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The Magazine of Personal Leadership

Personal Excellence

Whats Special

About You
Go From
Flab to Fab
John Izzo
Author and Coach

February 2008

Five Secrets
of Happiness
Personal Excellence is the only reading youll need to
do for continual self-improvement both personally and

Sharlene Hawkes, Former Miss America,

award-winning ESPN broadcaster


Part of Your

Five Secrets of Happiness

Yo u m u s t d i s c o v e r t h e s e b e f o r e y o u d i e .

The Magazine of Life Leadership

Personal Excellence

February 2008

Plan and

by John Izzo


meaning? Why do some people find a

deep sense of purpose while they are here
and die with few regrets, while others end
their lives bitter and disappointed?
About two years ago, I set out to answer
that question by asking several thousand people to identify the one person they knew who
had lived a long life and found true happiness. It seemed to me that each of us knows at
least one person who has
achieved true success. After
receiving over 1,000 nominations, I interviewed 235 people from the age of 59 to 106
(collectively having 18,000
years of life experience), asking them to reflect back on
their lives: What brought
happiness? What gave meaning? What did they regret?
What did they wish they had
learned sooner? What did not
matter in the end?
These wise elders were an incredibly
diverse group, ranging from a town barber to
CEOs, from poets to native chiefs, Holocaust
survivors to war veterans, and represented all
the major religions and cultures of our society.
My goal was not to interview famous people
but to identify ordinary people who had
found extraordinary happiness.

Five Clear Themes

What I discovered were five clear themes
of what it means to live a happy and meaningful life (and to die with a smile on your
face). In my book, The Five Secrets You Must
Discover before You Die, I share the five true
paths to finding the meaning in life through

the stories of and interviews with these people:

Secret 1: Be true to yourself. Each one of us
is on a unique human journey, and the path to
true happiness is to be true to ourselves. This
means knowing what brings us happiness and
focusing our life on what matters most to us. It
means reflecting regularly as to whether our
life fits our soul. In our daily lives, it means
knowing what brings us joy and ensuring that
we fill our life with the right elements. It also
means following our unique
destiny. One of the people I
interviewed was a Latino
woman who talked about the
importance of following our
destina. The idea is that each
of us has a path that is most
true to us, which is not so
much a destination as a way
we are meant to be in the
world. For example, I am a
teacher and philosopher by
nature and when I stay close to
that path I experience true joy.
Being true to self often means drowning out
other voices that would ask us to live their
dreams instead of ours. Ron, a gifted chiropractor, told me the story of how he planned to
become a medical doctor but when he visited a
chiropractor shortly before starting medical
school, he discovered a profession that connected to his true self. Others told me I was
crazy but I knew it was my path. He told me
that to follow your heart, you must have the
discipline to listen and the courage to follow.
This means asking if the life you are living is
true to your deepest sense of self and sometimes taking a step of courage to follow your
soul. Are you being true to yourself right now?
Secret 2: Leave no regrets. It seems to me




Nurture Your Soul ...........................3

Defining Moments ...........................8

Stop Being Right ............................12




Changing the Game..........................4

Paying the Price ...............................8

Change Your Life ............................13




Expand Your Life..............................4

Mind Power......................................9

Set Standards..................................14




Career Goals .....................................5


Get Back on Track...........................14




Keep Employable ................................6

Peace of Mind .................................10

Stop Setting Goals!.........................15




Whats Special about You .................6

Service to Others ............................11

Why Feed Your Spirit?...................16




Go from Flab to Fab..........................7

Turn Failure into Success...............12

Do the Right Thing ...........................16

that what we fear most as we age is not

death, but rather to come to the end of our
life feeling that we never truly lived. The
saddest words ever spoken at the end of life
are I wish I had Tom, a native healer,
told me that the great fear at the end of life
is the great incompleteness; that you did
not do what you came here to do. One of
the most interesting things I discovered in
talking to 235 wise people is that almost no
one regretted risks they took that did not
work out. Many people said they wished
they had risked more. When I asked these
people about major crossroads in their lives,
many of them talked about taking risks
sometimes large and sometimes small
which wound up bringing great happiness.
The principle, then, is to go for what you
truly want in your life in spite of fear. Are
you going for what you truly want in your
life or acting with fear?
Secret 3: Become love. Not surprisingly, the greatest source of
happiness for people and the
largest place of regret had to do
with people. What I discovered is
that those who made people a priority in their lives and who developed deep personal relationships
found true happiness. Many of
them told me that things rarely brought
true joy, whereas family and friends
brought lasting happiness. Yet the most
interesting thing I uncovered is that being a
loving person, the choice to give love, was
even more important in determining happiness than getting it. These people talked to
me about the importance of choosing love
and kindness as your way in the world.
When you choose to be a loving person,
you find a deep sense of meaning in life.
Secret 4: Live the moment. One of the
most common things people told me was
how fast life goes by and how important it
is to enjoy each moment. One woman told
me, When you are young you think 60
years is an incredibly long time, but when
you get there you realize it was only a
moment. Among the secrets they shared
were how important it is to live in the present, to fully enjoy whatever experience you
are having (and not to wish you were
somewhere else), and to live with gratitude
focusing on what you are grateful for rather
than what you dont have. They told me
that we have no power over the past and
little power over the future. Many of them
said that whenever you find yourself saying, I will be happy when or I will be
happy if, you need to remember that happiness is a choice you make inside. One
woman told me: You have to stop judging
your life and start living your life. Stop
keeping score trying to decide if you are
winning. Instead live each day fully and
stay in the moment. Are you living with

w w w. L e a d e r E x c e l . c o m

gratitude right now, focusing on enjoying

your life rather than judging it?
Secret 5: Give more than you take. When
I asked people what gave their life the greatest meaning, people told me that being of
service and knowing that you made the
world better because you were here was by
far the greatest source of meaning. I learned
that whether in career or personal life, people told me that it is what they gave not
what they took that brought true meaning.
Many of them also reminded me that we
have little control over what we get from the
world each day (whether people will love
us, or whether we will win the lottery), but
we have complete control over what we
give to the world (whether we choose to be
kind, charitable, and to give to others).
These people reminded me that everything
we take from the world dies with us, but
everything we give to the world
gets recycled. A wise woman
named Susan told me: When we
are young, we cry for ourselves; as
we age, we learn to cry for the
world. Indeed all spiritual traditions remind us that true happiness comes from focusing on
being of service, and in the process
joy finds us. Are you focused on
giving or getting each day?

Now Live the Secrets

What I also discovered is that it is not
enough to know the secrets you must live
them. One man told me, Many of us know
what is important, but it is not enough to
know, you have to put these things into
practice. These people taught me a great
deal about how to live the secrets as well,
and I share some of their techniques in the
book. One of my favorites was 64-year-old
Joel who told me about how he reminds
himself each day to live the moment. When
I wake up the first thing I do is say a prayer,
thanking God and the universe that I get to
live one more dayand I pray that I will
treat it as a gift. At night, just before I go to
bed, I have a time of meditation and remember all the things that I am grateful for that
day and ask for one more day.
Someone once told me: If you want to
know how to live a happy life, ask someone
who has lived one. Well, this past year I
had the privilege to visit with 235 of the wisest people I have ever met. The story of their
lives taught me that the secrets to a life with
meaning cut across all the boundaries we
believe separate us as peoplerace, religion,
economics, and gender.

Volume 13 Issue 2
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Publishing. No part of this publication may be
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Quotations must be credited.

John Izzo, Ph.D. is author of The Five Secrets

You Must Discover before You Die and host of a
PBS series Living a Life of Love. Email or visit
ACTION: Start living a happier life.

Personal Excellence


Nurture Your Soul

Find passion and soulfulness.
Even when your life is most difficult, remember that something within
HEN I THINK OF NOURyou is keeping you alivethe life
ishing the soul, I think forcethat lifts you, energizes you,
of nurturing the ability to
pulls you back sometimes from the
respond positively to lifethe ability to abyss of despair. True spirituality does
sustain passion for our interests, values, not exist without love of life.
and projects. I believe that the worst of
If you feel unhappy or unfulfilled,
all spiritual defeats is to lose enthusiyou might ask, What needs to be done?
asm for lifes possibilities.
or Whats missing in my lifeand what
Every life has its share of setbacks
can I do about it? The sin is to suffer
passively. You have the capacity to act.
and disappointmentsof tragedy and
loss. So heres the question: in the face
You must be concerned to know What
of negatives that assail you, how do
avenues of action are possible to me?
What can I do to make my life better?
you keep your inner fire alive?
At least two things are needed: an
If you stay oriented to the two basic
questionsWhats good in my life?
ability to appreciate the positives in
your lifeand a commitment to action. and What needs to be done?and
Daily, you might ask and answer two respond to those questions appropriquestions: Whats good in my life?and ately, youll be happier and get more of
What needs to be done? The first ques- whatever it is that you want in life.
Some writersErich Fromm, for
tion keeps you focused on positives; the
second keeps you proactive, reminding onecontrast a so-called being oriyou that youre responsible for your
entation with a doing orientation.
The implication is that being and doing
own happiness and well-being.
Another aspect of focusare in some sense antiing on positives and nourthetical. Of course, they
are not. Doing and being,
ishing the soul is to stay
action and stillness, are
focused on the inquiry
What in my life do I most
dependent on one anothenjoy? What most stimulates
er. Without action, you
me? You can know who a
would cease to exist, and
without stillness, you
man is if you know what
would neither appreciate
wakes him up each day.
The pleasures that nuryour existence nor have a
ture me personally may be
foundation from which to
as simple as enjoying the
act. You need stillness,
view of the city and the
you need the pure experiocean from the window of my living
ence of being, in order to fully realize
room, or spending time in the garden, or yourself. Out of that stillness can come
appreciating good health. Of course, one the motivation to act and the awareof the greatest joys that nurtures me is
ness you need to act wisely, not to lose
that I have a loving relationship with my perspective. When being and doing are
wife. In addition, when I think of nurtur- in harmony, when stillness and action
ing the soul, I think of listening to music are friends to each other, you create an
and reading and rereading books that
integrated, satisfied soul. You are then
mean a lot to me. I also think of the act of in position to enjoy and appreciate life
writing. When I spend time at my comand not be destroyed by adversity.
puter, writing, I almost invariably experiAnother aspect of nourishing the soul
ence a tremendous sense of appreciation is the ability to live in the present. When
of how wonderful it is to be alive. If I am I wrote The Psychology of Self-Esteem in
away from writing too long, I feel disthe 1960s, I was a young man, in my
couraged, or at least dispirited. Writing
thirties. One day I was writing, impatakes energy, and it also creates energy.
tient, thinking that my life would unfold
The key is to pay attention to which only when this book was finished. Yet I
activities make you feel most alive and knew that something was wrong with
in love with lifeand then spend more this thinking. So I asked myself what I
time engaged in those activities.
would be doing when the book was

