Monthly Archives: August 2013

Simple Stuff


(Simple Stuff is simply a bunch of inspirational, motivational and other quotes meant to make you think, reflect, smile, even laugh a bit. Hopefully helpful, useful stuff….)


Sometimes on a day during which nothing seems to happen everything gets way better. You just need a little more time to see the manifestation. Have a little faith. I go to work,  The Universe ( is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.-Martin Luther King, Jr.

Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light.-Helen Keller 

To be a champ you have to have faith in yourself when no one else will.-Sugar Ray Robinson

Faith consists in believing when it is beyond the power of reason to believe.-Voltaire 

Faith is not something to grasp, it is a state to grow into.-Mahatma Gandhi

We are twice armed if we fight with faith.-Plato 

You have to believe in yourself.-Sun Tzu 

Can You Follow Your Passion?

Can You Follow Your Passion?

This is one of the great debates in the self-employment world. Can you really make a living following your passion? I’m living proof that you can. But it doesn’t work for everyone, or every passion. Today, Jason Leister shows you how to make it work for you.Craig Ballantyne”Real regrets only come from not doing your best. All else is out of your control. Do more than is expected of you. Life’s easy when you live it the hard way…and hard if you try to live it the easy way.” – Kekich Credo #4

Making a Living Doing What You Love

By Jason Leister

I’m not one of those people who can do things just for the money.

Before you jump to the conclusion that I’m somehow more evolved than the average Joe, let me put your mind at ease. I’ve tried many times to do things just for the money. It’s just never really worked out for me.

I’ve fallen for pursuing quick riches just like most people. And had those pursuits worked out, I imagine I might have continued. But those things never worked out. I never chanced upon a strategy that dropped millions in my lap. And I never discovered a loophole in the system somewhere that I milked until the well ran dry.

Why I’ve never been able to do something like that, I don’t know. And at this point, I’ve given up caring.

Here’s what I do know:

I have this “affliction” where I actually have to enjoy my work or I just won’t last long. It’s always been that way and I don’t think it’s something I’m able to change. It’s just how I’m wired. And over the years, I’ve come to realize that my inability to do things “just for the money” (for any extended period of time) is actually a constraint I should embrace. These days, it’s slowly becoming a non-negotiable part of my life.

My goal is to make a living doing what I love.

Sadly, I can’t tell you that if you do what you love, the money will follow. I wish that were always true. To be frank, doing what you love doesn’t always lead to great riches.

But I don’t think you do what you love because the money will follow, I think you should do what you love because why would you spend your life doing anything else?

What to Do About the “Rational” Reflex

Coming at life from such an “idealistic” point of view immediately triggers the “realistic” reflex. That’s the device we’ve all been trained to use to reinforce our story about what is and what is not possible. It keeps us in line. It keeps us under control.

I can’t just go doing what I love…” we say. “I have a family to support…” “I have obligations…” “I can’t just do that…

These are all valid and quite rational responses to the idea of making a living doing what you love.

And it’s your choice whether or not you want to allow your life to be governed by these creations.

The fact is, in 90 years, no one reading this article will be here. 90 years is a blip. It’s going to be over before you blink. That means that everythingmatters and nothing matters all at the same time.

Sit for a moment and see how your brain comes to terms with an idea like that. It’s not something that’s meant for your brain, it’s an idea that’s directed right at your soul.

People have been making “rational” choices about their livelihood for centuries. But one look at the current state of world affairs and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that the choices we’ve been making have led us to a very sad place.

People endure decades of misery in pursuit of making a living in the way they’ve been told to do it.

They have been brainwashed into believing they are “caught” and cannot escape. Little do they know that their walls are of their own making. Little do they know, that in their pocket is the key to unlock the door that blocks them.

Something needs to change. And that something begins with you. It begins with your choices about how you are going to live your life.

It begins with your decision to walk towards the dreams you have for yourself. This isn’t a journey you start in order to reach “success.” It’s a journey you start because pursuing your dreams is something worthy of your life.

Why Millions of People Practice Things They Don’t Want to Be Good At

As evolved as we think we are as humans, history has shown we’re not too many steps removed from the animal kingdom. Once the luxuries of modern life are stripped away, our similarity to animals becomes very clear, very quickly.

But there’s one trait animals don’t display that we “evolved” humans do. I can’t think of any animal that would willingly pursue an activity it didn’t feel was in its own best interest.

It certainly wouldn’t do it 8 hours a day… for years and years.

But we humans do this all the time. We do it for many reasons. We do it because we’re told to do it. We do it because we’re worried about what others might think of us if we didn’t. We do it because we don’t know any better. We do it because we don’t believe in ourselves. We do it because we’re scared of the alternatives.

