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Great Leaders Never Stop Learning – Have You?

Leaders never stop learning. They have a learning mindset that’s driven by curiosity. Thirst for knowledge and understanding will make you an outstanding leader.

 “The ability to learn is the most important quality a leader can have.” ~ Sheryl Sandberg

There’s a direct correlation between the amount of books you read and the quality of your leadership. Warren Buffet said he reads 600 or more pages a day. He spends 80% of his day reading. CEOs of Fortune 500 companies read an average of four to five books a month. Bill Gates reads about 50 books per year, that’s one per week. Author and self-made millionaire Steve Siebold interviewed more than 1,200 of the world’s wealthiest people over the past 30 years and noted that they all read for self-education. We read because it changes our lives. I appreciate what President Harry S. Truman said:

“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.”

The reality is that most professionals tend to reach a plateau when it comes to learning. And we’re all busy, learning new things can easily be relegated to the backburner when it comes to priorities. However, it’s worth the effort because leaders who have a continuous learning mindset develop stronger leadership skills than their peers. It only makes sense. To learn is to grow, to evolve, to master. If you’re not continually growing and using it, you will lose it. Yes, your experience does matters, but in the long run, it’s your curiosity, your thirst for knowledge and understanding that will make you an outstanding leader. This applies to all avenues of life…leading in your family, your community, your job.

When you never stop learning you develop, deepen, and strengthen your ability to focus. You’re constantly looking for the whys and hows of a broad range of topics, not just your specific field. You’ll find yourself looking for opportunities to apply what you learn in a practical way. You’ll also experiment with alternative strategies, realizing that there’s always more than one way to do a thing. And those who have the learning mindset ask continually for feedback from others so they can reflect on what works best.

Innovation is key to successful leadership today. It’s how you put your unique spin or mark on a practice that has been done a million times before by someone else. You may start out in one place, but because you’re constantly learning and feeding your brain and spirit, you’ll explore and discover new directions so that your business and services evolve into something that really makes a difference.

If you want to lead people, aim to be a strong leader. And if you want to be a strong leader, prioritize learning. Continuously learning is now more important than ever before. Leaders who never stop learning use what they acquire to:

Are you committed to making the motto: “Never Stop Learning” your own? Good for you! The rewards will be endless. The more you learn, the more you grow, and the more you grow, the better you can serve others, your communities and the world.  A great way to rapidly expand your learning is by attending our Foundations of Life Coaching and NLP in Ashland, Oregon. Not only will you learn how to coach yourself and others; you’ll also learn how to learn. It will give you a foundation you can really build on!

5 Lifelong Benefits of Waking Up Early to Turn So-So into Success

Here are my 5 top benefits of waking up early that help you do more and be more.“Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

Ancient wisdom says there are many benefits of waking up early. What’s your normal wake up time? Mine is 5:00 a.m. Some people, extreme early risers, get up around 4:00 a.m.

There are numerous reasons why I love getting up early each morning. No, I’m not saying it’s always easy, but once I’m up, I love it!

I love drinking my morning coffee with my sweetie and my two kitties. I love how it sets the tone for my day. I love driving through the morning light as I go to or come home from the gym. It’s my special time of the day, before other demands crowd in on me.

Maybe you’re not a “morning person” but getting in tune with the natural rhythms of life and the cycle of the sun can help you live more intentionally. Bottom line: you’ll feel better physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

Here are five of my top benefits of waking up early:

Productivity. With a clear mind and well-rested body, the ability to concentrate is at its peak. No one is there to interrupt your train of thought or to impose their priorities upon you. You can optimize your performance, because your body hasn’t experienced the wear and tear of the day.

One warning: if you waste this time on emails, social media or texting, your brain will get a hit of dopamine, like you’ve accomplished something, but you haven’t accomplished anything with lasting satisfaction. The first hour of the day should be your time to focus on what matters most to you. Concentrate on doing “deep work” as author and professor, Cal Newport suggests.

More time. You feel like you don’t have enough time, right? I know you’ve said that a time or two. But when you get up early, it’s like you’re creating more time.

