Success Isn’t Sexy

Too many leadership experts make being successful and fulfilled sound complicated. They preach the latest technique and offer the latest modality that they say will speed you to your greatest life. Take a magic  pill or try the latest fad and all will be fine – life will be perfect.

Nonsense. Yes, crafting an extraordinary existence takes work. Of course, getting to greatness –  personally and professionally – requires sacrifices. A primary sign of maturity is the ability to give up instant  gratification for a much more spectacular pleasure down the road. And true, the right thing to do is generally the hardest thing to do. But here’s the good news. With daily, consistent effort in the direction of  your dreams and an application of the fundamentals of success, you really can get to the place you’ve  always dreamed of getting to.



Success isn’t sexy. It’s all about working the basic of excellence with a passionately consistency. I  love that word. Consistency. It’s amazing how far you will get by just staying with something long enough.  Most people give up too early. Their fears are bigger than their faith, I guess.

Stick to the fundamentals that you know in your heart are true and you’ll do just fine. What are those fundamentals? Things like being positive, taking responsibility for your role in what’s not working in  your life, treating people well, working hard, being an innovator rather than a follower, getting up early, setting your goals, speaking your truth, being self – disciplined, saving your money, caring for your hearth  and valuing your family. I told you that you already know this stuff. Nike is a client of ours. And they got it  right with all that JDI stuff: Just Do It! As I wrote in my book Who Will Cry When You Die?, “The smallest of  actions is always better than the noblest intentions.”

Don’t complicate things. Getting to your best life is simple. Not easy but simple. It just takes focus  and effort. That philosophy about the thousand mile journey beginning with a single step is true. Do a little  each day to get you to your goals and overtime you’ll get there. Small daily gains lead to giant results over  a lifetime

Big idea: Personal – and organizational – greatness is not about revolution but about evolution,  those small but consistent wins. Sam Walton began with a single store. Richard Branson began with his  first little record shop. Steve Jobs started Apple out of his garage. Hey, I started with a few cases of self – published books that I’d printed in a Kinko’s copy shop. And only 23 people showed up for my first seminar  – 21 of them were family members. Every dream starts small. But you need to start. Today.

The Greatness Guide  – Robin Sharma

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See Both Sides

Reyflection & Inspiration

There are indeed two sides—or more—to every issue or argument. And people will trust and respect you if you show them you can see the different dimensions of a situation, and not just the  one  you prefer.

By actively seeing both sides, you show people you are fair, thoughtful, and respectful—all traits that make up the people we usu- ally admire the most.

It’s easy to align ourselves to the familiar, or to argue against the unfamiliar. But the person who can stretch beyond what she knows or feels comfortable with, and seek to understand a different view or experience, is truly the gifted among  us.


In fact, people who can see both sides of an issue are usually viewed as more credible. They’re open-minded—open to change, and open to having their minds changed—and people naturally gravitate to them, or seek them  out.

When we open ourselves up and see…

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Endure Adversity

Everyone experiences adversity and difficult times. No one escapes. We don’t live in the fairy-tale world of Prince Charming and Cinderella. We live in the real world of conflict, war, financial reverses, relational breakdowns, illness, and suffering.

The real issue in our lives is how we respond to these things.

From Job in the Bible to the Kennedy family, from Abraham Lincoln to scientist Stephen Hawking, from polio-stricken Franklin Roosevelt to prisoner-of-war John McCain, we see many examples of high-achieving men and women whose lives were marked by great adversity.

I’ve walked alongside a number of friends battling cancer. They’ve modeled to me the very best of courage and character. Yes, they experienced fear and even despair at times, but they kept incredibly positive in their actions and outlook, some to the very end. One friend of ours endured a twenty-year battle with cancer. Her life was an inspiration to hundreds and influenced so many to find a deeper spirituality and view of God. Another friend was given eight days to live; yet now, over two years later, he’s resolutely facing the future and writing a daily blog that has received more than 100,000 visits.

Our most common and natural responses to adversity are anger, sadness, depression, and resignation. But men and women of character respond with discipline, determination, and a positive attitude. They don’t blame others or God. Though the adversity is never welcome, it’s accepted and confronted.

I’ve learned that adversity both toughens us and softens us. It toughens us to endure more than we ever thought we could. It softens us to be so much more aware of the adversity of others.


Adversity challenges and deepens my view of God and the spiritual dimensions of life. It has brought me face-to-face with what really matters in life-and it wasn’t success and accomplishments, of which I’d experienced more than my share. Adversity put my life in perspective, both humbling me and strengthening me. Because of adversity, I’m no longer the same person but rather I’ve found a deeper and more lasting satisfaction in life, work, and family.

Don’t seek adversity. But when it comes (as it inevitably will), welcome it. Let it drive you to a deeper meaning of life.

Rules to Live By – 52 Principles – Jerry E. White

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Learn to Say No

Every time you say yes to something that is unimportant, you say are no to something that is important.  “Yes men” and “Yes women” never create anything great. There’s huge value in getting good at saying no.

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Saying no to the friend who wants to meet over coffee to gossip. Say no to the co – worker who  wants to spread his negativity and cynicism. Say no to the relative who laughs at your dreams and makes you doubt yourself. Say no to the social obligations that drain time from your life’s work.

You can’t be all things to all people. The best among us get that. Know your priorities. Know your  goals. Know what needs to get done over the coming weeks, months and years for you to feel that you  played your best game as a human being. And then say no to everything else. Sure some people around  you might not be happy. But would you rather live your life according to the approval of others or aligned  with your truth and your dreams?

