SA Leadership Podcast Episode #139

Limitless Capacity

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Do You Know What Is Limiting You?

Understanding some deep truths about capacity.

Your Capacity is Not Set

If you are like most people, I bet you would like to achieve more out of life that what you are currently experiencing. Have you accomplished everything? Or Do you want to do more, be more, and see more? So the question is, “What is getting in your way?” If you do not know what is getting in your way, how will you remove it? Many times label’s get in the way – High capacity people Vs. Low capacity people. Maybe you just accept that as reality. That’s a problem! Many people hear the word capacity and see only limitations because they believe it is set. Therefore people give up on the idea that capacity can enlarge and that I can learn. Many people do not lead their lives, they accept their lives and call it fate!

Activist Roberto Verzola stated regarding economists, “The most fundamental assumption in economists is scarcity. This in effect assumes away abundance…when confronted with abundance they fall back into inadequate theories based upon scarcity.” In other words Verzola is describing limitations. So that we are clear, I believe that 100% of people can grow and increase their potential. I would also acknowledge that all of us have caps on our capacity. Some caps are fixed, but others are not. This truth should never be allowed as an excuse to not grow. See beyond your caps.

You Can Become Aware of The Possibilities That Can Make You Better

If you lack awareness, then you do not know that you are unaware. It is a blind spot. You do not know what you do not know. You cannot see what you cannot see. Here are four (4) things to think about to become more self-aware.

ATTENTION: Looking for what I need to know. This means that we need to look at old habits in new ways. Who we are determines how we see others.

AWARENESS: Discovering what I need to know. There are some items that can prevent this discovery.

Excuses

Success fantasies that are not grounded in reality

Talking without listening to others

Unresolved negative emotions

Habitual self-distractions

Absence of personal reflection

Unwillingness to pay the price to gain experience

DISCERNMENT: Focusing on what I need to do. As you grow in your understanding, you must now learn where to focus your attention. The old adage is true; chase two rabbits and you catch neither.

INTENTION: Acting on what I need to do. We get results when we take what we have learned and put it into action.

You Can Remove The Caps From Your Capacity

The next step in this process is to remove caps that are holding you back. Awareness changes everything. As soon as you become aware that some limitations are artificial we begin to overcome them. In the book If It Ain’t BrokeBreak It! The authors write, “We don’t have a clue as to what people’s limits are. All tests, stopwatches and finish lines in the world cannot measure human potential….Our ability is largely untapped.”

You Can Develop Capacities That You Already Possess

Here are seven capacities that you can maximize…

Energy Capacity – Your ability to push physically

Emotional Capacity – Your ability to manage your emotions

Thinking Capacity – Your ability to think effectively

People Capacity – Your ability to develop relationships

Creative Capacity – Your ability to see options and find answers

Production Capacity – your ability to accomplish results

Leadership Capacity – Your ability to lift and lead others

You Can Make Choices That Maximize Your Possibilities

Here are some choices that you can make that will increase your capacity.

Responsibility  Risk(non-Comfort Zone)

Character  Spiritual

Abundance(There is more)  Growth

Intentionality  Partnerships

Attitude

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SA Leadership Podcast Episode #138

How Great Leaders Think

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Benefits of Shared Thinking

“None of us is as smart as all of us” – Ken Blanchard

People who participate in shared thinking understand the following.

Shared Thinking Is Faster Than Solo Thinking

We are truly living in a fast pace world. To function at this speed, we simply cannot afford to go it alone. The generation that is entering the market-place understand this the best. This is part of the reason that this generation values community so highly and are more likely to work at such a company versus one that pays well. Working with others creates shortcuts that enhances the work place. If you need to learn a new skill get with someone who has mastered it already and learn form them. Do not get off in a corner by yourself and attempt to figure it out.

Shared Thinking Is More Innovative Than Solo Thinking

We tend to think that great leaders and thinkers are soloists. Innovation results from collaboration. Albert Einstein stated, “Many times a day I realize how much my own outer and inner life is built upon the labors of my fellow men, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received.” If you combine your thoughts with the thoughts of others you will arrive at thoughts that you have never had.

