Life Mapping: A Vision of Success

Success is more than economic gains, titles, and degrees. Planning for success is about mapping out all the aspects of your life. Similar to a map, you need to define the following details: origin, destination, vehicle, backpack, landmarks, and route.

Origin: Who you are

A map has a starting point. Your origin is who you are right now. Most people when asked to introduce themselves would say, “Hi, I’m Jean and I am a 17-year old, senior highschool student.” It does not tell you about who Jean is; it only tells you her present preoccupation. To gain insights about yourself, you need to look closely at your beliefs, values, and principles aside from your economic, professional, cultural, and civil status. Moreover, you can also reflect on your experiences to give you insights on your good and not-so-good traits, skills, knowledge, strengths, and weaknesses. Upon introspection, Jean realized that she was highly motivated, generous, service-oriented, but impatient. Her inclination was in the biological-medical field. Furthermore, she believed that life must serve a purpose, and that wars were destructive to human dignity.

Destination: A vision of who you want to be

“Who do want to be?” this is your vision. Now it is important that you know yourself so that you would have a clearer idea of who you want to be; and the things you want to change whether they are attitudes, habits, or points of view. If you hardly know yourself, then your vision and targets for the future would also be unclear. Your destination should cover all the aspects of your being: the physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual. Continuing Jean’s story, after she defined her beliefs, values, and principles in life, she decided that she wanted to have a life dedicated in serving her fellowmen.

Vehicle: Your Mission

A vehicle is the means by which you can reach your destination. It can be analogized to your mission or vocation in life. To a great extent, your mission would depend on what you know about yourself. Bases on Jean’s self-assessment, she decided that she was suited to become a doctor, and that she wanted to become one. Her chosen vocation was a medical doctor. Describing her vision-mission fully: it was to live a life dedicated to serving her fellowmen as a doctor in conflict-areas.

Travel Bag: Your knowledge, skills, and attitude

Food, drinks, medicines, and other travelling necessities are contained in a bag. Applying this concept to your life map, you also bring with you certain knowledge, skills, and attitudes. These determine your competence and help you in attaining your vision. Given such, there is a need for you to assess what knowledge, skills, and attitudes you have at present and what you need to gain along the way. This two-fold assessment will give you insights on your landmarks or measures of success. Jean realized that she needed to gain professional knowledge and skills on medicine so that she could become a doctor. She knew that she was a bit impatient with people so she realized that this was something she wanted to change.

Landmarks and Route: S.M.A.R.T. objectives

Landmarks confirm if you are on the right track while the route determines the travel time. Thus, in planning out your life, you also need to have landmarks and a route. These landmarks are your measures of success. These measures must be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time bound. Thus you cannot set two major landmarks such as earning a master’s degree and a doctorate degree within a period of three years, since the minimum number of years to complete a master’s degree is two years. Going back to Jean as an example, she identified the following landmarks in her life map: completing a bachelor’s degree in biology by the age of 21; completing medicine by the age of 27; earning her specialization in infectious diseases by the age of 30; getting deployed in local public hospitals of their town by the age of 32; and serving as doctor in war-torn areas by the age of 35.

Anticipate Turns, Detours, and Potholes

The purpose of your life map is to minimize hasty and spur-of-the-moment decisions that can make you lose your way. But oftentimes our plans are modified along the way due to some inconveniences, delays, and other situations beyond our control. Like in any path, there are turns, detours, and potholes thus; we must anticipate them and adjust accordingly.

“Have One Week, Will Relax” Your 7 days program to Stress management

They say there’s more than one way to skin a cat. The same goes when you start tearing your hair out with all the frustration, grief, anxiety, and yes, stress. It’s a state of mental conditioning that is like taking that bitter pill down your throat, causing you to lose your sense of self, and worse your sanity. Just thinking about it can drive anyone off the edge.

And they say that the proactive ones are already living off the edge.

