This is a compilation of thoughts and quotes that I have found or written recently, as well as many that I've collected throughout the years. Most thoughts are posted randomly, as I feel inspired. A listing of quotes can be found alphabetically (check the 2008 and 2009 archives listing), or by source.

Feel free to suggest additions!

“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” – Proverbs 23:7

Thursday, October 27, 2016

10 Pieces Of Wisdom From Wayne Dyer

1.            If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

2.            How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.

3.            When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.

4.            You cannot be lonely if you like the person you’re alone with.

5.            Conflict cannot survive without your participation.

6.            Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.

7.            Abundance is not something we acquire. It is something we tune into.

8.            Loving people live in a loving world. Hostile people live in a hostile world. Same world.

9.            You’ll see it when you believe it.

10.         Go for it now. The future is promised to no one.

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Pursuit of Excellence

Excellence is not built overnight; rather, it is built day by day.
In fact, 
Aristotle said, "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit."

The pursuit of excellence can be compared to the results of planting an Indian Thorny bamboo seed. When this particular seed is planted and nurtured, it can take up to two years for a sprout to break through the earth. It requires the right watering, sunlight, care and feeding so it can build a strong root structure and foundation for growth, none of which is visible above ground. However, once it breaks ground, this bamboo can grow over 100 feet in just two weeks!

Those first two years were not futile. To the contrary, the bamboo was building a strong root structure to prepare for its eventual sprouting toward the sky.

Excellence is about the daily pursuit as much as it is about the outcome.

Here are a few of my favorite quotations:
  • Excellence is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well. - John W. Gardner
  • When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life in such a manner that when you die the world cries and you rejoice. - Indian saying
  • The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor. - Vince Lombardi
  • Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant. - Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise, risking more than others think is safe, dreaming more than others think is practical, and expecting more than others think is possible. - Unknown
  • There are no traffic jams along the extra mile. - Roger Staubach
  • Persistent people begin their success where others end in failure. - Edward Eggleston
  • People forget how fast you did a job, but they remember how well you did it. - Howard W. Newton

- from Lee J. Colan

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Three Simple Words

Some people literally change the world; people like Gandhi, Mother Theresa, Abraham Lincoln and Ben Franklin.
Although it’s an ambitious goal to change the world, we often underestimate our singular power to change the world of those around us. We don’t have to be a billionaire giving away cars or houses to positively change someone’s world. We each have that same power.
We don’t even have to do anything!  We only have to say three simple words.
Try one of these three-word, power-packed statements to change someone’s world:
  • I love you.
  • I thank you.
  • You are terrific.
  • I am sorry.
    • I trust you.
    • I promise you. (and keep it!)
    • God bless you.
    • I can help.
      • I understand you.
      • You are talented.
      • I believe you.
      • You will succeed.
        • You inspire me.
        • It’s no problem.
        • I forgive you.
        • You’re the best!
Whether we have a long conversation with a friend or simply place an order at a restaurant, every word makes a difference. The results of our interactions are rarely neutral; they are almost always positive or negative.
Plant the seeds of success in someone’s mind and heart today. You’ll start a positive ripple effect that can be felt by many people and many miles away, not to mention the positive effect you will feel inside.

You don't do a thing.  JUST SAY IT!
- Lee J. Colan

Take Off Your Mental Dog Collar

Last week, I was on a long walk with our small family dog, Sparky, after a dinner.  Not sure who needed the exercise more. Although it was a well-worn path for both of us, this particular walk taught me a lesson about my dog and about me.
Sparky is a smart Maltipoo, but he is not a particularly well-trained dog. That’s a direct result of having a poorly trained owner. We have to be careful about leaving doors and gates open or Sparky will run like the wind.
This walk started off like business as usual (if you know what I mean).  Sparky decided to continue his sniffing in one spot longer than I preferred, and I gave the leash a gentle tug. As I discovered later, Sparky’s dog collar had been loosened just one notch while he was at the vet’s office the day before. So this time, his little head popped right out of the leash and he was free to roam, run, skedaddle or well, run like the wind!
He sat there looking up at me, seemingly trapped. In reality he was as free as he had ever been. It was like a smorgasbord of all the smells and critters he could sniff and chase... like a Vegas buffet for dogs! But Sparky stood still, paralyzed by the unknown of this freedom. I reaffixed his dog collar, allowing him to assume his normal comfort zone.
Hmmm, I thought. How many times have I stayed within my own self-imposed boundaries? Probably more often than I’d like to admit. How about you?
We often condition ourselves to live and work in a smaller world because of our own limiting thoughts, but we typically have more control and freedom than we think.
To realize our potential, we must re-condition our thinking to stretch beyond our comfort zone. Remember, growth and learning occur when we are uncomfortable. So, take off your "mental dog collar" and explore new limits!

