6 Truths of Authentic Leadership…John Page Burton

Everyday, I see the word “leader” casually tossed around by people who seem to know very little about authentic leadership. For example, on my social media stream, I routinely see people publicly declare that they are “great leaders” and if someone desires to make real money, travel, live in the burbs and drive the car of their dreams, it would be wise to follow them. Give me a break! Last week, I actually saw a post where a person declared he was “a nationally recognized leader of leaders”. If this declaration wasn’t so blatantly egotistical, it might have had a slim chance of being funny!
For the past 15 years I have had the privilege of interviewing, working alongside and coaching hundreds of authentic leaders, leaders who conform to the highest standards of professional decorum. None of these authentic leaders  go around declaring themselves leaders, their followers have already made that determination for them. Their ACTIONS speak to their leadership skills. Remember, leadership is not taken, it is earned. Authentic leadership is genuine, real, worthy of trust, accountable and consistent. Authentic leadership doesn’t need a title to be effective, It’s effective because it is genuine.
AUTHENTIC LEADERSHIP…
Listeners. Authentic leaders tend to be excellent listeners. They listen to different points of view, ideas, concerns and most importantly, they pay attention to what is not being said. God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason.
Empathetic. Authentic leaders are able to identify psychologically with the feelings, thoughts and attitudes of those in their charge. An authentic leader rarely asks you to do something they are unwilling to do themselves. Empathy builds bridges and fosters allegiance. Empathy is endearing.
Alignment. Authentic leaders remain grounded by their beliefs and values. Their vision and actions are congruent with these beliefs. Effective leaders are recognized by others as people of strong character who can always be counted on to take the moral high ground.
Decisive. Authentic leaders are decisive. They gather information, weigh evidence and make a decision. They are willing to make changes if something is not working. They possess strong emotional intelligence and take bottom line for their decisions. Blame is not an option for an authentic leader.
Ethics. Authentic leaders place a high value on professional ethics.  They don’t cheat, take shortcuts, lie, use disrespectful language, hold grudges, gossip, sabotage subordinates or engage in any other “shady practices”. Authentic leaders prioritize integrity and treat people in their charge with dignity and respect.
Results. Authentic leaders achieve results. Results inform the world. Remember, people don’t follow titles, they follow people who they admire and trust. People will work their tails off for someone who is genuine and who has the teams best interest at heart. This is why authentic leaders achieve predictable results.
I encourage you to strive to become a leader others CHOOSE to follow. These 6 truths will help us stay focused on our journey to becoming an authentic leader.
John Page Burton is a life and business coach and the author of two books.  To learn more visit http://www.jpburtongroup.com/
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5 Minutes That Will Dramatically Change Your Life & Business…John Page Burton

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If we desire to live a rich, rewarding life, it’s important to embrace three universal principles.  1. What we appreciate, appreciates. 2. Gratitude is the foundation of abundance.  3. Givers Gain. 

 

The 5 Minute Challenge…   

*Count your blessings when you first wake up. (1 minute) Being grateful is a great way to start your day. Speak to the things you are grateful for. For example, I am grateful I woke up, can enjoy a healthy breakfast, have a reliable car to drive to the job that supports the family I love. Remember, what we appreciate, appreciates.
*Compliment, encourage or thank 3 people today. (3 minutes) Everyone enjoys being appreciated. “I’m proud of you”, “I appreciate your efforts”, “you look nice” and “great Job”  are a few examples of how we can brighten someones day. Let’s face it, we need more positive energy swirling around our planet!
*End the day with a prayer of thanks. (1 minute) Take a minute (that’s all most of us need) to thank GOD for another day and for all of the blessings that came with it. This is a great way to sign off!

 John Page Burton is a life and business coach and the author of two books. to learn more visit http://www.jpburtongroup.com/

 

 

 

