why” is the most important element in anything we undertake. We need to ask ourselves why we want to change. What is the driving force behind the idea? Are we tired of how things are going in our relationships? Do we believe that we can change our work situation or get on a better career path? Do we want to make some changes in our community that are long overdue?  Do we see that we can make an impact somewhere? Do we finally want to step out and follow that dream we have been carrying around inside?

Let’s face it. We were not born to be fish floating with the downstream current. We are certainly not here to figure out how to die safely. What is it that we want to to do to make an impact in our life? Where are we going and who do we want to be? What greater purpose has been bubbling up inside of us? When we latch on to this purpose, this idea, it will lead to:

Could You See Things Differently?

No longer do we have to listen to or accept all the negative that has been pumped into our brain for most of our lives. We don’t even have to listen to ourselves. We can turn down and turn off that voice and tune into a positive voice and mindset. Believe me, there are days when I wonder if I am writing to anybody or if all my readers are imaginary. Anything worthwhile will come with its share of discouragement. Doubt, discouragement, and questions are part of the process but, in the end:

We are either the captains or the captives of our own thoughts.

We have around 50,000 thoughts a day and they are the only thing that we really have any control over. Our thoughts can either make us or break us. Ultimately we have three choices in life:

  • Give up
  • Give in
  • Give it all we’ve got

It all comes down to our attitude and our ability to reframe our reality. A gamechanger in life can get us down or we can rise above it. It all depends on how we are able to reframe it and use it to our advantage.

Could You Take That Step?

To gain momentum we need action. Like in physics, an object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion. In other words, we need to get the ball rolling to see results.

The thought of acting on our ideas of making changes can grip us with fear. We may be fearful of what others may say about us. Will they try to discourage us or belittle our idea? Will they be antagonistic? In reality, most people are not even thinking about us because they are too focused on themselves.

We may be afraid of losing what we have gained or worked hard to attain. We spend our time counting all of our chickens rather than think about taking a risk. But changing things will involve risk. If we want results in an area, we have to be willing to give up our comfort.

Maybe we are afraid of failure. Don’t worry, failure is a stepping stone to success. If we try to avoid failure, we will just be hurting ourselves:

  • Quit thinking about it and do it!
  • Quit talking about it and do it!
  • Quit waiting for the perfect time and do it!
  • Quit trying to make it fair and do it!

Do You Have the Courage?

Stuff happens! Life happens! Gut shots happen! They happen to all of us. We are going along and feel like our act is together and then BAM! Life hits us smack in the face. Now we hit a fork in the road and have to decide which path to take. It happens to the best of us. No one is immune from adversity. It all depends on how we handle it.

So how do we handle these hits? Well, Rocky Balboa has some wisdom on this:

It’s not how hard you can hit that makes you successful; it’s how hard you can get hit, get back up and keep moving forward that counts.

Life isn’t fair – we have all heard that many times. We just need to expect the gut shots in life, take them and rise above them. These shots can cause momentum in one of two ways; either a downward spiral momentum or an upward climb momentum. It’s really up to us where we want to go.

Would You Reach Out?

Having others on board with you will energize your idea and give it some push. whatever it is you are working to do or change, having a team will be a boost. So, how do you get them on board? For example, in a family, how do you get everyone involved in managing the household chores?

Enthusiasm! Get excited about it. sometimes just seeing someone’s excitement is enough to motivate action even if they don’t know what is going on. Enthusiasm is contagious. Have a vision and get excited about it. Be up when things are up and up when things are down.

Encouragement! Highlight their strong points. What is it that you see in them that makes the special and unique and how would this make them great team members?

Edify! Become a good finder in others. Even if it is hard to find something good, find it anyway.

Get your team together and get them on board!

Margaret Mead said ( of a group effort):

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

Could You Keep Your Eye On the Horizon?

They go hand in hand. We need to show up. We need to do it. We need to do it consistently and give it all we’ve got. We need to never give up and never give in. We need to get through the valleys of life, learn the lessons of the valleys and start climbing out. That is our performance – staying in the game, continuing no matter what. And the results will be there. They are what make the struggle, the persistence worth it.

And here’s the deal – If we don’t take the first step, if we we don’t decide to step out and get a little messy, well we will just stay clean. But we may miss out on the adventure of our life.

The Takeaway

Everything begins with an idea. Sometimes the idea comes as a result of catalysts – game changers in our life. Sometimes we just need to make some changes and get the ball rolling. It won’t happen if we don’t begin. We need to put the gears into action and pick up speed if we want the results we are looking for. A snowball will gather speed as it rolls downhill, picking more snow as it goes. In the same way, we can give our ideas the first push, but gathering a team will help it gain momentum.

Have a great day!

