Category: Motivation/Inspiration

21 Quotes to Live By

ImageMy friend and Successories® founder, Mac Anderson, once said, “The right words can engage the brain and bring an idea to life.” Mac loves quotes and I do too. Here’s the way I see it: One day a specific inspirational quote may do nothing for you and have absolutely no meaning. Then strangely enough, the very next day—because of whatever you may have experienced in your life—it suddenly hits you squarely in an “AHA”-type moment, making the message a meaningful revelation. After being surrounded by so many wonderful quotes and inspiring messages for more than a decade at Successories of Hawaii, it’s difficult to narrow down, but here’s twenty-one I’d like to share:

  1. Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve. –Napoleon Hill

  2. Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value. –Albert Einstein
  3. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. –Wayne Gretzky
  4. We become what we think about. –Earl Nightingale

  5. Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. –John Maxwell
  6. Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is. –Vince Lombardi
  7. I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. –Maya Angelou

  8. People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing.  That’s why we recommend it daily. –Zig Ziglar
  9. Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others.  Unsuccessful people are always asking, “What’s in it for me?” – Brian Tracy

  10. Happiness is not something readymade.  It comes from your own actions. –Dalai Lama
  11. In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure. –Bill Cosby

12. Baseball is the ideal forum for teaching the art of failure; the very best fail to get a hit seven out of ten times. — Sam Dunn

  1. Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. –Martin Luther King Jr.
  2. Do what you can, where you are, with what you have. –Teddy Roosevelt
  3. The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me. –Ayn Rand
  4. You can’t be grace if you’ve only had wonderful things happen to you.  (Mary Tyler Moore)
  5. It’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years. –Abraham Lincoln
  6. Change your thoughts and you change your world. –Norman Vincent Peale

  7. Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn
  8. The only way to do great work is to love what you do. –Steve Jobs
  9.  It is through the way you serve others that your greatness will be felt. –Dr. Linda Andrade Wheeler

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Perseverance: Overcoming Challenges…One Step at a Time

On May 21st, I’ll be one of the guest speakers at the Toastmasters International (Aloha District 49) 2011 Spring Conference. While I’m not a member of Toastmasters International, it is widely known that it’s THE club to join if you want to develop your presentation, speaking and leadership skills. When I was first approached by a client of mine (for whom we did staff training) to speak at this conference, I felt honored, but a little apprehensive at the same time. For me, speaking in front of a group composed of ambitious people who are there because they are actually interested in becoming better speakers was a bit intimidating.  Nevertheless, I’m excited and looking forward to it as a “shared” experience–I’m going to share my “school of hard knocks” perspective on perseverance and learn from them, as well as their other slated speakers. In fact, Toastmasters has already taught me a few things. In perusing their website, I found their “10 Tips for Public Speaking”. Here’s what tips nine and ten have to say: “…concentrate on your message and your audience”, and “…your speech should represent you — as an authority and as a person.” Just the appropriate advice I needed…

Transform Your Life: Be a Little Kinder

In my very last article, I shared a little bit about our most recent training/consulting project, in which we worked with a great bunch of analytical-minded engineers and architects. What surprised me greatly was their repeated response to, “What characteristics of a team contribute to quality service in an organization?” Interestingly enough, more than one participant cited the importance of “kindness” in providing top-tier service to their internal/external customers. We did not expect this from such a stereotypically “un-touchy-feely” group. But research indicates that they were right on track.

The significance of kindness transcends the workplace. In her book, A Standard of Kindness: Producing Goodness”, Dr. Linda Andrade Wheeler points out:

“The kind of person you are, and how you behave and treat others will determine what kind of world we will live in. We have seen the destructive outcomes when people have forgotten what it means to be kind to others. Your kindness toward others can be the starting point in bringing about goodness and peace wherever you may be–at home at school, at work, or in your community. You are a unique person, with special gifts. You have much to give others.”

This little book can keep this message alive for the rest of your life. It also makes a wonderful gift for any occasion. One of my early business mentors, Mac Anderson, (founder of Successories) stated it well:

“This is the paradox of the power of kindness. It doesn’t feel powerful at all. In fact, it almost feels too simple to be important. Kindness, more than anything, is an attitude that brings us back to the simplicity of being. It is also the one way you can be assured of making a difference with your life.”

Consider the following story that Mac shared with me, which exemplifies the power of kindness. He wrote:

The year was 1863, on a spring day in Northern Pennsylvania. A poor boy was selling goods door to door to pay his way through school. He realized he had only a dime left, and that he was hungry. So he decided he would ask for a meal at the next house. However, he lost his nerve when a lovely young woman opened the door.Instead of a meal, he asked for a drink of water. She thought he looked hungry and so she brought him a large glass of milk. He drank it slowly, and then asked, “How much do I owe you?”

