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Live Your True Calling

By Comments & Opinion, Success & Inspiration One Comment

Recently The Wish Group had our annual Winter Kick Off in Niagara Falls. The theme was centered on Top Gun and specifically around one of The Groups values of Discipline. My interpretation of the Top Gun theme beyond the integrity, energy and ambition that it takes to be one is understanding what your true calling and destiny in life is, similar to Tom Cruise’s character in the movie.

I’ve been rereading Steven Pressfield’s newest book Turning Pro which is a follow up to his amazing book The War of Art.  In this book Pressfield talks about “shadow” careers. That is to say, things we do that are not our true calling because we are afraid to or fall victim to resistance. Resistance, or the bad voice in your head, is what inhibits us from doing our work, from being a professional versus an amateur in our lives. We get a lot of certainty out of our shadow careers, but not true fulfillment. Imagine the actor who chose to be a server in a restaurant instead or the entrepreneur who took the 9 to 5 because it was a more certain path. The shadow career is a false expression of who we really are, it’s what I’ll call our fate or the way our life will turn out based on the circumstances of our life. Fate is letting your life be defined by your conditions and by fear. Fate is not destiny, destiny is something you create which has a calling to it. As Anthony Robbins says, growth equals happiness and in regards to our job in life – if we want to be happy we need to step into our destiny, into our calling.

For a long time in my life I thought I wanted to be a lawyer, a grade 8 teacher along with my father’s guidance helped me come to that conclusion. I focused much of my attention from that age until my mid-twenties pursuing that objective but it never felt right for some reason. That being said I think I would have been a good litigator and would have thrived as many living their shadow careers do. However something happened when I started my first entrepreneurial venture at the age of 28, it was like the universe hit me with a burst of energy and what became clear to me was that my true calling in life was being an entrepreneur and the result of that revelation changed my life so profoundly that my life’s purpose now is having others live their calling and expressing it with passion.

I’ve been on my destiny path for a few years now. At first I wasn’t even aware that it was my destiny and it started out terrifying and although it’s often still scary, I keep reminding myself that part of living your destiny and not your shadow career is being able to live with and even embrace uncertainty. It’s about declaring that you love how your life is currently unfolding regarding of whether you’re currently dealing with a breakdown or breakthrough. It’s about trusting that God or the universe always has your back and realizing you have a gift and your job is to give that gift to the world. It’s about doing what’s right, rather than what’s easy. It’s about turning pro and showing up to do your work- whether you are inspired to or not.

Are you living in your shadow career? Are you bound by fate or creating your destiny? Take the leap like I did years ago and you will be surprised at how graceful the transition will be and how joyful your life will become.

Success is Revenge!

By Success & Inspiration, Business Insights, Leadership No Comments

Based on the popularity of my recent hockey blogs I’ve decided to write about another on ice experience.  Due to some travel I missed a couple of games in a row and hadn’t been on the ice for a while, because of my improved play of late it was actually flattering and uplifting when my line mate Tommy Siskos was eager to have me back.  In a very nice albeit odd choice by team captain Grobo, he actually called on our line to start (almost never happens as we are usually the second or third line).  Coaches usually do this at time to fire up a line or reward a line that has been performing well of late so we did not disappoint, I scored a goal on our second shift and added another assist on one of Tommy’s goals in the second period.  We went deep into the third period with a 2-1 lead in what was a very tight game without a single penalty called on each team, yet at that point something very odd happened.  In the offensive zone, with only a minute to play Tommy had a very questionable penalty called on him, there is an unwritten rule in hockey code that says tight games where no penalties have been called you don’t call one with one minute left in the game especially on a marginal call in the offensive zone to boot!  Well needless to say Tommy was furious and venting in frustration (happens after almost any penalty) and the referees knowing this was such a debatable call should have understood but to add insult to injury gave him an extra two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct!  They had crossed the line, even I burst out yelling and I’m the soft spoken one on the team, how could the referees not only make such a silly call late in the game as opposed to letting it play out, but actually now be factoring into the decision?  It was ludicrous.