Read Also

We Don’t Have All the Time in the World

The Seeds of Possibility

Overcoming Fear and Leaving the Comfort Zone

5 Ways We Block Our Success

The 10 “Must Do” Things for Success

The Fight of Our Life

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Diana Lynne’s passions are family, travel, self-improvement, pursuing a debt-free/financially free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and being with her dog Skye. Diana is a Quebec City girl. who loves living life.  You can connect with her through Livingandstuff.ca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5 Emotional Intelligence Skills Will Transform Your Life

Category : Life Tips , Success

 

photo credit Lesly Juarez @jblesly

“It is very important to understand that emotional intelligence is not the opposite of intelligence, it is not the triumph of heart over head–it is the unique intersection of both.” — David Caruso

We have certainly all heard about different kinds of intelligence. In particular, we are most familiar with intelligence quotient (IQ) as a way of measuring potential. For decades IQ was a standard for measuring one’s success in life: academically, professionally, and even healthwise.  Who remembers the long IQ tests given in schools? More and more, other forms of intelligence are being looked with more interest. One of these is Emotional Intelligence or EQ (Emotional Quotient).

According to one article in The Guardian, emotional intelligence might be the secret to a high salary

IQ gets you hired. EQ gets you promoted.— Time Magazine

“We might be hired for technical talents, but we are often fired because we lack emotional intelligence.” – Canaday

According to some researchers, emotional intelligence accounts for up to 75% of a person’s ability to succeed. A study, published in the Journal of  Vocational Behaviour (August 2017) found that students who tested high in emotional intelligence (EI) during their studies and who were followed for 10 years after, went on to have higher paying careers than students who scored a lower EQ. It seems that people with higher emotional intelligence are more skilled at connecting and relating to people on emotional levels, and better able to keep themselves in check in stressful situations and environments. They are more aware of their strengths and weaknesses.

Renown psychologist, Daniel Goleman brought his groundbreaking book – Emotional Intelligence: Why it Matters More than IQ (1996) into the limelight and the psychological community was taken by storm. Daniel Goleman divides the 5 elements ( I have added a 6th: adaptability) into two broad categories: (1) Personal skills: How we manage ourselves and (2) Interpersonal skills: How we handle relationships with others.

Personal Skills

Self Awareness

“Being self-aware is not the absence of mistakes, but the ability to learn and correct them.” Daniel Chidiac

Self-awareness refers to the ability a person has to be in tune with his or her own emotions, how they affect moods, actions, and behaviors. Self-awareness enables us to identify what or how we are feeling at a given moment and see it as separate from the situation and other people. It helps us to be aware of our reactions and understand them as well as understand the relationship between feelings and behavior

When a person is in tune with herself, she is also aware of her strengths as well as her weaknesses. Having this awareness enables her to be open to new perspectives and information and recognizing that she may not have all the information or may even be wrong. This self-connection makes it easier for her to learn from others and new information.

Generally, a person who is self-aware is confident with herself and with others, has a positive outlook on life and doesn’t tend to take herself or life too seriously.

Some Specific Characteristics of Self Awareness

  • Is emotionally aware
  • Self Assesses
  • Is self-confident
  • Is aware of strengths and weaknesses

 Self-regulation

“Self-control is a key factor in achieving success. We can’t control everything in life, but we can definitely control ourselves.” Jan McKingley Hilado

Self-regulation or self-control means that we are in control of our emotions, our reactions and behaviors and not the other way around. Sometimes people tend to get the two mixed up in the heat of conflict or crises. Being self-regulated means that a person will choose to pause before speaking or acting to prevent saying or doing something that she might regret after.

For leaders, in particular, this quality of being self-regulated even in trying situations is a professional asset. The ability to assess situations and respond appropriately and calmly, maintaining control over their emotions can be a much-needed skill in conflictual or confrontational scenarios. Self-regulated people have a feel for the situation and are proactive rather than reactive.

Some Specific Characteristics of Self-Regulation

  • Self-control
  • Trustworthiness
  • Adaptability
  • Resiliency
  • Conscientious
  • Does not compromise values

 Self Motivation

“Once you have mastered time, you will understand how true it is that most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year – and underestimate what they can achieve in a decade!” ~ Tony Robbins

A self-motivated person is one who sets his own standards and goals independent of exterior standards and goals.  He generally has high standards for himself in all areas of his life. Don’t count on a self-motivated person to be too concerned with what is going on around him – he is focused and driven by his internal purpose. This person generally will not worry too much about the naysayers or failure – he gets back up and keeps going. The self-motivated person is not afraid to take risks, experiment and try new things. He is hardworking and responsible.

Some Characteristics of Self-Motivation

  • Committed
  • Takes Initiative
  • Goal-oriented
  • Sets high standards for themselves
  • Driven
  • Not afraid to take risks
  • Clear about goals and purpose

 Empathy

“Empathy is the ability to step outside of your own bubble and into the bubbles of other people.” C. Joybell

Empathy refers to the ability to put oneself in another person’s shoes (or circumstances to see things from another person’s perspective. It involves putting aside our natural prejudices and preconceived notions and taking the time to listen to what the person is saying – listening without jumping in to respond. Having empathy requires that we develop a curiosity about other people, a desire to know them independently of any professional context. It also involves our being able to open ourselves up, to become vulnerable to a certain extent and authentic. Empathy really is compassion and authenticity.