by Nathaniel Branden

Personal Excellence

finished, and answered, Planning the

next book. And when the next book
was finished? Planning the book after
that. I saw that my life was about writing and realized This is my life. If I cant
enjoy it now, every day, there is no reason to believe Ill enjoy it in the future.
That realization was a turning point
for me. The impulse to focus on the
future can be strong. Its natural to look
ahead. Yet I realized that the key to happiness lay in enjoying the process, not
just the final resultbecause the greater
part of my life was going to be spent in
process, not contemplating the finished
product. So now I bless each day I can
get up and go to my computer and sit
down to write and know and love the
fact that this is what my life is about.
I believe that earning your living
doing something you enjoy is one of the
best ways to nourish yourself. Even if
you are employed at something that is
not your ideal work, you need to find
ways to take as much pleasure in it as
possible. Living in the present moment
can make ordinary activities more interesting and joyful. You may be surprised,
if you only look, at what you will find.
If you try to stay connected with why
you are doing what you are doing, for
example, then even the parts of your life
that arent exciting can become more
meaningful. When I go to an event that
doesnt interest me, I tell myself: Make
this experience as happy for yourself as you
possibly can. Once that becomes my purpose, life becomes more interesting.
Nothing Im saying about living in
the present denies the value of being
concerned with the future. You want to
keep in mind your goals, what youre
moving toward, and to see the progression and direction that underlie your
activities. You need to be able to plan
for the future without sacrificing the
present, and enjoy the present without
making yourself oblivious to the future.
Obviously, you cant control every
aspect of our life, but you have an enormous responsibility for the shape your
life takes. You have many options about
how you respond to events. You are not
a passive spectator, but an active contestant in the drama of your existence. You
need to take responsibility for the life
you create for yourself.
You nurture your soul by revering
your own life, treating it as supremely
important, reaching for the best within
you, and learning to love it allthe joys
and victories, the pain and struggles. PE
Nathaniel Branden is the author of The Six Pillars of
Self-Esteem. Visit
ACTION: Nurture your soul and live in the moment.

w w w. L e a d e r E x c e l . c o m


hold on to? What do we need to let go

of? What do we need to learn or develop? Work through what needs to change.
3. Collect all you hear and report
back to the people, having a short list
You create second-order change. of the most important responses to the
three questions. Heres what you said
we need to hold on to, what we need to
by John J. Scherer
let go of, and what we need to learn.
HERE COMES A TIME IN LIFE Invite their suggestions on each imporwhen some kind of real, tant item. Prioritize and report back what
lasting change simply has to you have found and will do next.
take place: When what used to work
4. Model The New Game. People will
isnt working anymore. When youve
look to you to see what The Real Game is,
tried to improve things, but the situaand whether you walk the new way. The
tion remains the sameor gets worse.
New Game will require powerful modAt such times, you need to consider
eling, exhortation, coaching, and even
changing the game.
letting a few people go who cant or
You need to be aware ofand be
wont come aboard.
able to createtwo kinds of change:
5. Train everyone for The New Game.
first-order and second-order change.
Some will pick it up right away; some
First-order change is keeping everyS O C I A L EXPANSION
thing basically the same, but changing
something about the situation. Its like
going faster in first gear. Such interventions are often necessarybut insufficient. More may be needed. Not more of
Try these 11 powerful ways.
the same, but something entirely different.
Second-order change is a change that
is so profound that the old problems are
by Jim Cathcart
either left behind, or are subsumed into
a new way of doing things. Its like
shifting gears, or leaving your car to use
is constricting, you may
a plane. Such change means re-thinking
need to do one or more of
the principles and paradigms on which
these 11 stretching exercises this year:
you are based. When you change the
1. Define your future. Describe the
game, other things often need to shift,
life youd like to live. The future you
including your culture, since culture
see defines the person youll need to
the way you do things and why
be. Identify the traits and qualities
trumps everything every time. Your cul- youll acquire. Think bigger than yourture is The Game You Play, and it comes
self. Stretch yourself. You are
with teams, a scorecard, winners, losers, capable of more than you
rules, regulations, superstars, mediocre
ever dreamed is possible.
players, and reward system. Everyone
2. Become the person who
knows about it, but not what to do
would achieve your goals.
about it.
As you develop the skills,
knowledge, relationships
Seven Steps to Change
and demeanor of the future
you, your goals will be the
You can change the game by following seven steps:
natural byproduct of your
1. Announce the change initiative,
growth. Spend one hour a
day in the study of your chosen field.
face-to-face, with the supporting cast.
Announce: The times are changing.
3. Give more than you must. You
wont advance until you do more than
The Old Game weve been playing is
not getting us there, and here are exam- you are paid to do. Always deliver
ples. Together we must create a New
more value than others expect, and
Game that works better for everyone.
dont require them to acknowledge
2. Realize that your team is perfectly your generosity. Give with class.
designed to get the exact results you are
4. Make time for what you love. If
getting. Your way of doing thingsand you dont live fully, you deny the world
whyis being taught, modeled, reward- your potential contributions. Your play
ed, and supported by your culture now. might contribute as much as your work.
So identify what is working and not
What you love reveals the value you bring.
working in The Old Game. Raise those
5. Refine your inner circle. You define
examples. Retain what is working. Ask
yourself through your key relationships.
three questions: What do we need to
Evaluate with whom you associate.

Changing the Game

Expand Your Life

w w w. L e a d e r E x c e l . c o m

will take longer to trust the message or

develop capabilities. Train The New
Game into peoples hearts and minds.
6. Reward people for taking on The
New Game. Learn the key incentives
(time off, money, autonomy, training,
face time, recognition) and apply them
fairly and often. Reward The New Game.
7. Change your structure to support
The New Game. This can mean a redesign or move to make it easier to do
what you are trying to do.
When you identify what is working
and what needs to change, you create
game-changing momentum. If you do
these things with authenticity and
integrity, your culture will change. PE
John J. Scherer is the author of Five Questions that
Change Everything. Visit
ACTION: Model the new game.

Release those who limit you; connect

with those who help you live fully.
6. Resolve your unfinished business.
Either deal with it or discard it. Say
your apologies, face your fears, pay
your debts, express your gratitude and
get on with living. Dont let yesterday
drain value from today and tomorrow.
7. Rethink habits and routines. Describe your typical day, and reconsider
all aspects. Change or expand the
places you go, people you see, things
you do, and time you devote to each.
Try new things. Learn a new language,
go someplace different, do some new
things. Discover your possibilities.
8. Lighten up. Stop stressing over
what only matters to you emotionally.
When life isnt fair to you,
get over it quickly. See misfortunes as course corrections, not catastrophes. Let
go so you can grow.
9. Tighten up. Sloppiness
in life allows more variables
to spoil your plans. Stay on
target, increase self-discipline, master self-motivation.
10. Profile yourself. Keep
a journal of your goals, concerns, fears,
and dreams. Review it monthly. Look
for patterns that reveal your values,
natural velocity, natural intelligences,
cycles, and recurring situations.
11. Invest in yourself. Acquire new
tools and teachers to increase potential.
Refine your systems, get expert coaching, attend conferences, cultivate a
study group, appoint a board of advisors. You are your only true asset. PE
Jim Cathcart is a professional speaker and author of
The Acorn Principle. Visit
ACTION: Try some social stretching exercises.

Personal Excellence


Career Goals
Assess your progression.
2. Assess your skills and abilities.
Are you doing what you do best? Do
your skills, abilities, and interests
where youve been and to match your current role? Youll perset new goals for the future. form better and derive more satisfacTake stock of your careerevaluating
tion from your work when youre
areas of strength, considering ways to
engaged in a job that plays on your
leverage talents, identifying different
strengths and passions. If youre not
career paths, and forging a new plan.
sure what your strengths are, use an
Doing so may be more urgent than
assessment tool to help pinpoint your
ever for two reasons: few organizations top skills and abilities. Or, talk to your
devote resources to career developmanager and ask for his or her candid
ment, and your career path may be dif- assessment of your perceived strong
ferent today, in part because of all the
points. Phrase the conversation in a
warp-speed changes.
way that makes it a win-win for both
So, take charge of your own career.
the company and you: If youre doing
Stop assuming someone else will do it
something youre good at, then manfor you. To engage in effective career
agement and the organization benefit.
reassessment, use the 3-L career man3. Assess your employers financial
agement approach: Look inward, look
outlook. You also have to analyze how
outward, and look forward. That means
your organization and your industry
first assessing your value proposition are performing. Are sales and market
what you offer organizations and what share going upor are they declining?
your career goals are, as well as your
Have there been layoffs? Is head count
key motivators and how they may
increasing? Take a hard look at the
impact your performance
numbers. You may decide
and career progression.
that the company is no
Next, assess how your
longer a place you want
strengths can be most optito be long-term. If you
mally used to ensure a betconclude that the induster fit between personal
try is not promising, your
and organizational requirebest move is to determine
ments. Then, through conother businesses where
versations with managers,
you might easily apply
mentors, coaches, and
your skills and strengths.
other associates, synthesize
4. Assess professional
lessons learned and form a
development opportunicareer development and
ties. Even if you like your
action plan for reaching your goals.
current duties, you may find your
career path has been stymied or isnt
leading to the place you want to be.
Take Six Steps
You may have lost out on promotions
How can you evaluate your career
success and develop a plan for growth? or choice assignments. To pinpoint just
where you stand, evaluate your track
Consider taking these six steps:
record and compare it to that of others
1. Assess your level of satisfaction.
in the organization. Are you being
You need to determine just how much
you enjoy your work and how well you passed by or are you keeping up?
At the same time, youll need to
fit the organizations culture. If you
analyze some deeper issues: exactly
find youre happy with both, then, of
what you want long-term. That means
course, you dont need to contemplate
coming to an understanding of what
making big changes. But, should you
your basic values and career drivers
discover that youre dissatisfied with
are. In the process, you may discover
either one, you may have to consider
taking more drastic measures: changing you dont care about being promoted,
but, instead, want opportunities to
your job function, moving to a new
employer, or even switching industries. grow in place. You may, for example,
be an engineer who cares deeply about
In some cases, achieving those goals
being the best engineer possible, but
may require going back to school.

by Douglas J. Matthews

Personal Excellence

has no ambitions to rise to the C-suite.

