Archive for the ‘Better Life’ Category

Massive action: Actualizing your dreams

Sunday, August 21st, 2011

Exactly ten years ago on this day, August 21, 2001 I left my birth country of Kenya with $140, a small 21-inch suitcase, and the dream of a better life in America. One of my single most powerful dreams was to further my education. My! What a journey it has been! I paid my way through graduate school at Regent University and I’m now pursuing a terminal degree at Indiana Wesleyan University. I’ve learned, among other things, that dreams emerge from massive action. My full strategy is captured in my first book, The Road to Arrival: Ten Empowering Principles for Actualizing Your Dreams. In this book I focus on ten power-packed principles that are essential for making dreams come true. If dreams are not pursued with massive action, they can easily become nightmares.

What’s your dream? What’s that one thing you absolutely believe you were born to do? What keeps you up at night and keeps you dreaming during the day? What’s your greatest desire in terms of accomplishments? Each of us have been created with a desire for greatness. There is no human being who does not have the capability to dream big dreams. Greatness does not necessarily mean being rich and famous. Greatness is simply understanding what you were born to do and doing it to your utmost potential. All human beings have the potential to dream great dreams and achieve them.

 T.E. Lawrence, in Seven Pillars of Wisdom, said, “All men dream but not equally. Those who dream by night, in the dusty recesses of their mind, wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible.” Don’t let your dreams become nightmares. Back them up with massive action and sound strategies. Go for it!

Thinking Makes A Difference

Saturday, August 1st, 2009

Human beings are so designed such that they move forward based on the quality of their thinking. If our thinking is stagnant then our growth will be stunted! One of the things that keeps many people at the same level is herd-think – they go with the masses instead of using their quality of thinking to chart out a path that is truly theirs. A few years ago I enjoyed reading John C. Maxwell’s book, Thinking for a Change, which helps in developing that ability to think efficiently and correctly. I had already been practicing some of the concepts he developed in the book but he added superb insight to my understanding of the essence of good thinking. Three of his ideas stood out:

1. Good Thinking Creates the Foundation for Good Results

What do you want to achieve in life? The key to that will be in developing a reservoir of good thoughts that are well implemented. Your progress in life is directly proportional to the quality of your thoughts.

2. Good Thinking Increases Your Potential

Many of the thought leaders I have come to respect have been great proponents of the need to understand and pursue one’s full potential in life. Potential is simply the capacity that a person has for effectiveness in life. We can all attain our potential as we begin to elevate our thinking. Good thinking increases the level of results one can expect in life.

3. Good Thinking Produces More Good Thinking IF . . . You Make It a Habit

Nothing dominates life more than a habit. As you practice good thinking, you develop a foundation from which you can continue to harvest even better thinking. Internationally respected leadership authority, Stephen Covey, explains that we cannot face the challenges of today with the responses of yesterday. We have to continually raise our response – it takes a habit of good thinking to do that.

Will you climb out of the pile or will you stay rooted in it? As you climb out of the pile, remember the story of the crabs in a bucket. As one tries to climb out, the others will, without question, try to pull it back in. But know this one thing, there are encourager who will make themselves available to push you out of the pile and I’m one of them.

Family First: Making a Mark Begins at Home

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

As I celebrate my birthday today, I want to clarify what I believe making a mark is all about. As a young kid growing up I used to hear many of the significant people around me say that charity begins at home. This particularly became a joke when my brothers and sisters would want some act of kindness or generosity from me. As I’ve advanced in age, I have come to realize that being charitable is simply one of the ways in which we can make a mark in society. Just like charity, making a mark begins at home.

The key to success in life is to have a set of values that guide one’s life. These values are best developed in a family environment. If we will make a mark, the needs of our families must come first. You cannot mess up in the family arena and expect to make a solid mark in society. Making a mark begins at home. What value would there be in making a difference all over the world yet being a wreck when it comes to making a mark with the people closest to you? You have to focus first on making a difference with those closest to you before you can make a significant mark with the rest of society.

Life’s Two Constant Choices – Grow or Go!

