Over 40 years ago I fell in love with inspiring words. The first I remember came from my dad. He began teaching me about pivot points and the art of chess when I was only six years old as he repeated a single phrase over and over again:
One single move can change the momentum of the game became my mantra and my directive to keep moving forward when everything seemed hopeless.
Dad only lived to be 39, but as it is the case with the distant mentors we love to quote, his legacy lives on for he truly taught me to dare greatly.
Today—as I celebrate my fiftieth birthday—I want to pay the lesson forward by gifting YOU with my 50 favorite quotes to inspire YOU to dare greatly too.
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It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. —Theodore Roosevelt
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Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world. —Harriet Tubman
I didn’t fully understand the powerful meaning of these words. Until recently. Creativity has rarely been truly fun for me because a whisper in the back of my mind would say: What if it’s not good enough. What if others see it. What if they find out I’m not as good, as smart, as talented as they think I am. What if I’m not invited back… What if someone steals my ideas… What if… What if…What if… —the eternal enemy of creativity and creative fun.
I created a full fledged classroom out of stuffed animals when I was six—because it was fun. I came home every day and taught them what I learned in first grade—because it was fun. I was blessed enough to have a stellar five year old student in my little creative room, my sister Corina—because it was fun. She was so brilliant that she learned how to read and write from my silly and creative lessons—because it was fun. She went on to skip first grade in the process and grow to become a lover of music and art and all things wonderful, creative, and fun.
I kinda became a stick in the mud. An academic. A funless thinker and researcher and technologist and business analyst. Don’t get me wrong. All of the above could have been fun. And it’s becoming fun again. The What ifs killed the fun for me.
Yesterday I had a big breakthrough. I stepped in front of the camera for my first-ever LIVE Facebook video broadcast. No editing. No second takes to make me sound smarter and more likeable. No changing the angle to make me look thinner or more professional. A terrifying moment for a chronic perfectionist.
I’m in San Diego. They are tuning in from around the world. I wanted them to see what was happening at the live mastermind event.
My insecurities were put to bed at the foot of service… because it wasn’t about me. It was about them. I wanted to cheer them up. I wanted them to feel the energy from San Diego, so it could fire them up.
In the next 18 months amazing things are going to happen for those who have the guts to get rid of the insecurities that have kept them smaller than they want and need to be.
I want to be one of them. I want to inspire others to do the same. So, I’m I’m stepping in front of the live camera more often.
I breathe. I tell myself: “It’s not about me.”
How about you. Why do you need to put your perfectionism to bed? If the reason is big enough. If it’s in support of serving others, you will do it.
I can still remember the day I totalled my car. Apparently I went through a red light (don’t remember) and slammed into the side of a minivan that was making a left turn in front of me. It’s a miracle I came through it alive.
I couldn’t tell the police officer how it all happened. I was behind the wheel but my mind was somewhere else, distracted by what wouldn’t have mattered a bit had that day been my last one on this earth.
Mindfulness, simply put, is being fully present in any given moment.
Mindfulness can be as simple as learning to breathe, removing distractions, focusing on a single task, putting away the phone at meetings or during conversations, taking time to get centered and focused, etc.
I hope to do more and more of all the aevery day, when I work, when I’m by myself, when I’m around others—and when I’m driving. That’s what I hope those I have the privilege to influence will want to do as well.
That’s the motivation behind this new segment. My hope is that it will help you as well.
My Goal Setting Masterclass can help you become more mindful. It’s online and it’s free here. It’s my gift to you to take mindfulness to the next level.
Mindfulness at Work
If you want to learn more about mindfulness training at work, both the pros and cons (according to the experts), here are three articles you may find helpful.
I haven’t met the person who doesn’t enjoy inspiring quotes. Well, except for the occasional curmudgeon who will miss the point but will eagerly point out the grammatical errors and alleged cliches. Let’s ignore the latter for now.
I have a theory: we love inspiring quotes because our brains are starving for positive nourishment, the type of mental fuel that propels us towards greater faith, focus, courage, perseverance, and the will to live with passion and purpose.
Truth be told, inspiring quotes can be nothing more than brain candy… if we just read them and quickly forget their inherent wisdom.
May the following fifty quotes be like mental vitamins that inspire you to learn how to build the life and business of your dreams.
How do you stay motivated and win the day when everything seems hopeless? One of my clients asked me recently.
I was reflecting on her question as I watched Jeff Walker talk about Payton Manning on “Winning when You Are Not at Your Best” (in the video below). In one word, the answer for me always comes down to mental toughness, which is developed over time by choosing what I will focus on day in and day out.
As Jeff puts it, it’s a matter of deciding what I will focus on next. In celebration of my Year of Jubilee (turning 50 this year), I decided to gather and share 50 phrases I focus on every day to build my mental resilience … to ensure that I can win the day, even if I don’t feel I’m at my best.
Neither of us can control our circumstances. But we can choose how we react to them.
“… you can do your work out loud, in public, and for others. Be relentlessly generous, without focusing on when it will come back to you. In each case, the race to the bottom or the race to the top, you might win. Up to you.” —Seth Godin
Purpose and action driven Bridge Builders are not only my mentors and my inspiration, but also my wholehearted entrepreneurial peers—and the coaching clients I choose to work with. Why? They’re kindred spirits. They understand that there’s a greater purpose in life than playing it safe.
They get that their decisions can only be described by one of two… “F” words.