SA Leadership Podcast Episode #135

Explore Possibility Thinking

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Explore Possibility Thinking

Nothing is so embarrassing as watching someone do something that you said could not be done – Sam Ewing

People with possibility thinking are capable of accomplishing tasks that seem impossible because they believe in solutions. Here are 7 reasons why you should become a possibility thinker.

Possibility Thinking Increases Your Possibilities

When you believe you can do something difficult and you succeed – many doors will open for you. George Lucas succeeded in making Star Wars despite those who said the special effects had never been done or simply stated that it was impossible. Lucas created a company called Industrial Light and Magic to produce what others said was impossible

Possibility Thinking Draws Opportunities and People To You

People who think big attract big people. You must become a possibility thinker to accomplish big things.

Possibility thinking Increases Others’ Possibilities

Big thinkers who make big things happen also create possibilities for others. Big thinking is contagious. You can’t help think bigger thoughts when you are around big thinkers. Who desires to wake every morning and declare to the world that I want to be average!

Possibility Thinking Allows You To Dream Big Dreams

No matter what your profession, possibility thinking can help you to broaden your horizons and dream bigger dreams. Professor David Schwartz believes that big thinkers are specialists in creating positive forward-looking optimistic pictures in their minds and in the minds of other people.

Possibility Thinking Makes It Possible To Rise Above Average

Back in the era of the oil crisis in the 70’s, auto manufacturers attempted to make cars lighter for fuel efficiency. They concluded that it could not be done. They gave the project to an unknown engineering group who believed in solving problems and found ways to cut the weight by hundreds of pounds. Every time that you remove the label IMPOSSIBLE from a task, you increase your potential from average to off the charts.

Possibility Thinking Gives You Energy

A direct correlation exists between possibility thinking and the level of one’s energy. Thinks about it, who gets energized by the prospect of losing? If you believe that something is impossible, how much time and energy are you going to give it?

Possibility Thinkers Keep You From Giving Up

Above all, possibility thinkers believe they can succeed. Denis Waitley, author of The Psychology of Winning, states, The winners in life think constantly in terms of I can, I will, and I am. Losers, on the other hand, concentrate their waking thoughts on what they should have done, or what they don’t do.” If you believe you can’t do something, then it does not matter how hard that you try, you have already lost.

In order to feel the energy that possibility thinking can bring into your life, I want offer six suggestions for your consideration. Remember that people with a “It-can’t-be-done” attitude have two choices. Either they think about the worst scenario and experience regularly or change their thinking. Here are six suggestions of feeling the energy of possibility thinking.

1.Stop Focusing on impossibilities

2.Stay away from the experts

3.Look for possibilities in every situation

4.Dream one size bigger

5.Question the status quo

6.Find inspiration from great achievers

SA Leadership Podcast Episode #134

Strategic Planning

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Strategic Planning

Most people spend more time planning their summer vacation than planning their lives.

Generally speaking most people plan their lives one day at a time. Others may plan one week at a time. Rarely can you get people to think in large quantities of time. Bobb Biehl wrote once, “We tend to over-estimate what we can accomplish in twelve months and under-estimate what we can accomplish in five years. It has been said that most people do not lead their lives, they accept their lives and call it fate!

Strategic thinking helps me to plan, become more efficient, to maximize my strengths, and to look for different paths to achieving a desired objective. Consider these six reasons for adopting strategic thinking.

Strategic Thinking Simplifies the Difficult

Novelist Miguel de Cervantes wrote, “The man who is prepared has his battle half-fought.” Strategic thinking takes long-term objectives which can be difficult to address, and breaks them down into manageable sizes. Complexity becomes simplified with strategic thinking.

Strategic Thinking Prompts you To Ask The Right Question

Strategic thinking forces you through a process of deeper reflection. Bobb Biehl has suggested six areas to evaluate:

  • DIRECTION – What should we do next? Why?
  • ORGANIZATION – Who is responsible for what? Who is responsible for whom? So we have the right people in place?
  • CASH – What is our projected income, expenses? Can we afford it? How can we afford it?
  • TRACKING – Are we on target?
  • OVERALL EVALUATION – Are we achieving the quality we expect and demand of ourselves?
  • REFINEMENT – How can we be more effective and more efficient?

