The Time to Act

Engaging in genuine discipline requires that you develop the ability to take action. You don’t need to be hasty if it isn’t required, but you don’t want to lose much time either. Here’s the time to act: when the idea is hot and the emotion is strong.

Let’s say you would like to build your library. If that is a strong desire for you, what you’ve got to do is get the first book. Then get the second book. Take action as soon as possible, before the feeling passes and before the idea dims. If you don’t, here’s what happens…

YOU FALL PREY TO THE LAW OF DIMINISHING INTENT

We intend to take action when the idea strikes us. We intend to do something when the emotion is high. But if we don’t translate that intention into action fairly soon, the urgency starts to diminish. A month from now the passion is cold. A year from now it can’t be found.

So take action. Set up a discipline when the emotions are high and the idea is strong, clear and powerful. If somebody talks about good health and you’re motivated by it, you need to get a book on nutrition. Get the book before the idea passes, before the emotion gets cold. Begin the process. Fall on the floor and do some push-ups. You’ve got to take action; otherwise the wisdom is wasted. The emotion soon passes unless you apply it to a disciplined activity. Discipline enables you to capture the emotion and the wisdom and translate them into action. The key is to increase your motivation by quickly setting up the disciplines. By doing so, you’ve started a whole new life process.

Here is the greatest value of discipline: self-worth, also known as self-esteem. Many people who are teaching self-esteem these days don’t connect it to discipline. But once we sense the least lack of discipline within ourselves, it starts to erode our psyche. One of the greatest temptations is to just ease up a little bit. Instead of doing your best, you allow yourself to do just a little less than your best. Sure enough, you’ve started in the slightest way to decrease your sense of self-worth.

There is a problem with even a little bit of neglect. Neglect starts as an infection. If you don’t take care of it, it becomes a disease. And one neglect leads to another. Worst of all, when neglect starts, it diminishes our self-worth. Once this has happened, how can you regain your self-respect? All you have to do is act now! Start with the smallest discipline that corresponds to your own philosophy. Make the commitment: “I will discipline myself to achieve my goals so that in the years ahead I can celebrate my successes.”

We are What We Think…

You become what you think about most of the time. And the most important part of each day is what you think about at the beginning of that day. Start Your Day Right!

Take 30 minutes each morning to sit quietly and to reflect on your goals. You’ll find when you read the biographies and autobiographies of successful men and women that almost everyone of them began their upward trajectory to success when they begin getting up early in the morning and spending time with themselves.

Feed Your Mind With Positive Ideas
This is called The Golden Hour. The first hour sets the tone for the day. The things that you do in the first hour prepare your mind and set you up for the entire day. During the first thirty to sixty minutes, take time to think and review your plans for the future.

Use Your Quiet Time Effectively
Here are four things that you can do during that quiet time in the morning.

Number one, is to review your plans for accomplishing your goals and change your plans if necessary.

Number two, is think of better ways to accomplish your goals. As an exercise, assume that the way you’re going about it is totally wrong and imagine going about it totally differently. What would you do different from what you’re doing right now?

Number three, reflect on the valuable lessons that you have learned and are learning as you move toward your goals.

Number four, calmly visualize your goal as a reality. Close your eyes, relax, smile, and see your goal as though it were already a reality. Rewrite your major goals everyday in the present tense. Rewrite them as though they already existed. Write “I earn X dollars.” “I have a net worth of X.” “I weigh a certain number of pounds.” This exercise of writing and rewriting your goals everyday is one of the most powerful you will ever learn.

Fasten Your Seatbelt
Your life will start to take off at such a speed that you’ll have to put on your seatbelt. Remember, the starting point for achieving financial success is the development of an attitude of unshakable confidence in yourself and in your ability to reach your goals. Everything we’ve talked about is a way of building up and developing your belief system until you finally reach the point where you are absolutely convinced that nothing can stop you from achieving what you set out to achieve.

Everything Counts
No one starts out with this kind of an attitude, but you can develop it using the law of accumulation. Everything counts. No efforts are ever lost. Every extraordinary accomplishment in the result of thousands of ordinary accomplishments that no one recognizes or appreciates. The greatest challenge of all is for you to concentrate your thinking single-mindedly on your goal and by the law of attraction, you will, you must inevitably draw into your life the people, circumstances and opportunities you need to achieve your goals.

