“Another way people fail to listen carefully is to be too concerned with being interesting themselves, rather than being interested in the person they’re listening to. They believe the route to success is to constantly talk—showing off their expertise or intelligence with their words and comments.

The best way to establish rapport with people and to win them over to your side is to be truly interested in them, to listen with the intention of really learning about them. When the person feels that you are really interested in getting to know them and their feelings, they will open up to you and share their true feelings with you much more quickly.

Work to develop an attitude of curiosity. Be curious about other people, what they feel, how they think, how they see the world. What are their hopes, dreams, and fears? What are their aspirations? What obstacles are they facing in their lives?

If you want people to cooperate with you, to like you, or to open up to you, you must be interested . . . in them. Instead of focusing on yourself, start focusing on others. Notice what makes them happy or unhappy. When your thoughts are more on others than on yourself, you feel less stress. You can act and respond with more intelligence. Your production level increases and you have more fun. Additionally, when you are interested, people respond to your interest in them. They want to be around you. Your popularity increases.”

Excerpt From

The Success Principles(TM) – 10th Anniversary Edition

Jack Canfield & Janet Switzer

A climate where the truth can be heard

Lead with questions, not answers.

Leading from good to great does not mean coming up with the answers and then motivating everyone to follow your messianic vision. It means having the humility to grasp the fact that you do not yet understand enough to have the answers and then to ask the questions that will lead to the best possible insights.

Engage in dialogue and debate, not coercion.

All the good-to-great companies had a penchant for intense dialogue. Phrases like “loud debate,” “heated discussions,” and “healthy conflict” peppered the articles and interview transcripts from all the companies. They didn’t use discussion as a sham process to let people “have their say” so that they could “buy in” to a predetermined decision. The process was more like a heated scientific debate, with people engaged in a search for the best answers.

Conduct autopsies, without blame.

When you conduct autopsies without blame, you go a long way toward creating a climate where the truth is heard. If you have the right people on the bus, you should almost never need to assign blame but need only to search for understanding and learning.

Build “red flag” mechanisms.

There is no evidence that the good-to-great companies had more or better information than the comparison companies. None. Both sets of companies had virtually identical access to good information. The key, then, lies not in better information, but in turning information into information that cannot be ignored.

Jim Collins. “Good to Great.”

Always looking to improve

“Leaders should never be satisfied. They must always strive to improve, and they must build that mind-set into the team. They must face the facts through a realistic, brutally honest assessment of themselves and their team’s performance. Identifying weaknesses, good leaders seek to strengthen them and come up with a plan to overcome challenges. The best teams anywhere, like the SEAL Teams, are constantly looking to improve, add capability, and push the standards higher. It starts with the individual and spreads to each of the team members until this becomes the culture, the new standard. The recognition that there are no bad teams, only bad leaders facilitates Extreme Ownership and enables leaders to build high-performance teams that dominate on any battlefield, literal or figurative.”
― Jocko Willink, Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win

This concept can seem counter intuitive at times because most feel it over work or it is never enough.  The truth is that those motivated to do what it take find energy in the pursuit of greatness.  When we as a leader loss sight of this passion in those that follow us, we set them up for disappointment.  We never worry about how tired we are until we loss sight of what we are pursuing.

Have you ever notices how hard it is to go without food on a day when you have nothing going on?  Then you have a day where you are focused, busy and it never crosses your mind to stop and eat.  What is the difference?  Focus, passion and a purpose that is more important than resting and eating.  For me on these days I have more energy and less stress in my life.  Let’s focus on getting better, in small increments but everyday.  Remember to celebrate then find what is next to improve and keep moving.

Do what is right…

Zig Ziglar says often, “if you do what you have to do when you have to do it, there will come a time that you get to do what you want to do when you want to do it.” This has proven to be true across the test of time. When we put away selfish desires for the greater good of all and focus on the essential the freedom comes to choose our path. It is not only a true statement but an eternal principle. We are taught to put the Lord’s will above our own and even become one with His will. In doing so we are able to have true freedom to do what we want to do when we want to do it. This is when we experience sure joy and prosperity. It will not always be easy, if fact it will be difficult. It is suppose to be hard that is why it is called a test. We are tested and proven but not because we have something to prove the God or others. We have to prove to ourselves we are willing to do the right thing at all times even when we do not benefit the most from the decision.

Do what is right, be faithful and fearless. On-ward, press one-ward, the goal is in sight. Eyes that are wet now ere long will be tearless. Blessing await you in doing what ’s right!

No place for blame

“If mistakes happen, effective leaders don’t place blame on others. They take ownership of the mistakes, determine what went wrong, develop solutions to correct those mistakes and prevent them from happening again as they move forward.”
― Jocko Willink, The Dichotomy of Leadership: Balancing the Challenges of Extreme Ownership to Lead and Win

One of my favorite principles on leadership is taking ownership for everything.  This is even more important when those you lead are failing.  They are not failing you are and you are the one with the power to help them succeed.  Does that mean they are the right employee?  No, but you are still the one in control of them being in that position so either help them with the necessary training or help them find another seat.

Habits equal your systems

“You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.” 
 James Clear, Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

The way you will achieve any goal will depend on the daily rigor you build into your systems. Through these you will develop the habits that take you to your goals. Daily rigor is the key to developing the habits or systems you need to find success. Do the little things everyday, push the fly wheel, march the 20 miles and don’t break the chain. And if you miss, start again, do not let yesterdays failure control today.

