Archive for the ‘Success’ Category

Letting Go To Succeed

August 26th 2010

This is a guest post I received by Matt Schmoldt, one of my readers here at  Matt’s article adds an interesting perspective to how we seek success.  I love the topic of success and just want to restate my own definition of success to focus the topic on what matters most in success, HOW we see success.  My definition of success is consistently living with purpose.  With that, here is Matt’s article, I hope you enjoy it!

“Everyday I take a break from my work when I get to the point of being tired of what I am doing, and I usually go play basketball. The breaks that I enjoy the most are when I am alone on the court. Uninterrupted. I shoot, shot after shot. I enjoy trying to perfect my shot. I have an inner desire to become gifted. I have come to the point where I know what I need to do to consistently make shots, but I just don’t consistently do what I need to do.

The rim lets me know how I am doing. I love having it’s instant feed back. The loud clang of the rim challenges me to become better, and the soft swish of the net rewards me. But today, I realized that the rim’s instant feed back is unnecessary.  I realized that I already knew if the shot was off course even before it hits the rim. I know by how I feel during the shot. I know if it is too short, or sailing wide left and I know if the shot is perfectly on track.  I realized that I was concentrating on the result and not on how I felt during the shot. I was fixed on making my next shot (the destination of the ball), but not on how I should feel during the shot (the journey).

When I let go of my fixation on making shots and instead focused on how I felt during the shots, an amazing thing happened. I made way more shots. Why? I got rid of my self imposed pressure on the result, and became free to follow how I felt during the journey. I didn’t care if I made or missed a shot; I only cared if I was focused on feeling what I knew I should be feeling during the shot.

Our lives are the same way. We want to succeed so badly that we become fixated on succeeding. Our every thought and desire is to succeed in whatever thing it is. Sometimes we want to succeed badly enough that we do things against our conscience and better judgment. You see this happening in our schools. Students want to pass a class without putting in the work, so they turn to cheating, and when they aren’t caught, they continue cheating. The world has recently seen what this pattern of cheating leads to in the likes of Bernard Madoff and Allen Stanford. They wanted to succeed so badly in their financial businesses, that they lied and cheated for decades. They took a free cpa review and their new investor’s money and gave it to their old investors, pretending that this money came from legitimate investments. They let their fixation on succeeding rule their actions and look what it brought. It brought devastation to thousands of honest people who invested in their lies. It brought families heartache and devastation.

In the words of Joshua Marcus Manuel, “It hurts to look at yourself in the mirror and hate yourself, look into the mirror and wonder what ever happened to that smile that used to shine so bright. When you look at yourself, you see this version of “you” that your mind has created, someone that has become so distant and cold that nobody wants to be around. Empty eyes. Fragile bones. The only thing you have left are the lies you tell yourself everyday to survive, lies that have become your painful reality, lies that will swallow you whole and crush your insides, lies that have turned you into someone you never wanted to be.”

Let go. Let go of those fixations that are preventing you from living a successful life. The way to success and happiness comes from letting go and following your heart, from being in harmony with yourself. Look at what this did for Mother Teresa. For over 45 years, she ministered to the poor and the sick. She lead 610 missions in 123 countries for people with AIDS, leprosy and other illnesses. She dedicated her life to being in harmony with her conscience; she was her best self.

What things do you need to let go of?  Let go of them.
What things does your heart ache to achieve?

Achieve those things of your heart and live a life of honest success in harmony and happiness. Remember, “It is better to deserve honors and not have them than to have them and not deserve them.” (Mark Twain) and “A great man shows his greatness by the way he treats little men.” (Thomas Carlyle)”

About The Author: Matt currently attends Utah State University in Logan and is studying marketing. He loves life, his family, his heaven, and his sports (golf & basketball). He also runs a necktie website on the side which teaches people how to tie a tie.

Posted by Mike King under Success | 3 Comments »

Unexpected Achievement

April 21st 2010

Isn’t it true that results we achieve that come about by surprise bring a greater sense of satisfaction than results that take huge effort to achieve?  It certainly is for me.  In contrast, the results I get that take weeks or months of effort always seem to be more of a relief than an achievement should feel.

Building Up to Success

Often I feel that personal development can be one of those areas where you have a long time building up to success.  Change takes effort and making changes often comes at a price of long term dedication to tirelessly keep working away to change habits and to bring about change.  Not only a single change at a time, but in fact, many many changes combined can have the same effect of adding up to be a long term effort. For me there is certainly a combination at work with this type of experience as on one hand, my persistence to change I know will overcome whatever obstacles I face and on the other it can be disappointing when it takes as long as it does.  This certainty in achievement is a great confidence to build up and helps you tackle all of those unknown situations and obstacles.  Building that kind of confidence only occurs through repeated successes over time and having the ability to recognize achievement and be grateful for it.  After all, if you don’t know what success looks like along the way, then you certainly can’t build those successes up into self confidence.  Success and confidence can become a repeating cycle and what I’ve found is that it can actually become an insignificant event when achieving that success becomes expected simply due to your persistence. This kind of drawn out achievement being expected by a person eventually seems quite meaningless and in fact, it becomes the normal way of building up to success.

Achieving It!

So with all this building up to success there comes the point where you actually achieve what you were after.  If it was a long drawn out process this point may feel more like a relief than anything.  The work associated with this achievement could be gone now and that might be similar to having a chore or some other painful tasks gone forever.  However, the achievements that seem to feel the best and give you the biggest ‘high’ are the ones that come suddenly or unexpectedly.  There is no time passed to destroy your pleasure with an associated heavy workload and so the gratification that exists can be so much higher!  I know that any achievements that come my way out of surprise are often an opportunity to discover something new about myself where I am shocked to learn of some new skill or impact I had to help me achieve it.  It’s a joy to learn of these things and exciting to know that sometimes there is a great achievement just around the corner we don’t expect!

