Positive Reflections

As you sow… so you reap

As you sow... so you reap

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Great Leaders Have Vision

One of the most important leadership qualities of great leaders is vision. This is the one single quality that, more than anything, separates leaders from followers. Great leaders have vision. Followers do not. Leaders have the ability to stand back and see the big picture. Followers are caught up in day-to-day activities. Great leaders have developed the ability to fix their eyes on the horizon and see greater possibilities. Followers are those whose eyes are fixed on the ground in front of them and who are so busy that they seldom look at themselves and their activities in a larger context.

The best way for you to be motivational and inspirational to others is to be motivated yourself. The fastest way to get others excited about a project is to get excited yourself. The way to get others committed to achieving a goal or a result is to be totally committed yourself. The way to build loyalty to your organization, and to other people, is to be an example of loyalty in everything you say and do. These all are applications of the Law of Indirect Effort. They very neatly tie in to the quality of vision.

One requirement of leadership is the ability to choose an area of excellence. Just as a good general chooses the terrain on which to do battle, great leaders choose the area in which he and others are going  to do an outstanding job. The commitment to excellence is one of the most powerful of all motivational and inspirational techniques. All great leaders who change people and organizations are enthusiastic about achieving excellence in a particular area.

The most motivational and inspirational vision you can have for yourself and others is to “Be the best!” Many people don’t yet realize that excellent performance in serving other people is an absolute, basic essential for survival in the economy of the future. Many individuals and companies still adhere to the idea that as long as they are no worse than anyone else, they can remain in business. That is just plain silly! It is prehistoric thinking. We are now in the age of excellence. Customers assume that they will get excellent quality, and if they don’t, they will go to your competitors so fast, people’s heads will spin.

As a leader, your job is to develop leadership qualities that exude excellence as your own individual, to be the best in your chosen field of endeavor. Your job is to have a vision of high standards in serving people. You not only exemplify excellence in your own behavior, but you also translate it to others so that they, too, become committed to this vision.

Great Leaders Have Integrity

The second most important of all leadership qualities is integrity. Integrity is complete, unflinching honesty with regard to everything that you say and do. Integrity underlies all the other leadership qualities. Your measure of integrity is determined by how honest you are in the critical areas of your life.

Integrity means this: When someone asks you at the end of the day, “Did you do your very best?” you can look him in the eye and say, “Yes!” Integrity means this: When someone asks you if you could have done it better, you can honestly say, “No, I did everything I possibly could.”

Integrity might be one of the most challenging of the leadership qualities because it means that you, as a leader, must admit your shortcomings. It means that you work to develop your strengths and compensate for your weaknesses. Integrity means that you tell the truth, and that you live the truth in everything that you do and in all your relationships. Integrity means that you deal straightforwardly with people and situations and that you do not compromise what you believe to be true.

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Key to Personal Strategic Planning


Use the principle of ‘‘concentration of power.’’ This requires that you concentrate your talents and abilities where they will yield the highest payoff to you at the moment. It is the key to personal productivity and is essential to success in personal strategic planning.

In corporate strategy sessions, managers focus on the goal of increasing ‘‘return on equity’’ (ROE). The purpose of business strategy is to allocate the company’s resources in such a way that they yield the highest possible financial return on the equity invested.

Here is another kind of ROE for you. In personal strategic planning, your goal is to get the highest ‘‘return on energy.’’ Your job is to allocate your talents and abilities in such a way that you achieve the highest possible return on the mental, emotional, and physical energies that you invest in your work.

Your highest return on energy is almost always that task where you combine your unique talents and abilities with the specific needs of the situation. You then focus and concentrate single mindedly on that one task, which is the key to getting things done efficiently.

Whenever you have a new job to do, ask yourself: ‘‘Does this job give me my highest return on energy invested?’’ Discipline yourself to increase productivity and apply your skills where you can achieve the greatest results for both yourself and your company.