Wouldn’t you rather greet each day calmly, rather than being stressed out as you rush out the door? That just puts your game off for the whole day. Being up before everyone else gives you time to plan and getting organized.

Creativity. Sleep lets your brain sort through the previous day’s challenges. When you wake up to the sacred space you’ve created for yourself, the answers you’re seeking will more easily come to you. As your mind roams free in the tranquility of the morning, you’ll get some of your best ideas.

Mindful decisions. Waking up early means you’re going to have to go to bed earlier, because you do need restorative sleep. Developing the discipline to turn off that movie or close the book by 9:00 or 10:00 will give you a feeling of control…that you’re creating the life you want.

Before going to bed, plan out what you’ll do first thing in the morning. Lay out your gym clothes, or open the book you want to read or the journal you want to write in. Whatever your goals are…use this time as an investment in yourself.

Peace of Mind. There’s magic in the early morning hours. The air has a different feel. The birds are just waking up. The calm and quiet helps you think. It gives you the opportunity to listen to what your body and spirit is telling you. And there’s nothing better than watching the endless beauty of each sunrise.

Studies have shown that once you open your wallet and spend money, then it’s easier to do it again and again. The same is true with spending time as you invest in yourself. It breaks the dam of feeling unworthy. Are you ready to make that breakthrough and claim your worthiness? Then please attend our upcoming  Foundations of Life Coaching and NLP in Ashland, Oregon. Nando and I promise you will reap huge benefits, if you come fully prepared to participate wholeheartedly.

What Is Life About – Happiness, Meaningfulness, or Something Else?

“Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.” ~ Viktor Frankl

What is life about for you? To go for the gusto and experience a new thrill every day? To live a quiet life? To live a good life? To live a happy life? To live a life of meaning and purpose? Each phrase brings a different picture to your mind, doesn’t it? What does it mean to YOU to really live?

Life is about how you choose to spend the time you have – only you can define and design the life you want. What makes you happy or gives your life meaning may be vastly different from anyone else. The key is to determine YOUR Perfect Life and then live it without apology.

While we have differences, there are some basic human behaviors and emotional responses that remain constant. Take for example our shared reactions to living for happiness, living for purpose and living for meaning.

What do you think: Can you have happiness without purpose? Can you have meaning without happiness? So many times they’re linked together, aren’t they? Yet, you may have noticed these subtle differences…

It seems like everyone wants to be happy, but happiness can be elusive. That’s because oftentimes happiness depends on external circumstances in the present moment. Your health, wealth or good relationships may make you happy, but just let a circumstance change – you catch a cold, you lose your wallet – and happiness turns to misery. Happiness also depends on experiencing pleasure and getting what you want, when you want it. It can, at times, be a very superficial or fleeting quest.

Finding meaning in life is a deeper pursuit. It takes introspection and isn’t dependent on circumstances like health or wealth or satisfying all your needs and want. It takes into consideration the past, present and future. When you find your meaning or purpose it energizes you for a lifetime.

Neurologist and psychiatrist, Viktor Frankl, survived the holocaust so he has a unique perspective of thriving despite adverse circumstance. Some of his wisdom on the topic of what life is about is shown in the following quotes:

  • “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
  • “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
  • “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
  • “Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.”
  • “Each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible.”

Dr. Roy Baumeister, a Francis Eppes Professor of Psychology at Florida State University studied the differences and similarities of living a happy life and living a meaningful life. While other researchers don’t always agree with his findings, they do provide much food for thought. He suggests that…

  1. Pure happiness is about getting what we want in life; meaningfulness seems to be more connected with giving and sacrifice.
  2. Happiness comes from what others give to us; meaningfulness comes from giving to other people.
  3. Happiness seems to be connected more to the benefits one receives from friendships; meaningfulness is associated with providing for close family i.e. children.
  4. Happiness doesn’t tolerate worry, stress or anxiety; meaningfulness rises above these challenges.
  5. Happiness isn’t dependant on self-expression of your personal and cultural identity; meaningfulness is.