by Lee J. Colan

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Positive Thinking Not Getting You What You Want? Try This Instead

A lot has been written about the power of positive thinking. You don't have to go far to find books, podcasts, and seminars dedicated to the topic. But have you noticed that positive thinking rarely works in bringing about lasting change? It requires a lot of effort and most of the time offers few results. And, all too often, when you work really hard at positive thinking and things don't change like you want them to, you decide that there must be something wrong with you.

What if that's not true? What if there is nothing wrong with you? And, what if there was something beyond positive thinking that actually worked in creating the life you truly desire?

Rather than the nonstop effort of positive thinking, here are four easy, pragmatic tools for creating change:

1. Choosing rather than doing
Most of the modalities that focus on positive thinking and affirmations are all about doing. You have to do this. You have to do that. It's all about effort and hard work and willpower. Ugh. No one can do this for long!

My point of view is that everything is choice. You don't have to fix anything. You don't have to fix YOU. What if you are not nearly as screwed up as you think you are?

A great question you can ask is, "What's right about me that I'm not getting?" This question will take you out of the judgment of you; it will move you beyond everything you've decided is wrong with you and into an awareness of the brilliance of you.

From this place, you are empowered to choose anything you would like to choose.

2. Letting go rather than overcoming
Positive thinking doesn't work because what you're doing is trying to use a positive affirmation to overcome a negative point of view that you already have about yourself. Your point of view creates your reality. If you have negative points of view about yourself and would like a different reality, you've got to change your points of view.

The easiest way to change your point of view is to say, "Interesting point of view. I have that point of view" for every point of view that you notice. Say it three to ten times until you start to feel lighter. What happens is that your current points of view, the ones that are creating your reality, become simply interesting rather than big and real and true. And when they're just interesting, you now have the ability to choose something else, something that actually works for you.

3. Releasing thoughts rather than replacing them
What if all of the thoughts, feelings, and emotions that you have that you are trying to replace with happier thoughts aren't even yours? Yep. It's true. Most of the thoughts, feelings, and emotions that you are experiencing don't even belong to you.

We are all like psychic radios picking up on everyone around us that means almost all of the thoughts that are running through your head aren't yours. No wonder all of your positive thinking attempts can't make it stop. You're trying to fix thoughts, feelings, and emotions that don't even belong to you!

Check this out for yourself. For three days, for every single thought, feeling, or emotion you have, ask, "Who does this belong to?" If you notice that you feel lighter when you ask this question, those thoughts, feelings, and emotions aren’t yours. Simply say, "Return to sender" and notice the joy that shows up.

4. Asking questions rather than stating affirmations
The thing about affirmations is that they are based on decisions and conclusions. You decided what was wrong with you that needed to change. You concluded that a particular positive thought was the answer. Decisions and conclusions stop new possibilities from showing up because your cognitive mind can only recognize what it already knows.

To go beyond what your mind already knows, ask questions. Questions have the power to change anything.

Four empowering questions that will create dynamic change are What is this? What can I do with it? Can I change it? How can I change it? Ask these questions about everything that you would like to be different. These four questions will serve you better than anything in life.

If positive thinking and affirmations have not worked for you, you are not alone. And, there is nothing wrong with you!

Lasting change is possible. The life you truly desire to have is possible. Ask questions. Ask questions. Ask questions! Rather than looking for an affirmation that is based on your conclusions, ask a question that will open the door to all possibilities.