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

Life is all about growth. Every day we are faced with situations and circumstances that provide us with two choices – grow or go! Having a menatlity of growth is the first step towards being able to maximize your life and live above the level of mediocrity that plagues most of society. If you don’t grow, you will go! No question about that. I call this “Life’s two constant choices”. What choice will you make today? Will you make every circumstance that comes your way an opportunity for personal growth or will you shrink away from growth and give in to mediocrity? Life’s two constant choices are right before you today. Make the better choice – a choice for better life! 

The Traits of a Winner

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

There are many different traits that are essential for a better life but when it comes to truly winning in life, there are three crucial traits that one must embody. These are knowledge, passion and humor. Let’s take a quick look at each of these: 

Knowledge

Knowledge is the key quality that enables a man or woman to realize his or her true personal potential. Knowledge sets one apart since it enables you to demonstrate higher capacities and capabilities. The difference between one’s current state and a future desired state is normally bridged by the quality of one’s knowledge. Knowledge lifts you up from the pit to the pinnacle of your desires. 

Passion

Passion separates between the committed and the non-committed. Passion is the one essential quality that enables the realization of dreams and desires. Passion births zealous commitment in an individual and enables him or her to stay focused on the quest for a better life. All revolutions throughout the history of mankind have always been brought about by passion individuals.

Humor

Humor is an essential trait because it provides us with the motivation to continue striving through situations that may not fully be desirable. Having a sense of humor about life is essential. Fun, excitement, enjoyment, laughter and happiness are key pieces in teh puzzle of life. Life offers us many unique experiences and challenges. Humor enables us to ride these unique experiences and challenges without losing motivation.  

Your Potential and Capacity is Unlimited!

Friday, March 20th, 2009

We have a saying in Kenya that “A granary cannot be pushed into a hut”. This saying has been upper-most in my thoughts this week as I looked at the idea of personal potential in the light of current capacity and the limitations that surround it. We all face moments when our ability to perform is limited by current structures that pose immense threat to the vision within us. What is one to do in those situations?

A granary is a storehouse for grain. It symbolizes the fruit of one’s labor, or the yield of one’s hard work. A hut on the other hand is a dwelling of simple construction that is the common living area for many in African rural areas. Most huts are usually made of mud and have grass thatched roofs. Granaries on the other hand are made of wood and have tin/aluminium roofs.

Let us think of organizations. Robert Schuller once said that “You can’t fire a missile from a canoe”. A leader’s vision for his organization may sometimes be limited by current structures in the organization. There are also times when vision may be limited by structures that are not present within the organization. The organization’s objectives too play a great role in determining the results that will be yielded. There must be a solid foundation that ensures that any goals pursued will be achieved satisfactorily. A granary cannot be pushed into a hut.

How then do we ensure that our output will be measurable to our input without having to demolishing our present structures? How do we develop a system that allows us to fire missiles from canoes without toppling over into the water?

Every vision needs to be strengthened by the underlying philosophies and values that guide the organization. You can’t expect to achieve a big vision when the guiding philosophies do not match up to the vision. You cannot expect to accomplish great things when your strategy is flawed. Here are some ideas that can enable you to secure an output that is worthy of your input:

1. Have a Mission that matches your Vision

A company’s daily undertakings need to fit into the bigger picture of it’s ultimate objectives. Many organizations have dropped the ball by engaging in activities that are outside the range of the company vision. Vision is guarded by staying on the key path that is aligned with the company mission. Do this and you will be able to fire missiles from your canoe. I guarantee it!

2. Develop Goals that align with your Philosophy

Company philosophy is crucial to the outcomes and output of an organization. Your goals should align with the values that the company holds dearest. Every organization needs to clarify what it is that it holds as fundamental to it’s existence. Enron failed because the leader’s activities veered off the course of the company’s core values. Your have to hold onto your core values. Do this and your granary may be able to fit into your hut.

