The four questions of growth…

“Remember, there are no real failures in life, only results. There are no true tragedies, only lessons. And there really are no problems, only opportunities waiting to be recognized as solutions by the person of wisdom.”

Robin Sharma

What happened?

What did you learn?

What opportunities have been created?

How are you going to solve them?

Seek silence…

“Silence is the mother of truth.”

Benjamin Disraeli

When was the last time your world was completely silent? No mobile devices, wearable tech, TV, etc. Purely and completely silent?  

A friend shared that his favorite 30 minutes of the day has become his morning walk when he leaves all of the attention-demanding devices and distractions at home and walks in his neighborhood. 

Silence is liberating. It is the only time you can really listen, and when you listen, you can begin to hear the truth…

You must become what you want to attract…

“Surround yourself with people that push you to do better. No drama or negativity. Just higher goals and higher motivation. Good times and positive energy. No jealousy or hate. Simply bringing out the absolute best in each other.”

Warren Buffett

I’ve used this quote before, but it is just such a good one that I wanted to use it again. If you are interested, you can read the previous post HERE.  

Every word I wrote last time is as relevant to me now as when I first posted them. I might add to my prior writing the creation of a more disciplined approach for reviewing and pruning. I am going to make this a quarterly habit and see what happens.

Today as I read this quote, I am inspired by exactly how POWERFUL it is when you find people like this and actively seek to include them in your life. It is interesting to observe that the more effective you are, the more people like this seem to show up. A sense of “center of gravity” happens, and like-minded people seem to draw closer together and in more significant numbers. The impact of a group of people who believe and behave in this way can’t be overstated. It can change your world and the worlds of all those around you whom you care for and love.  

The lesson to myself, review this quote and the process I outlined before regularly and live these behaviors outwardly FOR OTHERS every day.  You must become what you want to attract…

Are you an AT or a WITH?

“When I talk to managers, I get the feeling that they are important.

When I talk to leaders, I get the feeling that I am important.”

Alexander Den Heijer

Managers talk AT you.

Leaders talk WITH you.  

Leaders also continue to reinforce the feeling of importance you receive from them with every interaction. It’s never a one and done. It is a constant ongoing dialogue bolstered through every conversation and engagement. With great leaders, YOU are always the most important person in the room.

Are you an AT or a WITH?

Are you a force multiplier?

“Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.”

Colin Powell

It’s incredible how powerful a positive mindset can be. I know people who can change the entire room based on their attitude and outlook. Nothing stops them, slows them down, or stands in their way. These types of people are the ones that can truly create a “1 + 1 = 3” kind of world.

The question is, are you a force multiplier or a divider? Does the room grow or shrink when you walk in?

What are you focused on finding?

“Don’t find fault, find a remedy”

Henry Ford

Twenty-plus years ago, I read a Japanese management axiom that was a compelling piece of wisdom and is one that I have relied on for most of my professional career and personal life. 

Devote your energy into understanding and fixing the problem, not who is at fault.” 

Teams that work with this intent are tightly aligned and focused on the things that matter. Teams led in a “fault first” environment are only worried about making sure that the finger doesn’t point at them—what a waste of time and energy…

Do you hear or do you listen?

“The best way to persuade people is with your ears – by listening to them.”

Dean Rusk

There is a marked difference between hearing and listening. To hear is to acknowledge the content that others are seeking to share. To listen, well, that means that you desire to understand why they need to share it.  You are seeking to learn their view of the world through empathy and understanding.  

John Maxwell stated that “leadership is influence.”  The key to building influence is not built on fostering an ability to hear but instead is predicated on nurturing a deep desire and ability to listen genuinely. Only then can you possibly begin to persuade… 

What is trust?

“A team is not a group of people who work together. A team is a group of people who trust each other.”

Simon Sinek

What is trust? Trust is not something that can be created by waving a magic wand and created through edict or decree. Trust is an intentionally curated and reinforced outcome or result. If trust is an outcome, then the critical question becomes: What inputs are required to create the desired effect?  How do you focus on building trust?

