Reaching Excellence!

Blog 27Reaching excellence and preventing failure are two different things.

In his work, “Now Discover Your Strengths”, Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton, discuss the need to release our myopic preoccupation with improving our weaknesses and to instead focus on refining, honing, and perfecting our strengths! They wrote, “To clear our skewed perspective, however, we must remember that casting a critical eye on our weaknesses and working hard to manage them, while sometimes necessary, will only help us prevent failure. It will not help us reach excellence…. you will reach excellence only by understanding and cultivating your strengths” (p. 124).

You want excellence! To achieve this, yes, you must manage your weaknesses enough that they don’t undermine success and cause failure. But don’t focus on your weaknesses. Don’t labor at improving your weaknesses. Excellence is best achieved by the refining, honing, and perfecting your strengths!

Discover your strengths. Work your strengths. Improve your strengths. And don’t let up. Round your strengths. Smooth your strengths. Polish your strengths. Keep going! When you sharpen your strengths, you excel! When you excel, excellence is yours!

Why You’re Programmed to Fail!

Blog 26We are programmed to fail. But you can remedy that, by changing your focus. More in a moment.

First, know that we are born with fallen natures. We live with broken people. We exist in a harsh, negative world. Consequently, we easily fixate on our foibles, our flaws, our frailties, our failings. Our life-lens is intrinsically critical and condemning—looking for shortcomings, weaknesses, blemishes, imperfections.

In addition to that, Martin Seligman discusses the bias on badness in our research. He wrote,“Psychology is half-baked, literally half-baked. We have baked the part about mental illness. We have baked the part about repair and damage. But the other side is unbaked. The side of strengths, the side of what we are good at, the side… of what makes life worth living.” (p. 124, “Now, Discover Your Strengths” by Marcus Buckingham & Donald O. Clifton).

Sadly, nature and nurture have colluded together to skew our perspective towards defects and deficiencies. We easily obsess on illness, afflictions, sin, and pathology. Regrettably, we know little about real health and happiness.

Want to reprogram your mind for success? Of course! Change your focus! Begin looking at your strengths! Target your talents. Discover what you’re good at, what you like to do, and what you were created to contribute. (If you need help, consider having a Life Coach administer some strength-finder instruments for you, so that you can immediately begin living out of your strengths. I love seeing leaders reignited with passion and zeal after rediscovering their signature strengths.)

We may be programmed to fail. But we are free to reprogram ourselves for success. We are free to reboot, restart, and recover the greatness we were destined for. Begin living a life of wellness, wholeness, soundness and goodness today. Begin working out of plenty. Begin serving out of fullness. Begin to thrive! Live strong!

Why You’re Not Amazing!

Blog 25Want to know why you’re not AMAZING? One reason. You don’t know your strengths!

I know, I know. I didn’t say that very nicely. I didn’t cushion the claim with cozy caveats. I didn’t pad the truth with polite pleasantries. Sorry! NOT!

Don’t take my word for it, Peter Drucker, preeminent management consultant and author, wrote, “Most Americans do not know what their strengths are. When you ask them, they look at you with a blank stare, or they respond in terms of subject knowledge, which is the wrong answer.”
Now I know that you are not like most Americans. You are certainly a cut above. Right? And yet, the research shows that most leaders (even competent, successful executives and entrepreneurs like you) don’t really know their strengths.
Sure, they have some familiarity with their gifts, talents and abilities—that is why they are successful. That is why YOU are successful. But they have yet to deeply unearth the core of their strengths. More importantly, they have certainly not built their lives and their enterprises around them. Have YOU?
I’ll say it again. You’re not amazing because you don’t know your strengths! I’m not trying to be mean. You simply don’t know, know (as in really know) your strengths. Yes, you’re good with people. Yes, you’re a hard worker. Yes, you’re successful. Yes, you’re getting it done. Yes, you’ve made it happen.

But, no, you’re not amazing!

Amazing happens when you’re performing intuitively from your innate strengths. Amazing happens when your entire life flows from your strengths. Want to get in your groove? Want to live from your gut? Want to operate from your center? Want to find your purpose? Want to discover your calling? Want to gift the world with heart-stirring, mind-blowing, awe-inspiring goodness? Discover your strengths. Develop your strengths. Refine your strengths. Unleash your strengths. Be AMAZING!

Corporate Kryptonite is Crippling Super Men

Blog 24There’s only one thing that cripples Superman. You know what it is. It’s not evil; it’s not enemies. It’s kyrptonite. In a similar way, there’s also one thing that cripples you. It cripples me. I call it “Corporate Kryptonite.” It drains exceptional executives, great businessmen, and awesome employees of their innate strengths. Whether at our headquarters or just in our head, this cruel kryptonite disarms all of us of our inborn gifts. It disables our inherent talents. It debilitates our intrinsic best abilities.