Become A Living Magnet
Once you’ve mastered yourself and your thinking, you will become a living magnet for ideas and opportunities to become wealthy. It’s worked for me and for every successful person I know. It will work for you if you’ll begin today, now, this very minute, to think and talk about your dreams and goals as though they were already a reality. When you change your thinking, you will change your life. You will put yourself firmly on the road to financial independence.

Action Exercises
Now, here are two things you can do every single day to keep your mind focused on your financial goals:

First, get up every morning a little bit earlier and plan your day in advance. Take some time to think about your goals and how you can best achieve them. This sets the tone for the whole day.

Second, reflect on the valuable lessons you are learning each day as you work toward your goals. Be prepared to correct your course and adjust your actions. Be absolutely convinced that you are moving rapidly toward your goals, no matter what happens temporarily on the outside. Just hang in there!

CREATING A POSITIVE ATTITUDE TO ACHIEVE POSITIVE RESULTS

With winter upon us, the economy down, unemployment running at record highs, etc. it can be easy to start focusing on the negatives.  The key to surviving and succeeding is all in your attitude.  Your attitude determines the state of world you live in, not what is happening around you. It is the foundation for every success and every failure you have had and will have. Your attitude will make you or break you.

Attitude creates the way you feel about people and situations. Your actions are a result of your attitude, which, in turn, creates a reaction from others. So, basically, what you think … you get. It is your attitude toward others and the Universe that determines the resultant attitude toward you. Incorporate a positive, joyful attitude and you’ll have positive, joyful results. Put out a bad, negative attitude and you’ve failed before you begin.

I know it sounds simple, but the truth is….it IS simple!

WHERE DO NEGATIVE ATTITUDES COME FROM IN THE FIRST PLACE?

Negative attitudes come from thinking negative thoughts over and over until they have become a part of your subconscious – they’ve become habitual, a part of your personality. You may not even realize you have a negative attitude because it’s been with you for so long. Once you have a bad attitude, you expect failure and disaster. This expectation turns you into a strong magnet for failure and disaster. Then it becomes a vicious circle. You expect the worst – you get the worst – your negative beliefs are reinforced – you expect the worst – you get …

. . Got the picture?

SO, HOW DO WE SHIFT OUR THOUGHTS AND CREATE A POSITIVE ATTITUDE?

It takes work, but creating anything of value takes work. In order to have a new attitude we have to change our subconscious thinking. How do we do this? By analyzing every thought we have until positive thinking becomes habit. You’re merely replacing an old habit with a healthy habit, much like replacing exercise for smoking.

You can’t just stop being negative – you have to replace those negative thoughts with positive ones.

Some people would say, “But negative situations are a reality. They just show up in every day life.”

This is absolutely not true. Situations are a reality, yes. They do show up. It is your ATTITUDE that makes a situation positive or negative. It’s time for you to realize that YOU are in control of how you think and feel – no one else on earth has this power unless you give it away. Take control of your attitude, and you take control of your results.

“Your state of mind creates the state of your results.”