Integrity is a result…

“A person is not given integrity. It results from the relentless pursuit of honesty at all times.”


I believe that integrity and humility are very similar. You don’t tell people you have them; you act in a deeply committed and focused manner based on core principles and tenets that guide your life.  

To earn the integrity label, you must have central core values of honesty and truthfulness, and then your behaviors represent these beliefs. You have to live what you believe outwardly every single day in everything you do. Only then do others see you as having integrity; it is applied based on your actions.  

Free yourself from fear to enable excitement…

“Stop being afraid of what could go wrong, and start being excited about what could go right.”

Tony Robbins

There are always things that can and will go wrong. Understand this, and you will be free to embrace all the things that can and will go right as long as you have put in the work.  

When you free your mind from the paralyzing effects of fear, you can get excited about the future. When you are excited, your work will have more energy, and the enthusiasm you have will positively affect those around you. And this is exactly when things start to go right…

What record are you creating today?

“You are what your record says you are.”

Bill Parcells

This is entirely true if the only place you look is in the rearview mirror. The key is to remember that your work today will create the record you reflect back on tomorrow and in the future. Make it count; your record is a reflection of the focus and effort you bring to the table every single day. 

Are you an architect?

“Innovation is the ability to see change as an opportunity – not a threat.”

Steve Jobs

Change is going to happen. We can embrace it, we can resist it, or, for the rare few, we can architect it. I don’t know about you, but I would much rather architect the future than simply be along for the ride…

Can you do #4 first?

Strive to be first: first to nod, first to smile, first to compliment, and first to forgive.


The first three on this list are relatively easy. You can amend your behavior and seek to create these opportunities; it can even become a bit of a game. Oh, but number four, now that is a hard one. You can’t fake it, you can’t pretend, you can’t try and win. If you want to do this well, you have to learn to let go of being hurt, keeping score, and needing to win. I dare say that if you can do #4 well, the others will fall into place automatically…

Executing dreams is magic…

“The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all what the world needs most are dreamers that do.”

Sarah Ban Breathnach

There are those days where it is fun to dream. Imagining what is possible is energizing and exciting. But the most exciting day is where you are working on making those dreams come true. The hours go by like magic and the energy you receive from the work is incredible. There is simply nothing better than working on dreams that matter.

Spend your energy on what matters most…

“Observe and learn instead of react and respond. Everything doesn’t need your reaction. Conserve your energy for what matters.”

Author Unknown

If you choose to live in a reactive state, you will be allocating your energy based on responding to the things that happen in your world versus intentionally planning the things you want and need to happen. Sometimes choosing to ignore the unimportant things is the wisest possible choice. If you aren’t careful, you can spend your best energy on things that matter the least.

Welcome some contradiction into life…

“Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

It always amazes me how much personal worth people stake on “being right” instead of “doing right.” No one has 100% perfect information, and by gaining insight from different perspectives, you have a much better chance of arriving at a more accurate answer.  

If you aren’t worried about being right, then those who offer a contrary opinion won’t be seen as attacking you.  

There is nothing wrong with being wrong, as long as you learn from your change in perspective. Welcome some contradiction into your life; you just might learn something…

The only easy day was yesterday…

“There will always be some sort of challenge you must face every day and some may be harder than others. Don’t let any tough day make you feel any weaker because your strength is what brought you to where you are today. You’ve come a long way. Be proud.”

Roger Lee

The Navy Seals have a saying, “the only easy day was yesterday.” It’s amazing how clarifying this simple statement can be when you are facing a challenge. Pause, gather your thoughts, soldier on. Today’s great challenge will be the “easy day” tomorrow…

Are you maturing?

“When you become mature, one of the things that shows your maturity is the ability to see things from another person’s point of view. You don’t just see the world through what’s best for you, you think about what’s best for others.”

John Maxwell

It would be interesting to score your thinking at the end of each day on a maturity scale. How much time today did I spend thinking about what is best for others before myself?  

