I remember listening to Earl Nightingale when I was a kid. I loved his “Our Changing World” radio show. He had such a great voice and told such great stories. He explained how to achieve what you want in life; he called it “The 30 day Test."
Here is an example of his common sense approach to life and success from 1956…
“I want you to make a test that will last 30 days. It isn’t going to be easy. If you will give it a good try, it will completely change your life for the better. First, I want you to write on a card what it is you want more than anything else. Make sure it is a single goal and clearly defined.
“You needn’t show it to anyone, but carry it with you so that you can look at it several times a day. Think about it in a cheerful, relaxed, positive way each morning when you get up and immediately you have something to work for, something to get out of bed for, something to live for. Look at it every chance you get during the day and just before going to bed at night. As you look at it, remember that you must become what you think about, and since you’re thinking about your goal, you will realize that soon it will be yours.
“Each time a fearful or negative thought comes into your consciousness, replace it with a mental picture of your positive and worthwhile goal.
“For 30 days, you must take control of your mind. It will think only about what you permit it to think. Each day for this 30 day test, do more that you have to do. In addition to maintaining a cheerful, positive outlook, give of yourself more than you’ve ever done before. Do this knowing that your returns in life must be in direct proportion to what you give.”
I love this advice because it comes in two parts. 1) Visualize your goal. 2) Work really hard to achieve it. Too many people are great at the visualizing part and not so great at the hard work part. You need both – and probably more hard work – if you are to succeed. Earl Nightingale got it. I hope you do too.
The common sense point here is simple. Successful people are outstanding performers. Outstanding performance is one of the keys to personal and professional success that I discuss in Straight Talk for Success. Outstanding performers set and achieve high goals. Good goals are very specific and measureable. They focus on a single accomplishment. Your goals should become part of you. Carry them around with you. Think about them first thing in the morning, last thing at night and several times during the day.
Thinking about your goals will help motivate you to put in the time and effort to reach them. A well stated goal is a great start, but it’s hard work that will ultimately result in achieving your goals. There are no two ways about it. You have to do the work if you want to achieve your goals.
That’s my take on Earl Nightingale’s 30 Day challenge. What’s yours? Please leave a comment sharing your thoughts with us. As always, you have my deepest and most sincere thanks for reading.
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The other day, I read an online newsletter written by Sharon Melnick. She made several interesting points about confidence.
• Confidence with help you be flexible. You will consider all alternatives and options.
• Confidence will help you follow through on ideas that you might otherwise talk yourself out of.
• Confidence will help you be persistent – and hold on you your vision for your life.
She’s right. Confidence is the foundation of all success. Without it, you will have a difficult time succeeding. You have to be optimistic, face down your fears by taking action and surround yourself with positive people
Elbert Hubbard, the author of “A Message to Garcia”, wrote one of the best essays on personal responsibility ever written. He has some great things to say about facing your fears.
“The greatest mistake you can make is continually fearing that you will make one.”
Read that again. Those 14 words are powerful!
If you let your fear of making a mistake stop you from taking action, you will never take any action and your fear will ruin your life and chances of success.
In 1988 I was ready to start my coaching, consulting and speaking business. I was afraid. I was worried that I wouldn’t succeed. I had always worked for large companies. I wasn’t sure I knew exactly what to do to run a successful business. Nevertheless, I looked my fear in the eye, quit my job and moved forward. 21 years later, I’m still at it.
Fear is persistent. It doesn’t go away. It will wait for one of your weak moments and then it will strike. If you let it get the best of you, you’ll never move forward.
Fear most often manifests itself in procrastination. When I find myself procrastinating, I always ask myself, “What are you afraid of here, Bud?” Identifying my fear always help me defeat it. Once I identify what I am afraid of, I can take positive steps to move forward through my fear and on to success.
Make a list of your doubts and fears. Decide what you can do to overcome them. Then act. Take at least one positive action – not matter how small -- every day to overcome your doubts and fears. Even if these actions don’t work out as well as you hope, you will be on the road to overcoming your fears.
Remember procrastination feeds fear. Action cures fear. The choice is up to you. I choose action.
The common sense point here is simple. Successful people are self confident. Self confident people don’t let their fears get in the way of their success. They identify their fears, and then they take specific actions designed to help them move past them. Action is the great antidote to fear. It puts inertia on your side. Once you are moving forward, you are likely to continue moving forward. It’s the first step that is the hardest – and scariest. If you want to beat your fears, you need to take the first step, and then keep on going.
Self confidence is one of the keys to personal and professional success that I discuss in Straight Talk for Success. If you want to become self confident you need to do three things. 1) Become an optimist. 2) Face your fears and act. 3) Surround yourself with positive people.
That’s my take on fear and self confidence. What’s yours? Please leave a comment sharing your thoughts. Also, please share your personal stories of triumph over fear. As always, thanks for reading.
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Interpersonally competent people have strong characters. Chris Peterson and Martin Seligman have developed a list of 24 character strengths that they say “exist and are valued in cultures around the globe.” In other words, these are universal character strengths. They call their framework the VIA (Values in Action) Classification of Strengths and Virtues. Take a look…
Strengths of Knowledge – Related to acquiring and using new information
• Love of learning
• Perspective (wisdom)
Strengths of Courage – Related to maintaining will power in the face of opposition
Strengths of Humanity – Centered on relationships with others
• The capacity to love and receive love
• Social intelligence
Strengths of Justice – Supporting the best possible interaction among a group
Strengths of Temperance – Those that protect from excess
Strengths of Transcendence – Those that form connections with a larger whole
• Appreciation of excellence and beauty
This is a very interesting list – and a great guide to interpersonal competence. If you embody these 24 strengths you are likely to be able to build solid lasting relationships.
