The three main characteristics of a good leader are that they know the way, they go the way, and they show the way. In this article, I will focus on the importance of knowledge. It all starts with “knowing” the way. To know the way, you must develop a teachable spirit, be curious about everything, and accept change and new ideas. Be a sponge, an eager learner. The most successful businesses are those that adapt to new policies and ideas, produce new products and avenues to market their products, and generally stay informed and remain abreast of the ever-changing marketplace. Leaders know that growing means change. It is part of prospering.

An effective leader must always increase their knowledge and develop wisdom. Knowledge is what you know and have learned like facts, information and all types of data. Think of knowledge as a noun; it is something you have. On the other hand, think of wisdom as a verb. Wisdom is in the doing. It is an action word. Wisdom is making intelligent decisions based on knowledge and then executing your decision successfully.

Knowledge is exploding all around us. Gain the knowledge you need by reading books filled with information that took years of someone else’s research and experience to accumulate. Listening to audio recordings while driving or doing other physical chores is a great way to gain another person’s knowledge while accomplishing a task. Magazines (especially trade magazines in your industry) and newsletters are often free. Read them regularly. With a few keystrokes, the Internet will overwhelm you with knowledge on almost any subject or topic. Attend seminars, workshops and conventions. Benjamin Franklin said it best, “Empty your purse into your mind and your mind will fill your purse.” You will be the leader you decide to be by the knowledge you accumulate. You feed your stomach every day. Make sure you feed your mind also.

Be encouraged to grow your knowledge and accept change. Dare to listen with discerning knowledge to new ideas and concepts and how you can apply them.

Last but not least, always be an eager learner.

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Why do so many people put off what they need to do today? You can find the answer in the way you choose to live your life, proactive or reactive. The Good Life Rules are all based on living a better life both at home and at work. Until you change to a proactive lifestyle from a reactive lifestyle, you will always blame procrastination. Don’t get me wrong; many people suffer from procrastination and it can steal the Good Life from you.

So what are the keys that allow you to live a proactive life?

First key: Remove guilt. You were not born with a reactive mentality. You learned it over years of making mistakes, setting goals and not accomplishing them, or not setting goals at all. I once heard a person say “Guilty feelings are circular, but you need to move in a straight line with one foot in front of another.” Small steps can lead to giant gains and that is exactly what you can do to counteract all the guilt.

Second Key: Don’t get distracted. Never before has the human race had more distractions in their daily lives. It is important to realize that if the world keeps you distracted, you will not stop and think. If you don’t think before making your choices, you will continue to make mistakes; you will continue that reactive mentality and continue to blame your failures on all the distractions in your life. Once you understand why the distractions are in your life, controlling them gets easier. It is very important to create an environment that is more serene. You can escape to a tranquil mental setting by eliminating or minimizing noise and distractions, ensuring you have adequate lighting, and most importantly, living by one of my favorite sayings, “If you’re not in a hurry, don’t act like you are.”

Third key: Exercise. Those of you who feel fatigued and you just can’t get around to doing what you have to do, exercise! Ironically, when you are most tired and feel a lack of energy, exercise will provide a boost, raise your endorphins, and oxygenate the brain to think more clearly in your day to day choices. The key word is “think.” I know from personal experience—exercise promotes focused attention.

Fourth key: The Good Life has two major components: recognizing your gifts and taking action to bring them to fruition. As great as it feels to be able to see some of the important ideas that come into your head or heart for what they are—life-changing opportunities—that’s only one part of the puzzle. You’ve got to do something about them. And to me, a 48-hour time period is the perfect framework for taking action, because it gives you time to prepare yourself, but not enough time to procrastinate. So, always remember The Law of Diminishing Intent: what comes to your heart, you must act on it within 48-hours, or the world will distract you or steal it from you.

My wish every day is that I can find the words and energy to remind you that you are a “somebody,” not just an “anybody.” Somebodies are more proactive than reactive. Anybodies are more reactive than proactive. Somebodies understand that it is our choices that determine the course of our lives. To change our current course to a better life, you have to stop and think about your choices. To do so will change your philosophy, not your circumstances. Somebodies always take advantage of their circumstances created by their right choices.

