Trail 1A vision is encouraging not only for yourself, but also for others around you, because it helps them to understand what you are about and what is driving you. Visions are usually highly optimistic with a strong confidence for achievement. This is powerful because of the hope it instills and the purpose it provides. Vision is based on your current reality, but paints a different future. The vision essentially links and moves you from your current course into a desired potential. You may also look at it as discovering your destiny, and then courageously acting on it.

When simply stated, visions are powerful, persuasive, and potent. To go, or to become, are good words to think about as you build a vision because they project into the future. When organizations have strong visions that are inspirational, they have been shown to be more successful, and organizational outcomes are strongly impacted. Strong visions have been linked to greater organizational performance.1 For successful individuals, this is also true also because they have painted a picture that influences themselves and others.

Creating and communicating a vision is the hallmark of great leadership because it provides the guiding compass for you or your organization to act on. Everything changes for individuals and organizations when there is something to aspire to, to work toward, and to act on. Create a vision and work to achieve it with focused energy. Create your future.

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A mission is different from a vision, but also critical, and works with the vision. Mission is a reason for existence. A vision is a desire for the future, but a mission is a reason for being. A mission is a core purpose that is important and impacts, making a difference. The mission gives meaning and is supported by core values that steer the mission. A vision, mission, and values that are carefully constructed and true to a person or organization generally stand the test of time.Walt disney disneyland map original old 1950s

The ‘Happiest Place on Earth’ started with a simple vision.  Walt Disney envisioned a place where his employees could spend time with their children right across the street from his studio. After his vision was established, he spent five years developing Disneyland. In the early planning stages he said, ‘…I just want it to look like nothing else in the world. And it should be surrounded by a train.” Disney’s planning did not stop there. Disneyland became a success, and soon plans for Disney World and Epcot Center had begun. The vision, once established by Walt Disney, continues to exist as the entire Disney Company continues to grow and prosper, while entertaining generations of visitors. It truly is like ‘nothing else in the world’ and it all began with a vision.

Values, often expanded by specific principles, support your vision and mission by outlining what is important and matters most to you. Jot down a list of values that are important to you and allow them to steer you as you implement your vision and mission. Values should be meaningful to you personally and keep you on track. Ken Blanchard, author of the One Minute Manager urges companies to develop a clear picture of their mission and values, and says an organization then has a strong basis for evaluating its management practices and brings them into alignment with the articulated mission and values.  The values of the Ken Blanchard Companies are ethical behavior, relationships, successes and learning.

Blanchard defined a vision for his company to be the number one advocate for human worth in the world. The mission that supports this vision is to unleash the potential and power of people and organizations for the common good. Ken Blanchard has put his vision and mission first, and his organization clearly reflects his high ideals, as a roadmap for the future.


Categories : Leadership

Benjamin Franklin PrepareTaken to its simplest components, strategic planning has four parts. These are your vision, mission, and values, secondly, your priorities and a strategy. Next are specific goals and objectives, and finally your outline of tasks for achievement. From here you are in a position to develop tactics, and action items for implementation, before putting them into action. The planning elements provide a foundation for focus and efficiency that will you lead to the new, brighter and more compelling future you have envisioned.

The easiest way to think about vision, mission, and accompanying values is that your vision is for the future, your mission is for the present, and values steer and support you. Your vision describes a future identity, and your mission describes why it will be achieved. What happens to you is not determined by your luck, but by your choices as you identify these, and seek to manifest them.

Your vision of who, or what you want to be, is a clear image of your future and should inspire and excite you. Your vision should have the power to drive you forward and spur you into action. Your vision is also what will come through for you, when you are faced with tasks of execution and implementation and will help you to complete them.

An image of your realized vision should stir something inside you, and move you emotionally, because realizing it is so meaningful and significant that it makes you want to act. You can think of your vision as a dream for your future, and one that is different from the present, but can be achieved and is credible. It should inspire and stimulate you.  If your vision doesn’t rouse passion within you and drive you higher, it might not be the right vision for you.