Shared Thinking Brings More Maturity Than Solo Thinking

As much as we would like to think that we are no-it-all’s, each of us have blind spots and areas of inexperience. When you combine your experience with someone else’s you have a broader range of discussion at the table.

Shared Thinking Is Stronger Than Solo Thinking

Philosopher Goethe stated, To accept good advise is but to increase one’s own ability.” A synergy comes from working together. That same energy comes into play when you think together.

Shared Thinking Returns Greater Value Than Solo Thinking

Because that shared thinking is stronger, it stands to reason that the yield will also be higher. This is a result of a compounding affect of shared thinking. Clarence Francis ob

Shared Thinking Is The Only Way To Have Great Thinking

I believe that all great thinking begins with two or three good thoughts. Playwright Ben Jonson stated that he that is taught by himself has a fool for a master. If you and I bring one thought to the table, we will have two thoughts, which leads to an even greater thought.

No matter what you are trying to accomplish, you can do it better with shared thinking. Good leadership helps put together the right people at the right time, in the right place, and for the right purpose so that everyone can win. All it takes is the right people and the willingness to participate in shared thinking.

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SA Leadership Podcast Episode #137

How Great Leaders Think

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Question Popular Thinking

“I’m not an answering machine. I’m a questioning machine. If we have all of the answers, how come we are in such a mess?” – Douglas Cardinal

Economist John Keynes stated once “The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from the old ones.” Going against popular thinking is difficult, no matter your profession. If you value popularity over good thinking then you will severely limit your potential to learn the types of thinking that we have been podcasting over the recent weeks.

Popular thinking is …….

Too average to understand the value of good thinking

Too inflexible to realize the impact of changed thinking

Too lazy to master the process o intentional thinking

Too small to see the wisdom of big-picture thinking

Too satisfied to unleash the potential of focused thinking

Too traditional to discover the joy of creative thinking

Too limiting to feel the energy of possibility thinking

Too trendy to embrace the lessons of reflective thinking’

Too shallow to question the acceptance of popular thinking

Why you should question the acceptance of popular thinking

Popular Thinking Sometimes Means Not Thinking

Good thinking is hard work. If were easy everyone would be a good thinker. It is easier to do what people are doing and hope they thought it through. When people blindly follow a trend they are not doing their own thinking.

Popular Thinking Offers False Hope

Many people look for safety and security in popular thinking. The presumption is if a lot of people are doing something, then it must be right. It must be a good idea. Remember history, it was said by Copernicus as he studied the stars that he could prove the earth was the center of the universe. Popular thinking…stated that surgical instruments did not need to be cleaned, that women did not have the right to vote, and put Nazi’s in power in Germany. Sometimes popular thinking is obvious in its flaws and other times it is less obvious. For example the American culture has bought into the idea of buy now and pay later. This has caused untold damage to people’s lives.

Popular Thinking Is Slow To Embrace Change

Popular thinking loves the status quo. It places all of its confidence in the moment and holds on to it for all that it is worth. Donald Nelson, former President of Independent Motion Picture Producers stated; “We must discard the idea that past routine, past ways of doing things, are probably the best ways. On the contrary, we must assume that there is a probably a better way to do almost everything. We must stop assuming that a thing which has never been done before probably cannot be done at all.”

Popular Thinking Brings Only Average Results

Popular=Normal=Average is really the true picture. We limit our success when we adopt popular thinking. It represents investing in the least amount of energy to just get by. You mist reject common thinking if you want to accomplish uncommon results.

How To Question The Acceptance of Popular Thinking

Think Before You Follow

The problem is that people follow almost automatically. Perhaps they desire to take the path of least resistance. Perhaps at other times there is a fear of rejection. Challenging popular thinking requires a willingness to be unpopular and go outside the norm. As you begin to think against the grain of popular thinking, remind yourself that….