Well as luck would have it we were scored on almost immediately which forced overtime but because it was a double minor we would also went into the overtime period shorthanded 4-3 which given the momentum blow we just took almost meant a sure defeat.  As any hockey player reading this will relate too as it’s happened to us all, Tommy just felt awful that his mishap would cost us the game, he wished he could just disappear yet there he sat alone in the glass penalty box for everybody to see.  What happened next in this game as what often happens in life when we are faced with challenges was awesome.  As we were a few seconds away from killing off the penalty Grobo yelled out my name to go on the ice next when Tommy’s penalty had expired.  I don’t blame Grobo for the choice, I had played a great game scoring a gorgeous near perfect goal on a very good goalie to break the 0-0 tie late in the second period which gave us the belief that we could finally beat this stingy goalie.  I had then made a perfect pass to Tommy to give us the go ahead goal.  However, I had a gut feel, call it intuition or my belief in the powerful motivating force of redemption or sweet serendipity but as I was about to take the ice, I was standing right beside Tommy who was in the penalty box eagerly waiting for his penalty to expire when I looked at him right in the eye and said, “Tommy, you go out there AND score!”  What was a fraction of a second I saw a mix of emotions of surprise of the selfless act, excitement at the possibility of redeeming himself and what looked like a jolt of energy in his eyes as he yelled “ok!” with sheer glee and enthusiasm.  He skated directly into the offensive zone and scored in under six seconds flat and we won the game!  Sweet poetic justice.

Although nobody likes to face challenges, we tend to embrace the comfort zone or clear sailing so to speak, but in life we learn most when we struggle and face challenges.  We tend to find another gear, we dig deeper into our souls and further into our inner core for the strength to pull us through.  Whenever the storms or injustices of life hit me, I always find some solace in the fact that I’m about to learn a life or business lesson, gain yet another amazing experience or battle scare to mold me into a better human being capable of doing more to make this world a better place.  This attitude is always harder when we get dealt a blow that doesn’t seem fair, crap happens in life out of happenstance or coincidence but when we are clearly wronged by another intentionally to do us harm, it’s at those times that we question whether there is a force or God out there or whether there is even meaning in this life, so it’s not a comfortable feeling to say the least.  I’m a firm believer in the laws of compensation and when you sow good seeds, good things come back at you in different ways that you can’t even imagine.  When it comes to bringing justice to the world when unjustifiable acts happen, I urge you to immediately say to yourself “success will be my revenge”.  It’s what I do every time life or somebody knocks me down and I focus all my energy into what it takes to succeed in the circumstances and visualize what I want the end result to be, exactly what I did when I put the team first ahead of myself and put Tommy in knowing with all my heart that he was going to redeem himself.

Where there is no leadership, the people will perish!

By Comments & Opinion, Leadership, Personal Accountability No Comments

My last posting I introduced my life long hobby of hockey and my beer league team of the Screaming Eagles.  Since that posting I’ve become a lot more in tune of some potential on ice lessons and been on a pretty awesome point streak.  In the last post I spoke about how our team doesn’t have a formal coach and how we essentially have to hold each other accountable as peers and I spoke about the brilliance and effectiveness of that.  However, two games after that one our team organizer as I’ll call him, John Grobanopoulos (Grobo), not to be mistaken with George Strombolopolous (Strombo) who is another lifelong school mate, missed a game.  We joked prior to the game as we were getting dressed that his presence on the ice probably won’t be missed as we had several of our more talented players in attendance but what took place even before the puck dropped was noticeable and as a result reminded me of some valuable lessons in leadership and organizational behavior.