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Planning is the first step to transforming a dream into reality. If you don’t do anything differently, there is a strong likelihood your future will be very similar to your past. This is when situations unfold around you, rather than according to your goals and plans. Without planning, your outcomes are not determined by you, but by circumstances you respond to, rather than create.

Planning allows you to transform your current reality into one where you realize possibilities. Producing your own plans, following your own initiatives, and determining your own outcomes and destiny brings the greatest potential opportunities into your life.  Nothing is more satisfying than dreaming and imagining, laying out your plan, acting on the plan, and then actually experiencing the results. Watching a plan unfold can create an enthusiasm within you that nothing can match.think-big

You may be considering whether just allowing your life to unfold, is a reasonable course of action, but it is not. It places you at the whims and wishes of others, and subject to situations. One day you may suddenly wake up thinking that this was not how your life was supposed to turn out.  There are so many conditions in your life you can’t control, so to manage the outcomes you can control through specific actions, makes wonderful sense. A plan is the mechanism that allows you to create change instead of being required to react to it. It is when you specifically detail how your objectives will be achieved, and it is a method of doing something that is worked out in definite steps.

A strategic plan will change your outcomes because it will provide you with a roadmap that outlines a specific future you envision for yourself, your organization, community or family. You will create your own reality.  This is ‘big picture thinking’ and requires focused attention on your part, when purposely designing it.

You could never create or follow a guide to your highest potential with the exclusion of a specific planning component. It all boils down to this – you do need a plan.

A plan is a set of items outlined to reach a goal. However, planning strategically has more depth, is more purposeful, and is broader and more meaningful than a basic plan. With it you also envision a future. A good strategic plan inspires change because it outlines specific criteria in order for future changes to occur. To visualize your future you must define where you want to be, with purpose and rationale, and then outline the steps to make your vision a reality.

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With the value of smart choices etched into your thinking, you can also formulate your plans. Based on building a vision of your future, that is different than simply staying the course, proceed with building your goals knowing that you are equipped with a highly reliable decision making process.

Decision Thinking

  1. Gather and Analyze
  2. Consider Options
  3. Be Decisive
  4. Use Good Judgment

Thoughts to Affirm Decision Making

  1. I make good decisions after information gathering and analysis.
  2. I believe in my good judgment as a methodology to affect positive outcomes.
  3. I am confident making optimal choices across circumstances.
  4. I am decisive in my decisions, after completing analysis.

Questions to Support Decision Making

  1. Do the decisions I make show good judgment?
  2. Do I believe in my ability to make good decisions?
  3. Are my decisions the best possible choices in given situations?
  4. Am I proud of the choices I have made?
  5. Do my decisions reflect my values and ideals?

Exercises to Reinforce Decision Making

  1. For an upcoming decision, sketch it out on paper, listing alternatives and pros and cons for each option.
  2. When faced with a decision, consider it in light of a potential solution, not as a problem.
  3. Envision varied downstream consequences of your decisions to determine long-term effects.

making decisions

Categories : Leadership

domino effect

Life is a series of decisions from inconsequential to significant. From selecting a beverage, to selecting a life partner or business initiative, from minor to momentous, the collective effects of your decisions constitute your lifetime. Over time, and with increased responsibility, the impact of your decisions have greater magnitude, and sometimes, far-reaching and long-term effects for many people. Some of the decisions you will be making are critical for you.

Peter Drucker indicated:

“Effective executives do not make a great many decisions. They concentrate on what is important. They try to make the few important decisions on the highest level of conceptual understanding. They try to find the constraints in a situation, to think through what is strategic and generic rather than to solve problems.”

Drucker described an executive decision as being about impact, and not just technique, and that it should be based on principle. He outlined simple steps and a sequential process that includes understanding compromise, ethical considerations and deciphering right from wrong. Throughout your life, you have had opportunities to observe the influence that leaders have on outcomes for large groups of people, and you have observed acute implications. Effects range from overwhelmingly positive, to severely detrimental. In the book, Predictably Irrational, Dan Ariely suggests caution in decision making because of the unpredictability of the human mind making irrational decisions in a complex world. He says the mind gets what it expects, but that this often defies logic.

