My 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:
Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve. –Napoleon Hill
- Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value. –Albert Einstein
- You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. –Wayne Gretzky
We become what we think about. –Earl Nightingale
- Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. –John Maxwell
- Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is. –Vince Lombardi
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
- People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing. That’s why we recommend it daily. –Zig Ziglar
Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, “What’s in it for me?” – Brian Tracy
- Happiness is not something readymade. It comes from your own actions. –Dalai Lama
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
- Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. –Martin Luther King Jr.
- Do what you can, where you are, with what you have. –Teddy Roosevelt
- The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me. –Ayn Rand
- You can’t be grace if you’ve only had wonderful things happen to you. (Mary Tyler Moore)
- It’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years. –Abraham Lincoln
Change your thoughts and you change your world. –Norman Vincent Peale
- Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn
- The only way to do great work is to love what you do. –Steve Jobs
It is through the way you serve others that your greatness will be felt. –Dr. Linda Andrade Wheeler
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…
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 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…”
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.“
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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!
When the lead goose gets tired, it rotates back into the formation. Another goose takes over and flies to the point position.
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.
The geese flying in formation honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.
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’.
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.