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great article by Paul Tripp on goals. worth three minutes.


Trading One Dramatic Resolution for 10,000 Little Ones


I’ve told the story many times of talking impatiently with my wife one Sunday morning and having my nine-year-old son interject, “Daddy, is this the way a Christian man should be talking to his wife?”

Rather sarcastically I said, “What do you think?” He replied, “It doesn’t make any difference what I think — what does God think?”

I went to my bedroom, and two thoughts immediately hit me. First, my pride reared up. I want to be a hero to my son, and I was embarrassed that he had been troubled by my attitude and words. But that didn’t last very long. I soon thought, “How could it be that God could love me so much that he would give a twit of care about this mundane little moment in the Tripp bathroom?”

That’s love at a level of magnificence that I am unable to capture with words. This was but one moment in one room in one house of one family, on one block on one street in one neighborhood, in one city in one state in one country on one continent, in one hemisphere on one globe in the universe. Yet God was in that moment, working to continue his moment-by-moment work of transforming the heart of this man.

Rethinking the Annual Ritual

Why am I telling you this story? Well, it’s that time once again. It’s the fodder for blogs, magazine articles, TV shows, and way too many tweets. It is the time for the annual ritual of dramatic New Year’s resolutions fueled by the hope of immediate and significant personal life change.

But the reality is that few smokers actually quit because of a single moment of resolve, few obese people have become slim and healthy because of one dramatic moment of commitment, few people who were deeply in debt have changed their financial lifestyle because they resolved to do so as the old year gave way to the new, and few marriages have been changed by the means of one dramatic resolution.

Is change important? Yes, it is for all of us in some way. Is commitment essential? Of course! There is a way in which all of our lives are shaped by the commitments we make. But biblical Christianity — which has the gospel of Jesus Christ at its heart — simply doesn’t rest its hope in big, dramatic moments of change.

Living in the Utterly Mundane

The fact of the matter is that the transforming work of grace is more of a mundane process than it is a series of a few dramatic events. Personal heart-and-life change is always a process. And where does that process take place? It takes place where you and I live everyday. And where do we live? Well, we all have the same address. Our lives don’t careen from big moment to big moment. No, we all live in the utterly mundane.

Most of us won’t be written up in history books. Most of us only make three or four momentous decisions in our lives, and several decades after we die, the people we leave behind will struggle to remember our lives at all. You and I live in little moments, and if God doesn’t rule our little moments and doesn’t work to recreate us in the middle of them, then there is no hope for us, because that is where you and I live.

The little moments of life are profoundly important precisely because they are the little moments that we live in and that form us. This is where I think “Big Drama Christianity” gets us into trouble. It can cause us to devalue the significance of the little moments of life and the “small-change” grace that meets us there. And because we devalue the little moments where we live, we don’t tend to notice the sin that gets exposed there. We fail to seek the grace that is offered to us.

The 10,000 Little Moments

You see, the character of a life is not set in two or three dramatic moments, but in 10,000 little moments. The character that was formed in those little moments is what shapes how you respond to the big moments of life.

What leads to significant personal change?

  • 10,000 moments of personal insight and conviction
  • 10,000 moments of humble submission
  • 10,000 moments of foolishness exposed and wisdom gained
  • 10,000 moments of sin confessed and sin forsaken
  • 10,000 moments of courageous faith
  • 10,000 choice points of obedience
  • 10,000 times of forsaking the kingdom of self and running toward the kingdom of God
  • 10,000 moments where we abandon worship of the creation and give ourselves to worship of the Creator.

And what makes all of this possible? Relentless, transforming, little-moment grace. You see, Jesus is Immanuel, not just because he came to earth, but because he makes you the place where he dwells. This means he is present and active in all the mundane moments of your daily life.