The world is complex, and so is your thinking. How you decipher stimuli in response to previous input and biased data is not automatically straightforward. A cautionary message is to watch your thinking and decisions very closely. So many issues and information come into play for you; some of which are reliable and some of which simply are not. People often limit themselves and their potential by thinking narrowly, not broadly, in their decisions, and as a result limit possibilities for themselves. The carefully crafted decision is the more reliable decision. Consider your major decisions, and trivialize the decisions that are exactly that. Try to find the difference between the two. ‘Much ado about nothing’ often reigns, but much ado about something is imperative when impacts are substantial. Consider your decisions wisely.

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Once you have made a decision based on solid process, run with it. Don’t waffle, back out, or belabor. Just move forward, take action and execute. It is a real relief to act after investigation, to move after inactivity, and to take a stand after deliberation. It will also give you a sense of satisfaction to conclude whether or not your decision was a good one in the context of the situation.

Now is the time for you to act, be bold and brave, in the confidence of your choice. Even though there can be difficulties in being decisive in situations where the boundaries and ultimate goals are not clearly defined, the use of logic in tough situations is key. Have confidence in your ability to make the great decisions that result in fulfilling your goals.

goal setting achieving steps

When it comes to being decisive, it is not just what you think about, but also how you think, that will determine your choice of action. For example, you might be considering a project, but unless you think specifically about how it will happen, and then decide to act, it is very likely that only wishful thinking will occur.

For example, many people think about exercising, but without decisive and specific thoughts of action, exercise often does not occur. Researchers in Dallas asked one group of sedentary volunteers to think about actions they could take to exercise.  A second group was asked to think about reasons to exercise. Actions-directed thinking might include ‘I will walk for half an hour every evening at 8 pm’, or ‘While watching the news every night, I will complete a half hour stretch.’ Reasons-directed thinking about exercise might include ‘Exercise is going to help me,’ or ‘I really should exercise.’  The two types of thinking about exercise are quite different. When participants thought about and wrote down actions to take, they became more active. In the second group where time was spent on reasons and rationale for exercise, actual exercise did not occur.


The exercise example demonstrates a basic finding where decisions that do not lead to action are just ideas.  Action oriented thoughts take reasoning to the next level because they are goal oriented. Be sure that your decisions provide a mechanism to take you into action.



Categories : Leadership

The first step to good judgment is gathering information. In the book Judgment: How Winning Leaders make Great Calls, by Noel Tichy and Warren Bennis, leadership is described as a contextually informed decision making process and it includes preparation.The authors demonstrate that an accurate knowledge base is at the heart of good judgment. This includes self-knowledge, knowledge of others, and the environment in which the decisions are made. They indicate that judgment is the essence of leadership. Clearly, without good leadership groups falter. Tichy and Bennis state:

“Whether you’re running a small department or a global corporation, judgment will give you a framework for evaluating any situation, making the call, and correcting if necessary during the execution phase. It will show you how to handle the overlapping domains of people, strategy, and crisis management. And it will help you teach your entire team to make the right call more often. No organization can afford to neglect this crucial discipline.

gathering information magnifying glass

To achieve a solid knowledge base, compile the data you require, finding facts and figures that will lead to informed decisions. This seeking is often at its best when you are at your most curious, and is often also associated with positive emotions because you are likely to think more broadly. Gathering information can sometimes feel like an almost effortless undertaking, especially when it is the pursuit of something you feel strongly or passionate about.

Caution may be necessary because your decisions can be readily impacted by information that is less than objective.  Look at the information that you find from different angles and perspectives, to be sure that you are not introducing excessive personal bias. There are also times when you will have gathered facts without real interest, and this can profoundly affect outcomes if you cut your inquiry short for expediency. When driven by sincere interest and inquisitiveness, your probing and questioning skills will be optimal and will be reflected in your results. Don’t bypass the information collection and assembly process of decision-making. It is the first and most important step associated with good decisions. If your interest lags, continue until you have eighty per cent of the information, and maintain your focus to optimize this critical stage.

