Category Archives: Leadership

20 Ways to Expand your Trust Radius.

You may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will live in torment if you don’t trust enough. Frank Crane – Historian and Sociologist.

If you are anything like me, you’ve been screwed over and learned a lot the hard way. You’ve built street smarts which have served you well. Some ‘normal’ people may even say that your skepticism borders on paranoia. But you justify it with real examples of people trying abuse you or rip you off and your ‘eyes in the back of your head’ have saved you on numerous occasions.

Now maybe you’re in a new environment, you are off the streets, out of a dysfunctional family, or ended an abusive relationship, and now you need to build new relationships, find business connections, help your community, nurture your family and the skills that served you so well in the past… are… well… pretty much worthless.

To succeed in this new environment you need to expand the radius of trust around yourself. A radius of believability, safety, and compassion. 

Here are 20 ways you can expand your trust radius: 

  1. Write down the names of the people you absolutely trust. If your list is long, you can stop reading now. If your name is the only one on the list, you need to read this post.
  2. Suspend your own position and gain understanding. Be open and never rigid. When someone challenges your view of life, business, politics, religion, or any other deeply held value or belief, listen and consider what they are saying. Let the other person know that you value their contribution. Defensiveness destroys trust and communication.
  3. Admit your mistakes. Everyone knows how important this is, but few of us practice it. We tend to dig our own graves repeating our mistakes. We tend to defend all of our decisions simply because they are ours. But when you decide to think, act, or feel a particular way and aren’t getting the results you desire it is time to look for the mistakes you are making. Sometimes the mistakes are obvious and we deny them. Other times we need to dig deep down within ourselves to find them. But when we do find them, we must admit them and and make a conscious effort to correct them if we want to build trusting relationships.
  4. Admit your fears (at least to yourself).  Do you know what many of us do when we are afraid? We get angry. In most cultures fear is considered a weakness and we’ve learned to convert it to anger. For some reason, anger is more socially acceptable than fear, especially for men. Did you know that some of the most violent men, at their core, are nothing more than frightened little boys who are masking it with anger? A quick way to destroy trust is to direct anger at someone else. The next time you feel angry at someone, ask yourself why. What’s really under the surface? Is it fear? Fear of competition? Fear of inadequacy? Fear of economic loss? Fear of emotional loss? Insecurity? Most of us never confront and admit our underlying fears which destroy trust.
  5. Use authentic words. Have you ever heard people who sound scripted? The obvious example is a politician spewing platitudes and cliche. I’ll never forget how robotic Al Gore sounded during the 2000 campaign. When I hear a politician speak, I think, “Will you say something in your own freaking words for once!” If you’ve been in a few corporate meetings, you’ve probably heard something like this, “robust technologies which will create a paradigm shift utilizing synergies between disparate global systems streamlining processes and measuring real-time global metrics creating agile competitive decision making strategies.” Don’t be that guy. Unless you’re a professional actor, use your own words or you’ll sound like a phony. Authenticity builds trust, phoniness destroys it.
  6. When someone shares deep feelings or crazy ideas don’t judge them. Have you ever come up with a crazy idea during a brainstorming session? So crazy you were afraid to mention it? Did you mention it? If you did, you probably don’t need to work on this. If you didn’t, you probably do. Are you too quick to shoot down other people’s ideas because they seem far out? People thought Galileo, Copernicus, Tesla, and Fred Smith were nuts. A lot of great ideas sounded crazy at first. If you learn to tone down your inner judge, you will find that you will begin to trust yourself and your own original ideas. The next time you hear yourself thinking, that’s nuts, or when you get uncomfortable because you sense deep emotion, stop and ask yourself why. If you are honest with yourself you’ll probably learn things about yourself you’ve never known before.
  7. Never intentionally hurt someone. People usually do this with spoken words intended to discredit someone. Other times they do it in vengeance. Some even call it justice. Intentionally hurting other people will never satisfy your emotional needs; it will only deepen your wounds. If you have a conscience, you will carry guilt and lose trust in your own judgement. If others learn of your attacks (even if they are verbal) the distrust will spread. The reasons you see so few people of integrity in politics are: people of integrity do not want others attacked in their name and they do not wish to have their families smeared. Debate ideas, but don’t smear people.
  8. Keep agreements, commitments, and promises. Do this both in the spirit and the letter of the agreement and people will put their trust in you. People will defend you because they know you mean what you say. Do not make agreements, commitments, and promises lightly. Do not make ones you don’t intend to honor. Don’t make them with deceptive loopholes and language. Do and mean what you say.
