Sunday, February 25, 2018

When I was growing up, we didn’t have the internet. We learned from mentors or read books. Unfortunately, most of us didn’t have influential mentors or people who shared valuable life-changing advice. I love learning from people who have lived a full life so that we can learn from them and not repeat mistakes. When I was growing up, I wish that I had Skip Prichard’s new book The Book of Mistakes in my hands. It would have saved me grief and making mistakes that were painful to endure.

I would love to arm every young person with Skip’s book. It’s a valuable bible on how to achieve and not only be a better person but efficiently empower others. The Book of Mistakes is a parable. We join David, a stressed and disenchanted young professional, on his journey to discover the nine mistakes that prevent people from achieving their goals. He meets mysterious people who share their stories, and each one offers him a parting life mistake to learn from in the hope of him avoiding the same mistake. Absorbing these mistake are critical for any of us to overcome hurdles that we face and distractions that veer us off of our path.

The Book of Mistakes made me pause and think about the journey that I have been on over the years. For years I searched for my purpose, and Skip’s words would have guided me in finding and following my mission. It would have helped me push down barriers more quickly. I would have had a clearer mind to achieve more than I thought possible. Guess what? It’s not too late. The Book of Mistakes recommends steps to consider on our life journey to be happier, more satisfied, have a stronger sense of community, and be at peace.

The nine mistakes impacted me. I have a list of the nine mistakes on a sign at my desk and on my IPad screen to remind me several times how I can stay on the path that will bring me success. These mistakes should be posted in every classroom to guide young adults as they waver through growing up and become absorbed by obstacles and the negative talk around them.

The Nine Mistakes

  1. Working on someone else’s’ dream. Aren’t many of us doing that day in and day out? Don’t forget YOU and your goals. Set aside time to work on what you believe in and are passionate about. 
  2. Allowing someone to deflate your value. Every one of us has value in this world and don’t forget it. Don’t let someone step on your spirit and make you feel less important 
  3. Accepting excuses: Take ownership of your life and don’t allow excuses to rule the day. Behind every excuse is a way to success so tune them out and tune out any doubts.
  4.  Surround yourself with the wrong people. When you were growing up, how many times did your parents tell you to not hang out with the wrong crowd? That remains sound advice as adults. You become what you are around.
  5. Staying in your comfort zone. You will never grow if you don’t jump out of your bubble. 
  6. Don’t let temporary setbacks become a permanent failure. Remember, “Setbacks are the seeds that sprout opportunity.”
  7. Trying to blend in instead of standing out. Be authentic and be you. Always stand out and above. 
  8. Thinking there is a fixed and limited amount of success available. The beautiful thing about life is that there is an unlimited possibility. Be motivated, not intimidated by the success of others. There is plenty to go around. 
  9. Believing you have all the time in the world. We are all given the time in life. Use it wisely and don’t have regrets. 

We learn more than just the nine mistakes in The Book of Mistakes. We learn some simple, yet often forgotten, laws that should guide us in everything that we do. 
  • The law of desire
  • The law of gratitude 
  • The law of belief

If you have young people in your life, you need to get The Book of Mistakes into their hands. Today. If you are older and wiser, you need Skip’s book to light a fire within you so that you quit making excuses and making the same mistakes in your life over and over. It’ never too late to start again to bring out your best and find personal success.  

Saturday, February 24, 2018

The Courage Way - Leading and Living with Integrity by Shelly L. Francis

Becoming a leader is like parenting. Sometimes it’s a surprise, other times it seems like you’ve been waiting for the opportunity forever. You are thrust into a whole new world, and there isn’t a day that goes by that you don’t wonder if you are “doing it right” or being an active parent. You look inside and out to learn how to be the best that you can while influencing your child.

Leadership leaves many of us feeling inadequate and looking over our shoulder wondering if we are “doing it the right way”. I’ve worked with servant leaders who lead from within with grace and humbleness and “leaders” who think yelling and threatening is leadership because people quickly respond and fall in line.

Ultimately what drives authentic leadership is courage. Courage will compel you to look deep inside yourself to bring out your best with integrity and it will drive you to impact those around you. Courage is more than just stepping up. It means living your life becoming “your best self and inviting others to do the same”. Need some courage? Shelly L. Francis’s new book The Courage Way – Leading and Living with Integrity will take you on an incredible journey.

Shelly Francis works at the non-profit Center for Courage & Renewal. The center has over 300 facilitators worldwide who aim to create “a more just, compassionate, and healthy world by nurturing personal and professional integrity and the courage to act on it”. Shelly walks us down the path of showing us the courage way and forcing us to look deep inside to understand the work of being a leader and bringing out the courage to live the leadership ways. We need to ask ourselves “what would you do with more courage?” and act on it.

