How Close Are You To Success?

Posted by in Self Leadership

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall.”  ~Confucius 

The opposite of success is not failure, it is giving up. Whatever you want to achieve please go for it with your whole heart and never, never, never give up. Focus is the key and persistence will get you there. You may love this clip by John Maxwell on persistence. 

Circumstance does not determine us. Our attitude determines us. It is not what happens to us, it is what we do with what happens to us. What separates high achievers from average achievers very simply is our perception of and response to failure.

I encourage you my friend that the next time you feel like giving up, DON’T. Keep on going and you will get the prize.

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Not for Wimps

Posted by in Relationships, Self Leadership

Group of young business people talking on business meeting at of

Benjamin Franklin was reported to have been ruthless, tactless, and quite rude. He realized that to be successful in life would require him to be successful with people. Said he, “I will speak ill of no man, and speak all the good I know of everybody.”

Further, he challenged himself to not criticize, condemn, or complain. In one of my recent leadership sessions we had open discussion on what each of these mean and how we can be effective in not only refraining from a negative tendency, but replacing it with something of positive nature.

Are you ready for a 7-day challenge?

Simply work for 7 days to not criticize or condemn anyone. Not for their faults, not for their wrongdoings. And, not to complain about people, events, or circumstances. If you fall, just get back up again and start over the 7 days and keep trying until you make it a full 7 days. In my first attempt I made it about 45 minutes.

Here is what I know to be true. If we are not intentional about improving ourselves we do not get better. We don’t even stay the same, we actually get worse. There was a story told of a man over 100 years old, rocking away on his wooden chair on his front porch and they said; “Mister, you are more than a century old, you must have seen a lot of changes in your day.” The old man replied; “Yes sir, and I was against every one of them.”

If I do not work to make myself better, one day I will just be an old man. If I do not work to improve relationships in my life, they will not get better. They will not even stay the same, they will get worse. The same as ignoring the service routine on my vehicle. A child grows bigger automatically, adults grow older automatically, but not one of us will ever get better automatically. To get better takes work, time, and practice. We must be intentional.

So who is up for the 7-day challenge? Are you brave enough to try something that you may have to start over, again and again? Go ahead, I believe in you. I believe in your potential. Even if we never “arrive” by trying each day we are better than before.

Ideas to help us improve.

When we feel like criticizing someone: (indicate faults) Find at least one thing we appreciate about this person and then thank them.

When we feel like condemning someone for something they have done: (express complete disapproval of) Say, “What they did was pretty crazy. I have done some pretty crazy things too.”

When we want to complain about something: (dissatisfaction or annoyance about an event) Instead think and say, “What a blessing.” Work to see the good that can come from whatever happens.

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Leadership Myths and Missing Pieces

Posted by in Self Leadership

Group of business people assembling jigsaw puzzle and represent team support and help concept

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.” ~John Quincy Adams

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

“The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves.” ~Ray Kroc

There are many myths surrounding effective leadership and many lose site of it’s main objective all together.

A popular myth is the “Position Myth.” This occurs when we think that if we had a position or title that people would follow us. Or another, the “Freedom Myth.” This is when we believe that when we get to the top we will no longer be limited. That somehow climbing the corporate ladder brings more freedom and less responsibility.

Or, how about this one, the “All-or-Nothing Myth.” The attitude that if we do not get to the top of the organizational chart we will not even try to lead. The belief that getting better is not worth the effort it will take in the current position that we have.

I believe that most people place too much value on title and position and not enough value on what leadership is really all about. John Maxwell teaches that: “Leadership is influence, nothing more and nothing less.” If leadership is influence then the real question is: How do we increase our influence?

At the close of this article I will give 4 points of leadership, that if we get right will allow us to begin to influence (not manipulate) at a level we never thought possible. But first, let’s review why the myths stated above are myths.

First, the “Position Myth.” Leadership is not and never will be position. It is not a position or title that brings influence or respect. A title means you are the boss alright, but influence is not given, it is earned. A boss who does not have influence with his or her people can “buy” their loyalty from 9-5, but their loyalty ends when they clock out at the end of the day. Influence does not come and go with the time clock. People may follow someone in position because they HAVE TO, but people will gladly follow a person of influence because they WANT TO.

Next, the “Freedom Myth.” Anyone in higher levels of leadership knows that the higher you go the less freedom and more responsibility you have. Therefore this remains one of the biggest myths of all. You have to give up in order to go up. And to stay up, you must continue giving up. Leadership is giving up what is good for me, for what is best for all.