And that’s why, on any given morning, millions of people in this world trudge off to spend their days doing things they hate with people they can’t stand. They spend 30% of their life practicing things they have no interest in being good at.

And when they eventually do become good at those things, they have to search for something to fill the void that the “right work” is meant to fill.

“But what else would I do to make a living? What else could I do?”

I used to think that I had to have answers to those questions in order to move forward. I searched long and hard for those answers, but they never came like I wanted. I wanted a bolt of lightening… but all I ever got was a spark. One spark here… another spark there.

These days, I realize that the journey to freedom begins not with my ability to answer questions but my ability to ask questions and then take a step.

The Easy Life or a Life Well Lived?

For me, my answers began to appear only well after I was willing to set sail and DO.

The answers are in the doing. That’s the secret I’ve discovered.

Making a living doing what you love certainly isn’t the easy way through life. I’m not sure easy is the goal. I’m not sure easy is even valuable.

For me, school was easy. It was also empty. Years of coughing up the right answer as ordered, like a trained dog… and for what?

It’s only after I began my journey to make a living doing something I loved that I truly began to live. It’s one of the greatest challenges I’ve faced. It’s also been the richest and most rewarding. And I’m just getting started.

In my opinion, pursuing the challenge of making a living doing what you love is a direct route to a life well lived. And given how brief the time we’re all given is, I don’t think there’s a more worthy destination than that.

Jason Leister is a direct response copywriter, internet entrepreneur and editor of the daily e-letter, The Client Letter, where he empowers independent professionals who work with clients. He has six kids and lives and works in the mountains of Arizona.


carolinne's world

“Life is like a camera. Just focus on what’s important and capture the good times, develop from the negatives and if things don’t work out, just take another shot.”

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fyi free training‏

When I come across something that’s really helpful to me, I like to share it. So I’d like to introduce you to a new teaching series with Tony Robbins. (this is NOT an affiliate link or anything, I don’t get anything out of this, FYI ONLY)

Click here to see it:

I’ve been following the work of Tony Robbins for some time now, and I’m always impressed that he’s not just a speaker who helps people to achieve results, but an extraordinary coach, able to help people to tackle the kinds of practical life challenges we all have to face.

Today I want to share with you a short video and a training of Tony doing his extraordinary work. You’ll see how quickly he can get to the heart of a problem and solve it, right there on the spot. It’s remarkable.

Click here to see it:

This video comes from my friends at Robbins-Madanes Training, who train people in advanced strategies for creating positive change in people. It’s a fantastic program, and they’re putting out some extraordinary coaches.


Reinvention: Is It Satisfaction, Or ‘Dissatisfaction,’ That Drives The Most Success?

Reinvention: Is It Satisfaction, Or ‘Dissatisfaction,’ That Drives The Most Success?

Posted: 06/26/2013 10:51 am
I want to welcome you to the last and final competency on our journey: reinvention. Congratulations for making it this far, conquering packaging, positioning, influence and acceleration. You’ve earned what entrepreneurs and socialpreneurs all crave — trust. Welcome to the other side, my friend, and start to imagine what you could do with that… with the freedom to explore something new.

Last week we looked at a way to achieve magnetism through building a platform and leveraging previous reputation to have greater impact moving forward. But what if there was another, just as powerful way to continue to achieve more impact? And what if instead of building off of what you’ve already done, it was more about reconsidering what could be done differently?

In Demand, authors Adrian Slyawotzky and Karl Weber speak to the key behaviors of magnetism, citing the grocer Wegmans as a prime example of a company mastering the concept. While Wegmans has created a cult-like following for itself by investing deeply in employee expertise and customer relations, what I think really sets themselves is core for this competency. I think Wegmans is magnetic because they aren’t afraid of reinvention — in fact they are blessed with dissatisfaction. Or as The Atlantic described it over a year ago, part of Wegmans’ secret sauce is that it is “the anti-Walmart.”


Wegmans was born out of a dissatisfaction with the status quo, and since first being founded in 1916 it has continued to push the boundary and look for more out of what the grocery experience should be.

Dating back to its earliest days, Wegmans has always embraced new thinking, technology, and what could be better. Going back to the 1930s, Wegmans built a cafeteria with seating for 300 inside of its store. Looking at the Ikeas, Wal-Marts, and Targets today, you won’t find a single one without this service. Furthermore, in 1932 Wegmans became the first grocery store in Rochester to introduce refrigerated display windows and vaporized water sprays to keep produce fresh and eight years later Wegmans first started stocking frozen food items. The store outside of Rochester, New York was one of the first to adopt the new bar code technology Universal Product Code (UPC) in 1974, revolutionizing the way we checkout. Well before customer loyalty and discount programs became the trend for businesses, Wegmans was already testing out their “Shoppers Club” program in their Corning store in 1990. They are the first chain in the country to introduce fresh irradiated ground beef under their own label in 2002, and in 2007 they established their own organic research farm off the shores of Canandaigua Lake, assembling a team of experts to research organic farming and to share their findings with partner growers.