Strategic Thinking Prompts Customization

General Patton once stated that successful generals make plans to fit circumstances, but do not try to create circumstances to fit plans. Strategy is not a “One Size Fits All” proposition. Sloppy and generalized thinking is the enemy of achievement

Strategic Thinking Prepares You Today For an Uncertain Tomorrow

Strategic thinking is the bridge that links where you are to where you want to be. It has been said that strategic thinking is like saddling your dreams before you ride them.

Strategic Thinking Reduces The Margin of Error

Without this type of thinking it is like the person involved in shooting sports who shoots, aims, ready. Slightly off line becomes way off line as time moves us forward. The better the alignment, the better the results.

Strategic Thinking Gives You Influence with Others

One executive stated that our company has a short ranged plan and a long range plan. Our short range plan is to stay afloat long enough to make it to our long range plan. That is hardly a strategy!

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SA Leadership Podcast Episode #133

Realistic Thinking

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Realistic Thinking

The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality – Max DePree

Anyone who has been out of school for any length of time knows there is a huge disconnect between college education and the real world. Understand that reality is the difference between what we wish for and what is!

It is awesome to be around people who are naturally optimistic. Realistic thinking can get in the way of optimism. Realistic thinking does not get in the way of optimism nor will it get in the way o faith. The opposite is true, it can actually add value. Here are seven ways that realistic thinking can add value.

Realistic Thinking Minimizes Downside Risks

Actions always has consequences, realistic thinking helps you to determine what those consequences could be. This allows you to plan ahead to minimize risk.

Realistic Thinking Gives You A Target and A Game Plan

Realistic thinking leads to excellence in leadership because it requires people to face reality. Since HOPE is not a strategy, you need to define the target and develop a game plan to hit the target. The decisions that matter the most in business are those that directly relate to your purpose. James Allen was correct when he wrote, “Until thought is linked with purpose, there is no intelligent accomplishment.”

Realistic Thinking Is A Catalyst for Change

People who rely upon hope for their success rarely make change a high priority. If you only have hope, you imply that achievement and success are out of your hands. It is now a matter of luck or chance. There is nothing like staring reality in the face to make a person recognize the need for change. Change alone does not bring growth, but you cannot have growth without change.

Realistic Thinking Provides Security

Any time you have thought through the worst that can happen and you develop contingency plans to meet it, you become more confident and secure. It is reassuring that you are unlikely to be surprised.

Realistic Thinking helps people to buy in to a leaders vision. A leader who is continually surprised by the unexpected soon looses credibility with their followers…

The best leaders ask realistic questions before casting vision. They ask questions like:

  • Is it possible?
  • Does this dream include everyone or just a few?
  • Have I identified and articulated the areas that will make this dream difficult to achieve?

Realistic Thinking Provides a Foundation to Build On

Thomas Edison observed, “The value of a good idea is in using it.” The bottom line is that it helps you to make an idea usable by taking away the “wish” factor. Most ideas and efforts never reach their intended results because they rely too much on what we wish rather than what is. You can’t build a building in midair, you need a strong foundation.

Realistic Thinking Is A Friend To Those In Trouble

If creativity is what you do when you are not afraid of failing, then reality is dealing with failure if it does happen. Realistic thinking gives you something concrete to fall back on during times of trouble.

Realistic Thinking Brings The Dream To Fruition

Novelist John Galsworthy wrote, “Idealism increases in direct proportion to one’s distance from the problem.” If you do not get close enough to a problem, you will never tackle it. If you do not take a realistic look at your dream and what it takes to accomplish it, you will never achieve it.

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SA Leadership Podcast Episode #132

How Great Leaders Think

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Harness Creative Thinking

The joy is in creating, not maintaining – Vince Lombardi

Creativity is pure gold, no matter what you do for a living. Annette Moser-Wellman author of The Five Faces of Genius wrote, “The most valuable resource you bring to your work and to your firm is creativity. More than what you get done, more than the role you play, more than your title, more than you output – it is your ideas that matter.” Few people seem to possess this skill.

