Small questions create a mental environment that welcomes unabashed creativity and playfulness.
The above words of wisdom are from Robert Maurer, author of One Small Step Can Change Your Life. Robert weaves the Japanese philosophy of Kaizen - slow, incremental continuous improvement - into a navigable, sensible way to change your life.
If you need to make a chang in your life, pick up Robert's book today.
According to Peter Drucker, "We spend a lot of time teaching leaders what to do. We don't spend enough time teaching leaders what to stop. Half the leaders I have met don't need to learn what to do. They need to learn what to stop."
Marshall Goldsmith writes, What Got You Here Won't Get You There, a book that meets Mr. Drucker's statement head on and tells us what to stop doing. Marshall Goldsmith is a communicator extraordinaire! Although over the years, he's dealt with CEO's, he writes in a clear and specific style so that average people like myself can understand. He first caught my attention as a columnist for Fast Company.
Perhaps you have achieved a level of success but you have stalled. As Marshall says:
You are here.
You can get there.
But you have to understand that what go you here won't get you there.
This is my third post in a review of chapters from Mark Matteson's book Freedom From Fear.
In this chapter we learn about reflection. Len, one of the book's main characters, uses solitude to gain a greater understanding of his actions and of himself. Although this chapter is a quick read, the suggested steps toward learning more about yourself can take a weekend.
I love this quote by Len: The door of the soul opens inward.
I had mentioned that I would not review Mark's book in one sitting. I must say, dipping in a chapter at a time is like like stepping back from your freshly waxed Cutlass 442 as the Autumn sun slivers through the red and golden leaves. Smell and savor scents of wax and turned foliage as connections with the art of reading swill in your mind.
Do you like to read? Do you like to read stuff that discusses the importance of reading? Do you like to read stuff that validates and reinforces beliefs about your reading? Do you like to read quotes about reading that leave a smolder behind from the hot iron? Then the chapter Readers Read from Freedom From Fear is a must!
There is much richness in Readers Read. Although I would love to ramble on, it would spoil your own journey. I will leave you with one quote and one thought that make a difference for me.
You'll be the same person in five years as you are today with the exception of two things: the people you associate with and the books that you read.
One of Mark's characters: "One of the curious aspects of the dynamic of growth and personal development is the subtle migration away from others who are not on the same path."
In the last three months I have had at least six people tell me this very thing. So I am trying to be a little more conscious and proactive than subtle.
Except for Patrick Lencioni's work, I hadn't been too fond of business-life-fable-books. That is until I read Mark Matteson's Freedom From Fear. Instead of a formal book review, I plan on delving into the book in separate posts on chapters of special interest.
In the chapter Journaling the Journey, the two lead characters have a discussion.
"Why do you invest so much time journaling? I asked."
"If reading is water, when you pour water into your glass, most people stop when they get to the top. However, if you keep pouring, the water will spill onto the table and hopefully the floor. What is on the table is your writing. You have no choice once you spill. Keep pouring. Journaling is the overflow."
Isn't this a beautiful metaphor for not only journaling but writing as well?
The water of this message was overflowing my glass this very morning. I was way anxious to get here to my Web site and write a bit about it.
If you have any interest in building a better you, check out Mark and sign up for E-Zine Street!
Motivated by the questions, How do people succeed? and How do successful people stay successful? Robert writes a book about change utilizing Kaizen, the Japanese philosophy of continuous improvement.
Robert's mantra is to perform small steps of continuous improvement. One gaze at the chapters in his book and you will begin to get a feel:
Why Kaizen Works
Ask Small Questions
Think Small Thoughts
Take Small Actions
Solve Small Problems
Bestow Small Rewards
Identify Small Moments
Kaizen For Life
I like this book! It is small, portable, digestible, believable and most importantly, doable. You can crack it open, read five minutes and actually start to put it to work. Really.
Rothacker Reviews has been going through some change. I created a journal for guidance. One thing that I try to write in it each day is...one thing. What one thing can I do today that moves me into the direction of accomplishing my goal? Thank you Robert for providing that one thing thing that has helped...your book.
I recently read this article written by Robert Trigaux and published in the St. Pete Times. The American Dream. Quick, what comes to mind? Little house in the burbs with a white picket fence, right? This is an overused generalization that for me, signifies only one thing, that for most of us there really is an American Dream - whatever it might be.
Robert's article is based upon a survey conducted by advertising giant JWT. Ann Mack, JWT's director of trendspotting ran point on this project. Although the results of this survey are available to the public...for 3K, the questionnaire that JWT uses is quite interesting and available to the public...for free: Download JWT_AmericanDream_SURVEY.pdf .
In the questionnaire's cover letter, Ann says:
"As a throwaway line, 'the American Dream' passes with a nod and barely a second thought. You can say 'He's living the American Dream' or 'She's been pursuing the American Dream,' and few people will want to know just what you mean."
The fact is, when I heard the question "What does the phrase, 'the American Dream' mean to you?" my inner status-quo took quite a head-on jolt. I asked myself, just what was my own American Dream? And, was I achieving it?
To contemplate about your own American Dream, is to take a deep breath and, for a moment, to step off the hamster wheel of life and work. This exercise can be healthy and invigorating. Why not let this question invoke a status check of your life? And if you do not live in America, no worries...from your perspective what does the American Dream mean?
If you have your own personal Web site, tell us what the American Dream means to you? And encourage others to do so as well!
I'll tell you what the American Dream means to me in the next couple of days.
What are your strengths? What are you really good at? What is your genius? What do you want to be when you grow up?
When I sit down and try to answer questions like these, no matter how hard I try, my mind continues to run in neutral, I simply cannot pop the clutch. Sure I can throw out some half-baked ideas. But I'll start doubting them in about twenty seconds.
I've been this way as long as I can remember. About twelve years ago however, I began to put forth an effort to figure out questions like these. Stacks of self-help books are littered about my office, giving testimony to my decade long stay at the Woodstock-Figure-it-all-out-Festival in my mind. The intense rain, lack of food and no answers finally wore me down. Funny, I thought bell bottom pants would have gone out of style by the 80's.
It took all of this time to sink in, but I finally agree with what most gurus say: The answers lie within. So instead of trying to perform a self-induced extraction by sticking my finger down my mind and spew forth these answers, I've decided to simply start watching myself. Dick Richards calls it Notice Yourself in his book Is Your Genius at Work? Marcus Buckingham provides some resource material in his book Go Put Your Strengths To Work that finally woke me up enough to get off my butt and do something. The goal is to make note when I find myself doing something that I really like. And to make note of stuff that I find really interesting, stuff that zaps me with an emotional zing, out there in the universe. Dan Pink first planted this seed in my head in his book A Whole New Mind when he suggests to keep a design notebook. Maybe I'll even try to write about them here...
Carleen Hawn, Susanna Hamner and Erick Schonfeld write a How to Succeed in 2007 piece for Business 2.0. (Might require subscription) They query fifty of today's leading biz people with how they have become successful. With the utmost of respect for Carleen, Susanna and Erick, along with photographer Marc Simon, and the diligent work they've completed in putting together this most interesting feature, I will glean and paraphrase the comments of those leaders who resonate with me.
The link out to each company that I list here will take you to its About page or Company information.
Sergey Brin and Eric Schmidt of Google - Keep it simple. Make it simple. Focus on features not products. I find Google's home page clean and refreshing.
Howard Schultz of Starbucks - Trust is the foundation of the emotional connection they seek with customers and employees. Exceed the expectations of employees first.
Michael Dell of Dell Computers - Transform economies and improve lives with increased digital access.