LIFE'S MOST IMPORTANT LESSONS

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THE BASICS

*    
Do everything you do with style, on time,
every time, on purpose.

Do you know someone who is a certifiable
class act? Sure you do. Maybe you are a class act yourself. If so, you have
three techniques down pat. First, you are an original. Your style and approach
with people and situations are your trademark. Second, you are not on-again,
off-again. you are always uniquely you. Third, and here is the key, it's no
accident. To most people, you make it seem easy and natural; but there are
those special few who understand and appreciate how hard you work at it.

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Only
follow the lead of people for whom integrity is a bottom line commitment.

The leadership elite provide a value-added
benefit for their followers they can't get from the merely competent. Others
may have their occasional flashes of brilliance; but the creme de la creme work
their wizardry consistently, creatively, and in virtually every situation. Of
course, there is their uncanny ability to anticipate problems and opportunities
and their simply taking it for granted their followers are trying to do what's
right; but their secret ingredient is always remembering and owning everything
they say, agree to, and do.

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Always
be willing to at least try.

It doesn't matter what your particular
challenges and opportunities are. The question is, "Are you up to
it?" If so, you have avoided being caught in the vicious circle trapping
some people. They think they can't do it, so they don't try. Since they don't
try, they fail; and their lack of success proves they can't do it.

They are caught in a self-fulfilling prophecy: "I can't, therefore
I don't, therefore I fail, which proves I can't," and around-and-around
they go. If they can't, they can't; but¼.

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Your
success is best served by helping others succeed.

Imagine your future as you hope it will be,
your vision for yourself. Can you get there on a "do it yourself"
basis? If not, your challenge is to get the aid and support you need from those
who can contribute to your success.

Your best strategy over the long-haul is to understand where they want
to go and help them get there. You do this by talking with them about what aid
and support they need from you and being sure they get it. It may seem more
expedient to charge full-speed-ahead and others be dammed; but being too
self-serving ends up, in the long run, serving no one.

*    
"Did
that help?" is the question to ask.

You ask, "How can I help?" No
matter how well-intentioned, your offer to help is usually turned down or the
response is, "I will let you know." If your offer to help is sincere,
don't ask what you can do to help or wait to be asked. Think about what the
person's problem is or what they want to accomplish and then do something
helpful.

Pro-actively helping is most always much more helpful than help merely
offered though it does take a little more time, a little more thought, and a
little more effort.

*    
Know
when your turn is and then be sure you take it.

Finding ways to help and then helping
include being sure you are holding up your end of things, day-to-day, every day
as you live and work with other people. This starts with understanding keeping
track of your turn matters a lot. You may belatedly have this brought home to
you when you find yourself saying, "Did you expect me to do that?" or
"I thought someone else was taking care of it." or maybe "No one
told me I was supposed to handle it."

At home, at work, and most everywhere else, people are counting on you.

*    
Don’t
just leave it to luck when it comes to your family and other things that really
matter.

Holding up your end and Pro-actively
helping are important but aren't enough. This reality can jump out at you
whenever you tinker with this or adjust that until it's hopelessly messed up.
This is the "I'll fix it myself principle." It applies to unimportant
stuff but also applies to marital problems, troubles your children are having,
and to other difficulties inevitably coming up at home, at work, and most
anywhere else you happen to be. You say, "I'll fix it myself. I don't need
anyone messing in my business." Suit yourself and tinker away. You may get
lucky; but then again¼.

*    
Don't
passively stand by and let anyone screw things up.

Have you ever gone to a lot of time,
bother, and effort to do something that didn't work, only to learn later a
co-worker or someone in your family knew you were going to do it and knew it
wouldn't work?

An even more important question is, "Have you personally ever
watched someone making a mistake but didn't say anything?" When asked, "Why
didn't you say something?" saying, "It was none of my business,"
or "I figured you would ask if you wanted my two-cents-worth," won't
cut it.

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When
you drop the ball, don’t assume others are all that understanding or forgiving.

Do you forget things or frequently overlook
important details? Do you often just not have your act together? Life is a
juggling act and it's hard to keep organized, remember everything, and keep all
your balls moving. Nonetheless, you promised not to drop the ball. People were
counting on you and now have to deal with the consequences of your not having
your act together.

You can let
a ball bounce now and then if you are careful you don’t actually drop any.

Does keeping every ball in the air every
time seem impossible? Is everything happening at once? Are things piling up? Is
there too much to do and too little time? Are you juggling faster-and-faster
and still barely keeping all the balls up and moving?

If you are saying "Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!" here is some great
news. Carefully examine your balls. Some are glass and some are rubber. You
can't drop any of them; but you can let the rubber ones bounce a couple of
times now and then. You don't have to keep them all in the air at once.

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Unless
you have something to do that is truly important and really urgent, a little
R/R is often your best choice for what's next.

When you are having trouble deciding what's
next, make a list of the top ten things you have to do. Now put an X beside any
that are actually important and a Y beside any that have to be done right now.
Next, make a list of the X-Y things to do. Since they are all important, do the
most urgent one first; and if There are no X-Y'ers on your to-do list right
now, it may be time to kick back and relax.

*    
Bring
the same level of energy and commitment to whatever you are doing, whether
things are going sour or going great.

Can you tell how things are going simply by
people-watching? You don't have to actually know whether projects are on-track
or activities are going well. It's enough to see how people are acting.

High energy levels and smiles mean things are going fine. Tension you
can cut with a knife and a halfhearted approach to most everything mean all
isn't well; but you know that. The real challenge is setting the emotional pace
for those around you.

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