Sometimes, success is simply a matter of making one small adjustment. For example, at 211 degrees, water is hot. But at 212 degrees it boils. This makes all the difference.
Sam Parker and Mac Anderson expanded on this simple metaphor in their short book, 212°: the Extra Degree. They wrote,
I am a high-energy person. But I haven’t always been that way. There have been times in my life when I was utterly exhausted. Times when getting through the day was a big chore. Times when I had nothing left to give by the end of the day. Times when I just wanted to collapse into bed and pull the covers over my head.
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But in recent years, I am been very deliberate about managing my energy level. I did a lot of reading on this and took the time to educate myself. I experimented. I tried some new things. I broke some old habits. Now, my energy level remains pretty constant through the day.
A clearly written goal is not enough. A carefully thought out action plan isn’t either. You need more than this if you are going to accomplish really big goals. Let me explain.
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Last year, I set a goal to write a new book, called Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World. As someone who has spent his career in the book publishing industry, I had witnessed hundreds (if not thousands) of people get turned away by publishers, simply because they didn’t have a platform.
Think you have big goals? Think again. Several years ago, I read an article in Wired magazine about a long-distance runner named Dean Karnazes.
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- He ran fifty marathons in fifty states on fifty consecutive days.
- He once ran 350 miles in three days—without stopping and with no sleep.
There’s an instructive scene in the Star Wars movie, The Empire Strikes Back. Yoda is instructing Luke Skywalker in how to use the Force. He asks Luke to retrieve his disabled spaceship out of a bog where it has sunk, using only his mind.
Luke, of course, thinks this is impossible. Sure, he has been able to move stones around this way. But a spaceship? That’s completely different. Or is it.
Recently, I attended the The SCORRE Conference, formerly called The Dynamic Communicators Workshop, in Vail, Colorado. It is absolutely the best training available for speakers and everyone else who wants to communicate with more clarity and power. (I liked it so much the first time I attended that I am now a partner with Ken Davis, the founder and primary instructor.)
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In the last session of the conference, we heard from speaking coach and master communicator, Stacey Foster. He closed his talk with this powerful story:*
Most people won’t change course until something traumatic happens that gets their attention. Maybe it’s the loss of a job or a marriage. Sometimes it’s a health crisis. It happened to me.
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Several years ago, I was in New York City on business. I was having a relaxing dinner with one of my colleagues. Suddenly, as we were finishing our meal, I started to have chest pains.
As I indicated in yesterday’s post, many people drift through life without a plan. For some, things work out fine. For most, they end up far from their intended destination.
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Others, end up living someone else’s dream, the victim of another agenda. This almost happened to a Mexican fisherman in a story told by Tim Ferriss in The 4-Hour Work Week. (This story appears in various forms on the Internet.)
I first met Dave Ramsey in the early 1990s. At the time, he was the co-host of a local radio show called, The Money Game. He had also self-published a book called Financial Peace, which was later picked up by Viking and became a New York Times bestseller.
I had the privilege of working with Dave on the launch of his book, The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness. It become a mega-bestseller, selling over four million copies since it first came out in 2003. In fact, month after month, it is still one of Thomas Nelson’s top ten bestsellers. It is the first book that I recommend to couple’s wanting to get control of their finances and improve their marriage.
I have always been driven to achieve. According to the Strengths Finder Assessment, achievement is one of my top strengths. I don’t know whether I was wired that way from the beginning, or my propensity toward achievement came out of my upbringing.
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As a kid growing up in seven different countries, I always found myself as the new kid on the block. I discovered that one of the quickest ways to get noticed was to achieve. The more challenging the achievement, the better. Most kids want to be noticed and I was no different.
During my coaching sessions at EntreLeadership Master Series in Orlando, there were a few themes that kept popping up. One of those was leaders having problems with their teams not going the extra mile. Not taking on more responsibility. The first instinct is that you hired lazy people. In many cases that is true.
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But there’s a combination that I’ve found that explains why so many team members are so hesitant. When a leader is perceived to be a bully, or condescending, or leads with fear, then I find that they tend to have a team that, in their own words, “won’t go the extra mile.”