Archive for October, 2007

Make a Mark by Improving Motivation

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

People face all sorts of challenges on a daily basis. These challenges eat away at their motivation to continually perform at their highest levels. One way you can make a mark in their lives is by improving their motivation. Be an encourager. Share ideas that will boost their spirits and provide them with the energy to continue giving their very best. Help them to obtain any resources they need. Be open and honest with them when they need solid feedback that will enable them to grow. Make a mark by improving the motivation of those around you. You will find that this will also keep you motivated.

Make a Mark by Standing for What’s Right

Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

We live in a society today in which we are bombarded by so many viewpoints and opinions on almost everything. This is particularly true when we look at the media and what is broad-casted daily. Even long-standing societal values are being challenged by new viewpoints that seem to emerge daily. Everyone seems to have their own personal worldview and their singular goal seems to be to make everyone else accept and live by that worldview.

The key to making a solid mark in society is to stand for what’s right. Regardless of what new opinion, thought, worldview or values come our way, we must embrace what has traditionally been regarded as the right thing to do. This is not to say that we should be stuck in our past. Standing for what’s right simple means doing that which adds value and builds up people rather than destroys them. It means contributing to making the world a better place. Make a mark by standing for what’s right.

Make a Mark by Noticing What’s Different and Complimenting It

Monday, October 29th, 2007

This morning I was taken aback by a statement that I read in an online newsletter. According to the writer, the number one question men hate to be asked is this: ‘Do you notice something different?’ Well, I’ve been asked that question so many times and I’ve never had a dislike of the question. I believe we can make a huge difference when we notice what’s different and compliment it – particularly in relationships and friendships.

People want to be appreciated and loved. They want to know that they look good. They want their labor to be valued. People want to be recognized for their efforts. By noticing what’s different, you communicate to the person that you recognize their efforts. By complimenting it, you communicate that you appreciate what the person has done. This raises a person’s spirits and encourages them to continue improving. Make a mark by noticing what’s different and complimenting it.

Make a Mark by Eliminating Excuses

Sunday, October 28th, 2007

One of the reasons why we fail to make a mark in our environments is because of the habit of making excuses. If we will make a solid mark we have to eliminate excuses from our vocabulary and our approach to maximizing opportunities and embracing responsibilities. John F. Kennedy once said that history will never accept difficulties as an excuse. When you make a habit of giving excuses, you are simply closing the door on realizing your full potential as a human being.

Eliminating excuses means being able to attempt the things that we would consider difficult. It means taking responsibility for challenges or problems that may not be of our own making. It means stepping up when no one else is willing to do so. It means going the extra mile when given a task or when serving others. It means being inquisitive about opportunities that will make you grow and offer you a chance to positively impact others. Make a mark today by eliminating excuses.

Four Marks of a Life DESTINED to Make a Mark

Saturday, October 27th, 2007

Earlier this week I was thinking of the concept of destiny and how one can pursue what they believe to be their destiny. My thinking process allowed me to develop four marks that I believe are evident in the life of someone who is making a mark. These for marks form the acronym of the word DESTINED, with each letter being paired with the next. Here are the four marks:  

Deliberate Effort – People who are making a mark do not leave things to chance, luck or fate. They make deliberate efforts to live such that they are consistently doing things that are making a difference. They deliberately engage themselves and their lives with their society in a manner that allows them to add value to their environments.

Self Transformation– People that make a mark consistently and continually engage in self-transformation. They have a huge bias for personal development and do not wait for crisis or external factors to prod them towards growth. Self transformation, for them, means applying themselves to ideas that enable them to become more valuable human beings.

Ideals Natured – People who make a mark have solid ideals that have been nurtured over a long period of time. Over the course of their lives, they have observed others model positive behaviors and have taken these in as frames of reference for their own lives. Deep down they have solid ideals like character, confidence, integrity and many more.

