The Power of Attitude

“People who succeed have momentum. The more they succeed, the more they want to succeed, and the more they find a way to succeed,” writes Tony Robbins. It is built over time with a ceaseless drive and passion, a self-motivation repeated endlessly as it becomes part of the great leader’s life.

In his book, Winning Every Day, Lou Holtz provides great leaders his own definition of momentum with an interesting, thought-provoking insight.

“Momentum is nothing more than a state of mind. Again, an attitude. For example, you are winning a football game 14-0. Your opponent scores just before the half to make it 14-7. Up in the broadcast booth, the announcers proclaim that momentum has just swung in favor of the other team, even though you’re still ahead 14-7. Now let’s look at another game. This time your team is tied at 7-7. You score a touchdown and make the extra point just before the half to go ahead 14-7. As you enter the locker room, everyone now claims the momentum is with you. Ridiculous. The score is 14-7 in both instances. In other words, momentum is whatever your attitude determines it to be.”

Be it a force that great leaders build through repetition over time, or a continuing motivating attitude that finds its sustainability in the strength of attitude, momentum is sustaining power. May we magnify that power as we remember the words of Michael Korda: “One way to keep momentum going is to have constantly greater goals.” And as Tony Robbins counsels us: “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” Life is so very good.

Thanks my friend Michael M Reuter SHU

How powerful is the “Why”

My Mentor Michael M Reuter shared this with me.

John Grisham writes: “The alarm would go off at 5, and I’d jump into the shower. My office was 5 minutes away. And I had to be at my desk, at my office, with the first cup of coffee, a legal pad and write the first word at 5:30, five days a week.” So it is in the great leaders’ lives – the daily routine so often repeated, the seemingly endless work and long hours. Even with their excitement, challenges, and rewards, there are moments of fatigue, and even boredom, when the glamor of what they are doing disappears. They seem to have lost their way.

H.G. Wells wrote: “Losing your way on a journey is unfortunate. But, losing your reason for the journey is a fate crueler.” In their simple humanity, great leaders arrive at those moments in life when they question the “why” of their journey. The joy they once experienced is somewhere lost, and the once driving satisfaction becomes depleted. It is, at these times, that great leaders know to pause to revisit their purpose. What was it that brought them to this job? What was in it that filled their passion? What has changed that they feel as they do now? These questions open their door to a deep exploration to find again their purpose.

The answers to their questions help them again find their life’s purpose – reason is again found in their routine, excitement in their challenges and satisfaction in their work. It was always there, only obscured by a momentary detour. On the other hand, their answers may open their eyes to new paths. Erol Ozan writes: “Some beautiful paths can’t be discovered without getting lost.” Lao Tzu tells us: “New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.”

Regardless of the outcome, the moment was grasped to revisit their life’s purpose. This is beautifully captured in Pablo Picasso’s words: “The meaning of life is to find your fit. The purpose of life is to give it away.” May you always remember Jerry Buccino’s gentle counsel: “When you leave, you want to leave a pile of ashes that will remind people that you once burned a magnificent fire.” May your fire burn brightly and light the world! Life is so very good.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

Moments to remember

“We do not remember days, we remember moments,” writes Cesare Pavese. It is in these brief instances that our mind and heart capture something memorable and distinctive. The moment was different from all others. It glowed by its specialty and uniqueness. It may have been a moment of connectivity with others in celebration (a wedding or graduation), a moment of self-discovery (a choice of a career or career change, a decision to marry),a moment of personal achievement and pride in its accomplishment, or simply a moment of exception that was exciting, fun and memorable (our first roller coaster ride, a truly out-of-the ordinary and magical happening). These are moments that we remember and treasure and which create a mosaic of the joys of our life.

In their beautiful and powerful book, The Power of Moments, Chip Heath and Dan Heath share with great leaders how they can create more magical and special moments. They write:

“Every culture has its prescribed set of big moment: birthdays and weddings and graduations, of course, but also holiday celebrations and funeral rites and political traditions. They seem “natural” to us. But notice that every last one of them was invented, dreamed up by anonymous authors who wanted to give shape. That is what we mean by “thinking in moments: to recognize where the prose of life needs punctuations.”

