The Key To Success by Russell H. Conwell

An intelligent person recognizes their abilities and limits, understand that they have to hire someone with more insights, knowledge and competencies to do what she or he is not able to do.

It is evident that very few are fit to lead or to know what to do under difficult or important circumstances: only wise and good men are fit to be leaders.

The Key To Success by Russell H. Conwell #success #leadership #leadershipdevelopment #journeytoleadership journeytoleadershipblog.com

The story of the Silver Crown

In Ackba, there was a beautiful palace and in the palace, next to the throne, there was a pedestal with a Silver Crown, which the emperor wore when he passed a law and without which the emperor was a regular citizen.

After many years of ruling, the emperor died and left the throne without an heir or anyone to claim the Silver Crown.

After twelve years of searching for a successor, when the country started to sink, the astrologers, who worshipped the stars, asked the stars where to find a successor. The stars answered:

Look up and look down your country, and when you find a man whom the animals follow, the sun serves, the waters obey, and mankind love, you need not to ask who his ancestors were. This man will be one of the royal line entitle to the throne of gold and the Crown of Silver.

The astrologers searched the country, asked the people but were met with ridicule.

Until one night, an old astrologer got lost in the Himalaya Mountains and took refuge in a cottage to find an intelligent leader, worthy of the throne.

Through the story of the Silver Crown, Russell H. Conwell illustrates four characteristics that he deems are necessary to subsist in modern civilization.

How to find the intelligent leaders of tomorrow?

In life, it becomes necessary to have a leading man or woman.

Russell H. Conwell uses the four characteristics of the Silver Crown story to determine the leaders of tomorrow: a man or woman whom the animals follow, a man or woman whom the sun serves, a man or woman whom the waters obey, and a man or woman who possesses mankind love.

Characteristic 1: Animals will follow the leader

Conwell considers that, alike universities, animals ought to instruct and encourage us.

He takes a scientifical approach to demonstrate the knowledge and power embodied in animals.

Studying the animals and taking notice of their instinctive knowledge on a daily basis will allow us to comprehend life better.

For example, the horse is much more useful than a human being. The horse “has within its body so much galvanic and electric force continually generated by the activities of life, that if that electricity could be concentrated and held to a certain point, a horse could stand still and run a forty-horse power electric engine.” Whereas, a human being, standing still, can run a ten-power horse engine.

Furthermore, a hen and her egg are filled with mystery and more knowledge than an intelligent professor with degrees from prestigious schools are willing to admit or to spend time studying.

Conwell believes, contrary to science, that hens or chickens possess their own language, the “egg is the greatest scientific problem with which the world has ever grappled — the beginning of life and the God-given design”.

Characteristics 2 & 3: the sun will serve the leader and the waters will obey the leader

Through the story of the locomotive and the milkman, Conwell shows how a leader is being served by both sun and water, the importance of getting educated on a daily basis and noticing the events around us and noticing the unnoticed.

The locomotive, using steam to move and driven by Man, is used to illustrate these 2 characteristics.

A milkman took a locomotive every day to distribute his milk. On the train, he consistently asked questions about the functioning of the train to the engineers.

One day, while the fireman and the engineer were absent, the train rolled down the mountain.

Fortunately, the milkman was on the train, knew how to drive it and saved everyone, including a stakeholder in the railroad company. The milkman happened to get rich of his knowledge and his curiosity.

Characteristic 4: mankind will love the leader

A leader gains the love of mankind by being great benefactors: while they are going after their own success, they bless humanity, they hear the call of humanity and respond to it.

The university from which they have graduated from does not matter in real life.

University can make you unlearn the real values and useful knowledge, needed in real life.

An uneducated person will know more instinctively than anyone who has been to school by using their everyday observations, even though they have a degree from a university or not.

Review

The Key To Success by Russell H. Conwell is a great book that takes approximately one hour to read.

It is filled with picturesque stories and fictional dialogues to illustrate and to get us to remember his point.

The Key To Success is dedicated to those who wish to become leaders and strengthens their core values, for those who are eager for success. It emphasizes the idea that every man is his own university, that every man should take notice of his surroundings and learn from everything.

The Key To Success by Russell H. Conwell is an essay to encourage people to seek their own success by observing the events around them. Russell H. Conwell seeks to find the intelligent and the “leading men and women” of tomorrow.

In The Key To Success, Russell H. Conwell is very controversial, progressist, scientifically curious and forward for his time.

He is continually questioning the limits of science and of human knowledge, is answering the questions that science cannot answer with the knowledge of God.

After reading this book, all I could think is “I like this guy” for his opinion. Conwell does not hesitate to denounce academics, with diplomas from prestigious schools, who have no time to study “lesser” things in life, who belive that their studied education trumps their natural and instinctive education.

Hence, for him, science does not explain everything but we should seek explanation from God.

Favorite quote(s)

There is danger that a man will get so much education that he won’t know anything of real value because his useless education has driven the useful out of his mind.

The great scientific men—and we need more—often are not given the full credit that is due them because they have not “graduated” from somewhere. It seems to me there is a feeling in these later days for creating an aristocracy among the men who have graduated from some rich university. But that does not determine a man’s life. It may be a foolish tyranny for a little while, but nevertheless every man and woman must finally take the place where he and she are best fitted to be, and do the things that he and she can do best, and the things about which he and she really know. Where they graduated, or when, will not long count in the race of practical life.

Do you know that the humblest man, whatever his occupation, really knows instinctively certain things better for not having been to school much? It is so easy to bias the mind.

No man ever gives himself for others’ good in the right spirit without receiving “a hundredfold more in this present time.”