Some Characteristics of Empathy

  • Understands others
  • Develops others
  • Political awareness
  • Attuned to nonverbal language
  • Curious
  • A good listener
  • Willingness to be vulnerable

 Social Skills

“A boss creates fear, a leader confidence.  A boss fixes blame, a leader corrects mistakes.  A boss knows all, a leader asks questions.  A boss makes work drudgery, a leader makes it interesting.  A boss is interested in himself or herself, a leader is interested in the group.” – Russell H. Ewing

This category covers a lot of skills, but, essentially it refers to our ability to relate to, work with, communicate with and lead other people. Social skills are needed to be able to form strong relationships with people, whether at work or with people close to us. Good social skills enable us to bring disagreements to the surface and deal with them quickly and well rather than let the unspoken fester for days or weeks. Listening and the willingness to hear the other person or people, whether for good news or negative news builds trust and trustworthiness between people. Finally, having good social skills means being willing to share ideas, plans, and information with others rather than withhold valuable information.

Some Characteristics of Social Skills

  • Persuasion and influence
  • Communication skills
  • Conflict management skills
  • Cooperation
  • Teamwork
  • Leadership
  • Building bonds

I would like to add one more Emotional Intelligence Skill in addition to the 5 presented. I think it merits having a separate category and is a very important skill to have: Adaptability

Adaptability

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” George Bernard Shaw

A 2008 study conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit, entitled Growing Global Executive Talent, showed that the top three leadership qualities that will be important over the years ahead include: the ability to motivate staff (35 percent); the ability to work well across cultures (34 percent); and the ability to facilitate change (32 percent). The least important were technical expertise (11 percent) and “bringing in the numbers” (10 percent).

Clearly, adaptability is an important skill to have in an ever-changing world (culturally, economically, technologically, and socially). More and more people are expected to be able to understand and work with people from different cultures, keep up with ever-changing technology, and even the latest research and developments in the dynamics of working with other people. The workplace no longer looks like the workplace of even 10 years ago. Today, people need to be increasingly open to new ideas, deal with the unexpected, adapt to new strategies and flow with innovation. they need to be adaptable and teachable.

Some Characteristics of Adaptability

  • Teachable
  • Ability to handle the unexpected
  • Adapt to new realities and strategies

For far too many years there has been a focus on academic intelligence and “natural” intelligence or the intelligence quotient (IQ) as determining factors for one’s success or failure in life. The problem with this way of thinking is that it projects the idea that intelligence is something we either have or don’t have to varying degrees. It has been the driving force in educational circles to guiding students to one profession or another. This focus on an intelligence quotient naturally assumed there was only an intellectual competency and nothing else mattered for academic success.

Fortunately, the fruit of much research has shed light on the fact that there are many forms of intelligence and this makes sense since we are complex creatures. It is refreshing to know that we can have a part in building our own intelligence through education and practice rather than simply be a recipient of doled out intelligence. It is empowering and liberating to know that we can change the course of our life and that of others through developing ourselves and learning to increase our emotional intelligence and other forms of intelligence such as adversity intelligence or even social intelligence.

The Takeaway

People are such wonderfully amazing and complex creatures. We all have so much to offer and tremendous potential. Emotional intelligence is available to every one of us and developing the skills involved will make a difference in all aspects of our lives. These skills are an unquestionable asset to our professional lives and can make all the difference in how we are perceived in the business world. In our personal relationships, highly developed emotional intelligence is a full toolbox to help us wade through relational minefields and build solid bonds. Clearly, acquiring some level of emotional intelligence is important.

Related Posts

The 10 Soft Skills of Leadership

10 Important Tips for Communication

7 Ways to Resolving Conflict

25 Happiness Quotes to Brighten Your Day

The Art of Influence – The New Direction

Diana Lynne’s passions are family, travel, self-improvement, pursuing a debt-free/financially free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and being with her dog Skye. Diana is a Quebec City girl. who loves living life.  You can connect with her through Livingandstuff.ca

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The Slight Edge: Simple Habits For Success

Category : Success

“Gentlemen, this is a football” – Vince Lombardi

We are all familiar with the financial concept of compound interest in the world of finance, which simply put, is the principle that the interest that we make will also earn interest, and this interest will, in turn, earn interest. This will go on indefinitely and the larger the balance becomes, the larger the interest accumulated.  Small amounts compounded consistently over time will yield consistently larger amounts.

This principle of compounding is not just a financial principal but is a principle that is applicable in all areas of our lives. This principle is really what we call potential and what author and entrepreneur, Jeff Olson calls The Slight Edge in his book by the same name. In his book, Jeff Olson explains why some people are able to achieve success in their lives, not just financial success, but success in all areas.