His Work to Rescue and Transform

And what is he doing? In these small moments, he is delivering every redemptive promise he has made to you. In these unremarkable moments, he is working to rescue you from you and transform you into his likeness. By sovereign grace, he places you in daily, little moments that are designed to take you beyond your character, wisdom, and grace so that you will seek the help and hope that can only be found in him. In a lifelong process of change, he is undoing you and rebuilding you again — exactly what each one of us needs.

Yes, you and I need to be committed to change, but not in a way that hopes for a big event of transformation, but in a way that finds joy in and is faithful to a day-by-day, step-by-step process of insight, confession, repentance and faith. And in those little moments, we commit ourselves to remember the words of Paul in Romans 8:32:

He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us, how will he not also with him freely give us all things.

So, we wake up each day, committed to live in the small moments of our daily lives with open eyes and humbly expectant hearts.

Desiring God Blog Posts for 12/29/2013.

  • Habits from 99u

Cool article from 99u about hacking bad habits.  How to make new behaviors worthwhile.  Short version here, more in the link below:


If you want to get rid of a bad habit, you have to find out how to implement a healthier routine to yield the same reward. Let’s say you like to go out with your coworkers at the end of a long day and have a few drinks. In this situation, there are actually two rewards: (1) the socializing that inevitably occurs, and (2) the relaxing effects of the alcohol on your nervous system.

Both of those rewards are valid and necessary. If you remove drinking from your life, but replace it with nothing else, you’ll likely be unhappy. The trick is to keep the cue (e.g. tired after a long day) and the rewards (e.g. social time, relaxation) while changing the routine (e.g. drinking).

via Hacking Habits: How To Make New Behaviors Last For Good – 99U.

Check out this legit article by Shannon Kaiser from Mind Body Green. 
Some of these are a bit fuzzy for my flavor, like “follow your heart” or “live your values” however, overall this is a great list.  Think I’ll use this next year for goal setting and working out my 40 before 40, just a few years left.

Most bucket lists include things like, “Go on an adventure in a far-off land,” “Learn a new language, or “Buy a dream car.” Although all these experiences can make our lives more exciting, the reason we crave these activities goes a little deeper.

What drives each of these desires is one common connector, an innate yearning to belong and to feel love. When we do what we love, we become an expression of love and our happiness is infectious.

As I check off my own adventure list — skydiving, going swimming with wild dolphins, climbing Mayan Ruins in Belize — I find that with each activity I complete, I feel a sense of accomplishment, purpose and self-worth.

Which led me to think about our human desire to make a difference and live life more fully. All of us want the same thing: to be happy and live a wonderful life. But how we meet this need often differs from person to person.

In the spirit of loving life to the fullest, I’ve revised my list of things to do before I die. These seemingly simple acts have transformed my life. What it comes down to is not how long your life is, but how wide you live it and these 30 ideas can help.

30 things to do before you die:

1. Stop worrying about debt.

2. Forgive your ex-lovers.

3. Stop trying to control your outcome.

4. Look in the mirror and love yourself unconditionally.

5. Leave the job you hate.

6. Find your purpose and live it full heartedly.

7. Adopt a furry friend.

8. Don’t feel guilty for holiday weight gain.

9. Trust that everything is in right order.

10. Travel to the place you keep thinking about.

11. Try something that scares you daily.

12. Be open to change.

13. Let go of your past.

14. Stop trying to change people.

15. Stop looking for answer outside of yourself.

16. Stop thinking you did something wrong.

17. Be your weird, crazy, beautiful self.

18. Follow your heart.

19. Risk everything for love.

20. Reject rejection.

21. See the world as a beautiful, safe, and loving place.

22. See everyone as equals.

23. Give up all attachments to stuff.

24. Recognize the journey is the reward.

25. Stay hopeful and optimistic in difficult situations.

26. Welcome all life lessons.

27. See the opportunities in every challenge rather than give up.

28. Live your values.

29. Inspire others by your own bigness.

30. Play with the world.

If you want more inspiration, check out this How to Love Your Life to the Fullest FREE guide. 


Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

30 Things To Do Before You Die.


Laughter… (Photo credit: leodelrosa…)

Check out the questions @wordsfromwags and family are using daily to sharpen their gifts and increase their joy. His note and questions follow below:

As I sat down January 1 to shepherd myself and my kids I decided to come up with a group of questions that we could ask ourselves EVERYDAY to evaluate how we are abiding with the One we profess to follow.  It all starts with daily learning more of Jesus and His ways and continually yielding to His Spirit which dwells in all who believe.  My deep conviction is that as our lives increasingly have full and meaningful answers to the following questions our lives will increase in joy, fullness and serve as a greater source of glory to our King.  I am sure you can improve on my list of questions, but as for me and my house, we are going to purpose to improve our ability to faithfully answer them every day.  Matt 6:33-34  Feel free to add your own….but in all your adding stay focused on using them to sharpen each day the Lord gifts you.

Ps 90:12


What have you done to grow in wisdom and stature today?

What do you know today about God, His Word or His purposes that you did not know yesterday?

What are you going to do differently as a result of what you have learned?

1 Tim 4:7; James 1:22


How is this world or are others better today because you have stepped up and been God’s servant?

When you showed up, how was evil restrained, injustice conquered, love multiplied, captives rescued and/or joy increased.

Luke 4:16-21


What have you done today to make someone else know of God’s great love for them?

Has your motivation for everything been love of God and others?

“May this small act of kindness remind you of God’s great love for you.”

1 Cor 13:1


Have you laughed out loud today?

Have you laughed uncontrollably?

Have you laughed till you cried?

Have you made others laugh much today?

Prov 17:22

LIVE generously:

How have you shown generosity today?

Who is better off because God stewarded you with His resources?

2 Cor 8:9

LIVE with gratitude:

How have you expressed a heart filled with Thanksgiving today for the multitude of blessings you have received?

Eph 5:20

LIFT others up:

Who have you encouraged today with a word, a phone call, an email, a note or a card?

Heb 3:13

LEAN on others:

Who are you relying on to spur you on?

Confront you?

Shepherd you?

Who has access to your heart?

Who faithfully reproves you?

Sharpens you?

Admonishes you when you are unruly?

When is the last time you repented and changed because someone who loves you “smote you in kindness”.

Ps 141:5; Pr 13:20

LIVE it all by faith by yielding to the Spirit:

What have you done today that only makes sense because you believe in the grace of Christ and the resurrection of the dead?

Have you lived today by faith?

By the power of in constant relationship with the Spirit?

Col 1:29; Eph 5:18

via Words from Wags » Blog Archive » Don’t Follow your passions…Follow Him.

What questions are you asking this year?

English: 85. Functions and Use Scenarios Mappi...

English: 85. Functions and Use Scenarios Mapping to Requirements and Goals (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Get ready for some practical advice on Setting Goals.  Many times goal setting can become extremely complex and complicated, here’s a simple, no hassle approach on goal-setting for 13.

Years ago I was turned onto a book about goal setting, it was called “The On Purpose Person.”  I’d always set goals.  In HS and College my goals, looked like benching 400 lbs, running a faster 40 or squatting over 400.  I specifically remember the day before my senior season two a days in college when I benched over 400 lbs, it was a lifetime goal.  I shed a tear that day, due to so much work and effort that I had put into achieving that one little push.

Today goals look different, with having had my first child 13 weeks ago and being married, life is a bundle of different responsibilities.  A friend, Greg Crooks sent me an email a few weeks ago, asking if I’d like to workup my lifeplan and discuss prior to 2013.  I’d read Hyatt’s blog; Creating Your Personal Life Plan | Michael Hyatt back in 2010 and setup a life plan, but this would be an in depth look at goals again with some buddies and a challenge to redo, restart my goals.  Once you have a family, your goals change, life changes, and I’m still adjusting.

Set your priorities.