Posted by Mike King under Success | 11 Comments »

Going Against the Grain Will Change The World

April 9th 2010

This article is a short story of the struggle that life can present and how it aligns with personal development.

A young man that had grown up with taking on new things developed a real love for adventure and uniqueness.  He was always comfortable doing things that others dare not do.  Some of these things were in regular activities like hobbies, sports and school.  School was easy since the teachers told him everything he needed and quickly realized that if he actually paid attention the content was easy to digest and understand.  This was especially true, as he was a audible learner so quickly picked up on the classroom teachings.  Sure, he had some learning talent and inspiration to start well in school but this become a much larger cascade effect.  In his case, school became easier and easier and it only continued to build his confidence and learning skills.  Doing well in school and learning quickly was his first obvious experience with going against the grain.  Others struggled to learn and had a hard time in school and that seemed to be the general theme for the masses.  This independent style he had in learning added more to his confidence and he continued to develop a sense of self that didn’t fit into the mass mentality.

In going against the grain and knowing he could learn quickly, he also challenged himself to develop that skill in new uncommon sports, hobbies and skills.  Each of these presented a challenge to overcome and he developed an internal motivation to tackle any challenge head on and with full force to quickly overcome it and move past it.  Years went by mastering this skill and going against the grain of society’s seemingly normal outlook that life is bleak and tough.  He would have no part of that however, every challenge was welcomed and he continually overcame adversity with hard work, dedication and that massive motivation that was built up inside him to grow and conquer whatever he faced.  All this made him feel even more confident and satisfied by experiencing many successes in life through achievement.  He chased more and more achievements and as years started to pass, realized that the achievements were leaving him less and less content and that success had to be more than this.  He started to know that success was more than this but never realized what he was missing or what he was needing in order to have that.  For a some time, the confidence he had built up inside surfaced as arrogance and egotism which quickly impacted his influence on others and success was not something he could grasp when it came to his influence with others or even with himself.  Influence with himself is really one’s ability to change them self and grow.

Finally with the support of close friends, a deep spiritual journey and a number of significant events and training courses, he was fortunately enough to face the bitter truth which would reveal to him that his confidence had been shielding him from seeing what was really important in his life.  In fact, he had so much to discover about himself that he literally felt like a different person.  He changed drastically and stepped away from directly chasing success and started applying his learning skills to learning more about his influence on others and how to interact, work with and to connect with others at a deeper level.  It wasn’t until he was able to get past the confidence shield that self-discovery was even available to him.

So, with having a new appreciation for no limits learning, it became a much more valuable area in life and the realization that the best things to learn and experience are only available when he gets past his own limits, whether they are known or not.  Often the limiting beliefs are unknown without stepping out of the common safety box we live in and seek out adversity, challenges and all the other skinny branches of life.  He put this into action and started taking on new things not previously explored and putting his opinions on the back burner in order to have a more open mind for new activities and connections with people.  It was in these new adventures, new challenges and areas previously unexplored in life that really helped him to enjoy more, learn more and experience the best things in life.

With all these changes, the change itself actually becomes the journey of his life, since the value of change becomes more and more apparent he’s realized that it is the one factor that limits people more than anything else.  His own shift has changed him, created new beliefs around the fact that change is required to create opportunities, experiences and improvements in life and should not be avoided.  If improvements come about from change, then to improve is to change.  Both for himself as a person and in how he can impact the world, these beliefs have changed and the fear and limiting beliefs around it have faded away and completely out of mind and consideration.  His now strong beliefs in the ability to change is what makes improvement and personal development easier for him.  And he knows this is necessary to impact the world.  It’s this ability to go against the grain, learn from it and eliminate the fears of facing new challenges and instead learning from them.  This same belief bleeds out to the process of changing the world and improving it as well.

Morals of the story:

  1. Success should never be measured by self achievement or at a single point in time
  2. Confidence is the biggest shield against self discovery
  3. The “skinny branches” in life are where the fruit is
  4. The belief of change enables changing the world

Posted by Mike King under Success | 21 Comments »

Are You Great At Work?

March 26th 2010

Work is an important area in life to demonstrate your abilities and for many of us, it’s the area that we put most of our efforts into being great.  We do this for different reasons but often work seems to give us the most obvious rewards (most notably pay) so we want to be great.  Of course, this is valuable and here I’ll explore how strive to be great varies in our work and workplaces.  These ideas came from a podcast I regularly listen to called, The Cranky Middle Manager.  The latest podcast there covers is a discussion with the author of a book called, “Do More Great Work”.  It sounds like an intriguing book and one I hope to pick up sometime to read.  This article explores just a few ideas I had as a result of the interview in ways to look at how great we are at our work.

Your Priority Tasks

The first area is in your priority tasks. Do you really do a great job of working on the areas that are truly your most important priorities for your job?  Often we put our greatest areas into what we are most comfortable with, and those areas are not typically the most important things we should be working on.  Instead, they are often the things we shouldn’t be working on or that we are regularly distracted by.  To be great at our work, we would have to stop being so great at wasting time on distractions and instead, focusing on our priority tasks and doing them great.

Doing Your Best Work

The next area is in simply doing our best work. What are the things you are best at?  Are those really the areas that your work needs you and that you are great at in your job?  Is there a way to do the things you are best at in your work in order to be great at what you do?  We could most likely be great at our work if we able to work in an area that is truly one of our talents and where we deliver our best work.

Being Your Best at Work

What about your character?  Are you the best person you can be in your work?  Do you really want to be the best person possible at work in order to be great?  Perhaps there are things that hold you back, such as your own ego, competition, jealousy, anger and discomfort. Perhaps gossip, lies and deceit in your workplace prevent you from being your best.  Every person and every workplace has many limiting factors to face and hold them back as well. Do you let fear get in your way of being at your very best?  In order to be great at work, I think it is necessary to really be the best person we can be at our work as well.

