7 ways great leaders demonstrate leadership skills

leadership skills of great leaders
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Good leaders are hard to find. Great leaders are even harder.

Many people are thrust into leadership roles but are not leaders. They demonstrate their lack of leadership skills by the way they act, talk and think.

Great leaders, however, demonstrate their leadership skills in very specific ways. Everything great leaders do shows just how great their leadership skills truly are.

Differences

Don’t confuse great leaders with great bosses or managers. They are not always the same.

Continue reading 7 ways great leaders demonstrate leadership skills

Why you should stop being a workaholic

Stop being a workaholic
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Is it ironic that it is Labor Day in the United States and I’m writing about how to stop being a workaholic?

Even though Labor Day has been an official holiday in the United States since Congress implemented it in 1894 to end a labor dispute, this is the first Labor Day I’ve really used it as a day off from laboring.

I’m a workaholic. Well, I was until recently. Now I’m a recovering workaholic.

My workaholic mentality stems from much more than just having strong work ethic. Instead, it stems from the following:

1. Believing the more I work the more successful I can be
2. Not wanting to disappoint clients and bosses
3. Believing the more I work the more I am the “provider” my family needs
4. Loving what I do

While each of these beliefs has added to my workaholic mentality, the biggest factor was that working was my top priority.

How to stop being a workaholic

Just like any other addiction, our minds have to want to stop before any treatment will work. Once we truly want to cease the destructive behavior, the actual cessation is quite simple.

So the question is this, “How do you get to the point that you truly want to stop being a workaholic?”

It’s all about priorities. Addictions become the biggest priorities in our lives. To stop being addicted, we need to change those priorities.

To stop being a workaholic, we need to change our priorities from working to something else.

In certain times of your life, it may be okay to be a workaholic. If you are unmarried and want to focus on your career, go ahead. Be a workaholic. Don’t forget about your health though.

In other times of your life, being a workaholic will be detrimental to your health, relationships and spirituality.

You need to identify what should really be your priority. If you’re married, your spouse should be your priority. If you have children, they need to be more of a priority than work. You see where I’m going.

What really matters to you?

Is it work or family? Is it work or your friends? Only you can answer that.

I had to answer that earlier this year and family was my priority. Unfortunately, I hadn’t acted like it was. My wife and kids needed me but I was always working.

I love what I do in my career so I always resorted to working. If there was something to be done, I went to the office to do it. I worked almost every Saturday throughout the year.

It was silly. Why did I need to work that much? I didn’t.

My agreement to stop being a workaholic

Once I finally realized I hadn’t been treating my family as the priority in my life, I changed my habits. I changed cold turkey.

No more would I work every Saturday. No more would I work late every evening.

No, no, no…

I made an agreement with my wife, but more importantly with myself, that I would get the same amount of work done but in a shorter time.

How could I do that? I’d be more effective when I was working. So far, so good.

I now work one Saturday morning a month and am home by 6 every day, unless I have an evening event. I’m even limited these events to a minimum so I can still be home.

More importantly than being home though is what I do when I’m home.

I’ve played more games of Crazy 8’s or Candyland in the past few months than I can remember. When I’m home, I’m home.

I don’t even bring my work computer home with me anymore if I’ll be in the office the next day. I also turn off the email app on my phone so I don’t just check email all evening.

Are you a workaholic?

If you are a workaholic, are you willing to change? Can you identify what should be a bigger priority than working?

If I can help you, please contact me. I’m here to help you.

Once you stop working so much, you’ll be able to work more effectively and efficiently. You’ll still get your required work done and enjoy your life more.

Trust me, you’re other priorities will thank you for it!

Slow down to reduce stress and enjoy life

Slow down and enjoy life

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It was Fall 1999. I came home to my parents house on the weekend and flipped through the mail that had been delivered to their house while I was away in college. One envelope caught my attention.

This envelope was from the State of Missouri. Uh oh!

The letter inside stated that my driver’s license would be suspended if I got any more points added to my record. Two speeding tickets was all it took to reach that point.

I needed to slow down.

Wherever I drove, I drove fast. I was always driving well above the speed limit. I couldn’t slow down and just drive the “limit.” I had to go faster.

That letter, however, made me realize I HAD to slow down. I definitely didn’t want to lose my license over the need for speed.

The Journey

That letter serves as a great metaphor for life. We all need to slow down. We’re in too big of a rush to do everything.

Life is too short to rush through and not enjoy the small things.

For the men reading this – do you remember the last car trip you took? You wouldn’t stop on the trip unless absolutely necessary. You got frustrated when the kids had to use the restroom. You didn’t want to stop and eat; you wanted to go through a drive-thru and eat on the way.

You were stressed the entire drive because you had a destination to reach and you wanted to reach it as fast as possible. You were focused on the destination instead of the journey.

Life is not about our destination. We’re all going to end up in the ground. Life is about the journey. It’s about experiences and influence. It’s about the small things just as much as the big things.

You need to slow down.

As Much As Possible

We’re being pushed and pushed to increase productivity at work. We have to get more done in shorter allotted time. We need to produce as much as possible.

