Three Leadership Mistakes People Make

  1. They Criticize Others. The first leadership mistake that managers make is that they criticize others. Refuse to criticize anyone for any reason. When people make mistakes, focus on the solution. Focus on what can be done rather than who did it and who is to blame. This is the mark of the superior leader with admirable leadership questions. We all know that destructive criticism is harmful. Personally, we all hate to be the recipients of destructive criticism. It can make us angry for days, and even years. Destructive criticism attacks our self-esteem, hurts our self-image, and hinders us from reaching peak performance. It makes us angry and defensive. If it is so hateful to us, why would we ever do it to someone else?

  2. They Complain. The second leadership mistake people make is that they complain for any reason. Complainers are always looking for something or someone to complain about. They tend to associate with other complainers. They talk together at work and socialize after work. They go out for lunch and coffee breaks together. Complaining becomes a natural way of life for them. But there is a major problem with both criticizing and complaining. In both situations, you are positioning yourself as a victim. When you complain you actually weaken yourself. You feel inferior and inadequate. You feel angry and resentful. You feel negative and unsure. Your level of self-esteem and self-respect will decline as you complain about anything to someone else. If you are not happy about something, as the manager, you are entitled to bring it to the attention of the other person. You are responsible for putting it on the table and discussing it. These are admirable leadership qualities that you must learn to develop. If you are not happy with a behavior or an outcome, your job is to actively intervene to correct the situation. You can do this by being objective about the difference between what you expected and what has actually happened. You then invite input on how you and the other person or persons can solve the problem or improve the situation. But you never complain.

  3. They Condemn Others On Their Team. The third leadership mistake people make is condemning anyone for any reason, inside or outside of your company. When you condemn other people, you demoralize the listener, and the self-esteem of the other person will be severely lowered. When you condemn people outside the company, someone will eventually tell them what you have said. Usually, a distorted version is told and will come back to haunt you. This seems to be a law of nature, and completely unavoidable. 
These recommendations are equally as important when you are talking about competitors or customers in the marketplace. 

Never criticize your competitors. Admire them if they are more successful in some areas than you are. Then, look for ways to produce even better products and services, and sell them even more effectively.

Never complain about people and problems outside your business. Instead, use that same amount of mental energy to find solutions. Resolve the problems that led to the complaints in the first place.

--Adapted from

Three Scientific Experiments Showing That Thoughts Matter

  1. The Summer of ’93 D.C. Meditation Experiment. A group of 4,000 people volunteered to meditate on peace and love to reduce the amount of crime in the high-crime Washington, DC area. A team of scientists and researchers approached the project without bias and tested for every variable imaginable. The results were clear: during the month of meditation, crime dropped by 25%, definitively and scientifically proving that the positive thoughts of a group of people can affect and change the behavior of ill-intentioned individuals.

  2. Thinking You’re Younger Physically Makes You Younger. In 1979, a study was conducted on 70-80 year old men to see the difference between remembering youth fondly and actually reliving youth. One group talked and reminisced about their younger days while the other group actually pretended to be young, surrounding themselves with TV shows, music and activities of their youth. At the end of the experiment, those who imagined they were physically younger showed signs of de-aging. Blood pressure was lowered, arthritis was diminished, and even eyesight and hearing in this control group improved. By simply imagining themselves younger, some physical aging was actually reversed. Their thoughts made this happen.

  3. The Water Experiments. The most famous experiment that proves the power of thought was carried out by Dr. Masaru Emoto. He photographed frozen water crystals after thoughts of love and peace or hate and fear were projected onto them. Sometimes the intentions were spoken out loud, while other times the intentions were merely thought. The results were always the same. Messages of hope, peace, love, joy and the like resulted in beautiful, symmetrical crystals, while messages of fear, hate, anger, sadness and the like resulted in disjointed and broken crystals. His experiments proved that our intentions can physically alter the world around us.