There are five key ingredients of the Courage Way:
  1. True self
  2. Trust
  3. Community
  4. Paradox
  5. Reflection

These elements enable us to become what we can be. Courage isn’t a singular “thing”. It can take many forms such as courage to answer your calling, the courage to choose wisely, the courage to stay or leave, or the courage to care for true self. Some courage is more natural for us to summon while others may be daunting. There is more to courage than just the discovery process. In order to flourish, we need to live in a Circle of Trust. What’s that? It’s a process to create and grow a safe space for both individuals and groups so that they can trust one another to develop growth, restoration, team building, and reconnect. Within this circle there are 11 touchstones.

Ultimately, Shelly emphasizes the need to take care of ourselves and regularly reflect. To be an active leader you need to trust in yourself and others. You need various forms of courage to develop people, build trust, and form a healthy community. With courage comes authentic and natural leadership that grows over time and only brings out more courage to step out of your comfort zone.

The Courage Way shares real-life stories of professionals who have made changes in their leadership because they have found inner courage and it has impacted both their lives and those around them. The Courage Way is a unique leadership book that will remove you from your comfort zone and force you to look at yourself with a fresh perspective that may bring out courage that you never realized you possessed. The question is, do you have the courage to look at leadership from a different angle and start living a life of integrity and authenticity?

Friday, November 24, 2017

The Influence Effect by Kathryn Heath, Jill Flynn, Mary Davis Holt, and Diana Faison

Politics. Most of us react like it’s a dirty word and it doesn’t change any when we talk about workplace politics. Those are even worse because politics at work is more personal, tangible, and the elephant in the room. Some people are manipulative at politics in the workplace to the point where it’s over the top and nauseating. Sadly, politics at work is a necessary evil, and for most women, it’s a nightmare and can paralyze us.

No one “trains” women how to work political so when we are newly minted in a job, it can be a shock to be told to start “politicking,” or we see it and feel lost or beaten down. Men are better at the game because they think “winning” and women tend to think more about “building.” Which one works the best? The new book The Influence Effect by Kathryn Heath, Jill Flynn, Mary Davis Holt, and Diana Faison is a must read for all women who are in business or just jumping into the fray. You can’t afford to not read and use this book as a map for wandering through the political minefield in the workplace.

Politics seems to come naturally to most men. As women, we fight it, fear it, and it appears dirty. It doesn’t need to be. Women need to think about politics in a new light. We have some natural gifts that many men lack and we can use them to forge relationships and become masters at politics with soul, relationship focus, and positive influence. Women need to realize that politics is all about bringing people together, making a positive inclusive change, using power as a tool, and make our voices heard with a seat at the table.

The Influence Effect offers tools and strategies to encourage women to look at politics as a positive. The authors have all been in our seats and know that influencing those around us is the key to success. The more influence that we can foster, the more opportunities that we have to hear our voices heard and can make an impact without “playing” politics. Using our influence enables us to create agendas, make connections, bring teams together and make a change. Influence is “the tool of the times” and women can’t avoid jumping in to use our natural gifts.

The Influence Effect is divided into three parts and each one builds on fostering your influence and growing self-confidence. They include: Prepare to influence, Practice the five strategies, and Influence in action. Each chapter is rich with real stories and struggles of women and how they coped with political success and failure. There are point summaries to ask yourself and review to enable the reader to learn and reflect.

The meat of The Influence Effect are the five strategies that we are given to build our influence and make a change. Each approach will open your eyes to possibilities, empower your efforts while feeling supported. Here are the strategies that you need to learn to be in the influence driver’s seat:

  1. The power of the informal
  2. Relationship maps
  3. Scenario thinking
  4. Influence loops
  5. Momentum

I guarantee that each of these strategies will encourage you to become hungry to become more influential in a proactive manner. It’s comforting reading the stories of other women who have been in our shoes and have learned to overcome and make politics an asset. The Influence Effect will open your eyes to the world that men have lived in for so long yet show you how to succeed with a woman’s touch. We can strategize, think and act, and build teams with our form of influence. Pick up The Influence Effect today to embark on your own journey.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Made For Amazing - An Instrumental Journey of Authentic Leadership Transformation by Mark Nation

One of my favorite things to ask people is how they landed in the spot that they are in today. Career-wise, most people aren’t in the vocation that they prepared for years ago. In life, people have moved to places and done things that they never thought that they would. Everyone has a story, and we can learn so much from the journey of others. I’m particularly fascinated to glean some insight and advice from others so that I can learn from their experiences.