“Think in moments” is their powerful message – to recognize thoughtfully that each moment gives us the opportunity to create a memory of a lifetime. All it takes is stopping and asking: how can I make this moment (be it a birthday, a meeting with someone, hiring a person, an experience for a customer, a surprise for a family member or loved one) so very special that they will remember it always? We have the power to create perfect moments that can last a lifetime. Think in moments! Make those punctuations! You will change the world!

Words of Wisdom from Elon Musk

I believe Elon Musk, at this moment, is poised to become the single most impactful person of the 2st century.
Randy Ottinger, Executive Vice President at Kotter International, said of Elon Musk: “Elon Musk is an inventor and builder wrapped into one; kind of like a combination of Benjamin Franklin and Steve Jobs on steroids.” Assuredly, Musk is a magnificent one-of-a-kind leader in today’s changing world. In her Predictive Success article, Top 10 in Leadership, author, Kelly-Ann Lahey shares Musk’s top 10 lessons in leadership.

Lesson #1. Lead by Example
Lesson #2. Lead with Purpose
Lesson #3. Be Creative
Lesson #4. Be Collaborative
Lesson #5. Encourage Innovation
Lesson #6. Be Decisive
Lesson #7. Be Comfortable with Change
Lesson #8. Hire Carefully
Lesson #9. Set Exceptionally High Standards
Lesson #10. Put the Right People in the Right Role

Musk’s lessons reflect his life learning from his personal experience of leadership. He has gone through the harsh realities of difficulties and failures to understand how each of these lessons has impacted his career and life and how they can affect others. His selfless sharing of these lessons allows both him and the recipient to continue to learn the lessons of leadership through his new-found perspectives. May his lessons serve as seeds to each of us to further grow and develop our own leadership skills, talents and knowledge that we, too, can be “an inventor and builder wrapped into one.”

Seek first to understand

To: the Great Leaders Who Have a Passion for Continuous Learning

My mentor and Coach Michael M Reuter shared this wisdom

“The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions.” wrote Leonardo Da Vinci. John F. Kennedy said: “Too often, we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.” Great leaders recognize that, sometimes, opinions – theirs and others – are not fact-based but simply expressions of their world-view. They realize that their ability to LISTEN and process information objectively allows them to have a greater understanding of the realities around them. It is this beautiful and robust openness to different perspectives and ideas that differentiate them and enables them to introduce and realize change.

Mother Teresa tells us: “The openness of our hearts and minds can be measured by how wide we draw the circle of what we call family.” May the circle we draw be wonderfully expansive and inclusive that our eyes, ears, and heart are opened widely to possibilities and realities yet unseen. May we remember that we don’t see things as they are, but as we are. It is the responsibility of great leaders to stand in the shoes of others that, as Stephen Covey tells us, they “seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

Screw it, just get on and do it, what you have now is enough to start.

As my mentor sent me today:

In his article, Successful People Start Before They Feel Ready, entrepreneur James Clear tells the story of Sir Richard Branson, English businessman and investor, best known as the founder of Virgin Group. Dyslectic and a high school dropout, at 16 he started a small magazine, went on to selling mail order records and then opened a recording studio at age 22. His record label grew, and 50 years later he had more than 400 companies. Today he is a billionaire. Clear shares his insights on Branson’s success. He tells Branson’s story of how he started Virgin Airlines which Clear says captures “his entire approach to business and life.”

I was in my late twenties, so I had a business, but nobody knew who I was at the time. I was headed to the Virgin Islands and I had a very pretty girl waiting for me, so I was, umm, determined to get there on time. At the airport, my final flight to the Virgin Islands was canceled because of maintenance or something. It was the last flight out that night. I thought this was ridiculous, so I went and chartered a private airplane to take me to the Virgin Islands which I did not have the money to do.

Then, I picked up a small blackboard, wrote “Virgin Airlines. $29.” on it, and went over to the group of people who had been on the flight that was canceled. I sold tickets for the rest of the seats on the plane, used their money to pay for the chartered plane, and we all went to the Virgin Islands that night.

