Friday, 29 October 2010

Friday Story - 29th October 2010

"I hope your box is empty!"
It was on the sixteenth day of the 12th month celebrating his 75th birthday when he decided it was time.
Having been happily married, raising three boys, and continuing with great success, the family business handed down from generations before him, this now frail man had to make a decision.
His health had not been good over the past few years and the stress of keeping the business on course was beginning to wear on him.
The challenge was in deciding which one of his sons would take his place.
Each boy had the experience. Each one was capable of helping it grow in the future.
But each had different personal values.
As they gathered together to celebrate Father's birthday, he quietly pulled them aside from the rest of the family to announce his retirement.
"Father, I can't imagine a day without you as the head of the business," one said.
"We are sure to falter without you, but you deserve some rest," another said.
"You are this company," the last chimed in.
Then there was an uneasy silence. Surely the question playing on their minds was "who would take his place?"
The old man turned and walked toward the corner of the room where there were three boxes.
"Come, each of you take one of these boxes. They are of equal size. By the first day of the new year when we return here to celebrate, I want each of you to bring your box filled with what you believe to be the most valuable assets of this business. Based on your choices, I will decide who will take over as the chairman," father said.

There was much grumbling, confusion and discussion as father left the room.

During the next 15 days the families and employees could sense a strong competitive spirit between the boys. One carried the box nearly everywhere he went. Another ran from department to department asking for records and inventories. The third simply left the box at his desk.

It was January 1st and the family had once again gathered to celebrate. Right after dinner father called the boys aside.
"Well, it is time. Please share with me what you have placed in your box," father said.
The first son, eager to outdo the others, jumped to his feet and began sharing.
From the box he pulled the business ledger, saying "This father, is the true measure of our success. There is no greater representation than the bottom line."

"Simple and direct," father said.

Pointing to the second son, he asked for him to share.

"Where is your box?" father asked.
"It is outside on the back of truck. The box you gave me was much too small. I have ten of our employees out there ready to bring in each of the items I have gathered."
Father walked to the window and from that distance could see his son had gathered many of his own personal possessions; a boat hitched to the back, collections of rare art, antiques and what appeared to be two uniformed guards standing next to a large box.
"What is in the box?" fathered asked.
"My wife's jewels," the son replied. "Shall I order them to bring them in?"
"No! I have seen enough," father said.
With a deep sigh and tone of sadness, he said to the last son, "What valuables do you have to share?"
The son rose to his feet and handed his father the box.
The old man looked inside and with great shock and surprise looked up at his son.
"It's empty!" father said. "Are you telling me that you have found nothing of value in the family business?"
"To the contrary," he said. "What I found most valuable I could not place in a box, on the back of a thousand trucks, or scribbled on the bottom line of a ledger."

Father's face lit up as he returned to his chair.

"How does one measure the value of commitment, quality, honesty, and trustworthiness? What size box would hold the loyalty of our employees and customers? Would the charities we supported through the years fit into the largest trucks in our fleet? How big of an auditorium would I need to gather the families of our coworkers who have benefited from our generous pay and health plan? Where would I place the local companies we have committed to deal with so that the community we live in stays strong?

Finally, father, the most valuable possessions I personally hold are the love of you and mother, family values, your wisdom, compassion and love of God. Look again inside that box. They are not there. The result of all of that is here standing before you."

It was clear what decision was made that day.

There will come a time when each of us will be asked by our Father to share what we value most.

I hope your box is empty.

Bob Perks

Friday, 8 October 2010

Friday Story - 8th October 2010

By Tim Burningham

My family and I recently returned from a trip to Utah. During the trip we spent much of our time at a beautiful lake near the Bear River Mountains. One day our group planned various hikes through the majestic mountains with rugged terrain and peaks that soared to nearly 10,000 feet.

With a pregnant wife and three young children my family decided we'd stick to the flat, even surfaced three quarter mile hike. However, at the last minute we decided to try the somewhat steep and rocky 8-mile hike-just to see how far we could make it before turning back. To my surprise, and with my 2 year old son in arms nearly the entire trip, our family completed the eight mile hike together.

In life, we are often faced with challenges and opportunities that are difficult and often seem impossible. However, our potential and capacity is amazing. Many times we underestimate or do not realize what we can do. Many times we put self-imposed limits on ourselves and fail to venture to the unknown or dare to do the impossible.