On Purpose Person, gives the advice to list out your priorities, then battle them out tournament style. My list included:

  • God
  • Spouse/ Marriage
  • Kids
  • Parents
  • Family
  • Colleagues/Work
  • Friends
  • Finances
  • Social
  • Community
  • Personal
  • Mental
  • Physical
  • Spiritual
  • Business
  • Educational

I ended up with 6 priority categories:

  1. God and Spiritual
  2. Wife and Marriage
  3. Kids and Family
  4. Personal – Physical, Emotional, Educational
  5. Social – Community and Relational
  6. Business – Career and Financial

Establish a Life Plan

We used this word document to setup our life plan:  Life Plan Document

In the life-plan we set our Envisioned Future, Purpose Statement, Supporting Verses, Current Reality and Specific Commitments.  These specific are planned actions we will take in the coming year to head towards that envisioned future.

Determine your Goals and Objectives

After we reviewed the Life Plan together we all went back and converted our commitments to Goals and entered in the following template, goals template sml.

I also love this direction template. This document helps to set Mission,Vision, Objectives, Strategy and more.  I spent mucho time a couple years ago setting our beliefs statement and our goals.  Hopefully this quick brush stroke over life plan and goals will help to kick start your year.

Track vehemently

I’ve also started tracking my goals.  In order to do this, I printed out two copies of my goals.  1 to put on my wall at work, a second to carry with me.  I have also signed up for a free goal tracking website at joesgoals.com for a simple goal tracking tool.

 What are your goals for 2013?  Any advice on how to do this better?  What’s your goal setting strategy?

Checkout our manifesto of manifesto’s here:

 The Lululemon Manifesto What's your Manifesto?

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  • Run a Half Marathon by March

Here’s a quick rundown on how I’m planning to run a half Marathon by March, with some resources and a training programs below:

1. Go sign up for a half on March 24- Rock’n’Roll Dallas is a good one.

2. Go to Map My Run and setup a 1mi, 2mi and 3mi course around your neighborhood.  Then find some friends to do your long runs with on the weekends.

3. Follow this training program, or find one similar.  Hal Higdon Training Programs.

Half Marathon Training Schedule: Novice 2
1 Rest 3 m run 3 m run 3 m run Rest 4 m run cross
2 Rest 3 m run 3 m pace 3 m run Rest 5 m run cross
3 Rest 3 m run 4 m run 3 m run Rest 6 m run cross
4 Rest 3 m run 4 m pace 3 m run Rest 7 m run cross
5 Rest 3 m run 4 m run 3 m run Rest 8 m run cross
6 Rest 3 m run 4 m pace 3 m run Rest 5-K Race cross
7 Rest 3 m run 5 m run 3 m run Rest 9 m run cross
8 Rest 3 m run 5 m pace 3 m run Rest 10 m run cross
9 Rest 3 m run 5 m run 3 m run Rest 10-K Race cross
10 Rest 3 m run 5 m pace 3 m run Rest 11 m run cross
11 Rest 3 m run 5 m run 3 m run Rest 12 m run cross
12 Rest 3 m run 2 m pace 2 m run Rest Rest Half Marathon 

Get running and get ready for a great race!!!

Any questions, feel free to contact us.

See also:




New Zealand’s Sir Ray Avery has a simple method for getting the most out of his life. The 65-year old Kiwi scientist and inventor accomplishes what he does by keeping tabs on the days he has left to live, and by setting and tracking daily goals to best take advantage of them.“I’ve got about 5,625 days to live,” Avery told a group of American entrepreneurs, investors, and journalists visiting the country as part of 500 Startups’ latest Geeks On A Plane event. “When you’re born, you’re born with 30,000 days. That’s it. The best strategic planning I can give to you is to think about that.”Avery compared his philosophy around living to the way some people approach entrepreneurship — that is, building something of an exit strategy. The only problem? “In real life, your exit strategy is going to look a lot like mine. But for most of you, it’s going to be a big surprise.“For me, I can reverse engineer my life to achieve much more than you guys. Every day I do a chart on what I’ve achieved and where I want to be. And it makes you scary-as-shit clever,” Avery said. “So think about that. You’ve got 30,000 days and the clock is ticking.” Avery admits to trying to turn his remaining 5,625 days into something more like 10,000 days by multi-tasking.Avery also talked about some of the problems Kiwi entrepreneurs face as they seek to compete on the global stage. One of those issues is a certain degree of humility that results in their achievements sometimes going unrecognized. Avery isn’t immune to this: He only considers himself slightly famous which he says is terrible, despite being awarded the Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year in 2010 and knighted in 2011.His biggest accomplishment is probably introducing low-cost intraocular lens manufacturing facilities in developing markets that made cataract surgery affordable. Since then, he’s worked to make quality healthcare and equipment accessible to some of the world’s poorest nations. His autobiography, Rebel With A Cause, charts his life from a childhood in orphanages and foster homes in the U.K. to becoming one of New Zealand’s most notable scientists.But he’s far from the only Kiwi you may not have ever heard of. Avery talked about folks like Colin Murdoch, the inventor of the disposable hypodermic plastic syringe. “What we’re not good at is telling people we’re good at stuff. If you look back at the past 50 years, most people in the world have been touched by [this] invention, and no one knows anything about it. It’s touched more people than the iPhone, television, radio,” Avery said.In an effort to correct this, Avery recently published a book entitled “The Power of Us,” which highlights notable Kiwi artists, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders — basically people making a difference who might otherwise go unrecognized. A lot of that innovation comes from using common materials in a more innovative manner — the so-called “number 8 wire” approach to solving problems with unconventional materials. Or a bit of an irreverent attitude toward rules and regulations that are common in other cultures. Either way, it’s Avery’s way of highlighting Kiwis who “dare to dream big.”It’s about a cultural state of mind, but it’s also about the ability to try out new things. “Stay in New Zealand long enough,” Avery said, “and you get dangerous.”

via You’ve Got 30,000 Days To Live… Reverse Engineer Your Life To Make Them Count | TechCrunch.

Sad to hear of Zig’s passing.  You will be missed.  Good dude.


Few have had as great an impact on as many people as Zig Ziglar. As a sales trainer, motivational speaker and best-selling author, Ziglar has helped millions of individuals improve not only their perspective on life, but, more important, their results.

After a bumpy start, Ziglar built a wildly successful career in sales. But the more he learned about selling and personal achievement, the more interested he became in motivational speaking. He wanted to help others attain the success he enjoyed. In 1970, while in his early 40s, Ziglar made a career shift and began to speak full time. Since then, he has engaged thousands of audiences and sold millions of books and audio programs, including the best-selling See You at the Top: 25th Anniversary Edition, which sold more than 1.5 million copies, and the audio program How to Stay Motivated. Exactly how many lives has the 83-year-old Ziglar touched? “We began counting the number of people Zig has impacted and had to stop at 25.5 million people,” says a spokesperson with the Zig Ziglar Corporation.

With his unique cadence and strong Southern drawl, Ziglar admonishes people to be specific about what they want to achieve, to be purposeful in their approach to personal development, and to help as many others as possible along the way. And though he is a dyed-in-the-wool believer in the power of positive thinking, there is nothing secret about his philosophy on achieving success. “Positive thinking won’t let you do anything,” Ziglar says. “But it will help you do everything better than negative thinking will.” His constant message is that success requires full engagement and hard work. When combined with an unshakable positive attitude and character, success is inevitable. Here are a few more of Ziglar’s tried-and-true strategies.

Live a Balanced, Focused Life

Success is never about acquiring what you want in one area of life, but in every area of life. Reminiscent of I Corinthians 13, Ziglar asks audiences to consider the fallacy of one-sided success. Take a moment and ask yourself these questions:

If I earn millions of dollars, but destroy my health in the process, is that success?

+ If I become the best in my industry, but neglect my family and friends, is that success?

