Tag Archives: Diligence


The wise elder proclaimed that “ultimately the optimist and the pessimist are both correct.”  To understand how two opposite viewpoints can both be right requires a basic lesson in faith.  If according to Scripture, “Faith is the substance of thing hoped for and the evidence of things not seen“, then faith serves as a constant, invisible connection that connects an expectation to an outcome.  In this sense, faith can drive decisions.  And, decisions can drive reality.  With faith, the expectation of a positive or negative reality can result in that exact reality.  But to enjoy the desired reality, faith requires work.

So assuming an equivalent opportunity to dictate a positive or negative reality, optimism and its subsequent positive actions seems to be the more attractive choice.  Optimism is a state of mind that reveals itself as a positive outlook.  It reflects an attitude and inspires success.  The belief that positive rewards are coming gives optimism its ability to assume life-giving traits.  Optimism enables dreams to become reality.  Recognizing that optimism is potentially a self-fulfilling prophecy, its resultant positive outlook holds a lot of power.

Additionally, encouragement is a cornerstone of optimism.  To help someone else believe that they can achieve, a positive outlook is essential.  Furthermore, witnessing another’s success is empowering.  The winning attitude bred of optimism is contagious and life-producing.  People, organizations, and nations are created from ideas for something better that catch a spark.  Optimism enables confident and bold decisions.  Those types of decisions ultimately deliver fulfilling results.

Optimism is a lot like hope. Hope is not a strategy, but optimism can be.  In business, an optimistic forecast can positively influence a company’s stock price.  Results eventually have to fulfill the optimistic forecast, but value is created while that result unfolds.  It is not the optimism that creates the value, it is the expected activity that creates the value.  Then upon execution, the belief continues that subsequent success will fuel more achievement and additional value.

Similarly, optimism is a common part of financial projections.  In creating a business plan, an optimistic case and a pessimistic case may both be part of the final product.  The pessimistic case warns of risk, but the optimistic case provides a sense of hope, of amazing possibilities.  It is very difficult to achieve without a firm belief in a positive desired outcome.  In addition to optimism – planning, hope, expectation and desire all come together to inspire an expected gain.  That inspiration provides a vision for achievement that in turn activates endurance which is necessary for success. Optimism is the force that drives decisions and then activity.  Pessimism leads to caution, and eventually stops progress.  Deploy optimism on purpose.  It is the main ingredient in creating satisfying benefits and living successful dreams.

-The Voice


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“Follow your passion!” echoes throughout auditoriums and meeting halls full of speakers advocating entrepreneurial pursuits, career changes, and plain-old personal improvement.  Commonly, passion is associated with physical desire and emotional intimacy.  However, passion requires persistence.  Lust can be for the moment, but passion is enduring.  It demands an ongoing emotional investment.  Passion emerges when an individual realizes that an activity, a cause or a pursuit is worth pouring in their innate gifting such that their impact on their world will  be unmistakable.

Without getting bogged down in the mechanics, physical passion can result in life and consequently a family legacy.  Likewise, professional passion can create wealth and in essence, a financial legacy.  In both cases, passion reflects enduring behaviors that provides a reason for living, a purpose.  Behind any significant outcome lies the passions of an individual, a group, a people.  And, these passions must be active.  Passions that are passive, are merely wishes.  Passions are not a byproduct of an objective that someone else said to do.  Passions are a direct result of what burns in one’s heart to do.

Being a doctor, serial entrepreneur, or professional athlete because parents said to work toward that goal, may yield achieving high-profile careers.  But, a truly legendary performer in any field is the individual that is passionate about their work.  It’s not just a job, it represents their essence.  It’s an activity where an individual loves the practice, the preparation, the execution, and the innovation.  Passion drives an individual beyond an activity that will define them, but toward an activity that the individual wants to define!  Passion is the gateway to greatness.

So first, find your passion!  Then, pursue your passion!  Intimately connecting with each component of the activity is the first level of reward.  But, the enduring reward is in performing the passion.  That is how excellence is achieved and value is realized.  That is where life is created!  Before the accolades, glory and rewards, realize that passion demands sacrifice.  In religion, passion requires giving of oneself completely to attain fullness beyond measure.  Passion is not easy and it is not a singular act. It requires endurance.  But, talk to a winner who has identified their heartfelt purpose, embraced the sacrifice to perform with uncommon excellence and established a legacy.  Then, absorb the tale of unmitigated joy that resulted from following their passion!

-The Voice

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“Some people make things happen. Some people watch things happen. Some people wonder what happened.”  – Anonymous.  The last group does not count.  They are not engaged, aware nor effective.  They achieve little because they are clueless to opportunity.  The middle group are spectators.  They cheer, they boo, they comment but they do not affect the outcome.  At a professional football game, these people proudly wear their favorite team’s uniform.  But make no mistake, they are not members of the team. However, the first group is doing something.  Their participation provides them the opportunity to compete, to achieve, to win!