Whether it's fear, a lack of confidence, complacency, or other reasons, we often hold back and do not push ourselves. For some reason, somewhere along our life journey, we begin to believe we cannot do hard things. I have learned through this hiking experience and other life adventures and challenges though, that we can do hard things. We can do things that are beyond our own wildest imaginations if we allow ourselves to believe and try.

At the beginning of the day, I never believed my family could or would complete the trip. I thought it would be too difficult for us but we did it. It wasn't always easy and at times I doubted we'd make it all the way but we did. And because we did we were able to view some of the most spectacular images and enjoy the peace and serenity of the mountains. We saw wild flowers blooming in colorful, luscious fields, majestic peaks soaring high above us in the air, a buck scampering across snow in search of food, and a calm crystal-clear hidden lake.

The reward for our efforts was beauty and tranquility all around us as well as a great sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. And for my 5 and 6 year olds who walked the entire trip on their own, they can look back on this experience often and feel good about who they are and what they can achieve.

So what rewards are we missing because we are unwilling to do hard things? And why do we deny ourselves of the incredible sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that comes from achieving difficult tasks? Our potential is great and each of us has the capacity to do great things. Let's stop holding back and start believing that we can do hard things!

Friday, 2 July 2010

Friday Story - Handling Change.

Change: We can actually choose to embrace it; or completely resist it!

We are at a time in our lives when there is much change occurring; and we are more frequently being faced with choices! We often don't see them as choices; but that's what they are!

We are being given a multitude of opportunities to actually embrace change; or to resist it!  This applies equally in our business and personal lives.

Sometimes the necessity for change just happens, and sometimes it is forced upon us quite unexpectedly!
Either way, we are often faced with tough decisions to make and our attitude towards our circumstance s are critical to whether we just survive, or come out thriving! At other times we need to instigate the change ourselves: and its times like these that we often have to admit to ourselves that something, or someone, just isn't working in our lives any more. You might be feeling like you're in one of those ruts which creep into our lives from time to time? If you are, remember that a rut is really a grave with the ends kicked out of it, and it is time to do something, perhaps!

Sure, we have very challenging choices to make when this sort of stuff occurs in our lives; but we need to make those choices; act upon them; and move on as wiser people.
Whether you are faced with change that creeps up and bites you on the butt; or whether you have to create a change for your own sake; the ability to accept things as they are, and move forward, is critical. One door closes; another one opens!

Do your best to remember this paradox of life: We can often stare for so long at the door which has closed; that we can miss a new one which has opened!
It is actually very easy to resist change; but keep in mind that resisting change is actually hard work! Quite often, we don't even know that we are resisting it; so like most other things in life, it's about being aware!

Right now, change is being forced upon us in many ways; and for some of us, that could possibly be overwhelming. My No 1 suggestion for anyone who is feeling the pinch, is to remember that 'necessity is the mother of invention'; so if you can get yourself into embracing the change which is forcing itself upon you, and get creative, then you may come out of your own situation absolutely shining!

Yes folks, our attitude towards change, does make all the difference!
We can choose to Embrace it ... or Resist it!
If you are hurting in any way whatsoever: then you can choose to reach out to others, and seek help.
Remember: None of us have to do it tough on our own ... ever!
Because: doing it tough on our own ... is also a choice!

Friday, 11 June 2010

Friday Thoughts

It is Friday 11th June 2010.  I am sitting in my office going through my daily visualisation routine.  I usually watch a 3 min animoto video I created with all my goals picture on it (the house, car, money, leisure pursuits, successful businesses etc) and then I watch a visualistion video from The Secret.  Its only 10 mins in the morning and it sets me up for the day.  This morning, I read a story from Bob Proctor and in it he asks the question..'What do you want?'.  'What do you REALLY want?'
Now, this has made me think today..well, what is it I really want?  Is it the car, the house, the money...or is it the feeling of freedom, not having to worry about bills, being able to live a life of joy and to be able to give back to the people I love?  For the first time I really think I understand this question and what it means. The last year has been one of tremendous growth but at the same time, I have still to make the breakthrough with my business career.  It feels like I am 3 inches from gold and if I keep digging I will get there soon.  It's trying to keep believing when the results are just not showing yet and people are questioning you..'why don't you get a real job just now?' is a question I get asked a lot.  Makes me question myself but then I read a motivational story or a comment by someone on Facebook about following your dreams and I know that this is the right path for me.

So, what do I want?  I want to wake up everyday with purpose, energy and drive.  I want to experience the feeling of freedom and be able to inspire others.  I want to be able to provide for my kids and show them the world and all the amazing things it has to offer...and open their minds to their potential.  I want to grow my businesses and get the dream house, car and travel..not for materialistic purposes but to feel the achievement and contentment from doing it under my own steam.  I want to write my poems and get them published..have been thinking a lot about this recently.