Time after time, century-old wisdom is proven true: Life is not about pursuing pleasure, since it will not lead to either happiness or meaning. Again, it all comes down to what you know to be true for yourself, because that will determine where you invest your energy.

We can’t always be happy or “up”. But we can create an abiding feeling of well-being, inner joy, peace of mind, and satisfaction that sustains us through the ups and downs. Down times are simply reminders that you need some self-care to restore the energy you’ve spent. It gives you time for reflection and introspection to see if you need to make some kind of course correction.

If you’d like to focus more closely on finding YOUR answer to “what is life about for ME?” please attend our upcoming Foundations of Life Coaching and NLP. It will be held in Ashland, Oregon, so make plans now to attend. Nando and I will support you in your quest for your perfect life.  

Can Leadership Be Learned? YES, If You Hone These Qualities and Skills

Can leadership be learned or do you have to be born with it? Definitely, YES, leadership can be learned. Asking this question shows you have curiosity, which is one essential leadership quality. Now it’s time to unlock the other leadership skills and qualities within you. Here are ten ways to do it…“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” ~ John F. Kennedy

You’ve seen them…the ones who seem to be natural born leaders. They instinctively know how to keep their heads when things go wrong, and they can draw exceptional performance out of everyone on the team. If that’s not you, don’t despair. Leadership can be learned, because leadership is a process of applying specific skills and qualities and any process can be learned.

 

How can leadership be learned? Let’s examine 10 leadership qualities and skills and find ways you can enhance these in your life.

 

  1. Leaders are decisive. Constantly ask, “Do I know what I need to know about this topic/situation?” If so, weigh your options and make your call. Don’t agonize, overanalyze or second-guess yourself. You can always make adjustments as needed.

 

  1. Leaders are innovative and creative. Increase your self-awareness so you recognize limiting thoughts when they arise and then consciously change them. Fine-tune your flexibility, curiosity and adaptability, and then you’ll be in a position to act when you see opportunities.

 

  1. Leaders inspire confidence. When things start to unravel and fall apart, people need to know everything will be all right. Learn to model a can-do attitude so you stop negativity, procrastination and hopelessness before they get a foothold. Act like you know what you’re doing, because deep down you do know what needs to be done. It’s a matter of identifying and owning the scary parts. Be courageous and bold and people will follow you.

 

  1. Leaders are empathetic. Leaders are in the people business. You have to understand how they are feeling, not how you would feel in that circumstance. This takes communication, deep listening and vulnerability. When you are able to see things as they do, you’re much likelier to come up with a solution that they can get behind.

 

  1. Leaders have emotional control. Yes, leaders get frustrated and angry, but they buy time to cool down and respond rationally. So, write that scathing letter or email, but don’t send it. Blow off steam and then look for your emotional triggers and how you can suspend judgment as you mindfully manage those emotions.

 

  1. Leaders are persuasive. When you can express the reasons why something is important, you’ll have a persuasive argument that convinces others. Yes, there may be many ways to accomplish something, but trust that your way is worthy and valid. Being a people pleaser can really get in the way of aggressively selling your vision. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.”

 

  1. Leaders seek advice. No one has all the answers, so it’s essential to seek counsel. Yet many people have their own agenda. That’s why it’s wise to collect a group of people who have earned your trust to advise you. Then they can point out any blind spot in your thinking.

 

  1. Leaders invest in continuous learning. Read a wide range of books that stimulate your curiosity and creativity. Warren Buffett credits much of his success to reading – spending 80% of each day doing it. 

 

  1. Leaders embrace authenticity. You’ll wear yourself out if you pretend to be something you’re not. You win respect when you showcase your unique gifts and talents, whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, methodical or spontaneous. People can spot a phony from a mile away, so be true to yourself.

 

  1. Leaders remain humble. When you’re in an executive position, it’s easy to get puffed up and forget about your humble beginnings. This is inflamed by flattery from others. Keep your eyes on the good of each individual in your organization and bring out their best, promoting their growth and achievements.