Many of us spend our lives searching for success when it is usually so close that we can reach out and touch it

Ratings 3,5/5

Author

Russell Herman Conwell

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Find Your People By Jennie Allen

We stay stuck in the routines of our lives.

We don’t connect with others, we seclude ourselves for self-protection and stay within the social circles we are comfortable with.

Yet we remain unsatisfied with our lives and wonder whether or not life is supposed to be this way.

Yet we wonder how to find our community, our people, the ones who will fight for us and who are worth fighting for.

Find Your People By Jennie Allen #relationships #books #bookreviews #journeytoleadership journeytoleadershipblog.com

What is a Community?

Community is more then friendships.

Community is a way of life and is essential to living a fulfilled life.

In addition, the sense of community is based on the truths that people are the best and most painful part of our lives.

Your Community is made of non toxic people who see you, know you and who are willing to be seen and known by you.

Principles for Community

Community is necessay.

Needing other people is not a weakness but a strength.

There are 5 principles to building a healthy Community.

1. Proximity

The principle of Proximity relates to a need for intimacy and physical closeness.

To create Proximity, you can start noticing people in your vecinity and initiating the friendship even if you get frustrated.

2. Transparency

Closeness leads to Transparency.

However, you will only be as close as you are transparent and vulnerable.

3. Accountability

When we are left alone, we tend to become the worst versions of ourselves.

That is why Community has the potential to make us better and keep us accountable.

Indeed, Community makes us more effective, challenges us to aim higher, sharpens the mind and speaks truth.

4. Shared purpose

Most communities are built around a bigger and common mission.

Communities give the opportunity to do something meaningful and exciting.

5. Consistency

Communities provides healthy and consistent relationships.

Usually, people aren’t because they don’t want to deal with conflicts.

Nevertheless, conflicts are an inherent part of life.

That is why the people from your Community have to be consistent, choose to stay and be willing to be inconvenienced by your relationship.

To stay consistent, one must:

  • Assume the best because so many offenses are misunderstandings.
  • Seek peace and address a problem directly before it grows.
  • Be quick to apologize and make amends.

Review

Find Your People by Jennie Allen is a faith-based self-help book about building deep community.

Find Your People is destined mostly for extroverts, for people who are hardwired for relationships, for people who are afraid of being alone and of being lonely.

It is also written for those who hope to make deep connection and build an authentic community.

Allen uses her own life experiences and as an example of moving from a space of lack and fear to one of finding the right community.

Indeed, Allen transforms her initial neediness for relationship into a personal strength.

Furthermore, she demonstrates through biblical references that Deep Community is a social necessity and a path to greater success, hope and faith.

It seems like building and keeping that Community requires hardwork but is worth it.

Finally, Allen stressed that there are no perfect people but only the right people for you.

So, go out there and find your people!

Let me know below what you think about this book!

Favorite quote(s)

But community is bigger than two or three friends. Community should be the way we live.

We live guarded because we fear someone will use our weakness against us.

No one can be your everything, but everyone has something to say, something to teach you, and something to bring to your life.

Conflict isn’t the enemy to our friendships; conflict is fodder to make them grow. Conflict is inevitable in the kind of deep community we are talking about here.

If we’re going to deal with an offense, it needs to be a real offense. This is my rule on when to address something: don’t react too quickly. So many hurts are just misunderstandings.

Ratings 3/5

Author

Jennie Allen

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Finish What You Start: The Art of Following Through, Taking Action, Executing, Self-Discipline By Peter Hollins

Following through is hard but gratifying in the long run…

Some people usually don’t follow through because they self-sabotage, misuse their time and energy by procrastinating, setting impossible goals, managing their time poorly, yielding to temptations and distractions.

Other people have internal roadblocks that impede them from taking action because they are either lazy, lack discipline and willpower, fear judgement, rejection or failure, try to be perfect, are too insecure, lack self-awareness, are unconsciously protecting themselves.

Indeed, people who have interval roadblocks and who fail to follow through tend to set unrealistic expectations for themselves and end up underachieving or underperforming.

Furthermore, they overthink everything and lean towards negative thoughts which paralyzes them. Making a decision becomes difficult because they don’t have clear rules and priorities.

They also worry too much. They ruminate on past, present, future, real, fictitious problems that are most likely out of their control.

Finally, they don’t know themselves well enough to create the best goals and environment for themselves.Finish What You Start: The Art of Following Through, Taking Action, Executing, & Self-Discipline By Peter Hollins #selfdiscipline #focus #goals #success #journeytoleadership journeytoleadershipblog.com

The Requirements of Following Through

Following through requires four elements: focus, self-discipline, action and persistence.

With focus, you are able to keep “your head in the game and your eyes on the prize”. You concentrate all your effort and energy onto achieving your goals.

With self-discipline, you are bale to regulate your thoughts, control your focus and to work regardless of your emotions and your circumstances.

With action, you are able to get closer to the finish line, execute the plan and translate your intentions.

With persistence, you will develop resilience and be able to push through until you have achieved success.

How To Start Following Through?

To start following through, you have to take a good look at yourself, build a better relationship with yourself, develop the right mindset and equip yourself with the best tools to succeed.

To develop the mindset, you must believe that:

  • You are capable and hard work leads to success.
  • The steps that you take are purposeful and fit into a bigger picture.
  • Discomfort is necessary to success. Following through will require you to get out of your comfort zone and do things that you have never done before.
  • The information and knowledge you acquire increase with the steps that you take. You learn more about yourself on top of learning new skills and life lessons.
  • Taking care of your mental health will reinforce your willpower and discipline.

