Keeping Your Edge

“Great leaders don’t blame the tools they are given, they work to sharpen them.”

~Simon Sinek

Sharpen the Axe

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The Outward Mindset

Currently reading this, by The Arbinger Institute

Make one change to dramatically improve performance, spark collaboration & accelerate innovation – a shift to an outward mindset.


Outward Mindset Book

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7 Spurgeon Quotes for Stressed Leaders

October 4, 2017 By Eric Geiger

Charles Spurgeon started ministry at sixteen years old, led the largest evangelical church of his day, published more words in English than anyone, preached to celebrities and royalty, earned millions of dollars, gave it all away, and was by almost any measure

Spurgeion Quotes

a success. Yet he battled anxiety, depression, and significant suffering. He knew the pressures of leadership and ministry like few others. Here are seven encouragements from one tired, stressed, faithful leader to you:

1. “The trees bow in the wind, and so must we.”

“The trees bow in the wind, and so must we. Every time the sheep bleats it loses a mouthful, and every time we complain we miss a blessing. Grumbling is a bad trade, and yields no profit, but patience has a golden hand. Our evils will soon be over. After rain comes clear shining; black crows have wings; every winter turns to spring; every night breaks into morning” (John Ploughman’s Talk, 57-58).

2. “Whatever wrong I suffer it cannot do me half so much hurt as being angry about it.”

“Nothing is improved by anger, unless it be the arch of a cat’s back. A man with his back up is spoiling his figure. People look none the handsomer for being red in the face… Whatever wrong I suffer it cannot do me half so much hurt as being angry about it” (John Ploughman’s Pictures, 160).

3. “Grace, by its matchless art, has often turned the heaviest of our trials into occasions for heavenly joy.”

“Our afflictions are like weights, and have a tendency to bow us to the dust, but there is a way of arranging weights by means of wheels and pulleys, so that they will even lift us up. Grace, by its matchless art, has often turned the heaviest of our trails into occasions for heavenly joy” (Feathers for Arrows, 18).

4. “Half our fears arise from neglect of the Bible.”

“Brethren, a want of familiarity with the Word of God is very often the seed-plot of our doubts! Half our fears arise from neglect of the Bible. Our spirits sink for want of the heavenly food stored up in the inspired Volume” (MTP 33:489).

5. “If God cares for you, why need you care too?”

“If God cares for you, why need you care too? Can you trust Him for your soul, and not for your body? He has never refused to bear your burdens, He has never fainted under their weight. Come, then, soul! have done with fretful care, and leave all thy concerns in the hand of a gracious God” (Morning and Evening, January 6, AM).

6. “Settle the centre, and the circumference is secure.”

“There is neither in heaven nor earth nor hell anything that we need fear when we are once right with God. Settle the centre, and the circumference is secure” (MTP 23:148).

7. “Remember that you have not lost your ‘all.’ You still have Christ, and he is ‘all.’”

“You, who have lately lost your loved ones, and you, who have been brought low by recent losses in business, are you fretting over your losses? If so, remember that you have not lost your ‘all.’ You still have Christ, and he is ‘all.’ Then, what have you lost? Yes, I know that you have something to grieve over; but, after all, your ‘light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for you a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;’ therefore, comfort yourself with this thought, —‘I have not really lost anything, for I still have all’”

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The Crisp Meeting

by Seth Godin

A $30,000 software package is actually $3,000 worth of software plus $27,000 worth of meetings.

And most clients are bad at meetings. As a result, so are many video developers, Meetingfreelance writers, conference organizers, architects and lawyers.

If you’re a provider, the analysis is simple: How much faster, easier and better-constructed would your work be if you began the work with all the meetings already done, with the spec confirmed, with the parameters clear?

Well, if that’s what you need, build it on purpose.

The biggest difference between great work and pretty-good work are the meetings that accompanied it.

The crisp meeting is one of a series. It’s driven by purpose and intent. It’s guided by questions:

Who should be in the room?

What’s the advance preparation we ought to engage in? (at least an hour for every meeting that’s worth holding).

What’s the budget?

What’s the deadline?

What does the reporting cycle look like–dates and content and responsibilities?

Who is the decision maker on each element of the work?

What’s the model–what does a successful solution look like?

Who can say no, who can change the spec, who can adjust the budget?

When things go wrong, what’s our approach to fixing them?

What constitutes an emergency, and what is the cost (in time, effort and quality) of stopping work on the project to deal with the emergency instead?

Is everyone in the room enrolled in the same project, or is part of the project to persuade the nay-sayers?

If it’s not going to be a crisp meeting, the professional is well-advised to not even attend.

It’s a disappointing waste of time, resources and talent to spend money to work on a problem that actually should be a conversation first.

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Say Yes to Yourself with a Personal “Don’t Do” Policy

by Jack Canfield,
America’s #1 Success Coach, is founder of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul©

Our world is a highly competitive and over stimulating place, and more and more concentration is needed every day just to stay focused on completing your daily tasks and pursuing your long-term goals.

With the explosion of communications technology we are more accessible to more people than ever before. Complete strangers can reach you by telephone, cell phone, pager, fax, regular  mail, express mail and e-mail.

