Sunday, June 27, 2010

Quote for the week

"Each and every sunrise provides the opportunity to enhance your knowledge, improve your skills, increase your productivity and deepen your relationships" - Paul Kamm

L is for Library

Words have the ability to touch us spiritually, the ability to move us emotionally, and the ability to expand us intellectually. As the Declaration of Independence illustrates, well thought out written words can have a long term impact on the lives of generations to follow. As Dr. King’s “I have a Dream” speech illustrates, words spoken by a powerful orator can also have a dramatic and long lasting impact.

Considering the lessons and the power that words carry it only makes sense to gather the ideas from the best and the brightest persons both living and deceased. I simply cannot encourage you enough to start building your personal development and success library. Pretend you are a visitor in your home. Look at the books in the bookcase or on the shelf. What do they tell you about the person living in this home? Do you get the sense that the person living here is actively engaged in finding success in all facets of their life?

You have complete control over the answers to the two preceding questions. If you already have started a collection of written books, audio books, CDs and DVDs give yourself a pat on the back. You are already well ahead of most people. If you have not started your library yet do not despair – but make a personal commitment to start. Take a look at my Suggested Readings page for ideas. Spend time in your local book store or on Amazon researching topics such as personal management, personal finance, relationship building, and health management and exercise.

Why have a library you may ask. Your library becomes a storehouse of knowledge that you can refer to over and over again for inspiration and education. As you grow and develop more and more of a success mindset and your life experiences expand you will find that each book becomes more insightful each time you open it up. The way I look at it is this: The more you read and the more you have to refer back to can only help to make the journey along you path to success easier. Put the experiences and knowledge gained by others to work for you. That is why authors write books. To pass on what they have learned to a larger and larger audience than they could do in person.

Start or add to your library today. Take a moment to decide which area of your life (head, heart, health, wealth or world) that you want to focus on, and then find a book in that area. Open your mind up to new ideas and I promise you will be pleasantly surprised at how much you can learn and then apply to your own life. Life is about growth – books and the like will assist in your growth immensely.

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

K is for Knowledge

The key to success in any area of your life is knowledge. Increasing your knowledge increases both your understanding and the options available to you in every situation that presents itself to you.

No matter what business/industry you are involved in you need knowledge in some or all of the following: sales, marketing, logistics, production, purchasing, negotiation, gross profit, net profit, motivation, leadership, accounting, finance, and customer service to name a few.

To be successful in your quest for good health you need to understand nutrition, exercise, metabolic processes, strength training, stamina, physiology, stress management and caloric content.

In order to put together a sound wealth strategy you need to understand asset allocation, risk diversification, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, insurance, annuities, assets, liabilities, income and expense control among other financial instruments and concepts.

Strong relationships with family and friends require some basic understanding of psychology, perception, intelligence and behavior.

The above lists could be a lot longer and that may seem overwhelming but do not despair. The great thing about knowledge is once you get it and put it into practice you do not have to relearn it. You can then learn the next piece, and the next piece, and so on and so on.

Okay, so now you’re asking how to amass all this knowledge. How about books, magazines, internet research and/or one or more mentors? How about taking a class? What about good old trial and error? The point here is simple – make it a quest to increase your knowledge on a wide variety of topics. Gather as much information as you can, sift through it, keep what feels right and leave the rest behind. Your definition and ultimate success will be different than mine, which means that the information you will gather will be different than mine. But never doubt that the more knowledge you have the faster and farther you will travel down your road to ultimate success.

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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Quote for the week

"True success cannot be measured by the size of one's car, house, paycheck or bank account but rather by the size of one's heart and the value he/she adds to the lives of family, friends and the world at large." - Paul Kamm

J is for Journal

Do you realize that on any given day literally thousands of thoughts/ideas pass through your mind? Your brain never stops; it move from idea to idea to idea from birth until death. Wouldn’t it be nice to capture some of these ideas before they are lost forever? Start keeping a journal and you can.

Keeping a notepad with you at all times allows you to jot ideas down. Do not edit them and do not critique them – just write down the ones you want to save. This is your journal and unless you want to share what’s inside it is for your eyes only. Over time (and not that long of a time either) your journal begins to reveal a path towards success. Your ideas start to take shape and what you really care about shows up over and over. True success lies at the junction of your true passion, lots of hard work and having the guts to go after it.

I also keep a small voice recorder handy – especially when I am driving. If some thing pops into my head I simply dictate it to myself and then transcribe it into my journal later that day or the next. This is a simple and safe way to capture an idea for evaluation at a later time.

You will want to periodically (no less than weekly) sit and review the recent additions to your journal. Carve out some time and a place to sit and really think about and through what you have added to your journal. Let the thoughts turn over in your mind. If you set aside a specific time and space for this exercise you will be able to make better decisions as well specific plans of action for accomplishing your goals.

One last comment before I complete this entry. Make sure the comments you write in your journal are positive and that you add only well-worded questions. Questions that start with “Why can’t…” need to be abolished from your vocabulary. A well-worded question leads to a positive answer. Questions should be “How can…” or “What’s the best…”. Your journal is an aid to help you achieve all the success you are capable of. Use it as a positive tool and let it help speed your journey along.

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Saturday, June 19, 2010

I is for Initiative

Success does not just come knocking at your door. A great career or business, warm and loving family relationships, and a healthy and energetic body do not just happen. You have to make a plan and then go after it. You have to put down the chips, get off the couch and make it happen.

You have to first make the decision that you want a successful life. You have to decide that you are willing to put forth the effort in your professional world and in your personal world. You need to make a commitment to yourself that you are not going to give up or cave in just because the road gets more and more rocky and steep. You cannot find success until the crowd thins out.

