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Does it pay to be ethical?

@TheRayCenter

If you asked people whether they’d prefer to work for an ethical company, 9 out of 10 people would say “Yes.” If you asked the same folks whether they’d run their organization that way if they were in charge, they’d say “Absolutely!” BUT, what actually happens when they have the chance? Well…that’s a different story.

They tell you it’s one thing to be principled in theory, but it’s another thing in the real world. Worse yet, they tell you they’d be operating at a real disadvantage if they ran their organization that way. What do you think? Does it pay to be ethical?

The fact is, there’s a direct correlation between integrity and results. (That applies to every facet of life.) So where’s the disconnect?

There Are Simply No Shortcuts in the Long Run

When we’re faced with a challenge, our first inclination is to take the easy route to address it. But in doing so, some people discount the impact of those actions in the long term. For example:

From a personalperspective, some people step on others to get ahead, sell their soul to make a buck, take a lot yet only give a little, and make promises with no intention of keeping them.

From a businessperspective, some people stretch the truth to get the sale, push employees past their limit to increase productivity, bully suppliers to win concessions, negotiate with partners to gain the upper hand, and focus on new customers at the expense of existing ones.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re under pressure to perform or trying to look like a superstar, achieving success through unethical behavior is a high price to pay. Of course, some people will tell you, “I’m only doing it this one time,” but we know better. It’s like an addiction that started out innocently and turned into dependence. Many of these folks are in denial — blind to the damage that their unethical behavior is causing them and their organization.

If you think unprincipled behavior won’t come back to bite you one day, you’ve got it wrong! Organizations tainted by unethical behavior experience a higher level of mistrust, selfishness, and disloyalty. In addition, immoral behavior increases stress, irritability, and gamesmanship; people opt for political expediency rather than for doing what is right. It’s no wonder that attracting and retaining exceptional people is more difficult — organizations that demonstrate unprincipled behavior have lousy reputations. Bottom line: Unethical behavior significantly increases the cost of doing business.

It Pays to Be Principled

Real leaders achieve balance between short-term performance and building a better future. They know that instilling a strong culture and promoting ethical core values are instrumental for success. Where do you begin, you ask?Do things for the right reasons and the money will follow. Whatever is in theirbest interest is in yourbest interest.

When you act with honor and integrity at all times, not just when it’s convenient, you’ll differentiate yourself and your organization from those who are looking out only for themselves or who are out to make a quick buck. This isn’t achieved through smoke and mirrors, but rather through honorable behavior that’s exhibited every day.

If you hire exceptional people, train them well, inspire them, and then get out of their way, they will produce outstanding results. If you treat suppliers as members of your own organization, create an environment where everybody wins, and build relationships based on honesty, trust, and respect, they will reward you with commitment and loyalty. If you view customers as long-term assets rather than an immediate sales transaction, and develop policies based on optimizing customer value, they will reward you with increased market share and profits. Last, but not least, giving back to the community not only makes an organization a good global citizen, it’s incredibly good business. It is important to note, however, that if you’re doing these things primarilyto benefit your business, you may be missing the most important prize of all — knowing in your heart that you’re doing the right thing. When you do right by people, the business eventually follows. And those who deceive people ultimately pay the price. It pays to be ethical.

This is an excerpt from Soul Food: Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life by Frank Sonnenberg.

 

Frank SonnenbergFrank Sonnenberg is an award-winning author. He has written seven books and over 300 articles. Frank was recently named one of “America’s Top 100 Thought Leaders” and one of “America’s Most Influential Small Business Experts.” Frank has served on several boards and has consulted to some of the largest and most respected companies in the world.

Additionally, FrankSonnenbergOnline was named among the “Best 21st Century Leadership Blogs”; among the “Top 100 Socially-Shared Leadership Blogs”; and one of the “Best Inspirational Blogs On the Planet.” Frank’s newest book, Soul Food: Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life, was released November 2018 (© 2018 Frank Sonnenberg. All rights reserved.)

Learn more about character education.




What Will Matter

@TheRayCenter

From our guest contributor, Michael Josephson.

Ready or not, some day it will all come to an end.

There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours, or days.

