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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

IMPROVE YOURSELF = IMPROVE YOUR TEAM

The following comes from "Self-Improvement 101: What Every Leader Needs To Know" by John C. Maxwell:

Founding father Ben Franklin said, “By improving yourself, the world is made better. Be not afraid of growing too slowly. Be afraid only of standing still. Forget your mistakes, but remember what they taught you.” So how do you become better tomorrow? By becoming better today. The secret of your success can be found in your daily agenda. Here is what I suggest you do to keep growing and leading up:

1.Learn your craft today
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On a wall in the office of a huge tree farm hangs a sign. It says, “The best time to plant a tree is twenty-five years ago. The second best time is today.” There is no time like the present to become an expert at your craft.
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A friend of the poet Longfellow asked the secret of his continued interest in life. Pointing to a nearby apple tree, Longfellow said, “The purpose of that apple tree is to grow a little new wood each year. That is what I plan to do.”
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You may not be where you’re supposed to be. You may not be what you want to be. You don’t have to be what you used to be. And you don’t have to ever arrive. You just need to learn to be the best you can be right now. As Napoleon Hill said, “You can’t change where you started, but you can change the direction you are going. It’s not what you are going to do, but it’s what you are doing now that counts.”

2.Talk your craft today
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Talking to peers is wonderful, but if you don’t also make an effort to strategically talk your craft with those ahead of you in experience and skill, then you’re really missing learning opportunities. Douglas Randlett meets regularly with a group of retired multimillionaires so that he can learn from them. Before he retired, Major League Baseball player Tony Gwynn was known to talk hitting with anybody who had knowledge about it. Every time he saw Ted Williams, they talked hitting.
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3.Practice your craft today
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William Osler, the physician who wrote The Principles and Practice of Medicine in 1892, once told a group of medical students: “Banish the future. Live only for the hour and its allotted work. Think not of the amount to be accomplished, the difficulties to be overcome, or the end to be attained, but set earnestly at the little task at your elbow, letting that be sufficient for the day; for surely our plain duty is, as Carlyle says, “Not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand.”
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The only way to improve is to practice your craft until you know it inside and out.