Empowering Dream – Lastly, people who make a mark have an empowering dream. Great examples are world leaders like Martin Luther King Jr and Nelson Mandela. They had empowering dreams which enables them to make a solid mark for their communities. We all need to allow dreams to shape up and crystallize with in us. An empowering dream is essential in making a mark.

Life is Not a Rehearsal

Friday, October 26th, 2007

One of the key things we must understand if we are to make a mark is that life is not a rehearsal. Every single minute that goes by without us doing anything to develop ourselves and make a mark is a wasted opportunity. Every activity that we engage in that has no value to who we are or what we are aspiring to be is a waste of life. We must maximize every moment that life offers to us. By choosing to be serious about every aspect of our lives, we are setting ourselves up to be successful and to make a significant mark with our personal lives.

Clarity, the Key to Making a Solid Mark

Thursday, October 25th, 2007

Every so often, I enjoy watching TV profiles of people that have been successful in life. There are a number of shows on cable television that focus on profiling actors, businessmen, military officers, educators and many more people from all walks of life who have achieved a measure of success. The main thing that is clearly evident in the lives of these people is that they possess a high degree of clarity about their goals and objectives. They do not go around with fuzzy or vague ideas of what they want to accomplish. They have clearly defined targets and these enable them to make a solid mark.  

Five Critical Ds That Will Enable You to Make a Mark

Wednesday, October 24th, 2007

Everyone who ever made a mark in society had a strategy that they used. Every strategy used has been unique but I think there are four critical Ds that allow us to make a mark in society. These are Dreaming, Deciding, Determination, Development and Discipline. Let us look at each of these:

Dreaming– Ever accomplishment begins with a dream. A dream is simply an expression of the desire for our hearts. All accomplishments begin with a dream. Do you have a dream for the mark you want to make?

Deciding– Beyond dreaming, you must decide how badly you want to make that dream a reality. This is the key to being intensely committed to making it happen. The quality of your decision determines the level for your accomplishment.

Determination – Every worthwhile endeavor has it’s challenges. All of us face different situations and obstacles that threaten the very life of our dreams. The key is to be fully determine that you will stick with your goals.

Development – You must develop yourself if you will become all you can be and do all you want to do with your life. Few people place as much emphasis on their personal development as they do on their jobs. Choose to continually develop yourself.

Discipline – Discipline is essential because so many things will try to take you off-track in your quest to make a mark. Discipline simply means choosing to do the right thing at all times so that you can stay focused on your dream.  

Branding Yourself – The Key to Making a Unique Mark

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007

One of the quotes that has greatly shaped my thinking is a statement that motivational speaker Zig Ziglar was fond of asking his audiences. He used to say, “Are you a meaningful specific or a wandering generality?” As I was thinking of this quote yesterday I began to realize that the key to making a unique mark is to be a meaningful specific. In other words, the key is to brand yourself! We easily cultivate loyalty for product brands but rarely do we take the time to define ourselves as personal brands.

Branding yourself is key to making a unique mark. This begins with finding the meaning of your personal life. No one else can determine the meaning of life for you. Branding yourself means determining meaning for yourself. Your brand can have as broad or narrow a definition as you choose. Every single human being’s destiny is very personal and unique to them. Your brand stems from who you are as a person. Building a strong personal brand is about finding what your passions are and making them meaningful. That is how you make a unique mark.

Determine Your Core Values

Monday, October 22nd, 2007

A few years ago I was inspired to develop a set of personal values that have become the foundational tenets of my life. I have discovered that having a set of timeless guiding principles, or core values, enables me to live a life that has direction, purpose, vision and results. Core values speak to our intrinsic beliefs about ourselves – who we are, what we are about and why we do what we do. Developing core values is not only beneficial to yourself but also to the people around you.