Resilience by DR. RICK HANSON, PH.D

Inner resources are like superpowers: they increase abilities, create greater success, improve quality of life, and make you more effective. Of all the inner resource superpowers at your disposal, the ability to learn is the most powerful because it allows you to cultivate and grow all of the other inner resources you desire.

Each time you learn something, it creates a lasting change in the neural structure of your brain. Scientists call this phenomenon “Experience-Dependent Neuroplasticity.” When you learn something new, the neurons in your brain fire together and build a new path specific to what you have learned.

These constant changes in the wiring of your brain allow you to have a powerful influence over your own mind. When you mindfully stay with and breathe into an experience, your neurons create stronger pathways that you can return to in the future with greater ease. For example, as you sit and meditate on the feeling of compassion, your neurons start to build a stronger pathway back to that feeling, rewiring your brain toward re-experiencing compassion.

Just as it is easier to drive somewhere without GPS once you pay attention along the route, staying with the experience of an inner resource you want to cultivate will help your mind find its way back there again. Canadian psychologist Donald Hebb explains: “Neurons that fire together wire together.” In other words, the more time you give your neurons to work together and build the path to your desired inner resource, the more readily you’ll be able to draw upon that resource in the future.

Argue Less and Listen More

Are we listening or arguing?

“A New York photographer I once met traveled all over the world doing expensive location shoots for big-name clients like Revlon and Lancôme. At one point he shared with me how he would give clients exactly what they had asked for, then be mystified when they didn’t like the end result. Even if it were the pyramids in Egypt, he said, they’d ask him to shoot it over.

It did no good to become defensive or argue with the clients, even though he had followed their specifications perfectly. Instead, he eventually learned—after losing several lucrative accounts—that all he had to do was say, “So let me see if I’ve got this right. You want more of this and less of that? Correct? Okay, I’ll go reshoot it and bring it back so you can see if you like it.”

In other words, he learned to argue less with the people who were paying the bills and to listen more—responding and adjusting to their feedback until they were satisfied.”

Excerpt From

The Success Principles(TM) – 10th Anniversary Edition

Jack Canfield & Janet Switzer

Take accountability for everything…

Take accountability for everything is used so often it loses any real effect in most peoples lives.  Pull out a sheet of paper and think of all of the challenges or problems in your life in the last 24 hours.  Were you kept up late because of something, did you eat something not on your diet because you had no other choice, did your spouse, children, co-worker, boss or a random driver make you angry, maybe someone stole your identity.

Alright, now that you have your list I want you to highlight or underline the following words: kept, no other choice, make you, had to, must.  Now go back and change these words to words that give you the chance to take accountability for everything.  Allow in stead of kept, lack of planning instead of no other choice, make you becomes I choose, had to is now get to, must is now because I wanted to.  When we change how we define events in our lives we gain a power over them that allows us to change the outcome.

E + R = O, Events + Response = Outcome.  If you are not happy with the outcomes in your life good luck changing the events.  The only thing you control is your response.  When you do not get the outcome you want regardless of why, find a way to take full accountability for your response.  Change your response to the event until you achieve your desired outcome.  Taking accountability for everything is hard, it can not be half done and you can not wait on others to do it for you.

You are exactly where you want to be!  If you want to be some where else bad enough you will do what ever it take to get there.  Waiting for others to tell you something, teach you something, give you something, help you with something are all your fault.  If you truly want something you need to take full and total accountability for not having it yet so you receive the power to change you response and get the desired outcome.

Take accountability for everything is not a punishment, rather it is the only way to freedom.

One of my goals in starting my blog post again is to engage with people that want to make these changes in their lives.  You want to take accountability but need a partner to help you when you choose to make excuses.  Let’s build a community of people just lifting one another.  Share your excuse and let’s figure out what you need to be saying to yourself to gain your freedom.

Why do you do what you do?

Have you ever tried to figure out why you do what you do?  For me, I wonder why I skip a work out or eat the double cheeseburger when trying to control my weight.  Maybe when I know something has to get done but I put it off because something else looks more fun.  We do what we do because of our habits.  Good or bad habits shape us from day to day.  If you hit the snooze button once but never again you do not have a habit because every other day you wake up without hitting snooze.  If you hit snooze everyday (multiple times) it is now an automated response to a stimulus.  You are no longer making the decision to hit snooze, now you have to make a decision about getting up at all.

Here is the reason this stood out to me today.  We are always looking for the quick fix, magic pill or one time shot that will cure our ills.  When actually the fix is small steady actions that make the difference.  Much like the black bamboo we do not see the change until many days of consistent action.  I do not lose all the weight I want in one workout, I do not save a million dollars in one paycheck, I do not pay of a home on the first payment.  All of these things are possible for everyone but we have to do the daily items necessary to achieve them.

Follow the advice of Jerry Seinfeld, “don’t break the chain.”  When asked how he became so good at comedy he simply said that everyday he writes 5 jokes and never breaks the chain.  He has written 100’s of 1000’s of jokes and few are ever told or remembered.  Because he was willing to pay the daily toll of success, he made it.  Are you willing to pay the toll to success today and everyday hereafter?  If you miss a day just start a new chain.  The flywheel or 20 mile march are just unbroken chains.