Now, ask yourself the same question today and really think about it...'WHAT DO YOU REALLY WANT?'

I hope this question has the same effect on you as it did on me.

Have a great day

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Visualization Techniques

Visualization is creating a mental picture of something. Visualization is important because it makes the future become more clear. Seeing yourself already achieving your goal makes your brain believe that attaining that goal is possible. Focusing consistently on any given goal will enable you to manifest it far sooner than if you didn't focus on it at all. Focus brings the goal closer to you.

Have you attempted visualizing, but find it difficult or impossible? Try this. Pick up a photo and study it closely; then close your eyes and tell me what you see. If you see anything resembling the picture, you are visualizing. It's that simple. If this doesn't work, or if you want to improve your visualization skills, take the same picture and while looking at it, close your eyes and open your eyes and close your eyes again. Do this as many times as possible for a few minutes. Soon you'll be seeing the picture, but you won't know if your eyes are open or closed -- and you will be visualizing better than before. Practice this technique often. You can focus on anything: people's faces, pictures, buttons. Get creative and have fun with it.

Additional Visualization Tips

  • When visualizing, it's important to view the action from the first person -- that is, see yourself achieving your goal through your own eyes, rather than watching yourself from the outside. This method is very powerful because this is the way you already see and experience everything.
  •  Less powerful is viewing your goal from the third-person perspective, seeing yourself achieving the goal as if you were watching a movie. It still works, but it's not as effective as viewing from the first-person perspective.
  • Make visualization fun -- the more real your image is, the better this works. Make the image not just a still picture, but a full-length movie staring you. Replay it over and over, seeing yourself as the hero, achieving your goal. Create background music, pump it up, make it feel real, and have fun with it. This is how you want to see your goal -- in vibrant Technicolor on an IMAX screen -- not in dim, dreary, out-of-focus scenes shown on a shoebox-size theatre in the multiplex.
  • Your goal is a picture located somewhere in your mental image frame. When you close your eyes and see the image of your goal, determine where your mind is locating the picture: top, bottom, right, upper left, etc. Now, recall an important goal you have already accomplished, and find out where that goal is located in your mental image frame.
So now you have two goals in mind: one you've already achieved and one you want to achieve. Note every little detail about these goals: Where are they located? What are the colors of the images? Are they big, bright, and clear -- or are they small, blurry, and distant?

How do these images feel to you? Does one make you feel happy, excited, and thrilled? Does the other make you feel depressed, wistful, etc.?

Once you've noted every detail about the two images, take the goal you have not yet achieved and give it the same qualities as the goal you have achieved. Make it bigger and brighter; move it to the same location as the image of the already-achieved goal; make it feel the same by inserting every detail. Adjusting your mental image of the current goal to mirror one you've already achieved makes your new goal seem easier and gives you the feeling that you have already achieved it.

Physically act out your goal in action moves. For example, with your eyes closed, envision yourself buying a new home, walking through every detail. First, you get on the phone and talk to your estate agent; later you shake his or her hand (yes, pick up an actual phone and really shake a hand). Greet the estate agent and explain, in detail, what you want your house to look like. Take them to the house you want to buy (yes, really walk in place and explain the details out loud, using lots of gestures). I know this seems silly, and you may feel like a kid playacting, but this is a great visualization technique, not to mention a great stress reliever. Go through all the motions and experiences, as if they were really happening. Notice your emotions, and have fun with this!

Allow yourself 10 to 30 minutes every day or every other day for visualizing your goal. Set aside time to rest and remove yourself from everything else going on. Find a quiet, uninterrupted area to perform these techniques. Remember, the more you focus on your goals, the sooner you will achieve them.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Overcoming Procrastination

Procrastination, the habit of putting tasks off to the last possible minute, can be a major problem in both your career and your personal life. Side effects include missed opportunities, frenzied work hours, stress, overwhelm, resentment, and guilt. This article will explore the root causes of procrastination and give you several practical tools to overcome it.

The behavior pattern of procrastination can be triggered in many different ways, so you won't always procrastinate for the same reason. Sometimes you'll procrastinate because you're overwhelmed with too much on your plate, and procrastination gives you an escape. Other times you'll feel tired and lazy, and you just can't get going.

Let's now address these various causes of procrastination and consider intelligent ways to respond.