“You don’t owe me anything,” she replied. “Mother has taught us never to accept pay for a kindness.” He said, “Then I thank you from my heart.” As Howard Kelly left that house, he not only felt stronger physically, but his faith in God and man was strengthened also. He had been ready to give up and quit.

Years later, that young woman became critically ill. The local doctors were baffled. They finally sent her to the big city, where they called in specialists to study her rare disease.

Dr. Howard Kelly was called in for the consultation. When he heard the name of the town she came from, he went down the hall of the hospital to her room. Dressed in his doctor’s gown, he went in to see her. He recognized her at once. He went back to the consultation room determined to do his best to save her life. From that day, he gave special attention to the case.

After a long struggle, the battle was won. Dr. Kelly requested from the business office to pass the final billing to him for approval. He looked at it, then wrote something on the edge, and the bill was sent to her room. She feared to open it, for she was sure it would take the rest of her life to pay for it all. Finally, she looked, and something caught her attention on the side of the bill. She read these words:

“PAID IN FULL WITH ONE GLASS OF MILK…”

(Signed)
Dr. Howard Kelly*

*Dr. Howard Kelly was a distinguished physician who, in 1895, founded the Johns Hopkins Division of Gynecologic Oncology at Johns Hopkins University. According to Dr. Kelly’s biographer, Audrey Davis, the doctor was on a walking trip through Northern Pennsylvania one spring day when he stopped by a farm house for a drink of water.

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”

Leo Buscaglia

Finally, I leave you with a thought from the great English writer, Aldous Huxley. Best known for his novels including Brave New World, Mr. Huxley was also a pioneer in the study of techniques to develop human potential.

In a lecture toward the end of his life, he said this: “People often ask me…what is the most effective technique for transforming their lives?” He then said, “It’s a little embarrassing that after years and years of research, my best answer is – just be a little kinder.

Continuous Improvement: Giving It Your All

Over the past six weeks, our training division at SuccessHawaii has been under contract to the Hawaii State Department of Education, Facilities Management Branch. I am proud of the work we accomplished together, but I am even more satisfied knowing the quality of people we have representing us in this critical function of state government. These are highly motivated employees who are responsible for the design, development, and maintenance of our public school facilities.

In quick retrospect, the past month has been a hectic one. In looking back, it was the participants within each of these focus groups, which we had the good fortune of working with, that made all the difference. In a nutshell, these highly-qualified professionals (i.e. architects, engineers, and former businesspeople) are an amazingly positive and dynamic group of people that work so collaboratively together.

The training program’s topic was entitled: “The Continuous Improvement Process: Delivering the Ultimate Service through Positive and Productive Teamwork.” 

We started this process by conducting five (5) focus groups with the various branches that fall under the Facilities Management Branch within the Office of Business Services. We followed that up with a half-day “Summary” session in which we assisted them as facilitators to boil-down a ton of input from the previous five sessions. In the end, all the various stakeholders negotiated many options to arrive at their agreed upon mission: “We take a vision and give it form through collaborative solutions to build opportunities for student achievement.”


On reflection, it has been a mini-marathon of very rewarding training workshops that achieved the goal set forth from the start. And today we completed the final, all-day training session with nearly 70 participants. Now, as I sit at my computer to debrief my thoughts, I’m taken back to my days as an athlete way-back-when. I can recall those days of giving everything I had physically and mentally, to play at peak performance. At least, to my abilities. Whether we won or lost was never the issue, it was whether you knew that you gave it your “all”. In this latest training series with the DOE, I confidently walk away knowing that we did give our very best and that’s the bottom line. Finally, consider this relevant quote on excellence from legendary coach, Vince Lombardi:

“….I firmly believe that any man’s finest hours – his greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear – is that moment when he has worked his heart out in good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.”

No Goose Left Behind…

The following post comes from an ongoing training/consulting project we have with a large client organization here in Hawaii. We are in the midst of developing the custom-designed training curriculum, which began with a strategic planning and leadership training session. The Story of The Geese is a part of our “teamwork” module. It provides a perfect example of the importance of teamwork and how it can have such a profound effect on a team.

The Story of The Geese

This fall when you see geese heading south for the winter flying along in the “V” formation, you might consider what science has discovered as to why they fly that way.

Fact

As each bird flaps its wings, it creates an “uplift” for the bird immediately following it. By flying in a “V” formation, the whole flock adds at least 71 % greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own.

Fact

Whenever a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go through it alone. It quickly gets back into the formation to take advantage of the “lifting” power of the bird in front of it.