What question can you ask today that will change your life and give you everything you desire?

by Dr. Dain Heer

Monday, August 29, 2016

Words of Wisdom from Olympic Athletes

Don't put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the further you get. - Michael Phelps

Practice creates confidence. Confidence empowers you. - Simone Biles

Worrying gets you nowhere. If you turn up worrying about how you're going to perform, you've already lost. Train hard, turn up, run your best and the rest will take care of itself.       - Usain Bolt

The world never puts a price on you higher than the one you put on yourself. - Sonja Henie

To uncover your true potential, you must first find your own limits, and then you have to have the courage to blow past them. - Picabo Street

Gold medals aren't really made of gold. They're made of sweat, determination, and a hard-to-find alloy called guts. - Dan Gable

A trophy carries dust. Memories last forever. - Mary Lou Retton

The key is not the will to win. Everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important. - Bobby Knight

I don't want to be better than you or her or him - I want to be better than I am right now.        - Kerri Walsh Jennings

The hard days are the best because that's where champions are made. - Gabby Douglas

If you think you're done, you always have at least 40 percent more. - Lauren Crandall

Friday, August 5, 2016

Personal Integrity: What's Your Reflection?

Without a doubt, your personal integrity is your most prized possession. Each day, that integrity is constantly tested, and you have an opportunity to prove it or lose it with every decision you make.

Doing the right thing is not always the easiest thing – but it is always the right thing to do. Choosing to do the right thing – even when it’s painful – ensures you will maintain your most precious possession throughout your personal and professional journey.

Here are nuggets of wisdom on Integrity:

· There is no pillow as soft as a clear conscience. - John Wooden

· The time is always right to do what is right. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

· A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold. - Proverbs 22:1

· What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

· It is better to be defeated on principle than to win on lies. - Arthur Calwell

· In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. - Thomas Jefferson

The next time you see your reflection may you feel the pride of knowing that your actions demonstrate unquestioned integrity.

- from Lee J. Colan

Friday, July 8, 2016

11 Things To Remember When Going Through Tough Times

1. Everything can - and will - change.

2. You've overcome challenges before.

3. It's a learning experience.

4. Not getting what you want can be a blessing.

5. Allow yourself to have some fun.

6. Being kind to yourself is the best medicine.

7. Other people's negativity isn't worth worrying about.

8. You have lots of strengths as a person.

9. Anything is possible.

10. Great things take time.

11. And there is always, always, always something to be thankful for.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Courage by Edgar A. Guest

This is courage: to remain
Brave and patient under pain;
Cool and calm and firm to stay
In the presence of dismay;
Not to flinch when foes attack,
Even though you’re beaten back;
Still to cling to what is right,
When the wrong possesses might.
This is courage: to be true
To the best men see in you;
To remember, tempest-tossed,
Not to whimper, “All is lost!”
But to battle to the end
While you still have strength to spend;
Not to cry that hope is gone
While you’ve life to carry on.
This is courage: to endure
Hurt and loss you cannot cure;
Patiently and undismayed,
Facing life still unafraid;
Glad to live and glad to take
Bravely for your children’s sake,
Burdens they would have to bear
If you fled and ceased to care.
- Edgar A. Guest

Photo by Ken R. Young

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Weather the Storms

An experienced and now retired pilot and flight instructor learned valuable lessons about life while flying airplanes around the world. He learned that even though pilots control massive, powerful flying machines, there are some things they cannot control: they can’t change the direction of the wind, stop the rain or the snow, or smooth out the turbulence jolting the airplane. 

And so when teaching new pilots how to land a plane in adverse conditions, he wisely told them, “Don’t fight the controls. . . . Stay cool; don’t overreact. Keep your eyes focused on the centerline of the runway. If you deviate from your desired approach path, make prompt but measured corrections. Trust the potential of your airplane. Ride the turbulence out.”1

That’s good advice for pilots and good advice for those of us on the ground as well, because turbulence doesn’t happen only to airplanes; it also happens in our lives. Problems inevitably blow our way; sometimes things simply don’t go as planned. We may feel shaken and blown about by storms of sorrow, stress, or sadness. So many of these storms are beyond our control.