Being Great At Your Work

Being great at work obviously requires us to put our efforts to ensure that we do the best we can, have the best fit for our talents and priority work and can deliver our work at the highest standard possible.  These things combined are what make us great at our work.  Being great at work then requires a shift to put our best efforts into what we excel at and to show excellence in our areas of talent.  We should do all the other tasks in our work that doesn’t fit those priorities and talents (including the distracting work) at a mediocre level.  These lesser areas don’t deserve nor can we expect to have the same level of excellence as we do in the areas we are great.  This, I believe will make you great at work, when you can be great at the priority areas, delivering consistently with the highest standard of excellence and simply doing just what is needed to get by in everything else.  Afterall,we can only be great by using our given talents to the best of our abilities.

“Greatness lies, not in being strong, but in the right using of strength.”
Henry Ward Beechard

Posted by Mike King under Success | 9 Comments »

100 Ways to Serve Others

February 2nd 2010

I’ve continued to be inspired by people’s 100 lists and you’ve probably seen many that I’ve highlighted in recent resource lists.  Dragos wrote one that triggered me to write another with his excellent post on 100 tips to write huge lists. This list is on my favorite subject and while the length of these lists makes them quite a challenge to make, this particular subject is one I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about and writing goals in so its a great topic for me to tackle in a list.  The items were actually fairly easy to come up for me without any research or added web surfing, but the real effort was then in putting a short description or example for each.

Anyway, I’m thrilled to have this list completed and can’t wait to experience and see the results of personally doing every single one on the list.  That is the challenge I made for myself and I hope you challenge yourself with some or all of these items as well.  This is also my largest single article ever and was awesome to create!  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did writing it.  I’d love if you could help to share it as well, thanks.

1. Smile

This is a great habit to develop to start each and every day and to practice whenever you have the chance.  The great thing is that smiling at others is easy and takes nothing but a little effort.  Nearly everyone responds to a smile and it makes you and the other person feel better immediately.

2. Hold or Get the Door for Someone

Simple things are a great way to serve others and these little things can really make a great difference.  Stop and hold the door for someone whenever you get a chance and let someone go in front of you.  This sends a strong message and you can really bump it up by combining this with #1, a great smile with the door offer.

3. Help someone get where they want to be

I mean when it comes to transportation or as a physical destination.  There are always friends, colleagues and family needing a ride somewhere or a pickup from a trip, vacation or event.  Perhaps it’s to be a designated driver for a group of friends.  Simply offer to help get them there where they want to be.

4. Buy someone lunch

Buying lunch is not that expensive, as many people do it everyday and when you have an opportunity when you are getting or eating lunch with someone, simply buy their lunch as well as yours.  Don’t offer, don’t tell them, just do it and don’t make a big deal about it.  Don’t say they can get the next one, don’t say they’d do it for you, just buy them lunch and leave it at that.

5. Pick up a hitch hiker

This one scares a lot of people and I will certainly include myself in that group.  However, it’s a great way to serve others and is a lot safer than we tend to think or what we are often taught about strangers.  It is also very safe if you think about where and when it is OK to pick up a hitch hiker and what people you want to pick up.  Often you can offer someone (or a stranger a ride) when they are not trying to hitch hike and this is very safe.

6. Provide Road Side Assistance

People have car trouble all the time.  I’m sure you have at one point as well.  Whether its changing a tire, jumping a battery or calling for an expert for a tow.  Stopping to help someone can make a tremendous impact on someone who is struggling on the side of the road.  This is especially true with accidents and is sad when people leave in a hurry when they should be stopping to help and offer a testimony to ensure people are not taken advantage of.

7. Mow Your Neighbors Lawn

Little things make a big difference and little things for a neighbor can turn an unknown neighbor into a great friend.  Mowing a lawn or raking some leaves only takes a few minutes to do, a little more than your own yard.  It looks better when lawns are mowed at the same time and while you shouldn’t expect it, often such favors will be returned.  I’ve experienced this one many times.

8. Invite someone over for dinner

An easy way to develop relationships is to have a meal together and so inviting someone over for dinner is a great way to serve them and that relationship.

9. Give a gift certificate

I love giving people living on the street gift certificates.  Gift cards for food or stores for basic needs like clothing you can buy pretty much anywhere and then instead of giving money to someone who you have no idea how they might spend it, you can give them something that they have to use for their basic needs.  I’ve given grocery store $20 gift cards to peddlers and they are always just thrilled getting it and it makes it easier for me knowing they can’t just turn around the corner and spend it on drugs or alcohol (you can’t buy alcohol in grocery stores here in Canada).

10. Help someone achieve a goal

People often struggle achieving their goals and every one of us can use help in some way.  Ask people about their goals and do what you can to help them achieve it.  Perhaps you make a suggestion of where to start or some person to refer, a course or knowledge or some personal tutoring or action to help them with, whatever it is, helping people achieve their goals is a wonderful way to serve others.

11. Share your dreams with someone

The more you think about your dreams and share them with others, the more likely they are to come true and for you to spend time on them.  So, sharing your dreams with someone and them sharing theirs in return, helps make those dreams more likely and timely.

12. Shovel snow from more than your own walks

If you live in a subzero climate with snow, shoveling the walks can be a regular event in the winter months.  Take a few minutes and shovel the walks for your neighbors or a local bus stop, or public pathway.

13. Write an article that helps people

This is an easy one for bloggers as it’s a regular event.  For non-bloggers however, writing is not always seen as a way to help people, but it’s incredibly helpful.  Pick a subject you know well and write an article about it and share it with people you know.

14. Teach something specific that you know about

Take writing one step further and teach someone something you know in person.  Take the time to help them learn it, to explain it and to have them learn from you.  Teaching is a great way to serve others and we all have an opportunity to teach others in areas we already have learned.