What is it?

Very simply, the professional preoccupation with one’s weaknesses is the crippling kryptonite that keeps us weak at work. I see it over and over again in my Life Coaching practice. Well-meaning entrepreneurs keep trying to improve themselves by focusing on their worst attributes. To make matters worse, they challenge their staff teams to labor at improving their weaknesses. Weaknesses should be managed, not majored on!

Comic book lore tells us that the Man of Steel can save you. He can save me. Heck, he can save the whole world. Yet, when exposed to kryptonite, he can’t even save himself. Somehow that radioactive green stuff is the one thing that completely neutralizes, paralyzes, and incapacitates the red-caped hero.

Want a quick and easy way to sap your strength? Focus on your weaknesses. You’ll be demoralized faster than as a speeding bullet.
In the DC universe, kyptonite was introduced back in 1943 to humanize Superman—to make him more like us. And in this way, he certainly is more like us. We all have an Achilles’ heel. We all have weaknesses. We all have things that render us useless. I certainly do.
For Superman to remain more powerful than a locomotive and to be able to jump tall buildings in a single bound, he has to avoid kryptonite. For you to remain your best super self, you too need to avoid obsessing on your weaknesses. Focus on your strengths. For you to keep your enterprise workforce performing at their super best, focus on their strengths.
Kryptonite crippled Superman. Focusing on weaknesses cripples us. So stick out your chest a bit, rip open that Clark Kent white dress shirt, and reveal your “S” for STRENGTHS!

The Myth that Sabotages Success

Blog 23There is one myth that is killing success. This falsehood undermines accomplishment. It subverts advance. It sabotages progress. Like a hidden bomb, it unexpectedly detonates potential gains. And tragically, 59% of smart business-savvy Americans believe this lie. How about you?

Your answer to the following question will determine whether you are on a success trajectory or a sabotaging one. So think carefully before you answer. Ready? Here’s the question: “Which do you think will help you improve the most: knowing your strengths or knowing your weaknesses?”

If you said “weaknesses,” the good news is that you’re not alone. Most people believe this fiction. Yes, I said fiction. Six in ten Americans believe focusing on our weaknesses is the best way to improve professional performance. The bad news is that you’re wrong. The research shows quite the opposite. Amazing success, with exceptional results, (which is what we want) is achieved by knowing your strengths and focusing on them, not your weaknesses!

Trying to fortify, to upgrade, and to improve weaknesses sounds reasonable, but ultimately it’s not helpful, especially if you want to experience awesome gains.

Preoccupation on weaknesses and on laboring to squeeze out an iota of improvement in areas we are not innately strong, clearly undermines the possibility of robust executive growth. It keeps hardworking professionals feeling stuck and frustrated. It typically drains and demotivates business personnel. Worse yet, it wastes time, sucks energy, and bears little corporate fruit. (For more, see Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton in their book, “Now, Discover Your Strengths.”)

So what’s the truth? What should we do to accelerate success? Simply stated, focus on your strengths! Target your strengths. Spotlight your strengths. The reason for this is simple. Refining strengths is the easiest, quickest, and best way to improve skills, increase knowledge, crystallize expertise, and to achieve consistent near perfect performance. Repent of sabotaging your success by putting intentional attention on your signature strengths! Stay strong!

P.S. To discover your strengths, consider taking Gallop’s strengthsfinder profile. For assistance in exploring your core strengths, consider working with a Success Life Coach who can help explain, unpack, and activate your unique signature strengths.

The Key to Making Resolutions Real

Blog 22The #1 reason New Year’s resolutions, goals, and dreams fail is because we lack accountability—the essential condition to insuring a resolution even has a shot at becoming a reality. But the #2 reason our best intentions fail is equally damning. Today, let’s look at this critical truth.

Here it is: Our visions fizzle, flounder, fold and flop because they are foggy! Simply stated, they are too vague. Esoteric resolutions fall short. Nebulous goals run aground. Abstract dreams crash and burn. B.J. Fogg from Stanford University reinforces this truth, saying, “What a mistake – the whole idea around New Year’s resolutions. People aren’t picking specific behaviors, they’re picking abstractions.”

