"The difference between who you are and who you want to be is what you (diligently) do.” say’s Bill Phillips. A few months back I was on a three-day hiking trip with a group of guys. After the first day, I decided to help with the stragglers at the end of the line to see if I could motivate them to keep pushing towards the goal. After all my encouragement and coaching there was one guy that just wasn't getting it. His comments were continually negative - “I’m trying, but it’s too hard." He wanted to quit so bad that he just sat on the ground refusing to continue. Now, his stopping wouldn't have been too bad if the rest of the group waited up for us but they kept trudging leaving us in the middle of nowhere. I was frustrated with several hours of this nonsense of "I can't....". When I had heard enough, I snapped by responding to his next comment with, “Don't say, I can't anymore! Close the mouth and put one foot in front of the other! We will rest when we make it to the end. Let's do what we must do!"
We can be the same way with our goals, stuck in the "I can't..." and going nowhere. When we are there we cancel our own abilities. The only thing that will help us reach the end is diligence. Diligence is the continual persistent effort we put into each step to be successful in the long run.
3 Angles of Diligence
1. Constancy – If we want to get strong results, we must be willing to consistently overcome strong challenges. The hiker in my story wanted to reach the goal but he didn’t want to overcome the constant struggle of making the steps in his mind and with his feet.
Carrying your load and doing what you might not feel like doing is a part of being diligent. Face your obstacles and learn to overcome them. Don't be afraid to mess up and fail, but also don't fail to get up, learn from it, and try again. Develop the constant “I can do it attitude”. Push and pull yourself to be better than who you were yesterday. Constancy is the only way to long-term success.
2. Meticulous – A great writer once said, “Winners actually do sweat the small stuff; because they know that getting the details right is the difference between success and failure.” So often it's easy to pass over the hard stuff to avoid conflict, but passing a step can be detrimental to long-term success. We must keep the details in view of what we are doing.
Be diligent about covering the right components of your projects. Comb through the details and then align yourself with what's required. Always be willing to make time to reflect on details.
3. Hard work – David Bly said, “Striving for success without hard work is like trying to harvest where you haven’t planted.” We have become numb to the concept of "hard work". If we're honest we all probably try to avoid hard work. However, for continuous success, we must always be ready to work hard. I’m convinced that the faster we accept hard-work the quicker we can achieve our goals.
Overcome your fear of hard-work by embracing the challenges that you face. Be wise in how you take on your challenges. If hard work is done in the wrong direction it will cause the wrong results. Therefore, be efficient and effective with your efforts. The amount of harvest is determined by the amount of hard work you put into planting the right things.
Summary – Diligence is the constant, persistent effort of working hard to achieve a goal. Achieve your success by diligently applying the right details to the proper tasks for success. Be diligent!
Implementing change is a common notion for the New Year. Resolutions or better commitments are made to hopefully improve the upcoming year. Statistics show that over half of the commitments (resolutions) made at the beginning of the year are broken within the first six months. So how can we make resolutions that will accomplish the changes we need? Les Brown says, “We may not accomplish every goal we set – no one does – but what really matters is having goals and going after them wholeheartedly.” In other words, be willing to always get back up no matter how many times you fail. Never give up on your goal.
1. Know Why – I once had a co-worker that did things only because everyone else seemed to be successful at it. He didn’t care if it fit him or not he just did it because it worked for the other person. Our resolutions should not be chosen because someone else is doing it. To be successful it needs to be based on what we really want for ourselves. This is what sets us up for long-term success.
Decide what you really want to achieve and write it down. Self-improvement always starts with the deep concerned about bettering you. Make goals for yourself. Try to be specific and realistic about what you want to achieve. For example: "I want a new job," is an open-ended dream compared to, "I want to work at FedEx headquarters in Memphis, TN as a manager." You increase your chances of success by narrowing down your goals with specific details.
2. Know When – Often times I have set goals at the beginning of the year but had not really set a deadline to when I wanted to reach my goals. This mindset caused many of my goals to be lost and forgotten due to burn out and the daily grind.
