“If you want to gather honey, don’t kick over the beehive.”

“If you want to gather honey, don’t kick over the beehive.”

—Dale Carnegie, American writer and lecturer

Photo from Flickr by Mini Cooper

Photo from Flickr by Mini Cooper

Few among us have not experienced a bee sting at some point in our lives.

Honey bees are gentle by nature, and can be found in almost all urban and rural environments. Only when we disturb their gentle worlds do we find ourselves at the end of their stingers.

It is in our best interest to care for these important creatures because of their role in our environment and food supplies.

EXERCISE:

How can you gain greater sweetness from life from the people in your professional and personal worlds by taking a more gentle and nurturing approach in your daily interactions?

“Be strong enough to stand alone…”

“Be strong enough to stand alone, smart enough to know when you need help, and brave enough to ask for it.”

—Author Unknown

Photo from Flickr by stollerdos

Photo from Flickr by stollerdos

Most people would acknowledge that strength, intelligence and bravery are all admirable qualities. The beauty of today’s quote is in the delicate balance between the three, based on the situations and circumstances we face.

Knowing the right amount of each is critical to optimal success. Too much of one or the other can sometimes backfire.

EXERCISE:

Examine some of your highest priority commitments and projects to see whether success is dependent on your strength to stand your ground or the wisdom and bravery to invite others along to achieve a collective victory. Perhaps some blending of all three in various amounts would be even more optimal.

“Though you can love what…”

“Though you can love what you do not master, you cannot master what you do not love.”

—Mokokoma Mokhonoana, South African Philosopher and Social Critic

Photo from makesafetyfun.com

Photo from makesafetyfun.com

Generally, the people who experience the greatest success and fulfillment in their professional lives demonstrated three key factors:

  1. They are enthusiastic and passionate about their work. Many would engage in whatever it is they do even if the monetary rewards were more modest.
  2. Because they love what they do, they commit massive amounts of time to the practice, and eventual mastery, of the skills involved.
  3. The final piece that accompanies this love and mastery is often the value ascribed to it by the meritocracy in which we live, and the rewards we often receive. How much is it worth in dollars and cents?

EXERCISE:

How and in what ways can doing more of what you love lead you toward a life of greater mastery and success? Consider reading one or more of these books, which speak in one form or another, to the spirit of today’s quote:

What to Do When it’s Your Turn by Seth Godin
Linchpin by Seth Godin
Happier  by Tal Ben-Shahar
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Ruben

“You can be the ripest…”

“You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.”

—Author Unknown

Image from Flickr by SkySeeker

Image from Flickr by SkySeeker

We live in a world of astounding abundance and variety. Consider the number of choices we have these days in the following areas:

  • Food choices in your local market
  • Television stations offered by your cable or satellite provider
  • Beverage choices at the coffee shop
  • Menu options at your favorite restaurant
  • Mobile apps and social media sites
  • The vehicles we choose to drive

EXERCISE:

How can you spend more of your professional and personal life with the “peach lovers” instead of driving yourself crazy trying to please everyone?

“Teach your daughters to worry…”

“Teach your daughters to worry less about fitting into glass slippers and more about shattering glass ceilings.”

—Melissa Marchonna, Digital Marketer for the New York Jets

Photo from Boulder Writers Workshop

Photo from Boulder Writers Workshop

A few weeks ago my wife Wendy and I had a movie marathon. We saw four moves over the course of one weekend. One was Disney’s new, and I would say highly improved, Cinderella.

The theme of the new Cinderella was to have courage and be kind, not simply to marry the handsome prince and live “happily ever after.”

This advice is all the more timely given the fact that women still earn only 78% of what their male counterparts earn. They still hold only a modest percentage of leadership roles within the business world.

EXERCISE:

Where in your professional and personal worlds could you encourage and support your daughters, sons, friends, and colleagues to have more courage and be kinder in their efforts? What can you do to help them shatter the “glass ceilings” they may encounter, so they can live a more accomplished and satisfying life?

“Success is never owned…”

“Success is never owned; it is only rented. And the rent is due every day.”

-Zig Ziglar, American author, salesman, and motivational speaker

Photo from zazzle.com

Photo from zazzle.com

When was the last time you had a really tough day? Have you ever found yourself saying things like:

    • After all these years, I expected things to be easier.
    • It’s time for my ship to come in. Surely I’ve earned it with all my hard work.
    • I’m pretty tired. I was hoping to slow down by now.
    • Life sure feels like a roller coaster.