With data in hand, good organization and analysis are imperative. Take the time to sort through what you have learned and make sense of it. Ask what it means, what the trends are, and how it compares historically, as well as what it will mean in the long term. Good analysis includes information that is organized, systemized, and categorized in a meaningful way. With information in hand you can examine your options. Sometimes you may wish to remain, or even stall in the gathering and analysis stage to delay a decision. Generally a good rule of thumb is to seek and analyze until you feel that you have the necessary eighty per cent completeness. When you do, proceed.

George Washington, exemplifies the art of decision making, and stated on September 17, 1796, ‘I can only say that I have contributed towards the organization and administration of the Government the best exertions of which a very fallible judgment was capable.’ He subsequently led the charge, and the country.


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Seldom is an instantaneous impulsive decision required. In The Neural Basis of Decision Making, Gold and Shadlen describe a decision as ‘a process that weighs priors, evidence, and value to generate a commitment to a categorical proposition intended to achieve particular goals’.  needs and goalsThey demonstrate that decisions are closely related to needs and goals, and this is why the process of smart choices requires forward thinking. All decisions are comprised of four important steps: discovery and information seeking, organization of information into a manageable format for analysis, consideration and selection of options, and decisiveness to action.

Each step is imperative to the process, prior to moving onto the next phase. Even when the time available to make your decision is limited, it is almost always possible to achieve these four steps through quick, logical thinking. Self aware individuals, who are secure and confident, through an understanding of who they are and what is important to them, will be more ready and willing to make important decisions. They will do so more easily because they have a surer footing from which to act. People who lack confidence are often afraid to make decisions, are more likely to change their minds often, and are easily pulled in different directions. For example, you can probably recall incidents in your life, especially as a teenager, when you quickly committed to action before you had all of the facts on an issue.  You might have felt badly afterwards because you made a mistake, and might have experienced a different outcome if you had thought things through more cautiously and carefully.

Decision making involves the frontal lobes of your brain, an area that isn’t thought to be fully developed until about your twenty-fourth birthday. When you act quickly because of a lower brain, ‘fight or flight’ response, instead of thinking things through and asking questions to ensure you select a more optimal choice, you are failing to use your all important frontal lobes.

Many of the decisions you make are based on their potential rewards. The prefrontal cortex brain region is the area that integrates multiple sensory information, and plays a role in processing rewards and their value, as well as trade-offs. This is also where you assess how well an outcome satisfies your current needs. It is where you compare an outcome with other potential reward outcomes. The prefrontal cortex is also linked to your ability to hold information about rewards in your working memory. The working memory is short term and allows you to work with a limited amount of information over a short time period, before you do, or don’t commit it to your long term memory. According to Jonathan Wallis, a psychologist at the University of California, this is useful for formulating action plans, predicting and monitoring expected outcomes, and it might even signal the most effective behavior for you.

The prefrontal cortex may also perform a cost-benefit analysis to the plan you are putting into place. Sometimes it is in terms of dollars, but generally in regard to the risks you might be undertaking. Your prefrontal lobe is the optimal part of your brain to which you direct decisions, because that’s where you can initiate a process, and avoid an impulsive response.

Impulsivity arises from the brain stem and this is when you act quickly without thinking. By simply pausing to reframe a decision, or to look at it in another way that includes broader thinking, you have the ability to redirect your decision making into the prefrontal cortex. This is where more sound outcomes are likely to be reached, than if you allow an impulsive or instant reaction generated in the amygdala.

Consider a difficult decision that you currently face and the four-step decision process to making it. Think about where you are in the process with your approach, and what might be holding you back. The four steps include information gathering, organization and analysis, consideration of options and decisiveness. You may decide that you need to understand the related issues more completely, or that you haven’t explored options. Resolve to move through the steps in the process before making a commitment. Good decisions involve analysis to understand root causes associated with circumstances, and consideration of opportunities and risks associated with challenges.

Categories : Leadership

decision_making_process Making good decisions is a crucial skill at every level. - Peter Drucker

Decisions you make determine the results you achieve. What happens in a given circumstance is rarely actually a given, it is determined by what you decide, how you respond and the overall effects of your decision making ability.  In the workplace, the ability to make good decisions is generally regarded as the number one skill required for successful leadership. This indicates just how critical decisions are and why developing a reliable process is important for you.