1. Stress

When you feel stressed, worried, or anxious, it's hard to work productively. In certain situations procrastination works as a coping mechanism to keep your stress levels under control. A wise solution is to reduce the amount of stress in your life when possible, such that you can spend more time working because you want to, not because you have to. One of the simplest ways to reduce stress is to take more time for play.

In his book The Now Habit, Dr. Neil Fiore suggests that making time for guaranteed fun can be an effective way to overcome procrastination. Decide in advance what blocks of time you'll allocate each week to family time, entertainment, exercise, social activities, and personal hobbies. Then schedule your work hours using whatever time is left. This can reduce the urge to procrastinate because you work will not encroach on your leisure time, so you don't have to procrastinate on work in order to relax and enjoy life. I caution against overusing this strategy, however, as your work should normally be enjoyable enough that you're motivated to do it. If you aren't inspired by your daily work, admit that you made a mistake in choosing the wrong career path; then seek out a new direction that does inspire you.

Benjamin Franklin advised that the optimal strategy for high productivity is to split your days into one third work, one third play, and one third rest. Once again the suggestion is to guarantee your leisure time. Hold your work time and your play time as equally important, so one doesn't encroach upon the other.

I'm most productive when I take abundant time for play. This helps me burn off excess stress and enjoy life more, and my work life is better when I'm happier. I also create a relaxed office environment that reduces stress levels. My office includes healthy plants, a fountain, and several scented candles. I often listen to relaxing music while I work. Despite all the tech equipment, my office has a very relaxed feel to it. Because I enjoy being there, I can work a full day without feeling overly stressed or anxious, even when I have a lot to do.

2. Overwhelm

Sometimes you may have more items on your to-do list than you can reasonably complete. This can quickly lead to overwhelm, and ironically you may be more likely to procrastinate when you can least afford it. Think of it as your brain refusing to cooperate with a schedule that you know is unreasonable. In this case the message is that you need to stop, reassess your true priorities, and simplify.

Options for reducing schedule overwhelm include elimination, delegation, and negotiation. First, review your to-dos and cut as much as you can. Cut everything that isn't truly important. This should be a no-brainer, but it's amazing how poorly people actually implement it. People cut things like exercise while leaving plenty of time for TV, even though exercise invigorates them and TV drains them. When you cut items, be honest about removing the most worthless ones first, and retain those that provide real value. Secondly, delegate tasks to others as much as possible. Ask for extra help if necessary. And thirdly, negotiate with others to free up more time for what's really important. If you happen to have a job that overloads you with more work than you feel is reasonable, it's up to you to decide if it's worthwhile to continue in that situation. Personally I wouldn't tolerate a job that pushed me to overwork myself to the point of feeling overwhelmed; that's counterproductive for both the employer and the employee.

Be aware that the peak performers in any field tend to take more vacation time and work shorter hours than the workaholics. Peak performers get more done in less time by keeping themselves fresh, relaxed, and creative. By treating your working time as a scarce resource rather than an uncontrollable monster that can gobble up every other area of your life, you'll be more balanced, focused, and effective.

It's been shown that the optimal work week for most people is 40-45 hours. Working longer hours than this actually has such an adverse effect on productivity and motivation that less real work gets done. This is especially true for creative, information age work.

3. Laziness

Often we procrastinate because we feel too physically and/or emotionally drained to work. Once we fall into this pattern, it's easy to get stuck due to inertia because an object at rest tends to remain at rest. When you feel lazy, even simple tasks seem like too much work because your energy is too low compared to the energy required by the task. If you blame the task for being too difficult or tedious, you'll procrastinate to conserve energy. But the longer you do this, the more your resolve will weaken, and your procrastination habit may begin spiraling toward depression. Feeling weak and unmotivated shouldn't be your norm, so it's important to disrupt this pattern as soon as you become aware of it.

The solution is straightforward: get off your butt and physically move your body. Exercise helps to raise your energy levels. When your energy is high, tasks will seem to get easier, and you'll be less resistant to taking action. A fit person can handle more activity than an unfit person, even though the difficulty of the tasks remains the same.

4. Lack of Motivation

We all experience temporary laziness at times, but if you suffer from chronically low motivation and just can't seem to get anything going, then it's time for you to let go of immature thought patterns, to embrace life as a mature adult, and to discover your true purpose in life. Until you identify an inspiring purpose, you'll never come close to achieving your potential, and your motivation will always remain weak.

