The 3 Most Limiting Words

Young Woman Behind The Bars

 

“That’s just me.”

She said it definitively in that way people dismiss a question.  Tossing her hair with a quick flip, she signaled to the small group that there would be no discussion.

I’m not much of an eavesdropper.  I normally am absorbed in my own work.  But I was sitting in this little café only a few feet away.

I think it was her manager who sat down at the table, motioning to her to sit down.  The discussion was about customer complaints and her abrupt communication style.  Customers felt that she was dismissive and perhaps slightly arrogant.  At the same time, she received high marks for her product knowledge.

“That’s just me,” she said again, before flatly adding, “I get frustrated and impatient.  But I do know what to do.”

That’s Just Me.

For a moment, I bought it.  After all, you can’t really fight it if that is really who you are.

But then I stopped myself as I thought about those words.

Instead of thinking about ways to grow, she had unknowingly slammed the door shut, imprisoning herself in a world much smaller than only a few moments ago.

One of the greatest attributes of people is the ability to grow, to change, to develop.  Who I was five years ago is not who I am today.  That incredible quality, the ability to change who we are defies those three words.

 

Only you have the power to determine whether your future mimics your past. -Skip Prichard

The Power of Fiction

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This is a powerful video demonstrating the power of fiction.  Reading fiction is not just an entertaining escape.  It can change your point of view and give you a new perspective.  We are literally transformed through the power of story.

So, the next time someone snickers as you’re reading a thriller, remind him that you are doing your part to change the world.

How has fiction made an impact on your life?

3 Challenges for Emerging Leaders

 

 

Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Anya Kamenetz to talk about the state of education.  Anya is a staff writer for Fast Company, a columnist for Tribune Media, and she is the author of two books:  Generation Debt and DIY U.

Education, debt, and opportunity for young people will have a profound effect on the world in coming years.

Future Leaders:

1. Face unprecedented levels of debt.

Generation Debt outlines the deleterious effects of student loans and credit card spending.  Young people are facing unique economic challenges and face decisions unlike other generations.  The cost of education is going up, and the ability to pay debt off is going down.

2.  Operate in a rapidly changing educational environment.

DIY U is a about the transformation underway in education.  Everything is changing from K12 to higher education, from early testing to admittance, to the consumption of course materials.

She is currently working on her next book, The Test, which will focus on the data-driven accountability models in K12 education.

3.  Mature in a different timeframe.

In Generation Debt, Anya indicates that 46% of men and 31% of women in 2000 can be considered “grown up” by the age of thirty.  Forty years earlier, in 1960, those numbers were 65% of men and 77% of women.

Anya and I discuss the challenges facing young people today.  Despite all of these challenges, Anya is optimistic about the next generation.  She indicates that they seize control, are resilient, and have a sense of possibility.  That positive view gives me great hope.

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4 Leadership Secrets of Alexander the Great

Alexander The Great

This is a guest post by Joe Scherrer. Joe is a decorated Air Force veteran, an author, a speaker, and a coach. His ebook includes lessons from 82 of history’s greatest leaders. You can follow him on Twitter.

History is replete with stories of great generals—heroes who saved their men, their cities and their countries. It is equally populated with those who failed in their task, sometimes spectacularly.

However, what few realize is that great generals and failed generals are sometimes one and the same person.

Alexander the Great is a case in point. He conquered most of the known world before most people today are out of college and into their first job. In an amazing eleven-year journey of conquest—unparalleled in the history of the world—he rode more than 10,000 miles, fought 70 battles without losing a single one and conquered from Egypt to India.

 

By being great, you can change your part of the world for the better. Joe Scherrer

 

But as great as he was, he also had a complex and volatile personality that led to some tragic mistakes.

Read on to discover a few lessons from Alexander’s remarkable leadership career that will help you be a better leader today.

Lesson #1: Seek Out the Best Mentors…Then Learn from Them

Alexander had the benefit of being educated in political, military, and cultural matters by excellent tutors including none other than Aristotle.

He also accompanied his father on several military campaigns and distinguished himself in battle at a young age.

He no doubt drew upon that upbringing when he assumed the throne at only 20 years old after Philip was assassinated.

Alexander wasted no time in using his position as general of all Greece to take the strong army his father had left him and expand Greek hegemony into Persia.

What You Can Learn: Prepare yourself by being open to what others more senior can teach you. They’ve been where you are, and they are where you want to be. Adopting an attitude of continual learning from those you respect will make you a better leader.

Lesson #2: Want to Increase Your Decision-Making Flexibility? What-If Everything

Alexander’s conquests brought him into contact with a wide variety of armies and cultures. To deal with the ever-changing military, political, cultural, and economic landscape, he planned meticulously, analyzed every piece of information and formulated as many alternatives as possible.

From a military standpoint, such efforts reduced his risk, increased his flexibility, and enabled him to operate with speed and decisiveness with his highly trained and exceptionally loyal army.

What you can learn: A flexible and adaptable strategy is a crucial element of your success as a leader. Systematic planning, a comprehensive view, and incorporating a range of options allows you to change your strategy depending on the situation and environment you face. In so doing, you can put together a strategy that will serve you and your organization well as you set about conquering your small part of the world.

 

A flexible strategy is a crucial element of your success as a leader. –Joe Scherrer

51 Days : No Excuses

 

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend the Arnold Sports Festival here in Columbus, OH.  Previously named the Arnold Classic, the event is home to one of bodybuilding’s biggest competitions.

I had the privilege of talking with the very first Arnold Classic winner, Rich Gaspari.  Rich has won numerous bodybuilding awards including the Classic, Mr. America, Mr. Universe, and three time runner up Mr. Olympia.  He is also the CEO of a multi-million dollar supplement company, Gaspari Nutriton.

 

“Make sure your words are planting seeds of success and greatness in your life.” Rich Gaspari

 

No Excuses

9781939447135Rich recently wrote a book, 51 Days: No Excuses.  As you may expect, it is complete with a diet and exercise program designed to transform your body.  But it is much more than a book about the physical body.  It is full of stories about overcoming obstacles and staying motivated.

Rich’s personal story is compelling as he overcame numerous obstacles to win competitions and then overcame different obstacles to form a success business.

‘He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.’ –Ben Franklin

Turning Obstacles into Opportunities

His story is for you if:

  • You have ever been told, “You can’t do that.”
  • You are looking to change yourself in 51 days.
  • You have experienced rock bottom.
  • You have felt disgust, anger or frustration.
  • You have a dream and need a shot in the arm.

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‘No one ever excused his way to success.’ Dave Del Dotto

 

Success Begins on the Inside

One of my favorite quotes from his book:

“I still believe one of the most important choices is how we treat others. What good does it do you to build a huge muscular, impressive body if you are small and underdeveloped on the inside?  I’ve always felt that success begins on the inside and reaching our true potential gets blocked when we are small-spirited.” –Rich Gaspari

 

‘Don’t make excuses and don’t talk about it. Do it.’ -Melvyn Douglas

 

“Do not make excuses whether it’s your fault or not.” -General Patton

 

“Difficulty is the excuse history never accepts.” Edward R. Murrow

 

“I attribute my success to this: I never gave nor took any excuse.” -Florence Nightingale

 

“Excuses are the nails used to build a house of failure.” Don Wilder