3. Create a Strategy that builds on your Accomplishments

Strategy is the key to building value in an organization. Value is measured by an organization’s accomplishments. The more a company accomplishes, the more it acquires a competitive advantage over other companies within that industry. Strategy therefore is key to the long-term existence of a company.

These three keys, applied in an orderly manner, will not only ensure that you fire missiles from your canoe but also that your granary fits into your hut.

To Till the Land is to Love Oneself

Monday, February 16th, 2009

There’s an old African saying that “To till the land is to love oneself”. When I was a kid I heard this saying a lot. I come from a community that tilled the land using very rudimentary tools. It wasn’t easy but it was rewarding. I remember being in the village and tilling the land for upto six or seven hours a day. Work works wonders. In today’s blog, I would like to share a few thoughts on work.

1. Work should be driven by purpose

Work is supposed to be meaningful. The key to this is for the work to be driven by a vision that is guided by purpose. This means that you have to know what your purpose is first. Work that is done outside of purpose is activity without productivity. This leads to sweat and waste. You want your work to be sweet. This begins by having a solid vision that is founded in your purpose. In an organization, leadership has to clarify to employees what the purpose is. Once they clearly understand what the main objective is, then they will have joy as they work.

2. Work should add value

The beauty of giving time to work is that you have an opportunity to add value. Value is the prime motivator for the expenditure of energy. People enjoy putting in the hours when they know that they are adding value. True reward does not come for the time put in at work but for the value added during that time. Adding value means being able to see a measurable change. When I tilled the land back home in Kenya, I would always look at what I had done with immense satisfaction and joy. Nothing brings more fulfillment than work that adds value.

3. Work should be fun and exciting

When I was in High School I used to enjoy playing soccer and rugby. It was always fun to score in any of these games. It was even more exciting just to be part of a winning team. Most people enjoy sports because of these two reasons: scoring and winning. Work should be fun and exciting too. The key to this is to create an environment when scoring and winning is possible at work. People need to be able to celebrate these moments too. That’s what brings spirit to work. It’s unfortunate that too many people think of work as burdensome and boring when it can be exciting.

Work does work wonders! May this be an enjoyable day of work for you!

Capture your dreams and let your vision soar!

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

We live in a day when many people are being inspired to reach for the greatness that is within them. A lot of credit goes to the self-improvement industry which has done a lot to expose people to their true potential. People are dreaming more and dreaming often. But still there are many who have not come to the point of making their dreams come true. How can dreams be pursued and realized?

In my book, The Road to Arrival, I have defined a dream as a strongly desired goal. Dreams can easily be realized when they are broken down into specific achievable goals. In The Road to Arrival, I discussed ten empowering principles for actualizing dreams: faith, associations, detachment, perseverance, faithfulness, character and integrity, diligence, the tongue, puruit and connection. In addition to this, I outlined nine key principles that identified the steps, levels, conditions, essentials, keys, phases, rules, laws and stages of actualization.

What’s your dream? Are you pursuing it? We are all waiting for your arrival in the land of your dreams. Capture your dreams and let your vision soar!

Learning to be Peak Performers

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

We all have moments when we come to grips with our deficiencies or lack of training in certain skill areas. Our awareness of such incompetence should never freeze us from action, it should instead motivate us to acquire the training that we need. In order to motivate us towards this, I have developed a five-step strategy that can deliver results in such situations. Here is my LEARN strategy for conscious incompetence:

Let your incompetence motivate you towards learning 

Empower yourself by reading about the skill area

Associate with people who have competence in that skill area

Redefine your understanding of your capacity in that skill

Nurture a passion for teaching others that particular skill

Be a peak performer. Never allow incompetence to stop you from accomplishing your objectives. Lack of training should not necessarily equate to lack of ability. You can learn what you need to in order to move ahead into action.

Achieving Purpose and Potential: The Magic Power of Dreams and Vision

Monday, January 5th, 2009

One of the most impactful lessons I have come to learn is that most people are inspired by other’s dreams but it’s only a few who can be connected to a vision. All men have dreams but very few have vision. For dreams to have a chance at being a part of destiny they must be backed up with a solid vision that can be executed effectively. Dreams are born of hopes and desires while vision comes from foresight and passion. It is essential to have both because they work together in the manifestation of personal purpose and potential.Two Key Questions:

1. What is your dream?

What is your greatest hope or aspiration? What do you yearn for earnestly? What do you secretly wish for yourself and those around you?

