Engaging, Participating, Interacting, Creating – Fulfillment, Leadership, Organization, Wisdom

Archive for April, 2007

The Value of Starting Something

Posted by Herman Najoli on April 23, 2007

The other day I had some time and invested it in watching one of Guy Kawasaki’s speeches in which he talked about his latest book, The Art of the Start. Listening to him got me thinking about the value of starting something. The one thing that I find to be the defining mark of anybody who ever soars and ascends into the public limelight is that they start something. Be it in politics, religion, science, business, sports or any other field. Those that become torch bearers in these fields do so based on something that they started – either a new idea, a new invention, a new philosophy, a new product, a new movement, a new skill or technique.Your personal goal in life may not be to make it into the limelight but your contribution to life demands that you start something. Starting something is the key to adding value. Adding value to life is the rent we pay for the space we inhabit on this earth. Step out of your comfort zone. Gone are the days when breakthroughs were limited. We now live in an information age that offers boundless opportunities for those who will make the effort to embrace a superior level of life. It’s about reaching your full potential and maximizing your life. So, go ahead … start something.

Posted in Creating | 3 Comments »

Are you Thriving on Reputation or Cultivating Character?

Posted by Herman Najoli on April 10, 2007

Once in a while, I indulge myself and watch reality shows as I hang out with my son. Two that I have watched on and off have been Survivor and The Apprentice. Every season on these shows, there seems to be someone who stands out and develops a reputation (mostly negative) amongst the group and in the minds of the viewers. Such characters continue to perpetuate that reputation through their actions and even land more work based on their fifteen minutes of fame. However, with time, such people normally disappear from the public view. What is the reason for this? It simply boils down to one thing: they had a reputation but lacked the character to sustain their continued success. 

Reputation is simply what people think about a person. Character is what the person really is. When it comes to human performance therefore, character is the bedrock of success and achievement. Reputation is what precedes a person while character is what outlasts the person. People who thrive on reputation have never really clarified who they are as individuals. Reputation changes but character does not. Reputation is like the shadow of a building. It moves in different directions throughout the day. Character on the other hand is like the building itself. It forever stays the same. 

Today, I’d like to encourage you to be more focused on cultivating your character rather than your thriving on your reputation. Your character will outlast your reputation.

Posted in Wisdom | 3 Comments »

How to Live an Epic Life

Posted by Herman Najoli on April 4, 2007

Yesterday I had a marvelous time as I engaged in teaching kids at a local elementary school on accepting feedback and relating cross-culturally. I did this through a volunteer organization that I serve with once a week. When I left the school, I met with a friend who told me that he has always had a desire to engage and participate in society but doesn’t know where to begin. I shared with him two key questions that I want to reproduce here because they are the key to living an epic life.

Two Key Questions:

1. What is your dream?

What is your greatest hope or aspiration for those around you? What do you yearn for earnestly? What do you secretly wish for those around you?

Dreams really are the cornerstone of life. Without dreams, life is meaningless. Dreams give substance to existence. They allow us to go beyond mediocre living to living with a zest for life. Dreams activate within us a willingness to embrace higher ideals worth striving for. Dreams are the bedrock of life.

2. What is your vision?

What do you imagine when you think about the future of your community? What do you see yourself capable of achieving? If you had all the resources you wanted in the world, what would you do for other people?

Visions give structure to life. They give form to dreams. Without vision life lacks power. Visions provide us with a framework for accomplishment. They enable us to go beyond living with zest to having a zealous pursuit that delivers results. Visions allow us to go from activity to productivity. 

The Marriage of Dreams and Vision … is the birth of purpose!!

Dreams + Vision = Purpose!!

What’s your purpose in life? What is the reason for your existence? Can you clearly define that which you would give your all in order to realize for other people?

The Offspring of Dreams and Vision … is pure potential!!

Dreams X Vision = Potential!!

Every human being has the potential for greatness having an impact in society and living an epic life. In order to uncover your true potential, you have to allow your dreams to flourish and pursue a solid vision with purpose. Go for it! 

Posted in Engaging, Participating | 2 Comments »

Winning With Volunteers

Posted by Herman Najoli on April 2, 2007

Last week we saw that change was foundational to creativity and key to leadership. But with volunteer organizations this is usually tough. When I was in college I was elected chairman of a club on campus that was composed of students who were eager to develop and grow their leadership. One of my very first tasks was to change certain initiatives and processes that the group had operated by. As I did this, I discovered that only two-thirds of our membership wanted the changes. This being a group of volunteers we had to be careful in how we approached the changes. Here are five key things that worked so well:

1. Communicating Clear Vision

Success in handling change boils down to how well the vision for change has been communicated. The vision needs to be rational and understandable to constituents. This brings about a sense of shared purpose and makes it easier to initiate actions to achieve that purpose.

2. Giving People Authority to Move in the New Direction

Once people have bought into the new vision, they need to be given the authority to implement it. Vision brings responsibility. Responsibility without authority causes frustration. People need to know that they have the authority to implement the new direction within clearly stated guidelines.

3. Aligning ‘Structures’ to the Vision

All the information that people recieve, the personnel that work with them and the systems that are used to drive the mission must be aligned to the vision. This ensures that any actions taken in implementing and executing the vision are not blocked. A vision for change is delicate and without a proper alignment of all structures, it can result in disaster. 

4. Providing the Right Skills and Attitudes

Nothing empowers people more than proper and relevant training. Without the right skills and attitudes people feel disempowered. Training should be built upon the current skills and attributes of your people. The focus should be on expanding them so that they can handle the change and lead it effectively. 

5. Confronting those who Undercut the Change

Nothing disempowers people the way a bad leader can. Change causes friction but it can result in disaster when key people undercut it. When confronting such people, start on a positive note. Clearly outline the problem and encourage a response. Show that you understand their position and explain why their actions are wrong. Indicate the desired action and reiterate the positive aspects of the person. 

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