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Personal effectiveness requires discipline and learning

To lead yourself ... and then possibly others.

Some two thousand years ago Cicero, the Roman statesman and philosopher, listed the six biggest mistakes of man:
1. The delusion that personal gain is made by crushing others.
2. The tendency to worry about things that cannot be changed or corrected.
3. Insisting that a thing is impossible because we cannot accomplish it.
4. Refusing to set aside trivial preferences.
5. Neglecting the development and refinement of the mind, and not acquiring the habit of reading and studying.
6. Attempting to compel others to believe and live as we do.

The ancient Greeks and Romans practiced what John Maxwell--American minister, leadership expert, speaker, and author (1947 - ) -- preaches today, "Those who cannot lead themselves cannot lead others."

1. Do you refuse to simply “get by”?

Leaders are not satisfied with "getting by" or "squeaking through”.

2. Do you shun perfectionism?
Great leaders don't waste their time striving for perfection. Effective leaders learn from their failures so they can do better next time.

3. Can you apply humor to your setbacks?
It's an important part of discipline ... because you will have setbacks. It's not a matter of "if" but "when”. Humor will keep your leadership discipline intact.

4. Are you humble enough to admit your need for continual learning?

Effective leaders are humble. They admit they don't know it all. And they don't pretend to know it all. As one leader said, "It's what you learn, after you think you know it all that counts." Effective leaders know it's easier to keep up than catch up. So they're in the continual learning mode. They know school is never out.

Part of self-education comes from constructive risk-taking. Effective leaders carefully consider how they would adjust ... or how they would salvage a situation ... if, in fact, they did fail.

How satisfied are you with your answers to the four questions? If you're committed to continual learning, what is your evidence? How many books do you read or listen to each month? How many seminars or lectures do you attend each year?

How does this relate to civility?
Respect for others, honesty, humility, self-discipline.

Condensed and reprinted with permission from Dr. Alan Zimmerman's 'Tuesday Tip.' As a best-selling author and Hall of Fame professional speaker, Zimmerman has worked with more than a million people, helping them become more effective communicators on and off the job. To receive a FREE, subscription to his 'Tuesday Tip' articles, go to http://www.DrZimmerman.com. Or contact him at 20550 Lake Ridge Drive, Prior Lake, MN 55372.