  9. Have faith in those you choose to associate with. Have faith that your spouse, children, co-workers, friends, employees, and neighbors will make good decisions even when you are not present. If you don’t trust them, they won’t trust you.
  10. Embrace differences. We fear and distrust the things we do not understand. Many times we don’t understand something because it is unusual, foreign, or new. It could be a different language, different values, different style, different music, or a different lifestyle. But if you embrace differences, you will learn to accept and trust others as they are and more often than not they will return your trust.
  11. Embrace disagreement. But do it in a honest ethical intelligent way. Don’t be a ‘yes’ man and don’t expect anyone else to be one either. Your willingness to accept disagreement shows others that you trust them and care about finding the best solution. It shows that you know they are trying to find the best solution too. Look at disagreements as an opportunity to learn something new. Your willingness to embrace disagreement will show others you value their ideas and opinions even when you may not agree. People will feel safe discussing important issues with you.
  12. Act in the best interest of others. It doesn’t matter if you are in sales or in programming, if the first thing you think about when delivering your services or product is the end user or the customer, you will build loyalty and trust. Your commitment to the best interest of someone else will show in your work. On a personal level, if you are a spouse or a parent and you act with the best interest of your family members in mind, your relationship with them will grow and strengthen. A sure way to destroy trust is to consistently act in a selfish manner.
  13. Be willing to ask others for help. We all need other people. We can’t go it completely alone because we can’t know and do everything that needs to be done. Some of us (I have been one) believe asking for help is a weakness. It isn’t. If you learn when and who to ask for help, it will become one of your greatest strengths.
  14. Listen to and consider criticism. This is hard for most of us, but if you trust that others only criticize when they believe you can do better, you will become less defensive and expand your radius of trust. There is always something to be learned from criticism, warranted and unwarranted. Consider it, accept it or reject it and move on.
  15. Give direct, specific, non-punishing feedback. Indirect non specific feedback which feels like punishment will cause others to suspect your motives. They won’t feel safe in your presence, but if instead, you are direct and specific they will grow to trust your feedback. For example, if an employee published a poor quality photo on your website, tell them directly that you expect better content, be specific about your standards and give them examples. Follow up by trusting them to have higher expectations next time and give them another chance to get it right.
  16. Tell people you trust them. I’m not telling you to lie. I’m saying, when you trust others, tell them so. I recall a neighbor giving me the code to her security system, allowing me to enter her home while her family was on vacation so I could borrow some medicine for my son. She specifically said, “Steve, don’t worry about it. I trust you.” I was surprised how good her words felt. Sometimes we don’t realize the value of kind words.
  17. Have open free flowing dialogue. Never try to dominate a conversation. Listen to what others are saying, give them time to talk, don’t interrupt, and when they are ready to end the conversation, let it end. People will be more likely to engage you in conversation because they know you are listening and attentive to their cues. Free-flowing dialogue encourages communication and builds trust. No one likes to be dominated.
  18. Accept people for who they are. Never demand they play a particular role. I see parents try to make athletes out kids who have little interest in sports. Other parents try to make mathematicians out of kids who would rather be writing music. Managers try to force people to play roles or learn skills that do not suit them. Lack of acceptance for people, their interests, and their strengths destroys trust. Actors play roles, real people live their lives. Unless you are a film director, don’t expect people to be anyone except who they are.
  19. Practice Trust. If you struggle with trust, try trusting someone with something that will do little harm if they disappoint you. Loan someone a tool or a few dollars. Let someone else, maybe the waiter, recommend something at a restaurant. If you always drive, let someone else drive for a change. The more you practice, the more you will trust. Just like building physical strength, building trust requires exercise.
  20. Sit down when you interact with people. Sitting shows that you are giving people your full attention and time. Standing, pacing, checking your watch sends the message that you don’t value the interaction and that you want it to end as soon as possible. Sitting down and actively listening builds trust.

6 Methods for Building Exceptional Character and Integrity

Last weekend, Christine and I had the opportunity to talk with an exceptional achiever. This person has excelled to levels of achievement that make him one in a million. But that isn’t what makes this person truly exceptional. What makes him truly exceptional is his achievement combined with his tremendous character and integrity.