Powerful Words From Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou was an American poet, singer, memoirist, and civil rights activist. She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, several books of poetry, and is credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning over 50 years. She received dozens of awards and more than 50 honorary degrees. Angelou is best known for her series of seven autobiographies, which focus on her childhood and early adult experiences. The first, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969), tells of her life up to the age of 17 and brought her international recognition and acclaim. She was a professor at Wake Forest University. She died in 2014 in Winston Salem, NC. Below are some of her powerful words. 
  • I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
  • You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.
  • We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.
  • I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.
  • You can only become truly accomplished at something you love.
  • If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.
  • We need much less than we think we need.
  • If I am not good to myself, how can I expect anyone else to be good to me?
  • Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.
  • I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one.
  • Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.
  • If you’re always trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be.
  • Seek patience and passion in equal amounts. Patience alone will not build the temple. Passion alone will destroy its walls.
  • Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.
  • A wise woman wishes to be no one’s enemy; a wise woman refuses to be anyone’s victim.
  • You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.
  • Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take but by the moments that take your breath away.
  • If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform one million realities.
  • Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world but has not solved one yet.
  • Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.
  • There’s a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure the truth.
  • I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.
  • When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.
  • If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded.
  • We are only as blind as we want to be. 
  • I got my own back. 
  • There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. 
  • I respect myself and insist upon it from everybody. And because I do it, I then respect everybody, too. 
  • Determine to live life with flair and laughter. 
  • I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn. 
  • I work very hard, and I play very hard. I’m grateful for life. And I live it – I believe life loves the liver of it. I live it. 
  • Whatever you want to do, if you want to be great at it, you have to love it and be able to make sacrifices for it. 
  • You develop courage by doing small things like just as if you wouldn’t want to pick up a 100-pound weight without preparing yourself. 

15 Realizations of Adversity That Can Lead To Success

  1. Realize adversity is a learning experience. You need to be tested or challenged in order to learn and grow. Every adverse circumstance is a lesson learned that helps you grow and develop your capacity to deal with future occurrences.
  2. Realize challenges as opportunities. Adversity will challenge you in new ways resulting in experiences you otherwise would not have encountered. Facing these challenges head-on, coping with them, and developing a recovery strategy emboldens you and gives you the confidence to face the next obstacle.
  3. Realize that you are building resiliency. These experiences develop your capacity to maintain resolve and determination through the tough times. Being able to effectively cope with the stressors associated with adversity enables you to cultivate a range of skills which make you stronger, better equipped, and more resilient for future events.
  4. Realize adversity allows you to gain perspective. Times of adversity makes us more appreciative when things are going smoothly. You will acknowledge adversity is also a state of mind, have a more positive mindset in the future knowing you survived once and will do so again.
  5. Realize adversity helps with planning. Another benefit of adversity is you are better prepared for the future. What you have learned about yourself, others around you, and even the organization, can be the basis for well- developed alternatives and contingency plans that can be expeditiously and confidently executed during the next unforeseen or untoward event. When adversity strikes your mindset is your primary weapon. It is how you react, how you decide to respond, and what you do that determines your ability to overcome the obstacles you face. As you face these inevitable challenges adhere to the following steps:
  6. Realize the need to accept it. Accept what has happened, what’s done is done. You can learn from this experience but for now, you look for ways to solve the problem. Focus on finding solutions instead of excuses. Accept responsibility instead of casting blame. Face the challenge head-on, view it more of an opportunity than an obstacle, move forward, understanding that every problem has a solution.
  7. Realize the need to understand. Get the facts. Often times problems are compounded by inaccurate information or misunderstandings. Making decisions based on bad data will only compound the problem and make it worse. Ask questions instead of making assumptions, drilling down to the basic issues, and underlying causes of this predicament. Once you have defined the problem determine which factors are in your control, and those not in your control. Determine what choices you have, what resources to use, focusing on what you can do versus what you cannot.
  8. Realize and respond. You want to avoid a knee jerk reaction while at the same time launch an initial response to the crisis. Focus on what steps you can take in the short term, however small, to exhibit movement and show action is being taken.
  9. Realize the importance of keeping your composure. Project a confident and calm demeanor, regardless of the circumstances. Set the tone by reinforcing your commitment and belief in what you are doing and what you are about.
  10. Realize the importance of having the proper mindset. You are defined not by the crisis, but how you deal with it. Your mindset will play a key role in how things turn out. A confident demeanor and a positive attitude, laced with enthusiasm, is contagious. Exhibit a can-do attitude, focusing on what can be done, instead of anticipating the worst.
  11. Realize your strengths. Focus on your strengths and what you do best. By concentrating on your strong suits you will realize quicker progress. Trust your instincts and trust those around you who are there to help you.
  12. Realize it is okay to ask for help. What you are going through is not unique. It may be to you but it has happened before, in some way, shape, or form. Do not be hesitant to ask for help or view this as a sign of weakness. Seeking advice from someone who has gone through similar circumstances can be helpful and give you a different perspective.
  13. Realize your values. When going through an adverse event a compelling factor in someone’s ability to effectively deal with the crisis is their unyielding faith and belief in what they are doing. Do not lose sight of what you are about and why you are doing it.
  14. Realize you need to plot a course. Once you have all of the facts and have considered the options you should develop a plan. Be consequent and deliberate in carrying out this plan, paying special emphasis to the process, since it a series of steps all properly executed that will enable you to emerge from this crisis.
  15. Realize you must be aware of your health. Everyone handles stress and anxiety differently. Be mindful of the impact the situation is having on your health and even those around you. Do not develop bad habits as a coping mechanism to get you through the crisis. Remember, there is a direct correlation between fitness and productivity, do not abandon your fitness program. If anything, ramp it up a bit during this trying time. Remember, tough times don’t last, but tough people do.