Is Following Through Good For You?

Sometimes, you will have to make the decision to follow through or to give up.

To make the best decisions, you have to create a set of rules that will serve as a guideline, a code of conduct, a task roadmap and a mission statement.

Methods For Following Through

To stay motivated enough to follow through, you must identify the things that motivate you.

Some people want to avoid negative consequences at all cost and will do everything in their power to succeed.

Others are pushed forward by the need and desire to improve their lives.

To stop procrastinating and to follow through:

  • Associate your present goals with an activity that provides instant gratification.
  • Break down huge goals in small manageable steps.
  • Evaluate the risks of inaction.
  • Create an environment free from distractions and temptations.
  • Avoid multitasking and focus on one single task at a time.
  • Group similar tasks together and accomplish them all in one batch.
  • Create lists of tasks that don’t add value or that are out of your control in order to discharge your mental load.
  • Acquire between 40% and 70% of information.
  • Allow yourself to recover mentally from time to time to avoid burnout.

Review

There are many reasons why people stay stagnant in life. In Finish What You Start: The Art of Following Through, Taking Action, Executing, & Self-Discipline, Peter Hollins breaks down the psychology and the art of following through on your goals.

Finish What You Start: The Art of Following Through, Taking Action, Executing, & Self-Discipline is recommended for people who struggle to get things done and is full of powerful tools to help you take action and achieve your goals.

Peter Hollins jumpstarts you towards your dreams, shares several tactics to execute whatever you set your mind to and makes some very good points when it comes to the mistakes people make when pursuing their goals.

Following through boils down to extracting lessons from past failures and knowing yourself well enough to create the best environments, rules and roadmaps for you to succeed.

Let me know below what you think about this book!

Favorite quote(s)

Focus guides your thoughts in figuring out how to follow through and directs your actions toward achieving your vision.

Leisure is an important part of life, but if it’s excessive and takes the place of reasonable productivity, then it becomes a vice.

Follow-through is 100% mental. It takes a cognitive effort to follow through on something, especially when you hit discouraging obstacles.

Stop judging yourself and others for being different. We are all different.
Our productivity is very fragile and requires particular care to flourish. Treat yourself to what helps you thrive if you want to follow through.

Ratings 3.5/5

Author

Peter Hollins

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So Good They Can’t Ignore You By Cal Newport

The culture that we live in encourages people to live their dreams and follow their passions.

We don’t necessarily have a guideline to live the dream, to exercise our passions and to find the career that best suits us.

It seems that to get a fulfilling job or to do great work, following your passion is definitively not the way to go.

So Good They Can't Ignore You By Cal Newport #books #bookreviews #skills #leadershipskills #leadershipdevelopment #selfdevelopment #journeytoleadership journeytoleadershipblog.com

Why not?

Because following your passions is difficult, rarely successful and dangerous.

Studies have shown that:

  • Passions are not determined at birth.
  • Most people can have several passions that have nothing to do with choosing the right job. Some people don’t necessarily have a passion to follow.
  • Passions for a job takes time to develop. It takes time to build relationships, to become efficient at what you do and see the impact of your work.
  • You become passionate when you master a skill.
  • You become confused and anxious when you follow passion.

What should you do then?

When going after the career you want, you must measure the importance of growing a set of skills and adopt the craftsman mindset.

Indeed, there are two ways of thinking about work. There’s the craftsman mindset and the passion mindset.

The passion mindset focuses on what the world can offer you. It sets you constantly on high alert, seeking for what you don’t like. It leaves you perpetually in a state of confusion.

The craftsman mindset is useful in building the career that you want, irrespective of what type of work you do.

It focuses on what you produce and what you can offer the world. It leaves you with clarity and a love for what you do.

How to acquire the craftsman mindset?

Great work is a combination of creativity, impact and control. This combination is rare but valuable.

Matter of fact, great jobs are rare and valuable. To find them, you need to build up great skills and in turn offer skills that are rare and valuable.

The craftsman mindset is the best way to acquire skills Capital.

To grow a craftsman mindset, you can follow these 5 steps:

  1. Decide what Capital Market you belong to.
  2. Identify the type of Capital you want to pursue.
  3. Define clear goals for yourself.
  4. Get out of your comfort zone and stretch your abilities.
  5. Be patient.

How to gain control using your new found Capital?

Gaining control over what you do is an important part of enjoying what you do and is the hardest part.

Gaining control turns out to be tricky: you cannot ask for more control if you don’t have enough Capital to back it up or you have acquired lots of control that you can no longer evolve in your role.

It serves to have a unifying focus or mission for your career. A mission will focus your energy toward a useful goal and increase your impact on the world. To accomplish your mission, you can take small steps that generate concrete feedback.

Review

So Good They Can’t Ignore You is an extremely practical, logical guide to get the career that you want and to be so “good they can’t ignore you”.

In So Good They Can’t Ignore You, Cal Newport believes that you should not pursue your passions in order to achieve career success.

Instead, you should seek to improve your skills and apply yourself in a particular field. By mastering a skill, you will gain in efficiency and gradually become passionate about the work you do.

According to Cal Newport, people who solely follow their passions end up shifting careers when they realize that their career is not what is cracked up to be.

To get a fulfilling job and the career that you want, he suggests 4 rules or principles that are extracted from many successful people lives and that are difficult to implement.

It was very interesting and somewhat refreshing to hear an unpopular opinion. His principles and opinion are not designed for dreamers.

It is however designed for people at entry-level at their jobs, for analytical people who are geared towards efficient performance and who are career focused.

