Monday, February 28, 2005

Peak Performers Get More Done!

(Author unknown)

In the long run, performance counts. In fact, only the things we actually DO really matter. The things we DO are how our lives are measured.

Generally speaking, our intentions do not count. The road to failure is "paved with good intentions." Even our values do not matter until and unless they are ACTED upon.

In the end, only performance counts.

Genius and education do not count - we all know bright, highly educated people who have made a mess of things. Our plans and hopes do not count, and even our faith counts for very little in this world. I recall a critical comment about a well-intentioned but ineffective friend who was described as "so heavenly minded she's no earthly good."

The key to success is knowing where to focus and how to get extraordinary results from our ordinary daily efforts.

Yes, of course I believe in genius and luck and good fortune, but the winners in life have all worked very hard. Whatever genius Einstein and Edison and Dickinson and Madam Currie brought to the game of life, they also WORKED very hard!

The key to unusual success is knowing WHAT to work on, knowing WHERE your talents give you the opportunity to make a HUGE difference. The key is not just working hard - everyone does that. Nor is the key found in ambition or desire - everyone has that.

The key is leverage, focus, patience, perseverance and persistence PLUS an element of genius (we all have that, as well) and effort. Archimedes said that with sufficient leverage he "could move the world", and through his ideas, he did! There is no force on earth "as powerful as an idea whose time has come" and fortunately, we all have powerful ideas!

Here are some practical suggestions to quickly maximize your results:

1. Clarity of purpose. Whatever it takes, know your values and your priorities. Read. Keep a journal. Get organized and stay organized. Life is short - know where you are going and what you want to accomplish!

2. Eliminate the trivial. We are all tempted to do a thousand minor tasks every day. Peak performers just say no. They pay whatever it costs to delegate or avoid distractions.

3. Learn from experts. Invest in education and get a mentor and do what successful people do. As Tony Robbins says, "Success leaves clues," and if you do what successful people do, you will get similar results.

4. Stay the course. Persistence and patience pay off. We all know the saying, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again," but the winners in life modify that. They say, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try UNTIL!"

5. Hard, hard work. Every time I recommend hard work, I get emails from people who claim that success "should be effortless," and that when we do what we love, "we'll never work another day in our lives." But Edison slept in his laboratory and Betty Friedan was famous for her 18-hour days.

I believe the "good life" is about balance. Rest and play, and family and friends are important, and vacations help us renew our spirits. One of the best things I do is to read every day, but in the end, actually getting stuff DONE is essential! Work allows us to make a difference, to achieve success, and leave a legacy. Whatever it takes, get more stuff DONE!

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Mastering Your Habits

[Got this great article online]

Someone accurately pointed out that "habit starts out as a thread. As new threads are added, it becomes a rope we cannot break." We want to be careful about the habits we make, for they eventually make us. But by making strong and productive habits, we build strong and productive lives.

Here is a list of habits, drawn on research from numerous sources, that peak performance people share. They are essential to master successfully if you intend to master a successful life. Yet one does not need to be a CEO or corporate head to benefit from the research. Anybody who works to develop these traits will experience almost instantaneous results.

Are you ready to rise to the next level? Here is what my research shows:

1. People who master their lives are people who know what they want and are willing to devote energy toward achieving it. They develop the habit of writing their most important goals.

2. People who master their lives create healthy relationships. They get along well with the people with whom they live and work. They give special attention to their families.

3. People who master their lives practice integrity. They habitually do what is right, even when nobody will know. They live by self-imposed principles.

4. People who master their lives are honest about their strengths as well as their weaknesses. They build on their strengths and work daily toward self improvement.

5. People who master their lives take care of their bodies. They exercise regularly and eat sensibly. They receive proper medical treatment. They tend not to smoke, they take drugs only as necessary and they limit their alcohol intake.

6. People who master their lives control their time. They take at least an hour every day for personal time. They spend daily time with close friends or family, and guard against spending too much time in areas that are unimportant.

7. People who master their lives understand their emotions. They don't leave emotional pain untreated. They know that healthy attitudes are as essential as healthy behaviors. They develop a trusting and optimistic outlook on life.

These essential habits of people who master their lives are threads that, when woven together fashion a rope so strong that it can hardly break. Master these habits and you will master your life. Master your life and you will master your future.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Stepped on a duck?

Three women die together in an accident and go to heaven.

When they get there, St. Peter says, "We only have one rule here in heaven: don't step on the ducks!"

So they enter heaven, and sure enough, there are ducks all over the place. It is almost impossible not to step on a duck, and although they try their best to avoid them, the first woman accidentally steps on one.

Along comes St. Peter with the ugliest man she ever saw.

St. Peter chains them together and says, "Your punishment for stepping on a duck is to spend eternity chained to this ugly man!"

The next day, the second woman steps accidentally on a duck and along comes St. Peter, who doesn't miss a thing. With him is another extremely ugly man. He chains them together with the same admonishment as for the first woman.

The third woman has observed all this and, not wanting to be chained for all eternity to an ugly man, is very, VERY careful where she steps.

She manages to go months without stepping on any ducks, but one day St. Peter comes up to her with the most handsome man she has ever laid eyes on .... very tall, long eyelashes, muscular, and thin.

St. Peter chains them together without saying a word.

The happy woman says, "I wonder what I did to deserve being chained to you for all of eternity?"

The guy says, "I don't know about you, but I stepped on a duck!"