--Adapted from an article written by Fred Stuvek, a consultant, speaker, and author of the book It Starts With You. After serving in the US Navy, Fred transitioned to the business world where he has held senior leadership positions in private and public companies, both domestically and internationally. Fred has also been inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame for achievements in football, basketball, baseball, and track.

You Get One Life, Play Your Own Game

The most important things in life are internal, not external.

“The big question about how people behave,” says Warren Buffett, “is whether they’ve got an inner scorecard or an outer scorecard. It helps if you can be satisfied with an inner scorecard.” To make his point, Buffett often asks a simple question: Would you rather be the world’s greatest lover, but have everyone think you’re the world’s worst lover? Or would you rather be the world’s worst lover but have everyone think you’re the world’s greatest lover?

Comparing ourselves to others allows them to drive our behavior. This type of comparison is between you and someone else. Sometimes it’s about something genetic, like wishing to be taller, but more often it’s about something the other person is capable of doing that we wish we could do as well. Maybe Sally writes better reports than you, and maybe Bob has a happier relationship with his spouse than you do. Sometimes this comparison is motivating and sometimes it’s destructive.

You can be anything but you can’t be everything. When we compare ourselves to others, we’re often comparing their best features against our average ones. It’s like being right-handed and trying to play an instrument with your left hand. Not only do we naturally want to be better than them, but the unconscious realization that we are not often better also becomes self-destructive.

Comparisons between people are a recipe for unhappiness unless you are the best in the world. Which, let’s be honest, only one person is. Not only are we unhappy but the other people are as well. They are probably comparing themselves to you—maybe you’re better at networking than they are and they’re jealous. At worst, when we compare ourselves to others we end up focusing our energy on bringing them down instead of raising ourselves up.

There is one thing that you’re better at than other people: being you. This is the only game you can really win.

When you start with this mindset the world starts to look better again. No longer are you focused on where you stand relative to others. Instead, your focus and energy is placed on what you’re capable of now and how you can improve yourself.

Life becomes about being a better version of yourself. And when that happens, your effort and energy go toward upgrading your personal operating system every day, not worrying about what your coworkers are doing. You become happier, free from the shackles of false comparisons, and focused on the present moment.

When what you do doesn’t meet the expectations of others, too bad. The way they look at you is the same way you were looking at them, though a distorted lens shaped by experiences and expectations. What really matters is what you think about what you do, what your standards are, what you can learn today.

That’s not an excuse to ignore thoughtful opinions—other people might give you a picture of how you fall short of being your best self. Instead, it’s a reminder to compare yourself to who you were this morning. Are you better than you were when you woke up? If not, you’ve wasted a day. It’s less about others and more about how you improve relative to who you were.

When you stop comparing between people and focus internally, you start being better at what really matters: being you. It’s simple but not easy.

The most important things in life are measured internally. Thinking about what matters to you is hard. Playing to someone else’s scoreboard is easy, that’s why a lot of people do it. But winning the wrong game is pointless and empty. You get one life. Play your own game.

--Adapted from

Eight Tricks For Reading Body Language

Body language provides an amazing amount of information on what other people are thinking if you know what to look for. And who hasn’t wanted to read people’s minds at some point? You already pick up on more body language cues than you’re consciously aware of. UCLA research has shown that only 7% of communication is based on the actual words we say. As for the rest, 38% comes from tone of voice and the remaining 55% comes from body language. Learning how to become aware of and to interpret that 55% can give you a leg up with other people. Here are 8 cues to look for...