Virtually no one lives a charmed life or stays on top of the success ladder perpetually. Perhaps it is these everyday challenges and adversities which actually make our self-earned successes so sweet.

EXERCISE:

How can you take a “Pay as you Go” attitude to suit up and do what is necessary so that you can experience the success you’ve earned when the day is done?

“Change Before You Have To.”

“Change before you have to.”

-Jack WelCh, retired chairman and CEO of General Electric

Click on the image to order from Amazon.com

Click on the image to order from Amazon.com

The current U.S. unemployment rate is in the area of 5.5%. Given the numbers from the past 5 – 7 years, this is a vast improvement.

Despite the multiple thousands of available jobs, many organizations are experiencing tremendous difficulty finding qualified individuals for the positions they have open.

What might the unemployment rate be if every open position were filled? What would it take for people to be qualified for such careers?

Unfortunately, because people can be resistant or reluctant to change, many discover that their previous “valuable” skills are either less valuable, or considered irrelevant in the current business world. Technology, outsourcing, and off-shoring are three factors among many that contribute to the elimination of many positions that were once considered good jobs.

The classic little business book, Who Moved My Cheese, by Spencer Johnson, M.D., points to this all-too-frequent occurrence, which is now happening at unprecedented speed.

EXERCISE:

How can you embrace and proactively generate the needed changes in your skills and abilities to not only remain relevant, but to be uniquely qualified and highly desirable for the jobs of the future?

Where can and will you change and evolve in your personal life to keep up with and stay attuned to the world around you?

“The most interesting thing…”

“The most interesting thing about a postage stamp is the persistence with which it sticks to its job.”

-Napoleon Hill, American Author

Photo from Flicker by U.S. Embassy The Hague

Photo from Flicker by U.S. Embassy The Hague

Napoleon Hill, an American author born in 1883, was pioneer in the New Thought Movement, and one of the earliest producers of personal success literature. His work, which includes his classic Think and Grow Rich, examines the power of personal beliefs as a critical catalyst in personal achievement.

Although at the time of his birth, the United States Postal Service was 100 years old, I’m sure the postage stamp choices were fairly limited. Today, in addition to the “forever” stamp which will always provide an adequate amount of postage for a first class letter, we have a wide variety of stamp images to choose from. We also have the option to customize postage stamps with our company logo or whatever image we choose. It’s astounding.

EXERCISE:

How can you create a unique life stamp for yourself, and persistently stick with this task as the foundation of your current and future successes?

“The Biggest Room…”

“The biggest room in my house is the room for improvement.”

—Irma Givens, Detroit-area Communications Specialist

Photo from Flicrk by Phil King

Photo from Flicrk by Phil King

Imagine that you have a second career as an interior designer or architect. Instead of building materials, paints, fabrics, and furniture, you have other tools to beautify your “room for improvement.”

One of my favorite exercises I use with clients to support their personal development planning is having them describe their best future self. As a starting point, I have them examine the qualities and positive characteristics of the people they most respect and admire. They also have the opportunity to take an objective view of themselves regarding the personal habits or behaviors that hold them back from being their best.

EXERCISE:

Consider developing your own “personal improvement plan,” and give yourself plenty of room for this growth. Select a growth partner, mentor, coach, or other supportive person who will encourage you, and even hold your feet to the fire to help you be your best future self. You, in turn, can be a coach and support partner for them.

“I would like to travel..”

“I would like to travel the world with you twice. Once, to see the world. Twice, to see the way you see the world.”

—Author Unknown

Photo from Flickr by Nilanjan Sasmal

Photo from Flickr by Nilanjan Sasmal

The majority of my coaching clients would include travel as one of their core values. They want to see and experience more of the world with the precious time they have left. To some extent, they have a bit of regret that they haven’t made a bigger dent in their bucket lists.

Have you ever noticed how much joy and excitement is experienced when a baby is born?  Perhaps it is because this new life allows all of us—especially the new parents and grandparents—to start a new life “adventure” with a child who is seeing the world for the first time.

EXERCISE:

How can you be far more intentional in your efforts to see and experience the world, and at the same time, double your pleasure by looking through the eyes of those who share the adventure?