What makes all the difference comes down to the habits we cultivate in our everyday lives, to the choices we make and where we invest our time on a regular basis.  Most people, however, will choose not to do the simple disciplines required. Why? “The simple things that lead to success are all easy to do. But they are just as easy not to do”. (p. 54) The second reason he gives is “The results are invisible – they don’t add up to success”. (p.55)  So here is another problem – The simple habits which create success in the long run, don’t seven seem like they are having much of an impact in the short term. They may even seem trivial. and that is why most people won’t do them.

“There are two kinds of habits: those that serve you, and those that don’t.”
Jeff Olson, 

Slight Edge choices might include:

  • Reading a book for 30 minutes a day
  • Waking up early to exercise each day
  • Eating vegetables and fruits regularly
  • Keeping track of spending

Some habits that do not serve well might be:

  • Choosing to watch tv shows over reading
  • Sleeping an extra hour instead of getting up early
  • Eating processed snack foods instead of healthy snacks
  • Not keeping regular track of spending

Just as we know the importance of regularly putting aside money to invest in order to benefit from the principle of compound interest, we also know that good habits in other areas of our lives will reap rewards over time. Healthy eating habits will yield healthy bodies, healthy relationship habits will yield healthy relationships and healthy lifestyle habits will yield a healthy lifestyle. But it takes more than just knowing what to do; it also takes a change in the way we think. In fact, if we don’t change  “the way you think about simple everyday things”., then no amount of how-tos will get you anywhere or give you any true solutions.”

The First Ingredient

Self-help and weight loss programs abound, but, unfortunately, many people stay with them a while and then stop. They come to the conclusion that the program didn’t work or “wasn’t for me”.  People don’t stay with the program because the attitude behind the actions is not the right one to keep them going. Of course, people can get inspiration, give themselves pep talks to get them going, but these will not keep them on track long term. Jeff Olson calls the first ingredient: the philosophy, which is “what you know, how you hold it, and how it affects what you do.” He says that a positive philosophy (mindset) will translate into a positive attitude and a negative philosophy will breed a negative attitude.

“The truth is, what you do matters. What you do today matters. What you do every day matters. Successful people just do the things that seem to make no difference in the act of doing them and they do them over and over and over until the compound effect kicks in.”
Jeff Olson

The Slight Edge Curve

Jeff Olson writes that everything in life is on a curve; there are no straight paths. We are either curving up or curving down in life. He says we are either “increasing or decreasing”.  In the graph above, the positive compound interest lifestyle is represented by the upward curve. The downward curve is the formula for failure (repeated bad choices, attitudes, habits over time). The upward curve represents essentially 1 person out of 20 (5%) who will choose the path of compounding and be relatively successful in the different areas of their life. The downward curve represents the 19 people out of 20 (95%) who know what to do but choose not to.

“You have complete control over the direction that the rest of you life takes.” – Jeff Olson

Time Is Either a Friend or an Enemy

Time is really all we have and it can be our greatest ally or our worst enemy depending on how we choose to spend it. When we have a “time is my friend” mentality, we make all of our choices from this perspective. We can use it to cultivate good habits and not waste it on activities or choices that are unproductive. Simple disciplines over time will promote you in ways you might not have seen and neglecting the simple disciplines will expose the neglect. It really all comes down to what you want out of life and the direction you want it to go.  It will go up or it will go down, but it will not travel in a straight line.

Blame Vs. Responsibility

In his book, Jeff Olson explains that there are two predominant attitudes that will help you to measure which side of the curve spectrum you are on. On the down curve, the predominant attitude is: blame. The predominant attitude of the upward curve is responsibility. Having an attitude of responsibility sets you free and empowers you. Essentially, it allows you to be in control of your actions, reactions, and choices. People with the attitude that they are responsible are not limited by circumstances and that how they respond determines their success, not the circumstance.

On the downward curve are those who are “blame professionals”. For this group, everything and everyone is fair game for them: the weather, the economy, the government, their upbringing and their parents, their boss or their colleagues and so much more. In fact, this group lives continually in a “victim” mentality and are disempowered by this very habit-attitude of blaming.

The Landscape of the Curve

Something else we can notice about this diagram is that at the beginning, it looks like the simple disciplines are not making too much of an impact. for example, if two people have the desire to be physically fit or be healthy, both may be starting at the same place. Let’s call them Sarah and Anne. Sarah chooses to apply simple disciplines such as healthier eating and regular exercise, while Anne does not. For a time there will be no difference in results, and they will be traveling along parallelly. Then, slowly at first and then more consistently and quickly, Sarah will begin to travel the upward curve in terms of her results at getting healthier.

In a business scenario, John and Maxime may be both traveling the same professional route at first. However, Maxime has chosen to study and learn new skills. He has chosen to read more in his field and outside his field as well as enroll in classes to improve his skills. John, on the other hand, continues doing what he has always done and chooses not to invest in himself? Which of the two will probably be getting promotions down the line?

7 Simple Habits to Close the Gap

Nothing that is significant is meaningless even if it is very small or goes unnoticed. In fact, most of what is important go unnoticed by most people.

Show Up

No matter what, be there where you need to be to do what you need to do. Just by consistently showing up, whether it is exercising, reading a book each day or making sales calls, by showing up, you are already ahead of 50% of the people. most people simply will not show up on a regular basis, Many will give up.

