“Fear is a reaction. Courage is a decision.” Winston Churchill What an elegantly simple way to capture one of life’s most important things to know. Fear is so misunderstood. I know I didn’t understand it for many years. I thought that courage was something that only fearless people experienced. But, the older I got, and the more senior executives I worked with, I began to learn about fear from people who experienced it on a far larger scale than mine. The more I spoke with these successful leaders, the deeper I got into their life stories. A constant theme in all their stories was overcoming something—a setback, a failure, a stutter, lack of education—you name it, they experienced it. In
“Yesterday, I was clever and wanted to change the world. Today, I am wiser and want to change myself.” Rumi, Sufi poet Stop for a moment and think about Rumi’s words. To me, he is talking about the maturation process of critical thinking. It begins with a very broad horizon, and through self-reflection gets narrowed to the real core of wisdom. Many of us would really, truly like to change the world, but for most of us, that scale is not realistic. What is realistic? What makes common-sense? It all begins with the core—you. We have known for many years that we become what we think about. So, staying with this quote, where do you begin? You begin with yourself.
“Some people use complexity to create doubt, then offer a simple, self-serving solution.” Anonymous At no time in our history could this quote have more importance than today. Many years ago, as a young professional, searching for so many answers to life’s questions, I met someone who was a very persuasive speaker—someone who had a powerful impact on the thoughts and actions of others. We became friends and, as I got to know him better, I asked him how he could be so effective at influencing others. “Create doubt,” he told me. “If I can create doubt about something you believe to be true, that opens the door to changing your mind, and your belief. “ Over the years, I watched
“Whether you believe you can, or believe you can’t, you are right.” Abraham Lincoln Leave it to someone from very humble beginnings, born and raised in the Midwest United States, who rose to the pinnacle of political power, to draw upon his life experience and come up with a quote that is the essence of common-sense. Lincoln suffered many defeats before rising to the U.S. presidency, and it was his ability to honestly, objectively reflect on his actions and beliefs that guided him to lead a nation through the greatest moral crisis of its history. To believe in something is to make a choice—a choice to believe. Choosing to believe in yourself, is investing in your future. Sure, some things
“No one ever listened their way out of a job.” Calvin Coolidge Sage advice for those of us who might want to improve our listening skills. In my work with leaders, I find that one of the most common complaints I hear from subordinates is that they just don’t listen to us. The leader in question always has the “right” answer and will interrupt or speak over anyone trying to suggest another point of view. That’s okay, some might say, and because I am the boss, I can do this whenever I want. True, but… The problem soon becomes on that the boss cannot talk their way out of. Why? Because people will stop trying to offer solutions and the