As one stressed-out person to another, I know how it feels, and believe me there are many variants when it comes to stress. Coping with life, and carrying the problems that may or may not belong to you can scratch away the little joy and happiness that you can carry once you head out that door. You can’t blame them for being like that; they have their own reasons, so much like we have our reasons to allow stress to weigh us down. They say that stress is all in the mind, well, what’s bugging you anyway?

There are several ways to manage stress, and eventually remove it out of your life one of these days. So I’ll try to divide it into a seven-day course for you and I promise it’s not going to be too taxing on the body, as well as on the mind.

1. Acknowledge stress is good
Make stress your friend! Based on the body’s natural “fight or flight” response, that burst of energy will enhance your performance at the right moment. I’ve yet to see a top sportsman totally relaxed before a big competition. Use stress wisely to push yourself that little bit harder when it counts most.

2. Avoid stress sneezers
Stressed people sneeze stress germs indiscriminately and before you know it, you are infected too!

Protect yourself by recognizing stress in others and limiting your contact with them. Or if you’ve got the inclination, play stress doctor and teach them how to better manage themselves.

3. Learn from the best
When people around are losing their head, who keeps calm? What are they doing differently? What is their attitude? What language do they use? Are they trained and experienced?
Figure it out from afar or sit them down for a chat. Learn from the best stress managers and copy what they do.

4. Practice socially acceptable heavy breathing
This is something I’ve learned from a gym instructor: You can trick your body into relaxing by using heavy breathing. Breathe in slowly for a count of 7 then breathe out for a count of 11. Repeat the 7-11 breathing until your heart rate slows down, your sweaty palms dry off and things start to feel more normal.

5. Give stressy thoughts the red light
It is possible to tangle yourself up in a stress knot all by yourself. “If this happens, then that might happen and then we’re all up the creek!” Most of these things never happen, so why waste all that energy worrying needlessly?

Give stress thought-trains the red light and stop them in their tracks. Okay so it might go wrong – how likely is that, and what can you do to prevent it?

6. Know your trigger points and hot spots
Presentations, interviews, meetings, giving difficult feedback, tight deadlines…. My heart rate is cranking up just writing these down!

Make your own list of stress trigger points or hot spots. Be specific. Is it only presentations to a certain audience that get you worked up? Does one project cause more stress than another? Did you drink too much coffee?

Knowing what causes you stress is powerful information, as you can take action to make it less stressful. Do you need to learn some new skills? Do you need extra resources? Do you need to switch to decaf?

7. Burn the candle at one end
Lack of sleep, poor diet and no exercise wreaks havoc on our body and mind. Kind of obvious, but worth mentioning as it’s often ignored as a stress management technique. Listen to your mother and don’t burn the candle at both ends!

So having stress can be a total drag, but that should not hinder us to find the inner peace of mind that we have wanted for a long time. In any case, one could always go to the Bahamas and bask under the summer sun.

“A Better You” Your 7 days program to self-improvement

I seem to lost count on how many times I’ve read and heard of celebrity marriages failing almost left and right. Not that I care (and personally I don’t), it seems strange that we often see movie and TV stars as flawless people, living the fairytale life of riches and glamour. I suppose we all have to stop sticking our heads in the clouds and face reality.

There are many ways to lose your sense of self-esteem despite of how trivial it could get. But whatever happens, we should all try not to lose our own sense of self.

So what does it take to be a cut above the rest? Here are some of the things you can think and improve on that should be enough for a week.

1. Know your purpose
Are you wandering through life with little direction – hoping that you’ll find happiness, health and prosperity? Identify your life purpose or mission statement and you will have your own unique compass that will lead you to your truth north every time.

This may seem tricky at first when you see yourself to be in a tight or even dead end. But there’s always that little loophole to turn things around and you can make a big difference to yourself.

2. Know your values
What do you value most? Make a list of your top 5 values. Some examples are security, freedom, family, spiritual development, learning. As you set your goals for 2005 – check your goals against your values. If the goal doesn’t align with any of your top five values – you may want to reconsider it or revise it.

The number shouldn’t discourage you, instead it should motivate you to do more than you can ever dreamed of.