To make resolutions real, tie them to a specific behavior. Science teaches that our brains don’t focus on abstractions well. To achieve a new goal, first make it a new habit—meaning, a new specific behavior. Research shows that 90% of all New Year’s Resolutions come to naught because they are too obscure, ethereal, and dreamy. Let me give some examples:

  • Instead of eating healthier (which is a vague resolution), be specific! Such as, begin each day with oatmeal instead of sugared cereal, or exchange a banana for breakfast instead of a pop tart, or pack an apple or protein bar for a snack instead of chips and a candy bar.
  • Instead of losing weight (which is a vague resolution), be specific! Such as, begin your morning with a glass of water, walk around the block during your lunch break, and agree to eating no food after 7:00pm.
  • Instead of getting in shape (which is a vague resolution), be specific! Such as, meet a friend at the gym for an hour four times a week, or jog on the treadmill for 20 minutes three times a week, or take an exercise class two times a week.
  • Instead of managing stress better (which is a vague resolution), be specific! Such as, begin your daily routine with a deep breath and a warm shower, include a 5 minute quiet time of reading the Bible, poetry, or an inspiration book, and have a one-minute moment of prayer.
  • Instead of advancing your business (which is a vague resolution), be specific! Such as, read a leadership book, take an online business course, start your own LLC, add a 100 connections on LinkedIn, or (my biased favorite) hire a Success Life Coach.

Turning sincere hopes and well-intentioned ideas into reality demands relational accountability and practical specifics. Resolution success is 50% higher when goals are clear-cut and explicit. So don’t be vague. Fog is great for a romantic walk; it’s terrible for a goal. Write out some specific goals. Post them on your bathroom mirror. Tell a friend. Get accountability. Consider partnering with a coach. And have a great year. Best to you!

P.S. If you’re open, I’d love hearing some of your specific goals for this year. You can connect with me on LinkedIn or email me at

Why 88% of New Year’s Resolutions Fail!

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There is one reason most resolutions fail! But not for you. Not this year! You’re hungry for changes that last. You’re eager to kick life into gear. You’re ready to rise to the next level. No more same as usual. Hooyah! Yet, you know that according to researcher Richard Wiseman, 88% of New Year’s resolutions fail! With 50% of Americans making resolutions, that’s 156 million disappointed folks. But you will not fail. Why? Because you know the secret to success. The “A” word! Let’s remind ourselves of it.

To make resolutions come true, to make changes that last, to reverse old habits, to live out new patterns, to see real transformation, to actually achieve behavior modification, you need one essential thing.

  • Being specific (verses abstract) with your goals helps, but is not enough.
  • Shooting for tiny baby steps (verses biting off something too big) helps, but is not enough.
  • Focusing on behaviors (verses outcomes) is helpful, but is not enough.
  • Good intentions are not enough.
  • Writing it down is not enough.
  • Will power is not enough. (Don’t fight me on this. It’s not!)
So what is the one thing that makes the big difference? What is the secret that successful change-agents know? It’s accountability! Not just posting your resolution on the bathroom mirror, not just telling a friend about your goals, and not just praying to the good Lord. Most resolutions fail because most people don’t have real accountability!
Successful Resolutions coming from real life, tangible, practical, in-your-face, intentional accountability. Coaches gives that accountability! Get the “A” working for you. Whether a Weight-watchers Coach, a Fitness Coach, a Business Coach, or a Life Coach, if you’re serious this year about real change, get serious with some in-your-grill accountability—not just from a well-meaning spouse, a well-intentioned friend, or a well-known colleague, but from a coach.

Throw away your rabbit’s foot, your horoscope, your four-leaf clover, and your wish bone. A coach knows your dog didn’t eat your homework. A coach won’t tolerate your pouting, your excuses, and your whining. Can I be candid? A coach won’t collude with your B.S.. Get a qualified man-maker who will help you to get it done. Happy New Year!

4 Essentials Supports for 2016

Blog 20It’s a new year! It’s time to upgrade your life. Here are 4 essential supports that will completely upgrade your year. They all involve an initial investment, but the payoff and ROI will be well worth it! Trust me!
(1) Bed: Get a great bed.
You spend a third of your life here. If your bed is over a decade old, if coils are weak, if appropriate firmness is not there, if you’re not waking up refreshed, need I say more. Doesn’t matter how small your bedroom is, get a big platform to restore your frame (I suggest a California King). And because you’re a warrior, let me remind you that you need to use this bed—at least 8 hours of support a night. Your body will automatically reset and reboot itself, if you let it. Do it!
(2) Shoes: Wear great shoes.
For work and for play. Don’t chince on poor support for your feet. I’m not talking about good-looking shoes. Forget the show. You need good-feeling shoes. A strong foundation gives you the comfort and energy you need. “Excellence” matters with both dress and training shoes.
(3) Chair: Work from a great chair.
Don’t simply accept the garbage furniture many employers supply. Avoid IKEA specials here. You put in long hours. Your back and your brain need proper support. Find a chair that supports you, adjusts to you, and serves you right.
(4) Coach: Get championed by a great Success Life Coach.
You have the degrees, the certifications, the equipment, and the experience to run an amazing team, business, foundation, or corporation. Don’t cut corners and deny yourself a professional partner! A great business coach can raise your profits and your pleasure! Don’t miss the increases you could receive monetarily, relationally, and emotionally because you got cheap.
It’s a new year. Time to do things right. A few upgrades can change a lot. Every year I like to find good deals. But don’t compromise on the important things that really matter. This is not the year for a bargain bed, for low-cost shoes, for a cheesy chair, or for leading life and work alone. When it comes to beds, shoes, chairs, and coaches, get the support you deserve. Say “no” to crummy, cruddy, and crappy. Say “yes” to quality support that makes a difference!