Good decision making is good judgment; it is when you choose definitively after considering options, so a preference is chosen over alternatives as they are systematically reviewed. Think of several great leaders you admire and what they have accomplished. You will find that they have been exceptional decision makers, often reaching various crossroads, where the path they selected had major implications and determined far reaching effects, as opposed to forgotten missteps.

Make your decisions based on love and not on fear. By leading with love, everything you do will be expansive and for good reason, not driven by alarm or apprehension. Underlying love will always take you in the right direction and away from resistance. It is an open and abundant approach, and creates a form of leadership that also serves. This type of decision making is outward, instead of inward focusing and moves you away from ego driven judgment.

Good leaders are consistently ethical and this is your goal as well. In difficult or complex ethical dilemmas, continually revisit your values and vision, and carefully seek counsel from those you trust with good ethics. By involving thought leaders and like-minded ethical thinkers, as you work through issues, you also strengthen your ideals and simultaneously can build coalitions more easily to support your thinking. This will enable you to represent and speak on behalf of numerous individuals. First and foremost for all of your decisions, is that they be ethical, and preferably for the common good. If you have built strong self awareness, and your values reflect integrity and doing the right thing, then whether or not a decision is ethical will be clear to you.

Now may be a good time for you to think through your decision making process and capabilities. How have those abilities affected you, and would more conscious selections might make a difference for you? It is all about good choices, good judgment and considering alternatives before diving in to a committed response. Using good judgment is critical at your workplace, but it also has profound outcomes in your personal life, and how you associate with others.

Categories : Leadership

Leadership International ~ Life Compass

Happy New Year!

Looking forward to a New Year of achievements, I began to ponder the New Year resolutions — all those things on our “should do” list.

A “must do” is to embrace the power of resilience that you have within you.

More than any other thought patterns or habits, resilience requires an emotional stability, or psychological strength, because it is basic to how you resolve past, present and future adversity. 



Resilience Thinking – The Basics

  • Keep Perspective.
  • Manage Stress.
  • Demonstrate Flexibility.
  • Continue through Challenges.


Thoughts to Affirm Resilience

  1. I refuse to give up on that which matters.
  2. I get up and try again and again.
  3. I learn and grow from mistakes.
  4. I become stronger from adversity.

Questions to Support Resilience 

  1. Do I refuse to let an inconvenience affect my plan?
  2. Do I see a setback as an opportunity to learn?
  3. Do I work to keep trying until I am successful?
  4. Can I brush off a minor setback?
  5. Am I stronger because of obstacles in the past?

 Exercises to Reinforce Resilience

  1. Jot down ways you have dealt with setbacks that were effective for you in the past.
  2. Anticipate opportunities for learning, as your mechanisms to cultivate resilience increase.
  3. Consider creating various backup systems to strengthen you when things don’t work out.
  4. Develop an outlook and mindset to carry you through life’s toughest challenges.

You have the power to determine whether you manage obstacles and whether you move beyond your heavy heart, as responses of choice. Life’s unavoidable ups and downs, both large and small, bring situations that are very difficult, or not so difficult. How you respond to them, how you manage and overcome those uncertainties and inevitabilities determines your resilience level.



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hills and valleys

Fear prevents resilience, and you are often innately afraid of making mistakes. This is a strongly conditioned response, but strong belief systems and key interactions such as family and support systems can allow you to rebound more quickly from traumatic events, and focus on recovery, whether for yourself or an entire society. It is also critical, again for self and groups, to never adopt the perception of being a victim, because this takes away the strength and power needed to manage a situation well. Your feeling of being a victim can lead to mild or crippling ill effects because of the associated thought patterns of not being in control.  Speak up boldly against injustices, knowing it is the right thing to do, and it is likely you will find other leaders who are in agreement.

Here again, the interconnectedness of essential thought patterns become particularly important, and sequential elevation or strengthening of each habit as an ongoing process continues. Resilience, as the last of your personal approach skills, has now prepared you to move from the development of your personal outlook into the strategy phase of how to think. As you orient towards results and expect a favorable outcome, you must also be prepared to persist to favorable outcomes in spite of setbacks, remaining resilient to the end. Some people give up after one negative response, one rejection, or one refusal. Those who are resilient plow ahead through adversity, with the end in mind, expecting to overcome obstacles and succeed towards completion.