In that case, of course, the most appropriate professional development opportunities will be dramatically different
from those suited to the fast-track star
eyeing the top office.
5. Assess your career-net worth (the
value the market places on your unique
abilities and expertise). To assess your
value, you can search the Web for information about salaries in your industry,
or tap into your network to get the
scoop from friends and colleagues. That
way, you gain a sense of how your compensation stacks up compared to your
peers. Without a clear idea of your
value in the market, you wont have
bargaining power inside or outside the
organization, especially when you overvalue your career-net worth. Youre
likely to be disappointed when negotiating for a higher salary or promotion.
Ensuring that your career-net worth
continues to grow involves scrutiny,
investment, and work: building your
skills, knowledge, and expertise. Thats
crucial for skill professions, such as software design or engineering, where technology or regulations constantly change.
6. Assess your action plan. Once
youve pinpointed what you need to
accomplish, take steps to make it happen. Confer with trusted managers,
friends, and associates for their advice
and form a timeline for what you need
to do, when to do it, and next steps.
Identify individuals who might provide
the most assistance at different stages of
your plan and set a schedule for when
to approach them and what actions to
take after that. Your most effective
weapon is your network of peers and
associates who can help support your
career growth. Tap trade and industry
groups and professional organizations,
in addition to other personal and professional contactsand keep in touch
regularly. Your networking efforts have
to be a two-way street. And, patience is
the operative word: Your contacts might
not pay off immediately.
Ultimately, your career assessment
and the action steps you decide to take,
as a resultshould be based on well-reasoned analysis. Dont make snap judgments based on small incidents, such as
a disagreement with your manager or a
smaller-than-anticipated raise. When it
comes to assessing your career and mapping out your next steps, you need to
take a systematic, long-term view. PE
Douglas J. Matthews is President and COO of Right
Management. Call 215.988.1588, email or visit
ACTION: Create and follow a career action plan.

w w w. L e a d e r E x c e l . c o m


personal discipline, you can spend

more time on solving problems.
7. Prioritize and evaluate daily. Two
big time-wasters are not knowing
where to start when you get to work
Acquire key 10 career skills. and working on low-priority items. To
compete effectively, prioritize tasks and
identify the highest-priority item that
you tackle first every morning.
by Karla Brandau
8. Be adaptable. To stave off obsolesRE YOU DRIVING THROUGH cence, introduce change initiatives. To
life looking in your
increase employability, learn to be part
rearview mirror and judging of the solution, not part of the problem.
the future by the past?
Ask tough questions that define the
Acquiring 10 skills will increase your future and actively look for ways to
confidence and your employability:
support new change initiatives.
1. Constantly adapt to technology.
9. Think creatively and innovatively.
Spend time learning new computer pro- Contributing more requires you to
grams, make applications to your daily think outside of the box and look for
routine, and strive to use technology as creative ways to solve nagging proban enabler of productivity, not as a neat lems, increase productivity, or produce
new toy with tons of cute features that
you dont use. To decide if the new gad- P R O F E S S I O N A L ROLE
get is worth the time, ask yourself,
Does this make time or waste time?
2. Embrace diversity. Get comfortBring yourself to your role.
able with other ethnic cultures, religions, and customs. Be curious about
what makes people from other cultures
by Brad Kolar
tick. Learn about the customs and attitudes of people from other countries.
Begin to relate human to human, not
add the most value to
human to inhabitant of another country.
your organization. Now
3. Be a life-long learner. You never
put an R (for Role) next to each item
finish your education! Become a continthat would still be true for someone
uous learner. Be prepared to reinvent
else who played your role. Put an M
yourself, the pool of information in
(for Me) next to each item where you
your brain, and your work-related skills bring something specialyour own
every four to five years.
unique skills, interests, or passions.
4. Practice impeccable integrity. Your
Count the Rs and the Ms. How did
employers need to feel your spirit and
you do? Many people find
have the assurance that you are honest.
that they have more Rs than
Even one person who takes advantage
Ms. The more Rs you have,
of company assets for personal gain
the more you add value
causes untold rules and regulations.
based on your role instead of
Taking integrity beyond simple honesty, based on who you are.
however, means that when you commit
Just playing your role may
to a deadline, you are committed to pro- be holding you back. In fact,
ducing results, not excuses.
the more you excel in your
5. Be a self-starter. Fire yourself up
role, the more limited your
or look forward to being the first to go
opportunities may become.
when bottom lines dip into the red, a
Want to stand out? Want more
recession lurks around the corner, or
opportunities to add value? Then find
the next merger takes place. Those who and bring something unique that goes
learn to work on the optimistic side of
above and beyond your normal role.
life, not the pessimistic side of life, creLook at colleagues. Who stands out?
ate a positive work environment that
Who seems to be part of the special
produces higher productivity.
projects? Who gets more visibility with
6. Demonstrate personal discipline.
leadership? Who is on the fast track?
Employers want to hire people who
These people find a way to inject their
have disciplined work habits and discipersonal strengths and passions into
plined thinking. The more disciplined
every role or task. They differentiate
you are, the less time managers must
their value from the value of their role.
spend rethinking, retracing, and
You were hired to do your job well.
reworkingbasically worrying if you
If that is your contribution, youre only
will be reliable. When you demonstrate
meeting expectations. Differentiating

Keep Employable

Whats Special about You

w w w. L e a d e r E x c e l . c o m

a new product or service. So, offer a new

viewpoint, discover an alternative, or
recommend another course of action.
10. Have a can-do attitude. Cultivate
a positive attitude. You encounter negatives daily from the news, next-door
neighbors, and the nerd in the next cubicle. And, your mind generates negative
thoughts. Train your mind to see the
positive, to find the positive, and to see
opportunities lurking in obstacles. If you
can master the positive can-do attitude,
youll add value to all you touch.
As you improve in each area, youll
increase in confidence and competence,
add more value, create a need for your
services, and have greater job stability. PE
Karla Brandau is an expert in change, leadership, and
team building. Call 770-923-0883.
ACTION: Boost your employability.

yourself from your role requires focus

and persistence. Every interaction has
the potential to showcase your talents.

Take Three Steps

To stand out, take three steps:
Step 1: Be good at what you do.
Start with the basic expectations of
your role. You must be good at what
you do and perform well to get the leeway to do something else. To differentiate yourself, first build a strong
foundation. Master the basics.
Step 2: Decide what you want to be
known for. Learn from others success,
but dont try to copy it. Why compete
against a standard based on someone
elses strengths? Set yourself apart so
that your strengths become
the criteria for success.
Know your strengths and
passions and ask how you
can bring those elements
into your role to find a
meaningful differentiator.
Step 3: Bring your perspective everywhere you go.
Differentiate yourself in all
interactions. Eventually,
other people will represent your perspective, even when you arent there.
You dont emerge as a leader using the
same script as everyone else. Use your
unique strengths to magnify your value.
You can either let your role define
you, or you can define your role. Be
great at what you do, then make it better by showing your unique strengths
and passions. New possibilities and
opportunities will open up for you. PE
Brad Kolar is a popular speaker and author. Visit or email
ACTION: Define your role and excel.

Personal Excellence


Go from Flab to Fab

Study five shocking facts on fats.
by Leslie Van Romer


three-letter word, it has

the connotation of a four-letter word. Fat has the power to sting,
sadden, madden, irritate, frustrate,
incite, shame, and scar. Its a word wed
rather not read, talk, or hear about ever
again, and especially not see. But it
remains present and heavy in our
minds and lives, for obvious reasons.
As counter-intuitive as it may seem,
fat is a good thing. We need itjust not
so much of it. Contrary to the mentality,
more is better, more fat is not better.
In fact, whether it comes from a cow,
fish, vegetable, seed, or olive, too much
fat adds fat to our fat. Worse, fat is deadly. It pulls the trigger on our biggest
killers: heart disease, cancers, diabetes,
stroke, and atherosclerosis.
Having fat problems? Strip away the
emotions trapped in the layers, make
an honest, clear-headed assessment of
what youre putting into your body,
and then do something about it.
Its time to face your demon. Start
by knowing these five fat facts:
1. Where should almost all the fats
you need come from? Beef, chicken,
turkey, cheese, fish, vegetable oils, olive
oil, or whole plant foods? This may
shock you right into that next pants
size down, but fats dont come from
anywhereyour body makes them! No
kidding. While you are agonizing over
the good fat/bad fat debate, fueled by
the fat industries, your smart body is
making almost all the fat you need
from the carbohydrates you eat. This
means you need to eat very little fat,
and especially not added oils and highfat foods. In fact, if you eat a variety of
whole plant foods every day, you dont
need to think about fat at allyour
body thinks for you.
2. Whats the worst fat? Of all fats,
whats the worst kind of fat? Butter fat,
margarine fat, oil fat, beef fat, plant fat,
saturated fat, hydrogenated fat, or trans
fat? Bar none, the worst fat is too much
fatmade by too many consumed
calories. The bottom line that affects
your bottoms line is this: your body
doesnt care where excess calories come
from. If you overload and tip the calorie-intake, your body efficiently turns