Even if I’m a practical person, I admittedly don’t see anything wrong with pushing people to follow their passions that might get them out of their comfort zone and into their dream job.

I think that there isn’t one approach to success or else everybody would be doing it. Some people are motivated by having a solid plan, others by an unshakable purpose and others by an exciting passion.

Let me know below what you think about this book!

Favorite quote(s)

Ratings 3/5

Author

Cal Newport

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World By Cal Newport

According to Cal Newport, Deep Working is “Professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate.“.

What is Deep Work?

Deep Work means that we must learn to focus intensely on a single task for long periods of time without distractions and without breaking concentration.

Deep Work requires a sense of confidence and a conviction that you will succeed.

Deep Work is at a disadvantage in a society that values social media.

Deep Work is not a trend but it can make you more efficient and transform a boring job into a satisfying one.

Furthermore, Deep Work is rare but is valuable in today’s economy.

Finally, Deep Work ethics in the workplace are rare as well. Most people have embraced distraction because it is more convenient and allows us to avoid planning and concentration.Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World By Cal Newport #books #bookreviews #success #selfawareness #journeytoleadership journeytoleadershipblog.com

How to train your brain and build habits for Deep Work

To create real value and to get ahead in this economy, it is imperative to develop an ability to:

  1. Learn and master hard things quickly.
  2. Produce at an elite level.

There are several rules to Deep Working and to replacing distraction with focus.

Rule #1: Work Deeply daily

Deep Working is about building habits and rituals that go beyond willpower and that will help you sustain focus.

Personal desires such as eating, sleeping, sex, television and music are the main cause for distractions.

Willpower is not sustainable enough to fight off distractions because your will will eventually be strained.

That is why Deep Work necessitates rearranging your schedule. You can schedule Deep Work by:

  • Minimizing shallow obligations from your day to day.
  • Dedicating a full day or more to concentrate on a task and to shut out all exterior noises.
  • Routinely going deep everyday at the same time and for the same amount of time.
  • Fit in Deep Work wherever and whenever you can.

Besides scheduling your Deep Work and to maximize your success, you must also establish how, what, where, when, for how long you want to practice Deep Work.

Rule #2: Embrace boredom

Deep Working requires that you focus on a task and reject all distractions in a world where your brain has been conditioned to research distraction.

Outside of Deep Work sessions, you have to take care of your mind, embrace boredom, learn to meditate, schedule a break from focus to give in to distractions, rewire your brain to resist distractions.

Surprisingly, embracing boredom will help you improve the limits of your concentration abilities.

Rule #3: Quit social media

There are many benefits to social media.

However, Cal Newport states that modern technology is to blame for shallow work and suggests that social media should be intrinsically used as a tool.

He also emphasizes that you must assess your priorities in life and the impact of social media on your life.

To regain control of your time and attention, you can apply the law of the vital few over your network tools then avoid using Internet to entertain yourself.

Rule #4: Drain the shallows

A deep life is a good life. - Cal Newport in Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World Click To Tweet

Shallow Work can be damaging to your life.

Shallow Work can be defined as “Noncognitively demanding, logistical-style tasks, often performed while distracted. These efforts tend to not create much new value in the world and are easy to replicate.

To identify and remove the shallowness from your life, you must apply the following strategies:

  1. Schedule your entire day to avoid spending time on autopilot and to fully benefit from Deep Work.
  2. Determine how mush time you are spending on shallow activities and eliminate them.
  3. Become hard to reach via your network tools.

Review

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, Cal Newport explains all the strategies you can implement to become more productive and more focused in this economy .

Cal Newport takes most of his analogies from educators because they have to go in depth in their field of choice and provide quality work.

However, this book is written for bosses and leaders who want to go to the essential, be more productive, efficiently organize their day, improve workplace culture and who want to achieve their highest potential.

It is sad to see that meditation, Deep Working and deep thinking have disappeared from and been perverted by the corporate system.

Indeed, corporate culture promotes shallows activities. People are busy as ever but are often distracted by network tools and forced to break from their concentration.

Furthermore, people –if they are not the person in charge–who practice Deep Working are not well perceived in the workplace even though they are high achievers and improve productivity.

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport is a good reminder to stay focus and to go to the essential in life.

Let me know below what you think about this book!

Favorite quote(s)

A deep life is a good life.

Deep work is at a severe disadvantage in a technopoly because it builds on values like quality, craftsmanship, and mastery that are decidedly old-fashioned and nontechnological.

The deep life, of course, is not for everybody. It requires hard work and drastic changes to your habits. […] But if you’re willing to sidestep these comforts and fears, and instead struggle to deploy your mind to its fullest capacity to create things that matter, then you’ll discover, as others have before you, that depth generates a life rich with productivity and meaning.

Ratings 3/5

Author

Cal Newport

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The Successful Introvert By Wendy Gelberg

Many introverts evolve in society feeling like something is wrong with them, like they don’t belong or like they are out of sync with society.

That is because we see people on TV acting out their emotions and interacting with other people.

Introverts Characteristics

Introverts live inwardly and are often engaged in internal activities.

They are uncomfortable in social situations.

They find social situations to be draining and enjoy long periods of solitude, which makes it challenging for them to advance in the workplace.

Introverts are good listeners and process information before they speak.

Some of the adjectives that frequently come up in describing introverts are quiet, serious, calm, reserved, detached, restrained, and private. - Wendy Gelberg in The Successful Introvert Click To Tweet

Furthermore, introverts can be seen as “fair, thoughtful, intelligent, competent, diligent, and trustworthy”.