3. Know your needs
Unmet needs can keep you from living authentically. Take care of yourself. Do you have a need to be acknowledged, to be right, to be in control, to be loved? There are so many people who lived their lives without realizing their dreams and most of them end up being stressed or even depressed for that matter. List your top four needs and get them met before it’s too late!

4. Know your passions
You know who you are and what you truly enjoy in life. Obstacles like doubt and lack of enthusiasm will only hinder you, but will not derail your chance to become the person you ought to be. Express yourself and honor the people who has inspired you to become the very person you wanted to be.

5. Live from the inside out
Increase your awareness of your inner wisdom by regularly reflecting in silence. Commune with nature. Breathe deeply to quiet your distracted mind. For most of us city slickers it’s hard to even find the peace and quiet we want even in our own home. In my case I often just sit in a dimly lit room and play some classical music. There’s sound, yes, but music does soothe the savage beast.

6. Honor your strengths
What are your positive traits? What special talents do you have? List three – if you get stuck, ask those closest to you to help identify these. Are you imaginative, witty, good with your hands? Find ways to express your authentic self through your strengths. You can increase your self-confidence when you can share what you know to others.

7. Serve others
When you live authentically, you may find that you develop an interconnected sense of being. When you are true to who you are, living your purpose and giving of your talents to the world around you, you give back in service what you came to share with others -your spirit – your essence. The rewards for sharing your gift with those close to you is indeed rewarding, much more if it were to be the eyes of a stranger who can appreciate what you have done to them.

Self-improvement is indeed one type of work that is worth it. It shouldn’t always be within the confines of an office building, or maybe in the four corners of your own room. The difference lies within ourselves and how much we want to change for the better.

“Enlightenment” Your 7 days program to Positive thinking

I’m sure you have a bright idea hidden somewhere in the back of your mind that you just can’t wait to test out. Of course you’re not the only one with the bright idea. So what motivates you to churn those creative, or even inspiring juices to its utmost flavor?

It’s always best to set up a personal goal where you can accomplish the most in record time, maybe like mowing the lawn in an hour before the big game on TV. A correct and positive attitude in whatever you do will make things easier, and even enjoyable.

Here are some tips to make it through the week even if you’re just sitting in your favorite couch. An idea takes time to form in your head and is always at work while you are busy sitting.

Having a bit of positive thinking can help you realize things that are never thought possible. Thinking big is indeed the American Way and that what made our country prosperous.

1. Take passionate action towards living your life by design. Talk is cheap. Action = deposits in the bank of a passionately authentic future. Without it, passion is void.

This is a perfect example where dreams are made of where you start by tinkering with your mind, then with your hands. And if the idea weakens, you can always go back to it later until you finish it.

2. Commit to yourself as well as those you love to create powerfully a life you can love. Instead of reacting, commit to creating from your heart and soul, out of love rather than fear. The American Dream will always be there, but a dream will still be a dream without motion. Be amazed as the transformation begins.

3. Recognize and embrace the thought that each moment is perfect regardless of its outcome. Every time you hit on something that may appear too extreme, why not give it a shot and see if it will work. You will be surprised to see of there are other ways to get the task done in time. If you are not pleased with the outcome, decide to use that moment to learn from and make the appropriate shift.

4. Dwell completely in a place of gratitude. Learn to utilize what you have in your hands and make use of it in the most constructive way. Slipping into neediness will become less of a habit when you repeatedly shift towards gratitude, away from poverty consciousness.

5. Use a Passion Formula of Recognize/Reevaluate/Restore in place of the Shoulda/Woulda/Coulda whirlwind. The former is based in increased knowledge and abundance while the latter focuses on scarcity and lack. As you face people or tasks that may seem harder than scaling the summit of the Himalayas, allow yourself to realize that the task is just as important as giving out orders to your subordinates. You would rather be richly passionate!

