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John Maxwell Team

John Maxwell Team Certified Member

Priscilla Archangel is a John Maxwell Team Certified Coach, Teacher and Speaker.

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    Doing Nothing – The Biggest Risk

    Marvelously Capable-2

    There’s a well-known parable about a wealthy CEO who took an extended business trip. He left his company in the hands of his three VPs, and gave each of them a portion of the net assets to manage in his absence. Based on what he knew of their capabilities, he gave the first one, we’ll call her Pat, $50 million. The next one, Chris, was given $20 million, and the last, Joe, was given $10 million. When the CEO returned, he asked for a report of their activities and earnings during his absence. Pat proudly showed him how she had doubled the assets entrusted to her, and now she had $100 million. Chris was pleased as well to show that she now had $40 million. Joe by now realized he had fallen far short of his CEO’s expectations. He was afraid to take a risk in losing his leader’s money, after all he couldn’t afford to pay it back, so he did absolutely nothing with it. Nothing. Joe didn’t even try to increase it, or put it in an interest bearing bank account. You can imagine what the CEO did with Joe after that. He likely didn’t have a job.

    Now Pat and Chris could probably tell some interesting stories about their journey to doubling their assets; things they learned along the way both about themselves and their business strategies. They likely had some failures, but they were able to effectively manage through them.

    Rut vs. Risk

    Joe was afraid to take any type of risk with the valuable resources he had. He simply sat on them. Hopefully he had an idea of a business strategy he could try, something he wanted to do, but unfortunately he didn’t know how to do it or was afraid to take the risk. And by doing nothing, he effectively lost ground.

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    10 Key Questions for Leaders – Part 1

    Leaders are faced with a myriad of issues each day, but one of their most critical responsibilities is to step back from the urgent and focus on the important. They must achieve a balance between the reactionary crisis mode and the proactive planning mode. This means pausing and reflecting on how they’re influencing behaviors to ensure the right outcomes. To accomplish that, there are 10 key important questions that, properly addressed, will strengthen both their leadership and their organizational effectiveness.


    1. google imageDisruption. What is the disruptive threat to your business model? Leaders should be constantly aware of ongoing threats to their business model and its products or services, and take action to address it. Jim Kennedy, Chairman and former CEO of Cox Enterprises provided a great example when he diversified his business away from classified ads to leverage the growing role of the internet, by successfully launching So make a list of all the products and services provided by your organization, your team, and even you, based on your skillsets. Now for each one, think about two or three ways that your product, service or skillset can be provided faster, cheaper or differently. What technological advances might make your current products or services obsolete? How might consumer preferences shift away from your current model? Believe in the possibility and probability of those ideas, then focus on how you’ll anticipate the future and address that threat. Shift your business model to where the customers are going, instead of where they are now.
    2. Purpose. Why are you doing what you’re doing? Many organizations and teams shift into automatic mode as their activities become routinized. They assume that demand will continue for their products and services, and evolve into placing more focus on what they’re doing, or how they’re doing it, instead of WHY they’re doing it. But asking the question WHY, connects you to the purpose of your activities. It’s the motivator and driving force that inspires the team to the appropriate behaviors that will support it. Once they understand your WHY, an emotional link can form as they pinpoint their contribution to accomplishing it. The underlying WHY or purpose of an individual, team or organization typically does not change, because it’s a fundamental belief and value. According to Simon Sinek, the how and what changes as necessary to continue to support the WHY. When you know your purpose or your WHY and communicate it effectively, this clarity attracts others to you who recognize a benefit from it.
    3. Failure. Where have you failed, and what insights have you learned from it? If you’ve never failed, you’ve never attempted something of impact and significance, relative to your abilities. Failure can add value when we learn something from it, and build upon it. Thomas Edison failed many times in trying to develop a light bulb. The Wright brothers failed initially before leveraging their underdog status to become the first in flight. J. C. Penney was sick and bankrupt before he built his namesake store into a retailing giant. But they learned from their failures, kept trying and eventually succeeded. The only bad failure is if you fall into shame and shut down afterwards. Instead, find a stepping stone to move forward. Failure is a requirement for growth. It’s accompanied by exploration, curiosity, pursuit, action, and flexibility. And most importantly, reflecting on and learning lessons that can be constructively shared with others.
    4. Curiosity. What are you curious about? Curiosity is a precursor to learning. Though it’s easy to be consumed with the daily challenges of leadership roles, it’s important to take time to explore insights in related areas to stimulate thought processes, and spur new ideas. Research shows that successful CEOs are curious, and this curiosity leads to growth. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook started his Year of Books online reading club to encourage discovery about different beliefs, cultures and technologies. And Richard Kinder, Chairman and CEO of Kinder Morgan reads about 50 books a year. He learns from how other leaders have confronted challenges, particularly overwhelming ones for which they had few ready answers. His curiosity in reading is linked to his interests, and fuels his passion for learning. So dig into those areas that you’re curious about, and your learning will form the basis for future growth.
    5. Service. What does my team need from me in order for them to be successful? As a leader, your responsibility is to serve your employees, enabling them in turn to provide value to customers, investors, and the community. You serve your team by creating a compelling vision, and providing the processes, tools and structure to support innovation, recognition, teamwork, and success. Service requires a continual focus on others to understand their needs, motivations, and aspirations, and to provide them with opportunities for growth. This includes a measure of humility to steer the focus from your own, to the teams’ accomplishments, and to ensure that your decisions serve them and not yourself. Service also provides a greater connection to the team as you partner together in the organization’s success. Leaders who focus on service take responsibility when things go wrong. Leaders who focus on service empower their team. Leaders who focus on service attract, retain and develop talented people.

