One Day To Live, The Immaterrial and an Exercise of a Lifetime

It’s great to hear that you have your “dream” list of goals and material “toys”. It’s pretty exciting to think about the big house you will own and the 4 high performance or luxury cars, maybe even that ridiculous 135 ft yacht, etc. And, there is no reason you shouldn’t have that list. But, there is a different list…

Do me (and you) a FAVOR right now. Consider for a moment, what you would do if you found out you had only ONE day to live. Do you have any idea how you’d spend it? And, here’s the kicker, with WHO would you spend those last precious hours and minutes?

You see, as unfortunate a scenario as that might be, it takes the often muddied waters of our priorities and values and bring them to the fore with pristine clarity. The fact is, your dream mansion would be worthless, your luxury cars or yacht would all have no redeeming value as you said your final goodbyes.

My guess is this; upon finding out you had only A SINGLE DAY TO LIVE, you’d be immediately reaching out to the one’s you love the most. You’d be sharing your deepest feelings of gratitude for their love and friendship and support over the years.

In short you’d dive into LOVE and GRATITUDE. Love for all those who’ve supported you throughout the years and gratitude for the opportunities and relationships that enriched your life.

One day to live would mean
No BullSh*t….  No wasted time
No fake gestures… little to no concern about what other people think

One day to live would mean:
Focusing on the people you love. Sharing your most meaningful thoughts and ideas.
You’d probably identify some regrets and missed opportunities for time squandered—for losing focus on what was truly important in your life. You’d probably even do some last minute mending of fences and going out of your way to reconcile— to leave this world in peace.

The Reward?
If you have truly processed this mental exercise for all that it’s worth you will have a great idea of WHO and WHAT is most important to you and WHY

Create that list now. Who are the people? What are they experiences and why are they meaningful. Have there been opportunities lost? What are they, can you re-write the outcome. It all begins with clarity.

12 Lessons in Character – from a Puppy

puppiesphoto courtesy Terry Bain, Flickr

“I have been studying the traits and dispositions of the “lower animals” (so called) and contrasting them with the traits and dispositions of man. I find the result humiliating to me.” ~Mark Twain

Perhaps one of the very best way I know to simultaneous test and develop your CHARACTER is to adopt a puppy.

I’ve now had two dogs and I can attest to the powerful impact dog ownership has had on the development of my character. My first dog, Hercules was a mini-Lab I adopted when I was 22. He was about eight weeks old at the time. That was perhaps the scariest and greatest commitment of my life to that point. He passed away 15 years later and thanks to him so many great fortunes crossed my path – starting with my wife.

When I adopted ‘Herc’ I was still in college, no job, no real responsibility. Continue reading

Leadership—An Every Day Activity

Leadership.

Most people hear the term LEADERSHIP and envision great leaders like American football coaching legend Vince Lombardi or Winston Churchill or Martin Luther King, etc. The only challenge with that viewpoint it is outwardly directed; as in — great leaders are OUT —>THERE ->
(not me)!

What did you envision when I started with the word, LEADERSHIP?

Did you envision yourself? Perhaps you envisioned what you wish your boss was like?

What I’ve learned over the last 30 years is that leadership is simple but not necessarily easy and that it is built upon daily actions, decisions, and habits. Leadership demands integrity and integrity is built one brick at a time, day in — day out.

Yes! Leadership is an everyday activity based upon personal integrity. Leadership starts with TRUST (see video above), and is a reflection of our personal responsibility. Every day, each of us have the opportunity to be in harmony with our values (integrated) and therefore we can strengthen our leadership or, we may unconsciously and in some cases, even consciously, choose to be out of integrity / disharmony with our values.

But make no mistake, we (not others) are casting the vote daily Continue reading

Expectations or Reality?

Great lesson from Stephen Covey (7 Habits of Highly Successful People) about self-fulfilling prophecy and human potential. If you are a PARENT, COACH, TEACHER – basically, ANYONE who deals with kids, you can NOT afford to miss this message. I’ve personally witnessed so many teachers and parents unfortunately limit their kids’ with unintended and believed to be innocent statements.

Notice in this video the deep significance and impact of OUR/YOUR “FRAMING” present “REALITY” whether it’s social or even personal, (You talking to yourself).

The gist is really this; ANYONE’S POTENTIAL is as much their “REALITY” as their past behavior. To put this another way, when you belittle another (OR, more likely yourself) you not only inhibit that potential for growth you dangerously shift/alter and change your present reality by altering your FUTURE expectations.

Since NOW is the only moment YOU, Continue reading

Steve Jobs, Synchronicity, Connecting the Dots & Trust


UPDATE!!!

This post was originally written in early 2008 and was updated after he had his liver transplant in 2009. In light of Mr. Jobs passing, this YouTube video of his commencement address has gone viral – (10Million hits later). We originally shared this video when it was in the low 6 figures. I felt it was important to bring this back to the TOP of the POST pile.

If you haven’t seen this video, it’s extremely worthwhile and the words below are designed to challenge your personal reflection.

Recall Aristotle’s famous quote: “Wisdom is an equal measure of Experience plus Reflection.

E + R = W

ENJOY!