The Greatness Guide  – Robin Sharma
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Getting What You Want While Loving What You Have

Some pundits encourage us to enjoy the moment and appreciate what we have, suggesting that constantly  striving for more is unhealthy and the primary source of our discontent. And other say that, as human  beings, we were built to push beyond our comfort zones each day and reach for something higher – to  become great. I’ve struggled a lot with this issue, as I articulate a personal philosophy that I will live my life  under. I think I’ve found the answer, a solution that feels right to me: It’s a balance, I’ve realized. I call it The  Mandela Balance.

Nelson Mandela, a man I greatly admire, once said: “After climbing a great hill, one finds that there  are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that  surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest for a moment, for with freedom  comes responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk has not yet ended.”


To me, Nelson Mandela is suggesting that it truly is all about a balance. Enjoy the view from where  you are at. Savor how far you have come. Be grateful fro where you are along the journey that is your life.  Live in the moment. But also remember that with the gifts that reside within you comes great responsibilities. I believe that every human being has a “duty to shine.” We must not rest on our past wins  and become complacent. We must walk out into this world – each day – and do our best to be of greater service to others, realize more of our potential and become better citizens on the planet. We must  continually walk toward our fears and make more of our lives. We must constantly play a bigger game and  use our creative talents to do, be and see more. This drive to realize more of our greatest selves has, I  believe, been knitted into our DNA and to deny it is to deny our human nature.

 And yes, as we set higher dreams and raise our personal standards, we will create some
discontent. But this world was built by people who felt some discontent with the way things were and knew they could do better. “Show me a completely contented person and I’ll show you a failure,” observed  Thomas Edison. Politically incorrect these days, I know. But I think he was speaking truth. The greatest  among us were not satisfied with the way things were. Think Gandhi. Think Mother Teresa. Think  Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Think Bill Gates. Thin Einstein. Think Mandela.

So love what you have. And then go for what you want. Enjoy the climb up the mountain. But never  take your eyes off the summit.

The Greatness Guide  – Robin Sharma

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Problems reveal Genius

Problems are servants. Problems bring possibilities. They help you grow and lead to better things, both in  your organization and within your life. Inside every problem lies a precious opportunity to improve things.

Every challenge is nothing more than a chance to make things better. To avoid them is to avoid growth and  progress. To resist them is to decline greatness. Embrace and get the best from the challenges in front of  you. And understand that the only people with no problems are dead.

An unhappy customer yelling at you might seem like a problem. But to a person thinking like a  leader, that scenario is a giant opportunity to improve the organization’s processes to ensure that doesn’t  happen again and to get some feedback that may be used to enhance products and services. So the  problem has actually helped to improve the company. Free market research.


An interpersonal conflict at work can seem like a problem. But if you think like a leader and use the  circumstance to build understanding, promote communication and enrich the relationship, the problem has  actually made you better. It has been fodder for your growth and served you nicely. Bless it.

An illness or a divorce or the loss of a loved one might seem like a problem. Sure it’s painful (been  there, done that, on the divorce side). But I’ve been shaped by my saddest experience. They’ve brought me  depth, compassion and wisdom. They have given me self – awareness. They’ve made me the man that I  am. I wouldn’t trade them for the world.

Problems reveal genius. World – class organizations have a culture that sees problems as  opportunities for improvement. Don’t condemn them – learn from them and embrace them. World – class human beings turn their wounds into wisdom. They leverage their failures to bring them closer to success.  They don’t see problems. They see possibilities. And that’s what makes them great. Remember, a mistake  is only a mistake if you make it twice.

The Greatness Guide  – Robin Sharma
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Get Some Skin in the Game

I fail more than most people. I fail all the time. I’ve had failures in business. I’ve had failures in relationships.  I’ve had failures in life. I used to wonder why this happened. I used to play Poor Me and suffer from the  dreaded disease of victimitis infinitus. But now I get it. I’ve been stumbling toward my best life. Failure is the  price of greatness. Failure is an essential ingredient for a high achievement. As innovation guru David Kelley wrote: “Fail faster. Succeed sooner.” You can’t win without leaving your safety zone and taking some  calculated risks. No risk, no reward. And the more risks you take in the pursuit of your dreams, the more you are going to fail.


Too many among us live in what I call the safe harbor of the known. Same breakfast for 20 years.  Same drive to work for 20 years. Same conversations for 20 years. Same thinking for 20 years. I have no  judgment on that kind of a life. If it makes you happy, well, that’s great. But I don’t know of anyone who is  happy living like that. If you keep doing what you’ve been doing, you’ll keep getting what you’ve been
getting. Einstein defined insanity as doing the same things but expecting different results. Yet most people  rule their lives that way. True joy comes when you put some skin in the game and take some chances. Yes,  you will start to experience more failure. But guess what? Success also starts to pay more visits.

Failure is just part of the process of getting to world class. “Screw – ups are the mark of excellence,” said management consultant Tom Peters. The best companies on the planet have failed more  than the average ones. The most successful people on the planet have failed more than ordinary ones. To  me, the only failure is the failure to try and dream and dare. The real risk lies in riskless living. Mark Twain  made the point perfectly when he observed: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the  things you didn’t do than by the ones you did.”

The Greatness Guide  – Robin Sharma
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