Beyond innovations in their operations and store capabilities, Wegmans also found itself dissatisfied with the role it was playing in the larger community. It didn’t want to just be where people went to grocery shop — it wanted to be where people went to nourish themselves… to live healthier lives. In the 1990s the big marketing push at Wegmans was its “Strive for 5” program, which sought to educate shoppers on the importance of getting your daily allotment of fruits and vegetables. It wasn’t just another flashy campaign to get customers in their stores, though. Wegmans hired a registered dietitian to work with their chefs to design and execute on the program, offering recipes with nutritional analyses to promote better health and wellbeing. Today, go to the Wegmans website and you’ll see an entire portion dedicated to “eat well. live well” with a greater mission to inspire and support each other to enjoy healthier, better lives using four simple principles. When’s the last time you saw your local Safeway, King Soopers, or Piggly Wiggly trying to improve your health? Wegmans has gone as far as banning the sale of all tobacco products within its stores in 2008, out of concern for the role smoking plays in people’s health. A bold move, but also one in complete alignment with their values and one focused on improving the community.

Starting as a grocer, Wegmans has consistently reinvented itself to become a community partner nourishing each and every family walking through its doors. They’ve assumed the responsibility of the entire industry to work with the community to make everyone better. In doing so, they’ve not only created amazing relationships, but they’ve solidified and enabled their customer base to be stronger. A savvy business move considering that your business is only as health as the market supporting it. It is this commitment to reinvention, driven by always asking what could be done better, that has landed Wegmans on Forbes list of the “Largest Private Companies in the US.”

So What Are You Going To Do Now That You’re On The Other Side?

Are you someone blessed with dissatisfaction? Are you ready to make what you’ve already done even bigger…to take on something even greater? Watch the video below as we look more specifically at:

    • The gravity of success
    • The opportunities that open up for you now that you are on the right side of the mental barrier of the buyer
    • The responsibility that comes with that opportunity
  • And the importance for every hero/heroine to “answer the call”

After you watch, ask yourself what have you always wanted to do but feared you never had the reach to accomplish. Is it a bigger business? Is it to influence social policy? Consider now how the success and momentum you’ve generated on this journey will give you a leg up in making this dream a reality, and go pursue it.

Reinvention – Blessed With Dissatisfaction from Peter Sheahan on Vimeo.

This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post and Peter Sheahan on the topic of Making It Happen in Small Business, focused on turning those with the ideas into those with the influence. To see all of the posts in the series, click here.

Opportunity, Sexy, Life

As much as I hate to do so, I want to cite a quick speech given by Ashton Kutcher.

I am not a fan of Ashton and I resisted watching this, however, regardless who says something, the Truth is the Truth.
I’m also glad that he tried to share this with many, many teenager and young adults. To be frank, I also know some adults that could use the reminder. 😉

How to Deal with Jealous People‏

This is a good blog post from Craig Ballantyne at

It Will Happen

One day, your ship will come in. Maybe it already has. But you will breakthrough and earn the money – and likely more – than you’ve always wanted. This will bring you many benefits, but a few problems as well, particularly in the form of negative reactions from others. No one will ever know how hard you worked to get where you are. No one will ever understand the sacrifices you made. It’s not worth trying to explain. Instead, take Bob Bly’s advice today on how to deal with people that are envious of your success. It’s the right way to live.Craig Ballantyne

“If over the course of your life you fail to appreciate what you have, you will never be happy. But if you find satisfaction in your situation, whatever it may be, then happiness will be yours.” – Christine Vitrano

Slaying the Green-Eyed Monster: How to Deal with People Who are Jealous of Your Entrepreneurial Success

By Robert W. Bly

I once heard a great piece of advice concerning whether to tell other people how much money you make.

The advice was: don’t.

Reason: If you make less than they do, they will look down on you.

If you make more than they do, they will resent you.

Most people would never think of asking a friend or acquaintance who has a conventional 9 to 5 job what their salary is.

But those same people have no hesitation asking an entrepreneur or self-employed professional “Do you make good money doing that?”

Many secretly hope you do not … and here’s why:

They already imagine that being your own boss gives you an enviable life style and work environment – which in most cases is usually true – so they’re already jealous.

If on top of all the freedom you enjoy, you also make a lot more money than them, they turn green with envy and silently wish for your failure.