Right after warm up it was time for the puck drop and one of my team mates yelled out “what are the lines?” and all I heard was silence,  I knew immediately we may be in for a long night.  John although not the formal coach, looks after all the administration and setting of the lines, we were lost right off the bat, nobody seamlessly took over what might be a menial task yet an important one that can set the tone for the game and ultimately be the difference between winning and losing.  After some comical back and forth and mass confusion of who was starting even after we organized the lines we finally dropped the puck.  After we observed the pace and assessed our opponent, it was clear that our speed and talent far exceeded theirs and we should be able to easily defeat them.  However, without Grobo on the bench to make game observations to see who was on and which pairs were clicking, we suffered from a lack of discipline, taking too many penalties and ultimately not moving our feet enough.  Since we had more talent we kept it close and went late into the game holding a one goal advantage yet we let that slip away with only mere seconds left in the game.  This meant overtime which was also Grobo’s responsibility to decide who the best players of the night were and who deserved to play the extra session and ultimately give us the best chance to win.  Well needless to say especially since we were shaken by giving the late game tying goal, confusion and ego prevailed and we entered the overtime period as discombobulated as we had started the game and it took only 30 second for our weaker opponent to finish us off and emerge victorious.

As the screaming eagles retired to the dressing room and did what we do best (yell and drink beer), I sat and reflected and couldn’t help but notice how the lack of at least some organization, guidance and gentle accountability can be fatal to any team or organization.  It’s not always about being a charismatic game changing vocal leader who can quote all of Jack Welch’s books, sometimes all that is needed is someone who can keep order and eliminate confusion within an organization.  Upon John’s return when he asked how we lost to such a weaker opponent everybody chimed in with some excuses but I paid John a compliment and said we really missed him, and not necessarily his fierce back checking (he will resent that sarcastic comment) but his leadership.  Like the humble effective business and team leader that he is, he shrugged it off and taught me another lesson when he comically said “The key to leading or motivating a bunch of type A personalities is simply to out yell them”.  Can’t say I ever thought about that but at The Wish Group I lead several Presidents and a management team of over 20 type A’s and come to think of it I do yell a lot.  It’s an old biblical saying yet it’s true, without leadership regardless of its form a group or organization striving to achieve a task will perish or at least not be merely as effective as it can be.  I encourage each of you to reflect on times where nobody takes leadership of a situation and observe what occurs, it may be enlightening, and maybe that will motivate you to step up and take the leadership, because often leadership isn’t given, it’s taken.

The Holy Grail of Leadership

By Comments & Opinion, Leadership No Comments

Like most Canadian boys, I grew up playing hockey and like most of them, dreamed of one day playing in the NHL. Needless to say, I was never quite good enough to play professionally, but over the past few years after determining that I needed to de-stress and have some male bonding time, I decided to get back to playing in a beer league with some old friends. Besides working up a good sweat, I find it therapeutic at the end of a hectic work week to kick back and relax with the guys and have a few pops after the game. What I think I get most out of it though are the same things I took from the game growing up, which is how important discipline, teamwork, passion and fun are in life and in business. The early morning practices, trying your hardest, working together as a group and the camaraderie that comes with it is truly fulfilling, especially seeing the pride in my father’s eyes after I had a good game, not to mention the dollar he gave me for each goal!

Well now that I’m older, I still enjoy the game, in some ways even more than I used to as a kid, no pressure, it’s truly just fun now. However I’m blessed to be on a team called the Screaming Eagles and we are quite the passionate bunch of thirty and forty something’s. Although we aren’t playing for money, the Stanley Cup, or a Gold Medal for our country, you would never know it by our passion and our strong will to win. Something happened in a recent game that really made me reflect on things. It was after the first period and as our goalie George Benak was changing sides and came over to the bench for some water, out of the blue he yelled at me to move my feet out there and skate insinuating that I was standing around. Well, you can probably guess my reaction, probably no different than any of my employees who I’ve called out before, I was pissed! However, that being said, deep down, or not that deep down, I knew he was right. In fact I was just thinking to myself that my lack of intensity on the back check probably caused a goal, but what upset me was that Benak noticed! So my inner voice started off with the usual “who the heck does he think he is?” and “well he should worry about himself and stop letting in soft goals!”.

