The continuing education of a leader.

January 14th, 2011

You don’t have to go to Harvard Business School to reap the benefits of continuing education in personal effectiveness or leadership development. All you have to do is sign up for the Harvard Business Review Daily Alert email. Or, you can bookmark the Harvard Business Review Blog Network to read whenever you feel the need for a little inspiration. I assure you the reading will be energizing.

Just take a look at this list of the HRB’s 10 most popular posts of 2010:

  1. Six Keys to Being Excellent at Anything
    Tony Schwartz of the Energy Project reports on what he’s learned about top performance.
  2. 12 Things Good Bosses Believe
    Robert Sutton, author of Good Boss, Bad Boss, ponders what makes some bosses great.
  3. How (and Why) to Stop Multitasking
    Peter Bregman learns how to do one thing at a time.
  4. Why I Returned My iPad
    Here, Bregman finds a novel way to treat a device that’s “too good.”
  5. The Best Cover Letter I Ever Received
    Although David Silverman published this with us in 2009, it remained extremely timely this year.
  6. How to Give Your Boss Feedback
    Amy Gallo reports on the best ways to help your boss and improve your working relationship.
  7. You’ve Made a Mistake. Now What?
    We all screw up at work. Gallo explains what to do next.
  8. Define Your Personal Leadership Brand
    Norm Smallwood of the RBL Group gives tips on how to convey your identity and distinctiveness as a leader.
  9. Why Companies Should Insist that Employees Take Naps
    Tony Schwartz makes the case for naps as competitive advantage.
  10. Six Social Media Trends for 2011
    David Armano of Edelman Digital ends the year by predicting our social media future.

My personal favorite was the eighth most popular. But for whichever catches your eye first, there’s surely something there that will get you thinking about the future you want for yourself.

The leadership of your mind.

January 7th, 2011

We’re a full week into 2011. And with resolutions or goals for the year written down, I’d venture to say we’re all focused on success. It feels good to think ahead, anticipating those feelings of satisfaction and fulfillment that come with expected achievement and growth. In other words, as you think, so you feel.

Now, as you look over the list of things you want to do this year, I wonder if it includes also feelings and attitudes. If not, here are some suggestions* for your work-in-progress list:

1.     I will approve of myself, my characteristics, my abilities, my tendencies, and my likes and dislikes, realizing that these form my unique individuality. I have them for a reason.

2.     I will approve of and rejoice in my accomplishments, and I will be as vigorous in listing these – and as rigorous in remembering them – as I have ever been in remembering and enumerating my failures or lacks of accomplishment.

3.     I will remember the tremendous energy and potential that lies within me to create that which I can imagine for myself.

4.     I will realize that my professional future is a probability. In terms of everyday experiences, nothing exists there yet. It is virgin territory, planted by my feelings and thoughts in the present. Therefore I will plant accomplishments and successes, and I will do this by focusing on how I want and expect the future to be for me.

Whether it’s a new year, a new month, a new week, or a new day, you get to choose what you’re focused on. So, go ahead. Have some fun thinking, creating, growing, becoming more, succeeding.

“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve.” —Napoleon Hill

*This list is adapted from one given to Jane Roberts and Robert Butts by Seth on New Year’s Day, 1979.

How to get a job like Steve Jobs.

December 31st, 2010

A new year is a good time to think about commencement. So today, on the eve of 2011, I want to share with you Steve Jobs’ commencement address to Stanford University’s graduating class of 2005.

Jobs shares three stories from his life, and I think you’ll agree they inspire indeed. Here, from each story, is the advice I believe can be appreciated and applied at anytime in one’s life.

“You have to trust in something: Your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well-worn path. And that will make all the difference.”

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking and don’t settle. You’ll know when you find it.”

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And, most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

So you have a list of New Year’s Resolutions, I’d like to suggest you re-title it New Year’s Goals. Think about what you love to do. Focus on what you want to accomplish and why. Anticipate how great you’ll feel when you achieve it.  And by all means, commence.

I believe your career, your future, your power rests always in the present moment. And that’s worth celebrating. Happy New Right Now!

A page-turner holiday treat.

December 17th, 2010

The book that last year triggered millions of Google searches for noetic sciences and string theory is out in paperback. It’s Dan Brown’s novel The Lost Symbol.  And I’m excited about it. I figure that if the hardcover edition sold more than a million copies in the first 24 hours of its release, the new paperback edition means millions more will be exposed to the book’s facts on sciences that explore the untapped potential of the human mind.

In his page before the prologue, Brown notes that all organizations in the novel exist, and that all of the science referred to is real. The organizations include the Smithsonian Museum Support Center, and the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS). Interestingly, it turns out that Brown first learned of IONS when he and IONS president/CEO Marilyn Mandala Schlitz were seated next to each other on an airplane. It must have been on a long flight, because in the book it’s Robert Langdon’s sleuth accomplice, scientist Kathleen Solomon, who’s working on the same experiments as those conducted at IONS.

I read “The Lost Symbol” book last year. After 15 pages, I grabbed a pack of sticky tabs so I could mark all the pages that referred to the science experiments conducted at IONS in California and the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research Lab (PEAR). Experiments that had proven focused human thought had the ability to affect and change physical mass. (See my post dated 8/6/10 on focusing our energy.)

The setting this time around is Washington D.C., and the historical facts in this book are fascinating, too. If you’ve read it, or when you do read it, I hope you’ll let me know. I’d love to chew on the sciences presented with you. And, lastly, if you’re wondering if “The Lost Symbol” is as good as “The Da Vinci Code,” I’d say it’s better.

Desire is a good start.

December 10th, 2010

I think there’s something to be gained from Kevin Spacey’s thoughts on what it takes to be successful in this two-minute clip from “Inside the Actor’s Studio.” Just another reason for me to be a fan.