Preparing For 2012: 8 Step Plan For Growth

Prepare For 2012

2012 is on it’s way whether you prepare or NOT! Why not prepare and get on the path for a successful year? I will be sharing some things that I’m doing to prepare for a great 2012!

Part 1 of my plan is: Developing a plan for personal growth! I want to get better in my time management, communication & poise. To accomplish these goals, I have to have a plan! My plan for growth is adopting John C. Maxwell’s “8 Step Plan For Personal Growth.” I am committing myself to the process…read it & join me? I hope so…

Remember, this plan DOESN’T work if YOU don’t!

8 Steps Plan For Growth by John C. Maxwell

  1. Choose a Life of Growth
  • It’s said that when Spanish composer-cellist Pablo Casals was in the final years of his life, a young reporter asked him, “Mr. Casals, you are ninety-five years old and the greatest cellist that ever lived. Why do you still practice six hours a day?” What was Casals answer? “Because I think I’m making progress.” That’s the kind of dedication to continual growth that you should have.
  • You need to have an attitude like that of General George Patton. It’s said that he told his troops, “There is one thing I want you to remember. I don’t want to get any messages saying we are holding our position. We are advancing constantly.” Patton’s motto was, “Always take the offensive. Never dig in.”

2.  Start Growing Today

  • Napoleon Hill said, “It’s not what you are going to do, but it’s what you are doing now that counts.”
  • Why do you need to determine to start growing today? There are several reasons:

i.     Growth is not automatic.

ii.     Growth today will provide a better tomorrow.

iii.     Growth is your responsibility!

3.  Focus on Self-Development, not Self-Fulfillment

  • Rabbi Samuel M. Silver taught that “the greatest of all miracles is that we need not be tomorrow what we are today, but we can improve if we make use of the potential implanted in us by God.”

4.  Never Stay Satisfied with Current Accomplishments

  • My friend Rick Warren says, “The greatest enemy of tomorrow’s success is today’s success.”
  • It’s another characteristic of destination disease. But successful people don’t sit back and rest on their laurels.
  • Sydney Harris insisted that “a winner knows how much he still had to learn, even when he is considered an expert by others; a loser wants to be considered an expert by others before he has learned enough to know how little he knows.”

5.  Be a Continual Learner

  • The best way to keep from becoming satisfied with your current achievements is to make yourself a continual learner. That kind of commitment may be rarer than you realize. For example, a study performed by the University of Michigan several years ago found that one-third of all physicians in the United States are so busy working that they’re two years behind the breakthroughs in their own fields.
  • Henry Ford said, “It’s been my observation that most successful people get ahead during the time other people waste.”
  • Frank A. Clark stated, “Most of us must learn a great deal every day in order to keep ahead of what we forget.”

6.  Develop a Plan for Growth

  • The key to a life of continual learning and improvement lies in developing a specific plan for growth and following through with it.
  • Earl Nightingale, which says, “If a person will spend one hour a day on the same subject for five years, that person will be an expert on that subject.

7.  Pay the Price

  • President Theodore Roosevelt boldly stated, “There has not yet been a person in our history who led a life of ease whose name is worth remembering.”

8.  Find a Way to Apply What You Learn

  • Jim Rohn urged, “Don’t let your learning lead to knowledge. Let your learning lead to action.”
  • Successful people develop positive daily habits that help them to grow and learn.
  • “Something in human nature tempts us to stay where we’re comfortable. We try to find a plateau, a resting place, where we have comfortable associations with people, without the intimidation of meeting new people and entering strange situations.” (author and leadership expert Fred Smith)

Preparation ALWAYS Precedes Success!

Drew Brees, in the gym "preparing to be great"

“Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure.” ~ Confucius


Confidence comes from hours and days and weeks and years of constant work and dedication. ~ Roger Staubach

Spectacular achievement is always preceded by unspectacular preparation. ~ Robert Schuller


You hit home runs not by chance but by preparation. ~ Roger Maris


The Myth Of Overnight Success


Success Comes From Hard Work & Preparation

One of my favorite books when I began my journey to improve my personal leadership development was “Diamonds In The Rough”, by Barry J Farber. I recently reviewed my notes from this book and have decided to share them with you periodically. The following are my notes from chapter 2: “The Myth of Overnight Success”:


