JLM & Associates offers personal development counseling to help you take control of your personal and business success. Learn how to seize the kind of income you deserve and achieve the successful future of your dreams.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Your Biggest Contribution

I was giving a talk yesterday to a group of students at Pennsylvania State University and afterwards several of the students asked me a simple question; the wanted to know how they could do the most good in the world.

The students were all well aware of the world's poverty, ignorance, disease and unrest. So, what I told them was simple; "You can help others and the world more by making the most of yourself than in any other way."

The reason I told them this was because by making the most out of what you have and who you are, you will make the greatest contribution to the world. It makes no difference what field you go into, as long as you're good at what you do. That is what will make a difference.

It doesn't matter whether you're a housewife, a policeman, a painter, a plumber, an electrician or in some other field, what is important is that you strive for fulfillment as a person. What's important is that you strive to narrow the gap that exists in each of us, between your habitual performance and your real potential.

You can do the most good for others and the world by simply making the most of yourself in what ever line of work you choose to do. You just have to give it your best every day. When you do this it will result in your making more than the maximum contribution to society.

Since the Universal Law of Compensation says that we receive in direct proportion to what we give to others, it guarantees, at the same time, that we will reap the maximum rewards. It is impossible for a person who gives his or her best day after day, year after year, to go unrecognized and rewarded.

The very fact that you are concentrating on giving your best to your work and to the people whom you associate with, and not thinking about personal recognition, will draw the rewards of life to you like a magnet.

Those people who take the attitude, "Why should I knock myself out for what I'm getting out of this?" never get anywhere in life. Their refusal to give until they get simply guarantees that they'll get nothing.
Those who take this attitude should try giving more of themselves and find out how drastically it will change their world for the better. It's not easy to change your attitude but it's the only why to truly find yourself.

To make the greatest contribution to the world, all you have to do is make the most out of yourself in the job, career, or profession you've chosen. It's the only way to guarantee you'll have happiness and success in life.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

We Are All Creatures Of Habit

I am often asked the question; Why do successful people continue to be successful and get richer, while unsuccessful people tend to remain unsuccessful and get poorer?

First of all let me say that this is not factually true. Economic studies show that the poor do not actually get poorer; rather they tend to remain poor, or stay at the bottom of the economic ladder, while the successful and the affluent tend to become even more successful.

Over my 25 plus years of studying successful people I've found that we are all creatures of habit. People at the bottom of the economic scale are as bound by the habit that have resulted in their lack of financial success as the more successful people are bound by theirs.

People in general tend to avoid change. You'd think that unsuccessful people who are at the bottom of the economic ladder would welcome any kind of change, but they don't. They have grown used to their way of life and feel that any change might be worse.

Successful people build up momentum that keeps going through habits that resulted in getting them started in the first place. They have developed good, productive habits and because they stay with those habits day in and day out, it has built an enormous cumulative success factor.

On the other hand, the occasional good fortune that seems to effect the unsuccessful people in a sporadic, hit-or-miss fashion is the result of their occasional tentative steps that never build up any momentum at all.

Unsuccessful people never really set anything in motion. They start something and then stop it, letting it loose momentum. The only way to achieve success in anything is for you to set things in motion. You have to do it, no one else can do it for you. Getting started is always the hardest part.

Successful people constantly run into problems, set-backs, and obstacles, but they ride them out, having faith in what they're doing and where they are going. They know sooner or later they'll get through the obstacles and reach their goal.

Success doesn't happen overnight, it takes time to succeed. You cannot succeed without understanding you must start by building up momentum and forming good habits.

So, if you've ever wondered why the successful and the unsuccessful people tend to remain that way it's because success in life is not so much a matter of talent and opportunity as it is a matter of concentration and persistence.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Value In Temporary Solutions

Do you know why it's almost impossible to win or succeed consistently? It's because there are no permanent solutions to problems.

Whether you're teaching, staying comfortably and successfully married, bringing up children, or managing employees, maintaining a high sales volume, or managing an organization of any kind. The minute you get one part of the operation functioning smoothly, another part rears its head and starts snapping at the seat of your pants.

This is what I call a "divergent" problem and anything that has anything to do with human beings, politics, economics, marriage, education, children or business is a divergent type of problem.

You should never stop trying to solve the problem simply because there is no permanent solution. The important thing is that you realize that there is no permanent solution so you keep trying different things, and enjoy the journey.

If everyone quite playing sports because one part of their game started falling apart, the golf courses, tennis courts, football fields, and baseball diamonds would become deserted. It's coping and struggling with the problems that helps us grow and mature and develop better skills.