Dreams are the cornerstone of life. Without dreams, life is meaningless. Dreams give substance to existence. They allow us to go beyond mediocre living to living with a zest for life. Dreams activate within us a willingness to embrace higher ideals worth striving for. Dreams are the bedrock of life.

2. What is your vision?

What do you imagine when you think about the future? What do you see yourself capable of achieving? If you had all the resources you wanted in the world, what would you do?

Visions give structure to life. They give form to dreams. Without vision life lacks power. Visions provide us with a framework for accomplishment. They enable us to go beyond living with zest to having a zealous pursuit that delivers results. Visions allow us to go from activity to productivity. 

The Marriage of Dreams and Vision … is the birth of purpose!!

Dreams + Vision = Purpose!!

What’s your purpose in life? What is the reason for your existence? Can you clearly define that which you would give your all in order to realize in life?

The Offspring of Dreams and Vision … is pure potential!!

Dreams X Vision = Potential!!

Every human being has the potential for greatness. In order to uncover your true potential, you have to allow your dreams to flourish and pursue a solid vision with purpose. You can do it!  

There Are Two “i”s in Winning

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

Michael Jordan once said that “there’s no “i” in team but there is in win”. Let us consider an extension of that – the word winning. There are two “i”s in winning. For you to win as a leader in 2009 you will need to discover and develop the two “i”s that will produce a winning combination. No single initiative, quality, person, idea or other factor will bring you the ultimate level of success you are destined for in 2009. You’ve got to find the winning combinations that will guarantee you victory. Start thinking outside the box. You’ve got to find a way of aligning any competing ideas, people or resources into one unit that fits and works together.The key to winning therefore is in having an arsenal of ideas, initiatives, strategies and resources and then knowing when to use which. You’ve got to have a bag of tricks up your sleeve, so to speak. You have to build your organization or business around a solid vision, have a driving mission (winning) and execute both the vision and the mission flawlessly. In between doing all of this, you will continue with the planning process we have been talking about in my recent blogs. If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail. You were born to win. Find your “i”s and develop them! 

The Critical Importance of Goal Setting

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008

In my previous post, I wrote on the topic of planning and explained how it trumps making resolutions. I want to continue with this angle of thought. Great organizations know that in order for them to stay on the cutting-edge of their pursuits they need to follow a certain specific schedule for managing their projects. They therefore utilize what has commonly become known as the Critical Path Method. This is a technique whereby all the activities to be undertaken are listed, the time duration is clearly outlined and the elements of the project are taken into consideration. Through CPM, critical activities are determined and float times are developed for less critical activities.

If we are going to be successful in pursuing our personal objectives and goals in 2008, I would like to suggest going through a similar process. Any resolutions that we make must be clearly outlined in terms of goals. Once the goals are set they must be clearly prioritized and the various elements specifically outlined. Each goal and its elements must have a specific deadline for it’s accomplishment. Once this process is complete, we must develop a laser-like focus that will keep us on target with the pursuit of those goals.

Engaging in a process like this will enable us and our organizations to have a fruitful 2008. Our quest this year should be effectiveness and excellence. Modern organizations have developed crucial software that is used for this process but you can be as effective or even better with the use of only a pencil and paper. During the course of the year our task will be to analyze our critical paths and determine what elements need to be accelerated and which need to be decelerated. I encourage you to bookmark this page as we will be sharing ideas that will be essential to keeping you and your organization on the critical path throughout 2008.

