Archive for April, 2014

What is Success?

We are constantly chasing success.  Are we like the dog chasing cars?  What is your definition of significancesuccess?  Until you know what success represents to you, how will you know if and when you achieve it?

Inca Trail

A few years ago I hiked the Inca Trail in Peru.  I met some of the most wonderful, kind, gentle, peaceful and happy people.  They were living in a structure which did not appear to be sturdy enough to withstand a stiff breeze.  Yet they invited me to their “casa” (home).  They smiled at each other and at me, a stranger.  Success to them did not appear to require wealth or fancy possessions.  They had an aura of genuine warmth and sense of peace about them.

Zig Zigler

Zig’s last book Born to Win! Find Your Success Code shared his winning philosophy.  He listed

What Success Is

  1. Success is knowing that you did a great job
  2. Success is home and people to love who love you in return.
  3. Success is financial security
  4. Success is faith
  5. Success is an interest or hobby you enjoy
  6. Success is knowing who you are
  7. Success is being healthy
  8. Success is gratitude

What Success Isn’t

  1. Choosing work over family dinners
  2. Hiding in front of the TV after a long day
  3. Making more money than you need
  4. Going to church, but not listening
  5. All work and no play
  6. Eating junk food because it is fast
  7. Worrying about work or bills and missing family events
  8. Texting while you drive to save time

Success as a Balanced Life

Get over the myth that life will be perfectly balanced at all times.  It won’t.

We do have control over the priorities we choose.

Supporting the family is important.  What do they really need and want most?

When I taught in the third richest school district in United States, I found that my students received an extremely generous allowance, but what they wanted was some time and attention.  They would have preferred having one of their parents attend their sporting event rather than being given cash and dismissed.

The people I met in Peru had virtually nothing in terms of material possessions and yet they were happy being together.

As I look back over my twenties and thirties, I focused too much on work honestly thinking I was being responsible.  Zig Zigler’s lists of what success is and isn’t gives me cause for reassessment of what is really important.  What does success really mean?

For me success has become more about people, feelings and peace of mind.  Yes, I truly enjoy creature comforts, pretty clothes and achieving goals.  Some of the goals on the list have shifted.

Zig was a very wise man.  How many people do you imagine have ever reached the final stages of life and said “I wish I had spent more time at the office and less at home?”  Not many, if any.

Are you seeking more success in your life and career?  Inquire about hiring Elaine Love as a business and communications professional – business coach, presentations coach/trainer and content writer.  Go to or


The pursuit of excellence consumes the mind of every top achiever.  An athlete who has the goal of participating

Leadership is Earned Through Performance

Leadership is Earned Through Performance

in the Olympic Games strives to extract every degree of excellence and efficiency possible.  Mediocrity never enters the mind of an Olympic bound athlete.  Being average belongs to the playground athlete not the gold medal winners.


The story of a concert violinist also depicts excellence.  A lady came back stage to greet the master after a magnificent performance.  She exclaimed, “I would give my life to play like that.”  The master smiled, thanked her and replied, “I did.”  He devoted his entire life to mastering the skill and performance excellence.


Achievement of superiority in any endeavor requires intense dedication.  Study the masters, study success, study yourself to refine and enhance every aspect.  Excellence is never achieved without study and extensive effort.


The “excellence” has hung on my wall for over a decade.  Unfortunately, it arrived without an author’s name attached.  I do not claim it as mine, but I treasure its wisdom.


“Excellence is:

The result of caring more than others think is wise

Risking more than others think is safe

Dreaming more than others think is practical and

Expecting more than others think is possible.”


Success magazine featured David Foster, the hit man, in the September 2009 magazine.  David has achieved super star status not only as a performer but as a producer.  He told his mentor about the first record he produced with the explanation/apology that one track was not his favorite and another track had a small part which was not perfectly in tune.  His mentor snatched the record out of his had and pointed out David’s name on the label as producer.  “Never put your name on something you are not proud of having associated with you.”  From that day on, David adopted the philosophy of “good enough isn’t.”  Always strive for the very best.  This absolute pursuit of excellence has been one of the reasons David has achieved superstar status.


