Do You Take Personal Responsibility For Excellence?

Photo by Jasleen Kaur

“If each of us would only sweep our own doorstep, the whole world would be clean.” – Mother Teresa

Personal Responsibility Has Disappeared

We live in a world where people want to pass the buck and assign blame on others. We see it in our families, our churches, our communities, and our government. We all play the blame game, but in the end, nothing is fixed. No great accomplishment can be achieved.

Why is this? Why can’t people stop blaming each other and start leading? It’s hard to diagnose. Maybe it’s a societal trend. Perhaps those of us in any type of leadership role have done a poor job of teaching this concept to those we lead.

It would seem that today’s leaders have created a culture that says ” … just trust me. I’ll take care of you.” Long gone is the philosophy of President Kennedy who said at the end of his inaugural address in 1961:

And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.

My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.

Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own. In these turbulent times we currently find ourselves, now is the time, though, for a rebirth of personal responsibility.

Areas To Assume Personal Responsibility

There are many areas in which we can assume personal responsibility, but first, we must begin in the center and work outward.

You. You are the “center” of your world. If you are not assuming personal responsibility for living an excellent life, then how can you expect to lead others on that journey? Lead yourself first. Others will follow your example.

Once we have become self-disciplined and are pursuing personal excellence, then we can begin moving outside of ourselves and influencing others to do the same. The closer these other people are to us, the better. Start with your spouse and children, then move on to your close friends, those you may lead in the workplace, and acquaintances within your community.

As your influence grows with those around you, you may even see your sphere of influence expand out regionally, nationally, or even worldwide! Just remember that the possibility of a larger range of influence only comes when you are growing personally in this area.

Are You Pursuing Excellence?

How about you? Are you pursuing excellence in a mediocre world? Have you taken personal responsibility to lead a life of excellence? Are you attempting to lead others in this area? Are you starting with your immediate close circle of family and radiating outward into the rest of your world?

If we desire to have an impact in the world, we have to first start small and work our way outward. You can only inspire others when you are on the relentless path of excellence yourself.

As we prepare to enter a New Year in a few weeks, let’s all be committed to the relentless pursuit of excellence. Let’s make an impact in ourselves, families, communities, nation, and the entire world!

5 Thought Leaders I’m Investing Time In 2013

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The Fire Hose Of Information

In today’s highly connected, “always on” world, it’s so easy to get overloaded by information. There are a lot of great people creating a lot of great information content right now, and it’s easy to get distracted by everyone’s awesome ideas.

I’ve been so distracted lately with a lot of great thought leaders, a lot of great blogs, and a lot of great books, that I don’t feel like I’m really processing anything. I’m creating a long reading list in Safari of websites I want to come back and visit. I’m saving a lot of sample books in my Kindle app that I want to come back to, purchase, and then read. I’m downloading a bunch of free ebooks to go back and read at some point. I’m filling up my iPhone5 with a lot of great podcasts I want to come back and listen to at a future date.

As we prepare to enter a New Year, I’m finding myself trying to figure out a way to focus on this avalanche of great information that I’m compiling. I’m asking myself questions concerning how I can grow exponentially in 2013, and the answers keep leading me back to vision and focus.

5 Thought Leaders I Plan On Focusing Time And Energy On In 2013

So, as we come to the close of 2012, my plan now in 2013 is to focus any available reading and learning time on the following 5 thought leaders over the next year:

  1. Simon Sinek. Simon is one of my new favorite thought leaders. I stumbled across his TED talk several months ago on YouTube. His talk is regarding the Power of WHY, which he calls “The Golden Circle.” I’m also currently reading his book Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action. If you’re a leader of people at any level, I recommend watching his TED talk video and reading this book. Excellent stuff!
  2. Pat Flynn. I found out about Pat via Michael Hyatt. I believe Michael was discussing podcasters he follows. So, I started listening to Pat’s podcast and became an instant fan. Pat has some really interesting information and advice regarding passive income. He also interviews some really cool guests on his podcast. I plan on digging deeper into his content and getting better at the passive income way of life in 2013.
  3. Robin Sharma. I can’t remember how I learned about Robin. I believe I ran across him via a link to another link on someone’s website (you know how that goes!). In any case, there’s something about Robin Sharma’s message that I’m drawn to. We have many of the same thoughts and processes. His life vision resonates with me in a powerful way. I definitely plan on reading 2-3 of his books in the next year.
  4. Michael Hyatt. My brother first turned me onto Michael a few years ago because of my passion for blogging, and I’ve been following him ever since. In fact, this new blog is completely a result of reading his Platform book as well as watching this great screencast video that he produced about setting up a WordPress blog.
  5. Tim Ferriss. Like Michael Hyatt, my brother was the one who introduced me to blogger Tim Ferriss and his “crazy” first book The 4-Hour Workweek. Since then, I’ve been a regular reader of his blog. I’ve also read and applied many of the principles from his book The 4-Hour Body. I plan on getting The 4-Hour Chef in a few weeks as well.

Who Inspires You?

Do you follow a specific group of thought leaders? Do you change-up that list from time to time, or does it stay pretty consistent? Who do you follow? Who has the best ideas that you like to incorporate into your life?

Leave a comment below. Share with the community. Thanks!

8 Steps To Wow People With Analytical, Yet Creative Solutions

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Dinner With Friends

Last weekend, my wife and I went out to dinner with some friends in our small group at our church. As we were talking with one of the couples, we were discussing some issues we were having at home with our kids and my solution to fix these problems.