All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten, will pass to someone else.

Your wealth, fame, and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance.

It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed.

Your grudges, resentments, frustrations, and jealousies will finally disappear.

So, too, your hopes, ambitions, plans, and to-do lists will expire.

The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away.

It won’t matter where you came from or what side of the tracks you lived on at the end.

It won’t matter whether you were beautiful or brilliant.

Even your gender and skin color will be irrelevant.

So what will matter? How will the value of your days be measured?

What will matter is not what you bought but what you built; not what you got but what you gave.

What will matter is not your success but your significance.

What will matter is not what you learned but what you taught.

What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage, or sacrifice that enriched, empowered, or encouraged others to emulate your example.

What will matter is not your competence but your character.

What will matter is not how many people you knew but how many will feel a lasting loss when you’re gone.

What will matter is not your memories but the memories of those who loved you.

What will matter is how long you will be remembered, by whom, and for what.

Living a life that matters doesn’t happen by accident.

It’s not a matter of circumstance but of choice.

Choose to live a life that matters.

 

(C) 2013 Michael Josephson

Michael Josephson is an influential and internationally renowned champion of character education for youth and ethical conduct in business, government, policing, journalism, sports, healthcare and law. He is credited by many as the person most responsible for reviving and professionalizing the character education in school and youth-serving organizations. In 1992, under the auspices of the Josephson Institute he created CHARACTER COUNTS!, the world’s most widely implemented character development initiative based on a common language of shared values – the Six Pillars of Character) and Pursuing Victory With Honor (1996), a companion program promoting ethics in sports.

 




Make no mistake about it

@TheRayCenter

From our guest contributor, Frank Sonnenberg

Mistakes have a negative image. So we hide them, play the blame game, or beat ourselves up when they occur. In fact, these actions compound our mistakes by creating stress and anxiety, damaging relationships, squandering time and money, and most importantly, often causing us to repeat the same mishap over and over again. The truth is, mistakes aren’t inherently bad –– what counts is how we view and react to them.

How Do You Respond to Mistakes?

Avoidance.Trying to avoid mistakes at any cost can be very costly.As Albert Einstein said, “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.”

Repetition.When you run into a wall, don’t dust yourself off and run into it again. Learn.

Inattention.Learn from other people’s mistakes rather than reinventing the wheel –– and making every mistake yourself.

Suppression.Sweeping mistakes under a rug never makes them really disappear.

Procrastination.Left unattended, small mistakes grow into big ones.

Judgment.Mistakes don’t make you a failure, but beating yourself up makes you feel like one.

Dishonesty.It’s one thing to make a mistake and quite another to commit one intentionallyby being deceitful.

Denial.No one wins the blame game. Pointing fingers prohibits learning or progress from taking place. It’s time to face the music.

Trapped.Dwelling in the past won’t help you today.

 

View Mistakes as an Opportunity Rather Than a Weakness

People fear mistakes because they’re reprimanded and ridiculed for them. As a result, we become defensive when they occur.Imagine how we’d act if mistakes were a welcome way of life. As Ralph Nader said, “Your best teacher is your last mistake.”

Encourage risk-taking. If mistakes were welcomed, you’d encourage risk-taking rather than defensive behavior. Mistakes would mean that you’re setting “stretch goals” –– leaving your comfort zone and attempting something new.

Welcome feedback.If mistakes were welcomed, you’d feel supported by constructive feedbackrather than attacked by biting criticism. You’d feel exhilarated rather than stressed out.

Promote positive action.If mistakes were welcomed, you’d feel compelled to address the problem rather than afraid a mistake would be discovered. This would promote positive action rather than negativity.

Stimulate learning.If mistakes were welcomed, you’d feel comfortable sharing your mistakes rather than hiding from them. You’d know that sharing fosters learning. Why should other people have to learn from theirmistakes when they can learn from yours?

Encourage teamwork.If mistakes were welcomed, you’d shift from a destructive to a positive environment.Finger-pointing and back-stabbing would give way to civility and mentoring.

Trusting partnerships.In business, if mistakes were transparent, communication with vendors would flourish and artificial walls would be torn down. Vendors would be treated more as allies than as adversaries.