Focus on Opportunities

Increase productivity by concentrating your strengths, and the strengths of others, on your major opportunities. Focus on the opportunities of tomorrow, rather than the problems of yesterday. Concentrate your best talents and energies, and those of your best people, on those few areas where major breakthroughs are possible.

Focus on Key Result Areas

Identify the key results you are expected to get by answering the question: ‘‘Why am I on the payroll?’’ Once you’ve identified your key result areas, work in them exclusively. This is an important component to personal strategic planning and can help you to increase productivity tenfold.

Each person has five to seven key result areas where they can make an important contribution to their job and to the organization. It is only when you concentrate your efforts on your key result areas that you will start getting things done and achieve the most significant results possible for you in the shortest period of time.

Increase Productivity by Setting Deadlines

To improve your personal strategic planning, set deadlines for important goals and stick to them. Deadlines force you to work harder and more effectively as the deadline approaches. A goal or an assignment without a deadline is usually an exercise in futility. It has no motivational force behind it. It creates no compulsion for closure. It is something that you easily procrastinate on and put off until the last-minute.

In order for you to increase productivity and start getting things done efficiently, set deadlines for everything you do. Promise other people who you will finish certain jobs by the deadline.

When you promise others, you motivate yourself to fulfill the promise. When you place your honor and your ego on the line by making promises to others, you find yourself internally driven and motivated to start getting things done exactly as you said, on schedule.

Getting Things Done with a Steady Pace

Don’t hurry or rush around frantically to get the job done. Maintain an easy pace and work steadily. Remember the fable of ‘‘The Tortoise and the Hare’’? Highly productive people work with a certain rhythm that allows them to flow through enormous amounts of work without becoming stressed or anxious.

A hallmark behavior of successful salespeople is that they do one thing at a time. They do the most important thing in front of them, and they stay with it until it is complete. They set priorities and use excellent personal strategic planning techniques.

Thinking About Results

Result orientation, the ability to start getting things done, is a key quality of all peak performers who have excellent strategic planning skills. You can develop the ability to concentrate single-mindedly through practice and repetition, over and over, until it becomes an ingrained habit of success. Once you develop the skill of getting things done, the skill will serve you for the rest of your life.

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By Brian Tracy
Preparation is the mark of a professional. Preparation is also the mark of a successful person in any field. As you move upward in any occupation, you will find that the top people spend far more time in preparation than the average person does. The top 10 percent in any field are always more thoroughly prepared in every detail than those who struggle for a living in the same occupation.

Guard Against the Worst

For me, as a professional speaker and seminar leader, the worst thing that could happen would be for my luggage to be lost and for me to arrive without the clothes and seminar materials that I need for my speaking engagement. To guard against this situation, I carry all my essentials on board with me, never out of my sight. Because of this habit of advance planning, I have never had an insurmountable problem because of baggage delays or losses. On the way to your destination, in the achievement of your most important goal, continually ask yourself, “What are the worst possible things that can happen?” And then guard against them.

Plan for Any Eventuality

The mark of a superior thinker is that he or she assumes that the worst will happen and makes provisions against it. Napoleon Bonaparte was once asked if he believed in luck. He replied, “Yes, I do. I believe in bad luck. I believe I will always have it, and I plan accordingly.”

Refuse to be Passive

My traveling experiences have taught me two things. First, prepare for the worst. No matter what anyone tells you, be prepared for the possibility that he or she will not follow through. Second, be proactive, not passive. Instead of becoming angry or depressed, get busy and get going. Find an alternative. Refuse to accept the current situation if it is not satisfactory. Instead of waiting for things to happen, make things happen.

Prepare a Checklist

Pilots carefully review a checklist prior to every flight. Even if they have flown thousands of hours and have been active pilots for twenty years, they still go through the checklist every single time. You should prepare a checklist as well. No matter how many times you have made the same trip, you should review your checklist once more. Never trust to memory. The failure to check just one critical detail can leave you stranded and maybe even put your destination out of reach. As you proceed toward your personal destinations and struggle toward your goals, the consequences of not following your checklist will not be as severe. But it is not unusual for a business to go broke or a person to lose all his or her money because someone failed to pay attention to a critical detail.