Your name depicts your legacy.  How do you choose to be remembered – “as one who just got by” or as “one who excelled?”  Perfectionism can be a handicap as well as an asset.  The goal of excellence has more to do with “bettering your best” than paralyzing yourself with lack of action until everything is perfect.  Take action and continue working toward your individual excellence goal.


Employees can be grouped in three categories: white knights, milk toast, and red ants.  The white knights always go above and beyond their job descriptions; they help others and work to achieve the very best results for the company and all employees.  The white knights strive for excellence.


The milk toast arrives at the last minute, do their job but no more and leave at 30 seconds past quitting time.  This is a mediocre attitude.


The red ants are always causing discord in the work place and complaining about everything.  Red ants get fired.


Strive to be a “white knight.”  White knights understand excellence.  White knights receive raises and promotions, but even more, they earn the respect and admiration of everyone whose lives they touch.


Always strive to be the very best you can possibly be and celebrate each achievement.  Excellence is a journey and a process.  The person who strives for excellence never settles for “good enough.”  They thrive on the challenge and relish each new achievement.  This desire for excellence permeates the atmosphere around them and inspires others to reach for their own personal excellence.


Create your own excellence mindset.

Are you seeking more success in your life and career?  Inquire about hiring Elaine Love as a business and communications professional – business coach, presentations coach/trainer and content writer.  Go to or

Notes of Appreciation

Penmanship class, the Ark of the Covenant and the dinosaur.  What do they all have in common?  They are recorded in history but unknown in the present day.  Hand written thank you notes are following close behind.

Thinking positive thoughts as I send the bear to a child.

Thinking positive thoughts as I send the bear to a child.

Writing notes of appreciation and encouragement is almost a lost art. It is certainly far less frequent than it was a generation ago.  I am showing my age. We all dash a fast email or text now rather than sending a hand written note. Not so long ago, it was considered very poor manners not to write a note of appreciation for a kind gesture, a gift or even a special dinner invitation. Now most of these are either ignored totally or a quick email response. Amy who?  Emily who?  What’s their Twitter or Facebook id?  Do you even know the names Amy Vanderbilt or Emily Post?  Etiquette books?   Yes, people actually read and studied their books.

Little notes of appreciation are so important that most of us have saved them in a scrapbook, a drawer or even a box. The point is that we saved them. I know I did. Notes are even more valuable when they were unexpected.

Who would love a note of appreciation from you? Just a little 2 line note which would not take you but a few minutes to write, address the envelope and mail. It is easy to do. The problem is that as the noted business philosopher, Jim Rohn, says, “It is easy to do, but it is also easy not to do.”

Walt Whitman, American poet, essayist, humanist, and journalist was struggling to receive recognition for his work when he received a note. The simple note said, “I am not blind to the wit and wisdom of the Leaves of Grass. I greet you at the beginning of a great career,” signed Ralph Waldo Emerson. Walt kept that note. Not only was it a note of encouragement but it was from Emerson, the man who inspired Walt to write Leaves of Grass. Whitman spent his entire life writing and rewriting Leaves of Grass. It was first published in 1855 when Whitman was 36. 36 was the beginning of his great career.

Little notes of encouragement and inspiration to keep moving forward are sometimes the fine line that provides one more burst of energy. How would you feel if you knew your little 2 line note was the one extra spark that propelled someone to achieve their dreams instead of giving up?  Many give up moments before they crest the summit of an obstacle and revel in the glory of all of their hard work. One person believing in them and taking the time to let them know can be the difference between success and quitting.

Who needs a little 2 line note of encouragement or appreciation from you?  Write down the names of 3 people who deserve a note from you, commit to writing those 3 little notes and do it.

You may never know how much it meant to them. That little ray of sunshine you poured into their life may inspire them to do the same for 3 others. Who know how much joy we could spread in this world by taking the time to write 3 little notes? Look what it did for Whitman.