4 Steps For Breaking Through FEAR…John Page Burton

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As a professional coach and long time student of personal development, I can say with certainty that EVERYONE experiences fear. None of us are exempt from it’s grip. For example, the daredevil who is afraid of intimacy, the professional athlete who fears life outside of sports, the successful business person who is motivated by a profound fear of failure, the work out fanatic who is deathly afraid of gaining weight or the straight A student who fears being “second best”. Fear is the great equalizer! How do we  handle fear when it shows up? Do we address it or do we avoid it? The answer to this question will determine the quality of our life experience. Below is a four step process that will help us break through fear and propel us toward a compelling future!
4 Steps For Breaking Through FEAR…
Formulate. Once we have determined what we desire to achieve, we must formulate a strategy for reaching our objective. For example, lets say we have decided to start our own business. Some of the questions we should be asking ourselves include; Who is my ideal customer? What material, financial and human resources will I need in order to successfully launch my venture? What is my timeline? When we immerse ourselves in the formulation process, we create an initial “rush” of energy that easily overwhelms our doubt and fear.
Envision. A key to breaking through fear is to hold a compelling vision for what our life will look like once we have achieved our objective. Remember, Big Vision=commitment and discipline. Small Vision=excuses and distractions. Most people who live “fear based” lives hold a small vision for their future. In the pursuit of anything worthwhile, it is naive to think that we won’t run into obstacles and experience self doubt. When our vision is big enough we can easily shift from problem mode to solution mode.
Action. If we truly desire to overcome fear, ACTION is our greatest ally! When we are fully engaged in the success process (ACTION) we have little time to entertain the voices of doubt and fear. When they come up, we simply overwhelm them with more and more ACTION. ACTION keeps us in a state of forward progress. Remember, inactivity opens the door to self doubt, frustration and fear. ACTION closes it!
Results. Results are the bi product of strategy, vision and ACTION. Without ACTION, we remain stuck in thought. Results inform the world and significantly boost our confidence. Results validate the fact that we faced and conquered our fear and they provide us with a solid reference point for facing and conquering future fear.
I encourage you to implement this process the next time you experience fear or self doubt. It works!
As always, I enjoy your thoughts and feedback.

 

 

The 3 Most Influential Conversations We Can Have…John Page Burton

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During the course of any given week, most of us engage in hundreds of different conversations. Our conversations may be centered around small talk at the water cooler or they may showcase our positions and ideas. Some of our conversations will be sad or painful while others will be light and cheery. Our conversations may inspire, enrage, motivate, inform or educate those around us. Of all the conversations we engage in, I believe there are three that carry the most influence. Let’s take a closer look…

1. Our conversation with our self. All of us maintain a running dialogue in our head. How we speak to ourselves tends to become how we carry ourselves. Our self talk becomes our mindset. For example, when we experience a set back or failure is our self talk judgmental and self deprecating or is it encouraging and uplifting? When we experience a big win, is our self talk boastful or is it grounded in gratitude and humility? If we are constantly talking trash to our self, it’s time to take out the garbage! Remember, over time, our self talk will determine the quality of our life experience. We can CHOOSE our self talk.
2. Our conversation with our children. How we communicate with our children has the power to groom them for success or keep them from realizing their true potential. We must ask ourselves if our conversations with them are empowering, engaging, instructional and uplifting or are they critical, demeaning, one sided and controlling. Research has shown that 65-70% of our belief system (how we view the world) is formed by the time we are eight years old. Strive to be an empowering communicator.
 
3. Our conversation with our Creator. Initially, this can be a very challenging conversation because we can’t physically see or hear the person we are talking with. At times, this conversation may seem a bit one sided but gradually it becomes the foundation of our faith. Our creator does not mock our questions, judge our answers or lead us down a self serving path. Our creator desires that we freely share our challenges, dreams, desires and fears  so that we can receive the guidance we seek. In order for this to happen, we must be willing to reach out and begin our daily dialogue. Prayer opens the door of clarity and understanding.
As always, I look forward to your thoughts and feed

 

3 Suggestions That Can Dramatically Reduce Work Related Stress…John Page Burton

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Many of us have been led to believe that working long hours is the key to achieving success. I held onto this belief for many years. In reality, studies routinely show that people who work sixty or more hours per week tend to be more unhealthy, careless and detached than people who work forty hours or less. Today’s message may not be popular with those who believe long hours guarantee success but I know it will be well received by spouses, children or friends of anyone who has become addicted to working long hours.

MY STORY…

For years, I worked long hours, traveled for business, tied my self worth to being able to out perform others and I failed to nurture my personal relationships. Three years ago, I contracted Valley Fever (Google it). For the next two and a half years, I experienced a limited amount of physical energy and was only able to work an average of 20-25 hours a week. Because I was unable to predict how I would feel on any given day, I stopped facilitating live seminars, workshops and retreats which in turn caused a significant drop in my income. I became increasingly frustrated and angry that my energy level didn’t allow me to play the game I was accustomed to playing. In order to experience a sense of significance, I began to focus on accomplishing 3-5 income producing tasks each day, tasks that when completed would move my practice forward. Knowing I only had a 3-4 hour window to complete my 3-5 tasks forced me to develop stronger time management skills.

