The Power of Staying in a Difficult Situation

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In the worlds of business, nonprofit, church, and universities there are plenty difficult and frankly terrible places to be. I know people working in situations where they are regularly threatened, criticized, belittled, and ignored. In my experience, it’s not so much about physical violence, but incredibly poor leaders who have no clue how to inspire their team. As a result,

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Do You Have the Courage for Long Term Thinking?

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In today’s cluttered and distracted world, short-term thinking rules. Social media allows instant commentary and criticism, and email, text messaging, and instant message apps let us respond to everything immediately. We’re raising a generation that expects problems to be solved this very minute. But the truth is,

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How Taylor Swift Beat Apple

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To launch it’s new Apple Music streaming service, Apple recently offered a three-month trial to the public. Great idea. But Apple (who incidentially is worth about $729 billion) planned to not pay the artists for their music during the trial period, which means that Apple would essentially be having the artists themselves underwrite the promotion.  As many of you already know, Taylor Swift was the most vocal artist objecting to the idea, and her criticism was the strongest reason Apple finally backed down. How she did it is a great lesson in protesting anything you consider an injustice. Here’s what we can learn:

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Creative Advice You Need to Hear

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One of my favorite writers has always been John Gardner, author of Grendel, October Light, Mickelsson’s Ghosts, and others.  His books, The Art of Fiction, On Becoming a Novelist, and On Moral Fiction are required reading for serious writers.  In his book The Art of Fiction he gives some advice that, although it’s primarily for writers, it’s just as true for other creative endeavors.  In a world of puffy, cheesy creative quotes, this is some of the best, most realistic, and encouraging advice I’ve ever heard:

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The Power of a Leader’s Vision

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What are the most important attributes you need as a leader?   The Creative Group did a poll that indicated that 34% of executives felt strategic vision is the most essential quality for successful leadership.  That poll was taken a few years ago, but I think it’s still worth thinking about today.  In the poll, advertising and marketing executives were asked, “In your opinion, which single quality among the following is the most essential for effective leadership?”  Their responses:

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Goals Are Dreams with Deadlines

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“Goals in writing are dreams with deadlines.”  -Brian Tracy, personal success coach.  Whenever I feel my dreams losing steam, I always think of Booker T. Washington. Born a slave in 1858, his childhood years were anything but pleasant. The family’s farm cabin had no glass windows, and any opening to let in light also let in the freezing wind in the winter.  The floor of the cabin was dirt. The life of slave was back-breaking work that started before the sun came up and continued long after it went down again. His childhood was also lived out during the Civil War, which created turmoil, fear, and uncertainty in the lives of Southern slaves and added additional pressure to an already hopeless state of affairs.  But in spite of that desperate situation,

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Want to Be More Creative? Try Boredom

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Looking back over the history of my ideas, the best ones didn’t happen surrounded by a creative team, in a cool environment, or working for a great organization. The ugly truth is – while I believe in all those things – my best ideas usually happen when I’m bored to death.  Listening to a really bad sermon at church, driving across town, waiting for a movie to start, or sitting in the doctor’s waiting room. For whatever reason, when I’m bored, my mind starts to

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The Power of Solving Problems

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Taking your eyes off yourself is the first step to making your dream happen in life. That’s why one of the greatest keys to becoming successful is to do something for someone else. Problem solving may be the single most important task you will ever undertake. Solve someone else’s problem and it will change your life. Want to be rich? Become more valuable to others. Want to move up in the company? Become indispensable. Solving problems is what makes you

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