At the very end of a difficult day, resilience is a happy story because although life has hills and valleys, in developing resilience you search out your inner strengths. It is not immediate, and certainly not easy, but resilience is an enduring trait that carries you forward.

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More than any other thought patterns or habits, resilience requires an emotional stability, or psychological strength, because it is basic to how you resolve past, present and future adversity. Whether your memories of previous experiences are realistic and relevant takes not only integrity of thought, on your part, but also an interpretative ability. This is based on reasonable analysis and understanding, and not an exaggerated approach by you. The self-awareness that you seek to develop is especially relevant because it lays a clear and fundamental foundation for how you deal with issues.

butterfly life cycle

Think of examples of the major accomplishments of your life. Try to recall the unexpected setbacks you encountered, and how you overcame them. Every major accomplishment has hurdles and often the larger the goal, the greater the obstacles. In Salvatore Maddi and Deborah Khoshaba’s book entitled Resilience at Work: How to Succeed No Matter What Life Throws at You, they discuss the ability to learn resilience over time, and indicate that central elements to resilience are having a sense of purpose and a nurtured confidence.7 A sense of purpose provides a source of strength through even the most difficult times.  It is something to live for, and can include a realization that a cause, a project or group of individuals  need you. A nurtured confidence, or supported esteem is important to help a person to identify their self-worth. It also provides resilience traits such as approachability, self assurance, and a level of comfort in current and new environments, including change.

Resilience is about your life as a whole. This is your life and there are many aspects of it that are fully under your control, especially your initiatives and responses. You acknowledge that it is unlikely that you can control weather or traffic patterns, so you have no choice but to be resilient against stormy weather conditions when they arise. Since you generally cannot change traffic either, your options are to accept or to avoid. If you drive in difficult traffic daily, then acknowledge it and find creative ways to make your time productive. Perhaps you could learn a new language from a recording, and listen to books and business summaries, as well as other meaningful tapes.

There are many things you can control, and this is where a capacity for resilience arises. There are many opportunities available to you. You can ask yourself if there is something that you can do differently. You can define goals associated with a situation, ask what you can learn from it, and resolve to build muscle. Do not allow your protective factors and systems to be reduced or diminished, and continue to find solutions in challenging situations. Survive and thrive, come out of adversity stronger, and use it like a tool to stop negative spirals of thinking.  Approach challenges as shared setbacks. Continue with stabilizing routines, find nurturing empathetic support, and communicate clearly and early what you face, without declaring blame. It is very difficult to be around someone who is continually impulsive and this requires a great test of your resilience and exploration of options. These might include recognition, support and change.

Group resilience is also a critical concept to consider. During excruciatingly difficult economic times, for example, especially when many appear to suffer at the hands of few, finding resilience is not always achievable, but it is a tool that can provide necessary strength. Developing your leadership skills makes you more accountable because of your knowledge and understanding, but it also helps you to better recognize leadership and its responsibilities in others. This includes those leaders who impact significantly, and may not act in the interest of the common good. The strength that resilience provides can also supply the courage and the voice you need, as an individual, or as part of a group, to speak up against leaders who have influenced profoundly and wrongly. Resilience can build coalitions of commonality to broadly influence positive change and improvement. By understanding leadership you accept personal responsibility and hold others accountable.

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In his book Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, Richard Carlson, renowned psychologist and academic said ‘Often we allow ourselves to get all worked up about things that, upon closer examination, aren’t really that big a deal. We focus on little problems and blow them out of proportion’. Several years later, Carlson followed this book with a volume about the ‘big stuff’ and how to deal with it. Carlson lived in the present, perhaps in part because he had an intuition of his own impending death at forty four years of age. He lived his life as though each day were his first or last. Carlson recognized that there are major issues that arise in all of our lives and he suggested that these must be dealt with carefully when he said:life's ups and downs

“When our familiar world falls apart, especially through the pain of death — of losing someone we love — we are shaken at our very core. We realize, perhaps for the first time, that there is no easy or quick way out. We must go through the process, which will be a little different for each of us — the common thread being pain.”