This got me thinking…

So how can one develop exceptional character and integrity? What produces these traits? I believe it must be hard for a professional athlete, an American Idol winner, or an A-List Blogger to maintain character and integrity in the face of wealth, ego, fame, and obsequious praise. To retain the power that comes with such a position requires a clear understanding of personal responsibility. We consistently see hubris take down athletes, rock stars, writers, and actors. But what can we learn from the folks in the spotlight who avoid the trap of arrogance and ego?

· Become other person centric – The path to exceptional and remarkable character is found by creating value for other people. Remember, Wayne Gretzky assisted his teammates twice as much as he himself scored (1963 Assists vs. 894 Goals), and still smashed every individual scoring record in history. If you focus on other people, on their needs and what makes them special, you will find yourself naturally acting with character and integrity because your selfishness will fade. How can you be selfish when you see so much greatness in others? How can you fail once you open your eyes to the sea of talent and unique abilities which surrounds you? Many people talk of character traits such as honesty, fairness, compassion, generosity, and courage. These traits become natural and effortless when you become other person centric.

· Contribute first – Never start by focusing on what you can get; focus on what you can give. Winners give 100%; they don’t get 100%. Never say, “I’m not going to help until I know what is in it for me.” Instead say, “give it everything, this is what I want to do, and the results will take care of themselves. “ Your positive actions produce the fruits of existence. Contribute first and the rewards will take care of themselves.

· Develop mental toughness – Build defenses in your mind against negative influences. Quit watching the news. Quit listening to fear mongers. Quit listening to the voice in your head that says you can’t succeed. Kill the idea that some obstacles are too large to overcome. Smash the idea that success is pure luck and you aren’t one of the lucky ones. I know this is easier said than done. But you can begin to shutdown the negative voices in your life and replace them with positive voices. You can start right now. If you hang out with a habitually negative influence, find a new friend. I mean it. There is no point in consistently being fed negative thoughts and images. You can’t change other people; you can only change yourself. And if enough of us change ourselves, we will change the world. When you can’t avoid the negative voice, learn to actively counter negative words and images by consciously forcing positive replacements into your mind. If you do this frequently enough over time, you will develop a habit of mentally replacing negatives with positives, and this habit is the essence of mental toughness. Mental toughness is the ability to maintain positive focus, action, and thought in the midst of all appearances to the contrary.

· Encourage everyone around you to be the best they can be – Try to surround yourself with people who want to be the best they can be. But not everyone is trying to be the best they can be, so what can you do? The next best thing… encourage everyone around you to be the best they can be. Don’t do it directly. Do it through positive reinforcement. When you see someone begin to move in a positive direction, encourage them, tell them you think they’ve made a great decision, the kind of bold move that is right for them. When they succeed, tell them you knew they could do it. When they experience a setback, remind them it is only temporary and that things will work out if they learn from the setback, make changes, and persist. One setback does not rule a lifetime. Help them up, push them forward, if they don’t know where to go, lead the way and let them follow until they are ready to lead. Before you know it, everyone around you will be pushing themselves to be their best.

· Praise effort, progress, and success – Never use fear, anger, or shame to motivate. Use constructive criticism, but use it sparingly and only after maintaining considerable patience. Never give false praise or phony complements, people will see right through your lack of authenticity. But when you see strenuous effort, real progress, and outstanding achievement, notice it, recognize it, and celebrate it.

· Do the right thing even when it is unpopular – Doing this as a young person may be one of the most difficult things you will ever do. Many of us have failed this test. But that doesn’t mean you have to. When the group is bulling someone, defend the victim. Your heart knows what is right; listen to it and follow it. Listen to your conscience and it will give you the right answer in every difficult situation. You’ll know when this situation appears, your heart will pull you one way and the herd will pull you in another, follow your heart, the herd is headed off a cliff.

Character and Integrity belong to all of us. They aren’t simply traits for other people; they are traits worthy of you and me. The future is yours and it begins right now. The secret to change is within you. Change yourself and change the world.

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Ending the Cycle of Abusive Corporate Management

When I got my first corporate job at McDonalds shortly after I turned 14, my manager was a thirty something with a molester mustache who abused his “power” by trying to nail the underage female employees. Sometimes the slimy bastard succeeded.

My second corporate manager was a cocaine addicted, mullet headed, verbally abusive, statutory rapist. When I quit, this guy actually told me that “I couldn’t quit” because it was illegal for someone under 21 to quit a job without management’s permission. Huh? I walked out anyway and then he held my paycheck.

