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The Standard Is the Standard

by Melody Stacy


Would you be interested in buying a pair of Nikes if one shoe was several centimeters longer than the other? What about some Apple AirPods that are too quiet to hear?


For this reason, companies have specifications on what their standard of success is. And it’s not just for products.

When you fly Southwest, it’s obvious that being friendly and not taking yourself too seriously is a part of their criteria of success. And while the proof is in the pudding, so to speak, we can also see Southwest’s standard all through their purpose, vision, and values.

What is your standard of success?

When working as a cohesive, effective team, everyone is clear on the yardstick we’re using. And no one apologizes for it.

High achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectation. - Charles Kettering

Determining the standard includes defining and being crystal clear on core values, mission, and vision, then communicating expectations...

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The Success Tax

constructive courageous Nov 29, 2022

by Aubrey Patterson


The ladder of success can feel pretty tall and steep sometimes, right?

Author and leadership guru Dean Graziosi often uses the term success tax when referring to the struggles that come in pursuit of a dream.  

In order get the most out of life, we have to consistently show up and put in the work. 

We don't get fit simply by buying expensive running shoes or joining a gym.

You can't get there by bus, only by hard work and risk and by not quite knowing what you're doing. What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover will be yourself. - Alan Alda


Pay Now, Play Later

There are few shortcuts to success.

There will certainly be times when we must endure tasks or even a position that is undesirable. Such challenges often separate those who will succeed from those who give up. 

There are no traffic jams on the extra mile. - Zig Ziglar


Success Tax Mantras

Short term struggles...

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Do Your Habits Match Your Dreams?

constructive courageous Nov 01, 2022

by Aubrey Patterson


Many people want to build new habits but worry about developing systems that disrupt their current routines. 

Such worries are understandable but rarely warranted. Optimizing systems leads to having the time, energy, and peace of mind necessary for producing more remarkable results. 

You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems. - James Clear

Impactful leaders enable and galvanize their team to join them in the creation and pursuit of a compelling vision. They continuously work to build and improve systems to actualize these dreams. 

Uphill Dreams, Downhill Habits

The extent to which we achieve our dreams is determined by our habits. 

Everything worthwhile in life is uphill.

The problem is that most of us have uphill dreams but downhill habits. John Maxwell

Success doesn’t just suddenly happen and neither does failure. Each is a...

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Staying Curious

by Melody Stacy


Curiosity killed the cat.

A useful illustration of why we shouldn’t be nosing around in situations that don’t involve us? Maybe. But as leaders, we may want to take a different perspective.

Curiosity sparks the trust, growth, and joy.

Certainly not as catchy. But this version is leadership gold.

Curiosity is a powerful mindset.

We were all born with an inquisitive approach to our world that, unfortunately, tends to dwindle as we age. As we move along in our careers, things like our ego can completely squelch any remaining glimmer.

Be curious, not judgmental. - Walt Whitman

If we can nurture this pilot light, we can spark many powerful elements for ourselves and our teams.

Stay curious a little bit longer.

One way to nurture curiosity is to focus on asking questions. As we do, we are forced to slow down, unlocking a simple yet powerful leadership strategy.

When we listen more and talk less, we can avoid missteps while building empathy....

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I Don't Know What I Don't Know

communication courageous Sep 06, 2022

by Aubrey Patterson


Have you ever worked for someone who is comfortable admitting not having all the answers and who asks questions like, 'Did I explain this clearly enough?' or 'Did I use any phrases or jargon that might mean something different to two different people?"

We Don't Know What We Don't Know

We often don’t know as much as we think we do. 

Need convincing?

Look around at something you use every day. Perhaps you see a door knob or your car radio. Now, try to explain the basics of how that item works. When we attempt this seemingly simple task, it's likely we'll find gaps in what we actually know. In psychology, this overconfident space is referred to as the illusion of explanatory depth, or the belief that we know more than we actually know. 

We see this illusion frequently in everyday buzz words like time blocking...