Productivity is important, don’t get me wrong. I live each day by recording each quarter-hour. It’s all about the billable hour. I understand that is how the accounting profession works. That’s okay.

When we rush to get as much done, we can sacrifice a few things such as:

1. Enjoying the process
2. Quality of the work
3. Educating others

We need to get things done and get them done effectively. But, if we get something done and have to redo it because we didn’t slow down or if we increased our stress level too high, what’s the point?

Decrease Your Stress Level

I’m a firm believer that stress is necessary. Unless we have some form of stress, such as a deadline or a goal, we won’t grow. That being said, we typically have higher stress levels than needed.

We do it to ourselves. We need to slow down.

Back to my speeding ticket story. I remember several instances of going 30 or 40 miles an hour over the speed limit and stressing out so much about watching for police on the roads. My back, neck and shoulders tensed up when I drove because I was so stressed.

When I got behind a slowpoke (i.e., someone going the speed limit), on a back road and I was not able to pass him, it was inevitable that we would pass a cop shooting radar. I should have received hundreds of tickets but I got lucky over and over again.

The stress wasn’t worth it. When I received that letter and decided that losing my license was not worth the stress, my life changed. Now, I set the cruise control and don’t worry. I haven’t gotten a ticket or even a warning since 1999.

Action Items

What can you do to slow down? I’m still a work in progress but here are a five things I do:

1. Plan ahead – When you plan ahead, you’ll give yourself enough time. Having enough time to accomplish your task or reach your destination will decrease your stress level.

2. Ask for help – If you’re struggling to get something done because you don’t have the resources or the knowledge to complete it, time flies by. Before you know it, you’re deadline will be there and you won’t be close to completion.

Ask for help so you can better understand what your doing or have additional resources to complete your task. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It’s actually a demonstration of strength.

3. Take breaks – The most productive people don’t work all the time. They take time to recharge their batteries, to get their minds off of what they’re doing. They relax. They take vacations.

It’s a funny thing in the corporate world. Highly successful executives take their allotted time of vacation each year. However, those under them criticize the executives for taking those vacations.  The executives understand how important that time away is.

4. Be early – My favorite way to slow down and reduce stress is to be early. It’s rare that I don’t arrive at least 20 minutes early to a meeting. Being early provides leeway for getting lost, accidents, etc.

For morning meetings, I’m usually at least an hour early. With that extra hour of time, I can drink some coffee, plan my day and even write. That hour is one of the most productive hours of my day.

5. Unscheduled time – Do not schedule every minute of every day. You cannot control how everything goes during the day. If you schedule every minute, you’re going to get behind. Then, you’ll have to rush.

Schedule no more than half of your day. Leave time for things that come up. You won’t be sorry.

It’s up to you.

If you want to enjoy more of your life, are you willing to slow down? Are you willing to do the five things above?

No one has more control of your life than you. Your boss doesn’t control you. Neither does your spouse. Everything you do is a result of a choice you make.

Take control of your life and slow down. Don’t let someone put unrealistic deadlines on you. Stand up for what you want and need. Life is too precious.

If everyone would understand the importance of slowing down, it wouldn’t be such a difficult concept to put into use. So, instead of “liking” or “favoriting” this post, will you help spread the message by “sharing” this on your favorite social media platform?

A life full of possibilities

a life full of possibilities
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Is your life full of “could haves” and “should haves”? Are you disappointed with your accomplishments? Have you achieved the dreams you had as a child?

Your life can be so much more than it is right now. You may be content. You may even be happy with your life.

But…

Your life is full of possibilities. What will you do to realize those possibilities?

Click here to read another article I wrote titled, “7 Action Steps to Uncover Your Life’s Possibilities.” It is on the site of a financial planner and blogger friend of mine, Jeff Rose, at GoodFinancialCents.com.

Jeff has realized so many of his possibilities (Iraqi War veteran, published author, etc.) and he continues to strive for more. You’ll be inspired by him, I promise.

When you get to that article, will you share it with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, etc? Jeff put sharing icons at the top of the article just for that purpose.

Let’s help others realize their potential and strive to reach what is possible in their lives. If we all strive for a life full of possibilities, the world will be such a better and happier place.

Thanks so much!

The importance of being a living sacrifice

 

This is a guest post by Doc Kennedy from The Dream Warriors Podcast where he is changing the world by encouraging others to follow their dreams.  Check out the podcast on the site or itunes and say hi to Doc on Twitter. Enjoy!

living sacrifice
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“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” ~ John 15:13 ESV

This verse is commonly used in cases of a person literally dying to save another.  And rightfully so.  But in the context, Jesus is actually telling us we should lay down our lives as living sacrifices for those around us.

Imagine how different your workplace would be if people were more willing to live a life of sacrifice for others.  I know it may seem impossible, but it’s not.  It starts with you!

This life is not about us, it’s about those we have the chance to impact with love.

Choose to be the light in what can be a dark place.  Sacrifice for others.

Colossians 3:23 tells us “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.”  Christ died for you, will you live for Him?  Be the living sacrifice.