Put a time limit on your goals. Sometimes to do this requires you to break up large goals into smaller ones that you can manage and gauge the progress. For example, if you're still in your first year in college, it's not realist to try to graduate this spring. That goal is a process that requires specific steps to achieve. The current goal should be something like, "I'm going to work to get the best grade I can on the upcoming assignment; then I will continue to work hard to do my best in each of my class - even the ones I don't like. Once the basics are covered you can be hopeful for the semester, the year and so on and so forth. Always work to master the step you are on before trying to conqueror the entire flight of stairs.
3. Know Action – Many great plans never get acted upon. I'm sure we know why we should do something different for the New Year and we probably know when we need to have it done, but carrying out the plan is another story. To do what's required to achieve any goal requires long-term diligence. Zig Ziglar said this about action, “Setting goals helps to bring our future into our present because in the present is where we must take action.”
Make every day a day of "action"! Do something that progresses you forward to the desired goal. Even small steps will get you there if you are consistent. Set a regular time to review and evaluate the action to be taken for the day. (Ex. - First thing in the morning, first fifteen minutes in the office, and/or a moment before going to bed.) Don’t be afraid to tweak and refine your goals. Change is inevitable. As you act upon one action step you are bound to learn how to improve the next.
Summary – If you are making or have made resolutions for the New Year and want to be successful, keep in mind - why the change is needed, when the change is best, and decide to continue acting out the desired change no matter how difficult or small the progress. Someone once said, “People with clear written goals accomplish more in a shorter period of time than people without them can ever imagine.” Go reach your goals today!
"The difference between who you are and who you want to be, is what you (diligently) do.” say’s Bill Phillips. A few months back I was on a three day hiking trip with a group of guys. After the first day, I decided to help with the stragglers at the end of the line to see if I could motivate them to keep pushing towards the goal. After all my encouragement and coaching there was one guy that just wasn't getting it. His comments were continually, “I’m trying, but it’s too hard." He wanted to quit so bad that he just sat on the ground refusing to continue. Now this wouldn't have been too bad but the rest of the group wasn't stopping and we were in the middle of no where with several miles to go before a rest point. After several hours of "I can't....", I replied with, “Don't say, I can't any more! You CAN put one foot in front of the other! You CAN make it!"
We can be the same way with our goals, stuck in the "I can't" and going no where. When we are in that zone we cancel our own abilities and opportunities to succeed. The only thing that will help us reach the success we desire is all in diligence. Diligence is the continual persistent effort we put into each step that's required to be successful. Let's look at three concepts of being diligent.
1. Constancy – If we want to get strong results, we must be willing to consistently overcome strong challenges. The hiker in my story wanted to reach the goal but he didn’t want to overcome the constant struggle of making the steps in his mind that he could do it and then put his feet to do what his mind had established to on the ground.
Constantly carrying your load and doing what you might not feel like doing is a part of being diligent. Face your obstacles and learn to overcome them. Don't be afraid to mess up and fail, but don't fail to get up, learn from it, and try again. Develop the constant “I can do it attitude” all the way, continuously pushing and pulling yourself to be better than who you were the moment before. This is your way to long-term success.
2. Meticulous – A great writer once said, “Winners actually do sweat the small stuff; because they know that getting the details right is the difference between success and failure.” So often it's easy to pass over the hard stuff to avoid conflict but passing a step can be detrimental to long-term success. We must keep the details in view of what we are doing.
Be diligent about covering the right details. Comb through the details and align yourself with the requirements. Schedule time to reflect on the details. As you develop this skill you will learn that the details do matter in your daily journey to success.
3. Hard work – David Bly said, “Striving for success without hard work is like trying to harvest where you haven’t planted.” We have become numb to the concept of "hard work". If we were honest we probably would turn the other way if we saw difficulties coming. However, to obtain success we must be ready to work hard. We must be willing to bleed, feel uncomfortable, and be hurt a little for what we desire. I’m convinced that the faster we accept hard-work the quicker we can achieve our goals.
Overcome your fear of hard-work by embracing the challenge. Seek to gain an understanding of the reward for the effort. Keep in mind, if hard work is done in the wrong direction it can cause you to arrive at the wrong place. Therefore, make sure your hard work is on point by continually aligning yourself with your goal. Remember, the amount of harvest is determined by the amount of hard work you put into cultivating, planting, and nurturing the right things.