  1. Crossed arms and legs signal resistance to your ideas. Crossed arms and legs are physical barriers that suggest the other person is not open to what you’re saying. Even if they’re smiling and engaged in a pleasant conversation, their body language tells the story. Gerard I. Nierenberg and Henry H. Calero videotaped more than 2,000 negotiations for a book they wrote on reading body language, and not a single one ended in an agreement when one of the parties had their legs crossed while negotiating. Psychologically, crossed legs or arms signal that a person is mentally, emotionally, and physically blocked off from what’s in front of them. It’s not intentional, which is why it’s so revealing.
  2. Real smiles crinkle the eyes. When it comes to smiling, the mouth can lie but the eyes can’t. Genuine smiles reach the eyes, crinkling the skin to create crow’s feet around them. People often smile to hide what they’re really thinking and feeling, so the next time you want to know if someone’s smile is genuine, look for crinkles at the corners of their eyes. If they aren’t there, that smile is hiding something.
  3. Copying your body language is a good thing. Have you ever been in a meeting with someone and noticed that every time you cross or uncross your legs, they do the same? Or perhaps they lean their head the same way as yours when you’re talking? That’s actually a good sign. Mirroring body language is something we do unconsciously when we feel a bond with the other person. It’s a sign that the conversation is going well and that the other party is receptive to your message. This knowledge can be especially useful when you’re negotiating because it shows you what the other person is really thinking about the deal.
  4. Posture tells the story. Have you ever seen a person walk into a room, and immediately, you just know that they were the person in charge? That effect is largely about body language, and often includes an erect posture, gestures made with the palms facing down, and open and expansive gestures in general. The brain is hardwired to equate power with the amount of space people take up. Standing up straight with your shoulders back is a power position; it appears to maximize the amount of space you fill. Slouching, on the other hand, is the result of collapsing your form; it appears to take up less space and projects less power. Maintaining good posture commands respect and promotes engagement, whether you’re a leader or not.
  5. Eyes that lie. Most of us probably grew up hearing, “Look me in the eye when you talk to me!” Our parents were operating under the assumption that it’s tough to hold someone’s gaze when you’re lying to them, and they were right to an extent. But that’s such common knowledge that people will often deliberately hold eye contact in an attempt to cover up the fact that they’re lying. The problem is that most of them overcompensate and hold eye contact to the point that it feels uncomfortable. On average, Americans hold eye contact for seven to ten seconds, longer when we’re listening than when we’re talking. If you’re talking with someone whose stare is making you squirm—especially if they’re very still and unblinking—something is up and they might be lying you.
  6. Raised eyebrows signal discomfort. There are three main emotions that make your eyebrows go up: surprise, worry, and fear. Try raising your eyebrows when you’re having a relaxed casual conversation with a friend. It’s hard to do, isn’t it? If somebody who is talking to you raises their eyebrows and the topic isn’t one that would logically cause surprise, worry, or fear, there is something else going on.
  7. Exaggerated nodding signals anxiety about approval. When you’re telling someone something and they nod excessively, this means that they are worried about what you think of them or that you doubt their ability to follow your instructions.
  8. A clenched jaw signals stress. A clenched jaw, a tightened neck, or a furrowed brow are all signs of stress. Regardless of what the person is saying, these are signs of considerable discomfort. The conversation might be delving into something they’re anxious about, or their mind might be elsewhere and they’re focusing on the thing that’s stressing them out. The key is to watch for that mismatch between what the person says and what their tense body language is telling you.

The bottom line is that even if you can’t read a person’s exact thoughts, you can learn a lot from their body language, and that’s especially true when words and body language don’t match.

--Adapted from


7 Principles to Lead With Imagination

Imagination is about seeing what others don’t see. In a disruptive world, we need leaders with more imagination. We all have the capacity for imagination and applied it has the power to unlock or fullest potential.

Brian Paradis was the Chief Financial Officer for Florida Hospital when he was tasked with leading the troubled organization in 2006. Plagued with doubt and inexperience, he records his journey in Lead with Imagination, to turn the enterprise around.

Lead with Imagination he writes is about “how to lead and how to do it with imagination. It is first about how to be, about character, before checklists and a list of to-dos.” It’s about “how to release yourself and those you lead from the constraints of the mind’s own making and those of our organizations.”

This is a powerful book. Honest, straightforward, and insightful. The lessons Paradis has learned on his journey, we can learn along with him. He cites a passage from General Gordon Sullivan’s book, Hope Is Not a Method, that is particularly instructive. Sullivan was a primary inheritor of a U.S. Army in shambles after Vietnam.