15. Listen intently in conversation

Conversations and communication can be difficult at times and in order to make it work and to serve others in communication is to truly listen and to listen intently.  Others will feel values that you took the time to listen and they were actually paid full attention and that you cared enough to hear them out.

16. Always let others speak before you

Another angle of communication is in when you speak and when others speak.  To give to others and serve them in your communication, let them speak first and present their ideas.  Often the people who speak first are the ones credited with an idea (if you had the same idea to share as well) and it’s great to allow that credit and attention to be paid on someone else.  It’s a wonderful way to serve someone else when you know they had the same idea as you, but instead of stating that, you can simply tell them, “That is a great idea!”.

17. Volunteer in your community

This likely came to mind when you first thought about serving others and it’s a classic example of course.  There are many ways to do this through programs, organizations, clubs, groups, community associations and any other activities in your community.  There are often websites and directories for connecting volunteers and placements that would be good for them.  Do some searching around your community.

18. Host a homeless person overnight in your home

It’s sad that this is such a scary thing for people image themselves doing but what better way to serve others than to provide the most basic of needs for someone who really needs it.  There are many incredibly deserving and kind homeless people who simply can’t afford a home in our rich nations even though they have a job and family.  Helping these people out and getting to know them a little and provide some assistance is a great way to serve others.

19. Donate money to a charity

Pick the charity you like, or many and set aside some money to give to them.  The best way to give is to set it up to be an automatic withdrawal so that the charity knows they can count on that monthly contribution and so that you make sure you do your giving before other spending.  We all spend too much anyway.

20. Pick up loose garbage

Our cities are for the most part, quite disgusting.  There is garbage everywhere you go and it will never get cleaned up without people seeing the difference and by helping to pick it up.  Do what you can and stop to pick up some garbage instead of walking over it for a change.  I especially like to do this when I go out into the wilderness for a hike or ride.  I always come home with more than I went out with since I make sure I take a moment to notice and to pick up someone’s garbage left behind.

21. Be a mentor to someone

Everyone needs help to achieve their dreams and goals in life and mentor ship is an excellent way of providing that needed help, encouragement and guidance required.  Look for opportunities to mentor people and provide that benefit to someone else as a way to serve.

22. Give away your old stuff

I said it above and I’ll say it again.  We all have too much stuff.  Do a favor for people in need and give away some of the things you no longer need or use or wear.  Others would be happy to have it and it will help you simplify your life and enjoy your time more.  Find a few locations that you can drop off your stuff or call an organization that collects your goods to redistribute to those in need.

23. Buy someone a book

If you have explored LearnThis much, you know that I love books.  Well do someone a service and buy them a book to enjoy as well.  Don’t buy them a book though that YOU would enjoy, buy them a book that THEY will enjoy.

24. Be genuine with your apologies

Put some sincerity into your apologies and be genuine when you do make a mistake.  Own up to it and make the appropriate apology in person and in a serious tone.

25. Bring baked goods to work

No matter where you work and if you work with people, people love food.  Bringing in some baked goods or snacks is always appreciated.  You can do this with your colleagues or clients, just try to ensure the food is something most can enjoy and its best to find something that is not just sugar or unhealthy.  There are many great foods to share that are healthy as well and people do enjoy.

26. Compliment someone

Serving others has to be about them.  Compliments are a great way for you to focus something positive on them and brighten their day.  Find something you can be genuine about and give them the compliment with  smile and positive approach.

27. Help to organize charity event

Charities and non-profit organizations struggle to get people to commit to planning an event or attending a volunteer effort.  You can help out the organization AND the people it is serving if you help to run the charity or a charity event.

28. Be sportsmanlike on sports teams

Sports involve a lot of different personalities and sometimes emotions.  Playing very sportsmanlike and keeping your cool even when others do not, serves everyone playing as an example and often the source of calm for the rest of a team.  Do your best to stay calm, play with sportsmanlike conduct and encourage fair and fun play over competition and winning.

29. Encourage people

I just mentioned this for sports above but its possible in all areas of life.  You have endless opportunities to encourage people to do what they love, follow their dreams, achieve their goals and do the things they enjoy doing.  Encourage positive behavior and fun actions through you day, you will enjoy it more, help others recognize those same things and hopefully, keep more of those actions coming as a result in the future.

30. Give books you’ve read away

Not many people read all the books they have, let alone read them more than once.  If you have books you know you will not read away keep them in mind and anyone interested in that subject, simply give them that book.  I absolutely receiving free books from others and always enjoy reading them as I know there is someone to have a conversation then with about that book.

31. Be a friend to those who don’t deserve itserve others

Friendship is often thought to be something that is earned.  Well serving others you not looking for what others earn, you are simply serving others.  Extend the offer of friendship to someone who doesn’t seem like they deserve it.  Perhaps they have made some bad choices in life, hurt you in the past or stuck in a difficult set of habits to break.  The best thing for them is a true friend and it’s a great way to serve if you can provide that.

32. Support mission and aid workers

There is constantly aid work going on around the world and traveling missionaries or support works in developing nations and disaster zones and they need support.  You can support them with funds, letters, time, gifts or any combination of those.  Spread the word as well and help these organizations grow, they are themselves doing a great service that deserves more support.

33. Share your creativity

Creativity sparks new ideas in others and ideas trigger change, growth and hope.  Sharing your creativity with others serves these same results and is a great way to connect with people as well.

34. Promote someone else’s idea

We all have our own ideas but how often do you reinforce and encourage someone else’s idea.  Just one more way to serve and build others up.

35. Tell someone they are your friend

It’s funny how we don’t know how to classify as a friend or not.  Everyone has a different definition of this, but we all like to hear that someone is our friend when we do finally hear it.  Make it obvious if you are around someone new or you just don’t really know if they consider you a friend or not, to specifically say it.  Fit it into a sentence or an introduction or just a comment, like it’s great to do stuff like this with friends, too.