6. Keep humor at the forefront of thought, laughing at and with yourself when possible. You may find yourself quite entertaining when you loosen up! I am yet to see a comedian ever go hungry even though his jokes are as ‘old as great-grandma’. Life has so much to offer to allow you to mope around in self pity. Humor is very attractive, very passionate: life-giving.

7. Believe that you are the architect of your destiny. No one can take your passionate future from you except for you! Create your life authentically. As long as there’s still breath in your body, there is no end to how much you can accomplish in a lifetime. The concept of thinking big is all about enjoying your work, which would lead to celebrate a discovery that is born within your hands. Watch everything flow into place with perfect, passionate precision.

It’s interesting how people get wallowed up by something trivial as learning to use a computer, when nowadays that top computer companies are manufacturing software that even the kids can do it. I don’t mean to be condescending, but that’s the idea of not having any positive thinking in your life-you’ll just end up as a dim bulb in a dark corner. So instead of subjecting yourself to what you will be doomed for, make your path by taking the first step with a positive attitude.

“Relaxing with a Mental PDA” Your 5 minutes daily program to Stress management

We all have this favorite expression when it comes to being stressed out, and I wouldn’t bother naming all of them since it may also vary in different languages. But when it comes down to it, I think that it is how we work or even relax, for that matter that triggers stress. Ever been stressed even when you’re well relaxed and bored? I know I have.

Since Error! Hyperlink reference not valid. is unavoidable in life, it is important to find ways to decrease and prevent stressful incidents and decrease negative reactions to stress. Here are some of the things that can be done by just remembering it, since life is basically a routine to follow like brushing your teeth or eating breakfast. You can do a few of them in a longer span of time, but as they say– every minute counts.

Managing time

Time management skills can allow you more time with your family and friends and possibly increase your performance and productivity. This will help reduce your stress.

To improve your time management:

· Save time by focusing and concentrating, delegating, and scheduling time for yourself.
· Keep a record of how you spend your time, including work, family, and leisure time.
· Prioritize your time by rating tasks by importance and urgency. Redirect your time to those activities that are important and meaningful to you.
· Manage your commitments by not over- or undercommitting. Don’t commit to what is not important to you.
· Deal with procrastination by using a day planner, breaking large projects into smaller ones, and setting short-term deadlines.
· Examine your beliefs to reduce conflict between what you believe and what your life is like.
Build healthy coping strategies

It is important that you identify your coping strategies. One way to do this is by recording the stressful event, your reaction, and how you cope in a stress journal. With this information, you can work to change unhealthy coping strategies into healthy ones-those that help you focus on the positive and what you can change or control in your life.

Lifestyle

Some behaviors and lifestyle choices affect your stress level. They may not cause stress directly, but they can interfere with the ways your body seeks relief from stress. Try to:

· Balance personal, work, and family needs and obligations.
· Have a sense of purpose in life.
· Get enough sleep, since your body recovers from the stresses of the day while you are sleeping.
· Eat a balanced diet for a nutritional defense against stress.
· Get moderate exercise throughout the week.
· Limit your consumption of alcohol.
· Don’t smoke.

Social support

Social support is a major factor in how we experience stress. Social support is the positive support you receive from family, friends, and the community. It is the knowledge that you are cared for, loved, esteemed, and valued. More and more research indicates a strong relationship between social support and better mental and physical health.

Changing thinking

When an event triggers negative thoughts, you may experience fear, insecurity, anxiety, depression, rage, guilt, and a sense of worthlessness or powerlessness. These emotions trigger the body’s stress, just as an actual threat does. Dealing with your negative thoughts and how you see things can help reduce stress.

· Thought-stopping helps you stop a negative thought to help eliminate stress.
· Disproving irrational thoughts helps you to avoid exaggerating the negative thought, anticipating the worst, and interpreting an event incorrectly.
· Problem solving helps you identify all aspects of a stressful event and find ways to deal with it.
· Changing your communication style helps you communicate in a way that makes your views known without making others feel put down, hostile, or intimidated. This reduces the stress that comes from poor communication. Use the assertiveness ladder to improve your communication style.