But there are things we can control. At the very least, we can choose not to become preoccupied with our trials and troubles and instead keep our eyes on the center of the runway, the path that leads to our ultimate destination—our faith and hope, our loving relationships, the things that transcend time.

If the wind has blown us off course, it’s not too late to make corrections. Sometimes what’s needed is grit and perseverance; other times it’s patience and perspective. Sometimes it might require extra concern for a loved one or maybe even the peace that comes of humble acceptance. Sometimes we just have to ride out the storm, hope and wait for better days, and do our best to weather whatever comes our way. 

Because that’s the thing to remember about storms—they pass. In the meantime, we can hold fast to those everlasting things. And then, when the wind that blew the clouds in blows them away again, we will find that faith, truth, and love have remained forever unshaken.

-Lloyd D. Newell, Music and the Spoken Word

1. Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Landing Safely in Turbulence,” Ensign, Feb. 2016, 4.

Monday, April 18, 2016

25 Ways To Be Happier Now

<p>Be as kind to yourself as you are to others. See your mistakes as opportunities to learn. Notice things you do well, however small. A March 2014 survey by psychologists who study happiness identified “ten keys to happier living” and daily habits that make people genuinely happy. In an unexpected finding, the psychologists at the University of Hertfordshire who performed the survey found that the habit which corresponded most closely with being happy—and satisfied with overall life—is self-acceptance.</p>1. STOP GIVING REASONS FOR EVERYTHING.
That's the biggest key to happiness, according to Stanford engineering professor Bernard Roth and author of The Achievement Habit. For example, giving reasons for being chronically late to meetings or explaining your inability to spend more time with family as being too busy at work are indications that your priorities are out of whack, and realigning them will lead to greater happiness. "Reasons are often just excuses," he writes. "We use them to hide our shortcomings from ourselves. When we stop using reasons to justify ourselves, we increase our chances of changing behavior, gaining a realistic self-image, and living a more satisfying and productive life."

I should really work out tonight, I should really eat better, I should spend more time at home. The word implies reluctance and guilt. Start saying "want" instead of "should." The positive language will help you clarify and prioritize what you really want to be doing at the moment — and it can help you see healthy behaviors you're not psyched about (you really do want to be eating better) in a motivating way.

It's simple, and it works. The next time you feel like shit, think of five things in your life you're thankful for. It'll turn around a dark moment and possibly your entire day.

Redefine what happiness means to you at the present moment — and realize you can be happy now. "Guys especially get the formula for happiness wrong. We think, “If I can work harder right now, I’ll be more successful, and then I’m going to be happier," says Shawn Achor, author of the book The Happiness Advantage. "And it turns out, that’s not true—partly because every time we hit a goal, our brain changes what success looks like, so happiness is on the opposite side of a moving target, and we never get there. But if guys can create happiness in the present, they can actually dramatically improve their success rates long-term."

Studies have shown that exercise can be just as effective against depression and anxiety than antidepressant medication. There's a physical component (exerting yourself causes the brain to release dopamine) plus, "when you exercise, your brain records a victory. You’ve been successful. And it creates this cascade of success. So you start developing more positive habits," says Achor. 

"Writing a two-minute positive email to somebody you know, praising them or thanking them for something, increases your social support dramatically," says Achor. "And it makes you happier while you’re writing that note."


Write down five or 10 things that are most important to you in life that you want to accomplish. Boiling things down creates clarity and will get you started on a plan that much faster.

Tal Ben-Shahar, author of Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment, says that's about realizing that happiness is the goal to where everything else leads. "It's about finding the overlap among the three questions, 'What gives me meaning,' 'What gives me pleasure?' and 'What are my strengths?'" Determining those things, and focusing on them even for a slice of your day, will boost your mood long term.

"For sustained happiness, we need to change the expectations we have of our goals: rather than perceiving them as ends (expecting that their attainment will make us happy), we need to see them as means (recognizing they can enhance the pleasure we take in the journey)," says Ben-Shahar. "A goal enables us to experience a sense of being while doing." Pick goals that involve growth and connection instead of acquisition. (See #18.)