As we started the second period I had a decision to make, I could mail it in and chalk it up to a bad game and let my ego win, or I could prove Benak and myself wrong and turn things around. So I really dug deep and skated my butt off and it made a difference. Afterwards in the dressing room, as Benak walked in he yelled out in front of everyone, “Hey Frank, hell of a game out there!”. I couldn’t believe the feeling that came over me, I was beaming and smiling from ear to ear just like I was eight years old again and my father was walking into the dressing room and complimented me on my play. At first I couldn’t believe that I was reacting this way, I mean Benak’s a great guy but I’m the all-powerful CEO of many businesses, I’m the one who usually inspires and motivates people to action, how had I fallen for such a simple compliment? Well, it reminded me that holding people accountable is the right thing to do for them and the team, and it reminded me that praise ALWAYS works.

A few days later in our company wide sales meeting, I told this story, and what we all took from the story that I hadn’t thought about was the power of peer to peer accountability. Unlike professional or even organized youth hockey, there are no coaches on our team, we have to self govern in a way while we are in the play, we don’t have much perspective besides when we are on the bench in-between shifts.  Accountability is often lacking in most companies, it’s what separates good performing businesses from poor ones, and in most cases even when it’s present it comes from management. Don’t get me wrong it needs to be there from management, but in my experience, the exceptional companies always have peer to peer accountability in them. It’s when a colleague calls you out to do your best, or you want to excel in your job not only for yourself but because you don’t want to let the team down and you’re looking for their respect. This peer to peer accountability is what every team should be striving to achieve, and when as a leader you achieve this within your team, you’ve achieved what has been termed, the Holy Grail of Leadership.

New Year’s Resolutions

By Comments & Opinion, Entrepreneurial, Business Insights, Planning for the future No Comments

With 2014 fast approaching, many of us are already starting to look back on the year that was. Was 2013 the year you had hoped it would be? Did you make the lasting changes you had wanted to this time last year?

I must admit, in general I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions. I have never made any in my lifetime and it seems to me that people who do use the date as a chance to justify putting off much needed change, such as quitting smoking, going to the gym or eating healthier. The crowded health clubs from the first week of January simmer down to the usual traffic by February 1st, and most of the people who claim to quit smoking for the new year are still puffing away come February.  In fact, I highly recommend turning many of your resolutions into goals that you can focus on during the entire year. Goal setting is much more focused, deliberate and success-driven, and that’s why I find it more effective.

But, having said that, for some strange reason I find myself much more focused this time of year, and upon further reflection I feel that resolutions do have their place. While I consider goals to be measurable accomplishments that are frequently complex and made up of many different mini-goals, resolutions are simpler, behavior-driven activities that typically do not require advanced planning. Resolutions are almost mantra-like, in that they are meant to give you motivation and encouragement as you work at bettering yourself.

For example, a business goal may be to increase profit by 5%, and includes a number of actions from attending more networking events, asking for client referrals, and launching a new marketing campaign. A resolution may be something as simple as: I will respond to all client emails within 12 hours. See the difference?

So in that vein, here are some of the top business resolutions you can make for 2014.

  1. I will think and speak positively each and every day.
  2. I will stop procrastinating and hold myself accountable.
  3. I will do something each day that will force me to get out of my comfort zone.
  4. I will focus on what’s important as opposed to what’s urgent.
  5. I will work harder AND smarter.
  6. I will visit each one of my clients at least once this calendar year.
  7. I will remember why I love what I do.

While these resolutions are meant to give you focus and motivate you for the New Year, they are too simplified to include measures for your success. But you can create goals out of any of these resolutions that truly resonate with you. It’s simply about staying focused and excited about all you’re able to achieve.

Short Term Gains = Long Term Damage

By Comments & Opinion, Entrepreneurial, Business Insights, Business Growth, Foundations of Success, Planning for the future No Comments

Building a successful business all starts with the relationships you establish with your customers. In a sense it is a lot like building a wall. First you lay a solid foundation of trust, and then you build upon it layer after layer after layer, ever higher up toward the sky. Some companies however, keep knocking their walls down and have to rebuild them all over again.