Center your work around an inspiring purpose, and you'll greatly reduce your tendency to procrastinate.  Finding your purpose is a powerful way to defeat procrastination problems because you won't procrastinate on what you love to do. Chronic procrastination is actually a big warning sign that tells us, "You're going the wrong way. Take a different path!"  Once you've centered your life around an inspiring purpose, then you can take advantage of certain motivational techniques to boost your motivation even higher.

5. Lack of Discipline

Even when motivation is high, you may still encounter tasks you don't want to do. In these situations self-discipline works like a motivational backup system. When you feel motivated, you don't need much discipline, but it sure comes in handy when you need to get something done but really don't want to do the work. If your self-discipline is weak, however, procrastinating will be too tempting to resist.

6. Poor Time Management Habits

Do you ever find yourself falling behind because you overslept, because you were too disorganized, or because certain tasks just fell through the cracks? Bad habits like these often lead to procrastination, often unintentionally.
The solution in this case is to diagnose the bad habit that's hurting you and devise a new habit to replace it. For example, if you have a problem oversleeping, take up the challenge of becoming an early riser. To de-condition the old habit and install the new one, I recommend the 30-day trial method. Many readers have found this method extremely effective because it makes permanent change much easier.

For tasks you've been putting off for a while, I recommend using the timeboxing method to get started. Here's how it works: First, select a small piece of the task you can work on for just 30 minutes. Then choose a reward you will give yourself immediately afterwards. The reward is guaranteed if you simply put in the time; it doesn't depend on any meaningful accomplishment. Examples include watching your favorite TV show, seeing a movie, enjoying a meal or snack, going out with friends, going for a walk, or doing anything you find pleasurable. Because the amount of time you'll be working on the task is so short, your focus will shift to the impending pleasure of the reward instead of the difficulty of the task. No matter how unpleasant the task, there's virtually nothing you can't endure for just 30 minutes if you have a big enough reward waiting for you.

When you timebox your tasks, you may discover that something very interesting happens. You will probably find that you continue working much longer than 30 minutes. You will often get so involved in a task, even a difficult one, that you actually want to keep working on it. Before you know it, you've put in an hour or even several hours. The certainty of your reward is still there, so you know you can enjoy it whenever you're ready to stop. Once you begin taking action, your focus shifts away from worrying about the difficulty of the task and toward finishing the current piece of the task which now has your full attention.

When you do decide to stop working, claim and enjoy your reward. Then schedule another 30-minute period to work on the task with another reward. This will help you associate more and more pleasure to the task, knowing that you will always be immediately rewarded for your efforts. Working toward distant and uncertain long-term rewards is not nearly as motivating as immediate short-term rewards. By rewarding yourself for simply putting in the time, instead of for any specific achievements, you'll be eager to return to work on your task again and again, and you'll ultimately finish it. You may also want to read my article on Timeboxing.

7. Lack of Skill

If you lack sufficient skill to complete a task at a reasonable level of quality, you may procrastinate to avoid a failure experience. You then have three viable options to overcome this type of pattern: educate, delegate, or eliminate.

First, you can acquire the skill level you need by training up. Just because you can't do something today doesn't mean you'll never be able to do it. Someday you may even master that skill. If you can't do something, don't whine about it. Educate yourself to gain skill until you become proficient.

A second option is to delegate tasks you lack the skill to do. There are far too many interesting skills for you to master, so you must rely on others for help. You may not realize it, but you're already a master at delegation. Do you grow all your own food? Did you sew your own clothes? Did you build your own house? Chances are that you depend on others for your very survival. If you want a certain result but don't want to acquire the skills to get that result, you can recruit others to help you.

Thirdly, you may conclude that a result isn't needed badly enough to justify the effort of either education or delegation. In that case the smart choice is to eliminate the task. Sometimes procrastination is a sign that a task needn't be done at all.

8. Perfectionism

A common form of erroneous thinking that leads to procrastination is perfectionism. Believing that you must do something perfectly is a recipe for stress, and you'll associate that stress with the task and thus condition yourself to avoid it. So you put the task off to the last possible minute until you finally have a way out of this trap. Now there isn't enough time to do the job perfectly, so you're off the hook because you can tell yourself that you could have been perfect if you only had more time. But if you have no specific deadline for a task, perfectionism can cause you to delay indefinitely.
The solution to perfectionism is to give yourself permission to be human.  Realize that an imperfect job completed today is always superior to the perfect job delayed indefinitely.

Perfectionism also arises when you think of a project as one gigantic whole. Replace that one big "must be perfect" project in your mind with one small imperfect first step. Your first draft can be very, very rough. You're always free to revise it later. For example, if you want to write a 5000-word article, allow your first draft be only 100 words if it helps you get started.