The Power of Leadership

Thursday, July 3rd, 2008

Success and significance in life are the offspring of good leadership skills, qualities and competencies. There must be a good leader for a team, group, department, company, constituency or nation to achieve results at whatever it sets out to accomplish. There are four levels of results in life and I’d like to explore how leadership impacts each:

1. Excellent leadership brings significance and a legacy

I want to start with excellent leadership because that should be the predominant focus of our passions. Excellent leaders get there because they work every day at making themselves better people and better leaders. Lasting excellence in leadership comes from continued study and a relentless passion for making a mark. Excellent leadership is the key to leaving a lasting legacy. 

2. Good leadership brings success and achievement

All human beings want to have success at some level or another in their lives. One must have some kind of leadership skill or competence if any success is to be attained in life. Individuals who attain success but do not continually work to become excellent leaders will achieve a lot of good things but will never be able to leave a legacy behind them.

3. Poor or Mediocre leadership leads to stability and maintenance

The majority of human beings live stable lives. The majority of organizations in society are stable. The majority of nations on earth are stable. Stable means life has very few surprises. It means one can make it from one month to the next. It means an organization does not have any major problems. It means a country is doing okay. But stable is not enough. We need to go beyond the norm. The key is to develop our leadership.

4. Lack of leadership leads to survival and struggle

Survival and struggle are the lowest levels of life. People who live at this level have nothing to look forward to – no dreams, no vision, no purpose. We should never be at this level because everybody has a skill or two that they can utilize in going to the next level. We are not designed to spend all day holding ‘help me’ signs at an intersection. Developing leadership skills is the first step towards living a successful life.

The one question that each leader needs to consistently ask herself is whether she is doing enough to go to the next level and also take others around herself to higher levels of experience in life. Leadership is more than just having the right credentials; it’s more than just reading a couple of best-selling books and gaining insight. Leadership has a lot to do with having the right vision, the courage to pursue it, the aptitude to share it and the wisdom to develop others as they join in the dream. Leadership is powerful.

The Power of Mental Vision

Friday, April 4th, 2008

After many years of research being done and business books being written, the jury is out on the idea of organizational vision: companies must have a vision. Over the past two or three decades many companies have done a lot in terms of developing their vision/mission statements along with core values that guide them towards that vision. Go to any company website and nine out of ten times you will find some form of a mission statement, vision statement, guiding philosophy or core values.

While it is commendable that many organizations have a vision to justify their existence, it is worth noting that most of these visions are short-range in nature. The vision enables them to get on track with their plans but it is not sufficient enough to take them into the future. Let me use the analogy of a train going through a tunnel. Physical vision (along with the train’s lights) enables the train operator or engine driver to see as he goes through the tunnel. An experienced driver, however, has the mental vision that enables him to see beyond the tunnel. I would also venture to use an example from the nation of South Africa. Nelson Mandela had the vision to take the people out of apartheid. Thabo Mbeki had the vision to take the country into reconciliation and a future of mutual existence. Actually, Mandela did initiate the reconciliation but it took Mbeki’s leadership to sustain it beyond the euphoria of excitement.

Here are some thoughts on how long-range vision can transform your business:

1. Provides a focus beyond “tomorrow”

Vision is great because it provides you with a general strategy for handling tomorrow. Beyond tomorrow though, you need to be able to handle “the future”. Tomorrow belongs to those organizations that have a vision of what is coming ahead. The future belongs to those organizations that can shape what is coming. We see what’s ahead through vision; but we shape what’s coming through long-range perspective.  

2. Ensures the continuity of the group or organization

Vision gives power to an organization’s mission. Long-range vision, on the other hand, breathes life into the organization’s mission. Any organization can make it a couple of years but it takes long-range thinking to survive a future that threatens the very life of organizations. Vision can sometimes guide an organization to it’s level of incompetence. The Swiss watch making companies for example, were overtaken by Japanese digital watch companies because they did not have long-range vision. They had vision, yes, but that alone could not take them into the future.  

3. Envisions potential pitfalls and their solutions 

Henry Ford is noted for saying that the masses could have any car they wanted so long as it was black in color. Ford had great vision for the automobile industry but he could not see beyond the tunnel. He could clearly see the light at the end of the tunnel but little did he know that it was the headlight of an on-coming train. Now, he had experience and should have been able to see beyond the tunnel. However, he didn’t. If organizations are going to make it into the future, they must have long-range vision, rather than just “a vision of tomorrow”. They must be on the cutting-edge of shaping the direction in which society is going rather than putting themselves in a place where they will have to play catch-up.