Action Exercise

Get in the habit of making checklists for big and small tasks. Make checklists for traveling and for work related tasks.

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Financial Freedom by Design

The first mental shift is from financial freedom by accident to financial freedom by design.  Financial freedom must be the center piece of all your work and external activities.  Achieving financial freedom must not be something that happens in a random or haphazard way. It must be something that you specifically think about, define, and plan for continuously. It must become a part of your entire world view.

Today, just as you design your dream house, you must design your financial future.  You must think long term, many years down the road, and make an absolutely clear decision that you are going to achieve specific financial goals on a time table, year by year until you reach the point where you never have to work again unless you want to.

Wealthy People Think in Terms of Prosperity

Another mental shift you have to make in achieving financial freedom is from a survival consciousness to a prosperity consciousness.  Most people are locked into a survival consciousness.  They are worried, guarded and careful about money.

Wealthy people think in terms of prosperity rather than survival. They move from limitation thinking to abundance thinking. Wealthy people look upon the world around them as being full of opportunities to acquire and keep the money and they are constantly looking for ways to do it. They look at every new product and process, every technological market or breakthrough, as a possible opportunity to prosper in some way. Instead of thinking about how little they have, wealthy people are thinking about how much they want to acquire.

Change Your Thinking from Security to Opportunity

Another shift in thinking is from security thoughts to opportunity thoughts.  You don’t achieve financial freedom by playing it safe.  You become financially independent by leading the field.  This doesn’t mean that you risk your money or throw it around.  It means that you are willing to move out of your comfort zone and to try something new and different before everyone else starts trying or doing it.  I have met countless salespeople and businessmen around the country who changed their entire lives by recognizing an opportunity and taking action on it before the vast majority of people woke up to it.  By the time the dust had settled they were well established and had made more money in three or four years than they might have made in 30 or 40 years doing something else in an established field.

Change Your Thinking from Spending to Saving

Another mental shift you must make to achieve financial freedom is to change your thinking from spending to saving.  W. Clement Stone said that, “If you cannot save money, the seeds of greatness are not in you.”  We grow up from a young age spending everything we can get our hands on and a little bit more besides.  The average young married couple in America spends 110% of their income, making up the difference with credit and loans from their families.  With this attitude and approach to life, especially when it becomes a habit, their ability to save, accumulate, and acquire wealth is almost zero.

In study after study on financial independence, it is generally agreed by every expert that you have to save approximately 20% to 30% of your income if you want to finally reach the point where you have enough money so that you’d never have to worry about it again.  The wonderful thing is that, once you begin saving more and more of your income off the top, and living on the rest, you will find that you experience no discomfort at all.  You become quite comfortable living on a lesser amount.

Change Your Thinking from Hoping to Doing

Financial accumulation requires you to change your thinking from wishing and hoping to thinking and doing.  Don’t talk to anyone else about your plans and your activities.  Begin to accumulate money quietly  and confidentially.  Once you begin putting it away, don’t ever let anyone know how much you have.  Refuse to engage about conversations about money or to tell anyone about your financial accumulation account.  There is something about keeping your plans and processes secret that gives them strength and power and causes them to work even more effectively for you.  You will find that wealthy people never talk to others about their money.  They are extremely private.  Wealthy people have learned over time that the more secretive they are, the more effective they seem to be in acquiring and keeping ever greater amounts of money.

The road to financial freedom is and has always been the miracle of compound interest.  When you begin putting money away and then investing it carefully to build a financial estate, the miracle of compound interest clicks in.  As you begin to move toward financial freedom, slowly at first, but then faster and faster as the years pass, you will feel absolutely wonderful about yourself.

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