Below, is a summary of each of Paradis’ seven principles.
  1. Love in All Interactions Love is the foundation, the soil, and the fuel for imagination. Love is both power and powerful. An act, service, or business endeavor done in love universally turns out better. However, love is hard. It is much easier to give in to fear, cynicism, and self-interest than to lead, live, and serve with love. Paradis says love should be our brand, first inside our organizations so that it can radiate outside our organizations to whomever we serve.
  2.  Out of the Comfort Zone: Leaning into Authenticity and Humility. Once you commit to the principle of love, a high hurdle presents itself when leaning into authenticity in your leadership. At the same time, you must become self-aware about the influence your ego casts. Your ego must be managed. There is not a simple formula for this work. The struggle is the heart of this part of the journey to lead with imagination. It is difficult, if not impossible, to move forward effectively without consistency and balance to your words matching your actions. Authenticity and humility build trust.
  3. Chaos, Calm, and A Canvas: Creating the Environment That Matters. A leader’s primary job is to set the stage, not perform on it. If you want to lead with imagination, you must unleash the power, capacity, and energy of the many and release the stranglehold of the few—even if the few includes you. This is creative work. We often use the language of ‘creating culture’; however, we don’t think enough about what those words mean. This is work that involves careful thought and consideration of every decision we make as another brushstroke applies the paint, either moving us toward a performance masterpiece of moving us away from it.
  4. The Act of Fearlessness: Practicing Vulnerability and Right Risk-Taking. Vulnerability is about putting yourself in harm’s potential way, or ‘out there,’ in order to accomplish something. It requires clear and creative action. It exposes you. In that place of exposure, we move from preparing to lead to leading with imagination. First, we take risks personally, then we can begin taking the right risks organizationally. This is where the trifecta of imagination, creativity, and innovation get their solid foothold in what might be described as virtuous momentum.
  5. Tolerating Curiosity. Curiosity starts with questions. Both quality and quantity matter. Asking them is less than half the process. Holding the answer open, suspending judgment, questioning: do we even have the right answer yet? That is the larger half. That is the art. Curiosity is next about pursuing this process within the team, designing the space both physically and psychologically that is safe and collaborative, and tolerating the possible inefficiency of a ‘best idea wins’ mind-set. Far too many times, we stop asking and listening, believing we know the answers and leaving the most important insights undiscovered. Finally, curiosity is about being relentless and disciplined about the process.
  6. The Misunderstanding About Humor. Laughter creates a runway for love to land on, and then take off again. Life is serious, to be sure. Organizations are serious, too, but they are made up of humans. And because of that, humor contributes an essential living element to culture. Humor makes us human. It connects us. It gives us the energy and capacity to handle stress and challenge. It lifts us. If we believe people are our greatest organizational capacity, then infusing humor into an enterprise is a high return on investment and undervalued as a creative and cultural force. Humor opens a pathway to breakthroughs and new insights. It becomes a competitive advantage.
  7. Connecting the Dots: Doing Whatever It Takes. Leadership is hard work. Leading with imagination and leading for results require skill and competence, constant self-evaluation, a servant’s heart, and a relentlessness to get it ‘mostly’ right. It is about asking the important and difficult questions of yourself and of the organization and waiting for the answers. It is about engaging and encouraging what is working and owning and dealing with what is not. It is about finding the way and doing whatever job needs to be done to support the team. It is about continuously and consistently imagining the vision, communicating it, and taking daily action toward it. Benjamin Zander, the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, has described the ‘long line’ or vision of a musical piece. He explains how the ‘line’ is easily lost with too much attention to single notes or short passages. As leaders, it is our constant job to keep bringing our organizations and enterprises back to the long line of the music and connecting the dots back to the big why.

--Adapted from


A Baker's Dozen Quotes From Spirit Means Business

Spirit Means Business: The Way to Prosper Wildly without Selling Your Soul is a terrific book by Alan Cohen. Cohen is the author of 27 popular inspirational books, which this one is one of my favorites. Here are 13 quotes from the book.
  1. You cannot cling to the old and embrace the new.
  2. When your motivation and intention are strong, you do what you need to do because no other option is acceptable.
  3. Everything you do represents your choice
  4. A labor of love is no labor at all.
  5. Thinking out of the box is the first step for getting out of the box. 
  6. If it’s not fun, hire it done.
  7. There are people who would love to do what you hate to do. Let them do what they do best so you can free yourself up to do what you do best.
  8. You can always change your mind. An attitudinal upgrade fulfills you in ways that exterior changes cannot.
  9. There is not always a direct correspondence between the method by which you serve and the channel through which your compensation comes. Live in the grander picture and all of your needs will be taken care of by a hand larger than your own.
  10. You can be taken care of through an infinite number of ways. Providence knows how to find you.
  11. Intention mobilizes life force and ability.
  12. There is no limit to the energy you find when you stay on track with the things you want to do. If you have lots of things you want to do, you will find lots of energy to do them. This is why some people are very productively busy. Other people are very busy but they are exhausted because they are doing things they don’t want to do. Your energy does not depend on how many things you are doing. It depends on how much you value the things you are doing.
  13. Choose activities in which you breathe rather than suffocate. 