I am astounded sometimes by the short sighted approach of some businesses to put short term profits ahead of long term growth. You may remember the 2009 – 2011 Toyota recall disaster where corners were cut on the quality of manufacturing in order to increase their bottom line. Instead, it ended up putting the safety of their customers at risk, cost the company billions of dollars in sales, fines, and compensation; and severely damaged the reputation of their brand in the process. It was a PR nightmare, and one that I hope other businesses considering the same practices take note of.

Unfortunately this is not an isolated incidence, and one that will most likely rear its ugly head from time to time. But luckily, not all businesses are so shortsighted.

I am reminded of a story about an ad executive named Jorge Heymann, whose agency had been approached by a new client that had recently built a modern seven-block riverfront shopping development on the outskirts of Buenos Aires. The trouble was that the development was well off the beaten path and difficult to access, and as a result it needed a big advertising campaign to promote it. Heymann’s agency was given a clear objective: To create awareness and drive traffic to the complex. Budget: $4 million.

Now what most agencies would have done – and what the client was expecting – was to create a lavish multi-media advertising campaign. But what was unique about Heymann was that he understood exactly what he was being hired to do – to solve a problem – not to figure out a way to spend $4 million. He had gone out to inspect the site himself and found that given the inconvenient and remote location of the complex, an ad campaign wouldn’t be effective in driving the level of traffic needed.

So what did he do?

Instead of building an advertising campaign, Heymann proposed that the client instead use the budget to build a footbridge across the river making it more easily accessible to shoppers. As you might expect the client was stunned at this unexpected proposal, but nevertheless he saw the value in the bold idea and approved of it. The stunning footbridge was built and went on to become a Buenos Aires landmark, generating more publicity than any ad campaign ever could have and brought shoppers out by the thousands.

Heymann had displayed a keen understanding of his role in helping the client, he could have just taken the money, but knowing that his efforts wouldn’t really have been effective, what good would that have done him? Most likely the client would have been unhappy with the results and gone elsewhere. Instead, Heymann chose to build a long lasting relationship of trust with the client, a decision that cemented the reputation and fortunes of his agency for years to come.

As I have said before, people want to do business with people they trust. Ask yourself, how can I ensure my customers are still my customers in 10 years? Will my relationship with them lead to referrals and help build my business and its reputation?

The next time your business is faced with a short term gain at the expense of a customer, I strongly encourage you to put their needs ahead of your own. As the saying goes, it takes years to build a reputation and only seconds to destroy it.

Check Your Ego at the Door

By Comments & Opinion, Success & Inspiration, Entrepreneurial, Business Insights, Business Growth, Foundations of Success No Comments

“If you always hire people who are smaller than you are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. If, on the other hand, you always hire people who are bigger than you are, we shall become a company of giants.” –  David Ogilvy

I have had the pleasure of working with many businesses over the years, helping entrepreneurs to build up their businesses and watching them flourish as leaders in the process. Many of them went on to become successful business leaders, others… not so much. Though many people talk about the passion and “never say die” attitude required to succeed in business, a quality that I have observed in successful leaders, and one that doesn’t get nearly as much attention as it deserves, is ego.

Successful business leaders are not afraid to admit their weaknesses, they know that there is always something more they can learn and an area that can always be improved. They understand that the growth and success of their business is not entirely a product of their own making, but is a collaborative effort of talented and dedicated individuals all working together towards a common goal – no matter how great a sports coach is, he isn’t going to win a championship with lousy players. Successful business leaders surround themselves with the best and brightest, freeing themselves to do what they as leaders do best – planning and developing the future growth of their business. They know exactly where they want to go, and put together the best team possible to help them get there – in a sense, they work on their business, not in their business.

On the other side of the coin is the mediocre business leader. They think they know everything and everyone else knows nothing. They are always right no matter what  because they view themselves as the single reason why their business is growing. Because of this attitude, they cannot foresee hiring anyone who is better at something than they are, and end up surrounding themselves with mediocrity which only tends to reinforce their ego. A harsh lesson that many of these mediocre business leaders learnt from the economic collapse of 2008 was that it was a hell of a lot easier to succeed in a booming economy. They had let their “success” blind them to the true realities of their situation. It was evident in the wake of the recession that the businesses that continued to survive — and even thrive — did so because of the planning of their leaders and the investment they had made in their people.