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Outsmarting a White Bear

courageous time blocking Aug 30, 2022

by Aubrey Patterson


Do white bears sometimes show up to ruin a perfectly good evening or keep you up at night?

Ironic process theory, or the white bear problem, says that attempts to suppress a particular thought will only increase its frequency and intensity. This idea from Harvard psychologist Daniel Wegner is derived from an essay by a Russian writer well over a century ago:

Try to pose for yourself this task: not to think of a polar bear, and you will see that the cursed thing will come to mind every minute. (Fyodor Dostoevsky)

A white bear might be an upcoming contentious meeting, a very busy week ahead, or any foreboding task that needs to be completed. The more we try to push the worries down, the greater they feel. 

So, how do we get our brains to cut us a break and fend off the white bear?

There are a number of strategies to do this, like replacing the thought, going for a walk, or...

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Chesterson's Fence

constructive courageous Aug 01, 2022

by Aubrey Patterson


It’s best to use a lens of humility and assume those who came before us knew things we don’t or had experiences we haven't yet encountered.

Don't ever take a fence down until you know the reason why it was put up. (John F. Kennedy)

Before changing anything, we should accept that their reasons for making certain choices might be more complex than they seem at first glance.

Second-order thinking is the practice of considering not only the consequences of our decisions, but also the consequences of the consequences.

Most of us easily implement first-order thinking, which is simply understanding the immediate consequences of our actions.

First-order thinking requires little effort.

Second-order thinking is far more time-consuming. Unfortunately, many choose not to devote the time or mental calories necessary to truly think things through and instead choose quick fixes that make matters worse.


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courageous Jul 25, 2022

by Aubrey Patterson


Are you beginning, or aspiring to obtain a new position?

It can be challenging to straddle that fine line between being authentic and living up to the well-established expectations of those you serve.

And it can be even more challenging when you have to take over from someone who is respected, loved, and did a great job, right?

The Front of Your Jersey

Most professional athletes proudly wear a team logo on the front of their jersey and carry their surnames on their backs.

For someone who is new to a position or organization, it's important to strongly support the logo on the front of the jersey, honoring the past and respecting the people who are present.

The Back of Your Jersey

It can be quite exhausting if we choose to leave part of us behind when we walk through the doors, but there's even more we risk when we create a work version of ourselves.

Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be...

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constructive courageous Jul 21, 2022

by Aubrey Patterson


Some times, everything goes according to plan. Other times, life feels overwhelming.

Remarkable leaders certainly must feel like giving up at times, but they persevere and often inspire their team to greater successes.


Perseverance and Practice

No matter how talented people are, there is no success without perseverance. Tenacity is not an issue of talent nor is it limited by time. It’s simply about practicing and finishing.

Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing that makes you good. (Gladwell)

In So Good They Can't Ignore You, author Cal Newport debunks the notion that we should follow our passions, arguing that passion is the result of putting in the hard work to excel at something valuable.

Remarkably successful people are experts at practicing. They have the ability to push themselves to the limits of their skillsets,...

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11 Mantras to Boost Your Courage

courageous Jun 20, 2022

by Melody Stacy


Picture this.

You’re standing in frigid temperatures with wind gusts reaching 50 miles per hour, facing nothing but 930 miles of blinding white, snow-covered terrain. And the only company you have is the supply-filled sled that you’re pulling.

Seem impossible?

Everyone thought so before Colin O’Brady completed his 54-day adventure, the first unassisted solo trip across Antarctica, in 2018.

It always seems impossible until it's done. - Nelson Mandela

When asked, “How did you do it?” Colin, an endurance athlete, shares, "I would, without a doubt, say that the mental part is harder.”

He attributes his ability to keep the mental challenges at bay to his daily mantra, a trio of statements that helped him realize the best, most capable version of himself.

Each morning, he would repeat this refrain to himself.

You’re strong. You’re capable. You can do this.

Tell yourself a story that speaks into possibility.


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