Summary – Diligence is the constant, meticulous, persistent effort of working hard to achieve a goal. Achieve your success by diligently applying the right details to the proper tasks for success. Be diligent!
Experts say that our confidence comes from our inner perception of our abilities to fulfill jobs and tasks that are before us. In other words, if we feel that we can do something great we will have the confidence to do it. On the other hand, if we feel that we are not capable of success we are more prone to be apprehensive. A great writer said it this way, "Confidence comes naturally with success, but success comes only to those who are confident." Boosting our confidence must come from genuinely increasing our inner strengths. Let's look at some non-verbal languages that are reflected in our outward confidence.
Appearance – First impressions are hard to erase so we must be mindful of what we look like at all times. We are painting a picture of who we are every day. Our images speak greatly to the things we like or dislike. It may not be fair but we are judged by our appearances long before we open our mouths. Therefore, our appearances should reflect the inner confidence of quality and success.
Show your confidence and successful mindset through your appearance by aligning it to reflect your desired image. True confidence should come from building good character within first and then reflected outwardly among the public.
Stride – How we walk shows the public how we feel about ourselves. Does our walk display a slow, tired, or painful stride? Or, is it spirited, energetic and purposeful? Our confidence level is shown to others in the way we move from point to point. In the wild, a sluggish stride is an easy prey. Opportunities can miss us when we carry ourselves disconnected from our purpose.
Walk with confidence and purpose. Hold your head up so you can see where you are going. Pick up your pace because you have places to go, people to see, and important work to do even if it is going home. Confidence is gained by choosing to be an important person of purpose and walking as if so. Establish your purpose and make every step purposeful to fulfill it.
Posture – Our greatest possession is our bodies. We use it every day to accomplish tasks and duties. How we carry ourselves is known as our posture. It tells a story about our level of confidence. When we sit or stand with slumped shoulders and move lethargically with our tasks, we can be viewed as having low self-confidence.
Boost your posture by standing erect with your shoulders back. When you speak to people, make eye contact and shake their hand firmly but not too tight. Let others know you are interested in them by giving them your undivided attention. This is showing that you respect their time and who they are too.
Summary - Your confidence level can be increased by displaying an appearance that is positioned towards your direction for life, walking as if you have a purpose, and maintaining a posture of preparedness for whatever comes your way. Be sure to keep your confidence high because of your inner integrity found on truth. Push your arrogance low with humility that displays control.
There is a phrase that says, "No magic potions. No fairy dust. No one to do it for you. Just me. I will push you, show you how to put one determined foot in front of the other. That's what I'll do. I am inside you... I'm called your inner strength. Your dignity. Dig down deep and you'll find me."
Deep within us is an area of our beliefs that feed our emotions. It defines our reactions that we possess in the present and for the future. Dr. Donna Hicks says that one of the deep down beliefs that we crave is "dignity". Dignity is the quality of being worthy of esteem or respect. Even if we don't deserve it, everyone wants to be treated like they are special (respected). But there are two challenges that we face with dignity. The first is, we must possess the qualities that match the high esteemed dignity we desire. Second, is showing others dignity (respect) even when we don't feel it's deserved. To have the total success we desire requires us to possess dignity and give dignity.
3 Dignity Lived Out
1. Acceptance – Let's face it no one is exactly like us. Even if we were twins we would have different views because of our different perceptions and perspectives on what we have experienced. Since everyone has their own uniqueness we can assume that no one will meet our exact standards. With that being the case we must be open to accepting and working with other's differences.
To show dignity (respect) to others, approach people as being neither inferior nor superior. This might require you to be more tolerant of others instead of being critical of their differences. It's also good to give people the benefit of doubt. Assume that others have integrity (no hidden alternative motives) before putting them in the wrongful or offensive category. Give dignity to others because it is what you desire from others.
2. Inclusion – It can be laborious to incorporate people that we feel are weak or would slow down what we want to accomplish. However, improvement in this area requires us to work on making others feel and be a part of what's going on. When I played neighborhood basketball I experienced the power of inclusion. When a team captain picked me to be on his team I was excited and empowered with esteem and worth (dignity). I had an increased desire to do my best and be of value to the one who selected me.