My third corporate manager was powermad. While standing right next to you, she’d drop a piece of paper on the floor and say, “Steve, will you pick that up?” I did it a few times, but after that, I avoided her because she disciplined anyone who refused her commands. Strange woman.

I know, I know… You’d think I would have learned by this point. But I didn’t. Most of us don’t.

My fourth corporate manager was a bald guy who always wore a baseball cap, even indoors. He managed truck drivers who made $15-20 per hour but never gave them an annual increase over 25 cents per hour. He justified his stinginess saying, “10 cents an hour was a great raise when I drove truck.” I assume senior management enjoyed the reduced labor costs, but they still fired him when the drivers nearly unionized.

When I got my foot into cubicle land as a customer service rep my new manager was no better; she threw angry tantrums firing people for delusional paranoid reasons. Several months later, after firing her, senior management asked me to manage the customer service group.

I was facing a classic working class dilemma. Do I sell-out my “people” and become “the man” like all the slimy middle managers before me or do I keep my paltry working class income and retain the righteousness of poverty?

I sold-out. I wanted to be a different kind of manager, but I still suffered from the delusion that good management was about fear, power, control, and discipline. Why wouldn’t I? That’s how authorities managed us in school. That’s how I was managed in each working class position leading up to my promotion. I had no real-world examples of good management.

Maybe abusive management is cyclical like spousal and alcohol abuse. We learn it from those that come before us and the real question is how to break the cycle.

My current boss helped me break the cycle. He was my first real-world example of a great manager. I am grateful to have him as a mentor.

When people think of corporate management, they tend to think about the managers in Office Space or the corrupt executives at Enron or Tyco. But if you’ve ever worked under great management, you know that these stereotypes are the worst kind of management. They are bad for employees, bad for business, and bad for shareholders.

Through mentorship and reading books like The Essential Drucker, I’ve learned a few of the values that are critical to successful business management, whether it is a large enterprise or a home based micro-business. You can use these values not only to achieve success in business and management but also to achieve success in life.

The first thing a new manager should understand is – great management is not about you or your career. It’s about serving other people.

Great management is about:

People – A great manager will form groups that perform well together, leveraging each member’s strengths while minimizing weaknesses. If you work for a managed institution, which most people do, your quality of life and your contribution to society are greatly dependent on the quality of your managers. Great managers will have high expectations combined with compassion and understanding for people’s personal or family lives.

Culture – Does your management style create a culture of fear, mistrust, and greed, or does it create a culture of courage, trust, and generosity? Status Quo or innovation? Protectionism or openness? But this isn’t just about corporate culture; it’s also about world cultures. Are you open to the ideas and strengths of other cultures? Ideas and strengths that are proven or are you closed to ideas from other cultures and myopically chained to your own culture? Every culture has strengths and weaknesses; do your best to adopt the strengths and abandon the weaknesses.

Commitment to Common Goals and Common Values – Does your organization have clear goals and share common values? Have you clearly and consistently communicated these values and goals? Goals and values that unify and provide common vision? Do you as a manager exemplify the goals and values of the organization or are they hollow words?

Training and Development – To succeed every organization/business must foster training and development – Training and development that does not stop. All great managers strive to increase the human potential around them.

Communication – A great manager once told me that he could trace each of his management failures back to a poor communication and each of his successes to clear communication. In management, it is better to over communicate – even to the point of absurdity – than it is to fail to communicate. The most common communication failures are a failure to listen and failure to admit that you don’t understand. Failing to listen or faking understanding, is failing to communicate.

Individual Responsibility – Individual responsibility is not only taking responsibility for your own work but also a clearly communicating your expectation that others also accept responsibility for their work. Micromanagers fail to expect people to be responsible for their own work, so if you must micromanage you’ve hired the wrong people, failed to train them, or set expectations too low.

Satisfying Customers – The ultimate goal of any organization is to satisfy someone outside the organization. A hospital should heal the sick, a business should provide a good or service that people want at a price they will pay, a school should provide a student with knowledge they can put to work later. A police force should provide people security. A publication/website should provide content people want. Inside an organization, there are only costs, and the money to pay for those costs always comes from outside the organization from satisfied customers.

7 Keys for Successful Public Speaking

Here are a few tips you can use to become a better public speaker.