Breaking Through Barriers That May Limit Your Potential

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

We all experience moments in life when obstacles seem to crowd our goals and aspirations. Whether you are a leader of an organization, an employee in a department, a small-business owner, a student, the President or even just a regular guy, we have all experienced many barriers to our goals. I’ve seen so many people with great dreams that would add tremendous value to society but every time they try to plug into their dreams, they get knocked down by societal barriers.

Regardless of your situation or status in life, I want you to know that you can smash any barriers that hinder your life goals and your organization’s direction. I know this full well because my life has been about smashing barriers. I come from a community that is not well regarded in terms of access to higher positions in my country – Kenya. I was denied the opportunity to come to the United States four times before I finally got the Visa. I came to this country with a big dream and only $140 in my pocket. Imagine all the barriers I have had to surmount in order to get to where I am now. When I told people that I wanted to speak for a living, a lot of them said, “You are barking up the wrong tree, son. You’ve got a heavy African accent, no money, no contacts, ….how do you ever expect to do this?” Well, I didn’t have to know the “how” since I had a solid “why”. My passion has been one – to help people – and that is why barriers are getting smashed as I begin to slice the frontiers of developing people and empowering them to live a better life. Here are some ideas:

Three Core Hammers for Smashing Through Barriers

1. Generate a Solid Idea of Your Life Purpose

Purpose is the key to understanding the “why” of life. When you know what your purpose is, you will not lose heart in the face of obstacles and barriers. Understanding purpose enables you to stay committed and motivated towards pursuing your goals. Purpose produces passion and that is essential in overcoming challenges. Leaders in organizations need to have a clear picture of what the organization’s purpose is.

2. Develop an Enduring Vision

Lots of people have vision but very few stick to it when barriers come their way. If you will smash through barriers, you need to have an enduring vision. The United States as a country has come through many generations of challenges because of an enduring vision that was cast by the founding fathers. I succeeded in finally being able to come to the United States because I had an enduring vision.

3. When Knocked Down, Get Back Up!

I like reading biographies. One of the stories I have enjoyed so much was that of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln had a steady stream of barriers throughout his life and he smashed through all of them. Look at this:

In 1816 his family was forced out of their home. He had to work to support them. In 1818 his mother died. In 1831 he failed in business. In 1832 he ran for state legislature and lost. In 1832 he lost his job and wanted to go to law school but couldn’t get in.In 1833 he borrowed money from a friend to begin a business and by the end of the next year he was bankrupt. He spent the next 17 years of his life paying off this debt. In 1834 he ran for state legislature again and won. In 1835 he was engaged to be married. His sweetheart died and his heart was broken. In 1836 he had a total nervous breakdown and was in bed for six months. In 1838 he sought to become speaker of the state legislature but was defeated. In 1840 he sought to become elector but was defeated. In 1843 he ran for congress and lost. In 1846 he ran for congress again. This time he won, went to Washington and did a good job.In 1848 he ran for reelection to congress and lost. In 1849 he sought the job of land officer in his home state and was rejected. In 1854 he ran for Senate of the United States but lost. In 1856 he sought the Vice-Presidential nomination at his party’s convention and got less that 100 votes. In 1858 he ran for US Senate again – again, he lost. In 1860 he was elected President of the United States.

My! That’s a long list of barriers for just one single guy! But you know what? He had purpose and vision plus he got back up each time he was knocked down. You can do it too! Let’s smash through barriers!

Here’s a helpful resource:

Battling for your Prophetic Destiny is packed with insight on how you can conquer every barrier as you pursue your purpose. Your destiny is secure!

Cross That Finish Line

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

One of the most prestigious events of the Olympic Games is the Marathon – 26 miles – 385 yards of one of the most severe tests of human endurance. In the 1968 Summer Olympic Games, held in Mexico City, John Stephen Akhwari of Tanzania started with the other runners but fell way behind the leaders.