A Dozen Takeaways From Think, Learn, Succeed

Think, Learn, Succeed: Understanding and Using Your Mind to Thrive at School, the Workplace, and Life is a book written by Dr. Caroline Leaf. Backed by up-to-date scientific research and practical insight, Dr. Leaf empowers you to take control of your thoughts in order to take control of your life. Dr. Leaf shows you how to combine three powerful tools in order to improve your memory, learning, cognitive and intellectual performance, work performance, physical performance, relationships, and emotional health. Here are ten takeaways from reading the book...
  1. Epigenetics shows that externally driven changes, such as how we think and react to events of life, will influence the behavior of your genes. We are not merely our genes or our biology.
  2. You are the one who has control over your thinking, you wield the power through the way you think, feel, and choose.
  3. We cannot use the same measures that we use to measure the physical world to measure the nonphysical world. 
  4. No two people have the same thoughts about the same event or thing. Everyone’s perceptions differ, each person has the power to create his or her own reality. 
  5. We need to understand who we are because we need to be ourselves, not someone else, to succeed in life. You will make a great you but a lousy someone else. 
  6. Even though we are each wired differently, we are all wired for success.  
  7. Talent is not fixed; it grows and develops with us as we use it.  
  8. Each of us has a true self and each of us also has an adapted self that has been influenced by our environment and circumstances. 
  9. Society as a whole can only progress if we understand that we don’t all have to fit in one particular mold. 
  10. A lot of people are labeled and put in a box when there wasn’t even a box to begin with. 
  11. We need to learn to savor the pleasure of now and not just marinate in the misery of the past or imagine that the grass will be greener in the future.
  12. The words you speak are electromagnetic and quantum life forces come from thoughts inside your brain, which you build into your mind by thinking, feeling, and choosing over time.

10 Thoughts Worth Thinking

  1. We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come. 
  2. Don’t live life in the past lane.
  3. When your discomfort with the status quo outweighs your fear of making a change, you will move ahead and be grateful for the motion bestowed by divine discontent.
  4. Intuition will tell the thinking mind where to look next. 
  5. Let the world know you as you are, not as you think you should be.
  6. Don’t say you desire authenticity from people and then criticize them for being themselves or fault them for failing to cater to what your idea of normal is.
  7. Poor is the man whose pleasures depend on the permission of another.
  8. The fear of being criticized keeps most people from asking questions, trying new things, and expressing themselves freely. 
  9. I was wise enough never to grow up while fooling people into believing I had.--Margaret Mead 
  10. If your morals make you dreary, depend on it, they are wrong. I do not say give them up, for they may be all you have. But conceal them like a vice, lest they spoil the lives of better and simpler people. --Robert Louis Stevenson

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Three Leadership Myths

Myth – Leaders must have followers.

If you are a leader, expecting people to follow (instead of collaborating with you) may have stopped you from tapping their true potential. We need more of the leading and collaborating model instead of leading and following one.
Myth – A team is a group of people with a shared goal.

A shared goal does not turn a group into a team. A team is people who together adapt, grow, and change to reach common goals and a shared success. Without stating what you expect of a team you will experience the same old struggles in teamwork.

Myth – Morale just happens. You can’t lead it.

Bad morale happens when you don’t lead morale. If you’re not leading morale, you’re not leading anyone. Leading morale is all about dignity.

--Adapted from

Feeling Good

In times like these, we all could use a little humor so this week's report is a tale from Dan Spainhour's book Leading Narratives...

A 65-year-old woman is naked, jumping up and down on her bed laughing and singing. Her husband walks into the bedroom and sees her. He watches her a while then says, “You look ridiculous, what on earth are you doing?” She says, “I just got my checkup and my doctor says I have the breasts of an eighteen-year-old.”

She starts laughing and jumping again. He says, “Yeah, right. And what did he say about your 65-year-old ass?”

She says, “Well, your name never came up.”

Moral?--Off-handed remarks often come back at you!

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Learning From Leonard

Leonard Hamilton is the winningest coach in Florida State Seminoles history, Hamilton has more ACC wins than just four others in the league’s long history--you might have heard of the others--Mike Krzyzewski, Dean Smith, Roy Williams, and Gary Williams. Hamilton at age 71 who was a finalist for the Naismith National Coach of the Year is finally beginning to be recognized as one of the top leaders in college basketball. Here are a few of his thoughts.