36. Introduce a friend to someone they don’t know

Friends make connecting with other people much easier and if you ensure you always introduce your friends to other people you know, it builds new connections and make more people feel welcome in a conversation.  It’s never fun to be the third wheel not knowing someone in the group so make sure you always introduce people to each other.

37. Talk to people at parties who look “out of place”

On the theme of meeting people and introducing people, often you can serve others by simply approaching them and introducing yourself.  It only takes a minute and can make a new person or someone who is uncomfortable or out of place to feel a lot better.  Invite them over into a group you are with, or just spend a few minutes to ask them questions and help them feel more comfortable.

38. Stay calm and don’t react with arguments

Arguments are a sure way to cause problems and staying calm may not be the easier thing to do (especially if you are under attack), but it is the best way to serve others both in the argument and seeing it indirectly.  If you can stay calm and not make the situation any worse, then you do everyone a service including yourself from not reacting negatively.

39. Support your loved ones no matter what

We often put higher expectations and judgments on those we love instead of accepting thing for who they are and their decisions.  There is nothing wrong with hoping for them to change or break away from destructive habits or decisions but there is a point at which you simply must support them as well if they make decisions or choices that you don’t agree with.  Isn’t that the best way to show you love them anyway?

40. Share successes

People learn from the success of others and so sharing both your successes and the successes of others with more people is an easy way for everyone to learn from those experiences.

41. Practice appreciative inquiry and positive dialog

Appreciative inquiry has so many benefits it’s a wonderful way to help people feel included, listened to, engaged with and ultimately it’s a way to bring the best out of people and what they are involved in doing.  I strongly believe in this one as it has such a focus on others and bringing out the best in people it is really an exceptional way to serve others.

42. Pay for the stranger’s coffee behind you in line

Head on through the drive through or even at a till in person and tell the cashier you would like to pay for that other person’s purchase as well.  You will quite likely surprise the cashier and the other person with such a simple act of kindness.

43. Offer your seat on the bus / train

Public transport is often quite crowded and its sad how selfish people seem to be when onboard.  Look for a chance to offer your seat or a helping hand to someone traveling with extra bags, children or perhaps a disability.

44. Operate a blog and give away great content

This is obvious one for me and I’m sure many of my readers here as well.  Blogging really is about serving others once you start writing for what your readers want, and not what you want yourself.  The best blogs exist because of the authors wanting to provide value and great content.  There is much to learn from blogging and the best part by far, is the way it serves others and connects you with people.

45. Take on a project as a DIY with a friend

Do-it-yourself (DIY) has many benefits and when you can offer to help a friend take on a project you are doing a great service for them.  Your help, support and perhaps expertise will bring you together to accomplish something and enjoy it when its done.

46. Accept others ideas without immediately judging them

It’s easy to be critical at times, especially if we think we have our own better idea.  Do a service to others and don’t discount or be negative towards their ideas.  Let them stand on their own and don’t immediately judge them.

47. Put and keep your cell phone out of site in conversation

This is a huge pet peeve of mine and I’ll never do it to others.  If you are in a conversation with someone, give them your full attention, face them and put your dang phone away.  It sends a poor message to be playing with your phone or answering it in the middle of a conversation.  You can’t serve someone when sending them a message that whoever might be calling is clearly more important.

48. Inspire others

This is a whole list on its own for ways to do this but we do all have things we are passionate about and enjoy.  Spread that passion and look to spark inspiration in others in sharing those.

49. Share appreciation aloud

People rarely feel appreciated enough even though it is incredibly easy to do.  Practice expressing what you appreciate about someone and do it aloud so they hear it and perhaps others will hear the same, share more or learn from you to do the same.

50. Share gratitude in life

Similar to appreciation to others, gratitude is usually expressed towards circumstances, gifts and talents and life in general.  Some show gratitude to God, to others or to their environment.  Be grateful for what you have, recognize the abundance you have to experience and share that gratitude with others.  Spreading gratitude and recognizing it is definitely a way to serve others.

51. Demonstrate perseverance

There are many ways to demonstrate perseverance but I’m thinking more specifically in the ways you are already serving others.  Taking items on this list and persevering to keep them happening, to keep on practicing, to keep on serving.

52. Make moral decisions

Moral decisions are ones that are considered to be right.  Moral decisions serve the general good and allow you to serve by making choices based on what is right and good.  We all have a moral grounding as human beings and it’s how we are created and how we think at the deepest fundamental levels.  Using that moral compass for our decisions serves others in these good decisions.

53. Live ethically

Ethical living has some parallels with moral living but perhaps more from the human defined perspective, and not human nature.  Ethics are largely defined by our cultures and society and so making that system stable and effective requires that we follow ethics and make decisions that take society into mind and use that in the way we live.  It’s all about what is right for many, a great way to serve others.

54. Share your mistakes with others

Mistakes are a wonderful way to learn and something that can easily be taught to others if shared.  Examine your mistakes and do more than learn from them yourself, share them with others.  You can gain a lot of trust in sharing mistakes to help others learn from those actions before they make the same mistakes.

55. Clap and cheer aloud

You often have a chance to clap for someone or even cheer for them at conferences, events or sports activities.  What about in meetings, daily work or even at home around the house?  Take a moment to recognize others and serve them by showing your appreciation for a job well done, an accomplishment or for taking on a new adventure.  Show them by clapping for them or cheering.  Bring others into the habit and use it often.  We do this in my workplace very often in meetings, after hearing good news or any accomplishment that is shared with a group.  The cheers and clapping always bring on a smile and serves everyone involved.