 

How Do You View Mistakes?

When mistakes are made, our actions shift from doing the right thing to covering our behinds; to pointing fingers rather than accepting personal responsibility; hiding errors rather than fixing them; allowing wasteful projects to linger rather than shutting them down; and letting small problems become big ones because they’re inadequately addressed. The result is that learning is brought to a complete standstill –– making it more than likely the same mistake will be repeated. It shouldn’t be that way.

The time has come to view every mistake as an opportunity rather than a weakness.This change in outlook will stimulate personal growth, strengthen relationships, and enhance efficiency and effectiveness. The truth is that there shouldn’t be shame in making a mistake. The disgrace should be in failing to admit, correct, and learn from it. The bottom line is that the difference between mediocrity and exponential personal growth is how you view your mistakes. Make no mistake about it!

 

This is adapted from BOOKSMART: Hundreds of real-world lessons for success and happiness by Frank Sonnenberg.

 

Frank SonnenbergFrank Sonnenberg is an award-winning author. He has written seven books and over 300 articles. Frank was recently named one of “America’s Top 100 Thought Leaders” and one of “America’s Most Influential Small Business Experts.” Frank has served on several boards and has consulted to some of the largest and most respected companies in the world.

Additionally, FrankSonnenbergOnlinewas named among the “Best 21st Century Leadership Blogs”; among the “Top 100 Socially-Shared Leadership Blogs”; and one of the “Best Inspirational Blogs On the Planet.” Frank’s newest book, Soul Food: Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life, was released November 2018 (© 2018 Frank Sonnenberg. All rights reserved.)

 

Learn more about character education.




Why successful people never blame others

@TheRayCenter
From guest contributor, Frank Sonnenberg

When our kids were young, they’d run around the house and hurt themselves by accidentally running into a chair. So we played the “blame game” and put the blame on the chair:

“Ouch. That hurt! Why did you get in my way? We were having so much fun until YOU spoiled it all. Who do you think you are? You’re bigger and stronger, … and you hurt me. You’re a bully. Why don’t you pick on someone your own size?”

And with that, we let our kids hit the chair to show it who was the boss. “Bad, bad chair!”

For some reason, scolding the chair made it all better. (Of course it’s so much easier to blame the chair than to admit fault.) And the kids continued playing.

Although you may think this is a kid’s game, some people continue to play the blame game as adults.

“Don’t blame me that I’m out of shape.”

“It’s not my fault that I accumulated all this debt.”

“You’ll probably never trust me again, but…”

“I know I messed up, but…”

I can hear the chorus now, “Bad, bad chair!”


It’s Easy to Blame Others

You have a choice: You can blame shortcomings on the weather, a bad horoscope, or that it’s a leap year. Or you can get serious. The truth is, when folks deflect responsibilityand cast blame, it serves as nothing more than a crutch and a reason to stop trying. Worse yet, people who continually invent excuses why they can’t succeed convince themselves that failure is inevitable. This results in their ultimately losing faith in themselves and their abilities –– and making it a self-fulfilling prophecy. So be careful how you speak to others because you’re probably listening too.

Successful people, on the other hand, don’t blame the world when they fail to achieve something. They accept personal responsibility, learn from their mistakes, and then do something about it. They also know that being unwilling to make the effort is a losing game. In fact, those who say, “I can’t” and “I don’t want to” trigger the same results.

It is important to note — even though you may be making an effort today, things may not be going your way. That’s because you may be paying a price for years of neglect. But that shouldn’t deter you from making the effort now. The truth is, it takes many years to become an overnight success.

The bottom line is, if you want to achieve something in life, get to work. Things don’t happen magically. YOU have to make things happen. So, be positive. Stay focused. And remain determined. If you look into the mirror and don’t like what you see … don’t blame the mirror. Successful people accept responsibility for their destiny; losers play the blame game.

This is adapted from BOOKSMART: Hundreds of real-world lessons for success and happinessby Frank Sonnenberg released November 2016.