Even writers like me can get stressed even though we’re just using our hands to do the talking, but having to sit for 7 or 8 hours is already stressful enough and have our own way to relieve stress. Whether you’re the mail guy, the CEO, or probably the average working parent, stress is one unwanted visitor you would love to boot out of your homes, especially your life.

Tip on Responding to an Online Dating Profile

Tip on Responding to an Online Dating Profile

love datingFinding people to date through traditional means might not be compatible with everyone’s fast-paced lifestyle these days, and online dating has certainly become a huge industry as a result. Online dating through services like Global Personals purely provides that initial means of contact away from regular public places like bars and clubs. When it comes to actually meeting the person, however, a more conventional date will ensue. To get to that stage, however, it’s important that you learn the basic etiquette that goes behind online dating, which is subtly different to meeting someone in a bar or somewhere similar.

First of all, online dating makes it a lot easier for regular people to issue a flattering return message or make initial contact with someone they wouldn’t usually have the guts to approach in real life. As such, you can use the medium to your advantage by thinking closely about what you are going to say, rather than stumbling over your words when someone tries to make contact in a bar.

When sending someone a message, make sure that the language you use reflects your interest in them. For example, if you are looking for a more casual encounter on a dating site that caters specifically to them, using flattery and complimenting the person physically is fine. If, however, you are looking for something deeper and more meaningful, it’s important to focus on getting to know them first, so asking more regular questions about their work, likes and dislikes, and so on, is more appropriate.

If the latter, it’s important that you analyse their profile first of all, to give you a heads up over what you should talk about. If their profile goes into details about how much they love their job and what they do, and then you ask them ‘what do you do for work’, this is going to immediately show them that you haven’t even bothered to read their profile. If this were a woman, she might be put off by the fact that you clearly used their pictures only to judge where you wanted to message them or not. So, to show a deeper intention, always read their profile and ask them specific questions based upon it.

Never be too upfront with any initial contact. So, don’t go ahead and ask them for a date straight away, as this is hugely unlikely to lead to a positive result, and if it does, perhaps that person isn’t the sort that you’d want to date anyway. Instead, use your first message as a way to break the ice as you would if you met someone in a bar. You wouldn’t go up to them, introduce yourself, and then ask for their date, so don’t do it online either.

Some dating services will allow you to find out if someone had read your message or not. If they have, and haven’t responded, don’t message them again. Accept that everyone has their own tastes and that you aren’t to theirs. Thankfully, this sort of rejection is a lot easier to take online than it is in real life, so let it wash over you and move on to someone else.

If you’re consistent, then you should gain some success with dating services like Global Personals. Just be prepared to send plenty of messages and eventually you’ll find a potential partner.

Cute Wooden Handicraft: Make a String of Hearts

Everyone loves heart-shaped decorations. This cute wooden handicraft can be hung over a doorway or as part of a wall display. Paint the hearts red, pink, and white, and you will have a decoration for Valentines’ Day. Paint them red and green for Christmas, or red, white, and blue to display love for America. You can leave it plain for a natural look. The string of hearts wooden handicraft fits well with country style furnishings.

To make the string of hearts, you will need 5 wooden heart cut-outs approximately three inches wide, a drill with an eighth inch bit and a quarter inch bit, a small amount of raffia, two yards of 1 -1/2 inch wide soft ribbon, two large wooden beads, and acrylic paints in the colors you want. The ribbon and the beads should match the color sceme you desire. Plaid ribbons are particularly effective. The string of hearts has five hearts side by side tied together with small raffia bows. The first and last hearts have the wide ribbon strung through a hole on each side and a bead strung on the ribbon. The ribbon is knotted at the very ends, making a loop of ribbon on each end which can fit over a nail for hanging.

The first step in making the wooden handicraft is to drill a small hole on each side of the hearts. The two outside holes are made with the quarter inch bit, and the other holes are made with the 1/8 inch bit. Now paint the hearts with the acrylic paint in the colors you desire. Acrylic paints are the small bottles of craft paint that are sold in 2-ounce bottles in a wide variety of colors. They can sometimes be purchased very inexpensively. Tempera paint will work if you can’t get acrylic paints. Another idea is to spray paint them, especially if you want to use a metallic color.

