Article Link: Read the article
Source: Marc Ambinder, TheAtlantic.com

Whether you like him or not, you have to admit he’s moving at God-speed during his first months in office.  He’s getting things done, regardless of whether you agree with what he’s doing or not.  That, in itself, is a refreshing change from a culture of latency that the Government has grown to adopt.

How is he doing it?

The amazing thing is that each one of us already knows how to get things done in our lives.  We’re good at it for certains things, and really bad at it when it comes to other things.  Give yourself a couple of minutes to reflect about the article for this month and I’m sure you can find parallels to just about anything else in life: family, friends, business, social work, spirituality, etc.

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Everyone agrees that the President of the United States is in a position to influence others.  What he says, what he does, who we gives importance to, who he avoids, who he ridicules, what he wears, how he speaks, and how he reacts  influences people around the world.  We subconsciously make a note of what people with influence do (celebrities, leaders, role models, etc.).

On February 24, Obama used his position of influence to give recognition to someone who did something unthinkable.  It wasn’t a member of Congress or a figure from the political world.  It wasn’t a celebrity.  It was a bank manager from Florida who did something extraordinary.  He gave away his $60 million bonus to his employees and even his former employees who had left the company more than a year ago.

The very fact that Obama even brought up Leonard Abess is what matters.  It matters a lot.  It matters because the President of the United States is saying it.  It matters because people subconsciously take notice that a good deed was recognized by the highest office in the land.  It matters because the President is recognizing someone who did something morally right at the cost of personal well-being or profit.  It matters because the President gave the limelight to someone who put others in front of himself.

Are we in a position to influence others?  If our immediate answer was NO, take a step back, breathe, and re-think.

Everyone is in a position to influence someone.  While that “someone” may not agree with or abide by the influence we have on them, our actions and behavior do influence them.  Something doesn’t have to be consciously accepted for it to exist.

Think about who is in our sphere of influence.  Kids, grandchildren, students, your spouse, colleagues, friends, parents, bosses, etc.  Now, think about how you act, what you say, and what things you give importance to when you’re in their company.

We’ll each fill in our own blanks as to what the next steps should be.

A balanced mind

December 1, 2008

Article Link: Thinking about Obama
Source: David Brooks, columnist for NY Times

Maintaining a balanced mind in times of joy and sorrow, success and failure, etc., is advocated by many of the world’s philosophies.  We seldom see it practiced in real life except for a handful of colleagues or family members who either seem “balanced” by nature or make an honest attempt to be.

Regardless of which way you voted, there are lessons to be learned from the political theater we’ve witnessed for the past two years. Both candidates have great qualities.

McCain = passion, service to country, and a great citizen
Obama = calm, collective, and clear-minded

This article is an attempt to highlight just one quality of one of the candidates.

Sure, at the end of the day, we can conclude that it’s all politics and perhaps staged.  But for someone to be on a national stage for more than 2 years and maintain a sense of balance is no easy task.  In itself, the last two years have been the longest job interview any presidential applicant can ask for.

Article Link: Click here to read the article
Source: Telegraph.co.uk

Make your point, then follow-up by doing it. Or better yet, do it first, then make your point.

The G8 Summit met this past weekend in Japan. One of the main topics of discussion was the growing food crisis the world is facing. One of the solutions the G8 leaders proposed was to “reduce the unnecessary demand” for food. That same day, the leaders had a six-course lunch followed by an eight-course dinner.

What if the leaders all chose to do something remarkable at the meeting: curb their lunches and dinners to only the essentials? How would that have made an impact on their message (their point)? What type of example would that have set for the general public?

Leadership starts from the top. What if the so-called “exceptional” folks in society who are in a position to influence stopped acting exceptional? The amazing aspect of being tagged as exceptional by the general public is this: the path to becoming exceptional requires that you not live as an exception to the rules.

We’re all leaders in our own capacities in specific functions at home, work, social gatherings, when interacting with kids, etc. What if we all thought twice about how our actions exemplify what we speak?

Passion, defined!

March 1, 2008

Download Article: Ram Charan’s strange existence
Source: David Whitford, Fortune Magazine

At $20,000 for a day’s worth of consulting, Ram Charan can easily afford a house. But he never bought one until last year. Why? Because he spends 365 days on the road (if you think that’s an exaggeration, read the article).

He’s one of the highest paid consultants alive. The top brass (CEOs, CFOs, etc.) of GE, Verizon, Citicorp, DuPont, Intel, and a countless number of other Fortune 500 firms rely on him to solve their complex problems. And he does it in one sheet of 8.5 x 11 paper.

His two assistants ship him clean clothes, underwear, socks, toothpaste, shampoo and everything he needs to survive. Shipments go directly to the musical chair worth of hotel rooms he visits. He ships his dirty laundry back to his assistants to wash.

It wouldn’t hurt to imbibe even 1% of the passion this man exudes.

Freakout point

October 1, 2007

Download Article: Freakout point
Source: Del Jones, USA Today

What’s a freakout point? It’s when you push yourself beyond your self-defined comfort zone. It’s when fear overrides logic and rationale. We’ve all gone through it. The question is, “how often?”

We tend to be very cautious in our approach to life. In fact, some cultures are more cautious than others by virtue of their upbringing and socio-religious beliefs. Some may even see the idea of pushing yourself to your “freakout point” as unnecessarily ridiculous. Is it? If so, why?