Are you seeking more success in your life and career?  Inquire about hiring Elaine Love as a business and communications professional – business coach, presentations coach/trainer and content writer.  Go to or


My grandson first learned computers at the age of two sitting on his daddy’s lap.  I, on the other

Leadership is Earned Through Performance

Leadership is Earned Through Performance

hand, had to learn the challenging electronic devices on a trial and error basis.  At one point I wrote a speech about an imaginary conversation between myself and my Dell Inspiron 1705.  The point of the speech was a humorous look at responsibility.  The same speech could be used with a minor tweak or two to make a point about dealing with challenges.




Challenges are a part of life.  We all deal with them to a greater or lesser degree.  How we manage the emotions involved with those challenges varies as widely as the people and circumstances involved.


“It’s not my fault.”  “It’s the economy.”  “I’m too old.”  “I didn’t have a chance to attend the right school.”  Blame, excuses and responsibility avoidance abound.  Others mask the pain by drinking to excess, eating a bag of potato chips with a big bowl of cheese dip or maxing out the credit cards with an excessive shopping spree.  None of these solve the challenge at hand.


How to Handle a Challenge


I revert back to my accounting background for problem solving.


  1. What actually happened?
  2. What should have happened?
  3. What steps need to be taken to bring the issue from what happened to what should have happened?


In the twelve step programs, I hear there is a point where the individual needs to go back to the person they mistreated; they are expected to apologize and do their best to correct the injustice.  In essence, this is their step three action.


Some situations are easier to correct than others.  Some cannot be corrected.  The acknowledgement of error and apology are a start.


(Though I do not recommend living in the past, it does remove a weight from your shoulders when you offer an apology.  An apology and forgiveness are more for the sake of the person issuing the apology or forgiving than for the other party.)


Challenges Help Us Grow


No one living on earth at this point in history is perfect. We all have challenges, mistakes and unfortunate incidents.  The secret to living a productive and peaceful life is to deal with the challenges, correct them the best we are able and move forward.  Dragging the baggage of the past does not serve anyone.


Learn from the situation and resolve never to repeat the same behavior.  Sometimes we actually learn more from our challenges than we do from our successes.  In every challenge there is potential for growth.


It’s not what they say or do.  It is what YOU think, feel and do that counts.  Face it, solve it the best you can and let it go.  Challenges can actually be good if our attitude accepts it as a growth opportunity.  Your step three can be a valuable success plan for the future.


Are you seeking more success in your life and career?  Inquire about hiring Elaine Love as a business and communications professional – business coach, presentations coach/trainer and content writer.  Go to or www.Elaine4Success

Its Not My Fault

Elaine, “this is your Dell Inspiron E 1705.  What seems to be your problem?”  It’s not my fault if the document you were working on just disappeared.  I came with a complete owners manual.  You didn’t.  I am OEM – original equipment manufacturer.  The problem is also OEM – owner error malfunction.”


You were so excited when you picked out my 17 inch high definition color screen, my 4 gig hard drive, and my 2 GB RAM – big memory.  You even picked out my weight in advance.  You can’t even do that for yourself.


Take responsibility for events in your life.


“How many of us would like to pick out our intelligence, memory and our weight?”  Imagine, being able to select your weight, write a check for a few hundred dollars and poof you are beautiful, young, smart, have a great memory and weigh exactly what you want.”  We do it with our computer and then we complain when it does not do everything we want it to do.  Some people are just hard to please.


Have you ever had someone in your life that no matter what you did it was hard to please them?  They may be friends, co-workers or you may even be related to them.  Let’s examine the situation.  Is the owner error malfunction – theirs or ours?


Take responsibility for events in your life.


Think about the computer.  The excitement builds we are picking out every little feature and so anxious to have the dream package delivered to our door.  The big box arrives all carefully packed in Styrofoam cushions and plastic and even an owners manual.


Ever wished some people arrived in our life with an owners manual tucked under their arm.  Guys when you ask “what’s wrong? And she says” nothing.”  Refer to page 47 to the trouble shooting guide and know exactly what to do to bring back the smile and smooth operation mode.