THE UPSIDE…
During the last three years, working an average of 20-25 hours per week, I have been able to create and launch several new seminars and coaching workshops that I now facilitate via teleconferencing. I created a business course that I sell on line, launched a blog and I have written and published two books. Looking back, I continue to be amazed at the amount of time I wasted (prior to my illness) on inconsequential tasks that I convinced myself were of immense value. Today, I am at  90% strength yet continue to employ the 3-5 task strategy 5 days a week. I am enjoying new levels of personal happiness and business prosperity. I make it a priority to set aside time each day to re charge my mental and emotional batteries. You may be thinking to yourself, how is it possible to work fewer hours and be more productive? The answer is… FOCUS. Determine what it is you desire to accomplish and then go after it with determination and laser FOCUS.  

3 SUGGESTIONS  FOR REDUCING WORK RELATED STRESS…

1. Stop trying to be the office hero! Overwhelming ourselves with “extra projects” or routinely volunteering to spearhead tasks that we simply don’t have the bandwidth for will eventually backfire on us! Over extending ourselves will predictably lead to carelessness and burn out. Focusing on our top 3-5 income producing tasks and delivering consistent results is the best way to receive the recognition we deserve.

2. Work 8 hours (or less) per day. Over the years, I have counseled numerous clients who deeply regret not making family and friends as important as their work. I recently spoke with a client who had just ended his third marriage on the heels of completing his second stint at a rehab facility. “I let work become my entire life. Over the last twenty five years, slowly but surely, I lost everything that truly mattered. I turned to drugs and alcohol as a means of coping with work stress and in the end it made it even worse”. As an entrepreneur, I understand that in any new career or start up venture long hours are the norm. With that being said, once we get established, it’s important to take control of our career or business rather than allowing it to control us. FOCUS is the key. The old saying…”work smarter not harder” is sage wisdom.

3. Take all the time off you can. I always encourage my friends and clients to use all of their vacation days, sick days, holidays and any other time that is afforded them. Far too many employees feel “guilty” for taking time off. In many cases, employees are afraid to use their “paid vacation time” because they fear it will hurt them in their quest for a promotion or could be a reason they are let go. If you work in an environment where you fear using your vacation time…FIND ANOTHER JOB! If you are an employer I encourage you to HONOR your employees by encouraging them to take time off. Rested, re charged employees are far more productive than their counterparts. This advice also holds true for the business owner. Our creativity is thwarted when we are mentally and emotionally taxed. FOCUS on your mental and emotional health, your worth the investment!

There you have it! As always, I look forward to your thoughts and feedback.

Debunking The Myth of Work-Life Balance…John Page Burton

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I routinely hear clients express their frustration with their inability to find balance between their work life and their personal life. They tend to become equally frustrated when I explain that for most of us, achieving total balance in our personal and professional lives is a myth. In order to maximize our effectiveness in any area of life, we must be able to maintain focus and channel our energy into the task at hand. For example, when we are at work we must be focused on work. When we go to the gym we must be focused on our work out. When we are at home we must be present and focus on activities that involve our family. It’s impossible to be physically or mentally at two places at the same time. It’s also impossible to block out all of the distracting thoughts that roll through our mind in any given day. For example, if a family member is battling a disease we are going to carry this worry to our workplace. Likewise, if we are having significant challenges at work, we are going to bring them home with us. The key is to remain present and simply BE with the task or challenge at hand.

Below are a few suggestions to help keep us focused in life and business.

At work…

*Leave work at work. When we fail to turn off work we are effectively stealing from the emotional bank accounts of our family and friends. Our spouse, children and friends all deserve our undivided attention. For example, my wife and I will allocate 5-10 minutes at the end of the day to re-cap our work related experiences and then we shut off our work conversation and focus on BEING together.

*When at work it is important to focus on our 3-5 most important tasks. Don’t add anything else to the list until the last one is complete. This keeps us focused and free from creating long, meaningless “to do” lists.

*Stay out of office politics and refrain from participating in gossip. Gossip is like Cancer, if not cut off early, it continues to spread and grow and before long it infiltrates every area of our lives.