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    Fail Your Way To Success



    Failure is typically considered a bad experience. We don’t perform as expected. We’re unsuccessful at attaining a goal. Our health or wealth deteriorates. We’re unfairly blamed for something we didn’t do. We lose someone or something that we love. But the reality is that all of us experience inadequacy, frustration, defeat and botch things up, multiple times in our lives. The question is, what do we learn from our failures, particularly the significant ones? Do we pick ourselves up and push forward, or does it paralyze us? Do we blame others and look for someone to save us, or do we use it as a tool to shape our future?

    Failure is a hot topic this month with the launch of 2 new books. Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn by leadership guru John Maxwell explores the question of “What do we learn when we fail?” Experiencing failure is a given in everyone’s life, but we often don’t want to talk about it, we just try to endure it.  Maxwell believes that the common saying “experience is the best teacher” is more accurately phrased as “evaluated experience is the best teacher”. His book shares lessons on humility, hope, reality, responsibility, improvement, problems, bad experiences, change, teachability, adversity and maturity, as key traits of learners who succeed in the face of problems, failure, and losses.


    Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams wrote How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life. In an interview with Gary Rosen in the Wall Street Journal Weekend Review, Adams advises readers not to follow their passion because it may not be very rational. For instance, a sports enthusiast who decides to open a sports paraphernalia store because he’s passionate about it, may not have a good business plan.  So don’t get passionate beyond the initial stage with something that isn’t working. Instead, try lots of things that won’t kill you, bankrupt you, etc. until something works. Adams failed at inventions, computer programs, and other initiatives, but every time he did something he learned from it, and that skill came in handy. Everything he did was all designed to give him experience that would become a stronger base.


    Experiencing Failure

    While we all experience failure, we generally want to experience it in private with minimal publicity.  After all, it’s embarrassing, especially when it looks like so many others around us are winning. Because it impacts our self-image, it can leave us in fear of greater failure if we see ourselves as losers, thus becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. Or, we can decide to focus on avoiding that same mistake in the future. We can convert failure to a positive experience, using focus and faith. Focus on what you learned and what you did right. Have faith in God and yourself to change as a result of what you’ve learned.

    The bigger the failure the greater effort it takes to get out of it, and the more we learn. Failure is all relative.  What we perceive to be failure may simply require us to redefine success. The most successful people are those who learn from their (and others’) mistakes, refuse to let those mistakes define them (don’t wallow in them), use them as stepping stones, and share them with others.

    Failure isn’t always your fault, but it may be your responsibility. For example, if you hire someone who later steals from you, it’s not your fault that this person is a thief, but it is your responsibility to hire people who seem to be trustworthy.  So you can learn to screen candidates more thoroughly, and put more security measures in place in hopes that it won’t happen again.  Or maybe you were responsible for a project, and someone on your team lied and failed to perform their assignment as part of that project. Because you’re the leader, you bear the responsibility for that failure, even though you didn’t personally do something wrong. Things may happen that are unfair. There may be a horrible miscarriage of justice, a failure that’s pinned on you. But the situation is now out of your control, and you are carrying the blame. You still have a choice to deal with sour lemons, or to make lemonade. You can’t control the decisions others have made, but you can control how you respond.

    Benefits of Failure

    So as you reflect on your failures, reflect on these accomplishments.