56. Tell me about yourself

Tell me about yourself or introduce yourself are pretty common questions in interview and sometimes in business meetings with new clients or with new employees and colleagues.  Use this chance to share your values and principles instead of just your usual background like where you work, your educational background or where you live.  Tell someone what you value most, why and what principles you follow in all of your life.  This has much more significance, surprises people so gets remembered and creates a faster stronger relationship than typical introductions.

57. Magnify someone’s kindness

Visit and read about magnifying someone’s kindness and then go do it.  Marshall wrote, “So how do you magnify someone’s kindness? You truly appreciate it. You accept it – you accept that in that moment, you are depending on someone else, that you really do need someone else.”

58. Be willing to describe your vulnerabilities

Vulnerability exposes oneself and is an catalyst to building trust.  When people see vulnerabilities, they relate quickly and connect at a stronger level which immediate builds trust with that person.  Vulnerabilities also humble oneself which leads to…

59. Be humble

There are many ways to be humble, not just in exposing vulnerabilities.  Giving credit to others, taking blame, talking about others not yourself, and avoiding the temptation to be right are all great ways to be humble.  Humility is goes hand in hand with serving others from a character trait perspective and the focus on others is what allows humility to surface.

60. Choose to be happy

Happiness is not something you seek, it’s not something you can find and its not something you can gain based on “if only…”, “when this…” and “as soon as this happens…” thinking.  Happiness is something you must believe you can have and you then have to choose to be happy.  You can be happy with hardship and suffering all around you and under terrible circumstances in your life if you truly believe you have that choice.  For all those that need outside influences to be happy, you can provide that service and choose to be happy and to be an example of happiness for those around you regardless of the circumstances.

61. Admit your faith and beliefs

How can you possibly serve others if you do not share or admit your faith and beliefs with them?  Wouldn’t that be deceiving them, hiding things from them or even lying to them if you take it too far in fear of telling them?  If you truly have faith and believe in it, you HAVE TO also believe in the value of sharing it.  Yes, there are good times for this and perhaps some bad times, but you must be willing to admit your faith and belief systems.

62. Ask open ended questions

Good conversations depends a lot on questions and interaction between people.  You can give control of a conversation and draw someone into being more expressive with you by asking open ended questions that allow them freedom to respond with more of their thoughts and not just a yes or no answer.

63. Be a change agent

We need to change through life or we become complacent and we die within our trapped lives.  Change prevents that and allows people to grow and develop.  Obviously personal development is connected deeply to change and if you see the value in it, serving others should involve being a change agent to help make changes happen in your life, those around you and your community for the better lives of all.

64. Avoid and guard against gossip

Gossip can be disastrous to friendships, careers and other people’s lives.  Learning to avoid gossip and guard against it both for yourself and for others is a valuable service to engage in.

65. Live with purpose

Purpose is difficult to understand if you don’t know your purpose yet.  It becomes the driving force in your life and gives you the energy to do all that you do in place of all the distractions and selfish acts that tend to keep us from our ultimate purpose.  I’ve learned that people who believe they know there purpose rarely claim a selfish one and its most often one that has a betterment for others at some level in it.  I believe we all have this created in us and so living with purpose in some way involves serving others.  I certainly know that’s in my purpose.

66. Express your passions

Passions expose a positive attitude, joy and excitement from a person when they are expressed, or at least more so than normal topics.  This excitement rubs off on others and in turn help to encourage them to be excited or to express their own passions as well.

67. Ask more questions than you answer

Asking questions shows interest in others and makes them feel more comfortable and connected in conversations.  Use questions to serve others.

68. Hand write a personal thank you card

Hand written cards and especially thank you cards are very impactful compared to verbal, email or other means.  Write a personal note or thank you to those that do things for you.  It’s a simple way to return a good feeling.

69. Take the blame

I don’t mean to take the fall for things you did not do (as that seems dishonest), I’m meaning to own up and take the blame when you do make a mistake.  Owning up to it instead of denying it, blaming others or fighting back in any way is the fastest way to resolve things and so a great way to serve others.

70. Keep excuses to your self

It’s very easy to be get defensive and this is related to the blame game above.  We use the technique of the victim cycle to make excuses in life.  Keeping these excuses to ourselves at least keeps others from getting sucked into the blame game and helps to protect our habits from impacting others.  Of course learning to eliminate excuses altogether is best but even the first step of keeping them to yourself helps to serve others.

71. Apologize sincerely

It’s actually quite sad to see how poorly most people apologize.  Insincere and often still accusing of others disguised right within the apology.  “I’m sorry you took it that way” is a LOT different than saying “I’m sorry I hurt you”.  Keep your apologies sincere and always make sure you only include what you did that you are sorry for.

72. Promote employee engagement

A great way to serve others at work is to engage other employees and colleagues whenever possible.  Look at ways to involve others, find things that excite your colleagues and show interest in people over the bottom line.

73. Give honest feedback

Mastering feedback is a crucial skill for a manager but can apply to anyone when serving others.  Feedback is a powerful tool to use to send a message of concern and care.  If feedback is used properly, there is no good or bad feedback, it’s simply a way of showing concern, express a hope for developing the best in others and a great way to serve them.

74. Tell stories

I love stories and I know many others do as well.  It’s unfortunate so many people lose interest in stories as they age, I for one have not.  Anything told as a story or that makes a story is of interest to me over other experiences and I know that stories have a way of drawing in others and developing relationships.  Telling stories attracts people and is often used as a way to communicate an otherwise complex topic.

75. Control your response

While it is difficult to master, we do control our response to every situation in life.  The choice is hard to always make the way we want to when thinking clearly yet with practice, we definitely serve others by getting better at controlling our response and being constructive and positive in otherwise difficult circumstances.

76. Master your state of mind

Our response is typically due to some moment or short time frame.  Our state of mind however, is really an extension of that response and applied over long periods of time.  State of mind affects our emotions, our mood and our thoughts at a drastic level and so in order to be at our best and to be in a state of mind that is helpful to others, we need to have some control over that state of mind.