The Myth of Overnight Success

  1. Being successful is hard in many ways; if it wasn’t hard, everybody would do it. When we look at successful people, we see the result of their blood, sweat, and tears – we don’t usually see the tremendous effort that went on before.
  2. Ordinary people expending extra ordinary effort can be whatever they want to be.
  3. There is only one sure-fire antidote for depression and that is action – meet challenges head on!
  4. Hustle + Confidence + Consistency + Competence = Success
    1. Hustle: give that extra 10% to go beyond what is expected of you.
    2. Confidence: the closer you are to your goal, the better you feel about yourself; the stronger you get and more likely to repeat successes.
    3. Consistency: practiced and repeated performance — which produces consistency of performance.
    4. Competence: confidence and consistency often lead to the discovery of abilities that we didn’t know that we had.
  5. “The secret of success is constancy to purpose” – Ben Disraeli
  6. Preparation is one of the cornerstones of any successful endeavor. Lack of preparation causes a lack of confidence
  7. Tips for getting ahead:
    1. Learn to analyze well: do research!
    2. Don’t be afraid to act!!
    3. Be a team player: give your employer allegiance & support. If you are frustrated and dissatisfied, go somewhere else.
    5. Don’t let success go to your head.
  8. Come early, stay late, work hard, play by the rules, and stay physically fit.
  9. Have the courage to stick with your goals and ideas, even if they don’t always pan out.
  10. Most people who don’t achieve as much as they want in life don’t fall short because of lack of ability; but because they gave up too soon!
  11. Give 100% all the time. Ask yourself after every endeavor: “Did I give my best?” Remember William H Danforth’s motto: “To be our own selves; at our very best at all time. Knowing you put in your best at work allows you the guilt-free pleasure of enjoying your leisure time.


  1. Improve everyday: Be yourself & at your very best in everything you do. After every task, ask yourself: “Can I do better?” Do all the little extras you’d rather not do. There’s one thing that everyone has in common: “There’s always room for improvement….”
  2. THINK: Most people don’t succeed because they don’t think. Sit down with a notepad and write down your goals & ideas. Come up with ways that you can improve the things you’re doing now, and ways you can work more efficiently in the future.


[picapp align=”none” wrap=”false” link=”term=tina+charles+basketball&iid=4486777″ src=”5/1/9/e/NCAA_Womens_Basketball_26a7.jpg?adImageId=12268455&imageId=4486777″ width=”436″ height=”594″ /]

Unless a woman has trained herself for her chance,

the chance will only make her look ridiculous.

A great occasion is worth to a woman

exactly what her preparation enables her to make of it.

– William Matthews

Congratulations to Tina Charles,

of the NCAA Champion UConn Women’s Basketball.

All of your preparation hard work, especially these last 4 years

have paved the way to you being the

2010 No. 1 draft pick of the WNBA!!

Hard work WORKS!!


USC Trojans head coach Pete Carroll & special teams coach Schneider prepare by studying film. (photo by Ho-Se Tseng, USC staff photog)

  Even after school there is more homework to be done, albeit a different kind. Adult homework is preparation.

As far as I’m concerned you can never have enough of it. Whatever field you have chosen you should never enter a business meeting without studying. Or a sales conference without researching. Or a theaterical play without rehearsing. Or a footbsll gsme without practicing. Otherwise you are asking for a passport to failure.  

Preparation is the foundation for sucess. The difference between someone who is successful and someone who is not, is not about talent. It’s about preparation. So much of what successful people do – knowing their competition, making their luck, being equipped to take risks, overcoming adversity, dealing with success – is tied to the powerful principle of preparation. It enables people to move ahead, stay ahead, and live ahead.  

Through the years what I have always learned and always reinforced is that the way you go about doing your homework translates into the way you end up performing. Being ready for any challenge in business or life, provides the cross-hairs for taking dead aim at the heart of success.  

When I was with the San Francisco 49ers, there were players that had won 3 or 4 Super Bowls, yet they practiced at a premium level every day! Other teams might feel you can slack off from time to time, but with our team — or any winning organization — there is no other way to go. You have to practice at game speed – otherwise how do you expect to play perfectly on game day?  

It’s like I tell the team from time to time – we have one chance and one chance only to be successful on Sunday and that is if we have the most thorough week of preparation possible. We start even with the competition on Sunday, but we get ahead of them from Monday through Saturday!  

It is why our practices are so demanding. We go through every conceivable situation and how we should respond. We work on visualization, going over every detail. We run every play 100 times in our minds. That way whatever happens in the game, we have seen it before.  

We want our players so disciplined that their reaction is instinctive. No one can wave a magic wand on Sunday, make a great pregame speech, and expect to go out and win one for the Gipper. But if you approach things on a day-to-day basis, then you have a chance for greatness. And the only way to reach this level is to never let up! Always expecting the best forces you to operate at a higher level.  

The other thing we do is run plays until we do it right. When I was with the San Francisco, 49ers quarterback Steve Young used to call me “Mr. Do It Again”. But if we didn’t run the play perfectly, the way it was supposed to run during the game, sorry, we are going to do it again.  