When asked questions that probe my income, I don’t give the figure. I reply: “Well, I’m not Bill Gates, but I do OK” – and leave it at that.

Another manifestation of jealousy is for people to make snide comments that denigrate your success as an entrepreneur.

KK, a friend, recently commented, “You must really have to scramble to find clients.”

I think he wanted to assure himself that I could not possibly be matching the low six-figure salary he earns as an IT manager.

If I were to reply with the truth – that I have more opportunity for assignments than I can handle – it would be rubbing my success in his face, which is unseemly.

So I gave a noncommittal answer that it’s true you have to market your services to get clients but I was not hurting for business.

Ironically, KK’s wife TK knows what I make and that it is several multiples of her husband’s salary – because she correctly guessed, and when she did, my wife Amy confirmed that her guess was on target.

I was displeased that Amy revealed this information, because it is none of TK’s or KK’s business.

In my experience, people who are employed in a traditional job are envious of these aspects of you being an entrepreneur:

1–They worry you make more money than they do, which they view as unfair because you avoid so many of the drawbacks of conventional jobs, such as office politics and horrible bosses.

2–They envy your ability to work at home unless they are telecommuters.

3–They wish they had the guts to start their own business and feel inferior to you because you do.

4–They are told what to do, when, and where, and covet your ability to do what you want, when you want to do it, and where you want to do it.

5–They feel like “wage slaves” and resent your potential to earn an income that is many multiples of what they make.

How can people reduce their envy of those more wealthy and successful than themselves?

I wish more people would heed the wisdom of writer Max Ehrmann, who in his 1927 poem “Desiderata” wrote, “There will always be those greater and less than you.”

Remember, there are millionaires envious of multi-millionaires, multi-millionaires envious of billionaires, and billionaires envious of multi-billionaires … even though they may not say so.

One question I get from time to time is, “Can you really make a living doing that?” In this case, I think the motivation for asking is genuine curiosity, not the desire to put you in your place.

How can you deal with the jealousy of others towards you?

To begin with, you have to be selective about whom you associate with.

There are always people who are filled with negative thoughts — not only about others whom they envy (you) but also about themselves and their perceived failure to having achieved their goals (which are often to own their own business or be richer than they are).

My advice, which is hardly original, is to gently separate yourself from those jealous, negative people and have as little to do with them as possible.

The fact is they will drag you down into the muck and mire of their negative attitude, and as an entrepreneur, you just don’t need that.

I also avoid doing things that will trigger jealousy in others, such as making ostentatious purchases.

In a conversation I had with successful entrepreneur Sy Sperling, founder of the Hair Club for Men, he told me, “I could easily afford a Rolls Royce but I drive a Lexus.”

Gaudy displays of wealth, or dropping hints in conversation that let the listener know how well-heeled you are, do nothing to endear you to other people and instead make then burn with envy.

If you are modest and humble, others won’t envy you or try to tear you down.

Of course, you may want to treat yourself to the trappings of the wealthy entrepreneur, but you don’t have to push it in other people’s faces. For instance, most people won’t ever see your million-dollar home, and you can drive the Toyota instead of the BMW to business meetings.

In particular, you want to avoid demonstrating your success and wealth to your customers, lest they feel that you achieved it by gouging them.

And everyone would be well advised to obey the 10th commandment:

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”

[Ed. Note. Bob Bly is a freelance copywriter and the author of 80 books including Start Your Own Home Business After 50 (Linden).]

The Secret: How To Become A Fortune 500 CEO

The Secret: How To Become A Fortune 500 CEO

 July 11, 2013-

By Steve Tappin

Chief Executive, Xinfu, Host BBC CEO Guru & Founder, World Of CEOs

Being a Fortune 500 CEO is a privilege and one of the amazing jobs you could ever wish for. It’s also one of the hardest to get, and even harder to do well. Fans of the movie ‘Top Gun’ will remember that only 1 in 100 makes it as an elite naval fighter pilot. In the corporate world, those odds shrink to 1 in 100,000 in major company.

If you want it for the money, prestige and the power, you’re doing it for the wrong reasons and will probably not make it. If the ambition is too much around you, then it’s hard to bring an organization with you. So what is the right fuel? Top CEO Steve Jobs put it as follows:

“We don’t don’t get a chance to do that many things, and every one should be really excellent. Because this is our life. Life is brief, and then you die, you know? We’ve all chosen to do this with our lives. So it’d better be damn good.”

In the corporate world, the CEO job is the ultimate prize. Yet the key to actually getting it is to focus first on becoming an outstanding leader. If you’re in your 20s and 30s, this means committing to a leadership apprenticeship, where you actively seek out as many rich business, life and leadership experiences as you can. Then, by the time you do get that CEO role, you’ll be ready to nail it.