Are you prepared to become a successful business leader? You’ll need to ask yourself some tough questions and answer honestly about yourself and your own abilities. Maybe you won’t like what you hear. The real question is this: What will you learn from this exercise? And will your ego be able to handle it? Consider checking yours at the door, and maybe you’ll start down the path of building a company of giants.

Pruning the Tree

By Comments & Opinion, Business Insights, Business Growth, Business Health No Comments

With the calendar now midway through November, winter is definitely in the air. One of my routines for this time of year is to prepare the gardens around my property for the coming winter by pruning the shrubs and trees. As you might know, pruning trees is helpful for a variety of reasons:

  • to remove dead or diseased branches
  • to thin the crown to permit new growth and better air circulation
  • to remove obstructing lower branches
  • to shape a tree for design purposes

Okay, so I confess that I’m not actually the one out in the backyard with snips trimming branches but I do know the critical importance to the health, safety and aesthetics of my trees and shrubs that the annual pruning exercise means.

So what is your point Frank, I’ll bet your wondering. Quite simply, I find that there is an astonishing parallel between maintaining a garden and ensuring you have a healthy and growing company. Let me break it down a bit.

Trimming the dead branches

First, I’ll describe the practice of trimming away dead branches. There are three main benefits of cutting off dead or diseased branches from trees and shrubs:  it makes way for new growth to sprout and flourish, it mitigates the spread of disease and it improves the beauty of the tree.

Every company has the same issue of “dead branches” – unproductive and poor performing employees – and reaps the same benefits by doing some “pruning” – that is, letting those employees go. No matter how successful an organization is, it is inevitable that some employees will always fall into this category and business leaders need to be vigilant with their trimming. By removing these underperforming employees, the company’s up-and-comers have a better chance to stand out and be recognized for their achievements, and grow and prosper as the rest of the company grows.

Furthermore, like a diseased branch the employees that fall into this deadwood category often have a poor attitude that can infect the rest of the company. Pruning will help prevent the spread of morale and culturing-impacting negativism and pessimism.

Pruning also serves to enhance the attraction of the company to potential high-performing candidates, what I call the rock stars… hopefully they will see that this is an organization that doesn’t countenance low or poor performance, enhancing their attraction to the company.

Culling living branches

While it is of critical importance to cut off dead branches, pruning live branches is equally important. Sometimes this mean removing branches that are lower down on the trunk, or thinning out the crown of the shrub or tree. The art and act of trimming living branches is a bit more complex and strategic than removing dead branches. The desired outcome is to selectively remove those branches that are impeding (or will impede) others from growing properly, or are growing in a different direction than you want the tree to grow.

Again, the analogy to a company is striking. Oftentimes you may have a strong and productive employee, but that person’s behaviours or mindset are such that – while maybe acceptable at one point in time – she is now impeding others in the organization from performing to the maximum of their ability. As hard as it may seem, that person needs to go. Similarly, an employee that has a set of skills and capabilities that were extremely valuable to the organization at one point in time – say, during the start-up phase – but now that the company has grown and matured the value of that employee’s capabilities has greatly diminished. He, too, must go for the greater good of the organization.

I know that some of you are thinking, “But what if I make a mistake?  What if I cut the wrong person, or too many for that matter?”.  Read on and I’ll explain my view on that.

A Living Organism

The last point I will make on this topic is perhaps stating the obvious – much like a tree or a shrub, a company is a living organism. A tree or shrub that is not properly maintained and pruned will over time grow in ways that leave it less strong, vibrant and attractive compared to ones that have been consistently and properly pruned. While a case can be made that it’s never too late to prune a tree, if you let it go too long the amount of effort to get it back into the shape you want it will be high and it in fact may take years to get it going in the direction you want it to.

And so too it goes with a company: let it go untended too long, deferring those tough decisions on cutting out those seemingly healthy and productive “branches” or making excuses for keeping the deadwood around, means some really tough work ahead.