For example, I don't know of a married couple who at some time during their marriage hasn't felt like saying, "I give up, I quit." It's unfortunate that millions do quit, but the quitting comes when they stop trying their best to cope with the problems.

I wonder how many marriages might be saved if the couple sat down and said to each other, "O.K., we've got a divergent problem here. It's impossible to find a solution because there are no permanent solutions, but if we want to stay married, if we want to work at it and try our best to come up with at least temporary solutions to our problems, we can make our marriage work."

Now, not all marriages would make it even with temporary solutions, but I do think that if we understand the fact that no solutions are possible, that marriage, like teaching, like so many things must be lived with on a day-to-day basis, doing the very best we can, looking for opportunities to improve, constantly trying new ways that might work better, that we can keep our sense of humor and keep trying.

When there are permanent and ugly breaks between couples, it's because they don't understand this important point. It's the same with relatives, friends and coworkers. Just think how many relationships could be worked out by simply saying, "I want to get along with you, I think we can have a meaningful and productive relationship or friendship if we'll both work at it."

You're probably familiar with the old saying, "If you don't like the weather wait for an hour or so, it'll change." The same can be said of virtually all human relations and everything that has anything to do with us as individuals.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Tragedy Of Growing Up

As we enter into this Thanksgiving holiday weekend I'd like you to glance around, and see that almost everything surrounding you has been invented or designed by someone else, some person at some time engaged in a creative act, and the sum total of those acts makes up the world you life in.

This applies not only to your physical environment but also to your mental one, your mind is filled almost entirely by symbols originally formed by creative people.

Consider what these creative products are made from. Very simple things; things that existed in nature, now combined into new patterns. The chair you sit in did not exist in the tree from which the material came but in the mind of a creative person who conceived and designed it.

And so with the desk or table, the rug on the floor, the draperies in the windows, the very floor and walls and ceiling that surround you. All are patterns formed by creative people who found new combinations for quite simple and ordinary things.

When you look at creative people, the question is not, "Why do some people appear to be creative, while others are not?" but, rather, "Why is it that some people do not use their creative ability that each of us has been born with, while other do not?"

Men and women stand at the wave front of a phase of an ongoing process, the constant and creative modification of environment, that has been going on since living things first moved upon the earth. Alone of all these creatures, we are aware that we are part of a process and, thus, can consciously direct it.

Creativity is a state of mind, and it is most widely expressed by children, because their confrontation with their environment is constantly made up of original discoveries and inventions. In time, through social pressures to conform and the repetition of experience, most of them lose this sense of wonder and become less and less creative, trapped in a concrete mold not of their own making.

It has been said that the creative person is essentially a "perpetual child." The tragedy is that most of us grow up.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Let's Talk About Money

I was in Washington D.C. over the weekend visiting some friends and we went to dinner at one of my favorite French restaurants. I used to go there frequently when I lived in Washington, and did some consulting work for the owner at one time. It was a wonderful suprise to see my old friend Julien there, who is the owner of this fine establishment.

Julien immigrated from France over thirty years ago with nothing and has now become a successful restaurateur on the East Coast. We talked for while about how he built his restaurants into such a success, and I asked him when did he know that he had become rich?

His said to me, "I was rich when I was sitting on a park bench without a dime in my pocket." He said that there had not been the slightest doubt in his mind that he would soon have all the money he needed to do the things he wanted to do.

This is the perfect example of the way money works. Money is a product of your state of mind. How you think and feel about money determines not only how much you have but also how much value it will have for you.

Actually, it isn't only what you think and feel about money that determines the level of your financial security; it is what you think and feel about everything in life. Life's riches are measured not so much by the actual amount of money you have as by the content of your consciousness, your inner feeling of well-being, peace and security.

Are you rich inside? Are you free from worry, fear, feelings of inferiority, greed, selfishness and anxiety? You'd better be, because those states of mind will make anyone poor, no matter how hard he or she may work to make money.

Money isn't produced by hard work; it is produced out of our inner states of thought and feeling, our consciousness. Of course, hard work is necessary as a follow-up to our ideas and ambitions, but hard work by itself won't produce money.

Here's the most important lesson you'll ever learn about money: Money doesn't come from outside; it comes from inside.

Redirect your thinking about money, and the result will be a consciousness of prosperity. Know that you can be what you want to be, do what you want to do, have what you want to have, and go where you want to go, if you do within yourself what is necessary to make those things possible.

Begin to think prosperous thoughts; develop an attitude of positive expectancy. Know that the answers you need will come to you at the proper time.

Jonathan Swift said it best, "A wise man should have money in his head, not in his heart." When it comes to money always remember this: Money does not come from outside; it comes from inside.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Establishing Your Priorities

When I was in Trenton, New Jersey yesterday giving a seminar, I asked if anyone in the audience had established written priorities for their life. I have to admit that I wasn't surprised when only a few people in the audience raised their hand.

