Begin Planning Your Retirement Party Now

The retirement party is in full swing. Associates from throughout the organization have gathered to celebrate and extend best wishes to Bob, a great leader who is retiring. The room is packed.

One by one people go to the front of the room, grab the microphone, and begin talking about the impact that Bob made on them. Some of the stories they tell are funny, some are serious, but every one of them is personal. One person talks about how Bob provided compassion and encouragement during a tough time. Another says that she is thankful that Bob demanded her best and would not accept mediocrity. Someone else states that Bob listened to him and changed his stance on an issue. Another person remembers the time Bob sent a personal congratulation note to her son for his graduation. Someone else talks about a time that Bob made a serious mistake but owned up to it, learned from it, and became a better leader because of the experience.

Other team members begin their speeches with: I remember . . . ; You took the time to . . . ; You helped me . . . ; Ill never forget . . . ; You cared enough to . . . ; and so on.

No one spoke about successful or failed strategies. No one mentioned a successful or failed marketing program. There were no toasts to celebrate winning an account. The evening was filled with personal stories of how Bob treated each person individually.

Meanwhile, in the same building, another retirement party is going on. The party is a not a retirement celebration. It is a celebration that a leader has retired. In fact, the leader who is retiring was not even invited to the party. He did the same job and worked just as hard as Bob. But he chose to do it differently. He was a jerk.

Which retirement party do you want?

Bob understood that leadership was not about him. His primary interest was not in the accumulation of power—it was in developing his people to become their very best. The other retiree was more interested in the accumulation of power and wealth than helping those around him become their best. Typically, jerks are greedy and interested in only themselves. They act and react without thinking. Jerks enjoy taking the easy road and are quick to blame others.

That is not you. You are a great person with honorable intentions, but sometimes you may come across differently than what you really are. Unfortunately, everyone occasionally and unintentionally comes across like a jerk. Even Bob appeared to be a jerk at times. The difference in the two retirees was how often they appeared to be jerks and how quickly they recovered when their jerk moment appeared. Bob’s jerk moments were rare, temporary, and he recovered from them quickly. His team knew that regardless of the temporary jerk moment, he had their best interest in mind. The other retiree’s team knew that his jerk moment was just another ordinary day.

You may be thinking that some jerks achieve extraordinary results. After all, you have heard that nice guys finish last. Yes, some jerks have achieved extraordinary results. You may be a marketing genius, fabulous communicator, and incredible visionary. Regardless, people in your organization will probably not stick around for long if you choose the bullying, arrogant, insulting, and uncompromising leadership route.

Excerpted from The First Two Rules of Leadership. Don’t Be Stupid. Don’t Be a Jerk by David Cottrell Wiley 2016

FREE! Quit Drifting, Lift the Fog, and Get Lucky Book Study Participant and Facilitator Guides!

You can lead your discussion group at work, home, school, or church through Quit Drifting, Lift the Fog, and Get Lucky with our free, five-session, small-group guide and reproducible handouts

You don’t have to be an expert in facilitation to lead your group. The FREE small-group guide provides everything you need.  

A professional PowerPoint presentation is also available for purchase. 

Visit CornerStoneLeadership.com to download your free guides.

Wisdom from a Mentor

Here are seven samples of the mentor’s advice in Quit Drifting, Lift the Fog, and Get Lucky… How to Become the Person You Want to Be:

“The challenges you face are not there to destroy you; they are there to redirect you to the path that’s right for you.” 

“Regardless of what is going on, something can be done, and the next move is yours.” 

“Everyone is one blood test, stress test, x-ray, or serious accident away from a life-changing moment. There’s no good reason to put off becoming the person you want to be.” 

“When you don’t know the facts, the tendency is to imagine the worst—things you fear will happen—and then you make assumptions based on your imagination. Those assumptions are almost always wrong. Quit imagining and reacting to what you don’t know.” 

“You can’t just want, hope, or wish for luck to show up. You must actively throw yourself in luck’s path.” 

“’Someday I will, or someday I’m going to’ are the cries of the residents of Someday Isle. Never in history has a situation improved on its own while people sat basking in the sun, doing nothing on Someday Isle.” 

“Don’t be so busy making a living that you forget how to live.” 

Those are just a few of the lessons you will learn from in Quit Drifting, Lift the Fog, and Get Lucky . Learn how to close the gap of where you are and where you want to be. 