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How many times have you said “There’s just not enough time in the day" or "I would get so much more done if I just had more energy.”

For a moment, let’s take a step back and really evaluate where energy comes from and if you’re hurting or helping yourself.

Physically

First let’s look at the obvious go-to indicator of energy development. That would be the physiological side that produces or reduces energy depending on what your body is given. Without going into too much detail, (this alone could be another blog post) let me ask you one simple question.

Are you putting food in your body that helps or hurts you, like processed versus whole foods? Are you being proactive or reactive with your food choices? Are you wondering why you run out of energy and want to take a nap at 3PM?

I encourage you to really start evaluating what you put in your body. Reach out for help if needed, and start making better choices rather than a reactive, “I’ll just pick up something on the way home”. This does absolutely zero for you, and deep down you probably know this.

Time Management – Rest and Relaxation

Secondly, how are you managing your time?

You’ve heard me say on numerous occasions; “Life will either happen with you in control and in the driver’s seat, or growing roots and having no control in the back seat.”

In January we spoke about making a NO list which really is the first thing to do when creating rest and relaxation time. In our everyday culture, it’s easy to fill a schedule up faster than a simple cup of coffee, however it’s imperative that we make time for daily rest, and know what really gives you that rest. For example, I find that watching television every night really isn’t restful or relaxing to me at all. I’d rather be reading a book to be honest. I guess it’s entertaining and I enjoy “shutting my brain down” for a while, but at the end of the day getting to bed earlier is the more responsible decision, and gives me the actual rest my body requires.

Isn’t it funny how challenging it is to find time to exercise, or do something active, as opposed to plopping down on the couch and turning on the tube. Being active, and getting the blood flowing doesn’t need to be a dreaded hour long endeavor, and shouldn’t even be viewed as a chore. We’re talking about doing something vigorous for 20 minutes a day, that’s it! It’s an investment in yourself, and one that will pay huge dividends over the long haul!

Let’s turn back the tide of complacency and develop healthy lifestyle changes that promote strength, stamina, alertness, and quality of life!

Our Mental State

Your mind is a very powerful tool. Negativity is just flat out exhausting. When you train your mind to look for the good rather than the bad, this fuels your energy levels. The same way a week-long vacation can fly by because you’re having the time of your life, a stressful week at work can feel like a never-ending eternity. Our mental state can either work for us, or against us. It’s really that simple.

What’s one thing you can do to help your energy levels, something you can change and execute this week? Will you be a person that “lives in a rut” or will you be the pro-active person that is trending upward, always wanting to grow, consistently making better decisions, and mindful of what your body needs to flourish?

Where do you want to be, and what’s your next life-changing decision?

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Why do you do what you do?

Why did you end up where you are?

Why do you feel energized in some situations and not in others?

These are all great questions to ask yourself. We do not want to be a person that falls into a rut. We want to be an individual that is in tune with what is going on, and actively demonstrating how much we love doing what we do.

In January we spoke about our “No List” and the point was made that in order to add or fine tune our lives we must get rid of things that are holding us down. In February we spoke about two very important qualities that need to be a part of everyone’s life. Now that we are in March, I want us to fine tune why we do what we do, because it is the “Why” that will ignite our passion!

Where do you start? Try this week to slow down, to be present, and to be thankful. Start a journal and ask yourself these questions;

What brings me joy?

What gives me energy?

When do I wake up prior to my alarm? What have my best days/weeks looked like?

What have my worst days/weeks look like?

Sometimes taking a test like our Talent DNA Assessment will help you realize and focus on why you are the way you are and how you can help others.

FIRST 100 TO SIGN UP GETS TALENT DNA FOR FREE

Do you see any patterns? Be honest with yourself because excuses are your worst enemy. For example if you have ever tried to lose weight but lacked the commitment to diet and exercise, then obviously the results will not be there. Look yourself in the mirror and hold yourself accountable. Be honest, work hard, and start walking down a path of joy.

