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The Secret Sauce to Success in Life

Posted at 12:09 AM on Monday, October 19, 2009

This is the final post in my 16 lessons learned over (my first) 16 years in business. For a summary with links to the other 15, scroll down to post 15, Use Wisely Your Power of . . ..

I announced this lesson during our online party last Friday, as promised.

But now it is time to share it with you.

The title of the post, could have been written for better search engine optimization, but that would have given you the answer.

The biggest lesson I've learned in 16 years in business is that in order to be more successful, you must continue to learn.

If you are thinking to yourself, "Duh Kevin, that isn't so profound," read on - because that attitude certainly isn't conducive to the learning mindset. (And a open, curious learning mindset is extremely valuable!)

As human beings, we are learning beings. We are truly at our best when we are using our gifts, including our gift of learning, to it's fullest extent. I've learned this, and while I believe it with all my heart, but I can tell you that until I'm blue in the face and it won't motivate you to act as a learner more of the time.

I could also tell you that the key word is being a continual learner is the key. I used to think we needed to be continuous learners, but I believe there is a key difference. Continually means being on a path. Continuous means never stopping. It would be pretty hard to always be learning (at a conscious level). The only thing I can think of that we truly do continuously is breathe. Beyond that, we need a break.

I'd like to continually eat, but not continuously eat. I'd like to continually laugh, but not continuously laugh. I think you get the idea. we can't consciously continuously learn, but to become our best selves we must continually learn.

I've learned that be be a great learner, we must be continually learning, which includes rest and reflection.

And I've learned, that as valuable as this discussion of continuous vs. continual might be, this won't likely move you to learn more intentionally either.

But this might.

Think for a minute about what you want more of in your life. Think about your goals, dreams and aspirations. Whatever they are, and whether they are personal or professional in nature, you can not achieve them without learning.

If you already knew everything, everyone and all of the particulars, you would have already achieved those things. Learning is by definition a part of the journey towards anything we want and desire.

Would you like to get to your goals faster? Would you like the accelerant, the secret sauce to faster achievement?


Learn more and learn faster and you will accelerate your progress towards achievement.

Create the habits, discipline and mindset to become a continual learner and you will have found the secret sauce.

Perhaps it is ironic that a guy who says he is in the learning business sees this as his biggest lesson. Ironic, perhaps, but no less true.

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What Did I Learn This Year?

Posted at 6:55 AM on Tuesday, December 18, 2007

This is the first in a series of 13 questions designed to help you capture the best from the past year. To learn more about this project and to download a tool to help you with your process for completing this year and starting next year successfully, check out this post.

What did I learn this year?

I learned tons this year! I don't have time to write everything here (nor would you want to read it all)!

Two things come to my mind that apply to me and might be useful to you as well.

1. Don't judge an event too quickly. One of the most traumatic events of my life happened May 11th. My father, age 64, died of a sudden and unexpected heart attack. I had a close relationship with my Dad and so this was a very challenging time. While I think of him everyday, and miss him still, in retrospect, the overall balance of results from that event are far more positive than I would have ever imagined.

For example:

- I learned stories of things my Dad did for others that I will treasure always.
- I learned of the model he was for many - more than I ever expected.
- I learned about the power of service.
- I rekindled friendships with people I had lost connections with - and it won't happen again.
- I learned (or perhaps was powerfully reminded) of what it means to really be a neighbor.

So while the event isn't something I wished had happened, in retrospect the balance of the event is far more positive than I could have imagined. I believe this is a lesson we can apply to any "negative" event. The message isn't so much "look for the silver lining" as it is expect that valuable lessons will come.

2. The power of intention. I find myself talking to myself and nearly every group I speak to about the power of intention. I believe that when we are truly clear on our intention, that we will create more desirable results. Again, a couple of examples:

- if we really want to help someone, the techniques of how we give feedback will become less important if we let our intention show through.
- if we are passionate about a change because of how it will serve others (when our intention is clear from their perspective), we will communicate it and lead that change much more successfully.

Perhaps the power I am speaking of is that when our intentions are pure, our need for techniques is reduced. When we are real and genuine we are more powerful, persuasive (and yes remarkable) people and leaders.

Also posted in Leadership, Learning and Training.

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PhotoReading and Thoughts about Promoting,Selling, and Communicating

Posted at 6:04 AM on Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I am a customer of PhotoReading - a product of Learning Strategies. You can check out my reviews of both the book and the full system as written about in my newsletter, Unleash Your Potential.

I also recently, partnered with Learning Strategies to promote this product to our Powerquotes list . . . which is why I write this post.

A couple of my readers emailed me expressing concern about me "hawking" this product to my list. I replied to these readers with my thanks for their notes and I addressed their concerns.

I wasn't hawking a product, but promoting something I feel is of great value. I wasn't selling it to make a commission, though I will make one. I was sharing the opportunity with people because I see the value and benefits to them. If you are interested in learning more, you can go here.

The lesson for all of us is that it is important that we make our true intentions clear. When we are transparent and truly working from a position of providing value and benefit to the other person, we can't just assume the other person will see this perspective.

As you communicate with others make sure you message and your intent is clear, and you will have much greater success in the communication process and in building the relationship.

Also posted in Customer Service, Leadership, Learning and Training.

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Acronyms and Acrostics

Posted at 6:11 AM on Wednesday, March 07, 2007

It seems that in every organization I work they claim to have more acronyms than any other organization. Actually, they all seem to have equally large numbers of them. We even have them in our own small organization. Acronyms are a series of letters used as an abbreviated form of a longer phrase. CIA (Central Intelligence Agency), RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance), and LSU (Louisiana State University) are three examples.

You have likely thought of many examples as you read the above paragraph.

The value of acronyms is that they create a short hand and help us speak more rapidly. The danger is that communicating with people who don't know them can cause major and immediate communication blocks.

I've done an exercise in the workshops where I have people define a number of "common" acronyms. Perhaps the most interesting thing that happens is that many of the acronyms have two different yet equally valid meanings! Talk about communication gaps.

Acrostics are something entirely different. An acrostic is defined as: "An acrostic . . . is a poem or other writing in an alphabetic script in which the first letter, syllable or word of each verse, paragraph or other recurring feature in the text spells out another message. . . . an acrostic can be used as a mnemonic device to aide memory retrieval." (Thanks Wikipedia.)

Acrostics then are much more powerful than acronyms, because in their order they create meaning and improve the chances we will remember that meaning. I often try to create these in my writing. Yesterday, when discussing a recent article I wrote in Unleash Your Potential, titled, Be a Better Listener With These Great Questions, someone immediately identified a powerful acrostic.

The content at a high level was written as:

Reasons Great Listeners Ask Questions

There are specific purposes for the questions asked when trying to listen more successfully. They fall into four basic categories:

- Questions to confirm understanding
- Questions to learn more
- Questions to understand meaning or feelings
- Questions to encourage and show support

And the acrostic is - Use a CLUE to formulate great questions

Confirm understanding
Learn more
Understanding meaning or feelings
Encourage and show support

See the power of this tool?

(Here's the full article.)

I encourage you to look for ways to creatively see more acrostics, and perhaps fewer acronyms. The effectiveness of your communication will be greatly improved.

Also posted in Creativity, Leadership, Learning, Teamwork and Training.

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