In which of these are you strong? In which of these do you need some work?
Here are my top three strengths:
On the other hand, I need to work on these three:
How about you?
The common sense point here is simple. Successful people are interpersonally competent. Interpersonally competent people understand themselves. If you’re wondering how to better understand yourself, the Values in Action Classification of Strengths and Virtues is a great place to start. Take out a sheet of paper list the 24 strengths – Creativity, Curiosity, Love of Learning, Perspective, Open-mindedness, Bravery, Persistence, Integrity, Vitality, Capacity to Love, Kindness, Social Intelligence, Citizenship, Fairness, Leadership, Forgiveness, Modesty, Prudence, Self-regulation, Appreciation of Excellence and Beauty, Gratitude, Hope, Humor, Spirituality -- down the side.
Create three columns:
1) A real strength for me.
2) I’m OK at this.
3) I need to work on this.
Put each of the 24 strengths into one of the three columns. Use your strengths to help you build relationships. Work on making those in which you are just OK a strength, and on those on which you need to work to the point where you are OK.
That’s my take on the Values In Action Classification of Strengths and Virtues and how you can use it to become more interpersonally competent. What’s yours? Please leave a comment sharing your thoughts. Better yet share your top and bottom three as I have done above. As always, thanks for reading.
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"You can have everything you want in life if you will just help enough other people get what they want." Zig Ziglar
Dan Robey is a friend. He is also the author of a great book, The Power of Positive Habits. Dan really captures the essence of relationship building. Dan is an abundance kind of guy. He was more than happy to allow me to post his thoughts here:
I have a saying that goes like this: "There are over 6 Billion People on this planet and I can learn something new from EVERY ONE OF THE THEM." It is a true statement, you can learn something new from everyone on the planet...but only if you put forth the effort.
I travel a lot, and I have made it a habit to try and get to know the people I come in contact with, if only for a few minutes. Remember, these people are all perfect strangers to me.
Here are some examples.
I fly to Charlotte a lot to oversee construction of a home in the mountains. I take the same flight every time and rent a car from the same company.
When I get to the airport I check my bags with the same baggage clerks and ask them how they are doing. I look at their name tags and address them with their first name, "You guys look busy today John." It is amazing how just mentioning their name can bring a smile.
"John, how long have you worked here...what is the funniest thing that ever happened to someone's luggage?" You would be surprised at the incredible stories that people have about their jobs. These stories are seldom heard, you see most people are in a hurry and just want to check their bags and go.
You will hear them if you ask them to tell you their stories. Their eyes will light up as they tell them, and they will smile and so will you. Both of your days just got a little better.
I always leave a nice tip, most service people are underpaid and overworked. When I get to Charlotte I take the same shuttle to Dollar rental car. I hand the shuttle driver a $5 dollar bill as he helps me with my bag. I notice that most people do not tip him at all.
I talk to the shuttle driver and find out that he is from Egypt, he works 7 days a week until he has enough money and vacation time to go back to Egypt and visit his family. He has no days off, he has a very hard life. Had I never taken the time to talk with him I would never have known about his life, I would have just handed him my bags and gotten on and off the bus quietly like all the other people.
But now, I know his name, and each time I see him working the shuttle bus route I always inquire as to when he will be heading back to Egypt for a visit...that makes him happy...a perfect stranger cares about his life.
When he drops me off at the rental counter I say hi to the agent of the day. I call her by her first name because I have taken the time to learn their names and more about their lives. I ask her how she is doing.
Do you get where I am going with this?
I make it a habit to get to know perfect strangers, I always greet them with a smile and show sincere interest in "THEIR" life. People love it when you inquire about their lives, it makes them happy.
Think about how many opportunities you have every day to make people happy, to ask strangers about their lives, their dreams. You will find that you will walk away feeling better about yourself for making them happier.
Henry Ford once said, "If there is one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person's point of view, and see things from that person's angle, as well as from your own."
That is a very powerful statement. Notice that he says this is one "secret to success." Try to make it a habit to listen to people very carefully and then put yourself in their shoes. Try to imagine how they feel, what their needs are, and then think of ways you can help them meet those needs.
Make it a habit to greet people with a smile and show sincere interest in their lives, call them by their first names, get to know them, your life will be deeply enriched.
Oh by the way, I forgot to mention a few of the fringe benefits of this habit. I always get upgraded to the nicer rental car, I get the best service at the restaurants I go to, I am almost always met with a smile and a "Hi Dan how are you doing?"
You see, when you have friends all over the world, your friends feel good about taking care of you. This is just one of the fringe benefits you get when you are kind to complete strangers and have a sincere interest in their lives.
The common sense point here is simple. Successful people are interpersonally competent. Interpersonally competent people are good at building relationships – not just with people who can help them, but with all of the people with whom they come into contact regularly. Be like Dan Robey, befriend as many people as you can. Take a few minutes to smile and engage others in conversation. Show a genuine interest in them. You’ll make their day, and you’ll be practicing the skills necessary to become interpersonally competent. It’s a win-win.
Interpersonal competence is one of the keys to personal and professional success that I discuss in Straight Talk for Success. If you want to become interpersonally competent, you need to do three things. 1) Get to know yourself, use this knowledge to better understand others. 2) Build relationships with the people in your life. 3) Resolve conflict in a manner that enhances, not detracts, from your relationships.
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