To be clear, participation is not a reward.  It is a prerequisite.  Participation is permission to launch toward a goal and it means work.  The privilege to participate is a direct result of preparation and effort.  In the executive suite, the decision is made for a new product launch.  One executive returns to her office and begins making sales calls to push the new product into the marketplace.  That is participation.  Another executive from the same meeting returns to his office and merely puts the next new product meeting on his calendar.  He is a spectator.  Targeted activity is the price required to participate.  Passively being there does not contribute.  Individuals who are not willing to prepare and exert effort have not earned the right to participate.  They are spectators and add nothing.

Life requires action.  Individuals are urged to participate in their life, their career, their education, their future, their destiny. Participation requires an investment in success.  It carries an expectation of accomplishment.  People who work eight hours, come home and watch television until returning to work the next day are oriented to believe that problems are solved in 22 minute episodes.  On the other hand, pay attention to the professional who leaves work, networks with colleagues, engages in their community, then comes home to exchange the latest developments and ideas with family members.  Anyone who asks, “who really lives like that?” should probably look at someone who has a more fulfilling life.

Participation is not a singular event.  It is a recurring choice.  It is a decision that a fulfilling day will lead towards a fulfilling destiny.  Participation, while not limited to the sports world, does mean that one is “in the game“.  Winning the game is something else.  Winning reflects an additional level of commitment.  Winning is achieving a pursued outcome by participating in the beginning. Consequently, participation is the common thread that begins at preparation and ends with victory.  Deciding to simply watch forfeits the privilege to be part of this process.  You are not participating.  Participation requires preparing and competing, which leads to a result of winning.  It requires effort and all winners better be ready!

-The Voice

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“A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.”  In order to have a successful journey, preparation is essential!  Preparation equates to planning, and consequently precedes the first step.  The actual journey is the process to a specific, pre-determined achievement.  But, without the initial step, the journey can not be completed.  Without preparation, a traveler does not have the physical, mental, or emotional resources to begin.

Can a student reasonably excel in the classroom without first doing homework? How about a new business venture?  Without taking the time to develop a plan and secure necessary capital resources, can the venture reasonably expect to succeed?  Of course, exceptions exist.  Students earn A’s without studying for the test.  Fortunes are made solely as a result of hard work and determined execution.  A random drive results in reaching your destination.  Such miracles occur in real life.  But, miracles by definition rarely happen.  In fact, if these processes represented the expected results then they would not be miracles.

To maximize the likelihood of success, great endeavors require great efforts.  Great efforts begins with preparation.  Mentally, success requires envisioning the expected outcome.  “If you can conceive it, you can achieve it”.  Preparation begins with the proper state of mind to pursue and reach individual goals.  Preparation continues with the proper physical resources.  Even if your journey involves writing the great American novel, or the next game-changing software application, physical preparation includes having at least a pen and paper, or a computer.  Great ideas are not actionable if they are not captured.

Finally, preparation requires an emotional component.  This emotion often reveals itself as an unyielding desire, or commitment.  Without a commitment to achievement the journey will not be fruitful. Winners feel that they will win before the competition begins.  “You gotta want it!” With a winning attitude, the physical tools and an intelligently prepared plan, success is clearly in the cross-hairs.  Execution remains a necessary step.  But, who can realistically hit a target without a loaded firearm and some idea how to fire it?  Poor preparation promotes poor performance; poor performance promotes pain.  Or loss, or worse.  Prepare to excel.  Prepare to win.  Realize your achievement.

-The Voice


Filed under Performance Improvement


“Patience is waiting. Not passively waiting. That’s laziness. But to keep going when the going is hard and slow – that’s patience”

Patience requires action and yields results.  Who really believes to wait for the sake of waiting will bring their desires?  Patience is the privilege of hard work when no one is watching.  Just like being reckless or being still, being patient has its risks.  By deliberately moving at less than full speed, opportunity costs anxiously add up.  However, the benefit of good timing is recovered through patience.

In professional football great running backs who are capable of running over 20 miles per hour are often applauded and rewarded for their patience.  When these athletes run the ball, the obstacles are not static.  As a matter of fact, the obstacles are large, mobile and scary.  Pain awaits the running back when he encounters these obstacles.  Fortunately, the rewards are joyous when the running back successfully navigates the obstacles and scores.  The rewards are worth the risk and the pain!

In business research claims that in certain industries an average of 27 positive impressions are needed to win a sale.  Sometimes it takes more, sometimes it takes less.  It is proper action over time with a focused goal that creates success.  It is firmly believing that the process will reward patience.  One huge victory rarely saves the company.  Anecdotal evidence of the big deal saving the business are newsworthy because they are so rare.  However, it is “when the going is hard and slow” and progress is sporadic that the company perseveres.  It is patience in moving forward with purpose until the moment is right to strike that carries the day.