The Successful Introvert By Wendy Gelberg #books #boikreviews #success #introversion #journeytoleadership journeytoleadershipblog.com

How To Manage Your Introversion?

Introverts must understand their strengths and weaknesses.

Introverts must also discipline their active minds.

They tend to make assumptions and create stories in their mind that hold them back and are not always true.

Instead, they must pick stories that propel them in life.

Introverts must learn how to protect their energy and take breaks when they need to in order to rejuvenate and be more alert at work.

There are several additional strategies to manage your introversion in order to achieve success:

  1. Focus outward.
  2. Keep your eyes on the prize.
  3. Practice and fake it until you make it.
  4. Feel fear and go towards it anyways.
  5. Be unafraid of rejection.
  6. Embrace solitude. Protect their space and energy.

The Skills Every Introverts Need To Succeed

Introverts need to learn other extroverted skills to make them more effective in the workplace and to get out their comfort zone.

1. Networking

Networking is challenging for introverts but is necessary and inevitable.

For introverts, networking seems self-serving and distasteful.

To be able to network and connect better with people, it helps to listen to people’s needs, to ask them for advice and to understand that every interaction can pay off in the long run.

2. Communicating Consciously

Because introverts withdraw in their own world, must:

  • Pay attention to their own thoughts.
  • Be careful when and how to communicate with others so that the latter don’t make negative assumptions about them.
  • Stay detached from their work enough to be able to socialize.

3. Promoting Themselves

Self-promotion makes introverts very uncomfortable.

However, your work will not speak for itself.

You have to learn to promote your own work and competencies.

Review

Most books about career development and success are generally geared towards extroverts, which can get discouraging for introverts.

In The Successful Introvert, Wendy Gelberg gives hints on on how, when and where to use your introversion.

She shows that there is strength in introversion, that there are places and moments where your introversion is valuable.

The Successful Introvert by Wendy Gelberg is eye-opening. I recommend this book for shy and introverted leaders (in progress) who want to gain self-awareness, optimize their leadership and develop their career.

Some of us are not leaders yet and wish to become leaders. The thing is our introversion is often times what stops us from getting what we really want in life.

In addition, the corporate world does act like introverts are problematic and often singles them out. Introverts have to learn to accept who they truly are and make the best of their personality type.

Let me know below what you think about this book!

Favorite quote(s)

The key to success is versatility.

Introversion is not a limiting characteristic, although the accompanying traits may require some special accommodations (also true of extraversion, but that’s a subject
for another book). We make comparisons to people who are highly successful and see the ways in which we fall short. Meanwhile, we don’t get to see the struggles or challenges that they had to deal with, so their success looks falsely uncomplicated.

Some of the adjectives that frequently come up in describing introverts are quiet, serious, calm, reserved, detached, restrained, and private. All of these speak to our inner focus, and they can contribute to success when used appropriately.

Ratings 3.5/5

Author

Wendy Gelberg

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Leadership Blindspots: How Successful Leaders Identify and Overcome the Weaknesses That Matter by Robert Bruce Shaw

According to Robert Bruce Shaw, in Leadership Blindspots: How Successful Leaders Identify and Overcome the Weaknesses That Matter, great leadership emanates from an ability to make great decisions which comes from making bad decisions and learning from them.

The sooner in your career that those bad decisions are made, the better.

Leadership Blindspots: How Successful Leaders Identify and Overcome the Weaknesses That Matter by Robert Bruce Shaw #leadership #selfawareness #selfimprovement #blindspots #journeytoleadership #bookreviews journeytoleadershipblog.com

Of course, you make fewer mistakes as you progress in your career and as you experience the outcomes of the mistakes, but you never stop making them.

In addition, mistakes are more costly as you move up the ladder in a company and can potentially derail your career.

In light of this issue, in Leadership Blindspots, Robert Bruce Shaw investigates the existence of leadership blindspot, an “unrecognized weakness or threat that has the potential to undermine a leader’s success” and that becomes evident in the way your team, organizations and markets are perceived.

How to characterize leadership blindspots?

First of all, leadership blindspots are often associated to leadership strengths.

They appear whenever the leader is utilizing his or her strengths at work.

Second of all, blindspots don’t disappear, even if you are fully aware of them.

Thirdly, blindspots are situational, adaptive and can be helpful.

And finally, blindspots are able to impact other people and followers.

Advice for understanding and dealing with leadership blindspots?

Furthermore, blindspots come with a price and has to be recognized by the leader in order for him or her to find a balance.

To do so, leaders have to weigh two conflicting needs:

  1. their need for acting with confidence, believing strongly in their vision, and having faith in themselves, their abilities.
  2. their need for assessing their limitations in order to avoid overconfidence or excessive optimism.

The complex balance between self-confidence and self-doubt is unnatural, contradictory but necessary, depends on each individual and each situation.

If there are too many blindspots, the leader can be overly confident and arrogant.

If there are few blindspots, the leader is somewhat realistic about the obstacles to face, is aware of his or her strengths and weaknesses.

Are there different levels of blindness?

There are three levels of blindness that a leader could experience:

  1. Lack of awareness level. This is the “most extreme form of a blindspot”. At this level, leaders are constantly surprised or blindsided by events.
  2. Faulty assessment level. At this level, leaders are in denial: they refuse to acknowledge risks, to analyze known weaknesses, and to understand the causes and consequences of their blindspots.
  3. Failure to act level. At this level, leaders know the risks, threats and weaknesses that lay ahead but fail to act on them for lack of skills and resolve. Those leaders are adept to the rule “when in doubt, do nothing” or rather remain in their comfort zones.

How to identify your leadership blindspots?