Be Consistent

Whatever results you are obtaining now, press on. Consistently doing what you need to do to get the results you want to have over time will get you the results you are chasing. It doesn’t matter where you start or when you start (but the best time is now), it doesn’t matter how good, how smart or how talented you or anyone else us. Consistency trumps everything else.

Have a Good Attitude Everyday

Attitude is key to the path your life will take as we have seen above. Your attitude will determine your future far more than any circumstances and setbacks will. If you can look up, you can get up. A positive attitude will impact you and everyone around you for the better. Have a thankful spirit, appreciate what you have. No matter what happens in life we always have things to be thankful for.

Be Committed

It all begins with a decision and a commitment to what we have decided. Commitment means that we are honest with ourselves and will do what we said we would do no matter how long it takes, no matter how we feel. Success in anything is not a 100-meter dash; it is a marathon. Commitment involves discipline and regularity. It has been shown that a habit takes 66 days to form and then we need to continue it until it becomes cemented.

Have Faith

Even if we don’t see results right away, we need to trust the process. And what is the process? It is the day in, day out plugging along, doing what needs to be done to get the results we want. Faith is long term vision and belief that that vision will be a reality. Lack of faith is what makes us doubt and then give up, but giving up will not bring results. So faith is an extremely important factor in the direction our life will go.

Pay the Price

There will be a price; anything worthwhile has a price. Maybe it will mean having to be uncomfortable for a while, maybe it will mean doing less of those activities that you enjoy but are not helpful or productive, maybe it will mean having to say “no” more often – no to the good, but yes to the great. Results require discipline and sacrifice for a good reason – short term pain for long term gain.

Have Integrity

Above all, have integrity towards yourself and others. Do what is right in the right way. Integrity is all about who you are and what you do when no one is looking. It,s about doing what you said you would do even when you donÙ,t feel like it, even when it is not convenient. Integrity is the work behind the scenes.

The Takeaway

” Give me six hours to chop a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln

At the end of the book, Jeff Olson references Abraham Lincoln who said that he would spend twice as long to sharpen his axe as he cutting down a tree. So it is all about the preparation, The care we put into getting the results we want. We will need to sharpen our ax over and over to be able to “cut down our tree.”  Everything we do is either bringing us closer to the results we want or further away. Our simple disciplines done on a regular basis over time will yield results.

Related Posts

12 Simple Daily Habits to Change Your Life

The Why and How of Happiness

Why Attitude Really Is Everything

Are You Attending Your Life

Diana Lynne’s passions are family, travel, self-improvement, pursuing a debt-free/financially free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and being with her dog Skye. Diana is a Quebec City girl. who loves living life.  You can connect with her through Livingandstuff.ca

 

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The Art Of Influence – The New Direction

Category : Communication , Success

“There are two parts to influence: First, influence is powerful; and second, influence is subtle. You wouldn’t let someone push you off course, but you might let someone nudge you off course and not even realize it”. – Jim Rohn

It has been said that everything rises and falls on leadership. And what is leadership but the “art of Influence“? We are all leaders at certain points and periods in our lives whether we realize it or not. There will always be people over whom we have an influence to some degree; this is indisputable. But the question arises, what kind of influence do we or will we have? People around us are watching us. Our children are watching us, our colleagues are watching us and our friends and acquaintances are watching us.

What do I mean by watching? I mean this, that everything we do or say will have an impact on other people. People want to know if we are honest and trustworthy. They want to see if we are dependable and loyal. By our very words and especially our actions, we are influencers in our entourage. Do our actions match our words?  The degree to which people will listen to us, take us seriously and even follow us will depend on the degree to which we “walk our talk'”.

“Your actions speak som loudly that I can’t hear what you are saying”.

How does this play out in our everyday lives? We all have different relationship spheres that we circle around in. We have our close relationship circles (family and close friends), we have our larger relationship sphere ( acquaintances, groups, neighbors) and we also have our professional sphere (colleagues, clients etc.) In all of these spheres, we are influencing one another to various degrees, depending on the nature of the relationship.

As the title of the article suggests, influence is an art. The book “Launching a Leadership Revolution”  by authors Chris Brady and Orrin Woodward break down this Art of Influence or leadership into what the authors call: The Trilateral Leadership Ledger. They state that:

“For leaders growth cannot be optional. The only way to keep pace with increasing responsibilities is through increased ability” (p.94)

Personal Growth

Growth must take place in two phases: personal and influence with others. The Trilateral Leadership Ledger deals with the first step: personal growth because a person can not influence others effectively without first taking care of his own personal growth.  Personal growth in leadership, the authors say, is a function of Character, task, and relationships

Character

Our character really refers to who we are as a person, that is to say, who we are on the inside. How do we measure up in integrity, honesty, patience, self-discipline, and humility?