Trusting Your Intuition

Survey after survey has noted that top leaders are able to make tough decisions, in part because they have learned to trust their intuition. Henry Mintzberg of McGill University said, “Organizational effectiveness does not lie in that narrow-minded concept called rationality. It lies in the blend of clear-headed logic and powerful intuition.”
Intuitive people tend to be able to plunge right into a problem, gathering information and facts on the run while also listening for that inner voice that speaks truth. People looking in from the outside might interpret these actions as impulsive. In reality, they are able to make quick decisions based on a lifetime of accumulated wisdom and understanding.
While intuition does appear stronger in some people than in others, I believe that any leader can learn to be more intuitive. It is simply a matter of learning to trust your heart. Sometimes the first step toward trusting your heart is simply acknowledging and letting go of our absolute trust in logic. Roy Rowan said, “This feeling, this little whisper from deep inside your brain, may contain far more information-both facts and impressions-than you’re likely to obtain from hours of analysis.”
There is a certain element of risk in intuitive leadership, but that is the very nature of leadership. André Gide said, “One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.” A neglect of cultivating intuition results from doing what is safe and secure. I can’t think of very many things of value that are won by staying safe and secure.
While leaning on your intuition is a leadership advantage, it can also be a weakness. You’ll gain the trust of others when your intuitions lead to good decisions. And you’ll forfeit trust when you fail because you continually ignore the wise advice of those around you. Robert Heller said, “Never ignore a great feeling, but never believe that it’s enough.” Great leaders learn to trust the intuition of their confidantes as well.
I’ve tried to pay attention to how I make a decision, and here are some steps I’ve developed for tapping into my intuitive instincts: 
  • Write down the issue at hand.
  • Identify as many options as possible.
  • Pull away from the process and pray.
  • Start playing out consequences of your options, eliminating them one by one.
  • Bounce a couple of your top options off of wise people both inside and outside your organization.
  • Do a heart check. This involves looking at: 
    • My motive-“Why am I doing this?”
    • My responsibility-“Should I be doing this?”
    • My emotional status-“Can I feel right about doing this?”
  • Make a decision.
  • Hold to that decision. No leader ever reaches perfection when it comes to decision-making. But a leader who strives to obtain all the facts possible, who trusts the intuition of his or her team members, and who cultivates and trusts his or her own intuition, will have a batting average good enough for the Hall of Fame!

Ambitiously Pursuing Your Own Self-Direction

What is the origin of true ambition? There exists really only one place to find true ambition and that is within you – in every thought, in every movement, in every motivation. Your ambition is an expression of who you truly are, your own self-expression.

Self-expression. Isn’t self-expression really self-direction? How you think, how you move, how you motivate yourself. Ambition is a result of self-direction and self-direction is one of the six key principles necessary for building ambition. Positive self-direction says, “I know who I am and I know where I want to go. I’m accumulating knowledge and experiences and feelings and philosophies that will help prepare me for opportunities that I know will show up without notice or any help on my part.” Because you know where you want to go, you have already been working on the parts of your personality that will make you better. Working on your attitude, working on your health, working on your time management skills. Putting it all down on paper. And you constantly see yourself in the place you want to be, going in the direction you want to go.

Direction determines destination. So here is a question you must ask yourself, “Are all the disciplines that I’m currently engaged in taking me where I want to go?” What an important question to ask yourself at the beginning of the month, the beginning of the week, the beginning of the day. Because here is what you don’t ever want to do – kid yourself. Kid your neighbor, kid me and kid the marketplace, but don’t kid yourself – fingers crossed – hoping you will arrive at a good destination when you’re not even headed that way. You have to ask yourself often, AM I? Am I doing the disciplines that are taking me in the direction I want to go? Don’t neglect to ask these important questions, questions that help determine your direction, the set of your sail, your destination.

Is this the direction I want for my life?
Is this someone else’s direction?
Is this a goal I have been ingrained with since my childhood?
Is this goal my parent’s, my spouse’s, my boss’, my children’s or is it MINE?

Ask yourself these questions and then debate them. After you have answered these questions within yourself, then take it one step further and ask, “What am I doing that is working or not working?” Debate it all. Work with your mind to figure out the best possible direction for you – your self-direction. And then ambitiously pursue your own self-direction. Let the power of your own ambition take you where you want to go, to do what you want to do, to create the life you want to live!