In order to identify your blindspots:

  1. Review your past and present mistakes. Mistakes are indicative of blindspots, areas of lack of self-awareness, and areas of faulty patterns of thinking and behavior. It is advised to identify the most significant mistakes, their causes, patterns of behavior and thinking associated to these mistakes and the actions to be taken on the behalf of the leader to prevent those mistakes from reoccurring.
  2. Consider honest and useful feedback from your trusted advisors.
  3. Gain additional insight by taking the blindspot assessment survey.

Then, question the relative importance of your blindspots in your career and its impacts on yourself, the organization to distinguish which blindspot requires your immediate attention.

What are the different types of leadership blindspots?

Robert Bruce Shaw has classified leadership blindspots in 20 categories:

  1. “Overestimating your strategic capabilities”
  2. “Valuing being right over being effective”
  3. “Failing to balance the what with the how”
  4. “Not seeing your impact on others”
  5. “Believing the rules don’t apply to you”
  6. “Thinking the present is the past”
  7. “Failing to focus on the vital few”
  8. “Taking for granted your team model”
  9. “Overrating the talent on your team”
  10. “Avoiding the tough conversations”
  11. “Trusting the wrong individuals”
  12. “Not developing real successors”
  13. “Failing to capture hearts and minds”
  14. “Losing touch with your shop floor”
  15. “Treating information and opinion as fact”
  16. “Misreading the political landscape”
  17. “Putting personal ambition before the company”
  18. “Clinging to the status quo”
  19. “Underestimating your competitors”
  20. “Being overly optimistic”

Which factors trigger blindspots?

Blindspots often go hand in hand with the leader’s strengths and reappear unexpectedly when the leader does what he or she does best.

There are few factors that lead to blindspots areas:

  1. Experience gaps“. The blindspot stems from a lack of experience or from a habit of using past experiences to extrapolate a present situation.
  2. Information overload” describes an inability to pay attention to everything that is happening when engaged in a complex and challenging task.
  3. Emotional bias” corresponds to an emotional involvement in a particular situation or outcome that clouds judgement.
  4. Cognitive dissonance” is a psychology term associated to a state in which leaders hold two conflicting views of their self-image. The “conflict is resolved through rationalizing one’s belief or actions in a manner that sustains one’s positive self-image” which reinforces the blindspot.
  5. “Misaligned incentives” are compensation systems that are “designed to focus attention and effort within an organization, with the result being that people focus more on some areas than on others”.
  6. Hierarchical distortion”. The information transmitted to hierarchy becomes distorted, false, incomplete because:
    • high-ranking leaders are sometimes detached from the lower levels of the organization.
    • subordinates tend to sugarcoat information by deference or by fear of retaliation.
    • high-ranking leaders pay less attention to less powerful people.
  7. Overconfidence“. Leaders overestimates their own capabilities, skills and knowledge.

How to overcome blindspots?

According to Robert Bruce Shaw, it is not possible to completely suppress blindspots but it is important to recognize them and find ways to work with them?

To handle blindspot:

  1. Make an assessment of the problem on your own, stay on contact with frontliners, customers, markets and high potential individuals.
  2. Invest in metrics, processes and data that challenge the leader’s beliefs and basic assumptions.
  3. Develop an ability to recognize, prioritize blindspot warning signs.
  4. Consider feedback from trusted advisors.
  5. “Leaders need to test their ideas and discuss emerging threats with a diverse team of individuals who respect each other’s experience and abilities but are also willing to push each other to reach the best outcomes on the truly critical issues”.

In conclusion, leaders are flawed individuals with strengths, weaknesses and blindspots that are to be acknowledged.

Blindspots often show up when the leader is using his or her strengths or reverts to their comfort zone, and cannot be completely resolved.

It is up to the leader to stay on the lookout for blindspots, to strike up a balance between self-confidence and self-doubt.

Review

In Leadership Blindspots: How Successful Leaders Identify and Overcome the Weaknesses That Matter, Robert Bruce Shaw analyses leadership behaviors when it comes to blindspots and weaknesses.

He illustrates every single one of his thoughts on blindspots with great and renown leadership examples and concludes each example with an analysis and lessons to take away.

Furthermore, not only this book contains realistic and applicable examples, each paragraph of this book can be read on standalone.

In addition, Robert Bruce Shaw provides us with a tool —the blindspot assessment survey— for us to identify whether or not we possess blindspots and to what degree we have incubated them.

I recommend this book to employees who are failing to lead and to boost their careers.

It has come to my knowledge that because of my belief system, I am an adept of the rule “when in doubt, stand still” which has not bothered my career but has increased my serenity.

After taking the blindspot assessment test, I have received a low probability of blindspots as I am self-aware of my strengths and of my weaknesses.

Finally, Leadership Blindspots was intriguing to me because there are so many books about leadership strengths and developing them.

I equally appreciated the fact that he mentioned the need for transparency (better visibility of mistakes thanks to the media) which put leaders are under a lot of pressure, all while trying to overcome their blindspots.

Favorite quote(s)

People who are smart and self-assured are often very skillful at justifying their thinking and behavior—to the point of being in denial about their weaknesses and the threats they face. Their intelligence can work against them when they convince themselves, and often others, that they are right even when they are wrong.

Successful individuals who sometimes stumble often do so because they have no one who can protect them from themselves.

The best leaders develop a range of compensating mechanisms that fit their personalities and the company cultures in which they work. In many cases these leaders don’t fundamentally change the way they think, but instead develop warning systems that surface important weaknesses and threats.

