10 Things Extraordinary People Say Every Day

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10 Things Extraordinary People Say Every Day

They’re small things, but each has the power to dramatically change someone’s day. Including yours.


Want to make a huge difference in someone’s life? Here are things you should say every day to your employees, colleagues, family members, friends, and everyone you care about:

“Here’s what I’m thinking.”

You’re in charge, but that doesn’t mean you’re smarter, savvier, or more insightful than everyone else. Back up your statements and decisions. Give reasons. Justify with logic, not with position or authority.

Though taking the time to explain your decisions opens those decisions up to discussion or criticism, it also opens up your decisions to improvement.

Authority can make you “right,” but collaboration makes everyone right–and makes everyone pull together.

“I was wrong.”

I once came up with what I thought was an awesome plan to improve overall productivity by moving a crew to a different shift on an open production line. The inconvenience to the crew was considerable, but the payoff seemed worth it. On paper, it was perfect.

In practice, it wasn’t.

So, a few weeks later, I met with the crew and said, “I know you didn’t think this would work, and you were right. I was wrong. Let’s move you back to your original shift.”

I felt terrible. I felt stupid. I was sure I’d lost any respect they had for me.

It turns out I was wrong about that, too. Later one employee said, “I didn’t really know you, but the fact you were willing to admit you were wrong told me everything I needed to know.”

When you’re wrong, say you’re wrong. You won’t lose respect–you’ll gain it.

“That was awesome.”

No one gets enough praise. No one. Pick someone–pick anyone–who does or did something well and say, “Wow, that was great how you…”

And feel free to go back in time. Saying “Earlier, I was thinking about how you handled that employee issue last month…” can make just as positive an impact today as it would have then. (It could even make a bigger impact, because it shows you still remember what happened last month, and you still think about it.)

Praise is a gift that costs the giver nothing but is priceless to the recipient. Start praising. The people around you will love you for it–and you’ll like yourself a little better, too.

“You’re welcome.”

Think about a time you gave a gift and the recipient seemed uncomfortable or awkward. Their reaction took away a little of the fun for you, right?

The same thing can happen when you are thanked or complimented or praised. Don’t spoil the moment or the fun for the other person. The spotlight may make you feel uneasy or insecure, but all you have to do is make eye contact and say, “Thank you.” Or make eye contact and say, “You’re welcome. I was glad to do it.”

Don’t let thanks, congratulations, or praise be all about you. Make it about the other person, too.

“Can you help me?”

When you need help, regardless of the type of help you need or the person you need it from, just say, sincerely and humbly, “Can you help me?”

I promise you’ll get help. And in the process you’ll show vulnerability, respect, and a willingness to listen–which, by the way, are all qualities of a great leader.

And are all qualities of a great friend.

“I’m sorry.”

We all make mistakes, so we all have things we need to apologize for: words, actions, omissions, failing to step up, step in, show support…


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Servant First, Leader Second

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Servant First, Leader Second

More people talk about servant leadership than really understand it–or have the humility to practice it. When is the last time you acted as a servant to your team?

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“I humbly serve as a guardian to my fellow Americans always ready to defend those who are unable to defend themselves.” — Navy SEAL Creed

Servant leadership. That’s a concept that comes easily to a Navy SEAL, because a SEAL is trained to lead and to follow. Team leaders are strong and bold, and have the ability to make hard decisions under the most extreme conditions imaginable. But they also encourage their team members to step up, share the power, and not hesitate to take care of business without waiting for further instruction.

Servant leaders are not afraid to share the power. They want their teams to make independent decisions and keep moving forward until they feel they need assistance. As leaders, our job is to encourage and support team members in order to help them unleash their full potential. Let them do their jobs. They most likely can do it better than you. That’s why you hired them, right?

Here are four tips for becoming a better servant leader:

  1. Stop talking and listen.  This has been said time and time again, but part of being a good communicator is being an active listener. And, a large part of being a successful servant leader is putting the needs of others first. So, listen to what your team is saying. You don’t need to be prescriptive. Just listen, and only give guidance when the time is right.
  2. Increase your awareness. Situational awareness is essential to making good decisions. Have a keen understanding of the current reality and communicate it to your team. In addition, it is important to have great self-awareness. This is probably the most difficult challenge for a CEO, because leaders rarely want to acknowledge their faults. By doing so, we can make adjustments and better serve our teams.
  3. Start conceptualizing. All too often we get so caught up in the day-to-day minutia of running the business that we lose site of our ultimate goals. This is where delegation comes in. Let your people do their jobs, so you can be freed up to focus on both short-term and long-term operating goals. Stop working so much in the business, and start working more on the business.


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Change Your Ways? 3 Things You Must Do First

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Change Your Ways? 3 Things You Must Do First

Even for the most seasoned leader, change is possible. Just sit down and have a frank conversation with yourself. Here’s how to start.


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There’s an old saying that a leopard can’t change its spots. It means that people can’t change their inner nature. Since it comes from the bible and is still around to this day, this bit of conventional wisdom has clearly stood the test of time. The only problem is that it isn’t true. Not even close.

Every successful executive and business leader I know has had to face his limitations and make big changes at least once during his career.

Don’t get me wrong; it isn’t easy. But make no mistake. People can and do change. And I mean real behavioral change, the kind that makes people say, “It’s like she’s a different person,” and actually mean it. Here’s how it works.

Three basic biological functions determine your behavior. You’re born with DNA; you learn and develop neural pathways through experience; and your behavior is chemically reinforced by neurotransmitters like Dopamine and Serotonin. It’s all very complicated.