When you do find your “why”, these are the things that will happen:

A new passion will ignite within you! You’ll notice that working overtime doesn’t feel like work!

You’ll be focused and notice how much more you can get done in less time!

You’ll be hungry to grow!

You’ll attract others that are positive, uplifting, and results orientated! On bad days (yes you will still have bad days), you will find the strength to continue and push through!

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “misery loves company” right? Let’s not be miserable.

Excited for your week and keep us updated! We would love your feedback!

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Do what you love in the service of people who love what they do. There are four “keys” and one major “door.”

1.) Do what you love and make sure that your heart is in your work. Bring yourself fully and gratefully into everything you do. Be connected to your own work in order to inspire others. I truly believe that the vast majority of people grossly underestimate the power of the heart. They have no idea (or have forgotten) how much energy can be unleashed in themselves and those around them by telling others why they love their position and the influence they have on the company. Communicating their authentic hopes and aspirations for the future of their company will help bring back the liveliness that may have faded with time. We don’t always remain in love with what we do, as if it is in the beginning. But unless you love what you do, you are not making that true difference you are here to make. Accept that as truth and associate with people who will help you fall back in love again…with your job, your life, with all the opportunities that are around you. Don’t do what the average person does, fall out of love with what they do, yet hang on as long as they can until they lose what they used to love, and only then appreciate what they had. Successful people have learned how to find ways to fall back in love with what they do before it’s too late; they find the energy to encourage growth in the environment for which they are responsible.

2.) Understanding the power of serving people will keep you true, honest, and ethical. If you’re doing what you love, you’ll make yourself happy. But leadership is not only about you; it’s about your impact on others. After years of raising Labrador Retrievers, I always remind the people that buy the pups from me that money can buy the dog, but love can make it wag its tail. I believe that in most cases, it is a simple case of mistaken cause and effect. A mission statement in a company doesn’t generate the energy that produces the chemistry in the team; love does, great ideas do, principles and values do, and most importantly, learning how to show up for people consistently so they are reminded why they truly love where they are does. During one of my programs in Colorado, a V.P. asked me, “How do you make sure you show up for each employee on a consistent basis?” I asked him how many people are on his team and he replied, “116.” So I told him to take the next 116 workdays and assign each day to one person. Each day would be the “show up day” for that person and during the day, he was to make a point to go out of his way to let that person know that he believes in them and that they are important to the team. When he gets up each day, the first thing he should do to prepare for the day is look for the name of the person whose “show up day” it is. Over the next 116 days, each person will have his or her own day, consistently with no one left out. He asked what I recommended after the 116 days were completed and I told him to start over at the beginning, this is an on-going process that should never end.

3.) Really loving what you do doesn’t mean that you find people who love you and then serve them. It means that it is your responsibility to give everyone you serve something to love about you and what you are doing for them by revealing yourself as a human being to those that you are in charge of or hoping to lead at some point. It is important, whether you are talking one-on-one or standing in front of a crowd, that you say “This is who I am, this is what I believe, this is what I believe we can achieve together if we put our hearts into it. I believe in you. Please join me and let’s help each other make this happen.”

4.) Inspire love; don’t try to “motivate” it. Never forget that love is the true inspirational motivator of all great people. Love of something or someone; love of a cause; love of a principle; love of people you work with and the customers you have the opportunity to serve; love for the future; and love for your business. These are the things that truly matter in the world. Without the inspiration of your heart, there is no good reason for you to take a stand, to take a risk, to do what it takes to make a difference in life. Remember, if you don’t stand for something, then you lose the energy necessary to keep you from falling for anything.

The Major Door: Being Thankful

Over the past 28 years of servicing the education industry, I am constantly reminded why loving what you do matters most.

Make every day a great day!