Create Your Daily Personal Growth Schedule

I’m often asked about how I keep up with all of the various projects at work while still having time to spend with my family and friends.  It is true that I work hard and play hard; however, I have developed a daily routine that helps me keep my life in balance.  I thought I’d share them with you.  
I start every day with the following objectives in mind.  You can easily apply these disciplines in your life.  It just takes practice and repetition until they become automatic.
Goal Setting
Every morning, take three to five minutes to write out your top goals in the present tense. Get a good quality notebook for this purpose. By writing out your ten goals at the beginning of each day, you will program them deep into your subconscious mind. This daily goal writing will activate your mental powers. It will stimulate your mind and make you more alert. Throughout the day, you will see opportunities and possibilities to move more rapidly toward your goals.
Planning and Organizing
Take a few minutes, preferably the night before, to plan out every activity of the coming day. Always work from a list. Always think on paper. This is one of the most powerful and important disciplines of all for high performance.
Concentration on your Highest-Value Activities
Your ability to work single-mindedly on your most important task will contribute as much to your success as any other discipline you can develop.
Exercise and Proper Nutrition
Your health is more important than anything else. By disciplining yourself to exercise regularly and to eat carefully, you will promote the highest possible levels of health and fitness throughout your life.
Learning and Growth
Your mind is like a muscle. If you don’t use it, you lose it. Continuous learning is the minimum requirement for success in any field.
Time for Important People in Your Life
Relationships are everything. Be sure that in climbing the ladder of success, you do not find it leaning against the wrong building. Build time for your relationships into every day, no matter how busy you get.
Time for Important People in Your Life
These seven disciplines will ensure that you perform at the highest level and get the greatest satisfaction and results from everything you do. Study these seven disciplines and then make a plan for how you can incorporate each of them into your daily life.

Creating a NEW Positive Belief System

It is because of your belief system that you are where you are in life right now. You have created your success or failure with the beliefs that you have established within yourself.

Most people would be astounded to know how many of their beliefs are based on lack, limitation, and shortage-and that these thoughts reproduce themselves directly into their life experiences.

You owe it to yourself to think only of unlimited prosperity, because abundance IS reality. There is no lack, no shortage. There are no limits except for those we impose on ourselves. Prosperity doesn’t start with someone or something outside of you.

Get the picture yet? Your success or failure begins and ends with you.
Wow! Think about that for a minute. What you think and what you believe determines your success or failure.

Your conscious mind is a powerful thing. What you concentrate on comes back to you-multiplied. Your mind is a source of unlimited, overflowing abundance-and its manifestation into the physical world depends on your thoughts and beliefs. Your belief in the possibility or impossibility of a situation determines the outcome. If you don’t believe in the possibility of success, it’s just not going to be possible.

So, how do you replace your old, self-defeating belief system with a new prosperity-focused belief system? Start from within. Delete any “can’t do” beliefs you may have lurking deep inside, and start believing that you CAN.

But simply eliminating old beliefs is not enough. You have to replace them with new positive ones, because something must occupy that empty space. Remember, the universe abhors a vacuum, so choose something positive to take its place.

The second step is to stay away from the “can’t do” people in your life. If you can’t avoid them totally, then don’t get infected with their negativity. Give yourself a “prosperity booster shot” by remembering that the beliefs and opinions of other people do not have to become your reality. Someone is always going to try to tell you it’s not possible. You have to train your mind to block out these negative words.

Every time you hear a “you can’t-it’s not possible” say “NEXT!” to yourself and flip back to your new way of thinking. Tell them that you have moved forward, and that old, negative way of thinking has no place in your life. If they can’t accept the new you simply stop discussing your goals with them. Stay focused in your new mindset and become a joyful example of what happens when you believe in yourself and what’s possible. Think big and prosperous and you’ll get big, prosperous results. Think small and lacking and you’ll achieve just that. The choice is yours.

“Our inner image of ourselves and what we want to accomplish in life makes us become what we were meant to be.”

Your Words Have Power

Every cell in your body eavesdrops on your internal dialogue. Whatever you consistently tell yourself becomes true for you. Words have power! What you express, you impress. Reciting empowering mantras clears your mind of disempowering self-talk and directs your energy wisely toward your goals. Here are a few mantras I’ve used to maintain my commitment to my goals, even when life seems challenging.

With faith the size of a mustard seed, I can move mountains. That’s a big claim! Have you ever seen a mustard seed? It’s tiny! To have faith that minuscule leaves no room for doubt. Absence of doubt is key to achieving goals. Tell yourself: There’s always a way when I’m committed.

When you commit to achieve great things, you must often leave behind old beliefs and behaviors that no longer serve you. Many people are afraid of change or letting go of the past. This mantra helps me move beyond the past and embrace the magnificent future that awaits: Nothing great leaves my life without something better replacing it.

Most people re-create the same experience of reality in the midst of infinite possibilities. This mantra inspires me to create my life by design: I am in the eternal moment of choice and I have the freedom to choose.