In your job, career and life. It may sound corny, but it's scientifically proven to work long-term. "Over a decade of empirical studies has proven the profound effect it has in how our brains are wired," says Achor. "Your brain will be forced to scan the last 24 hours for potential positives. In just five minutes a day, this trains the brain to be more skilled at noticing and focusing on possibilities for professional and personal growth, and seizing opportunities to act on them." It's an exercise that has staying power: One study found that participants who took time out to do this were less depressed and more optimistic — even after they stopped the exercise.

Few things contribute to depression more than viewing a temporary condition as a terminal calamity. Things are rarely as bad as they seem.

Feel like you're always on the verge of losing control? Define and claim your territory. "One of the biggest drivers of success is the belief that our behavior matters; that we have control over our future," writes Achor. "Yet when our stresses and workloads mount faster than our ability to keep up, feelings of control are the first things to go. If we first concentrate on small, manageable goals, we regain the feeling of control so crucial to performance."

Achor recommends reducing a "barrier to change" by 20 seconds — make a potential good habit 20 seconds easier to accomplish, or a bad habit that much more difficult. Achor found that moving his guitar 20 seconds closer to his desk resulted in him practicing more.

Make sure that you're budgeting plenty of time for social interaction with friends and family. In a famous study, scientists studied the well-being of 1,600 Harvard undergrads over a period of 30 years. They found that the happiest ten percent of the students were the ones who had the strongest social relationships — and that was a more accurate predictor of happiness than GPA, income, SAT scores, gender or race.

Forcing a fake smile reduces stress, according to a University of Kansas study in which subjects were asked to plunge their hands into a bucket of ice water while forcing a smile. Researchers monitoring the subjects recorded lower blood pressures in the people who smiled through the icy experience. And the smilers reported less anxiety than those who showed neutral or distressed expressions.

People tend to avoid people they don’t like—like your workplace arch nemesis — and detach themselves from problems that they wish would go away. “Avoidance adds to stress in the long run,” says family business consultant and psychologist Mario Alonso, PhD. “By facing problems and acting on them you are taking control and that feeling of empowerment will reduce stress.” Even better: a random act of kindness toward the office asshole will automatically make you feel better about yourself even if it goes unacknowledged, maybe especially if it goes unappreciated.

A group of psychologists have discovered something they call the Easterlin Paradox, meaning that physical possessions will make us happier — but only to a point. Experiences become part of ourselves, while iPhones and Italian suits remain separate from who we are. Experiences — whether they're luxury vacations or a trip to the movies — also create social connections, which have demonstrated mood-boosting benefits.

Everyone is good at something, says Achor. "Every time we use a skill, whatever it is, we experience a burst of positivity."

Romanelli offers a quote from the actor John Barrymore: "You don't age until your regrets outnumber your dreams." By that measure, you can stay young in perpetuity.

21. TAKE A BREAK AT 1:11.
Set the alarm on your phone for that time, every day. Why? Romanelli says it's important to have a regular time that's just for you to take a moment to feel peaceful and relaxed. 1:11 is easy to remember.

Be as kind to yourself as you are to others. See your mistakes as opportunities to learn. Notice things you do well, however small. A March 2014 survey by psychologists who study happiness identified “ten keys to happier living” and daily habits that make people genuinely happy. In an unexpected finding, the psychologists at the University of Hertfordshire who performed the survey found that the habit which corresponded most closely with being happy—and satisfied with overall life—is self-acceptance.

Realize that you can't and shouldn't be Superman. Asking for help takes the pressure off what's stressing you — and the social interaction will have a doubly happy-making effect.


According to a review of 47 studies published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine in 2014, mindfulness meditation was effective in reducing depression, anxiety and pain. The technique involves being still and concentrating on the present moment, while focusing on relaxing areas of tension throughout the body. The study's author said that as little as two-and-a-half hours of the practice per week was enough to see significant results. The best part: You can do it anywhere, anytime, and it won't cost you a cent — a depression-lifter in itself.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Positive Practices That Make A Happy Life

We all want happiness, but we don’t always know how to get it.

