success in life

Margin of Error

I find it useful to learn from other disciplines. If you want to stand out in your field, borrow ideas that are commonplace in other industries, professions, and domains, but unusual in your field. I’m not the only person who has come to this conclusion. Warren Buffet’s business partner, Charlie Munger, strongly advocates multi-disciplinary learning. [...]

Sharpen Your Axe

In the United States, there’s a historical quote attributed to President Abraham Lincoln that says: “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” The quote refers to the important role of proper preparation for any endeavor. I was thinking about this quote a few [...]

Getting What You Want

Much of getting what you want in life involves getting what you want from other people. Do you want a job? You need to convince the other person to give you one. Do you want a promotion? You need to convince your boss to give you one. Do you want a higher income? You need [...]

Control the Control-ables

There are two types of jobs in this world — task-oriented jobs and outcome-oriented jobs. A task-oriented sales position might require you to do the following in a single day: Make 120 sales phone calls Deliver 12 phone presentations Write 2 proposals Get 1 contract signed If you reliably do these proven tasks, you will [...]

Be True to Your Word

The key to having a wildly successful career and a happy life is to attract the right people towards you. At work, you want the most talented people to want to work for you. You want the highest performing executives to recruit you to be on their teams. In your personal life, you want the [...]

Circle of Influence

In planning your career, you’ll be faced with a key decision… who do you allow to be close enough to influence your career thinking? I call this deciding on your Circle of Influence. This is a profoundly strategic question. When you keep people outside of your circle, it means you’ve made a conscious choice not [...]

Thoughts on Character

Character is who you are when nobody is looking and you can get away with anything. Character consists of two things: 1) Your values – what you deem important in your life; 2) Your integrity – the extent to which your choices and actions in life are consistent with your values. If I say I [...]

The Importance of Situational Awareness

A friend of mine flies airplanes as a hobby. As a smart person, he doesn’t like taking unnecessary risks. Every month he reads a monthly publication that includes the forensic analysis of every plane crash that has happened in the United States. Unlike car crashes that aren’t always investigated, the Federal government investigates every plane [...]

The Self-Inflicted Wound

In most of my work, I focus on helping a client overcome some external obstacle getting in the way of his or her goals. These obstacles include competitors, shifts in customer needs, or a change in the economic environment. During this work, I often stumble across something I call the “self-inflicted wound.” This happens when [...]

One Hour per Day

Two young men graduated from college together 20 years ago. Both men came from similar backgrounds, had similar intellects, and similar skills. Twenty years later, one of those men had progressed to be a mid-level manager in his company, while the other became the company’s CEO. While this particular story is fictitious, it does prompt [...]

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