Whether scoring a touchdown, closing a big deal, or realizing personal dreams, progress demands patience.  Speed, strength, or size can always encounter an obstacle that stops individual progress. It can be an unblocked linebacker, a market-leading competitor, or lack of education.  The external force is not necessarily the obstacle.  The problem is the haste in defeating the obstacle.  Patience empowers winners to move deliberately until the opportunity favors them, then to EXPLODE to win the prize!  Don’t passively wait for your goals to happen on their own.  Patiently make progress toward your goal.  Work hard and follow the plan.  Look for favorable timing to go after the opportunity.   When the timing is right, use all the speed, size, strength, and intelligence that has been patiently building up and seize your personal victory.

-The Voice

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“I hope that you are doing fine.”  That is a common greeting.  But, like many greetings, it is basically an empty statement.  What happens when Taylor says “I hope you are doing fine” and Sydney says “Actually, I have contracted a serious disease”.  If Sydney is sincere the follow-up question will show concern and potential support.  More than likely Taylor will move on to a non-intrusive topic or avoid the issue (and possibly Sydney) all together.

What happens when the same conversation revolves around an expectation.  “I expect that you are doing fine” is almost a challenge.  An expectation commands a response and an interaction.  Like the book by Rick Page says in its title, Hope Is Not a Strategy”.  However, an expectation connects to an outcome.  Outcomes are tactical.  And tactics are better than strategies!  Furthermore, tactics involve work and work implies results.

Connecting expectations and outcomes, professionals regularly talk about expected outcomes.  In statistics, an expected outcome ties into probability.  An expected outcome is the result of identified inputs representing a series of events (ok to find a better statistical definition).  Expected outcomes can be calculated.  Consequently, when expected outcomes transition from the theoretical world to the physical, people can predict them and prepare for them.

An expectation can be achieved once the factors are identified and organized.  The logic of expectation is what makes them so effective in organizations.  When people can predict the outcomes from specific input, processes are at work that can be reasonably replicated and improved.  With customers, students, or individual development, exercising control over the inputs, then the outcomes yield powerful forces  These forces are also known as profits, academic excellence and success.

Customers will pay premium prices to have a degree of certainty that their expectations are fulfilled.  Students will study harder as long as they expect their grades to accurately reflect their efforts.  Employees will overachieve when they believe that they can expect a desired promotion based on their contributions.

An expectation is either achieved or not. An expectation can be pursued, missed and tried again.  But, it is not static.  It is not an end in itself.  Expectations point to a process, then an outcome.  Hope is based on emotion.  Expectations is based on data.  Choose an outcome.  Apply a process.  Achieve your expectation.

-The Voice


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Endurance instantly brings to mind visions of long-distance running.  It requires strength, longevity and mental toughness.  In a race, endurance is a winning characteristic when durability and consistency are most valued.  Similarly, in an organization, endurance is a critical attribute involving steady and unwavering progress.  An explosive sprint, just like corporate hyper-growth, devalues endurance.  However, endurance succeeds when the objective demands a long-term perspective and ongoing high performance.

Whether describing a foot race or the rat race, endurance results from proper conditioning and preparation.  Longevity is not an accident. It requires focus and concentration.  Too often races emphasize speed.  But, superior performance is not limited to short increments.  The 100 meter dash world record holder is often called the fastest man in the world.  Business accolades are routinely awarded to the fastest growing enterprise in a given year.  However marathon runners earn medals, also.  Steady, sustained profitability wins corporations favor with bankers and stock analysts.  The reward for that prize is often more capital!  Endurance may not benefit from flashy headlines or gaudy titles.  But make no mistake, winners who emphasize endurance and resultant long-term excellence also receive their rewards.

Culturally, Americans are enamored with immediate gratification. The corporate landscape is littered with high-flying stars who delivered dazzling results only to crash in an equally spectacular fashion.  Careers flourish when professionals consistently earn victories that reflect long-term value.  Furthermore, organizations can withstand crash and burn executives as long as the organization reclaims an emphasis on continued wealth creation.  Long-term, high performance is the essential, enduring characteristic of winners.

Interestingly, children’s early lessons regarding endurance is the fable of the tortoise and the hare.  The story features a consistent and focused tortoise defeating an arrogant and undisciplined hare in a race.  The moral is slow and steady wins the race.  In today’s environment a better story is the proverb of the gazelle and the lion .  “Every morning in Africa a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle – when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.” 

In this scenario endurance does not lead to simply surviving the day; that is the short-term.  Endurance represents the preparation, mental toughness and consistency to perform to the best of your natural ability every day as a matter of survival.

-The Voice


Filed under Performance Improvement