A Dozen Coaches Every Leader Needs

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Effective Leaders surround themselves with dozens of brilliant people to help them stay at the top of their game. Here are a dozen non-negotiable experts (or what I call coaches) that every leader needs.
Effective Leaders make their health a priority. They have coaches (helpful professionals) to not only fend of sickness, decay, and physical erosion, but to foster wellness.

(1) Doctor (a given for overall medical health).

(2) Dentist (plus possibly an orthodontist for teeth, gums, and oral health).

(3) Chiropractor (or an alignment specialist such as a Physical Therapist or Massage Technician to foster proper posture, alignment, circulation, bone and tissue health).

Effective Leaders make their functional life a priority. They have coaches (helpful technicians) to fend off home deterioration, car problems, and technology bugs.

(4) House Helper (which may include a handful of helpers, such as a gardener, pool man, pest control, plumber, electrician, air conditioner guy, and possibly a maid to keep the home base working well).

(5) Car Mechanic (to keep your mobile office running and to monitor tires, oil, fluids, engine, and overall vehicle safety and performance at their best).

(6) Technology Wiz (someone to keep the internet available, the computers working, the phones upgraded, and the other I.T. gadgets in our lives beaming).
Effective Leaders make their personal matters a priority. They have coaches (advisers and trainers) to fend off poor financial decisions, grooming snafus, and fitness gaffs.

(7) Tax Man (and other Financial Advisers to monitor investments, savings, retirement, tax shelters, monetary security, and money matters).

(8) Barber (or other basic grooming input, whether from spouses, friends, or experts, to make sure you look your best… clean, shaved, trimmed nails, fitting cologne, tailored clothes, polished shoes, and so forth).

(9) Personal Trainer (fitness professional, Cross Fit Coach, Nutritionist, Dietician, and others willing to support good exercise, adequate sleep, proper eating, and healthy supplementation).

Effective Leaders make their business and their competitive edge a priority. They have coaches to fend off market mistakes, mental breakdowns, and senseless sabotaging.

(10) Business Coach (or Executive Coach to assist with leading, managing, branding, monetizing, strength mapping, business building, and more). Business is hard ball. Be smart! Don’t swim with sharks alone.

(11) Mind Coach (or Life Coach, counselor, therapist, psychologist, or shrink to fend off depression, isolation, and stress. A competent coach helps you to keep your head in the game. Mental health is a must!).

(12) Physician of the Soul (or Pastor, Priest, Rabbi, Spiritual Guide, Faith Mentor, or Discipler) to help you live for something transcendent, beyond yourself. And to keep you humble and hopeful, grounded and grateful.

Effective Leaders have lots of coaches in their lives. At least a dozen! How about you? What coaches are you missing? What coaches do you need? A new year looms. Increase your effectiveness! Up your game and add a coach to your success arsenal this year.

Every Leader’s Most Needed Gift

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Don’t miss the obvious! Every leader needs this gift! Leaders are readers; but a book is not their favorite gift. Leaders love gadgets; but a new toy is not their longing. Every leader’s favorite gift is not a thing. Whether they admit it or not, every leader’s greatest need, and therefore greatest gift, is a person. Beneath all that confidence, competence and charisma is an earthy real human need for companionship and assistance from another person in the journey.

Professionally, leaders relish the privilege of serving, empowering, and unleashing people. But given all the criticism, heartache, and betrayals leaders endure, the love and loyalty of a meaningful personal relationship is an awesome gift for any leader. So this Christmas, forget the fruitcake. Gift your favorite leader with a person.

Start by giving him or her, your own personal support. Personal fidelity is powerful gift to a leader. Then do all you can to help your boss have time away with the person most energizing and enriching for him or her. Perhaps encourage your corporation to hire a person to serve as a leader’s liaison, assistant, and aid. I’ve never met a leader who couldn’t use extra help getting goals met, projects done, and objectives finished.

As a leader yourself, maybe this is the year to gift yourself with a person. Consider investing in a customized and private Life Coach committed to serving you, resourcing you, and championing your personal and professional needs. Every great leader I know is supported by an incredible co-pilot, wingman, spotter, or armor-bearer of some kind.

Finally, on this Christmas Eve, let’s not forget God’s greatest gift to us all. Again, not a trinket or a toy. Not a gizmo or a gadget. But a person. The person of Jesus Christ. Unwrap and enjoy the gift of His love, grace, peace, and hope this year! Merry Christmas to you!