If you are not as creative as you would like to be, you can change the way that you are thinking. Creative thinking is not necessarily original thinking. Original thinking can be over played. Creative thinking can be a composite of thoughts gathered along the road of life. Let me give you some characteristics of creative thinkers.

Creative Thinking Values Ideas

Author Annette Wellman suggests that “Highly creative people are dedicated to ideas. They do not rely on their talent alone, they rely on their discipline. Creativity is about having ideas – lots of them. You will only have these ideas when you value ideas.

Creative Thinkers Explore Options

I have yet to meet a creative thinker who did not love options. Albert Einstein stated once that “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” The key is not finding just an answer, but the best answer. Creative thinkers design back-up plans and offer them as alternatives. They enjoy a freedom that others do not possess. These people will lead and influence other people.

Creative Leaders Embrace Ambiguity

Writer H. L. Mencken suggests that it is “…the dull man who is always sure, and the sure man is always dull.” Creative people do not feel the need to stamp out uncertainty. They see all kinds of inconsistencies and gaps in life and they often take delight in exploring those gaps – or using their imagination to fill them.

Creative Thinkers Celebrate The Offbeat

Creativity by definition often explores paths that do not exist. A worn path can become boring to a creative thinker. Once President of Yale University, Kingman Brewster stated, “There is a correlation between the creative and the screwball. SO we must suffer the screwball gladly.” You will need to tolerate some oddness.

Creative Thinkers Connect The Unconnected

Because creativity utilizes the ideas of others, there is great value in being able to connect one idea to another. Graphic Arts designer Tim Hansen suggests, creativity is especially expressed in the ability to make connections, to make associations, to turn things around and express them in a new way. It is somewhat like taking a trip in your car. You know the destination, but it is not until you begin the journey that you actually experience things that were only in your mind. Creative works something like this:

THINK – COLLECT – CREATE – CORRECT – CONNECT

Creative Thinkers Do Not Fear Failure

Creativity demands the ability to be unafraid of failure because creativity equals failure. Charles Frankl suggests that anxiety is the essential condition of intellectual and artistic creation. Sometimes you are going to look very odd to others. You have to be willing to climb out on the limb – even if it breaks.

If you desire to have a team that is a greenhouse of innovations, I want to leave you with six insights.

  • Encourage Creativity – Give permission to dream
  • Place high Value on Trust Among Team Members – Creativity always risks failure. Creative people need an environment of TRUST
  • Embrace Those Who Are Creative – Weed out the dullards and nurture the nuts (Tom Peters)
  • Focuses on Innovation, Not Just Invention – Creativity is the logical combination of 2+ existing elements that result in a new concept
  • Be Willing To Go Outside The Lines – All human development must be outside the lines, otherwise we never have anything new (Charles Kettering)
  • Appreciate The Power of A Dream – Martin Luther King’s famous line, “I have a dream…”

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SA Leadership Podcast Episode #131

How Great Leaders Think

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Engage In Focused Thinking

He did each thing as if he did nothing else – Charles Dickens

Philosopher Bertrand Russell once stated, “To be able to concentrate for a considerable time is essential to difficult achievement.” Sociologists Robert Lynd observed that “knowledge is power only if a man knows what facts are not to bother about.” Focused thinking is about removing the mental clutter so that you can think with clarity on an issue. There are several benefits to this type of thinking.

Focused Thinking Harnesses Energy Toward A Desired Goal

Focus can bring energy and power to almost anything that you are attempting to accomplish. The greater the problem the more focused thinking time is necessary to solve it.

Focused Thinking Gives Ideas Time To Develop

Giving birth to great ideas is exciting and thrilling. But to take great ideas to the next level you have to transition your thinking from expansive to selective. Focusing on one item can be frustrating, but it can also pay huge dividends if you discover better methods and principles. You grow yourself as you grow your ideas!

Focused Thinking Brings Clarity To The Target

I enjoy playing golf. I am not that great, but I find relaxation when I am outside. Professor William Mobley of South Carolina gave some observations about golf: One of the most important things about golf is the presence of clear goals. You see the pins, you know the par, and you know your average score. These goals are targets to shoot at. Goals motivate!