So I had them do a simple exercise that I'd like to share with you. It's an important exercise that everyone should do. You simply make a list of your priorities, what's most important, next in importance, and so on.

You ask yourself, "What's the most important thing in my life?" You write that down after the number one; then go to the next. This can often be an extremely revealing exercise. Sometimes, it can bring out the complete reordering of our lives in that we can find that our real priorities and what we're working for are two different things.

For example, the first item on your list might be family. "What does my family want? Is what I'm doing now contributing to the best interests of my family, my spouse's interests, my interests, and the interests of my children?"

You might list work as priority number two."Did I choose this line of work because it's the one in which I have the greatest interest or did I sort of fall into it because it came along and I needed a paycheck? If this is not the kind of work in which I find the most interest, what is?"

Perhaps your third priority is income. "Does my income meet my requirements? Or do I put up with it because of habit, or fear of change, or some false notion of security? If it does not meet my real requirements, what are they? Maybe they're a lot less than I think they are."

Maybe if we simplified our lives, limited our wants to the real fundamentals, we'd be a lot better off, a whole lot less in debt, and a lot happier.

What about retirement? So few people today, especially young people, even think about the subject of retirement which is why the majority of our population find themselves flat broke or nearly so when they want to retire and therefore have to keep working.

Retirement and financial literacy is priority that should be near the top of your list, otherwise you will find yourself someday among the millions of people who are or will be nearly broke when retirement age rolls around.

Making a list of priorities is fun. If you've never done it before, it can be surprisingly revealing. You can find out what's most important and what isn't. You might find that you've been knocking yourself out for some of the wrong things.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Using Controlled Attention

If you study the behavior of any person who has achieved great success in his or her life, you will find a common trait: They are able to stay focused on their major purpose or goal. What they do, in actual fact, is bring to bear the power of the mind on the achievement of definite ends.

By constantly thinking about, planning for, and doing things to facilitate your purpose, movement in that direction is inevitable. Earl Nightingale said, "We become what we think about most of time."

This works both ways; if you constantly think about all the problems in your life, complain, and focus on the negative, that will become your reality. Things will continue to get worse in your life.

On the other hand, if you focus on your purpose in life, your goals, and objectives, the things that are working for you, then that will become your reality.

Your mind is very powerful and whatever you hold to be true will become your external reality. This is how you create your own reality and then experience it. When you give your mind a picture of what you want to achieve, it will transform the picture into physical reality by using whatever practical means that are available.

When you fix your mind upon your purpose in life or goal and force your mind through a daily habit to dwell on that subject, you condition your mind to act on it. Whatever you think about, your mind will get to work proving that belief to be true in your physical experience.

What is difference between happy and successful people and those who are unhappy and not successful? Successful and happy people feed their minds on thought material related to their positive goals and purposes; people who are unhappy and not successful let external, negative influences feed their minds and they become fearful, anxious, bitter, and paralyzed.

To overcome the constant exposure to negativism that is a so much a part of today's society, we would all be well advised to consciously think about what we want every day (if not more frequently) and do something to manifest our goals. Otherwise our minds will be filled with a daily fare of "doom and gloom" and the result will be a life of fear, scarcity, and despair.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Practicing Random Acts Of Thoughtfulness

I spoke to a former client of mine last week who owns an International Sales Company. He has owned his company for over twenty years and has built his company up from working out of his basement to having offices worldwide.

We spoke about how he has built a highly successful sales force by doing what he encourage them to do with their customers, showing them that he cares about them as individuals.

Mike makes it a daily practice to do something nice for others, something they are not expecting. It may be something they are not expecting. It may be emailing 25 or 30 notes of encouragement to sales directors, or may be a half dozen phone calls to give someone a needed boost.

When they get over the shock of hearing from the president and CEO, he tells them, "I just called to see how you are." He tries to find something to compliment them about.

He told me that, once when telegrams were in vogue, he sent out 25 telegrams, and all he said was, "Congratulations!" and signed them, "Mike." Every one of the recipients called to ask, "How did you know?" "I didn't know anything, I was experimenting, but nearly every person can find one reason why you would be calling to congratulate them."

Mike says the payback from such random acts of thoughtfulness increases exponentially. "It's amazing how quickly word gets around," he said "You call 10 people and they tell 50 others."

Does it work? Fortune magazine says, "When somebody takes an interest in your it feels good. The 325,000 consultants try to treat their customers the same way, remembering their birthdays, sending them little notes, showing they're interested, That's what sells their products.