Frank is an award-winning author. He has written six books and over 300 articles. Frank was recently named one of “America’s Top 100 Thought Leaders” and one of America’s Most Influential Small Business Experts. Frank has served on several boards and has consulted to some of the largest and most respected companies in the world. Additionally,  FrankSonnenbergOnline was named among the “Best 21st Century Leadership Blogs,” among the “Top 100 Socially-Shared Leadership Blogs,” and one of the “Best Inspirational Blogs On the Planet.” Frank’s new book, BookSmart: Hundreds of real-world lessons for success and happiness was released November 2016. © 2018 Frank Sonnenberg. All rights reserved.

Learn more about character education.




7 things to do when you feel like a failure

@TheRayCenter

You blew the test, you lost the game, and you made a complete fool out of yourself in front of everyone. (Ouch.) But worst of all, you’re beginning to doubt yourself, and you’re starting to view yourself as a failure. Please don’t do that! Failing one time — or even several times — doesn’t make you a failure any more than losing one game makes you a loser. Believing you’re a failure, however, can make you act like a failure and that can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Failing comes in three flavors. First, despite our best efforts, there’s nothing that you can do to prevent accidents,as they are by their very nature out of your control. Second, everyone makes mistakes,such as poor choices or misjudgments … no one’s perfect. The third type of failures –– errors–– is preventable. They’re caused by carelessness, inaccuracy, or poor judgment. For the most part, people are very forgiving if you make an honest mistake or act out of character on occasion. But when improper actions — such as lying, cheating, or stealing — are repeated or intentional, your reputation suffers. Even if you offer a heartfelt apology after a transgression, it can still take considerable time and effort to recover.

How Should You React to Failure?

  • Be realistic. If you demand perfection of yourself, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.
  • Don’t take failure personally.Making a mistake doesn’t make you a failure. It’s simply a reminder that you’re human.
  • Accept responsibility.Nothing positive is ever gained by scapegoating. Be courageous and accept responsibilityfor your failure.
  • Be nice to yourself.Don’t tear yourself down for failing. You don’t speak to others that way, so give yourself a break.
  • Get back on the horse.Don’t wallow in self-pity. Obsessing over failure won’t make it better. You cannot change the past, but you can affect the future.
  • Grow from your mistakes.Take the time to reflect on your experience, learn from your mistakes, and adapt accordingly.
  • Don’t quit.Most people fail before achieving success; the difference is that successful people never stop trying. As Douglas MacArthur said, “Age wrinkles the body. Quitting wrinkles the soul.”

If All Else Fails

Failing should be viewed as a hurdle rather than a roadblock. Successful people aren’t discouraged by failure. They know that every worthwhile goal carries some element of disappointment. Failure is a challenge to be overcome, a test to defy your will, and in the end, a learning opportunity. For others, failure is viewed negatively as an opportunity to feel sorry and complain, a reason to belittle oneself, and an excuse to give up too quickly.

The fact is, it’s important to remember that most successful people fail BIG TIME before reaching the pinnacle of success. According to Business Insider:

Thomas Edison’s teachers told him he was “too stupid to learn anything.”Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” In one of Fred Astaire’s first screen tests, an executive wrote: “Can’t sing. Can’t act. Slightly balding. Can dance a little.” Charles Darwin was considered an average student. He gave up on a career in medicine and was going to school to become a parson. Vincent Van Gogh sold only one painting, “The Red Vineyard,” in his life, and the sale was just months before his death. Lucille Ball appeared in so many second-tier films at the start of her career that she became known as “The Queen of B Movies.”Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, had his first book rejected by 27 different publishers.J.K. Rowling was a single mom living off welfare when she began writing the first Harry Potter novel. Rowling is now internationally renowned for her seven-book Harry Potter series and, in U.S. currency, became the first billionaire author in 2004.*

The bottom line is that there’s still some hope for the rest of us.

The truth is, the difference between a stepping-stone and a stumbling block is the way in which you approach it. Failing can be a blessing or a curse. It can be a great teacher, make you stronger, and keep you grounded, or it can be the cause of your demise. It’s your choice. Your view of failure determines your reality. As Zig Ziglar said, “Remember that failure is an event, not a person.” You’re not a failure unless you make yourself one.

*Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/successful-people-who-failed-at-first-2014-3

This is adapted from BOOKSMART: Hundreds of real-world lessons for success and happinessby Frank Sonnenberg released November 2016.

Frank is an award-winning author. He has written six books and over 300 articles. Frank was recently named one of “America’s Top 100 Thought Leaders” and one of America’s Most Influential Small Business Experts. Frank has served on several boards and has consulted to some of the largest and most respected companies in the world. Additionally,  FrankSonnenbergOnline was named among the “Best 21st Century Leadership Blogs,” among the “Top 100 Socially-Shared Leadership Blogs,” and one of the “Best Inspirational Blogs On the Planet.” Frank’s new book, BookSmart: Hundreds of real-world lessons for success and happiness was released November 2016. © 2018 Frank Sonnenberg. All rights reserved.

Learn more about character education.

 

 




It pays to delegate

@TheRayCenter
From our guest contributor, Frank Sonnenberg.

Leave your comfort zone. If you don’t feel comfortable delegating, you’re not alone. Change is difficult. Think about it this way…if we didn’t try to walk, we’d all still be crawling.

Know what matters most. Set priorities and determine which trade-offs are right for you.

Build trust. Surround yourself with talented people who possess a high level of trust and integrity.

Manage the process. Focus on the process as much as on the end result. And make sure to consider strengths and weaknesses when assigning work.

Be explicit about goalsand expectations. Tell people your ultimate goal rather than micromanaging how they do it. Who knows…they may come up with a better way.

Set milestones. Delegating does not mean walking away from an activity until it’s complete. Establish key milestones and review progress along the way.

Delegate responsibility and authority. It’s not enough to delegate a task. Give the person the responsibility and authority to get it done.

Set the right tone. Create an environment in which dialog is open, questions are encouraged, and mistakes become part of a learning experience.

Give continual feedback. Remember, there’s a difference between criticism and constructive feedback.

Recognize and reward excellence. Give credit where credit is due. Compliment people in public; criticize them in private.

 

This is adapted from BOOKSMART: Hundreds of real-world lessons for success and happinessby Frank Sonnenberg released November 2016.

 

Frank is an award-winning author. He has written six books and over 300 articles. Frank was recently named one of “America’s Top 100 Thought Leaders” and one of America’s Most Influential Small Business Experts. Frank has served on several boards and has consulted to some of the largest and most respected companies in the world. Additionally,  FrankSonnenbergOnline was named among the “Best 21st Century Leadership Blogs,” among the “Top 100 Socially-Shared Leadership Blogs,” and one of the “Best Inspirational Blogs On the Planet.” Frank’s new book, BookSmart: Hundreds of real-world lessons for success and happiness was released November 2016. © 2018 Frank Sonnenberg. All rights reserved.

 

 

 




Teaching citizenship: leadership

@TheRayCenter #CharacterCounts




The struggle between wants and shoulds

@TheRayCenter #CharacterCounts

From our guest contributor, Michael Josephson. 

As a full-time ethicist – can you believe there is such a thing? – I spend most of my time talking about right and wrong with parents and politicians, kids and corporate managers, journalists and generals.

One thing I’ve learned is that ethics – being a good person and doing the right thing – is easier said than done.

Ethics, or the lack of it, is everywhere. It’s in the news, in schools, in the workplace, in sports, in parenting, you name it.

Ethics would be easy to adhere to if we never wanted to do things we know are wrong. Unfortunately, if you’re like me, there’s a constant struggle between what I want to do (my desires) and what I should do (my ethical duties).

I want to avoid taxes, pay lower insurance premiums, and have the freedom to go through the “10 Items or Less” line with 14 items. Business executives want larger profits, politicians want more power, lawyers want to win.

Too often, our wants overcome our ambitions toward honor and virtue. We lie occasionally or cheat a little. As a result, there’s a hole in our moral ozone, and it’s getting bigger. It’s going to take moral courage and real character to repair that hole.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.