Personal Excellence

extra calories into fat and dumps fat

into storageyour fat cells. When
your fat cells get too fat, your body
will simply make more fat cells to
accommodate the influx of more fat.
Just what we all wantmore fat
cells! These cells do get skinnier with
weight loss, but they never disappear!
Once you make a fat cell, that cell is
embedded in your hip, thigh, tummy,
butt, arm, breast, or chin for life
always ready for that instant refill
upon demand. Remember, fat goes
from your lips to your hips, so get a
grip. Stop eating when your brain tells
you tobefore your stuffed stomach
begs for mercy!
3. But isnt olive oil a good fat? If
you listen to the creed of the day, you

would think so, but lets use simple

logic. If your body makes almost all
the fats it needs, then it serves no purpose to add more fat to your readymade fat, especially highly concentrated, refined fat that comes without
any nutrition. Added oils, including
olive oil, offer you one thing only:
calories, and those calories come with
a fat price tagmore fat. It just so happens that between 14 and 17 percent of
olive oil is saturated fat. How can
extra calories, and some from saturated fat, possibly be good for you?
4. But what about essential fats
that you must get from outside
sources? There are only two essential
fatty acids (meaning your body cant
make them): linoleic and alpha-linoleic
acids, which your body needs in very
small quantities. Linoleic fatty acid is
an omega-6 fat, and alpha-linoleic is an
omega-3 fat. Whether a fat is called
saturated, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, omega-6, omega-3, or
Queen Olive, if you add too much fat

to already-made fat, that fat is a bad fat

and shows up on youright where you
dont want it. The best sources for those
two essential fatty acids are whole plant
foods, not from concentrated oils or
fish, and other animal fats. The whole,
plant foods richest in linoleic acids are
sunflower, pumpkin, and sesame seeds,
walnuts, butternuts, soybeans, and
corn. Alpha-linoleic acids are sourced
by dark, green-leafy vegetables, broccoli, ground flax seeds, soybeans, walnuts, and butternuts. However, if you
eat a varied diet of mostly whole, fresh
fruits and vegetables, along with whole
grains, beans, and a lesser amount of
raw nuts and seeds, you can get plenty
of essential good fats without having to
choose special foods high in those particular fatsand lose weight besides. A
plant-based diet provides all the essential fats we need, and a diet rich in just
whole fruits and vegetables offers an
average of 5 percent calories from
essential fatty acidsmore than the 3
percent recommended.
5. How can plants possibly provide
enough fat? Again, your body makes
almost all the fats it needs, without
thinking about how much fat is in plant
foods. Oranges contain 2 percent fat,
apples 4 percent, bananas 4 percent,
berries 10 percent, brown rice 7 percent,
almonds 74 percent, kidney beans 3 percent, broccoli 9 percent, and Romaine
lettuce 10 percentyes, even lettuce has
fat! On the wrong side of the fat tracks
are salmon with 48 percent fat, beef 67
percent, chicken 48 percent, cheddar
cheese 73 percent, eggs 62 percent, and
2 percent milk 35 percent fat. Way too
much fat and saturated fatthe kind
that clogs arteries and sets the unpleasant stage for killer diseases, not to mention adding layers to our layers.
If you fill up on natures best-for-you
foodswhole plant foods, with the
emphasis on fresh fruits and vegetablesyou can cut the internal and
external chatter about which foods provide which fats and all the other nutrients, micronutrients, fiber and enzymes.
Nature has done that higher nutrient
math for you!
When it comes to fats, the only thing
you have to remember is: Extra cals
are not your pals. Your weight warriors and health heroes are whole, fresh
fruits and vegetables, as well as whole
grains, legumes, sprouts, and raw,
unsalted nuts and seeds.
Dr. Leslie Van Romer is the author of weight loss,
body-best book, Getting Into Your Pants, chiropractor,
weight loss cheerleader, and motivational speaker. Call
360-683-8844 or visit:
ACTION: Go from flab to fab this year.

w w w. L e a d e r E x c e l . c o m


Instead of stopping, she joined 4,000

runners in the Revco-Cleveland Marathon
and finished her first 26-mile race. As
stupid as I felt out there running, Im
proud of myself, Johnson said. I was in
Create them for yourself and others. better shape than I thought. I feel fine.
Johnson finished in four hours and
four minutes, taking 83rd place in the
by Lee J. Colan
womens divisionqualifying as one of
her lifes defining moments. Until that
excellence are defining
time, her longest run was eight miles.
moments. If you consider
You will experience your own definyour strongest memories, positive or
ing moments on the road of to excelnegative, youll notice the imagery in
lence. These make you who you are.
your mind is actually defined by your
Also, you can create defining moments
recollection of a precise point in time.
for those around you every day. In fact,
In some cases, a single encounter can the pathway to excellence is paved with
change your life. Think of your defining such positive defining moments you
moments. Are they literally moments?
create for yourself and others.
Defining moments might be positive
Early in my career, I was hungry to
or negative; either way, you are never
advance to a leadership position. I
the same after experiencing one. These
moments shape who you are and who
you will become. As Mufasa, the Lion
King, said to his son, Simba, from the
heavens, You are more than you have
become. These few words created a
Know all thats included.
positive defining moment for Simba to
start acting like the king he was.
You might be defined by a word of
by John Maxwell
encouragement, or by a word of discouragement. You might be defined by
a moment of glorious victory, or by one
young man who, in his
of horrendous failure. You might be
eagerness to make it to the
defined by a moment of intuition or by
top, went to a millionaire for advice
one where your judgment was faulty.
about how to get there. What is the
Or perhaps, the moment you commit to first reason for your success? he
a goal, or go another direction.
asked. Hard work, the millionaire
You could also be defined by the
replied. Disappointed, the inexperimoment when you decide to make your enced fellow responded,
familys experience different than the
What is the second reason?
one you grew up with, or the moment
His response brings up a
you experience a positive example and
serious question: If you arent
decide to model it. Or you may be
doing what you know youd
defined by the moment a boss lets you
like to do, are you willing to
know he believes in youor even by a
pay the price to get there?
moment of honest self-reflection.
You dont get a fulfilling
Defining moments create a new
career at a bargain-basement
direction or perspective for you. Conprice. In fact, the cost is often
sider runner Georgene Johnson who got high. You may embark on a new career
to the starting line of a race 15 minutes
path with energy and enthusiasm, only
early. It was a mistake in timing that
to fizzle out. If you had counted the
became a defining moment in her life.
cost firstassessed what it would take
The 42-year-old secretary had registo succeed in that areayou may have
tered to run in a 10K (6.2-mile) race that gone another direction.
started at 8:45 a.m. There was also a
marathon scheduled to begin 15 minWhats Included in the Cost
utes earlier. Both races used the same
Count the cost of doing what youd
starting line. Georgene took off at the
like to do before you begin. What does
sound of the starting gun. Four miles
the price include? Here are five items:
down the road, as the race route took
1. Hard work. You cant fulfill your
the runners out of downtown and into
career dream without a lot of blood,
residential areas, Johnson said she expe- sweat, tears, and maybe even elbow
rienced a sick feeling that she was in
grease. You also might have to work
the wrong race. Minutes later, another
diligently at jobs you dont particularly
runner confirmed her suspicions.
like to prepare for the job you want.

Defining Moments

Paying the Price


w w w. L e a d e r E x c e l . c o m

thought I was doing all the right stuff,

but I wasnt getting there. So I asked a
respected colleague what he thought it
would take. He thought for a minute,
then advised, Well, Lee, from my perspective, you should focus more on performing your current role excellently
than worrying about your next move.
It was valuable but humbling
advicea defining moment for me.
Create a positive defining moment
for someone important to you. Take a
moment to say, I love you, I forgive
you, I appreciate you, I believe in
you, or Im sorry. Creating a positive
defining moment is the best gift you
could ever giveor receive.
Lee J. Colan is CEO of the L Group. Call (972) 2509989 or email
ACTION: Create a defining moment this year.

2. Learning. Doing what you love

might require you to acquire new
skills, polish abilities, or earn a degree.
Will you devote your time, money, and
energy to making that happen?
3. Discipline. It takes focus and commitment to pursue your goal without
getting sidetracked or giving up. Success doesnt just happen. You have to
be disciplined and intentional about it.
4. Change. This might not seem like
a high price. After all, you want to improve your life. Yet, change isnt easy. It
causes stress, anxiety, and uncertainty.
5. Emotional stamina. On your way
to doing what you love, you will stumble and take a few falls. Youve got to
pick yourself up, dust off,
and get going again. Do you?
Think about the price of
doing what you want to do.
Learn how much you must
pay by finding someone who
is having a great time doing
what youd like to do and
asking them about the cost.
Ask them what they did in
order to do what they do.
If you know what you want to do but
arent doing it yet, stop making excuses
and start making it happen. And learn
three truths about the end result: 1)
doing what you want to do will be different than you imagined; 2) it will be
more difficult than you imagined; and 3)
it will be better than you imagined.
When youre doing what you really
want to do, its not work. Its fun
because youre reaching your potential
and helping others reach theirs. PE
Dr. John C. Maxwell is a popular speaker and bestselling author. Visit
ACTION: Count the cost, then start doing it.