Branson captured his own leadership style saying: “Screw it, just get on and do it.” Clear writes that Branson’s life is a self-portrait of his words: “He actually lives his life that way. He drops out of school and starts a business. He signs the Sex Pistols to his record label when everyone else says they are too controversial. He charters a plane when he doesn’t have the money.” It is about starting now, just doing it. In a beautiful summary Clear writes:

“You’re bound to feel uncertain, unprepared, and unqualified. But let me assure you of this: what you have right now is enough. You can plan, delay, and revise all you want, but trust me, what you have now is enough to start. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to start a business, lose weight, write a book, or achieve any number of goals… who you are, what you have, and what you know right now is good enough to get going. We all start in the same place: no money, no resources, no contacts, no experience. The difference is that some people — the winners — choose to start anyway.”

You are that winner. Remember and internalize Clear’s words: “What you have now is enough to start.” Start before you are ready! Be more than you ever dreamed you could be. And have fun doing it. Life is so very good.

How to start your day

From my good friend and Teacher Michael Reuter of SHU

It is the great leaders’ daily ritual in the quiet of the morning – their mind goes through the day ahead: family responsibilities to take care of, personal to-do’s, business schedule, evening commitments (a late night ahead?), then home again. With a smile of their face, they look into the mirror and jubilantly say, “This will be a magnificent day, the best yet.” Another day begins, and they know that the day will be filled with challenges.

Philip Humbert in his blog, Trouble and Triumph, writes about these great leaders, and shares his thoughts on a successful strategy that they can use in dealing with these challenges. He states: “High achievers expect challenges. They know that, as they move forward, problems will occur. Unexpected things will happen, and they maintain an attitude of optimism, humor, strength and resolve in the face of difficulties. They know that, as they become ever more successful, the size and complexity of their problems will only grow.” He suggests some solutions for solving the problems.

Expect difficulty! This is no surprise. It is not unfair or unusual. Life is complicated. Get good at it.
Keep a buffer around the edges of your life. Maintain a reserve of extra time, savings in the bank, and a bit of energy to handle the unexpected.
Attitudes of optimism and enthusiasm are essential.
View difficulties as challenges or learning opportunities rather than as problems. How we talk about our difficulties makes a huge difference in how we handle them.Words matter!
Have a team of cheerleaders, experts and colleagues on stand-by to help you overcome any challenge. “We get by with a little help from our friends.”
Be proactive. Take care of difficulties while they are small. Preventive maintenance is good for your car, your relationships and your heart.
Learn from every experience and (try) not to have the same problem twice. Learn from difficulties, make changes, and move on. Never repeat the same life-lesson!

Setting expectations, maintaining a positive attitude and seeing what life presents as opportunities to learn establish a powerful growth mindset. The morning ritual, far from being dreaded, becomes one of joy and excitement… the excitement that this beautiful and magnificent day we are given will be the best yet, because we choose it to be.
Fill every minute of your day with all the greatness and possibilities that only you can give. Return home each night knowing that you lived every minute of your magnificent life that day. May you remember and hold close the words of Henry David Thoreau that we “must find your eternity in each moment.” May you find your eternity in every moment. Life is so very, very good.

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It’s all perspective

As sent my friend and teacher Michael M. Reuter of SHU

Henry David Thoreau writes: “It is not what you look at that matters. It’s what you see.” These words provide great leaders a beautiful moment of reflection. They think of how wonderfully unique each of us is. We see life differently, not “right” or “wrong,” but with a rich abundance of diversity that brings new insights and meaning to everything we touch. They muse about how these words speak to the creativity that spawned from that different set of eyes, a creativity so beautifully captured by George Bernard Shaw in his words: “Some men see things as they are and say, why? I dream things that never were and say, why not.” They recognize also the caution given in these words: to be vigilant in their understanding that they don’t know what they don’t know – that there may be more possibilities in something that they are not seeing. As Anais Nin tells us: “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”

Like Riding a bike

In his recent blog post, Like Riding a Bike, Seth Godin provides great leaders a powerful insight and reminder of their journey of leadership growth and development – experiential learning… learning through doing.