 

Can leadership be learned? Definitely YES! That you ask this question shows you have curiosity, which is one essential leadership quality. Are you ready to unlock the leader within you? I’d love to invite you to our upcoming Foundations of Life Coaching and NLP. It will be held in Ashland, Oregon, so make plans now to attend this life-changing, 3-day event. Nando and I will help you hone YOUR gifts, talents and skills so you can make a real difference in the lives of others.

What Is Spirituality? Learn to Connect with Something Bigger than You

What is spirituality? It’s not easy to define. However, all spiritual experiences include a sense of connection to something bigger than self and a deep feeling of being more alive, more purposeful.

“How do we nurture the soul? By revering our own life. By learning to love it all, not only the joys and the victories, but also the pain and the struggles.” —Nathaniel Branden

In order for us to fully enjoy life, all aspects of life must be in balance. Mind, body and spirit have to be in harmony with each other. Focusing on only the material and neglecting the spiritual leaves people feeling empty and dissatisfied. People are trying to “find themselves”, because they sense that something important is missing. That something is, more often than not, spirituality.

What is spirituality? How do you know if you’re a spiritual person? The quest for spirituality is intrinsic to the human experience. We all have a need for it, although some are more aware about it than others, and we choose to fill that need in different ways. Some people define spirituality as attending religious services, enjoying time in nature, praying, or meditating to mention only a few. And the interesting thing is that your definition may drastically change over time.

Something that all spiritual experiences have in common is that it includes a sense of connection to something bigger than self. Being connected to it creates a deep feeling of being more alive and more purposeful.

Many of the practices that help you cultivate spirituality are the same ones that help you improve emotional well-being. While emotions and spirituality are distinct, they form a self-perpetuating circle. Spirituality leads to emotions such as peace of mind, awe, gratitude, and acceptance, which broaden your ability to recognize and connect with that which is larger than yourself.

 

How to integrate the material with the spiritual

It’s essential that you don’t entrust your spiritual journey to anyone else. They simply can’t do it for you. Here are some ways to greater spirituality…

Find your purpose. When you discover meaning in life, you find a path that’s aligned with something bigger than your health, possessions or beliefs.

Create connection. To feel complete, we crave to receive and give unconditional love and acceptance from family, friends, and the Universe. I love how Guy Finley explains it, “Nothing glows brighter than the heart awakened to the light of love that lives within it.” 

Continue growing as a person. When we stop growing, we die inside and give up. You feel more alive when you work to improve, push boundaries and reach your full potential.

Answer the big questions in life. It’s normal to want to understand how life works and how you fit in, so you probably have asked, “Who am I?” and “Why am I here?”

Seek inner peace. Spirituality helps you gain balance independent of external experiences in a way that creates greater appreciation for life.

Transcend above the every day. You’re feeding your spirit when you want something better than the present human condition; you seek meaning in suffering and an enlightened way of life that rises above the pettiness around you.

Explore life’s mysteries. These moments of discovery fill you with awe, a sense of wonder and feel sacred. You clearly see your small place in the Universe.

Be of service. Your spirit is revived when you make a difference in the lives of others.

 

Which one of these quests drives your search for spirituality? Not all of them will resonate with you, so this will dictate the path and practices you choose to follow.

I’ve been reading a lot of Brene’ Brown’s books lately. She defines spirituality as:

“Recognizing and celebrating that we are inextricably connected with one another by a power greater than all of us and that that connection to that power and one another is grounded in love and belonging.”

When I heard this definition I thought, “This is the first definition of spirituality that sincerely makes sense!” I think of being spiritual as being connected to our true SPIRIT, which includes the reasons why we’re here; why we do what we do; and why we have the experiences we have. It all becomes part of a human perfection. When we embark on our journey of discovery, the process itself becomes a spiritual journey. We have the opportunity to rise above pain, hurts and our own fallacies as humans and connect on a level beyond what our brains can understand, where our own stories finally make more sense.

If you’d like to take your spiritual journey to greater depths, I’d love to invite you to our upcoming Foundations of Life Coaching and NLP. It will be held in Ashland, Oregon, so make plans now to attend this life-changing, 3-day event. Nando and I will help you explore YOUR spiritual path in a safe and supportive environment.

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