1. Don’t begin preparing for a presentation by building Power Point slides

Begin with note cards or a legal pad. Most corporate presenters build their Power Point presentations and then read the slides verbatim to an audience with a few anecdotes sprinkled in for filler. This practice has damaged public speaking. At best, Power Point has become a crutch for people that are capable of more; at worst, it has become a hammock for the lazy. The core problem with being overly Power Point centric is that you will focus too much on fluff and too little on substance. Remember YOU are the communicator, not the slides. For now… Close Power Point. Continue reading 7 Keys for Successful Public Speaking

A Long Forgotten Leadership Trait

Here is a leadership trait that you rarely see in corporate America today. But you don’t have to be a business leader to use it. Anyone can use it. In fact I believe it’s one of the great secrets to wealth.

Be generous – especially at Christmas time.

On Thursday all 300 employees at my company received an email invitation to an impromptu meeting in the lunchroom. We all wondered what the announcement was.

Our company founder’s son and daughter opened the meeting saying:

Our father was a generous man and loved each and every employee of this company and we decided that he would want to give you all a gift this Christmas. Our family has been financially blessed this year and in our father’s spirit we wish to share our blessings with each of you. This gift is not from the company, it is from our family.

Our founder passed away in 2005.

They proceeded to call each employee to the front, gave her a hug and handed her a Christmas card.

When everyone had received a card the daughter said, “Go ahead and open it.” Inside each card was $500.00 in cash. Five green franklins! The family handed out $150,000 in cash 10 days before Christmas.

You should have seen the outpouring of emotion. There were people in tears. Nobody expected this.

Then the daughter said, “This isn’t a company sponsored event so I don’t need to be politically correct – Merry Christmas.”

This happened at a company that regularly gives its employees double the industry standard annual raises, has a generous profit sharing program, and a generous bonus plan, so there was no need to do it. It was done out of kindness and love.

They gave the same amount to everyone from the CTO to the worker on the factory floor. The goodwill and positive energy in that room was overwhelming. In my working class days, we had many years where we survived on less than 10K a year and Christmas was depressing because of the financial strain. I know this gift meant a lot to every employee, but imagine what it meant to the single mom struggling through college while putting together widgets on the factory floor.

For most companies, the Christmas bonus has gone the way of the pension plan and free medical insurance. To me, Thursday at work was a trip back in time. To a yesteryear when Christmas was truly about goodwill, love, peace, joy, and giving. I don’t know if that day actually existed in the past or its a wishful revisionist history, but it existed at a factory in Eagan Minnesota on Thursday Dec 14th, 2006.

So in the spirit of our passed away founder, remember this Christmas season – people are the greatest asset on earth. Be generous to each other. We are all one.

The Secret Great Leaders Know About Emotion

I used to believe my emotions were a weakness, and I’m sharing this information with the hope you can avoid the painful lesson I had to learn.

Do you believe your emotions are weaknesses you must suppress to succeed? What if I told you that your emotions were not an obstacle to success but a critical ingredient in your success?

I believed my emotions were a weakness, and the results were ugly.

About two years ago, I read a couple of books that explained my problem and what to do about it. The first was Executive EQ and the second was Leadership: The Inner Side of Greatness.

Here are some of the secrets in these books:

Great leaders accept their feelings and allow themselves to feel their feelings fully. That’s right! They allow themselves to feel their fear in all its intensity. They don’t try to suppress it or step around it or deny it. They don’t fight it. They accept it and feel it. A great leader doesn’t believe something is wrong with him when he feels a particular feeling. Wow! What an eye opener! Tiger Woods feels fear too! He knows that denying his feelings leads to physical and emotional exhaustion. I never knew that. I thought I was a freak for feeling the things I felt.

Great leaders know the difference between conscious emotional action and impulsive emotional re-action. Some might call this emotional maturity. When children feel angry they may hit people or break things. This is an emotional re-action. Some of us don’t know how to stop re-acting impulsively to our emotions and it carries into adulthood. When we feel a particular way, we re-act negatively or we channel one emotion to a different emotion and re-act incongruently. For example – a man may feel that he cannot re-act to his sorrow, so he channels his sorrow into anger and re-acts violently instead. It is impulsive re-action most people think of when they imagine an emotional person.

Great leaders feel their emotion, name their emotions, and act on them. For example: A great warrior will feel her fear in battle, understand that she is afraid, and interpret it as a message to act with courage. A Native American friend once told me, “In my culture, we are taught to trust our feelings. We do not shun feelings. We understand they are messages from nature that we need to take action. Feelings are messages from the spirit world.”

