Commitment – 2nd (of 7) “Super Words”


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Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota, is a monumental granite sculpture that represents the first 150 years of the history of the United States of America with 60-foot (18 m) sculptures of the heads of former United States presidents (left to right): George Washington (1732–1799), Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919), and Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865).

When thinking of an image that could portray our “Super Word” for this post “Commitment,” I looked at numerous pictures, but chose this one. Anyone who has read about these four men, would likely agree that commitment was one of their best virtues.

I now shift to a more modern time, and a different genre, for quotes about commitment:

“Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal – a commitment to excellence – that will enable you to attain the success you seek.” Mario Andretti (Italian born American Race driver. b.1940)

The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.” Vince Lombardi quotes (American Football Coach, national symbol of single-minded determination to win.1913-1970)

Webster defines “Commitment” as:
a : an agreement or pledge to do something in the future

b : something pledged

c : the state or an instance of being obligated or emotionally impelled <a commitment to a cause>

My purpose in looking at these “Super Words” is to learn how to change habits effectively. I have failed many times to make changes, even after setting goals to do so. Planning is important, and setting goals is important, but commitment is the path to action. Someone once said when eating a ham and egg breakfast, “The chicken was involved, but the pig was committed.”

As I work on my plan to change a key habit, to improve, I know it is necessary to implement the changes for at least 30 days before a new habit will replace the old one. Getting up earlier, and having a “Quiet Time” as well as more family time to start the day are important habits I want to form. Becoming committed right now to that result is, I think, the best thing I can do to reach my goal.

I’ll keep you informed of my progress (or lack thereof). Would you share your comments with me?

Next week’s post will examine “Discipline.”



3 Ways to Understand “Character” – 1st (of 7) “Super Words”



The first of 7 posts regarding “Super Words!”   The first is “Character.”

When people talk about the character of someone, what do you think they mean?

Webster defines character in many ways, but pertaining to the individual, these are the applicable definitions: 

  • One of the attributes or features that make up and distinguish an individual
  • The complex of mental and ethical traits marking and often individualizing a person, group, or nation

Most of us understand the character of a  person (whom we consider unique and notable in character) in 3 practical ways.

1.  The person represents what we think is good; a person we could trust and like.

2.  The person is focused on principle, duty, and concern for others.

3.  The person has the conviction to sacrifice for the greater good, to accomplish truly important things

We talk of “developing character,”  and that certainly occurs during our lifetime.  However our character is the product of many things — our beliefs, our experiences, our struggles, and our goals.   It is often influenced by our role models, and examples from whom we learn and who we admire.

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved. — Helen Keller, American social activist, public speaker and author (1880-1968).

To further develop our character we may need to:

1.  Work on building trust,  and change habits as required to be the person we desire to be.

2.  Focus on principle, duty, and concern for others.

3.  Make the changes needed to accomplish truly important things.

Please share a comment with your thoughts about understanding the character of an individual, and what we may do to further develop our character.

And please join me for the next post in this series of  “Super Words.”  It is about “Commitment.”

Photo: / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Super Words! – Introduction


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As I try to build new habits, to follow a more effective path in my life, I continue to “crash” into obstacles, distractions, and fall back to the old habits.  I read the books of many successful persons who share how to follow the plan which led them to their particular desired result (great job, new business, better health, wealth, fame, great relationships, or professional achievement, etc.).  I can read most of the words and understand them.  It’s those “Super Words” with which I have trouble. 

  • Character
  • Commitment
  • Discipline
  • Goals
  • Motivation
  • Persistence
  • Balance

I call these “Super Words” because they are so extremely important.  And to achieve changes in life that are positive, productive, and helpful to others requires understanding some of these “super” words, and internalizing  them.  I must make these a part of my thoughts if they are to become part of my actions.

In the coming weeks, each of these words will in turn be the focus of one of seven successive weekly posts of this blog, beginning with “Character.”   This will insure that I examine each of these “Super Words,” and increase my understanding of the critical concepts these timeless words embrace.

Will you join me on this 7-week journey.  What we share could help us Learn to Change Habits as we seek to improve.

I encourage your comments to add to the discussion for all of us.

Photo Credit: Thanks to

How to Recover When I Fail


This video is encouraging! These marvelous examples of real success are phenomenal, yet we are shown that they too faced failure, adversity, or experiences that could have dampened all their hopes.

May we learn to set our sights on our vision, and to know that we can do what we need to do.

Does this video encourage you?

How to Stand Firm (3 steps)


Photo credit: embalu from

“Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.” —Abraham Lincoln

When I thought of the concept of “standing firm”, several images came to mind. The “Rock of Gilbralter” was one. Then I considered the large pyramids, structures that have existed as immovable objects over thousands of years. Taking a stand to change behavior is very hard. Failure lies in wait around every bend of the path we take toward the change we desire. To avoid the failure, we must transform our thinking. But we must first have a firm foundation, and the following 3 Steps are necessary.

1 – Know what you believe.
What we believe to be true, the values we hold dearly, and the principles we know we should follow, work together to build a strong foundation which supports our life, our decisions, and our actions. When I read the quote from Abraham Lincoln, I recalled reading about the difficulty in his life, the failures he faced, and then as President, the courage he demonstated when he “put his feet in the right place, then stood firm,” with so many against him.

2 – Know where you are going.
Life is a journey, and we need a vision to realize our destination — what it will look like, feel like, and be like. One of my goals is a business. Before focusing on the rudiments of finance, marketing, and operations, I need to develop a clear picture of what this business will look like, feel like, and be like when it is at its best. That image, that vision, will affect my decisions and actions along the way. Zig Ziglar said, “You have to be before you can do, and do before you can have.” I need to see what I need to become (be) and then act (do) in that way to achieve (have) the goal.