Made For Amazing – An Instrumental Journal of Authentic Leadership Transformation by Mark Nation teaches us valuable leadership lessons as we follow the story of Joshua Lynk who is conflicted from his childhood experiences and the absence of a father. Josh has some incredible musical talent. However, he feels disconnected and unsure of himself and those feelings impact his ability to see and share his real gifts. Josh has a strong connection with his grandfather who knows Joshua better than he knows himself. His grandfather entices him to look deep inside himself for happiness and his purpose yet, Josh ignores him and instead goes on a long journey to follow fame and fortune instead.

Joshua’s journey is one of continuous self-doubt and pity for himself. He ends up losing his family and himself along the way. In the end, Josh leaps back to his childhood home where he and his grandpa shared music, stories, and dreams. It is there that Josh discovers himself and his purpose.

The story of Joshua will resonate with us all. Aren’t we all a bit lost and pretend that we are confident and know our purpose? Most of us need a journey where we search our souls for what gives us meaning, what we need to feel fulfilled, and have a sense of self-worth. Mark’s book and the intimate story of Josh will push you to embark on your personal journey to find your purpose and ultimately live from your own heart. Mark encourages us to overcome any mental struggles that we have and invites us in “finding your song at work and in life.”

Every one of us has unique gifts, yet we fear uncovering them. To use your talent, you need to find it and then believe in it. When you find your gifts you can then impact others and use your leadership to transform those that you are around. Made For Amazing is not just a story. It is an “action guide” to spur us on to start our journey. We are offered some useful thought-provoking questions to ask ourselves as well as discussion points at the end of the book. These tools will help you painlessly find your purpose and your real authentic self. We were all made to be amazing, and it’s up to us to bring that out and create our true music.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Years ago I was in a job where I dragged myself to work every day. I lacked challenge, and I was bored. I was not growing and felt like I had no control over my life. What did I do? You guessed it – I stayed where I was. I didn’t know what I wanted to do or what next steps I could take. It took a buyout of my company to wake me up and get me to move out. My situation would have been a lot different if I had had the book Find the Fire by Scott Mautz at my fingertips. Scott’s new book is the tool that most of us need by our side to get up motivated about our jobs and finding our lost mojo.

All of us at one time or another have lost the spark that gets us up and going to work every day. Remember when you first started your job? You were inspired, motivated, and excited to get out there and make a difference. You had new ideas and planned to have an impact. Then, something happened. Perhaps you feel like that now as you drive to work. What happened to the excitement? Passion? Confident attitude? Scott challenges us to ask “How did I lose my inspiration in the first place.” Better yet, he has some answers, strategies, and ideas to get us back on track to the days when our careers and lives were stimulating, challenging, and we had that fire underneath us.

Before discovering how to reignite your life you need to understand what doused your fire in the first place. You need to address what brings you down and win back to control. Find The Fire introduces us to nine factors, called anti-muses that steal our motivation and spark every single day. Here they are:

  1. Fear: We need to learn how to overcome our fear of change, failure, and criticism
  2. Settling and boredom: Learn how to find an open mindset, set new experiences, start learning and growing again, and make your opportunities
  3. Inundation: We are busy and inundated by too much every day from all angles. We need to control how things are coming at us and push progress forward. Start learning again, procrastinating, and find how to ask for help
  4. Loss of control: When we have control we have inspiration. Scott show us how to take back our sense of power and how to emit it
  5. Dwindling self-belief: When we are inspired we produce more, have self-esteem and are optimistic. You can increase your confidence and learn how to persevere
  6. Disconnectedness: Feeling connected is what being human all is about. Learn how to reconnect with your peers, your career, and your boss to make change
  7. Dearth of Creating: Inspiration requires creativity. If you lack creativity, then you can’t produce at your best or share it with the world. Learn how to find and unleash your creativity
  8. Insignificance: Feeling insignificant is our most deep-seated human fear. This anti-muse tries to convince us that we can’t make a difference and that what we do is meaningless. Learn how to have an impact
  9. Lack of Evocation: We need to search for an external stimulus to dial up our inspiration. Sometimes we find our best inspiration from “external sources.” Have a draining boss or coworkers? Scott shows us how to change the dynamics to bring back our fire.

Find The Fire is truly a book that we all need to keep at our side. Better yet, if you know someone who is struggling and their fire has become mere coals, light them up with this book. Once you recognize that the nine muses are not your friends and you see how they detract from your life Scott puts your life back on track. This book has humor, stories, shares the journey of others and will build you up with tools and strategies. You can find your magic again and become the excited and inspired newbie that you once were when starting a new career or stage in your life. This book speaks to both your professional and personal life. Your power will restore, and you will gain better control of you.