And to address your concern about cutting the wrong employee, or maybe removing too many (perhaps because you’ve left it too long), do not fear. Companies like trees are resilient and naturally rejuvenate – if you snip off the wrong branch while unfortunate another one will grow to take its place; similarly, if you lop off a few too many undeniably it will have a short term impact, but the reality is that it won’t take too long before ample new ones sprout in their place.

My message here is quite simple:  at least once a year – and fall is one of the best times – get your organizational “trimmers” out and do your company and employees a favour by cutting back selectively and with determination. I can assure you that if you do so, your company will be stronger, healthier and more prosperous as a result. Why?  I practice what I preach and I hold up the success of my companies past and present as the proof in the pudding. Oh, and you should see the trees in my backyard.

Who Are You Listening To?

By Success & Inspiration, Entrepreneurial No Comments

I’m a believer in the power of the spoken word, I’m a huge believer in self talk and the science of what gets programmed into your brain or what you speak is what you get in life.  Have you ever noticed that people who constantly speak of what they don’t want in life and are constantly complaining about what ails them continue to get exactly that.  Alternatively, those that are constantly upbeat and positive and speak about what they want as if it’s a done deal and only a matter of time before they have it constantly seem to have good things happen in their lives. I don’t think this is a coincidence. This story is a good example of just this.

One day a group of tiny frogs arranged a competition, the goal was to reach the top of a very high tower. On the day of the competition a big crowd gathered around the tower as the competitors got ready to climb. No one in the crowd really believed that the tiny frogs would make it to the top. They shouted remarks like “It’s way too difficult,” “They will never make it,” The tower is too high,” “There’s no chance they will succeed.”

One by one the competitors started collapsing, except for those who, with a fresh burst of energy, climbed even higher. The crowd continued to yell “It’s too difficult, give up, you can’t do it.” Sure enough more and more gave up, except one tiny frog, the smallest of them all, he kept going higher and higher and higher. He just would not give up! After a heroic effort he finally reached the top.

After the winner was declared all the others wanted to know how the frog had done it.  They were all puzzled until a friend of the winner let them in on a little secret…the winner was deaf.

The wisdom in this story and the lesson in life is:

1)  Never listen to other people’s negative comments because they will steal away your greatest dreams, the ones in your heart.

2)  Always think of the power words have, because everything you read and hear affects your actions.

3)  Always be positive, even in failure, because success is made of a bunch of failures that did not defeat you.

And Above All

Be deaf to those who speak negative over you, always think “I can do this.” Never allow others to steal your dreams.

Now!  Who Are You Listening To?

Thrive Instead of Survive

By Comments & Opinion, Success & Inspiration No Comments

Thriving isn’t something we can luck our way into. Thriving is something we must cultivate, first within ourselves and then around us. Thriving first starts as a mental shift. Then it becomes an emotional shift and then a physical shift.

Our world is a direct reflection of our thoughts, actions and emotions. For the outside to shift, the inside has to shift, too. How we do this is since we can’t luck our way into abundance, the first thing that we want to do is focus on what we already have – and what we’re grateful for. Gratitude is the attitude of the blessed.

So, what are you grateful for? I would say, “I’m grateful for this breath, for my heart that works and I’m grateful that there are people in my life who I love and who love me.. ”

After a while, I was so aware of what I did have, that I started to appreciate it and associate it to a place of gratitude rather than fear. Shifting our focus from fear to gratitude is the first step. Then what we want to do is take our focus off of money as our supply. Money is just energy in physical form. The highest form of energy in the Universe is love. So if we put our focus on what we love, who we love and what we love to do, money will follow in the perfect time. Money will eventually chase people who are doing what they love.

Then finally, we must raise our standards. Surround yourself with people who believe in your dream, who life you up and inspire you. Who you surround yourself with is who you become! So it’s important to have a supportive and loving peer group.

If we focus on what we’re grateful for, if we realize that love is our supply and not money, if we focus on serving others and if we associate with people who lift us up, we are on the path to alignment with our soul, with our purpose and not just survival, but thriving!