"It makes me feel good too," Mike said. "Many of them say, "You know, after you talked to me, I decided I'm going to go for broke. I'm going to do it!"

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Our Nation's Most Serious Deficit

I was in Atlanta, Georgia yesterday talking to a group of local business leaders on the subject of Leadership. Since today is election day and I hope you did exercise your right to vote, I wanted to share a little about my seminar with you.

We have problems in this country but none more serious than the lack of leadership in all our institutions. We have a serious lack of leadership in our educational institutions, our religious institutions, our businesses, and without a doubt in our government.

Our country and is crying out for people who have a vision for the future. People who stand for something. Who our young people can look up to. We desperately need people will say, "This is what I believe in and here is my vision for the future. Here is where I want to lead you, this I why I want you to follow me, and here is my plan."

Anyway, getting back to may seminar in Atlanta on leadership. Here is some of what I told the audience. The goal of most people in leadership positions is to cause people to think more of the leader. The goal of a true leader is to cause people to think more of themselves. That's true whether you are leading a family, a business, or any group of people.

The goal of a true leader is to cause people to think more of themselves. People in business need to keep this in mind and so should a millions of parents.

If you are in a leadership role, ask yourself, "Do I cause those in my charge to think more of themselves?" A good question, isn't it? It's been found countless times that people will grow to fill the kind of shoes we expect them to fill.

Here are five attributes all true leaders all have in common:

* They have clearly defined goals

* Their goals are in tune with values that are important to them.

* They demand feedback, leaders always need to know how they relate to other people.

* They realize winning is a secondary victory and that trying is rewarding in itself, to fail is not a sin but not to try is.

* They don't crave to be liked, and they don't confuse refusal and rejection.

How people see themselves is critically important in determining their effectiveness as a human being, People can alter their view of themselves and accomplish much. This can be done regardless of what has happened in a person's life. It matters only where you are going, not where you have been.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

You Gotta Stay Hungry

It has often been called a "burning desire." I call it staying hungry. Whatever its name, it is the drive that creates a mindset of success and sends you on the way to uncompromisingly meeting your highest expectations, despite life's tendency to tempt your with daily detours.

Hungry people know that there is almost always a way to generate business even though it may not be immediately obvious. They always ask customers what problems they can help solve rather than telling them, "These are the services we offer." Hungry people never give up because the solution or service is something that they do not "usually do."

Here's an example, Southwest Airlines when they first entered the Pittsburgh market on the heels of U.S. Airlines departure began offering van service from different hotels in the area to the airport six times daily.

Southwest could have simply stood on their discounted airfairs, but instead they stayed hungry in this new market. To encourage customers to take the van service, the airline gives passenger points towards its Rapid Rewards Promotion Program and checks their luggage to the final destination.

Hungry people offer customers crazy incentives to introduce them to their products and services. For example a small poultry company I recently read about in Pennsylvania gives away a free chicken to anyone who has been audited by the IRS. All you need to do is send them a copy of your audit notice.

The tag line for their promotion is to be grateful that your tax return is checked by the IRS auditor and not by one of their relentless poultry inspectors.

Smaller companies can compete with the big guys when they are creative, and hungry!

Hungry people refuse to tiptoe through life just so they can arrive at death safely. Take calculated risks in your business every day. If that means picking up the phone and calling someone who "won't do business with you," get into action. Make something happen.

When you're hungry, outside forces can never keep you from achieving your dreams for your business and your family.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

How Are You Doing?

As we near the end of 2006 it's a good idea to take inventory of your achievements, to measure your progress and check the direction of your career and your life.

You should take the time to ask yourself ten important questions and then use the answers to identify improvements you need to make in your life right now:

1. Did you enlist a new mentor or role model this year?

2. What aspect of your job has been the most satisfying and what have you done to expand the scope of responsibilities you enjoy most?

3. What educational experiences have you completed? ( How many business or motivational books have you read, how many educational audio programs have you listened to, and how many educational seminars have you attended?).

4. What was the biggest risk you took? Did it work out as you hoped and what did you learn from it?

5. What did you do that made your boss look like a superstar?

6. What did you do to put something back into your community?

7. What aspect of your job did you realize you disliked? How can you change or minimize that aspect?

8. What have you accomplished that you can add to your resume?

9. What relationship with a friend, relative, or business associate were you able to improve, and how did you do it?

10. Do you have a list of goals for the next 12 months that are specific and include both your business and personal life?

If you don't know where you are going, one direction is about as good as another. You first have to know where you want to go if you ever have any hope of arriving there. Asking these questions, plus listing your goals and measuring your progress will help ensure that you are on track with your plans and goals.