Always Prepare to Win!

This message is the kind you would expect at a graduation ceremony.  However, I believe the essence of it belongs almost everywhere: in college recruiting conversations, freshmen orientation, classroom lectures, course assignments, student meetings with the dean, family meetings, parents advising their children, employee meetings with the boss, team meetings, church services and blog posts like this one.

“Knowledge gives you power… The more knowledge
you have about a subject, the better equipped
you become to link your daily experience to new opportunity.”

– Zig Ziglar and Tom Ziglar, “Born to Win”, p. 79, 81

Knowledge is Important, But…

Apparently, when it comes to formal education, we get it!  Formal education is widely considered invaluable as part of life’s preparation.  Although I tend to qualify this because the college experience is valuable only to the extent that one pays attention.  The late Jim Rohn said it this way: “Rarely does a good idea interrupt you.

Educational opportunities created in school make way for the acquisition of knowledge and a controlled environment where students can experiment with what they learn.  Of course, the diploma that one earns has value as a key credential for employment and advancement.  However, there’s one success factor that is widely overlooked — self-education.  College isn’t the only development opportunity and it doesn’t meet all growth needs.

“Formal education will make you a living.
Self-education will make you a fortune.”
– Jim Rohn

…Knowledge Without Wisdom is Impotent!

Your diploma is not a guarantee for success.  It’s not an invitation for a seat at the boardroom table.  It’s not a ticket to employment.  It’s not even a promise of getting an interview.  It is merely one of many essential credentials to be considered for employment.  While having an education will not always lead to the interview you want, you can be certain that not having one will likely disqualify from getting the interview.  The reason is simple.  Employers hire people, not repositories of knowledge.  The value you bring to the market goes beyond what you know.

Preparation Increases Your Value

Whether the task is small or large, always prepare.  Preparing means, “equipping yourself with the tools, skills, knowledge and attitudes you need to turn your plans into reality.”  Preparation includes learning, planning and practice.  Only then can you expect consistent and successful execution.

“The few who do are the envy of the many
who only watch.” – Jim Rohn

Success is the result of our daily commitment to preserving and increasing our value in the marketplace.  So, every day we should ask ourselves the following three questions:

  1. What will I do today to learn and grow?  (my promises)
  2. What will I do today to implement what I’ve learned and who I’ve become?  (my promises)
  3. How well did I do today in the areas of learning and implementation?  (assessing my promises)

“You must get good at one of two things:
planting in the spring or begging in the fall.”
– Jim Rohn

Prepare to Win is more than a slogan.  It’s the name of a program to help you become a better learner and a better implementer.  Click HERE for more information.

Thoughts About Growth

It’s easy to learn and grow, right? How hard is it to slide an educational CD into the player and push the play button? Is it not just as easy to attend a workshop or read a book as it is to go fishing or watch TV? Throughout human history, there have never been more readily-available opportunities for learning and personal improvement than there are today.

At the same time, it’s just as easy to NOT do these things. In our culture of comfort and security, people more often learn passively by coincidence or by accident rather than strategically and intentionally. So, they end up with an MBA (Masters in Barren Activities) or an MFA (Masters in Fruitless Acts) from the “School of Hard Knocks.”

Growth is a change process that begins with a single step. Few types of change are more important than those related to learning and growth. I’m compelled to ask, what steps are you taking to become the person you were meant to be? How do you feel about your growth process?

“We began to realize that if we wanted to change the situation,
we first had to change ourselves. And to change ourselves effectively,
we first had to change our perspectives.”

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, p. 18.

A growth program looks different for everyone. Yesterday I participated online in a Webinar. I also set aside 30 minutes to reread portions of a phenomenal book about leadership. Today, I will pick up where I left off in “E-Myth Mastery” by Michael Gerber. These kinds of development activities are helping me become more efficient, effective and balanced in my life and business. If it wasn’t working, I would have stopped years ago.

How do you approach your personal and professional growth? Maybe a good book is your next step. This week, many are mourning the death of Stephen Covey, the brilliant thinker, writer and teacher who gave us “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” Have you read his book or listened to his audio recordings? If not, consider getting started today on adopting these seven habits.

1. Be Proactive

2. Begin With The End In Mind

3. Put First Things First

4. Think Win/Win

5. Seek First To Understand, Then To Be Understood

6. Synergize

7. Sharpen The Saw

How long has it been since you attended a workshop? Recently I attended workshops in Houston and Chicago, but you don’t need to travel that far. A small business owners’ workshop is coming to Dayton on September 20, 2012 featuring Tom Ziglar and Howard Partridge.  It’s called “Born to Win.”  Get the details and register at: www.HowardPartridge.com/borntowin/

“Never become so much of an expert that you stop gaining expertise.
View life as a continuous learning experience.”
— Denis Waitley (1933- )