Find The Fire offers actionable tools to use at every stage of your ignition. The last chapter spells out how to fight the nine anti-muses in detail. Concepts like “Give, Resist, Exude,” the “Arc of Perseverance,” and self-empowerment tactics may become your best friends. You CAN get your spark back. However, you need to be willing to work at it because the nine muses are lurking around us all every day trying to pacify and control us. Take back your power, build confidence, and light that fire underneath you for lifelong change.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

It All Matters - 125 Strategies To Achieve Maximum Confidence, Clarity, Certainty And Creativity by Paul Cummings

If you are an avid reader or interested in personal growth, you are well aware of the saturated market of books in this area. I always have a tough time recommending the “best” book for someone to read if asked. I’m drawn to books that encourage self-reflection, positive thinking, and goal setting. The problem is that most books only offer a peppering of each in these areas, not actionable steps to stay on the path of personal development. The new book release It All Matters – 125 strategies to achieve maximum confidence, clarity, certainty, and creativity by Paul Cummings is a game changer.

It All Matters has something to offer everyone. It’s a comprehensive guide to developing and using personal affirmations. It encourages increased self-confidence and self-awareness. Clarity will become your friend and guide. Goal setting will become an everyday habit, and you will see success. You will undercover your strengths, and your passion will shine like a beacon.

Paul is a masterful storyteller and draws us in with his life experiences. The book follows his journey as a young man selling books for Southwestern Advantage in the 1970s. His mission was the catalyst for the self-development techniques and strategies that he shares with us. He took leaps into areas of life that most of us never would. His mistakes are our blessing because we can grow without encountering the obstacles that he did.

This book is like having a personal coach by your side every day. Paul shares his unique process U.B.U.: understand who you are, be true to yourself, and always stay unique. Paul explains how to choose our outcomes, master our mindset and goals, and live up to our life purpose and intent. His stories and experiences show how to put ideas on paper into action. It All Matters can be used every day as a journal to take on your development journey. Here are some of the tools that Paul offers:

  • Stories of failure and success that help us learn and grow. Life lessons that make a difference
  • Toolkit with ideas, strategies, actionable plans to use daily
  • MAP: My Action Plan after each chapter journaling your next move and setting following steps
  • Comprehensive goal-setting program and ideas for avoiding obstacles
  • Questions that force you to think, prioritize, strategize, and get to know yourself
  • Methods to learn and expand on your strengths
  • The power of daily affirmations, how to develop your own unique set and how to put them into motion
  • You will determine who you are, what drives you, and where you should go to achieve your goals
  • Jump onboard with a progressive mindset so that you can master the key to riches and success

It All Matters is far from just another personal development book. It’s a daily journal for becoming a better you and finding your way in the world to have an impact. The book offers everyday clarity to setting and achieving your goals. It lifts you when you feel like you are clouded with doubt. Paul encourages us to be creative and unique while making a difference in both our own lives and to those that we have contact with. If there is just one book that you need for personal development and success, this is it!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Self Leadership and The One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard, Susan Fowler, and Laurence Hawkins

I have always been a fan of the One Minute Manager books. I enjoy the art of storytelling and visualizing as I hear a story. Susan Fowler and Laurence Hawkin’s new partnership on the book Self Leadership and the One Minute Manager does not disappoint. Sure some leaders are born however, most of us acquire leadership skills through experience and mentoring. Have you ever started a new venture feeling like a superstar only to find that maybe you aren’t such a phenomenal leader? This book is for you.

I’ve never given too much thought to self-leadership but this book quickly jumpstarted my mind. We all need self-leadership in order to succeed and make a change. Our lives are ever changing and at one point we may need little more direction or support yet, we may find ourselves not pushing enough to ask for more support and assistance from someone else as circumstances change.

The book teaches us valuable lessons in business in a parable featuring Steve, a young advertising executive who feels that he is about to lose his job. He bumps into a friendly magician in a coffee shop who helps Steve realize how he needs to take the power of responsibility for his own situation and stop blaming others. The magician, Cayla, empowers others by coaching from what she has learned from the One Minute Manager. She shares 3 valuable self-leadership lessons that allow Steve to turn his situation around and lessons that we can all use in our own lives.

  1. Assumed constraints are a negative and are a belief that will limit your experience and hold you back.
  2. Activate your points of power: They include position, knowledge, task, personal, and relationship power.
  3. Self-leadership means being proactive to get what you need to succeed: The two most powerful words to get what you need are “I need”.

Stories are all about sharing and teaching. Self-Leadership and the One Minute Manager does not disappoint. The book shares valuable lessons but also provides a Development Continuum Model that illustrates the four stages people experience when they are learning to master something, like a new job or life change. The model captures what people experience and helps them to realize their competence and commitment to change as we learn something new or pursue a goal.

The book offers visual models of the four stages along with a complete list of competencies and commitments to help in understanding how to integrate the model into our lives. The book is a quick read yet offers so much information in an entertaining and empowering way. Steve was empowered by the gifts that Cayla shared with him and not only does he keep his job, but he becomes a One Minute Manager to those around him.