Core values enable you to discriminate between events, people and things, so that you are giving your very best time and effort to the things that matter to you. They allow you to develop a sense of self-honesty for what you truly care about in life. What I’ve discovered is that the fewer core values you have, the more you will be able to get down to the nitty-gritty of what you really want to see happen in your life and you what you want to be about. Your chances of making a mark are greatly increased when you determine what your true core values are.

Wisdom: Making a Mark by Applying our Knowledge and Information

Sunday, October 21st, 2007

The past two decades have seen an explosion in the knowledge and information of the world. This has largely been due to the increased access to the Internet by people from all walks of life. Nowadays you can become knowledgeable about any subject by simply logging onto the Internet and accessing various websites. You can easily acquire information about almost anything you want on the Internet. I have easily found information on the internet on how to conduct various repairs around my house, how to maintain my truck and so much more. 

Our world, therefore, is full of information and knowledge. However, the truth is that very few people are making a mark based on this explosion of knowledge and information. It takes more than just knowledge and information to make a mark. Yes, knowledge is power, information is power but you must be able to apply the knowledge and make good use of the information in order to experience the full potential of both. The application of knowledge and the use of information is what I refer to as wisdom. It takes wisdom to make a mark.   

People who make a mark in society are wise. They apply their knowledge and wisdom in order to make a difference in society. This enables them to build a reservoir of experiences that propel them forward in realizing their full potential. You too can make a mark by applying your knowledge and information in an effective manner. Choose to live wisely and you will experience true power in life.  

Be A No-Limit Thinker

Saturday, October 20th, 2007

When I was growing up I remember being told by some of my teachers that the sky was the limit in terms of my potential and what I could do with my life. Being a young kid, this statement always got me excited. I took reveled in hearing these words because it made me feel like nothing could stop me. I believe that I put a lot more effort in my studies because of this statement. Looking back through my life, I’ve always pushed myself to go to the next level, knowing that I could be more than what I was at that particular time.

As I have grown older though, I’ve come to realize that the sky should not be the limit. Our potential is limitless. The analogy of the sky being the limit helped me for a certain season of my life but I’m finding that in order for me to accomplish the full measure of all I could be, do and have, I have to see my potential as unlimited. One may say that this is just semantics but I think there’s a lot more than just how words are said here. It’s all about thinking. By embracing a no-limits approach to thinking we can create new opportunities for ourselves that will enable us to make a significant mark with our lives.

Life does get tough and challenging at times but I’ve always believed that there are no limits, no lids and no boundaries to all we can be, do and have. Yes, there will always be obstacles to surmount in life but your mental approach will determine if you soar past them or not. The quality of your thinking sets the pace for your accomplishments and personal potential. Think ‘no-limits’ and you will achieve more than you ever thought possible. Be a no-limit thinker!

Maximize Your Good Qualities

Friday, October 19th, 2007

Every human beings has good qualities that can make a huge difference in their lives. The key to making a mark is to maximize your good qualities and minimize your bad qualities. An essential step towards understanding one’s qualities is to frequently reflect on your life. This is best done with a notebook and pencil. Write down the things that you do well. Do you motivate people? Do people enjoy being around you? Why? What are you skilled at? Are you a good friend? Are you a good son or daughter? Are you a good father or mother? What kind of relationships do you have with the people in your life and what would they say of you? Feel free to interview a few people and ask them what they think of you. Most people would willingly share honest feedback with you if you told them that you are working on developing yourself to be a better person.

Your personal qualities will enable you to make a difference if you will develop them and utilize them. People get promoted in work places because of qualities like dependability, resourcefulness and credibility. Marriages thrive because of qualities like caring, helpfulness and listening. Relationships prosper when the parties listen to each other and are supportive of one another. People that are friendly, humorous and patient are usually well-liked by those they associate with. Personal qualities can make a huge difference in the quality of your life. Maximize your good qualities and you will make a significant mark. 