Order it today on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, CornerStoneLeadership, or through your local bookstore.

Special price – $15.95 (Reg. $22.00)

Hang On! No, Let Go!

Should I hang on or should I let go?  That is a tough question that everyone must answer at some point in time.  Making the wrong choice could be disastrous.

For instance, if you are rappelling a mountain, you must hang on to the rope with all your strength to make progress. Letting go would be catastrophic. However, if you are waterskiing and you lose your balance, if you don’t let go of the rope, the water will beat you to death. 

How do you know when to hang on or when to let go of your personal or professional dream? Your answer should contain equal doses of faith and reason. You first must have faith you are pursuing the right thing. Then, it must pass the reasonable test.  

To accurately decide whether to hang on or let go, you need at least one trusted advisor to help you think it through.  Your advisors can make or break you. Many people ask friends for advice, but close friends typically are not great advisors. The best advisors are people with more experience than you who will tell you the truth from their perspective, even if it hurts your feelings. Without bias, they will either confirm your faith to hang on or provide a practical reason for you to let go.

Understanding whether to hang on or let go is a valuable lesson you will learn in Quit Drifting, Lift the Fog, and Get Lucky. This book provides you the opportunity to eavesdrop on a mentor’s advice about how to discern between hanging on and letting go so that you can become the person you want to be. 

Order it today on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, CornerStoneLeadership, or through your local bookstore.

Special price – $15.95 (Reg. $22.00)

Quit Drifting!

Do you know someone frustrated by the gap between where they are and where they intended to be?  If so, my latest book: Quit Drifting, Lift the Fog, and Get Lucky … How to Become the Person You Want to Be, could be one of the most generous gifts you can give.  

Quit Drifting is an engaging story based on a lifetime of experiences and observations. Marshall Goldsmith describes it as “A wonderful fable that teaches how to achieve success and how to share your wisdom with others.”

Order it today on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, CornerStoneLeadership, or through your local bookstore.  There is also a FREE book study facilitator guide and participant guide available to download from CornerStoneLeadership.com.

Special price – $15.95 (Reg. $22.00)

The Nature of Excellence – The Essence of Excellence

Excellence is reflected in each of us.

Stunning photography and inspirational quotes are combined in The Nature of Excellence 88-page, coffee-table-size ($14.95) or gift size ($7.95) book. Through the twin lens of insight and imagery, you’ll discover the natural excellence that surrounds us. You will also learn from the wisdom of more than 100 successful people who have inspired excellence throughout history.

The book is designed to inspire you and your team to become your very best.

Here are a few sample quotes about Excellence from The Nature of Excellence:

“Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise, risking more than others think is safe, dreaming more than others think is practical, and expecting more than others think is possible.”  – Unknown

It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.” – Henry Van Dyke

“When you were born, you cried, and the world rejoiced. Live your life in such a manner that when you die the world cries and you rejoice.”   – Old Indian saying

“Excellence is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.”  – Alexander Graham Bell

Click here to order The Nature of Excellence and save 50%.

The Nature of Excellence – Perseverance

Against all odds, persevere.

Stunning photography and inspirational quotes are combined in The Nature of Excellence 88-page, coffee-table-size ($14.95) or gift size ($7.95) book. Through the twin lens of insight and imagery, you’ll discover the natural excellence that surrounds us. You will also learn from the wisdom of more than 100 successful people who have inspired excellence throughout history.

The book is designed to inspire you and your team to become your very best.

Here are a few sample quotes about Perseverance from The Nature of Excellence:

Genius? Nothing! Sticking to it is the genius! . . . I’ve failed my way to success.” – Thomas Edison

It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.” – Babe Ruth

The major difference between the big shot and the little shot is the big shot is just a little shot who kept on shooting.” – Zig Ziglar

When one door closes another door opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the ones which open for us.” – Alexander Graham Bell

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

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2022. Finding Hope

A few years ago, many corporate training sessions began with an exercise called Hopes and Fears.  The facilitator asked participants what they were hoping to gain from the training and what they feared might happen.  

Typically, the hopes were increased knowledge, new skills discovered, renewed energy, and other positive things along those lines.  The most common fear was the training would be a waste of time.  Once the hopes and fears were expressed, every so often they would reflect and  evaluate how they were accomplishing hopes and eliminating fears. 