+ If I acquire great wealth and notoriety, but compromise my integrity and faith to do so, is that success?

The obvious answer to each of these questions is “no.” Success isn’t one-sided. Our achievements aren’t fulfilling when we neglect or destroy our relationships, health or faith.

Through the years, Ziglar’s axiom has been, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” But what exactly do people want? What do you want? Getting clear about your goals and desires, after all, is the first step to achieving them.

Ziglar says there are eight basic things people want to feel successful. “People want to be happy, healthy, reasonably prosperous and secure; they want to have friends, peace of mind, good family relationships and hope,” he says. With a focused goal to continually improve in each of these areas, we can enjoy life to the fullest.

You are here for a reason. That purpose is to get everything out of you that is humanly possible so you can make your contributions to mankind,” Ziglar writes in See You at the Top. “Goals enable you to do more for yourself and others, too.” He also notes that goals must be specific. “You’ll never make it as a ‘wandering generality.’ You must become a ‘meaningful specific.’ ”

Goals give us a target and bring meaning to our mission. Without goals, life simply happens. But when we have a target, we can move with purpose, helping us achieve more. “People often complain about lack of time, when lack of direction is the real problem,” Ziglar says. “Time can be an ally or an enemy. What it becomes depends entirely upon you, your goals and your determination to use every available minute.”

Action   Don’t confuse activity with accomplishment. You must have specific, clearly identified objectives. In the How to Stay Motivated audio program, Ziglar advises listeners to write down everything they want to do, be or have. Once you’ve created your list, pick five things you want to accomplish this year and outline a plan for each by defining daily, weekly and monthly targets. Then get started!

Take a (Mental) Bath Every Day

Getting motivated to improve in any one of these eight areas of life is relatively easy. But staying motivated enough to maintain the behaviors required to realize real change is challenging.

Ziglar illustrates the point by recounting the story of going to the gym on Jan. 2 one year. Normally, finding a place to park wasn’t an issue, nor was finding an empty workout bench or treadmill. But on his first visit of the new year, he was forced to park at the back of the lot and had to wait in line to use the equipment. When he questioned the trainer at the front desk about the influx of patrons, he was told not to worry and that things would go back to normal in about three weeks. Sure enough, before three weeks had passed, there were once again plenty of vacant spaces in the parking lot and several empty workout benches.

We are easily motivated to start a life-improvement project, but staying motivated takes work. Ziglar comments that people frequently complain to him that the effects of motivational seminars, books and audios don’t last. His response: “Neither does bathing; that’s why we recommend it daily.”

In his Christian Motivation for Daily Living audio program, Ziglar references a study that indicates 80 percent of what our minds take in each day is negative. Be it from talk radio or what Ziglar refers to as the “income suppressant” (aka the television), or the gripes and sour attitudes of our friends, co-workers, family members and acquaintances, we are inundated with negative thoughts, comments and messages. We can spend a full day at a motivational seminar or sales conference and get pumped with enthusiasm. But, as soon as we step out into the “real world,” the onslaught of negativity is akin to having someone dump garbage into our freshly cleaned mind.

“If I were to come into your home with a pail of garbage and dump it on your living room floor, we would have problems—fast,” Ziglar writes in See You at the Top. “The person who dumps garbage into your mind will do you considerably more harm than the person who dumps garbage on your floor, because each load of mind garbage negatively impacts your possibilities and lowers your expectations.”

To offset the negativity and to stay motivated to reach our goals, continual affirmations and belief-building messages must be part of our daily routine. That’s why, in addition to practicing positive self-talk, Ziglar recommends listening to and reading motivational materials repeatedly and regularly. “You are what you are and where you are because of what’s gone into your mind,” he says. “You can change what you are, you can change where you are, by changing what goes into your mind.”

Action  Block out 30 minutes a day (at a minimum) to read or listen to a positive, inspiring or motivational message. Doing so will help you stay committed to your goals and bolster your belief in your ability to achieve them.

