Remove Risk, and You Remove Great Performance

We hear a lot about “safe spaces” today, but the desire to avoid risk in life is found just about everywhere.  For university faculty members, “tenure” usually refers to job security.  Essentially, it’s about a senior professor’s contractual right not to be fired without just cause.  More directly, it’s a guarantee that a teacher won’t be fired for speaking out or teaching controversial ideas.  Essentially, the core values of tenure are academic freedom, and it’s supposed to give teachers an incentive to stretch their thinking.  However,

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Taking Initiative: The Difference Between Success and Failure

My wife Kathleen and I had the opportunity to meet with Tina Konkin recently. She’s an internationally known speaker, counselor, and coach on the subject of relationships. As a result, she’s been on major networks, spoken at national conferences, and helped thousands of couples heal broken relationships. We were discussing some potential television projects with Tina, when she said something that I realized applies to so many other areas of life – including

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It’s Time to Decide: Are You An Amateur Or Professional?

At some point in our careers we need to decide how serious we are about the pursuit. As the old saying goes: “The thinking that got you into this mess isn’t the thinking you need to get out.”  All of us start as beginners or amateurs – and there’s no shame in that. But at some point, some decide that the pursuit is worth the self discipline it takes to reach the next level, while others decide to stay where they are. I could use a million examples – maybe you’re

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Why Leaders Are Encouragers

The Inspirational Power of Thanks

There’s plenty of books, websites, and leadership resources that talk about the importance of encouragement. As Goethe said in 1768, “Instruction does much, but encouragement everything.” So rather than say more about why you need to be an encourager, let me give you a brief but powerful example of something I personally experienced:

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Five Keys to Successfully Working from Home

At 37 years old, I was fired from my job. So after nearly 15 years of working in a conventional office, my wife and I made the decision to launch into a freelance career working from home. The transition wasn’t easy. Suddenly I didn’t have access to the copy machine, the office phone system, the conference room, and all the other resources a company makes available to employees. As a result, I needed to switch to guerilla mode and switch fast. Here’s a few of the key changes I made that not only allowed me to increase my productivity, but helped me eventually build my own business:

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Are You Hauling Rocks or Building a Better World?

Years ago in Communist Russia, a visitor happened upon a group of workers with a sledgehammer clearing a field.  It was tough work, hauling huge rocks, shoveling, and moving stones by hand. But the visitor noticed they were all singing as they worked.  He asked one of the workers – “How can you sing while hauling rocks?”  Without hesitation the worker replied: “Oh, we’re not 

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How To Overcome The Five Greatest Fears

What are you afraid of? You may not be a wimp, but the truth is, everyone is afraid of something. And chances are, when you get to the root of your fear, you start discovering what’s holding you back. It doesn’t matter if you’re rich, poor, successful, unsuccessful, famous or not famous, fear is a problem for everyone. David Sanford has written that the five greatest fears of professional people are:

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