Focused Thinking Will Take you To The Next Level

No one achieves greatness by becoming a generalist. You do not hone a skill by diluting your attention to its development. The only way to get to the next level is focused attention. Author Henry Overstreet observed that the immature mind hops from one thing to another; the mature mind seeks to follow through.

Where should you focus your thinking?

Does every area of your life deserve dedicated, focused thinking time? The answer is obviously NO! Be selective and not exhaustive in your focused thinking. Take a minute to jot down four areas that are critical to your success and future. If you are having some trouble writing these three areas down, let me give you some suggestions that might help.

Identify Your Priorities

Start by taking into account yourself, your family, and your team. There are many to determine priorities. If you know your yourself well, begin focusing on your strengths, the things that make best use of your God-given talents. You could focus on the things that bring the highest return and reward. The bottom line is to focus on the things that bear fruit in your life.

Discover Your Gifts

Not all people are aware and have a good handle on their own skills, gifts and talents. This can be accomplished by taking the Birkman Questionnaire, Myers/Briggs, or DISC Profile. These psychometric reveal much about how we are fearfully and wonderfully made. You cannot focus thinking in the areas of your strength if you do not know what they are.

Develop Your Dream

If you desire to accomplish great things, you need to have great dreams. If you are unsure of what your dream is, use the focused thinking time to discover it. If your focused thinking time keeps returning to the same things over and over again, perhaps your dream will be discovered there. Once you have your dream, move forward without second guessing yourself. While you are young you will think about many things. That is OK! As you get older and gain experience your focus will narrow into specializations. The farther that you go and the higher that you climb, you cannot afford distractions in your thoughts.

What are you giving up in order to go up?

I can’t know everyone

I can’t everything

I can’t go everywhere

I can’t be well-rounded

Be willing to give up some things that you love in order to focus on what has the greatest impact is not an easy lesson to learn.

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SA Leadership Podcast Episode #130

How Great Leaders Think

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Cultivate Big Picture Thinking

Where success is concerned, people are not measured in inches, or pounds, or college degrees, or family background; they are measured by the size of their thinking – David Schwartz

Big-picture thinking can benefit any person in any profession. When Jack Welch reminder and employee that the ongoing relationship of a client is more important than the products we sell – he is reminding them of big-picture thinking. Then Real Estate developer and now President, Donald Trump used to say; “You have to think anyway, so why not think big!” Big-picture thinking brings maturity and wholeness to a person’s thinking. If you dare to spend time with big-picture thinkers you will find some very interesting habits of these individuals.

They Learn Continually – Big-picture thinkers are never satisfied with what they already know. They are visiting new places, reading new books, learning new skills, and meeting new people. Because of this exposure they connect the unconnected. They are life learners! If you cannot articulate your learning goals each year in writing, you are only day-dreaming. Intentionality is the key word.

Listen Intentionally – Listen to people who are experts in areas that you are not. When opportunities arise to learn from others in a conversational setting, know what questions to ask in advance so that learning can be applied to your daily life. Your goal should be that listening teaches you more than speaking. Big-picture thinkers realize they do not know a lot of things. They have learned however to ask penetrating questions.

Look Expansively – Writer Henry David Thoreau wrote, “Many an object is not seen, though it falls within range of our visual ray, because it is not seen within the range of our intellectual ray.” We tend to see our own world first and many times only! It is hard to see beyond the picture if you are always in the frame. You must learn to see from another’s advantage point to broaden your perspective. Learn to get over your agenda and see what others are facing.

Live Completely – A French essayist once wrote, “The value of life lies not in the length of days, but in the use we make of them; a man may live live long and yet live very little.” The truth of the matter is that you can spend your life any way that you want to, but you can only spend it once!

Why Should You Receive The Wisdom of Big-Picture Thinking?

Intuitively, you probably recognize that big-picture thinking is beneficial. No one sets on a course of life to become narrow-minded. Considered these six reasons to become a big-picture thinker.