At the finish line – the 100,000 plus spectators packing Olympic Stadium – cheered the winners of the race. Other runners entered the stadium and crossed the finish line to the cheers of the crowd. The race was over. Other events took place. Thousands of spectators had left. Then, one lone runner entered the stadium – John Stephen Akhwari. Akhwari’s pace was slow. His steps were wobbly. His knee was bloody and bandaged from a fall earlier in the race. He looked terrible. As He entered the stadium and began to slowly complete that last lap around the track the few remaining spectators began to realize who he was and what he was doing. As Akhwari slowly – painfully – crossed the finish line – they cheered – saluting the man’s determination.

After the race, Akhwari was asked – what kept you going? Why didn’t you quit? Akhwari said, “My country did not send me to Mexico City to start the race. They sent me here to finish”.

Becoming a Meaningful Specific Rather Than a Wandering Generality

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

One of the quotes that had great impact on my life when I was in college was Zig Ziglar’s famous question, “Are you a meaningful specific or a wandering generality?” This quote came to mind as I was thinking about the ingredients that make a life of purpose, direction and productivity. A keen study of the lives of people who excel will reveal that the main ingredient for their success is usually one thing: passion. Their dedication to a cause, belief in people and commitment to living their best life come from their passion. They find the one thing they really enjoy doing, then do it with passion. Passion is the key ingredient to success. 

Where does passion come from? How can we use it to become meaningful specifics? Passion is born out of desire – having a dream, vision or longing to see something different from a current situation. What do you see in your future? What’s your dream? Martin Luther King Jnr. was a very passionate man because he had a dream for racial equality. Princess Diana had a passion for charity work because she wanted to see a better world. Your passion will enable you to soar from obscurity and into the limelight. Your passion will enable you to realize something greater than yourself. Your passion will enable you to be a meaningful specific. 

Passion is effective when it is birthed from the inside. You must be motivated intrinsically. You cannot exhibit passion on the outside when deep down you are shallow. You’ve got to cultivate it deep within yourself. That comes by immersing yourself wholeheartedly into pursuing your vision or dream. Here are two key things that generate passion:

a). Relentless Dedication – In order to become a meaningful specific, you must be relentlessly dedicated to making your dream come true. What are you doing on a daily basis that is adding value to your ability to fully become who you were born to be? Are you being true to the voice within you that is calling you to perform at your optimum level?

b). Steady Focus – Steady Focus comes from always having your vision right in front of you. Think about why you have immense success driving every day – the windshield is right in front of you and you are always looking out through it! It’s the same thing with your dream. You must keep it right in front of you. There are many ways that you can do this. Write it down and recite it throughout the day. Design your environment to remind you of your vision every day.

Mind Management

Thursday, February 7th, 2008

The key to success is the quality of one’s thinking. One of the main obstacles to success therefore is the state of one’s mind. In order to achieve the full potential of one’s capabilities the mind must be guarded and consistently refreshed with insight that allows it to flourish. We’ve all heard of the saying, “Garbage in, garbage out”. That’s true. We need to feed our minds with the good, the powerful and the great. I encourage you to commit to feeding your mind with good stuff on a daily basis. Find books that inspire and read them. Stock your car with motivational tapes that you can listen to while driving. Manage your mind. It is the key to your accomplishments.

GROWTH: Six Keys to a Better Life

Monday, January 28th, 2008

One of the most important things that must be grasped in life is that growth is not permanent. Many times we set a goal for accomplishment and once that goal is attained we sort of settle into a feeling that we have arrived. Best example of this is the diploma mentality. Most people stop learning and growing once their degree, diploma or certificate in whatsoever they are pursuing. The end result of this is that they slowly start losing most of what they had learnt. The key to continuos improvement in life is a commitment to never-ending personal growth. here are some growth keys for a better life:

Generate a passion for growth within yourself – Personal growth is not easy. It takes a special commitment to maintain consistent growth. The key to this is to make a personal decision for continuous growth. You have to decide that no matter what you will carve out time for your groth.