Michael Josephson is an influential and internationally renowned champion of character education for youth and ethical conduct in business, government, policing, journalism, sports, healthcare and law. He is credited by many as the person most responsible for reviving and professionalizing the character education in school and youth-serving organizations. In 1992, under the auspices of the Josephson Institute he created CHARACTER COUNTS!, the world’s most widely implemented character development initiative based on a common language of shared values – the Six Pillars of Character) and Pursuing Victory With Honor (1996), a companion program promoting ethics in sports.

Learn more about character education.




Is your commitment as binding as a contract?

@TheRayCenter #CharacterCounts

From our guest contributor, Frank Sonnenberg. 

We make commitments every day. They can be simple or life-changing — from simply promising to complete a task to making a lifelong commitment such as becoming a parent or asking for someone’s hand in marriage. But do we take our commitments seriously?

Some folks make commitments at the drop of a hat, thinking they can walk away from the obligation if they change their mind. Don’t they understand that commitments come with responsibility? Don’t they care that they may be hurting someone they care about? Don’t they understand that their actions have consequences? If the answer is yes, why don’t people honor their commitments?


Broken Promises. Broken Commitments.

Commitments often fail because people:

  • Lack personal responsibility. Some people make commitments too easily. Then, as soon as the wind changes direction, they head for the exit.
  • Make a minimal commitment. Some folks are afraid of getting hurt so they dip their toe in the water rather than jumping in.
  • Play the field. Some people don’t like to be tied down. They’d rather settle for several superficial relationships than one meaningful one.
  • “Jump ship” for a better offer. Some folks are opportunists. They’re always on the prowl for a better situation.
  • Look out for number one. Some people are strictly out for themselves. These selfish folks have a hard time making a commitment that requires even minimal sacrifice.
  • Keep score. Some folks treat a relationship as a competition. They can’t stand being on the losing end, even for a short period of time.
  • Make too many commitments. Some people can’t find the words or courage to decline a request. They end up breaking their promise; one that they never felt comfortable about making from the start.
  • “Chicken out” during tough times. Some people have no character. As soon as something goes south, they’re nowhere to be found.

Do You Understand the Meaning of Commitment?

Here are nine ingredients of a successful commitment. Use them as guideposts through your life.

  • Go all in. Think twice before making a commitment. Once you do, take the plunge rather than making a half-hearted effort.
  • Honor your word. Accept responsibility. When you make a commitment, you’re giving your word and putting your honor on the line. Act like it.
  •  Expect the best. Put your complete trust and faith in the commitments that you make. That will encourage you to focus on long-term potential rather than seeking immediate gain.
  • Keep the relationship front and center. Focus as much on the journey as on the end result. Never sacrifice the relationship for results.
  •  Give first. Give with an open hand. The odds are high that your deed will be reciprocated. But remember, there’s no need to keep score.
  •  Make yourself vulnerable. Be honest and transparent. That will promote a healthy, trusting relationship.
  •  Demonstrate your loyalty. Live up to your commitments in good times and bad. Tough times say a lot about us. Make sure they say only good things about you.
  •  Watch each other’s back.  Promote opportunities where everyone wins. Focus on their best interests and have faith that they’ll focus on yours.
  •  Think as one. Build together, grow together, and win together. It’s that simple.

Do You Take Your Commitments Seriously?

People are way too quick to make commitments and too quick to abandon them. When you make a commitment, you’re not saying I’ll give it a shot, you’re saying, I’m all in –– and nothing less. When you make a commitment, you’re not saying you’ve got more than I’ve got, you’re saying I’m so happy that you’re happy. When you make a commitment, you’re not saying I’ll honor my responsibility when times are good, you’re saying count on me to be at my best when times are worst. The truth is, when you make a promise, you’re not giving your word in erasable pencil, you’re inscribing your commitment in indelible ink.

Making a commitment is serious business and not something to be taken lightly. When you make a commitment, you’re not only keeping your commitment for their benefit, you’re also keeping it for yourself. That’s because your honor and self-respect hang in the balance. What’s that worth? Everything! Be very careful about making commitments and always be faithful in keeping them.

This is adapted from BOOKSMART: Hundreds of real-world lessons for success and happiness by Frank Sonnenberg released November 2016.