Great leaders trust their intuition. Intuition is the art of knowing without reasoning. Great leaders know that intuition is the shortcut to making great decisions quickly. We can all access our intuition if we learn to listen to our hunches. As a child, I solved complex math problems correctly using only intuition, and the teacher punished me for cheating and told me what I was doing was impossible. I had no desire to write out pages of work to solve a problem that I already knew the answer to. After that, I gave up on math and my intuition. I learned the lesson my teacher was teaching. It took me almost thirty years to unlearn that lesson.

Great leaders broadcast positive emotions. Great leaders have learned to use their minds to feel and broadcast Love, Hope, Desire, Sex Appeal, Confidence, Joy, Trust, and Faith to other people. Watch the great speeches from MLK to Steve Jobs. How do they make you feel? Where do you think that comes from?

Great leaders do the seemingly impossible using imagination combined with positive emotion. They create a novel, a piece of artwork, a political movement, a military victory, an invention, or a great theory, by first imagining it in detail while feeling positive emotions like passion, love, and faith. Without intense focused emotions, there would be no world changing creations.

My Story

When I was child, people told me I was overly sensitive. Since the second grade, I believed I had an emotional birth defect that I had to overcome.

I’ve always felt that I was able to walk into a room and sense other people’s feelings. If someone was secretly angry, I could feel it. If someone was genuine, I could feel it. If someone held resentment or hate, I could feel it. If someone was full of love, I could feel that too. This whole situation seemed insane and voyeuristic. I don’t mean that I knew how other people felt; I mean that I actually felt their feelings. So if someone was talking to me while feeling afraid, I felt afraid too.

At some point I realized, that boys aren’t supposed to feel that way. I began to suppress and deny my emotions because I believed they were a weakness. So in order to control the re-actions which revealed my emotions, I suppressed and denied my sadness, fear, or any other emotion that could lead to a socially damaging re-action.

The results of this method of self-denial were devastating. I turned into an emotional black-hole, devoid of empathy, with all my denied emotions manifesting in destructive actions (substance abuse, criminal activity, violence) and psychiatric issues (depression and panic attacks). My wife once described me as “completely black and empty on the inside.”

My experience is an extreme example. But I believe most people suppress their emotions to some degree. Suppressing your emotions won’t solve your problems because emotions will always find a way to manifest. But there is a solution.

Your emotions are your strength, not your weakness. It just depends upon how you think about them.

To be great, learn to feel great.

This post has been listed on the Cultivate Growth and Blog Success Carnival at Cultivate Success. – Thanks Travis

Read the 10 part series on the 10 things I wish I had never believed:

#1 Why People Believe Money is the Root of All Evil
#2 Why Getting a Good Job isn’t the Best Way to Earn Money
#3 The Secret Great Leaders Know About Emotions
#4 Success is 99% Failure
#5 10 Tips to Secure a Management Position without a College Degree
#6 Always Question Your Doctor – Three Stories Why
#7 How the Public School System Crushes Souls
#9 Give Me 3 Minutes and I’ll Make you a Better Decision Maker

Achieving Greatness

Yesterday, my wife emailed me this link about what it takes to be great. Reading this article created an idea that I want to share with you.

In this article Geoffrey uses the words hard work six times to describe the key ingredient to greatness. However, I believe you can achieve greatness without working hard (from your perspective). I’ll explain why in this post.

The hard work he describes only looks like hard work from the outside. To the person working and practicing relentlessly, it isn’t hard work at all. It is action fueled by desire and love. The actions are not forced; they are natural because the person working toward greatness is driven by an intense sense of purpose.

Have you ever had times when you were working toward a goal and time stood still? When you were completely engrossed in the task at hand? These moments are incredibly productive and satisfying, aren’t they? I believe that is how hard work feels to people in the process of becoming great. It’s very different living it than viewing it from the outside.

My wife describes working on her business this way. In fact, she doesn’t even feel that it is work. It is the result of her desire, love, and joy – The desire to give the best possible service and product to her customers, her love of books, and the joy the books bring to people.

I feel the same way about this blog. I love sharing stories and ideas with you. I have an intense desire to improve. I believe that sharing inspiring thought provoking ideas is my purpose in life. And that purpose drives me forward with an energy I’ve never experienced before.

I believe a path to greatness lies within each of us; we just need to discover it.

The path to greatness is not paved with hard work; the path to greatness is paved with desire, love, faith, and joy. It only looks like hard work to those observing your journey.