When the paint is dry, tie the hearts together with the raffia. To do this, cut four 10-inch lengths of raffia. Thread the raffia down into one hole and up through the hole on the next heart so that they lay side by side. The raffia should be tied in a neat bow on the top of the arrangement. Do the same between the rest of the hearts so that all the small raffia bows are on top. Trim the raffia ends if necessary.

Through each of the outside holes, thread one of the ribbons. Pull the ribbon through until the ends are even. Thread the large bead over both ends and slip it up close to the heart. Trim the ends of the ribbon decoratively and knot them. Repeat the process on the other side to complete the wooden handicraft. Now hang the string of hearts wherever desired for a cheerful decoration. A wooden handicraft like this makes a nice gift for someone special.

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WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO IMPROVE YOUR SELF?

Sometimes, when all our doubts, fears and insecurities wrap ourselves up, we always come up with the idea of “I wish I was somebody else.” More often than not, we think and believe that someone or rather, most people are better than us.- when in reality, the fact is, most people are more scared than us.

You spot a totally eye-catching girl sitting by herself at a party, casually sipping on a glass of Asti Spumanti. You think to yourself, “she looks so perfectly calm and confident.” But if you could read thru her transparent mind, you would see a bunch of clouds of thoughts and you might just be amazed that she’s thinking “are people talking about why I am seated here alone?… Why don’t guys find me attractive? …I don’t like my ankles, they look too skinny… I wish I was as intelligent as my best friend.”

We look at a young business entrepreneur and say “Wooh… what else could he ask for?” He stares at himself at the mirror and murmur to himself, “I hate my big eyes… I wonder why my friends won’t talk to me… I hope mom and dad would still work things out.”

Isn’t it funny? We look at other people, envy them for looking so outrageously perfect and wish we could trade places with them, while they look at us and thinks of the same thing. We are insecure of other people who themselves are insecure of us. We suffer from low self-esteem, lack of self-confidence and lose hope in self improvement because we are enveloped in quiet desperation.

Sometimes, you notice that you have an irritating habit like biting off your finger nails, having a foul mouth, and you – of all people, is the last to know.

I have a friend who never gets tired of talking. And in most conversations, she is the only one who seems to be interested in the things she has to say. So all of our other friends tend to avoid the circles whenever she’s around, and she doesn’t notices how badly she became socially handicapped – gradually affecting the people in her environment.

One key to self improvement is to LISTEN and TALK to a trusted friend. Find someone who you find comfort in opening up with even the most gentle topics you want to discuss. Ask questions like “do you think I am ill-mannered?”, “Do I always sound so argumentative?”, “Do I talk too loud?”, “Does my breath smell?”, “Do I ever bore you when were together?”. In this way, the other person will obviously know that you are interested in the process of self improvement. Lend her your ears for comments and criticisms and don’t give her answers like “Don’t exaggerate! That’s just the way I am!” Open up your mind and heart as well. And in return, you may want to help your friend with constructive criticism that will also help her improve her self.

One of Whitney Houston’s songs says “Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.” True enough. In order to love others, you must love yourself too. Remember, you cannot give what you do not have.

Before telling other people some ways on how to improve themselves, let them see that you yourself is a representation and a product of self improvement. Self improvement makes us better people, we then inspire other people, and then the rest of the world will follow.

Stop thinking of yourselves as second-rate beings. Forget the repetitive thought of “If only I was richer… if only I was thinner” and so on. Accepting your true self is the first step to self improvement. We need to stop comparing ourselves to others only to find out at the end that we’ve got 10 more reasons to envy them.

We all have our insecurities. Nobody is perfect. We always wish we had better things, better features, better body parts, etc. But life need not to be perfect for people to be happy about themselves.Self improvement and loving yourself is not a matter of shouting to the whole world that you are perfect and you are the best. It’s the virtue of acceptance and contentment. When we begin to improve ourselves, we then begin to feel contented and happy.