Next, the “All-or-Nothing Myth.” Because leadership is influence and not position, ANYONE can lead. Anyone can choose to add value to people and to the company from wherever they stand in the organization. The attitude that it is not worth the effort it will take to improve is a matter of motivation not position.

The 4 points of leadership that will bring together the missing pieces. Buy into and live these and you will be amazed at what will happen.

  1. Everything rises and falls on leadership. Our marriage, our relationship with our kids, our effectiveness in community volunteer work, our jobs and careers. Everything.
  2. Leadership is influence, nothing more and nothing less. When it’s all said and done, it all comes down to that fact that the greatest leader is the one who has the greatest influence.
  3. The hardest part and the first place to start in leadership is leadership of self. Who is the hardest person you have ever had to lead? I know for me it is ME. Sometimes we can begin to place higher value on leadership as in getting someone else to do something, and lesser value on self leadership as in making and keeping commitments to our self and those closest to us.
  4. Leadership and influence should always be used to add value to other people. Hitler had influence but his values were rotten to the core. I hope that we will always use our influence to build people up and add to them becoming a better person.

 

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Get Out of The Reactive Rat Race!

Posted by in Self Leadership

Rat Race Cartoon Illustration

“The proactive approach to a mistake is to acknowledge it instantly, correct, and learn from it.” ~Stephen Covey

“Reactive behavior requires only reflex action.” ~W. Edwards Deming

“The difference between average people and achieving people is their perception of and response to failure.” ~John C. Maxwell

We can better understand the proactive mindset if we first understand the reactive mindset. For example: How many of us feel better when the weather is good? How many of us do better at work and in life when we feel better? It’s like most of us. We tend to be reactive to the weather or what we could call our environment. What about how people treat us or what we can call the social environment? How many of us do better in life and work when people treat us with respect and kindness? Yet, have you noticed how easy it is, on the other hand, to become a bit irritated and defensive when we are treated poorly?

One of the biggest myths in relationships is the thought or belief that “other people should make me happy”. To get caught in this trap is to believe that it is someone else’s responsibility to make sure I am content, comfortable, successful, and so on. If we allow this belief to take root then we must also believe that anytime something happens to us that is not pleasant, it is because someone else is doing it to us, and therefore responsible for our suffering. This mindset completely gives power to other people to control how we think and feel. It removes responsibility and accountability from our own actions because if we believe that someone else is responsible for how we feel, then certainly it is out of our own capacity to control or improve the situation. People who believe or live this lie are outer directed people. They are driven by exterior things that happen. They are driven by conditions and circumstances, they excuse their own poor behavior and in the same breath blame someone else for their problems. They end up spending most of their time and energy on things they cannot control.

Proactive people are inner directed people. They make choices in life based on values not based on what someone else did or said to them. They do not let heavy traffic on the way in to work throw off their day or control how productive they will be that particular day.

To keep on task I have found the following questions to be very effective to ponder: Am I making decisions based on values or impulses? Am I focused on what I can control or what I cannot control? Do I blame others for which I myself also carry partial responsibility? Do I focus time and energy on things that I cannot control or on those things which I can control?

I wish you a very happy, successful, and proactive week!!

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Your Intentional Journey

Posted by in Self Leadership

“An unintentional life accepts everything and does nothing.” ~John Maxwell

“Most people don’t aim too high and miss. They aim too low and hit.” ~Bob Moawad

“What is the meaning of life? Whatever you want it to be. ~James Frey

I love the story of Roger Bannister. Leading up to 1954, medical specialists just knew and believed that if you ran too fast or for too long your heart would burst. They believed that to run a mile in 4 minutes would be impossible and that anyone who attempted it would suffer major consequence. Roger Bannister was intentional about doing something big and in 1954 he was the first to run the 4 minute mile. Within the next year, dozens of others not only attempted but also succeeded in running the 4 minute mile.

I am learning more about what it means to be and become intentional. Think of the power our actions have when we are working to live life with purpose and on purpose. Think of the lack of power and control we have, if we really have no aim or purpose. How can you get somewhere if you do not know where you are going?

Many people living on this wonderful planet just go day to day allowing themselves to be pulled and pushed in every direction. They live life by default and not by design. They live a life that is highly re-active to anything and everything that comes and grabs their attention.

Just last week I met a gentleman who shared how he would check his email at 8:30 and 11:30am, and again at 3:30pm. That’s it, three times a day. This is one of the many ways that he remained intentional about his day. This is a system he put into place so that everyday he is not reacting and responding to what everyone else thinks is important. He also explained how all of the distractions most of us have every day slow down our progress in a big way and we do not even realize it. He became intentional about eliminating distraction.