Help Others Get What They Want

If helping others get what they want is the true path to success, sales is the ideal profession. “People buy because they either need or want something,” Ziglar writes in Ziglar on Selling. “If we can give persons a reason for buying andan excuse for buying, the chances that they will buy inprove rather dramatically.” The key, he explains, is developing an attitude of curiosity and a sincere interest in your prospect’s needs. With those needs clarified, you can then offer a solution that satisfies both you and the customer.

At a recent conference, author and keynote speaker Bob Burg pointed to Ziglar, a fellow panelist for the event, and shared how this master motivator and successful salesman had impacted his life. Early in his sales career, Burg attended one of Ziglar’s Secrets of Closing the Sale seminars. At the end of his presentation, Ziglar pitched his sales training program, which was available for purchase at the back of the room in cassette format.

As he made his way down the aisle to the sales table, a few of Burg’s co-workers tried to stop him. “They said, ‘You can’t afford Zig’s program—none of us can.’ And I said, ‘Exactly, that’s why I’m going back there to get Zig’s program… so one day I’ll be able to afford Zig’s program and anything else I want,’ ” Burg says. Burg says he “devoured” the program, listening to it repeatedly. The 16th time he listened to the audio, he heard a key point that he then incorporated into to his sales presentation. Immediately, he began to close more sales. “I’ll tell you what, that product that I couldn’t afford to buy, but bought anyway, made me hundreds of thousands of dollars through the years. I owe so much to this gentleman because he allowed me to provide more value to more people than I would have been able to without being equipped in that way.”

Action  Commit today to become others-focused. With your spouse, your children, your prospect and your peers, keep the question, “How can I help you?” as a primary focus in the relationship.

If you want to be happy, healthy, reasonably prosperous and secure, and if you want to have friends, peace of mind, good family relationships and hope, it makes sense to listen to this motivational master’s positive message of personal responsibility. Millions have and credit their achievements to what they’ve learned from Ziglar, a man who created a successful life by helping others do the same

Zig Ziglar: See You At the Top | SUCCESS Magazine | What Achievers Read.

Tony Hsieh, serial entrepreneur and CEO of Zappos.com, offers leadership advice for fast-growing companies.

When Tony Hsieh first got involved at Zappos.com in 1999, it was as an investor and advisor.

He had already sold a company–Internet advertiser LinkExchange–to Microsoft for $265 million because it was not a fun place to work any more.

Since he didn’t want to repeat that mistake, and always wanted Zappos.com to remain a fun place to work, he made his No. 1 priority at Zappos.com getting the culture right from the start.

His rationale isn’t just touchy-feely.

In a panel about growth strategies at the Ernst & Young Strategic Growth Forum, Tony referenced a key finding of Jim Collins’ leadership book Good to Great: What separates great companies from mediocre ones in terms of long-term financial performance, Hsieh recalled from the book, is the great ones have strong cultures–as well as a higher purpose beyond profits that ultimately also enables them to generate significantly more profits.

How do you do the same? Here’s seven recommendations from Hsieh:

1. Build a company–not necessarily a product–you’re passionate about.

“I’ve never been interested in shoes,” said Tony. “My passion has always been customer service, company culture, and community.”

Don’t sway from that passion, even if an opportunity arises that seems like it presents an immediate financial return.

2. Want to motivate? Inspire first.

“While there are lots of ways to motivate employees–fear, recognition, incentives (“If you do ‘x,’ I’ll give you ‘y’), what we stumbled into and figured out over the years is there’s a huge difference between motivation and inspiration,” said Hsieh.

In essence, Hsieh said there’s a much bigger financial payoff if you inspire employees with your mission–in Zappos.com’s case: customer service, company culture, and community–than using other techniques.

“If you can inspire employees through a higher purpose beyond profits, that you’re doing something that can help change the world,” said Hsieh, “you can accomplish so much more.”