The wife of this couple looked at me and said, “Larry, that’s so creative! It’s amazing to me that you have such an analytical mind, yet you can be so creative as well.” I laughed at her statement and simply said, “Well, that’s what happens when you’re able to use both sides of your brain!”

8 Steps To Release The Renaissance Mind

I completely understand that not everybody is (or can be) wired to use both sides of their brain. Not everybody can be highly analytical and highly creative simultaneously.

But, I do think that many people could develop this part of their everyday thinking. Here are 8 steps that have helped my own development in this area:

  1. Become intentional about it. Over the last few years, I have become increasingly intentional about developing both the right and left sides of my brain. Intentionality typically brings changes in anything you focus time and energy on.
  2. Write a lot. For me, the process of writing helps me get out all of the thoughts and ideas rolling around in my head. Keep a private journal. Write a blog. Sketch out an action plan. Jot down a “pros and cons” list. Whatever situation you may find yourself, get your thoughts down on paper or a computer screen!
  3. Read a lot. A lot of creative ideas are really recycled or improved ideas from other people. The process of reading books, pdf’s, blogs, websites, magazines, and newspapers on a regular basis will put these creative ideas into our brains.
  4. Keep a “tickler file” (or just use Evernote). In the old days, people used to make photo copies of interesting quotes, articles, stories, pictures, and diagrams and placed them in an idea folder called a “tickler file.” Today in the digital age, we now have a wonderful program called Evernote where we can digitally clip, tag, and save information for later use.
  5. Practice your talents on a regular basis. In order to grow and strengthen the more creative, right-side of your brain, practice any artistic ability you may have. Play an instrument, mold some clay, paint a picture, or take a dance class.
  6. Physical workouts. Being physically active and in great shape really does help your mental processes.
  7. Eat well. Associated with being physically fit is eating well. Ever heard of brain food?
  8. Practice creative problem solving. In our work lives and in our home life, we all have problems that need to be solved. Experiment with these problems. Practice developing multiple, creative solutions that are perhaps out of the norm, but get the job done and you noticed. Be unique.

How About You?

Are you a creative person or maybe more of an analytical one? Are you intentional about engaging both sides of your brain, the creative and the analytical parts?

Outside of these 8 steps, have you found any other helpful methods to engage both sides of your brain? Are you blowing people’s minds with your thoughtful yet creative solutions?

If so, leave us your ideas by posting a comment below.

How I Lost 2 Inches Off My Waist In 6 Months

Photo by myheimu

Becoming A Fitness Fanatic

Over the last few years, I’ve slowly become more interested in fitness, diet, and exercise. Why is this? Probably due to the fact that I turned 40 a couple of years ago. When that happened, I realized that if I want to be healthy and strong well into my 60s, 70s, and 80s, then some things had to change.

Back in May of this year, my wife and I went on a trip to Mexico to one of those all-inclusive resorts. During our time there, I started working out daily in the resort spa which had a quality fitness center. Once we returned home, I went back to my own fitness center and started working out 4-5 times a week. Over time, I started noticing amazing results. In fact, the results were such that I recently had to go out and buy new jeans, moving from a size 34 waist down to a 32. I probably haven’t been that size since I was in high school!

5 Steps I Took To Lose 2 Inches Off My Waist

Here are the five steps I took to shed any excess fat and gain muscle mass.

  1. Don’t try to lose weight or inches off your waist. Here’s what I mean – focus on getting healthy and strong. This may seem counterintuitive, but I simply had a mental picture of what I wanted to look like at the end of this year. I wanted to have 6-pack abs. I did some research on how to accomplish that. Then I started to do those things. Getting bigger, stronger muscles and a smaller waist was simply a by-product of my overall physical vision. Get the vision, first, then figure out the how.
  2. Exercise 4-5 times a week. I am blessed with an on-site work fitness center. I typically utilize my lunch hour to get my workouts in. I have found this to be a great way to break up my day with a “first half” in the morning, and then a “second half” in the afternoon. I seem to have more energy going into my second half of the day due to working out.
  3. Rotate the workout routine. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I do strictly cardio for 25 minutes on an elliptical machine. I program the elliptical like I’m climbing a big hill to push myself hard in the first 12-13 minutes, and then I slowly come down the hill for the next 12-13 minutes. This may go against the advice of some other exercise gurus or routines, but it’s worked great for me. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I do a fast, semi-hard cardio routine of 10 minutes. Then I go to the weight room and use a combination of free weights and machines and do primarily upper body for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Photo by Suanie

    Do plank exercises. I usually do two sets of these, for a one minute interval on each. These are great for strengthening your core and getting washboard abs. Follow this link on how to do planks.

  5. Eat more protein, more veggies, and fewer carbs. This is a great tip I got out of the book The Four Hour Body by Tim Ferriss. I typically eat a Clif 20g Protein Bar as a mid-morning snack and a combo of almonds and Brazil nuts as an afternoon snack. Having these protein rich snacks between mostly balanced meals seem to really help in keeping even blood sugar energy levels throughout my day.

Slow And Steady Wins The Race

As I mentioned in my first step, I wasn’t trying to accomplish any great weight loss or weight building feat over the last few months. With a little bit of research, I had a pretty good understanding of how to get leaner and stronger than I currently was at the beginning of the year. So, I established procedures and routines, and I stuck with these routines each and every day.

I was the tortoise and not the hare in my approach to getting healthy and strong. If you need to get healthier than you’re current condition, then I would encourage you to follow the same approach.

Do you have healthy routines that have helped you on your fitness journey? If so, I’d love to hear your story. Leave us a comment and tell us your story.