Task

This subcategory refers to our ability to get a job done. Can people depend on us to hold our end of the line? Qualities to look for here include a sense of responsibility. a work ethic, availability, willingness to invest our time, tenacity and perseverance.

Relationships

This category refers to our ability to build strong bonds with others and get along even in all the ups and downs of life. A leader seeking to grow in this area would want to be: accepting of people, approving of people, appreciating of people, encouraging, seeing the good, seeking win-win solutions, and helping others to achieve their goals.

According to the authors, a leader can measure his overall personal growth by seeing he does in each of these three areas on a scale of 1-10. But, the authors caution, Each category is to be multiplied by the other two. For example, if a leader assesses himself as 8 in one category, 5 in another category, but 0 in the third, then the overall score would be 0, meaning there is still much work to be done. So the Trilateral Leadership Ledger is a measuring tool to evaluate personal growth in the three areas and determine his or her overall effectiveness.

Going From Personal Growth to Influencing

The authors suggest that there are two transitions that need to happen before a person can be an effective influencer in his or her entourage and before people will agree to follow.

Step one

Character (integrity, honesty, self-discipline etc.) needs to be multiplied by courage. What does this mean in practical terms? If someone has integrity and is honest, he or she will choose to live in such a way that they do what is right. They don’t rob, steal or tell lies. They keep away from shady goings-on. Courage steps in when we see something wrong is being done to someone, or in business, for example, and we step in order to right the wrong.

Step two

Our character is multiplied by the trust people have in us. To illustrate, we may be very strong in our character, we do what is right and we don’t fold when things are not being done honestly, but if we are not competent at what we do, then it really doesn’t matter how good our character is. People simply will not follow a leader they do not believe is competent to lead.

Competency

Competency refers to having the skills necessary for a particular job or position. We ask: Does he or she have the skills to do what he or she is doing? Often, people will say they have “x” number of years of experience when really what they have is “x” multiplied by the number of years they have been doing what they say they have experience in. In other words, they may have been doing it for a long time, but have not become a master in it. Experience and mastery are two different things.  Malcolm Gladwell (Outliers) points out that it takes thousands of hours to master a skill. He says that 10,000 hours are needed for elite mastery.

Many want to achieve world-class results but are not willing to put in world-class efforts and be in for the long haul. The result usually is that when the going gets tough, most go home. Not many are interested in being excellent at what they do, whatever they do and many settle for “good enough”. This is why there is such a big gap in work ethics, why corners are cut, time and money are wasted and squandered. It is too easy to take the short cut, do the minimum rather than put in the time. As the saying goes:

“When all is said and done, much more is said than actually done”.

So when followers ( employees, students, children, group members) do not see the leaders putting in the time or pursuing excellence in what they do, they are not likely to trust them or buy into the plan.

A Word About Relationships

In any leadership situation, relationship building is key. Nothing good will happen without solid relationships. A leader, whether parent, employer, teacher or other would do well to invest, and I do mean invest, time into building solid relationships. In his book “How to Have Confidence and Power In Dealing With People”, author Les Giblin outlines a triple-A formula for attracting people (and building strong relationships).

  • Accept
  • Approve
  • Appreciate

Acceptance

It is a universal human desire to want to feel accepted, much like the oxygen we need to breathe. And we strongly desire to be accepted just the way we are without the bells and whistles. We all want to be able to just be ourselves without having to wear a mask or put on a show just so others will like us. The author writes:

Strangely enough, the people who accept people, and like them just as they are, have the most influence in changing the other person’s behavior for the better (p. 66)

To accept others as they are, also means that we need to get rid of our expectations of how we think they should be, our prejudices, our filters and anything else that gets in the way of taking them as they are.

Approval

The author says that approval goes a step beyond acceptance; it has a more positive connotation. When we approve, we are actually trying to find something that we like about a person. People are not looking for flattery, but they are looking to be noticed for something about themselves. Showing approval means finding something about a person that merits highlighting in order to encourage them. Of course, approval doesn’t mean that we approve of everything the person does, but that we accept them as a person.

Appreciation

The word “appreciate” means to raise something or someone in value, so that is exactly what someone who wishes to be an influencer should strive to do. Find ways that will show them that you value them as a person and the work that they do. People want to know that they count. What are some ways we can do this, as examples?

  • Don’t keep people waiting; respect their time and yours
  • Thank people
  • Communicate with people directly, not through emails, and voicemails or texts
  • Acknowledge their presence and introduce them, if necessary
  • Treat all people as special

It really doesn’t matter where we are or what the context is. Everyone deserves to be treated this way. The waitress at the corner café deserves to be appreciated as our most valued customer. The lady at the checkout counter deserves as much appreciation as our employer. And of, course we don’t do this for what we can gain- it’s not about ” I’ll scratch your back if you’ll scratch mine”. An effective influencer is someone who serves others not for what they can do for him or give him or for what he will gain, he serves, lifts others up as a matter of being human. Our gestures will give them confidence.