Personal Excellence


Sound Judgment
Yo u m u s t a p p r e c i a t e t h e r i g h t d e t a i l s .
environment at Walden Pond and the
inner spirit, he touched upon a perenNE FEATURE THAT CHARAC- nial truth: happiness lies in celebrating
terizes the lives of great those details that help us become more
people is their appreciation
simple and spiritually fulfilled. He
for details. This is a vital key to their
believed that in observing lifes small
detailssavoring its small joys and
personal excellence. The genius of
Einstein, for example, was grounded in wonderswe can see its larger issues.
his humble admiration of the superior
Many of us celebrate the wrong
spirit who reveals himself in the slight
details, or dont celebrate details at all.
details we perceive with our frail and
Lets look at an instance of each, borrowing from military history, since here
feeble minds. Einstein had no greater
access to that illimitable superior spirit
the appreciation of details can also be a
than you and I do, but he made his life matter of life and death.
Winston Churchill had a sobering
work the scientific study of the slight
details through which it manifests.
experience in regard to focusing on the
A close attention to and cultivation of wrong details. As First Lord of the
details is crucial to the success of any
Admiralty, he prepared for World War
endeavor. This requires you to focus on I by expanding and modernizing the
British navy. He paid excruciating
intricate information and patiently
develop an understanding of the big
attention to the details of this renovation, concluding upon its completion
picture that unfolds from the details.
We say God is in the details, or the
that Everything is ready as it has
devil is in the details. True, and often,
never been before. I feel sure that we
both at the same time: the same details shall give them a good drubbing.
that can lead to success
Later, Churchills camcan, if neglected, lead to
paign in the Dardanelles
and Gallipoli failed. Onefailure or disaster.
third of the naval force
I remember the moment
my doctor told me I had a
was lost, and the Allies
brain tumor. The following
suffered over 250,000
months became an intensecasualties. Many factors
contributed to this. The
ly focused pursuit of small
Turkish defenses were
details. Anyone who is
confronted with such a
underestimated. The
life-threatening situation
Allies were ill-prepared
needs to consider that the
for beachhead warfare,
fine line between life and
giving the Turks time to
death could be a small detail. In this
rearm and reinforce themselves. The
position, your eyes should be wide
physical conditions in the trenches
open, your appetite for details keen. No were terrible, and the Allied soldiers
question is too foolish to ask.
suffered from disease and water and
But should it be any different in
food shortages. A change of commaneveryday life, in decisions that are less
ders midstream led to complications.
critical for our survival but just as cenThe moral of this story was expressed
tral to our happiness and well-being?
by Benjamin Franklin two centuries
earlier: Watch the little things; a small
It is curious that our Declaration of
Independence promotes the pursuit of
leak will sink a great ship. Moreover,
happiness, yet the rate of clinical
watch the right little things, for they
depression and anxiety is high. Could it will be the ones that go wrong.
be that we dont attend to the details
In the 2003 invasion of Iraq, we can
that go into creating a happy life? We
observe the effects of ignoring details
busy our lives with the details involved altogether. When we approach things
in gratifying our material appetites, but as being simpler than they are, we are
is there something we are overlooking? not honoring simplicity but only becomWhen Thoreau said, Simplify!
ing simple-minded. As Einstein again
Simplify! Simplify! while carefully
said, Everything should be made as
exploring the details of his surrounding simple as possible, but not simpler.

by Michael Gellert

Personal Excellence

George W. Bush and his advisors did

not overlook the right details as
Churchill had, but dismissed the details
presented by their own experts in the
National Intelligence Council, the Office
of Reconstruction and Humanitarian
Assistance, and the military already on
the ground. The comprehensive planning that characterized the Allied occupation of Germany after World War II
and NATOs invasion of Bosnia was
absent in Iraq. The results included $12
billion in damage from riots and looting,
social chaos that paved the way for the
insurgency and al-Qaedas infiltration
into Iraq, 50 percent unemployment,
and the deaths of thousands of Iraqi
civilians and American soldiers.
Details are the stuff of life. Your personal excellence depends on how you
conduct your personal affairs and on
your grasp of the details involved in
responsible citizenship. Jeffersons idea
of enlightened citizenry was predicated
not only upon the basic freedoms of
democracy, but of thought: a freethinker
is someone who is well-informed and
who can think for him- or herself. This
depends on familiarity with the details
of the world around us. We have
become too comfortable in our exceptionalism and tuned out the hard details
that affect the rest of the world. Isnt
that why we were so surprised by 9/11?
As we approach the 2008 presidential
election, we need to determine as best
as we can whether our candidates can
exercise sound judgment. This leadership quality depends on a mastery of
the details that make our world so complex and volatile. To elect leaders with
sound judgment, we need to exercise it
ourselves in how we evaluate them. We
need to pay attention to the difficult
detailsin foreign and economic policy,
in ecological planning, in educationto
assess how they pay attention to the
details. In a democracy, the citizens are
ultimately responsible for what happens.
Celebrating the right details is essential to the way of the small, an ancient
teaching shared by all religions. It holds
that the means to personal excellence, to
true greatness, is through a refined
awareness of the small things that
together create the big picture. Indeed,
God is in the details. We can celebrate
the right details by nurturing a conscientious attitude, responding to each detail
as if it is asking us an important question, and entertaining the answer. PE
Michael Gellert is a Jungian analyst in private practice. This article is adapted from The Way of the Small
(Nicholas Hays). Visit
ACTION: Exercise sound judgment in decisions.

w w w. L e a d e r E x c e l . c o m


Overcome four barriers.
by Jim Rohn


in youin every thought,

movement, and motivation.
Your ambition is an expression of who
you are, your self-expression. Selfexpression is really self-direction: how
you think, move, and motivate yourself.
Ambition is a result of self-direction.
Positive self-direction says, I know who
I am, and where I want to go. Im accumulating knowledge, experiences, feelings, and philosophies that prepare me
for future opportunities. Because you
know where you want to go, you work
on goals that will make you better. You
see yourself in the place you want to be,
going in the direction you want to go.
Direction determines destination.
Ask yourself, Are all the disciplines
that Im engaged in taking me where I
want to go? Ask this question at the
start of the month, week, and day. You
cant hope to arrive at a desired destination when youre not headed that way.
You have to ask, Am I doing the disciplines that will take me there? Figure
out the best possible direction for you
your self-direction. Then ambitiously
pursue your self-direction. Let the
power of your ambition take you where
you want to go, do what you want to
do, and create the life you want to live!
You accelerate your learning curve
by unlocking the potential and power
you have in your mind. Feed and stimulate your brain and expand your mind
by gaining knowledge or skills through
schooling, study, experience, conditioning, or coaching. Your brain determines
how well you think, feel, and act.
Genes, health, injury, self-talk, experiences, stress, and study influence the
brain and shape how well it functions
and develops, but they do not determine how far you can go or what you
can learn. You can go as far as you desire!

Face and Overcome Four Barriers

Four barriers can limit your learning:
Disbelief. You may not believe that
you can learn and master knowledge.
Ultimately, if you dont believe it, you
wont achieve it. Change your beliefs.
When you do, you will open up new
worlds. You can keep negative beliefs
out and positive beliefs and thoughts
in. You have an amazing capacity for


w w w. L e a d e r E x c e l . c o m

learning. You must believe this to

unlock the potential of your mind!
Ignorance. Some people choose not
to access knowledge. Knowledge comes
from experiences, books, people and
other knowledge dispensers. Tap into
the right knowledge, not just information or opinions. Seek knowledge and
then run it through your mind to see if
it is true, and how it can best be applied.
Apathy. Some people lack the desire
to learn. They may be lazy, or not see
the positive benefits of learning. They
have no passion that drives them to
learn. Become passionate about learning. Learn about things that impact your
lifea new financial concept that helps

Peace of Mind
It can be a state of being.
by Joan Marques


is often thought of as a
state of mind, but it can be
more rewarding as a state of being. The
mind is a restless entity, and often entertains thoughts that you may not endorse,
yet dont know how to discontinue.
Making peace a way of being reaches
beyond a state of mind.
Peace is an oft-used word;
yet it is not practiced easily in
societies or families. This is not
your fault. Society programs
you to be rushed, competitive,
impatient, suspicious, and
resentful toward people and
things not in line with who
you are or how you think.
Still, you can cultivate
more peace through reflection, resulting
in heightened awareness.
The Internet has enhanced our exposure to other cultures and behaviors,
and teaches us that we can learn something from everyoneespecially from
those who are different from us.
While the exposure to new ways
instills an urge to reevaluate your values and behaviors, it also underscores
the oneness of everything. It brings others closer to you, and illustrates how
intertwined everything is. You may find
that many of your ways require deep
reflection: Are your intentions and
actions beneficial to the global community? Do you consider the wellbeing of
all living when you plan your projects?
Do you only focus on gain for yourself,
your organization, community, or coun-

you earn money or get out of debt, or

how to interact better with your family.
Indolence. Gaining knowledge is hard
work and is an ongoing discipline. I am
still doing the hard work to expand my
mind. Discipline yourself. Learning is a
process of reading, listening, reviewing,
repetition, applying the knowledge,
experiencing the outcomes, readjusting.
You can have many material things, but
if you lose respect for yourself, what do
you have? The only way to attain success
and enjoy it is to achieve it honestly. PE
Jim Rohn is an author and business philosopher. Visit or email
ACTION: Set a direction and overcome the barriers.

try, remaining indifferent toward the

outcome for other stakeholders? Do
you care about making all parties win
instead of having some lose?
When you engage in reflective contemplation, you realize that the world
is not a peaceful place. Many people
dont care what happens to others as
long as they enjoy an advantage here
and now. In extension, many people
are convinced that their ways are the
best, and that others should adopt
those ways. These self-centered, ethnocentric views are sometimes so deeply
ingrained that entire societies adhere to
them without realizing how ridiculous
and arrogant they are. This makes
peace a tough state of mind,
and being to attain.
The good news is that
your exposure to others also
helps you increase your
awareness. You realize that
you are not a separate entity,
but interconnected with the
web of mutuality: We are
each others customers,
employees, suppliers, supporters, advisers, teachers, students,
colleagues, friends, family members.
Nurture this awareness internally so
that you can externalize it in your actions. As you do so, your awareness will
augment, and your sense of connectedness soar. You will start feeling more
responsible for the wellbeing of others,
because you will see that there is no real
difference between them and us.
As you engage in affectionate and
compassionate thinking, your actions
will express this thinking. Then, a
sense of oneness becomes your being,
and this sense encourages acceptance
and peace of mind and being.
Joan Marques is an author, speaker and leadership
coach. Visit
ACTION: Let peace be the state of your being.