My life’s mission has been to find a better way for CEOs to lead. In doing that, I’ve coached over 500 CEOs, and interviewed thousands of current and aspiring CEOs in the US, Europe and China. The optimal path to becoming a Fortune 500 CEO has changed over the past few decades… here are the 10 secrets which I believe will maximize your chances of becoming one yourself:

(1) Ignore Your Parents; Forget Today’s MBA

Don’t follow your parents’ advice, because although they want what’s best for you, they are typically more conservative. Advice to get a decent education, get a profession, and work for an already well-established and well-known company is rooted in the old world of work. The “job for life” philosophy is also dead, and employers expect you to move faster and get broader experience than people did in the past. Education is important, so get as much of it as you can, as early as you can. However, don’t do an MBA while it’s a Master Of Business Administration. To change my view, it would take better courses to emerge, like an MBL or Master Of Business Leadership. The only exception to this approach is if you are trying to build a network of potential backers for your business idea.

(2) Take more risks in your 20s and early 30s

“It’s a really bad idea to have a rigid life plan,” says Lord John Browne, former CEO of BP, adding “get your hands dirty, and take risks. It’s generally better to do it early.”

You may be very clear early on that you wish to head down the entrepreneur’s path of setting up your own business, but if you choose to go down the deceptively “safer” corporate path, be sure to inject it with your own healthy dose of risk. James Bilefield, President, Digital, at Condé Nast International, argues that now is the time to seize the “adventurous” option: “Every time I’ve moved company, people have thought me mad. I’ve left successful positions with great prospects for riskier options because I get frustrated if things aren’t moving fast. The key thing is to keep life fun and not to get bored. Get out there and take risks.”

Fail fast and fail early. According to Archie Norman, failure not only makes you a better leader, it also makes him more likely to hire you: “By the time it comes to 35, if it’s all gone swimmingly and it’s all pulled through, and you have been mentored by the chief executive and been on programs, that’s fine, but it’s a bit of case unproven.”

Lord Browne told me: “It’s dangerous when a person or a company says that things are so good that they don’t want to do anything or change anything; that’s the time to check out and do it again… The downside risk is lower than you think at any point in your life.”

(3) Dare to go into startups early

There’s also never been a better time to join or create a startup. In doing so, you gain a real-world, accelerated experience of far more elements than you are exposed to in a corporation. On the business side, you get a sense of the challenge of building a brand, marketing, and trying to sell a product to people who don’t know your company. You are likely to recruit people and engage with multiple stakeholders, and probably take early responsibility. So get in on the ground floor of what’s next, rather than wasting your early career in a fading, established, branded giant.

If the startup goes well, it creates so many more experiences. As you grapple with the challenges of growth, you have an opportunity to create serious value. It can also associate you with a killer endorsement: e.g. “I was involved at an early-stage in Google.”

Even if it goes badly, you will gain an first-hand appreciation of what can make a business fail. You’ll realize how important managing cashflow is to any business venture, and how hard it is to get investors to trust you with capital. You are likely to face failure, and the hard reality of relationships going sour with people you trusted. These are all valuable lessons to take with you into your next business venture and into rest of your career.

(4) Work under a great leader as part of a “fast stable”

In the corporate world right now, we have a small number of highly regarded leaders. They include Virgin’s Richard Branson, Cisco’s John Chambers, Diageo’s Paul Walsh, Alibaba’s Jack Ma and Ford’s Alan Mulally. Such iconic figures often set up “fast stables”, with great people around them. What makes their companies fast stables is that you can go there early on in your career to gain hyperspace experience, with great people around you doing the same.

One of the classic fast stables was set up by Archie Norman, who performed such a strong turnaround at UK supermarket Asda, that in 1999 it was acquired by Walmart for $11bn. He attracted and groomed a whole new generation of CEO talent, who themselves went on lead FTSE 100 companies in the UK. These people include Justin King (now at Sainsbury’s), Richard Baker (now chairman of Virgin Active), and Andy Hornby (who, like Richard, led Alliance Boots). Reflecting on what it’s like inside the stable, Archie says: “It will be tough at times, but will take you through the hoop. You want leaders to have come through a variety of different situations who have known failure, who have felt the fire.” If you have the opportunity to work for a similar leader today, as they shake up and transform an industry, then this “CEO apprenticeship” experience is one of the best learnings you can get.