Lesson

If we have as much common sense as a goose, we will stay in formation and share information with those who are headed the way we want to go. We should be willing to accept their help and give our help to others. It is harder to do something alone than together!

Fact

When the lead goose gets tired, it rotates back into the formation. Another goose takes over and flies to the point position.

Lesson

It is sensible to take turns to do the hard and demanding tasks. It pays to share leadership. As with geese, people are interdependent on each other’s skills, capabilities, and unique arrangements of gifts, talents, or resources.

Fact

The geese flying in formation honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.

Lesson

People who are part of a team and share a common direction as well as a sense of community can get where they are going more quickly and easily because they are traveling on the thrust of one another and lift each other up along the way.

The Importance of Encouragement

We need to make sure our honking is encouraging – Words of support and inspiration help energize those on the front line, helping them to keep pace in spite of the day-to-day pressures and fatigue. In groups and teams where there is encouragement, production is much greater. ‘Individual empowerment results from quality honking’.

Fact

When a goose gets sick, wounded, or shot down, two other geese will drop out of formation with that goose and follow it down to lend help and protection. They stay with the fallen goose until it dies or is able to fly again. Then, they launch out on their own, or with another formation to catch up with their flock.

The Importance of Empathy and Understanding

Albert Schweitzer tells the story of a flock of wild geese that had settled to rest on a pond. One of the flock had been captured by a gardener, who had clipped its wings before releasing it. When the geese started to resume their flight, this one tried frantically, but vainly, to lift itself into the air. The others, observing his struggles, flew about in obvious efforts to encourage him; but it was no use.

Thereupon, the entire flock settled back on the pond and waited, even though the urge to go on was strong within them. For several days they waited until the damaged feathers had grown sufficiently to permit the goose to fly. Meanwhile, the unethical gardener, having been converted by the ethical geese, gladly watched them as they finally rose together and all resumed their long flight. For this reason, I aptly named this article: “No Goose Left Behind”.

Finally, if we have the sense of a goose, we will stand by our team members in the good, as well as, the challenging times. So, the next time you see a formation of geese, remember…it is a REWARD, a CHALLENGE and a PRIVILEGE to be a CONTRIBUTING MEMBER of a TEAM.

Secrets of Self-Made Millionaires

Secrets of Self-Made Millionaires: They’re just like you. But with lots of money.

Here’s a great article written by Kristyn Kusek Lewis for Readers Digest Magazine. She describes five very different millionaires and the practical, real life lessons they share that have contributed to their success. The third lesson in the stack really stood out for me, “Passion pays off.” The message: Love what you do. Accordingly, when you’re passionate about your work, you care about the consequences. “

According to research by Thomas J. Stanley, author of The Millionaire Mind, over 80 percent of millionaires say they never would have been successful if their vocation wasn’t something they cared about.” In reading Stanley’s book, what I found interesting is that he chose to exclude “misers”—for those whose God was money—in the final cut. From the more than 1,300 millionaires he interviewed, his overall goal was to survey people who were not just successful at building a mountain of dough. He included those who were also well balanced and seemed to enjoy their wealth and thus, life.

Back to Lewis’ RD article, Secrets of Self-Made Millionaires, I found it to be quite succinct and to the point. The author highlighted five people who have at least a million dollars in liquid assets and asked them to share the secrets that helped them get there. Here they are:

1. Set your sights on where you’re going

2. Educate yourself

3. Passion pays off

4. Grow your money

5. No guts, no glory

So what is the biggest secret? It’s simply to stop spending. According to Lewis, she says “Every millionaire we spoke to has one thing in common: Not a single one spends needlessly. She cites a survey that indicates many wealthy people spend money “with a middle-class mindset”, clipping coupons and shopping at sales. Real estate investor Dave Lindahl drives a Ford Explorer and says his middle-class neighbors would be shocked to learn how much he’s worth. Fitness mogul Rick Sikorski can’t fathom why anyone would buy bottled water. Steve Maxwell, the finance teacher, looked at a $1.5 million home but decided to buy one for half the price because “a house with double the cost wouldn’t give me double the enjoyment.”

Lewis points out that “millionaires may have earned their money through a combination of discipline and dedication, but it’s their frugal habits that keep them rich.” Over the years, as I observe those that have accumulated substantial wealth, the more I truly believe this to be the case.

The Productivity Paradox

In the June 2010 issue of Harvard Business Review, author Tony Schwartz explains how those in leadership positions have many opportunities to help their teams replenish their energy. Schwartz says, “It’s all about providing examples for others and creating a safe environment.”

