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    February 2008

    Mondays With Mac: Discover Your Reason For Being

    February 26, 2008 2018 Views

    What are your greatest gifts? How can you best serve mankind? These are questions you must answer to find your true purpose in life.

    Who am I?

    What am I meant to do here?

    What am I trying to do with my life?

    These are powerful questions that can be difficult to answer. They sometimes surface during major life transitions such as a family strife, job loss, spiritual awakenings, or the death of a loved one.

    I feel fortunate to have found my purpose in life. I have that reason to get up in the morning and it fuels my passion. In one of the greatest compliments I ever received, someone said to me, "Mac, when you speak you've been blessed with the ability to connect with others...soul to soul." I thought about those words and have chosen to shape my life around that gift. My purpose through speaking and writing is to "bring ideas to life" that will encourage and motivate people.

    Every person is a unique being. There is only one of you in the universe. You have many obvious gifts and other gifts waiting to be discovered.

    I truly believe, however, that one of the most important questions you can ask yourself in your journey to find your purpose is, "How can I serve others?"

    Albert Schweitzer said it well: "I don't know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve."

    Mondays With Mac: Tap Your Creative Soul

    February 19, 2008 2902 Views

    Good ideas don't just happen. They depend on people who are open to making them happen, people who are eager to explore new paths and have a burning desire to learn new things. Jordan Ayan, an expert on creativity, says in his book "Ignite Your Creative Spark" that new ideas have roots in your creative soul, and a four-step process will help you bring them to life.

    The four steps are:

    1. Preparation- You gather information and resources to fully understand a problem or opportunity.
    2. Incubation- You take no conscious action toward solving your problem; instead you just let your subconscious mind play with the information.
    3. Illumination- You experience the "Aha" moment, probably when you are least expecting it.
    4. Implementation- You do...or you don't. This is where most people fall off the creative train. I heard John Maxwell once say, "Lots of folks have great ideas in the shower, but they seem to lose them when they dry off." Don't be one of those people. Use persistence and passion to bring your ideas to life.

    Mondays With Mac: Develop an Unquenchable Thirst for Knowledge

    February 11, 2008 4140 Views

    Not too long ago, I had the opportunity to hear Jim Cathcart speak to a corporate audience. Jim is a good friend, and a great speaker. He told the story of how listening to a radio program over twenty-five years ago changed his life forever, and with his permission, I'd like to share it with you.

    In 1972, he was working at the Little Rock, Arkansas Housing Authority, making $525 a month, with a new wife and baby at home, no college degree, no past successes, and not much hope for the foreseeable future.

    One morning, he was sitting in his office listening to the radio, to a program called "Our Changing World" by Earl Nightingale, who was known as "the Dean of Personal Motivation." That day, Nightingale, in his booming voice, said something that would change Jim's life forever: "If you spend an extra hour each day in study of your chosen field, you will be a national expert in that field in five years or less."

    Jim was stunned, but the more he thought about it the more it made sense. Although he had never given a speech, he had always wanted to help people grow in areas of personal development and motivation.

    He began his quest to put Nightingale's theory to the test by reading books and listening to tapes whenever he could. He also started excercising, became better organized, and joined a self-improvement study group. He persisted through weeks of temptations to quit, just by doing a little more each day to further his goal.

    Within six months he had learned more than he had in his few years in college, and he began to believe he could turn his goal of becoming a motivational speaker into reality. All the hard work, the discipline, and study paid off. Jim now has delivered more than 2,500 speeches worldwide and has won every major award in the speaking industry.

    Just like companies have market value, so do people. In the simplest terms, your market value increases by knowing and doing more. Knowledge is power, not only for your career, but also to improve your family and spiritual life. I once heard a quote that sums it up well, "Knowledge is like climbing a mountain; the higher you reach the more you can see and appreciate."

    Mondays With Mac: Set Realistic Short-Term Goals

    February 4, 2008 2071 Views

    When I was a freshman in college I learned an unforgettable lesson.

    I was having a rough week when there was a lot to do and very little time to do it. I was overwhelmed. I panicked.

    That night a friend stopped by my dorm room. When I told him my problem, he said, "Mac, I'll share something with you that my grandmother told me a few years ago. She said to always remember: 'Inch by inch, life's a cinch. Yard by yard, life is hard.'"

    I said, "Bob, come on. Here I am drowning in work and your lifeline is a quote from your grandmother."

    After he left, however, those twelve little words kept dancing in my head. I took out a piece of notebook paper and listed all the things I had to do in the next three days. That night I began knocking them off one by one.

    Three days later I took out that paper and marked through the last thing on the list. It felt great! And then I took out another piece of paper and wrote down the words: "Inch by inch, life's a cinch. Yard by yard, life is hard." I then folded the paper and put it in my wallet. As many of you know, I've been collecting quotes ever since.

    You see, success doesn't come cascading like Niagara Falls; it comes one drop at a time through short-term, realistic goals.

    Experts on motivation disagree on a lot of things, but one thing they all agree on is that your levels of motivation are directly tied to your expected probabilities of success. In other words, if you believe you can do something (the goals are realistic), you're likely to be highly motivated. If, however, you think you can't (because the goals are unrealistic) your motivation level falls greatly.

    The lesson here is to continue to dream big dreams, but realize that the short-term goals that take you to the next plateau are the real keys to success.

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