3. Be the architect of the greenhouse.

If you think of your company as a greenhouse with a lot of plants, many think the CEO is the tallest, strongest plant all others aspire to be, said Hsieh.

“I view my role as the architect of the greenhouse,” and try to foster “what’s already natural among the empoyees so they flourish.”

4. Encourage “collisions.”

Hsieh is moving Zappos.com headquarters from suburban Henderson, Nevada to downtown Las Vegas, and–through his Downtown Project–helping make it possible for employees to live downtown too, by buying and constructing residential buildings.

Hsieh wants to increase employee productivity as Zappos.com continues to grow. When cities double in size, Hsieh said, productivity increases 15%. But when companies double in size, productivity declines. So to avoid that fate, his theory is that a hybrid operation between a company, community, and city, will help different forces come together and “accelerate serendipitous innovation.”

“Most innovation comes from outside your industry applied to your own,” said Hsieh.

He is also setting up his new offices to encourage interaction. The reality is, he pointed out, if employees sit twice as far away from each other they see each other “half as often squared, not half as often–because of the inverse-square law.”

He’s shutting down a sky bridge connecting buildings to force employes out on the street.

5. Make your company values flexible enough to adapt in China–or Kentucky.

Zappos.com has an office in China, and ran a warehouse in Kentucky that until recently had several thousand employes. It also, of course, has departments that run the spectrum from accounting to a call center. To get people behaving in all these places with the same attitudes, he set out to create a list of 10 core values that are flexible enough they can be effective regardless of an employee’s job function or geography–and evolve over time.

6. Make sure your employees are learning–all the time.

Hsieh teaches his employees classes on Good to Great as well as the book Tribal Leadership by David Logan.

This week, he’s hosting a speakers’ series in downtown Vegas.

7. Offer a clear career path.

If employees join at entry level, make it possible to get to a senior level within a certain number of years. “Set expectations on both sides,” he said.

Tony Hsiehs 7 Tips to Grow Your Company as Big as Zappos.com | Inc.com.

Great article by Julie Foucher, one of the crossfit women’s superstars.  Julie not only competes in the games, but also attends medical school.  Super smart and strong, in this blog she shares her thoughts on goals and having to step back for a year and not compete to focus on school.

“How do you balance medical school and CrossFit?” This is the one question to which it seems everyone wants to know the answer. I usually just smile or laugh and remark with a similar expression of perplexity, “I don’t know either – I’m still trying to figure it out!” I could talk about time management tips and strategies for maximizing efficiency, but those who are close to me know that I am far from mastering any of these skills. The truth of the matter is that in my experience, more importantly than time management, achieving balance begins with defining reasonable goals.

Last year, I entered medical school at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine with a goal of also competing in the 2012 CrossFit Games. With a good understanding of the first-year curriculum, I knew that it would be possible to dedicate the necessary time to training while still fulfilling my medical school requirements. Knowing that the path toward these two tasks I was simultaneously attempting to surmount would be physically, mentally, and emotionally draining, it was also important for me to spend time reflecting on why I wanted to pursue each one. As the year progressed, this reflection would prove invaluable as I reminded myself of these reasons with each moment of doubt, frustration, or exhaustion along the way, empowering me to steadily press forward.  The incredible support of family and close friends in and out of the gym also kept me focused and reminded me of what is truly most important in life.

Based purely on my own limited experience, here is my best advice for achieving balance:

  1. Identify your goals and what motivates you, deep down, to achieve them. Why do you want to compete in the CrossFit Games? Or pursue a particular degree, or job? Will this reason be enough to sustain you when the path toward this goal becomes dark and windy?
  2. Decide how much time you have to dedicate to each goal. No matter who you are, there are only 24 hours in a day. My engineering degree is more than a year old now, but I can still do this math: the more goals you have, the less time you have to spend on each one. Family, friends, jobs, etc are all important – prioritize and make sure you spend time on the things that matter most to you. Read more »