A big step in living a life with purpose and meaning is to “know ourselves.” We must know our tendencies so that we can begin to eliminate anything that does not serve us or our purpose. In other words, we begin to live our life from our purpose and not from our tendencies.

I believe we were designed for something great. It is amazing what we see when we know what we are looking for. In order to become we must begin. So let’s begin to be more intentional about our time, our day, our week, our year, our life.

I would be honored to share this journey with you. To get started on your FREE 7-Day Experiment click on this link, http://clicks.johnmaxwell.com/aff_c?offer_id=9&aff_id=4567   Then under “Get Intentional Now,” click on “Register For 7-Day Experiment.” There is no cost or obligation, just great results in store for you. I can’t wait to hear your story.

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Avoiding Gossip

Posted by in Relationships

Amazed man is listening gossip in the ear from woman on the white background.

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt

 “One of the easiest ways to keep your mouth, ears, and reputation clean. Keep GOSSIP out of them.” ~Ty Howard

 “Our best decisions are often what we choose not to get involved in.” ~Doug Cooper

It might be fun, it might be exciting, but it is no good at all. It adds value to no one. By definition, gossip is idle talk or rumor, especially about the personal or private affairs of someone else.

Gossip degrades the person being talked about, it degrades the person who is doing the gossiping, and most certainly it degrades the listener. It offers no value, it strengthens no relationship, it repairs no wrong, it solves no problem or concern. It is extremely less-effective communication.

Be a person of integrity and character who people respect and can trust that if you ever have a problem or issue, you will speak to their face and not behind their back. Effective behavior in this area builds our influence and adds to the relational bank account with everyone around.

The next time someone “unloads” on you, simply tell them that, obviously this is a problem that needs to be addressed and let’s go and talk to this person together. This is how you can be proactive in a reactive environment. This will demonstrate that you are unwilling to join in negative talk about another person and may actually appear to lesson your influence with this particular person. In all actuality however it will increase your influence because they now know, that if you ever have indifferences in your relationship that you will not talk about them behind their back, but that you will come directly to them and speak to them face to face. This is a powerful way to make deposits in the relational bank account in every one of your relationships.

When it comes to a solution to the problem most people will be very reluctant, unless they are highly proactive and really want to “fix” the problem rather than just “discuss” it.

For most, the tendency is to talk about an issue that they have with someone as opposed to actually confronting the individual and address it head on. To talk about things they dislike in the community instead of getting involved in good things that will make the community stronger. Somehow they think that the negative energy and gossip will fix the situation, when really it adds fuel and creates more problems, as well as additional hurt to the existing wound.

If you are ready for a challenge then here it is: Avoid speaking, agreeing, or participating in gossip. And remember that whoever gossips to you, will also gossip about you.

For stronger relationships stay right here at www.trentswhite.com.

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A Life with Purpose

Posted by in Self Leadership

the purpose of life is a life of purpose - text   on a slate bla

“You were put on this earth to achieve your greatest self, to live out your purpose, and to do it courageously.” ~Dr. Steve Maraboli

“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” ~Pablo Picasso

“Your career is what you’re paid for, your calling is what you’re made for.” ~Steve Harvey

I believe that a purposeful and fulfilling life comes to those who are doing what they love to do, and they do it because they love it.

People who have purpose learn to ask themselves good questions. The best leaders learn to ask good questions of themselves. The answers to the questions they ask guide them to have even more purpose.

So why don’t more people live life with purpose and energy and conviction? Why do so many people find themselves lost in an area of mundane daily tasks where they settle for less? Why does the vast majority live a mediocre life not really doing anything of real value and certainly not being fulfilled in what they do? What would it take for you to match your career with your purpose?

THE BIGGEST reason more people do not live their purpose or fulfill higher levels of their potential is simply that it is just so easy to go with the flow. You can have an “ok” life if you just go with the flow. But a great life requires that you go against the current of complacency. If you have no momentum it requires that you develop momentum. It requires that you live with intention. And to live with intention means that you cannot just go with the flow. You have to wake up in the morning with direction and purpose that will motivate you to action. It requires that you do more and become more. It requires that you hold yourself accountable and to a higher standard than anyone else holds for you.

The key here is intention. Be intentional in who you are and who you want to be. Be intentional in what you want to accomplish. What we do each day determines who we become over many days. I believe we are on earth to become something great. Time marches on regardless of what we do with it. Why not do something amazing and spectacular? 2015 is halfway over. What do you want to do before it ends? Who do you want to see when you look in the mirror five years from now? A vision for your life will give you direction and help you figure out the what. Purpose will help you figure out the why.

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