Stanford Commencement Address 2005.
Mr. Steven Jobs; Monster-Entrepreneur, Apple & Pixar CEO, Super-Hero Extraordinaire

“Life can only be understood backward, but it must be lived forward.” ~Kierkegaard

Every time I see this speech I’m awed by the number of gems Steve shares. I find it interesting to overlay these anecdotes against the backdrop of my personal experiences. His tales of opportunity, following his heart, continuous learning, failure, humility, and of course, mortality are both profound and inspiring.

However, I ask you, “How unique are they?” Just how rare are these “coincidences?”

The question I encourage you to ask is, “where are the parallels?” Surely you recognize you don’t have to be CEO of a couple fortune 500 companies to notice that, ultimately, the song remains the same; that these synchronistic events happen daily for everyone. The real question is not, “how rare is this?” But rather, “How aware am I to the events and all the possibilities?”

Think about it. One day Jobs is walking eight miles to eat at a Hare Krishna Temple – the next, he’s revolutionizing the computing industry. A slight exaggeration perhaps. However, the point is not to be lost, those were two very real “stations” in his life separated only by awareness, purity of intent and of course time.

Continue reading

Guest Post: This is where the story really begins…

“What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.” ~T.S. Eliot

It was a beautiful spring day, the sun was out, the birds were singing, squirrels were playing in the yard, and I Brian Webb a recent college graduate was deciding my future. I was at home in Maysville, Kentucky discussing what I should do with my life and what endeavors I should partake. The decisions were made that I should move to Cincinnati and live with my father and work in the IT field with his company as a mentor/internship. With my education, it was believed that I can move up to management. With that decided, I drove back to Lexington content on my decision.

“Life tends to happen when you are making plans.” I arrived at my apartment in Lexington, Kentucky and decided to lay down on the couch to take a nap. However, I couldn’t sleep, I had a strange headache coming on stronger and stronger. Bam! Bam! BAM!!! Felt like a nail was being driven in the back of my skull. The pain was excruciating! So, painful in fact that I got sick and passed out.

My brother came rushing to my side and called 911. The ambulance delivers me to the ER in a coma. End of story.

Now, this is where the adventure really begins…. Continue reading

Guest Post: Pep Talk

Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential.
~Winston Churchill

Guest Post by: Suzanne Grenoble
What might I share with your audience?
Aristotle once said: “Excellence, then, is not a single act, but a habit.”
So, the reverse must hold true: Failure is not a single act, it is a habit.

Who knowingly practices the habit of failure? None of us, I am sure. But tiny things erode our success. It is the small detail that sets us back. For example, the habit of blaming others prevents us from changing ourselves. So this habit might be part of a framework of habits that surround failure.

There is no doubt that neither failure nor success are guaranteed. We control what we put out, and how we deal with feedback. If our efforts come to nothing, we can make improvements in our practice, or we can make excuses to avoid working on weaknesses and liabilities.

The choice is daily, and the choice is ours. Look at the success stories of history. Winston Churchill is credited for saving England from total collapse under Nazi bombardment. Yet he experienced failure, and depression. For Churchill to live through World War II and the Allied Victory, only to be voted out of office when England had arrived safely in the harbor of peace, must have been a blow. Yet he is remembered for his valor and deep belief in England and in freedom, not for petty politics. He endured when others gave up, because he knew those who had little courage or faith needed him, and he came through.

We pick ourselves up and carry on, we set our sights high, and we do not settle for anything less than the best of ourselves.

I think success is the habit of catching the little things, of starting over, and of aiming high, day after day. Success is indeed a habit, the habit of believing.

——
Suzanne, Thanks again! Wonderful post and appreciate you sharing!
BTW: All others, we are accepting guest posts if YOU are interested and brave like Suzanne submit your post to  {Mitchwsteel AT     G m A iL .C Om} oneword. We will review and put in the queue!

peace

~mws

Write Your Own Obituary; The Best Advice Nobody Ever Gave Me

picture-5You might consider this the ultimate “begin with the end in mind” exercise and, really, it falls perfectly in line with one’s attempt to create their ideal future – their success.

Rest assured, there isn’t a greater ‘end’ to consider than YOUR END- (your death/departure from this planet).

So, if it’s helpful to ‘begin with the end in mind’ for goals and projects you can bet it’s pretty darn valuable for your life.

For those who haven’t heard the story there is a terrific anecdote about Dr. Alfred Nobel. What you may not know is that while today everyone hears his name “Nobel” and thinks “Peace Prize” originally, this was far from the case.

In fact, turns out that in 1888 a French paper erroneously proclaimed “The merchant of death is now dead.” The story went on to explain that the man who invented and patented dynamite (his original claim to fame) and a faster, cheaper, quicker way to kill people died in a fatal explosion. As you might expect, a very alive and able Dr. Nobel read this account of his death and its merciless headline and was mortified by the prospect that his lifetime work and his legacy would be relegated and labeled synonymous with death and destruction. This was not the legacy the good doctor had in mind.

Turns out, after reading his own obituary he instantly knew he had to redefine just what his life was to mean; what he was to represent and how he wanted to be remembered.

Drum roll please…
So, here’s a couple KEY questions for YOU to answer…

What do you want your life to represent?

How would you like to be remembered?

Continue reading