The outside world may seem fixed or static, but in reality it is malleable based on your thoughts, words and actions. This mantra reminds me that I create my experience of reality. I am the Master Alchemist; the universe yields to the power of my intention.

And finally, my favorite mantra: When I change, the world around me changes – I have that much power!

Are we in control of our decisions?

I don’t generally post videos in my blog, but I found this one interesting.  This is a TED presentation featuring Dan Airely.  Dan presents some interesting findings on decision making and human behavior.  He shows how decisions we often make in life are predictable based on what is perceived better or easier.

The vast majority of people take the road most traveled because it is the easy choice. The decision is made for them and they blindly follow.  I call this the “Cruise Ship Mentality.”  All decisions are made for travelers on a cruise ship.  They show up and from that point forward everything is taken care of.  Conversely, successful people generally ignore anything that deviates them from their objective.  They pave the road that takes them to where they want to go.

The decisions we all make in life are key to our successes and failures.  We are faced with thousands of decisions and choices we have to make daily.  How we respond to them is what shapes our lives and makes us who we are.  The only thing that limits your potential is you. 

Amazing insight into personal decision making

NOTE: My blog clips the video a bit.  If you want to watch it on the original site in full size click here

Keys to Total Quality by Stephen Covey

Stephen Covey wrote this awhile back.  It home with me, so I thought I’d share it with you:

The key to a total quality company is a total quality person who knows how to program and use a compass. I’ve always liked the expression, “If it’s going to be, it’s up to me.” In reality, you and I are the keys to total quality. It’s what I call an inside-out approach to quality, and it’s a cure for the cynicism that often comes with “yet another program.”

As Donald L. Kanter and Philip H. Mirvis write in The Cynical Americans: Many companies undertook programs in hopes of gaining a quick fix for productivity, quality and morale problems. Such innovations were marked by fads and easily recognized as a sham. Cynics aptly called this the “program of the month” approach to change.

Programs of the month are characterized by external treatments of internal problems, by an outside-in approach. But quality cannot be inspected in it must flow from the hearts and minds of the people doing the job. You simply can’t manage yourself out of problems you behave yourself into. You can hire the hands and backs of people, but they volunteer their minds and hearts. To get quality, we need a principle-centered, character-based, inside-out approach, meaning that we start with ourselves our paradigms and motives. His often requires personal changes not personnel changes as it requires us to function effectively on four levels on the basis of four principles:

1. personal trustworthiness;
2. interpersonal trust;
3. managerial empowerment; and
4. organizational alignment.

Trust is the foundation of total quality, and trust is made up of both character (what a person is) and competence (what a person does). A corporate culture, like the human body, is an ecosystem of interdependent relationships. If we seek quality with something other than a principle-centered approach on all four levels, our efforts will be necessary but insufficient. Many managers suppose that if they correct the structure and systems (programs), the problems with people (programmers) will go away. The reverse is actually true if you correct the people first, the other problems will go away. Why?

Because people are the programmers, and they use systems and structures as the outward expressions of their own character and competence. Effective executives lead by principles. Principles are like a compass. A compass has a true north that is objective and external, that reflects natural laws or principles, as opposed to values which are subjective and internal. Values are maps. Principles are territories. And the maps are not the territories; they are only subjective attempts to describe the territory. The more closely our values or maps are aligned with correct principles with the realities of the territory, with things as they are the more accurate and useful they will be. But, when the territory is constantly changing, when markets are shifting, any map is soon obsolete.

The map provides a description, but the compass provides more vision, and direction. An accurate map is a good management tool, but a compass is a leadership and an empowerment tool. We are too locked into certain mindsets, into management by maps, into old models. The old quality model is obsolete. It’s a road map. The key to creating a total quality company is to first create a total quality person.

The manager of corporate training for a major U.S. company recently told me: “The single most important benefit we’ve received from your Seven Habits program has been increased personal effectiveness because that’s the key to corporate results. By improving teamwork, communication and employee empowerment, the Seven Habits played an important part in boosting profits in our overseas operations by 90 percent the first year!” People who don’t make quality their number one priority won’t make it through these tough economic times, say winners of The Malcolm Baldrige Award.

The best way to predict your future is to create it. In today’s chaotic market, road maps are obsolete; only a compass can help you navigate the rough, changing terrain.