A big priority at the start of your career is to learn the basic technical skills of business as quickly as possible and to find some of your personal limits. An alternative fast stable play is to join a professional services firm. Of these, strategy consulting and global operations consulting firms offer an even stronger background than a quick spell qualifying as an accountant. Like investment banks, consultancies can give you exposure to CEOs and some of their most important problems very quickly, as well as broad cross-industry experience. They also put you under pressure to perform from the get-go.

Brent Hoberman, co-founder of, consciously took this route: “In my mind, I always knew I wanted to set up my own business. But I went into consulting first for a couple of years to give me an experience base. It also gave me the ability to simplify complex problems and build business models.”

(5) Go global early

If you’re going to go global in your career, then go where the growth is. This means looking to emerging markets – start with the “BRIC” countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China, and then consider the “Next Eleven” (N-11), identified by Goldman Sachs and economist Jim O’Neill as having the highest growth potential. The N-11 include Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Turkey, South Korea, and Vietnam.

So maybe not Iran, but of the above options, I would go for China. It offers unprecedented opportunities – the most populous country in the world, and predicted to become the largest economy. It also presents an aspiring leader with the biggest challenges. To master China, and to understand the difference in history and philosophy, you have to go in and build trust and connection in a country where people are often suspicious, and weighed down by the trauma of their past collective experiences. You also ideally have to do Mandarin.

A learning experience like this brings both joy and personal challenge. Yet, if you can master China, then you have a good chance of being able to make it anywhere. As Frank Brown, dean of Paris-based business school INSEAD, says: “It’s about not going from the US or the UK to Australia for a six-month pub crawl, but going to Tokyo, Beijing, or São Paulo, really experiencing a different culture and trying to get by in a different language. It’s about understanding that things there are much, much different.”

Build up a true global portfolio of experience. Urban pollution aside, how great would it be to have gone and worked in and “breathed the air” in San Francisco, London, Beijing, Rio and Frankfurt, all by the time you’re 30?

(6) Act Like The CEO Today By Applying The 30:30:30:10 Rule

Your first priority in any job is to deliver on your specific responsibilities and objectives. Then comes a massive – yet often overlooked – opportunity to mark yourself out as a future leader. If you can do your basic job well in just 30% of your allotted working hours, then that frees up the rest for the real work.

Dedicate 30% of your remaining time to deepening relationships with your peers, and connecting with and working with the leaders in your organization. Then, critically, you can spend 30% of your time with the CEO’s hat on – thinking about future growth opportunities, and how you could take the company and the CEO to the next level. That still leaves 10% of your working life to have fun!

(7) Boldly Seek Out Leadership Experiences

(a) Business Leadership

The key to business leadership is to learn all the different skills you learn to build sustainable value. Key to getting anywhere near to becoming CEO of a major business will be your success at taking responsibility for driving performance and operations, in a number of significant profit-and-loss accounts. Take direct accountability for business units in the major geographies most fundamental to current and future success, such as the US, China or South-East Asia. Likewise, take ownership of key elements of the company’s growth agenda – ideally a mix of acquisitions, partnerships, new ventures, and key game-changing or future-proofing projects. This will give you an understanding of how to drive super-growth in the future.

Also seek out business leadership opportunities in a number of different contexts, including high growth, steady growth, businesses held under differing ownership models or in turnaround situations. And as the world becomes more multipolar and business comes to interact with wider constituencies than previously, make sure you’ve had the opportunity to interface directly with a range of stakeholders such as shareholders, regulatory bodies and politicians and lobbyists.

Like with picking winning countries, when you’re choosing which industries to work in, stack the odds in your favor by going where the growth and future opportunities are likely to be. Growth industries mean disruption and innovation, and, as Michael Dell said, “learning to thrive in an era of constant change is a competitive advantage that every business leader has to embrace.”

(b) Personal leadership

For most CEOs today, personal leadership is their Achilles’ heel. Many of them are professional managers rather then true leaders. They have the hard skills, but many of them lack the soft skills required to do the job really well.

As a 21st century leader, you should work to build trust and connections with people across cultures. You need to be able to articulate the ambition in your head, including your deeper aspirations and your dream, so that people can believe in you and get behind you. Create an environment where people within an organization can perform at their best, thrive and feel like they can walk on water.

Top leaders have found a way to lead in what is known as a fellowship. Rather than there being a single CEO who insists on signing off every move, this is about a tightly-bonded fellowship of remarkable leaders operating together. The CEO brings in and develops a trusted inner core, encourages frank debate, and devolves decision-making. With deep trust and a shared dream established, the organization can go at hyper-speed. True corporate fellowships are still very rare – there was one at Nokia & Infosys in the 90s, and more recently at Google – and people still talk today about the magic experience it was. As an aspiring CEO honing your personal leadership skills, you job is first to become part of a fellowship, and then to get used to leading one.