The good news is that you have more control over your own happiness than you think, and there’s always something you can do to lift yourself out of that funk.

As a positive psychologist and success coach, I have used the science of happiness to help thousands of people around the globe create positive change and start living their most fulfilling lives. I know what works, and I know that happiness doesn’t have to be hard.

Start by using these nine positive practices, and watch your good vibes roll.
Living your happiest life begins with making the decision that today is going to be awesome.

1. Get a good night’s sleep.
This may seem like basic advice, but it’s advice that so many of us neglect to take seriously. Getting a good night’s sleep and taking care of your energy means starting your day with a spring in your step and an ability to notice all the opportunities the world has to offer you.

A restful night's sleep starts with a good evening routine, so go to sleep at the same time every night and avoid heavy meals and caffeine before bed. (Choose camomile tea instead!) Read a book rather than watch television, and make sure your phone and other electronics are off before bed.

2. Commit to a vision and intention for your day.
Living your happiest life begins with making the decision that today is going to be awesome. There’s little point in thinking that you’ll be happy next month once you head off on that vacation, or that you’ll find fulfillment once you finally get that pay raise. Your happiness has to start now.

Decide how you want your day to look, and focus on the best possible vision of that. Set an intention and use a mantra that affirms it: “Today, I decide to be the best that I can be.”

3. Meditate.
Self-care is soul care, and setting aside time in your day just to be really allows you to become present with yourself and enjoy the moment. Practicing just 10 minutes of meditation can improve your focus, connection, happiness, and health for the entire day.

4. Move your body to move your mood.
A life in motion is a happy life. After all, our bodies are meant to move. Staying physically active provides us with far more mental clarity and far less stress and anxiety. Find a workout that you absolutely love, because moving your body shouldn’t be a chore.
I personally love the high I feel from running, and the balance I experience through yoga, but even just 20 minutes of walking is enough to activate your brain and start releasing those happy hormones.

5. Consider how you can serve others.
One of the best ways to help yourself feel happier is to actually forget about yourself for a moment. Focus on helping someone else instead. Kind people are happy people, so what can you do that will help somebody else today? Don’t just think it; do it ...

Choose to pay it forward at your local coffee shop by buying somebody else a drink, give the gift of time through volunteering or helping a family member with a to-do list, or find a thoughtful gift to give to someone you care about. 

6. Listen to your favorite music.
A recent study found that music has a positive effect on the brain, increases self-awareness, and puts people in a better mood, so put on your favorite tunes and let them guide you toward a happiness boost. Choose songs with positive lyrics, and don’t be afraid to bust out some dance moves to enhance the mood-boosting effect.

7. Choose to invest in your relationships.
In order to have a thriving life, you need to maintain thriving relationships. Invest your attention into your relationships (after all, you make up 50 percent of them), and do everything necessary to help them flourish.

Ask yourself what you can do to strengthen one of your relationships this week … Could you give a compliment, lend a hand, or ask about something good that has happened? Asking questions and taking an interest in other people is a quick and easy way to develop your positive relationships.

8. Embrace negativity.
Living your happiest life is not about ignoring all of the negatives. But instead of pulling your hair out and reaching for wine whenever everything seems to be going wrong, look at it as a lesson. Use your obstacles as opportunities, and use your failures to serve your growth.

Look back on any hard times and think about how much you have learned from those experiences. What positive impact did that negative experience have on you? How did it allow you to grow into the person you are today?

9. Say, "Thank you."
There’s a reason your parents told you to be grateful when you were growing up—an attitude of gratitude is an essential part of a fulfilling life. You experience more positive emotions when you focus on what you do have instead of on what you don’t.

Fill a page with all of the things you are grateful for—I guarantee you’ll feel so much happier once you’re done!

An Attitude of Excellence

Words and acts of excellence are preceded by thoughts of excellence.
Your mind is a magnet. What you focus on is what you get. Your thoughts and beliefs have that much power. You receive what you believe.  This works just as powerfully with negative thoughts as it does with positive thoughts.