A Word about Influence

As we have seen, we cannot just call ourselves an influencer and be one just like that. Becoming someone of influence is a process of self-examination and growth. We can not expect to have a positive influence on others if we have not learned to manage ourselves or, at least are in the process of doing so. First of all, if we have character weakness, if our actions are not in line with the values we say we hold on to, people will see right through the veneer. They will call us out or at least they will ignore us. Influence, like charity. begins at home (in our heart and mind).

Influence is also not a “do what I tell you to do” scenario. If we are not out in the field and down in the trenches, walking our talk, then we can hardly expect others to believe us or believe in us, can we? The people we are hoping to lead or influence expect that we are competent to do so, or, at the very least. doing our best to become competent. No one is going to be willing to work with or cooperate with someone who is just an orchestrator from the podium. People follow people who are fully engaged, present and willing to learn. In short, they expect leaders to be real and authentic.

Being well known or having a lot of contacts / or a big following is not necessarily an indication that a person is an effective leader. it takes more than fame and a huge following to be an influencer. Some very good influencers work with very small groups of people ( a family, for example, or a small group of friends). Just because a person’s name is well-known in social or business circles, does not make them an effective influencer. We need to be careful who we listen to and who we follow; they may be leading us away from who we are.

The Takeaway

I hope that you have enjoyed this post.  So many people in the world today want to give themselves a title without merit. Many are quick to call themselves this or that and often it is empty in terms of content. Becoming an influencer or a leader is just that – becoming. It is a process; it is a journey. People choose to follow us; it is not a popularity game. I hope that this post has been helpful to you in your journey wherever you are on that journey.

Have a great day!

Related Posts

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Why Speed of Trust Matters for Business

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Take a Risk – Be Courageous

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Diana Lynne’s passions are family, travel, self-improvement, pursuing a debt-free/financially free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and being with her dog Skye. Diana is a Quebec City girl. who loves living life.  You can connect with her through Livingandstuff.ca

 

 

 

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Are You Ready for Your Breakthrough?

Category : Success

 

“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” – Helen Keller

We all (or many of us did) heard these words when we were growing up: study hard, get good grades and you’ll get a good stable job and be set. Didn’t we hear that from parents, teachers, and others? So, many of us did just that. We followed the program. But the program we followed did not teach us much about real life or how to actually thrive in real life. The program just taught us how to be good cogs in a well-oiled wheel. Most of us didn’t really learn the true characteristics of success in whatever we choose to do.

Our society has an unwritten classification system with essentially two categories of people: winners and losers. A winner (according to our society) is “loosely” perceived as someone who has “played and mastered” the game. He is someone who has jumped through or manipulated the hoops to his advantage and has come out on top. A loser is perceived again,” loosely”, as someone who has somehow fallen through the cracks of life. He is someone who may have gotten off to a bad start and stayed there or someone considered to “not be going anywhere”.

But that is society’s paradigm and society’s system. It is just a perception. I want to talk about how the concept of “winner” and “loser” has more to do with a mindset than what happened in our past, what our current abilities are or even what our current our situation is. So let’s give a new definition to the words winner and loser.  Please know that I am not (intending to) categorize anyone; I merely wish to describe a way of seeing things and provide a backdrop for creating positive change.

“All personal breakthroughs begin with a change in beliefs. So how do we change? The most effective way is to get your brain to associate massive pain to the old belief. You must feel deep in your gut that not only has this belief cost you pain in the past, but it’s costing you in the present and, ultimately, can only bring you pain in the future. Then you must associate tremendous pleasure to the idea of adopting a new, empowering belief”. – Tony Robbins

A “Winner” Mindset

A winner, in this new paradigm, is not defined by or controlled by his past. Instead, he chooses to learn from past mistakes (his mistakes and the mistakes of others). He does not live in the past but prefers to fully live in the present (the moment). And he leads his life into the future (he has focus and vision). The winner is determined and perseverent against obstacles. He also chooses to be a winner by adopting new attitudes, beliefs, and courses of action. This paradigm is a lifestyle, that is to say, a way a person decides to live life by being in control of his choices and attitudes and by not allowing these to control him.

A “Loser” Mindset

A loser (mindset) lives in the past. That is, he replays the past over and over, like a movie, in his head and uses the past to justify the present. The past is his backdrop for rationalizing why he is where he is in life today. His approach to life is largely reactionary. He also rationalizes the future, using his past and present to decide how his future will be. He blames his “bad luck” on things outside himself.  This person is, unfortunately, caught in a belief system that holds him captive to his pas and to his environment. A person in this frame of mind is not stuck there; he or she can always, at any point choose to turn his life around.

Dealing with Failure

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” —Thomas A. Edison

When confronted with obstacles and failures in our lives, our mindset is what really determines where we go from here. To the winner, a failure is merely an event, a necessary step in the process of success. It is a learning tool of what not to do and an opportunity to gain wisdom. To the loser, failure is seen as a personal blow. He or she looks at failure as an indication of a personal deficiency such as not being smart enough, fast enough, or competent enough. Because he takes it as a personal reflection, he can not learn from the failure.