We’ve adopted the approach – but not the nickname – in Denver. During our preparation for Super Bowl XXXIII against the Atlanta Falcons, the players felt like they had our game plan down just the way we wanted. It got to the4 point that the players were saying, “Get us away from these coaches! Let play already.” The Wednesday before the Super Bowl, we were crisp. Not once in practice did the ball touch the ground. We are in sync, we were in tune, every pass was on the money. John Elway was conducting his orchestra like few things I have ever seen during my coaching career. Watching John throw prefect pass after perfect pass, a memory hit me out of nowhere. I looked over at Gary Kibiak, our offensive coordinar, who was with me in San Francisco for the 1994 season, the year the 49ers won their fifth Super Bowl. 

 “Hey Gary, I asked, sidling up next to him. “What does this remind you of?” 

 “Steve Young”, Gary said, “That Thursday practice, boss.” 

 That Thursday practice was when the 49ers were preparing for Super Bowl XXIX against the San Diego Chargers. We were crisp. Not once during practice did the ball touch the ground. We were in sync, in tune, every pass was right on the money. Steve Young was conducting his orchestra like few things I had ever seen in my coaching career. 

 And Steve, like we thought he would, carried his prefect preparation from Thursday to Sundat. He threw for an NFL reord six touchdown passes and was named MVP of Super Bowl XXIX, a 49-26 49er win. 

 And John? He too carried over his perfect preparaion from Wednesday to Sunday. In what turned out to be his last NFL game, he threw for 336 yards, and was named MVP of Super Bowl XXXIII, a 34-19 Broncos win. 

 Funny how that works, but it always does. The way to bring out the best in you is not by chance, but rather through preparation. 

 Adult homework (preparation) – as much as we all would rather not do it – does have its rewards.  


— Mike Shanahan
from “Think Like A Champion”  by Mike Shanahan & Adam Schefter


The Advantages of Rising Early



Brooklyn Bridge @ Sunrise (c) m baumser


This is from Coach Bob Starkey’s blog ( He gleaned it from Zenhabits: Thanks again, Coach!!


1. Greet the day.

I love being able to get up, and greet a wonderful new day. I suggest creating a morning ritual that includes saying thanks for your blessings. I’m inspired by the Dalai Lama, who said, “Everyday, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to have woken up, I am alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others, to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings, I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others, I am going to benefit others as much as I can.”

2. Amazing start.

I used to start my day by jumping out of bed, late as usual, and rushing to get myself and the kids ready, and rushing to drop them to school and come in to work late. I would walk into work, looking rumpled and barely awake, grumpy and behind everyone else. Not a great start to your day. Now, I have a renewing morning ritual, I’ve gotten so much done before 8 a.m., my kids are early and so am I, and by the time everyone else gets in to work, I’ve already gotten a head start. There is no better way to start off your day than to wake early, in my experience.

3. Quietude.

No kids yelling, no babies crying, no soccer balls, no cars, no television noise. The early morning hours are so peaceful, so quiet. It’s my favorite time of day. I truly enjoy that time of peace, that time to myself, when I can think, when I can read, when I can breathe.

4. Sunrise.

People who wake late miss one of the greatest feats of nature, repeated in full stereovision each and every day — the rise of the sun. I love how the day slowly gets brighter, when the midnight blue turns to lighter blue, when the brilliant colors start to seep into the sky, when nature is painted in incredible colors. I like doing my early morning run during this time, and I look up at the sky as I run and say to the world, “What a glorious day!’ Really. I really do that. Corny, I know.

5. Breakfast.

Rise early and you actually have time for breakfast. I’m told it’s one of the most important meals of the day. Without breakfast, your body is running on fumes until you are so hungry at lunchtime that you eat whatever unhealthy thing you can find. The fattier and sugarier, the betterier. But eat breakfast, and you are sated until later. Plus, eating breakfast while reading my book and drinking my coffee in the quiet of the morning is eminently more enjoyable than scarfing something down on the way to work, or at your desk.
6. Exercise.
There are other times to exercise besides the early morning, of course, but I’ve found that while exercising right after work is also very enjoyable, it’s also liable to be canceled because of other things that come up. Morning exercise is virtually never canceled.
7. Productivity.
Mornings, for me at least, are the most productive time of day. I like to do some writing in the morning, when there are no distractions, before I check my email or blog stats. I get so much more done by starting on my work in the morning. Then, when evening rolls around, I have no work that I need to do, and I can spend it with family.
8. Goal time.
Got goals? Well, you should. And there’s no better time to review them and plan for them and do your goal tasks than first thing. You should have one goal that you want to accomplish this week. And every morning, you should decide what one thing you can do today to move yourself further towards that goal. And then, if possible, do that first thing in the morning.

9. Commute.

No one likes rush-hour traffic, except for big oil. Commute early, and the traffic is much lighter, and you get to work faster, and thus save yourself more time. Or better yet, commute by bike.
10. Appointments.
It’s much easier to make those early appointments on time if you get up early. Showing up late for those appointments is a bad signal to the person you’re meeting. Showing up early will impress them. Plus, you get time to prepare.