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Who smiles first?  You or them?

Who encourages first?

Who starts the conversation first?

Who says sorry first?

Who acts in love first?

Too many times, we wait for the other person to take the lead and we respond to their initiative.

Too often that means that no-one smiles, no-one encourages, no-one starts the conversation, no-one says sorry, no-one acts in love.

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Are you influencing others with your positive attitude, or are you letting others get you down?

Do you have the ability to relentless look for solutions, or are you getting caught up in the problems of others?

Does your work ethic push others to greater heights, or do you see everyone else slacken off and join in?

Are you influencing others with your generosity, or are you as suspicious of the motives of others as everyone else seems to be?

Does your enthusiasm rub off on those around you, or are the low energy levels of others draining you?

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Afrikaans: Geroosterde pitte van die koffiepla...

Image via Wikipedia

I came across this story a few weeks ago and wanted to share it.  I’m not sure who the original author is, so please comment below if you know.

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her.  She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up.  She was tired of fighting and struggling.  It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen.  She filled three pots with water and put them on the stove.  Soon the pots came to boil.  In the first pot she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs and in the last she placed ground coffee beans.

She let them sit and boil and twenty minutes later she turned off the burners.

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The Marmolada glacier

Image via Wikipedia

Wind can be incredibly powerful.

I’ve seen a town a few days after a cyclone has hit and it’s not a pretty sight.

Trees and even many buildings are knocked to the ground or in some cases picked up and transplanted elsewhere.

But the trees grow back, the buildings can be rebuilt and after a few months, there is little evidence of the wind’s power.

Fires are also extremely powerful.

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I believe that leaders aren’t born, they’re made.

Winston Churchill wasn’t born a leader, he became one.

Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln and Rosa Parks weren’t born leaders, but they each saw an opportunity to positively influence others and they did so.

What about you?

Do you think of yourself as a leader?

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Photo by MuntiSue via Flickr

Some people plant weeds.

Much of what they do is toxic and unwanted.  They somehow take delight in destroying beauty and can be difficult to remove.  They’re prickly and instead of investing in their relationships with others, they choose to criticise and detract from those around them.  To them, the glass isn’t just half empty, it’s cracked and leaking.

People who plant weeds make a negative contribution to the world.

Some people plant radishes.

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If you’re a leader or someone who works with others, then understanding how you influence others is important.

From the most timid person to the most charismatic individual, the reality is that we all have some sort of influence on those around us.  The challenge is to find ways to increase our impact in positive ways so that we can augment the effectiveness of those around us, help to create a more constructive environment and make ourselves more indispensable.

Over the years, I’ve identified four categories that describe how we are influencing those around us.

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Photo via Flickr

Famous conductor Benjamin Zander has a unique way of defining success.

Instead of defining it by money, fame, a big car or house, a grand title or other more worldly categories, he looks around to see if he is surrounded by people with what he calls “shining eyes.”

That is, are the people around him engaged, alive, full of fun and enthused about what they’re doing?  And has he contributed to that?

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Photo by Thomas Hawk via Flickr

Near my home at the moment, there are quite a few road works being completed.

Along with them come the obligatory traffic controllers.

That’s what they call the guys with the signs who stand by the side of the road.

The signs give you two options.

Stop or slow down.

Over the years, I’ve met a lot of people who seem to operate with these signs as well.

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Photo by Thomas Hawk via Flickr

I turn 40 this year, so I think that qualifies me to use the phrase, “When I was young.”

When I was young, you could only buy three flavours of ice-cream, vanilla, strawberry and chocolate.  If you were feeling adventurous, you could buy all three in one tub called Neapolitan.

When I was young, there were no mobile phones (yes that’s right, there was a time), so everyone had land-lines that all sounded the same when they rang.

How things have changed, for the better in my opinion.

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