A bird doesn’t fly if it flaps its wings but never leaves the branch.

You can’t learn to swim if you never leave the shallow end.

You can’t write a book if the words stay in your head.

A lion cub doesn’t learn to hunt by eating what her mum caught.

You can’t climb a tree if you leave one foot on the ground.

You can’t learn to play the cello by watching Yo-Yo Ma videos on YouTube.

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The weekend is almost upon us and I know that many of you are looking forward to the next couple of days off.

However, they can be more than an opportunity to drink too much and sleep in the next day.  They can be a great chance to add real, lasting value to the quality of your life.

So, here are a few random thoughts to get you through the next couple of days off and launch you into the week ahead. Read the rest of this entry »

In 1 Kings 3, not long after Solomon was made king, God visited him in a dream and said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”

Solomon responded that he felt inadequate for the tasks and said, “So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”

God responded, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be.  Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for – both wealth and honour – so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings.”

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There are a couple of things that every professional, from every field has in common.

Every professional artist.

Every professional musician.

Every professional athlete.

Every professional entrepreneur/business owner.

Every professional public speaker.

Every professional activist.

Every professional writer.

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Tastes like chicken.

A dime a dozen.

Beige.

Part of the herd.

A small cog in a big wheel.

Don’t let these phrases describe you or your work.

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In the days after her passing, many of the funniest quotes from the great Joan Rivers have been circulating.  Sayings like, “I’ve had so much plastic surgery, when I die, they will donate my body to Tupperware” remind us of her brilliant wit.

But as with most successful people, there was another side to Joan.  This is what she had to say about one of the keys to her long-term success in a notoriously fickle business:

“I have become my own version of an optimist.  If I can’t make it through one door, I’ll go through another door or I’ll make a door.  Something terrific will come no matter how dark the present.”

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Preacher Martin Lloyd-Jones used to tell the story of a lady who went to see a play in a London theatre on a cold winter’s night.

The story was set in the years before automotive transport, so she had a coachman who drove her in a horse and carriage to the play.

While she watched the show, the poor coachman had to sit outside in the snow on the driver’s seat of the coach looking after the horse.

Inside the theatre, the lady was moved to tears by the performance.  Some of the characters in the play were in a desperately poor situation and she was emotionally affected by their terrible plight, but when she came out and saw the poor coachman covered in snow and almost frozen to death, she wasn’t moved at all, but took it for granted as a normal part of life.

When I first read this story, I felt chastised.

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If you’re not happy with your current job…

If you feel unappreciated…

If you would like to earn more money…

If your relationships are not what they could be…

If you feel guilty because you’re not spending enough time focusing on your spiritual life…

If you feel like a hamster on a wheel, with a lot of activity, but little progress…

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You may be in a really good place at the moment.  You may be at the top of your game, achieving some amazing goals and inspiring the people around you to do the same.

But you can’t stay there for long.

If you fall into the temptation of resting on your laurels your competition will catch up.

Your current skills will quickly become redundant if they aren’t continually developed.

And yesterday’s achievements won’t give you credibility forever.

So if it ain’t broke, fix it anyway.

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Don’t aim to be a leader… aim to be an inspiring leader.

Don’t aim to own a business… aim to own a phenomenal business.

Don’t aim to get a job… aim to make a significant contribution through a job.

Don’t aim to train or teach others… aim to leave an indelible mark.

Don’t aim to become a speaker or writing… aim to speak and write in a way that changes people’s lives.

Don’t aim to just raise your kids… aim to become an extraordinary parent.

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