The resilience that applies best here is the working through a process with the realization that you will be whole again, that you will recover. It is a time to recognize that this is a time in your life when healing can generate strength in spirit to carry you through. To love so deeply as to feel the burden of loss as greatly as you do is life at its richest, and most devastating, and yet you must succumb to grief, and ultimately carry onward.

Stephen Hawking was told he had only two to three years to live when diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, and said he had no expectations after that. With resilience you are rendered free to do what is really important to you, with the passion of a young child, or a first day initiative after the deep fall from which you must first emerge.

You may be now be wondering what all of this actually means for you in your current life. You have experienced and are experiencing so much. The greater the risks you have taken, the greater the riches and losses you have experienced. This may be true for you in wealth, in relationships, in your career and as a leader. It also means that how you choose to manage the pain of the past, or distress looming around the corner, determines your today. The obstacles you face, whether real or not, and whether the most difficult of your life or insignificant, are what they are, depending on how you choose to acknowledge them.

You have the capacity to determine whether you manage obstacles and whether you move beyond your heavy heart, as responses of choice. Life’s unavoidable ups and downs, both large and small, bring situations that are very difficult, or not so difficult. How you respond to them, how you manage and overcome those uncertainties and inevitabilities determines your resilience level.

You have now moved through some tough thinking in direct contrast to the positive and upbeat view of optimism you previously reviewed. This is the counterweight, the balance to that outlook. Although it is not always apparent, all goal completion involves setbacks. Everyone, even the most optimistic responders, experience severe difficulties.

Categories : Leadership

Do setbacks arise in your life? Do obstacles appear seemingly out of nowhere? Do challenges present themselves when you least expect them? Do past traumas continue to haunt you as though unresolved? Are you plagued by events of the past and by fears of the future? All these play a significant role in your life, as they do for many. Of course, setbacks, real or imagined, occur for everyone. You can view difficulties as opportunities and transform them into learning experiences. You have a choice as to whether you respond by giving up, and can learn from even the most difficult scenarios with acceptance or action.


To catch additional insight into resilience, visit the nursery at your local hospital.  Take a minute to gaze upon a group of newborns.  You will see them protected from the world for now. From behind a wall of glass, pink, wrinkled and wrapped, and in the comfort of their bassinets, they lay perfectly safe. You know that as individuals they will face a myriad of challenges over subsequent decades. Each will have moments of torment and indecision, distress and pain, and often immense suffering. You also know that in spite of the many challenges that these babies will face throughout their lives, their ability to manage versus muddle through these challenges will determine how they live.

Some of the infants may make significant contributions to the arts or sciences. One may become a musician while another becomes an engineer.  Their collective relationships with others will be numerous, with many potential outcomes, and undoubtedly some will have an opportunity to lead significant change in their communities and organizations. Potential feats and successes for these babies are directly related to whether these newborns learn to manage their responses to the inevitable setbacks that will arise in their lives.

You were once one of these infants, regardless of where you are today, and what you have experienced thus far. Someone brought you home from the hospital, and then your life unfolded without much influence from yourself initially. Except for your need for survival and your expression that basic requirements like hunger and comfort for continued existence be satisfied, little else mattered. As time progressed your influence in the world around you has changed. The choices that you have made have exerted a greater effect in determining the complexity of your external world.

From your observations, you can further your understanding that each day is a new opportunity for you. In fact, you can think of every day, as your very first day, moving forward. Today might just be the very first day for you in reality. This is if you look at time from within the context of space and time, because physics tells us that your past is a memory and that your future is an expectation. At any moment you are really only in the now, so why place excessive emphasis on what happened previously or what is yet to come?

By living in the now, however, we are not required to resolve the past or the future, but rather just to be in the immediate, which is all we are capable of anyway. Doesn’t this make resilience thinking so much easier? It is a simple, trouble-free, and straightforward approach to difficulties that renders a response uncomplicated, or even painless. It also conquers fear, which is a forward thinking emotion, generally dispelled when transported from the past or future back into the present.

Categories : Leadership