Like all things, if you focus on something, you can achieve it. I might have to adjust my daily wrap-up routine with this question for a while and see what happens.

Who is your life about?

“If you’re not humble, life will visit humbleness upon you.”

Mike Tyson

A humble life is one lived with a deep understanding that it isn’t about you. Those who live in this way seem to have deep happiness and satisfaction, no matter what life throws their way.  

People who choose to live focused on themselves will eventually find that life will remind them that the world doesn’t revolve around them.

Gratitude is the key to riches…

“In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Life isn’t so ordinary when you take the time to pause and consider all the things you have to be grateful for. The beauty is that the more you reflect, the richer you get…

Can you find and enjoy the quiet?

“All of humanity’s problems stem from our inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”

Blaise Pacal

In today’s world, it’s harder than ever to find a quiet room in this deafening life. The busier our lives get, the more we need a quiet space to rest and recharge. But when we get there, what will do we do with the time? Can we indeed just turn it all off and let the world go quiet?  

What are you supposed to be learning?

“Patience is a form of wisdom. It demonstrates that we understand and accept the fact that sometimes things must unfold in their own time.”

Jon Kabat-Ziin

Being patient doesn’t mean passive acceptance. It is the wisdom of seeing what you are supposed to learn during the time of unfolding…

What are you going to learn today?

The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.

B. B. King

A great friend and mentor once shared with me that “if you aren’t learning, you are by definition dying.” These simple words carry so much wisdom. Learning new things, regardless of how you apply them, and if you get to use them in the manner you expect, means that you are slightly better than before you started the training process. No one can take away or diminish this better self. If you attack every day intending to learn, you will forever be on a path of becoming a better version of yourself.  

No one other than you gets to define your approach to learning. Try asking yourself this question before bed every night. “What did I learn today.” You’ll be amazed at how this reframes your mind towards learning.  

Get up and look…

“The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them.”

George Bernard Shaw

The four most important words in this quote are “get up and look.”  

How many people are content to wish, dream, and then they just wait? They will complain that life isn’t fair and that they don’t have the opportunities others have received. But if you want to make something happen, you have to get up and look. Nothing great ever happens to those who are content to wait for dumb luck to occur. Get up and look… 

Are you smiling?

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”

Thich Nhat Hanh

What does it take for you to smile? Does something good need to happen to you before you can smile?

Every single day we have a multitude of things for which we can be grateful. There is always a plenitude of things that can bring a smile to our lips. Sometimes we might have to dig a little deeper, search a little harder, but they are always there.  

Stop what you are doing right now. Think back on something that occurred yesterday that brought a smile to your face. Reminisce and smile again. Your day from this point forward can be changed because of this moment of reflected joy. Find a reason to smile; it’s life-changing.

Victory is secured…

“Today we celebrate the gift of victory over every fall we have ever experienced.”

Jeffrey R. Holland

Today we have a clear voice calling us forward out of the darkness. We have to be willing to listen…

‘He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.’ Matthew 28:6 NIV

Hope comes from a gift of love…

“Good Friday and Easter free us to think about other things far beyond our own personal fate, about the ultimate meaning of all life, suffering, and events; and we lay hold of a great hope.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Hope is such a powerful word. Hope is what allows you to do extraordinary things and extend meaning beyond your current circumstances. Hope is what enables you to see beyond today and do the hard and necessary work for tomorrow.  

Our ability to have hope is due to an incredible gift of love. Because of love, we have hope. I can’t imagine life without either one. Especially on Good Friday…

Did you exercise free will today?

“Each life is made up of mistakes and learning, waiting and growing, practicing patience, and being persistent.”

Billy Graham

As I read and meditate on this quote, it strikes me that all of the “part 2’s” of these statements are choices you have to make in life very intentionally. They won’t happen by accident.  

Did you have an opportunity to learn, grow, and be persistent today? If the answer is no, look harder. The options were there; did you seize them?

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