What isn’t complicated is this. You start out life with nearly a clean slate and pretty much anything you do after that is reversible, under certain conditions:

You have to feel the need to change.

The other day I was discussing the shortcomings of a certain high-profile CEO with a colleague of mine who opined, “One has to want to change.”

If only it was that easy.

Most behavioral characteristics you’d want to change, like the career limiting or self-destructive variety, are created in response to adversity, crisis or trauma when we’re young. They’re designed to manipulate our environment and keep us safe, and they’re reinforced countless times throughout our lives.

Unfortunately, what works for children doesn’t work so well in the adult world. Sooner or later, our issues get us into trouble.

Steve Jobs once talked about the devastating loss of being ousted from Apple, an event that was influenced by his toxic management style. “I didn’t see it then,” Jobs said, “but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. It was awful-tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it.”

Getting fired from the company he loved was a crisis for Jobs. And he responded by addressing the issues that caused it. He changed, not because he wanted to, but because he felt he needed to. Had the crisis never occurred, that wouldn’t have happened.


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8 Things Remarkably Successful People Do

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8 Things Remarkably Successful People Do

The most successful people in business work differently. See what they do–and why it works.

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I’m fortunate to know a number of remarkably successful people. I’ve described howthese people share a set of specific perspectives and beliefs.

They also share a number of habits:

1. They don’t create back-up plans.

Back-up plans can help you sleep easier at night. Back-up plans can also create an easy out when times get tough.

You’ll work a lot harder and a lot longer if your primary plan simply has to work because there is no other option. Total commitment–without a safety net–will spur you to work harder than you ever imagined possible.

If somehow the worst does happen (and the “worst” is never as bad as you think) trust that you will find a way to rebound. As long as you keep working hard and keep learning from your mistakes, you always will.

2. They do the work…

You can be good with a little effort. You can be really good with a little more effort.

But you can’t be great–at anything–unless you put in an incredible amount of focused effort.

Scratch the surface of any person with rare skills and you’ll find a person who has put thousands of hours of effort into developing those skills.

There are no shortcuts. There are no overnight successes. Everyone has heard about the 10,000 hours principle but no one follows it… except remarkably successful people.

So start doing the work now. Time is wasting.

3.  …and they work a lot more.

Forget the Sheryl Sandberg “I leave every day at 5:30” stories. I’m sure she does. But she’s not you.

Every extremely successful entrepreneur I know (personally) works more hours than the average person–a lot more. They have long lists of things they want to get done. So they have to put in lots of time.

Better yet, they want to put in lots of time.

If you don’t embrace a workload others would consider crazy then your goal doesn’t mean that much to you–or it’s not particularly difficult to achieve. Either way you won’t be remarkably successful.

4. They avoid the crowds.

Conventional wisdom yields conventional results. Joining the crowd–no matter how trendy the crowd or “hot” the opportunity–is a recipe for mediocrity.

Remarkably successful people habitually do what other people won’t do. They go where others won’t go because there’s a lot less competition and a much greater chance for success.

5. They start at the end…

Average success is often based on setting average goals.

Decide what you really want: to be the best, the fastest, the cheapest, the biggest, whatever. Aim for the ultimate. Decide where you want to end up. That is your goal.

Then you can work backwards and lay out every step along the way.

Never start small where goals are concerned. You’ll make better decisions–and find it much easier to work a lot harder–when your ultimate goal is ultimate success.

6. … and they don’t stop there.

Achieving a goal–no matter how huge–isn’t the finish line for highly successful people. Achieving one huge goal just creates a launching pad for achieving another huge goal.

Maybe you want to create a $100 million business; once you do you can leverage your contacts and influence to create a charitable foundation for a cause you believe in. Then your business and humanitarian success can create a platform for speaking, writing, and thought leadership. Then…

The process of becoming remarkably successful in one field will give you the skills and network to be remarkably successful in many other fields.

Remarkably successful people don’t try to win just one race. They expect and plan to win a number of subsequent races.

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NBC, Inc – 9 Daily Habits That Will Make You Happier

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9 Daily Habits That Will Make You Happier

These minor changes in your daily routine will make a major difference in your life and career.


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Happiness is the only true measure of personal success. Making other people happy is the highest expression of success, but it’s almost impossible to make others happy if you’re not happy yourself.

With that in mind, here are nine small changes that you can make to your daily routine that, if you’re like most people, will immediately increase the amount of happiness in your life:

1. Start each day with expectation.

If there’s any big truth about life, it’s that it usually lives up to (or down to) your expectations. Therefore, when you rise from bed, make your first thought: “something wonderful is going to happen today.” Guess what? You’re probably right.

2. Take time to plan and prioritize.

The most common source of stress is the perception that you’ve got too much work to do.  Rather than obsess about it, pick one thing that, if you get it done today, will move you closer to your highest goal and purpose in life. Then do that first.

3. Give a gift to everyone you meet.

I’m not talking about a formal, wrapped-up present. Your gift can be your smile, a word of thanks or encouragement, a gesture of politeness, even a friendly nod. And never pass beggars without leaving them something. Peace of mind is worth the spare change.

4. Deflect partisan conversations.

Arguments about politics and religion never have a “right” answer but they definitely get people all riled up over things they can’t control. When such topics surface, bow out by saying something like: “Thinking about that stuff makes my head hurt.”

5. Assume people have good intentions.

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NBC, Inc

NBC, Inc