You might be asking, "How can I be positive all the time when negative situations are a reality--they just show up in everyday life?"

Yes, bad things do happen and they sometimes "just show up." Any leader would be hard pressed to remember a week when no curve balls were thrown. However, it is your interpretation that makes a situation negative. A surprise event or a challenging moment doesn't drag you down. The way you think about what happens determines the ultimate outcome.

Like it or not, your thoughts and interpretations of people and events directly influence your beliefs, and ultimately, your leadership actions. Henry Ford said, "Whether you think you can or cannot, you're right." In other words, what you think is what you get.
Hannah Teeter understands this. While most girls were playing with dolls or getting ready for their high school proms, Hannah, Olympic gold medalist in the half-pipe snowboarding event, was trying to keep up with her four older brothers. She learned whatever they were willing to teach her about snowboarding, and they urged her to "push higher" and "go big."
After standing atop the highest step on the medalists' podium in Torino, Italy, Hanna was interviewed by a television commentator. He asked Hannah, "To what do you attribute your gold medal performance at the young age of 19?"
"My 'secret sauce,'" she said, "is my brothers, having great parents and being able to stay positive about anything and everything that's come my way. Keeping a positive outlook is definitely key to success on a snowboard or in any competition."
Hannah is right.
An attitude of excellence is the secret sauce for today's successful leader. Excellent leaders mentally reframe situations to help their teams view challenges in a positive light... they take a new picture. Facts are facts, but the view you take is your choice.
Your experiences are much less important than how you choose to think about them. Your interpretations of experiences either limit or enable your future success.

- Lee J. Colan

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Let Go To Grow

Letting go of old habits isn't easy. As my friend Byrd Baggett says, "You have to let go to grow." Comfort certainly has its advantages--your comfy chair in the living room, a comfortable routine at work, a comfortable relationship. With all the advantages of comfort, here are some things you should know about the comfort zone.

The comfort zone is where most of life is played. It is certainly where most of sports is played. Consider a football field: 90 percent of the game is played between the 20-yard lines. That's why they call anything outside that area the "red zone"--it's where the difference in the game is made. It's where we really grow personally and our teams score grows! Staying in the comfort zone too long can also get boring, and it stunts our growth.

But, it feels safe in the comfort zone, doesn't it? You know the boundaries, the landscape, and the other comfortable players in the comfort zone. There is little or no risk; a misstep here or there is not very costly. But like the football team that's trapped between the 20-yard lines, we cannot win in the comfort zone. Because the risk is small, so is the reward. Most learning and growth occur when you are uncomfortable. Think of the defining moments of growth in your life. Were you hanging out in your comfort zone? No, you were hanging over the edge.

Here are four comforting questions to encourage your growth.

1. Who else has done it?
You may think you're in unexplored territory, but it's unlikely that you're trying something that no one else has ever tried. Look around to find others who have explored the same edge that you might be anxious about. Whether your comfort zone ends at the edge of learning a new skill, speaking in public, making a financial investment, expressing your feelings, or quitting a bad habit, someone else has been at that very same edge. That person can help support you, prepare you, and encourage you to win.

2. Can I dip my toe in first?
You do not have to dive in head first into every new endeavor. Try it out first. Start small. When you reflect on the first time you tried anything new (leading, investing, speaking, a new technology, rock climbing) you probably remember how uncomfortable you felt. But you stepped out and did it, and you soon discovered that it wasn't as hard as you had expected, right? After a while, what was once in the red zone becomes your comfort zone as you build your competence.

3. How bad can it be?
Often, the fear in your mind paints a picture of things outside your comfort zone as being darker than they really are. Remember, the victory is in the exploration itself more than the success of your attempt.

4. How great can it be?
Your goals are usually bigger than your comfort zone. You must be so passionate about your goals that, instead of feeling that you have to leave your comfort zone, you are magnetically drawn into the red zone to claim victory.
Leaders who "grasp the past" are quickly left right there ... in the past. Inspiring leaders continually grow themselves, then their teams are catapulted into a brighter future.

-from Winners Always Quit by Lee J. Colan