In his book “The Magic Of Thinking Big“, author David J Schwartz sums up five ways to turn defeat into victory (pp. 250-251):

  1. Study setbacks to pave your way to success. When you lose, learn and then go on to win next time.
  2. Have the courage to be your own constructive critic. Seek out your faults and weaknesses and then correct them. This makes you a professional.
  3. Stop blaming luck. Research each setback. Find out what went wrong.
  4. Blend persistence with experimentation. Stay with your goal, but don’t beat your head against a stone wall.
  5. Remember, there is a good side in every situation. See the good side and whip discouragement.

It Begins with Our Past

“We Need to Change How We Think about the Past. Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change”.  – Wayne Dyer

The obvious fact is: history cannot be changed. No matter how much we wish it could, or how we wish we could undo some things in our past, it simply cannot be changed. So we can choose to live there in wishful and self-pitying misery or we can stand back and see what learning nuggets we can use to apply to the present. Obviously, if we regret some of our choices, we do not want to repeat them. so why not start there? Why not decide not to repeat the same mistakes?

Doing the same thing, again and again, will not give us different (and better) results, but using the experience from the past (our experience and the experience of others) as a teaching tool on what not to do is powerful in bringing about the change we want to see. Nothing changes without first having the realization that something has to change. The catalyst for change can be the mistakes of the past. The winner makes a choice to learn from the past to define his future. The past is a teacher, not a millstone.

Most of Our Time Is Spent Filling Time

“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.”  – Bruce Lee

If you think about it, we do spend a whole chunk of our time doing repeats of what we have already done. We have routines, habits, schedules, and traditions – all designed to repeat the past in the present. We actually don’t use much of our time to do new things. And a lot of our time is being filled by something urgent (we think). We fill our time with busyness (appointments, traffic jams, worrying, conflict-all kinds of things) and the time jar gets filled up pretty fast.

We can fill our jar of time to overflowing without ever doing something significant or life-changing. One emergency follows another and soon we have no idea where the day or the week went. It reminds me of an image I read about concerning rocks, sand, and water.  When we fill up our jar with sand and small rocks (representing unimportant things) and then try to put the big rocks (important things) in after, we have difficulty because space is already taken up by the small rocks and sand.

Why not start with the big rocks first? A winner thinks long term and makes choices to help him get where he wants to go. A winner puts in the big rocks first and then fits the smaller and less important things (pebbles and sand) around the big rocks. In this way, the unimportant emergencies do not usurp the high priorities of his life.

Steering The Kayak

“The direction of your focus is the direction your life will move. Let yourself move toward what is good, valuable, strong and true.” – Ralph Marston

We do this “busyness” because we get caught up in immediate emergencies and lose our direction concerning where we are going and why. It is a bit like being in a kayak in whitewater without a paddle. Without the paddle to help navigate through the rapids we will smash up against rocks and maybe get caught in the twisting rapids. With a paddle, we can direct the kayak and navigate the emergencies to get to where we want to go and we don’t have constantly be on the defensive and react to what happens. We can choose where to go.

And while we are on the subject of kayaking, here are a few things to think about. We are in charge of the kayak and the paddle, not the river. We should know where we are taking the kayak. There are rocks and currents along the way, but when we have a goal and determination, we can dominate the problems. Also, while we are kayaking, we are honing our skills of meeting real challenges head-on and dealing with them. There is no room for worrying, arguing, or wasting time at all. We deal with the important issues straight up: staying alive and getting to the destination.

If You Are Not Where You Want to Be, it’s Time to Do Something About It

“You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight.” – Jim Rohn

When is the Best time to plant a tree? Ten years ago! When is the next best time to plant a tree? Now!

Now will not be now for very long. Tomorrow, it will be yesterday. So what do you want to do with now? There no better time than the present to make the changes in order to have the changes you want to see. And, the things is, no one is going to decide for you; no one will be living your life for you.

We can either fill time or invest time. Either way, time will pass into the past. And what do you want the future to look like for you? Do you want a repeat of the past with a few variations or do you want to do something new, something challenging, something that will make a difference? Do you want changes in your relationships or in your professional life? Anything is possible with a winner mindset.  Remember, the winner is inside of you; it is your potential.

The Takeaway

Everything is a choice, isn’t it?  All of life is a choice and, we are the result of the choices we have made, consciously or unconsciously in our actions, our words, our thoughts, and our attitudes throughout our lives. We really can not blame anyone or anything for ho or where we are today. This is powerful because it also means we are in control of where we are now and what we will be doing tomorrow. It all begins with how we think. What tomorrow will be for us will come as a result of how we think today.

Have a great day!

Related Posts

How Belief Will Open Doors

Why Attitude Really Is Everything

Be Courageous, Take a Risk

Why Natural Talent Is Overrated

5 Ways We Block Our Success

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Diana Lynne’s passions are family, travel, self-improvement, pursuing a debt-free/financially free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and being with her dog Skye. Diana is a Quebec City girl. who loves living life.  You can connect with her through Livingandstuff.ca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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