Entering 2022 may be a good time to dust off that exercise and express our hopes and fears for the new year with our family, friends, and co-workers. Fears without hope are depressing, discouraging, dark, and miserable.  Articulating feelings is a good way to begin the process of dwelling on hopes and eliminating many fears.  

Where can hope be found?  How can we find hope when fears dominate our space?  How can we claim hope when those around us are claiming fear?  

Hope is around to be found, but we have to work at it.  A positive person must work at being positive more than a cynical person must work at being negative.  A happy person works at being happy more than a grumpy person must work at grumpiness.  An encourager works harder at encouraging than a critic must work to discourage.  None of that is fair.

Finding hope requires you to identify, pursue, and claim it in your most important places … your faith, family, and friends.  Without faith, there is no hope in our present or future.  Without family, we lose our greatest gift.  Without friend’s encouragement, we lose confidence in mankind. 

It is never too late for redemption. The new year is a good time to rekindle hope with a fresh start. You can begin by reigniting your faith, teaching  your family about faith and hope, and developing a renewed, peaceful outlook of those around you.  

May 2022 will be the year to rediscover hope, move past our fears, and become our very best.

The Nature of Excellence – Press On

Press on. Your defining moment may arrive just when you feel surrounded by adversity.

Stunning photography and inspirational quotes are combined in The Nature of Excellence 88-page, coffee-table-size ($14.95) or gift size ($7.95) book. Through the twin lens of insight and imagery, you’ll discover the natural excellence that surrounds us. You will also learn from the wisdom of more than 100 successful people who have inspired excellence throughout history.

The book is designed to inspire you and your team to become your very best.

Here are a few sample quotes about Pressing On from The Nature of Excellence:

The very greatest things – great thoughts, discoveries, inventions – have usually been nurtured in hardship, often pondered over in sorrow, and at length established with difficulty.” – Samuel Smiles

“Adversity introduces a man to himself.” – Anonymous

The measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and adversity.” – Dr. Martin Luther King

Adversity causes some men to break, others to break records.” – William Arthur Ward

“Things don’t go wrong and break your heart so you can become bitter and give up. They happen to break you down and build you up so you can be all that you were intended to be.” – Charlie “Tremendous” Jones

Click here to order The Nature of Excellence and save 50%.

The Nature of Excellence – Growth

You must let go to grow.

Stunning photography and inspirational quotes are combined in The Nature of Excellence 88-page, coffee-table-size ($14.95) or gift size ($7.95) book. Through the twin lens of insight and imagery, you’ll discover the natural excellence that surrounds us. You will also learn from the wisdom of more than 100 successful people who have inspired excellence throughout history.

The book is designed to inspire you and your team to become your very best.

Here are a few sample quotes about Growth from The Nature of Excellence:

Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.” – John F. Kennedy

Growth begins when we start to accept our own weakness.” – Jean Vanier

The man who graduates today and stops learning tomorrow is uneducated the day after.” – Newton D. Baker

Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.” – Chinese proverb

What we have to learn to do, we learn by doing.” – Aristotle

Click here to order The Nature of Excellence and save 50%.

The Nature of Excellence – Attitude

The right attitude is the root to success
It enables us to stand strong and prevail.

Stunning photography and inspirational quotes are combined in The Nature of Excellence 88-page, coffee-table-size ($14.95) or gift size ($7.95) book. Through the twin lens of insight and imagery, you’ll discover the natural excellence that surrounds us. You will also learn from the wisdom of more than 100 successful people who have inspired excellence throughout history.

The book is designed to inspire you and your team to become your very best.

Here are a few sample quotes about Attitude from The Nature of Excellence:

An optimist sees an opportunity in every calamity; a pessimist a calamity in every opportunity.” – Winston Churchill

Think enthusiastically about everything, but especially about your job. If you do so, you’ll put a touch of glory in your life. If you love your job with enthusiasm, you’ll shake it to pieces.” – Norman Vincent Peale

If you want to be happy, put your effort into controlling the sail, not the wind.”  – Anonymous

Life is too short not to be happy and too long not to do well.”  – Bryan Dodge

Everything can be taken from a person but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.“ – Viktor E. Frankl

Click here to order The Nature of Excellence and save 50%.