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    March 2008

    Mondays With Mac: Discover The Power of Discipline

    March 31, 2008 2420 Views

    Aristotle said, "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act but a habit." How true that is! If we make good habits, they invariably make us.

    In the fall of 1996 I received a phone call from an unforgettable young man. He introduced himself as Matt Ghaffari, and went on to tell me that a few months earlier he had won the silver medal in Greco-Roman wrestling during the 1996 Summer Olympics. He said he wanted to stop by while he was in Chicago, and I said, "No problem. I'd like to meet you."

    A few hours later my receptionist called saying my guest had arrived. I walked to the lobby and there he was...6'4" tall and 286 pounds of solid muscle. He had a huge smile on his face as we walked back to my office.

    When we sat down, he said, "Mr. Anderson, I've come to thank you because you and your company have made a difference in my life." Then he reached into his left pocket and pulled out a green felt cloth, which he then opened. And there it was, his silver medal. It was beautiful! Then he reached into his right pocket and emptied the contents onto my desk. Amid his change was one of the brass medallions that we had created at Successories with the words "Expect To Win."

    He said, "Mr. Anderson, I've had that medallion in my pocket every day for three years. For the past four years I've worked ten hours a day, six days a week to train my body to be an Olympic champion. But I knew the difference in winning and losing was not going to be training my body; it was going to be training my mind to think positive, powerful thoughts...to believe I could do it. And the products you've created at Successories have helped me to think like a champion."

    You see, winners like Matt Ghaffari are never complacent. That is why they're winners. They understand the power of discipline. They understand one of my favorite laws in life- you cannot get what you've never had unless you're willing to do what you've never done.

    Are you willing to make the sacrifices required to make your dreams come true?

    Mondays With Mac: Burn Brightly Without Burning Out

    March 24, 2008 2488 Views

    Jim Cathart is a friend and a great speaker. To manage your energy, Jim feels you need to find the pace at which you perform best. This is the "zone" at which you are most creative, unstressed, happy, and productive. He defines the "zones" as follows:

    • Above The Zone: First you experience stress and frustration, then anxiety, and finally burnout. At this level you are overwhelming yourself with too many things to accomplish at one time. Lighten up a bit to get back on track.
    • In The Zone: You are at your best. Not stressed, going with the flow of work naturally, productive and self assured, challenged but not overwhelmed, motivated and able to roll with problems.
    • Below The Zone: First you experience boredom, then apathy, and finally depression. You feel useless and artificial; self-esteem suffers. Bite off more and take greated challenges to get back on track.

    Finally, protecting and replensihing your emotional energy is critical for every leader. Mira Kirshenbaum, in her book The Emotional Energy Factor, offers a refreshing, down-to-earth approach:

    First you plug the leaks: learn to recognize what drains your energy...life situations, toxic people, or habits such as worry, indecision, or guilt. Second, you identify what fills your tank - pleasure, solitude, anticipation, or fun - and give yourself more.

    Mondays With Mac: Share Yourself

    March 17, 2008 1884 Views

    One of my favorite habits in life is waking up early on Sunday morning, getting the Sunday paper, making a hot cup of coffee, and kicking back to read about what's going on in the world. It's my quiet time...my time alone to reflect and relax.

    One Sunday morning about halfway through my little ritual, I spotted a headline that read "Graduating Student Credits His 'Angel'"...and I began to read.

    A young man who was graduating from college told the story about how Oral Lee Brown was his "Real Life Angel". In 1987 Brown, a real estate agent in Northern California, saw a young girl in her neighborhood begging for money. When she went to the school the girl had claimed to attend, Brown couldn't find her, but that day she made a decision that would change the lives of many other children forever. She adopted an entire first-grade class in one of Oakland's lowest performing schools, and she pledged that she personally would pay for anyone who wanted to attend college.

    This would be a great story even if Oral Lee Brown was independently wealthy; however, it is a much greater story considering she was a former cotton picker from Mississippi, making $45,000 a year and raising two children of her own.

    Brown lived up to her pledge. Since 1987, she's personally saved $10,000 a year while raising donations for her "adopted first-grade kids." And because of her tremendous act of unselfish love, children who could have been "swallowed by the streets" are now graduating from college to pursue their dreams.

    We all seek our purpose in life. Most of us wonder how we can make a positive difference during our brief time on this earth. But asking and doing are different things.

    It's hard to imagine that Oral Lee Brown wouldn't have a wonderful positive attitude, because she has thought less about herself and more about others. This, in my opinion, is a "little secret" that many people never quite understand about life.

    Mondays With Mac: Understand this Life-Changing Law

    March 10, 2008 1978 Views

    A Native American boy was talking with his grandfather. "What do you think about the world situation?" he asked. The grandfather replied, "I feel like wolves are fighting in my heart. One is full of anger and hatred; the other is full of love, forgiveness, and peace."

    "Which one will win?" asked the boy, to which the grandfather replied, "The one I feed." (Unknown Origin)

    The simple story provides the essence of a life-changing law of the universe...You become what you think about. The words are almost too simple to "feel important." However, if you "get it," if you truly understand their meaning, you can forever harness the power of a positive attitude.

    Simply stated...if we choose to think positive thoughts, we'll get positive results; if we think negative thoughts, we'll get negative results. Pretend for a moment that every thought is a seed you sow in your fertile mind. Therefore, as I once heard someone say, "If you plant crabapples, don't expect to harvest Golden Delicious." You will reap the fruit of the thoughts you sow.

    In his best-selling classic The Power of Positive Thinking, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale wrote:

    "Learn to expect, not to doubt. In doing so you bring everything into the realm of possibility...It is amazing how a sustained expectation of the best sets the forces in motion which cause the best to materialize."

    Mondays With Mac: Savor The Moment

    March 3, 2008 2518 Views

    I once heard someone say, "We don't remember days; we remember moments." However, at today's hectic pace we often forget to savor small pleasures while we make big plans.

    In the race to be better or best, we sometimes lose sight of "just being." And just being, just soaking in and savoring a beautiful moment, can provide some of life's greatest pleasures. A crackling fire on a cold winter night, a good book, a love letter from your spouse, a spectacular sunset, a great meal, or a timeless moment with your child or a friend...these moments, if we stop long enough to enjoy, are the essence of life.

    I love to fish, especially for large-mouth bass. About three years ago I was watching television late one night and got this crazy notion to go fishing in the lake behind my house. Of course my wife thought I was nuts. It was almost midnight!

    I convinced her I was sane and took off. I walked out to a warm summer breeze and looked up at the starry sky and breathtaking full moon. I allowed my senses to soak in every second- the sweet smell of honey suckle, the sound of every cricket and bullfrog, the moon's reflection dancing off the water- it was a perfect night.

    After walking across a small field, I took out a flashlight, and selected a lure. On my first cast I reeled in a bass weighing over five pounds, one of the largest I had ever caught. I gently released it back into the water and continued my midnight adventure. During the next two hours I caught seventeen bass, all between two and five pounds. Although I've fished for almost fifty years, no fishing memory can top that warm summer night.

    But that night provided far more than a fishing memory. It was a life memory. It provided me a snapshot of what life could be like if I just slowed down enough to savor the moments. On my way back to the house, as I walked through the tall grass, I took one last look at the sky and stopped to say, "Thank You, God, for giving me this night."


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