77. Use the words, “Thank you.”

Why is “Thank you!” so hard to say?  Compliments can be hard to come by sometimes and I believe its because we are so good at wrecking a good compliment with a poor response.  Sometimes we argue back and say things like, “No I didn’t” or “Nah, you’re just saying that”.  People have been taught that that is how to be humble but they are sadly mistaken.  Responding in this way sends the message that they are wrong and so the compliment is rejected.  It’s a terrible thing to do and subtly and unconsciously stops people from sharing compliments.  There is one good response for a compliment, two simple words, “Thank You”.

78. Be prepared

The good old Scout’s motto, “be prepared” is a great way to think when it comes to serving others.  If you are not prepared, you will need to be dependent on others and if you need them, how can you serve them as easily?  I’m not saying there are not exceptions to this, but in general, if you are prepared for a circumstance, you are more likely able to serve others in that circumstance yourself.

79. Stay healthy

Staying healthy keeps you out of the health care system, keeps others from having to look after you and enables you to live longer, set a good example and be able to serve others.  If you can’t look after yourself, how can you possibly serve others as easily?

80. Live with less stuff

Serving others tends to take a second place in life for many of us from all the other things we have going on.  We volunteer if we have time, we help a friend if we are not already doing something and we put our spiritual needs behind our career and family for the most part.  Well, all our stuff and complexities tend to distract us even more and so living with less stuff and activities is an easy way to serve others as it frees our time for it and lets us put it as a priority.

81. Eliminate complaints

Complaints are toxic to other people and their moods.  Most complaints are simply dwelling on the past and never really help anyone.  Do others a favor and eliminate your complaints.

82. Keep emails positive

Emails are a cause of many communication breakdowns from saying things the wrong way or sending an unintended message.  This happens especially with emails that are criticizing something or negative in tone.  To prevent this and to keep in mind your service to others, keep your emails positive.

83. Communicate in person

When you have a chance to communicate in person over email, voice mail and even the telephone, take it.  You can always communicate more easily in person than other methods.

84. Ask for help when needed

Another way to serve others is to ask for help when its needed.  People do generally want to help when they can and asking for help is a sure way to give them that opportunity.  Taking on work yourself often leads to frustration and bitterness which can have long term effects that affect your ability to serve.  Sharing skills, advice and a helping help is a great way to serve others, on both sides.

85. Use your talents

You are created with your own set of unique talents and when you discover what they are you should use them.  Talents are wonderful to show with applied skill and are very inspiring to others.  Your talents are always the areas you will have the most impact in and if you use your talents, you have the greatest ability to serve others.

86. Practice patience

I’ve had to learn this one the hard way and am realizing how effective applying patience is in serving others.  While I used to get very frustrated and impatient with others, I’ve felt that God has been testing me to learn to have patience and has opened my eyes to see how it is best for others when patience is practiced.  I have learned the value in it now and truly believe that patience is a powerful way to serve others.

87. Protect forests

Our forests, our planet, our resources, it’s all a hot topic globally now and for good reason.  We are destroying what everyone deserves to enjoy and a small portion of the humans are destroying the largest percentage.  It’s a shame and the only way to combat it is to serve others by protecting the forests, the resources and our planet as a whole.

88. Forgive an action

Holding a grudge will get you nowhere.  Forgiveness as hard as it is, is the best way to serve others.  It’s the key to Jesus’ message and if we can live like Him, we are serving others by doing do.

89. Cancel a debt

Have you ever chipped in a few coins to cover someone’s bill at the grocery store?  How about the money a friend borrowed and has never paid back yet?  Cancel the debt and simply give it to them with no expectation of repaying the debt.  If someone owes you something, don’t hold it over them, simply cancel and forget the debt and hold onto the relationship instead of the money attached.

90. Avoid the unimportant

Unimportant things distract us constantly from our lives, in our work, our families and in our relationships.  The debt mentioned above could one of these things and it prevents us from realizing and experiencing what actually matters.  If you want others around you to experience the best memories and relationships with you that is possible, avoid the unimportant and start doing, saying and acting on the important things in your life.

91. Be enthusiastic

I know that this one may be somewhat a personal preference but as a very animated and enthusiastic person myself, I’ve heard countless times how my energy and enthusiasm is such a great presence and character trait.  I see the same in others and so I definitely believe that enthusiasm builds positive energy in others and that can only serve them by influence and perhaps, by being contagious.

92. Donate blood

This is a huge need for trauma care and a very selfless act that is truly done to serve others and provide a critical need.

93. Use positive dialogue

Positive dialogue fits into a few other items here as well but this is specifically in how you talk and what you talk about.  If you focus on the positives in your life and words you say, you will make a positive impact on others as well.  Positive dialogue includes discussions, your comments, feedback, hopes, dreams, aspirations and stories that are uplifting and positive in nature.

94. Do extra household chores

This is an easy one to do but unfortunately the word, “chores” has such negative thoughts associated with it for most people we avoid it.  If that is the case for others as well, would you not say then that to serve them well would be to do some of their household chores?

95. Give anonymously

Giving is a great way to serve others.  Make it an even better service by leaving a mystery by giving anonymously.  If you are serving them, you don’t need the recognition and certainly don’t need the receiver to feel any obligation.  The best gifts are the ones received in gratitude and anonymous gifts are easier to be grateful for than one that is connected elsewhere in our lives, so give anonymously.

96. Leave a specific compliment with a tip

Tips are an easy way to serve others in return for what they have done for you.  If you want to make a stronger impact, then write a note or message with a tip to leave a specific compliment.  Perhaps at a restaurant you could ask to speak to the manager and tell them about the great service you received from a specific server.  The restaurant manager will be happy to hear this and the server will likely gain other benefits, far more than just your added tip.