Like Riding a Bike
People talk about bike riding when they want to remind us that some things, once learned, are not forgotten.
What they don’t mention is how we learned. No one learns to ride a bike from a book, or even a video.
You learn by doing it.
Actually, by not doing it. You learn by doing it wrong, by falling off, by getting back on, by doing it again.
PS this approach works for lots of things, not just bikes. Most things, in fact.

It is in the experience of something that learning is at its deepest and richest. It is real, hands-on, the sleeves rolled-up and the hands get dirty. Retention of the learning is most enduring because the experience becomes one of the memorable stories of our life’s journey, remembered in its finest, most riveting detail.

May you enjoy the full joy, excitement and beauty of your leadership ride – with all its turns, bumps, ups and downs and its detours onto life-changing new paths that deepen and broaden your leadership learnings. May you apply and share them as you change the world and serve others in their leadership journey. In doing this, may you remember always that life is a journey, with problems to solve, lessons to learn, and most of all, experiences to enjoy. As Tony Robbins tells great leaders: “The only impossible journey is the one you never begin.” Get on your bike and have the ride of your life!

Commit to Lifelong learning

From my friend and Mentor Michael Reuter, Leadership Chair at Seton Hall University:

Brian Tracy tells great leaders: “Commit yourself to lifelong learning. The most valuable asset you’ll ever have is your mind and what you put into it.” The great leader’s life is one of continuous learning filled with experiences that have been internalized to make them who and what they are. It is their beautiful life learnings that brings depth, richness, love and joy to their magnificent journey.
A friend shared with me learnings from Andy Rooney, former CBS 60 Minutes television writer, who had a magical gift for saying so much with so few words. May you enjoy their wisdom and beautiful humanity for your own learning.

I’ve learned….That the best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.
I’ve learned….That when you’re in love, it shows.
I’ve learned ….That just one person saying to me, ‘You’ve made my day!’ makes my day.
I’ve learned….That having a child fall asleep in your arms is one of the most peaceful feelings in the world.
I’ve learned….That being kind is more important than being right.
I’ve learned….That you should never say no to a gift from a child.
I’ve learned….That I can always pray for someone when I don’t have the strength to help him in any other way.
I’ve learned….That no matter how serious your life requires you to be, everyone needs a friend to act goofy with.
I’ve learned….That sometimes all a person needs is a hand to hold and a heart to understand.
I’ve learned….That simple walks with my father around the block on summer nights when I was a child did wonders for me as an adult.
I’ve learned….That life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.
I’ve learned … That money doesn’t buy class.
I’ve learned … That it’s those small daily happenings that make life so spectacular.
I’ve learned … That under everyone’s hard shell is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved.
I’ve learned … That to ignore the facts does not change the facts.
I’ve learned … That when you plan to get even with someone, you are only letting that person continue to hurt you.
I’ve learned … That love, not time, heals all wounds.
I’ve learned … That the easiest way for me to grow as a person is to surround myself with people smarter than I am.
I’ve learned … That everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile.
I’ve learned … That no one is perfect until you fall in love with them.
I’ve learned … That life is tough, but I’m tougher.
I’ve learned … That opportunities are never lost; someone will take the ones you miss.
I’ve learned … That when you harbor bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere.
I’ve learned … That I wish I could have told my Mom that I love her one more time before she passed away.
I’ve learned … That one should keep his words both soft and tender, because tomorrow he may have to eat them.
I’ve learned … That a smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.
I’ve learned … That when your newly born grandchild holds your little finger in his little fist, you’re hooked for life.
I’ve learned … That everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.
I’ve learned … That the less time I have to work with, the more things I get done.

The learnings touch our life with their wisdom in all its elegant simplicity – about self-knowledge, aspirations and relationships, the learned realities of living life. These are among the learnings of great leaders. Benjamin Franklin wrote: “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” Capture and embrace every precious moment in life. Learn from them. May it be said of you that you lived every day of your life. Life is so very good.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week