On the ACC & NCAA tournament getting canceled due to the coronavirus...

Our players were disappointed, but we handled it like we do all situations that aren’t always pleasant: we tried to handle it with maturity. There are sacrifices in life that we all have to deal with. This is a very serious situation. This is not about basketball, it’s not about fun or enjoyment or the pleasure of the moment; it’s about saving lives. This is not a time to wallow in self-pity. I told my players that if this [not getting to play in the NCAA Tournament] is the worst thing that happens in your life, then you’re going to have a pretty good life.

On his program...

I’m very proud of our team and the unity and togetherness and culture we’ve been able to develop — and the buy-in and belief in a system that is different than what most people are using. In this day and time of quick gratification when everybody in America wants to be one-and-done and there’s pressure to score a lot of points and take a lot of shots and play a lot of minutes, our guys believe and trust in our system.

On what keeps him young and inspired...

I’m a man of faith and I don’t worry about a whole lot. God blesses us all with a certain amount of ability, and I work as hard as I can every day to utilize the gifts and the talents God has given me. If you do that, there’s no need to stress. You’re as young as your faith and as old as your doubt.

On his legacy...

When I hang up my whistle, I want to look back and see what kind of neighbors, husbands, fathers, citizens these guys have become. What are they doing with their lives? Yes, I want to win basketball games, but if that’s all we have done then how are we going to look at ourselves in the mirror and feel we have fulfilled our obligation as coaches?

Florida State associate head coach Stan Jones, who has worked beside Hamilton for 24 years on Coach Hamilton...

He’s the mother hen of all mother hens of college coaches. He cares nothing about the spotlight, he cares nothing about getting accolades, he couldn’t tell you his overall record. He doesn’t think in those terms. When he first got the job here, his wife made him bring down the NCAA watches and championships rings he got at Kentucky, and the Coach of the Year awards and display them in the cabinet. He didn’t even know what boxes they were in. I tell every parent during the recruiting process, ‘Your son may not come play for us, but within five minutes of talking to Coach, you’ll feel very confident that you can trust him with your child.'

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Leaders Need A Leadership Mindset

If you’re in a leadership position, you got there because of a set of skills and abilities. You did great work and got promoted, or you took off with an entrepreneurial idea, and at some point, you became the leader, the boss, the manager, the one in charge.

But as the old saying goes, what got you here isn’t going to keep you here. If you are in any leadership position, it’s essential that you learn and adopt a leadership mindset if you want to succeed. Here are the six key components for developing a leadership mindset:

A leader is only a leader if they have followers. Remember, you’re only a leader if you have followers, and to be a successful leader means getting others to buy into your vision and mission. If people don’t feel motivated or inspired by what you’re doing, they’re not likely to follow you or trust you. Make sure to connect and engage those you lead, and help them find meaning in what you are doing.

Even if you are in charge, you are not the authority. You may be the person in charge, but that doesn’t mean you should try to do everything yourself and make it happen on your own. A successful leadership mindset is about delegating authority—not just tasks—to the right people to get the job done.

Navigate people instead of trying to fix them. Most new leaders think they have to come and immediately begin solving problems and fixing situations. Instead, consider it your job to make sure the people on your team have everything they need to do their job. The mindset of successful leaders is to navigate people, not to try to fix them.

Stand with your people, don’t lead them from the front:  Many leaders think they need to stay ahead of their people. But a leader’s proper place is standing right beside them, supporting them. Be in the foxhole with those you lead and they will follow you through the trenches.

Coach and praise people publicly but criticize privately. In the moment, it’s easy to unthinkingly criticize people in front of others, but the effects are detrimental—and lasting. Successful leaders know they need to serve as a coach or guide, to praise people out loud and reserve critical feedback for a private talk.

Communicate with clarity so people aren’t in obscurity. Communication is at the heart of great leadership. Some leaders are unnecessarily secretive, and others think they’re doing a great job of communicating in spite of evidence to the contrary. The best leaders cultivate the skills and the mindset they need to ensure clear, constant, consistent communication because they know it’s the key to getting the results they want and building the trust that makes a strong team.

Lead from within. A leader with the right mindset can go far and achieve great success. Do you have a leadership mindset?