    • Failure is a badge of courage.  If we’ve never failed, we’ve never attempted anything worthwhile.
    • Failure informs us on our weaknesses and directs us to our strengths.
    • Failure gives us something to laugh about so that we can have fun with ourselves.
    • Failure gives us something to cry about so that we can appreciate the happy times.
    • Failure closes doors that don’t fit our purpose and helps point us to opportunities best suited for us.
    • Failure keeps us humble, recognizing that we’re not infallible.
    • Failure helps us appreciate success.
    • Failure highlights our wrong decisions so that we can learn how to make right ones.
    • Failure helps us identify what we need to learn.
    • Failure helps us identify what we can teach others.
    • Failure helps us avoid more failure.

    So the next time you experience failure…(maybe later today?)…don’t kick yourself, curse others, or spiral into depression. Instead, find a quiet spot and spend time meditating on what exactly went wrong, how you would handle it differently next time, what you’re learning from it, and how you can recover from the negative impact of it. Write that lesson down, then move forward, resolved not to repeat it.

    Copyright 2013 Priscilla Archangel



    Purchase John Maxwell’s book here and select Products.

    Watch Scott Adams’ interview here.


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    You Dreamer!

    Disruptors, innovators and entrepreneurs; that’s how Forbes Magazine describes their 30 Under 30. These are the 30 brightest stars under the age of 30 in 15 different fields such as media, music, energy, education, sports, marketing and advertising, finance, and science.  I call them dreamers. As leaders in their respective fields of expertise; many of them accomplished feats that most people haven’t even dreamed of attempting.  Their inventions, innovations, creative thinking, physical abilities, and thoughtful approaches have had a major impact on society and culture. Several that most impressed me were:

    • Joshua Sommer – Seven years ago as a freshman in college he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Instead of accepting the low possibility of survival and lack of treatment options, he cofounded the Chordoma Foundation dedicated to raising money to fund research to cure it.
    • Hugh Evans – Founded the Global Poverty Project committed to ending extreme poverty, and developed an innovative means of raising $1.3 billion in new funding commitments.
    • Leslie Dewan – Is developing a new kind of nuclear reactor with a plan to power the entire U.S. with zero carbon emissions and eliminating mountains of nuclear waste.
    • Matt Mullenweg – Launched WordPress open source blogging software at the young age of 19. It’s now used by 17% of all websites.


    But how did they accomplish so much at such a young age?  As I read their stories, several qualities were obvious.


    • Dreaming – Every great accomplishment starts with a dream, and a great dream combined with great desire leads to destiny. The dreamer believes in the possibility of what appears to be impossible; believing that as they move toward their destiny, the pathway will emerge. A great dream may look fragile to the outside world, but is intense in the mind of the dream holder.
    • Selective hearing – They ignore the naysayers, those who would try to tell them that whatever they’re attempting isn’t possible; that no one has ever done it that way before. They don’t buy into the status quo and accepted ways of doing things. They chart their own path.
    • Sacrifice – Being the best at what you do only comes with hard work and lots of it. That won’t seem “fun” to others, but there is nothing else these dreamers would rather do than to work to pursue their dream. In fact, what others perceive as sacrifice, brings pleasure to the dreamer.
    • Failure – This is simply the process of eliminating options that don’t work. Thomas Edison reportedly failed 1,000 times before he succeeded in making the light bulb. But Edison says that he discovered 1,000 ways NOT to make a light bulb. ( So learn from every mistake. Failure with a purpose equals progress. John Maxwell’s book on Failing Forward says that the only difference between people who achieve and those who are simply average is how they handle failure.
    • Perseverance – Giving up is not an option. Setbacks can be turned into setups. Difficulties, roadblocks and financial worries are simply tests of your commitment. They build commitment just like lifting weights builds strength.

    Your Dream

    I believe that everyone has a dream of accomplishing something that is bigger than them, but few people follow through on it. For some people, that dream is vivid and tangible; they can almost reach out and touch it. They think about it daily, devise plans to work toward accomplishing it. Others are still discovering their dream. And still others have almost abandoned theirs. Maybe it once existed in the recesses of their mind, but was beaten still further back by constant affirmations of impossibility.

    Children are often great dreamers because they haven’t yet learned all the reasons that adults have bought into about why their dream shouldn’t come to pass. They have:

    No boundaries to confine them.

    No past to live up to or sustain.

    No thing to lose and everything to gain.

    No fear of failure.

    So what is your dream? You may have to reflect back on your early years to remember what it was, and what happened to it. Can you recapture the passion you once had for it? Can you regain the excitement you once felt as you replayed it in your mind? Can you take one step to redirect your path toward accomplishing that dream? Let go of the things that restrict your ability to dream. Instead, dream big and make something happen.

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