Cultivating A Better Life Support System (BLSS) Around You

Thursday, October 18th, 2007

Truly successful people know that they owe their success to the people around them. No one with a healthy attitude about their success will say that they achieved it all by themselves. Successful people create support systems around them which aid them in achieving happiness, security, well-being and positive life outcomes.

Definition

A Better Life Support System, or BLSS, is simply a unique group of individuals that you can count on to help you and guide you in your quest to make a mark and live a life of significance. Such a support system has been referred to in some circles as an inner circle of friends. I refer to it as a Better Life Support System since it is much more than just an inner circle of friends. An inner circle sometimes may consist of people that are bent on doing evil. (the world is full of dictators who have very tight inner circles). A Better Life Support System consists only of people who are building each other positively. Their single goal is to help each other make a mark.

Some Dynamics of a Better Life Support System

Everyone has the responsibility of cultivating their own BLSS. There are certain key things you want to look for when doing this. You want to develop this group into a clique that plays an active role in each other’s lives. Relationships within the group will go beyond reciprocity to empowering. The support system is characterized by initiative and leadership rather than reciprocating for acts of kindness and goodness.

The goal of a BLSS is the continued growth and development of its members. Each spurs the other to grow and develop themselves. This can be through sharing resources for personal growth and development, communicating ideas that will enable the other to be a better person, giving feed-forward that will ensure the progress of a friend and providing insights that improve the lives of others within the support system.

You can make a mark; not only with your own life but also in someone else’s life. Develop a Better Life Support System around you and also be a part of someone else’s Better Life Support System.  

Transitioning from Next Level Thinking to a Living a Life of Legacy

Thursday, October 18th, 2007

People today are consumed with the idea of going to the next level in their lives, be it in their relationships, careers, finances or other area of life. While this is great because it motivates them, I find it to be an idea that can limit our true potential. My paradigm is that we need to be consumed with the idea of the kind of legacy we will leave behind at the end of the seasons of our lives.

Thinking about your legacy every day, rather than thinking about the next level only, makes you a better leader. I also believe that thinking about a legacy makes you other-people centered while thinking about going to the next level tends to make one self-centered.

How do you transition from thinking about the next level to thinking about developing a legacy?

1. Be more focused on other people rather yourself

The idea of being a ‘people person’ has been around for a long time. Dale Carnegie’s 1936 masterpiece, ‘How to Win Friends and influence People’, has helped so many people over the years to develop a people-centered perspective that has enabled them to leave great legacies. I would highly suggest a reading of the book. 

2. Ask how you can help rather than what others can do for you.

President John F. Kennedy immediately became a world figure with his acceptance speech in which he said, ” And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you -ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.” In order to leave a legacy you must ascend in thought to where you are asking what you can do for others rather than what they can do for you. 

3. Be a giver more than a receiver

Nothing shapes a legacy more than the spirit of giving. When you give of yourself to others you become a part of the solution. It’s solution-centered thinking that sets the pace for the kind of legacy a person will leave behind. Again, when one is thinking of going to the next level, the pre-dominant question is “What can I get (or receive) that will take me to the next level?” When one is thinking of leaving a legacy, the pre-dominant question is “What can I give that will help others?” Be more of a giver and your legacy will be unshakable because the truth is that what we give is ours forever!

4. Be a leader more than a follower

Leaders impact and influence other people greatly. The great thing about being a leader is that you are able to take other people to the next level as you develop a legacy. What a beauty! Leaders pass along the best in themselves to other people. I’m always pleased when I hear from people I led in high school and at the university. They always say things like, “Herman, that idea was awesome. It took our group to a whole new level.” While those short-term moves were great for whichever group I led, the best thing is that a legacy was developed because even today they still talk about what we did.

Are you living for the next level or developing a legacy for and with your people? Start shaping your legacy today. 