Today, I listened to the corresponding, The HBR IdeaCast (iTunes podcast) and it certainly reaffirmed my position that we all need to ‘recharge our batteries’ in order to operate at our peak performance. According to Schwartz, president and CEO of The Energy Project, the magic number happens to be, 90 minutes. That is, one hour and a half of focused work; then we need a re-energizing break. While he made it clear that the break shouldn’t necessarily equal the time spent on focused work, replenishing our energy is the critical part. The key, according to Schwartz, is how well you recover; not how long. He compared it to how some people work for a long period of time, but may not be as productive as someone working in a more focused manner. Similarly, breaks are dependent on the person, whereas some need more or less than others.

He went on to emphasize that humans are not made to operate like computers; we need to renew to succeed. Continue reading

A Really Simple, Guaranteed Formula for Success

Quality guru and bestselling management author (“In Search of Excellence”), Tom Peters, recounts the story of a man who approached robber baron and American financer  J. P. Morgan with an envelope, and said:

“Sir, in my hand I hold a guaranteed formula for success, which I will gladly sell you for $25,000.”

“Sir,” J. Pierrepont replied, “I do not know what is in the envelope. However, if you show me, and I like it, I give you my word as a gentleman that I will pay you what you ask.” The man agreed to the terms, and handed over the envelope. Morgan opened it, and pulled out a single sheet of paper. He gave it one look – a mere glance – then handed it back to the gentleman. And then he paid him the agreed-upon amount of $25,000! On that sheet of paper, were two things:

1. Every morning, write down a list of the things that need to be done that day.
2. Do them.

Clearly J.P. Morgan benefited handsomely from this advice. The point of this anecdote is that you can too. Oftentimes, we ourselves know what we must do. Yet, just simply knowing what needs to get done is the easy part. If you’re like me, you have your list of things to do. It represents our action items, plans and declarations. But taking action is the tough stuff. When you think about it, that’s the trademark of every successful person.

“If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it.”

-Lucille Ball

We all know that it’s easier said than done. Ultimately, we have to just do it and taking baby steps daily is a great start.

The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack in will.
Vince Lombardi

In his book, “The Common Denominator of Success”, Albert Gray says, “The common denominator of success–the secret of success of every man who has ever been successful–lies in the fact that he formed the habit of doing things that failures don’t like to do.”

As the $25,000 solution illustrates, one needs to keep it simple, but taking action and “doing things that failures don’t like to do” is the trait successful people share.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
Lao-tzu, The Way of Lao-tzu
Chinese philosopher (604 BC – 531 BC)

Life Lessons from the “Wizard of Westwood”

“Success is a peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.” –Coach John Wooden

I vividly recall my mom, Dr. Linda Andrade Wheeler, preparing for one of the many corporate training seminars she did when we partnered in business together at The Human Connection, Inc. It was in the early 90’s and one of the handouts to be shared with seminar participants was legendary Coach John Wooden’s, “Pyramid of Success” motivational program (a faded copy still remains in my research file, but here’s a new, printable PDF). Wooden tied success not to achievement, wealth or fame, but to how close a person came to their potential.

In essence, the Pyramid of Success consists of philosophical building blocks for winning at basketball and at life. According to John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success, there are 12 lessons in leadership. At the summit of the pyramid is “success”. Each of the blocks represents a trait that a person must possess in order to become successful in life just like in playing a basketball game. At the time, as a recent Bruin graduate (1989), I was both intrigued and proud to be remotely associated–however indirectly–with such a legendary motivator and strong Christian. During his long tenure with the Bruins, Coach Wooden became affectionately known as the “Wizard of Westwood. Continue reading

SELF-MANAGEMENT: KEY TO MASTERING CHANGE

LW1In her presentation last Friday, Dr. Linda Andrade Wheeler shared methods with the members of the Pearlridge Rotary Club by which they could better gear up for meeting the varied volume of changes that occur in their personal and professional lives. She emphasized that the uniqueness of each individual is his or her competitive edge and paramount to achieving “personal excellence”.

As she put it, “You are better at being yourself than anyone else”. Her primary message was really to convey the notion that how well people use their personal power, determines in large part their level of personal excellence, the quality of their relationships and eventually their lifestyle.

Two books from her repertoire were referenced in her talk and are available at http://drlindawheeler.com/:

1. Ain’t Life an Artichoke: It Takes a Lot of Peeling to Get to the Heart…The Best Part This book is about personal excellence–the process of self-discovery and a journey to your heart, which you must take alone to find your uniqueness. The process can be uplifting and bring a brand new perspective to your life.

2. The Power of Resiliency Bouncing Back in a Changing World “Resiliency”—is about being happy in spite of change—or maybe as the result of it. It’s about growing through life’s changes and bouncing back in spite of adverse situations.

For more information on Dr. Wheeler’s seminars and books, please check out http://drlindawheeler.com/