Unpopular thinking, even when resulting in success is largely underrated, unrecognized, and misunderstood.

Unpopular thinking contains the seeds of vision and opportunity

Unpopular thinking is required for all progress

Appreciate Thinking Different From Your Own

One of the ways to embrace innovation and change is to learn to appreciate how others think. Spend time with people of different backgrounds, education levels, professional experiences, personal interests, etc. You will think like people whom you spend the most time. If you spend time with people who think out of the box, you’re more likely to challenge popular thinking and break new ground.

Continually Question your Own Thinking

Let’s face it, if we find a way of thinking that works, our temptations is to go back to it repeatedly, even if it does not work as well. Andy Stanley in a Catalyst Conference stated that every tradition was originally a good idea, perhaps even revolutionary. But every tradition may not be a good idea for the future.

Try New Things In New Ways

When was the last time that you did something for the first time? Do you avoid taking risks or trying new things? Unpopular thinking asks questions and seeks opinions. It is true that people are more satisfied with old problems than committed to finding new solutions. You see, how you go about doing new things is not as important as making sure you do it. Get out there and do something new today.

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SA Leadership Podcast Episode #136

Learn From Reflective Thinking

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Learn From Reflective Thinking

To doubt everything or to believe everything are two equally convenient solutions; both dispense with the necessity of reflection” – Julius Poincare

The pace of our society does not encourage reflective thinking. Most people would rather act than think. Do not misunderstand my thoughts, I love action and high energy. Our thoughts however, are more like a crock-pot that allows things to slowly come to a simmer until you are ready for action. The goal in reflective thinking is to learn from successes, mistakes, and try to figure what should not be repeated. By mentally visiting past situations, you can think with greater understanding. Consider the following five (5) insights regarding reflective thinking.

Reflective Thinking Gives You True Perspective

When you reflect, you are able to put an experience into perspective. You are able to evaluate its timing. You are able to gain a new appreciation for things that before were unnoticed. Most people are able to recognize the sacrifices of their parents or other people only when they become parents themselves. That is the kind of perspective that comes from reflection.

Reflective Thinking Gives Emotional Integrity To Your Thought Life

Few people have good perspective in the heat of an emotional moment. Most individuals who enjoy the thrill of an experience try to go back and recapture it without first trying to evaluate it. This is one of the reasons our culture produces so many thrill seekers. Likewise, those who survive a traumatic experience usually avoid similar situations at all costs, which sometimes ties them into emotional knots. President Washington stated, “We ought not to look back unless it is to derive useful lessons from past errors, and for purposes of profiting by dearly bought experience.”

Reflective Thinking Increases Your Confidence In Decision-making

Have you ever made a snap judgment and later wondered if you did the right thing? Everybody has! Reflective thinking can help defuse that doubt. It also gives you confidence for the next decision. Your thoughts become mental road-makers that help you navigate the next time you pass that issue again.

Reflective Thinking Clarifies The Big Picture

When you engage in reflective thinking, you can put ideas and experiences into a more accurate context. It encourages us to return and revisit life by pondering what we have done and where we have been. This will allow you to see parts of the story that you may have been blinded by. New realities emerge in terms of skills for the future or reasons why failure was so painful.

Reflective Thinking Takes A Good Experience and Makes It A Valuable Experience

William Shakespeare wrote, “Experience is a jewel, and it had need be so, for it is often purchased at an infinite rate.” It is not necessarily the experience that becomes valuable. It is the wisdom gained by means of the experience. Reflective thinking turns experience into insight!

How to embrace the lessons of reflective thinking.

Set aside time for reflection

Remove yourself from distractions

Regularly review your calendar

Ask the right questions

  • Personal Growth – What have I learned today?
  • Adding Value – To whom did I add value?
  • Leadership – Did I lead by example?
  • Personal Faith – Did I represent God well today?
  • Marriage & Family – Did I communicate love to my family today?
  • Inner Circle – Have I spent time with key people on my team?
  • Discoveries – What did I encounter that requires more time to think?

Cement your learning through actions

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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