Personal Excellence


Adopt Service Ideals

O u r p o w e r l i e s i n o u r m o r a l a u t h o r i t y.
authority, that other countries asked
that its military forces be placed on
ORE THAN TWO CENTURtheir soil. And then ask, why is that?
ies ago, our founding
Ask further how can that be reconciled
fathers created a revolution
with the current hostility to the United
on the soil of North America and in the States. Obviously part of the answer
lies in power itself.
world of ideas. They took the best of
ancient Greek democracy and philosoMost people want to be on the side
phers of the age of reason in Europe
of the strong. Many people, in and out
and created a new spirit and system.
of our country, perceive power to be
Their idealsthe primacy of individual the primary basis of influence in the
world. I think there is much more
liberty, the sovereignty of the people,
the equality of all citizens under law
involved. Power is clearly important,
have become the worlds ideals.
and we must be prepared to use it,
The collapse of communism and tri- including military force when necesumph of democracy were signal events sary. A strong economy and a strong
military are essential to our security,
of the 20th century. Now, American
power, ideals, and values are ascendant the preservation of our freedom, and to
our prosperity. But power must always
in the world. Yet, the American people
be deployed in service to our basic ideals:
are not celebrating, nor is anyone else.
individual liberty, equal justice, and
To the contrary, not in our lifetime has
the United States been held in such low opportunity for all. Ideals always have
been the primary basis of American
esteem worldwide. We witness widespread and rising hostility to our coun- influence. Never forget that the United
States was a great nation long before it
try among old allies and adversaries
was a great military or
alike, on every continent.
economic power. When
For many of these people,
there were fewer than 4
the United States is the one
million Americans living
to blame simply because of
in 13 states along the
its place in the world.
Atlantic coast, this was a
Throughout history,
great nation, because it
there have been many
was ennobled at birth by
dominant military and
the adoption of the
economic powers. That
Declaration of Independence
role brings enormous benand the Constitution.
efits and many problems.
Those charter documents,
In this era of instant comespecially the Bill of
munication, every problem
in the world is seen, by someone, as an Rights, the first 10 amendments to the
American problem. Every grievance, no constitution, are the most eloquent
matter how local, whether real or imag- statements of individual liberty ever
written and adopted by human beings
ined, is a cause for resentment of the
at any time or place in all of history.
dominant power.
Over the years Ive met with govern- They have enabled us to create a free
and open society, but, like all human
ment and political leaders from almost
institutions, it can be improved.
every country in Europe, from Ireland
You have an important role to play
to Russia, to Scandinavia to the
in that effort. Theres much for all of us
Mediterranean. I asked each of them:
to do. Each of you will have your list of
Now that the Soviet Union no longer
the challenges facing our society. Ill
exists and Russia has withdrawn its
military forces back to its national terri- mention a few that are important to me.
If you believe as I do that every
tory, do you believe that the United
American child is entitled to an educaStates should withdraw its military
tion, regardless of background or famiforces back to its national territory?
The answer was no. Most Europeans ly wealth, you must stand up and
want American military forces on their oppose any action which would have
continent. Try to recall if there ever was the effect of denying them that oppora dominant power with so much moral tunity. If you believe as I do that every

by George J. Mitchell

Personal Excellence

American is entitled to good health

care, especially those in the vulnerable
early and late years of life, you must
support policies to meet that objective.
If you believe we have an obligation to
have clean air, pure water and unpoisoned land, you must demand that public policies that meet these obligations. If
you believe as I do that every American
is entitled to equal opportunity and
equal justice, you must speak out and
stand up against all forms of discrimination and injustice. In the presence of
evil, silence makes you an accomplice.
Your education is important, even
necessary, but it is not a guarantee of
self-worth or a substitute for a life of
effort. What you do is important; how
you do it is just as important. If you
take pride in what you do, you will
excel. If you do not take pride in what
you do, you cannot excel. John Gardiner
wrote, An excellent plumber is infinitely more admirable than an incompetent
philosopher; the society which scorns
excellence in plumbing because it is a
humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an
exalted activity will have neither good
plumbing nor good philosophy. Neither
its pipes nor its theories will hold water.
Life is a never-ending search for
respectfirst, most important and most
difficult, self-respect, and then, the
respect of others. There are many ways
to achieve respect. But to me nothing is
more certain or rewarding than a life of
service to others. You are part of a highly privileged elite, in the education
youve received, and in the opportunities that will be available to you. It is
inevitable and appropriate that youll
devote much of your life to earning the
income you will need to support yourself and your families. You will want
rewards and status and many of you
will get them. But the more successful
you are, the more evident it will become
to you that theres more to life than status and wealth. Real fulfillment in your
life wont come from acquisition, leisure,
or self-indulgence. Real fulfillment
comes from striving with all of your
physical and spiritual might for a worthwhile objective that helps others and is
larger than your self-interest. I hope that
you find such an objective in your life.
My daughter was a social worker.
Im proud of her for the life of service
she has led and proud of you for the
choices to serve that you are making. PE
George J. Mitchell is a former U.S. senator and international peacemaker. This article is adapted from his
speech at the University of Delaware.
ACTION: Adopt the service ideal.

w w w. L e a d e r E x c e l . c o m



we see it as beyond our control. We tend

to attribute failure to external factors
such as a lack of support, insufficient
time, too much competition, or the other
party for not being interested, available,
or capable. If you think the reason for
the failure resides outside your sphere of
influence, you lose no sleep over poor
Become a service champion. results because you are not responsible.
So, you put little effort into learning
from your mistakes or reworking a
by Paul G. Schempp
failed attempt into a successful outcome.
Experts possess a strong sense of permany people react by sonal responsibility. Champions believe
running from responsibility. they have control over their destiny.
CYA (Cover Your Actions) is common. They feel a strong involvement in and
responsibility for success and failure
Yet, when things go right, these same
people often elbow their way to the
(high self-efficacy). They hold themhead of the give me the credit line.
selves accountable for problems and
Outstanding performers dont shy
believe workable solutions reside within
from responsibility for shortcomings or both their abilities and sphere of influmistakes and share rather than take
credit for successful outcomes. People
who reject responsibility for failure, yet
quickly claim credit for success, display
characteristics associated with low
achievers, poor performers, individuals So you can start being happy.
with limited expertise who achieve little
and seldom realize their full potential.
by Auriela McCarthy
If you fire or punish individuals who
step forward in failure, you foster a fear
of failure and cultivate a culture of mediYou are angry at your
ocrity and can expect little future growth.
husband or boyfriend for
When people fear making mistakes, they not helping around the house; seething
do the standard and rely on tradition to
because hes watching TV while youre
guide practice rather than reach beyond doing the dishes. Or, perhaps your
the ordinary and try original, innovative, trigger device is the pile of dirty socks,
or breakthrough solutions.
underwear, and pants strewn on the
Champion of failure. Thomas Edison floor. Or it could be the raised toilet
characterized his career as one of failure. seat. After all, isnt that a
The man who registered over 1,000
flagrant way of showing
patents estimated that it took 10,000 fail- that he has no regard for
ures on any project until he reached suc- your feelings and doesnt
cess. Edison did not aspire to fail, and
appreciate you? Thats
his failures were hardly the result of
what all these annoyances
incompetence or a lack of effort. Rather, really mean, dont they?
he realized real success and innovation
Not exactly. And thats
were born of trial and error. To succeed
why so many people deciyou need to try, and often fail. A long
mate their relationships.
trail of trials is accompanied by a long
I enjoy stories of trantrail of errors, miscues, and underdevel- scendenceof hitting bottom and
oped decisions. Failures are part of get- transforming into a different person on
ting better. Shouldering responsibility
the way back upshedding the past
for failure and learning from mistakes and the pain. People become invested
are critical steps to improvement.
in their past, using it as a club to beat
This is the perspective of champions. themselves with or to excuse their repThey distribute credit to colleagues for
rehensible behavior; or because they
successes, while personally bearing the
dont believe they can be emotionally
burden of responsibility for failure.
free from the pain of the past. Time
Gaining a sense of responsibility. As doesnt heal all wounds, but love can.
beginners we are so focused on learning
I write about relationships: a child
regularities and following rules that we who always gets in trouble and the
seldom feel any personal control over
mother who always saves him. I try to
conditions and events. Hence, we lack a pierce through the quagmire of emosense of responsibility for the results of tional clutter, pinpoint the underlying
our actions. If something goes wrong,
causes for behavior and teach you to

Turn Failure
into Success

Stop Being Right


w w w. L e a d e r E x c e l . c o m

ence. They believe they can make a difference and act on that belief.
Champions cant be mollified in their
failure. They are results-driven and success-oriented. They turn failure into success by learning what went wrong and
what needs to be done to succeed.
Believing it is within their skills, abilities
and responsibility, they work tirelessly
to build from failure to success.
Edison said: If I find 10,000 ways
something wont work, I havent failed.
Im not discouraged, because every
wrong attempt discarded is often a step
forward. He welcomed failure because
he knew how to turn it into success. PE
Paul G. Schempp, speaker and author of Becoming
Expert (Davies-Black) is an expert on expertise. Call
770-725-9199, visit
or email
ACTION: Be a champion in service to others.

heal your heartcutting to the core of

the life-altering aha moment.
I speak to your desire to be understood and to be right; then show you
how those driving forces destroy your
relationships. The problem is you
attach emotional significance to offending behavior. If your husband hates
washing dishes, it doesnt reflect his
feelings about you. Yet you interpret
his disdain for dishwashing as apathy.
Bring the four principles of synergy
into your relationship: 1) Everyone
does his part while taking responsibility for the whole; 2) Everyone does
what he likes to do; 3) Everyone does
what he does well; and 4) Each person
puts the relationship first.
If your relationship is the
top priority, you can negotiate the details like
housework and distinguish between important
issues and trivial concerns.
You can apply these principles to any relationship.
Are you guilty of trying
to change someone, thinking you know whats best? If you try to
convince others that they must change
for their own good, you need to change
yourself. People change when they
want to change. The more you insist,
the more they resist. When you insist
on changing someone, you keep them
from changing on their own volition.
Let go of your demands, and its up to
them. By not insistingyou set them
free, and set yourself free.
Auriela McCarthy is author of The Power of the Possible
(Beaufort Books) and Peak Vitality. Visit or
ACTION: Serve others without trying to change them.

