Exploring for Exemplary Talent
By Laura Novakowski, President – Positive Power Strategies, Inc.
The extraordinary individuals and businesses of the future are the adventurers that will explore the exemplary talent of the past. They seek those role models that have left a lasting impression to positively influence lives, communities, and the world.
Now, the question to ask becomes “What are the top three characteristics of exemplary talent that I want to explore, follow and ultimately emulate?”
Work and live for the love of it! Bobby Jones, the greatest amateur golfer nationally and internationally of all time, was once asked why he didn’t turn into a professional golfer. After all, there’s no money as an amateur in golf. His answer, “the root of amateur is from Latin ‘for the love of it.’ I love the game of golf so much that I don’t want to change why I golf.”
Find the beauty inside! Michelangelo was a master sculptor and artist. His sculptures were masterpieces carved out of some of the roughest, plainest blocks of granite and marble. When asked how he could take some worthless rock and turn it into a marvelous piece of art, he answered: “In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it.”
Michelangelo released Moses from his “prison” in the stone because he saw “perfection in attitude and action.”
Be humble! Mother Teresa was touched initially by the people of the streets of Calcutta. She spent her life knowing who and what she was – a human being that had the ability to serve. She touched the lives of kings and queens as well as paupers and beggars. One her most impactful quotes for me is, “If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are.”
Mother Teresa knew who she was and “neither praise nor disgrace” deterred her from her course of service.
On this journey of exploration for success in life and leadership, I have discovered three exemplary talents:
- Work and live for the love of it!
- Find the beauty inside!
- Be humble!
By Judy Rienzi, President – Health Promotions Associates, LLC
Every day, we have an opportunity to recreate a life that brings us closer to our dreams and desires. As the day unfolds, we have a choice. We can choose to follow our same routine, or we can make Power Choices that take us in a new direction, a direction filled with possibilities.
We may not have a choice about everything in life, but we can support ourselves by tapping into our natural talents, our creativity, and our ability to be fully actualized. The act of making one power choice a day can give you enough confidence to continue to make choices that will be transforming.
Power Choices are the choices we make that lead us to discover our personal power in order to unlock potential. It’s not about control, it’s about a freedom to live a life that reflects your needs, values and life goals. Our personal power can be used to promote self-responsibility and self-reliance in ourselves while being an example for others and encouraging them to do the same.
A great book that will help put Power Choices into action is QBQ The Question Behind the Question: Practicing Personal Accountability at Work and in Life by John G. Miller. Chapter two in particular talks about the countless choices we have to make in our personal and professional lives. “But the right thoughts lead us to a richer, more fulfilling life and the feelings of pride and accomplishment that come from making productive decisions.”
The book shows us how to recognize and ask better questions starting with “What can I do…” or “How can I help..” rather than using words like who, why, and when which lack personal accountability.
Change only comes from the inside as a result of the Power Choices you make. Questions that contain the letter “I” puts the focus back on ourselves holding us accountable for the results they produce. Practicing personal accountability, a Power Choice, results in tremendous growth and change.
X-Ray Your Critical Thinking Process
By Leanne Hoagland-Smith, Chief Results Officer – ADVANCED SYSTEMS
All human beings think. Our brains along with our opposable thumbs are what separate us from all other mammals. Yet, for many, the ability to consistently apply good critical thinking skills is lacking. Thinking is easy, yet critical thinking is far more difficult.
In the book Critical Thinking by Richard Paul and Linda Elder, the authors make numerous points about critical thinking. In Chapter Two, the focus is on becoming a critic of your own thinking and to do this requires people to X-ray the way they current think and to continually X-ray their thinking process.
So what does it take to X-ray one’s thinking? Again the authors provide 4 X-Ray films to assist in this task:
Film #1 – Unreflective thinker
Film #2 – Challenged thinker
Film #3 – Beginning thinker
Film #4 – Practicing thinker
Additional scans or X-rays are needed specific to continue this process of becoming a better critical thinker. Many of these are related to the decision making process. Decision making patterns emerge through this X-ray process. In fact there are some companies that publish X-ray type tools or assessments to better understand how people make decisions about the outside world as well as how they make decisions about themselves.
The ability to critically think is difficult. Many notes leaders have alluded to this in their observations.
- “Thinking is hard work; that’s why so few do it.” Albert Einstein
- “More gold has been mined from the thoughts of man than has even been taken from the earth.” Napoleon Hill.
- “A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.” William James
- “There is not expedient to which a man will go to avoid the real labor of thinking.” Thomas Edison
- “What is the hardest task in the world? To think.” Ralph W. Emerson
To X-ray one’s thinking does require time and better yet a plan of action. Consider setting some goals and begin to develop better critical thinking skills. Your business and your life will be far better because you are one of the few who think well and not one of the many who just think.
Set the Example & Explore the Talent Around You
By Laura Canter – Psychologist, CanterAssociates
When was the last time you set the example? Far too often we do the old — “do as I say, not as I do routine.” And as you may recall from childhood….that never worked too well when your parents or teachers said it to you. As leaders, we should be setting the example, creating the environment to cultivate success. Well, this is all fine in theory, but the practice is sometimes difficult to maintain in a consistent capacity.
We all know if you want an atmosphere of respect, you must be respectful of others. If you want to create a culture of trust and honesty, you need to create an environment where sharing, collaboration, and authenticity are common everyday practice. But, the current financial and job climate in the USA creates tension and an atmosphere of “all for one”. It is hard to create collaborative, respectful and honest organizations when people are so worried if they will even have a job tomorrow, how to pay the mortgage, pay tuition, keep the power on, or even pay medical expenses.
As a leader it is hard to keep the emotional climate within the organization positive for productivity. However, a great way to begin the subtle change for success is to think about modifying the Golden Rule – treat others how you wish to be treated. Well this is a fine rule, but a more effective and improved rule would be: treat others how they wish to be treated.
Not only are you setting the example, but you need to explore and learn how others wish to be treated. Some need a little more support than others. Also, maybe someone else has a better way to creating success, it’s your job as a leader to take in all the information and decide a good avenue for the team. When was the last time you explored the talent around you? Many times we are so focused on our own self-improvement we forget to elicit the help, support, and strengths of others. By being a strengths finder of other people you can encourage your own personal success to occur. It can also help you to create a valuable ally and support team when it comes to making tough decisions and changes for the improvement of the organization.
Leaders all too often think they have to be the most creative and clever person. In fact, no – you don’t have to be. In reality your job is to: encourage a group to get things done, while preserving harmony within the group. This means making sure everyone feels included (see modified golden rule). Also, a leader needs to be good at organizing activities and seeing that they come to fruition….so look at the world around you and explore all of your options!