Read widely with a desire to expand your knowledge – Leaders are readers. In order to stay ahead of the pack, you must do what the pack doesn’t do. Few people read on a daily basis. What you do daily will decide who you become permanently. You have to read and listen to audio books daily.

Omit useless activities from your daily agenda – Personal growth goes hand-in-hand with time management. In order to develop yourself you must learn to discriminate wisely amongst activities. That’s the key to maintaining focus. Activity doesn’t necessarily equate to productivity.

Wear a whatever it takes attitude – I was watching Tiger Woods play golf on the final day of the 2008 Buick invitational which he won by a staggering eight strokes for his 62nd PGA tour win. Tiger has committed himself to continously improving his game. Nobody wears a whatever it takes attitude better than him. 

Treasure the company of others that are growing – Who you become in five years depends a lot on who you associate with today. Find people that are growing and share in their growth. Your environment should consist of people that are going in the same direction in which you are headed. That is the key to achievement.

Hammer-out a lifestyle of growth – Developing a lifestyle of growth is not easy. Once you set your eyes on growing, all sorts of obstacles will try and prevent you from attaining that goal. You have to “chisel” out a pathway of growth in your life.

Embrace these keys to growth and you will definitely attain more than you ever thought possible! 

Planning Ahead Trumps Making Resolutions

Friday, December 28th, 2007

It’s that time of the year again when people make new resolutions. I would like to suggest a different focus that I believe should also deliver tremendous results in 2007. How about learning to PLAN AHEAD. I have never made any new year resolutions since 1999 when I learnt about the need to PLAN AHEAD from the works of John Maxwell. Here are some thoughts on what has kepy me on track with my personal goals:

Pre-determine a course of action

This essentially means having a vision for your life. Visualizing that which you intend to attain is the first step towards being successful in pursuing it. You need to have a concise end for which you can measure your progress against. Develop a vision which will be your pre-determined course of action.

Layout your goals

Once you have pre-determined a course of action, the next step is to break it down into specific goals that can be realized. To empower your vision you need to write it down and define it clearly. Laying out your goals enables you to harness the power of visualization.

Adjust your priorities

You will need to make some changes in the new year if you hope to make it a different year from the past. This will mean being open to adjusting your priorities. Priorities are the pathway to success. Making adjustments is the key to reaching your goals.

Notify key people

We all have circles of support around us. In order to accomplish your goals you need to find those people who affirm your positive goals and share your goals with them. These people will encourage you, motivate you and keep you on the path towards success.

Allow time for your plans

Many times when we set goals we expect them to be realized within a certain time frame. While it is essential to set deadlines, we should never get married to the deadlines. Timelines should motivate us to work smartly towards our goals. If your goals are not attained within the timelines you set, don’t quit. Set new timelines and stay motivated.  

Head into action

Action is the first step towards achievement. A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. Head into action. Inch by inch it’s a cinch. Action must start now! The greatest enemy of success is procrastination. In order to achieve your dreams you must be action-oriented.

Expect problems

Every endeavor that has ever been worth pursuing has always had it’s problems and challenges. Problems are a sign that you are on the right track. The absence of problems is very likely a sign that something is wrong. Problems should never cause you to lose sight of your ultimate goals. They should be a call towards being more creative.

Always point to your successes

It is easy to lose motivation when failure sets in. The key to staying focused is in pointing to your already realized successes. Your track record of past successes is the springboard for your future achievements. When failure threatens your progress, embrace the confidence that comes from your record of past achievements.

Daily review your planning

Planning is a dynamic process. Plans should be reviewed on a daily basis to ensure that you are on the right track. You must be open to changing your plans daily. Flexibility is the key to success. You must be able to revisit your plans every day. Nothing ever dominates life unless it happens daily. It is the daily habit of reviewing your plans that will determine whether you realize them or not.

For 2008, make a quality decision that you will not make any resolutions, but you will PLAN AHEAD. I’m rooting for you!