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/

5 Minutes That Will Dramatically Change Your Life & Business…John Page Burton

images (3)

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

images (1)

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.

 

 

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

stress

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.

5 Suggestions For Achieving Happiness In Life & Business…John Page Burton

Happiness-Matters-What-You-Love-is-Critical-to-the-Planet

As a coach, “I just want to be happy” is something I hear on a regular basis. Happiness is relevant and means different things to different people. One person may be extremely happy because they received a promotion at work while another person is equally happy because they are able to move off the streets and into a shelter. In reality, most of us define happiness based on the level of comfort we experience in any given moment. I have found in my personal and professional life that when I focus on the following 5 suggestions, my life and business thrive. When I deviate from them, I tend to experience discomfort and frustration. Let’s take a closer look….

1. Be PRESENT. When we dwell on the past or obsess about what may or may not happen in the future, we are missing our present moment experience. We problem solve from our past, we create in the present. Most of us have a pretty good present moment going on and the only way to ruin it is to jump back into the past or zip into the future. Stay focused on NOW and observe how your “happy meter” skyrockets.

2. Check the facts, don’t make assumptions. At one time or another, all of us have been guilty of making assumptions about someone or something. For example, we may have “assumed” that our boss was out to get us, our spouse was having an affair, our neighbor was a drug dealer or our teenager didn’t like us. By asking questions rather than making assumptions, we may learn that our boss’s decision to give us more work responsibility is because he is grooming us for a promotion. Our spouse is actually working late to earn extra money to surprise the family with a European vacation. Our neighbor works from home and because he met all of his sales goals he treated himself to a brand new BMW. Our teenager is actually being bullied at school and doesn’t know how to express their sadness and fear. By asking better questions and checking our facts, we can save ourselves and others a great deal of unhappiness and confusion.

3. Run your own race. Comparing ourselves to others only distracts us from reaching our full potential. Far too many of us base our success on the perceived success of others. The key word is “perceived”. I have known quite a few people who lived in gorgeous homes that were in foreclosure or who drove beautiful cars  that were on the verge of repossession. On the other hand, I know numerous people who live modestly, drive older model vehicles and enjoy 7 figure portfolios.YOU CAN’T JUDGE A BOOK BY IT’S COVER SO STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS AND RUN YOUR RACE!!!

4. Happiness is a CHOICE.  I am not going to be a Pollyanna and pretend that bad things don’t happen to good people or that life is all wine, roses and chocolate. Life can be very challenging. Choosing happiness means that we look for the blessing in every adverse situation we face. The blessing is there, our job is to find and embrace the lesson.

5. Listen to and learn to trust your inner voice. Our inner voice is a divine voice. When we listen to and trust our inner voice we are listening to and trusting our creator. We have all had those moments when we kicked ourselves for not trusting our gut. We knew something didn’t add up but we forged ahead anyway and lo and behold something was indeed wrong. We can save ourselves a great deal of unhappiness and regret by simply learning to trust our inner voice.

I hope these 5 suggestions will help you enjoy more happiness and less stress in your life and career.

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

Do You Treat Yourself & Others With Dignity Or Disdain?…John Page Burton

images (2)

What does it mean to treat a person with dignity? What does it mean to treat ourselves with dignity? For many, dignity comes naturally. These folks have a strong sense of self worth and take great pride in their ability to honor themselves and those around them. For others it is quite the opposite. They have an uncomfortable relationship with themselves and routinely treat people in a disrespectful manner. All of us have known people who made fun of or were disrespectful toward disabled people, the homeless or people from different religious, economic and ethnic backgrounds. How we feel about ourselves tends to be a direct reflection of how we view the world. I have often said if you truly desire to experience a person’s true character, observe how they treat the poor, homeless, disabled or uneducated members of our society. Our character tends to shine the brightest when we believe nobody of importance is watching us.

Let’s take closer look at the word DIGNITY. Being a person of dignity means that we are emotionally grounded and are mindful of how our words and actions effect others. It is important to remember that NONE OF US CHOSE THE CIRCUMSTANCES WE WERE BORN INTO. 
DIVERSITY. Our world is made up of people from an array of backgrounds and cultures. Our ability to relate to people from different walks of life speaks to our level of our emotional intelligence. Are we open to learning and growing or are we closed and judgmental? Do we judge people at face value or do we take the time to get to know them? What messages are we conveying to our children? Dignity (or lack of) is learned.
IDEOLOGY. All of us hold long standing beliefs. Our current belief system is based on our life experiences. Treating people with dignity means that we are honoring their belief system. We may not agree with their point of view, however, we don’t make them wrong for their beliefs. For example, if a person grew up in a house were violence was a normal means of communication, they likely developed a different relationship (belief system) with the world around them than a person who grew up in a home where they were encouraged to engage in respectful, non violent communication. Seek to understand where the person is coming from. This is a much more dignified, enlightened approach than simply basing our opinion on assumptions.
GRATITUDE. But for the grace of God, I was not born disabled, poor, homeless or unable to obtain a higher education. Because someone was born under a different set of circumstances does not make them any less of a human being. Our ability to be grateful for all of our experiences allows us to be more compassionate toward others. Dignity is grounded in gratitude.
NOBILITY. The dictionary definition of nobility includes the words goodness, decency, honor, integrity, generosity and humility. Need I say more?
IMPERFECTION. No matter how successful we have become or how many material possessions we have collected, we all have imperfections. When we routinely judge others for their perceived “imperfections” we are playing a role in which there is only one CEO. (Chief Enlightenment Officer, who also goes by GOD) Our challenge is to show gratitude for our blessings and show grace to those who are having a more challenging time on the journey. Remember, “when we point a finger at someone else, there are three fingers pointing back at us”.
TOLERANCE. In layman’s terms, tolerance is our ability and willingness to tolerate the opinions, behaviors and “perceived flaws” of others. We can do this even though we may not agree with them. The Ego is always up for a good challenge and for many, this proves to be the ultimate challenge.  Letting go of our need to control is an important first step in this process. Listening is the most important skill we can develop. When we really listen to others we can begin to understand their point of view. Again, even if we don’t agree with them we have treated them with dignity.
YOU. I can control my emotions and behaviors and so can YOU. It’s entirely up to YOU to choose whether YOU treat yourself and others with dignity or disdain. Our primary responsibility is to become growth oriented, compassionate people. We can’t do this until we have gained emotional mastery. In other words, we must take our eye off of the outside world and look inward. Those who hold a high regard for dignity know that to see the beauty in others they must first see the beauty that has always resided inside of them.
Here’s to DIGNITY!