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2016 has officially kicked off, and as always a new year is a good time for renewed self-evaluation! Some of you have reflected, and have decided what is important, and what you need to say NO to. We are all aware of how difficult it can be to make a change and create room for the things that matter most. It’s always an on-going struggle, but one we can certainly conquer with the right attitude and right mindset!

How is this going for you? We would love to hear your feedback!

February’s theme is the month of loving others well! I want to encourage you to take a look at how you are living your life, teaching your children and influencing those around you. We can choose to show love or we can choose the opposite unproductive path. I do think we can all agree that the notion of influencing and touching lives in a positive manner is the right direction. If you want your children or employees to be proactive and confident you must encourage it! If you want them to be kind, you must lead by example!

Let’s take a look at two of my favorite words and what they actually mean. Applying these two qualities in your everyday life can certainly have a big impact on others.

Courage - mental or moral strength to venture persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty

Difficulty, fear and danger are inevitable facts of life, especially in uncomfortable situations. Instead of being reactive, how can we better handle the stress and anxiousness these feelings produce? Take for example a new hire that you’re managing, or someone that you notice is lacking confidence. Communicating your belief through positive reinforcement not only will build up their courage and belief in themselves, but also win their respect and admiration. You can tell a lot about a person by the way they handle conflict. Do they handle it with respect, even if they’ve been disrespected? Do they automatically “decrease in size”? Again positive reinforcement and allowing them to shine will build up their courage and initiative. Emphasize the fact that experiencing fear and uncertainty is normal in certain situations, and it certainly doesn’t mean giving in. We must push through and conquer the “fight or flight” emotion with fight!

Kind – considerate, or helpful

Kindness is thinking about the other person and putting their immediate needs first. Kindness is an action, and is also mentioned as one of the prominent “Fruits of the Holy Spirit”. (Galatians 5:22,23) We want to be known as someone that practices kindness and incorporates it into our everyday life. When you can group courage and kindness together, you have two essential elements in positive, on-going character building. This sets the stage for consistent and upward personal growth.

Make it a point to continue surrounding yourself with like minded people, developing qualities that have a positive effect, and cultivating relationships that enhance the quality of life. Remember, you are the average of the 5 people you surround yourself with!

Who are your people?

(Join our community here for positive and uplifting communication!)

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Happy New Year! 2016 is going to be a great year for all of us!! However, there are some serious considerations to think about prior to making those important New Year’s resolutions. More common than not, many people have a pre-determined notion that setting goals leads to disappointment, and therefore the notion of doing so is a bona fide exercise in futility. How can we avoid that mindset, and what are some simple ways to set realistic and achievable goals?

Let’s take a look at the top three steps together.

Step 1: Write down your three priorities for 2016

To know where you want to go, you must know your priorities! Start by asking yourself this question - What are the three priorities that are most important to me?

Allow me to join you. Here are mine;

· Quality time - I’ve noticed with the advancement of technology, you can be at a specified location and never really be there in the physical sense. Without intentionally making it so, my beach time will never truly be “my beach time!”

· Business Growth – In my business, business growth is a direct reflection of how many people I’m helping. Growing my business helps people grow, and I LOVE helping people grow!

· Healthy Lifestyle – If I expect to keep up with my twin grandsons and continue growing my business, I had better fuel my body the right way!

Step 2: Write out your typical week’s schedule

Does your schedule line up with your priorities? Be proactive and not reactive with your time. Have you ever wondered why you never lose that weight you’ve always wanted to? Do you make time weekly to be active? Know this; you can NEVER fit a workout into “free time.” There’s always something else you could do to accomplish your goals. I also encourage you at the same time not to plan every moment of every day. It is essential that life have an element of spontaneity to it and relaxation is a necessary part of intentional living.

Step 3: Eliminate your distractions and MAKE A “NO” LIST!!

What is taking up your time that doesn’t produce results or help you accomplish your goals? What is making it harder for you to grow? What are you putting into your body that is depleting your energy and causing challenges for you to accomplish your work?

Think about it! We want you to THRIVE and not just SURVIVE! Let’s make 2016 your best year ever!