By R.A. Megargel
My father was and is an amazing cook. I’ve always admired how each meal was a masterpiece. Growing up he cooked with such finesse. The flavors were spot on and the timing was perfect. His best category in the kitchen was soup. He taught me that the best soups are the ones that get better the longer they cook. The flavors come together and create something that is just amazing. Each spoonful leaves you wanting more. Life can do the same thing if you allow it. The following ideas are things that 2018 has taught me. The lessons learned connect to life and leadership. Like a great soup, it’s always better when you can share it with others. So I’m opening up to share some of the wisdom I’ve let simmer.
1. Success has a Recipe
There is no substitute for hard work. In order for you or anyone to reach your dreams, you have to work at it. But there’s something to be said for working smarter not harder. The major lesson here is that success has a recipe. There’s a formula to solve every problem. The issue most of us face is finding the right formula or tool for our problem. We go with what has always worked, and what’s worked in the past may not work for the future.
Before we get too deep into 2019, start set some new goals for yourself or with the ones you love. Once you decide your destination, consider what you’ll need to accomplish that goal. Consider who you’ll need on your team. Like a world-class surgeon, have all of you tools laid out in front of you before you make the first move. Diagnose any problems that arise and find the right way to overcome them. Success starts with thoughtful preparation.
2. Don’t Put an Expiration Date on Friendships
Life happens. We grow older and make choices. Some choices lead us to new destinations. Some hold us in place. Some help us grow and others haunt us. The lesson I’m learning is that friendships don’t have to have an expiration date. They don’t have to end just because life happens. It’s okay to pick up where you left off. Forgiveness may be needed to patch some things up but that’s okay.
I’ve gone through various stages in life. Each one has been different and has challenged me to sacrifice. Often I’ve sacrificed time with friends. The relationships that once were extremely close seem to be miles away. As a father now, responsibility calls me more than my friends do. I challenge myself and I challenge you to reach out in an attempt to restore friendships from the past. 2019 can bring so many blessings if we let it. Every blessing has a beginning so take some small steps today to make things better.
3. Leadership Begins with Your Thoughts
Thoughts precede behavior. Therefore, if you’re going to lead yourself or others you must consider changing the way you think. A change in thought will lead to a change in behavior and ultimately a different outcome.
Analyze your thoughts. What are you saying to yourself? How is that impacting your success? How is that helping or hurting your relationships?
4. Quit Sitting and Start Doing
You sow what you reap. And what you don’t sow, you can’t reap. So quit sitting and start doing! There’s really no excuse for a lack of assertiveness on your end. I may be speaking to you but I’m also honestly speaking to myself! If you’re in charge and have the power to change things, what’s stopping you from taking action? Whether it’s in the office or in the home, you can make more of a difference than you think you can!
5. Out Dream This Season of Your Life
Take a second to look at the life around you. Where you currently are is a product of the choices you’ve made thus far. Now, take a moment to dream about where you could be or want to be in the future. It important to out dream this season of life. Be intentional about setting new goals and challenging yourself. Life has more to offer if you’re willing to go for it! Don’t lose the optimism that got you here but rather build on it! With a bit of elbow grease you can achieve your dreams!
By R. A. Megargel
The List -
5. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey
4. Strengths Based Leadership, by Barry Conchie and Tom Rath
3.Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill
2.Managing Oneself, by Peter Drucker
1. The Holy Bible (Specifically The John C.Maxwell Leadership Bible)
If you’re into leadership or just growing in this season of your life, every book on this list will challenge you to reflect on your current paradigm. What I love about each of these books is the fact that the knowledge is applicable to your life. No matter who you are, where you are, or how old you are, these books get you thinking in new ways. This list is full of life changers. Much of the success I’ve experienced has been because of the influence and ideas presented in these books. I encourage you to read each of these multiple times and in various seasons of your life. We’re all on this journey together. I hope that each of these blesses you like they’ve blessed me.
Rather than telling you what each book is about (because you can find summaries all over the internet), I’ll attempt to help you select the right book for what you’re trying to accomplish or learn. For best results, read them all and practice what they preach.
Goal: I’m good but want to be great!
If you’re already leading and have been for some time, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey is a great book to dive into. It’s loaded with stories to help even kids understand all the major points. It’s been around a while so there’s a good chance you could buy a copy at a local Half-Price bookstore for three or four bucks. It helps you analyze your weaknesses. It gets you thinking about who you are on the inside as much as who others see you as. If you’re already good but want to be great this book will help you get there!
Goal: I am who I am. How can my strengths solve your problems?
Everyone has weaknesses. But why do we spend so much of our life working out of those weaknesses or working on those weaknesses? Wouldn’t it make more sense to use our strengths to solve problems? If you’re frustrated with the way things are, this book will help you consider where you should be. Maybe you don’t even know what your strengths really are. This book along with Strengthsfinder will pinpoint who you are in this season of life and how you can lead.
Goal: I wish I was more successful, wealthy, healthy, and happy. How do I get there? How do others do it?
Most people are ready for new experiences. We get caught up in desire and dream of more. The ones that pursue their dreams face roadblocks and hurdles of every kind. What many forget is that there have been others before us. Some have been ridiculously successful. And those that have, had Napoleon Hill taking notes. Most modern books on leadership and management borrow ideas from Napoleon Hill. If you haven’t read anything from him, grab number three on the list and it will all make sense. If you think Napoleon is too old fashioned and you want someone of this era, try Tim Ferris. He’s basically doing what Napoleon did but doing it with the best of the best of today.
Goal: What’s my purpose? I don’t know how to get started. I just know I need to do something different.
Managing Oneself by Peter Drucker is one I require my students to read. So many people have been pushed into careers they didn’t really want or aren’t really suited for. As a result, most aren’t living fulfilling lives. More and more people in our society are disengaging. We’ve gotten to a point where nothing we try is satisfying. Drucker poses a few questions in this half-hour read that will turn your life around if you’ll seek the answers. It’s simple but effective. Once you have the answers to his questions, you’ll have clarity. At first I was blind, Drucker helped me see.
Goal: Who else leads like me? Who do I lead like?
The Bible is controversial if you allow it to be. Regardless of your thoughts on the faith, the Bible has so many examples and lessons on leadership. I highly recommend the leadership bible put together by John C. Maxwell and his staff. It’s excellent. He ties almost every concept of every book he’s written into it. If you want to see the qualities of a leader, he gives you examples, references, and analysis. If you’re facing a specific leadership issue, he guides you through numerous books of the Bible to help you solve your problems. His leadership laws are spread out through the entire Bible. Honestly, the most successful moments in my life have come from times where I was heavily invested in this book. I read the situations life was giving me, diagnosed the problem(s) and went to this book for answers. The answers revealed themselves through reading and I just did what it said. If you want to be successful do what successful people do.
Leaders are readers. There’s no denying it. So what are you waiting for? Pick up a copy or download a PDF of each of these and get going! Lead yourself somewhere better.
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