 

Frank is an award-winning author. He has written six books and over 300 articles. Frank was recently named one of “America’s Top 100 Thought Leaders” and one of America’s Most Influential Small Business Experts. Frank has served on several boards and has consulted to some of the largest and most respected companies in the world. Additionally,  FrankSonnenbergOnline was named among the “Best 21st Century Leadership Blogs,” among the “Top 100 Socially-Shared Leadership Blogs,” and one of the “Best Inspirational Blogs On the Planet.” Frank’s new book, BookSmart: Hundreds of real-world lessons for success and happiness was released November 2016. © 2018 Frank Sonnenberg. All rights reserved.




Own your life

@TheRayCenter #CharacterCounts

From our guest contributor, Frank Sonnenberg. 

Everyone is born with the potential for greatness. What happens next is up to you. You get to choose which path you take, how high to set the bar for yourself, and how hard you’re willing to work to clear it. You get to decide how to spend your time, who to spend it with, and what you’re willing to forgo when time runs short. Every choice that you make and every action that you take has consequences, but who better to decide what’s best for you –– than you. It’s your life to live. Own it!

Securing the ultimate prize takes strength and courage. You’re going to face challenges that seem insurmountable and suffer setbacks along the way, but faith, hard work, and determination will see you through. Don’t listen to naysayers or allow others to lead you astray; follow your heart and let your dreams lead the way. You owe it to yourself to be the best you can be. You’ll travel this road only once. Believe in yourself and make yourself proud. There are no dress rehearsals in life.

Words to Live By

Here are 14 guideposts for your journey through life.

  • Be your own person. Get real; be yourself. Consider the advice of others, but trust yourself in the end.
  • Make yourself proud. Do your best; nothing less. Set standards of excellence that make the most important person –– you — proud.
  • Keep good company. Surround yourself with positive people who genuinely care about your well-being and bring out the best in you.
  • Find your passion. Pursue your dreams with fervor, and put your heart into everything you do. Everyone was put on this earth for a purpose…what’s yours?
  • Make a difference. Be a positive force in people’s lives. It doesn’t require a gift from your wallet but rather, a caring heart.
  • Prioritize your activities. Focus on the things that matter most. Everything on your plate isn’t of equal importance.
  • Invest your time. Think of time as your most valuable currency, and invest it wisely.
  • Be accountable. Accept responsibility for your behavior. When things go well, accept your well-deserved rewards. When they don’t, admit fault, learn from your mistakes, and move on.
  • Face reality. Be the change that you want to be. If you look in the mirror and don’t like what you see, don’t blame the mirror.
  • Invest in yourself. Don’t stop educating yourself. Learn something new every day. You’ll be able to leverage that investment for the rest of your life.
  • Be grateful. Appreciate what you have, while you have it, or you’ll learn what it meant to you after you’ve lost it.
  • Make lots of memories. Take time to smell the roses. Possessions age and lose value over time; memories last forever.
  • Remain true to your values. Compromise on your position, but not your principles. Listen to your conscience. That’s why you have one.
  • Guard your reputation. Protect your reputation like it’s the most valuable asset you own. Because it is!

Live the Dream

Success and happiness don’t just happen by chance; you have to go out and earn them for yourself. No one says they’re simple or easy to attain; it takes courage, hard work, and dedication. The key is to set high standards, remain true to your values, listen to your conscience, and never stop trying. At the end of the day, it’s your life to live. Own it! You have to live with yourself for the rest of your life.

This is adapted from BOOKSMART: Hundreds of real-world lessons for success and happiness by Frank Sonnenberg released November 2016.

Frank SonnenbergFrank is an award-winning author. He has written six books and over 300 articles. Frank was recently named one of “America’s Top 100 Thought Leaders” and one of America’s Most Influential Small Business Experts. Frank has served on several boards and has consulted to some of the largest and most respected companies in the world. Additionally,  FrankSonnenbergOnline was named among the “Best 21st Century Leadership Blogs,” among the “Top 100 Socially-Shared Leadership Blogs,” and one of the “Best Inspirational Blogs On the Planet.” Frank’s new book, BookSmart: Hundreds of real-world lessons for success and happiness was released November 2016. © 2018 Frank Sonnenberg. All rights reserved.

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