Ratings 3/5

Author

Robert Bruce Shaw

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Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway By Susan Jeffers

Everybody is susceptible to experiencing fear at some point in their life…

Some fears are critical to your survival.

Others hinder your success in life.

Some people consider the feelings of fear as a signal to distance themselves from a situation and others as a sign to keep going.

Some people are paralyzed by their fear and others manage to get things done despite their fears.

Which means that fear in itself is not the real problem.

The real problem resides in the way you manage it.

Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway By Susan Jeffers #books #bookreviews #fear #overcomingfear #goals #empowered #journeytoleadership Journeytoleadershipblog.com

Pushing Past Fear

There are major benefits to pushing past your fears. You will be able to:

  • Let go of a negative mindset.
  • Surpass mistakes and bad decisions.
  • Boost your self-esteem and become more assertive.
  • Find your purpose and achieve your goals.
  • Take back control of your life and take action.

The Truth About Fear

Behind every fear, there is the belief that you don’t have the abilities to handle whatever life throws your way.

However, your skills can always be developed.

That means that you won’t need to run away from your fears or work hard at getting rid of them.

That also means that in order to diminish your fears, you will have to developed the abilities to handle whatever life throws at you.

How Do You Manage Fear?

As long as you live and continue to grow as a person, fear can never be totally eradicated.

There are a few steps you can take to better manage your feelings.

1. Connect with your Higher Self

Get in touch with your Higher Self and tap into your intuition.

2. Say Yes

Saying Yes consists in going with the flow and accepting what Life has to offer.

It is an effective coping mechanism an antidote for fear.

3. Take action

People who live in fear feel more helpless than those who actually push through and take risks.

It becomes detrimental to identify your goals and motives to get unstuck.

4. Mind your self-talk

To begin to shift your mindset and to empower yourself, you must monitor the words that you use and the way you address yourself.

You may want to discipline your self-talk and use the power of positive affirmations.

5. Avoid playing the victim

Playing the victim signifies that you have no control over your life, that you have given your power away to someone or something else, and have progressively become paralyzed in your ability to deal with your fears.

In reality, you are the one who chooses the way you feel or act in any given situation.

6. Reclaim your power

Reclaiming your power entails being aware of any disempowering behavior and taking responsibility for your life.

Reclaiming your power means avoiding blaming yourself, blaming your past, present and future, or any other external factors for your life experiences.

Reclaiming your power is understanding that everything you experience is part of your journey.

Review

Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway is a comforting book as Susan Jeffers exposes fear as a learned human condition that can be unlearned.

Furthermore, Susan Jeffers shares powerful and practical tools to fight and overcome fear.

She continually reminds us to take it easy on ourselves and that our good and bad decisions are part of our journey.

Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway shows us how to get the life we truly want, how to face new life situations and adapt to change.

The truth is everyone experiences fear, especially when they are in unfamiliar territory.

The trick consists in feeling the fear… And doing whatever it takes anyway…

Favorite quote(s)

The “doing it” comes before the feeling better about yourself. When you make something happen, not only does the fear of the situation go away, but also you get a big bonus: you do a lot toward building your self-confidence.

We can’t escape fear. We can only transform it into a companion that accompanies us in all our exciting adventures; it is not an anchor holding us transfixed in one spot.

A self-assured woman who is in control of her life draws like a magnet. She is so filled with positive energy that people want to be around her.

There is absolutely no need to be upset with your past, present, or future behavior. It is all simply part of the learning process[…].

Ratings 3/5

About the author

Susan Jeffers


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So Good They Can’t Ignore You By Cal Newport

The culture that we live in encourages people to live their dreams and follow their passions.

We don’t necessarily have a guideline to live the dream, to exercise our passions and to find the career that best suits us.

It seems that to get a fulfilling job or to do great work, following your passion is definitively not the way to go.

So Good They Can't Ignore You By Cal Newport #books #bookreviews #success #journeytoleadership journeytoleadershipblog.com

Why not?

Because following your passions is difficult, rarely successful and dangerous. Studies have shown that:

  • Passions are not determined at birth.
  • Most people can have several passions that have nothing to do with choosing the right job. Some people don’t necessarily have a passion to follow.
  • Passions for a job takes time to develop. It takes time to build relationships, to become efficient at what you do and see the impact of your work.
  • You become passionate when you master a skill.
  • You become confused and anxious when you follow passion.

What should you do then?

When going after the career you want, you must measure the importance of growing a set of skills and adopt the craftsman mindset.

Indeed, there are two ways of thinking about work. There’s the craftsman mindset and the passion mindset.

The passion mindset focuses on what the world can offer you. It sets you constantly on high alert, seeking for what you don’t like. It leaves you perpetually in a state of confusion.

The craftsman mindset is useful in building the career that you want, irrespective of what type of work you do.

It focuses on what you produce and what you can offer the world. It leaves you with clarity and a love for what you do.

How to acquire the craftsman mindset?

Great work is a combination of creativity, impact and control. This combination is rare but valuable.

Matter of fact, great jobs are rare and valuable. To find them, you need to build up great skills and in turn offer skills that are rare and valuable.

The craftsman mindset is the best way to acquire skills Capital.

To grow a craftsman mindset, you can follow these 5 steps:

  1. Decide what Capital Market you belong to.
  2. Identify the type of Capital you want to pursue.
  3. Define clear goals for yourself.
  4. Get out of your comfort zone and stretch your abilities.
  5. Be patient.

How to gain control using your new found Capital?

Gaining control over what you do is an important part of enjoying what you do and is the hardest part.

Gaining control turns out to be tricky: you cannot ask for more control if you don’t have enough Capital to back it up or you have acquired lots of control that you can no longer evolve in your role.