Big-picture thinking allows you to lead

  • See the vision before others
  • Size up limitations that could hinder and work for solutions
  • Sketch out a picture where the team is going
  • Show how the future connects with the past
  • Seize the moment when the timing is right

Big-picture thinking keeps you on target

Thomas Fuller, chaplain to Charles II observed, “He that is everywhere is nowhere.”

Big-picture thinking allows you to see what others see

One of the most important skills that you can cultivate is the ability to see from another’s perspective. Learn to walk in another person’s shoes.

Big-picture thinking promotes teamwork

If you participate in any team activity, you know the importance of everyone sharing the same vision.

Big-picture thinking keeps you from getting caught up in the mundane

Let’s face the truth; some aspects of life are absolutely necessary, but thoroughly uninterested. Do not become bogged down in the daily grind of life.

Big-picture thinking helps you to chart the uncharted territory

Have you ever heard the phrase, “We will cross that bridge when we come to it.” That phrase probably originated by someone who was not a big-picture thinker. The world was built b people who crossed bridges in their minds long before anyone else understood there was a bridge that need to be crossed.

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SA Leadership Podcast Episode #129

How Great Leaders Think

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It is hard to overstate the value of changing your thinking. Good thinking can do many things for you: generate income, solve problems, and create opportunities. It can take your life to a whole new level of living. Consider some things about changing your thinking:

Changed Thinking Is Not Automatic – A change in your thinking habits does not happen on its own. Good ideas rarely go out and find someone. If you want to be a better thinker you have to work at it. The amount of good thinking you can do at any time depends on the amount of good thinking you are already doing.

Changed Thinking Is Difficult – When you hear somebody say, “This is just off the top of my head,” expect dandruff. The only people who think that thinking is easy are the ones that never engage it.

Changed Thinking Is Worth The Investment – Author Napoleon Hill observed that more gold has been mined from the thoughts of man than has ever been taken from the earth.”

I want to give you six thoughts on becoming a better thinker at the outset of this podcast series.

Expose Yourself To Good Input

Good thinkers are always looking for things to get the thinking process started, because what you put in always impacts what comes out. Read good authors, articles, spend time with great thinkers. Write down your thoughts and keep them in a place where you can be reminded of them.

Expose Yourself To Good Thinkers

Spend time with the right people. Who provokes you to a higher level of thinking and action – hang out with those people. The writer of the biblical book, Proverbs observed that sharp people sharpen one another, just as iron sharpens iron. If you desire to be a sharp thinker, be around sharp people.

Choose To Think Good Thoughts

Be intentional in your thinking process. Regularly put yourself in the right place to think, stretch, and land your thoughts. Remember that thinking is a discipline. Dan Cathy of Chik-fil-A had a thinking schedule. He would set aside ½ day every other week, one full day every month, and 1-3 full days consecutively every year.

Act On Your Good Thoughts

Ideas have a short shelf life. You must act on them before the expiration date. WWI flying ace Eddie Rickenbacker stated, “I can give you a six-word formula for success: Think things through, then follow through.”

Allow Your Emotions To Create Another Good Thought

In the book Failing Forward, John Maxwell writes that you can act your way into feeling long before you feel your way into action. Once you engage a process of good thinking, you can use your emotions to feed the process and create mental momentum.

Repeat The Process

One good thought does not make a good life. One who have one good thought and attempt to ride it throughout their career often end up lonely and destitute. These people are the one-hit wonders, the one-book authors, and the one message speakers. Success comes to those who have a mountain of gold to mine – always coming up with fresh content. If your goal is to be a person who can mine a lot of gold, you need to be a person that repeats the process of good thinking.

Here is a formula for successful thinking:

The right THOUGHT plus the right PEOPLE in the right ENVIRONMENT at the right TIME for the right REASON = the right RESULT!

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SA Leadership Podcast Episode #128

Vision

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You Can Seize Only What You Can See

A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position – John Maxwell

The future belongs to those who see possibilities before they become obvious – John Sculley

Vision is everything for a leader. It is utterly indispensible. WHY? Because vision leads the leader! It paints the target. It sparks and fuels the fire within and draws you forward into a preferred future. Show me a leader without a vision, and I’ll show you someone who isn’t going anywhere. At best he is traveling in circles.