Leadership Exposed: Things You Thought You Knew About Leadership

Much has been written about leadership: rules, pointers, styles, and biographies of inspiring leaders throughout world history. But there are certain leadership ideas that we ourselves fail to recognize and realize in the course of reading books. Here is a short list of things you thought you knew about leadership.

1. Leaders come in different flavors.

There are different types of leaders and you will probably encounter more than one type in your lifetime. Formal leaders are those we elect into positions or offices such as the senators, congressmen, and presidents of the local clubs. Informal leaders or those we look up to by virtue of their wisdom and experience such as in the case of the elders of a tribe, or our grandparents; or by virtue of their expertise and contribution on a given field such as Albert Einstein in the field of Theoretical Physics and Leonardo da Vinci in the field of the Arts. Both formal and informal leaders practice a combination of leadership styles.
· Lewin’s three basic leadership styles – authoritative, participative, and delegative
· Likert’s four leadership styles – exploitive authoritative, benevolent authoritative, consultative, and participative
· Goleman’s six emotional leadership styles – visionary, coaching, affiliative, democratic, pacesetting, and commanding.

2. Leadership is a process of becoming.

Although certain people seem to be born with innate leadership qualities, without the right environment and exposure, they may fail to develop their full potential. So like learning how to ride a bicycle, you can also learn how to become a leader and hone your leadership abilities. Knowledge on leadership theories and skills may be formally gained by enrolling in leadership seminars, workshops, and conferences. Daily interactions with people provide the opportunity to observe and practice leadership theories. Together, formal and informal learning will help you gain leadership attitudes, gain leadership insights, and thus furthering the cycle of learning. You do not become a leader in one day and just stop. Life-long learning is important in becoming a good leader for each day brings new experiences that put your knowledge, skills, and attitude to a test.

3. Leadership starts with you.

The best way to develop leadership qualities is to apply it to your own life. As an adage goes “action speaks louder than words.” Leaders are always in the limelight. Keep in mind that your credibility as a leader depends much on your actions: your interaction with your family, friends, and co-workers; your way of managing your personal and organizational responsibilities; and even the way you talk with the newspaper vendor across the street. Repeated actions become habits. Habits in turn form a person’s character. Steven Covey’s book entitled 7 Habits of Highly Effective People provides good insights on how you can achieve personal leadership.

4. Leadership is shared.

Leadership is not the sole responsibility of one person, but rather a shared responsibility among members of an emerging team. A leader belongs to a group. Each member has responsibilities to fulfill. Formal leadership positions are merely added responsibilities aside from their responsibilities as members of the team. Effective leadership requires members to do their share of work. Starting as a mere group of individuals, members and leaders work towards the formation of an effective team. In this light, social interaction plays a major role in leadership. To learn how to work together requires a great deal of trust between and among leaders and members of an emerging team. Trust is built upon actions and not merely on words. When mutual respect exists, trust is fostered and confidence is built.

5. Leadership styles depend on the situation.

How come dictatorship works for Singapore but not in the United States of America? Aside from culture, beliefs, value system, and form of government, the current situation of a nation also affects the leadership styles used by its formal leaders. There is no rule that only one style can be used. Most of the time, leaders employ a combination of leadership styles depending on the situation. In emergency situations such as periods of war and calamity, decision-making is a matter of life and death. Thus, a nation’s leader cannot afford to consult with all departments to arrive at crucial decisions. The case is of course different in times of peace and order—different sectors and other branches of government can freely interact and participate in governance. Another case in point is in leading organizations. When the staffs are highly motivated and competent, a combination of high delegative and moderate participative styles of leadership is most appropriate. But if the staffs have low competence and low commitment, a combination of high coaching, high supporting, and high directing behavior from organizational leaders is required.

Now that you are reminded of these things, keep in mind that there are always ideas that we think we already know; concepts we take for granted, but are actually the most useful insights on leadership.