--Adapted from

Leadership In Times Of Crisis

One month ago, there is no one could have predicted the world we now know. The real test of leadership does not occur when everything is smooth sailing. Rather, leadership is oftentimes tested during a crisis. The way a leader behaves and acts during a crisis will establish their credentials as a good leader or a poor one.

That being said, there’s no handy manual out there that can guide a leader through a crisis. This is because while there can be certain protocols in place that prevent a crisis from happening, each new crisis is unique in its own way, with its own problems and quirks and will require a different approach from the one used before.

Very often, the unpredictable nature of crises means that leaders have no time to prepare. It is very much a do or be destroyed situation. Additionally, there’s no telling how long a crisis will take to blow over. The time period can range from a day or two to over a few years.

When the BP oil spill occurred in Mexico in 2011, it was both a human tragedy and an environmental one. 11 workers had lost their lives and thousands of gallons of oil were continually being discharged into water. One could term this crisis as catastrophic. And yet, the response of the then-CEO Tony Howard was found to be very lacking. In fact, it further hurt the organization’s credibility.

If you think back to Enron, everyone at the most senior levels of leadership were so embroiled in scandal and wrongdoing that despite the then-CEO Kenneth Lay’s many assurances that Enron would pull through, it just wasn’t enough to save the company.

On the other hand, Ford’s dramatic turnaround following the financial crisis of 2007-2008 establishes how a good leader can make or break a company. Following the financial crisis, Ford was close to declaring bankruptcy. It was what the industry insiders expected the automotive giant would do. But, what made the difference was a change in leadership. After he came on board in 2006, Alan Mulally led Ford through some of its most tumultuous years, eventually helping the automotive giant post profits, instead of staggering losses. By the time he retired in 2014, Ford had once again regained its former glory and standing within the industry.

The above three examples show that leaders have the ability to sink an organization faster than a ship with a leak or literally lift an organization from the ashes. A quick search will reveal many success stories or failures during the time of crisis. But instead of dwelling on the end result, we can instead focus on a few key takeaways such as how not to respond during a crisis.

Project honesty and confidence. This is one of the most important things a leader needs to do, especially in times of crisis. During a crisis, everybody looks to a leader for the next step or for reassurance. If a leader projects fear and unease, that unease transmits to everyone else, much like a contagious disease. This is why is absolutely necessary for leaders to look like they are masters of the situation. But confidence is not the only thing leaders need to display. Honesty is key as well. While the urge to state that ‘everything is going to be fine’ is going to be overwhelming, it is important for leaders to be realistic. They need to tread a fine balance when stating the magnitude of a situation.

Decisive and adaptable. There are a few situations where leaders are supposed to make quick decisions or hard decisions. A crisis is one of them. Leaders need to be able to make decisions on the fly, and in some cases, they might need to make the hard decisions, the ones they know are not going to win them any points. There is no time to dally or even ponder the pros and cons of a decision at a leisurely pace. Leaders who take action, who are decisive and who are open to adapting their decisions to suit the needs of a situation are going to have more success weathering a crisis than a leader who chooses to wait and wait and not take action.

Control the chaos. In an immediate crisis, a work environment can very quickly devolve chaos because of all the emotions running high, with stress and fear being at the forefront. It is imperative for a leader to take control and stop the panic from spreading. In fact, this is often the first thing a leader has to do when news of a crisis breaks. This might involve quickly delegating tasks or simply bringing a room to order. Either way, it is only possible to begin a crisis action plan if everyone involved is focused and determined to complete the task on hand.

Exercise caution. A crisis is not an excuse to throw caution to the wind, and risk it all. Instead, leaders have to be not only quick but also measured. This is a case of quickly evaluating all the facts at hand and then making a calculated decision about what would be the best course of action. While this might seem like an impossible task, in actuality, this is a habit that can be cultivated over a period of time. The alertness of mind is a valuable skill for leaders to have as it is especially handy during times of a crisis.

Stay positive. This is one of those things that is easier said than done. After all, how does one stay positive when everything that could possibly go wrong is happening? This is not to say that leaders have to be blindly optimistic even when the outcome seems to state otherwise. However, it is important to keep a game face on until the worst of the crisis has passed. This is because once insecurity finds a way, it very quickly morphs into crippling self-doubt. And this can prevent leaders from making the hard choices that they have to.

Even with these tips, it is almost impossible to be prepared for a crisis. And many crises cannot be avoided. The most important thing to remember is that all crises do pass. When a crisis occurs, don’t ignore it or avoid it. Instead, tackle it head-on, and use it as a stepping stone to enact change. A crisis is always an opportunity to acknowledge responsibility, take ownership and do better.

--Adapted from