Thursday, August 23, 2012

Everyone Can Be Successful

Like so many folks of my vintage, on the day I reached my sixtieth birthday, I began an involuntary self-assessment and reappraisal of my life. This was not a dramatic or religious rebirth; it was not a form of salvation or psychological liberation, and I did not “find myself” or “recreate myself”. Instead, this was a gentle wonderment about what I had done to get this far and what value I might have brought to the world.


As I pondered my life and my place in the world, I came to the conclusion that although I had been reasonably successful in a business sense, I had never been fabulously wealthy or incredibly famous...and I think I am fine with that because I am not sure how well I would have handled those things... At this point I will probably never find out. My mind then wandered to some of the people I met along the way. For the most part, those who achieved fabulous wealth and fame missed the mark in one very important area...they often lacked a genuine spirit of fun or a feeling of joy for just the simple pleasure of being alive.

Rich folks who are “self-made” or who move from poor to rich through hard work, intelligence and personal effort seem to give up so much of their souls that they seldom sit back and spend time enjoying the fruits of their labours. Despite the fact that they exceed the norms in terms of effort and accomplishment, they often miss out on the very things they work so hard to achieve. They start out wanting more money so they can have security; a grand lifestyle and possessions galore but once they get those things they feel no joy from them. Instead of taking time out to smell the roses and float in a sea of secure tranquility, they work even harder in order to grow their portfolio of possessions. Even when they are happy, it is seldom because of their wealth or the things they have acquired...and yet they continue to acquire “stuff”.


Unlike the rich folks I know, the poor, struggling or mediocre folks I have met generally seem to display a greater sense of good humour or pure joy on a much more regular basis. They appreciate small wins and simple acts of kindness. Any new experiences are wonderful and fun for them because they cannot afford to do whatever they want, whenever they want like their wealthy counterparts. They find humour in their own struggles and they laugh when they inadvertently engineer small failures in their lives. They don’t take themselves too seriously and they admire people who are simply kind or nice. They often joke about their own lack of money and how they have trouble making ends meet. They are often selfless and think nothing of putting themselves out to help another person. In short, non-wealthy people find happiness in the simplest of things. They enjoy life and they appreciate every good thing that comes their way.


My evaluation of this phenomenon is that rich people set the bar so high for themselves that it is impossible to reach for even the most aggressive of them. When they reach one goal, they set another, higher one. When they seem to have reached their maximum potential, they don’t go home and enjoy their lives, they seek more and greater opportunities to create wealth. No matter how much material success they attain, they know that someone somewhere has something they do not have and that creates a need in them to work harder to show the world that no one can best them. Competitive to a fault, they are driven by their own minds to continuously improve their positions in life.


Unlike the very rich, non-wealthy, not-famous people realize that despite any potential they might have, they will probably never reach the heights that the rich and famous wallow in. They accept that they have self-limiting characteristics that hold them back. They understand that despite all of the books, blogs, coaches and consultants that bombard us with well-intended, success-creating-propaganda on a daily basis, there is only room at the top for a select few. Most people do not practice, the “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” nor have they read that very popular book by Steven Covey. Most think that Tony Robbins is a great orator and brilliant thinker, but they really do not want to expend the effort or change their lives to the extent that he suggests in “Awaken the Giant Within”. For them, those concepts are for the not-so-regular people who float and fly about, making business deals and signing contracts on yachts or private jets. Those things are for “them”; “the others”; the “chosen few”. After all, if everyone on earth were rich, where would all of the money come from to overflow their bank accounts? Clearly we need a balance of rich, poor and middle-class to make our economy function for everyone.


Now that I am older and have very few years left to work, I understand that we all cannot be rich, but we all CAN be successful.

To those rich folks who are compelled by their minds to work tirelessly to create wealth, I say, “Good on you!” You make a difference!

To all of the non-wealthy people I say, “Great job!” You bring normalcy to the world and make all of us feel good about ourselves. You matter!


“Relative success is not about money or status. It is the measure of how others feel about you and how you feel about yourself.”

All the Best!

Wayne Kehl

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Can Anyone Become A Great Leader?


Please do not assume great leadership is required for success. Almost any organization can become financially successful through the application of excellent financial management principles, good research and development, professional marketing and strategic acquisition of highly qualified employees and managers. That however, is NOT leadership and the people who work in organizations that are not well led generally become disengaged over time. When that happens, performance wanes and sales decline.

Success without great leadership is a slippery slope that has caused many organizations to crash-and-burn despite fabulous market penetration and good financial growth.

Organizations with great leadership have staying power. They live on through all manner of market changes and economic woes. Great leaders run great organizations that are capable of remaining respected household names from one generation to the next.

Organizations with poor leadership are short lived. They eventually fade into distant memories of second-rate products, bad service and abysmal management.

 There is no replacement for great leadership.

Leadership is represented by the consistent application of the principles of:

·         Thoughtfulness,

·         Selflessness,

·         Integrity,

·         Compassion,

·         Respect,

·         Conscientiousness

·         And Courage.

All of these principles can usually be found in highly-regarded leaders. Does that sound like you? Does that sound like you at all times? If not, take heart...Leadership can be learned!

Great leaders, lead by example. Their unspoken intention is to consistently set a great example so that others may follow their lead. If you want to be a better leader, pay attention to great leaders and watch for the things that set them apart from others around them. Think about what makes them different.

If you observe revered leaders and analyse the things they do and say you will find some commonalities. Check out their mannerisms, their way of speaking, the time they give people and their smile patterns. You will notice that despite the gravity of any given situation they remain calm and focus on putting the minds of others at rest. In dire situations, when even they have no choice but to become emotional, they will quickly return to a more tranquil, composed state so that they may lead others to a safe and satisfactory end. Their sole purpose is to assist others and improve their lives.

Always Remember: The number one quality of a great leader is the desire to see others do well.

In order to put the principles of leadership to work in your own life, you must believe in yourself and you must be willing to change. Your mind and your very being must embrace three things:

1.       You must truly want to change.

2.       You must believe you can change.

3.       You must believe that change will improve your life and the lives of others.

If you are not a great leader and you are not willing to change, you are tip-toeing around the common definition of insanity: “Doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results.” Although you may not be insane when you avoid change, you cannot improve without it. The word, “improve” indicates a change for the better and improvement cannot happen on its own. It requires an outside, intervening force. That force is you!

If you go to work every day expecting others to change so that they can accept your leadership “style”, you will fail. Leadership is not about the people who must follow...it is about the person who is trying to lead...it is about you. If your style is not working, change it! If you continue to rely on a failing style, you will continue to fail in ever-increasing increments.

Open up your mind and be willing to learn new things. Here are five simple things you can do to discover your own leadership style in order to become a better leader:

1.       Ask your peers to describe your leadership style to you.

2.       Ask your followers how they feel about your leadership style.

3.       Be willing to accept criticism calmly.

4.       Act on the criticism you hear, with an aim to improvement.

5.       Review your “style” often.

If all else fails, get a coach. I specialize in leadership training and I am sometimes amazed at what some people think good leadership is. These are not bad people. They have simply grown up in an environment where negative or ineffective leadership styles are the norm. They only need a small but powerful push to get them back on the right track.

No...Only those people who follow the principles of leadership, who are able to change and who are willing to do a lot of ongoing self-discovery will climb to the ranks of the great leaders of history.

What are you doing to improve your leadership style? 

All the Best
Wayne Kehl