They can e-mail and instant message you at home, at work and on your hand held smart-phone. And with the explosion of social media, requests now find their way to us on our Facebook and Linked-In accounts.

It seems everyone wants a piece of you!

Your kids want rides or to borrow the car, your co-workers want your input on projects that are not your responsibility, your boss wants you to work overtime, your sister wantsDont you to take her kids for the weekend, your child’s school wants you to bake four dozen cookies for teacher appreciation day, your mother wants you to come over and fix her screen door, your best friend wants to talk about his impending divorce, a local charity wants you to head up a committee, and your neighbor wants to borrow your van.

Not to mention the endless slews of telemarketers who want you to subscribe to the local newspaper, contribute to the nearby wildlife sanctuary or transfer all of your credit card debt over to their new card.  Even your pets are clamoring for more attention!

We suffer from overload at work—taking on more than we can comfortably deliver in an unconscious desire to impress others, get ahead, and keep up with others’ expectations. Meanwhile our top priorities go unaddressed.

How much time do you waste with projects and activities that you really don’t want to do simply because you are uncomfortable saying no?

Success depends on getting good at saying no without feeling guilty. You cannot get ahead with your own goals if you are always saying yes to someone else’s projects. You can only get ahead with your desired lifestyle if you are focused on the things that will produce that lifestyle.

You will have to structure your work and life so that you are focusing your time, effort, energies, and resources only on projects, opportunities, and people that give you a huge return on your efforts. You are going to have to create stronger boundaries about what you will and won’t do.

Most of us are busy, but undisciplined. We are active, but not focused. We are moving, but not always in the right direction. By creating a stop-doing list as well as a to-do list, you will bring more discipline and focus into your life

Start by creating a stop-doing list as soon as possible! Then make the things on your list “policies.” People respond to policies. They understand a policy as a boundary. They will respect you more for being clear about what you won’t do.

For example, some of my “don’t do” policies on a personal level are:

  • I never lend my car to anyone for any reason.
  • I don’t lend money. I am not a bank.
  • We don’t schedule outside social events on Friday night. That is our family night.
  • I don’t discuss contributions over the phone. Send me something in writing.

On a business level some of my “don’t do” policies are:

  • I don’t give endorsements for books of fiction.
  • I have a policy of not lending my books to other people. They rarely come back, and they are the source of my livelihood, so I don’t lend them out.)
  • I don’t schedule more than five talks in one month.
  • I no longer co-author books with first-time authors. Their learning curve is too expensive.
  • I don’t do individual counseling or coaching. There is greater leverage in working with a group.
  • Except for when I am doing a new book tour, I don’t schedule more than two radio interviews in a day.

It is very easy to say what your policies are, and you don’t even have to use the word no!

People respect policies. And it’s likely that no one will take your policy personally, they’ll realize it’s a boundary you have set for all occasions. 

Be brave in saying no, stay focused on your higher goals and let people know that you are committed to those goals. People will respect your clarity and drive.

Remember, just as you are in control of your feelings and attitudes, other people are in control of theirs, so if they do get upset with you for saying no…well that is a choice they make for themselves.
Jack Canfield, America’s #1 Success Coach, is founder of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul© and a leading authority on Peak Performance and Life Success. If you’re ready to jump-start your life, make more money, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now 

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11 Things Entrepreneurs (and Employees) can Learn from Soccer

This is a great post – along the lines of: Recognize – Communicate – Execute

by Chris Brady | Original Article
  1. Always be moving — you must have endurance, be prepared for the long haul, but also be able to burst and sprint when needed.
  2. Passing — when a task comes to you, do your thing and then pass it along to whereSoccor Field it needs to go next. If you can do it with one touch, do so.
  3. Dribble only when necessary — Don’t keep the ball (spotlight, task, etc.) too long, but only when it’s the best option to move your team into a position to score. It’s way better to involve the whole team in moving forward together.
  4. Field vision — know where you are supposed to be and what is expected of you at all times. Know how you fit into the overall strategy and tactics, both offensively and defensively, adapting quickly as things change.
  5. Pass and move — don’t just hand something off when you’re done, anticipate where you’ll be needed next and get there immediately.
  6. Possession — keep the game under your control, knowing that your team cannot win without seizing the initiative and holding onto it.
  7. Communicate — let your teammates know when you see a challenge coming their way, let them know where they can expect to find you next, and do it while playing the game, NOT stopping to have committee meetings every 30 seconds as they do in American football (thank you to David Green of Hobby Lobby for this one).
  8. Take a half-time break — there is an appropriate time to rest up a bit, gather with your team, rehash strategy, and recommit to winning.
  9. Stoppage time — play to the last minute, and even beyond if allowed, in order to finish strong.
  10. Don’t be a diver — when you get fouled, just get up and get on with it, instead of trying to get sympathy for some injustice. Don’t let the lawyers ruin the game.
  11. Shooting and finishing — make sure you always know where the target is, use skill in finding it, apply as much finesse as possible, and use your head if you have to!

Chris Brady – NYT Best Selling Author, Inc. Mag’s Top 50 Leader, CEO of Life, Speaker, Humorist, World Traveler, Soccer Fan, Father, Rascal! : )

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An Outward Oriented Mindset

And they accomplish this by developing an outward (others) oriented mindset.

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