3 – Know what is important.
In our fast-moving, fast-changing lives with a plethora of distractions, it is necessary to clarify the most important thing I can do today (now) to move toward that vision. Then with commitment, competence, and confidence take action. When I fail, it’s time to learn, and then persisently redirect my action. When I succeed, that provides learning also which enables me to build habits that will repeat that success.

What would you add to this list?

Past, Present, and Future


Some have classified me as a workaholic, and some as a “Type A Personality”, one who is absorbed substantially by work. And I do a lot of work. Yet, from inside myself, one of my significant problems is “not getting enough important things done.”

Last week’s post talked about letting this blog go too long without an update. My plan for a weekly post is happening right now. As I have reviewed my overdue projects, and routine work, it is clear to me that time is available to accomplish the important things (the priorities), and to address needed things (like this blog) when it is appropriate.

“For the resolute and determined there is time & opportunity.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Looking back at the past, there is much to be learned from experiences (both successes and failures). For the future, I can plan toward my goals, using my vision for where I need to be. But where things get done, is today –in this time– and that is where my focus needs to be sharper, smarter, and applied with greater understanding. It is the seconds, the minutes, the hours of life in front of me that provide the canvas upon which I can create a picture of achievement.

What do you think? Have you managed to change a habit, a process, an ingrained routine to become more productive? Please share your thoughts.

Lack of time is often not a good excuse…




We can probably agree that we “don’t have enough time.”  But, as we know, we each have the exact same allotment of time — it is how we use it that matters.

The excuse that I have been using when I thought about writing a new blog post, is that it made sense for me to complete first a “31-day course to be a better blogger” from one of the best, Darren Rowse.  As I get involved with my work and schedule, I then have used the excuse, “I must put attention on other priorities in my business”, so fulfilling my blogging 31-day course has not happened, and also my blog sits here dormant, without an update.

So, I am writing today to break that cycle.  And I will restart my commitment to write a blog post weekly.  I am not giving up that I should complete the 31-day Blog Course, but I will do it in parallel while posting weekly (new goal to finish my course is October 20, 2009).

It is important to “manage by priorities.”   But it is also important to realize when something that is of significant value, though not at the top of the priority list, is being delayed too long and take action to correct it.

If you are interested in becoming a blogger (or a better one), please check out Darren Rowse’s book”

Courteous and Respectful Communication…


On one of my LinkedIn groups, I commented on this question posed by another member:

As a people-skills coach, I often hear that technology has ruined interpersonal skills and contact. Let’s hear it, what do you think?  How has technology helped and/or hurt?

My response:

Technology sometimes provides us an excuse for careless habits.

I remember, in the 90’s, discussions on “Will email ruin our interpersonal skills and contact skills?”  This was well before “texts” and “tweets”.

And I still encounter people composing emails with:

  • no capitals at all
  • Dismissive responses (one-word or short responses) that do not address the elements of the email to which the response is being sent.
  • Poor grammar
  • Reactive responses or new emails that appear to have no thought applied beforehand.

I think these are examples of lazy, expedient, or shortcut habits sometimes driven by “I have a ton of emails and must get rid of them” or similar attitude. But the bottom line is, these are communications which need to be clear, concise and delivered with appropriate courtesy and respect. When that is the goal, email, tweets, text messages, IM’s, blogs, etc. take on a different look and feel, and achieve a better result.

A couple of years ago,  I built a habit to — right before hitting the “Send” button for emails, to change the recipient’s name at the start of the email to bold type and to increase it one font size.   It doesn’t take much additional effort.  Mentally, I try to “say” — Courtesy and Respect, as a reminder that the foundation of all my communications should begin with “Courtesy and Respect”.  It has helped change my communication style.

What do you think?

1 Way to Make a Difference. And then some…


Today, I want to share information provided by in an email — an excerpt from their book,

Charging the Human Battery 

“When we have done our best, we can await the results in peace.”
— Author Unknown

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Committing to excellence is not an act, it’s an attitude. It’s an attitude that is captured in this short thought titled: And Then Some… 

And then some…
These three little words are the secret to success.
They are the difference between average people and top
people in most companies.
The top people always do what is expected…
and then some.
They are thoughtful of others; they are considerate
and kind…
and then some.
They meet their responsibilities fairly and squarely…
and then some.
They are good friends and helpful neighbors…
and then some.
They can be counted on in an emergency…
and then some.
I am thankful for people like this, for they make
the world a better place. Their spirit of service is
summed up in these three little words…
And then some.”

This is from one of 50 short chapters in Charging the Human Battery…50 Ways to Motivate Yourself. We all have doubts, fears and disappointments in our lives and occasionally need a “shot of inspiration.” That’s what this little book is all about…ideas to inspire, encourage and motivate when you need it most!   —Mac Anderson (


I find the offerings at to be compelling stories emphasizing profound truths.  Beautifully designed and illustrated, clear and concise, they make great business and personal gifts.   Tremendous value of content at a reasonable price.

Gary Duke

Applying New Ideas…


As I struggle often in this quest to “Change Habits”, I am reading as much as I can to understand the process and how I can achieve the result I am working to achieve.

Some of what I had just read encouraged me to write a plan to include the why, what, who, and how of my method.  As I began, I read a blog on “mind mapping”, which I had briefly tried once in the past.  This time the author suggested the tool from   I am still new to it, but the result is a visually interesting image of what I entered into the map (benefits, measurement, and achievement that is available, if I will transform my misstep into a new habit and integrate it into my life).

If you wish to try mindmapping for yourself, the tool at seems to work well.

Let’s see if a visual chart will help keep my focus more intent on my goal.