97. Say hello often to strangers

Living in Calgary, while it isn’t a huge city, its much bigger than the small town I grew up in and it is odd how seldom people say hello.  I hate that about the city and I’m doing my part to change it.  You can too by greeting strangers, smiling in public and by simply saying hello to people as often as you can around the city.  I ride my bike to work and love the bike paths I ride along as I often pass by people and have a chance to spread a smile and a hello.  Most often it brings a smile in return and isn’t that a great way to serve?  I think so.

98. Keep your promises

Being a person who can be trusted to do what you say is an important way to serve others.  Breaking a promise kills trust and takes much longer to rebuild.  If you want to serve others, you need to keep your word to them and be honest when you know you can’t keep your promise as early as possible or ideally, before you make it in the first place.

99. Let love for others drive your life

Love is the most powerful thing in this world.  It provides us all with an ability to drive through incredibly painful circumstances. It brings about hope and joy that can overcome any amount of suffering and it sets an example for service to others and to God like nothing else.  Love is a gift we all have the option to experience by God’s grace, it is offered to each and every one of us.  Experience that, make love a focus in your own life and use it to drive your life to serve others.

100. Recognize when God calls you to serve

Finally, my last in this list of 100 ways to serve is to open your mind and heart to God, to listen and then ultimately to act upon his calling in a way He wants you to serve.

Posted by Mike King under God & Success | 90 Comments »

The Power of a Plan

November 2nd 2009


For many people, things they do at work seem to come quite naturally in their work but not so much in their personal lives. Especially when it comes to planning and seeing the power of a plan.  There is certainly power in having a plan for yourself, your life, your family, your health, your relationships and the hobbies you take on. Perhaps a plan for the way you are involved with your friends (Joel J Turney LLC), family, neighbors, colleagues. What about using a plan for ensuring you get what is truly most important to you in your life? What about a plan that ensure you stay on track and that your plan is really what you want it to be? Many people I know in my work can easily formulate a plan for some project or set of complex tasks in their job tasks yet they don’t connect the same value when they think about things in their personal lives.

There is More to Life Than Work

Even without getting to the point of how people work too much, I want to highlight the fact that the important things in life include many areas outside your work. I continually hear people say things like work most important since it is a third of your life, which is a HUGE exaggeration! Even working for 50 years in life, a 40 hour work week equates only to a complete total of 12.5 years in an average life of 75 years which is less than 17% of one’s total life. Close to 33% is spent sleeping and so that leaves 50% of life in other areas.  Everything else fits in there from birth to death.  50% of all your living hours are up to you and your family for how they are spent and many people don’t think that’s worth planning!!  That’s crazy!

Categories for Planning Life

Life has so many areas to explore and those areas deserve the same kind of thoughts and planning as work does.  Categories I use to look at specific goal setting and life planning are:

  • Relationships
  • Spiritual
  • Health
  • Emotions
  • Things
  • Financial
  • Career

Your categories might be different but ensure you think big picture when your making life plans.  Think about everything that you value and what you wouldn’t want to live without and ensure those areas are covered in your plans.  Think about what matters if this was your last day on earth or if you knew you had only a week to live.  What would you do?  With who?  How would you want to be remembered?  Are these your passions in life now or are you still searching for your purpose and passions in life?

Write it Down

Did you know that only about 4% of people write out their goals and plans for life?  Its true and its scary when you think about it.  There are so many people living life without a written plan. Are you one of them?  Writing down your goals and plans solidifies it, puts added committment to it and makes it something much more real than just a thought or idea.  It gives the plan real substance and provides a way to review it and visualize it.  The power of a plan extends far beyond work in all areas of life and only if its written down will it have even a chance of being realized.

What’s In A Plan

The content of the plan is where the real thought has to go.  You can’t make a plan without some careful time thinking and trying to understand how you want things to proceed.  This is true in day to day jobs and its true in life as well.  The only thing you can do well without a plan are things you’ve done over and over, and learned to do them naturally.  These may be things you need to do but for most people, the natural actions are not the things we wish we were doing in life, or the things we want to change or learn to do.  For most people, learning new things is a challenge and we all have ideas of what we wish we were better at, doing more of or doing differently in our lives.  This requires change and repeating what we’ve always done (since that is what happens without a plan) definitely won’t lead to that change.  Look for the things that matter to you in each of the categories above.  Don’t settle for what you have, ask yourself why that matters or what will you ultimately gain if you accomplish it to drive out the real reasons behind each item.  You should be able to justify true meaning to all your plans and know that they fit into your life’s purpose.  If you don’t know what that is, then clearly you need more planning, not less which unfortunately many people do when first being frustrated about questions of purpose.  Look for the things that impact others and how others impact you, that’s an easy place to start because we all form opinions of what that ought to look like.

Let Your Plan Change

Plans are much easier if you leave some room to grow it and change it.  Its unlikely that one plan will last many years and you need to adjust it as you learn more about what matters to you. If and how your purpose changes should also spark you to revisit your plan.  It is something you need to refer to often and there is nothing wrong with changing it as life changes.  The more often you look at a plan and change it the easier you can adjust to new circumstances and still ensure you are ultimately on track with the big picture goals and results for that plan.  Also, revisiting a plan lets you avoid complacency as you accomplish the things on it.  Don’t stagnate, instead keep pushing yourself and ensure you add to your plan and let it change as you do to keep you driven with purpose and meaning.

My wish is that everyone I know wrote out their goals and made plans for their life with some idea and thinking of what their purpose is with discussions and relationships founded in what is important in each plan.  This would bring happiness to many and I know the power of what could be accomplished if this were true.  I know I won’t be able to get everyone I know to take this challenge on, but everyone I know who has, has seen great results and now also understands the power of a plan.

Posted by Mike King under Success | 17 Comments »

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