To get a handle on vision and how it comes to be a part of a good leader’s life, take to understand the following thoughts:

Vision Starts Within

Understand that you cannot buy, beg, or borrow vision! It has to come from the inside. If you lack vision, look inside of yourself. Look to your calling! If you still are struggling for vision, find another leader whose vision resonates with you. Become his partner.

Vision Draws On Your History

Vision is not some magical mystical quality that comes out of a vacuum. It grows from the leaders past and the history of the people around him. Talk to any leader and you are likely to discover key events in their past that were instrumental in the creation of their vision.

Vision Meets Other’s Needs

True vision is far reaching. It goes beyond what one individual can accomplish. If it has real value, it does more than just include other, it adds value to others. If you have a vision that doesn’t serve others, it is probably too small.

Vision Helps You Gather Resources

One of the most valuable benefits of vision is that it acts like a magnet – attracting, challenging, and uniting people. It also rallies finances and other resources. The greater the vision, the more winners it has the potential of attracting. The more challenging the vision, the harder the participants fight to achieve it. Edwin Land, founder of Polaroid stated, “The first thing you do is teach the person to feel the vision is very important and nearly impossible. That draws out the drive in winners!”

Where does vision come from? TO find the vision that is indispensible to leadership, you have to be a good listener.

The Inner Voice – listen to your own life mission statement and calling. What do you dream about?

The Unhappy Voice – Pay attention to what does not work. Discontent with the status quo is a great catalyst for vision.

The Successful Voice – Nobody can accomplish greatness alone. To fulfill a big vision, you need a great team.

The Higher Voice – a truly valuable vision must have God in it. He is the only one that knows your full capabilities. Look beyond yourself and your life-time to understand your fullest potential.

To improve on your vision that you feel compelled to pursue considering these closing thoughts:

Measure Yourself – If you feel that a grand vision is moving you forward, measure how well you are doing and carrying it out.

Write It Down – if you have thought about your vision but have never put it into writing, take time to do that today. Writing clarifies your thinking. Once you have it on paper ask yourself if this vision is worthy of your life’s best.

Do A Gut Check – If you have not done much thinking about your vision consider the following questions over the next few weeks:

What makes me cry?

What makes me dream?

What gives me energy?

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SA Leadership Podcast Episode #127

Teachability

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Value your listening and reading time at roughly ten times your talking time. This will ensure that you are on a course for continuous learning and self-improvement – Gerald McGinnis Respironics Inc.

It is what you learn after you know it all that counts – John Wooden

Leaders face the danger of contentment with status quo. After all, if a leader already possesses influence and has achieved a level of respect, why should they keep growing? The answer is simple:

Your growth determines who you are

Who you are determines who you attract

Who you attract determines the success of the organization

If you want to grow the organization, you have to remain teachable

Here are five guidelines to help you cultivate and maintain a teachable attitude.

Cure Your Destination Disease

Ironically, lack of teachability is often rooted in achievement. Some people mistakenly believe that if they accomplish a goal they do not need to grow any longer. It can happen with almost anything; achieve a degree, reach a desired position, achieve a particular award, or achieve a financial success. However, effective leaders cannot afford to think that way. The day you stop growing is the day that you forfeit your potential and the potential of the organization you represent. In the famous words of Ray Kroc of McDonalds fame, As long as you are green, you are growing. As soon as you are ripe, you start to rot!

Overcome Your Success

Another irony of teachability is that success often hinders it. Effective leaders know that what got them there will not keep them there. If you have been successful in the past, beware! Remember, if what you did yesterday still looks big to you, you have not done much today.

Swear Off Shortcuts

It has been said that the longest distance between two points is a shortcut! For everything of value in life you will pay a price. As you desire to grow in a particular area, figure out what it really will take, and then determine to pay it!

Trade In your Pride

Teachability requires us to admit we don’t know everything and that can make us look bad. In addition, if we keep learning, then we must also keep making mistakes. It has been said that the greatest mistake one can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one. You cannot be prideful and teachable at the same time. In order to gain growth, you must give up pride.