It serves to have a unifying focus or mission for your career. A mission will focus your energy toward a useful goal and increase your impact on the world. To accomplish your mission, you can take small steps that generate concrete feedback.

Review

So Good They Can’t Ignore You is an extremely practical, logical guide to get the career that you want and to be so “good they can’t ignore you”.

In So Good They Can’t Ignore You, Cal Newport believes that you should not pursue your passions in order to achieve career success.

Instead, you should seek to improve your skills and apply yourself in a particular field. By mastering a skill, you will gain in efficiency and gradually become passionate about the work you do.

According to Cal Newport, people who solely follow their passions end up shifting careers when they realize that their career is not what is cracked up to be.

To get a fulfilling job and the career that you want, he suggests 4 rules or principles that are extracted from many successful people lives and that are difficult to implement.

It was very interesting and somewhat refreshing to hear an unpopular opinion. His principles and opinion are not designed for dreamers.

It is however designed for people at entry-level at their jobs, for analytical people who are geared towards efficient performance and who are career focused.

Even if I’m a practical person, I admittedly don’t see anything wrong with pushing people to follow their passions that might get them out of their comfort zone and into their dream job.

I think that there isn’t one approach to success or else everybody would be doing it. Some people are motivated by having a solid plan, others by an unshakable purpose and others by an exciting passion.

Let me know below what you think about this book!

Favorite quote(s)

Ratings 3/5

Author

Cal Newport

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Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World By Admiral William H. McRaven

Sometimes, you are not living the life you want and other times, life itself is fighting with you.

However, there are several strategies you can apply to help you handle whatever life throws at you.

Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life...And Maybe the World By Admiral William H. McRaven #discipline #selfdiscipline #selfawareness #selfimprovement #journeytoleadership journeytoleadershipblog.com

1. Start Your Day with Making Your Bed

making your bed in the morning has a great impact of the outcome of your day.

Making your bed in the morning is a daily act of self discipline, self-love, motivation.

It is a small task that should be part of your routine, bring a sense of pride and a sense of structure.

2. Value Teamwork

Teamwork can help you achieve difficult tasks.

Your team has the ability to remind you of who you are and to support you through tough times.

3. Develop Grit

When it comes down to it, money, skin color, background don’t matter.

What matter are your grit and your willingness to see things through.

4. Acknowledge That Life is Not Fair

Life is not fair. The sooner you understand that the better your life will be.

You have to learn how to deal with life effectively.

If something unfair happens to you, there is no need to dwell on the way you were treated, to blame yourself or the way you were raised.

No matter what happened to you, you just have to keep on moving.

5. Embrace Failure

Failure teaches you your limits, shows you that you are human, and gives you the motivation to do your best at all times.

You musn’t be afraid to learn from your failures and try again.

Not because you have failed as a leader that you are a failure or lack leadership.

6. Dare Greatly

Life is filled with many difficulties.

To get things done, you must learn to push your fears aside and trust yourself.

7. Stand Up to the Bullies

Don’t let bullies run your life and take advantage of your fears.

You have to find the courage to stand up to them or they will prey on you.

8. Rise to the Occasion

In time of needs, in your darkest moments or in your deepest pain, you have to find the strength to be your best and to rise to the occasion.

9. Give People Hope

One person can make the difference, can inspire the people around them ro rise above the pain, to take courage and to carry on.

10. Never, Ever Quit!

Even if it seems like the only reasonable solution, quitting doesn’t make things easier and only creates regrets.

Someone always has it worse than you do.

Review

Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World by Admiral William H. McRaven is a motivational book, geared towards leaders or people wanting to start a military career, gain leadership qualities and to overcome personal challenges.

Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World is easy to read and gets straight to the point.

At first, I thought that it was one of those self help books who just reiterate the general knowledge about leadership. However, Admiral William H. McRaven gives good advice and tough love.

In addition, Admiral William H. McRaven shares lots of military examples that are simple and patriotic.

I have to say I did not really enjoy the military examples as they were not relatable, felt embellished, glorified the horrors of military life or felt like a lot of details were swept under the rug.

However, everyone is free to narrate their experiences or to share their opinions.

After reading it, by omitting the examples, I felt invincible, filled with confidence and adherent to the general message that some things in life can get you down. You just have to keep moving and looking forward.

Let me know below what you think about this book!

Favorite quote(s)

Those mornings that I stayed in the barracks I would roll out of my Navy “rack” and immediately begin the process of making my bed.

I learned early on in SEAL training the value of teamwork, the need to rely on someone else to help you through the difficult tasks.

SEAL training was always about proving something. Proving that size didn’t matter. Proving that the color of your skin wasn’t important. Proving that money didn’t make you better. Proving that determination and grit were always more important than talent.

You will pay for your failures. But, if you persevere, if you let those failures teach you and strengthen you, then you will be prepared to handle life’s toughest moments.

Life is a struggle and the potential for failure is ever present, but those who live in fear of failure, or hardship, or embarrassment will never achieve their potential. Without pushing your limits, without occasionally sliding down the rope headfirst, without daring greatly, you will never know what is truly possible in your life.

Our goal, which we believed to be honorable and noble, gave us courage, and courage is a remarkable quality. Nothing and nobody can stand in your way. Without it, others will define your path forward. Without it, you are at the mercy of life’s temptations. Without courage, men will be ruled by tyrants and despots. Without courage, no great society can flourish. Without courage, the bullies of the world rise up. With it, you can accomplish any goal. With it, you can defy and defeat evil.”

Ratings 3.5/5

About the author

Admiral William H. McRaven

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