DEFINE YOUR PURPOSE

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

One fundamental component to making a mark is knowing that you have a purpose and doing all you can to realize that purpose. Dr. Myles Munroe once said that the greatest tragedy in life is not death but life without a purpose. Purpose is the reason for existence. Nothing exists without a purpose. Your purpose determines what kind of mark you will make. This morning I would like to explore purpose by way of the acronym DEFINE. There are six keys to defining your purpose: Discover, Express, Focus, Implement, Nurture and Expand your purpose. Let us look at these:

Discover your purpose – Purpose is simply what you were born to do. Most of us struggle to find that purpose. None of us is born with a clear understanding of purpose (unless you are the first-born child in a royal family). Life’s journey is all about discovering and fulfilling our purpose. Purpose is found in our strengths, interests, desires, passions and dreams. Purpose is discovered as we endeavor to gain clarity on who we are as persons.

Express your purpose – Our purpose is best expressed through our vision for life. Writing down your personal vision or mission in life allows you to give precision to your purpose. Vision simply narrows down your goals into what really matters in terms of making a difference with your life. It enables you to be directed and avoid distractions that could easily derail you from fulfilling your purpose. Vision provides the impetus that enables you to pursue your purpose.  

Focus your purpose – A flashlight or electric torch does not serve it’s purpose unless it’s turned on and it’s beams directed towards a target. Once it’s focused on the target, it enables the user to be able to see clearly. Purpose must also be focused to enable clear vision of one’s desire. Your focus will really depend on your values. Values serve as a focal point or guidance system that governs one’s purpose. For example, if you value people’s privacy your purpose may rule out a career as a paparazzo. 

Implement your purpose – When you have a dream the time always comes when you have to take action and make it a reality. Implementing your purpose simply means giving life to what you were born to do. TV shows like America’s Got Talent, American Inventor and American Idol are giving many people opportunities to determine whether they have certain abilities and implement them. You may not get a chance to appear on a TV show but you can still implement your purpose. Do you dream of being a writer? Implement it by keeping a journal, blog or diary of your thoughts.

Nurture your purpose – Like any other aspect of our personal growth, purpose needs to be nurtured. I like to say that whatever gets nurtured becomes part of your nature. Do you want to be a natural singer? If so, nurture your singing skills. Do you want to be a natural speaker? You guessed it. Nurture your speaking abilities. Nurturing your purpose simply means developing your abilities to match up with your dreams. You have to engage in things that will enable you to grow and become all that you can be. 

Expand your purpose – Purpose is expandable. Just like a bird expands it’s wings in order to fly higher and higher, I think purpose can be expanded so that we can soar higher and higher in achieving more than we ever thought possible. Expanding your purpose simply means giving it more detail. This could be through studying the lives of other people that have accomplished similar things to what you are doing, having a mentor to challenge your thinking about your abilities and potential and reading books about your passion.

Make a mark by defining your purpose. 

Make Your Driving Time A Learning Time

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

I came across some startling information yesterday night. According to the American Automobile Association, the average automobile driver drives 12,000 to 25,000 miles each year. This means that we spend between 500 to 1000 hours each year in our cars. That is a staggering 12 1/2 to 25 forty-hour weeks!

Wow! And what do must of us do when we are behind the wheel? Either we are mindlessly listening to music that is not helping us develop our minds or we are yelling and cursing at other drivers and the driving schools they went to. Think with me for a minute of how much learning you could amass behind the wheel of your car. On average we log in the equivalent of two full university semesters behind the wheels of our cars each year!

Choose to stock your car with audio books and learning CDs of material that will enable you to learn while driving. Some of us even have DVD players in our cars! Look for good training material that you can watch instead of listening to music that will not help you in the long run, or watching movies that you will quickly forget about. Driving time can be learning time.  It even helps your driving attitude. The only caution you may have to exercise is with watching a DVD while driving. I normally let my DVDs play in the background as I focus on my driving. Make your driving time a learning time.   