Personal Excellence


Change Your Life





by Matthew Cossolotto


so, I invite you to learn
whats holding you back and
then make positive changes in your life.
Whether youre thinking of writing a
book, losing weight, starting a business,
or pursuing a dream, why cant you
achieve your goals? Often its your selfdefeating, negative habits between the
ears that keep you feeling stuck.
Heres the good news: It doesnt
have to be that way! You can reach
your goals by choosing to replace negative habits with their positive counterparts. Success is an inside job!

awakens the next morning, Christmas

Day, a changed man. I am as light as a
feather, he cries. I am as happy as an
angel. I am as merry as a schoolboy!
Thats the power of an Ebenezer Effect.
Personal transformation can happen
quickly, overnight, if you believe it can
and if you have the right motivation.
Another life-changing lesson is that
you can project yourself into the future
and imagine what people are likely to
say about you. Scrooge almost waited
until it was too late. The good news is
you dont have to wait for a ghostly
escort service. You can take this journey anytime you want through the
power of your imagination.

tense. Did you write that book youve

been talking about? Did you set a positive example? Did you donate and volunteer to help those less fortunate? Did
you raise a wonderful family, start that
business, travel the world, or learn
another language? Did you make a positive difference to your family, your
community, your country and the world
at large? In short, did you live up to
your potential or did you fall short?
Be as specific and concrete as possible. Dont spare any details. It may be
difficult, but try to see yourself as others
see you. Dont sugar coat things.
This eulogy exercise helps to focus
the mind on long-term goals and on big
questions about your lifes purpose. The
sooner you write your eulogy, the better. Jacob Marley never got around to it
and he ended up chained and condemned to eternal purgatory. Scrooge
almost waited until it was too late. So
dont put it off. This is something you
should do right now!

A Dickens of a Time

A Mission You Cant Ignore

Surprisingly you can learn several

valuable lessons from Charles Dickens
memorable miser, Ebenezer Scrooge. In
A Christmas Carol, Scrooge comes faceto-face with the effects of his lifetime of
negative habits and attitudes when a
series of ghosts show him the past, present and potential future. The first
apparition to pay him a visit is
Scrooges deceased business partner,
Jacob Marley, who tells Scrooge: I
wear the chain I forged in life. I made it
link by link, and yard by yard; I girded
it on of my own free will, and of my
own free will I wore it.
The links of Morleys chain sound
like they could well be the same negative habits and attitudes that also
shackle poor Scrooge.
After Scrooge encounters disturbing
scenes in the Past and the Present, the
ghost of Christmas-Yet-To-Come transports him to a time just after his own
funeral. He is forced to endure the
painful, unvarnished truth of what people really think of him. Its an alarming
but valuable wake-up-call for the stonehearted curmudgeon.
The Spirit was immovable as ever.
Scrooge crept towards it, trembling as
he went; and following the finger, read
upon the stone of the neglected grave
his own name, Ebenezer Scrooge.
Spurred on by this shocking, up-closeand-personal rendezvous with his own
mortality, Scrooge exclaims to the Spirit:
I am not the man I was. I will not be
that wretched creature any longer. And
he is indeed transformed overnight. He

The eulogy you write today isnt

etched in stone like Scrooges name on
that tombstone. You can always go back
to the document periodically and make
some edits, add new goals or even
remove things that no longer apply. Get
something on paper that reflects your
long-term goals, heartfelt values, and
deepest principles. Those things shouldnt change very much over time.
Your written eulogy constitutes a
uniquely powerful mission statement
for your life, designed intentionally to
get and keep your attention over time.
Nothing focuses the mind like the guillotine. Once written, this eulogy is a
document that you ignore at your peril.
At one point, Scrooge pledges to the
ghost of Christmas-Yet-to-Come: I will
honor Christmas in my heart and I will
try to keep its spirit all year. I will live
in the Past, the Present and the Future. I
will not forget the lessons that the
Spirits of all three have taught me.
Dont forget the lessons Scrooge can
teach you. Theres no time like the present to project yourself into the future,
write your own eulogy, and harness the
power of the Ebenezer Effect. Clarify
whats most important to you and set the
direction you want your life to take
before its too late. You dont want your
written eulogy to be late for your own
funeral. So, go aheadbe a Scrooge! PE

Personal Excellence

Write Your Own Eulogy

To maximize the positive impact of
this imaginary excursion to the future,
write your own eulogy. I assure you
its an extremely enlightening, worthwhile and motivating process. Writing
your own eulogy will help you jumpstart and sustain positive change in
your life by establishing a clear blueprint for what you want to accomplish, what person you aspire to be,
and how you want to be remembered.
Its important to put your life into
perspective. First imagine what you
think your friends and loved ones will
say and think about you when youre
gone. Be brutally honest. Theres no
point lying to yourself about this. Now
imagine what you would want them
to say and think about you. Is there a
gap? Then start closing the gap, just as
Scrooge did that Christmas morning.
He had a lifetime of crotchetiness and
selfishness for which to atone. But he
had the courage to break the chain that
linked him to his unhappy past.
As you write your eulogy, record
your lifes accomplishments in the past

Matthew Cossolotto is a professional speaker and

author of HabitForce! and All The Worlds A Podium.
Call Ovations International at 914-245-9721 or visit
ACTION: Experience the Ebenezer effect.

w w w. L e a d e r E x c e l . c o m



Set Standards
Strengthen your personal brand.
by David McNally


mine. For your favorite

brands, you will drive the
extra mile, pay the extra dollar, and
refuse to consider lower-priced offers.
You are loyal to great brands because
they deliver great experiences. They do
it by maintaining high standards and
by creating experiences that customers
value so much that they return to the
brand time after time.
As a professional, you compete with
others who have similar qualifications
vying for the recognition and rewards
that come with outstanding performance.
You may not think of yourself as having a brand, but people have perceptions of you based on their experiences
with you. As people interact with you,
they form impressions that make up
your personal and professional brand:
by your actions, you are branded. You
cant avoid it. Opportunities come to
those with strong brandsthose who
have credibility, who are trusted, and
who are seen as the go to people.
Whats your brand today? A brand
is formed by impressions over time, by
observations of what you doyour
role, and by how you do ityour standards. Since standards are so visible to
others through actions and behaviors,
they represent the best way to shape
perceptions and strengthen your brand.

Standards. . .The How of the What

To better understand standards,
think about the people and teams you
know. What are they known for? You
might think of a person who has a reputation for delivering work that is accurate and on-time or someone who
offers creative answers to problems.
Terms such as accurate, responsive, focused, prompt, reliable
describe the standards that define the
quality of experiences people expect from
their interactions with professionals.
To strengthen your brand, first ask,
What are my standards? To discover
the standards you are known forand
want to be known forinvolves holding up a useful, but usually unflattering
mirror. To see yourself as others see
you, ask these three critical questions
about your current and ideal standards:
1. What am I best known for? Am I


w w w. L e a d e r E x c e l . c o m

known for doing what I say I will do?

Is my work known for high quality? Do
I show up to help when others need me?
2. Do my current standards represent
the best performance I am capable of
delivering? Are there gaps between your
ideal and current standards? Where are
the gaps? Think about specific tasks and
responsibilities and consider how you
perform them. Does that image represent your highest standards?
3. What could I do differently to better demonstrate my ideal standards
and strengthen my brand? Think about
specific actions and behaviors that
would influence others perceptions of
your standards, or actions that would
help you reach the standard of perforF I N A N C I A L H E A LT H

Get Back on Track

Improve your financial health.
by Steve Williams


about their finances.

Financial health is about
more than money. Financial duress
affects all areas of your life. Thats why
its so critical to take action.
If you are floundering in debtif
your credit card debt is frightful, your
lenders spiteful, and your checking
account is lowyou need to
regain your financial health.
In fact, it should be your
prime focus. While you may
feel as though youll always
be saddled with money woes,
you can dig yourself out of
debt. If your resolution is to
improve your financial
health, you must resolve to
make a plan and resolve to stick to it
no matter how enticing those sales are.
Youve got to stay tough and focused.
Financial problems hurt more than
your bank account. When you feel
stressed about money, the anxiety negatively impacts all areas of your life
your relationships, job, and health. You
lose sleep or snap at family because
youre worried how to pay bills. Nows
the time to make a lifestyle changes
and capitalize on resolution energy.
Start your roadmap for the future
today. Sit down, grab your bills, and
outline your roadmap. Simply taking
that first step will instill a sense of
relief. Once you pass up those first few
temptations, youll feel good about
yourself and feel your resolve growing

mance you want. Even though you cant

control what others think, you can guide
people to perceive you as you want to be
seen, based on your actions and how
you do what you do.
The strength of your brand in your
professional and personal relationships
is determined by the impressions you
make daily on people. To the extent that
your brand stands out because of your
high standards, youll find increasing
opportunities to grow your career and
prosper in your life.
David McNally is a speaker and author of Even Eagles
Need a Push and The Eagless Secret and co-author of Be
Your Own Brand. Visit
ACTION: Determine your standards.

stronger. You reach a point where it

feels good to stop spending senselessly.

Five Key Steps

Here are five steps you can take to
regain control of your finances and get
back on track for financial health:
1. Assess your situation. Make an
honest assessment of your current
finances. Determine how much money
youre forking out each month. Include
expenses such as medications, school
lunches and dry cleaning.
2. Decide where you want to be
financially. Setting goals will help you
focus. Decide what expenses you can
cut (daily mocha lattes, take-out dinners) to create your action plan for
reaching your goal.
3. Pay yourself first. If
you have direct deposit, set
aside a percentage from each
check to be funneled directly
to a savings account. If you
dont have the money in
your hands first, you wont
miss it so much. You must
be diligent about allowing
your savings to grow.
4. Explore re-financing options. If
youre house-poor, re-financing a problematic loan could ease your financial
pain. Check out the FHASecure loan
program and other re-fi programs for
homeowners whove been suckerpunched by creative financing turned
ugly. Know the terms of any loan.
5. Learn to manage the money you
have now. Money management is the
most critical factor in building wealth;
learn to manage the money you have
now, regardless of the amount.
Steve Williams is a success coach, spokesperson for
the Success Institute for America, and author of The
Millionaire Mentorship. Visit
ACTION: Improve your financial health this year.

Personal Excellence








Overcome the impossible.