Some of these cures are challenging to implement, but they're effective. If you really want to tame the procrastination beast, you'll need something stronger than quick-fix motivational rah-rah. This problem isn't going away on its own. You must take the initiative. The upside is that tackling this problem yields tremendous personal growth. You'll become stronger, braver, more disciplined, more driven, and more focused. These benefits will become hugely significant over your lifetime, so recognize that the challenge of overcoming procrastination is truly a blessing in disguise. The whole point is to grow stronger.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Friday Story - Advice for Life

· By all means, set goals and go after your dreams, but know that your ultimate happiness will depend not on your plans but your ability to cope with unexpected turns and unavoidable ups and downs. You may not get what you thought you wanted, but if you're willing to adapt, you can get something even better.

· Don't ever underestimate the power of character. If you want to win, don't whine. Success is made from hard work, perseverance, and integrity, not luck.

· Listen to both your heart and your head. Pursue your passions, but don't confuse feelings with facts. Almost nothing is as good or as bad as it first appears, and all things change.

· Remember, pain and disappointment are inevitable, but tough times are temporary. The enduring impact of experiences and the true nature of relationships are only revealed by time. Persist with confidence that no negative emotion can withstand your will to be happy.

· Fill your life with laughter, but don't confuse fun or pleasure with happiness. Don't sacrifice a thousand tomorrows for a few todays.

· Live within your means and don't overestimate your ability to resist temptations that threaten your relationships or reputation.

· How you make a living is important, but how you make a life is vital. If you don't pay attention to your personal relationships, no amount career success will be enough.

Taken from 'Graduation Advice' by Michael Josephson

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Law of Attraction Daily Quote - Joyful Action

Action that is inspired from aligned thought is joyful action. Action that is offered from a place of contridicted thought is hard work that is not satisfying and does not yield good results. When you really feel like jumping into action, that is a clear sign that your vibration is pure and you are not offering contridicting thoughts to your own desire. When you are having a hard time making yourself do something, or when the action you offer does not produce the results you are seeking, it is always because you are offering thoughts in opposition to your desire.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Law of Attraction - Daily Quote

"That which is like unto itself is drawn." Vibrations are always matched. So, as you experience the contrast which inspires the new desire, this new desire, whether it is a strong one or a soft one, is summoning unto itself proportionately. And as it summons, it is always answered. It is the basis of our Universe: When it is asked, it is always given. Humans think they are asking with their words, or even with their action, and sometimes you are, but the Universe is not responding to your words or your action. The Universe is responding to your vibrational calling.

--- Abraham

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

The 8th Habit

Express Your Voice -- Vision, Discipline, Passion and Conscience

When you study the lives of all great achievers-those who have had the greatest influence on others, those who have made significant contributions, those who have simply made things happen -- you will find a pattern. Through their persistent efforts and inner struggle, they have greatly expanded their four native human intelligences or capacities. The highest manifestations of these four intelligences (mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual) are: for the mental, vision; for the physical, discipline; for the emotional, passion; for the spiritual, conscience. These manifestations also represent our highest means of expressing our voice.

Vision is seeing with the mind's eye what is possible in people, in projects, in causes and in enterprises. Vision results when our mind joins need with possibility. As William Blake once said, "What is now proved was once only imagined." When people have no vision, when they neglect the development of the mind's capacity to create, they fall prey to the human tendency toward victimism.

Discipline is paying the price to bring that vision into reality. It's dealing with the hard, pragmatic, brutal facts of reality and doing what it takes to make things happen. Discipline arises when vision joins with commitment. The opposite of discipline and the commitment that inspires sacrifice is indulgence-sacrificing what matters most in life for the pleasure or thrill of the moment.

Passion is the fire, the desire, the strength of conviction and the drive that sustains the discipline to achieve the vision. Passion arises when human need overlaps unique human talent. When one does not have the passion that flows from finding and using one's voice to serve great purposes, the void is filled with insecurity and the empty chatter of a thousand voices that drive the social mirror. In relationship and organizational settings, passion includes compassion.

Conscience is the inward moral sense of what is right and what is wrong, the drive toward meaning and contribution. It is the guiding force to vision, discipline and passion. It stands in stark contrast to the life dominated by ego.

These four words-vision, discipline, passion and conscience-essentially embody many, many other characteristics used to describe those traits we associate with people whose influence is great, whether known to many or few.