Or your kids.  Ever wish for an operations manual when the baby won’t stop crying.  You arrived in this world and promptly started crying.  The computer arrived softly and quietly packed in sound proof Styrofoam and we complain about the computer if it doesn’t make a sound or show something on the screen


We’re excited about the computer and the baby but soon discover that there is a learning curve to both.  They are neither inexpensive nor maintenance free, but neither were you.


Ladies the delivery may be an issue but it is only a few hours.  The setup, maintenance and learning curve goes on for decades.


Take responsibility for events in your life.



“Elaine, you ordered me to your preferences and paid for me.  I was handed over to you with no choice.  I got you for free and you know what humans say about the value of getting what you pay for something.”


“Elaine, while we’re on the subject of getting things, will you please stop eating over my keyboard?  I don’t digest crumbs or coffee.  My circuit boards do not like coffee.”


Take responsibility for the events in your life.


“My, my, bossy little laptop.  Guys you accuse women of being demanding and high maintenance.


Ok, little Dell, I get the point.  I’ll treat you a little more considerately.  No eating or drinking hot coffee over your keyboard.  Read the manual or don’t complain.  I’ll take some responsibility for your functions which work or do not work.


Take responsibility for events in your life.


Interesting, this same behavior relates to everything in our life.  When we treat others with kindness, consideration and value, they are more likely to do the same for us.


The golden rule never goes out of fashion.  “Do unto others as you wish them to do unto you.”  Yes, I know there is another fashionable golden rule which states “He who has the gold makes the rules.”  We’ll ignore that one for the moment because it can become an excuse for irresponsible behavior.  There is another version of the golden rule which states, “Do unto others as they would like for you to do unto them.”


When we take responsibility for the events in our life, everything flows more smoothly.


Unexpected Events

“Resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate
with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant

Leadership is Earned Through Performance

Leadership is Earned Through Performance

with the weak and the wrong. Sometime in your life
you will have been all of these.”


~ Dr. Robert H. Goddard

This resonates with me in so many ways.  If we apply it to business, we have all been new to some aspect of business, experienced at some aspect, challenged or frustrated with business and uncertain or wrong at times.  This quotation applies on so many levels.


Regardless of the particular time or circumstances of our career situation, one fact remains absolute.  It is not about what happens to us but how we respond which makes the difference.




When something happens which you did not expect or particularly want, or doesn’t happen when you really expected good news, what do you do?  You can choose to get upset or you can adopt the mindset of, “What good can come from this?”  If your mindset is constantly looking for an advantage to every situation, you will find that advantage.


I recently had an unexpected and truly unwanted experience.  A writing assignment which I was enjoying immensely suddenly came to a screeching halt.  I was working as a as a subcontractor for the marketing director.  To my surprise, I received an email saying that her employment had been terminated; therefore, my position was also eliminated.  Ouch!  If you have ever lost a job, you relate.  The more unexpected the situation, the more you relate.


What do I do now?  Start looking for a job, start my own business, eat a bag of chocolate or pull my hair?


Stop and Breathe


A sudden change of plans gives us the opportunity to examine what we really want.  In a relationship change, we can decide what is really important to us in a relationship and what we really do not want in a future relationship.


In a career change we have the opportunity to refresh our resume and choose our future path.


What did you like best about your prior job or jobs?

What did you not like about prior employment positions?

If you could design the ideal career for yourself, what would you include as a priority, a like but not a necessity and a dislike?


Once you have the criteria clearly defined, you have parameters.  You would never start out on a vacation without having a vague idea where you wanted to go.  You cannot expect to plan the next phase of your career without a vague direction. (BTW, these exact questions work for determining a new relationship as well.  Both are relationships; one is personal and one is professional)


Success Plan


Once you have created your success plan to know what you do and do not want, you know where you want to start looking.  Form a plan of action, success plan, to know what specific type of position you are seeking, which type of companies would most likely offer that position and which ones are in your area.


We can continue refining the success plan as to the best methods to locate access to key personnel within those industries or companies.


Are you seeking more success in your life and career?  Inquire about hiring Elaine Love as a business and communications professional – business coach, presentations coach/trainer and content writer.  Go to or


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”Elaine spoke to our top leaders from 8 states, she gave us new and positive ways to connect with people
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