The Power of Belief

Monday, October 15th, 2007

The other day I had a chance to watch a fantastic presentation of The Alps in 3D at the Omnimax theatre of my local museum. It was absolutely majestic, depicting the timeless beauty of the mountains and the story of a climber who climbed the North Face of the Eiger after the same mountains had taken the life of his father 40 years earlier, and over 50 other men over the course of time.

One thing that was very consistent in the story from start to finish was that he had to believe in himself. The North Face of the Eiger is considered to be one of the most treacherous climbs in all of Europe, with a 6,000-foot vertical wall dangerously exposed with jagged limestone and the constant threat of falling boulders, avalanches and unpredictable weather patterns. He had to believe that he could conquer it and not become a victim of it. This took a lot of mental training and preparation.

One of the most basic determinants of whether one will make a mark or not is whether he or she believes in themselves. Believing in oneself is perhaps one of the qualities that is easily overlooked and taken for granted, even though it is essential to making a mark. You must absolutely believe in yourself if you are going to achieve the success that you desire. You have to believe in yourself if you are going to set the record that you want to. You have to believe in yourself if you are going to hit the targets that you are aiming for. Believing in oneself is the first step towards making a mark.

Overcoming the Diploma Destination Syndrome

Sunday, October 14th, 2007

One of the greatest moments of my life came in 2004 when I graduated from Regent University with a Master of Arts degree. I had worked hard for almost two years (and more, given my earlier education) to earn that diploma. One thing I realized though was that after earning the diploma it was so easy to sit back and not continue developing my mind. Since I had attained my diploma, my desire to continue reading diminished for a while. It took a couple of months before I realized that I needed to continue cultivating my mental power if I was going to stay on top of what was happening in my field. 

We all go through the Diploma Destination Syndrome. We think that once we have attained that diploma, we will have arrived and won’t have to learn any more. This is a fallacy that we allow ourselves to fall into. A diploma actually is the doorway to more learning, not the door that shuts learning out of our lives. Once we attain it, we are granted an opportunity to engage in more learning that will continue to develop our ability to be productive citizens. College students would do well to look beyond earning a diploma. Our goal in life should be to continue learning well into our old age. Learning never stops with the acquisition of a diploma. 

Mold Your Own Expectations

Friday, October 12th, 2007

All human beings are born with an innate desire to find what their true personal purpose in life is and to pursue it. We all want to make a difference with our lives by doing that which we are uniquely designed for and qualified to do. Most people expect to get an opportunity to make a difference with their lives. That is why they will develop personal goals and dreams of what they intend to accomplish with their lives. But it is also true that sometimes we are driven by the expectations of other people, whether it’s a spouse, a parent, a supervisor, a mentor or a coach. 

There once was a young man whose parents wanted him to be a doctor. For most of his early life, they were consumed with exposing him to the medical field. They made sure that everyone knew that he was going to be a doctor. As a obedient and dutiful son he worked hard and made it into medical school. On the day of his graduation, his parents were on hand to witness the occasion and their joy was beyond words. Instead of walking back to his seat after receiving his degree certificate, the son did something astonishing. He walked over to where his parents were, gave them his degree, took of his graduation gown and said, “Here is your degree. I’m now going off to live my life”.

While the story is an extreme example of living to fulfill other people’s expectations, is it not true that many of us live our lives based on other people’s expectations? The approach taken by the parents in the story above reveals that they saw their son as an object and that is why they projected their own expectations on him. Other people’s expectations may motivate us but they should never become the definition of our life purpose. You have to pursue that which you know you will love doing because you were born to do it.

Living to fulfill other people’s expectations is like allowing them to live through you. Whether it’s in a family environment like in the story above or at work, you have to mold personal expectations. Other people’s expectations may serve as guidelines but you have to make personal goals that define who you are. If it is at work, this might mean approaching everything you do as if you are working for yourself. Develop your own goals and benchmarks. Set your own goals and the parameters within which you will know that you are making progress.

You have to live your own life in which you mold your own expectations.