*Delegate. Delegation is freedom. When we routinely “do everything ourselves to ensure that it is done right” not only do we eventually burn out but we send a strong message to those in our charge that they are not capable. Delegation frees us up to focus on the tasks that truly need our attention. Focus on your strengths! Someone is strong where you are weak and vice versa.

*Use your vacation time. Every year, millions of Americans fail to use their paid vacation time. Vacation time should never be left on the table. If you are afraid that using your vacation time could put your job in jeopardy then it might be time to look for a new job. Vacation is good for the soul and allows us to recharge our mental and emotional batteries.

In our personal life…

*Date nights.  Regularly scheduled date nights are a great way to stay connected and keep the spark alive in our relationship or marriage. There is only one rule for a great date night…DON’T TALK ABOUT WORK! 

*Planned family activities. The family that plays together tends to stay together. Family activities effectively open lines of communication between parents and children which in turn builds trust. When enjoying family activities it is important  to disconnect from technology in order to focus on and truly enjoy the experience at hand. Growing and deepening our relationships with friends should also be high on our priority list.

*Nutrition. What we put into our body goes along way toward determining the quality of our life experience. Good fuel=energy and focus. Bad fuel=sluggishness and apathy.

*Exercise. Movement is good for the body and soul. For example, a brisk 30 minute walk can significantly boost our mental acuity and improve our mood due to the “natural high” that comes from the release of endorphins and serotonin. Become a mover and shaker!

*Become a life long learner. Not only is learning fun but studies have shown that as we get older the consistent use of our cognitive function may help to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia.

By focusing on these suggestions we can’t help but become better partners, parents, employees and friends. In today’s fast paced, high tech world, finding balance between our work life and personal life is  “pie in the sky”. Our goal should be to focus on our present moment whether that involves work or play and let life unfold accordingly.

As always, I look forward to your thoughts and feedback.

4 Step Formula for Facing & Conquering FEAR…John Page Burton

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We all experience fear. Many of us thrive on fear and use it as a motivator to accomplish great things. Others allow fear to keep them from experiencing their true greatness. When fear comes up, it’s an indication that we are outside of our comfort zone. The vast majority of what we fear is illusory (imagined fear). For example, I’m hiking in the woods and as I round a corner I see a bear 50 yards away. My fear would be very real! On the other hand, I have heard a rumor that a bear has been seen in the forest and therefore I make a decision to not go hiking in the woods because I may run into the bear and be killed. This is an illusory fear. Whenever fear comes up, it’s imperative that we face it head on in order to break its grip. Below is my 4 step formula for facing and breaking through fear when it shows up in my life.

FEAR…

FORMULATE a success strategy. For example, let’s say we have decided to leave the comfort zone of our job in order to fulfill our dream of launching our own business. This can be a fearful experience due in large part to the uncertainty and financial risk involved. As we begin to design our strategy, it’s important to begin asking ourselves some key questions. For example, who is our ideal customer? What material and human resources will we need? What is our budget? What is our timeline? As we begin to pour our energy into developing and executing our strategy, we will begin to see the unlimited possibilities for our new venture. (This strategy can be used in any area of our life where we desire to achieve success) Formulating our strategy/plan will create the initial “rush” of energy that will propel us toward the next step….
ENVISION a compelling future. One of the keys to conquering fear lies in our ability to hold a compelling vision of what our future will look like when we have broken through and achieved the results we are seeking. Remember, compelling vision=commitment and discipline. Small vision=excuses and distractions. A strong vision will lead us toward the next important step…
ACTION. In our battle with fear, ACTION is our most proactive defense. When we are fully engaged in the success process, we have very little time to listen to the voices of doubt and fear. When these voices begin to surface (they will) we can simply overwhelm them with ACTION. Taking consistent ACTION keeps us in a continual state of forward progress. Without massive ACTION we can’t help but remain a hostage to fear.
ACTION leads to the final step….
REFERENCES. Achieving the results we set out to accomplish is the bi-product of our strategy, vision and ACTION. Results validate our efforts and significantly boost our confidence and belief. Results also validate that we have the courage to face and conquer our fears thus becoming a much stronger, more capable person. Results serve as reference points that we can recall whenever we face a new fear or adversity.
The next time you experience fear or self doubt in any area of your life, I encourage you to implement this 4 step process and begin building a strong data base of fear busting references.