(8) Have A Personal North Star And Go on Global Walkabouts

Do you have a cause or just an ambition? Over time, as you rack up these varied experiences and assets, your career mission will emerge and become clearer. As you define your “North Star”, your career becomes less about a list of roles, and more about a set of themes. As Tiger Airways CEO Tony Davis says, instead of a fixed plan, “you need a thread to your life”.

My mission became clear when I was at ICI in my twenties. It was the biggest and most prestigious company in Europe, and yet I couldn’t believe how much self-interest and office politics still got in the way. This is when I became convinced that there must be a better way to run companies. This cause has guided my quest for over 25 years, and later enabled me to form my CEO confidant and coaching business, Xinfu.

I call what happened next my “global walkabouts”. My first one happened at 35, with a sense that I didn’t understand the personal leadership and the human system enough. I spent two years on a quest to meet the best 200 people in the area of human development. I met neuroscientists, psychologists, physiologists, and spiritual teachers, trying to find the best in the world in each of these fields, so that I could develop my own system.

Then, in 2008, I interviewed 200 chief executives for my first book, ‘The Secrets Of CEOs’, and my quest then was to find out how the top CEOs balance business, leadership and life. My last walkabout came in 2011, for a follow-up book ‘Dream To Last’, where I met 200 Chinese CEOs in a fascinating journey to work out the Chinese Way. Each of these global walkabouts shifted my mindset, beliefs about leadership and really moved me along with the mission.

So, how clear’s your North Star, and what would be your two or three walkabouts?

(9) Build and nurture your personal brand and network

CEOs have been slow to adopt social media, slow to realize that the whole world has changed, and slow to create a personal brand that magnifies them across a global network. Into the void, there’s now something of a gold rush taking place, where, as an up-and-coming leader, you can build a brand in months, rather than years or decades.

Your personal brand should be based on the delivery of value and ideally you become a talent magnet. Aim to be the thought leader in your industry or niche. As you build your followership, you may question whether there is any real value in the many peripheral – and sometimes superficial – personal and professional acquaintances that such networking efforts may bring you. Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn and author of ‘The Startup Of You’, argues that there is, citing research that that your “weak ties” are the glue in your professional networks, and are actually more likely than your close “allies” to refer you to your next job opportunity.

One word of warning. Social media makes everything more transparent, and just as you can build a personal brand, you can lose it. Think before you tweet. As Frits van Paasschen, CEO of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, warns, “what happens in Vegas, stays on YouTube.”

(10) Celebrate your successes and have a life

Ruthlessly single-minded in the pursuit of your objectives and quick to identify the next one as soon as you have achieved a goal? This ability to prioritize and deliver is a strength to develop early in your career. However, as your build dream career, please be sure to put time aside to celebrate the magic moments. As Richard Branson reminded me: “At Virgin, we not only know how to work hard, we know how to party hard!”

These 10 secrets come with a CEO health warning. Be careful what you wish for. Being CEO can be the best job in the world or it can seriously overwhelm you and damage your health, mind, body and spirit, as well as stress your personal relationships with loved ones.

The happiest CEOs I’ve met are those who have managed either to build strong boundaries between their work and home lives, so that home refreshes them for work and work does not impinge on home; or those who have fully integrated their work and their personal lives and do not see a massive tension between the two. Set the right foundations in your early years: go out with your friends and enjoy life. If you can’t manage your work-life balance in your 20s, you won’t stand a chance later in life as personal and professional obligations get bigger.

Over to you

After the financial crash, the corporate world is resetting – there’s a new breed of global CEOs needed now and you could be one of them. As children, we dream about changing the world. A Fortune 500 CEO’s job is one of those special opportunities where you truly can. Whether you ultimately become a CEO or not, follow this path of lifelong leadership apprentice and you’re going to do something fantastic. Good luck.

These are my 10 secrets, but I don’t pretend that my way is the only way to the top. I would love to hear more about your personal thoughts and experiences in the comments section below. Also do follow me here on LinkedIn to get weekly updates on how to become a better leader.


By Steve Tappin

Chief Executive, Xinfu, Host BBC CEO Guru & Founder, World Of CEOs

Simple Stuff – action, work, opportunity

(Simple Stuff is simply a bunch of inspirational, motivational and other quotes meant to make you think, reflect, smile, even laugh a bit. Hopefully helpful, useful stuff….)