To overcome the impossible: 1) set a crazy goal
outline a one-year wow
goal, something impossible; 2)
surface your assumptionsidentify
the reasons why it cant happen; 3)
stage a competitionchallenge
yourself to achieve the impossible,
make it a big deal, provide support
and resources, offer wow prizes; 4)
celebrate when the impossible
becomes realityhave a high-energy, celebration event with lots of
recognition. Make your mark in
2008 by doing what others say cant
be done. For example, instead of
creating a list of unrealistic exercise
goals and relying on willpower and
self-discipline (when 95 percent of
your life is run by habit and routine), you need to make exercise a
habitsomething you do without
thinking about it much and without
too much effort or resistance. Keep
your exercise goal simple, realistic,
attainable, and fun. Commit to perhaps three days per week or 100
minutes of exercise each week.
Consider walking for 15 minutes in
the morning and evening with a
friend, partner, or family member.
Schedule one workout on the
weekend, but make it a fun, recreational activity like playing a sport,
going swimming or biking. Set
yourself up for success by packing
your gym bag the night before, get
a workout buddy to keep you both
accountable, and plan your workouts a week ahead.
Jim Loehr,

Transfer your vision of

victory. How can you
transfer the vision of possible victory against terrible odds? You must seize the
imagination of people and transfer
moral courage and confidence.
Two elements in vision transfer
help it to take root.
The first is the time shift. You
carry people with you into the far
future, beyond current dangers
into a time where everything has
long been resolved. You persuade
yourself that victory is not only
inevitable, but was won long ago.
So, you take yourself and others

Personal Excellence

through the power of imagination

to a future in which an issue or
conflict has already been successfully resolved. You build a happy
future you can believe in, and that
imagined future gives you traction
to get beyond current difficulties.
Then you shift to the witness perspective. You stir people to do their
duty now as you lift them with
your words to a higher place. You
look down on your current struggles from a higher level. The bigger self looks down on the smaller
self, and says with admiration,
This is your finest hour. You
inspire yourself and others to rise
above the current worries, and
look at things from a bigger perspective. You invite them to inhabit the Big Story, not the old history
and the thousand reasons why
success is impossible.
You bring people inside your
imagination, and transfer a vision
to those in need of a vision. You
give them a bigger dream, and
invite them to live that dream, and
bring the world with them.
Robert Moss,

What will you do to meet

your most important goal
this year? How important
is it to you? Do you know
who you are, what you want, why
you want it, and why you dont
have it? Set a Big Hairy Audacious
Goal, as it will require your best
efforts, and youll arrive at its completion a better personstronger,
more confident and fulfilled.
What is one BHAG you want to
achieve? Increase your income, lose
that extra weight, learn a new skill,
get a degree, pay off all credit cards,
buy or build a home, drive a dream
car, or take an exotic vacation?
If youre ready to achieve something great, create real and lasting
breakthroughs, and achieve your
goalsthen think about what you
want, why you want it, and what
you need to do to get it. You dont
have to go it alone. You can have a
team of people working with you.
You can help each other win. Teams
stands for Together Everyone Achieves
More Success. Be part of a team.
Michael Angier,

Stop Setting Goals!
And become a top achiever.
by Douglas Vermeeren

HEN YOU SET A GOAL, DO YOU STATE SOMEthing you want to do or achieve by a
certain date, create checkpoints, and cross
items off your list as you do them? Such an
approach rarely leads to long-term success.
A traditional goal-setting formula is ineffective if youre trying to improve yourself or
achieve something intangible. For example, if
your goal is to have a better relationship with
your spouse, traditional goal-setting doesnt
apply. Can you set a deadline or define specific action steps? Sure, you can decide to
have a weekly date night or spend an hour
each day talking with your spouse, but are
those items you can cross off a list once you
do them, never to think of them again?
Goals fall into two categories: Be goals
and Do goals. Be goals encompass anything
you want to be and Do goals describe anything you want to do. Traditional goal setting
only takes into account Do goals. Yet for
most top achievers, 80 percent of their goals
are Be goals. Theyre more concerned with
character attributes than arriving at a final
destination, knowing that character attributes enable them to succeed. Rather than use
the word goal, they use words like destination or performance or habits. They
dont cross items off a list; they build upon
achievements to reach even greater success.
Try using the 4-P formula:
1. Amazing Potential. You have incredible
potential. In fact, you can do almost anything, and you are worthy of anything. You
simply need to believe in yourself.
2. Amazing Possibility. While you have
potential to do what you can conceive, you
dont know whats possible until you see a
master doing it. You recognize your possibilities by what you see and believe.
3. Amazing Probability. To make something probable, surround yourself with people
and events that increase your chances. With
every step forward, you increase your probability. Steps forward are what you learn, your
relationships, things you surround yourself
with, and the preparation you put in.
4. Awesome Performance. Get out there
and actually do something. You need to put
everything youve learned and observed into
action. Action is what creates results.
As you apply these four steps, you achieve
what you want without ever setting goals. PE

Doug Vermeeren is author of Accelerated Achievement and a

speaker on performance. Visit
ACTION: Set more Be goals.

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3. Meditation. You gain perspective

when you make time for contemplation
of the people, things, events, and places
that give your life meaning.
4. Motivation. Yes, you can listen to
Like the body, it needs nourishment. motivational speeches and inspirational
stories, but even better is to tap into the
intrinsic motivation that comes from reby Ken Shelton
visiting your mission, vision, or purpose.
5. Movement. Whether you move to
body and spirit. You well exercise, work or serve, your body and
understand the need to nour- spirit will renew when you engage in
ish your body. Try fasting (going 24
meaningful movement.
hours without food or beverage), and
6. Light and truth. Look to sources of
you will grow weak, hungry, and thirsty. light. Bask in sources of revitalizing natAlthough not so obvious, your spirit ural light and illuminating electrical
likewise requires daily nourishment to lighting. Seek truth from trusted sources.
remain strong and healthy. You may
7. Love. Your spirit needs to give and
suppose that it makes no difference to
receive love daily. Become expert in the
neglect daily spiritual nourishment,
various expressions of love through
and, indeed, the difference may be subSPIRITUAL RIGHT
tle; still, it is discernable, over time.
Few people are so irresponsible that
they would show up for work without
having eaten something natural, organic,
and wholesome for breakfast. Few parEngage in self-assessment.
ents are so negligent that they would
send their child to school without something to eat and drink. Yet, many people
by Howard L. Millman
think nothing of going to school or
work without spiritual breakfast or
daily nourishment, perhaps because
you want to do the
they think they dont have the time or
right thing, you likely say,
there is no real downside, seemingly no Yes, of course. Then why do you freill effects, to spiritual malnutrition.
quently do the wrong thing?
What if life came with a WARNING
When you perceive that your selflabel: You have a soulbody and spirit. If
interest is at stake, you tend to act in a
you dont eat and sleep well, your body will manner that is greedy, mean-spirited,
grow weak and die within days. If you dont hurtful to others, harmful to the envifeed your spirit daily, you are more suscepti- ronment, illegal, unethical or immoral.
ble to dysfunction, disorientation, inefficien- So ask yourself: Is my self-interest the
cy, ineffectiveness, forgetfulness, profanity,
most important issue, or are
pornography, ruts, routines, discouragement, moral, legal and ethical quesdepression, negativity, low self-worth, poor
tions more important?
self-esteem, physical indulgences, overeating,
Healthy children, teens, and
and lower-than-optimal energy. Would you adults learn that sensitivity to
be more diligent in feeding your spirit?
others and doing the right
When you feed your spirit daily, you thing matter. The opposite is
are more creative, optimistic, proactive, developing an anti-social perfuture-oriented, joyful, light, bright,
sonality, where self-interest is
empathetic, honest, lovingregardless
the only thing that counts and the welof how dark, dank, dirty, dismal, danfare of others is meaningless. You can
gerous, and depressing your conditions. then justify your behavior: Everyone
does it, If I dont do it, someone else
will, Winning is the only thing,
What to Feed Your Spirit
Here are 10 things to feed your spirit: Anything goes in order to survive.
1. Prayer. Prayer is soul-talk between Your judgment becomes impaired, and
you do not do the right thing.
you and God. You express gratitude,
Some people experience anxiety
convey concern, unload burdens, ask
and insecurity and develop an authoriforgiveness, ask for blessings, listen for
answers, sense what to do next. You also tarian personality. They become relatively close-minded, rigid, conforming,
pray for family and friends.
intolerant. Selective sensitization and
2. Scripture. You ignore sacred writperceptual defense suggest that we
ings (scripture) at your peril, given the
see what we want to seewhat fits
price paid to preserve them. Daily, find
our belief system. We are defensive
15 minutes to feast on scripture.

Why Feed Your Spirit?

Do the Right Thing


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social connections, family relationships,

and intimate marital relationships.
8. Literature and life stories. Read
daily from great books, seek the best
movies and live entertainment, listen to
life stories, and write your own journal.
9. Music. Great music has the power
to lift and nourish the spirit. I often fall
asleep listening to heavenly choir music
and attest that it makes a difference in
the quality of sleep and peace of mind.
10. Service to others. Your spirit is
renewed through selfless service.
From my 60 years of life experience, I
attest that daily spiritual nourishment
improves your quality of life.
Ken Shelton is editor of Personal Excellence and Leadership
Excellence magazines. Visit
ACTION: Feed your spirit daily.

and closed to ideas or facts that threaten our beliefs. Since you are prone to
this, you need to consider whether you
are open-minded. Yes, the truth shall set
you free, if you are open to reality.
You may perceive yourself as doing
the right thing, or being virtuous, as
defined by your beliefs, even as many
others see your behaviors as negative,
even as evil. Denial is a primitive
defensiveness. Others can see abusiveness, anger, greed, arrogance, or selfishness, but you deny their reality.
Once you set the goal of being virtuous, you start a lifelong mission to
stay on track. If you see doing the right
thing as a priority, you must engage in
regular and rigorous self-assessment.
Young children may be brought up
in an environment where doing the
right thing is an everyday
event. Parents should be
models of virtuous attitudes
and behaviorsof kindness
and compassion and helpfulness. If children see and hear
anger, complaints, envy, selfishness, bullying and teasing,
they adopt such behaviors
even if they are taught kindness.
Whats your main purpose in life? Is
it making money, becoming famous,
being popular, having a family, making
a contribution, helping others, being
educated, not having regrets? These
and other aims can be achieved by feeling joyful by doing the right thing. This
requires vigilance, living in the moment
with full awareness. The welfare of others and the condition of our planet then
become your main purpose.
Howard L. Millman, Ph.D., is a clinical and consulting psychologist. Email
ACTION: Focus on doing the right thing.

Personal Excellence