Once you have truly committed to your goal it is time to make your move. Be brave, believe in yourself and dive in. You cannot take the initiative from the sidelines. You have to step boldly forward and push to where you want to go. Sure, you may stumble here and there along the way, but that is part of the learning process. Re-group and then step forward again.

I am not suggesting that you do not take the time to plan, but always keep the following in mind: a plan is just a plan, a plan is never perfect, and a plan does not get you where you want to go. Taking the initiative and taking action will propel you forward. If you are constantly tweaking your plan, or waiting for the ideal moment you will find yourself years in the future still on the sidelines. Yes, make a plan. Think it through. Take a little time to do some research. Talk to other people who have gotten to where you want to go (successful people really do enjoy helping others climb the mountain). But don’t get bogged down in minutia.

Carpe Diem! Seize the day! Step off the curb and get moving. You’ll find you are capable of so much more than you thought. You’ll find yourself wondering why you waited so long. Don’t beat yourself up over it – you are moving now and you are another step closer to achieving the success you are looking for. Keep moving, keep stepping boldly. Take the initiative to meet others, to propose new ideas, to seek out new opportunities and to let those around you know how important they are to you.

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

H is for Healthy

Success requires stamina. There is just no question about that. It is pretty difficult to imagine a sickly person finding real success in either their personal or professional life. You need to have a healthy body in order to put in the time and effort needed to become successful. Although I do not know who made the following statement, it makes a lot of sense: “Most people do only what they are required to do, but successful people do a little more.” You need to be in the best of health in order to do a little more.

I am not going to lecture you on getting in shape or help you design a complete health plan. There is an abundance of information available online and at your local library that you can easily access. Additionally you can join a local health club and/or start working with a personal trainer if you want to really get going on a complete physical (and mental) change in your life.

I am however going to touch on a couple simple things that every one of us can easily fit into our lives on a daily basis that will make a difference in our overall health.

The magic number 10,000. Buy yourself an inexpensive pedometer to track your daily step count. Make it a goal to reach 10,000 steps each and every day. Small changes in your routine can really add on steps. Use the stairs instead of the escalator. Park your car farther out in the parking lot at work and when running errands/shopping. If you are low on your step count take an evening walk around the neighborhood. I easily add 3500 steps just taking the dog for a walk.

The 5/9 rule. When speaking about the daily servings of fruits and vegetables five is the minimum but nine is the best. And yes, I can hear you already: “Paul, are you kidding me?” No I am not – and it is not that hard to do. Keep juice in the house and have a glass every morning. Take some V-8 or similar drink to work. Take a piece of fruit to the office. I try to take a banana every day. It’s the perfect portable snack for mid-afternoon. Skip the burger at lunch and get a salad or a sandwich loaded with vegetables. Dinner should include a salad and a vegetable. I always buy apples at the store. They are easy to keep and easy to grab when the evening “munchies” hit me about 9:00 PM. One last comment – iceberg lettuce has very little nutritive value; use romaine or other greens in your salad.

Will 10,000 steps and 5 to 9 servings of fruits/vegetable daily guarantee your success? Of course not. But they will both help improve your health and give you the overall stamina you need to do just “a little more.” You have dreams and you have plans for your future. Don’t shortchange yourself by not making these small and simple adjustments to your daily routine. You owe it to yourself and to all of the people whose lives you will impact in the future.

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Quote for the week

"No one has yet climbed the ladder of success with his hands in his pocket" - Unknown

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Quote for the week

"Success is a journey, not a destination." Ben Sweetland

G is for Gratitude

Develop and maintain an attitude of gratitude. Your overall success depends upon the help and efforts of everyone around you. As I have said many times, you will not become successful in any area of your life working alone.

Saying “Thank-you” is one of the simplest acts you can perform but the ramifications are huge. People need to feel appreciated. Everyone needs to know that what they are doing is valued by others. By acknowledging their efforts, especially those on your behalf, you validate them as a human being and as a valued part of your life.

When my wife asks if I closed the garage door in the evening I say thank-you. I may have already closed the door, but I appreciated the reminder. I do not get annoyed or upset that she has asked the question. I am no where near perfect (none of us are) and the question has no hidden agenda behind it. It is simply a question and I thank her for asking it. That is what I mean by an attitude of gratitude.

For the next 72 hours focus on expressing gratitude. Say thanks to anyone who has helped in any way; no matter how big or how small. Watch how those around you react. Very often people will tell you “it was nothing” or “no thanks needed”. But don’t let that fool you or stop you. Everyone appreciates a thank-you. Keep expressing gratitude and you will find people start going out of there way to help you. Since gratitude is not so easy to come by they are naturally drawn to it. It’s not being manipulative – it’s being human, and there is no greater act you can perform than to acknowledge the value of another person to your life or the lives of others.

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Thursday, June 3, 2010

F is for Family/Friends

Close friends and family are one of the secret weapons of success. They can listen and help shape your dream. They can support you on your journey. And most importantly friends and family are there to celebrate the milestones along the way.

Share your hopes and your dreams with those closest to you. Describe what success looks like to you and enlist their help and input in crafting a plan. You cannot achieve any meaningful success without help. A strong support system is part of that help. When times get tough, and they will, you need people close to you that can offer words of encouragement or a swift kick in the rear (which ever is more appropriate).

Just as it is important to for you to recognize and celebrate specific points along the path, it is equally important to share the celebrations with those closest who have helped shape your journey. Family and friends enrich our lives; they add love, happiness and humor. Family and friends have helped us to become who we are and will continue to shape who we are going to become in the future.

Enlist their help and include them in all your victories. You must admit, celebrating alone is really not much of a celebration. As the saying goes: the more the merrier.

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