Never Pay Twice For The Same Mistake

Teddy Roosevelt stated, “He who makes no mistakes, makes no progress.” That is true! At the same time it can be said that a leader that keeps making the same mistakes does not make progress also.

There was a sign in a feed store that read, “If you don’t like the crop you are reaping, check the seed that you are sowing.” Do your life and leadership seem to be getting better day after day, year after year? When was the last time that you did something for the first time. To improve your teachability here are three suggestions.

Observe how you react to mistakes – apologize when appropriate, admit errors when necessary.

Try something new – Go out of your way today to be stretched mentally, emotionally or physically.

Learn in your area of strength – If you cannot write out your growth goals, you are probably day-dreaming.

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SA Leadership Podcast Episode #126

Servanthood

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To Get Ahead, Put Others First

The true leader serves. Serves people. Serves their best interests, and in so doing will not always be popular, may not always impress. But because true leaders are motivated by loving concern rather than a desire for personal glory, they are willing to pay the price – Eugene Habecker

When you think of servanthood, do you envision it as an activity performed by relatively low-skilled people at the bottom of the positional totem pole? If you do you have a wrong impression. Servanthood is not about position or skill! It is about attitude!

You can sense when a worker doesn’t want to help people, you can just as easily detect whether a leader has a servant’s heart. The truth of the matter is that the best leaders want to serve others and not themselves. What does it mean to embody servanthood? Here are five thoughts.

Puts Others Ahead of His Own Agenda

The first mark of servanthood is the ability to put others ahead of yourself and your personal desires. It is more than being willing to put your agenda on hold. It means intentionally being aware of your people’s needs, available to help them, and able to accept their desires as important.

Possesses the Confidence to Serve

The real heart of servanthood is security. Show me someone who thinks he is too important to serve, and I’ll show you someone who is insecure. How we treat others is really a reflection of how we think about ourselves. Poet Eric Hoffer states, The remarkable thing is that we really love our neighbor as ourselves; we do unto others as we do unto ourselves. We hate others when we hate ourselves. We tolerate others when we tolerate ourselves. We forgive others when we forgive ourselves. It is not love of self but hatred of self which is at the root of the troubles that afflict our world. The Law of Empowerment says that only secure leaders give power to others. Only secure leaders exhibit servanthood!

Initiates Service to Others

Just about anyone will serve if compelled to do so. Some will even serve in a crisis. You can really see the heart of someone who initiates service to others. Great leaders see the need, seize the opportunity, and serve without expecting anything in return.

Is Not Position Conscious

Servant leaders don’t focus on rank or position. Then Colonel Norman Schwarzkopf stepped into a mine field to rescue his men without thinking about rank or himself. He was exhibiting one person attempting to help another. What we must realize that being a leader actually gives us a greater sense of obligation to serve.

Serves Out of Love

Servanthood is not motivated by manipulation or self-promotion. It is fueled by love. In the end, the extent of your influence depends on the depth of your concern of others. That is why it is so important for leaders to be willing to serve.

Where is your heart when it comes to serving others? Do you desire to become a leader for the perks and benefits? Are you motivated by a desire to help others? If your attitude is to be served, you may be headed for trouble! I want to offer some advise from a 44 year veteran of non-profit leadership.

STOP lording over people and start LISTENING to people.

STOP role-playing for advancement and start RISKING for other’s benefit.

STOP seeking your own way and start SERVING others.

How can you improve your servanthood? Here are three things that will assist you in improving your serve.

PERFORM SMALL ACTS – when was the last time that you performed small acts of kindness for others? Start with those closest to you, family, children neighbors.

LEARN TO WALK SLOWLY THROUGH THE CROWD – when you are at a function with a number of colleagues, clients, or employees, take the time to really connect with people through conversation. Focus only upon the person in front of you. Learn their name if you are unsure. What are their wants, dreams and passions? Intentionally do something for each of them they would not suspect.

MOVE INTO ACTION – If an attitude to serve is missing – start serving.

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Music: “Gratitude Mood” by David Arivett. You can learn more about his music by clicking on his name. THANKS DAVID!