Inclusion goes two ways - You being apart of others and others being apart of you. You can add value to people by taking a moment to include them into what you do and you can increase your value by finding areas to get plugged into.
3. Understand – Steven Covey says we should, "seek to understand before we seek to be understood". Gaining an understanding of what's going on is a part of living out dignity (respect). Recognizing someone else for their talents, hard work, thoughtfulness, and/or assistance is priceless and valuable.
Show dignity with your thoughts and words. Work to treat others justly, without discrimination. Believe that another person's thoughts matter by giving them a chance to explain and express their points of view. Be willing to actively listen for understanding. That is showing dignity to others.
Summary - Learn how to increase your dignity (respect) by determining what you value and showing it to others first. If you want to be accepted, then accept others; if you want to be included, then included others; and if you like to be understood then work to understand others. Personal dignity is only increased when given first.
Dave Willis says that we should, "Show respect even to people who don't deserve it; not as a reflection of their character, but as a reflection of ours." Yes, it's hard to respect someone that we have issues with. But, "who we are" must be greater than the problems and issues that we face with others. Being disrespectful in a heated situation is similar to fire, it grows hotter when feed. Let's look at some ways to build our respect.
3 Areas of Respect
1. Internal Problems – I had a car that I spent hours washing to make shine. I had the interior and the exterior spotless. But under the hood was an internal spot that I didn't want to address. The transmission was slipping. Since it was still moving fine, I continued to drive it on a prayer, hoping it wouldn't let me down. But, as we all know, all unaddressed problems tend to show up when not needed. And it did. Our lives can be the same way, if we fail to address our internal problems of respect, we can find ourselves in some really messed up situations.
One way you can spot internal slippage is when you see your respect for others drop. If you are saying and doing things to others that you wouldn't want to be done to you, there are some key respect issues that need to be addressed. Take some time to analyze what you do, diagnose why you do that, and optimize your actions by finding ways to improve your behavior. Work on improving your internal respect for others with clean positive motives.
2. Short List – I recently was being pushed to a point of anger. I was losing respect for the person I was talking to. I felt that I needed to express what I was feeling inside and it was not pretty. But as I took a moment to breathe I was able to see that I was connecting old hurts to the issue. I was not being fair to the other person. The author of "Anger: A Practical Guide to Anger Management", Hal Goldblatt says it this way, "It is not whether we have anger—everyone has anger. Rather, it is what we do with it that makes the difference between an angry person and a calm one." Anger can blind us to many things. We should be careful not to dumped our past on others. We must continue to work on the current issues and keep our past experiences as points of reference.
When you are dealing with hurtful things, it is good to have a short list of past hurts for yourself and others. The past viewed negatively can easily bring a need to be disrespectful. Work to allow the initial feelings of past hurts and resentments to be erased so you can be able to effectively handle what's current.
3. Add Chemicals – In the kitchen, I have noticed that some old messes on the stove required more than elbow grease to remove. They need an additional cleaning agent to help break down the hard stuck on messes. Fixing our disrespect is not a one time wipe and it's gone. Becoming respectful requires changing the way we think. Disrespectable people tend to curse, swear, or speak in highly colorful terms that reflect their inner thoughts. If we see ourselves showing signs of disrespect we must work to replace our negative thoughts with more rational ones. This is applying the chemical of positiveness.
In your life, like mine, there are some hard messes that have been around for a while and are stuck pretty hard. The chemical of positiveness is probably far from thought when in the heat of the moment, but if allowed to penetrate it can break a lot of tough issues. True respect is not based on what others say or do; it is based on what you value. Allow your values to affirm what you think, say and do. Remind yourself that getting angry is not fixing the problem, it's actually creating more work for you to clean up in the long run.
Summary - Proper thinking before responding defeats disrespect. You can justify disrespect just like most of us, but to achieve a higher level of success requires you to remember that the world is "not out to get you" and you can only increase the respect you receive by change you. Life is full of messes that are loaded with people you might not respect. However, when self-healing starts, self-respect is boosted and in-turn respect for others is valued.
Increase your respect by searching internally, keeping a short list of past messes, and adding the chemical of positiveness. Allow the present to be a gift that you cherish. Each day is an opportunity be a better person with everyone.