I hope the millions of people I’ve touched have the optimism and desire to share their goals and hard work and persevere with a positive attitude. – Michael Jordan

I don’t pity any man who does hard work worth doing. I admire him. I pity the creature who does not work, at whichever end of the social scale he may regard himself as being. –Theodore Roosevelt

Talent in cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work. – Stephen King 

Usually, the best way to find the yellow brick road of your life, is to start out on the dusty, dirt one.
And then let yourself become so preoccupied in making the best of it, having fun, and challenging yourself that you actually stop paying attention to the path.
Until, one day, not so long from now, with a new best friend, wearing cool clothes, feeling awesome, a teeny tiny bit taller, fresh from a WOW vacation, looking for the path you just left, you’ll notice that it’s 24 carats… baby.
And you’ll wonder for a long, long time, sipping on some exotic fruit drink, when the transformation actually took place… – Michael Dooley – The Universe


Young people are threatened… by the evil use of advertising techniques that stimulate the natural inclination to avoid hard work by promising the immediate satisfaction of every desire. –Pope John Paul II

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.  –Thomas A. Edison


Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you. – Thomas Jefferson

Action is the foundational key to all success.- Pablo Picasso

Feeling stressed, tense, worried?


You know, we’ve all been there in one way or another: we’ve been tense and focused on money, maybe stressed, maybe short with our spouse, maybe short with our kids….and in that moment when we’re stressing about money, we’re missing the world around us.

You know what I mean when I say “That awful feeling in the pit of your stomach because you feel like you have to worry about running out of money at the end of the month.”

I’ve been there, then back on “top”, then stressed again, a few times in my life.

I heard a funny thing the other day; someone was saying how they thought ‘rich people’ always think about money and ‘rich people’ are all shallow.

Maybe some are shallow, but in my experience and from what I read, when you had enough money to pay the bills and to live in a decent way, you’re NOT thinking about money much at all. When you have enough to cover the bills, you can think about fun things, about things that you WANT to do in your job and career, and things that you can do for or contribute to others – you can choose to enjoy life a little more.

When I was struggling with income and bills, and when I observe others that have the same struggle to pay bills and meet their obligations, they think about money all day long.

There is a great book that I highly recommend called “Bridges out of Poverty”. It helps explain how people struggling in poverty are constantly thinking about how they are paying the bills, food on the table, tires on the car, utility bills, etc.

Even if we aren’t at the poverty level, we can sometimes have some traits of the poverty mindset……we worry about money, about paying the mortgage, about our jobs, etc. This never creates a good feeling inside, does it?

Again, as someone that has been back and forth, here is some wisdom that I’ve learned from a few others and I believe that it really can help:

  • Focus on what you want, not what you don’t want – instead of focusing on the bills and lack of cash, focus on the things that you really want, the freedom, peace of mind, better health, better relationships, enjoying life, security for your family, etc.

  • Watch your self-talk- we all talk to ourselves and ask ourselves questions throughout the day. There is enough negativity in the world, don’t add to it by bringing yourself down. I was someone who beat myself up for many things and once in a while still do – if you do also, STOP. Reflect on accomplishments, look for references why you’re good at something, ask yourself questions like “Why do I deserve this?” and “Why am I so lucky?” instead of things like “Why can’t I earn more money” or ‘why is this such a struggle’ or ‘why don’t I ever win anything?”

  • Have a vision – ok maybe your life isn’t where you want it to be now and you want to improve – almost everyone does….create a vision. It doesn’t have to be a major complicated thing – something as simple as some bullet points or a paragraph or two is fine – create a simple story of you as you want to be – make the story in present tense as if you already have it – as if you are already “THERE” and you’re looking back on today, when you are struggling. Make sure that in the story you talk about how you’re proud of the steps you took, the hard work, the good attitude, and how you changed for the better. Remember, tell the ideal story of your life as if it is already done!

  • Enjoy the present, live in the moment – when we worry about the future or fret over the past, we miss moments and experiences right in front of us. I recall a time when my wife and I had time alone and I sat there worrrying about something that never even happened. Another time I recall worrying about something and basically ignoring my daughters when I had a free day with them. We all lost and nothing was gained. Take a moment to look around, be aware, and live today’s life. Things can happen in a moment. Look for miracles. You gotta celebrate life’s moments no matter what. There is no rehearsal.

  • Here’s something that can be the toughest for any of us – do the above each and everyday. We can all do things for a while or on occasion, or here and there. We have to ask the right questions, focus on the good stuff, reflect on our vision, and enjoy the present every day! We all must take action – even if they are just baby steps each day. Ask, ‘what thing, regardless how big or small, can I do today?” You don’t have to spend long on it – but at least 5 -10 minutes. Can you turn off the TV, put down the phone, or walk away from the computer or ipad for 10 minutes if it makes you better?

Remember, people with much less smarts, ability, education, opportunity have done great things, contributed, made money, helped others, and been successful , you have the ability, you have the power inside, you just need to take action.


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