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Saturday, November 16, 2013

JOHN MAXWELL: INSIGHTS ON IMPROVEMENT

John Maxwell's latest book, "Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn," is outstanding.  It of course gives a great blueprint for life in terms of handling both success and failure but it certainly hits home with some great lessons to share with your team through the season.  The following comes from a section Maxwell titled: Insights of Improvement.

The desire to improve themselves is in the DNA of all successful people.
1.       Improving Yourself Is the First Step to Improving Everything Else
Success does not always bring growth, but personal growth will always add to our success

“It is the capacity to develop and improve themselves that distinguishes leaders from followers.” – Bennis and Nanus

2.       Improvement Requires Us to Move Out of Our Comfort Zone
Novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky observed, “Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear most.”

What does it take to get us to move out of our comfort zone? In my observation, it requires two things:

Handling Our Aversion to Making Mistakes
Mistakes are not failures. They are proof that we are making an effort. When we understand that, we can more easily move out of our comfort zone, try something new, and improve.

Overcoming a Life Controlled by FeelingsImprovement demands a commitment to grow long after the mood in which it was made has passed.
“The most common trait I have found in successful people is that they conquered the temptation to give up.” – Peter Lowe

3.       Improvement is Not Satisfied with “Quick Fixes”
Losers don’t lose because they focus on losing .They lose because they focus on just getting by

Accept the Fact that Improvement Is a Never-Ending Battle
Carl Sandberg said “There is an eagle in me that wants to soar and a hippopotamus in me that wants to wallow in the mud.”

I’m not where I’m supposed to be, I’m not what I want to be, but I’m not what I used to be. I haven’t learned how to arrive; I’ve just learned how to keep going.

Accept the Fact that Improvement Is a Result of Small Steps
As Andrew Wood observed, “Success in most things comes not from some gigantic stroke of fate, but from simple, incremental progress.”

Elbert Hubbard observed, “The line between failure and success is so fine that we scarcely know when we pass it—so fine that we are often on the line and we do not know it. How many a man has thrown up his hands at a time when a little more effort, a  little more patience, would have achieved success?”

4.       Improvement Is a Daily Commitment
David D. Glass, the president and chief executive officer of Walmart, was once asked why he admired Sam Walton, the founder of the organization. His answer was, “There’s never been a day in his life, since I’ve known him, that he didn’t improve in some way.”

As I have worked to improve on a day-by-day basis, two words have helped me to stay on track. The first is intention. Every morning as I start my day, I intend to learn something that day. This develops a mind-set in me to look for things that will help me improve. The other word is contemplation. Time alone is an essential for self-improvement.

“The most important words we will ever utter are those words we say to ourselves, about ourselves, when we are by ourselves.”

If you want to spend some time each day to try to improve yourself, you might want to begin by asking yourself three questions at the end of the day, as I do. They are:

What did I learn today? What spoke both to my heart and my head?

How did I grow today? What touched my heart and affection my actions?

What will I do differently? Unless I can state specifically what I plan to do differently, I won’t learn anything.