5 Rules For Living A Truly Rewarding Life…John Page Burton

images

“Rule # 1 is life is hard and it’s unfair”! Growing up I lived next door to a cranky old man who shared “rule # 1” with me every time I mowed his lawn or shoveled his driveway. I routinely smiled and agreed with him out of fear that if I didn’t acknowledge his negativity he might withhold payment for my services. It has been estimated that 65% of our belief system is formed by the time we are eight years old. This “Doubting Thomas” could have left a negative imprint on my 10 year old psyche but I didn’t allow it! Even at a young age I held a belief that achieving anything of value would require hard work and a little bit of luck . All I had to do was look at my lawn mowing, snow removal and lemonade stand business’s to validate this belief.
All of us are governed by internal rules. Most of us established these rules at a young age. It is not uncommon to carry these rules into adulthood. For example, if we were betrayed by a parent(s) at an early age we may have adopted an internal rule that people can’t be trusted. Consequently, we go through life testing everyone’s allegiance. As children, some of us were caught in the wake of divorce. Because of this experience, many felt abandoned and established an internal rule that has kept them from getting “too close to others”  because after all, “they will end up leaving anyway”. The fear of abandonment has caused many of us to habitually test people’s loyalty and we may even adopt a philosophy of “I’ll leave you before you leave me”. These types of rigid internal rules have caused many of us to consistently “blow up” friendships as well as our most intimate of relationships. These types of internal rules not only stunt our personal and emotional growth but also leave us feeling lonely, sad and confused. But let’s not stay in such a negative mind space, instead let’s look at 5 rules that will allow us to live a truly rewarding life!
Rule # 1. Life is an adventure! Live it with passion and purpose! The key is to determine what we desire to achieve and then pursue it with laser focus. Living our lives to please others or taking an easy, comfortable route through life is surviving not thriving. We are never to old to begin a new chapter, sadly far too many closed the book in the prime of their life. CONTINUE TO DREAM BIG AND GO AFTER IT!
Rule # 2. Let go of EXPECTATIONS.  Our goal is to release our death grip on expectations. When we “expect” things to go exactly as we want them to we usually end up disappointed. I have a friend who has made a very long list of “exactly” what she is looking for in a man. Her list is so extensive and demanding that if Jesus Christ asked her out on a date he would end up getting the boot! The reality is that she desires to stay in her comfort zone and will find something wrong with every man she meets and will easily justify it by referring back to her ridiculous list of expectations.
Rule # 3. Trust your inner voice. In my experience, my inner voice is right 90% of the time. When we learn to trust our inner voice and make our decisions accordingly we have fewer regrets. I personally believe that our inner voice is the voice of our creator and I have become conditioned to rely on it. Every time we follow our inner voice and the outcome is positive (90% of the time) we have created a strong reference point for future decision making. When we are facing a tough decision, it is always a good idea to go somewhere quiet and simply listen. The answer can usually be found in our quiet moments.
Rule # 4. The past is a reference point, not a permanent resting place. As a life coach I experience the past on a daily basis. The vast majority of client discomfort involves their attachment to events from the past. It took me years to realize that there wasn’t a thing I could do to change the past. What I could do was change my relationship to it. I could use it as a reference point to help me make better decisions in the present moment. Re-living the past dampens our relationships and the overall experience of the present moment. If you are still enslaved to the past it may be time to seek outside help to determine what pleasure you are deriving from your tired old story.
Rule # 5. Show yourself some GRACE!  We learn through a process commonly referred to as trial and error. In my book, Wisdom Through Failure (2014) I provide countless examples of why failure plays such an important role in the development of our emotional intelligence. Many of us are relentless in our attacks on ourselves. “How could I have been so stupid”, “I should have used better judgement”, “I’m so fat”, “I look stupid in this dress”, “I can’t believe I fell for that guy”, the list of negative self talk is long. The key is to catch ourselves in “mid beat down” and re-phrase our speech. “I will certainly be wiser next time”, “I will keep a closer eye on my food plan”, “I will continue to live with an open heart”, “I look pretty darn good for a man in my mid fifties”. Many of us have become our own worst critic and it’s time to become our own best friend.
If your currently living life by these simple rules….GOOD FOR YOU! If you find yourself living a life that is far from what you know you are capable of, I would encourage you to begin incorporating these rules into your daily routine.  We all deserve to live a rich, rewarding life!
As always, I look forward to your thoughts and feedback.